Update 494


Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Part 7

On June 4, 2011, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Part 7.”

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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As Sorrows Begin

by Eric Rank

It may be true for all generations to feel that end-time prophecy is being fulfilled before their eyes. However, the events we read about today seem to take less and less imagination to connect with prophetic Scripture for the last days, than they did just months ago.

In nearly every corner of the world, we are seeing a significant shift in power, which we expect to see as God’s plan is fulfilled. Among the most alarming news is the steady stream of government protests in the Middle East. Countries that are clearly identified in the Bible with prophetic relevance have seen radical changes in only the past weeks and months. The Egyptian government has experienced a complete upheaval. Libya is in the middle of a civil war. Syria too has seen an accelerated rate of protests demanding a change in the leadership governing the country. In the meantime, the international respect for the country of Israel continues to erode at a constant rate. These major disruptions in that part of the world are just a few of the events going on today with prophetic relevance. What in the world IS going on? How can these things happen so quickly and unexpectedly for so many?

The answer is quite simple. We are reminded in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, that for this world, the Day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night! We can expect the unexpected to occur. And even though God has already given us the overall prophetic picture, we might not yet be able to predict how exactly all the minute events will come about, as prophesied in the Bible. But we do have an advantage in that we have the tools at our disposal to develop our understanding about how to prepare for the end-time fulfillment of God’s plan.

So, how can we prepare? We can prepare by following the instructions of the Bible to build our faith, love and hope for salvation. In these virtues we must invest and trust. The corollary truth is that the “comforts” of the world we live in are the things we must turn away from, because they are completely unreliable and work against our spiritual goals. Overcoming the negative influences of the world, and trusting in the one true God must be a way of life for us if we want to be prepared for the establishment of God’s Kingdom.

Even with these truly comforting meditations at the forefront of our thoughts, the unrest in the world makes it far too easy to lose heart and fall into worry. While there is not much that we can control outside of our ability to prepare spiritually, at least we know that we can trust in God. I frequently find encouragement and strength when reading Joshua 1:9, where God admonishes the newly appointed leader of Israel on the threshold of entering the land of Canaan: “’Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.’”

Matthew 24:36 plainly tells us that no one knows the day or the hour when Jesus Christ will return. Even if it was possible to have such information, it would be of no use without the virtues that we are told to develop. Even if we always had the ability to accurately predict every minute sequence of prophetic fulfillment, we still would not be prepared for the coming of Christ without the love of living God’s way of life. We must not be afraid of the events contributing to the fulfillment of prophecy, but even more importantly, it is critical that we work to prepare spiritually, so we can be among those who have succeeded in overcoming the world when that Great Day arrives.

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We begin focusing on events in the Middle East, including Egypt’s opening of the Gaza Strip’s main gateway and the accompanying potential dangers for Israel; the ongoing turmoil in Libya and the failure of the African Union to bring peace; the ongoing turmoil in Syria and Iran’s eager willingness to support the regime and provoke Germany; and the biting analysis of Britain’s Telegraph to the effect that no one cares in the Middle East what President Obama and the USA say.

We continue with reporting on the ugly side of the Afghan war and its astronomical costs for the US; and point out that the relationship between the USA and EU is in need of “redefining.” At the same time, Europe and especially Germany are unhappy with Baroness Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, as she “does not have the power to portray Europe on the world stage,” and as she had “not spoken with one voice for Europe.”

We also remind our readership that slavery in civilized Europe is not necessarily a thing of the past; speak of the dangers of radiation in Japan and Germany’s controversial decision to abandon nuclear power; report on the outbreak of a deadly disease in Germany which might or might not have originated in Spain; focus on the network of tunnels under the city of Jerusalem; and conclude with the enigma of why our childhood memories are so selective.

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Egypt Opens Gateway to Gaza

Fox News reported on May 28:

“After a four-year blockade, Egypt on Saturday permanently opened the Gaza Strip’s main gateway to the outside world, bringing long-awaited relief to the territory’s Palestinian population and a significant achievement for the area’s ruling Hamas militant group. The reopening of the Rafah border crossing eases an Egyptian blockade of Gaza that has prevented the vast majority of the densely populated area’s 1.5 million people from being able to travel abroad. The closure, along with an Israeli blockade of its borders with Gaza, has fueled an economic crisis in the territory…”

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 28:

“Egypt and Israel first imposed a blockade in 2006 following the abduction of an Israeli soldier. It was later tightened in 2007 in an effort to weaken the Islamic group Hamas after it gained control of the area. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime defended its decision to close the only gateway to the Gaza Strip which was not controlled by Israel by asserting it was a necessary move in the fight against terrorism.

“But when Mubarak was ousted from power in February, Egypt’s military rulers opted to permanently ease the blockade imposed by Israel… fears have been raised in Israel that it will also be easier for militants to get in and out of Gaza. Some Palestinians had previously smuggled goods, including weapons, into Gaza using tunnels from Egypt.”

The New York Times added on May 28:

“… the formal, seven-days-a-week opening on Saturday did not remove all restrictions. It left in place a blockade on the shipment into Gaza of goods, including concrete badly needed to repair buildings damaged by clashes between Israel and Hamas… There are still restrictions on passengers as well. Although women, children and older Palestinians can now enter Egypt without a visa, men 18 to 40 years old are required to obtain one, for security reasons.”

Even though the opening of the gateway still includes many restrictions, the dangers especially for Israel should not be ignored.

