|The Greatest; Marriage Without License?
|A Season to be Cautious
|This Week in the News
|How is the City of Jerusalem Important to Christians? (Part 1)
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
The Greatest; Marriage Without License?
On October 24, 2015, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “The Greatest,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Marriage Without License?”
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.
A Season to be Cautious
by Robb Harris
As we enter another season of mankind’s holidays, it is critical that we steel ourselves against the un-Godly attitudes that surround these festivities. It’s obvious to us that Christians should forgo decorating our houses in the macabre for Halloween or the gaudiness that surrounds Christmas. We must also be careful to keep the subtle yet insidious influences at bay as well. No matter how beautiful the trappings of the season are or the good intentions of those who celebrate them—these holidays are detested by God.
It was revealed to John where the influences of these holidays originate. “And he (an angel) cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!’” (Revelation 18:2). These holidays are inspired by and originate from Satan.
While this understanding is clear to those who have an ear to hear, the world is completely overwhelmed by Satan’s influence. According to several retail websites, it is estimated that 157 million Americans will be celebrating Halloween this year, spending nearly 6.9 billion dollars. “After a long summer, consumers are eager to embrace fall and all of the celebrations that come with it,” said National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay. Our world is increasingly embracing these practices, when clear warning is given by God to remove ourselves from them. John continues in Revelation 18:3, “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
Our retail economy has gradually become bound to the monetary gains of these holidays. The world has vested so much that it is increasingly becoming more difficult, if not impossible, to turn away. Satan’s bondage is growing stronger and mankind is reveling in it! But this great deception will be short–lived. God’s Judgment is at hand for a world that seeks their own will in lieu of God’s Will. John’s vision continues, “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
Everything about these holidays is contrary to God. In order for us to come out of this deceitful season and not partake of it in any way, we must be spiritually focused on God’s Will. It’s not by luck or our own strength that we overcome Satan, but by drawing close to God so that He in turn will draw close to us.
We begin with interesting developments in Israel and the mounting international pressure from Arabic and European nations to establish an “international force” in Jerusalem; report on the Syrian crisis and the continuing isolation of Angela Merkel in parts of Europe because of her (mis-)handling of the migrant crisis and her attempts to receive help from Turkey in exchange of controversial promises which will lead to Merkel’s further unpopularity, especially in Germany; continue with interesting articles on a coming European army and about Germans in America who may or may not be ethnic Germans at all; focus on Hillary Clinton’s Email scandal which will not go away easily, in spite of President Obama’s inappropriate attempts to preempt the FBI and Joe Biden’s decision not to run for the Presidency; and conclude with the victory of Canadian liberals and highly controversial statements of Pope Francis which might lead to an outright rebellion within the Catholic hierarchy.
This Week in the News
No International Force in Israel to Promote Peace?… At Least Not Quite Yet!
The Times of Israel reported on October 16:
“Israel on Friday rejected Palestinian calls for an international force to be deployed in East Jerusalem to promote calm around the Temple Mount and the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque…
“On Friday, Palestinians torched a Jewish holy site in the West Bank as they staged a ‘Friday of revolution’ against Israel and a man posing as a news photographer stabbed an Israeli soldier before he was shot dead.”
For now, an “international force” may not be deployed in Jerusalem to “promote calm around the Temple Mount.” But the Bible says that this is exactly what will happen in the near future. And the pressure for such a force is building, as the next articles show.
On October 17, the Jerusalem Post stated:
“France [submitted] a ‘presidential statement’ in order to advance a plan to station international observers at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to ensure that the status quo at the site is preserved…
“Jews revere the Temple Mount as its holiest site, the place where two biblical Jewish temples once stood. The area, is also home to the Dome of the Rock, and is known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, which is the third holiest site in Islam… The Palestinian representative at the UN, Riyad Mansour, said he wanted the council to consider deploying an international force at the al-Aqsa mosque to protect Palestinian worshipers.”
Times of Israel added on October 17:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday slammed a French proposal to deploy international observers to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in response to the current round of violence, calling it a fundamentally absurd idea… Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also criticized the proposal…
“‘The French proposal to place international observers on the Temple Mount is distorted and biased,’ said Erdan, in language that echoed the comments by Netanyahu… ‘Factually, those who turned the Temple Mount into a terror warehouse are the Palestinians. Those who are trying to harm the status quo and prevent Jewish visits are the Palestinians. Those who are inciting and lying about the events on the Temple Mount are the Palestinians,’ he said…
“Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in response to the proposal that ‘all international involvement on the Temple Mount harms Israeli sovereignty.’..”
Arab States Unite Against Israel
The Times of Israel wrote on October 17:
“Six Arab states are set to submit a proposal on behalf of the Palestinians to the UN’s cultural body to officially claim the Western Wall as part of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (the Temple Mount)… The proposal will be submitted in the coming days to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, known as UNESCO, by Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates…
“The proposal also calls for the international community to condemn Israel for urging ‘its citizens to bear arms in light of [the] recent terror wave’… The document… refers to Jerusalem as ‘the occupied capital of Palestine.’
“In addition, the Palestinians seek condemnation of ongoing Israeli archaeological excavations near the Temple Mount and the Old City in Jerusalem, as well as for the ‘aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque…’
“Israel is trying to convince as many countries as possible to oppose the proposal, or abstain. However… the proposal will likely be approved as there is a Muslim and Arab majority on UNESCO’s executive council…”
On October 21, 2015, JTA added the following:
“UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency, condemned Israel for what it said are attempts to alter the status quo at the Temple Mount. While the resolution approved Wednesday morning in Paris by the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization dropped plans to label the Temple Mount a Muslim site, the organization recognized Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron as Muslim sites that are part of a Palestinian state. Both sites are holy to Jews and listed in the Bible as the burial places of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs.
