Update 493


The Art of Communication

On May 28, 2011, Michael link will give the sermon, titled, “The Art of Communication.”

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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Leading or Pushing?

by Norbert Link

How many times have we felt a compelling urge to do or say something?—and we might have done so before thinking about it. How many times have we reflected too late on our words or action?—and having realized our mistake, we might have tried to excuse it by saying: Satan made me do it! Or: I could not help it!

On the other hand, how many times have we felt a soft and gentle influence, not to say or do something?—but we did not heed it until it was too late. How many times did we realize afterwards that we were being led into not doing or saying something?—but we simply ignored that gentle leadership.

Simply put, how many times did we follow the push of Satan, self and society to do something wrong—and how many times did we follow the lead of God’s Holy Spirit to refrain from acting that way?

And so I ask: Are we being pushed or led? Because it is Satan who pushes, while it is God who leads.

Paul makes this profound statement in Romans 8:14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” And he adds in Galatians 5:18: “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law”—that is, you are not under the penalty of the law (death) for having broken it.

This sounds quite straightforward in English, but sadly, not so in other languages, for instance in German. The Luther Bible translates Romans 8:14 as, “For as many as are driven by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” In German, the word for “driven” is “treiben” and could also be rendered in English as “to be urged, to be pressed, to be incited.” But this is NOT how God’s Spirit works. We are LED to do what is right—we are not pushed or forced to do something against our will.

Contrariwise, Satan wants to push or force us to do and say the wrong things. And we must be careful that we don’t succumb to his “push” and that we don’t attempt to push others. Note how Job describes the violence on the earth: “Some remove landmarks, they seize flocks violently and feed on them; They drive away the donkey of the fatherless; they take the widow’s ox as a pledge. They push the needy off the road; all the poor of the land are forced to hide” (Job 24:2-4).  And: “… They have cast off restraint before me. At my right hand the rabble arises; they push away my feet, And they raise against me their ways of destruction” (Job 30:11-12).

Don’t push or allow to be pushed; but rather, lead and allow to be led. Notice what God will do to confused people in the not-too-distant future: “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young” (Isaiah 40:11). And: “… the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17).

Leading others gently, compassionately and mercifully will have a much greater and lasting effect than pushing or compelling them. As we read in Jeremiah 31:9: “They shall come with weeping, And with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of living waters, In a straight way in which they shall not stumble…”

If people are receptive to true leadership, they can be lead. But pushing and forcing them won’t help. Remember that a person persuaded or convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

Again, I ask: Are you leading because you are being led, or are you pushing because you are being pushed?

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Due to immense criticism from Israel and her supporters for his demand to re-institute the 1967 borders of Israel and a Palestinian state, President Obama attempted to “clarify” his position, but in doing so, he engaged in confusing double-talk. He reiterated his position “that any two-state solution must be based on the 1967 lines,” while adding that the two sides “will renegotiate” the borders. In a subsequent speech addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress, while President Obama was visiting Ireland, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “repeated his insistence that Israel would not accept a return to ‘indefensible’ borders that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war… He also vowed that Israel would not negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes the Islamist militant group Hamas” (The Associated Press, May 24, 2011). However, on May 25, 2011, Netanyahu likewise engaged in double-talk during an interview with CNN, praising President Obama for his unwavering commitment towards Israel. One wonders in what kind of a political and “diplomatic” world we are living…? But Messrs. Obama’s and Netanyahu’s “back pedaling” could not prevent sharp criticism from Israel, conservative America, Europe and the Palestinians.

In an interesting development, Pakistan is asking China for military assistance, showing their growing distrust of American accomplishments. And while America’s debt is of staggering and incomprehensible proportions, and while it has been announced that the EU is already richer than the USA, deadly tornadoes ravage the “New World,” but another volcanic outbreak in Iceland brings back unpleasant memories of last year’s eruption, leading to a shutdown of European air travel.

On the political front, we are observing remarkable local, regional and state elections in Germany and Spain, strongly indicating the coming of a drastic change in the political landscape of these countries and Europe as a whole. At the same time, we note that the EU becomes more assertive toward its own member states, and in foreign lands, such as Libya.

We conclude with ridiculous predictions regarding the end of the world.