Libyan Adventure Slow and Messy

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 28:

“The quick and clean intervention promised in Libya has proved slow and messy. Despite over two months of NATO air support for the Libyan rebels, the civil war in the country is looking more and more like a stalemate. As a result, it was only a matter of time before Britain and France sought to tip the balance in its battle against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s military machine…

“Britain announced it would be sending four Apache helicopters, with France flying in similar Tiger helicopters as well. These maneuverable craft can fly lower than large warplanes and bombers, and Western militaries hope they will offer [provided] scope for more precise attacks against smaller targets like tanks. Some military analysts… see this fresh deployment of more versatile aircraft as a sign that the NATO mission in Libya is failing…

“The US and Britain both reiterated this week that sending in ground troops was not an option, and arming the rebels does not conform to the mandate of UN Resolution 1973, which only authorizes Western powers to protect civilian lives in Libya…

“Estimates suggest the rebel troops are outnumbered by as much as 10 to one by those loyal to Gadhafi, an imbalance that air support alone might not overcome. On this basis, NATO looks set to stay in Libya, and for an indeterminate period of time.”

Reuters wrote on June 1:

“NATO said on Wednesday it had extended its Libyan mission for a further 90 days, after Gaddafi made it clear he would not step down, dashing hopes of a negotiated end to the fighting.”

It does not appear that we will see a closure in Libya any time soon. The German press, and especially the mass tabloid Bild, reported angrily how President Obama, during the recent G-8 summit, ignored Chancellor Merkel and showed her “the cold shoulder”; and that she was not invited for talks about the future of Libya. They also blasted the American President for his unwillingness to visit Germany (even though he found time to visit Ireland, England, France and Poland). The German press speculated that the reason for this “mistreatment” was America’s anger over Germany’s refusal to participate in military attacks on Libya. However, in the long run, the world might recognize Germany’s wisdom and America’s and NATO’s foolishness in this regard.

African Union Fails in Libya

On May 29, 2011, The New York Times reported:

“Talks between President  Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi ended Monday with no sign of the breakthrough Libyan officials had said they hoped for. The outcome appeared to leave the Tripoli government and its rebel foes still mired in the stalemate that has settled over the conflict, and NATO with the prospect of an extended campaign of airstrikes in its bid to topple the Libyan leader…

“The demand for Colonel Qaddafi to quit has been set by rebel leaders in eastern Libya and backed by the NATO countries leading the 10-week-old campaign of airstrikes against the Qaddafi government, and was joined last week by Russia, long considered a Qaddafi ally…

“The Zuma visit was widely trumpeted in advance by officials in Tripoli, who have come to see the African Union as a last bastion of diplomatic support. For decades, Colonel Qaddafi has sought to reach out across barriers of culture, faith and geography to promote solidarity between the continent’s Arab and African peoples, and to present himself, as posters around Tripoli proclaim him, as the ‘king of kings’ among African leaders.”

On March 10, the New York Times explained the following about the African Union:

“The African Union, which was formed to succeed the Organization of African Unity on July 9, 2002 and is loosely based on the European Union, aims to promote cooperation and integration among the independent nations of Africa. It consists of 53 African nations and its headquarters are in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It works to promote African unity on issues involving the continent, and deals with security matters and regional conflicts…

“The current incarnation was conceived by Moammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader. The union has grand plans for the future that include the establishment of a central bank, with a single currency by 2023, and of a human rights court. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea is its current leader.”

Please note that the African Union is headquartered in Ethiopia, which was formerly known as the king of the South, as referred to in the book of Daniel. Ethiopia could still play a significant role in world affairs. Please also note the next remarkable comments:

African Union Wants to End Libya Crisis with Russian Help

The EUObserver wrote on June 1:

“Senior African envoy Jean Ping has told the EU and Nato that the African Union is keen to end the Libya crisis by diplomacy, not war, and with Russian help… The EU and Nato have ruled out talking to Gaddafi and said he must step down from power…

“EU commission head Barroso… indicated that EU countries and the US are no longer in a position to dictate terms to African ‘client’ states…”

And Now Yemen… “Worse Than Libya”

The Guardian wrote on June 1:

“The crisis engulfing Yemen deepened on Wednesday with dozens of people killed as President Ali Abdullah Saleh reinforced his troops after heavy clashes with gunmen loyal to an influential tribal leader… Arab embassies were said to be evacuating their staff and the few remaining western residents were being advised to leave urgently. The Foreign Office is urging all Britons to leave while flights are still available in a situation diplomats described as ‘worse than Libya.’”

The EUObserver wrote on May 31:

“Syria-type EU arms trade and visa bans are looking ever more likely to be imposed on Yemen as fellow Arab countries struggle to resolve the crisis… EU and US nationals have been advised to leave the country as quickly as possible and many embassies are already working with essential staff only… The US embassy in Sanaa said it ‘condemns the unprovoked and unjustified attack on peaceful demonstrators’ in Taiz and ‘commends the youth protesters who have shown both resolve and restraint.’ Yemen is a strategically important country for EU security due to the presence of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in the south of the country and due to its location along the vital trade route through the Gulf of Aden.”

Iran Helps Syrian Government

The Washington Post reported on May 27:

“U.S. officials say Iran is dispatching increasing numbers of trainers and advisers — including members of its elite Quds Force — into Syria to help crush anti-government demonstrations that are threatening to topple Iran’s most important ally in the region. The influx of Iranian manpower is adding to a steady stream of aid from Tehran that includes not only weapons and riot gear but also sophisticated surveillance equipment that is helping Syrian authorities track down opponents through their Facebook and Twitter accounts, the sources said. Iranian-assisted computer surveillance is believed to have led to the arrests of hundreds of Syrians seized from their homes in recent weeks.

