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Just Make It Up As You Go Along?
Protection from the Beast
by Robb Harris
While many of us were enjoying a beautiful beach activity at this year’s U.S. Feast, a 10 year old girl was walking to a park a block away from her home. She planned to meet a friend and continue together to school. Jessica Ridgeway never made it to the park. She was abducted, subsequently murdered, then brutally dismembered. The murderer is still wandering about on the loose and the community is living in fear.
Satan was created perfect, he was anointed by God as a covering cherub. He was part of the splendor of heaven, he stood at God’s very throne (see Ezekiel 28:12-15). Today, Satan is the antithesis of all he was created to be. He is a ravenous beast with an insatiable desire to destroy all that God has created. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
We live in Satan’s Kingdom, in a realm growing darker and more insidious every day. Crimes that defy explanation, that are too gruesome to explain in detail, have become fodder for entertainment. Mankind deeply breathes in the air that Satan broadcasts his poison into. The result is separation from God.
But God can hold back the intentions of Satan. When Daniel was thrown into the den of lions, even King Darius knew the power God possessed: “But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, ‘Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you’” (Daniel 6:16). And God kept the beasts from Daniel. But to the false accusers of Daniel, those whom God’s Hand was not protecting, we read, “and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den” (Daniel 6:24).
We were created with the purpose of becoming part of the Family of God. Don’t forget that! God wants to protect us, to shield us from Satan. He requires one key ingredient, the willingness to continually serve Him. With that attitude we have nothing to fear from the beast constantly circling us.
We begin with scary reports involving the two American candidates for the US Presidency; the rise of Germany and ongoing developments pertaining to the (prophesied) rocky relationship between the EU and the UK; and the (prophesied) equally rocky relationship between the EU and the state of Israel.
We are especially focusing on developments in Lebanon; Syria; Iran; Egypt; Libya; Ethiopia; and other African nations, in the light of biblical prophecy, showing, among others, the complete failure of the “Arab Spring”; reporting on nagging questions as to what really happened in Libya on September 11, 2012; and we are bringing you interesting excerpts about the city of Petra in the state of Jordan. Petra played an important role in history and is mentioned in the Bible in several places, and it might perhaps have some significance in the future.
We are concluding with incredible news regarding Japan’s disastrous Fukushima nuclear power facility and an article about the Catholic Church’s false concept of “veneration” of the blood of a dead pope.
This Week in the News
Global Power in Decline
Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 23:
“The US faces many pressing issues in the near future. But none of them got much air time on Monday night in the debate between President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney. Instead, the two candidates… reveal a global power on the decline.
“Ed Luce, the sage Financial Times columnist, knows from his country’s own history all about the decline of global powers. A Briton who loves America, Luce has sought to provide the United States with well-meaning counsel… so that America’s decline might remain but a horror scenario…
“Americans no longer want their country to be a global police force… neither Obama nor Romney have shown a real interest in the Muslim world… the president did little thereafter to ensure that progress was made. The only regional issue that appears to be high on his priority list is Iran’s nuclear program. Romney’s plan for the region appears to consist almost entirely of unconditional support for Israel. Both candidates want to continue using drones unhindered.
“… both Obama on the left and Romney on the right are focused on winning the support of a public that is tired of war, a public that is largely united in the wish to reconstruct their own country rather than nations abroad. That is understandable for a country in crisis. But it is also a crisis for a great nation.”
Not Much Interest in Foreign Policy
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 23:
“… the nation is still deeply split over the direction that the country should take… The [final] debate, which took place in Boca Raton, Florida, showed Romney concerned above all not to look like a warmonger but like a confident national leader. He toned down his attacks on Obama and moderated his rhetoric. And he moved his position toward the center – a tactic which he used in the first debate, and which knocked Obama off his stride…
“Like the earlier debates, this one did not tell us much more about policy details. The president has still not explained how it was that the requests made by the consulate in Benghazi to reinforce the security staff there were not met. Neither side can offer any ideas or initiatives which could move toward a solution of the Middle East conflict, and Romney too wants to bring the troops back home from Afghanistan by the end of the 2014, just as Obama and NATO plan to do…
“But the debate also made something else clear: foreign and security policy are not the issues which interest the voters, and both sides know that. In a Gallup poll in October, 37 percent of Americans said that the economy was the country’s most urgent problem and 26 percent said it was unemployment, which currently stands at 7.8 percent. After those two came the budget deficit and general dissatisfaction with the government – foreign policy issues came way down the list. It was different in 2004: the Iraq war came top back then, with 23 percent. The USA is currently concentrating on itself.