“The vote was 26-6 in favor of the resolution, with 25 abstentions.
“Before the vote, the six Arab countries that submitted the proposal on behalf of the Palestinians — Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates — removed from the proposal a statement declaring the Western Wall in Jerusalem part of the al Aqsa Mosque complex and naming it part of the Muslim religious site. It also removed references to Jerusalem as ‘the occupied capital of Palestine’ in order to garner support for the proposal.
“The final text of the resolution included condemnation of the ‘aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s attempts to break the status quo since 1967.’
“Israeli officials and American Jewish groups protested the resolution as a farce and outright lie…”
In the future, Europe under German leadership will be collaborating with Arab states against Israel. We can already see the beginning of that development.
Closing Temple Mount for Jews?
The website of usnews.com published the following article on October 15, which was written by a columnist for Al Monitor, titled, “Why It’s Time for Israel to Close Temple Mount to Jews.”
The article stated:
“These days, Jerusalem has truly been divided, but not by the left. In case anyone has forgotten, a truly right-wing government is in control in Israel. For the first time, the government does not contain a moderating or centrist element as in the past… Ironically, it is a rightist government that is being forced to acknowledge that Jerusalem is, de facto, divided — into the western and the eastern, the Jewish versus the Palestinian.
“After Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967, the two parts of the city were united. With the second intifada (2000 to 2005), Israel began to build a fence to separate peripheral Palestinian neighborhoods from Jerusalem. It has now come to pass that for quite some time, Israel has not exercised sovereignty in the eastern part of the city… East Jerusalem has become a no-man’s land and a fertile hotbed for despair, alienation, isolation and religious extremism. If one adds to the pot the incitement by such actors as the northern branch of the Israeli Islamic Movement, headed by the radical Sheikh Raed Salah, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the roiling social networks, the result is what we are now witnessing. The request for IDF assistance by the Israeli police in the heart of Israel’s capital can be compared to summoning the US Marines to patrol the streets of Washington. The symbols of Israeli sovereignty are in danger.
“We live in an era of surprises. Israel longs for the good old days when a high-quality agent in the vicinity of an Arab ruler and a sophisticated wiretapping system could be relied on as an intelligence ‘insurance policy’ for assessing the odds of a war erupting. This allowed Israeli leaders to sleep well at night. That era is gone, however, and the current intifada — which Palestinians are calling the ‘al-Quds [Jerusalem] intifada’ and some the knife intifada — took Israel’s political echelons by complete surprise…
“This rebellion differs from its predecessors. This one is the first time that there has been no leader on the playing field, no landlord. There is no one entity initiating, conducting or integrating events. There are no assigned targets. There is no one to capture, neutralize or eliminate. This is an unhinged intifada, an odd rebellion that bubbles through the social networks and erupts into barbarism in attacks by isolated individuals or small groups. Young Palestinians (in one case a 13-year-old) attack Israelis with knives, axes and vegetable peelers; they run them over with vehicles; they strike them with axes in spasms of bloody, unexplained and murderous irrationality. Some of the attacks stem from incitement surrounding the Temple Mount (or Haram al-Sharif to Muslims) and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“The explosiveness of the Temple Mount issue and whether the next intifada will result from it have been covered by Al-Monitor. There is also more: After the meeting between Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Aug. 18 in Ramallah, an Al-Monitor article cited a warning issued in the form of a concern by the Palestinian leader to the Israeli opposition head: Abbas feared a third intifada and losing control over PA territory. Herzog delivered this message not only to Al-Monitor, but also to Netanyahu, who did not respond. Now he’s probably sorry.
“It is important to emphasize that Israel has no intention of taking control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque or changing the status quo involving the Temple Mount. The Palestinians, however, are more attentive to conspiracy theories based on statements by the messianic Israeli right… Palestinians are convinced that Israel plans on usurping Al-Aqsa. Until the Israeli government takes crystal clear action, such as closing the Temple Mount to Jews for a cooling-off period, there is no chance that the Palestinians’ state of mind will change. If it doesn’t change, this peculiar intifada will continue.”
Netanyahu Stirs Controversy
The Local wrote on October 21:
“Germany on Wednesday stressed its inherent responsibility in the Holocaust, after Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu stirred controversy over his claim a Palestinian leader gave Hitler the idea of exterminating Jews. Asked to comment on Netanyahu’s allegation, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said he would not speak directly on the claim. But he added: ‘I can speak for the federal government, that we Germans recognise that the murderous racial fanaticism of the Nazis was the historical origin of … the Shoah. I see no reason to change our view of history in any way. We know of the inherent German responsibility in these crimes against humanity,’ he added…
“In a speech on Tuesday, Netanyahu suggested that Hitler was not planning to exterminate the Jews until he met Palestinian nationalist Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in 1941. ‘Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time. He wanted to expel the Jews,’ Netanyahu told the World Zionist Congress. ‘And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said: “If you expel them, they’ll all come here.” “So what should I do with them?” he asked. He said: “Burn them.”’
“Netanyahu on Wednesday backtracked on the claim, denying that he was exonerating Hitler of the responsibility for the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were slaughtered.”
