Update 459


"The Importance of Meditation"

On September 11, 2010, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “The Importance of Meditation.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Let's Not Treat It Lightly!

by Norbert Link

In my last StandingWatch program, “Why Atheists Are Wrong,” I discussed Stephen Hawking’s new book, “The Grand Design.” In the book, Hawking claims falsely that the universe created itself. As could be expected, negative responses to our program from some viewers were forthcoming; self-proclaimed “militant agnostics” and “atheists” did not like our approach, nor the very thought that there is a God who created the universe.

On the other hand, many believe in a God–and may be as deceived as the atheists and agnostics are. As Christians, we do not believe in just “any” God, but in THE God, as He reveals Himself in the pages of the Bible. God has not left us without witness. He challenges all who believe and worship any “god” but Him, and encourages them to recognize the futility of their ways and to turn to Him who created everything. Atheists are called “fools” in Scripture, but so are those who worship idols, demons or false gods.

God tells us: “For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22; compare also Isaiah 44:6). He is the God of the Bible who created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He is above all other “gods”–man-made creations which by nature are not gods (Galatians 4:8). God says through the prophet Jeremiah: “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens” (Jeremiah 10:11).

God is “Almighty God”–He is more powerful than anything or anyone else (Genesis 17:1). He is a God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4). He does not lie (Numbers 23:19), and when He tells us in His Word that He created the universe, we can believe Him–and reject at the same time EVERY “scientific” opinion to the contrary.

God is a LIVING and ACTIVE God (Jeremiah 10:10). He is here to help us when we are in need. Psalm 25:5 tells us: “… You are God, my deliverer, it is You I look to at all times” (Tanakh). It is the God of the Bible–the God who is unknown to most people (Acts 17:23)–whom we are to proclaim today (Isaiah 40:9). Many will disbelieve our message. But he “who is of God hears God’s words” (John 8:47). It is God’s Spirit which reveals the true nature of God (1 Corinthians 2:6-14).

Overall, man has rejected God and “the things of God.” He has rejected godly understanding and replaced the true God with the wrong idea that the universe created itself and that some gases produced life (Romans 1:18-22). Man–including the bright minds of highly-educated scientists–came to believe falsely that man evolved from animals. Others concluded that animals or human beings needed to be worshipped (Romans 1:23). In the ultimate sense, man has been worshipping Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44) and the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Man has adopted the devil’s many different philosophies and ideas, including the very thought that the devil does not even exist.

We believe God–the true God. We are not of those whom God calls fools. We believe that God created the universe (Hebrews 11:1). And we believe the Bible when it tells us that God is a FAMILY–that both God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son–the WORD or Spokesman–are divine members of the God Family. We believe that the Father created everything–including the universe–through Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3, 14; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:1-2). We believe that Jesus Christ upholds and sustains the universe today (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:17).

We believe that there is only ONE God; but we also believe that this ONE GOD is a Family. The Father and the Son–God beings within the God Family–are “one” (John 10:30); they are totally unified. They are ONE FAMILY–ONE Kingdom! And we believe that both the Father and the Son can dwell with and in us today through the Holy Spirit (John 14:23), and that we, God’s Spirit-begotten children, are to become “one,” as the Father and the Son are “one” (John 17:20-23).

In fact, man was created with the potential to become a member of the very Family of God (John 10:34-36; Genesis 1:26-27; Ephesians 3:14-15; compare Hebrews 2:11: “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family,” NIV).

When we know all of this, we need to do something about it. Just believing it, without more, is not enough (James 2:19). God is the Lawgiver (James 4:12). He expects of us to keep His law (James 2:10-12). James 1:22, 25 tells us: “But be doers of the WORD, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves… But he who looks into the perfect LAW of liberty and CONTINUES IN IT, and is not a forgetful hearer but a DOER of the WORK, this one will be blessed in what he does.” 

We are commissioned today to do the WORK–to preach the gospel message of God’s Kingdom in all the world as a witness. This good news includes the knowledge as to who God is and that He created everything, including the universe. These glad tidings include the understanding of what the purpose is of man’s creation; and how man can enter the Kingdom or Family of God, as an immortal God being. After Christ’s return to this earth, God’s Kingdom–the God FAMILY–will rule over mankind. We who know God and are known by Him (Galatians 4:9), are called to be in that Kingdom and to rule with and under Christ, as kings and priests (Revelation 5:10; 20:4-6). It is our responsibility today to prepare for that time. Let’s not treat it lightly!