“So it was no surprise that Romney repeatedly moved the discussion back to domestic policy: the poor economy, high unemployment, health reform, education. This is where his real contrast with the president lies: while Romney wants to see the role of the state reduced and expects the free market to bring the country back on to its feet, Obama wants to use the resources of the state to get the country moving…
“The nation is undecided as to which policy is better. And this indecisiveness will probably mean that neither of the two parties will have a clear mandate in Washington and that this will make it harder to solve the country’s economic problems. Obama would still face a Republican-dominated House of Representatives, while Romney would probably have to deal with a Democrat majority in the Senate.
“So, while Romney promises to give more money to the Pentagon and to build more ships, while he says he wants to make America stronger and lead the world, he may well have to sober up when he finds out that he hasn’t got the money he needs. The new president will have his hands full reducing the record government deficit, the public debt and unemployment. Foreign policy will have to take a back seat…”
Our new StandingWatch program, “US—Global Power in Decline,” explains the significance of these developments.
“Berlin, Europe’s New Capital”
The Financial Times wrote on October 22:
“Berlin does not feel like an imperial city. The new government buildings – the chancellor’s office, the Bundestag and the foreign ministry – have all been designed with plenty of glass and natural light, to emphasise transparency and democracy. The finance ministry is, admittedly, housed in the old headquarters of the Luftwaffe. But most of the grandest architecture – Unter den Linden and the Brandenburg gate – is a legacy of the Prussian kings…
“Berlin is increasingly the de facto capital of the EU. Of course the EU’s main institutions – the commission and the council – are still based in Brussels. But the key decisions are increasingly made in Berlin.
“Will Greece have to leave the euro? Ultimately, it will be Germany’s call. Will politicians support further bailouts for southern Europe? The vital debates will take place in the Bundestag in Berlin – not in the European parliament. Who does the International Monetary Fund call about the euro crisis? The most important conversations take place with the German government and the European Central Bank in Frankfurt – not the European Commission.
“This shift in power from Brussels to Berlin has been accelerated by the euro crisis. Naturally, the German chancellor Angela Merkel still has to go to summits in Brussels and strike deals. She was there only last week. But the euro crisis means that Ms Merkel is now incomparably the most important leader at the table.
“For different reasons, the leaders of all the other big EU nations arrive in Brussels in a weak position. Spain and Italy are struggling with their debt crises – and so have become supplicants. The British have opted out of the single currency and the new structures that the eurozone is putting together – so they are marginalised. The Poles are also not in the euro, and have a relatively small economy.
“That leaves France. By tradition, a Franco-German partnership is at the heart of any EU deal. For many years, summits were preceded by a separate Franco-German meeting and a joint letter from the two nations. When Nicolas Sarkozy was still in the Elysée, his relationship with Chancellor Merkel was so close that ‘Merkozy’ became a journalistic shorthand for Europe’s dominant duo.
“Even then, many were sceptical. One top EU official scoffed that – ‘France needs Germany to disguise how weak it is. Germany needs France to disguise how strong it is.’ Now even the disguises have dropped away… Some argue that the Franco-German partnership has always gone through rough patches – and that the two nations will inevitably get together again. This time, however, it could be different. The power gap between France and Germany has become too obvious; and the issues that divide them are too fundamental… the relative economic strength of Germany could prove decisive – particularly if, as many in Berlin suspect, France is heading for a profound economic crisis.
“This steady accretion of power to Germany is greeted with ambivalence in Berlin. For obvious historical reasons, postwar Germany has never sought a dominant role within Europe. After reunification, the goal was always said to be ‘a European Germany, not a German Europe’. That instinct to try to submerge German interests within a general European identity remains powerful. But exasperation with rule-breaking and fiscal incontinence elsewhere in Europe is making the Germans less shy about insisting on the need for a more ‘German’ Europe. The price of German financial assistance is, increasingly, going to be the acceptance of rules and laws designed in Berlin… The Germans insist that they are completely committed to the euro and to the EU – and they are determined to make them work.”
Germany is destined to lead Europe, and Great Britain will most likely not be a part of it, as also the next article seems to conclude.
