Update 557



On September 8, 2012, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Mark.”
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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Pre-Feast Trials

by Norbert Link

Those who have been long-time members of the Church of God can speak from experience of pre-Feast trials. Those who are new(er) in the faith might be surprised and perhaps somewhat unprepared when problems strike around these times of year.  Of course, we understand that trials are not restricted to certain specific days or seasons. We are told that everyone who wants to live godly will suffer persecution, and that we must enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation. But still, it appears that problems and difficulties intensify just prior to and even during the annual Spring and Fall Holy Days. Why is this so?

In short, Satan plays a major role in this. He walks around like a roaring lion to see whom he can devour. He is called the deceiver, the destroyer and the murderer of mankind. He knows that his time is short. He has great wrath. He understands what the annual Feast Days picture. He sees that when these days approach, God’s people (re-)focus and meditate on the meaning of these days. And he does not like it one bit.

The Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Pentecost symbolize the end of Satan’s individual rule over true Christians who have rejected the government of Satan in their lives and begun to embrace and submit to the government of God. With the gift of the Holy Spirit within them, they are being enabled to obey God and overcome Satan’s evil devices. Clearly, Satan does not like that some of those under his rule have become deserters and “traitors” to his cause and willingly changed alliances. Especially just before and during the Spring Holy Days, he focuses on those whom he had originally kidnapped to do his will, and who subsequently were freed from their spiritual captivity by God, their true Father. With great anger and hate, the devil will bombard them with unforeseen and unexpected trials, problems and persecutions, in an attempt to make it difficult for them to concentrate on the Spring Holy Day season, and what it pictures.

The Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Last Great Day symbolize the end of Satan’s universal rule over all of mankind. They also symbolize the establishment of the Kingdom and Government of God on the earth, and the replacement, imprisonment and ultimate banishment of Satan. Clearly, Satan does not like the thought that his influence over man will cease. Especially just before and during the Fall Holy Days, he focuses on those who are qualifying now to replace him and rule with and under Christ on this earth. With great anger and hate, the devil will bombard them with unforeseen and unexpected trials, problems and persecutions, in an attempt to make it difficult for them to concentrate on the Fall Holy Day season, and what it pictures.

Satan wants us to forsake God’s government and submit again to his rule. He will try to do whatever it takes to accomplish his goal. But Satan can only do what God allows. And God only allows trials which we are able, with His help, to bear and deal with successfully. Satan knows this. At times, he even asks God for specific permission to see how far he can go, in tempting God’s people. At the same time, God tests us to see where our priorities are, and to give us opportunity to become victorious in our fight with the devil.

Will Satan succeed in discouraging us? Will we succumb to his evil devices? Will we allow his weapons to mortally wound us? Or will we stand strong and fight the good fight of faith to the end, especially in times of difficulties and trials—knowing God’s promise to you and me that “the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly”?

As we enter this year’s autumnal Holy Day season, let us remember to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, being fully convinced that His good and comforting Spirit in us is greater and so much more powerful than the evil and discouraging spirit of this world.

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We begin with ongoing discussions regarding a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and the corresponding increasing alienation between Israel and the USA; continue with frightening reports on growing Anti-Semitism in Germany and Europe; address Germany’s leadership position in Europe and the world; speak of discussions and developments in Spain and the USA in regard to immigrants; address attacks on freedom of speech in the USA and some funny moments during the Republican Convention, as well as some embarrassing moments during the Democratic Convention; and conclude with a warning of a global food crisis and the ongoing curse of medically prescribed legal drugs.

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Israel Prepares for War

The Financial Times wrote on August 31:

“Amid media speculation that Israel may carry out a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites and possibly prompt a regional war, the number of Israelis collecting state-funded gas masks has quadrupled from 17,000 in April to 70,000 in July… On Thursday, a UN report showed that Iran has doubled the number of uranium enrichment machines it has in an underground bunker. Already, many in Israel are renovating bomb shelters in their apartment buildings or sealing rooms so they can provide protection in the event of biological and chemical attack… Tel Aviv, Israel’s business and cultural capital, has unveiled plans [to] put up about 800,000 residents in 60 underground parking lots in case of an attack… Many bomb shelters in residential buildings across Israel are rundown and neglected or have become furniture storage rooms, while most of Israel’s Arab citizens – about 20 per cent of the population – lack shelters altogether.

“Relentless speculation has also made investors wary. Real estate investments by foreigners dropped 50 per cent in the second quarter from the same period last year, partly because of Iran-related worries… ‘The more the media reports about a possible Iran attack, the more investments are clearly being avoided from abroad,’ said Jacky Mukmel, head of Man Properties. A regional war could cost Israel Shk47bn ($11.7bn) in direct damages such as to private property and infrastructure, six times more than the damages of the 34-day hostilities between Israel and Lebanon’s Hizbollah group six years ago, the research firm BDI-Coface said last week. Its analysis is based on the assumption that this time the more densely populated centre of Israel – rather than the north – would be targeted.”

The Bible says that in the future, Israel will receive a “wound,” apparently referring to a (military and/or economic) loss in a war.

Israel and USA—“We Don’t Trust Each Other”

The Time wrote on August 31:

“Seven months ago, Israel and the United States postponed a massive joint military exercise that was originally set to go forward just as concerns were brimming that Israel would launch a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The exercise was rescheduled for late October, and appears likely to go forward on the cusp of the U.S. presidential election. But it won’t be nearly the same exercise. Well-placed sources in both countries have told TIME that Washington has greatly reduced the scale of U.S. participation, slashing by more than two-thirds the number of American troops going to Israel and reducing both the number and potency of missile interception systems at the core of the joint exercise. ‘Basically what the Americans are saying is, “We don’t trust you,”’ a senior Israeli military official tells TIME.