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President Obama’s Double-Talk

On Sunday, May 22, 2011, the Washington Post reported that President Obama “clarified” his position on Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth. The paper stated:

“President Obama, seeking to quell criticism of his call for the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state to be based on 1967 lines, stressed Sunday to the country’s biggest pro-Israel lobby that he also supports land swaps between the two sides to reflect changes on the ground over the past 40 years…

“Mr. Obama stood by his position, outlined Thursday, that any two-state solution must be ‘based on the 1967 lines, the boundaries in effect before the Six-Day War, in which Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.’ But, noting that he also called for ‘mutually agreed swaps’ of land, the president pointedly assured the audience Sunday that meant the two sides ‘will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967…’”

The paper continued that this last line “drew strong cheers from the crowd.” How easy it seems to be to fool the masses… Previously, Benjamin Netanyahu had declared that a return to the 1967 borders will not happen. The Associated Press had reported on May 20:

“Showing no progress toward peace, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat alongside President Barack Obama on Friday and declared that Israel would not withdraw to 1967 borders to help make way for an adjacent Palestinian state… Obama said in his speech on Thursday that the United States supports creation of a Palestinian state based on the border lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel forces occupied east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

“The comment drew angry criticism in Israel, and Netanyahu made clear after meeting with Obama that the idea was unacceptable… there was no sign of resolution of the many barriers that stand between Israel and the Palestinians… Netanyahu said his nation could not negotiate with a newly constituted Palestinian unity government that includes the radical Hamas movement, which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist. He said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had to choose between continuing the deal with Hamas and making peace with Israel…”

The World Blames Israel

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 25:

“In a speech before the US Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected President Barack Obama’s call for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. Netanyahu’s move may be popular at home, but it was disastrous for the Middle East peace process, argue German commentators. US President Barack Obama has called for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders in a bid to finally achieve Mideast peace, a premise also supported by the European Union. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly rejected the idea in a speech he gave Tuesday as part of a six-day visit to the US, saying those borders would be ‘indefensible’…

“Though he may have been well-received by the US Congress, and is likely to be praised back home, the Israeli prime minister’s speech sparked heated criticism from abroad. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told SPIEGEL ONLINE that Netanyahu’s rejection of the 1967 borders was both ‘self-important and arrogant’… [and] also ‘deadly’ for the peace process…

“Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel writes: ‘The man who spoke in US Congress was Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister. But the speaker was also the strongest opponent of President Barack Obama in recent history’…

“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘… time is not on Israel’s side. If peace talks don’t begin soon, the Palestinians will probably proclaim their own state in September when the UN assembly meets, and where they are sure to find many sympathizers … Netanyahu has made the American president look like a fool, after he called for a peace agreement based on the 1967 borders. Netanyahu brushed him off in front of rolling cameras — a stunning spectacle. But can it really be in Israel’s interest to weaken its most important ally in this way? Netanyahu had his triumph in Washington, but his country will pay for it in the long run.’

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘The world will blame Israel as the main culprit if violence escalates again should the Palestinians unilaterally declare their independence this autumn… it’s a catastrophe for Israel’s foreign policy.’”

The Associated Press added on May 24 that “Nabil Shaath, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Netanyahu’s insistence on keeping key parts of the territories the Palestinians want for their state is a ‘declaration of war against the Palestinians.’”

Israel (and Conservative America) Blame President Obama

Israel National News wrote on May 25:

“U.S. President Barack Obama’s Palestinian Authority-Israel peace plan is a ‘formula for war,’ writes Bret Stephens, foreign affairs editor and deputy editorial page editor of The Wall St. Journal… He noted that President Obama’s ‘sandbagging’ Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ‘with an adversarial policy speech’ the day before his visit is not the first time the American leader has treated foreign visitors with disdain… ‘No U.S. president has explicitly endorsed the ’67 lines as the basis for negotiating a final border.’… Stephens articulated what virtually no other newspaper or news website, except for Israel National News, has stated: ‘Mr. Obama would also know that in 2009 Hillary Clinton had described this formula as “the Palestinian goal.” Now it’s Mr. Obama’s goal as well, even as he insists that “no peace can be imposed.”’…”

Europe Supports Palestinians

The EUObserver wrote on May 25:

“EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton has indicated the bloc is willing to work with the new Palestinian unity government despite US and Israeli opposition… Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu one day before Ashton’s statement… made a solitary and negative reference to the EU’s role in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Commenting on Hamas attacks following the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from Gaza in 2005, he noted: ‘The European observers in Gaza evaporated overnight.’

“The Palestinian unity agreement comes as a prelude to Palestinian plans to seek full recognition of statehood from the UN general assembly in September, crossing another red line for the Israeli-US alliance.  For her part, Ashton indicated she will not try to steer EU countries’ decision-making on the subject. But she noted that the main reason for the Palestinian move is the deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian talks… The EU high representative has on several occasions pointed to Israeli settlement building on Palestinian land as the main impediment to talks. ‘I re-iterate that the EU considers that settlement activities in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, undermine trust between the parties and constitute an obstacle to peace,’ she said on 6 April after Israel gave settlers permission to build 942 new housing units.”

The New Role of the EU in Libya

The EUObserver wrote on May 23:

“Rebel leaders in Benghazi, Libya have asked EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton to help them pay for staff and basic services… Ashton on Sunday met with TNC leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil and opened a three-person-strong EU-flagged mission in the city… ‘It is the symbol of the European Union being here, but also of the EU being here to stay,’ Ashton said in a press statement…

“Reports indicate that the city of 700,000-or-so people in oil-rich eastern Libya is buzzing with commercial activity as EU and US companies compete to enter the new market.”