The Associated Press added on October 21 that “Historians quickly noted that the Nazi Final Solution was already well underway at this point, with several concentration camps up and running. Hitler had previously repeatedly declared his lethal intentions for the Jews.”
The Russian-Syrian Pact
The Associated Press reported on October 21:
“President Bashar Assad has traveled to Moscow in his first known trip abroad since war broke out in Syria in 2011, meeting his strongest ally, Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The two leaders stressed that military operations in Syria— in which Moscow is the latest and most powerful addition— must lead to a political process. The surprise visit Tuesday reflects renewed confidence from the embattled Syrian president after Russia and Iran, another staunch ally, dramatically escalated their support recently as Moscow began carrying out airstrikes on Syrian insurgents and Tehran sent hundreds of ground forces…
“A week after Russia launched its airstrikes, Syrian ground troops, aided by allied fighters from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, pushed their way into central and northern Syria in an attempt to drive out rebel and militant groups in control of territories there. So far, Syrian forces have seized a few villages but there has been no strategic victory. Many of the attacks have hit western-backed rebels and al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, but not the Islamic State group, with its stronghold in eastern Syria.
“The Russian airstrikes have allowed Syrian troops and their allies to launch multiple ground offensives in northern, central and southern Syria as well as in the rebel-held suburbs of the capital, Damascus…”
Bild Online reported that because of the Russian-Syrian Pact, an additional 350,000 Syrians will flee to Turkey by this weekend.
Jimmy Carter Helps Russia
Newsmax reported on October 21:
“Claiming that he knows Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘fairly well’ because they once discussed their ‘common interest in fly fishing,’ former President Jimmy Carter took the initiative to provide maps of Islamic State positions in Syria to the Russian embassy in Washington — a move at odds with the Obama administration… ‘I sent [Putin] a message Thursday and asked him if he wanted a copy of our map so he could bomb accurately in Syria, and then on Friday, the Russian embassy… in Washington, called down and told me they would like very much to have the map,’ Carter said at his Sunday school class in Georgia, according to a video of his remarks first aired on NBC News…
“The Carter Center claims that they sent maps of the Islamic States location to Russia in an attempt to help improve their airstrike accuracy.
“… this is not the first time Carter has shown [h]is support for Russia. Last year, he said that the United States should not impose more sanctions on Russia and that ‘Putin is not going to use military force’ in eastern Ukraine…
“The Pentagon announced Tuesday that the U.S. signed an agreement with Russia to avoid incidents in Syrian airspace where American planes are also bombing Islamic State positions. However, the memorandum with Russia ‘does not establish zones of cooperation, intelligence sharing, or any sharing of target information in Syria’ and does ‘not constitute U.S. cooperation or support for Russia’s policy or actions in Syria,’ Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said…”
Germany Partially Responsible for Migrant Crisis?
Deutsche Welle reported on October 21:
“New figures show that German weapons exports increased yet again this year, especially sales of small arms to countries outside NATO. Critics say you need look no further for the root of displaced people in Europe.
“Despite its promises to rein in the country’s weapon’s exports, the German government is still struggling to kick its addiction to war profits. The latest arms export report, released on Wednesday, showed that the value of Germany’s arms sales leapt to 3.5 billion euros ($4 billion) in the first six months of 2015 – compared to 2.2 billion euros in the first half of 2014. Germany remains the world’s fourth-biggest arms exporter, behind the United States, Russia and China.
“… countries in the Middle East, South America, Africa and East Asia that are either involved in conflicts or have problematic human rights records have been splurging on German rifles, handguns and other handheld weapons. In the first half of this year, Germany sold guns or ammunition to Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, Chile, India, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (among others). That’s apart from the military vehicles, ships, and other larger military equipment sold to Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Russia, China and Israel – all of which are involved in conflicts or have widely reported human rights abuses…
‘Syria has traditionally been one of the biggest buyers of weapons… Germany delivered nearly 13 million euros in weapons to Syria between 2002 and 2013 – mainly tanks, chemical agents and small arms. In 2014, Germany also delivered 8,000 Heckler & Koch G36 and G3 assault rifles to Peshmerga fighters in Syria. ‘And now we’re surprised that these weapons get used,” Grässlin said [Jürgen Grässlin is an author and prominent German anti-weapons activist]. ‘And the people flee the use of these weapons and the dictators, and they end up, absurdly enough, in the country where the weapons were made that were used to repress their people. That’s why I say: If you sow war weapons, you reap war refugees.’”
Merkel Isolated in Central and Eastern Europe
The New York Times wrote on October 16:
“In Europe, and beyond, Ms. Merkel so far lacks strong allies to achieve her goal of merely slowing the refugee flow. Indeed, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary highlighted Ms. Merkel’s isolation from Central and Eastern European leaders on Friday by closing his country’s border with Croatia…
“Two city-states, Hamburg and Bremen, have already passed laws giving them the right to commandeer empty properties to try to give refugees roofs over their heads — and not tents — as winter approaches…
“In national politics, the fiercest opposition to Ms. Merkel’s decision on Sept. 4 — with Austria — to throw open the borders to tens of thousands of refugees then trapped in Hungary comes from her own conservative camp. Bavaria’s Horst Seehofer, head of the sister party to Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democrats, again this week criticized her government…
“Scores more of mostly local conservative politicians have signed an open letter to Ms. Merkel, which pleads with her ‘to take speedy measures which would reduce the current influx of refugees swiftly and effectively.’ A banner held high as the chancellor addressed a party meeting near Leipzig this week demanded, ‘Dethrone Merkel.’…”
Czech Republic vs. Muslim Migrants
Breitbart wrote on October 18:
“The President of the Czech Republic has warned that Muslim migrants will ‘respect Sharia instead of Czech laws,’ possibly stoning women, and saying that they could increase the practice of veiling, ‘depriving’ the nation of female beauty. Outspoken left-wing Czech President Milos Zeman, 72, was asked if he thought new migrants from the Middle East would respect Czech laws of Friday: ‘Of course not,’ he replied. ‘Unfaithful women will be stoned and thieves will have their hands cut off, and we’ll be deprived of women’s beauty, because they’ll be covered from head to toe…’
“President Zeman is the leader of the left wing Czech Social Democratic Party and is well known for his controversial remarks… The Czech Republic is part of the Eastern, so-called Visegrad group of countries – along with Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – who strongly resisted the introduction of the EU’s forced migration quotas in September.”