“The United States and its allies long have accused Iran of supporting repressive or violent regimes in the region, including Syria’s government, the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip… The new assertions… are clearly aimed at suggesting deepening involvement of Iranian military personnel in Syria’s brutal crackdown against anti-Assad demonstrators…

“Iran’s increasing engagement in the Syrian crackdown reflects anxiety in Tehran about the prospects for Assad, who has failed to end the protests despite rising brutality that human rights groups say has left more than 800 people dead and perhaps 10,000 in prison. Iran, a longtime supplier of military aid to Syria, has been helping Dasmascus battle the current wave of civil unrest since at least mid-March…”

Iran Able to Build a Bomb Now

Newsmax reported on May 31:

“The International Atomic Energy Agency believes that Iran’s nuclear program has dangerous ‘military dimensions,’ according to a piece published late Monday in The New York Times. The Times report, drawing on an IAEA document, details Iran’s apparent efforts to build a nuclear bomb using ‘implosion’ techniques – the same basic technology used in the bomb dropped on Hiroshima… Essentially, Iran is able to build a bomb now, according to senior staff members of the IAEA quoted by the Times.”

Iran Pushes at Germany

Deutsche Welle reported on May 31:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel touched down more than two hours late in New Delhi for the start of her visit to India, after Iran refused to allow her plane access to its airspace. The plane was forced to turn round and circle over Turkey before permission was finally granted – just before the plane ran out of fuel. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle requested the presence of the Iranian ambassador in Berlin on Tuesday. He said he wanted to make it clear that such a ‘breach of international protocol would not be tolerated’…

“Merkel is leading a large delegation of ministers and businessmen to India, seeking improved trade with booming South Asian economies… It is unclear why Iran suddenly withdrew permission to enter its airspace in the early hours of Tuesday morning… The plane was also carrying a large group of industry representatives and journalists.

“The German chancellor wants to promote European fighter aircraft. The Eurofighter consortium made up of Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy is hoping to sign a contract with the Indian air force for 126 new planes, worth 7 billion euros ($11 billion). Germany is India’s biggest trading partner in Europe, with bilateral trade at 15.4 billion euros in 2010. Indian officials estimate that this figure will grow to 20 billion euros by 2012.”

Europe’s Two-Faced Relationship with Iran

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 31:

“Relations between Berlin and Tehran have deteriorated in recent years due to German opposition to Iran’s nuclear program, and there have been a number of points of conflict in recent months. Germany recently dropped its opposition to European Union sanctions against a Hamburg-based Iranian bank that was considered a financial lifeline for Tehran’s nuclear program. The EU agreed to impose sanctions on the bank at a foreign ministers’ meeting last week.

“There was also tension between the countries when Iran detained two German reporters in October 2010. They were finally released in February after Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle made a personal visit to Tehran and met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“Despite Iran’s pariah status, Germany is still the third-largest exporter to the country. Last year, German exports to the Islamic republic were worth €3.8 billion ($5.5 billion). Nevertheless, a number of major German companies, such as Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, have decided to stop doing business with Iran.”

Please make sure to read our Q&A in this Update, discussing the future of Iran and its relationship with Europe, as prophesied in the Bible.

“Who Cares in the Middle East What Obama Says?”

The Independent wrote on May 30:

“This month, in the Middle East, has seen the unmaking of the President of the United States. More than that, it has witnessed the lowest prestige of America in the region since Roosevelt met King Abdul Aziz on the USS Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake in 1945. While Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu played out their farce in Washington… the Arabs got on with the serious business of changing their world, demonstrating and fighting and dying for freedoms they have never possessed. Obama waffled on about change in the Middle East – and about America’s new role in the region. It was pathetic…

“Obama’s failure to support the Arab revolutions until they were all but over lost the US most of its surviving credit in the region… Obama’s policy towards the Middle East – whatever it is – sometimes appears so muddled that it is scarcely worthy of study. He supports, of course, democracy – then admits that this may conflict with America’s interests. In that wonderful democracy called Saudi Arabia, the US is now pushing ahead with a £40 billion arms deal and helping the Saudis to develop a new ‘elite’ force to protect the kingdom’s oil and future nuclear sites…

“Obama stated that the Palestinians would have to answer questions about Hamas. But why should they? What Obama and Netanyahu think about Hamas is now irrelevant to them… Obama says no Palestinian state must be declared at the UN… Who cares in the Middle East what Obama says? Not even, it seems, the Israelis. The Arab spring will soon become a hot summer and there will be an Arab autumn, too. By then, the Middle East may have changed forever. What America says will matter nothing.”

This is truly a sad testimony about a powerful country which becomes more and more insignificant and irrelevant in world affairs. The reason for our national downfall is clearly described in our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Afghan War Gets Even Uglier…

Deutsche Welle reported on May 30:

“A NATO commander apologized on Monday for the deaths of Afghan civilians killed by an airstrike in the southern province of Helmand on Saturday. Afghan officials said the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had killed 12 children and two women. The raid was in response to a Taliban attack on US marines in the area…

“The apology came after President Hamid Karzai’s office issued what it called a ‘last warning’ to US and NATO troops… Karzai said such operations amounted to the ‘murdering of Afghanistan’s women and children’…

“Meanwhile, Afghan officials said on Sunday an investigation was under way into a suicide attack on Saturday that killed two senior police commanders and two German soldiers. German General Markus Kneip, the top NATO officer in the northern region was injured in the blast.”

The paper added on May 31:

“Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday said NATO was ‘not allowed’ to launch attacks on Afghan homes in pursuit of insurgents, and that a recent wave of civilian casualties risks turning the Afghan people against them. ‘NATO must learn that airstrikes on Afghan homes are not allowed and that Afghan people have no tolerance for that anymore,’ Karzai told reporters at a news conference in Kabul. ‘If they don’t stop airstrikes on Afghan homes, their presence in Afghanistan will be considered as an occupying force and against the will of the Afghan people.’ Karzai added that he had warned NATO commanders ‘a hundred times.’

