Update 712


Which Path?; The Christian in a Political World

On November 21, 2015, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “Which Path?,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “The Christian in a Political World.”

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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It Is a Fearful Thing to Fall into the Hands of the Living God

by Eric Rank

My greatest concern in life is that I might become weak and fail God. Quite simply, living as a Christian in this world is a challenge now, even though it is relatively easy for me to abide by my convictions without persecution. Today, I can observe the Sabbath and keep God’s commandments without much worldly consequence. This makes it easy to uphold my beliefs and express the Truth openly. Ironically, the ease of living as a Christian now is what makes me uncomfortable. If it is challenging to live in a way that is consistent with my Christian beliefs now, without fear of persecution, when times are “easy,” how will I handle things when persecution comes? I know that the difficulties that I face in the world are nothing now compared to what they will be in the future. We are clearly told that we can expect to be persecuted. It is a certainty that this will happen (compare Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:9; John 15:18), and even more so, as the end of this age approaches. Will I have the strength of will to stand up for the Truth when I face serious consequences for doing so?

The answer to the question of whether I will stand up for the Truth is that I will try with my whole heart to do so. I have no doubt about the importance of upholding the Truth – none whatsoever. My concern does not stem from any wavering in my beliefs. Where it comes from is the knowledge that the flesh is weak. And while I am alive, it is my job to overcome that weakness. Recall what Paul wrote in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” It is my weakness inherent within me, which I work to overcome day by day, that is the source of my concern about failing God.

Fortunately, our concern about failure becomes cast out by perfect love (compare 1 John 4:18) and godly fear—fear in the right manner. Godly fear proves our reverence for God and His righteousness. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10). When we really begin to comprehend the importance and magnitude of what the Bible teaches, we realize the serious consequences of neglecting to be obedient. In fact, the ultimate death awaits. But, knowing that it is possible to live eternally as part of God’s great Family, and knowing that it is within our means to obtain it, is very empowering. The concern of failing God should motivate us to action! It is the possibility of falling prey to sin that helps us to understand the importance of being obedient.

Once we begin to commit our lives to obedience to God, we have a way available to us to aid in our weakness. Paul, in acknowledging the weakness of his flesh, asks the rhetorical question, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). Well, the answer to that question is that we have Jesus Christ to save us. Paul also writes that he did not have his “… own righteousness… but that which is through faith [of] Christ, the righteousness which is from God, by faith” (Philippians 3:9). The righteousness of Christ works within us too. When we become baptized, we not only seal our commitment to a life of obedience to God’s commandments, but we also receive the Holy Spirit as a Helper – to aid in our weakness. This is truly exciting! Any concern that our weakness might overtake our will to obey God is trumped by the strength of Jesus Christ who lives and works within us. While our flesh might be weak, we can do anything with the strength of Jesus Christ working within us (Philippians 4:13). And we know that God will carry to completion the good work that He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6), as long as we don’t give up.

The consequences for failing God are dire, making all worldly consequences for upholding the Truth pale by comparison. For certainly, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). And Satan, who has this world under his influence, is doing everything in his power to cause us to turn away from God. We must realize that we will face more and more obstacles that get in the way of righteousness as the end of this age approaches. Times will become much more difficult. For this reason, we absolutely must become stronger in our faith and stronger in our convictions to uphold the truth.

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We are focusing mainly on the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and the subsequent diverse reactions, which are highly important in the light of biblical prophecy. Most of the articles are self-explanatory and do not require any comments on our part. They show that the final revival of the ancient Roman Empire in Europe as a MILITARY MIGHT is rising and manifesting itself. The return of Jesus Christ cannot be that far away, but terrible times are still ahead of us. Far too many, especially in the USA, Canada and the UK, are sound asleep. Will they wake up in time, before it is too late for them?

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Muslim Invasion

Breitbart wrote on November 13:

“‘Allahu akbar!’ That all-too-familiar battle cry kicked off six Islamic acts of war on the people of France. Muslims set off on a murderous rampage in Paris Friday night… Devout Muslims were celebrating the attacks on social media.

“One of the apprehended jihadists reportedly stated, ‘I am from the Islamic State.’ … [Also, shouts by the terrorists were heard, stating: This is for Syria!]… At the concert hall, the merciless jihadis murdered their hostages one by one… Paris police said that the siege ended when French forces killed at least two of the jihad murderers inside the hall.

“Hollande ordered a state of emergency in Paris. He also closed the country’s borders.  [He also ordered a curfew… the first since World War II , and he called in the army of 1,500 troops.]

