|Editorial||Strike While The Iron Is Hot|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Why do you use the current Hebrew Calendar for establishing the dates of God’s annual Holy Days?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
Strike While The Iron Is Hot
by Rene Messier (Canada)
I recall about fifty years ago visiting a manufacturing company with two fellow co-workers, where they made nuts and bolts and also chains.
The place was kind of grungy, with dirt floors and poor lighting, and I was somewhat fascinated by the chain maker and went to look at the process for making chains. He was a short rotund man with beads of sweat on his brow. He was standing before a furnace with an opening about twelve by twenty four inches. It had hot coals on the bottom where he was placing links of chain, not yet formed into completed links.
The links were made and shaped out of rods depending on the size of the link, and they had a gap in them. The purpose for the gap was so that when the link was properly heated up, the chain maker could hook it to the existing length of chain he was making and perform the required procedure.
He examined the links in the hot coals till they had the right brightness of glow. Then he removed them with a metal tong and placed them on the chain that was already completed. He put it in a jig, and struck it with a hammer. This caused the gap to close and the metal to be fused at that point.
If you look at a chain which has been made this way, you will notice midway a part that has a small lip and is a bit bigger than the rest of the chain. That part has been totally fused by the impact of the hammer and the correct temperature of the metal. The molecules are fused together so that there is no difference in the strength of the link where it is fused with any other part of the link. The molecular structure is the same–they are one.
Interestingly, if the link is too hot or if the chain maker strikes too hard with the hammer, the link would flatten and would have to be cut off. If it was too cold, it would not fuse, and it would separate under stress of use. The chain maker knows by experience just when to take the link out of the hot coals and just how hard to strike to make a perfect link, properly fused with the correct strength.
I want to compare this to baptism, or to a person seeking to be baptized. When God’s Holy Spirit is working with such a person, it is like the link in the coals. They are getting hot, but there is a gap there. Before baptism, there is a gap between the mind of God and the human mind.
During the baptism process, placing the person under water is like placing the hot link in the chain. The laying on of hands is akin to the striking of the hammer to initiate the fusion of the link.
Once we receive God’s Spirit, we begin to have a fusion of the minds. Our minds will become more and more like the mind of God the Father and Jesus Christ. The gap will slowly disappear and we will become one with God and Christ (John 17:20-23), which adds more meaning to what Paul said in Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”
It will become more and more a complete mind meld, which will enable us to develop a closer relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
A potential candidate for baptism must evaluate him- or herself, and must determine, with the aid of ministerial counseling, when is the best time to proceed with the baptism, since as the saying goes, “Timing is everything.” It is important not to procrastinate unnecessarily or delay baptism, once one is truly ready and practical conditions for a baptism exist. At the same time, it is also important not to rush into baptism, before one is truly ready. Baptism is a life-long commitment, which cannot be reversed.
Once we have the mind of Christ in us, we can better understand God’s Word and spiritual things, and we will appreciate more Peter’s admonition “to arm yourselves also with the same mind,” even in respect to suffering (1 Peter 4:1). Without the Spirit of God in us, it is impossible to accomplish this.
This example of the chain maker can also be applied to other areas in our lives that require some planning and forethought, but it is crucial to bear in mind that when we are ready, we must make decisions quickly and “strike while the iron is hot.”
We begin with reporting about an event which happened earlier this month, regarding the Ukraine and their potentially worsening relationship with Europe. We continue speaking of frightening developments in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and other countries in the Middle East, suggesting that the dream of the Arab Spring might result in a nightmare for the USA and Europe. We address the relationship between Israel and Ankara in the light of the most recent devastating earthquake in Turkey.
We continue with the Vatican’s call for an economic world government; focus on developments in Europe and the current Eurozone problems in the light of biblical prophecy; and conclude with a remarkable decision of the highest German court, addressing a process which web hosts such as Google should follow to avoid any liability.
This Week in the News
Friendly Relationship Between Ukraine and Europe in Jeopardy
The New York Times reported on October 11:
“Yulia V. Tymoshenko, once one of Ukraine’s most powerful and popular politicians, was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years in prison, the culmination of a politically charged trial that could presage the end of the country’s short and often raucous experiment with democracy. The sentence was the maximum demanded by prosecutors on charges that Ms. Tymoshenko had harmed Ukraine’s interests when, as prime minister, she carried out negotiations with Russia in 2009 over the price of natural gas. Her supporters and many Western officials have insisted that her actions could hardly have amounted to a crime.
“The ruling will likely put a freeze on Ukraine’s integration with Western Europe, which the country’s president, Viktor F. Yanukovich has pursued even as he has flirted with the iron-fisted ruling style practiced in Moscow.
“‘This is an authoritarian regime that is distancing Ukraine from Europe, while using European rhetoric,’ Ms. Tymoshenko said in the courtroom. Mr. Yanukovich, she said, ‘is bringing Ukraine back to 1937,’ the height of the Stalinist purges. In recent weeks, American and Western European diplomats have warned that Ms. Tymoshenko’s imprisonment would make Mr. Yanukovich persona non grata in Western capitals and jeopardize Ukraine’s free trade and association agreement with the European Union, which is near completion.