Pakistan Asks China for Help

The Financial Times wrote on May 23:

“Pakistan has asked China to build a naval base at its south-western port of Gwadar and expects the Chinese navy to maintain a regular presence there… ‘We have asked our Chinese brothers to please build a naval base at Gwadar,’ Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar, Pakistan’s defence minister, told the Financial Times…

“Christopher Yung, senior research fellow at National Defense University in Washington, said in a recent paper ‘the nature and degree of China’s access to out-of-area bases will be the ultimate indication and warning’ of its eventual intention to become a global military power. A Pentagon official said: “We have questions and concerns about this development and [China’s] intentions…’

“A senior Pakistani official familiar with Sino-Pakistani discussions on naval co-operation said: ‘The naval base is something we hope will allow Chinese vessels to regularly visit in [the] future and also use the place for repair and maintenance of their fleet in the [Indian Ocean region].’

“Such a foothold would be the first overseas location offering support to the People’s Liberation Army navy for future out-of-area missions and so would be likely to reinforce international concerns over Beijing’s longer-term military ambitions.”

The Bible strongly indicates that ultimately, Pakistan will forge an alliance with Far Eastern countries such as China and Russia. This alliance will be hostile towards the remnant peoples of the USA and Israel.

America’s Debt in One Dollar Bills—to the Moon and Back Twice

Reuters reported on May 19:

“President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government’s debt would be about 67 miles high. That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall. In $1 bills, the pile would reach to the moon and back twice.

“The United States hit its legal borrowing limit on Monday, and the Treasury Department has said the U.S. Congress must raise the debt ceiling by August 2 to avoid a default. The White House is trying to hammer out a deal with lawmakers to cut federal spending in exchange for a debt-limit increase.

“Most people have trouble conceptualizing $14.3 trillion… Here are some… metrics for understanding the size of the national debt and United States borrowing:

“U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said the United States borrows about $125 billion per month. With that amount, the United States could buy each of its more than 300 million residents an Apple Inc iPad.

“In a 31-day month, that means the United States borrows about $4 billion per day. A stack of dimes equivalent to that amount would wrap all the way around the Earth with change to spare.

“In one hour, the United States borrows about $168 million, more than it paid to buy Alaska in 1867, converted to today’s dollars.

“In two hours, the United States borrows more than it paid France for present-day Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and the rest of the land obtained by the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.

“The U.S. government borrows more than $40,000 per second. That’s more than the cost of a year’s tuition, room and board at many universities…”

The Bible says that the borrower is the slave of the lender. And pretty soon, this warning will have to be applied quite literally.

American Troops in Europe

The Associated Press reported on May 21:

“The U.S. 1st Armored Division lowered its flag this month in a ceremony that signaled the quiet return home of a unit whose tanks first rumbled onto the continent through Italy during World War II. The Wiesbaden casing of colors ceremony also marked a milestone in the ongoing transformation of the American military. The sending off of the last division deployed in Europe at the height of the Cold War symbolizes the shift in favor of smaller, lighter units… But the question now being raised is whether the Army’s plan to keep some 37,000 soldiers in Europe will survive growing budgetary pressures in Washington…

“U.S. troop strength in Europe peaked in 1962 at nearly 277,000 soldiers and was still at around 213,000 in 1989. Current plans call for reducing troops from about 42,000 today to the 37,000 by 2015… There are currently four so-called BCTs in Europe — three in Germany and one in Italy, each with about 3,000 to 5,000 troops… ‘The whole thing is being driven by the U.S. defense budget and the deficiencies in the American budget as a whole,’ said [Charles] Heyman, a retired British Army officer. ‘The European Union as a whole is 10 percent richer than the United States based on GDP, and that is making a lot of American planners scratch their heads and say “what are we doing?”’”

Please note that the article says that the EU is already richer than the USA. And this trend of Europe’s rise and America’s fall will continue.

Europe’s Internal Struggle

The EUObserver wrote on May 24:

“Brussels may have acquired a taste for pressuring domestic political forces in EU member states to drop their traditional antagonisms for the sake of the eurozone, but that does not mean the parties like it. On Tuesday in Greece – the latest country where the EU institutions have demanded that political opponents reach a cross-party consensus on economic policies – opposition conservative leader Antonis Samaras rejected the idea that his New Democracy party line up behind the governing social democrats of Pasok and support the latest round of austerity measures…

“The blunt rejection of the government’s plans will come as a disappointment to the European Commission, which wants to see a broad consensus on the new measures amongst the political parties…

“The call for a cross-party consensus in Greece is the fourth time this year that the EU has pressed domestic parties to put aside their differences for the sake of the greater good, an interference in national politics historically considered taboo for the European institutions, whose officials are not elected by citizens. But the scale of the eurozone crisis has done away with many inhibitions in Brussels…”

We see more and more that the EU interferes in the national affairs of its member states.