“The reductions are striking. Instead of the approximately 5,000 U.S. troops originally trumpeted for Austere Challenge 12, as the annual exercise is called, the Pentagon will send only 1,500 service members, and perhaps as few as 1,200. Patriot anti-missile systems will arrive in Israel as planned, but the crews to operate them will not. Instead of two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warships being dispatched to Israeli waters, the new plan is to send one, though even the remaining vessel is listed as a ‘maybe,’ according to officials in both militaries…

“In the current political context, the U.S. logic is transparent, says Israeli analyst Efraim Inbar. ‘I think they don’t want to insinuate that they are preparing something together with the Israelis against Iran – that’s the message,’ says Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. ‘Trust? We don’t trust them. They don’t trust us…’

“The [U.S. anti-missile system] is extraordinarily powerful, so sensitive it can detect a softball thrown into the air from thousands of miles away. But… only Americans are allowed to see what’s on the screens…  the U.S. array can detect an Iranian missile launch six to seven minutes earlier than Israel’s best radar. Difficult as it may be to imagine U.S. decision-makers holding back information that could save Israeli lives, both by giving them more time to reach a shelter, or their interceptors to lock onto and destroy an incoming Shahab-3, the risk looms in the complex calculus of Israeli officials mulling an attack on Iran.

“Inside Israel, reports persist that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense chief Ehud Barak are determined to launch a strike, and American officials continue to urge restraint. Israeli analysts say Netanyahu wants Obama to send a letter committing to U.S. military action by a specific date if Iran has not acceded to concessions, but the U.S. administration does not appear to be complying…”

The lack of cooperation and trust between the USA and Israel is also more fully discussed in the next article.

Israel Being Pushed into a Corner

The Times of Israel wrote on August 31:

“Israel responded bitterly on Friday to comments by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who said on Thursday that he did not want ‘to be complicit’ if Israel were to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities… Israeli commentators made much Friday of Dempsey’s use of the word ‘complicit.’ The US army chief could have said he did not want to be Israel’s ‘partner’ or its ‘ally’ in an attack on Iran, noted analyst Oren Nahari on Channel 1 state TV, but instead Dempsey employed a term with criminal connotations.

“On the same channel, analyst Ari Shavit said that the events of the past week… showed that both diplomacy and sanctions have failed, and yet the US was doing nothing to ratchet up pressure on Iran… Given the US’s publicly stressed disinclination to act, ‘Israel is being pushed into a corner, in a way that is really dangerous,’ said Shavit. ‘If all these moderate players, in the US and Europe, are so concerned about a dangerous Israeli action [against Iran], why haven’t they taken any meaningful action?’ he asked…

“Regional analyst Oded Granot said on the same program that Iran ‘does not think Obama will act’ by force to stop its nuclear program. On Channel 2, diplomatic reporter Udi Segal said comments like Dempsey’s might be bolstering the sense in the Israeli leadership that ‘maybe there’s no-one else who’s going to help us.’”

America’s alienation from the state of Israel has been predicted in Scripture. At the same time, America’s relationship with the Arab world will not improve, either. See the next article.

Endless War in the Middle East?

Haaretz wrote on September 6:

“The Palestinians criticized the U.S. Democratic Party’s decision to declare Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The Democrats on Wednesday restored language in the platform saying Jerusalem ‘is and will remain the capital of Israel.’ A day earlier, the language had been removed from the platform, prompting Republicans to question U.S. President Barack Obama’s support for Israel. The language is at odds with U.S. policy calling for the status of Jerusalem to be resolved through negotiations. Both Israel and the Palestinians claim east Jerusalem.

“Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas … said a failure to recognize the Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem will ‘destroy the peace process’ and lead to ‘endless war.’…

“On Wednesday, Democrats voted to change their convention platform to add a mention of God and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Many in the audience booed after the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments [were] approved despite the fact that many delegates objected…

“The party reinstated language from the 2008 platform that said ‘we need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential’…  The platform now included what advisers said was Obama’s personal views on Jerusalem.”

Israel’s Security Cabinet Meets on Iran Issue

The Jerusalem Post wrote on September 4:

“The 14-member Security Cabinet, the body authorized to approve military attacks, met Tuesday to hear the annual intelligence assessments provided by the country’s intelligence agencies. The 10-hour meeting is believed to be the first time in months that this body conducted an in-depth discussion on Iran…

“While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s inner cabinet, which is made up of eight ministers, can give an advisory opinion on whether to attack Iran, the actual decision needs to be made by the security cabinet. This body could also choose to bring such a decision to the full 29-member cabinet.”

The Threat of Retaliation

Reuters reported on September 3:

“Iran could hit U.S. bases in the Middle East in response to any Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities even if American forces played no role in the attack, the leader of Lebanon’s Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah said on Monday…

“Unrest in neighboring Syria, which acknowledged for the first time in July that it possessed chemical or biological weapons, has led to Western fears that those weapons might fall into the hands of Islamist groups including Hezbollah… Even if Israel launched a first strike attack on Lebanon, destroying a large part of Hezbollah’s missile arsenal, the militant group would retain the capacity to hit back with deadly force, he added.”

Apocalypse in the Entire Region?

