Update 655


Out of Weakness

On September 6, 2014, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “Out of Weakness.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Planned Obsolescence

by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

I recently watched a fascinating series of television programmes entitled “The Men Who Made Us Spend”.   One of many issues that was presented was that of planned obsolescence.   Amongst many definitions, it can be defined along the following lines:  “Planned obsolescence is when a product is deliberately designed to have a specific life span.”

It was pointed out that we live in a world of seemingly limitless consumption and that it just didn’t happen by accident.   The programme presented proof that relentless spending and throwing away were engineered.

Apparently, its origin, as presented in this programme, began in Berlin in the 1920s although other claims are made to its origin.   Manufacturers hit upon an idea that would become fundamental to the consumer economy, artificially limiting the life span of products.  A coordinated decision was taken by a global cartel of companies to reduce the life span of light bulbs which was known as the Phoebus cartel and was an idea that came from the Chairman of Osram, Mr. William Meinhardt. 

The programme gave evidence that in 1924, the world’s biggest electrical companies hammered out a deal in Geneva.   Its aim was to increase profits by fixing prices and production quotas and at the same time dictated the time a light bulb could last.   Before this, a bulb would last 2,500 hours but this was reduced to 1,000 hours.   The impact on sales was phenomenal, doubling the business of all parties in five years.

In the early 1990s, long forgotten papers were discovered in a factory in Berlin that revealed an extraordinary secret deal that provided the template for the consumer obsolescence that we live with today.   All rules were written down in minute detail.

Planned obsolescence still operates today and is, we were told, an open secret.   One German expert showed how pervasive it is involving so many products: electric toothbrushes, washing machines, printer cartridges and much more.   This expert showed how the counter on a printer cartridge could actually be re-set and used again and how electronic chips in printers are fitted to say that the ink has run out when it hasn’t!

All this leads to a consumer society where continual spending is the norm.

No analogies are perfect in every way but as I was watching this programme I thought about the difference between the planned obsolescence of man which is driven purely for sales and profits through continual product consumption and the fact that God has given us physical life which will end when God decrees.  Those who are called and chosen in this age are given a time span in order to develop holy, righteous character and then those who have remained faithful to the end, their flesh and blood will be a thing of the past with eternity in the spirit world to look forward to.

Man’s planned obsolescence is driven by greed; God’s approach is that we have physical life for whatever time He decrees as His people are not subject to time and chance, with the goal of a wonderful, happy and joyous future.

What a difference there is between the ways of man and the ways of the great God!

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We are reporting on America’s non-existent strategy regarding the murderous ISIS terrorists, while the USA and Europe are engaging in the risky business of providing weapons to Lebanon and the Kurds.

Dangerous developments pertaining to Russia and Ukraine are heating up, and Europe has several new leaders—including the surprising and unexpected appointments of Poland’s Donald Tusk and Italy’s Federica Mogherini.

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USA—No Strategy Yet?

CNN wrote on August 29:

“It’s too soon to say what steps the United States will take against ISIS in Syria, President Barack Obama said Thursday. ‘I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,’ Obama told reporters during a White House news briefing. ‘We don’t have a strategy yet.’”

President Obama’s Unpopular Strategy

Fox News wrote on September 3:

“President Obama does have a strategy on dealing with the Islamist militants who have been beheading Americans and slaughtering religious dissenters in Iraq and Syria, but he apparently doesn’t feel very comfortable talking about it. Trying to mop up his mess from last week when he said he didn’t have ‘a strategy yet’ for dealing with the group, the president veered a bit in his press conference on a trip to Estonia… but then clarified that his aim was not to destroy the Islamist army but to hem in its forces until it was ‘a manageable problem.’ One sees now why Obama has been so reluctant to share his strategy since it is not one which Americans will likely accept. He probably should have just stuck with ‘we don’t have a strategy yet.’…

“In Estonia today, President Obama gave his first news conference since Steven Sotloff was beheaded by Islamist militants [see our report below]. It was also the first time the president answered questions since his infamous ‘we have no strategy’ line last week. And the president did something remarkable: He dug deeper. The big news going in was to see how the president ‘cleaned up’ last week’s statement. So after a strong opening about the atrocity of the newest beheading, the president said the strategy is to ‘degrade and destroy’ ISIS. But later, he backtracked and said [the] goal was to make ISIS a ‘manageable problem.’ So which is it? Destroy or manage? And how exactly do you manage barbarians who are beheading your citizens? What promised to be a clarifying moment instead offered more fuzzy wording. And we’re left again with the question – what is our strategy with ISIS?…”

Time published the following headline on September 2: “Obama Offers Muddled Message to Europe in Face of Crises.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel found stronger words than the Commander in Chief, saying on CNN on September 3 that the US is trying to destroy ISIS. But he also said that there will be no American boots on the ground, while admitting that airstrikes alone will not accomplish the goal. He never explained this glaring inconsistency.