The UK and the EU
The EUObserver wrote on October 19:
“The UK sees banking union and deeper integration of the eurozone as a chance to renegotiate its own status in the Union, Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed to reporters at the EU summit in Brussels… he emphasised that deepening integration of the eurozone-17 would also change the nature of Britain’s place in the EU… he said ‘the single currency needs a banking union and we won’t stand in the way even though we won’t be involved.’ He added that the new supervisory framework… would be a ‘massive change’ for the EU… However, he insisted that he would not back the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. ‘Leaving the EU is not in our national interests, we are a trading nation and around 50 percent of our trade is with the EU,’ he said.
“Under the banking union proposals agreed last night, the ECB will begin work as the single supervisor of the eurozone’s banking sector in 2013, with the legal framework to be in place by the end of 2012. Cameron’s… comments are the latest sign that the UK sees eurozone integration as a chance to loosen its relationship with the EU. Last week, home secretary Theresa May confirmed that the UK would use its right under the Lisbon Treaty to opt out of over 130 legal acts on justice and home affairs policy. The opt-out includes co-operation on cross-border crime as well as the controversial European Arrest Warrant, which allows criminal suspects to be easily extradited to face charges across the EU. The move has caused consternation in Brussels.
“Manfred Weber, a German centre-right MEP on the justice and home affairs committee, accused the UK of ‘destroying’ measures to increase co-operation between member states on cross-border crime and policing… Finnish Europe minister, Alex Stubb, told summit reporters on Thursday (18 October) that the UK was ‘saying bye-bye to Europe.’ Cameron has come under concerted pressure from factions of his Tory party to call an ‘in/out’ referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. Surveys by the ConservativeHome website have indicated that a majority of party members would vote for EU withdrawal.”
Whether Mr. Cameron will or will not want to support the UK’s withdrawal from the EU might be immaterial and inconsequential. The Bible strongly indicates that the UK will be leaving or forced to leave the EU.
Israel vs. the EU
The EUObserver wrote on October 20:
“Israel has told the EU to fix its crisis instead of interfering in settlement expansion. Its foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, made the comments in a statement on Saturday (20 October) in reaction to a previous EU communique. He said: ‘The EU should focus on the problems that are surfacing between different nations on European soil. After these issues are successfully resolved, we will gladly hear any suggestions regarding a solution to the problems with the Palestinians.’ He added: ‘These automatic [EU] condemnations indicate a lack of a basic understanding of the reality in the region … [Gilo] is an inseparable part of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is an inseparable part of Israel.’
“The EU foreign service on Friday criticised Israel’s decision to build 797 new housing units in the Jewish-only Gilo settlement, in Palestinian-owned but Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem. Construction is creating a Jewish ring around the old part of the city, which is holy for both Muslims and Jews. ‘Together these developments continue the process of separating East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory,’ EU foreign service chief Catherine Ashton said.
“The EU routinely criticises settlements but never follows up with sanctions, as suggested by its own ambassadors on the ground. It is currently drafting a voluntary code of conduct for labels on settlement-made exports to help EU consumers boycott the goods, however.
“Meanwhile, also on Saturday, Israeli navy boarded and seized the Estelle, a Finnish-flagged ship which set sail for Gaza from Naples on 7 October carrying about 20 people in protest at Israel’s military blockade of Palestinian-controlled Gaza. The EU has in the past also called for Israel to relax the blockade…”
The Bible predicts that the relationship between the EU and the state of Israel will continue to deteriorate.
Lebanon Mourns Murder of al-Hassan
Deutsche Welle reported on October 20:
“Angry protestors took to the streets of Lebanon on Saturday, protesting what local media report is a response to the killing of a top-security official a day earlier. Local television stations say the demonstrations occurred in the mainly Sunni Muslim areas of Beirut, the southern city of Sidon and Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli. Lebanon’s cabinet held an emergency meeting chaired by President Michel Suleiman to discuss Friday’s bombing in a mainly Christian district of Beirut, which killed internal intelligence chief General Wissam al-Hassan. The killing amounted to one of Lebanon’s highest profile killings since the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese premier, Rafiq Hariri.
“Hariri’s son Saad and Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt on Friday accused President Bashar Assad of neighboring war-torn Syria of being behind what they called ‘the assassination.’… Lebanon’s cabinet, which is dominated by the pro-Syria Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah, called for a day of mourning on Saturday….
