Update 673


The Shield of Faith

On January 31, 2015, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “The Shield of Faith.”

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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The Work of Man

by Eric Rank

On March 2, 2004, the Philae robotic lander was launched from the surface of the earth into outer space, with a mission to land on the surface of a comet. Just over ten years later this radical and seemingly impossible mission was accomplished when it successfully made a soft landing on the surface of the nucleus of comet “67P”. As unfathomable and crazy as it sounds to land a spacecraft on the surface of a comet, a team of human beings managed to accomplish the task. To me, this is a prime example of man accomplishing whatever he sets his mind to do (compare Genesis 11:6). With this space probe attached to the nucleus of the comet, the scientific community is thrilled to discover previously unknown facts about this celestial body. For man, this is quite a feat.

As significant as this accomplishment is to man, in the context of God’s plan, landing on a comet is meaningless. In fact, it is even worse than meaningless, because it gives man an opportunity to be proud and glorify himself. The strong, wise, rich and powerful according to the standards of the world may have something to be proud about now, but the Bible is clear that “…the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:28-29).

If we have pride in our lives that elevates our opinions of ourselves above God, knowing that this is something that God will punish, what are we to do? We need to change our perspective to be spiritually minded and to walk in the Spirit (compare Galatians 5:25). This simply means that we should not seek value or glory from the world. The things that the world might provide are only temporary and will not provide any enduring reward. We are reminded of this perspective in 1 John 2:17 where we read, “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” If we live with the understanding that the world truly is passing away and that it is God’s Will that no flesh should glory, the achievements we accomplish in this world lose their value.

When we put this understanding into action, our motivation shifts away from achieving the temporary accomplishments in the world and re-focuses on fulfilling God’s Will. We put our treasure in heaven when we live in the Spirit. The Scripture that illustrates this shift in perspective is Colossians 3:23-24, where Paul writes, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Here we can see that we are not to stop taking action in our lives because the world is temporary. We must continue to be productive individuals, but the reason why we take action changes. The work we do – the action we take – must be done to please and glorify God, not man—not ourselves!

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We begin with reporting on the elections in Greece and the surprise victory of radical far-left atheist Alexis Tsipras (of the Syriza party) and his coalition with radical right-wing anti-German Panos Kammenos of the Independent Greek party, which has sent shock waves throughout Europe. We continue discussing Greece’s current debt situation, Europe’s reactions, and the unlikelihood of Greece’s exit from the Eurozone.

We continue with a disturbing profile on Saudi Arabia’s new leader, King Salman; report on Argentina’s crisis and new Russian provocations; and we address anti-Semitism in Europe, including in Germany and especially in France, while the icy relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu has hit new lows and new violence has erupted between Israel and Hezbollah.

We speak of America’s least Bible-minded cities and a terrible winter storm affecting some of those very cities; mention a “close encounter” with a huge asteroid; report about a debate on the beginning of life; present new evidence regarding the true nature of the Neanderthals; and conclude with an alarming article about people who hear voices, while neither “traditional psychiatry” and its “treatments” with strong suppressive drugs, causing terrible side-effects, nor participants and members of the “World Hearing Voices Congress” provide any answers to these real and traumatic problems.

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Greece Hands Power to Radical Far Left Party

The Wall Street Journal wrote on January 26:

“Greek voters handed power to a radical leftist party in national elections on Sunday, a popular rebellion against the bitter economic medicine Greece has swallowed for five years and a rebuke of the fellow European countries that prescribed it…

“A Syriza victory marks an astonishing upset of Europe’s political order, which decades ago settled into an orthodox centrism while many in Syriza describe themselves as Marxists. It emboldens the challenges of other radical parties, from the right-wing National Front in France to the newly formed left-wing Podemos party in Spain, and it sets Greece on a collision course with Germany and its other eurozone rescuers.”

Tsipras Sworn In, Forms Coalition with Radical Far Right Party

BBC News wrote on January 26:

“The head of Greece’s far-left Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, has been sworn in as prime minister and is set to lead an anti-austerity coalition government. Turning up for the ceremony without a tie, the leftist took the oath less than 24 hours after winning the general election on an anti-austerity platform…

“Breaking with tradition at his swearing-in, Mr Tsipras [an atheist] also refused the customary blessing from Orthodox priests…”

The Telegraph wrote on January 26:

“Mr Tsipras’s decision to form a coalition with the right-wing ANEL, or Independent Greeks party… strongly suggests that he intends to force a showdown with the Troika. ANEL is a nationalist champion of the Greek Orthodox Church, opposed to immigration… Party leader Panos Kammenos is virulently anti-German, describing his country as an occupied land under the austerity dictatorship of a Fourth Reich…”

Huge Greek Debts

The Telegraph wrote on January 26:

“The new Greece of Alexis Tsipras will run out of money by early March. It will then face a series of escalating crunch points that will end in default and a return to the drachma unless it can reach a deal with EU creditors.  Greece must repay €3.4bn to the International Monetary Fund in February and March…”

