Update 670


The Prophets Hang on Love, Part 2

On January 10, 2015, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “The Prophets Hang on Love, Part 2.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (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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Impressions from the 2015 Rose Parade

by Norbert Link

On January 1, 2015, I turned on the TV set and watched the 126th Rose Parade from the warm comfort of my home, while near record-breaking cold temperatures were felt in Pasadena, California, where the parade commenced at 8:00am. Pretty soon, I felt bored and even somewhat offended. While the announcers and local papers commented on the truly “inspirational” floats and the messages behind them, I found myself in disagreement. There was not much inspiration for me. The parade was overshadowed by honoring veterans and soldiers, with an U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bomber performing a flyover above the parade route, and by portraying many (unscriptural) different cultural and religious facets of American society, including floats representing far-Eastern religious ideas or portraying “biblical” figures in a most ridiculous and juvenile way.

When meditating about God’s point of view, it became abundantly clear that even something so (at times) beautiful-looking as the flower-decorated floats of the Rose Parade present an entirely wrong picture—apart from the fact that the annoying “New Year’s” sign, which was visibly portrayed throughout the TV program, gave the entire broadcast the resemblance of a New Year’s celebration. This brought into focus the dangerous traps which unsuspecting Church members might fall into, when approving, applauding or even engaging in worldly activities which are contrary to biblical injunctions.

“Honoring” veterans and soldiers and supporting their conduct has no place in the Christian mind set. God is against war in every shape or form. We do appreciate the zeal with which many are fighting for their country, but we must never forget that their zeal is misguided, futile and in opposition to God’s commandments. In war, human beings are killed—including innocent civilians and children, who are labeled as “inevitable casualties.” In addition, our wars will never bring lasting peace. Church members are conscientious objectors for a reason—their conscience objects to and prohibits them from fighting in war, because they are convinced that war does not reflect God’s way of life. Since this is so, they are not to give the impression to others that they approve somehow of war activities. They are not to stand up to applaud veterans; they are not to post pictures on Facebook which celebrate veterans—in short, they are not to engage in hypocritical conduct.

But this godly injunction of giving a clear and consistent picture of ourselves runs much deeper. True Christians who are opposed to war are not to vote in governmental elections to give their support to a presidential candidate of their preference who will become the Commander in Chief. Again, to do so would manifest hypocritical and inconsistent conduct and question the sincerity of a person who votes for a candidate to become President, while refusing to serve under that elected President.

Not voting in political elections and refusing to serve in the military are to be seen in conjunction with refusing to serve on the jury. These three activities are intertwined elements of the same package, as they all manifest our understanding that we are not to be part of this world, but rather, that we are Christ’s ambassadors for a better world to come—when the Kingdom of God will be established on earth to rule all nations. Then, people will not learn war anymore; then, there will be no more political campaigns and elections; and then, there will be no more jury trials.

Many seem to have doubts today about the long-held doctrine of the Church of God in this regard; and quite a few who once knew better have now begun to participate in jury trials and to vote in governmental elections. They may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong. Our free booklet, “Should You Fight in War?” explains in detail the biblical teaching on the inseparable connection between military service, voting and jury duty.

Whether there will be something like “rose parades” in the world tomorrow, we do not know; but if that was the case, we suspect that they would not be held on January 1, and we know that they would not focus on foreign and unbiblical religions and philosophies or on soldiers and veterans. No U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bomber would fly over any parade route, and no one would rise to honor those who, in their misguided zeal, felt that they had to fight and kill in war in order to bring peace.

What a different world it will be!

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We begin with the shaky relationship between Britain and Germany; discuss a potentially devastating fiasco regarding Greece and its relationship with the rest of the world; address the growing popularity of Germany’s PEGIDA movement against “Islamization” and the terror attack in France; and speak of the interesting developments pertaining to a Russian-European “cease-fire,” with France at the forefront of questionable conduct.

Turning to American politics and social issues, we point out unfavorable bad news for Democrats (arguably affecting Hillary Clinton) and Republicans (especially surrounding John Boehner), proving again why true Christians should have NOTHING to do with it; and we address the despicable “success” of Planned Parenthood regarding abortion and the confusion surrounding the law (which law?) and its application (which application?) regarding medical marijuana.

We conclude with articles about the debate within the Church of England on suicide and about utterly unbiblical remarks by Pope Francis on “the beautiful relationship and inseparability between Jesus, Mary, and the Church.”

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German-British Alienation

The Times wrote on January 6:

“Behind the smiles at today’s summit, the German chancellor is cooling on David Cameron. David Cameron’s faltering tango de salon with Angela Merkel has become one of European diplomacy’s most embarrassing spectacles. The British government’s increasing desperation to be delivered from its European muddle is matched only by the increasing German irritation with Britain’s tunnel vision. No wonder the German chancellor looks as if someone has trodden heavily on her corns.”