Likewise, Vice President Joe Biden was far more outspoken than the President (even though this does not surprise too many), stating, according to Time (September 3) that “we will follow ISIS to the gates of hell because hell is where they will reside.”

USA Arms Lebanon—a Smart Move?

Reuters wrote on August 29:

“The United States has begun delivering nearly $20 million of arms including assault rifles, anti-tank missiles and mortars to bolster Lebanon’s army after Islamist insurgents seized a border town for several days this month…”

Germany Sends Weapons to the Kurds—A Smart Move?

The Local wrote on September 2:

“400 German citizens were currently fighting with Isis in Iraq and Syria and could return to carry out attacks in Europe, [Angela Merkel said]… For the first time, weapons from the Bundeswehr (German army) arsenal will be sent, including 40 machine guns, 500 anti-tank rockets, 16,000 rifles and 10,000 hand grenades.

“Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday that the arms would be used to outfit 4,000 Kurdish soldiers by the end of September. Some of the soldiers may be brought to Germany to be trained in their use… In a symbolic vote late on Monday, the Bundestag supported the government’s plans, with CDU/CSU and SPD members voting for and the Left and Green parties largely opposed.

“Left party leader in the Bundestag Gregor Gysi and Green leader Anton Hofreiter said that Germany would lose control of the weapons once they had been delivered… However, [Foreign Minister] Steinmeier shared his concerns about arming the Kurds, possibly enabling their longer-term goal of an independent state… ‘An independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq would lead to more secessions in the rest of the country,’ he said, causing ‘new battles over new borders and state territories.’”

The Massacres of the Demonic ISIS

The website of npr.org wrote on August 29:

“Ever since the Islamic State seized Mosul more than two months ago, it’s been difficult to get a detailed picture of life inside Iraq’s second largest city. But glimpses have emerged. This week, the United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, presented details of a massacre that took place at the city’s Badoush prison in June. Islamic State fighters seized more than 1,000 inmates. The group spared the lives of their fellow Sunni Muslims, but gunned down some 670 people.”

Newsmax wrote on August 29:

“Islamic State has issued a new video threatening the United States with more decapitations of prisoners and hostages while showing a Kurdish soldier being beheaded… The video was released just hours after the terror group… posted footage of the mass execution of 300 Syrian national army soldiers in the desert… The footage concludes with ISIS fighters parading near Mosul in armored personnel carriers, waving their black flags and brandishing weapons in the air…”

BBC News wrote on September 2:

“An Islamic State video has appeared which [shows] the beheading of Steven Sotloff, a US journalist [formerly with Time magazine] being held hostage by the militants… A militant in the latest video also threatens to kill a British hostage… The masked man, whose voice is similar to that of the executioner in the Foley video, then describes the act he is about to commit as retribution for the US air strikes…

“The US has launched more than 120 air strikes in Iraq in the last month, in an attempt to help Kurdish forces curb the advance of Islamic State militants and protect minorities threatened by them.”

ISIS Operates in Mexico, Plans Attack on USA

Judicial Watch wrote on August 31:

“Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices… High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued…

“Specifically, the government sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago.

“Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to ‘carry out an attack on the border,’ according to one JW source.  ‘It’s coming very soon,’ according to another high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as ‘ISIS and Al Qaeda.’…

“The disturbing inside intelligence comes on the heels of news reports revealing that U.S. intelligence has picked up increased chatter among Islamist terror networks approaching the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks…”

Islamist Terrorists in Possession of Stolen Libyan Passenger Jets?

The Washington Free Beacon wrote on September 2:

“Islamist militias in Libya took control of nearly a dozen commercial jetliners last month, and western intelligence agencies recently issued a warning that the jets could be used in terrorist attacks across North Africa.

“Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.

“Meanwhile, officials said Egyptian military forces appear to be preparing to intervene in Libya to prevent the country from becoming a failed state run by terrorists, many with ties to al Qaeda. Libya remains an oil-rich state and if the country is taken over completely by Islamist extremists, U.S. counterterrorism officials believe it will become another terrorist safe haven in the region.”