No Greek Debt Cancellations

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 26:

“At a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday, attendees spoke out against the idea of writing off Greek debt… Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who usually chairs these gatherings, told reporters that there was ‘little support’ for forgiving Greek debt… Hans-Hoerg Schelling, Austria’s finance minister, said the rest of Europe shouldn’t be made to restructure its financial policy ‘just because a country like Greece has a problem.’…

“Yanis Varoufakis, a member of the now-ruling far left Syriza, who is tipped by some to become Greece’s next finance minister, tried to allay fears on Monday that his party wanted to leave the euro, a move nicknamed the ‘Grexit,’ which would greatly destabilize the currency. He said his party wished to convince euro partners that reducing Greece’s debt burden would help growth, thereby benefiting everyone. ‘We who are in the eurozone must not toy with loose or fast talk about Grexit or fragmentation…If that happens, disruptive forces would be unleashed,’ Varoufakis told BBC radio.”

The Telegraph wrote on January 26:

“Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, said Greece is legally bound by its agreements. ‘There are rules, there are agreements. New elections change nothing,’ he said… IMF chief Christine Lagarde said there is ‘no question of cancelling Greek debt’, deeming it unfair to other EMU states. It would entail losses for Italian and Spanish taxpayers just as much as for Germans.”

The Local wrote on January 26:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel expects the new Greek government to uphold its commitments to international creditors, her spokesman said Monday… Earlier mainstream politicians had reacted sternly to Syriza’s election victory in Greece, while the European Central Bank (ECB) said it would not take a ‘haircut’ on Greek debts it holds. ‘The Greeks have to bear the consequences of their own actions and can’t saddle the German taxpayer with them’, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) deputy leader in the Bundestag (German parliament) Hans-Peter Friedrich told Bild’s Monday edition…

“‘We cannot honour breach of contract’ said Wolfgang Bosbach, head of the Bundestag’s Interior Committee, adding that any leniency shown to Greece would send the wrong signal to other struggling countries… Meanwhile, ECB board member Benoit Coeure told business newspaper Handelsblatt that Greece couldn’t expect any leniency from the Frankfurt-based central bank… Cutting that debt would be tantamount to so-called monetary financing – printing money to get a government out of debt – which is strictly forbidden under the ECB’s own statutes…”

“Grexit” Unlikely – Americans Might Be Affected

ABC News wrote on January 26:

“While the Greek elections on Sunday were an ocean away, Americans may feel the ripple effects of the anti-austerity Syriza party’s leadership when it comes to their bank accounts and homes. By voting for the far-left Syriza leader to be their premier, Greeks essentially voted against the measures imposed by European Union leaders. Though their single euro currency, put in place in 1999, likely won’t go away, many Greeks are fed up with 26 percent unemployment and budget cuts that they face…

“Kasi Turpin, founder and director of boutique travel company Greece A La Carte, based in Athens, said:… ‘I think [Tsipras is] going to negotiate with Europe… A lot of what he promised was rhetoric so he could get elected…’ Peter Morici, professor at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, said shifting European politics may have a depressing effect on U.S. interest rates. That’s because uncertainty about the euro will cause Europeans to send money to the U.S., and that could push up stock prices and push down interest rates, he said.”

Der Spiegel wrote on January 26 that the “Grexis” is unlikely, and that the most likely scenario is that nothing will change and the new Greek government –notwithstanding all rhetoric and saber-rattling–will continue to act as the previous one without offering or finding any real solutions…

Bild Online ran a big article on its front page, saying that Tsipras’s election promises would cost 20 billion euros; and if he were to fulfil those promises, then Greece would be bankrupt again in no time. According to the article, Tsipras is also asking the EU for the cancellation of at least half of Greece’s debts, which EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker categorically rejected.

Die Welt Online commented that the situation in Greece is similar to the Weimar Republic and that Greece’s craving for a new “fuehrer ” or “Caesar” will not make them happy.

Why the Greek Experiment Will Fail

The Independent wrote on January 28:

“Greece’s new cabinet faces the biggest task of any Greek government since democracy returned in 1974; how to save the nation. A frustrated, fatigued and angry electorate has put into power a new radical left party because all else seems to have failed. Indeed, in some ways the austerity programme had made things worse. So now prime minister Alexis Tsipras, and finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, a self-described libertarian Marxist, face Angela Merkel and the conservatively-inclined Germany taxpayer in a battle of wills. All the signs are that the Greeks will not win…

“You owe the money; you need to pay it back as agreed. Alexis Tsipras and his new cabinet will soon be told that. If Greece has her debts written-off, … every other nation that has had to have a bailout will want the same treatment…