G8 Summit in France

BBC News reported on May 26:

“World leaders are in the French resort of Deauville for a summit of the G8 bloc of wealthy nations. The leaders are discussing how to end the seemingly deadlocked Libya conflict, and their response to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia… Also on the agenda is how little or how much the internet should be regulated. Internet bosses – including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google boss Eric Schmidt – are attending the two-day summit in Normandy.

“The global economy and climate change will also be discussed at the gathering for the leaders of the US, Russia, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada. As the summit opened, the French and Russian leaders met to agree the sale of four French-built Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia at a cost of at least 400m euros each (£350m; $565m)… The deal – Russia’s biggest foreign arms purchase since the fall of the Soviet Union – has caused consternation among some of Russia’s neighbours and some of France’s Nato allies…

“Interim prime ministers from Tunisia and Egypt – where longtime leaders were overthrown this year – and the head of the Arab League will also be at Deauville for talks on a massive aid plan to help their transition to democracy. Representatives from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are due to spell out for G8 leaders what it would take to stabilise the Tunisian and Egyptian economies…

“BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall, in Deauville, says that despite President Obama’s appeal in London on Wednesday for democratic unity and leadership, there may well be friction at the summit. She adds that Russia’s president… has opposed air strikes on Libya from the start…”

Deadly Tornados in the USA

BBC News reported on May 23:

“At least 89 people have been killed and hundreds injured [but see below, the death toll is now much higher] after a tornado tore through the city of Joplin in the US state of Missouri, officials have said. Joplin official Mark Rohr said the storm cut a path six miles (10km) long. Homes and businesses were flattened and a damaged hospital had to be evacuated. Power lines are down and telephone connections are largely cut off. The Governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, has declared a state of emergency and warned that more storms are on the way.

“Cities in three other Midwestern states have also been badly affected. At least one person was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Last month, tornadoes and storms killed at least 350 people in Alabama and six other southern states.”

In a related article, BBC News published a record of the U.S. deadliest tornadoes:

“March 1925: Deadliest twister in US history as so-called Tri-State Tornado kills 695 in Missouri, southern Illinois and south-west Indiana.

“March 1932: Deep South tornado outbreak kills 332 people from Texas to South Carolina, with 270 dying in Alabama alone.

“May 1840: The Great Natchez Tornado kills 317 people in Mississippi town, most living on flatboats on the river.

“April 1974: 310 killed in 24-hour ‘super outbreak’ of 148 tornadoes across 13 states.

“May 1896: Two weeks of storms kill 305 people in Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky.”

However, this list is somewhat arbitrary and capricious, as it does not include the tornados in late April and early May of 2011, which have been described as the “biggest ever.”

As BBC News reported on May 22, “The outbreak of tornadoes that ravaged the southern US last week was the largest in US recorded history, the National Weather Service has said. The previous record was 148 in two days in April 1974. The tornadoes and the storm system that spawned them killed at least 350 people in Alabama and six other states. It was the deadliest outbreak since 1936.”

Accuweather.com added on May 23: “Dozens are dead and even more injured after nearly 50 tornadoes tore through parts of the Midwest on Sunday. At least 89 people were killed in Joplin, Mo., which received the worst of the severe weather. If the death toll in Joplin exceeds 115, it will be in the top 10 deadliest tornadoes in all time…”

It was later reported that at least 125 people died in Joplin, with at least 230 people still missing, and the Associated Press stated on May 25 that Sunday’s storm was the nation’s eighth-deadliest twister among records dating to 1840.”

The Associated Press added on May 25:

“Violent storms rumbled through the central U.S. on Wednesday, spawning tornadoes that turned homes into splintered wreckage, killing at least 14 people over two days… Several tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma City and its suburbs… The storms killed two people in Kansas and four in Arkansas, and may have killed a man in Texas… Four possible tornadoes may have touched down Wednesday in southern and central Illinois…”

Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

Deutsche Welle reported on May 23:

“Ash from Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano has shut down Reykjavik’s international airport and diverted transatlantic flights, prompting bad memories of last year’s Eyjafjallajokull eruption…”

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 25:

“Due to ash from an Icelandic volcano entering German airspace, no planes were permitted to take off or land at several northern German airports Wednesday morning. Flights at City Airport Bremen were grounded starting at 5 a.m. local time, and the same flight ban was imposed on Hamburg Airport one hour later. The capital’s airports – Tegel and Schönefeld – were also shut down.