Slovenia Refuses to Take In More than 2,500 Migrants a Day
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 18:
“The Slovenian government has said it will only take in a maximum of 2,500 migrants a day, following Hungary’s decision to close its border with Croatia on Saturday.
“On Sunday, Slovenia refused to allow in a train carrying 1,800 migrants from Croatia, after more than 3,000 people surged into the tiny EU member state the day before. Tension is building among thousands of migrants as they remain stranded in fog and cold weather in their quest to reach a better life in Western Europe… Slovenia now fears that if Croatia continues taking more migrants than it is able to send forward, there could be a ‘spillover’ of migrants.”
Anti-Immigration Swiss Party Wins
Reuters reported on October 18:
“The anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party (SVP) won the biggest share of the vote in Sunday’s national parliamentary election… keeping pressure on Bern to introduce quotas on people moving from the European Union.
“Success for the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), coupled with gains made by the pro-business Liberal Party (FDP), led political commentators to talk of a ‘Rechtsrutsch’ – a ‘slide to the right’ – in Swiss politics. Immigration was the central topic for voters amid a rush of asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.”
There will be many more anti-immigration movements in Europe, and the established parties might be facing the same kind of reaction which is happening in the USA.
Servitude in Germany?
Express wrote on October 17:
“… parents in the city of Lubeck were left furious after a school told their children to cook and clean for refugees at an asylum centre. A mother wrote on Facebook: ‘I am definitely not a hater and am really tolerant, but this is taking things too far. Is there a new subject in Lubeck’s schools called servitude?”
These kind of “good works” were also promoted in the Worldwide Church of God after Herbert W. Armstrong’s death and contributed greatly to its downfall and demise, as the true focus of the church’s commission was neglected, which is to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14).
Massive Demonstrations in Germany
Reuters reported on October 19:
“The German anti-Islam movement PEGIDA staged its biggest rally in months on Monday, sparked into fresh life on its first anniversary by anger at the government’s decision to take in hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East.
“PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, almost fizzled out earlier this year when its leader resigned after a photo was published of him posing as Hitler. But it has swelled again as Germany implements Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to accept a tide of refugees that could exceed a million this year, as she argues that Germany can not only cope but, with its aging population, will benefit in the long term.
“Police declined to estimate the number of protesters but media put it at 15-20,000, somewhat below a peak of around 25,000 in January. Around 14,000 counter-demonstrators urged people to welcome refugees rather than whip up opposition…
“PEGIDA has more than 172,000 ‘Likes’ on its Facebook page and wants Germany to stop taking asylum seekers immediately.
“Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Sunday that PEGIDA’s organizers were ‘hard right-wing extremists’ and everyone who attended their demonstrations ‘should know that they are running after rat catchers’.
“Thomas Jaeger, political scientist at Cologne University, said PEGIDA and the right-wing Alternative for Germany party were being allowed by the government to define how the refugee crisis was perceived by many people. ‘What seems to be worrying a lot of people now is that people from different cultures are coming here, and they don’t know how they will integrate, and that’s quite a diffuse fear, and that’s now being exploited by some political forces.’”
The reaction of the German political establishment and the main-stream media and tabloids against PEGIDA is counter-productive, as many of the PEGIDA supporters are clearly not “hard right-wing extremists.” Such accusation is laughable and will back-fire.
Turkey’s Gaining Importance for a Divided Europe
The Local wrote on October 16:
“The EU and Turkey reached a deal to stem the flow of asylum seekers in exchange for concessions to Ankara… on aid and EU membership talks. Under the plan, Turkey agrees to tackle people-smugglers and take measures to keep more of the millions of refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict from crossing by sea to Europe… [Turkey’s] demands included €3 billion in new aid – three times the amount the EU has up until now offered – easing visa restrictions, opening new chapters in Turkey’s long-stalled accession negotiations for EU membership, being included on the list of ‘safe countries’ for asylum and to have more Turkey-EU summits…
“Turkey is the main departure point for the more than 600,000 migrants who have entered Europe this year, most of them making the short but dangerous sea crossing to the Greek islands, but some also coming by land…
“The 28-nation European Union has been left more divided than ever by the migration crisis, especially given fears the Schengen zone could collapse as countries try to curb the huge numbers of migrants criss-crossing the continent…”
The Bible shows that in the end, Turkey will be an ally with Europe against ISRAEL!