“The Greeks have no bargaining power. If they cannot scare the Germans into easing up because they can threaten the whole European project then they have nothing left to rely on for leverage… Even if they got their debts entirely written off, it would all start over again before long. This is the fundamental point. Greece was living beyond her means after the euro was introduced; taking advantage of the cheap interest rates on the euro bestowed by its status as a strong currency backed by Germany. They had a great big party, buying all those nice German cars and the consumer digital wonders of the noughties; and now the hangover is still taking time to work through…

“The Germans are fed up… the German taxpayer is growing weary of bail-outs and rescues for what they often regard as lazy southern neighbours. They fear ‘printing’ money to solve these problems will re-ignite inflation, a national folk fear after the hyperinflations of 1923 and at the end of the Second World War. Right wing protest parties such as Alternative For Germany are gaining support…

“Like Belgian chocolate and pralines, political fudge is a commonly found commodity in Brussels; the EU and Germany will do a deal with Greece, but only a face-saving, cosmetic affair. Greece is not going to get off the hook, but its new prime minister will be able to declare victory and move on.”

Controversial History of Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman

Free Beacon wrote on January 26:

“King Salman, Saudi Arabia’s newly crowned monarch, has a controversial history of helping to fund radical terror groups and has maintained ties with several anti-Semitic Muslim clerics known for advocating radical positions… Salman, previously the country’s defense minister and deputy prime minister, was crowned king last week after his half-brother King Abdullah died at the age of 90.

“While Abdullah served as a close U.S. ally and was considered a reformer by many, Saudi Arabia has long been criticized by human rights activists for its treatment of women and its enforcement of a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

“… throughout his public career in government, Salman… has been tied to the funding of radical groups in Afghanistan, as well as an organization found to be plotting attacks against America… In 2001, an international raid of the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia, which Salman founded in 1993, unearthed evidence of terrorist plots against America…

“Salman also has been reported to be responsible for sending millions of dollars to the radical mujahedeen that waged jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s… Salman also has embraced radical Saudi clerics known for their hateful rhetoric against Israel and Jews…”

One of the “closest” U.S. allies….

Argentina in Crisis

Fox News reported on January 24:

“Faced with one of the biggest crises of her presidency, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has given her countrymen a confusing and sometimes contradictory view of how her most damaging accuser [criminal prosecutor Alberto Nisman] was found dead, at first seeming to accept the idea of suicide and later describing it as an elaborate murder plot to undermine her government.

“Fernandez’s response… has deepened a political crisis with wide implications for the last year of her presidency and perhaps even for the future of the country beyond that… Many Argentines say the mysterious death has underscored an erosion of faith in the country’s institutions and in Fernandez at a time when her administration is struggling to fight economic ills and rising street crime.”

Russia’s Provocations

The Local wrote on January 28:

“More than 25 years after the Berlin Wall’s fall, Russian lawmakers are mulling a proposal to condemn West Germany’s 1990 “annexation” of East Germany as Moscow’s answer to Western denunciation of its seizure of Crimea. Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of Russian parliament’s lower house, on Wednesday ordered legislators to consider an appeal from a Communist Party deputy to denounce the reunification of Germany as an illegal land grab of East Germany by its western neighbour. The collapse of Socialist rule in East Germany – officially known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR) – heralded the end of the Cold War, and was met with jubilation in the West.

“But the Communist lawmaker sponsoring the proposal argued the absorption of the GDR – a Soviet Union satellite since the end of WWII – into a unified Germany in October 1990 was illegal. ‘Unlike Crimea, a referendum was not conducted in the German Democratic Republic,’ Nikolai Ivanov was quoted saying before the Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma. The desire by some to revise Moscow’s position on one of the late twentieth century’s most momentous events is born of anger over international condemnation of Russia’s own seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March – and an apparent yearning to match it.

“‘We understand that Western hypocrisy knows no limits,’ Ivanov told AFP, singling out German Chancellor Angela Merkel for particular criticism over her tough stance on the Ukraine crisis. Russian President Vladimir Putin, himself a KGB officer in East Germany when the Berlin Wall fell, spearheaded the annexation of Crimea against a backdrop of patriotic fervour last year…

“But the notion that West Germany had illegally annexed its eastern neighbour was met with scorn by one key figure from that period. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev — who is praised in the West for his decision not to use force to quell uprisings in Eastern Europe, and to let the Berlin Wall crumble — called the contention ‘nonsense.’… ‘What referendum could one talk about when one hundred thousand-strong demonstrations were taking place in both countries — both in East and West Germany – with one slogan only: “We are one people!”’”

Almost Half of Germans Have Negative View of Israel

JTA reported on January 26:

“More than one-third of Germans equated Israeli policies toward the Palestinians with Nazi policies towards the Jews, a new study found… The survey, which was conducted in October by the German Bertelsmann Foundation, found that… 48 percent of respondents held a negative view of Israel…

“Overall, 36 percent of Germans viewed Israel favorably. Regarding the Holocaust, 58 percent of Germans said it was time to put the past behind them, while 38 percent disagreed.”