“Germany’s flight safety authority (DFS) said the Bremen and Hamburg airports reopened before noon, and Berlin opened around 2 p.m. The German weather service said the ash concentration in the air was no longer critical…

“Since Sunday, the ash from Iceland’s erupting Grimsvotn volcano has swept across Britain and Northern Ireland, causing the cancellation of hundreds of flights, especially to and from Scotland.  On Tuesday, the ash cloud reached Scandinavia where it caused minor air traffic disruptions in Norway and closed a small part of Denmark’s airspace…

“Conflicts continue between EU states, European authorities and airline companies over how to apply new safety rules for flying when there are large amounts of ash in the air. German authorities are taking a tough stance. The German Transport Ministry has told pilots that aircraft will be refused clearance if ash concentrations exceed 2 milligrams, which is considered low. The Volcanic Ash Advisor Centre in London has forecasted that the cloud in Germany will have ash concentrations of between 0.2 and 2 milligrams…”

Japan’s Nuclear Disaster

On May 25, NHK World (published by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation), stated the following:

“The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says data analyses suggest damage to its reactors may have caused cracks and openings in the reactor containment vessels equivalent to a 10-centimeter hole. Reactors 1 through 3 at the plant suffered nuclear fuel meltdowns after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. This is likely to have created holes and cracks at the bottom of the pressure vessels protecting the reactor cores and damaged the containment vessels. Massive amounts of highly radioactive water also leaked from the structures…

“TEPCO said the analyses show that holes in the Number 1 reactor containment vessel amounting to 3 centimeters in total may have formed 18 hours after the quake. It said that may have expanded to 7 centimeters at least 50 hours after the quake. The utility said holes and cracks equivalent to 10 centimeters in diameter may have formed in the Number 2 reactor’s containment vessel about 21 hours after the quake. It said a similar amount of holes could have been created in the suppression pool chamber by an explosion heard coming from there on March 15th.”

AFP added on May 26:

“Environmental activist group Greenpeace warned Thursday that marine life it tested more than 20 kilometres (12 miles) off Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant showed radiation above legal limits. The anti-nuclear group, which conducted the coastal and offshore tests this month, criticised Japanese authorities for their ‘continued inadequate response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis’ sparked by the March 11 quake and tsunami.

“Greenpeace said it detected seaweed radiation levels 50 times higher than official limits, which it charged raised ‘serious concerns about continued long-term risks to people and the environment from contaminated seawater.’ It also said that tests, which it said were independently verified by French and Belgian laboratories, showed above-legal levels of radioactive iodine-131 and caesium-137 in several species of fish and shellfish.”

Greens Overtake Merkel in Bremen

Deutsche Welle reported on May 23:

“Exit polls in the city-state of Bremen indicate that the incumbent coalition of Social Democrats and Greens can continue governing but have propelled Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) into third place. ‘For the first time in the history of the German Federal Republic, we are ahead of the CDU in a regional election,’ said one of the Green’s federal leaders, Claudia Roth.

“The Social Democrats (SPD), who have governed Bremen for 66 years, took 38 percent of the vote, while their Green allies won 23 percent. Support for Merkel’s CDU fell four percentage points from the last poll in 2007 to 21.5 percent; the party’s worst result in Bremen in 52 years. Hermann Gröhe, general-secretary of the CDU, called the voters’ verdict ‘a painful setback.’

“The outcome is a further drubbing for Merkel after four other regional elections this year saw her conservatives lose voter sympathy… Merkel’s federal coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP) captured a meager three percent, down from 5.4 percent four years ago and less than the minimum five percent needed to send representatives to the local assembly. The Left Party took 5.5 percent. The election also marked the first time that 16 and 17-year-olds were allowed to vote in a legislative election.”

The Süddeutsche Zeitung added: “The election in Bremen passed off largely as expected: disastrously for the CDU and FDP, brilliantly for the Greens, acceptably for the SPD… The Greens are a new type of mass political party.”

Interesting political changes in Germany are strongly indicated. It would not be inconceivable that a member of the Green Party may become Germany’s next chancellor. In fact, this is what the word on the street seems to anticipate.

At one time, former Green party leader and Germany’s Catholic Vice-Chancellor and Foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, who served from 1998 to 2005, was Germany’s most popular politician. According to Wikipedia, Fischer married Iranian Minu Barati in 2005. In 2007, he joined the Arab Democracy Foundation as a founding member of its Board of Trustees. Since 2008, Fischer has been employed with the Albright Group, a Washington, DC, consulting firm led by Madeleine Albright. In 2009, Fischer took a post as adviser to the Nabucco pipeline project, in which the German RWE company is also involved. According to media reports, the “six-digit salary” consultancy contract has already been signed. On 15 September 2010 Fischer supported the new initiative Spinelli Group, which was founded to reinvigorate the strive for federalization of the European Union.

Spain’s Move to the Right

CNBC reported on May 22:

“Spain’s ruling Socialists suffered a crushing defeat to conservatives in local and regional elections Sunday, yielding power even in traditional strongholds against a backdrop of staggering unemployment and unprecedented sit-ins by Spaniards furious with what they see as politicians who don’t care about their plight.

“Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the result was due punishment of his government for the state of the economy — the jobless rate is a eurozone high of 21.3 percent. But he said he had no plans to move up general elections, which must be held by March of next year, and pledged to press on with job-creating reforms despite the loud outcry of opposition to his party.