Don’t Give Merkel the Red Carpet Treatment!

The Telegraph wrote on January 6:

“Both in her own country, and on the world stage, Ms Merkel is one of the very few European leaders who still commands genuine respect. Her successes and popularity within German borders are manifest. Yet it is her supposed ability to deliver favours within the wider European context, rather than her many admirable qualities, that explains much of the deference the British government displays to this de facto, if somewhat reluctant, European monarch. If there is anyone who can engineer the new relationship with the European Union that David Cameron demands, it is the German Chancellor.

“And it is for her own country’s sake, rather than as a favour to Britain, that she needs to deliver; for in truth, the benefit to Germany of British participation in the European Union is substantially greater than any economic positives the UK derives from it. Given this service, it ought indeed, to be Ms Merkel who is beholden to us, not the other way around…

“The UK has long been far and away Germany’s largest European export market. Since the onset of the eurozone crisis, German reliance on British export markets has become bigger still. Amid the general wreckage of the European economy, it sometimes seems that Britain is indeed the only decent source of demand left…

“As non-members of the euro, we have by default become Europe’s consumers of last resort, even though we will not ultimately be able to afford the bills. So please, Ms Merkel; Germany owes Britain a good deal more than a few negotiating scraps. There is no one else to cure Europe of its sickness but you…”

It is interesting that the Bible paints quite a different picture: It is Ephraim (the UK) which first does not even see ITS sickness, but when it finally does, it will go to Assyria (modern Germany) for help, but won’t find help there.

Greece and the Euro Zone

Reuters reported on January 3:

“The German government believes that the euro zone would now be able to cope with a Greece exit if that proved to be necessary… It is still unclear how a euro zone member country could leave the euro and still remain in the European Union, but Der Spiegel quoted a ‘high-ranking currency expert’ as saying that ‘resourceful lawyers’ would be able to clarify.

“According to the report, the German government considers a Greece exit almost unavoidable if the leftwing Syriza opposition party led by Alexis Tsipras wins an election set for Jan. 25.

“The Greek election was called after lawmakers failed to elect a president last month. It pits Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ conservative New Democracy party, which imposed unpopular budget cuts under Greece’s bailout deal, against Tsipras’ Syriza, who want to cancel austerity measures and a chunk of Greek debt. Opinion polls show Syriza is holding a lead over New Democracy, although its margin has narrowed to about three percentage points in the run-up to the vote.”

“Stocks Tumble Again In Worst Start To Year Since 2008”

The Huffington Post wrote on January 6:

“Wall Street suffered more losses Tuesday as stocks fell for the fifth straight day, in the worst start to a year since 2008. Stocks fell with the price of oil, which has been plummeting for months to its lowest levels since the financial crisis and Great Recession.

“Falling oil prices hurt major oil companies, and investors fear they are a sign of weak global economic demand that could weigh on U.S. growth and corporate profits. European shares also fell amid political tumult in debt-plagued Greece.”

Is the deterioration of the economy going to continue? See the next article.

What If Greece Were to Depart…?

The Independent wrote on January 7:

“… the Greek Syriza party may well triumph in the election later this month. It is threatening to renege on the deal Greece reached with the IMF, EU and European Central Bank because it is too austere, even though it’s almost completed. Such an outcome would not be good for Greece, which would gain an even worse reputation for its ability to hold to international obligations, and her exit from the eurozone would soon follow.  A re-introduced drachma would immediately devalue, and the real-terms value of her euro-denominated debt would rise even further beyond redemption. Default would then be the only option. No one would lend to them. The Greek people would suffer more grievously than now.

“Such a turn of events would also be disastrous for the eurozone as a whole, at least in the short term, because of ‘contagion’… Panic, often irrationally, spreads from bank to bank, from bank to country, and from country to country, and something of the same is happening now, with the euro falling to fresh lows…

“Deflation is looming, something not seen in Europe since before the Second World War… After Greece, the dominos would fall – Portugal, Spain and the rest. The rout may not end until it has overcome France, in which case the euro would simply be a proxy German currency, with only the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Finland as economic satellites along for the ride. Europe would slide back into recession.

“Despite the damage it would cause, many governments must be quietly wondering whether Greece’s exit from the eurozone is simply inevitable, as Greek resistance to reform proves insurmountable…

“A Grexit and its knock-on effects would be as dramatic as anything we have experienced since 2007. It would hit European growth, and with it the chances of a continuing British recovery. George Osborne said last year that a slowdown in the eurozone was the biggest threat to UK prospects, and so it remains. Greece is a global problem, no matter what Syriza might think…”

None of these prospects look too healthy for a striving worldwide economy. The idea of the euro becoming a proxy German currency may have some validity.