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We begin with reporting on frightening developments in the USA, which are going to affect many American citizens, beginning in 2011. We are speaking of unprecedented tax hikes at a time of great economic turmoil and, what is judged to be as a futile attempt by the President to save the economy. It appears that the current US government is on a suicidal mission, not unlike the supposedly “invincible” Titanic. At that time, it was proudly proclaimed that even God could not destroy the cruise ship…

Addressing “foolishness,” a new book by scientist Stephen Hawking claims that the universe created itself, and Christian leaders try to rebut the argument with equally foolish statements.

We are reporting on the continuing debate in Germany, surrounding the controversial central bank board member, Thilo Sarrazin. The media raises the question of what it all means for Germany and Europe. Right-wing leaders in The Netherlands and Austria are on the rise, and France tries to find a scapegoat in the Romas. The German press is also making some interesting comments regarding the need for a charismatic European leader.

We are witnessing the development of a militaristic China and address ongoing concerns of a war in the Middle East, involving Israel and Iran, and renewed “peace talks,” which may end before they have really begun.

We report on Pastor Terry Jones’ announcement to have copies of the Koran burned on September 11, quote from a German article stating interesting allegations about Jones, and conclude with a report on the powerful New Zealand earthquake, which might have opened a new faultline.

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Coming in 2011–Largest Tax Hikes in US History

On September 3, 2010, The Drudge Report linked to the following article, published by atr.org:
“In just 120 days, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect…

“The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates… The ‘marriage penalty’ (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care tax credit will be cut… For those dying on or after January 1, 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million… The top capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011.  The top dividends tax rate will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011.  These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013…

“There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011… Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike… increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent… Starting next year, there will be a multi-billion dollar tax assessment imposed on name-brand drug manufacturers. This tax, like all excise taxes, will raise the price of medicine, hurting everyone… The IRS is now empowered to disallow perfectly-legal tax deductions and maneuvers merely because it judges that the deduction or action lacks “economic substance.”  This is obviously an arbitrary empowerment of IRS agents. Employer Reporting of Health Insurance… will start for W-2s in the 2011 tax year.  While not a tax increase in itself, it makes it very easy for Congress to tax employer-provided healthcare benefits later…

“The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses… Until this year, a retired person with an IRA could contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA… This ability will no longer be there.”

USA Today added on September 8:

“The most sweeping tax cuts in a generation are due to expire at the end of the year. Congress is set to take up the issue this month. If Congress does nothing, families at every income level face tax increases next year.

2011 Income
Number of tax returns
Average tax increase
Less than $10,000
$10,000 to $20,000
$20,000 to $30,000
$30,000 to $40,000
$40,000 to $50,000
$50,000 to $75,000
$75,000 to $100,000
$100,000 to $200,000
$200,000 to $500,000
$500,000 to $1 million
$1 million and over

In times of financial hardship, these tax hikes are irresponsible and extremely damaging to all of us. Even though the USA is not ruled by a “king,” dictatorial and autocratic government-imposed measurements surely give the impression that we are. In other words, we are under a CURSE!

The Bible warned ancient Israel that the people’s desire to reject God’s leadership and be ruled instead by a king would result in financial hardship, misery, high taxes, increased wars and pain (compare 1 Samuel 8:11-18). We are being plagued by similar problems today.

As the ancient Israelites, many Americans foolishly felt that a new president would bring about “change” for the better. Now, many feel that a change in the current government would substantially improve our condition. It is high time for the American people to wake up and forsake their trust in a man–ANY man–and to return to God who alone can give us peace and prosperity.

Obama’s Economic Recovery Plan Not a Hit with Economists

USA Today wrote on September 8:

“President Obama’s proposal to jolt a listless recovery with $180 billion worth of tax breaks and transportation projects left economists largely unimpressed Tuesday. ‘I don’t think they’re game-changers,’ says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. ‘I don’t think they’re going to add up to a lot of new jobs’…

“The administration wants to spark economic growth by… letting businesses deduct from their tax bills 100% (up from 50%) of what they invest in new equipment through 2011. The deduction would give businesses $200 billion up-front; but it would cost the Treasury only $30 billion over the next decade because businesses would have gradually written off the value of the equipment anyway…

“Zandi says companies probably wouldn’t ramp up spending to take advantage of the deduction until next year: ‘Most companies are going to sit back and make sure the business landscape is safe before they jump in.'”