Breitbart added on September 3:

“According to veteran reporter Bill Gertz, U.S. officials said that they received intelligence indicating eleven commercial aircraft could be used to attack New York City or Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of the September, 11, 2001 jihadi attacks on America… Tripoli Airport is currently occupied by two rival groups deemed ‘terrorists’ by the Libyan parliament: Misrata and Zintan, who had previously worked together to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.

“On Monday, Libyan officials announced that their capital city in Tripoli had been completely lost to Islamist forces…”

Threat from Foreigners Overstaying Their Student Visas?

Newsmax wrote on September 2:

“The Obama administration is unable to locate 6,000 foreign nationals who have entered the United States on student visas, raising concerns about the government’s ability to track potential terror suspects who may already be in the country… The news comes as Prime Minister David Cameron  announced plans to block British jihadists with passports from re-entering Britain…

“U.S. immigration officials have had difficulty keeping track of the escalating number of foreign students entering the United States. In the past year alone, 58,000 students overstayed their visas… There are currently 9,000 institutions of higher learning which are on the government approved list certifying them to accept overseas applicants. But Congress has raised concerns that immigration officials have continued to grant schools certification even when they lack accreditation, state certification, or other measurable academic standards…”

In an atmosphere of hysteria, even these harmless categories become the subject of suspicion. But the real threat comes from another source: To demand state certification or accreditation of universities is far-fetched and supports universities which follow the dictates of state and government school curriculums.

Sinai Terrorists Behead Four Egyptian Men

JTA wrote on August 28:

“Four Egyptian men were beheaded by a Sinai-based terror group for allegedly spying for Israel… The terror group said that the men provided intelligence to Israel used in a July airstrike on northern Sinai… The Egyptian army said at the time of the strike that no Israeli aircraft had been in Egyptian airspace.”

Ukraine Turmoil Heating Up

Reuters reported on September 1:

“In the latest in a string of setbacks in the past week, Ukraine’s military said it had pulled back from defending a vital airport in the east of the country, near the city of Luhansk, where troops had been battling a Russian tank battalion… Ukrainian armed forces… fled a new rebel advance in the south which Kiev and its Western allies say has been backed up by Russian armored columns.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin… called on Sunday for immediate negotiations on the ‘statehood’ of southern and eastern Ukraine…

“[Ukrainian] Defense Minister Valery Heletey [said] that Ukraine no longer faced a threat from separatists but outright war with Russian troops…

“Putin made his statehood remarks two days after comparing the Kiev government with Nazis and warning the West not to ‘mess with us’…

“[German Chancellor Angela] Merkel took a hard line [advocating new sanctions against Russia], although she acknowledged the sanctions have hurt German exporters to the Russian market… EU leaders asked the executive European Commission to prepare further sanctions within a week…

“Putin called for the EU to think twice about stepping up the sanctions… ‘A political solution is the only way out. Sanctions do not help to solve the underlying problems in Ukraine,’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

“Several EU countries heavily dependent on Russian gas supplies, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, opposed new measures, which require unanimous agreement. ‘I consider sanctions meaningless and counterproductive,’ Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Sunday. ‘I reserve a right to veto sanctions harming national interests of Slovakia.’”

Ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine?

Deutsche Welle reported on September 3:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko have said their two sides have reached a ceasefire deal… The ceasefire plan, agreed to during a telephone conversation, aims to end fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists…

“Putin spoke to the conditions of a ceasefire, saying Ukraine must withdraw all its troops and pro-Russian separatists must agree to stop offensive actions in eastern Ukraine. He said international monitors must be in place to observe any truce that is reached. The plan, published on the Kremlin’s website, says both sides must agree on an unconditional exchange of prisoners. It also rules out using combat aircraft against civilians in the conflict zone and calls for the creation of ‘humanitarian corridors’ for refugees and aid deliveries…

“Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk slammed Wednesday’s peace proposal announcement, calling it an attempt by Russia to deceive the West and avoid new sanctions. ‘The real plan is to destroy Ukraine and to restore the Soviet Union,’ he said in a statement. ‘All previous agreements made with Russia – in Geneva, in Normandy, in Berlin and Minsk – were ignored or brazenly violated by the Russian regime,’ Yatsenyuk added.”

…and Yatsenyuk is absolutely right.

New EU Sanctions Against Russia?