The Times of Israel wrote on September 6:

“War with Iran ‘would be tormenting for Israel’ and would cause ‘an apocalypse in the entire region,’ Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan said Wednesday night. Erdoðan stated, however, that an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is ‘a very null probability’ and that he does not believe Israel would launch a unilateral attack. ‘I’m sure that I don’t want to see anything like that happening in the region because in this day and age, [the Middle East] needs peace and prosperity and stability,’ the prime minister told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“Regarding the increasingly violent, 19-month civil war in Syria, Erdoðan equated the ‘merciless slaughter’ of the Syrian people by President Bashar Assad to genocidal mass murders perpetrated in the Bosnian and Kosovo Wars in the 1990s… The international community’s failure to intervene in Syria was the fault of the United States, which has not offered anything but nonlethal support for Syrian rebels, he said.”

It is interesting that Erdogan fails to mention the genocidal mass murders of the Turks against the Armenians. Further, the Bible says that Turkey will become violently hostile against the Jews in the region.

Germany and USA Supply Egypt with Submarines and Missile Ships

The Times of Israel wrote September 1:

“Israel’s angst over the willingness of Germany to sell Egypt two Type 209 attack submarines was dismissed by Egypt’s navy Sunday. In a statement published by Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, sources in the Egyptian navy denied that Berlin would torpedo the military deal with Egypt due to Israeli pressure, as was reported in Yedioth Ahronoth. ‘The only two parties determining the fate of this deal are the German and Egyptian governments and not Israeli newspapers which try to destabilize security within Egypt,’ a source in the navy told Al-Ahram, assuring the daily that the deal is proceeding as scheduled.

“It was ‘noteworthy’ that Israeli media did not comment on another important military deal with the United States, which would supply Egypt with four US-built FMC missile ships by early 2013, the daily claimed. ‘We will not allow anyone to enter our territorial waters,’ Egypt’s new navy commander Osama el-Gendy told Al-Ahram on Friday during a joint naval exercise with Greece.”

Anti-Semitism in Germany

Deutsche Welle reported on September 1:

“An anti-Semitic attack has caused consternation in Berlin. Politicians have called for more moral courage. Jews in the German capital have expressed fear, while Jewish organizations worldwide demanded more security. The attack was completely unexpected for Rabbi Daniel Alter, who was walking down the road with his 6-year-old daughter. Four young men jumped the 53-year-old, beat him viciously and threatened to kill his child. Before attacking Alter, who was wearing a kippa, the men asked him if he was Jewish. Alter, who later underwent surgery for a cheekbone fracture, described his attackers as Arab-looking. The beating did not take place in one of Berlin’s districts with a large number of Arab immigrants – it happened in affluent suburb Friedenau, southwest of the city…

“Since the incident on Tuesday (28.08.2012), several members of Berlin’s Jewish community have described their negative experiences when appearing recognizably Jewish on the street – in any district of the city. Many have taken to hiding their kippas under a baseball cap. Rabbi Andreas Nachama, a well-respected representative of the city’s Jewish community, has said he tries to avoid public transport after being attacked ten years ago on one of Berlin’s elevated trains…

“In most cases, the attacks are motivated by far-right extremism… there are many reports of an aggressive anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli sentiment in certain schools and among young Arab people…

“Governing politicians and police in Berlin would not reveal exactly how many police officers are allocated to protect Jewish public buildings, such as synagogues, Torah schools, kindergartens or other facilities – though they are protected around the clock, 365 days a year. Guarding property is one thing, but creating a sense of security for Jews in their everyday lives is a task that can’t be solved with more personnel.

“The outrage over the attack against Alter is also part of a wider context. Not only is Berlin still a city closely associated with the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime, and many Jews are deeply concerned by the current legal debate over circumcision. The president of the Conference of European Rabbis, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt who is the chief rabbi of Moscow, said on Friday that Germany’s Jewish community was currently ‘at a crossroads.’ He said it was becoming clearer ‘that there is a conflict in Germany between those who truly respect freedom and tolerance, and those who would like to see an end of the German Jewish community.’ Jews, Goldschmidt said, were being faced ‘with narrow-minded humanist activists and violent thugs.’ Many believe that what is being threatened is nothing short of the successful restoration of Jewish life in Germany after the Shoah.

“Politicians have reacted with the usual appeals. Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit called the Alter attack an ‘attack on the peaceful co-habitation of everyone in the capital,’ while the federal government’s Integration Commissioner Maria Böhmer called on the population to show more courage. She said every individual should stand up ‘whenever people from whichever background are threatened or discriminated against.’… There were also clear signals from members of Germany’s Muslim community. Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, said such acts caused ‘deep revulsion’ among Muslims. He then professed solidarity and empathy with all Jews in Germany…”

According to the Bible, persecution of Jews and other religious minorities in Germany and Europe will continue and increase drastically. Note the next article.

Anti-Semitism in Europe

The Times of Israel wrote on August 31:

“On Sunday, 27 countries across Europe will celebrate the annual European Day of Jewish Culture 2012… Anti-Semitism, on and off, has been a growing and disconcerting phenomenon in Europe during the last decade and a half… we should not mistake an enthusiastic embrace of dead Jews and their artefacts, or of living Jews and their active participation in Western culture, as a sign that Jews are fully welcome…

“When Jews wish to pray regularly in their European synagogues… they can only do so at their peril or under heavy security. Jews who wish to publicly display the outward paraphernalia of their faith do so at their peril as well — chances are they will be beaten up here and there. It has happened before. It will happen again. It rarely gets more than the perfunctory condemnation of a society that, deep down, still feels uncomfortable when Jews dress, eat, and pray, like Jews.