“The European Union immediately issued a message via Twitter saying it was ‘deeply disappointed with the verdict.’… Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign affairs chief, said… the verdict will have ‘profound implications for the E.U.-Ukraine bilateral relationship, including for the conclusion of the Association Agreement’…”
Der Spiegel Online stated on October 11:
“The European Union issued an unusually clear warning to Ukraine ahead of Tuesday’s verdict in the power abuse trial against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. To no avail. A court pronounced her guilty — and may have significantly damaged EU-Ukrainian relations in the process. Prior to the verdict in the trial against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the European Union made it clear that there would be consequences should she be found guilty and jailed… The trial was the most controversial seen in Ukraine since the country gained independence two decades ago…
“Tuesday’s verdict presents the European Union with something of a dilemma. Should the EU make good on its threat to block greater economic cooperation with Ukraine, it could push the country into the arms of Russia. Russian Prime Minister (and president-to-be) Vladimir Putin would surely welcome Ukrainian membership in a customs free zone. On the other hand, there seems little chance that the European Parliament will now approve any sort of agreement with Ukraine. Neither, it can be assumed, would several national parliaments in the EU.”
The Bible shows that in the end, the modern “Medes” will attack and defeat continental Europe in a war. The modern Medes have been identified as peoples living in Russia and the Ukraine. It is therefore to be expected that a strong alliance between Russia and the Ukraine will be formed—or that Russia will overtake the Ukraine by force—and that any friendly relationship between the Ukraine and Europe will soon end.
Gadhafi’s Killing Illegal?
The Independent wrote on October 22:
“As politicians in Western capitals were taking quiet pleasure in the capture and killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi yesterday, opinions elsewhere were divided. In Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the Geneva Conventions had been breached with the killing of Colonel Gaddafi…
“Russia has been critical of Nato military action in Libya, saying that it has gone well beyond the stated mission of saving civilian life. The main concern for Moscow now is whether the new Libyan authorities will honour contracts signed by the Gaddafi regime…
“Reaction from other enemies of the US was varied. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez described the dead dictator as a ‘martyr’, while Iran’s foreign ministry tried to banish any parallels between the Libyan revolution and anti-government protests at home…”
Killing of Gadhafi a Disaster?
Newsmax reported on October 26:
“Donald Trump says the removal and killing of Libyan despot Moammar Gadhafi will result in ‘disaster’ because ‘at least he had control of his weapons,’ and under new leadership the United States won’t have any idea whose fingers are on the triggers… ‘We spend all this money and it will be worse than Gadhafi — [at] least he had control over his weapons, he had control over the country — I think what’s going on there is going to be worse,’ Trump said.
“‘You know what? When you look at him — I could care less for Gadhafi — but when you look at the way they treated him: I mean, these are the people that we are going to be dealing with. Do you think we really made a bargain there? We spent billions of dollars and we got nothing,’ he said. ‘The so-called rebels . . . they came to us and said: “We need help, we need help” — we could have said, we are going to give you help but we want 50 percent of your oil for the next 25 years. You know what they would have said? “How about 75 percent of the oil — we will give that too.” What do we get out of it? We get nothing. ‘So, you know, people talk about like Libya is a victory — Libya is not a victory — I think it’s a disaster,’ he said.”
Sharia Law for Libya
The Associated Press reported on October 23:
“… transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil… laid out a vision for the post-Gadhafi future with an Islamist tint, saying Islamic Sharia law would be the ‘basic source’ of legislation and existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified…”
AFP wrote on October 24:
“The announcement that Islamic sharia law will be the basis of legislation in newly liberated Libya has raised concerns, especially among women, despite Islamists insisting moderation will prevail. Interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil… [cited] as an example the law on marriage passed during the slain dictator’s 42-year tenure that imposed restrictions on polygamy, which is permitted in Islam…
“His comments have provoked criticism and calls for restraint both in Libya and in Europe, amid fears that the Arab Spring may give rise to a potentially intolerant Islamist resurgence. Libya’s Islamists are a rising force in the country’s political arena…”
The Telegraph reported on October 25:
“In a blow to those who hoped to see Libya’s economy integrate further into the western world, [interim leader Abdul-Jalil] announced that in [the] future, bank regulations would ban the charging of interest, in line with Sharia [law]… Libya is already the most conservative state in north Africa, banning the sale of alcohol. Mr Abdul-Jalil’s decision – made in advance of the introduction of any democratic process – will please the Islamists who have played a strong role in opposition to Col Gaddafi’s rule and in the uprising but worry the many young liberal Libyans who, while usually observant Muslims, take their political cues from the West.”
Dismantling of the B53 Bomb
Newsmax reported on October 25:
“President Barack Obama’s decision to dismantle the United States’ most powerful nuclear weapon is a ‘significant milestone of stupidity,’ Sean Hannity said on his radio show Tuesday. ‘This is a great strategy in a world that is as dangerous as it is,’ Hannity said of the final disassembly of the B53 bomb in Amarillo, Texas. ‘That is Barack Obama’s America, and this is what’s going to happen.’
“The administration further compromised the nation by leaving the door open for a military partnership with Libya, Hannity said. ‘Two days after the new Libyan government declared that they’re going to rule by Sharia, the Obama administration refused to rule out a possible military alliance with the Islamic state,’ he said.”
Islamists Win in Tunisian Election
The Associated Press reported on October 25:
“Islamists on Monday claimed victory in Tunisia’s first democratic election, sending a message to other states in the region that long-sidelined Islamists are challenging for power after the ‘Arab Spring’… Tunisia became the birth-place of the ‘Arab Spring’ when Mohamed Bouazizi, a vegetable seller in a provincial town, set fire to himself in protest at poverty and government repression. His action provoked a wave of protests which, weeks later, forced autocratic president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia.
“The revolution in Tunisia, a former French colony, inspired uprisings which forced out entrenched leaders in Egypt and Libya, and convulsed Yemen and Syria — re-shaping the political landscape of the Middle East.”