Anti-Semitism in France and all over Europe

Der Spiegel wrote on January 26:

“Following the recent terror attacks in France, more French Jews than ever before are planning on emigrating to Israel… anti-Semitism in Europe, say many, is becoming intolerable… ‘In some (EU) states, the majority of the Jewish community is not sure they have a future in Europe,’ said European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans…

“In 2014, more than 7,000 people left France for Israel, almost double the total from the previous year. A total of 500,000 Jews live in France, putting it third behind the United States and Israel in terms of its total Jewish population. But it has also become the country from which the most immigrants to Israel come. ‘We are now also prepared if 15,000 come,’ says Nathan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency. ‘For the first time in Israel’s history, more Jews are arriving from the free world than from other countries,’ Sharansky says…”

Icy Relationship Between Netanyahu and Obama Hits New Low

BBC News wrote on January 22:

“Barack Obama will not meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visits in March to speak to Congress, the White House says… ‘A full blown crisis’ was how Jeffrey Goldberg, one of America’s leading Middle East commentators, described relations between the US and Israel last October, in an article that famously quoted a senior Obama administration official describing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a most unflattering, ornithological manner.

“Since then, relations have deteriorated still further…”

Fox News reported on January 24:

“The Obama administration reportedly is fuming over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to address Congress in March regarding the Iranian threat, with one unnamed official telling an Israeli newspaper he will pay ‘a price’ for the snub. House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu — and the Israeli leader accepted – without any involvement from the White House.

“… in private, Obama’s team is livid with the Israeli leader… Haaretz also reported that Obama had directly warned Netanyahu to stop urging U.S. lawmakers to back legislation teeing up new sanctions against Iran… Obama and Netanyahu have a ‘fundamental disagreement’ about the diplomatic talks with Iran…”

The Israeli Daily wrote on January 27:

“The icy relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu hit a new low this week, with the American president ‘defriending’ the Israeli Premier on Facebook. [A] White House source said, ‘But if the President had to read one more post somehow tying whatever [bad negative derogatory word] Jewish holiday it happened to be with the Iranian nuclear threat, he would have snapped.’”

Most Serious Escalation Since 2006

The Associated Press reported on January 28:

“The Lebanese militant Hezbollah fired a salvo of missiles at an Israeli military convoy in a disputed border area Wednesday, killing two soldiers and triggering a deadly response that marked the most serious escalation since the sides’ 2006 war.

“The flare-up, which also left a U.N. peacekeeper dead and seven soldiers wounded, adds to the regional chaos brought on by neighboring Syria’s civil war. Hezbollah indicated the attack was in retaliation for a deadly Israeli strike on its fighters inside Syria earlier this month.

“The violence sparked fears in both countries of yet another crippling war between the two foes. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israel would respond ‘forcefully,’ and the military fired artillery shell barrages that struck border villages in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah responded with rocket fire on Israeli military positions in an exchange of fire that lasted for hours.”

America’s Most and Least Bible-Minded Cities

The Huffington Post wrote on January 24:

“Bible lovers out there might want to steer clear of Providence, Rhode Island and New Bedford, Massachusetts — two cities that have tied for ‘least Bible-minded city’ in the country for three years in a row.

“The ranking derives from a study conducted by Barna Group in association with the American Bible Society, which measured how frequently residents of 100 U.S. cities read the Bible and how fervently they believed in the book’s accuracy. The organization considered respondents to be Bible-minded if they had read the Bible in the past seven days and believed strongly in its accuracy.

“The survey found, however, that only 27 percent of the American population qualified as Bible-minded.

“Topping the list for least Bible-minded in the country were eight cities in the Northeast, three in the West and one Midwestern holdout. Not entirely surprising, the most Biblically minded cities are all located in the south.”

Topping the list for the most Bible-minded cities are Birmingham, Alabama; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Tri-Cities, Tennessee; Roanoke, Virginia; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Springfield, Missouri. At the very bottom of the list are Cedar Rapids, Iowa; San Francisco, California; Boston, Massachusetts; Albany, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; and New Bedford, Massachusetts. In light of these statistics, note the following article and ask yourself whether the two could be related in any way.

Winter Storm in the USA

The Weather Channel wrote on January 26:

“Millions of people in the Northeast are bracing for Winter Storm Juno, which will become a major snowstorm today through Wednesday with the potential for blizzard conditions and more than 2 feet of snow. The high confidence in forecast wind and snowfall led the National Weather Service to issue blizzard warnings well in advance of the storm from the New Jersey shore all the way to Downeast Maine, including the cities of New York City, Boston, Providence, Hartford and Portland…”

The prognosis did not hold true for New York City, but the blizzard was a terrible disaster in other places, as the next article shows.