“The win for the conservative opposition Popular Party puts it in even a stronger position to win the general elections and return to power after eight years of Socialist rule. In what Spanish media said was the worst performance on record by the Socialist Party in local and regional elections, the numbers reflecting the loss were stunning: the conservative Popular Party won at the municipal level by about two million votes, compared to 150,000 in its win in 2007, and in 13 regional governments that were up for grabs, Zapatero’s party lost in virtually all of them.”

Political changes in Europe are clearly on the horizon. Spain seems to move away from socialism and return to conservatism—which would be in line with the long history of Catholic right-wing Spain.

Outbreak of Deadly Sickness in Germany

The Local reported on May 25:

“Another woman died in Germany on Wednesday after being treated for infection with the virulent enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) bacteri…as [a] government minister warned the situation remained ‘threatening’… So far suggestions have been made the raw, insufficiently cleaned vegetables or salads could be a source of infection… around 140 people are seriously ill with bloody diarrhoea and kidney failure as a result of EHEC infection… Hundreds across the country are thought to be infected with the bacteria but suffering less severe symptoms.”

On May 24, the Local had reported:

“People can reduce their risk of infection by cooking their food thoroughly, as well as observing general food hygiene rules. Those with diarrhoea should be strict about washing their hands and avoiding contact with children and those with weakened immune systems. People with bloody diarrhoea should go to a doctor immediately.”

Der Spiegel Online added on May 26:

“Researchers have found the first link to the source of the recent E. coli outbreak in Germany: Spanish cucumbers… Three out of four cucumbers carrying the dangerous strain of the bacteria were from an organic shipment from Spain being sold in Hamburg supermarkets…

“The life-threatening intestinal infection has since spread into other countries, as well, with cases reported in Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain… It is believed some of the ill may have been infected after consuming produce on trips to Germany… E. coli bacteria usually live in the intestines of ruminants and can be transferred to humans who eat uncooked food.”

The End of the World—Revised Version

The Associated Press reported on May 24:

“A California preacher who foretold of the world’s end only to see the appointed day pass with no extraordinarily cataclysmic event has revised his apocalyptic prophecy, saying he was off by five months and the Earth actually will be obliterated on Oct. 21. Harold Camping, who predicted that 200 million Christians would be taken to heaven Saturday [May 21] before catastrophe struck the planet, apologized Monday evening for not having the dates ‘worked out as accurately as I could have.’ He spoke to the media at the Oakland headquarters of his Family Radio International, which spent millions of dollars–some of it from donations made by followers–on more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs plastered with the Judgment Day message.

“It was not the first time Camping was forced to explain when his prediction didn’t come to pass. The 89-year-old retired civil engineer also prophesied the Apocalypse would come in 1994, but said later that didn’t happen then because of a mathematical error. Through chatting with a friend over what he acknowledged was a very difficult weekend, it dawned on him that instead of the biblical Rapture in which the faithful would be swept up to the heavens, May 21 had instead been a ‘spiritual’ Judgment Day, which places the entire world under Christ’s judgment, he said. The globe will be completely destroyed in five months, he said, when the apocalypse comes. But because God’s judgment and salvation were completed on Saturday, there’s no point in continuing to warn people about it, so his network will now just play Christian music and programs until the final end on Oct. 21…

“Camping offered no clues about Family Radio’s finances Monday, saying he could not estimate how much had been spent advertising his prediction nor how much money the nonprofit had taken in as a result. In 2009, the nonprofit reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3 million in donations, and had assets of more than $104 million, including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.”

It is absolutely incredible that gullible people support such a ridiculous message with their money, even though it stands in gross contrast with the biblical teaching. But it seems that in our Satan-inspired world, anything but the truth will be accepted. One wonders how many times this self-appointed prophet will have to revise his proclamations, as it is absolutely certain that Christ will NOT return on October 21, 2011. For more information, please listen to our StandingWatch program “Could Jesus Return Tonight?, which was posted on April 1, 2011.

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What is the prophesied future of Libya?

Libya has been in the news for quite some time, and nobody seems to know what the future holds for that biblical country. God’s Holy Scriptures do give us a glimpse, however, as to what we can expect to occur in or pertaining to Libya.

It is commonly accepted that Libya is designated as “Put” or “Phut” in the Hebrew Scriptures. Put was the son of Ham, a son of Noah (Genesis 10:6; 1 Chronicles 1:8). The word “Put” or “Phut” means “bow” or “warrior.” According to Josephus, Put settled in the land of Libya. Depending on what translation one might use, the word “Phut” is sometimes mentioned in addition to Libya. As the Ryrie Study Bible explains, the word “Put” can also refer—depending on the context—to just a part of the country of Libya.