Deutsche Welle added on October 25:
“Various observers have expressed concern that Ennahda has links with the country’s radical Islamist Salafist movement. Such connections are denied by the party, which has indicated that it intends to follow a moderate agenda.”
Many papers report that Ennahda is a “moderate” Islamist party. Time will tell how “moderate” that party really is, or if it is indeed a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as the next article suggests.
Doubts About the Arab Spring
Der Spiegel wrote on October 25:
“The strong showing by Islamists in Tunisia’s elections has raised doubts about the Arab Spring. Will rule by dictators in North Africa be replaced by Sharia law?… Tunisians disappointed Western observers this week by giving Islamists a big majority in the country’s historic first election… German commentators on Tuesday worry about the prospect of women’s rights in Tunisia…
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘It’s no surprise that the Islamist Ennahda party emerged as the strongest power from the some 80 parties that emerged from Tunisia’s revolution… Tunisia… is deeply rooted in Islam and its history… Not a few Tunisians who voted for other parties fear that Ghannushi is a wolf in sheep’s clothing…’
“Financial daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘Tunisia ushered in an era of free elections in the Arab Spring countries — and the Islamist Ennahda party promptly won a clear victory. In Egypt, where the parliamentary election is planned for November, the Muslim Brotherhood is likely to earn the most votes. And for the Libyans, who will likely vote in a few months, the Islamists will also play a big role… We should get used to the fact that democracy in many Arab countries will create strong Islamist parties…”
Persecution of Christians in Middle East
Newsmax reported on October 25:
“Attacked by mobs and terrorists, repressed by the growing popularity of fundamentalist Islamic law and cut off from crucial business ties, Christians are fleeing the Middle East in an unprecedented exodus. More than half of Iraqi Christians — an estimated 400,000 people — have left that country over the last decade as power has fallen in the hands of increasingly hostile Shi’a Islamic leaders.
“In Egypt, home to at least 8 million [Coptic] Christians — a number that exceeds the populations of Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Tunisia — at least 95,000 Christians have emigrated since March 2011… The situation threatens to worsen as the Arab Spring removes dictators who, paradoxically, shielded Christian communities. The parties that are gaining power in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and other countries tend to be offshoots of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood…
“While Iraq was not part of the Arab Spring, the toppling of Saddam Husseim in 2003 by the U.S. military created its own vacuum and hundreds of thousands [of] Christians have fled the country due to sectarian strife. In Syria, where Christians make up about 10 percent of the population, a similar fate is feared should President Bashar al-Assad be toppled…”
Hostile relationships between the Middle East and the West are bound to continue.
Egyptian Warplanes Patrol Sinai Without Israel’s Consent
Y-Net and AFP wrote on October 13:
“Egypt’s air force chief said on Thursday that Egyptian warplanes are patrolling Sinai without Israel’s consent, despite a 1979 peace treaty limiting Egypt’s military presence in the peninsula. ‘Sinai is our land, and we do not need permission to increase our forces on our land,’ General Reda Hafiz told the official MENA news agency. ‘Egyptian planes conduct patrols to secure all Egypt’s borders, including the eastern border,’ he said.”
The relationship between Egypt and Israel will deteriorate…
Israel Helps Earthquake-Stricken Turkey
Haaretz wrote on October 25:
“For the first time since a massive earthquake struck Turkey’s east, Ankara has asked Israel for aid on Tuesday, after rejecting several offers by top Israeli officials in the last two days. On Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected an aid offer by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone conversation between the two leaders, representing the second such rejection since a 7.2 magnitude quake struck Turkey. On Sunday, despite the frantic search and rescue efforts, Turkey turned down Israel’s offer, as well as similar offers from several other countries…
“However, Israeli officials indicated on Tuesday that Turkish officials have indeed issued an official request for aid, saying that the Turkish Foreign Ministry asked that Israel send portable structures to be used as temporary housing for those who lost their homes in the quake… Officials indicated that the planned aid shipment was brought about following an initiative by President Shimon Peres, who contacted his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul immediately following the quake and offered relief.
“Later Tuesday, a Turkish official indicated that Ankara decided to accept offers of assistance from foreign countries, including Israel, after emergency management authorities declared the country would need prefabricated homes and containers to house survivors…
“The death toll in the earthquake rose to 432 on Tuesday, with 1,352 people injured… The Van region was also hit by a 5.4 magnitude aftershock on Tuesday…
“Turkey’s request for aid follows a period of tension in Israel-Turkey ties, following Israel’s 2010 raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, which resulted in the deaths of 9 Turkish nationals. Last month, Turkey decided to downgrade its diplomatic ties with Israel to the lowest possible level, with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying the downscale… was a direct response to Israel’s refusal to apologize for the flotilla raid deaths.”
In spite of Israel’s attempts to bring about a friendly relationship with Turkey—biblical Edom—prophecy shows that finally, a bitter and hostile relationship will ensue between those two countries.
Vatican Calls for Economic World Authority
Reuters reported on October 24:
“The Vatican called on Monday for sweeping reforms of the world economy and the creation of an ethical, global authority to regulate financial markets as demonstrations against corporate greed continued to spring up in major cities across the globe… The Vatican called for the establishment of ‘a supranational authority’ with worldwide scope and ‘universal jurisdiction’ to guide economic policies and decisions.”
It is interesting to see how the Vatican is becoming more and more involved in political issues…something which we can expect to happen in light of biblical prophecy.