PEGIDA Movement Growing in Germany

Breitbart wrote on January 6:

“The Patriotic Europeans Against Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) movement has now spread from its home city of Dresden, where up to 20,000 took to the streets for their first weekly ‘stroll’ of 2015, to other cities in Germany and Europe… Despite the record turnout, many mainstream news outlets have chosen to focus on the growing counter protests which have outnumbered PEGIDA in German cities like Stuttgart, Munster and Hamburg. A grand coalition of left-wing political parties and local associations of Muslim immigrants have formed in these areas and claimed 22,000 counter-protesters across the country, according to reports.

“The counter-PEGIDA movement now claims support from all sections of the German establishment, who have turned out in force to oppose the movement which threatens the pro-immigration status quo. German justice minister Heiko Maas, a member of coalition-government party the Social Democrats (SDP) was spotted marching against PEGIDA in Berlin, as churches, power companies, and factories turned off the power to their premises to deny PEGIDA supporters light during the winter night of Monday’s march.

“In Dresden the Volkswagen car factory turned off their lights, following the example of the local cathedral and state opera house. In Berlin the floodlights illuminating the Brandenburg gate and the television tower, the tallest structure in Germany, were turned off. In Cologne, the municipal power company turned out their lights and the city cathedral was also darkened. The strolling PEGIDA members appear to have responded to the blackout by marching with their mobile phone torches turned on and held in the air in a symbol of resistance.”

While the German “established” parties and their leaders, as well as most German liberal and conservative magazines and newspapers, foolishly and sometimes quite inaccurately try to find stronger and stronger words against PEGIDA, thereby ignoring the real dangers stemming from fanatical and radical Islamists and the less-than-peaceful religion of Islam, PEGIDA is finding more and more sympathy and support among “ordinary” Germans.

Mixed Reactions to Terrorist Attack in France

Reuters reported January 8:

“Anti-immigrant groups in Germany seized on Wednesday’s deadly attack in Paris, with leaders of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and PEGIDA saying it showed the threat of Islamist violence. Twelve people were killed when gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical magazine known for lampooning radical Islam. ‘This bloodbath proves wrong those who laughed or ignored the fears of so many people about a looming danger of Islamism,’ said Alexander Gauland, a regional AfD leader. ‘This gives new clout to PEGIDA demands.’

“PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, itself reacted strongly to the Paris attack. ‘The Islamists, against whom PEGIDA has been warning over the last 12 weeks, showed in France today that they are not capable of (practicing) democracy but instead see violence and death as the solution,’ PEGIDA wrote on its Facebook page…

“German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Wednesday the attack in Paris had nothing to do with Islam. ‘Islamic extremists and Islamic terror are something entirely different from Islam,’ he said. “It is immensely important to underscore that difference on a day like today.'”

The Huffington Post wrote on January 8:

“Muslims in France and around the world banded together on Wednesday to strongly condemn the deadliest terror attack the country has seen in the past two decades.

“Three masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that has become notorious for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. One of the men reportedly shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ as they unleashed a barrage of bullets that left at least twelve dead. Muslim leaders and activists immediately denounced the terrorists actions, reiterating the verse in the Quran that tells Muslims when one kills just one innocent person, it is as if he has killed all of humanity.”

CNS reported on January 8:

“In the wake of the terrorist attack on the offices of French satirist paper Charlie Hebdo, one Muslim cleric justified the murders under Islamic law. USA today published a column by avowed ‘radical Muslim cleric’ Anjem Choudary. The piece titled ‘People know the consequences’ asks why France would allow the paper to mock Islam, and further excused the systematic murders as justified under Islamic law:

“’Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.” However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see.’

“The contention that mass murder is in any way an appropriate response to being personally offended is a dangerous slope on which to tread. There is no doubt that some of these cartoons can be seen as offensive to certain people, but that same sentiment can be asserted on nearly any form of speech, especially in politics. Hence, the reasoning behind and the sanctity of the Constitution’s first amendment. Choudary then reversed the blame for the attack away from the three terrorists themselves and onto the French government.”

Does France Reap What It Has Sown?

Newsmax wrote on January 8:

“While France is reeling from the terrorist massacre of 12 people at the Paris offices of a satirical magazine, the country is also ‘one of the worst … when it comes to rewarding terrorism,’ lawyer and author Alan Dershowitz [said]… ‘They’ve never been part of the international campaign against terrorism. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.’…

“France has endured a string of small-scale attacks since joining the military campaign against the Islamic State. But the violence level surged on Wednesday, when gunmen stormed the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo shortly after it tweeted a cartoon of Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The magazine, which was firebombed in 2011, has mocked radical Islamists in the past, but has also belittled some critics of Muslim religion and culture as Islamophobes and fearmongers.