“‘The international community has helped us a lot, but they cannot risk the lives of Afghan people, this can’t be compensated,’ he said… Graphic footage was broadcast on television, showing mourning relatives holding the bodies of several children, among them babies… UN data shows at least three-quarters of civilian deaths are caused by insurgents, but those by NATO forces cause the most anger among the Afghan people.”

The Cost of the Afghan War

The Washington Post wrote on May 30:

“Of all the statistics that President Obama’s national security team will consider when it debates the size of forthcoming troop reductions in Afghanistan, the most influential number probably will not be how many insurgents have been killed or the amount of territory wrested from the Taliban… It will be the cost of the war.

“The U.S. military is on track to spend $113 billion on its operations in Afghanistan this fiscal year, and it is seeking $107 billion for the next. To many of the president’s civilian advisers, that price is too high… Military and civilian officials agree that the cost of the Afghan mission is staggering. The amount per deployed service member in Afghanistan, which the administration estimates at $1 million per year, is significantly higher than it was in Iraq because fuel and other supplies must be trucked into the landlocked nation, often through circuitous routes. Bases, meanwhile, have to be built from scratch.

“The U.S.-led effort to create a new national army, which Afghanistan never had, already has consumed more than $28 billion. The Pentagon wants $12.8 billion for fiscal 2012 — the largest single line item in next year’s Defense Department budget request — to continue training and equipping Afghan soldiers…

“Military leaders maintain that the 30,000-troop surge and an increase in civilian reconstruction efforts have resulted in a dramatic turnaround of what had been a foundering war, creating the possibility of a reasonably stable nation. They insist that a rapid withdrawal of forces would make that goal unachievable by rolling back territorial gains against the Taliban and jeopardizing efforts to develop Afghan security forces and build government institutions…

“On Thursday, the House narrowly defeated an amendment calling for an accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan and a fixed timetable for turning over military operations to the Kabul government. The vote, 204 to 215, was far thinner than last year’s 162-to-260 tally on the same issue. In the Senate, influential members have said recently that the cost of the war merits a reexamination of the overall U.S. strategy in Afghanistan…

“Some Republican presidential candidates also are beginning to have second thoughts about the scope of the war…”

Mankind has still a long way to go to finally learn that its costly and futile wars will NOT solve our problems and establish lasting peace. In that light, the following article is quite interesting.

“The Way to Peace They Do Not Know…”

The Local wrote on June 2:

“Margot Käßmann, former head of the German Protestant church, used her speech at an annual Christian convention on Thursday to question the morality of the German weapons industry. President Christian Wulff was in her audience. ‘Our national economy benefits from a war that we criticize,’ she said at the 33rd Kirchentag convention in Dresden, addressing an audience of thousands in a sports arena. ‘Is it legitimate to earn money from the weapons trade?’

“Käßmann cited the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which recently reported that Germany’s share of the global weapons trade rose to 11 percent between 2005 and 2010, making it the third biggest weapons exporter in the world, behind the US and Russia…

“Käßmann also criticized Germany’s mission in Afghanistan and the NATO bombing of Libya. She said she had been in favour of enforcing a no-fly zone over the latter country, but condemned the ‘deliberate attempt to kill Qaddafi, with whom we had been doing business with just before. That is no path to peace,’ she said.”

Need to “Redefine” Relationship Between USA and Europe

Deutsche Welle reported on May 28:

“US President Barack Obama has called on America and Europe to renew their flagging global leadership. But the Atlantic partners first must redefine their relationship in the face of Arab uprisings and Asian strength… Europe and the US are struggling to come to terms with the fact that their historic partnership is changing in response to revolts in the Arab world and stunning economic growth in Asia…

“During the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Deauville, France, the US and Europe sought to demonstrate the global leadership role Obama called for in London by agreeing to provide billions of dollars in aid to support the so-called Arab Spring, particularly democratic transitions in Egypt and Tunisia… Although America’s relationship with Europe is rooted in history, Washington’s fate has become deeply intertwined with developments in the Middle East, Asia and Russia over the past decade. As [a] consequence, the US has largely shifted its political attention towards the large emerging powers.

“Central European nations such as Poland, where Obama spent the final leg of his trip, have expressed growing concern that Washington is overlooking their security as it seeks to improve ties with Russia by inviting Moscow to participate in the construction of a missile shield…

“Building partnerships in Europe is complex due to the continent’s maze of political institutions… Washington has to simultaneously engage the continent through NATO, the individual nation-states, as well as through the European Union…. As a result, Washington finds it difficult to engage a European continent that often lacks a common voice on global issues… The US has been disappointed with Europe’s reluctance to engage in Afghanistan and that it did not assume full responsibility for the intervention Libya.”

Sadly, the relationship between the USA and Europe will continue to deteriorate.

EU Unhappy With Ashton

Mail On Line wrote on May 27:

“Baroness Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, has been told she has until the autumn to raise her game or she could lose her job. The Labour peer, who is the world’s highest-paid female politician, was given the warning by leading German politicians… the attack from Germany could cut short her five-year term in Brussels on £250,000 a year – a  salary that is higher than President Barack Obama’s.

“Wolfgang [Schaeuble], the German finance minister, said Lady Ashton ‘does not have the power to portray Europe’ on the world stage. He criticised the impression she had made during the Arab Spring, saying she had ‘not spoken with one voice’ for Europe. Elmar Brok, an MEP from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, warned that she had until autumn to prove herself… She is also facing criticism from the French, Spanish and British as well as some of the smaller member states, particularly for what is seen as a low-key approach to her job.”

Soon, Europe WILL speak and act much more powerfully.