The Washington Post reported on January 28:

“The Blizzard of 2015 might have been a disappointment for New York, but it will go down in the record books for eastern Massachusetts after as much as 36 inches of snow fell between Monday and Tuesday, making it the snowiest storm on record in Worcester, Mass., and the snowiest January storm for Boston… The Blizzard of 2015 is now ranked number one for snow in Worcester, Mass. The powerful winter storm dumped 34.6 inches on the city which — maybe unsurprisingly — was ranked the second snowiest location in the United States in the winter of 2012-2013, when 109 inches of snow fell.

Boston’s official reporting station, Logan International Airport, reported a storm total of 24.6 inches, which makes the blizzard the snowiest January storm on record, and the sixth snowiest of any storm on record…

“Given the storm’s track, which was about 100 miles farther to the east than forecast, locations west of Hartford, Conn., and Long Island saw smaller totals… But no one is arguing that the forecast was a bust in southeast New England. Blizzard conditions were experienced for over 10 hours in some far eastern Massachusetts locations. Marshfield had 14 solid hours of blizzard conditions from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Hyannis, Chatham and Nantucket were all whipped by blizzard conditions for over 10 hours. Boston reported blizzard conditions for nine hours from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday, and blizzard conditions belted Worcester for a total close to 10 hours… Long Island wind gusts peaked at 60 mph, and Provincetown, Mass., saw gusts of 69 mph during the height of the blizzard…

“The snow might have been the least of worries for coastal locations, as strong winds combined with high tide ravaged the shoreline Tuesday evening. Dozens of reports of flooding, road washout and beach erosion were streaming into the National Weather Service as the tide peaked between 5 and 6 p.m. across coastal Massachusetts…”

Big Asteroid Comes Close to Earth

News.at reported on January 26 that a huge asteroid passed by earth within a distance of 1.2 million kilometers, which is three times as far as the distance from the earth to the moon. The asteroid is between 450 to 900 meters big and travels with 15 kilometers per second. If it had hit earth, it would have been a “huge” catastrophe with “millions of people dying” and it could have totally wiped out “a country as big as Germany,” according to the article.

When Life Begins…

Newsmax reported on January 26:

“San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, responding to recent statements made by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, says there is no debate in the Catholic Church about life beginning at conception and no room for Catholics to ‘dissent’ on the principle… Pelosi would not answer whether she believes life begins at 20 weeks, saying that ‘it’s not up to politicians to’ make that decision… ‘The life and the health of a mother is what is preeminent when a decision is made about a woman’s reproductive health,’ the California Democrat, whose district includes San Francisco, explained, adding that since she is a ‘Catholic and a mom of five’ that it’s ‘true’ that ‘she knows more about having babies than the pope.’

“When asked about these comments, Archbishop Cordileone [said] that ‘it is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception. This has been established in medical science for over 100 years. Catholic moral teaching acknowledges this scientific fact, and has always affirmed the grave moral evil of taking an innocent human life,’ Cordileone explained. ‘This has been the consistent teaching of the Church from the very beginning, a teaching already discernible in the natural moral law, and so a teaching from which no Catholic can dissent in good conscience,’ he said…”

The Archbishop is correct…

The Neanderthals Lived Alongside “Modern Man”

The Independent wrote on January 28:

“The partial skull of an anatomically modern human who lived alongside the Neanderthals about 55,000 years ago has been unearthed from a cave in northern Israel, scientists say. It is one of the oldest non-African skulls of Homo sapiens and comes close to the date when modern humans migrated out of Africa, eventually to colonise Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas…  ‘It has been suspected that modern man and Neanderthals were in the same place at the same time, but we didn’t have the physical evidence. Now we do have it in the new skull fossil,’ said Bruce Latimer, a palaeontologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, who took part in the study. ‘Modern humans and Neanderthals likely encountered each other foraging for food,’ Dr Latimer said.

“Modern humans share a small percentage of their DNA with Neanderthals, suggesting that limited interbreeding had taken place at some point in the past. However, it is not known when this contact took place, or whether it had occurred somewhere in Europe or the Middle East.

“The overall shape of the Manot cranium is more similar to the ancient fossil skulls found in Europe compared to other modern human skulls found in the Middle East, according to the study published in Nature led by Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University. ‘This suggests that the Manot people could be closely related to the first modern humans who later successfully colonised Europe,’ the authors said, adding that the skull suggests that interbreeding with Neanderthals could have taken place in the Middle East rather than in Europe.”

Of course, these scientists are totally off on the dating, as they are using a completely unreliable method—the Radio Carbon Dating.  But this article proves once more that the Neanderthals lived “alongside” “modern man,” and that interbreeding took place between them. What it really proves is that Neanderthals were modern human beings, as we have explained recently in several Q&As.

Speaking to Invisible Voices?

The Independent wrote on January 25:

“One night, during her first year at the University of Sheffield, Rachel Waddingham struggled to fall asleep. She could hear three middle-aged men she didn’t know talking about her downstairs. ‘They were saying, “She’s stupid, she’s ugly, I wish she would kill herself”’, she remembers. ‘I was angry and went down to challenge them, but no one was there. They kept laughing and saying, “She’ll never find us.”’