“Dershowitz said that the attack should come as no surprise, given Europe’s history of tolerating Islamic terrorism. ‘We have tolerated extreme Islamic terrorism from the very beginning,’ he said, describing the Palestinian state as ‘born in terrorism,’ with the assent of governments including France and Germany. ‘When the Israeli athletes were murdered in Munich [in 1972], most European countries freed them when they came to their country,’ said Dershowitz. ‘Germany let them go, and most European countries have freed terrorists. It shouldn’t surprise anybody. In Europe, they’ve never fought terror.’…

“Dershowitz also said that radical Islam enjoys support from ‘millions of people’ in the Muslim world ‘who support terrorism, who will be applauding what happened today… The reason it has so many supporters is because it works. Terrorism works. It achieves the goals and results. Palestinians would not be getting a state today if it wasn’t for their terrorists.’”

EU to Become Partner with EAEU?

The EUObserver wrote on January 2, 2015:

“Russia’s EU ambassador has urged Brussels to launch talks with the newly born Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) despite the Ukraine crisis… He described the new Russia-led bloc as a better partner for the EU than the US, with a dig at health standards in the US food industry…

“The treaty establishing the Eurasian Union entered into life on Thursday (1 January). It includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, with Kyrgyzstan to join in May… Ukraine was originally to join, but a popular revolt last year overthrew its Russia-friendly president and the new government signed a free trade treaty with the EU instead…”

The relationship between Russia and Europe may become even better for a short while—with the USA finding itself on the outside—but it will ultimately end up in outright hostility and war.

Ukraine Prepares for War… while France Is Unstable as Water

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 6:

“Germany and France cast doubt on next week’s planned peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan on Monday… Despite these talks, Ukraine has beefed up its heavy weaponry… Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko himself was on hand to deliver fighter jets, howitzers, and armored cars to the military in Zhytomyr in the north of the country. The delivery of heavy weapons is in direct violation of the Minsk agreement, which both sides accuse the other of violating on multiple occasions…

“The French leader took a less hard line on Russia and its president than other Western leaders have of late…

“Moscow has continuously denied that it backed the conflict in the eastern part of the former Soviet republic that has left 4,700 dead. The crisis has also proven disastrous to cash-strapped France, as it is prevented from completing the delivery of two high-tech

Mistral class warships to Russia. Breach of the 1.2-billion euro ($1.5-billion) contract could make France liable to hefty fines.”

The EUObserver added on January 6:

“French leader Francois Hollande has dangled the prospect of lifting EU sanctions on Russia ahead of the year’s first Ukraine summit… ‘[Russian president] Mr Putin doesn’t want to annex eastern Ukraine. He’s told me that … what he wants is to remain influential. What he wants is for Ukraine not to fall into the Nato camp’, he added, referring to his impromptu meeting with Putin at a Moscow airport in December…

“Russian media said his remarks mean Moscow is off the hook for annexing Crimea and that France is keen to resume delivery of two warships. Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, and the German centre-left SPD party have also said they want to re-engage with Russia…

“For his part, Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics – whose country took over the rotating EU presidency on 1 January – urged EU leaders not to break ranks.  Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania – former Soviet republics which host Russian-speaking minorities – fear that if Putin gets away with partitioning Ukraine he will cause trouble in the Baltic states in future.”

Is Mr. Hollande really that naïve, or do national interests play a major role for his unconscionable words? The answer should be rather obvious.

Bad News for Hillary Clinton?

On January 6, 2015, The Daily Mail published an article with the following headlines:

“Bill Clinton was also apparently friends with a woman who collected naked pictures of underage girls for Epstein to choose from. He hasn’t cut ties with that woman, however, and invited her to Chelsea’s wedding… friends now fear that if Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, all of their family’s old scandals will be brought to the forefront. Epstein has a host of famous friends including Prince Andrew who stayed at his New York mansion AFTER his arrest.”

The article continued:

“A new lawsuit has revealed the extent of former President Clinton’s friendship with a fundraiser who was later jailed for having sex with an underage prostitute. Bill Clinton’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, who served time in 2008 for his illegal sexual partners, included… multiple trips to the onetime billionaire’s private island in the Caribbean where underage girls were allegedly kept as sex slaves…

“Flight logs pinpoint Clinton’s trips on Epstein’s jet between the years 2002 and 2005, while he was working on his philanthropic post-presidential career and while his wife Hillary was a Senator for their adopted state of New York…

“At least one woman on the compound was there unwillingly, as the suit identifies a woman as Jane Doe 102. She ‘was forced to live as one of Epstein’s underage sex slaves for years and was forced to have sex with… politicians, businessmen, royalty, academicians, etc,’ the lawsuit says…

“Epstein’s sexual exploits have been documented since 2005…

“The claim prompted a nearly year-long investigation that led to the eventual charge of soliciting prostitution which came as part of a plea deal. He spent 13 months of a 18-month sentence in jail and remains a registered sex offender.”