The EUobserver wrote on September 3:

“EU ambassadors are holding talks in Brussels on new proposals for Russia sanctions – seen by EUobserver – with ideas including ‘action’ to block its 2018 World Cup. The talks are taking place amid news of a ‘ceasefire process’ agreed between Kiev and Moscow, which EU diplomats regard with caution… [A proposal] adds that EU firms should stop providing ‘future associated services’ to Russian oil firms, in areas including: seismic services; drilling; well-testing; supply of floating vessels for deep water oil exploration and production; Arctic oil exploration and production; and shale oil projects in Russia…

“The ambassadors’ talks began after Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko announced earlier on Wednesday that he had agreed a ‘ceasefire’ with Putin by phone. But Russia later quashed the news, saying it cannot agree a ceasefire because it is not a party to the conflict… A Kiev-based EU diplomat said Poroshenko was ‘tricked by the Russians into making the announcement – this just gave them another chance to deny involvement in the conflict’.”

Russia Has Severed Its Relationship with Europe

The Local wrote on September 2:

“Russia has ‘effectively severed its partnership’ with Europe and wants to establish a new order, German President Joachim Gauck said on Monday…  Gauck [spoke] at a ceremony in Gdansk to mark the 75th anniversary of Germany’s invasion of Poland that set off World War II. Invoking the ‘miracle’ of post-war reconciliation between Germans and Poles, Gauck said he was disappointed with the turn of events in Russia…

“‘It was a shock when we were confronted with a new conflict on Europe’s borders. An armed conflict aimed at establishing new borders and a new order. It’s a fact, stability and peace on our continent are once again endangered,’ he added…”

Putin’s Further Ambitions

International Business Times wrote on September 1:

“Fears are growing in Kazakhstan over Moscow’s rhetoric towards the country following Russia President Vladimir Putin’s claim that ‘Kazakhstan never had any statehood’, it was ‘created’… Kazakhstan was the last Soviet republic to declare independence from the Soviet Union when it finally did so in December 1991…

“Putin’s comments conjure memories of a statement he made to former US President George Bush in 2008 when he said that ‘Ukraine is not even a state!’ during a Bucharest summit… Russia’s annexation of the Crimea Peninsula and its alleged incursion into eastern Ukraine and support of pro-Russian separatists have contributed to fears in Astana that Moscow may set its sights on other areas of the former Soviet Union.”

The New York Times added on September 2:

“President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia reportedly told a European official that he could ‘take Kiev in two weeks’ if he wanted to, adding a new dimension to the tensions building in Ukraine as Russian forces become more involved in the fighting there… The Kremlin did not deny the remark, which was published in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Monday, but on Tuesday it denounced the European official, José Manuel Barroso, for leaking details of what Mr. Putin understood to be a private telephone call.”

What IF Russia Were to Cut Off Gas Exports to Europe?

The EUobserver wrote on September 3:

“Finland would experience gas shortages even if Russia cut off exports just for one month, while other EU countries would last between three to nine months without Russian gas, according to a German study… Since Finland has no storage capacities and 100 percent of its gas comes from Russia, it would be the first country to experience supply shortages – up to 10 percent in the first month and over 50 percent if Russia halts gas exports for three months.

“A three-month Russian embargo would leave Poland with a 1.8 billion cubic metre shortfall and Turkey with a shortfall of 3.8 billion metres. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, the Balkan countries and Estonia would feel the effects of a six-month embargo.

“Meanwhile, if Russia switches off the tap for nine months, gas supplies in Germany, Italy and France would be ‘severely affected’ and a total of 46 billion cubic metres of European gas demand could not be served. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia would also have problems, as well as the countries already in trouble after three months (Finland, Poland, Turkey, Greece, Austria, the entire Balkan, Estonia and Switzerland).

“The countries in which gas supply would be secure even during a nine-month disruption are those who still have their own gas reserves, such as Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Romania and the UK. Countries importing from their neighbours or with LNG terminals would also be safe: Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

“The study also looks at the impact of one extremely cold week during a six-month disruption: ‘Supply shortfalls would occur in almost the entirety of Europe.’ In that scenario, Ireland, the UK, Belgium, Romania and Bulgaria would also be affected.

“But Russia would be hit too, as it would lose €4-4.5 billion of revenues for each month of an embargo, some 3.5 percent of Gazprom’s annual revenue…

“Similar ‘worse case scenarios’ are also being considered in the European Commission, as the Russia-Ukraine conflict is likely to affect the gas supplies to EU countries this winter. ‘That Putin would use false information, lies and weapons was beyond my imagination,’ energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in Brussels on Tuesday. ‘That’s why I am not ruling out worst case scenarios anymore,’ he added, referring to Europe’s energy security… Europe’s reliance on Russian gas is expected to last for at least another 10 years, according to US ratings agency Fitch. ‘Any attempt to improve energy security by reducing European reliance on Russia would require either a significant reduction in overall gas demand or a big increase in alternative sources of supply, but neither of these appears likely,’ Fitch said in a report on Tuesday.”