“Jews who wish to impart their children with a Jewish education know their little ones will grow sheltered in the golden cage of a caring Jewish school – happy islands with no anti-Semitism inside, thanks to the barbed wire and high walls plus round-the-clock security service outside. They also know that metal detectors and police patrols will not always deter those who thirst for Jewish blood — ask Jews in Toulouse and ask no further – though plenty of others could tell you stories late into the night of how Jewish toddlers grow accustomed to cops with sniffer dogs and machine guns outside their kindergartens.

“Nor are Jews at liberty to express open, unabashed, and unconditional support for Israel — sooner or later that invites scorn and the occasional abuse (both verbal and physical)… what’s funny about facing criminal charges for circumcising your newborn sons and explosive charges when going to synagogue? A European day of Jewish Culture can no longer hide the fact of a widening assault on the most fundamental facets of Jewish identity in today’s Europe – the concerted efforts, from all corners of the political spectrum, to ban circumcision of newborn Jewish boys and the ritual slaughter of animals, according to Jewish dietary laws.

“All this is done in the name of liberal values – ritual slaughter becomes cruelty to animals; circumcision becomes an assault on free choice for toddlers to keep their foreskins intact; and the proverbial demonization of Israel as the 21st century version of apartheid has become the backdoor access for anti-Semites to join the liberal bandwagon of one standard for Jews and a different one for all other nations.

“What makes Jews what they are, ultimately, is not their jokes or their movies or their occasional literary and artistic contributions to Western culture. It is the mark in their flesh that solemnly and permanently affirms their commitment to the laws of their forefathers; the head covers and prayer shawls they wear – daily for the pious, occasionally for everyone else – to remind themselves of their Creator and the covenant that binds them to His laws; that which they can and cannot eat for so He commanded; and their love for the land and the people of Israel, with the attendant dream of restoring Zion, in both the mundane and the messianic sense, which pervades their daily prayers, the rhythm of their holidays and their rites of passage from cradle to grave.

“And yet, to fearlessly walk the streets of Europe, the parents of a 21st century-born Jewish child must henceforth forgo his circumcision, make him renounce the outward signs of Jewish devotion, raise him as a vegetarian lest he break his ancestors’ dietary laws, deny him a Jewish education to increase his chances to live to adult age, and let him become imbued with a hatred for the country where half his coreligionists live and his ancestors came from or yearned to return to. This is not a joke. It is what Europe, increasingly, has become for Jews.”

A terrible testimony, indeed. And far too many are sound asleep (or stay willingly ignorant) and do not see (or refuse to see) the real dangers looming on the horizon…. In this context, please see our recent StandingWatch programs, titled, “Political EU Union in Germany’s Image” and “The World’s Stance Against Israel” .

Further Developments on Circumcision Issue in Germany

The Times of Israel reported on September 2:

“Berlin prosecutor Matthias Weidling told Rabbi Yitzhak Ehrenberg that the charges filed against him in mid-August — for ‘disturbance of the public peace and other offenses’ — had been halted. Weidling stopped the proceedings even before initiating a[n] investigation because the police complaint against him contained ‘no indications of illegal behavior’…

“Ehrenberg had become the second German rabbi to be charged in connection with remarks he made regarding the current circumcision controversy raging in that country. In June, a Cologne court declared the ritual illegal. As a direct consequence of that ruling, a German citizen last month filed a police complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg, from the Bavarian town of Hof, who said he had performed hundreds of circumcisions in recent years…

“The question of how to apply the Cologne ruling to Ehrenberg’s pledge to continue circumcisions could ‘remain open,’ the prosecutor added. Since the Ehrenberg’s remarks didn’t call on others to commit illegal acts and no cases are known of circumcisions that were performed as a direct result of his words, there was no reason to further investigate the issue, he wrote.”

The Times of Israel reported on September 5:

“Berlin, Germany’s capital and itself a state, is the first to declare the practice legal following a Cologne court ruling in June that non-medical circumcisions on children amounted to a criminal offense, according to DPA, a German news wire… The Berlin state has authorized only doctors, and not mohels, to perform circumcisions…”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on September 5:

“Germany has been debating the rights and wrongs of circumcising infant boys ever since a German court ruled in June that the ritual, a core part of the Jewish religion, was unlawful. Now Charlotte Knobloch, 79, the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, has had enough. In a furious editorial published on Wednesday in one of the country’s top newspapers, Süddeutsche Zeitung, she said the controversy was calling the existence of Germany’s small Jewish community into question and asked: ‘Do you still want us Jews?’… Knobloch is president of the Munich Jewish community and vice president of the World Jewish Congress…

“Knobloch wrote that circumcision was at the core of Jewish identity. ‘The zeal with which the self-appointed are unfeelingly and thoughtlessly dragging our religious foundations through the mud is unequalled. People who apparently have no idea of the religious significance of the Brit Mila (circumcision ceremony) who presumably have never spoken to a Jew, now want to tell us whether and how we can follow our religion… ‘I’m no longer prepared to go along with the sham in which people are talking about a new, fresh, flourishing Jewry in Germany… The fact is that German Jewry has never gotten over the Shoah…”

“Germany Takes the Lead”

Deutsche Welle reported on September 1:

“Germany has assumed its role as chair on the UN Security Council for the month of September. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has vowed to use the presidency to take a tough stance on Syria’s Assad. France handed the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council to Germany on Saturday… During a visit to Hong Kong on Friday, Westerwelle condemned the council’s failure to take firm action against President Bashar Assad’s brutal suppression of the 17-month uprising. He described China and Russia’s veto of three Security Council resolutions on the conflict as nothing less than a ‘blockade.’

