“Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Part 3”
Are You a Christian in the True Church of God?
Volumes of books have been written, sermon after sermon has been given, and debates have taken place in the pursuit of defending positions and answering in the affirmative that one’s organization is in fact the place that Christians should go to congregate. In reality, there is a quick and simple litmus test that will suffice: Is there love for one another there?
If we are genuinely a Christian we will have godly love for our brothers in Christ and they will in turn be displaying the same attitude towards us. The true church is then a collection of these type of individuals.
Because if love for one another exists, then we:
• will be following the example and command of Christ (John 15:12, 17)
• are treating others better than ourselves (Romans 12:10)
• are fulfilling the law (Romans 13:8)
• serve each other (Galatians 5:13)
• humbly bear others (Ephesians 4:2)
• stir up good works (Hebrews 10:24)
• are begotten of God (1 John 4:7)
• have God in us (1 John 4:12)
• keep God’s commandments (1 John 5:2)
It is no small thing that we have been admonished to do. We cannot take this lightly and be hearers only, but because this is an integral part of our calling, we need to be doers as well. So we are to continue to grow, “increase and abound in love to one another” as we have been taught by God (1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9).
This was once a new commandment (John 13:34): new at the time Christ gave it and new for us when we first came in the church. Now it is something that we should have been conscientiously living by for some time. And if we have been doing so, then it will be an identifier not only to us that we are His disciples (John 13:35), but more importantly for others that we are Christians in the true church of God.
We begin focusing on Great Britain’s fight with radical Islamists and terrorists, as well as militant atheists, followed by an article claiming that the US betrayed Britain by secretly divulging confidential information to Russia, and continue with a report, setting forth increasing persecution in Europe of Christian values. Staying in Europe, we concentrate on Germany’s leadership role within the EU, the beginning of greater integration of the Euro-Zone, Spain’s fight for its economic survival, and a proposed merger between German and the American institutions to become the world’s largest exchanges operator.
Turning to the Middle East, we are quoting several articles and interviews to shed light on the real origins and frightening goals of the Muslim Brotherhood, and caution those who want to rush “Egyptian democracy.” We conclude with articles on the situation in Jordan and Iran.
For more information on the developments in the Middle East, please make sure to view our StandingWatch programs, “The Future of the Middle East,” and “Egypt in Prophecy.” You are also encouraged to watch Norbert Link’s recent video-taped 30-minutes lecture, “The Future of Egypt.”
This Week in the News
England Too Tolerant Towards Islamists…
Mail On Line wrote on February 7:
“David Cameron today pledged to make Britain ‘a lot less’ tolerant towards Islamic extremists who whip up hatred against the West… the Prime Minister argued that Britain has been too ‘passive’ towards organisations and preachers who poison the minds of young Muslims. Mr Cameron said Britain needs to be… more judgmental when faced with ideologies that threaten the country’s basic values… he suggested that to ‘belong’ in Britain, individuals must sign up to core values such as freedom of speech, the rule of law and democracy…
“The Prime Minister also hit out at… multiculturalism – calling it a failure. He [said] society has failed to provide a strong sense of what it means to be British, making it easier for extremists to prey on youngsters seeking something to identify with…
“Mr Cameron pledged to end the state funding of groups that help foster extremist views, even if they are not directly linked to terrorism. He warned that there is a ‘spectrum’ of dangerous groups, ranging from those advocating suicide bomb attacks to those who ‘may reject violence, but who accept various parts of the extremist world view, including real hostility towards western democracy and liberal values’… Mr Cameron warned fellow European leaders that they cannot tackle terrorism simply by tracking down extremists abroad in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan and must ‘wake up to what is happening in our own countries.’”
A far-reaching confrontation between Europe and radical Islam appears inevitable.
…and Militant Atheists
The Telegraph wrote on February 7:
“The Church of England will this week vow to fight ‘new atheism’ in an attempt to combat the rise of secularism and defend Christianity in Britain. Clergy are to be urged to be more vocal in countering the arguments put forward by a more hard-line group of atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who have campaigned for a less tolerant attitude towards religion… The rallying call comes amid fears that Christians are suffering from an increasing level of discrimination following a series of cases in which they have been punished for sharing their beliefs…
“[A] landmark report… says that religion in Britain is under threat from atheists, but admits that the Church faces many internal problems as well, from ageing congregations to rows over homosexuality. Drawing particular attention to the threat posed by a new movement of militant atheists, led by Dawkins and Hitchens, it says the Church must respond if it is not to be pushed from the public square… It says the Church of England can appear too vague on where it stands on issues and risks further divisions over the introduction of women bishops and future debates about sexuality.”
A strong stance against atheistic ideas is only possible if a Christian organization is strongly convicted and unified. Sadly, the Church of England is far too permissive and indecisive in regard to many Christian values.
Britain Safe Haven for Foreign Terrorists?
The Scotsman wrote on February 4:
“The United Kingdom has become a ‘safe haven’ for foreign terrorism suspects because European human rights legislation is making it difficult to deport dangerous people… The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that some foreign terror suspects cannot be sent home if there is a risk they may be mistreated or tortured…
“To circumvent the European law, Britain has asked countries to sign agreements pledging not to mistreat suspects deported there, including Algeria, Jordan and Ethiopia. A pact struck with Libya is currently on hold after it was challenged by Britain’s courts.”
Developments like these will make a permanent separation between Great Britain and Europe more and more likely.
US Betrayal of Britain’s Secrets to Russia
The Telegraph wrote on February 7:
“The US secretly agreed to give the Russians sensitive information on Britain’s nuclear deterrent to persuade them to sign a key treaty… The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called ‘special relationship’, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications…
“A series of classified messages sent to Washington by US negotiators show how information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the ‘New START’ deal.