The Universe Created Itself?

The Daily Mail wrote on September 3:

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has led a religious backlash after Britain’s most famous scientist declared God redundant. Dr Rowan Williams dismissed Professor Stephen Hawking’s findings that modern physics leaves no room for a Creator and science could explain the origins of the universe.

“In The Grand Design, the best-selling author concludes: ‘Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touchpaper and set the universe going.’

“But Dr Williams said: ‘… ‘It is the belief that there is an intelligent, living agent on whose activity everything ultimately depends for its existence. Physics on its own will not settle the question of why there is something rather than nothing.’

“Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks… said: ‘Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation… The Bible simply isn’t interested in how the universe came into being.’

“Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, added: ‘I would totally endorse what the Chief Rabbi said so eloquently about the relationship between religion and science.’

“Ibrahim Mogra, an imam and committee chairman at the Muslim Council of Britain, said: ‘If we look at the universe and all that has been created, it indicates that somebody has been here to bring it into existence. That somebody is the almighty conqueror.’…”

When reading those above-quoted comments by Prof. Hawking, Chief Rabbi Sacks or Archbishop Nichols, one shudders at the confusion, as they all got it wrong. If you want to know the TRUTH, please watch our new StandingWatch program, “Why Atheists Are Wrong.”

Germany’s Sarazzin Debate

AFP reported on September 6:

“Politicians have rushed to condemn a board member of the German central bank for a new book tackling immigration, but his views have found considerable support among the population at large. Thilo Sarrazin’s book ‘is not convincing, but it has convinced many people,’ said the influential Spiegel magazine, which this week has the Bundesbank executive on its cover, calling him a ‘people’s hero.’

“His publisher is rushing to print more copies of ‘Germany Does Itself In’ to meet demand. Online retailer Amazon.de has a massive 207 reader reviews on its website, with the average score 4.4 stars out of a possible five.

“The Social Democrats (SPD), the centre-left political party Sarrazin belongs to, has been inundated with thousands of letters, emails and phone calls attacking the central bank board’s desire to expel him. ‘Listen to the voice of the people for once,’ Spiegel quoted one of the almost 4,000 emails as saying.

“In the book, Sarrazin says Europe’s top economy is being undermined, overwhelmed and made ‘more stupid’ by poorly educated, fast-breeding, badly integrated and unproductive Muslim immigrants and their offspring. ‘If I want to hear the muezzin’s call to prayer, then I’ll go to the Orient,’ he says, saying that allowing in millions of ‘guest workers’ in the 1960s and 1970s was a ‘gigantic error.’

“He also says that Turkish and Kurdish ‘clans’ have a ‘long tradition of inbreeding,’ leading to higher rates of birth defects, and ponders whether this might be one reason for immigrants’ poor school performance, Spiegel said. This and his comment to a newspaper that ‘all Jews share a certain gene’, critics say, is akin to the kind of pseudo-science used by the Nazis.

“Chancellor Angela Merkel called the remarks ‘completely unacceptable.’ The Bundesbank’s board has asked President Christian Wulff to fire him, as it cannot do so itself. Sarrazin has no intention of going quietly, however, and has threatened to appeal in the courts if Wulff dismisses him in a ‘show trial’…

“The debate has taken on such proportions that Merkel, 56, gave an interview to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, and on Sunday she admitted in the Bild am Sonntag weekly that Germany has made mistakes and has a lot of work to do. In the past, Germany ‘dreamed a so-called multi-cultural dream and didn’t do enough to remind immigrants of their responsibilities,’ she told the paper.

“…a Pandora’s Box has been opened. Backing for Sarrazin, 65, is so strong that a survey published on Sunday indicated that if he set up his own new political party, almost one in five (18 percent) would vote for him. Sarrazin has no intention of doing any such thing, but the survey raised fears that a charismatic right-wing populist in Germany, like anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, could win considerable political support.”

Deutsche Welle reported on September 10 that Sarrazin asked German President Christian Wulff to relieve him of his responsibilities as a German central bank board member.

The Bible announced in advance that in these last days, a powerful charismatic leader will arise in Germany and become the leader of Europe.