“At least 80 people were also wounded in Friday’s attack, which has been condemned by many Western nations, including the governments of Syria and Iran… Friday’s attack has rekindled memories of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war when Syrian troops entered the country under an Arab League mandate. International outcry, which followed Hariri’s assassination in 2005, eventually prompted Syria to withdraw its troops. No one has ever been tried for Hariri’s murder, but a UN-backed tribunal accused four members of Hezbollah.”
Deutsche Welle had published the following article, on September 29, about the controversial role of Hezbollah in Lebanon:
“Hezbollah, the dominant party in the Lebanese government, is closely allied with the Syrian regime. With Assad’s future uncertain, Hezbollah has a tricky balance to maintain. The so-called ‘Party of God’ has undergone a dramatic transformation since it was founded 30 years ago. The stimuli for its creation were the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Hezbollah’s stated aims were resistance against Israel, and establishing an Islamic state in Lebanon. In the years that followed, Hezbollah slowly began to integrate itself into the Lebanese political system. In 1992 it participated in parliamentary elections for the first time. It abandoned its aim of establishing an Islamic state in the country…
“But there is a definite limit on the extent to which the party is willing to adapt. It remains a state within a state, and has refused to disband its militia, rejecting any form of disarmament or integration into the Lebanese army. It still sees itself as part of an Iranian-Syrian coalition, a bulwark against American and Israeli interests in the region… Despite the increasingly serious situation in Syria and the possibility that the current regime there will fall, Hezbollah is one of the political forces in the region that still remains loyal to Assad… in the Lebanese media there is increasing debate over Hezbollah’s clear alignment with Assad. More and more people are saying it is in a dilemma…”
The civil war in Syria seems to engulf more and more countries in the region—first Turkey, and now Lebanon. It is being rumored that sooner or later, Western powers might intervene militarily to prevent this situation from escalating even further. Note also the next article.
Syria Killed Hassan
Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 22:
“After Hassan’s state funeral on Sunday, opposition protests erupted into violence in Beirut… German newspapers said that it comes as no surprise that Lebanon is now being dragged into the Syrian civil war. They argue that if violence continues, it will only be a matter of time before the West will have to become involved as well.
“The Financial Times Deutschland writes:
“‘Lebanon’s fate has always been closely tied to that of Syria. The power and religious fault lines between the Shiites and the Sunnis run through both countries, and have become more active as a result of the Arab Spring, which has strengthened the Sunnis in the region. The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, which supports the current government, is thought to be the extension of the powerful clique surrounding Syrian President Bashar Assad — and is also supported by Iran. The Sunnis, on the other hand, are supported by Saudi Arabia and the US for religious and geopolitical reasons… For a deeply divided Lebanon, the coming days may prove decisive as to whether the country will be pulled into the Syrian conflict. It would be an escalation that could force the West to become more involved in the Syrian civil war than it wants to — because Israel would be placed in even greater danger.'”
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:
“‘It is little consolation that this escalation was only a matter of time: The civil war in Syria threatens to tear open old fronts in Lebanon… The relationship between Syria and Lebanon has always been symbiotic. Even at the end of the 20th century, Syria dominated its smaller neighbor economically, militarily and politically. First the bomb attack on former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 drove the Lebanese to the streets and pushed the Syrian army out of the country. The regime in Damascus considered that … to be intolerable. Now another attack has shaken the nation and again all eyes have turned to Syria. The murder of Lebanese intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan removes one of Assad’s most effective opponents in Beirut. Those wanting to trigger an eruption in an already wobbly country could not have found a better target.’
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
“‘The intent behind the killing of intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan is clear. It was Syria’s attempt to rid itself of a person who had been blocking attempts to destabilize Lebanon as a distraction from the war at home… Syria’s civil war is jumping the borders in an increasingly threatening manner. Turkey already has its army on high alert and Israel practiced defense measures on Sunday…’”
The Middle East is indeed a powder keg which is bound to ignite—and no one knows for sure what exactly will trigger the explosion, as there are SO MANY trouble spots over there.
Dangerous Trends in Egypt
FP (Foreign Policy) wrote on October 20:
“[A] poll of 812 Egyptians, half of them women, was conducted in a series of in-person interviews by the firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and sponsored by the Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy organization with offices in Washington and Jerusalem. According to the poll, Iran is viewed favorably in Egypt, with 65 percent of those surveyed expressing support of the decision to renew Egypt-Iran relations and 61 percent expressing support of the Iranian nuclear project, versus 41 percent in August 2009. Sixty-two percent of those polled agreed that ‘Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are friends of Egypt,’ though 68 percent held unfavorable views of Shiite Muslims.