“Although the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US.
“Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles. The UK refused, but the US agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.”
The Bible shows that the “special relationship” between the USA and Great Britain will come to an end.
And It Might Still Not Pay…
The Associated Press wrote on February 7:
“Russia sees the planned U.S. missile defense system as a potential threat to its nuclear forces and may review its participation in a landmark nuclear arms treaty, officials said Monday.
“The New START deal, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s efforts to reset ties with Russia and the most significant arms control pact in nearly two decades, took effect last week. It limits each country to 1,550 strategic warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.
“The treaty doesn’t prevent the U.S. from building new missile defense systems, but Russia has warned that it reserves the right to withdraw from the treaty if the United States significantly boosts its missile shield. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reaffirmed Monday that a buildup in the U.S. missile defense capability would prompt Moscow [to] re-consider its obligations under the New START treaty.”
With America’s recent history, it is predictable that the USA will also give in to Russia on this matter …
Christian Values Under Attack in Europe
WorldNetDaily wrote on February 5:
“Christianity has been around what now is Europe since the first century, with some parts of the New Testament written to people in Greece and Rome. But a new report is warning that open hostility to Christianity across the continent is on the rise and intolerance is being paired with legislative power to attack and violate the religious rights of the faithful… European Christians are under attack for their freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and parental rights, are targeted by hate crimes… and they are subjected to negative stereotyping in the media…
“For example, last October, former British MP Christine McCafferty urged the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to recommend limitations to conscientious objection when it comes to abortion… Then in Spain there was a judge who was suspended from his position for objecting to the adoption of a young girl by lesbians. And in the United Kingdom, a registrar was ordered to perform homosexual weddings despite the individual’s personal religious objections to the procedures…
“Spain’s government fined a Christian television network 100,000 euros for carrying advertising opposing the homosexual lifestyle, an anti-abortion campaigner was jailed for sending abortion photos to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and a street preacher in the United Kingdom was arrested after telling passersby that homosexuality is a sin. BHA (British Humanist Association) has called on the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums… to shut down [a particular] zoo. The secular group claims the zoo is misleading tens of thousands of visitors annually and ‘threatening public understanding’ by questioning the traditional view of evolution…
“In the Netherlands, students are taught that ‘Christianity would be abolished in the end, all other religions would disappear and everybody will convert to Islam. After all,’ said the lesson, ‘only Muslims can be good people.’
“… in the UK, an Employment Appeal Tribunal ordered that Christians cannot act according to their consciences if their beliefs conflict with the promotion of homosexuality, and a foster care giver was suspended from her career for allowing a Muslim child in her care to convert to Christianity…
“In Austria the government enforced sex education guidelines that ‘practically prohibit the teaching of authentic Christian sexual values,’ and in Germany, a mother of eight was jailed for eight days after she refused to send her nine-year-old son to school for its sexual education program.
“…journalists and the media are contributing, with a situation in Germany where the German Daily ‘Die Zeit’ wrongly accused Christians of favoring a radical law in Uganda and a popular BBC soap, ‘Coronation Street,’ featured attacks on the Christian faith…”
Values of true Christianity have been under attack for 2,000 years, and the attackers were professing Christians and non-Christians alike. The developments, described above, might motivate Europe to enact laws to protect perceived Christian values, but if history is a guide for the future, these laws might also include provisions to attack and persecute those who won’t submit to such values, which might or might not reflect true Christianity.
Europe Becoming More German?
Der Spiegel wrote on February 4:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have presented their vision for saving the euro zone to EU leaders at a summit in Brussels. The bold plan foresees countries taking radical steps to sort out their finances and reduce debt — in short, to become more German…
“As of Friday at the latest, Merkel is officially a leader on saving the euro… Together with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, she presented her plan for saving the common currency at a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels…
“Merkel is in a strong bargaining position because the other euro-zone countries rely on Germany, as Europe’s biggest economy, to help fund rescue packages. The chancellor seems determined to get her proposal for harmonizing national economies approved in return for Germany’s agreeing to proposed amendments to the EU’s euro rescue fund.
“Merkel’s proposal, which was presented to other EU leaders in a closed-door lunch session on Friday, is likely to split the bloc, however. On Thursday, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero expressed his support for the pact after a meeting with Merkel in Madrid. But the European Commission is opposed to the move as it would mean the euro-zone members going it alone, rather than including all 27 EU states…
“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘Europe supposedly needs to become more German. Until recently, Merkel’s suggestion would have caused a storm of protest in Madrid, Athens and Paris. But after a year of the euro crisis, anything seems possible…’
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘For many governments, Merkel’s plans sounds like the Germans want to dictate (what other countries do). But why should the Europeans follow Berlin, of all governments? The answer is simple: Merkel wants to exploit the current situation. At the moment, Germany, as a prosperous country, has a chance to set the rules. Everyone knows that the monetary union would be finished without Germany…
“’Nevertheless, the chancellor is playing a dangerous game. She wants all or nothing. She wants to get the whole package approved, or nothing at all. According to Merkel’s plan, other European countries must adopt the German culture of stability. They must reform their labor markets, health systems, taxes and wages as well as reduce their debt levels. If they refuse, Merkel will refuse to provide German guarantees for bailout packages. To some leaders, that might seem to show a lack of solidarity. But, actually, (Merkel’s approach) is very clever. Berlin needs to exploit the pressure created by the crisis to push through the necessary reforms that will allow the monetary union to survive.’”
The Bible shows that Germany is predestined to play the leadership role in the final configuration of a united Europe.
Greater Integration of Eurozone?