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended Moscow’s position, saying it was ‘naïve’ for foreign powers to expect Assad to withdraw his forces from Syria’s major cities first… Westerwelle noted that it was clear the international community was edging closer to the ‘continued isolation of the Assad regime,’ during this week’s summit of nonaligned countries in Iran. He was referring in part to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s offer of support for the Syrian opposition movement as the summit opened on Thursday… Morsi said his country had a ‘moral obligation’ and ‘political necessity’ to show ‘solidarity with the Syrian people against a regime that lost its legitimacy,’ prompting a walkout from the Syrian delegation.

“Germany is due to end its two-year tenure as one of 10 nonpermanent members of the UN Security Council at the end of 2012. It will not be eligible for immediate re-election. Permanent council seats are held by Russia, China, the US, France and Britain.”

Whether or not Germany will be re-elected as a member on the Security Council, Germany will continue to lead in European and world affairs… Please read our free booklet, “Germany in Prophecy.” 

No More Public Healthcare for Spain’s Immigrants?

The Guardian wrote on August 31:

“About 150,000 immigrants living in Spain will lose their right to public health services on Saturday as the recession-hit country tries to save money. But doctors warn that excluding immigrants from the health system will have a wider impact on ordinary Spaniards’ health. The move by Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s party government has provoked anger among doctors and some regional governments that deliver public health to Spaniards. Amnesty International and other NGOs have accused the government of breaking international agreements by excluding a significant section of the population – immigrants without proper residence permits – from public healthcare. Hundreds of doctors have pledged to keep their surgeries open to all immigrants, regardless of whether they have a valid health card or not.

“Médecins sans Frontières pointed to cases such as María, a 32-year-old Bolivian woman who works in the black economy as a maid and who needs antidepressants ever since she discovered her elder son was badly sick. ‘As of tomorrow she will be unable to continue the treatment,’ a spokeswoman said.

“Another immigrant, Petru from Romania, who suffers from pulmonary tuberculosis and diabetes, will lose a right to regular insulin while her untreated tuberculosis becomes a health risk to ordinary Spaniards, the NGO added.

“Six of Spain’s 17 regional governments have pledged to ignore Rajoy’s orders and will keep providing healthcare to immigrants… But those regions that want to keep looking after irregular immigrants must go through the costly process of inventing new electronic health cards for them. As Spain’s regional governments seek their own bailouts, authorities in cash-strapped Valencia, eastern Spain, have also been making British residents apply for new health cards as they tighten up on services to EU citizens.”

More and more drastic measures will be imposed by European countries against illegal and certain legal immigrants. But the discussion is also continuing in the USA. See the next article.

Jeb Bush Criticizes Republican Party’s Anti-Immigration Policy

Bloomberg wrote on August 30:

“Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said his party’s anti-immigration policies are costing Republicans elections and contributing to lower fertility rates and gloom in the U.S. ‘The most vociferous anti-immigrant kind of candidates lose,’ Bush said during a Bloomberg/Washington Post breakfast at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. ‘They lose in primaries, they lose in general elections. And I’m all about winning.’… More than two-thirds of Hispanics voted for Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election… Mitt Romney… trailed Obama among Hispanics by more than a 2-to-1 margin…

“Romney has said he favors ‘self-deportation,’ the idea behind Alabama and Arizona immigration laws that pressure undocumented workers to leave. The party has adopted a similar platform calling for proposals to ‘encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily.’ The platform supports requiring employers to verify workers’ legal status and opposes ‘any form of amnesty’ for illegal immigrants.  Bush said a ‘dark pessimism’ coming from Washington over immigration and other issues has led to lower fertility rates in the U.S… ‘We have a lower fertility rate today than France. It’s a sign of this pessimism. And the solution is to not view immigrants as a problem.’…

“Jeb Bush, who has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2016 should Obama win re-election, forecast a close race in the state [of Florida] this year…

“Bush criticized Obama for skirting Congress and ordering a plan to exempt from deportation younger illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements. Bush said he supported the policy.  ‘Having a solution to the fact that we have all of these young people, many of whom are making great contributions, don’t have a connection to their parents’ former country, yeah, of course I’m for it,’ Bush said…

“Asked in an interview on Bloomberg Television after the breakfast if the Republican Party runs the risk of becoming the minority party because of the issue, Bush said: ‘Not just Latinos, but Asians as well.’ The growing immigrant community, he said, ‘will become the dominant factor in politics.’… Bush said he was in favor of better control over the nation’s borders. ‘But then get to a different conversation about American greatness that can be sustained over the long haul, if we allow people to come in, embrace our values, fortify them, and bring vitality and energy and an aspirational notion about what it is to be an American,’ he said.”

Freedom of Speech in America?

Kens5.com reported the following on August 30:

“The Secret Service is looking into a sign posted in Victoria, Texas. The sign says ‘Pray for Obama’, but it’s the scripture quoted below those words that is raising eyebrows: Psalms 109:8. Psalms 109:8 reads, ‘Let his days be few, and let another take his office.’… some people say it is hateful and inappropriate. They say it misuses the holy scripture and it must come down…

“When asked what the sign means, Neitsch responded, ‘Exactly what it says. Hope he’s gone soon and somebody different takes his place.’ Reverend Amy Danchik started a petition demanding Neitsch take down the sign. They’ve since met and Neitsch… agreed to replace the billboard.”

This is another ridiculous example to show as to how far away this country has removed itself from concepts of freedom of speech—and that with the support of ministers.

Clint Eastwood Takes the Stage

On August 30, the Washington Post posted Clint Eastwood’s refreshing, funny, intelligent and unusual unscripted speech to the Republican National Convention. While most Republicans were laughing and Rush Limbaugh described Eastwood’s speech as “bold,” Democrats and the left-liberal press were “appalled.” Here is a typical example from the New York Times, dated August 31:

“For all the finger-pointing about Clint Eastwood’s rambling conversation with an empty chair on Thursday night, the most bizarre, head-scratching 12 minutes in recent political convention history were set in motion by Mitt Romney himself and made possible by his aides, who had shrouded the actor’s appearance in secrecy.”