“Iran’s deputy defense minister said recently that the Iranian regime is seeking more military cooperation with Egypt. ‘We are ready to help Egypt to build nuclear reactors and satellites,’ he said on the occasion [of] Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy’s meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month…
“Eighty-seven percent of respondents want Egypt to have its own nuclear bomb… 74 percent… said that [they] disapprove of Egypt having diplomatic relations with Israel — an increase from 26 percent in August 2009… Seventy-seven percent agreed that ‘The peace treaty with Israel is no longer useful and should be dissolved.’… Forty percent felt warmly about the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, but only 11 percent felt warmly about the Salafist Nour Party, a hard-line Islamist party that fared well in the parliamentary elections.
“American politicians fared poorly in the poll, but among them Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the most popular at 25 percent favorability. President Barack Obama scored 16 percent and Republican nominee Mitt Romney only 8 percent, although only half of Egyptians polled knew who Romney was. (Ahmadinejad’s favorability rating? Forty-three percent.)… Asked, ‘Do you think that President Barack Obama is more on the side of Arabs or more on the side of Israel?,’ 68 percent of Egyptians said Israel, and 60 percent said that Obama’s presidency had been ‘a negative thing’ for the Arab world.”
We do not know to what extent the results of this poll are representative of the Egyptian population as a whole, but they show the negative developments resulting from the anti-Western “Arab Spring.” Whether Egypt and Iran will form a confederacy is doubtful—the Bible does not indicate this—but the Scriptures do tell us much about the future of both countries and their stance against the state of Israel and the USA. Please review our new booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy.”
Africa Without Gadhafi
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 20:
“In the Ugandan capital, Kampala, there is a Gadhafi mosque, which leads to Gadhafi street. ‘Gadhafi was a very good friend to Uganda over the years ,’ says Fred Opolot, Uganda’s government spokesperson. A key figure in the Ugandan independence movement, Gadhafi holds a permanent place in the country’s history… Paying for his friendship with Uganda, Gadhafi invested $375 million (286 million euros) in that African nation. The money came from Libya’s oil revenues and found its way into the Ugandan telephone system and the Tropical Bank, among other places…
“Gadhafi was a welcome financer of the African economy. Libyan investments were scattered across the continent and ranged from luxury hotels from Kenya to Ghana, to rubber factories in Liberia, fruit juice plants in Guinea, and telephone companies and motor vehicle service stations throughout East Africa… Libyan investment in Africa is now a thing of the past… Libya is broke, the oil industry has virtually collapsed and the security situation there is extremely poor.
“For many African countries… Gadhafi’s death was a loss in economic terms. It is unclear what is going to happen to all the companies, hotels and plantations. Many African leaders are wary of the new Libyan government…
“Strange as it may seem now, the African Union owes its existence to one of Gadhafi’s initiatives… It was Gadhafi who set the agenda, but he had the money… Without Libyan funding, the AU now has financial problems… One year after Gadhafi’s demise, new players have taken the spotlight. South Africa… can now be expected to speak with greater authority on the political front. New investors have already arrived. The new headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa [Ethiopia], which cost $200 million, was a gift from China.”
As we can see, the Arab Spring revolution has not helped, but rather destroyed the economy of Libya. But the AU is still alive, being headquartered in Ethiopia. For more information on the prophetic role which Ethiopia will play in the future, please see our new booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy.” Note also the interesting developments in Libya on September 11, 2012, and the dubious role which the US Government seemed to be playing in this respect.
What Happened on September 11, 2012?
Fox News reported on October 24:
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed back Wednesday on the suggestion that Sept. 11 emails implicating an Al Qaeda-tied group in the Libya consulate attack were proof of terrorist involvement… But the group is a prime suspect. Indeed, one suspect in custody in Tunisia is a member of Ansar al-Sharia…
“Three Republican senators, in a letter Wednesday to the White House, said they were ‘disturbed’ by the latest email revelations, claiming it ‘adds to the confusion’ about what the administration knew of the attacks.