Merkel Suddenly Supports EU Membership of Turkey… as Europe Needs Turkey
Deutsche Welle reported on October 18:
“Chancellor Merkel has said Germany will support Turkey’s EU membership bid, during a visit aimed at securing Ankara’s help in stemming a migrant influx to Europe. Turkish PM Davutoglu hailed Europe’s ‘better approach.’…
“The German chancellor later met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said he asked Merkel to support Turkey’s EU membership bid. Erdogan added that he also asked France, Britain and Spain for support…”
The New York Times wrote on October 18:
“Desperately seeking help to contain Europe’s migrant crisis, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Sunday explicitly linked accelerating Turkey’s effort to join the European Union to Turkish cooperation in clamping down on the flow of refugees from Turkey to Europe. Ms. Merkel, who has long opposed Turkey’s admission to the bloc, said she would support speeding up the process, a concession that underscored the importance European leaders place on Turkey’s cooperation in trying to contain what has become the largest flow of migrants since World War II, as people flee violence and deprivation in the Middle East and Africa…
“Mr. Davutoglu continued to press for a ‘safe zone’ in northern Syria, a longstanding priority for Turkey that has been met largely by silence from the international community, because it would require a substantial military operation…
“From the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey has had an open-door policy for refugees and has spent billions of dollars caring for them… Turkey has made visa-free travel to Europe for its citizens a top priority, and Ms. Merkel said she had agreed to push that issue forward. Turkey is the only country that has been formally accepted for possible membership in the union whose citizens must have visas to travel to Europe…
“Turkey has long sought to join the European Union — formal talks began in 2005 — but the process has stalled in recent years, partly because of European concerns about Turkey’s human rights record and a government crackdown on the news media and freedom of expression. Now, though, the balance of power has shifted in Turkey’s favor. Europe needs Turkey… So the concerns about rights are largely unspoken by European leaders at the moment. For example, a European Union report on Turkey, part of the accession process, that was expected to be deeply critical of Ankara’s record on free speech, has been delayed…”
Merkel Deal With Turkey Angers Left and Right
The Local wrote on October 19:
“Merkel announced in Istanbul on Sunday that Europe would offer financial support to help deal with the roughly 2.5 million refugees in the country… Left-wing opponents of the deal said that Merkel was irresponsibly helping religious conservative Erdogan improve his image at home with just two weeks to go before elections to the parliament in Ankara…
“And voices to Merkel’s right worried that the Chancellor was offering too much to Turkey. ‘We can’t make too many concessions to Turkey,’ Gerda Hasselfeldt, leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) group in the Bundestag (German parliament), told Die Welt on Sunday. ‘EU accession is not on the agenda. There are serious shortcomings in fundamental human rights, especially freedom of opinion and of the press.'”
Merkel’s sudden support of Turkey’s EU membership in consideration of Turkey’s help in the migrant crisis will only lead to a further deterioration of Merkel’s popularity in Germany. In addition, it is highly doubtful that Turkey will become a member of the EU.
European Army Sooner than Later?
Express wrote on October 17:
“European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker provoked outrage earlier this year with proposals for a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). European People’s Party (EPP) president Joseph Daul has now admitted the European Parliament will try to push through plans that would go far beyond what even Mr Juncker had intended. Under the latest proposals, a common European-wide army would become a force capable of taking on missions of ‘higher intensity’ and even replace national guards at EU borders.
“Bureaucrats in Brussels are trying to capitalise on concerns over ‘Russian aggression’ and the migrant crisis to push through the long-held ambitions for a European army. Whereas Mr Junker’s original vision was for a force capable of dealing with ‘post-conflict peace-keeping’, the European Parliament is now preparing to discuss an aggressive common military force. Mr Daul admitted: ‘We are going to move towards an EU army much faster than people believe…
“The paper released calls for a ‘European operational headquarters’ to replace the system of national governments directing their own forces. The draft plan also demands that power over border control, including European coastguard responsibilities, should be handed to the new army…
“Attempts to form a common defence force have been part of the European project since it began. In 1950, French Prime Minister René Pleven proposed ambitious plans for defence integration, including the setting up of [a] European Army and the appointment of a European minister of defence…
“In March this year, Britain rejected yet more calls from Juncker for an EU army… But, just last month the German Chancellor Angela Merkel threatened that if Prime Minister David Cameron failed to support an EU army he would not get any ‘meaningful negotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU’…”
Germans in America.. an Interesting History
The Local wrote on October 9:
“Around 50 million German Americans live in the US today, according to a 2010 census. The largest self-reported ancestry group in the States, their numbers beat Irish, African, English, Mexican and Italian Americans – and made up around 17% of the American population in 2009…
“The first Germans arrived in the US as early as 1608 – but it was the 1683 movement that truly marked the beginning of America’s German settlement. This was the year in which a group of religious dissidents (Mennonites) approached Francis Daniel Pastorius in Frankfurt am Main… Pastorius [moved to America and] negotiated the purchase of 5,700 acres of land from William Penn – the Englishman who had founded Pennsylvania a few years earlier. On this land, Germantown was born…
“In 1683, Germany didn’t exist as a country. It wouldn’t do so until 1871. Instead, separate German-speaking states mostly ruled themselves as parts of the Catholic Holy Roman Empire. But religious tensions in the German states had exploded since Martin Luther published his ninety-five theses in Wittenberg in 1517, calling people to follow the Bible rather than the Pope. The Thirty Years’ War, which broke out in 1618, was one of the most destructive in European History – and it was against this backdrop that many Germans decided to emigrate…
“In 1688, [Pastorius] and three others signed The Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, thought to be the first anti-slavery petition presented by white colonies in America. ‘German-American Day’ was celebrated in Philadelphia for the first time in 1883… But when the First World War broke out, celebrations stopped. During this period, anti-German hysteria reached fever pitch. German-Americans were brutally assaulted, while anything remotely ‘German’ – be it books, music, even street names – was removed or destroyed.