Slavery in the Third Reich

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 27:

“Germany’s occupation of Poland is one of the darkest chapters of World War II. Some 6 million people, almost 18 percent of the Polish population, were killed during the Nazi reign of terror that saw mass executions, forced evictions and enslavement… The Nazis’ aim was to transform the Poles into a nation of slaves. In May 1940 Himmler wrote that ‘the non-German peoples of the East may not receive any education beyond four-year elementary school…’

“The occupiers set up the first major ghetto in Lodz, which they renamed Litzmannstadt, in the ‘Reich District of Wartheland’ (also known as the Warthegau), where 3.7 million Poles and 400,000 Jews were resettled for ‘germanization.’ Even minor offenses led to Poles being sent to Germany as forced laborers. In this way, more than two million people were enslaved… In November 1942, police officers began brutally evacuating more than 100,000 Polish farmers to make way for 20,000 ethnic Germans. Those fit for work were sent to Germany as slave laborers, old people and children were resettled in so-called ‘retirement villages,’ while anyone deemed ‘inferior’ or ‘unreliable’ was deported to Auschwitz.”

This should serve as a painful reminder that slavery is possible in our sophisticated civilized world. The Bible has clearly announced for thousands of years that in these end times, the USA, Great Britain, Canada, and other English-speaking nations, as well as the Jewish people, WILL BE defeated in war and enslaved  by a powerful enemy.

Radiation Fears in Japan

Focus wrote on May 28:

“The news agency Kyodo reported that the damaged [Fukushima nuclear] plant was not sufficiently secure and protected against heavy rain and wind… Kyodo also reported that at twelve places on the ocean floor, within a radius of between 50 and 300 kilometers, Japanese governmental agencies detected radiation levels which exceeded officialy safe limits hundreds of times and which would be very dangerous to human health if they would also be deteced in fish and shellfish.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 1:

“Contamination levels in the Japanese mountain village of Iitate are higher than in some parts of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Its evacuation has been a painful process for residents…

“In the days following the explosions inside the Fukushima reactors, the wind carried radiation clouds in a northwesterly direction, all the way into the mountains surrounding Iitate, about 40 kilometers away from the plant. The people working in the fields at the time knew nothing about the dangers in the sky. No one had warned them. Later on, the authorities measured radiation levels of up to 45 microsievert per hour in Iitate. This is several times the level that led to the evacuation of Chernobyl…

“Twenty years after Chernobyl, the United Nations published a comprehensive report on the health of those resettled from the restricted zone there. According to the report, the people were traumatized by the loss of their homes and the fear of radiation damage. Believing that they are doomed to die, many drink and smoke excessively…”

The reality of the plague of dangerous radiation and the accompanying pain and suffering of the victims cannot be overemphasized. Our nuclear plants are simply not safe enough to prevent terrible disasters from occuring. It has now been reported that a nuclear plant near Joplin, Missouri, could be seriously affected by a powerful tornado. In this light, Germany’s controversial decision to abandon nuclear energy altogether is quite interesting, as the next article shows, also in consideration of the fact that Germany is becoming once again the (unpopular) leader of Europe in important questions.

Germany To Abandon Nuclear Energy

The Local wrote on May 31:

“The German plan, hammered out by Merkel’s ruling coalition in marathon overnight negotiations, will see the country shutter all 17 of its nuclear reactors… within 11 years. Seven of the eight reactors already offline are the country’s oldest, which the government shut down for three months pending a safety probe after the Fukushima emergency. The eighth is the Kruemmel plant, in north Germany, which has been offline for years because of technical problems. Six further reactors will shut down by 2021 and the three most modern will stop operating the following year 2022.

“Monday’s decision, which could run into legal challenges from energy companies, means Germany will have to find the 22 percent of its electricity needs that were covered by nuclear power from other sources… Thorny questions remained unanswered, including finding a permanent storage site for the highly radioactive waste and slashing CO2 emissions…

“France, meanwhile, said nuclear power allowed the country with its 58 reactors to provide electricity at prices about 40 percent cheaper than other European countries, on average… Sweden said the German decision would lead to a disjointed energy policy that failed to adequately address climate change. Poland and nuclear-free Austria, however, welcomed the German move… Poland, considering launching its first nuclear power station in 2020, said it would rethink its plans.

“The United States and Britain have announced plans to build new reactors as an alternative to producing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Italy scrapped nuclear power in 1987, one year after the Chernobyl disaster, while Switzerland said last week it would phase out atomic energy by 2034.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 31:

“… the majority believes the chancellor had no other choice given the broad consensus in the German populace that nuclear power has no place in the country. That sentiment is expected to be codified by the German parliament on July 8…

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘… since the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, it is impossible in Germany to mobilize a majority in favor of a return to atomic energy’…

“The tabloid Bild writes: ‘… German prosperity and millions of jobs in the country are dependent on affordable energy… what share of the costs will have to be picked up by renters and homeowners? The government has acted on the behalf of voters, but who will be forced to pick up the tab in the end?’

“The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘…The upgrading of Germany’s energy supply, related costs and the necessity of greater energy saving will hit or at least be felt by all…’

“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘… the breakneck speed with which the government decided to hastily and permanently turn its back on the use of nuclear energy by 2022 makes a mockery of every democratic rule of procedure. It began with the repealing of the decision to extend nuclear life spans … which happened at the spur of the moment after Fukushima, without any discussion or reflection — out of fear of the Greens (who have recently seen their influence increase dramatically in Germany).’”

Germany’s Deadly Disease Outbreak…

Time magazine wrote on May 30:

“German authorities are urging consumers not to panic as an outbreak of a virulent strain of enterohemorrhagic E. coli known as EHEC has killed at least [18] people, with no sign of abating. The bacterial outbreak — which was first reported on May 20 in northern Germany — is believed to have infected around [2,000] people, but officials fear it hasn’t yet reached its peak. After scientists in the north German port city of Hamburg traced the bacterium to cucumbers imported from Spain, German health-safety officials have advised consumers to steer clear of raw cucumbers, salad, and tomatoes. And now the fear has spread to Russia, where authorities on Monday banned the import of all raw vegetables from Germany and Spain — and threatened to widen the ban to produce from the rest of the European Union.