“‘In television interviews nearly a week after the events in Benghazi, you yourself even refused to describe it as a terrorist attack, instead emphasizing the role played by a hateful video. This concerted misrepresentation of the facts of the case — facts that, it appears, you and your administration possessed almost as soon as the attack began — is why so many of our constituents are demanding a fuller explanation of why your administration responded as it did,’ wrote Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. They called on the president to ‘address the American people directly’ on what happened.
“Though the emails… are just one piece of the puzzle, they reveal some of the most detailed information yet about what officials knew in the initial hours after the attack. And they again raise questions about why U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, apparently based on intelligence assessments, would claim five days after the attack that it was a ‘spontaneous’ reaction to protests over an anti-Islam film… an estimated 300 to 400 national security figures received these emails in real time almost as the raid was playing out and concluding. People who received these emails work directly under the nation’s top national security, military and diplomatic officials…
“… the newly uncovered emails clearly state the involvement of a militant group whose agenda is to establish an Islamic state in eastern Libya.”
This is rather interesting, also in light of what the next article points out.
Anti-Muslim Filmmaker Detained and Muzzled in LA
The Washington Times wrote on October 20:
“Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the 55-year-old filmmaker responsible for the anti-Muslim video that President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice initially and wrongly blamed for inciting the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, is still being held at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) without bond. It has been almost one month since Mr. Nakoula was arrested for allegedly violating the terms of his probation for a 2010 bank-fraud conviction. According to reports, under his probation, Mr. Nakoula was prohibited from using computers and the internet without supervision…
“‘Nakoula was ordered detained — held without bond — by a federal judge, who determined he posed a flight risk,’ said Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Mr. Nakoula’s next court date is on November 9, three days after the presidential election. In the meantime, while the Obama administration passes blame around over who dropped the ball with the attack in Benghazi, Mr. Nakoula remains locked up and muzzled in a Los Angeles detention center until after the ballots for president are counted on November 6.”
“Unlocking the Mysteries of Petra”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 19:
“The ruins of the ancient city of Petra lay hidden until 1812, when a Swiss explorer stumbled upon them in modern-day Jordan… The discovery of the ancient desert city of Petra by Swiss explorer and Orientalist Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812 is considered a great moment in history. Far away from all settlements, surrounded by dust and shimmering air, he had discovered what Lawrence of Arabia would later describe as the ‘most beautiful place on Earth.’ Today, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site…
“Two centuries after Burckhardt’s discovery of the rock-cut city in Jordan, the Basel Museum of Ancient Art is exhibiting the latest archaeological finds from the ‘Atlantis of the Desert.’ Four teams of scientists — from France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States — are currently working at the site…
“Petra was once an oasis with irrigated gardens and streets lined with temples and luxurious homes… Around 400 B.C., the Nabataeans established a trade network stretching from southern Arabia to today’s Gaza Strip… The Nabataeans had a system for guarding the caravan route, established rest areas in the wilderness, and supplied water and food for the more than 3,000-kilometer journey through the desert… Petra apparently served as a central warehouse for… valuable goods, a sort of safe that could be protected very effectively. The narrow gorge that provides access to the city is less than three meters wide in places. Thus, all it took was a few soldiers to stop entire armies…
“This mixture of Western and Arab influence is also typical of the religion of ancient desert dwellers. Some of their temples contained statues of Dionysus and Isis. At the same time, they worshipped a strange ‘fish goddess’ who wore dolphins in her hair. But their supreme god, Dushara, had no human features at all. His likeness was a black, cubical stone somewhat like the Kaaba, the massive, cube-shaped religious structure in Mecca.
“… archaeologists have been able to figure out how the Nabataeans’ water system worked. Six long-distance pipelines brought fresh water in from the surrounding mountains several kilometers away, and clay pipes were installed in the city itself. The residents diverted a river, and there were also hundreds of cisterns to capture rainwater. The largest had a capacity of up to 300 cubic meters of water…
“Not surprisingly, there were those who envied the Nabataeans. The Persians and the Greeks tried to put a stop to their profiteering, and the Romans dispatched a force to Petra in 63 B.C. But the Nabataeans cunningly defended their freedom… It wasn’t until [many] years later that the Nabataeans were finally defeated, and Rome incorporated its territory into its Arabia Petraea province. After that, Petra fell into a deep slumber. The temples decayed, and goatherds used the tombs as stalls for their animals.”