“When the War ended, over 400,000 Germans emigrated to the United States, many of them Jews fleeing the rising Nazi party. But in a bid to hide their ethnicities, many altered their names to sound more American. German immigrants were keen to blend in as soon as possible, avoiding the anti-German sentiment that still lingered across the US.
“Hostilities rose again during the Second World War, as German-Americans found their freedom and rights restricted. Treated as possible enemies, some were forced to carry around identification cards, while others were placed in internment camps. While these hostilities ended soon after the war, it took German-Americans a long time to reclaim their ethnic heritage – a process that continues to this day.
“In 1983 – 300 years since the Krefeld immigrants docked in Philadelphia – President Ronald Reagan proclaimed that October 6th would become German-American Day once again. ‘More Americans trace their heritage back to German ancestry than to any other nationality,’ he noted in his proclamation. In 1987, October 6th was reinstated as a US holiday.
“From Kindergarten and Christmas trees to hamburgers and hotdogs, German-Americans are credited with some of the most recognizable features of US culture to have emerged in the past 300 years. Less than 5% now speak German themselves. But along with annual Oktoberfest celebrations and the German-American Steuben Parade, October 6th is one of many ways German-Americans celebrate and remember their cultural heritage today.”
We need to stress that many “Germans” living in America are actually descendants from the ancient Israelite tribe of Manasseh. Ancient Assyrians (modern Germans) captured and enslaved ancient Israelites from the house of Israel (not Judah), and subsequently both Assyrians and Israelites moved towards central Europe. While Assyrians and Israelites settled there (modern descendants of ancient Israelites can be found today in countries such as France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland and the Northern part of Germany), others migrated together to Great Britain, where the tribe of Ephraim settled, while the tribe of Manasseh migrated from there to America. And so, many who think they are ethnic Germans are actually ethnic Israelites from the tribe of Ephraim, who had settled in the United Kingdom, while others, who had settled in the USA, are actually descendants from the tribe of Manasseh.
Clinton’s Email Scandal No Laughing Matter…
Daily Mail wrote on October 16:
“Hillary Clinton could be prosecuted in federal court for failing to tell President Barack Obama about her private email server at the time she was running it, according to a veteran FBI agent. Obama said flatly during a ’60 Minutes’ interview on Sunday that ‘No,’ he did not know Clinton sidestepped security protocols with her a home-brew email setup while she was his secretary of state.
“The FBI agent who spoke with DailyMail.com has had a 20-year career in federal law enforcement and serves in a supervisory capacity in a domestic FBI field office. He said on Friday that failing to put Obama in the loop could be enough to send her to prison for ten years.
“The federal Espionage Act includes a provision that criminalizes ‘gross negligence’ by officials charged with safeguarding national defense information… ‘If investigators conclude that the former secretary [Clinton] was criminally careless in how she approached the security of the sensitive documents in her possession, then this part of the law could be used to prosecute her,’ the agent said, on condition of anonymity…
“The FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server is focusing on whether she violated the Espionage Act – especially the ‘gross negligence’ portions of the statute – according to a report Thursday from the Fox News Channel… It calls for a 10-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of ‘gross negligence’ that permits such information to be ‘removed from its proper place.’ Using an unsecured computer network to host sensitive information could qualify, according to the FBI agent… ‘The only way setting up your own email server for messages about sensitive information isn’t negligent is if it’s deliberate – which is far worse,’ he said.
“Clinton has staked her public defense on a repeated claim that she never knowingly sent or received information through her ‘clintonemail’ domain that was ‘marked classified’ at the time. But the Espionage Act’s text indicates that her intentions may not matter: A lack of judgment in handling sensitive documents could be enough to trigger the statute.
“As intelligence sources spoke to Fox News on Thursday, others at the FBI spilled to The New York Times that they’re furious with President Barack Obama for pre-empting their probe with a declaration that the former secretary of state never put America’s national security at risk… White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest walked that conclusion back on Tuesday, saying that ‘the president was making an observation about what we know so far…’ Obama, he said, was not attempting ‘to undermine the importance or independence of the ongoing FBI investigation.’
“Ron Hosko, a retired senior F.B.I. official who now leads the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, said it was wrong of Obama to ‘suggest what side of the investigation he is on’ while an investigation is still underway. ‘Injecting politics into what is supposed to be a fact-finding inquiry leaves a foul taste in the F.B.I.’s mouth,’ Hosko told the Times, ‘and makes them fear that no matter what they find, the Justice Department will take the president’s signal and not bring a case.’
“Obama previously found himself in hot water with federal investigators following a Super Bowl Sunday interview in February 2014 when he downplayed a then-swirling scandal over the IRS targeting right-wing groups politically. Asked while federal investigators were poring through documents whether mass corruption inside America’s tax-collection agency was a factor, he responded: ‘Not even mass corruption – not even a smidgen of corruption.’ Those remarks were widely seen as prejudicing an ongoing investigation, or sending a televised hint to the FBI that the Oval Office didn’t want to see any aggressive prosecutions.”