To judge for yourself, we are bringing you the following excerpts (we did, however, omit any of his crude remarks, which we, of course, do not approve of):

“I’ve got Mr. Obama sitting here. And… I was going to ask him a couple of questions. But… I remember three and a half years ago, when Mr. Obama won the election. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles. They were saying, I just thought, this was great. Everybody is trying, Oprah was crying… I was even crying. And then finally — and I haven’t cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country… Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven’t done enough, obviously — this administration hasn’t done enough to cure that. Whenever interest they have is not strong enough, and I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem…

“So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them?… I know even people in your own party were very disappointed when you didn’t close Gitmo. And I thought, well closing Gitmo — why close that, we spent so much money on it. But, I thought maybe as an excuse… I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City… I know you were against the war in Iraq, and that’s okay.

“But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. You know, I mean — you thought that was something worth doing. We didn’t check with the Russians to see how [they] did it — they did [it] there for 10 years… I think you’ve mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home. You gave that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question, you know, he says, ‘Why are you giving the date out now? Why don’t you just bring them home tomorrow morning?’…

“I think attorneys are so busy — you know they’re always taught to argue everything, and always weigh everything — weigh both sides. They are always devil’s advocating this and bifurcating this and bifurcating that. You know all that stuff. But, I think it is maybe time — what do you think — for maybe a businessman. How about that?… And I think if you just step aside… You can maybe still use a plane… Though maybe a smaller one. Not that big gas guzzler you are going around to colleges and talking about student loans and stuff like that… You are… an ecological man. Why would you want to drive that around?

“… we own this country… It is not you owning it, and not politicians owning it. Politicians are employees of ours… And — so — they are just going to come around and beg for votes every few years. It is the same old deal… And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go…”

USA Today reported on September 1:

“President Obama wants to make it clear that, in his own words, ‘I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan. He is a great actor, and an even better director,’ the president said in an interview with USA TODAY aboard Air Force One, on his way to campaign rallies in Iowa Saturday. ‘I think the last few movies that he’s made have been terrific.’ However, Obama seemed less eager to review Eastwood’s latest performance, on stage at the Republican National Convention Thursday. The 82-year-old Hollywood icon preceded Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney with a rambling 12-minute improvisation that included a rude ‘interview’ with an empty chair purportedly occupied by an invisible Obama. Was he offended? ‘One thing about being president or running for president — if you’re easily offended, you should probably choose another profession.’ Obama said with a smile…”

The problem is, however, that the Bible has prophesied that in these last days, America will not succeed—no matter who is going to lead this country. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.” You might also want to watch our video-recorded sermon, “What Would Be Jesus’ Vote”?

2013—A Year of Crisis

CNN wrote on September 3:

“2013 will be a year of serious global crisis. That crisis is predictable, and in fact has already begun. It will inescapably confront the next president of the United States… The crisis originates in this summer’s extreme weather. Almost 80% of the continental United States experienced drought conditions. Russia and Australia experienced drought as well… The drought has ruined key crops. The corn harvest is expected to drop to the lowest level since 1995…

“The Arab Spring of 2011 is sometimes compared to the revolutions of 1848. That’s apter than people realize: the ‘hungry ’40s’ were years of bad harvests across Europe. Hungry people are angry people, and angry people bring governments down. Will 2013 bring us social turmoil in Brazil, strikes in China or revolution in Pakistan? The answer can probably be read in the price indexes of the commodities exchanges — and it is anything but reassuring.”

The Curse of Drugs

The Los Angeles Times wrote on September 1:

“[Gruenenthal, the] German manufacturer of a notorious drug that caused thousands of babies to be born with shortened arms and legs, or no limbs at all, issued its first ever apology Friday — 50 years after pulling the drug off the market… The drug is a powerful sedative and was sold under the brand name Contergan in Germany. It was given to pregnant women mostly to combat morning sickness, but led to a wave of birth defects in Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan. Thalidomide was yanked from the market in 1961 and was also found to cause defects in the eyes, ears, heart, genitals and internal organs of developing babies…

“Gruenenthal settled a lawsuit in Germany in 1972 — 11 years after stopping sales of the drug — and voiced its regret to the victims. But for decades, the company refused to admit liability, saying it had conducted all necessary clinical trials required at the time… [They] reiterated that position Friday, insisting that ‘the suffering that occurred with Contergan 50 years ago happened in a world that is completely different from today’ and the pharmaceutical industry had learned a valuable lesson from the incident… Thalidomide is still sold today, but as a treatment for multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer and leprosy. It is also being studied to see if it might be useful for other conditions including AIDS, arthritis and other cancers.”

The last two sentences in the article are truly alarming. Man simply does not want to learn!

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Could you please explain Revelation 20:11.

Beginning with verse 11, Revelation 20 describes the Great White Throne Judgment period, which is also referred to in Scripture as the “Second Resurrection.” It will follow the First Resurrection (of all those true Christians who will have been resurrected to immortal life, at the time of Christ’s return). The Second Resurrection will also follow the Millennium of 1,000 years of Christ’s rule here on earth (compare Revelation 20:1-4).

In the Second Resurrection, all those who died prior to Christ’s return, without having had the Holy Spirit at the time of their death, and who did not commit the unpardonable sin, will be brought back to physical life (Those who committed the unpardonable sin will be resurrected in the Third Resurrection, to be destroyed in the lake of fire, compare Revelation 20:13-15).