“The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm has said in a statement that the outbreak in Germany is one of the biggest of its kind worldwide, and certainly the largest ever in Germany. Up to 500 cases of EHEC have been reported in the northern port city of Hamburg alone…

“‘This is a very serious outbreak,’ says Thomas Alter, a food-safety expert at the Institute of Food Hygiene at Berlin’s Free University. ‘In the past, there have been smaller EHEC outbreaks in Germany which have been detected in beef or [unpasteurized] milk. But there’s never been an EHEC outbreak linked to vegetables.’ Alter notes that Germany normally has an average of 900 cases of EHEC each year, but the new outbreak is ‘very dangerous.’ ‘The challenge now is to identify the source of the infection and determine how vegetables were contaminated by the EHEC bacterium which is usually found in cattle,’ he says. The European Disease Centre says that transmission of the EHEC infection usually occurs through contaminated food or water, and through contact with animals, but person-to-person transmission is also possible…

“Amid growing concerns that the outbreak is spreading, some German supermarket chains have taken Spanish-imported cucumbers off the shelves and German consumers have started boycotting raw vegetables, even those from Germany. According to a survey published on Sunday in the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, 58% of Germans say they are not eating fresh cucumbers, raw tomatoes or salad. German farmers say they are now facing huge losses and are being forced to destroy crops because of the consumer boycott. However, despite pressure from Germany’s powerful farming lobby, the government is still sticking to its guidelines…

“‘My advice is simple: avoid salad, cucumbers and raw tomatoes, wash your hands carefully in the kitchen, and heat up all food properly,’ says Lothar Wieler, professor of microbiology at Berlin’s Free University. ‘The high mortality rate and the spiraling number of cases of patients infected with EHEC who develop HUS are extremely worrying,’ he says, adding that the EHEC bacterium cannot be treated with antibiotics…

“Other EHEC cases have been reported across Europe — in Britain, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Sweden — but all of those cases involve either German nationals or patients who have recently traveled to Germany. European health officials say no case of a locally acquired infection has so far been detected outside Germany…”

The Associated Press added on June 1:

“The outbreak is already considered the third-largest involving E. coli in recent world history, and it may be the deadliest.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 2:

“As the E. coli outbreak continues to ravage Germany and other parts of Europe, the World Health Organization said Thursday that the aggressive intestinal bacteria is a new strain never seen before. Meanwhile fears of the illness prompted Russia to ban imports of vegetables from the EU… the World Health Organization announced that preliminary genetic sequencing had revealed the deadly strain is likely a mutant form of two separate E. coli bacteria that is new to scientists… Thousands of people in nine European countries have been infected by the bacteria… The swiftly spreading outbreak is baffling even the most experienced of doctors… In the meantime experts have ruled out their initial suspicion that Spanish cucumbers were the source of the E. coli bacteria…

“The EU commission has since removed its warning against Spanish cucumbers, but Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told a national radio station that his country would seek reparations from European authorities to cover farmers’ losses… The outbreak also prompted Russia on Thursday to ban the import of vegetables from the entire European Union, a move the commission health spokesman Frederic Vincent called ‘disproportionate.’ The commission will write a letter to Russian authorities demanding an explanation, he said, adding that fresh fruit and vegetable exports to Russia amount to between €3 billion and €4 billion ($4.3 billion and $5.8 billion) per year, primarily in apples.

“Despite the EU’s criticism, Germany’s disease control authority, the Robert Koch Institute, maintained its warning against eating raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce until the source of the bacteria could be found. Experts remain uncertain whether it arises during transport, loading, or packaging the products. However, experts said it was unlikely the bacteria’s source would be located quickly, if at all…”

In His Word, the Bible, God speaks of worldwide costly diseases—some of them unheard of before—which will plague this world prior to Christ’s return.

Tunnels and Excavations Under Jerusalem

The Associated Press reported on May 30:

“Underneath the crowded alleys and holy sites of old Jerusalem, hundreds of people are snaking at any given moment through tunnels, vaulted medieval chambers and Roman sewers in a rapidly expanding subterranean city invisible from the streets above. At street level, the walled Old City is an energetic and fractious enclave with a physical landscape that is predominantly Islamic and a population that is mainly Arab. Underground Jerusalem is different…

“Archaeological digs under the disputed Old City are a matter of immense sensitivity. For Israel, the tunnels are proof of the depth of Jewish roots here, and this has made the tunnels one of Jerusalem’s main tourist draws: The number of visitors, mostly Jews and Christians, has risen dramatically in recent years to more than a million visitors in 2010. But many Palestinians, who reject Israel’s sovereignty in the city, see them as a threat to their own claims to Jerusalem…

“Beginning this summer, a new passage will be open… : a sewer Jewish rebels are thought to have used to flee the Roman legions who destroyed the Jerusalem temple in 70 A.D. The sewer leads uphill, passing beneath the Old City walls before expelling visitors into sunlight next to the rectangular enclosure where the temple once stood, now home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the gold-capped Dome of the Rock…

“Palestinian Muslims… are suspicious of any government moves in the Old City and particularly around the Al-Aqsa compound, Islam’s third-holiest shrine. Jews know the compound as the Temple Mount, site of two destroyed temples and the center of the Jewish faith for three millennia… Mindful that the compound has the potential to trigger devastating conflict, Israel’s policy is to allow no excavations there…

“Despite the Israeli assurances, however, rumors persist that the excavations are undermining the physical stability of the Islamic holy sites. ‘I believe the Israelis are tunneling under the mosques,’ said Najeh Bkerat, an official of the Waqf, the Muslim religious body that runs the compound under Israel’s overall security control.  Samir Abu Leil, another Waqf official, said he had heard hammering that very morning underneath the Waqf’s offices, in a Mamluk-era building that sits just outside the holy compound and directly over the route of the Western Wall tunnel, and had filed a complaint with police.”