Germany Without Right-Wing Leaders… For Now…

Der Spiegel wrote on September 3:

“Right-wing populist parties are everywhere in Europe. But in Germany… the right side of the political spectrum is decidedly vacant. Why?… In contrast to virtually all of its neighbors — particularly Belgium, Holland, Denmark and France — there is no political home in Germany for people like Sarrazin…

“The fleeting nature of right-wing populism in Germany is almost unique in continental Europe. Belgium has the Vlaams Belang party, the Netherlands has Geert Wilders and France’s far right has periodically found significant success at the polls under Jean-Marie Le Pen. In Switzerland, voters supported a populist movement to ban the construction of minarets. Austria’s right wing has a long history of political success under now deceased Freedom Party leader Jörg Haider and many eastern European countries, led by Hungary, have an active right wing…

“Still, the almost unanimous opprobrium German political parties have heaped on Sarrazin is misleading. Recent studies suggest that the lack of a robust, right-wing populist party in Germany is more of a political anomaly than an indication of tolerance in the country. According to a study by the University of Bielefeld published last December, fully 46 percent of Germans agree that there are ‘too many Muslims’ in the country…

“A survey in July, conducted by the polling institution Emnid for the newsweekly Focus, found that 20 percent of Germans would consider voting for a party to the right of Merkel’s Christian Democrats… Nevertheless, [Ulrich] Kober, [head of the integration and education department at the Bertelsmann Stiftung think tank] emphasizes, there is nothing to prevent the development of a populist right wing in Germany in the future… ‘We aren’t that different from our neighbors,’ Kober says. ‘The xenophobic and anti-Muslim potential is there. I certainly wouldn’t bet my life on Germany being an island of sanity.'”

Conspiracy Against Netherlands’s Geert Wilders?

Reuters reported on September 3:

“A well-known Australian Muslim cleric has called for the beheading of Dutch anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders, a newspaper said on Friday. Wilders’ Freedom Party scored the biggest gains in June 9 polls… Polls show Wilders would win a new election if one were called now.

“Wilders demanded to know why he had learnt about the threat from the newspaper and not from Dutch authorities who are guarding him after a film and remarks he made angered Muslims around the world.

“De Telegraaf, the Netherlands’ largest newspaper, led its front page on Friday with a story on the speech by Feiz Muhammad… The paper posted an English-language audio clip in which he refers to Wilders as ‘this Satan, this devil, this politician in Holland’ and explains that anyone who talks about Islam like Wilders does should be executed by beheading…

“Wilders is currently on trial in the Netherlands for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims. The Freedom Party leader made a film in 2008 which accused the Koran of inciting violence and mixed images of terrorist attacks with quotations from the Islamic holy book. Wilders was also charged because of outspoken remarks in the media, such as an opinion piece in a Dutch daily in which he compared Islam to fascism and the Koran to Adolf Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’… But his views have also made him extremely popular with a segment of the country uneasy about the Netherlands’ commitment to multiculturalism.”

Austria’s Strache on the Rise?

The Austrian Independent wrote on September 6:

“Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache has attacked the European Union (EU) for being a ‘centralist’ association. The right-wing politician said today… ‘We want a federalist Europe, not a centralist one.’ Strache has previously criticised EU decision-makers for financially backing struggling member Greece. He has also attacked the Austrian government for contributing around 2.3 billion Euros to the international rescue and support bid for Greece.

“Strache became federal leader of the FPÖ five years ago after former party boss Jörg Haider – who died in 2008 – set up the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ). All then FPÖ ministers followed Haider and joined the new right-wing party. Both factions suffered losses in subsequent elections, but the FPÖ recuperated significantly faster than the BZÖ.

“Strache’s party is expected to increase its share in upcoming provincial elections in Styria (26 September, 4.6 per cent in 2005) and Vienna (10 October, 14.8 per cent in 2005). Its Styrian branch has caused outcry by setting up an online shooting game targeting mosques and muezzins, while Strache – who also heads the FPÖ’s Viennese department – said he considered suggestions for more mosques featuring minarets ‘disconcerting’. FPÖ General Secretary Harald Vilimsky has been criticised for calling mosques ‘hotbeds of radical Islam.'”

The struggle between Christian Europe and its Muslim citizens and residents will continue and increase in proportion.