Following the Third Resurrection, God will create “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1).

But what is meant with the statement in Revelation 20:11, describing the time at the very beginning of the Great White Throne Judgment period? We read:

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.”

Since those who are being resurrected in the Second Resurrection will live on this earth, apparently for one hundred years (compare Isaiah 65:20), in what way will heaven and earth flee from the face of God at the very beginning of the Great White Throne Judgment?

Notice, first of all, that it does not say that heaven and earth will cease to exist at that time. It says that they will flee away from the face or presence of God and that in His presence, there was no room for them. It seems to give a picture of heaven (better: the sky) and earth having to submit to God’s Judgment, and that they cannot continue to exist in opposition to Him. We must understand that the book of Revelation speaks many times in symbolic or figurative language.

However, some commentaries feel that the passage in Revelation 20:11 is to be understood quite literally, and they conclude that heaven and earth will be dissolved at the time when the Great White Throne Judgment begins.

Compare, for example, Wesley’s Notes (who wrongfully applies certain events which will occur after the Third Resurrection to the time at the beginning of the Second Resurrection):

“From whose face the earth and the heaven fled away – Probably both the aerial and the starry heaven; which shall pass away with a great noise. And there was found no place for them – But they were wholly dissolved, the very elements melting with fervent heat. [However, this is a reference to 2 Peter 3:10, which does not speak about events at the beginning of the Second Resurrection, but refers to events long after that time.] It is not said, they were thrown into great commotions, but they fled entirely away; not, they started from their foundations, but they fell into dissolution; not, they removed to a distant place, but there was found no place for them; they ceased to exist; they were no more. And all this, not at the strict command of the Lord Jesus; not at his awful presence, or before his fiery indignation; but at the bare presence of his Majesty, sitting with severe but adorable dignity on his throne.”

Similar the People’s New Testament:

“From whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. See Re[velation] 21:1. There is to be a new heaven and earth. The old ones are destroyed to be reconstructed.”

However, the new heaven and the new earth—consisting of spirit, not matter—will not be created until after the Third Resurrection. Before then, there must be a physical earth, because we read in Revelation 20:13, referring to the Third Resurrection, that the sea gave up their dead who were in it, and that Hades—the Grave—gave up its dead that were in it. [At the time of the new heavens and the new earth, there will be no more sea, compare again Revelation 21:1.]

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible recognizes the difficulty in trying to interpret Revelation 20:11 literally, even though he insists in a literal application of the verse:

“… from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away, and there was found no place for them; which is to be understood not figuratively… but literally, and not of the present earth and heaven, as they now are… but of the new heaven and new earth…; and the phrases of fleeing away, and place being found no more for them, show the entire annihilation and utter abolition of them… but though this is mentioned here, it will not be till after the judgment is over; for how otherwise will the dead have a place to stand in before the throne, or hell, that is the grave, and also the sea, give up their dead… but it is observed here, though afterwards done, to set off the majesty of the Judge upon the throne, at whose sight, and by whose power, this will be effected.”

However, this interpretation does not agree with the clear time line of the biblical account, according to which “the earth and the heaven fled away” at the beginning of the Great White Throne Judgment, and not after the Third Resurrection. So, the interpretations of Wesley, the People’s New Testament and Gill must be rejected.

Note, too, these statements by the New Bible Commentary: Revised, agreeing that Revelation 20:11 does not refer to the same time as the creation of the new heaven and the new earth, referred to in Revelation 21:1:

“If the departing of heaven and earth from the face of God is to be taken in any literal sense as a precursor of the new heavens and earth (cf. 2 Pet. 3:10-13), then the solitary spectacle of the great white throne as the one reality upon which men may gaze is indeed an awesome sight… But the description may be purely poetic, to enhance the terrifying grandeur of the scene. The Judge is God Himself [we might want to add: in the Person of Jesus Christ].” 

Lehmann Strauss, “The Book of the Revelation,” admits on page 341 that he does not know all that is involved in the phrase, “the earth and the heaven fled away,” and he also suggests that it could refer to the time described in 2 Peter 3:10-12, which is clearly wrong, as that passage does refer to the time AFTER the Third Resurrection. Still, the following comments are worth repeating:

“This does not imply the annihilation of the very elements which make up the earth and the heaven. We have a very similar expression in Isaiah 34:4; 51:6; and Daniel 2:35. … the removal of a person or thing does not imply extinction. To pass away does not mean to cease to be.”

This is true in some cases, even though not necessarily in all situations.

The most reasonable explanation has been found in Barnes’ Notes in the Bible, even though he is likewise confused regarding the time line, stating that the Great White Throne Judgment will take place at the time of the return of Jesus Christ, while Revelation 20:5 clearly says that it will take place one thousand years later. Barring this error, the remainder of his explanation has merit:

“And I saw a great white throne – This verse commences the description of the final judgment, which embraces the remainder of the chapter. The first thing seen in the vision is the burning throne of the Judge. The things that are specified in regard to it are, that it was ‘great,’ and that it was ‘white.’ The former expression means that it was high or elevated. Compare Isaiah 6:1. The latter expression – white – means that it was ‘splendid or shining.’ Compare 1 Kings 10:18-20. The throne here is the same which is referred to in Matthew 25:31, and called there ‘the throne of his glory.”’

“And him that sat on it – The reference here undoubtedly is to the Lord Jesus Christ, the final Judge of mankind (compare Matthew 25:31), and the scene described is what will occur at his second advent [As mentioned, this is false. The scene described here is what will occur 1,000 years after His Second Coming.]