But before Republicans begin to cheer too much, note the next set of articles.

John Boehner Survives—For Now—Despite Big Rebellion

On January 6, 2015, the Huffington Post published an article with the following headline: “Biggest Rebellion in 90 Years.”

The article continued:

“The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to once again make John Boehner its speaker, handing the Ohio Republican the gavel for the third time despite a late challenge by dissatisfied members of his own party. Tuesday’s vote saw the most votes against a sitting speaker since 1923. In the final tally, Boehner received the votes of 216 House members, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) got 164 votes. More than two dozen discontented Republicans, however, voted for other candidates… They argued that the current GOP leadership had turned its back on the principles of the voters who chose to seat a Republican House and Senate for the first time in eight years…

“While the insurrection gained little traction, it does signal that Boehner could be in for a rough couple of years. The members who opposed him comprise a larger bloc than the dozen who opposed him two years ago at the start of the 113th Congress. And during the four years that Boehner has led the House, he lost control of his caucus a number of times, finding himself forced to pull key bills from the floor when he failed to muster votes that he thought he could deliver.

“Indeed, the fact that so many were willing to publicly embarrass Boehner on the first day of his new term at least serves as notice that the more hard-line members of his base will not give him a free hand, and will insist on being consulted when key pieces of legislation are being passed.

“… the GOP insurgents will likely make their presence felt as soon as the end of this month, when the House will begin work on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for implementing most of Obama’s immigration policy. The conservative rebels will also be significant in the spring, when Congress must again raise the nation’s debt limit in order to be able to pay its bills…”

Breitbart added on January 6:

“Only 216 Republicans voted to re-elect a humbled Ohio Republican Rep. John Boehner as Speaker of the U.S. House on Tuesday, as many Republicans voted for alternative candidates in the second organized attempt to unseat Boehner in as many speakership elections. He wins re-election as Speaker with less than a majority of the House, something that has happened only four times since 1917.”

The Washington Post introduced its article: “John Boehner just endured the biggest revolt against a House speaker in more than 150 years.” It subsequently wrote in an update: “Boehner lost the votes of 25 House Republicans, marking the biggest defection in at least 100 years.”

And Now It’s Payback Time–Boehner’s Revenge

Politico wrote on January 6:

“He secured his third term as speaker Tuesday afternoon, losing 25 votes on the House floor to three relatively unknown members of the House Republican Conference. But he’s already punishing those who betrayed him.

“First up: Florida Reps. Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent. The pair will be booted from their spots on the House Rules Committee, according to sources familiar with the decision. Webster ran against Boehner (R-Ohio) for speaker Tuesday, and Nugent supported his fellow Floridian. The Rules Committee is a panel appointed by the speaker, and it controls the flow of legislation to the House floor. It’s a prestigious appointment for members who are loyal to leadership.

“More punishment is likely to come for others that crossed Boehner, sources say.”

Oh yes, politics is such a dirty business!!!! That is why God tells true Christians: “Get out of her, My people.” Please read carefully Norbert Link’s Editorial in this issue.

 Planned Parenthood… One Abortion Every 90 Seconds

On January 1, 2015, The Washington Times published an article with the following headline:

“Planned Parenthood’s fiscal 2014 report puts the number of abortions the organization performed at 327,653.”

The article continued:

“‘We’ve come a long way since Margaret Sanger was jailed in 1916 for opening America’s very first birth control clinic,’ the report states before thanking the organization’s advocates for their support. CNS News reported Wednesday that the tally, which ran from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, was 487 abortions more than the previous year. The website reported that the number of abortions performed works out to be 37 per hour, or roughly one every 90 seconds…”

This is so appallingly despicable. “We have come a long way” in murdering more and more innocent children!

Medical Marijuana – Legal Confusion Continues…

The Pasadena Star News reported on January 1, 2015:

“A single paragraph on the 88th page of the 701-page spending bill passed by Congress last month contains language that may signal a de-escalation of the federal government’s war on medical marijuana. The provision, tucked within a phonebook-size piece of legislation that authorizes roughly $1.1 trillion in federal expenditures, is no small detail: It forbids the U.S. Department of Justice from spending taxpayer money on operations that run counter to more than 30 states’ own medical marijuana laws.

“If the law is enforced as one of its key proponents intends, a contradiction between state and federal marijuana laws would be resolved in the states’ favor, at least until Washington’s budget year comes to a close Sept. 30. ‘In half of the country, the federal government will no longer be able to legally raid marijuana dispensaries,’ U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, said in a telephone interview.