Breitbart added on October 16:
“If we weren’t so numb to lawlessness and politicized bureaucracy from seven years of Obama scandals, this would be a national outrage. The President just tried to influence the outcome of a criminal investigation, on behalf of a powerful Democrat politician… Obama has so numbed the American people to corruption and the lawless exercise of power that it’s not surprising to watch him influence an active FBI investigation…
“If the FBI decides to float some charges against Clinton, they had better have battleship armor, or else the same DOJ that swept Operation Fast and Furious under the rug is going to sink them…”
Breitbart also wrote on October 16:
“Mike Huckabee said that the Obama administration has lost the ability to impartially conduct an investigation. ‘Trusting Hillary Clinton to just “come clean” is like trusting a compulsive gambler in a Vegas casino,’ Huckabee told Breitbart News Friday. ‘The American people are sick of games, endless excuses, and political platitudes—and it’s time we appoint a special prosecutor to investigate this serious national security email scandal.’…
“A special prosecutor was appointed during the Clinton administration to work the Whitewater scandal case… An independent special prosecutor can be appointed by the Attorney General. Assuming that Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch will not take this step, Congress can compel her to do so with a majority vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
It is amazing how politics preempt or even violate justice. It is highly doubtful that the Justice Department will bring a case against Clinton, especially in light of President Obama’s highly improper interference… even if the FBI were to find wrongdoing. Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the Benghazi Committee on October 22 was a complete and total waste of time for all participants and the American people. That is why Americans are fed up with politics—and they should be. Bernie Sanders’ staged comments during the Democratic Debate that Americans are tired hearing about Hillary Clinton’s Email scandal would only be accurate for those Democrats who are willing to overlook wrongdoing of their candidate for the sake of their party’s success… a rather dubious position to take.
It was also reported on Wednesday, October 21, that Joe Biden declared that he will not run for the Presidency, eliminating Hillary Clinton’s biggest potential contender in the Democratic Party, as it is very unlikely that Bernie Sanders will secure the nomination. The Washington Post wrote on October 21 that “the real numbers, including those in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, support the idea that Trump will continue to lead and that he could win the nomination.” It appears that we will face a showdown between Republican contender Donald Trump and Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.
Joe Biden Is Out
Breitbart reported this as well on October 21:
“Once again, by using his Twitter account, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump was able to beat his challengers in immediately shaping a news cycle, this one surrounding Vice President Joe Biden’s Wednesday afternoon decision not to run for president. Trump was also able to get his message out unfiltered by the DC media — that message being how eager he is to run against Hillary Clinton’s ‘terrible record’… Within minutes both left-wing cable news outlets — CNN and MSNBC — ran with Trump’s tweet. It is all they had and all he wanted them to have. It is a whole new media world and Trump keeps proving how well he’s mastered it.”
Regarding the real reasons for Biden’s decision to bail out, Newsmax offered the following explanation on October 21:
“If you listened to the media chatter about why Joe Biden decided to take himself out of the running for president, you’d conclude that it was all about grieving and timing… All of that is true enough as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough, because none of the media’s coverage told the story behind the story—the intrigue and deliberate deception at the highest levels of the political system that ultimately determined Biden’s decision to take a pass on the presidency.
“According to sources close to Biden, the vice president and President Obama, who had been urging Biden to run, held numerous discussions about Biden’s chances of taking on Hillary in the Democrat primaries and knocking her out of the presidential race. In those talks, Biden expressed doubt that he would be able to overcome Hillary’s advantage in timing, money, organization, and ground game.
“The only way he could see himself getting into the race, Biden reportedly told the president, was if the White House assured him that it would support the FBI’s investigation of Hillary’s improper handling of classified documents on her private e-mail system and encourage Attorney General Loretta Lynch to bring down an indictment against Hillary. An indictment—even a misdemeanor—would almost certainly doom Hillary’s chances of getting the nomination…
“Obama stopped short of giving Biden the assurances that he was seeking. And without the president’s promise, Biden decided he had no choice but to bow out..”
Liberals Win in Canada
The New York Times wrote on October 19:
“The nine-year reign of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party came to a sudden and stunning end on Monday night at the hands of Justin Trudeau, the young leader of the Liberal Party. Starting with a sweep of the Atlantic provinces, the Liberals capitalized on what many Canadians saw as Mr. Harper’s heavy-handed style, and the party went on to capture 184 of the 338 seats in the next House of Commons. The unexpected rout occurred 47 years after Mr. Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, first swept to power…
“Although Mr. Trudeau has been prone to occasional verbal slips since assuming his leadership role, including the use of a vulgar metaphor in response to Mr. Harper’s decision to commit Royal Canadian Air Force fighters to the multinational campaign against the Islamic State, he has grown in stature over the course of the election.”
Pope Francis Can’t Be Serious… Or Is He?
The Associated Press reported on October 17:
“Pope Francis has called for a Catholic Church that is far more decentralized, where the laity play a greater role, bishops conferences take care of certain problems and even the papacy is rethought.
“Francis issued the call during a ceremony Saturday marking the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, a consultative body formed during the Second Vatican Council that was intended precisely to encourage more collegiality in the running of the church by inviting bishops to offer their advice to Rome.”
If Francis is really serious about his comments, then the battle in the Vatican and with conservative bishops will dramatically intensify. The idea to rethink the very existence of the papacy –one of THE core doctrines of the Catholic Church–will never be accepted within the hierarchy of that church, and Francis will be facing an uphill battle and an outright rebellion within the church, if he continues to pursue this course of action.