This existence of a network of tunnels beneath Jerusalem is also interesting in that it could give additional meaning to the prophecy of the strong possibility of a future erection of a temple on the Temple Mount, prior to Christ’s return, and the certainty of a future military invasion of that city.

Our Selective Memories

The following article shows how careful one must be with “repressed memories,” and it gives useful tips as to what parents can do to foster even early memories of their children.

The Wall Street Journal wrote on May 31:

“Why we remember some scenes from early childhood and forget others has long intrigued scientists—as well as parents striving to create happy memories for their kids. One of the biggest mysteries: why most people can’t seem to recall anything before age 3 or 4. Now, researchers in Canada have demonstrated that some young children can remember events from even before age 2—but those memories are fragile, with many vanishing by about age 10…

“Researchers asked 140 children, aged between 4 and 13, to describe their three earliest memories, and repeated the exercise two years later with the same children. On average, the 50 youngest children, aged 4 to 6 during the first interview, recalled events from when they were barely 2 years old, as verified by their parents. When they were interviewed two years later, only five of those 50 children mentioned the same earliest memory. By contrast, 22 of the 61 children who were 10 to 13 at the first interview were able to mention the same earliest memory when they were interviewed again two years later…

“The inability of adults to remember the earliest years of childhood—also known as infantile amnesia—has been the subject of speculation for more than a century. Modern researchers think that storing and retrieving memories require language skills that don’t develop until age 3 or 4. Others believe that while children can recall fragments of scenes from early life, they can’t create autobiographical memories—the episodes that make up one’s life story—until they have a firm concept of ‘self,’ which may take a few more years…

“Indeed, experts say that if parents want their children to remember particular events from their early lives, they should discuss them in as much detail as possible and help children see their significance. Talking over events with an adult ‘gives a meaning to memories that children may not have before,’ says psychologist Judith Hudson of Rutgers University who has studied how mother-child interactions influence memories. Ask a child, ‘Remember when we went to the zoo? What did you see?’ she suggests. ‘Suddenly, it’s something to talk about and share.’

“Traumatic events, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, also tend to become seared in children’s memories… Dr. Peterson and colleagues interviewed 145 children aged 2 to 13 who were treated in a hospital emergency room for injuries. Children who recalled crying a lot at the time were more likely to remember specific details two years later.

“Yet most early childhood memories are far more mundane, which baffles experts and parents alike… Still, because the brain is constantly reassembling the fragments, they are vulnerable to distortion… In one famous case, the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget had vivid memories of being kidnapped at age 2 in Paris, complete with the kidnappers scratching his nurse’s face. Years later, the nurse confessed to fabricating the story—but Piaget had heard his family discuss it so often that his mind created a false memory…

“Some therapists claim to be able to ‘recover’ repressed memories of childhood traumas, but the field fell into disrepute in the 1980s when some unscrupulous therapists were found to be planting false memories of incest and child abuse.

“Is it possible to recall more of your own childhood memories? Some researchers believe that people can access more if they have the right cues. Discussing past times with family members can jog the memories as well as offer different perspectives. Photographs and letters are also helpful; knowing specific dates like the birth of a sibling or a move to a different house can help place fragmentary memories in time.”

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What does the Bible say about Iran’s future?

The Bible contains numerous passages, dealing with the future of Iran, which was formerly known as Persia. Most commentaries and encyclopedias are in agreement that the modern-day Iranians are descendants of the ancient Elamites. For instance, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible equates Elam with Persia. Genesis 10:22 and 1 Chronicles 1:17 state that Elam was a son of Shem—and therefore a brother of ancient Asshur or Assur. The city of Sushan or Susa was one of the capitols of the Elamite or Persian empire, and Esther, Daniel and Jeremiah resided there at times. Susa is today known as Shush—a city in modern-day Iran.

In biblical times, the Medes and the Persians conquered the Babylonian Empire. Famous King Cyrus of Persia permitted captured Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and the temple. Subsequent Persian kings, such as King Xerxes, had a more or less friendly relationship with the Jewish people, specifically because of his wife, the Jewish Queen Esther. In time, that friendly relationship would change, and presently, Iran is viewed as one of the arch enemies of the modern house of Judah.

The Bible predicts that the Jewish people and the modern house of Israel (which is not Jewish, but comprised of the peoples of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA) will be conquered and enslaved by the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire, under Assyrian or German leadership, called modern “Babylon” in Scripture. When Jesus Christ returns, He will free the survivors of that captivity and bring them into the Promised Land. Note from what countries the modern descendants of the houses of Israel and Judah will be freed.

Isaiah 11:11 states:

“It shall come to pass in that day [a reference to the time when God will begin to intervene in human affairs, but also including the time AFTER Jesus Christ has begun to establish the Kingdom of God on this earth] That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush (Ethiopia), From Elam (Persia or Iran) and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea.”

In this context, we should note that in the near future, Iran will participate in fighting against the state of Israel.

Isaiah 22:6 prophesies, in the context of the future enslavement of the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem (compare verses 1-4):

“Elam [Iran] bore the quiver With chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.”

The timing is again the day of the Lord or “in that day” (verses 8, 12), when God has “removed the protection of Judah” (verse 8), since they looked to their armor or military, rather than to God (verses 8, 11). We note, from Ezekiel 27:10, that at one time, “Those from Persia, Lydia and Libya Were in [mystical “Tyre’s” or modern Babylon’s] army as men of war.” So it appears that at least some modern Iranians will participate, perhaps as mercenaries, in the military attack of modern Babylon against the state of Israel.