“The massacre took place at several different locations in Paris — near the site of the massacre of Muhammad cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo offices in January…

“This Paris jihad massacre casts into a new light the desire of New York State Senator Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to bring 1.5 million Muslim migrants from Syria to New York. Obama wants to accelerate the entry of Syrian refugees into the U.S…. Americans must be ready… It’s not just in Paris, it’s here… yesterday, an Ohio Muslim was arrested for plotting to kill U.S. soldiers and bomb churches and schools. ‘I’ll be proud when I shed American blood,’ Muslim convert Terrence McNeil said, according to prosecutors. He allegedly posted messages advocating jihad against the United States: ‘I would gladly take part in an attack on this murderous regime and the people.’ …

“The Muslim migrant stream into Europe is a Muslim invasion. Back in February, the Islamic State warned that they would send millions of Muslim fighters into Europe. They have made good on their every pledge. And now the attacks in Paris demonstrate that Europe is at war. It’s coming here. …”

Hollande’s order of state of emergency in Paris is tantamount to martial law in the USA.  AFP reported on November 15 that “he wanted the state of emergency declared after the Paris attacks to last three months…  Any extension to a state of emergency beyond 12 days requires parliamentary approval.”

ISIS Responsible for Paris Terror Attacks—France Retaliates

Deutsche Welle wrote on November 14:

“The ‘Islamic State’ group has claimed gun and bomb attacks in Paris that left more than 128 people dead. It said the attacks would continue as long as the country continued its current policies… French President Francois Hollande had earlier vowed to strike back after an emergency meeting with security officials on Saturday… The president announced that France ‘will be merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State’ and act ‘by all means anywhere, inside or outside the country.’”

On November 15, Reuters reported:

“France has been bombing Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria for months as part of a U.S.-led operation. Following Friday’s mayhem, Paris vowed to destroy the group. Underlining its resolve, French jets on Sunday launched their biggest raids in Syria to date, hitting its stronghold in Raqqa…”

New Terrorist Attacks in the Making…

The Local reported on November 18:

“Sweden has raised its terror threat level in response to ‘concrete information’ of a terrorist plot… Turkish police have arrested eight alleged jihadists from Morocco at Istanbul airport as they were headed for Germany…”

The Washington Post wrote on November 18:

“A woman triggered a suicide blast Wednesday as more than 100 police and soldiers stormed an apartment north of Paris… the seven-hour siege left no doubt that other potential threats remained… a police helicopter spotted a man trying to escape as he fired at police. Sharpshooters killed him…

“In addition to the two dead, police arrested at least seven people before the showdown was over in the historic heart of the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, a teeming quarter with a large immigrant population.”

Newsmax added that “Authorities believe the raids thwarted a bigger operation by Islamist radicals.”

Breitbart added on November 18:

“The man believed to be the mastermind behind Friday’s Paris terror attacks that resulted in the deaths of over one-hundred people and wounded hundreds more has been killed in a police raid on his location, according to senior European intelligence officials.”

Germany in Panic

The Washington Post reported on November 17:

“Germany and the Netherlands were supposed to play a soccer match in Hannover on Tuesday, but it was called off about 90 minutes before kickoff after police found a suspicious object inside the stadium, which was evacuated.

“German media is reporting that police received ‘concrete’ information about a bomb threat and that the Hannover police confirmed an explosive device on the premises. In a press conference held later, however, German officials denied any explosive device had been found… German officials also denied various reports purporting that a truck bomb disguised as an ambulance was found near the stadium.

“Hannover police informed fans that the game had been canceled on its Facebook page… At the stadium, police asked that people evacuate by foot, as all trains moving away from the stadium were stopped. Only a few spectators were inside the stadium when the evacuation was announced…

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to attend the game, according to reports, ‘as a signal that Germany wouldn’t bow to terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks,’ the AP reports. On Friday, a match between Germany and France in Paris was the site of numerous explosions in a terror attack that killed at least 129 people throughout the city. One of the attackers reportedly attempted to enter the stadium with a ticket after the game had begun but was turned away. He then detonated his explosive vest.”

Deutsche Welle added on November 17:

“Police also closed off part of Hannover’s central train station after another object was found before a bomb disposal unit removed a suspicious package from an InterCity (IC) train. Investigators were unable to immediately determine whether it was a bomb or a dummy-explosive… A second Hannover stadium, the TUI arena, was evacuated shortly after, where fans had been waiting to [see the] German band ‘Söhne Mannheims.’”