Roma the New European Scapegoats?

Der Spiegel wrote on September 6:

“France’s expulsion of Roma people could be copied by other governments unless it is vigorously condemned by the European public, warn German media commentators. They argue that Brussels is right to voice its misgivings against a policy that flies in the face of the principles the French nation has stood for since the revolution…

“Left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘Officially it isn’t a crime yet in France to be a Roma from Romania or Bulgaria. But de facto the French government is no longer treating these European Union citizens as individuals with fundamental rights. They are being treated as enemies… The Roma are an easy target for a policy that is seeking cheap applause from worried citizens. Like the term “gypsies” in the past, the word “Roma” is being used by government propaganda as a synonym for thieves and troublesome beggars whose expulsion doesn’t require any further reason: their ethnic background suffices…

“‘This hunt for publicly branded scapegoats serves as a deterrence. The Roma are being made an example of for a policy that Nicolas Sarkozy was already considering when he was still interior minister talking about “selective immigration.” This policy deliberately instrumentalizes existing prejudices. There is a big risk that this policy will spread from France and Italy to the rest of Europe if it isn’t rejected firmly enough by the European public.’

“The Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel writes: ‘The Roma are EU citizens — everywhere in the European Union. That means that Roma who come from within the EU can move freely everywhere in the bloc… Sarkozy is by no means the only European leader to be tough with the Roma. Germany’s current repatriation of Roma refugees to Kosovo poses the question: are we really checking every individual case here too?'”

Deutsche Welle reported on September 9 that the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning France’s policy of Roma deportation. The article continued: 

“The resolution stressed that ‘mass expulsions are prohibited’ under EU law, ‘since they amount to discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity.’ French Immigration Minister Eric Besson… said there was ‘no question’ of Paris complying. ‘Of course we are not going to submit to a political diktat,’ Besson said.”

It is always dangerous to look for scapegoats to be blamed for unfavorable conditions.

“Europe Needs a Directly Elected Leader with Charisma”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on September 8:

“European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso came out with plenty of fine words during his ‘state of the union’ speech on Tuesday… It seemed inevitable that expectations would be disappointed… Barroso, who is not known for his charisma or public speaking ability… was criticized both for blandness and for not speaking out clearly on issues such as the deportation of Roma in France, which the EU has expressly criticized…

“Commentators writing in the Wednesday editions of Germany’s main newspapers give their verdict on Barroso’s speech. The consensus is that Europe needs a more passionate advocate if ordinary people are to overcome their apathy regarding the EU.

“The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘According to surveys, every second European feels apathetic toward the European Union. …. Therefore, it would be in the interest of the president of the European Commission to ignite a bit of enthusiasm for Europe among Europeans. But passion is not Jose Manuel Barroso’s thing… Instead of revealing what he really thinks, Barroso remained true to his nickname of the “chameleon”… Europe needs a directly elected leader with charisma.’

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘Barroso…fuelled the preconception that Europe wants more power and money…’

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

“The European Union is currently in a weak state… The citizens of Europe are turning away from the EU… And the governments of most member states are placing their bets on national interests rather than further European integration… without new political glue to hold it together, the EU will fall apart in the long term. Neither the Commission nor the Parliament can prevent that — only the member states can. Only in the individual countries can the people of Europe be persuaded that the EU is a good thing…”

The EU will not fall apart; however, we will witness a two-speed Europe with a core Europe of ten nations or groups of nations. And there WILL BE a charismatic leader who will present the glue to hold Europe together. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Watch Rise of Militaristic China

The Economist Daily wrote on September 1:

“The International Institute for Strategic Studies (better known as the IISS), reckons China now has more warships than America, which long possessed the biggest fleet. As it can be hard to distinguish a warship from other boats, the IISS uses its own definition of what counts and what does not. This striking trend is yet another manifestation of the rise of China.”

The Bible prophesies a military alliance between China, Russia, Japan, India and other Far Eastern countries, which will become a challenge to Europe.

Soon–Nuclear War in the Middle East?