The Local wrote on February 4:
“Merkel said they had asked EU president Herman Van Rompuy to consult with other states in order to fix a decision at the next 27-nation EU summit on March 24 and 25, meaning ‘we would have to reach agreement within the eurozone’ first. Sarkozy underlined that this would mean ‘a greater integration’ than ever before. A special eurozone summit is likely to be needed earlier next month…
“Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said he was ‘absolutely not in agreement’… the head of the European Trades Union Confederation said Germany and France were out to trample over the little guys…
“Support did, however, come from one of the other star eurozone economic performer[s]. Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte characterised the goal as ‘not a race to the bottom, but a race to the top…’
“Diplomats warned, though, that southern eurozone nations, including Portugal, fear being rail-roaded down an even more painful path of reform.”
A greater integration of the Eurozone is quite telling. It is prophesied that in the end, ten European nations or groups of nations will rule Europe, and that these nations will transfer their authority to a charismatic political and military leader.
Spain and the Euro
Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 4:
“Spain’s economy has hit bottom, with unemployment soaring past 20 percent, as speculators bet the country will require an EU bailout. Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is undertaking mass austerity measures, and he has been praised for his action by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The stakes are high: If Spain goes bust, the euro could collapse…
“The scale of the crisis… is a danger to the entire European currency union… Greece and Ireland have already been forced to accept aid from other euro-zone countries. Portugal is continuing to reject the support, but it is considered to be the next candidate in line. And what happens then? Will things stop there, or will the euro-crisis contagion spread to Portugal’s neighbor…
“That scenario would be nothing less than a nightmare. Spain’s needs would surely surpass the €750 billion ($1.02 trillion) of the rescue fund that has already been set up; and the development could well send the euro crisis spinning entirely out of control. ‘Everything will stand and fall with Spain,’ says Christoph Rieger, an analyst with Commerzbank, Germany’s second largest private bank.
“Against that backdrop, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit with Prime Minister Zapatero in Spain on Thursday was a special one… it was actually the introduction of the euro that laid the foundation for the very developments that are now threatening to bring down the entire common currency. Spain entered into the monetary union with a peseta that had been seriously undervalued. Interest rates, which from then on were linked to developments in the entire euro zone, were far too low for the country.
“The result was an unbridled construction boom. During the wild years that followed, 800,000 new apartments were built annually in Spain, more than the combined total in Germany, Italy and France. Even simple laborers were in a position to not only purchase their own homes, but even additional ones as gifts for each of their children — or simply as an investment. Depending on the location, real-estate prices rose by between 150 and 300 percent…
“Spain’s central bank currently forecasts the volume of bad loans at €180 billion… During the boom, many young Spaniards… preferred to earn quick money rather than go to college. The percentage of people who don’t complete a college-prep education is close to 35 percent, twice as high as the EU average. Youth unemployment is, at 43 percent, also double the EU average…
“Right now, the government has one primary task ahead of it: saving money… [It] cut the salaries of civil servants, froze annual pension payments and reduced welfare benefits for the long-term jobless… the government has also reformed the labor market. The retirement age is to be raised from 65 to 67… And hours before Merkel’s arrival, [the government] reached a social pact with unions and employers’ associations that will make collective bargaining more flexible based on circumstances. Merkel praised the development, saying: ‘It is a great relief that there will be no social unrest’…
“And, on Thursday, the prime minister was able to present Merkel with the first fruits of his labor. The chances aren’t bad that Spain will be able to push its budget deficit for 2011 to below the forecasted 6 percent. The Spanish people also appear to be slowly recovering from the shock that accompanied the bursting of the real estate bubble. Domestic consumption, which is vital to the Spanish economy, has recovered slightly. ‘Spain has really done its homework,’ Merkel said. ‘The markets will appreciate that.’”
Spain lived beyond its means—as the United States did—resulting in financial harm. But we can safely say that the euro will survive—whatever the outcome of Spain’s economic troubles might be.
Proposed Exchange Mergers Between Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext
The Financial Times reported on February 9:
“The world’s bourses are being swept up in an accelerating wave of consolidation after Deutsche Börse revealed that it was in advanced talks with NYSE Euronext to create the world’s largest exchanges operator by revenues and profits. The proposed all-stock deal trumped the tie-up unveiled just hours earlier by the London Stock Exchange and Canada’s TMX Group and would create the world’s largest stock exchange by market value after Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing. Deutsche Börse has a market value of $15.3bn while NYSE Euronext has a market value of $8.7bn….
“A deal between Deutsche Börse – Europe’s largest exchange group – and the owner of the New York Stock Exchange throws down the gauntlet to their arch rival CME Group because it promises to create a dominant player in European derivatives as a counterweight to the CME’s dominance in the US…
“But the German-US deal could face antitrust issues in Europe. And in the US some analysts feared political opposition in Washington, since the deal would leave Deutsche Börse shareholders holding 59-60 per cent in a new, Netherlands-based holding company, with NYSE Euronext shareholders holding the rest. In a statement only hours after the chief executives of the LSE and TMX unveiled plans to create the world’s largest exchange by number of listings, the US and German bourses said they aimed to create a group ‘that is both a world leader in derivatives and risk management and the premier global venue for capital raising’.
“The combined Deutsche-NYSE group would have dual headquarters in New York and Frankfurt. Duncan Niederauer, chief executive of NYSE Euronext, would become chief executive of the new company from New York. Reto Francioni, chief executive of Deutsche Börse, would become chairman of the new business and be based in Frankfurt. The executive committee would be drawn equally from both companies… A source said that the deal had ‘good support’ at the highest political level in Germany.”
The Local added on February 9:
“The announcement came hot on the heels of the London and Toronto stock exchanges unveiling a landmark merger, creating one of the world’s biggest trading platforms that will dominate the raw materials and energy sectors…
“It is not the first time that the German firm, which operates the Frankfurt stock exchange, has attempted to go down the aisle with Euronext. Its earlier advances were spurned, however, and in 2007 Euronext merged with the NYSE. Deutsche Boerse also tried and failed three times to buy the London Stock Exchange (LSE)… NYSE Euronext’s equities markets, which include the New York, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam stock exchanges, represent one third of world equities trading, the most liquidity of any global exchange group.”