For a long time, the Church of God has wondered whether the end-time place of safety, which is mentioned in the Bible as a place of protection for many of God’s people, might be Petra. Will Petra be awakened out of its “deep slumber”? Even though nobody knows for sure, the above-mentioned facts are interesting in light of biblical prophecy and innuendos. For more information, please read our Q&A on the place of safety.
Fukushima Nuclear Power Facility–A Worldwide Catastrophe Coming?
Natural News wrote the following on October 16:
“Though the mainstream media has long since abandoned the issue, the precarious situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility in Japan is only continuing to worsen, according to a prominent Japanese official. During a recent interview, Mitsuhei Murata, the former Japanese Ambassador to both Switzerland and Senegal, explained that the ground beneath the plant’s Unit 4 is gradually sinking, and that the entire structure is very likely on the verge of complete collapse. This is highly concerning, as Unit 4 currently holds more than 1,500 spent nuclear fuel rods, and a collective 37 million curies of deadly radiation that, if released, could make much of the world completely uninhabitable.
“… Unit 4 contains the infamous elevated cooling pool that was severely damaged following the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011. According to the Secretary of former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the ground beneath Unit 4 has already sunk by about 31.5 inches since the disaster, and this sinking has taken place unevenly. If the ground continues to sink, which it is expected to, or if another earthquake of even as low as a magnitude six occurs in the region, the entire structure could collapse, which would fully drain the cooling pool and cause a catastrophic meltdown.
“‘If Unit 4 collapses, the [worst] case scenario will be a meltdown, and a resultant fire in the atmosphere. That will be the most unprecedented crisis that man has ever experienced. Nobody will be able to approach the plants … as all will have melted down and caused a big fire,’ said Murata during the interview. ‘Many scientists say if Unit 4 collapses, not only will Japan lie in ruin, but the entire world will also face serious damages.’
“Because there are 31 nuclear units of a similar type to Unit 4 in the U.S., the American government has been downplaying the disaster to protect its own reputation, alleges Murata. This is, in fact, the primary reason why so little has been reported on the severity of Fukushima following the disaster. The American empire, in other words, does not want the world, nor the American people, to know that there is the possibility of literally dozens of Fukushima situations occurring on American soil, should the right disaster situations arise.”
As so often, the mainstream media keeps silent about these developments, for obvious reasons. One must really ask the question HOW MUCH the mainstream media is actually willing to report, on ANY given subject.
Veneration of a Pope’s Blood?
VIS reported on October 19:
“A relic of Blessed John Paul II will be transported to the French shrine of Lourdes during a pilgrimage… containing blood of John Paul II, so that it can be seen and venerated by pilgrims from all over the world.”
To “venerate” the blood of a man is in stark contrast to biblical teaching that tells us that we are saved by the blood of Christ alone. Of course, the whole concept surrounding the shrine of Lourdes is questionable and dangerous. Please read our free booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”
Why did Jesus weep at the raising of Lazarus?
In John 11:35 we read the shortest verse in the Bible in the English translation: “Jesus wept”. It is only in the book of John that we read about the death and raising from the dead of Lazarus by Jesus.
Wikipedia states that: “In some places in the English-speaking world, including the UK, Ireland (particularly Dublin) and Australia, the phrase ‘Jesus wept’ is a common expletive, curse or minced oath spoken when something goes wrong or to express mild incredulity.”
Unfortunately, it appears that a number of authors also use this two-word-verse as en expletive in their writings.
Why did Jesus weep at this particular time? Many authors and commentaries have offered numerous ideas and explanations.
For example, Matthew Henry’s Commentary states the following: “Different constructions were put upon Christ’s weeping. Some made a kind and candid interpretation of it, and what was very natural (John 11:36): ‘Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!’ They seem to wonder that he should have so strong an affection for one to whom he was not related, and with whom he had not had any long acquaintance. Others made a peevish unfair reflection upon it, as if these tears bespoke his inability to help his friend.”
In Wesley’s Notes we read: “Jesus wept – Out of sympathy with those who were in tears all around him, as well as from a deep sense of the misery sin had brought upon human nature.”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states: “Jesus wept. As he was going along to the grave, see John 11:28; as he was meditating upon the state of his friend Lazarus, the distress his two sisters were in, and the greater damnation that would befall the Jews then present, who, notwithstanding the miracle, would not believe in him. This shows him to be truly and really man, subject to like passions, only without sin.”