Reuters reported on September 3:

” Iran would retaliate by striking Israel’s nuclear facility if Israel attacked its nuclear activities, armed forces chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi said on Friday. ‘Our developed weapons can hit any part of the Zionist regime (Israel) … We hope not to be forced to attack their nuclear facility,’ Firouzabadi told the semi-official Mehr news agency…

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a live broadcast at Tehran University marking the annual Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, told Israel to leave Iran alone… Israel, believed to be the only nuclear-armed Middle East state, has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end a dispute over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

Middle Eastern Peace Talks

Haaretz reported on September 6:

“The United States and the international community must pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if peace between Israel and the Palestinians is to be finally achieved, Arab Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi said in a Los Angeles Times editorial over the weekend, adding that, left to his own devices, Netanyahu would only continue his history of evading an honest peace deal.

“The L.A. Times op-ed was published in the wake of last week’s peace summit in Washington, in which Israel and the Palestinians relaunched direct peace talks in an attempt to reach a final status peace deal within 12 months. However, despite reports of optimism in both camps over the possibility of a peace agreement, Tibi wrote that Netanyahu would only use direct talks to avoid achieving a deal with the Palestinian Authority, as he has done in the past.”

In a related article, Haaretz wrote on September 6:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed concern Monday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would abandon the peace process, after the latter declared that he would not concede to Israel on a number of core issues and would refuse to continue negotiations should construction resume in West Bank settlements…

“Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said Monday that Israel’s demand to be officially recognized as a Jewish state was ‘a cause for concern’, considering the growing Arab sector.”  

As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:3: “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”

Jeremiah 6:14 adds: “…Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.”

Jeremiah gives us the answer from God’s own mouth for this development: “They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The LORD has said, “You shall have peace,” And to everyone who walks according to the dictates [stubbornness] of his own heart, they say, “No evil shall come upon you.”‘… Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury–A violent whirlwind!… In the latter days you will understand it perfectly” (Jeremiah 23:17-20).

Christian Outrage on Planned Burning of Koran

AFP reported on September 8:

“The planned mass burning of copies of the Koran in Florida on Sept. 11 would be ‘an outrageous and grave gesture,’ the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said Wednesday. Florida pastor Terry Jones… vowed to burn the Muslim holy book in a protest against extremism. ‘No one burns the Koran,’ read the headline in Tuesday’s L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s paper.

“The Vatican’s condemnation added to a chorus of voices asking Jones to reconsider his protest. The planned Koran burning drew widespread protest from leading figures, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus.

“Last month, The Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville [listing 50 members] made international headlines when it announced on its Facebook page that members of its congregation would burn copies of the Koran to mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the U.S.”

Newsmax reported on September 9:

“The anti-Muslim leader of a tiny Florida church says he was lied to and is rethinking his decision to cancel burning Korans to mark 9/11. Pastor Terry Jones earlier Thursday had backed off his threat to burn the Koran after he said he was promised that a planned Islamic center and mosque would be moved away from New York’s ground zero. Muslim leaders denied there was such a deal. Later outside his church he said that the imam he thought he made the deal with ‘clearly, clearly lied to us’ about moving the mosque.”

Even though we most certainly do not advocate or support the mass burning of copies of the Koran, one has to ask where is the outrage of Christian or American leaders when copies of the Bible or the American flag are burned, or when Jesus Christ is mocked and blasphemed in cartoons and other publications?

USA Today touches upon this very issue, when it states on September 8:

“Is burning a Bible because you hate Christianity, a hate crime? How about burning a Torah? Is that an anti-Semitic act? And this brings us to the question of burning a Quran…. Is the Dove World Outreach Center’s Quran bonfire, planned for the Saturday anniversary of the 9/11 attack, a hate crime or an expression of free speech — like the deplorable but legal protest act of burning a U.S. flag to object to a government policy?”

Terry Jones in Germany

Der Spiegel Online wrote on September 8:

“What is less well known is that [Terry Jones] led a charismatic evangelical church, the Christian Community of Cologne, in the western German city up until 2009. Last year, however, the members of the congregation kicked founder Jones out, because of his radicalism… The pastor and his wife apparently regarded themselves as having been appointed by God, meaning opposition was a crime against the Lord… Andrew Schäfer, a Protestant Church official responsible for monitoring sects in the region where Cologne is located [said:] ‘Terry Jones is a fundamentalist…’

“Both major churches in Germany have ‘sect commissioners’ who monitor the activities of religious groups, sects and cults… According to Schäfer, Jones urged church members to beat their children with a rod and also taught ‘a distinctive demonology’ and conducted brainwashing.

“When he came to Germany in the 1980s, Jones apparently considered Cologne ‘a city of Hell that was founded by Nero’s mother,’ while he thought Germany was ‘a key country for the supposed Christian revival of Europe,’ Schäfer says.

“Jones became increasingly radical as the years went by, former associates say. At one point he wanted to help a homosexual member to ‘pray away his sins.’ Later he began to increasingly target Islam in his sermons…

“By the end of 2007, the community had had enough. Members confronted him and tried to change the direction of the church. But Terry Jones refused to make changes, they say. In the end, Jones, his wife and their fellow preachers were expelled from the church and he moved back to the US…”

Of course, one has to be very careful when former members report about their church. Still, if true, some of these allegations about Jones would be very troublesome.

New Zealand’s Earthquake Tears Open New Faultline

Mail On Line reported on September 6:

“The earthquake that devastated a city in New Zealand tore open a new 11ft faultline in the Earth’s surface. The 7.1-magnitude quake which hit Christchurch, the country’s second-largest city, destroyed about 500 buildings and caused an estimated £930million of damage…

“The quake was caused by the continuing collision between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates, said Professor Mark Quigley, of Canterbury University. ‘One side of the Earth has lurched to the right … up to 11ft and in some places been thrust up,’ he said. ‘We went and saw two houses that were completely snapped in half by the earthquake.’… Prime Minister John Key said it was a miracle no one was killed.”

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Why don’t you preach the truth door to door?

We realise that some groups approach the preaching of the gospel by going from door to door. But this is not in accordance with Scripture, and it can do more harm than good.

First of all, we have to realise that this is not the only day of salvation. In 2 Corinthians 6:2, it states the following: “For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you..’.” We have long understood that this verse is a mistranslation of Isaiah 49:8 where it states that this is “a day of salvation” (Authorized Version). If today was the only day of salvation, then Satan, who has the world in the palm of his hand, would be winning the battle outright. Of course, that is not the case.

Many Christian denominations have this idea that if we are not “saved” now, we will be lost for all eternity. They do not realise that God does the calling and in His own good time. John 6:44 gives Christ’s answer to this mystery: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” This critical truth is repeated again in John 6:65.

It is important to understand the principles that today–this present day and age–is not the only day of salvation, and that God has to do the calling. However, those who do not have this biblical understanding have an urgency to convert the world. Whilst we should want as many as possible at this time to come to a knowledge of the truth, we have to realise that God is in charge, and His timing as to our calling is perfect.

Nevertheless, those comments should in no way stop us from setting the very best example we can and to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…..” (1 Peter 3:15).

But Scripture tells us that going from door to door is not what we should be doing. In Acts 20:20 which many use as their reason for conducting themselves in this way, we read Paul’s words: “…and how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly AND from house to house…”

Paul’s next words in Acts 20:21 show that he was speaking about a ministry to non-believers, for he states: “… testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is surely because Christianity was fairly new and so many would be enquiring about it – both Jews and Greeks. This would be by invitation, not by an ad hoc door knocking exercise. He was not going from door to door of just about everyone in town, trying to convert those who happened to open their door to him. If we look to the example of Jesus Christ, He didn’t try and convert people and force His will on others. Shouldn’t we follow His way by not causing the offence that can happen when someone calls unannounced with a religious message?

We also need to understand that many times, the church brethren met in private homes for Sabbath services (compare Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19). One commentator stated that “Paul’s ministry from house to house is contrasted with his public ministry and probably refers to house churches. If so, each elder was possibly the overseer of a house church. Paul both preached and taught.”

Another commentator wrote: “Paul’s statement that he has proclaimed the gospel in public and in houses refers to his open… proclamation before kings and in public spaces, and to his ‘private’ ministry in synagogues (considered as private spaces) and in house churches.”

And a further comment was made as follows: “The private home was a centre of intellectual activity and the customary place for many types of speakers and teachers to do their work. Occasional lectures, declamations and readings of various sorts of philosophical, rhetorical and literary works often took place in homes. Such sessions might be continued for two or three days. The speaker might use his own house or be invited to speak or teach in another home. These were private affairs and audiences came by invitation.”

One large group who do go from door to door, use Acts 5:42 as their biblical reasoning to do so. This verse reads as follows: “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” This was after the apostles had been beaten and “commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus…” (verse 40).

A commentator observed as follows: “In Acts 5:42, it shows that first the Apostle Peter taught publicly at the temple. Communities of Christians were formed. Possessions were sold and equally distributed to all, every day they went to the temple and met in private homes to break bread and pray and build each other up in Christ as a community, a close knit family in Christ. In the temple more persons would be converted and baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and would be invited to meet in private homes to further bond and become a part of the Christian brotherhood. These private homes acted as small house churches of communities of love and fine works towards one another to build each other up in the Christ. They met in small groups, as close knit families, in private homes. No door to door activity was even remotely involved or part of the daily routine of the early Christian brotherhood.”

Acts 2:46 is another passage that can be misunderstood. It states: “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart…”

In a Church of God publication some years ago it said: “This is simply talking about people who ate together as one might have close friends to his home. It says nothing about preaching to strangers. In this instance, many had come to Jerusalem from many nations to attend one of God’s annual festivals, Pentecost. Because they had no home in Jerusalem, the people who lived there invited them to come to their homes and eat.”

We know that Paul had his own rented home and received all who came to him, “preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him” (Acts 28:30-31). There is no mention of him going from house to house to call unexpectedly on those who were not interested and who could show resentment to someone trying to convert them. Of course, like today, if he would have had opportunity, he would have visited those who requested him to do so, much like ministers at this time who are invited to visit, in their own homes, those who are interested in the truth.

Luke 10:7 follows on from the story of when the seventy were sent out. Here Christ states: “And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.” There are those that think that you can eat anything that is put before you. But we know that the food laws are still in full force and effect. It also says “do not go from house to house” but again, there are those who will try and explain this away, saying that this phrase should be translated as, “you shall not move.” However, Christ was not talking about moving to another place, when circumstances dictate or warrant, but He was addressing the manner of preaching the gospel.

The apostles taught in the synagogue; they taught in members’ houses; they went into houses when they were invited; and “Paul stood in the midst of the Aeropagus (Mars Hill)…” where he preached the truth of God, “…and said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious…'” (Acts 17:22) There were many ways at that time where the truth could be preached without going from door to door as indeed there are many different ways of preaching the truth in the 21st century.

We are to set the very best example possible (compare Matthew 5:16) and not be hypocritical in any way. There is an old saying that we must never forget: “What You Do Speaks So Loudly I Cannot Hear What You Say.” We are to be ready to give an answer when sincerely questioned about our faith–and not, when we are just asked for the purpose of engaging us in contentious arguments and debate. We are to be fully supportive of the Church of God in all of its activities, which will assist all those who are being called at this time.

Those who do go from door to door often get a reputation for being a nuisance and to be avoided. Let us realise that this is not the best approach and not supported by Scripture.

In a letter that was used by the Worldwide Church of God in 1988 about this question, it was stated: “The apostle Paul had his own hired house at Rome where he ‘received ALL that CAME IN UNTO HIM, preaching the kingdom of God’ which Jesus had commanded His true servant to preach (Acts 28:30-31). The apostle Paul was taught the Gospel personally by Jesus Christ Himself (I Cor. 15:8; Gal. 1:11-2:2). One of the teachings of Jesus was that we should not force the Gospel upon anyone (Matt. 7:6). Therefore, it is evident that Paul did not go from house to house trying to convert people. When Paul preached publicly, it was primarily in the synagogues of his day.”

Finally, let us remember that those who do come to our door and do “not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him, for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (2 John 10-11).

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (Great Britain)

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

The new member letter for September was sent out this week. It is also posted on the Web.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web, titled, “Why Atheists Are Wrong.” In his new book, “The Grand Design,” Stephen Hawking claims that God did not create the universe, but that the universe created itself from nothing. How scientific is that concept? The world’s most notorious atheist, Antony Flew, converted to a belief in God’s creation of the universe, based on the scientific evidence. He claims that a contrary “faith” is “senseless.” The Bible agrees with him.

Norbert Link’s new video-recorded sermon, “To the Ephesians, Part 9,” has been posted on the Web.

A new German sermon was posted on the Web, discussing our preparation for Christ’s return. It is titled, “Vorbereitung auf Christi Kommen.”

A new German booklet was posted on our German Website (www.aufpostenstehen.de). It is titled, “Europa in der Prophezeiung” [“Europe in Prophecy”].

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

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