The Wall Street Journal added these comments on February 10:
“After 219 years as the citadel of American capitalism, the New York Stock Exchange was near an agreement to be acquired by Deutsche Börse AG in a deal that would create the world’s largest financial exchange… For New York, the move is symbolic of the city’s fading dominance on the world stage as other countries are drawing investors directly to their markets. The move also is a recognition that securities trading today goes on at all hours and in all time zones, making the actual bricks and mortar of Wall Street far less important than before…
“Antitrust experts cautioned that the proposed deal could face tough regulatory scrutiny in Europe, as the new behemoth would dominate share and derivatives trading in the European Union—and in Washington, where tempers may rise over a crown jewel of the economy falling into foreign hands.”
This proposed deal could be interesting in light of the biblical prophecies that Germany will rise and the USA will fall, and that ultimately, Europe, under German direction, will overtake the USA.
Muslim Brotherhood Against Violence?
The following articles will show the reader what the Muslim Brotherhood is all about. Far too many naïve and uninformed ideas are being circulated over the Internet, and it is time that we all realize what is happening. In fact, a confrontation between a “Christian” Europe and certain Middle Eastern Muslim countries is prophesied—as is the creation of an anti-Israeli confederation between Europe and certain Muslim countries.
The Jerusalem Post wrote on February 4:
“A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt on Thursday evening repeatedly refused to commit to maintaining the peace treaty with Israel, or even recognizing Israel, if the Brotherhood becomes a player in the future governance of Egypt… [Mohamed] Morsy also said the Muslim Brotherhood opposed violence. ‘We do not use violence against anyone,’ he said. But what was happening on ‘Palestinian land,’ however, he said, was not violence but ‘resistance. And resistance is acceptable by all mankind. And it is the right of people to resist imperialism,’ he said.”
On February 7, Der Spiegel Online published the following interview with the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Rashad al-Bayoumi. Again, the Muslim Brotherhood is not forthcoming with their willingness to use violence:
“SPIEGEL: The Muslim Brotherhood is widely regarded as the largest opposition movement in Egypt. Why are you not present at the demonstrations?
“Bayoumi: That is ridiculous! Of course we are present. But we are keeping a low profile as an organization…
“SPIEGEL: In the West there is the fear that the Brotherhood is preparing to take power — that they want to transform Egypt into an Islamic state.
“Bayoumi: The West refuses to listen to us. We are not demons. We want peace, not violence. Our religion is not a diabolical religion. Our religion respects people of other faiths, these are our principles… The government says that there are over three million of us. All I know is that we are everywhere, in every city, every village, every neighborhood. We are an essential part of the people.”
What the Muslim Brotherhood REALLY Believes…
On February 6, IMRA (Independent Media Review Analysis) published the following statements about the Muslim Brotherhood:
“The Muslim Brotherhood has taken a greater role in organizing the protest against the Egyptian regime as it unfolds its independent political agenda. Rashad al-Bayumi, the Brotherhood’s second-in-command, announced in an interview with Japanese TV that the group would join a transitional government in order to cancel the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, as it ‘offends the Arabs’ dignity and destroys the interests of Egypt and other Arab states.’ He further stressed that Egypt does not need American aid.
“Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef told the Egyptian daily Al-Karama in 2007 that only Islam was the expression of true democracy. ‘Islam and its values antedated the West by founding true democracy, exemplified by the Shura [the advisory council under the Caliphs].’
“The Brotherhood’s official website notes that jihad is Islam’s most important tool in effecting a gradual takeover, beginning with the Muslim countries, moving on to reestablishing the Caliphate over three continents in preparation for a conquest of the West, and finally instituting a global Islamic state…
“One of Akef’s examples of America’s ‘corrupt values’ is the attempt to stop female circumcision in Africa. On July 12, 2007, he wrote that ‘[the Americans] spend billions of dollars and endlessly plot to change the Muslim way of life, they wage war on Muslim leaders, the traditions of its faith and its ideas. They even wage war against female circumcision, a practice current in 36 countries, which has been prevalent since the time of the Pharaohs.’
“According to the Muslim Brotherhood, jihad, that is, holy war against the infidels, is one of the fundamental elements spread by the Muslim Brotherhood. The organization’s ideology, as it appears on its official website, regards ‘the Prophet Muhammad as its leader and ruler, and jihad as its path.’ Jihad has a global strategy beyond self-defense; it is the unceasing attack on every infidel rule, intended to widen the borders of the Islamic state until all mankind lives under the Islamic flag.
“Clicking the links ‘The Goals of the Muslim Brotherhood’ and ‘Muslim Brotherhood Measures’ leads to explanations of jihad based on the writings of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. Jihad, it is noted, is Islam’s most important tool in effecting a gradual takeover, beginning with the Muslim countries, moving on to re-establishing the Caliphate over three continents in preparation for a conquest of the West, and finally instituting a global Islamic state. The organization’s website states:
“‘We want a Muslim individual, a Muslim home, a Muslim people, a Muslim government and state that will lead the Islamic countries and bring into the fold the Muslim diaspora and the lands robbed from Islam and will then bear the standard of jihad and the call [da’wah] to Allah. [Then the] world will happily accept the precepts of Islam….The problems of conquering the world will only end when the flag of Islam waves and jihad has been proclaimed. The goal is to establish one Islamic state of united Islamic countries, one nation under one leadership whose mission will be to reinforce adherence to the law of Allah…and the strengthening of the Islamic presence in the world arena….The goal…is the establishment of a world Islamic state…’
“For the Muslim Brotherhood, jihad is at the center of the struggle against the United States, the West, Israel, and other infidel regimes. The supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood regards Islam as waging ‘a battle of values and identity’ against the forces of ‘imperialism’ and the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ attacking the Arab-Muslim world ‘on the pretext of spreading democracy, defending minority rights, and opposing what they call terrorism.’ He advises Muslims to adopt ‘the culture of resistance against the invasion,’ explaining that Allah gave ‘the occupied, oppressed nations jihad and resistance as a means of achieving freedom.’