“Rohrabacher, along with Northern California Democrat Sam Farr, pushed for the amendment’s inclusion in the new spending bill, which President Barack Obama signed. The Justice Department has not determined how it will adapt to the new legislation, which does not repeal the federal prohibition of marijuana. So it remains to be seen whether it will lead to major changes in the coming year in the way federal authorities maintain the prohibition against marijuana in the face of growing acceptance of the drug inside individual states…

“The recent legislation is officially only on the books for the 2015 budget year and does nothing to alter Washington’s ban against marijuana. The law simply prevents the Department of Justice from spending taxpayer dollars in ways that interfere with individual states’ medical marijuana laws. A Justice Department spokesman said the legislation is still under review. Officials there have previously outlined its policy of being willing to ignore small-time marijuana providers while reserving the authority to prosecute large-scale, medical marijuana operations, which in Washington’s eyes may be fronts for illegal drug trafficking or other crimes…

“California’s tolerance of medical marijuana does not mean cannabis can be legally obtained in all parts of the state. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that individual cities have the power to ban dispensaries. Different cities have since taken different paths. Los Angeles, for example, governs dispensaries under the terms of Measure D. The voter-approved measure passed in May 2013 and limits the state’s largest city to 135 dispensaries, but Angelenos’ limited support for medical marijuana did not prevent a federal crackdown shortly after the measure passed…

“Long Beach, by contrast, has banned medical marijuana collectives involving more than three people since February 2012. The City Council is set to consider a new city law to regulate up to 18 dispensaries within the near future. David Hendricks, deputy chief of the Long Beach Police Department, said city police have relentlessly enforced the local ban against dispensaries, but most cases against dispensary operators are prosecuted as misdemeanor violations of local law…”

This is just one of so many examples presenting the typical picture of political uncertainty and even hypocrisy… and showing the utter confusion of our federal, state and local governments.

Suicide and the Church of England

The Daily Mail wrote on January 5, 2015:

“The Church of England is embroiled in a row over proposals to sweep away laws that forbid a full Christian funeral to people who have taken their own lives. Most clergy now regard suicide with far more sympathy than when ‘self murder’ was still a crime, and the move will be seen as reflecting a growing acceptance as more Britons choose to end their lives… But some critics within the Church say the reforms will ‘legalise’ suicide, which should still be regarded a serious sin…

“Under centuries-old Church rules, it is technically illegal for clergy to use official funeral services to bury those who have ‘laid violent hands’ upon themselves, particularly while of ‘sound mind’, although in reality the law is almost universally ignored…

“But former Government Minister Lord Tebbit, a vocal opponent of assisted suicide, said that by changing its laws the Church might suggest it had diluted its principles.  He said: ‘The Church is in danger of getting into a muddle because we can take a merciful view of people who kill themselves while the balance of their mind is disturbed. ‘But we are now looking at cases in which people who appear to be quite sane want to take their own lives. The Church should think again.’”

Suicide is a sin. Taking somebody’s life—including our own—is violating God’s command not to kill. The same applies to abortion (see article above regarding Planned Parenthood) or killing in war. All of this is transgressing and breaking the Sixth Commandment.

Inseparable Relationship between Jesus, Mary and the Church?

Zenit wrote on January 2:

“Pope Francis made [a] strong statement during his homily given Jan. 1, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, in St. Peter’s Basilica, when warning faithful of what happens when one undermines the beautiful relationship and inseparability between Jesus, Mary, and the Church… He pointed out that Mary ‘is the one who opens the way to the Church’s motherhood and constantly sustains her maternal mission to all mankind.’ The Pope further reflected on Mary, as ‘the first and most perfect disciple of Jesus, the model of the pilgrim Church,’ and discussed what her acceptance of God’s will has accomplished… Francis stressed how closely united Mary is to Jesus and how Jesus cannot be understood without his Mother.

‘‘Likewise inseparable,’ the Pope continued, ‘are Christ and the Church.’ He noted the salvation accomplished by Jesus cannot be understood without appreciating the motherhood of the Church. ‘For the Church is herself God’s great family, which brings Christ to us’… the Pontiff said the Church resembles a mother ‘who tenderly holds Jesus and gives him to everyone with joy and generosity’… Without the Church,  he continued, ‘Jesus Christ ends up as an idea, a moral teaching, a feeling. Without the Church, our relationship with Christ would be at the mercy of our imagination, our interpretations, our moods.’”

These comments are either blatantly wrong or they present a backward picture. First of all, Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, is dead. She is in her grave, awaiting the resurrection from the dead together with all of those who died in Christ. This will occur when Jesus Christ returns at the blowing of the last trumpet… not before then. Also, there is no biblical evidence to support the view that Mary was “the first and most perfect disciple of Jesus.” In addition, it is not the Church (not even the true Church of God) which carries Christ, but it is Christ who carries the Church. It is true that the true Church of God is NECESSARY for Christians, but the Bible warns against false ministers who preach a false Jesus and a false gospel.