As we pointed out in our Q&A on Egypt’s future, Ezekiel 30 gives us a prophecy dealing with the day of the LORD (verse 3)—describing a time just preceding the return of Jesus Christ. We read in Ezekiel 30 that Egypt and her allies will fall at that time. Verses 5 and 6 designate Egypt’s allies in that way:

“Ethiopia, LIBYA, Lydia, all the mingled people, Chub, and the men of the lands who are allied, shall fall with them by the sword—those who uphold Egypt shall fall…”

“Chub” might not describe a particular people, but could be translated as “all,” saying that “all” the men of the lands who are allied will fall. Regarding “Lydia,” not much is known, but it has been contended that it designates an African nation in Western Asia Minor, descended from Egypt.

We can take from this passage that in the very end time, Libya will be allied with Egypt and Ethiopia, and that they will fall together. A similar alliance occurred in the past, with equally devastating consequences. Jeremiah 46 describes the judgment on Egypt and Pharaoh Necho through King Nebuchadnezzar (verse 2), but it is clearly a dual prophecy, as in verse 10, reference is made particularly to the day of the LORD.

We read in verses 9 and 10:

“Come up, O horses, and rage, O chariots! And let the mighty men come forth; The Ethiopians and the LIBYANS who handle the shield, And the Lydians who handle and bend the bow. For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, A day of vengeance, that He may avenge Himself on His adversaries. The sword shall devour; It shall be satisfied and made drunk with their blood; for the Lord GOD of hosts has a sacrifice In the north country by the river Euphrates.”

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains that historically, all these nations were allies and part of the Egyptian army. He states:

“Go up, advance, ye horses; and drive furiously, ye chariots; and let the mighty men go forth. They march out of Egypt, arranged in three divisions, cavalry, chariots, and infantry, to begin the campaign. The armies of Egypt were composed chiefly of mercenaries. Cush [Ethiopia] and Phut, the Libyans of Mauritania, supplied the heavy-armed soldiers… and Ludim, the Hamite Lydians of North Africa… a weaker race, served as light-armed troops. They march forth in haughty confidence, but that day, the day to which they are looking forward in proud hope of victory, is Yahweh’s day, a day on which they will be the victims sacrificed in His honor.”

That this prophecy clearly relates (as well) to end-time events, has also been recognized by The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament. It states:

“This formidable army shall perish; for the day of the battle is the day of the Lord of hosts, on which He will take vengeance upon His enemies. Among these enemies are the Egyptians [but also the Libyans, see above], who have grievously sinned against Israel, the people of the Lord, not merely of late…”

In ancient times, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon fought against and conquered Egypt and her allies, including Libya. Since this prophecy is dual and refers particularly to the day of the Lord, it is reasonable to conclude that a modern king of a modern Babylon will be fighting against Egypt and her allies. As we will see, it is indeed the beast or the king of the North–the leader over a modern Babylonian system–who will fulfill that future role.

The mercenary nature of some Libyans can also be seen in a passage in the book of Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 27, mystical Tyre is described. This passage does not deal mainly with the ancient city of Tyre, but with the modern Babylonian system, which is also spoken of in Revelation 17 and 18, and the parallels in these two passages between “Tyre” and “Babylon” are unmistakable.

Ezekiel 27:10 tells us that “Persia (modern Iran), Lydia and Libya Were in your army [the military apparatus of modern Babylon] as men of war; they hung shield and helmet in you; they gave splendor to you.”

Libyan mercenaries are also mentioned in the third chapter of the book of Nahum, which relates to the destruction of ancient Nineveh. The book of Nahum might have dual application as well, and refer to the destruction of the capitol of modern Assyria.

In Nahum 3:18-19 we read that the shepherds of the king of Assyria slumber; that his nobles rest in peace; that the people are scattered on the mountains; that no one gathers them; and that the people will rejoice when they hear of the continuing demise of the king of Assyria—who is, in modern terminology, the future leader of Germany, or the beast of the book of Revelation.

In Nahum 3:9, we read that mercenaries from Libya had at one time supported Nineveh: “Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength; And it was boundless; Put (Libya) and Lubim (perhaps a part of Libya) were your helpers. Yet she was carried away, she went into captivity.”

As we explained in our Q&A on Egypt, the modern king of Assyria will turn against Egypt and the nations allied with her, including Libya, and enslave them. However, the Bible shows that after ten European nations under modern Assyria (“the Babylonian system”) will have subdued and conquered many nations, they themselves will be defeated in war by the modern Medes (Compare Isaiah 13:17, describing the destruction of modern “Babylon” through the hand of the modern “Medes” or Russians and Ukrainians. Verses 6, 9 and 13 designate the timing as occurring during the “day of the LORD.” Compare also Isaiah 21:2 and Jeremiah 51:11, 27-29).

A future “alliance” or hostile confrontation between Europe (“Babylon” under Assyrian leadership) and LIBYA is also indicated in Daniel 11:43, stating that when the king of the North (verse 40—the beast or the modern King Jareb of Assyria) will enter the Glorious Land and overthrow many countries, including Egypt, “the LIBYANS and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.” It is not entirely clear what this passage means.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible writes:

“The proper sense of the Hebrew would be, that they accompanied him; that they marched with him or followed him; and the phrase would be applicable either to those who were allies, or who were led captive…”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible agrees, saying:

“And the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps; at his command and pleasure; shall follow him, being taken captive, or go where he orders them; that is, in all things shall be obedient to him.”