Planned NATO Military Exercise in Ukraine

Reuters reported on September 2:

“As fighting between the army and Russian-backed rebels rages in eastern Ukraine, preparations are under way near its western border for a joint military exercise this month with more than 1,000 troops from the United States and its allies.  The decision to go ahead with the Rapid Trident exercise Sept. 16-26 is seen as a sign of the commitment of NATO states to support non-NATO member Ukraine while stopping well short of military intervention in the conflict…

“In addition to staging air force exercises, the United States is moving tanks and 600 troops to Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for joint maneuvers in October, replacing a more lightly armed force of paratroopers…

“The United States European Command (EUCOM) says the exercise this month will involve about 200 U.S. personnel as well as 1,100 others from Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Britain, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania and Spain…”

Another NATO exercise in Ukraine (“Sea Breeze”)  with 400 US soldiers and 600 Allied soldiers is planned for the end of October. Russia responded that these planned exercises constitute provocations, fearing that NATO troops will stay in Ukraine after the exercises. Russia announced that in retaliation, it will conduct military exercises with more than 4,000 soldiers.

Italy’s Federica Mogherini New EU Foreign Police Chief and Poland’s Donald Tusk New EU Council President

BBC News reported on August 30:

“EU leaders have appointed Italy’s Federica Mogherini as EU foreign policy chief and Poland’s Donald Tusk as European Council president… Ms Mogherini, a centre-left politician, is Italy’s foreign minister. She will replace the UK’s Catherine Ashton. Mr Tusk, Poland’s centre-right prime minister, has been Polish leader since 2007. He will chair EU summits.

“The full-time appointments mean that the EU’s three top jobs are now filled. Mr Tusk and Ms Mogherini will work closely with the new European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker… Mr Van Rompuy said Mr Tusk would face three major challenges: the stagnating European economy, the Ukraine crisis and ‘Britain’s place in Europe’. He said the EU leaders were convinced that Ms Mogherini, 41, ‘will prove a skilful and steadfast negotiator for Europe’s place in the world’. He noted Italy’s ‘long-standing tradition of commitment to the European Union’.”

Who Is Donald Tusk?

The Guardian wrote on August 31:

“The elevation of Donald Tusk to one of the top jobs in Europe marks a coming of age for his native Poland. Ten years after joining the EU, Poland has secured the presidency of the European council and its prime minister has become the fixer for and mediator between Angela Merkel, François Hollande, Matteo Renzi, David Cameron and other European leaders. Tusk has already won the prestigious Charlemagne prize for leadership.

“Quiet, unassuming, firm and politically ruthless, the German-speaking centre-right liberal from Gdansk, the cradle of Poland’s anti-communist, anti-Russian revolution, has been one of the EU’s most successful and most pro-European prime ministers of recent years at a time when faith in the EU has been tested.

“… under Tusk’s seven years in charge of Poland and with the help of his anglophile foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, the country performed a strategic shift, redefining the country’s national interest. Coming into the EU, Poland was a natural ally of Britain… wary of the Franco-German dominion that ran the EU until the 2004 enlargement.

“Tusk inherited a Poland that was hostile to Russia and intensely suspicious of Germany, for good historical reasons. The alliance with the UK was reinforced by Britain’s championing of Poland’s membership against deep-seated west European reservations…

“Under Tusk and Sikorski, this has all changed. The keen pro-Americanism waned, leaving a sour taste. Tusk and Sikorski concluded that Britain and David Cameron in particular were making a mess of their tactics and strategy in Europe and with other EU governments.

“Tusk bonded with Merkel, the EU’s first among equals, cemented a close Polish-German alliance, and concluded that Poland’s destiny rested on its closest possible European integration, setting it at odds with a UK travelling in the opposite direction.”

What If Yellowstone Were to Erupt?

Time wrote on September 2:

“An eruption could blanket the east coast in a few millimeters and bury the Rocky mountains in several meters of ash. If Yellowstone erupted into a massive, ash-spewing volcano, how far might the plume travel across the continental United States? From coast to coast, blanketing every city in ash, according to an unsettling new study…

“[The] resulting ash cloud, depending on wind conditions, would blanket the continental United States in ash deposits of varying thickness… New York and Washington D.C., would get a light dusting of ash measuring roughly one-tenth of an inch, while San Francisco and Seattle would get a heaping 2 inches. Billings, Montana, meanwhile, would have to dig out from a 70-inch pile up.