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Would you please explain Proverbs 27:10?

Proverbs 27:10 reads: “Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.”

This statement could be easily misunderstood if we do not read the passage carefully. First of all, we must understand that Proverb 27:10 does not address “spiritual” brothers and sisters, but physical “brothers.”

The Pulpit Commentary states the following:

“A father’s friend is one who is connected with a family by hereditary and ancestral bonds… Such a one is to be cherished and regarded with the utmost affection… The tried friend is more likely to help and sympathize with you than even your own brother, for a friend is born for adversity, and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother… The mere blood relationship, which is the result of circumstances over which one has had no control, is inferior to the affectionate connection which arises from moral considerations and is the effect of deliberate choice.

“We must remember, too, that the practice of polygamy, with the separate establishments of the various wives, greatly weakened the tie of brotherhood. There was little love between David’s sons; and Jonathan was far dearer to David himself than any of his numerous brothers were.

“Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off. ‘Near’ and ‘far off’ may be taken as referring to feeling or to local position. In the former case the maxim says that a neighbor who is really attached to one by the bonds of affection is better than the closest [blood] relation who has no love or sympathy. In the latter view, the proverb enunciates the truth that a friend on the spot in time of calamity is more useful than a brother living at a distance… one is sure of help at once from the former, while application to the latter must occasion delay, and may not be successful…”

As we can see, the proverb has many facets and applications in a given circumstance.

The Soncino Commentary explains:

“‘thine … father’s friend.’ The text signifies ‘thy friend who is thy father’s friend,’ i.e. an old and tried friend of the family… ‘forsake not.’ … The teaching… is that in a grave emergency, look for assistance from a proved friend rather than from a kinsman, even a brother…”

We see, then, that the term “your father’s friend” does not only refer to the relationship between the father and his friend, but it also includes the tried and tested friendship between the father’s friend and the father’s son—he is a close friend of the entire family.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible agrees that a father’s friend is a person who has been “long tried and proved, and found faithful,” adding: “Solomon valued his father’s friend Hiram, and kept up friendship with him; but Rehoboam his son forsook the counsel of the old men [who were] his father’s friends and counsellors, and followed the young men [who were] his new friends, and thereby lost ten tribes at once.”

Insofar as the “near” neighbor is concerned, Gill remarks that “a neighbor that is a fast and faithful friend, and who is not only near as to place but as to affections is more serviceable and useful to a man in time of distress than a brother though near in blood, yet as far off in place, so much more in affection, and from whom… little is to be expected…”

The understanding that the “near” neighbor and the “far away” brother include not only physical locality and distance, but also, and most importantly, spiritual and mental closeness or the lack thereof, is also expressed in the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

“Joseph found more kindness with strangers than with his brethren… A neighbor near in heart, as well as in loyalty, is better than a brother as far off in love as he is in distance.”

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible agrees:

“‘Better is a neighbor’ who is really ‘near’ in heart and spirit, than a brother who though closer by blood, is ‘far off’ in feeling.”

Similarly the Amplified Bible, which renders Proverbs 27:10 as follows:

“Better is a neighbor who is near [in spirit] than a brother who is far off [in heart].”

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary adds this further admonition regarding a “brother”—regardless of whether he is near or far in locality:

“Depend not for relief upon a kinsman, merely for kindred’s sake; apply to those who are at hand, and will help in need.”

One of the most obvious applications regarding true friendship and brotherhood by blood can be seen in the life of Jesus Christ. His brothers did not believe in Him (John 7:5), and they tried, at least once, to prevent Him from teaching God’s Word and to actually seize Him, because they thought that He was mad and “out of His mind” (Mark 3:21; 31-32). On the other hand, His disciples—the early Apostles—showed Him love and loyalty, generally speaking; especially Peter and John. But even they forsook Him in His time of need, prior to their conversion, showing that only the indwelling Holy Spirit can give us true godly love and establish lasting friendships.

A similar thought, as expressed in Proverbs 27:10, can be found in Proverbs 18:24: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

True friendship is not to be judged (merely) by blood relationship, but by spiritual closeness and reliability of character.

At first glance, Proverbs 17:17 might appear to contradict the foregoing, but this is not really the case. The proverb states: “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”

In conjunction with the other statements discussed herein, the obvious reference is to a true friend and to a brother who is ALSO a true friend.

The Benson Commentary states:

“A sincere and hearty friend not only loves in prosperity, but also in adversity, when false friends forsake us… [The brother] is so, not only by name and blood, but by brotherly affection. [Such a brother] is born for adversity… that he might comfort and relieve his brother in his adversity.”