The EU Crisis…
The Washington Post wrote on October 25:
“European leaders remained frustrated Tuesday in their efforts to craft a response to the continent’s debt crisis one day before a self-imposed deadline… U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said Tuesday that only clear, detailed steps would help convince global investors that Europe can contain its problems… With the euro area under pressure from major nations such as the United States and China for more forceful action on the debt crisis, analysts said it appeared unlikely that significant problems will be laid to rest at Wednesday’s meeting.”
Reuters reported on October 25:
“Wall Street may have become more anxious about the prospects of a solution to the euro zone debt crisis, but investors are not betting on disaster at Wednesday’s European summit. At least that’s the case in the options market. Although Wall Street’s so-called fear gauge, the CBOE Volatility Index VIX .VIX, rose 10 percent on Tuesday, the move is not dramatic by recent standards.”
In light of the present difficulties of the EU and the Eurozone countries, some predict a breakup of the present European Union structure, and the demise or collapse of the euro currency, stating that this will be followed by the powerful joining together of ten nations in Europe—led by a very charismatic “strongman.”
Even though it is true that a very powerful charismatic political and military leader of German descent will arise in Europe, this event will NOT be preceded by a collapse of the euro currency. Rather, this “strongman” will arise within the confines of ten Eurozone nations or groups of nations. When speaking about groups of nations, we realize that current political borders (such as borders dividing Germany and Austria) might not be recognized in biblical terms, and that the countries of Germany and Austria might be counted as one in the Bible.
However, it is very likely that the final configuration of the Eurozone countries will be different from the present ones, but we feel very safe in predicting that countries such as Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain will be part of it, while countries such as Great Britain, Sweden, Norway or Finland will not be.
“It’s Now or Never”
Der Spiegel wrote on October 26:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that Europe’s future prosperity and peace were at stake in talks to overcome the debt crisis, and political leaders had a historic duty to restore economic stability.
“‘What is good for Europe is good for Germany, half a century of peace and prosperity in Germany and Europe testify to that,’ she said in a speech to the German parliament… ‘No one should think that a further half century of peace and prosperity is assured. It isn’t. And that’s why I say if the euro fails, Europe will fail, and that mustn’t happen’…
“Merkel, known for her cautious, low-key approach, opted for unusually grand rhetoric in her brief address to parliament, underlining the historic significance of current crisis talks. ‘We have an historical obligation to defend and to protect the unification of Europe that our ancestors brought out of the war more than 50 years ago after centuries of hate and bloodshed,’ said Merkel, sounding calm and confident. ‘None of us can foresee the consequences if that weren’t to succeed’…
“Merkel said she was convinced that the measures being discussed would enable Europe to turn itself back into a ‘union of stability’… But Merkel also demanded tougher rules on punishing nations that fail to meet stability rules in future…”
The Local added on October 26:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday said the euro’s weaknesses must be resolved ‘now or … never’, ahead of a crunch EU summit on the eurozone debt crisis. ‘The fundamental weaknesses and holes in the construction of the economic and monetary union must either be addressed now or, I say, never,’ she told German MPs. ‘And if we address them now, then we will have seized the opportunity this crisis presents us. Otherwise we will have failed,’ she said.
“Merkel told the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, that resolving the weaknesses of the common currency could only be done with changes to European treaties. ‘Where does it state that treaty changes must take a decade?’ she said, adding that treaty changes always carry risks because they must [be] approved by all 27 members of the European Union’… Earlier on Wednesday, the China Daily newspaper reported that Beijing and other emerging powers had agreed to help the eurozone…”
The Merkel Miracle
The Drudge Report wrote about the “Merkel miracle.” It was referring to the parliamentary support of Angela Merkel for the new bailout plan, resulting in a climb of the Markets.
CNBC wrote on October 26:
“Germany’s Bundestag lower house of parliament approved a motion to strengthen the euro zone rescue fund via leveraging on Wednesday, providing Chancellor Angela Merkel with the mandate she needs to negotiate at a key euro summit later in Brussels.”
The Los Angeles Times added:
“Members of the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, have given Chancellor Angela Merkel a strong mandate to increase the firepower of Europe’s bailout fund at today’s crucial summit in Brussels.”
As we mentioned before, even though most Germans don’t seem to appreciate what Angela Merkel is doing (according to Die Welt, October 25), she seems to have extraordinary vision in regard to the perceived need to save the euro and the Eurozone.
Germany Pushed into Leadership Role
The Washington Post wrote on October 22:
“For decades, Germany’s role in Europe has been to supply the cash, not the leadership. With fresh memories of war, the continent was cautious about German domination — and so were the Germans themselves. But the economic crisis has shaken Europe’s postwar model, and Germany increasingly calls the shots. As countries struggle to pay their debts, only Chancellor Angela Merkel has enough money to haul them out of trouble. And the price Merkel is demanding — more control over how they run their economies — is setting off alarm bells in capitals across the continent…
“Misgivings about a larger German role in Europe have been apparent inside the country, as well… And the rest of Europe remains cautious about taking German medicine, needing the help but worried about the side effects. ‘That’s the predicament of leadership,’ said Joschka Fischer, a former foreign minister who has urged Merkel to do more to support the euro.
‘When Germany acts, there is the fear that Germany will dominate. If Germany doesn’t act, it’s the fear that Germany will withdraw from Europe’…
“But when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Germany, long split between rival Eastern and Western blocs, announced plans to reunite, raising fears that a powerful nation at the heart of Europe would once again tower over its weaker neighbors. As a condition of French consent to the reunification, French President Francois Mitterrand demanded a steep price: that Germany give up its cherished stable currency, the deutsche mark, and bind itself to a common currency, and by extension to the broader tapestry of Europe.