How is the City of Jerusalem Important to Christians? (Part 1)
Jerusalem stands as one of the most contested cities on earth. It is divided politically, economically and culturally. The religions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity all claim holy sites within the city—especially, the Old City, which is in East Jerusalem.
The Israeli-Arab conflict which dominates today’s world news is growing more and more volatile as Palestinians and Israelis vie for control of Jerusalem. The prophetic importance of what is happening right now in Jerusalem must not be underestimated!
First, though, a review of Jerusalem’s historical and foundational relevance to Christianity is necessary.
A little over four-hundred years after the Flood, Abraham was told by God to move to the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1-7)—the area in which modern-day Jerusalem now exists.
In the Bible, we are introduced to Jerusalem when it was called by another name, Salem. Melchizedek, the king of Salem, met with Abraham (Genesis 14:18-20). This king of Salem is identified in the Book of Hebrews as none other than Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7).
A later reference to Salem is found in Psalm 76:
“…In Judah God is known; His name is great in Israel. In Salem also is His tabernacle, And His dwelling place in Zion” (Psalm 76:1-2).
Next, we find a very specific place mentioned that can be shown to be a part of the City of Jerusalem. For God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice “‘in the land of Moriah’” on a specific mountain (Genesis 22:2)—called by Abraham “‘the Mount of the LORD’” (Genesis 22:14).
Note how this location emerges as the same place in which Solomon was instructed to build the Temple of God:
“Now Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” (2 Chronicles 3:1).
When Israel entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, Jerusalem remained under Gentile control:
“But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day” (Judges 1:21).
It was not until the time of King David—hundreds of years after Israel possessed Canaan—that Jerusalem was captured and then became the capital of Israel:
“And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, ‘You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,’ thinking, ‘David cannot come in here.’ Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David). Now David said on that day, ‘Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites (the lame and the blind, who are hated by David’s soul), he shall be chief and captain.’ Therefore they say, ‘The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.’ Then David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the City of David. And David built all around from the Millo and inward” (2 Samuel 5:6-9).
It is important to note that God rejected Shiloh, which was in Ephraim, and He chose Jerusalem and Judah for Himself:
“And he said: ‘Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who has fulfilled with His hands what He spoke with His mouth to my father David, saying, “Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there; and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel”’” (2 Chronicles 6:4-6; compare Psalm 78:60, 67-69).
The Bible relates that God punished Jerusalem and Judah because of their flagrant sins against Him (compare 2 Chronicles 36:15-21), but He did not utterly reject and abandon His city. Jerusalem and the Temple of God built by Solomon were destroyed, but God provided for the restoration of Jerusalem—even before it was devastated by the Babylonian empire. Note this remarkable prophecy given about a future ruler some one-hundred-fifty years before his birth and long before Jerusalem’s fall:
“‘Who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ And to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’”’” (Isaiah 44:28).
Even in their captivity, God caused the prophet Jeremiah to write to the Jewish captives in Babylon to assure them that they would return to Jerusalem and the land of Judah (compare Jeremiah 29:1-11).
In both the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, we have a record of the remnant of the House of Judah who returned to the land of Israel and who rebuilt the Temple of God and the City of Jerusalem—including its defensive walls. The Gentile rulers of that time who were neighboring Judah stood in opposition and tried to stop the Jews.
They failed, for the Jews re-established the City of Jerusalem, the Temple of God and other cities in the land of Judah.
It was after another approximately 500 years that Jerusalem became the focus of the life and work of Jesus Christ—and His death. The New Testament of the Bible records detailed accounts of those events, but let us also consider the dramatic prophecies Jesus gave concerning Jerusalem:
“Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation’” (Luke 19:41-44; compare Mark 13:1-2).
Historically, that occurred! In 70 AD, the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem and destroyed the magnificent Temple of God. Judah, as a nation, ceased to exist. Throughout the centuries several attempts have been made to re-establish the Temple in Jerusalem, but all have failed!
One other point of note is this, Jesus established the Church of God in Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost in 31 AD (Compare Acts 2). Following His resurrection, Jesus had specifically instructed His disciples “‘…that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name in all nations, BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM’” (Luke 24:47).
Much, much more is said about Jerusalem in biblical prophecy, and, in the future, Jerusalem will actually welcome Jesus Christ—even though many trials still lie ahead:
“‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!”’” (Matthew 23:37-39).
In Part 2, we will examine events of our time—our generation—and the dramatic role Jerusalem has now taken on the world stage—plus the incredible future that is in store for this city, for its inhabitants and for all of mankind!
Lead Writer: Dave Harris
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
“Fighting for the Temple Mount — WHY?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Stunning events are happening in the Middle East and in East Jerusalem, which have direct relevance to biblical prophecy. WHY are calls being heard from Palestinians, Arab nations and France to deploy an international force in East Jerusalem and at the Temple Mount? Why is the UN adopting a resolution condemning Israel for “illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship of Muslims to the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” which is situated on the Temple Mount? Why is it recommended that the Temple Mount should be closed to Jews? In this program, we show you the most recent developments and explain to you from the Bible WHY they are so important, in the light of Christ’s, Paul’s, John’s and Daniel’s end-time warnings pertaining to Jerusalem. We offer you our free booklet, “The Book of Zechariah–Prophecies for Today!”
“Ehe ohne Trauschein?” is the title of this week’s German sermon. The title of the German sermon in English would be: “Marriage Without License?”
How This Work is Financed
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