It was also reported that Belgium called off a friendly soccer match against Spain after the country raised its terror threat level. A friendly soccer game between England and France did take place in London, as scheduled. Reuters reported on November 17 that during a friendly soccer game between Turkey and Greece, a moment of silence for the victims of the Paris attacks was booed by Turkish fans before breaking out into a chant of “Allah Akbar.” It was also pointed out that 99.8 percent of the Turkish population is Muslim (Sunni), and that the disruption came at a game attended by both the Turkish and Greek prime ministers.

German Interior Minister Mocked on the Internet

The Local wrote on November 18:

“Germans proved that the Teutonic sense of humour is alive and well on Wednesday, as people mercilessly mocked Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière’s reason for protecting his intelligence sources… ‘Part of the answer to the question [of why we evacuated the stadium in Hanover before the Germany-Netherlands friendly] would make the public feel unsafe,’ de Maizière told journalists at a press conference on Tuesday night. But as many social media users quickly pointed out, leaving the public hanging was liable to have much the same effect.

“Inevitably, the Interior Minister became the subject of ribaldry and guffawing across social networks… [Here is a funny and telling example:] ‘How do you think I’m doing as Interior Minister?’ de Maizière asks Merkel. ‘Part of my answer would unsettle you,’ Merkel responds…”

Subsequently, De Maizière gave some lame “explanations,” stating that he had received specific information to the effect that an attack was imminent. However, he did not shed any light on the fact as to why his intelligence sources were so wrong. He only tried to defend the government’s action with a statement that he still did not know whether the information was correct or false.

De Maizière is a scandal-ridden politician. Many Germans feel that he should have been sacked a long time ago. But for whatever secret reason–perhaps only known to Mrs. Merkel–he is still heavily engaged in politics, and continues making a mess of things.

German Conservatives Link Terror Attack to Migrant Crisis

The Local wrote on November 14:

“Conservative leaders in Germany insisted on linking the terror attacks in Paris on Friday night to the country’s own refugee crisis…Paris changes everything,’ Bavarian finance minister Markus Söder told Die Welt am Sonntag. ‘It cannot be that we don’t know who is coming to Germany and what these people are doing here. This situation must be brought to an end by any means,’ said Söder, echoing comments by state premier Horst Seehofer.

“Söder added that Germany should consider following France’s lead by closing the country’s borders if the European Union was unable to secure its external frontiers – something the state of Bavaria might also do itself if federal action is not forthcoming, he said… The German Police Union (DPolG) also called for tougher action at the borders, with Ernst Walter, head of the DPolG federal police branch, calling for the ‘immediate conversion of the EU border agency Frontex to an effective European border police’ in a statement…”

American Conservatives Link Terror Attack to Migrant Crisis

 The Washington Post wrote on November 15:

“Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal [who announced this week that he is suspending his campaign for the Presidency] called for sealing off U.S. borders, while former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee wants to halt the arrival of any refugees from countries with a ‘strong presence of ISIS or al-Qaeda.’ [Dr.] Ben Carson… said Sunday that accepting Syrian refugees is ‘a suspension of intellect.’…

“The Obama administration has said it wants to host an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year — which some liberals argue is not nearly enough. During the Democratic debate on Saturday evening, Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley said the United States should increase that number to 65,000…”

Newsmax added on November 16:

“Mitt Romney is calling for the West to stop the ‘insanity’ of accepting refugees from the Middle East — particularly young men — and for the United States to wage war on the Islamic State to ‘eradicate it once and for all.’”

Republican Governors in Open Defiance of President Obama

Daily Mail reported on November 16:

“25 Republican governors – and one Democrat too – have said they don’t want Syrian refugees in their states, as President Obama recommitted the U.S. to take a portion of this population fleeing from ISIS. In a press conference this morning in Turkey, Obama said that ‘the United States has to step up and do its part,’ while chiding those in the opposition party for suggesting there be a ‘religious test’ for entry into the United States…

“Republican governors from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Texas and Wisconsin said they would postpone programs to bring in Syrian refugees, or they’re against the idea entirely… Additionally, CNN reported that Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio and Tennessee are also on the list. Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina were added by USA Today.

“Presidential candidate Chris Christie, indicating that New Jersey also isn’t on board, and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez also said she opposed the administration’s plan. New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan was the first Democrat to express support for stopping the flow of Syrian refugees into her state.”