“He added that ‘the culture of resistance to invasion and occupation have intellectual, military, and economic aspects. Experience in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan have proved that resistance is not imaginary or fictitious or impossible, but rather it is possible when the [Islamic] nation presents a united front and uses its weapons and faith to face an imperialist, whether he comes with arms or inundates us with his ideas, values, or obsolete morality.’ Akef’s successor, Mohammad Badi’, maintains the same platform.”
“Egypt’s Political Shift with Historic Proportions”
Reuters reported on February 6:
“The Muslim Brotherhood is certainly hostile to Israel and the United States’s policy in the region. It has historic links with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and shares its belief in armed struggle against Israel… The [Egyptian] government’s willingness to talk to the Brotherhood is a political shift with historic proportions…
“Brotherhood ideology steadily seeped into schools, households, the media, bookshops and even clothing shops. Much of this Islamic resurgence stems from social dislocation, economic hardship and political frustration… Many Brotherhood leaders… are confident that Islam and sharia (Islamic law) will eventually rule and they are working to achieve that goal…”
Talks with Muslim Brotherhood Welcome…?
On February 6, AFP reported the following:
“US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautiously welcomed Sunday the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in political dialogue in Egypt… ‘Today we learned the Muslim Brotherhood decided to participate, which suggests they at least are now involved in the dialogue that we have encouraged,’ Clinton told National Public Radio (NPR) from Germany…
“Nathan Brown, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, said the United States had ‘real concerns’ about Egypt’s future direction under the Brotherhood, particularly in relation to Israel. ‘They have supported violent resistance in Iraq, they support (Palestinian Islamist group) Hamas, they’ve made clear they don’t support the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty,’ Brown told AFP.”
… Or a Mistake of Historic Proportions?
On February 6, Der SPIEGEL published the following interview with Republican senator and former presidential candidate John McCain:
“SPIEGEL: Many people are drawing comparisons between the situation in Cairo and the Iranian revolution of 1979, which led to the country’s takeover by religious leaders. If you look at elements like the Muslim Brotherhood, how likely is a similar outcome in Egypt?
“McCain: I am deeply, deeply concerned that this whole movement could be hijacked by radical Islamic extremists.
“SPIEGEL: What is your assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood?
“McCain: I think they are a radical group that first of all supports Sharia law; that in itself is anti-democratic — at least as far as women are concerned. They have been involved with other terrorist organizations and I believe that they should be specifically excluded from any transition government…
“SPIEGEL: A certain role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the transition process in Egypt seems acceptable to the Obama White House. Does that concern you?
“McCain: It concerns me so much that I am unalterably opposed to it. I think it would be a mistake of historic proportions.”
Brotherhood Not Really Different from Al-Qaida
The Jerusalem Post wrote on February 9:
“Banned but tolerated for decades by successive Egyptian regimes, the Islamist movement is now emerging as a central player in the country’s resurgent opposition… Pundits have portrayed the Brotherhood as uncompromising zealots or beneficent providers of social services that long-deprived Egyptians desperately need. But a translation released Tuesday of a 1995 book by the movement’s fifth official leader sheds light on just how Egypt’s Brotherhood views itself and its mission…
“The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday saw excerpts of the text, compiled by Palestinian Media Watch founder Itamar Marcus and analyst Nan Jacques Zilberdik. Marcus spoke to the Post about what he views as the danger of downplaying the Brotherhood’s ideology, or expecting it to moderate its objectives after being allowed into the political process. The movement differs from international terror groups like Al-Qaida, he said, only in tactics, not in its goals.”
Top Egyptian Leaders Resign…but Hosni Mubarak Stays…
USA Today reported on February 5, 2011:
“The top leadership body of Egypt’s ruling party resigned Saturday, including the president’s son, but the regime appeared to be digging in its heels, calculating that it can ride out street demonstrations and keep President Hosni Mubarak in office. The ruling party leaders who resigned included the country’s most powerful political figures — and its most unpopular among many Egyptians. The move may have been aimed at convincing protesters in the streets that the regime is sincere in implementing democratic changes they demand… The Obama administration welcomed word that Mubarak’s son, Gamal Mubarak, left his role in Egypt’s ruling party.”
Conflicting reports about Mubarak’s pending resignation have been circulated all week, especially by CNN. Now, on February 10, NBC, the Wall Street Journal, BBC News and Haaretz announced that Mubarak would or might resign “tonight.” However, in his speech, he indicated that he will stay as President until September, while announcing the possibility of revoking certain restrictive provisions of the Egyptian Constitution and the transfer of some of his powers to the Vice President. This move will not satisfy Egyptian protestors, and more turmoil can be expected.
Saudi Arabia Supports Mubarak
Haaretz reported on February 10:
“Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah told U.S. President Barack Obama that his country would prop up Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak if the United States withdrew its aid program… Abdullah told Obama not to humiliate Mubarak, who is under pressure from protesters to quit immediately… Obama’s administration has wavered between support for Egypt in Washington’s conflict with militant Islam and backing for Egyptians who have been protesting for weeks to demand Mubarak and his government quit.”