Focusing on other passages in the Bible, we are told that apparently sometime after that attack, the relationship between modern Babylon and Iran will deteriorate, and Elam or Iran will form an alliance with the Medes or Russia against “Babylon.”

Isaiah 21:2 states:

“A distressing vision is declared to me; The treacherous dealer deals treacherously. And the plunderer plunders. Go up, O Elam! Besiege, O Media!”

Continuing in verse 9 we read that “Babylon is fallen, is fallen!” The repetitious curse shows the dual application of this prophecy to ancient as well as modern times.

A future alliance between Russia and Iran (which is already developing today) is not surprising, given the fact that these two powers were allied in the past, as the “Medo-Persian Empire.”

Placing all the pieces of biblical prophecy in the overall puzzle, we note that in the future, Iran will be enslaved and subsequently freed from their captivity. We are not specifically told who will enslave them, and when exactly this will occur, nor, when exactly the captivity will end, but in light of the Scriptures discussed so far, it appears that after their mutual attack on Jerusalem, modern Babylon—a confederacy of many nations–will turn against Iran and enslave the Iranian people; but that then Russia will intervene and free the Iranians; and that Russia and Iran (Media and Elam) will together attack modern Babylon.

Note the following passage in this context:

Jeremiah 49:35-39 tells us:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the foremost of their might. Against Elam I will bring the four winds From the four quarters of heaven, And scatter them towards all those winds; There shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go. For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies And before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them, My fierce anger [a reference to the coming day of the Lord’s great wrath or fierce anger],’ says the LORD; ‘And I will send the sword after them until I have consumed them. And I will set My throne in Elam, And will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the LORD. ‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days [a clear reference to the end times]; I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”

Modern Iran will be captives [apparently of the modern Babylonian system], but they will be freed—apparently by the Medes or Russians, as both will together attack modern Babylon. Note too that the context is related to a time when God will set His throne in Elam or rule over Elam. Today, as well as in ancient times, God does not and did not rule this world; the rulers of this world are and were Satan and his demons. It is true, of course, that Satan cannot do anything that God does not allow—but still, generally, God is not ruling this world at this point. [However, He is willing to rule His disciples—those who have spiritually “come out” of this world and who look forward to a better world to come.]

And so, we read in Daniel 10:13 and 20 that at the time of Daniel, Persia or Iran was ruled by a demon—the prince of Persia. The angel Gabriel and the archangel Michael fought with this demon to carry out God’s directives. And we read that in the end time, just prior to the beginning of the Great Tribulation, Satan and his forces will try for a second time to overthrow God in heaven, and Michael and his angels will again fight against and defeat Satan and his demons in an outright spiritual war (Revelation 12:7-12).

Russia’s and Iran’s hatred against the modern descendants of the ancient houses of Israel and Judah will not easily disappear. Even shortly after Christ’s return, when Christ will have set His throne in Jerusalem, Iran will be a part of a great confederacy of hostile nations, under Russian and Chinese leadership, in an attempt to invade the Promised Land and to conquer those who are left from the modern houses of Israel and Judah.

Ezekiel 38 reports about this future futile event, and in describing the military leader of that hostile army (“Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal,” verses 2-3), Ezekiel 38:5 says specifically that “Persia, Ethiopia and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet.” We read in Ezekiel 38 and 39 that God will supernaturally intervene and totally destroy that great army.

Jeremiah 25:15-38 describes God’s all-encompassing judgment on all God-defying nations of this earth, and verse 25 mentions the judgment on “all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes.” Again, in verse 29, God gives us the approximate time setting, when His punishment on all the nations will commence:

“’For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name [Jerusalem], and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

As we have seen, the punishment of Iran will be carried out, mainly and ultimately, when God will destroy the great hostile army, as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Another reference to Iran’s punishment is given in Ezekiel 32. In verses 11 and 12, God speaks first of the destruction of (ancient and modern) Egypt through modern Babylon–the “most terrible of the nations.” This same expression, “most terrible of the nations,” describing modern Babylon, is used in Ezekiel 30:11-12; Ezekiel 31:12; and Ezekiel 28:7. In Ezekiel 7:24, the phrase “worst of the Gentiles” is applied to modern Babylon invading the land of Israel (For more information on modern Babylon, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” especially pages 42 to 46.)

Returning to Ezekiel 32:24, the destruction of Elam and all her multitudes is described in figurative and allegorical ways. The point is that no country will escape God’s judgment, and so He also mentions this in the context of the fate of Assyria (verse 22) and of Meshech and Tubal (verse 26). Remember that Gog was described in Ezekiel 38 as the hostile prince of Rosh [Russia], Meshech [Moscow] and Tubal [Tobolsk].

But there is hope for everyone, because God is not a respecter of person. He accepts all of those, regardless of what race, nation or ethnic group they might belong to, if they seek God with all their heart and mind and soul. In Acts 2:9, Elamites (modern-day Iranians) were peacefully assembled in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given to the New Testament Church. And when Christ rules this world from Jerusalem, all nations, including Elamites, will ultimately flow to Him to learn God’s ways (Isaiah 2:1-4).

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.”

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

A new StandingWatch program was posted on our Web site and on YouTube, titled, “The Solution to Our National Debt Crisis.” How can we possibly conceptualize the enormous amount of our national debt, and now we are told that we must even borrow more. What are the causes for our financial demise and insolvency? God is very clear that unless we change our lives, we are going to face terrible inevitable consequences.

A new AufPostenStehen program was posted on our Web site and on YouTube, titled, “Ging Elia in den Himmel ein?” [“Did Elijah Enter Heaven?”]

A new German sermon was posted on the Internet, titled “Irans Zukunft” [“Iran’s Future”].

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How This Work is Financed

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

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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

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

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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

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

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