US “Civil War” Continues

AFP reported on November 17:

“President Barack Obama lashed out Wednesday at Republicans who insist on barring Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., deeming their words offensive and insisting ‘it needs to stop.’ ‘Apparently they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,’ Obama said.

“Mocking GOP leaders for thinking they’re tough, Obama said overblown rhetoric from Republicans could be a potent recruitment tool for the Islamic State group. He insisted the U.S. process for screening refugees for possible entry into the U.S. is rigorous and said the U.S. doesn’t make good decisions ‘based on hysteria’ or exaggerated risk…

“Obama’s comments during a meeting with Philippine President Benigno Aquino marked his harshest condemnation yet of Republicans’ response to the Paris attacks blamed on IS that killed 129 people last week. Republicans in Congress and on the 2016 presidential trail have urged an immediate closure of America’s borders to Syrian refugees, but the Obama administration has shown no sign of backing off its plans to bring an additional 10,000 Syrians fleeing civil war into the U.S….

“In Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have urged at least a temporary halt in the resettlement of Syrians, while disputing Obama administration claims that the small numbers making their way here so far are being thoroughly investigated…”

Newsmax added on November 17:

“The Obama administration stepped up its assurances that it can keep terrorists from mixing with incoming Syrian refugees as a top Senate Democrat voiced reservations about a resettlement program already under fire from Republicans. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who will take over as the Democratic leader in the chamber in 2017, said ‘a pause may be necessary’ on the entry of Syrians fleeing civil war.”

Obama Clueless and Delusional?

Newsmax reported on November 17:

“Fox News host Bill O’Reilly says President Barack Obama seems to have no idea the ‘civilized world’ is losing the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). ‘Is President Barack Obama delusional?’ he asked in opening Monday’s ‘O’Reilly Factor.’ ‘History will record that the two biggest deficits of the Obama administration were the failure to create a robust economy and the president’s retreat from the terrorist battlefield,’ O’Reilly said.

“Obama has never had a real strategy for dealing with ISIS, he said, and his cluelessness was underscored when Obama declared that ISIS is being ‘contained’ just hours before the deadly Paris attacks.”

Dangerous Thinking—Suspending the Visa Program with Europe?

Breitbart reported on November 16:

“Representative Tulsi Gabbard argued ‘we need to temporarily suspend this visa waiver program’ between the US and Europe because ‘it could just be a matter of hours, before someone travels through these different borders, someone who’s become a foreign fighter, who’s been fighting in Syria, and ends up here on the United States soil’ on Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s ‘The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.’…”

Blitzer responded that this could also mean that Europe would suspend its visa waiver program for US citizens, meaning that US citizens would need a visa for visiting Europe, while European citizens would need visas to visit the USA. Gabbard agreed with this conclusion. Other ideas propose the concept of shutting down all “dangerous” mosques in the USA, as well as in France.

Some of the Paris Terrorists Entered Europe as “Refugees”

Reuters wrote on November 15:

“The holder of a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the gunmen who died in Friday night’s attacks in Paris was registered as a refugee in several European countries last month, authorities said.

“The man… came into Europe through the Greek island of Leros, where he was processed on Oct. 3, Greek officials said on Saturday. He was among 70 refugees who arrived on a small vessel from Turkey… The information is significant because if one or more of the Paris gunmen turned out to have come into Europe among refugees and migrants fleeing war-torn countries, this could change the political debate about accepting refugees… Greek government sources said a second suspect attacker was also likely to have passed through Greece.”

Some have stated that the Syrian passport might have been forged to cast suspicion on refugees in their attempt to stop migrants entering Europe. Controversial and scandal-ridden German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière toyed with this idea, as Deutsche Welle reported on November 17:

“Police in France have been trying to discern whether a passport used by one of the Paris suicide bombers was stolen from a dead Syrian soldier. Germany’s interior minister has suggested it was a ploy to set up refugees.”

When “Enemies” Become “Friends”… at Least for a Brief Moment

Deutsche Welle reported on November 16:

“Obama and Putin met for around half an hour on the sidelines of the [G20] conference, and according to eye witnesses they had an intense discussion… To date, both Russia and Iran have supported Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad. The US, Western countries and Saudi Arabia are demanding that he be replaced. It’s now possible that the common fight against ‘Islamic State’ could bring the two sides together…

“However, Turkey is involved in this as well. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is hosting the summit, is also conducting airstrikes in Syria and Iraq – but he’s attacking Kurdish rebels, too. Turkey considers them to be terrorists. But the United States is supplying these Kurdish fighters with weapons…

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel… conceded… that Europe must protect its external borders better if it is to be able to register Syrian refugees and prevent the possibility of terrorist infiltration…”

The EUObserver added on November 17:

“On Tuesday the Russian air force bombed the IS stronghold of Raqqa, where the French had already struck twice on Sunday and Monday evening… Putin also admitted on Tuesday that the Russian aircraft that crashed in Sinai on 31 October, killing 234 people, was downed by terrorists. He had previously ruled out any terror act. His admission may indicate that he is ready to cooperate against IS with France, Britain, the US, and the EU member states ready to join operations in Syria.”

Greater Military Involvement for Germany?

The Wall Street Journal reported on November 16:

“The Paris attacks have jolted Germany into considering greater military involvement in the fight against Islamic State, despite public opposition to abandoning its largely pacifist foreign policy. The voices raising the prospect of military intervention by the European Union’s biggest country came largely from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative group in parliament…

“Government officials urged caution but ruled out nothing. They noted that Germany already was contributing by training and equipping Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, who have been attacking Islamic State positions there…”

“German Army ‘Could Join UN Syria Mission’”

The Local wrote on November 18:

“Germany might send ground troops into Syria on condition that there is a UN resolution covering any military intervention, Der Spiegel reported… That would be a big step up from Germany’s current role in the battle against Isis of arming and training Kurdish Peshmerga troops in northern Iraq. Officials close to Chancellor Angela Merkel believe it’s increasingly likely that German troops might be called on to supervise a negotiated ceasefire…

“The cabinet decided on Wednesday to moderately restrengthen the Bundeswehr’s (German army) presence in the north-east of Afghanistan… The cabinet also agreed upon extending Germany’s involvement in “Active Endeavour” the EU’s anti-people smuggling mission in the Mediterranean.”

“We Need a European Army” – “Europe in Great Danger”

According to the German edition of the Huffington Post, Germany’s former Finance Minister, Rainer Brüderle (FDP), stated on November 15 that Europe needs a European army. He recommended to start with German-French combined military combat forces, and others could join them.

Bild Online wrote on Sunday, November 15, that a real danger exists that Germany will be attacked by terrorists, and that an attack could happen any time. Experts are quoted as saying that the danger has not been that real for the last 15 years. According to a secret governmental study, at least more than 200 jihadists have entered Germany from Syria.

Newsmax added on November 16:

“Sharad Kumar, the director general of India’s National Investigation Agency [who attended a conference of European police chiefs in September, said the following:] ‘During a discussion on the threat posed by the ISIS in Europe, we were told that there were around 50,000 Europeans who have joined the ranks of the terror outfit… It makes Europe very vulnerable to terror attacks from these fighters who can come back any day and who also know major cities there from the back of their hands.’

“According to the Clarion Project, ‘The European Police Chiefs Convention was held on September 23 and 24 and briefed 300 police representatives from 50 countries on the terror threats posed by the Islamic State and related groups.’”

Activation of the “Mutual Defense Clause” in EU Treaty

The EUObserver wrote on November 17:

“EU member states agreed Tuesday (17 November) to grant military assistance to France following Friday’s terror attacks in Paris. For the first time in EU history, defence ministers unanimously decided to activate the ‘mutual defence clause’ of the EU treaty… French president Francois Hollande had invoked article 42.7 of the EU treaty in an address to the parliament Monday. ‘If a member state is the victim of armed aggression on its territory,’ the article states, ‘the other member states shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power.’…

“While EU law also includes a solidarity clause in the event of a terrorist attack, to ‘protect democratic institutions and the civilian populace’, France chose to ask for help for its external military operations… In addition to launching strikes against the Islamic State group and protecting its own territory, France has sent troops to the Sahel region, the Central African Republic, Lebanon, and to several minor theatres. Around 7,000 troops are deployed overseas…”

The Times of Israel added on November 17:

“France made an unprecedented demand Tuesday that its European Union allies support its military action against the Islamic State group…

“The French government invoked a never-before-used article of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty obliging members of the 28-nation bloc to give ‘aid and assistance by all the means in their power’ to a member country that is ‘the victim of armed aggression on its territory.’

“French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said all 27 of France’s EU partners responded positively… Arriving for talks in Brussels with his EU counterparts, Greek Defense Minister Panagiotis Kammenos told reporters that the Paris attacks were a game-changer for the bloc. ‘This is Sept. 11 for Europe,’ he said…

“‘(Syria is) the biggest factory of terrorism the world has ever known and the international community is still too divided and too incoherent’ in its response, Hollande said, adding that the ‘acts of war’ in Paris were decided upon and planned in Syria…”

“These Are the End Times”

Breitbart wrote on November 15:

“Two days after the horrendous jihadist attacks in Paris, Pope Francis preached about the ‘end times,’ encouraging his hearers to be vigilant and ready at any moment to meet God face to face… the Pope invited the ten thousand pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square to think about their death, the day they will meet God and give an accounting for their life… Francis unequivocally recognized the Islamist ideology behind the attacks, denouncing the use of God’s name to justify the brutal attacks as ‘blasphemy.’

“Commenting on Sunday’s Scripture readings, the Pope said that Jesus’ preaching about the end of the world contains ‘apocalyptic elements, like war, famine, and cosmic catastrophes.’ ‘In those days,’ Francis repeated, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.’… The most important thing is not knowing when the end will come, but being ready for it when it does, he said.”

“Ukraine Gives Equal Rights to Gay Workers to Please Brussels”

The EUObserver wrote on November 13:

“Members of the Ukrainian parliament granted equal rights to gay workers on Thursday (12 November), but several did it more out of necessity than of conviction. The adopted legislation was a requirement from Brussels if Ukraine wants visa-free travel. As a result of the vote, Ukraine’s labour code will be amended to include sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds on which discrimination in the workplace is prohibited…

“The European Union had set the inclusion of anti-discriminatory provision for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGTBI) people as a prerequisite for visa-free travel by Ukrainians to those European countries which are part of the Schengen area. It was also framed in Kiev as a measure required to move closer to the EU out of fear of Russia. ‘It’s better to have a gay parade on [Kiev’s main street] Khreshchatyk than Russian tanks in the centre of the Ukrainian capital,; said MP Yuri Lutsenko, who is a member of president Petro Poroshenko’s party. ‘I believe if we go to Europe, we must recognise the rules adopted in the EU,’ Lutsenko added…

“Those opposed had argued the bill was an attack on Ukraine’s Christian Orthodox values…”

Ultimately, many Ukrainians will become very unhappy with European rules (as is the case with the UK), and they may want to become part of the Russian influence, while departing from the EU.

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What Will Be the Conditions During the Great White Throne Judgment Period? (Part 2)

In the first part of this series, we discussed the concept of three resurrections, and we began to discuss some of the conditions and the learning process of those who will be raised in the Second Resurrection.

To repeat, we can clearly see that there WILL BE a Second Resurrection. Revelation 20:4-5, 11-12 states that the Second Resurrection will occur 1,000 years AFTER the first resurrection. We read that those in the Second Resurrection will STAND before God and His Great White Throne. We also read: “… And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and BOOKS WERE OPENED. And ANOTHER BOOK was opened, which is the BOOK OF LIFE. And the dead were JUDGED according to their works, by the things WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THE BOOKS.”

It is important that we understand what all of these books are, and how exactly the people will be judged.

We explain the following regarding the BOOK of LIFE in our free booklet, “Are You Predestined to be Saved?:

“… we read in Revelation 3:5: ‘He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I [Jesus Christ] will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.’… true Christians are written down in a particular book—the Book of Life—and… they will not be erased from it as long as they continue to overcome. We can also understand from this that their names could be blotted out from the Book of Life.

“At the end of the book of Revelation, in the 21st chapter, we are again introduced to the Book of Life. We read in verse 27: ‘But there shall by no means enter it [the new Jerusalem] anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.’…

“[We also read that] ‘anyone not found written in the Book of Life’ will be ‘cast into the lake of fire’ (verse 15). This lake of fire is the ‘second’ or ‘ultimate’ final, eternal death, from which there will be no resurrection (verse 14)…”

We explain in the remainder of the booklet that those written in the Book of Life are those who are called in this day and age (but again, if they commit the unpardonable sin, their name will be blotted out). For the rest of mankind, their names are NOT yet written in the Book of Life, but for those living in the Millennium and for those in the Second Resurrection, their names CAN be written in the Book of Life, as it will be OPEN to them at that time. Today, it is only OPEN to those who have been predestined to be saved in this day and age. As long as their names ARE written (and not blotted out) in the Book of Life, their inheritance of ETERNAL life is guaranteed.

John 7:37-39 shows that at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, the Holy Spirit will be offered to all. [Today, the Holy Spirit is only offered to the “firstfruits” (Revelation 14:4)—to those who are called now according to God’s purpose.] We read:

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Christ spoke these words in 30 AD. At that time, nobody had received the Holy Spirit, but His disciples would receive it at the Day of Pentecost in 31 AD. Christ’s statement that all those who thirst could come to Christ and receive the Holy Spirit is applicable when the Holy Spirit will be available to all—beginning with those living in the Millennium. Revelation 22:17 makes the same point: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely!”  We also read in Isaiah 55:1: “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.”

For the overwhelming majority—the masses of all the peoples who lived and died without accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior—their “day of salvation” will come in the Second Resurrection. (For true and converted Christians, their day of salvation is today, 2 Corinthians 6:1-2). It is therefore obvious that the reference in John 7:37 to the “last day, the great day of the feast,” describes the seventh Holy Day, known in Scripture as the “eighth day” (compare Leviticus 23:36; Numbers 29:35; Nehemiah 8:18), which became also known as the Last Great Day (compare again John 7:37: “on the LAST day, that GREAT DAY of the Feast…”).

This day is also referred to as “Shemini Atzeret (the eighth day of assembly)” and was treated by the rabbis as “an independent festival” (Edward Chumney, “The Seven Festivals of the Messiah,” 1998, p. 187). It immediately follows the seven-day Festival of the Feast of Tabernacles. While the Feast of Tabernacles pictures the Millennium, the Last Great Day pictures the Second Resurrection. (The seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles is not even a Holy Day or an annual Sabbath; therefore, it would make no sense to refer to it as the last GREAT day of the Feast).

Many commentators share the view that the reference in John 7:37 to the “last… great day of the feast” refers to the “eighth day”—not the seventh day.

Unger’s Bible Handbook, 1967, states on page 553: “The last day… (Lev. 23:36) was the most solemn and climactic of the entire festival cycle. It was the eighth day of rest and holy assembly. During the seven days prefiguring their wilderness wandering, water was drawn from the pool of Siloam and then poured out, commemorating the water supplied Israel in the desert. The eighth day signified the enjoyment of the springs of the land itself and no water was poured out.”

Further insight is given by William Henry Green, “The Hebrew Feasts,” copyright 1885, pp. 281 and 292:

“… at Tabernacles they remained not only through the full term of seven days, but an eighth day was added at the end, which in later times at least was reckoned ‘the great day of the feast,’ John 7:37…”

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, 1961, also say that the reference to the “last day, that great day of the feast,” in John 7:37, applies to the “eighth (Lev. 23:39). It was a sabbath, the last feast day of the year…”

The Worldwide Church of God under the human leadership of the late Herbert W. Armstrong taught that Christ spoke the above-quoted words on the eighth day, the Last Great Day, and not during the seventh day of the feast. John 8:1-2 show that these words were spoken in the evening—at the beginning of the eighth day.

The Holy Spirit will be offered and the Book of Life will be opened to ALL who will rise in the Great White Throne Judgment. For these people, the Holy Spirit had never been available before (they were cut off from the Tree of Life, symbolizing the Holy Spirit), and the Book of Life had not been opened to them. But when the fulfillment of the events arrives, which are pictured by the annual holy Festival of the Last Great Day, then their time of salvation has come.

But what is the meaning of the other BOOKS which will be open during the Great White Throne Judgment, and in what way will those in the Second Resurrection be judged by the things which were written in those books?

We quote again from our free booklet, “Are You Predestined to Be Saved?”:

“Let us notice the following interesting passage in Daniel 7:9-10: ‘I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, AND THE BOOKS WERE OPENED.’… From the context, this passage in Daniel seems to be referring to the time of Christ’s return. At that time, a court will be in session and books will be opened.

“A similar statement, which describes events [1,000] years after Christ’s return, can be found in Revelation 20:11-12. It refers to those who will be resurrected to physical life during the Great White Throne Judgment period… What are those books?

“This passage could refer to the books of the Bible. Certainly, we will be judged by the standards as revealed in God’s Holy Word, the Bible. But, there is another possibility as to what these books might refer to…

“The German Commentary Rienecker [“Lexikon zur Bibel”] points out: ‘We also hear about… books. According to their contents, judgment will occur at the last day… People will be judged according to their works. In God’s judicial records, the books, everything is written down that a human has thought, said and done. Everything will become manifest. There is only one possibility to escape sentence and become pronounced, not guilty. Their names must be written down in the other book, the Book of Life.’ Halley’s Bible Handbook states: ‘Every deed and motive will have been recorded… The “Books” will have the records of men’s lives.’… Herbert W. Armstrong… stated during a sermon in 1984 that the books to be opened include the good and the bad works which had been written down, specifically mentioning Matthew 12:36-37 in that context.

“Taking Daniel 7 and Revelation 20 together, it appears that this process of having to give account for one’s recorded deeds, whether good or bad, applies to EVERYONE. It applies to those who are called now to salvation AND to those who will be called later. It applies to converted Christians in this life, as well as to those who will be resurrected in the Second Resurrection…

“In Romans 14:10-13, we read Paul’s warning to converted Christians: ‘But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ… So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.’ Paul speaks in future terms. All of us SHALL stand—sometime in the future—before the judgment seat of Christ, and all of us SHALL give account of what we have done in this life. Now notice 2 Corinthians 5:10: ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.’

“… this judgment is not limited to converted Christians. Paul explains in the second chapter of the book of Romans that Gentiles will also be judged on their actions, words and thoughts, when their time of judgment has come. We read of their judgment, which mainly takes place during the time of the Great White Throne Judgment period: ‘For as many as have sinned without [the knowledge of the] law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law… in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ’ (Romans 2:12, 16).

“EVERYONE will be judged! Hebrews 9:27 tells us that it is appointed to man once to die, and afterwards the judgment. It is true, of course, that judgment has already begun for the house of God—His Church (1 Peter 4:17). But it has not been completed yet. There is still a judgment coming for everyone after death—including the house of God (1 Corinthians 4:5).

“For converted Christians, this coming judgment after death will not deal with the question of eternal life or death. Those who die in Christ will not be judged as to whether they will inherit eternal life, as they will not see eternal death (John 5:24, 28-29). However, their judgment or accounting has to do with their reward (compare Luke 19:13, 15-19). And their reward will depend on what they did in their lives with the ‘talents’ bestowed upon them by God’s Holy Spirit (compare Matthew 25:14-23).

“True Christians who died in Christ will be resurrected to eternal life at the time of His Second Coming, but they, too, even though immortal spirit beings by then, will still have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive their reward. We are told in Matthew 25:19 that ‘the lord of those servants [Christ] came and settled account with them.’…

“When the multitudes of people are resurrected during the Great White Throne Judgment period to be taught God’s Word and confronted with their recorded sins, most will deeply repent of what they had done. They will then obtain forgiveness, and their [repented] sins will be blotted out from the heavenly records, just as ours are today [upon our repentance] and the [repented] sins of those yet to be called before the [Millennium and the] Great White Throne Judgment period. The Book of Life will be opened to them, and after a certain period of time of living in the flesh and overcoming their carnal natures and evil habits, they, too, will be able to reach their potential—inheritance of eternal life in the Kingdom or Family of God.”

As we will show in future installments, this process of repentance will be more difficult for some than for others. We will also discuss the fact that those who committed horrible sins and crimes in this day and age will be punished in the Great White Throne Judgment for what they did.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

The Member Letter for November was mailed earlier this week. If you would like to be included in these monthly letters from the ministry, just send us your request.

“Coming… A Unified European Army!” is the title of our new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link.

Here is a summary:

For a long time, Europe has been dreaming of a mighty united army, capable of intervening in “trouble spots” and becoming an undefeatable military force. Now, in light of perceived Russian aggression, an unprecedented migrant crisis, and unparalleled terrorist attacks in Europe with ongoing real threats of future attacks, the realization of Europe’s desire for a powerful army and unified military action has drawn nearer than ever before. Also, voices in Germany for military involvement overseas are getting stronger. The Bible says that these are important steps towards the fulfillment of end-time prophecies.

Der Christ in einer Politischen Welt,” is the title of this week’s new German sermon. The title in English: “A Christian in a Political World.”

“The Power of God,” last week’s sermonette presented by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Do we comprehend the simplest things we utilize in our daily lives, wondering perhaps to ourselves how these necessary tools are so vital in our lives, such as electricity and the advancements in technology?  Can we also comprehend the power of God?  Can we receive His power?

“Prophetic Consequences of Our Migrant Crisis,” last week’s sermon presented by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Why do we see such a great migrant crisis in Europe and elsewhere? Why will this crisis become even much bigger? Does sin have anything to do with it? How does God look at mass migrations? What is the future of Syria? How will all of this affect the USA, the UK and the Middle East? Will it lead to a powerful European army under a charismatic leader, bringing about the great tribulation?

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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