“That worked for years. But time and circumstance are conspiring to put Germany in the driver’s seat. Continental powers including France and Italy have faded in influence, while inside Germany the long caution about being assertive has mostly worn out…
“’I can absolutely not accept’ that Germany and France make decisions, then present them to the rest of the euro zone, Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger told Austrian television last week. ‘There’s no economic board or diktat. We have a euro zone with 17 countries.’ In Germany, the dissension is raising eyebrows. ‘Everybody is calling for leadership,’ said the country’s deputy foreign minister, Werner Hoyer, ‘but no one wants to be led.’”
And so, Germany WILL lead, as the Bible has prophesied to happen in these end times thousands of years ago…
Crucial Summit in Brussels–Europe Will Protect Its Member States
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 27:
“The expectations from the two EU summits in the past four days were high. But on Thursday – after a long, long night of negotiations the leaders have come out with a handful of concrete results. ‘The world was watching and we showed it that we have come to the right decisions,’ said German Chancellor Angela Merkel as results of Wednesday night’s marathon summit broke just before dawn. Greece will get its debt cut – but that is not all. The aim was a complete package to solve the euro debt crisis – a debt cut for Greece, the expansion of the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), the basis for all bailout plans, and a strong shot in the arm for banks. And the message – addressed to financial markets, investors and EU nations themselves – was that Europe will protect its member states threatened as they are by the growing crisis.
“French President Nicolas Sarkozy stressed how important the decisions were as he explained that the complex and necessary topics had led to very long negotiations. ‘But I believe the results will bring relief to the world, which has waited for tough decisions from the eurozone,’ Sarkozy said. That relief was felt on markets soon after the leaders’ announcement, with world stocks and the euro rising to their highest levels in nearly two months…
“Raising the pressure on the banks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, EU President Herman van Rompuy and the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, stepped up to the marathon negotiations. To do it, the actual EU summit was interrupted. Then, in the early hours of the morning – at around 3:30 a.m. – came the breakthrough. Finally, the banks agreed to write off 50 percent of Greek debt – roughly 100 billion euros ($140 billion). It will reduce Greece’s overall debt to 120 percent of gross domestic product. It is currently running between 160 and 170 percent… EU leaders were also able to expand the EFSF. Its power will grow to almost a trillion euros from its current level of 440 billion…
“All 27 EU member states have agreed to force banks to raise their core capital quotas – also known as Tier 1 Ratings – to nine percent by 2012. They are talking about an extra 106 billion euros in capital… Italy is one of the countries where the crisis could still spread. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has announced a number of reforms, but has done little to make them a reality. But under pressure from other leaders at the EU summit over the weekend, Berlusconi returned to Brussels on Wednesday with a new promise of reform.
“In a letter to the members of the EU summit, Berlusconi pledged to deliver a plan by November 15 to include adjustments in Italy’s job market, pension program, and privatization plans. Berlusconi’s outline of a plan also aims to improve conditions for business through less bureaucracy and modern organization. His plan made a good impression, according to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. But the last few days appear to have left their mark on Berlusconi, who faces ongoing speculation about his departure.”
AFP wrote on October 27, 2011:
“Chancellor Angela Merkel emerged from 10 hours of negotiations in Brussels with a plan to stem the debt crisis that might as well have been written in Berlin. The German leader forced French President Nicolas Sarkozy to bend to her will on using the European rescue fund only as a last resort, ruled out an automatic crisis-fighting role for the European Central Bank and dragged banks back to the table to take greater losses on Greek debt. She even wrung further budget concessions out of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
“‘Merkel got what she wanted,’ Shada Islam, an analyst at the Friends of Europe policy-advisory group in Brussels, said… ‘This has confirmed Germany’s role as the make-or-break player not only in the euro-zone crisis but in European Union affairs beyond Europe.’
“Two years after the debt crisis came to light in Greece, Merkel is finally translating her status as leader of Europe’s biggest economy and biggest contributor to euro-area bailouts into international clout…
“Merkel’s domestic allies praised her Brussels performance… ‘The world is celebrating Angela Merkel,’ Germany’s best-selling Bild newspaper said in its front page headline in its online edition late yesterday.”
Cameron Under Fire Over EU Referendum
AFP wrote on October 24:
“David Cameron on Monday suffered his largest parliamentary rebellion since becoming prime minister as around 80 Conservative lawmakers defied their leader to vote in favour of holding a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. Cameron’s government, which is against holding a referendum, in the end won the House of Commons vote 483-111 due to support from the Liberal Democrats — the Conservatives’ euro-friendly junior coalition partners — and the main opposition Labour Party. But the eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party delivered Cameron a blow by ignoring whip pressure to vote in favour of a referendum in the biggest show of internal party dissent since he took office in May 2010…
“It is also the most serious ever rebellion against a British prime minister on the issue of the EU… Although the vote was never to be legally binding, the rebellion is politically significant, particularly as polls suggest it has public support. A YouGov survey for The Sunday Times this weekend found 66 percent of Britons back a referendum on European Union membership… The proposed referendum would ask the British public if they want to remain in the EU, leave or renegotiate membership, in the first such vote since 1975…
“Cameron has insisted he is defending Britain’s interests in Europe, and at a stormy EU summit on Sunday he threatened to ‘exact a price’ if the 17 countries that use the euro sought closer integration to deal with the crisis. His stance sparked a row with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who said he was ‘sick of you (Cameron) criticising us and telling us what to do’ about the eurozone.”