“From whose face – Or, from whose presence; though the word may be used here to denote more strictly his face – as illuminated, and shining like the sun. See Revelation 1:16: ‘And his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.’

“The earth and the heaven fled away – That is, as the stars, at the rising of the sun, seem to flee to more remote regions, and vanish from human view, so when the Son of God shall descend in his glory to judge the world, the earth and all other worlds shall seem to vanish. Everyone must admire the sublimity of this image; no one can contemplate it without being awed by the majesty and glory of the final Judge of mankind. Similar expressions, where the natural creation shrinks back with awe at the presence of God, frequently occur in the Bible…

“And there was found no place for them – They seemed to flee ‘entirely away,’ as if there was ‘no’ place where they could find a safe retreat, or which would receive and shelter them in their flight. The image expresses, in the most emphatic manner, the idea that they entirely disappeared, and no language could more sublimely represent the majesty of the Judge.’”

As the sea and the grave will give up their dead even after the Second Resurrection, it is clear that the earth must still exist in its physical form at that time. The expression in Revelation 20:11 [“…the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them”] should therefore be viewed mainly as a poetic description of the majesty, glory and power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, from whom man cannot hide our sins and before whom man cannot stand, if he is unwilling to repent of his sins (Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:10-12).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Our newest booklet, written by Norbert Link, titled “Middle Eastern And African Nations In Bible Prophecy,” has been printed and is now posted on our website for viewing and downloading. In addition, these booklets will be distributed at the Feast sites this fall, together with our special Feast magazine and the Feast brochure. The booklets will be sent to our general readership after the Feast.

Our member letter for September, written by Brian Gale, will be sent via email this coming week (and posted on our website). In this, Mr. Gale reminds us of the warnings of Jesus Christ to not let our love grow cold–to stay faithful in our calling–and to carefully consider the terrible world conditions we now face.

“The World Against Israel” is the title of the new StandingWatch program. The summary for this program is: The media reported that Israel and the USA don’t trust each other anymore, and that America is pushing Israel into a dangerous corner. Anti-Semitism is rampant in Europe, and a shocking report will open your eyes as to what is going on. The dangers must not be underestimated. (The video can be seen on YouTube and at: http://www.standingwatch.org/  Also, this program will be aired on radio, beginning Sunday, September 16).

Norbert Link recorded a new German sermon, titled, “Search For A Sign?” In it, Mr. Link discusses “dreams” and “signs” and human misinterpretations and wrong conclusions, when viewing individual circumstances.

We are quickly approaching the fall Holy Day season for 2012: September 17 (Monday) is the Feast of Trumpets; September 26 (Wednesday) is the Day of Atonement; October 1-7 (Monday through Sunday, with observance beginning the evening of Sunday, September 30) is the Feast of Tabernacles; and, October 8 (Monday) is the Last Great Day.
Talent Show and Dinner Dance
For those attending the Feast of Tabernacles with us at our Pismo Beach, California, location, several activities have been planned. One will offer an opportunity to participate in our Talent Show. If you can sing, play an instrument or otherwise contribute to this event, please contact Kalon Mitchell right away. He can be reached at thesupeman@gmail.com
The theme for the Dinner Dance will be “Animation.” Dress up as any cartoon or Disney character, or anything that has that animated look to it, full costumes, masks, whatever you desire. When it comes to decorations, we’re leaning more towards that Disney look/feel, like centerpieces for the tables, posters, balloons, props, cardboard cutouts, etc… If anyone has ideas, questions, any way to contribute, please share with Michael Link at mrmikey24@gmail.com Children of ALL ages welcome, and since we’re all children, we’re all going to have a blast… so get ready.
If you have not yet sent your response regarding the Dinner Dance buffet, please do so at your earliest convenience, by emailing it to Johanna.Link@cox.net
A reminder for those wishing to attend the Feast of Tabernacles with us for 2012–please review details posted on our website under the “FEASTS” heading. Our locations for this year are Pismo Beach, California, and Deganwy, North Wales.

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Living A Passion

by Manuela Mitchell

September 4, 2012 will have marked the 6 year memorial of a wildlife warrior legend. Steve Irwin, also known as the Crocodile Hunter, lived his life by teaching and sharing his love for animals and the environment. Beginning as a young boy, he studied the way of the wild, every day improving his abilities and knowledge to one day, creating animal acts and shows, that no man has ever had the ability to do. Some may have thought him to be crazy, putting himself, staff and even family at risk through his many films in the outback. Others supported his dreams, skills and family values. He only did what he believed was important to him, and perhaps the rest of the world. He had an uplifting personality, a passion for not only what he did, but for what he believed. He was very strong and had endurance and was not afraid of working hard or getting hurt. On one of Steve’s documentary films, his life unexpectantly ended when he was barbed in the chest by a sting ray. He lived his dream till the end and never gave up his zeal for life, the life that he believed was good and right.

As an animal lover, I too can relate to his passion; as I also try to pass it on to my son. While my goals are not quite the same as Steve’s, I would love my desire in what I believe, to be the same. I imagine, if I had his personality, his humility to learning new things, his caring attributes and his passion, I would be a completely different person. If I could express my passion towards God, the way that Steve expressed towards animals, would I get the same reaction? I find it hard to express my feelings at times and therefore appear that I’m not passionate. However, I know that if I could learn to express my love for God and His ways, then I might find myself in a more positive atmosphere. It is easy for me to sometimes feel depressed, but it takes God to truly feel passionate about anything. I feel blessed to know that I can ask God for anything, including being passionate for His Word, and maybe then, other things will fall into place.

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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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God