The Ryrie Study Bible writes:

“When you are in trouble, you see who your friends are and how helpful a brother can be.”

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible goes a step further and explains that “in adversity” the true friend is born (i.e., becomes) a brother.”

This seems to be the correct understanding, as supported by the Soncino Commentary, which writes:

“… ‘a bother.’ Synonym for a true friend. David called Jonathan ‘my brother’ (2 Samuel 1:26), and Solomon used the word in connection with his friend Hiram of Tyre (1 Kings 9:13).”

The German Menge Bible agrees and renders Proverbs 17:17 in this way: “The (true) friend shows love at all times, and he is born as brother for the time of need.”

In this world, not too many close family relationships exist. Throughout man’s existence, we read about strife and fight between brothers. In addition to the examples mentioned so far, we might think of Cain who slew his brother Abel and the animosity between the twin brothers Jacob and Esau. We might also remember the parable of the “lost son” and the hostile reaction of the elder son when his younger brother repented (Luke 15:11-32). The Bible warns that in these end times, there would be friction and animosity in human families, especially due to the fact that some will understand and live by the truth, while others will oppose it (compare Matthew 10:34-36).

Christ made very clear as to who His true brothers and sisters were. When His half-brothers were trying to “speak” with Him, “He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother’” (Matthew 12:48-50).

This would include blood brothers who do the will of God. And so, the Bible speaks of blood brothers who were or became true friends. We read for instance of the early apostles and blood-brothers James and John, as well as Peter and Andrew (Matthew 10:2). Also, Christ’s half-brothers would have become TRUE friends towards each other AND, most importantly, of Jesus Christ, after Christ’s resurrection, continuing “with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:13-14). (For more information on Christ’s relatives and their conversion, please read our free booklet, Jesus Christ—a Great Mystery.”)

If we want to be true Christians, then we must be true friends and true (spiritual) brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ (John 15:14) and towards each other. Then, we will be nearby “neighbors” in times of need; sticking closer to each other than (unconverted) physical blood-brothers would do. As true friends, we will love at all times and as true spiritual brethren, we are “born” to help each other in adversity.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Please note that we are requesting anyone who is interested in attending the 2015 Feast of Tabernacles with us in the USA or in Germany to contact us with your request.

“Better Off Now?” is the title of the sermon presented by Kalon Mitchell last Sabbath. Here is a summary:

When we become baptized and a member of the Church, how does our life change? Does it change for the better or worse? A lot depends on our attitude and how we look at life. Are we better off now that we have become members of the Body of Christ?

“No Escape from Death,” is the title of the sermonette presented by Norbert Link this past Sabbath. Here is a summary:

We do not know when we will die, but we do know that we will die. Death is inescapable, and so we need to be prepared. How will we die? Will our day of death be better than our day of birth? Will we die the death of a righteous person? Will we be blessed in death? Will death have lost its sting for us? Will the crown of life await us?

“Was ist das Malzeichen des Tieres?” is the title of this week’s German sermon. In English, the title is: “What is the Mark of the Beast?”

Global Trailer 24 – “Baptism – A Requirement for Salvation,” has been presented by Pastor Brian Gale. Here is a summary:

We have presented in this booklet the biblical proof that water baptism through immersion is a necessary requirement for salvation. Without it, there is no promise in the Bible of receiving God’s Holy Spirit, and without God’s Spirit dwelling in us, we are not true Christians, and God will not grant us His gift of everlasting life in His Kingdom.

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Putting God to the Test!

by Delia Messier

When our eldest daughter was five years old, she suffered from severe tonsillitis to a point that the doctors believed she might have leukemia. She swelled up like mumps repeatedly and had a very high fever for many days.  Even with sponge baths and medication, it still took several days for the swelling to go down and the fever to leave.

While we were waiting for our daughter’s scheduled surgery, she became very ill. This time my husband informed me that the Bible tells us, when we are sick, we are to call the elders of the church to be anointed for healing. He had just begun to read the Bible. I had never heard of this or even attended one Sabbath service, having had only one ministerial visit. Willing to give it a try, I told my husband:  “We will see if it is true, but if it is hocus pocus, I will have nothing to do with it!”

My husband called the minister who came and anointed our daughter in the evening. That night, while my husband worked grave yard shift, I put our daughter in bed with me and without an aspirin or sponge bath I watched her during the night. She woke up at times, and as I gave her little sips of water throughout the night, I could see her face and neck slowly improving. By morning her swelling was gone and her fever was almost gone.

This had never happened before; each time it would take days before the swelling and the fever would go away! This was truly a miracle!  I had put God to the test, and He had shown me that His Word is true!

Our daughter never had surgery. She was healed immediately and completely.   She never had another tonsillitis attack for all the rest of her childhood!

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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