We received the following comment to this development from Brian Gale, minister in the UK: “I have been watching the news on television regarding the debate about the vote in the House of Commons over the question of holding a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. On the face of it, a vote of 483-111 seems a massive victory, but there is such a groundswell of dislike and almost hatred amongst probably most of the electorate about the hold and influence that Europe has on the UK, that it wouldn’t be surprising if this didn’t develop into a huge problem for the government – and all politicians – about the fact that the people who voted them into office are being ignored. It seems to many people that the politicians, once again, are riding roughshod over the wishes of the majority of the people.”
Ultimately, Great Britain will leave the EU… either voluntarily, or by compulsion. Note also the next article.
Britain’s “More Detached Relationship” to Eurozone in the Future
The London Evening standard wrote on October 26:
“To date, even though all of this has been foreseeable for months, European leaders have been shamefully slow to grasp the nettle… To stabilise the sovereign debt crisis, they need a very large bailout fund, much bigger than the 440 billion [euros] in the European Financial Stability Facility at present. And, ultimately, the only way to save the euro is probably greater fiscal integration. That will be politically difficult, and will require a new kind of EU, with countries outside the eurozone, such as Britain, having a more detached relationship. But unless EU leaders confront these painful realities now, the consequences could be catastrophic.”
Google Relieved by German Court Decision
The Local wrote on October 25:
“The [German] Federal Court of Justice ruled on a case concerning a man who attempted to sue Google for a libelous blog post made by an anonymous blogger who accused him of using a business credit card to purchase sex club services. An initial court hearing went in his favor, but this has now been overruled by the Federal Court in Karlsruhe which said Google had to make more checks and try harder to get in touch with the blogger. However, the Court also set out a process which web hosts should follow to avoid any liability.
“Someone who believes a blog entry violates the law must inform the hosting company – but allegations of illegality must be ‘concrete’ enough that they can be affirmed ‘without detailed legal and factual review,’ the court ruled. The allegations must be passed onto the blogger who must respond within a reasonable period – or the blog can simply be deleted. If the blogger decides to defend their entry, the complainant must prove that it is illegal, and if this cannot be done, the entry must remain.
“Google’s company lawyer Arnd Haller said the firm was relieved by the decision as it removed the potential duty of having to screen every blog entry for libel before publication. He said the judgment also meant Google would not have to remove blogs on demand from anyone who felt insulted. Google had argued that the lawsuit against it should be moved to US courts because the company is based in California – generally companies prefer to argue court cases under US law because liability rules are not as strong as in Germany. But the court ruled that it could be held liable under German law if a blog was clearly meant for a German audience, for instance by being written in German.”
Why do you use the current Hebrew Calendar for establishing the dates of God’s annual Holy Days?
God’s Church decided more than 70 years ago that we must follow the current Hebrew Calendar in order to be able to observe the annual Holy Days at their proper times. (For more information on God’s annual Festivals, please read our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days”). However, over the years, some concluded on their own, without godly authority, that they should deviate from that decision. As a consequence, estimates suggest that there are no less than 500 versions of “calendars” in existence, all claiming that their version is the one and only correct one, and the result is utter confusion, while God states very clearly that HE is NOT the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
It is high time to revisit the issue of the Hebrew Calendar, and to reiterate and reemphasize the Church of God’s BINDING judgment on the matter. In this Q&A, we will deal with the decision rendered by the Church of God. In a subsequent Q&A, we will discuss some of the principles to keep in mind, in order to properly and accurately understand the Hebrew Calendar.
In our Statement of Beliefs, we point out the following:
“The major doctrines of the Church are those, which were taught by Herbert W. Armstrong, derived from the Biblical teachings as followed by God’s faithful servants, and originally established by Jesus Christ through the founding of His Church in the time of His chosen early apostles. Since we are to increase in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, we are committed to review and alter any of our teachings, if and when proven to be wrong by the Bible.”
As early as 1940, Herbert W. Armstrong, the late human leader of the Radio Church of God and the Worldwide Church of God, wrote the following in a Good News Letter:
“… unless God has preserved His sacred calendar through the Jews, then we do not know how to figure Passover or any of the Holy Days… For there is no authority for any other way…”
Through the years, the Church of God has maintained this position. It is based on the biblical revelation that God entrusted the Jews with the preservation of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the “oracles of God” (Romans 3:1-2), including the week and the calendar.
We stated the following in our free booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days” :
“We need to understand properly what exactly was given to the Jews—what is meant by the word ‘oracles.’ In Romans 3:1–2, we are told that the ‘oracles of God’ were committed to the ‘circumcision.’ At the same time, we are told that ‘their unbelief’ did not make ‘the faithfulness of God’ without effect (verse 3). The Greek word for ‘oracles’ is ‘logion.’ It is also used in Acts 7:38; Hebrews 5:12; and 1 Peter 4:11…
“The ‘Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,’ by W. E. Vine, points out: ‘Logion, a diminutive of logos, a word, narrative, statement, denotes a Divine response or utterance, an oracle; it is used of (a) the contents of the Mosaic Law, Acts 7:38; (b) all the written utterances of God through the O.T. writers, Rom. 3:2; (c) the substance of Christian doctrine, Heb. 5:12; (d) the utterance of God through Christian teachers, 1 Pet. 4:11’…
“The Broadman Bible Commentary agrees and adds: ‘The oracles of God are the Old Testament in general, not just the promises alone as some commentaries suggest. The Septuagint uses this term for ‘the words of God’ in the law (Num. 24:4,16) or in the Psalms (107:11), and this seems to be the meaning in the New Testament… Possession of the Scriptures would be of no advantage if they were never heard, but Paul assumes they are heard every Sabbath.’”