“If the findings sound far-flunged, so to speak, researchers point out that Yellowstone’s last massive eruption spewed ash over tens of thousands of square kilometers. Deposits from that eruption have been traced as far afield as Canada and the Gulf of Mexico. Fortunately, the last time Yellowstone erupted on that scale was some 2 million years ago and counting…”

The above-mentioned report (published on onlinelibrary.wiley.com) reached the following conclusion:

“Geological activity at Yellowstone provides no signs that a supereruption will occur in the near future… [We] suggest a confidence of at least 99.9% that 21st-century society will not experience a Yellowstone supereruption. But over the span of geologic time, supereruptions have recurred somewhere on Earth every 100,000 years on average… As such, it is important to characterize the potential effects of such events. We hope this work stimulates further examination of ash transport during very large eruptions.”

Even IF one was to accept these figures as correct, since the last Yellowstone eruption allegedly took place 2 million years ago, and supereruptions occur on an average every 100,000 years, then this would mean that the Yellowstone eruption has been overdue for the last 1,900,000 years. This is not very assuring.

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Does the Bible allow for the existence of dinosaurs prior to the creation of man? (Part 3)

We saw in the last two installments of this series that “in the beginning” God created the heavens and the earth, but that Satan’s rebellion caused the earth to become void and empty. We also showed that God restored the surface of the earth within six days. In addition, as we will see today, He also brought some order into the chaotic condition of the earth’s atmosphere and the universe which had become affected as well by Satan’s rebellion.

Some claim that Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17 show that God created the universe and the earth, including man, within six days; and that there was no time gap and no catastrophe between His initial creation of the heavens and the earth and the creation of modern animals and man. 

We read in Exodus 20:11:

“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day….”

Also, we read in Exodus 31:17:

“… for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested…”

However, rightly understood, these passages do not state that God created heavens and earth, including modern man, within six days.

Genesis 1:1 records that in the beginning, God “created” (Hebrew “bara”) the heavens and the earth. However, in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17, we read that He “made” (Hebrew “asah”) the heavens and the earth. In many cases, the word “create” describes an act of bringing something into existence, which did not exist before, while the word “made” refers to the prior existence of something which is “formed” into a certain recognizable appearance. For instance, God “created” man (Genesis 1:27; 5:2; 6:7), but He also “made” man (Genesis 1:26), and He “formed” man (Genesis 2:7). These three terms are not identical, as some suggest, but they express three different aspects of God’s actions. God “created” man—that is, no man existed prior to this; but He also “made” him from pre-existing “material” (the dust of the ground), and He “formed” him from that dust to give him a certain appearance. Later God “made” (literally “built”) Eve from one of Adam’s ribs (Genesis 2:22). In other words, the dust of the ground existed before Adam was made from it, and Adam’s rib existed before Eve was made from it.

On the other hand, nothing physical existed when God “created” the heavens and the earth. Rather, God brought the physical heavens (the universe) and the earth into existence at that time (Hebrews 11:3).

When we read in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 that God “made” the heavens and the earth in six days, the reference is to the RENEWAL of the earth’s surface after Satan’s rebellion, as well as the renewal of the earth’s atmosphere (the first heaven) and apparently a certain renewal or restoration of order for the universe which had also suffered turmoil due to Satan’s rebellion. (Meteorites and asteroids, as well as stars which exploded millions of years ago might give testimony to the fact that the universe suffered some destruction, even though God had not created it that way.) God speaks of three heavens—the first heaven describes the earth’s atmosphere with its clouds and birds; the second heaven refers to the universe with its many galaxies, suns and planets; and the third heaven refers to the spiritual heaven of God, where He and His angels dwell. In this regard and for further explanation, please see our Q&A on the three heavens.

As an aside, we stated in that Q&A that the “third heaven is, according to the Bible, located ‘on the farthest sides of the north.’ Lucifer described his plan to dethrone God in this way, in Isaiah 14:13-14, ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne [here on earth] above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High [or, I will be the Most High.’ We also read that ‘promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south’ (Psalm 75:6, Authorized Version). Rather, it comes from the north — from God’s dwelling place in the third heaven.”

God renewed—“made”—the earth in six days by giving it the topography, form and appearance (with mountains, oceans etc.), which it generally still has today.