“The voices became a recurring presence, providing an aggressive, unsettling commentary on her life. Waddingham came to believe that they were filming her around the clock, and became paranoid. When she had a neck ache, she assumed a tracking device had been planted under her skin. At the supermarket, the voices would ask each other questions like ‘Does she know what she’s buying?’ – leading her to reach sinister conclusions…

“A doctor eventually admitted her into a psychiatric hospital, where she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and put on a cocktail of drugs. During her eight months in the hospital, the voices faded, but the side effects of the medication made life intolerable… Suicide attempts followed… Because she was no longer hearing the voices, she was released from the hospital…

“Research suggests that up to one in 25 people hears voices regularly and that up to 40 per cent of the population will hear voices at some point in their lives… Recently, Waddingham and more than 200 other voice-hearers from around the world gathered in Thessaloniki, Greece, for the sixth annual World Hearing Voices Congress… They reject the traditional idea that the voices are a symptom of mental illness. They recast voices as meaningful, albeit unusual, experiences, and believe that potential problems lie not in the voices themselves but in a person’s relationship with them…

“Research bears that out: at least 70 per cent of voice-hearers are thought to have experienced some form of trauma. The characteristics of voices vary widely from person to person, but they often mimic the sound and language of abusers or their victims: demonic and frightening, or angelic and friendly.

“Waddingham, for instance, now hears 13 voices. Among them are Blue, a frightened but cheeky three-year-old; Elfie, an angry adolescent; Tommy, a teenage boy who criticises her speech; the Scream, a female voice filled with pain and suffering… and the Not Yets, a group of voices Waddingham is not yet ready to engage with fully. ‘They say very nasty things about me – abusive, sexual, violent things, which echo what I heard when I was little,’ she says…

“When the younger voices can’t fall asleep, Waddingham reads them bedtime stories. When voices suggest that she’s going to be harmed by a stranger, she thanks them for their concern but lets them know she is being vigilant.

“Eleanor Longden tells a similar story. After leaving a psychiatric hospital with a diagnosis of schizophrenia at 18, she was assigned to work with a psychiatrist familiar with the hearing voices movement. He encouraged her to overcome her fear of her voices, which included both human and demonic-sounding ones.

“Traditional psychiatry discourages patients from engaging with voices, and prefers to silence them through medication. But HVN members… say that listening to voices is vital to calming them down…”

Sadly, neither traditional psychiatry nor the “World Hearing Voice Congress” seem to understand the ORIGIN of these voices. And so, neither has the answer or a real solution to the problem. In fact, they only make matters worse. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”

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What Will We Remember as God Beings?

When we are God Beings, will we remember our own past sins and the sins of others, including the sins of our close friends and family members?

The Bible teaches that we will enter the Family of God and become God Beings at the time of the return of Jesus Christ, when we have God’s Holy Spirit within us at the time of our death or of our change. As God Beings, we will think and behave like God the Father and Jesus Christ. How then does God look at the sins of others?

First of all, let us quickly review the question whether we are even going to remember our close friends, family members or mates in the resurrection. We addressed this question in our Q&A about Isaiah 65:17 (“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”).

Answering the question whether we will still retain memories of human beings of this time, including our relationships with family and friends, we said:

“It will depend on whether or not they are righteous or evil (compare Psalm 34:15-16). Simply stated, those who are in God’s Kingdom will know one-another, but those who rebel will cease to exist or be remembered.”

We do not believe in an ever-burning hell fire which will torture the wicked for all eternity, while those “saved in heaven” will continually hear their cries. At the same time, it would be difficult to imagine that we will constantly remember loved ones or close friends who turned away from God and committed the unpardonable sin. Generally speaking, we will put the memories of those out of our minds; it will be as if they had never existed (Obadiah 16). [However, in the case of King Saul who apparently committed the unpardonable sin, his deeds of rebellion and his consultation of a witch and his encounter with a demon, pretending to be Samuel, have been recorded in the Bible, for everyone to read.]

This leads us to the next question as to whether we will remember our own sins which we repented of, or the sins of others who received forgiveness from God because of their repentance.