In our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days,” we point out on pages 2–3:
“God has revealed in His Word exactly when the Sabbath starts and when it ends. God reckons each day, including the Sabbath, beginning at sunset and continuing through until the following sunset. Today, we would say that the Seventh-Day Sabbath starts Friday evening, when the sun sets, and lasts until Saturday evening, at sunset.
“We know from the Jewish people when to keep the Sabbath. It is the Jews to whom God committed His revelations or His ‘oracles,’ as Paul clearly explains in Romans 3:1–2. These ‘oracles of God’ included the Old Testament Scriptures, as well as the knowledge of the week and of the Sacred Calendar. The Jews preserved the knowledge of which day the seventh day of the week is. Without an understanding of when a week begins and ends, we would not have been able to tell, from the Bible alone, which day the seventh day of the week actually is. Today, the Jews keep the Sabbath on Saturday, beginning Friday evening, at sunset. Nobody questions today that the Sabbath, as preserved by the Jews, is the seventh or last day of the week. All understand that Sunday is the first day of the week…”
In 1940, Herbert Armstrong stated this in the above-mentioned letter:
“God did not commit His oracles, or the preservation of His times, to profane history… they have been preserved by the Jews. After thorough study of the Bible, of the Hebrew calendar, of history and every angle… we have unanimously agreed that the Hebrew calendar has been preserved correctly by the Jews…”
In a Good News article of April 1981, titled, “The Hebrew Calendar—Authoritative for God’s Church Today!,” Herman L. Hoeh wrote the following:
“The Worldwide Church of God has followed this authoritative decision ever since. Others can go their own way—till the judgment.”
In passing, if you have any doubt that God inspires the leadership of His Church to make binding decisions in certain matters, please read our Q&A, “Could you please explain the extent of the power that Christ gave in Matthew 16:19, to ‘bind and loose’?”.
In the above-mentioned article on the Hebrew Calendar, Dr. Hoeh continued:
“But what were the oracles committed in a public way to the Jews? The Hebrew Bible only? By no means! The Hebrew calendar also! For without the calendar, it would be impossible to fulfill correctly what is written in the Hebrew Bible about the hallowed annual times. And not only the Bible and calendar, but the week also. These three—Bible, calendar and week—are all part of the oracles committed to the Jews for all mankind…
“By faith we know we have copies, providentially preserved, of the original Word of God. By faith we know that the leadership in the Jewish courts did preserve the rules of the calendar God committed to them—even though they themselves have not wanted to follow those rules at all times. It is all a question of government—whether God is capable of ruling…”
For a thorough discussion and proof that God DID in fact preserve the writings of the Bible—both the Old and the New Testaments—please read our free booklet, “The Authority of the Bible.” Continuing with the above-quoted article:
“The scribes—copying of the text of the Hebrew Bible was one of their duties—were in authority. Jesus said so [compare Matthew 23:3-4]. They sat on Moses’ seat… And the Pharisees, too, sat on Moses’ seat. It was their court that determined the Hebrew calendar. It was their court’s decision that determined which day was the beginning of each month. Once that was determined it was the people’s responsibility to keep holy the days God made holy—according to the dates on the Hebrew calendar, not on some other calendar. “Were the scribes perfect men, without sin? Were the Pharisees perfect men, without sin? By no means! Jesus made that plain. Yet He also made it plain that they had the responsibility under God to preserve the written Word of God, the week and the calendar. It was not somebody else’s responsibility…
“The Jews’ chief leader, Hillel II, whose responsibility it was to regulate the calendar, was forced to issue a decree for the year A.D. 358-359 to (re)institute the authority of the fixed calendar we know today as the Hebrew calendar… the authority of Jerusalem in the person of Hillel II did speak in A.D. 358-359 to authorize the present Hebrew calendar throughout the future until such time as a new court sitting in Moses’ seat be reestablished in Jerusalem…”
Kenneth Herrmann wrote in the Good News, October 1957, that the information on the system of the calendar calculation was made public “so the broken and scattered Jewish nation… would be able to continue the observance of God’s feast days in accordance with the new moons as calculated from Jerusalem.”
Subsequently, in the July-August 1996 edition of the Global Church News, two articles were published by Raymond F. McNair, titled, “Which Calendar has God Authorized?” and “What are the Postponements?” The first article was also published in the German language (“Welcher Kalender ist in Gottes Augen gueltig?” [“Which Calendar Is Valid in God’s Eyes?”]). It appeared in the January 1999 edition of “Die Welt der Zukunft [“The World of the Future”].” We will discuss postponements in more detail in a subsequent Q&A. But as Raymond McNair pointed out in his article on postponements, they “delay—by either one or two days—the beginning of the first day of Tishri, which is the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year.”
Some who have construed their own calendar, insist that postponements must be rejected. They are wrong. Raymond McNair explained:
“… from the very beginning certain postponements had to be incorporated in the Sacred Calendar—simply because it is not possible to construct it without them… God Almighty gave Moses certain necessary oral instructions regarding His calendar that are not recorded in the Bible. And, through the centuries, God must have inspired the Jews in such a way as to utilize the postponements… The Bible itself says absolutely nothing about postponements. So, if God’s Word does not condemn postponements, then who are we to say that the Jews, the custodians of God’s Word and His Calendar, are wrong in including them…”
In conclusion, we reiterate the Church of God’s long-standing position that we are to follow the current Hebrew Calendar, as preserved by the Jews, for the correct dates of the annual Holy Days. No one else has God-given authority to devise his own calendar. It IS a matter of government, authority and faith—are we trusting in and obeying God and His Word, or aren’t we?