We read in Genesis 1:7 that God “made” the firmament by dividing “the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament,” as He had divided earlier the light from the darkness (verse 4). All of these “divisions” and their exact meaning are explained in our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution—A Fairy Tale for Adults?” In short, Satan’s rebellion had caused the earth to be covered with water (verse 2), and it had also brought darkness on the earth due to the dust and debris (verse 4). Conditions had to be restored which made the earth’s atmosphere breathable and the earth’s surface habitable for plants, animals and men. 

To repeat, God renewed the surface of the earth, and He renewed or “made” the first heaven in six days, in that He removed the dust and debris from the atmosphere and “made” it breathable for physical beings.

But since we read that God “made” – not “created”– the heavens (plural) in six days, He did not only create or restore conditions pertaining to the first heaven—the earth’s atmosphere—but He also dealt with the second heaven—the universe. He restored some order in and to the universe, as we read that Jesus Christ upholds or sustains the universe today by His mighty word (Hebrews 1:3). The Living Bible translates this passage as follows: “He regulates the universe by the mighty power of his command.” The Revised English Bible states that “he sustains the universe by his word of power.”

Jeremiah 31:35 adds that God gives the sun for a light by day and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,” showing again God’s involvement in the universe. David was amazed about the stars which God had created and some of which he could observe in a clear night (Psalm 8:3-4), stating that God counts them all by name (Psalm 147:4). Isaiah adds that God “BRINGS OUT their host by number” (40:26).

However, there is no biblical evidence to suggest that God had ever created physical life anywhere else but on planet earth.

Genesis 2:4 distinguishes between the original creation of the heavens and the earth and subsequent events. We read in the Authorized Version: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.”

Commentaries rightly point out that in this instance, “in the day” does not refer to a 24 hour day, but it designates an unidentified time span. It describes the time when God “made” or renewed the surface of the earth and the earth’s atmosphere (the first heaven), and when He brought back order to the universe (the second heaven). Two different times are described in Genesis 2:4: First, God “created the heavens and the earth”—as we know, this occurred “in the beginning”—but then, at a later time, He “made” them—that is, He gave them or restored the form, appearance and ordered structure which they basically have today. The Revised English Bible renders Genesis 2:4-5 as follows: “This is the story of the heavens and the earth AFTER their creation. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, there was neither shrub nor plant growing on the earth, because the LORD God had sent no rain…”

The New Scofield Reference Edition explains that there is no discrepancy between the events described in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, stating:

“It is often said that Genesis 2:4-25 is a second account of creation differing from that in Genesis 1:1-2:3. In point of fact, however, Genesis 1 tells of the creation of the whole universe, including man and woman; while Genesis 2 specifically describes the origin of man and woman without repeating the story of the creation [and renewal] recorded in Genesis 1.”

We read in Genesis 1:21 that God “created” great sea creatures and birds—showing that many of those types of animals did not exist before. Most “modern” animals of the post-Adamic time are generally quite different from many of the animals which existed prior to Adam. As will be explained below, this does not HAVE to mean that God did not create any dinosaur-type animals when He renewed the earth. We do not know whether these were similar to those dinosaurs which had existed before Adam and which became extinct. In any event, God would not have created violent animals at the time of Adam. We do read, however, that subsequent to Adam’s sin, some animals became wild and aggressive, as we discussed before.

In our Q&A on “sea monsters,” we explained the following:

“… the Bible has much to say about a creature called, ‘Leviathan.’ This animal clearly existed at the time of Job, and is described, in detail, in the 41st chapter of the book of Job… Psalm 74:14 says that God ‘broke the HEADS of Leviathan in pieces, And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.’ Some might want to dismiss this passage as simply mythological, claiming that no known animal existed or exists with more than one head. This claim is not necessarily accurate. Even today, sometimes animals, due to mutation or birth defects, are born with more than one head, so there is no reason to believe that the passage in Psalm 74 must be understood in a mythological, rather than a literal way.

“Psalm 104:25-26 clearly identifies Leviathan as a real, living water animal, co-existing with man: ‘… The great and wide sea, In which are innumerable teeming things, Living things both small and great. There are ships sail about; There is that Leviathan Which You have made to play there.’

“There are additional biblical passages which might refer to Leviathan and/or other unidentified ‘sea monsters’… An interesting statement can… be found in Isaiah 27:1: ‘In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.’… in Ezekiel 32:2, God compares the Pharaoh of Egypt with a young lion AND with a ‘monster in the seas, Bursting forth in your rivers, Troubling the waters with your feet, And fouling the rivers.’