Don’t Rush Egyptian Democracy
Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 7:
“In Germany, top Western officials at the annual Munich Security Conference warned at the weekend that a transition to democracy must not be rushed, otherwise the crisis could worsen and the Middle East could become more destabilized. Meanwhile Egyptian opposition figure Mohammed Elbaradei criticized the talks on Egypt’s future, saying the negotiations were being managed by the same people who had ruled the country for 30 years…
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
“‘…In a country like Egypt that has never experienced democracy, it’s not enough to hold elections to make everything right. The political decision-making process must be organized and channelled. And even that wouldn’t guarantee that the acclaimed “Festival of Freedom” doesn’t produce a different, and possibly even worse autocratic regime.
“’There are plenty of radical forces in Egypt that would wish for such an outcome. The hesitancy over the removal of Mubarak and his system shouldn’t immediately be seen just as a sign of European or German indecisiveness or cowardice. The Americans and the Europeans… want to do everything in their — in this case not especially considerable — power to prevent the most populous and politically most important Arab country from descending into civil war or into a dictatorship of Islamists.’”
The EUObserver added on February 7:
“EU and US leaders have warned of the ‘chaos’ that could result if President Hosni Mubarak steps down immediately, with a top US diplomat describing the role of the hardman as ‘utterly critical’ and praising his ‘legacy.’
“’Early elections at the beginning of the democratisation process is probably the wrong approach,’ German Chancellor Angela Merkel [said…] at a high-level conference in Munich…”
CNN reported on February 6:
“In unprecedented criticism of Jordan’s royal family, three dozen prominent Jordanian tribal figures issued an urgent call for reform Sunday and warned that the country may follow Tunisia and Egypt into turmoil without it. The statement from 36 members of the country’s major tribes attacked what they called the interference of Queen Rania in running the country. The queen, ‘her sycophants and the power centers that surround her’ are dividing Jordanians and ‘stealing from the country and the people,’ the letter states…
“Jordan’s tribes make up about 40% of the country’s population and are seen as the bedrock of support for the Hashemite monarchy that has ruled the country for nearly a century. Though it was not clear whether all the signers were speaking for their tribes, such criticism of the monarchy is rare in Jordan — recent street protests that criticized the government stopped short of calling for King Abdullah II to step down… He dismissed his Cabinet last week, acknowledging that corruption needed to be tackled and political reforms urgently pursued…
“The tribal leaders said Sunday that allegations of corruption by Layla Trabelsi — the wife of longtime Tunisian strongman Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, who was forced into exile by a popular revolt in January — and by Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak have been ‘the catalyst of populist movements’ in those countries. What has happened in Jordan is even worse, the statement said.
“’We refuse the squandering of public money and aid to polish her [Queen Rania’s] own personal image at the expense of the nation,’ the statement said… Resentment of Rania, who is Palestinian, is not new among Jordan’s Bedouin tribes, but has risen sharply. In recent days, tribal sources have expressed to CNN their resentment about what they perceive as her lavish lifestyle and her interference in politics.”
Whatever the future of Jordan may be, it is unlikely, based on biblical prophecy, that it will become hostile to and an enemy of Europe.
“Iran Proclaims ‘Complete Domination’ Over Entrance to Persian Gulf”
Haaretz reported on February 7:
“As part of Iran’s annual revolution celebrations, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled locally-made satellites while a senior commander showed off mass produced missiles.
“Although Iran is not engaged in any military conflict, it is on constant alert against possible attacks from the United States and Israel, which have not ruled out possible pre-emptive strikes to stop Tehran getting nuclear weapons… In 2009, Iran launched a domestically-made satellite into orbit for the first time, a step that increased the West’s fear that the Islamic Republic is seeking to build a nuclear bomb and missile delivery systems.
“The chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards… said the new mass-produced missile would be able to target enemies at sea. ‘Its speed is three times greater than the speed of sound and it cannot be traced and deactivated by enemies,’ [he said].
“Another Guards commander… reiterated Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel through which 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil trade passes. ‘The Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz are under the complete domination of the Revolutionary Guards … and it would be blocked in case of a threat,’ he said…”
The Netherlands Recalls Ambassador to Iran
Deutsche Welle reported on February 7:
“Dutch officials say the Netherlands is recalling its ambassador to Iran in protest of a Dutch-Iranian woman’s execution last week… after Iranian officials reportedly buried Zahra Bahrami’s body far from the Iranian capital of Tehran… so the family could not attend the funeral.
“The Netherlands had already frozen diplomatic relations with Iran after an Iranian public prosecutor announced Bahrami was hanged on January 29 for smuggling cocaine. However, Iranian blogs and news websites have reported that Bahrami actually died during torture by Iranian officials. Her family says Iranian authorities fabricated the drug charges after arresting her for participating in anti-government protests last December while visiting relatives. During her detention, Iranian authorities denied Bahrami access to Dutch consular services, arguing Iran does not recognize dual citizenship.”
Iran Develops Nuclear Fusion Reactor
The Iranian news agency, Press TV, reported the following on February 10:
“Iranian scientists at the Atomic Energy Organization or Iran (AEOI) have designed and built a nuclear fusion device… The device uses Inertial Electrostatic Confinement method and can produce isotopes and radioisotopes used in diagnosing and curing cancer. The US, Japan, South Korea, Australia and France are the only countries which boast fusion technology.
“Fusion — which extracts energy from nuclear reactions with a process akin to how light and heat are produced by the sun — has been studied for decades, but it has yet to be developed into a viable energy alternative.
“The US and its allies accuse Iran of developing a military nuclear program. In June 2009, the UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s financial and military sectors under Western pressure. Iranian officials have repeatedly refuted the charges, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran has the right to use peaceful nuclear technology.”
Iran remains a threat for Europe and the USA, and the relationship between Europe and Iran is bound to deteriorate. We can also expect the development of an ever closer alliance between Iran and Russia.