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Norbert Link’s new video-recorded sermon, “How to Look at God’s Laws,” was posted on YouTube.
Many of our audio-recorded messages during the Feast of Tabernacles were posted on our Web site (www.eternalgod.org), while additional messages will be posted shortly.
Church of the Eternal God Feast Report 2011
According to all reports and comments received, this was indeed the best Feast ever—so far. We observed the Feast at Pismo Beach in a most beautiful facility (at the Hilton Garden Inn) and an outstanding environment. We welcomed attendees from all over the USA, Germany and Bermuda, and enjoyed inspiring messages focusing on the wonderful future of the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment. Some of the topics were “Why Do We Keep the Feast?”, “Before Time Began,” “How It Will Be in the Millennium,” “Create or Destroy,” “Why Is God Calling You Now,” “Eye of a Needle,” “The Strong and Weak,” “The Nations,” “Unity,” “A Plan of Judgment,” “Your Future Life,” and “Life After Death,” among others.
Speakers included ministers Norbert Link, Dave Harris and Eric Rank; deacons Michael Link and Robb Harris; as well as Gilbert DeVaux, Kalon Mitchell, Bob Bourque and Joe Bourque.
Additional spiritual highlights were the ordination of Shelly Bruno as deaconess and the blessing of the little children ceremony.
For relaxation, we enjoyed a spectacular dinner dance, a diverse talent show, a wine tasting tour, and other activities, including a beach party (followed by a bible study) and attending the Farmer’s Market in San Luis Obispo after the first annual Holy Day.
As usual, it was felt that the Feast was far too short, and many commented that they can’t wait for the Feast next year.
Global Church of God Feast Report 2011
The Global Church of God in the UK held the Feast of Tabernacles this year at Deganwy near Llandudno in North Wales. This was the second year that this site has been used after a very successful festival at the same venue last year. Services were again held at the Quay Hotel where it overlooks the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Conwy Castle. The hotel has wonderful views and is located within easy reach of Snowdonia National Park and close to the neighbouring medieval town of Conwy and Victorian Llandudno.
New visitors were warmly welcomed along with many who have become regular attendees. There were attendees from the USA, Canada, Australia as well as from different parts of the UK. During the Feast, Ivan Parker was baptised adding another begotten member to the Family of God. He responded to an advertisement a while ago and has been studying the truth for a few years. He did not have any Church of God background.
As end time prophecy is being fulfilled in many ways as the world seems to lurch from one crisis to another, there was a heightened sense of expectation and looking forward to the soon-coming Kingdom of God. There were outstanding messages from Evangelist Norbert Link whose sermon was a DVD presentation, messages from visiting elder Rene Messier from Canada, pastor Dave Harris (on DVD), as well as Andrew Burns, Douglas Mitchell and Brian Gale, the Festival Elder. There were also two presentations of the “StandingWatch” program in which Norbert Link addresses world news and prophecy.
Messages included such diverse topics as Spiritual Rejuvenation, The Sabbath – A Delight, Endurance, Godly Wealth, The Unprofitable Servant, Truth, Why Are We Here?, Unity, Our Inheritance, The Millennium, Prayer, After Christ’s Return, Relationships, What Will Israel Do in the Millennium?, Home, No One Missed – and others.
Of course, the main reason for attending the Feast is that God has instructed His people to do so, but other activities were organised for all the members. A Church social was arranged and enjoyed by all as well and the Feast dinner held at the Conwy Golf Club which was a great success, as it was last year. An organised coach [bus] tour visited a number of places in the Snowdonia region, including Caernarfon Castle which is a medieval building in Gwynedd, north-west Wales, which was used for the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales in 1969. An organised tour was arranged where the guide said that it was not a castle but was in fact a royal palace. The countryside in the area is amongst the most beautiful that can be found in the British Isles.
Even though we were revisiting the area, there are always so many things to see and seemingly too little time to do so! As ever, the Feast was over all too soon and time to return home. Those who attended will not soon forget a Feast with much spiritual teaching and encouragement in an area of beauty, peace and serenity. Comments were made about the best Feast for years and the brotherly love that was so evident. Meeting others of a like mind and with the same goals is always a wonderful experience, and we are all now waiting for the Feast of Tabernacles to become reality when Christ returns to set up the Kingdom of God in what we hope is in the not too distant future!
by Shana Rank
It has been years since I sat on that couch and chairs in my grandparents’ basement. The pieces are antique, and include an early American cane-back sofa and matching chairs. I always remember the set looking well-made and historically interesting — not incredibly comfortable, but that could always be improved. I inherited these three pieces, and they now sit in my garage. They have worked their way up from the basement, and are presently a new shade of white. I have big plans for these pieces of furniture, and plan to refurbish them completely.
Instead of completely stripping and refinishing the wood, I opted for sanding and painting. The labor would be less this way, and I wanted to keep the cost of this project to a minimum. Something interesting has happened in the last month. Since being painted, the dark brown stain from this 100 year-old furniture is seeping to the surface, so instead of white wood, there are areas of pink. Not so good.
I can’t help but think about the spiritual parallels of my situation! I chose to skip an expensive step in this project—refinishing. Instead of stripping the wood down to its base, I thought I could cover up the old with a new glossy white paint. It makes me wonder when I ask God for forgiveness, do I fail to follow through and change my behavior? What am I glossing over with a fresh coat of paint? I can take this example of my furniture project as a friendly reminder–to always refinish my behavior completely.
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