“… the fact that God compares world powers or individuals with Leviathan and other sea creatures suggests that those creatures exist. God compares Pharaoh with a lion AND with a monster in the sea. Since lions are real animals, it is reasonable to conclude that that particular sea monster exists as well. Also, God speaks in the same context of Leviathan as the fleeing serpent and the twisted serpent, AND of the reptile in the sea. We all know that reptiles exist. Why would God mention Leviathan in the same context, if THAT creature was only mythological or allegorical?”

This sea monster would have been created by God at the time of Adam, and since it lived in the sea, it would have survived Noah’s Flood. Other “monsters” might have been re-created at the time of Adam as well. For instance, the Bible speaks about another creature in the book of Job, called “Behemoth.” Some have suggested that Leviathan and Behemoth describe a crocodile and a hippopotamus. But this is definitely not correct. The margin of the New King James Bible admits that Behemoth is “a large animal, exact identity unknown,” and that Leviathan is a “large sea creature, exact identity unknown.”

In our Q&A on Moses’ staff, we said the following:

“… it was Aaron’s staff which became a ‘serpent’ before Pharaoh and which swallowed up the ‘serpents’ of the magicians (Exodus 7:9-12). We should note that the ‘serpent’ in the episode with the burning bush is NOT the same kind of creature as the ‘serpent’ in the episode with Aaron and Pharaoh… Friedman, Commentary on the Torah points out on page 11, the word used in the latter episode is ‘tannin’ and describes ‘some giant serpentlike creatures that were formed at [re-]creation… Later, Aaron’s staff (and the Egyptian magicians’ staffs) turns into such a creature (not merely a snake!) at the Egyptian court.’

“In fact, the meaning of the word ‘tannin’ is ‘dragon.’  Friedman adds on page 192 that Aaron’s staff turned into a serpent. ‘Not a snake. This is different from the snake (Hebrew nahas or nachash) that Moses’ staff  became in Exodus 4:3. Moses performed the miracle for the Israelite elders (4:30). Now, in front of Pharaoh, Aaron’s staff becomes a “tannin.” This is the term that is used for the big sea serpents that God makes on the fifth day of [re-]creation (Gen. 1:21). They are not merely snakes, as people have often pictured them. They are extraordinary creatures…’”

If Leviathan and Behemoth, amongst other  “serpents” or “dragons,” are in fact unidentified dinosaur-like creatures which God created at the time of Adam, then this would explain why sometimes bones of human remains and of dinosaur-like animals are allegedly found together, if these claims are true and if the scientific explanations are indeed correct in regard to such findings. They would not prove that God created the heavens and the earth in six days, when He created man, but they would show that after God renewed the surface of the earth, He did create some dinosaur-type creatures. A few of those creatures might have still existed at the times of Job and Moses. And, some of them might even still exist today—or did so very recently–in very secluded areas or in the murky, dark and inaccessible waters of some lakes or the oceans.

Nowhere do we read in the Bible that God created the universe and the earth within six days; nor, that God’s physical creation occurred only about 6,000 years ago. Rather, we read that God created the heavens and the earth “in the beginning”—whenever that “beginning” was. It could have been millions or even billions of years ago.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link 

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

“Nationwide Droughts—Why?” is the title of a new StandingWatchprogram presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Nationwide droughts, including in Texas and California, are plaguing this country, and it may get much worse. Scientists are already speaking of megadroughts. In this program, we are sharing with you personal impressions and extensive footage from a drought-stricken area in northern California, and we are showing you from the Bible reasons for the persistent droughts. We are also giving you reassuring promises as to how you can secure God’s protection in times of drought. We are offering you our free booklets, “Human Suffering—Why and How Much Longer?” and “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

“When and How Will Christ Return?,” our NEW booklet, is now posted, and printed copies will be distributed at our Feast sites. They will be sent to our subscribers after the Feast.

“The Difference a Choice Makes”, the sermon presented last Sabbath by Elder Robb Harris, is now posted on YouTube.

“Angetan mit dem Panzer der Gerechtigkeit,” is the title of this week’s German sermon. In English, the title is, “Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness.”

The 2014 Fall Holy Days will be observed on the following dates: Feast of Trumpets–September 25; Day of Atonement–October 4; Feast of Tabernacles–October 9-15; Last Great Day–October 16. The speaking schedule for the rest of August, September and most of October has been posted, including the speaking assignments for the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. Just click here.

Observance of the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day will be conducted in Pismo Beach, California, for those in the US. For Europe, the location will be in Templin, Germany. Just click here.

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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