We discussed aspects of this question in our Q&A on 1 Kings 15:5 (“David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”)

We said the following:

“The account of David’s transgressions ‘in the matter of Uriah the Hittite’ can be found in 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12. First, David committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba; then, he tried to cover up his sin in different ways; failing that, he had Uriah murdered in war, so that he could take Bathsheba to become his wife. We read that ‘the thing that David had done displeased [or better: ‘was evil in the sight of’] the LORD’ (2 Samuel 11:27)…

“David’s conduct ‘in the matter of Uriah’ constituted a great sin. This does not mean, however, that this was the only sin that David ever committed. The passage in 1 Kings 15:5, quoted above, must be read in context with all the other Scriptures on this subject. For instance, note the following statement in 1 Kings 14:8, ‘… yet you have not been as My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do ONLY what was right in My eyes.’ Taken all by itself, this Scripture would say that David did not sin at all – not even in the ‘matter of Uriah.’…

“The truth is, of course, that David sinned in many different ways… The Bible makes it very clear that everyone sins – even after conversion – and that there is no human being [with the only exception of Jesus Christ, when He was here on earth] who does not sin (compare 1 Kings 8:46)…

“We are also told in Scripture that God forgives us our sins and even forgets about them, once we confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9). In that case, God cleanses us from all unrighteousness (same verse). He will remember our sins no more (compare Jeremiah 31:34).

“David had a loyal heart. When he sinned, he repented and asked God for forgiveness. He did not try to hide his sins, but he was truly heart-broken. He desired earnestly to be forgiven… When God forgave David, He removed his sins – not to be remembered anymore… That is why God could say, ‘David has kept My commandments. He followed Me with all his heart, to do ONLY what was right in My eyes.’ (Compare, again, 1 Kings 14:8.)

“We also understand, of course, that God forgave David his sins ‘in the matter of Uriah.’ Still, in the one passage, in 1 Kings 15:5, God brings this matter one more time to our attention. Not, because God had not forgiven David, but because this was a sin that belonged to a slightly different category. It was not the unpardonable sin, to be sure, since David will be in the Kingdom of God (compare Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:5). However, it was not a sin that was committed ‘in ignorance’ – because of a temporary, passing weakness that had ‘snuck up’ on David. This was a planned, premeditated, carefully designed sin. David thought through very diligently how to cover up his sin with Bathseba, until he resorted to the murder of Uriah. God brings up the ‘matter with Uriah’ one more time, because He was terribly grieved that David would have acted in such a way – and He wanted to impress on the reader the awful consequences of that sin for David and his entire household.

“When we sin and subsequently confess our sin to God, God is faithful to forgive us… Upon forgiveness (compare Romans 11:27), God will remember our sins no more (compare Hebrews 8:12). This should show us that we must strive to do the same. When we forgive, we must also forget. David sinned in many different ways – as we all do – but he obtained complete forgiveness from God, as his heart was right. In God’s eyes, David kept God’s commandments; following God with all his heart, to do ONLY what was right in God’s eyes.”

What, exactly, is meant by the phrase that God will remember our sins no more?

Please realize that God saw to it that certain sins of David were recorded, for everyone to read. In addition to David’s sin in the matter of Uriah, some of his other sins were recorded as well, such as his fighting in war and numbering his army. Furthermore, sins of other righteous men and women were recorded: Moses’s sin of murder and his later outburst before Israel, which prevented him from entering the Promised Land; Aaron and Miriam’s murmuring against Moses; Abraham and Isaac’s lies; Abraham and Sarah’s adultery because of lack of faith; Jacob’s deceit towards his father Isaac; Rachel’s theft of her father’s idol; Peter’s sin of lying and denying Christ three times, and his hypocrisy towards Gentile Christians; and Paul’s persecution of Christians when he was still known as Saul. The list could go on and on. We also believe that Solomon came to repentance at the end of his life, but his prior terrible sins were included in the Bible.

How do we understand and explain this in light of the fact that God forgives and forgets sins once they are repented of? The sins of those were forgiven (all of those men and women listed above will be in the Kingdom of God as God Beings), but their prior sins were not erased from the written Word of God—the Bible—and we are told that they were recorded as an example for our benefit today (1 Corinthians 10:11), and that ALL Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

In addition, we do not believe that Adam and Eve or Judas Iscariot have committed the unpardonable sin, since they never had God’s Holy Spirit, which means, that they will be given their opportunity to accept God’s Way of Life in the Second Resurrection; still, everyone knows and will know about [some of] their sins which they committed, as they are recorded in God’s Word. Jesus even said about Judas that it would have been better if he had not been born. We do not believe that these statements will ever be removed from the Bible. But Adam, Eve and Judas will come back to life, and will be offered true repentance, which they will hopefully accept. But again, their sins are recorded in the Bible, and the books of the Bible will be opened to the understanding of all who will be in the Great White Throne Judgment period (Revelation 20:12).

When we sin and do not repent, then our sins will stand against us. God will not forgive and forget them. The same is true for our friends and relatives. If they sin in this life, without repenting, God (and we as God Beings in the Kingdom) will not forgive and forget those sins prior to their repentance, but we will offer them repentance in the Great White Throne Judgment period so that their sins can be forgiven.

But what about sins which have been repented of? As we saw, generally, God (and we as God Beings) will forget those sins, by totally erasing them from our minds, but there are exceptions.