Since Libya will be allied with Egypt—and at that time apparently against Assyria (see our Q&A on Egypt)–and since Egypt will be overthrown by Assyria, it appears likely that Libyans will also be overthrown and become captives of the Assyrians. This conclusion would also be supported by the fact that anciently, King Nebuchadnezzar fought against Egypt and Libya, and that this historic event might have prophetic application. In any event, the Libyans will be subject to modern Assyria, either because of volition or of compulsion.

But it appears that this situation will have changed when the modern Medes or Russians invade Europe, just BEFORE Christ’s return. And shortly AFTER Christ’s return, we read that a mighty Far Eastern army (under Russian and Chinese leadership) will try to invade the modern houses of Judah (the modern Jews) and of Israel (being situated today mainly in the USA and Great Britain, as well as in Canada, Australia and New Zealand). By that time, all the Israelites and Jews, who will have survived the Great Tribulation, will have been brought back to live in the Promised Land.

In regard to the future attempt by that great Far Eastern army to invade and conquer the Promised Land, Ezekiel 38:5 states expressly that “Persia, Ethiopia and LIBYA are with them.” (For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

In conclusion, a somewhat friendly relationship between Libya and Germany (when Libyan mercenaries serve in a European army under German leadership) will gradually deteriorate, while an alliance between Libya and other Middle Eastern nations, including Egypt and Ethiopia, against Germany and Europe will develop. Europe will invade the Middle East militarily and conquer Egypt, and Libyans and Ethiopians will be at Europe’s step. But then, Europe and Germany will be invaded by the modern Medes, and Libya will develop a very close relationship with Russia and China, which will be hostile towards the modern descendants of the ancient houses of Israel and Judah.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Please feel free to proceed with making reservations for the Feast of Tabernacles 2011 with the Hilton Garden Inn at Pismo Beach. When you call, please make sure that you mention that you are attending the Feast convention of the Church of the Eternal God. Further information is available on our Web site (www.eternalgod.org), under “Feasts.”

A new member letter was written, posted on the Web, and sent out this week. In the letter, Dave Harris discusses the need for our preparation in light of the prophesied unprecedented scale of destruction which is going to hit this planet very soon.

Our new booklet, “Germany in Prophecy,” (an updated English translation of our German booklet, “Deutschland in der Prophezeiung”) has entered the first review cycle.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on our Website and on YouTube, titled “The World Against Israel.” President Obama endorses the Palestinians’ demand for their future state to be based on the 1967 borders and infuriates Israel, but the new US position is in line with EU policy. Haaretz writes that Israel is on a collision course with its allies and is liable to become a pariah state. And while the US and GB are facing economic turmoil, Germany is powering ahead and wants to pull its weight militarily abroad. What is going to happen next?

Two new German sermons were posted on the Internet, titled “Syrien in der Bibel” [“Syria in the Bible”] and “Libyen und Deutschland in der Bibel.” [“Libya and Germany in the Bible”] 

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by John Amorelli

A few weeks ago, we had a new metal roof installed on our home, as well as porch repairs done.  The contractors consisted of a father and son team. Periodically, during the installation of the roof, the father and son would take small breaks to eat and drink, rest and chit-chat with my wife and me.  We had numerous conversations with the father, who was in his upper 60’s, more so than the son.  The themes and subjects we would talk about ranged from being humble, God and the Bible, and the negative situation in our nation today.

You might say he was from the “old school” of thinking.  The more and more my wife and I chatted with this older gentleman, the more we realized how humble he was and how much biblical wisdom this man had about life and the current state of the world.   The most amazing part of the conversations was when he told us that he does not celebrate Christmas and Easter!!  He explained how he had been lying to his son throughout his childhood, before realizing the many pagan falsehoods associated with these days and that the Bible does not command us to celebrate them. What a joy it was to actually meet someone in our neck of the woods who does not celebrate these man-made holidays.  What was even more amazing was that he had knowledge of some of God’s truth. 

Of course, we do know that God the Father alone does His calling and opens the minds of people, and I do not know how much of the truth this man does have.  But one thing was for sure… it taught me a lesson.  I DO know the truth and have been called, so how much more should I be living God’s Way and always be setting a right example, never knowing whom I might meet?  This gentleman inspired me to live a better Christian life; to look at my flaws and ask God to help me correct them; to have better outward love and concern for others; not to sweat the small stuff; and to listen more and talk less!

I have a lot of spiritual work to do.  The Eternal allowed this person to come into my life to fix our home, but more importantly, to give me a spiritual wake-up call and reflect on how I am doing!  At the end, the roof was done and the porch was fixed.  The question is: Will I heed this wake-up call and work on fixing my spiritual life?

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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:

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