Wikipedia adds that “the death and raising of Lazarus portends the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Another stated theory is that Jesus felt the trauma that Lazarus would experience when transitioning from a short stay in Paradise back to a very troubled Earth. Pope Leo I summed it up this way: ‘In his humanity Jesus wept for Lazarus; in his divinity he raised him from the dead.’” This explanation is clearly wrong, as Lazarus was dead and in his grave—not in a Paradise in heaven.
Some feel that Jesus wept because He felt sorrow, sympathy, and compassion for all mankind. Others think that it was the rage He felt against the tyranny of death over mankind.
Let us look more closely at the passage in question. In John 11 we read that Lazarus was sick. In verse 4 it states: “When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’” Jesus stayed where He was for two more days, and verse 11 states: “These things He said, and after that He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.’”
In the space of two days, Jesus had said that the sickness was not for death (that is, Lazarus would not remain dead, but would shortly be brought back to life), and that He would go and wake him up. His disciples were thinking of normal daily sleep, not the sleep of death, and “Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead…’ (verse 14).
Why then did Jesus weep at the grave, knowing that He would raise up Lazarus within the next moment?
The disciples had seen Jesus perform many miracles. In Matthew 17:14-21 we read the following: “And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.’ Then Jesus answered and said, ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.’ And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.’”
It is obvious from this passage that the disciples lacked sufficient faith to heal the boy, and Jesus was obviously frustrated at this (see verse 17). This problem of lack of faith is also highlighted in Matthew 8:8-10: “The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, “Go,” and he goes; and to another, “Come,” and he comes; and to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’ When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’”
Faith always seemed to be in short supply. There was further unbelief shown in John 11:37: “And some of them (the Jews) said, ‘Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?’” Here was doubt again!
In spite of all of the miracles that Jesus performed, there always seemed to be doubt. In John 11:25-26 we read that: “Jesus said to her (Martha), ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”
Jesus was trying to tell Martha what He was about to do (see verse 23 where Jesus told her that her brother would rise again). But even though Martha had said that she knew that whatever He asked of God, God would give to Him (verse 22), she could not really see or believe that Lazarus would be raised up right there and then. Even though she said that she believed that He was the prophesied Christ and the Son of God (verse 27), she could not comprehend what Jesus would do, thinking He was talking about the resurrection at the last day (verse 24).
It seemed that even His close disciples and friends, and those who had seen such awesome miracles performed, failed to recognise what He was really capable of doing. They lived in grief and sorrow, confused and scattered, incapable of finding a way out of misery, discomfort, frustration and pain. They needed help.
Christ was a man full of compassion (Matthew 9:36). When He saw the grief of the people, including the ones whom He loved (see verse 5), it had undoubtedly an impact on Him and His emotions. We read that when Jesus saw Mary’s and the Jews’ weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled (verse 33). Jesus wept with those who wept (compare Romans 12:15).
In addition, in light of what we discussed above, there seems to be an even more compelling explanation as to why Jesus wept. He was grieved about their doubt about Him and His ability to heal, and their lack of faith and vision.
It is a good lesson for us today, not to doubt what God and Jesus Christ can do in our lives and to make sure that we believe what the Word of God clearly reveals to us.
Lead Writers: Brian Gale (UK) and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new member letter has been written by the church ministry with reports from our two Feast sites–Pismo Beach, California, and Deganwy in North Wales. In this letter–along with reports for future plans regarding new Feast locations and next year’s Church Conference–we reflect on the terrible conditions this world faces as the time of great tribulation grows ever closer. This letter is available to read/download at our website.
Norbert Link recorded a German sermon, titled, “The end of Captivity,” addressing the end of the slavery for Israel and Judah, after Christ’s Return.
“USA—Global Power in Decline,” is the latest StandingWatch program–here is the summary: The October 22, 2012 presidential debate on foreign policy—which happened 50 years after John F. Kennedy’s Address to the Nation on the Cuba Missile Crisis—did not bring anything substantially new, except this: The two candidates revealed a global power on the decline and a crisis for a great nation, with foreign policy having to take a back seat for the USA in the future. In light of the highly praised but totally misunderstood developments of the Arab Spring, this vacuum will be filled. And it is Germany as the leader of the EU, which will fill it. But that is not good news.
Also, the recent sermon, “Satan Is Alive,” given by Norbert Link, has now been posted on YouTube.
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