Clearly, one exception are the sins which are recorded in the Bible. Even though God has forgiven those upon repentance, He has not totally erased those from memory, but they were recorded for our benefit so that we can learn from the mistakes of others and do not make them ourselves. But in every case, God casts all repented sins behind His back and into the depths of the sea, so that when they are sought for, they shall not be found IN THE SENSE that God will never charge us with them. He does not retain them in His mind in the sense that He will not revisit what has passed.

When God says in Jeremiah 31:34 and in Isaiah 43:25 that He will “remember” their sins no more and that He will blot out their transgressions, He draws also a comparison between animal sacrifices in the Old Testament which had to be given continuously and which could never forgive sins, but were just a reminder or “remembrance” of sins (Hebrews 10:3), and Christ’s Sacrifice which brings about total and complete forgiveness and freedom from eternal death, so that God will “blot out” the sins and “remember” them no more (compare Acts 3:19). German Bibles translate Jeremiah 31:34 as, “I will not think of [or: about] their sins anymore.” The New Jerusalem Bible and the Revised English Bible say that God will never more “call” their sin “to mind.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds this comment in regard to Isaiah 43:25: “God will not remember the sins of his people against them; having forgiven them, he will never punish them for them, which is meant by remembering them; see Jeremiah 14:10.”

The Jamieson Fausset and Brown commentary agrees, stating: “When God forgives, He forgets; that is, treats the sinner as if He had forgotten his sins.”

Under the New Covenant, God will “take away” our sins (Romans 11:27)—He will not hold them against us, if we repent of them. Jeremiah 50:20 tells us that “… The iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none; And the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found; For I will pardon those whom I preserve.”

In God’s mind, forgiven sins have never been committed. The wall of separation between God and us, which was erected due to sin (Isaiah 59:1-2), is broken down when we repent, and access to God is again unhindered. In most cases, God will completely wipe out from His mind any memory of repented sins, but as we saw, in some cases, sins were recorded to teach us a lesson. But in all cases, no repented sin will ever be “remembered” so that man would be charged with it. As we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), we must also strive to forgive and forget sins of others who repent… and this includes our own sins of which we repent and for which we have received forgiveness. But even if we may not be able to achieve in this life total lack of memory regarding past sins, we must always truly forgive others who repent, without ever holding grudges or bringing charges against them.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

“Heavens and Earth…” a new booklet written by Norbert Link, has entered an initial review period. Watch for the publishing of this intriguing presentation this spring.

“Dealing With Invisible Voices!” is the title of a new StandingWatch Program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

According to the Independent, a British paper, “up to one in 25 people hears voices regularly,” and “up to 40 per cent of the population will hear voices at some point in their lives.” While traditional psychiatry tries to silence those voices through strong medication, resulting in dangerous side-effects, others advocate a dialogue with those voices to calm them down.  What about these two different approaches? History includes many examples of people who claim that they heard voices and had visions, but can it really be true? If there are such voices, what is their origin? And what should people do who hear them? We are offering you our free booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”

“Die Kunst des Gebets,” is the title of this week’s German sermon. Title in English: “The Art of Prayer.”

“The Time of Salvation,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Is there a 7,000 year plan for mankind’s salvation which corresponds to the creation week described in Genesis, or is there more? Would an exact understanding of all the historical events described in the Bible give one the key to salvation? What should Christians be doing to attain the salvation God is offering?

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How God Has Been Feeding Me

by Delia Messier

In the last several years of our membership in a Church organization, which was departing from the truth, my husband and I were fed a very spiritually sick diet. Finally, through God’s mercy, we came to realize our dangerous situation and, after leaving, we eventually attended once again the Feast of Tabernacles with God’s true servants. After such a long time, we were hearing the truth again and God’s true gospel message was spoken to us–His plan was proven from one Scripture to the next, then another and another, from one end of the Bible to the other. God’s inspired words were used and it was shown how they supported each other and said the same thing, and that they were not confusing or complicated but pure and simple; and it all made sense.

I was sitting on the edge of my seat, not wanting to miss one word, but wanting to hear more and more. This is what I had missed all those years; this was what I had longed for.  I could not express how I was feeling; it was like being awakened! Tears were pouring down my face and getting in my way as I was trying to keep up with the Scriptures, trying to turn from one Scripture to another. I was like a withering dying plant that was finally getting watered, and these were the exact words I expressed to my husband as we closed our Bibles and rose for the last hymn and the closing prayer. I felt like I was being rejuvenated after a long drought!

This is proof to me that God feeds us through His true ministers; that He is using them to teach us in and out of season.  It confirmed to me that we must leave behind false teachers and teachings; that we must be and remain in the true body of Christ; and that if we depart from it and try to succeed on our own, foolishly believing that we can survive that way, we will eventually wither and die like a plant without water.

Since that day I have been observing a spiritual ”FEAST” every annual Festival and every weekly Sabbath. I am so very thankful for God’s true servants and for the knowledge that God’s words are true and that He satisfies those who are thirsty! I have been experiencing it, knowing that as long as I don’t abandon Him, He will not abandon me.

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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