Every splinter group or offshoot of the Worldwide Church of God claims to be God’s true church. What do you say of yourselves?
The importance of this question, and its answer, can be found in the Word of God—in writings that very specifically address what has, what is and what will happen to the people of God in this, our generation!
The Worldwide Church of God was the culmination of the calling and life’s work of Herbert W. Armstrong in re-establishing the Truth of God as it was revealed and practiced in the early New Testament Church. Following his death in 1986, an insidious change infiltrated the Worldwide Church of God through the introduction of another “gospel”—one taught by most of the prevailing churches which claim to be Christian but which neither know God nor obey the gospel of Jesus Christ (compare 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Matthew 7:21-23 and Galatians 1:6-9).
The apostle Paul very accurately describes what has now happened to the Church of God:
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Of this time, Paul also notes that those “having a form of godliness” (verse 5) are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (verse 7).
We see, then, that a separation exists between those who keep the Truth and those who believe the deceptive lies that lead to disobeying God!
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Because these things are happening now to many of those who once knew and understood the Truth (which foundational Truth was restored through the Worldwide Church of God), another prophesied event is finding its fulfillment:
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).
Deception is at work right now! It is the struggle of our time, and Jesus spoke of its danger when He answered His disciples’ question about what would signal the end of the age:
“And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many’” (Matthew 24:4-5).
This destructive work has flourished within the Church of God, but it is by no means over—even greater deception lies ahead:
“‘All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold’” (Matthew 24:8-12).
In spite of all of this, Jesus also gives us vital keys for making certain that we don’t yield to deceptive falsehoods. He shows that some will hold onto the Truth of God and that the true Gospel will continue to be preached—an absolute proof of those who have continued to faithfully follow and practice the true doctrines of God:
“‘But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come’” (Matthew 24:13-14).
Note the way this commission is relayed to Timothy—an obligation that falls to all true ministers of God:
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching… But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-2, 5).
Because the ministry is held accountable for leadership within the Church of God (compare Hebrews 13:17 and James 3:1), Paul also reminds Timothy that he is answerable to God, saying:
“Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:14-18).
We need to understand that even in that first generation of the Church of God, false teachers were deceiving some brethren—that has continued to happen and will until the return of Jesus Christ.
Paul expressly dealt with a potentially divisive spirit that was arising in the Church of God that was in Corinth:
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?…for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-5);
Here is Paul’s resolve—his answer to this partitioning of God’s church:
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).
Added to this, division was occurring in the keeping of the Passover among those in Corinth (compare 1 Corinthians 11:17-22). The basis for settling these wrong practices was to go to the source and to show the correct manner in which this observance was instituted by Jesus Christ (compare verses 23-26).
There were also some in Corinth who held Paul in disdain, and he addresses this source of contention as well:
“‘For his letters,’ they say, ‘are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible’” (2 Corinthians 10:10).
Once again, we see that Paul’s response to those who disagreed with his teaching and ministry was to remind the Corinthian church that Jesus Christ held the ultimate authority in these matters:
“For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends” (2 Corinthians 10:18).
By this time the Church of God had existed several years, and the New Testament writings record this history. People had not only grown up in the church, but some had grown old and that generation was giving way to another. The church in Ephesus served as an archetype of the prevailing attitude and actions of the Christians of that first era. Jesus conveyed this in His message to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation. Along with noting the very positive accomplishments of His people in Ephesus, He rebuked and warned them:
“‘Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent’” (Revelation 2:4-5).
Departure from the Truth became a subject that the ministry of that time had to guard against, and to even identify some who were causing dissension. Paul very specifically warned the leadership in Ephesus:
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:28-31).
This happened in many quarters within the Church of God, and we have John’s account of just such a person who placed himself ahead of even one of the faithful apostles directly chosen by Jesus Christ:
“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true” (3 John 1:9-12).
So we can see that the Church of God was being split apart, and the divisions were occurring because of exactly what Paul warned—that selfish, greedy men were appropriating offices and titles to themselves in order to build their own following! Even as John’s letter describes, the church had both those who walked in the Truth and others who were proving to be worldly-minded—covetous mercenaries!
The apostle Peter urgently warned the brethren to “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure…” (2 Peter 1:10). His appeal was made in light of what was then happening throughout the church. He continues in his letter:
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber… They have forsaken the right way and gone astray…” (2 Peter 2:1-3, 15).
He adds in verses 18 – 22:
“For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’”
Jude also wrote of the apostasy that was overtaking the church in the later part of that first century AD. In just a few decades, deceitful persons had entered the church—overturning and betraying the revealed Truth of God. Jude’s letter addresses these heretical teachings:
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (verses 3-4).
“These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit” (verses 16-19).
Beyond the biblical history so far referenced, secular sources confirm that great upheavals occurred as the vibrant, faithful people of God were over-run and displaced by a religious entity that was far different than the Church of God first established by Jesus Christ through His chosen apostles.
Church historian and biblical scholar Jesse Hurlbut comments:
“For fifty years after Paul’s life, a curtain hangs over the Church, through which we vainly strive to look; and when at last it rises, about 129 A.D. with the writings of the earliest Church Fathers, we find a Church in many ways very different from that in the days of Peter and Paul” (Hurlbut, Story of the Christian Church, p. 41).
Historian Edward Gibbon states:
“The scanty and suspicious materials of ecclesiastical history seldom enable us to dispel the dark cloud that hangs over the first age of the Church” (Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Random House, N.Y., ch.15, p. 382).
In subsequent centuries the true followers of Christ were oftentimes persecuted and scattered—forced to live independently or in small groups; and, in some circumstances, killed for their uncompromising obedience to God. Meager records have been left of these people, and only occasionally do we find accounts in the pages of history about the Church of God and of those who kept the same faith as was observed in the first century AD—at least, not until more recent times.
However, an outline of the Church of God’s history is contained in the prophetic messages preserved in the Book of Revelation—especially, chapters two and three.
These accounts summarize the vital elements characterizing each of seven distinct eras that would exist during a period of approximately two thousand years. With words of strong admonition as well as reassurance, Jesus charged His followers to overcome, to endure and to look to the future—that of being counted worthy to have part in the “better resurrection” (Hebrews 11:35; compare John 5:24).
For a more detailed discussion on the seven ERAS of God’s Church, please read our Q&As, “What does the Church teach about Church Eras?” and, “Can You Identify the Seven Church Eras, as described in the book of Revelation?”.
While persecution from outside the church has existed throughout the centuries, issues of false doctrines along with false brethren and false ministers have also continued to challenge those faithful to God—and so they do, today!
Two of the messages, the ones sent to Philadelphia and Laodicea, specifically address the closing generation of the church age.
The church in Philadelphia is encouraged in that its “little strength” is not a limiting factor. Jesus points out that this church has “kept My word” (compare Luke 8:15; 11:28; John 14:15; 15:10; 17:6), and that the brethren “have not denied My name” (compare Matthew 10:33; Mark 8:38). In Revelation 3:9, Jesus reveals that there were others claiming that they were the true believers and standing in opposition to those of Philadelphia, but He calls them “a synagogue of Satan.”
In these last days, the vast majority of true Christians will belong to the final era of the church of God—the church of Laodicea or the “church of the Laodiceans” (Revelation 3:14)—but God promises that remnants of the church of Philadelphia would remain to exist when Christ returns.
A great promise resounds to that small, uncompromising group of God’s servants: “‘Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth’” (Revelation 3:10).
This tenth verse establishes the incontrovertible time setting in which the remnant of the church of Philadelphia would exist—the period leading up to the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21).
We also find this additional reference to these people of God who are granted protection:
“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14).
However, as mentioned, the Church of God typified as “Philadelphia” is not the only body of believers who are part of God’s church and who exist in this final generation ushering in the return of Jesus Christ! In fact, faint remnants of even earlier eras also still remain (in addition to Philadelphia, it is possible that remnants of Thyatira and Sardis still exist today), but it is the seventh, the final church of Laodicea, that faces very strong warnings and impending correction from Jesus Christ (compare Revelation 3:14-22).
That group finds mention in Revelation 12, as well:
“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17).
Satan’s unleashed wrath will fall upon these Christians for the three and one-half years, while those of Philadelphia are protected!
In His assessment of those in Laodicea, Jesus describes a church that is “lukewarm” (Revelation 3:16)—halfhearted, lacking zeal and obviously content in their own self-absorbed opinions. They, like Job did, think of themselves as righteous, but of their condition, Jesus states they “do not know” how wrong they are! (Revelation 3:17).
As a consequence, this is what Jesus says:
“‘I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent’” (Revelation 3:18-19).
Laodicea is—emphatically—a part of God’s church; they are people who have been given the Spirit of God! However, the genuineness of their faith will have to be tested and proven (compare 1 Peter 1:7). In order to attain their calling to be among the firstfruits of God, they must become fervent in their works (compare Revelation 19:7-9).
Laodicean Christians have the opportunity to repent now (compare Revelation 3:20-21; Luke 21:34-36). But for those who stubbornly refuse, a time of severe correction will come upon them:
“Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’” (Revelation 7:13-14).
To each and every era, Jesus says: “‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).
While two distinct groups comprising the Church of God are prevalent leading up to the time of great tribulation for the entire world, we are, nonetheless, told to consider everything Christ told His church—throughout its history.
We—of this time—find ourselves still reeling from the terrible persecution brought upon the Church of God by Satan, which has divided and scattered the people of God.
Regardless, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we must never give up or begin to compromise. Rather, we must take up our calling with fervent zeal—knowing that Jesus Christ watches over His Church and being reminded of what Paul told the Ephesians:
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:1-6).
The Church of the Eternal God in the USA; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; the Global Church of God in the UK; and the Kirche des Ewigen Gottes in German-speaking areas all hold to a common statement of beliefs and endeavor to fulfill the instructions given by Paul, as quoted above.
We believe that we are part of the Church of God—the body of Christ—which is a spiritual organism. We do NOT believe that we are the ONLY group comprising the Church of God. At the same time, we would like to encourage you to study our literature in order to determine whether we belong to the remnant of the Philadelphia era, or whether we are part of the church of the Laodiceans. You may want to review our statement of beliefs at: www.eternalgod.org; www.churchofgodacf.ca; www.globalchurchofgod.co.uk; and www.aufpostenstehen.de.
Lead Writer: Dave Harris
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Our ongoing Internet advertising campaign in the USA, offering our free booklet, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul,” has so far resulted in 270 requests.
Norbert Link’s video-taped messages, “Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Part 2”, and “The Future of Egypt”, were posted on the Web. In his message on Egypt, it is pointed out that much misinformation is being circulated, as to what is in store for Egypt. But what does the Bible say about the future of Egypt, other countries in the Middle East, modern Assyria and the modern houses of Israel and Judah? Norbert Link quotes Scriptures which are often times (conveniently or inadvertently) overlooked by those who have created a speculative prophetic scenario which does not include or allow for some of the mentioned biblical passages.
A new StandingWatch program, “Egypt in Prophecy”, was posted on the Web. The present turmoil in the Middle East and Egypt is not coincidental, but paves the way for monumental end-time events that have been prophesied in the Bible thousands of years ago. While the USA is losing all influence in the Middle East, Egypt’s future hostile relationship with the state of Israel is also clearly described in Scripture.
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
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom