|Spiritual Growth in God’s Church
|This Week in the News
|How Much Wealth Did Solomon Possess?
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Spiritual Growth in God’s Church
On December 26, 2015, Norbert Link will combine the sermonette and announcement time to speak about, among other things, current events in the light of biblical prophecy. He will also present the sermon, “Spiritual Growth in God’s Church.”
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.
by Kalon Mitchell
There is a theory that was promoted in the early 1960s, called the “Expectancy Theory.” In short, it is about the mental process around choice or choosing. It helps to explain the processes that an individual goes through in order to make choices. It also supposes that individuals will behave in a certain way, because they are motivated to choose a specific behavior over another, due to what they expect the result of their selected behavior to be. To put it another way, their actions are guided by what they hold to be true and by their expectation that the outcome(s) of their choice(s) will directly have impacts on them. They become motivated by their choices and the outcomes of those choices.
While this is a theory, in part it should hold true for us in our Christian lives. Look at Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in Ephesians 3:14-21. He held that people who had been called would be rooted in the truth and experience true Godly love in their lives. They could expect these things because they made choices that were motivated by God’s promises.
Look at the trial of Stephen in Acts 7. He gave example after example of the fathers of old who had this same expectancy of God, doing exactly as He had promised them. And yet, the religious leaders of that time were not making the correct choices. In fact, Stephen calls them out on the carpet in verses 51-53: “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”
In Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23, we have the parable of the sower. And we read that while people have choices, often times they make the wrong ones because they have not fully invested in and truly caught the true picture. Yet, we also read of those who do get it. Their labor is great and their harvest is also great. Those are the choices that we should be making every day. So many times we are warned, exhorted and encouraged by the apostle Paul to be steadfast in the way that we have chosen to live (compare 1 Thessalonians 5:6-26). Note how Paul encourages the entire church in this regard. It’s not a one man effort. Yes, each is responsible for their own actions (and thereby the outcome), but as Paul is pointing out, there is a dire need for each person to be strengthening each other as well as praying for each other.
As we are growing in Christ’s grace and knowledge, we should become more and more motivated and captivated that this is the right Way of Life. There should be no doubt in our minds as to whether or not this is the true Way. In so doing, our actions and hearts will be motivated, as we read in 1 John 3:18-24. This has to be our motivation and truly what we should strive to do.
Among the many topics which we are addressing this week, we begin with interesting developments pertaining to Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders; continue with political corruption in the US government; the ongoing threats from terrorists for the USA and Europe; Christmas nonsense and Sabbath keeping, and the fighting of EU members against each other and especially Germany.
We focus on Syria and the dubious role Germany and the USA may be playing in this regard, and the apparent duplicity of Turkey, as well as the unprecedented number of refugees around the world.
We conclude with real threats from space; the incredible confusion within the “Christian” world; and the eye-opening article about American politics and newspapers reporting on Adolf Hitler in the 1930s… which might serve as a warning for us today.
This Week in the News
Trump Hails Putin
Newsmax wrote on December 18:
“GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump was full of praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday morning, saying he has always ‘felt fine’ about the Russian dictator and touting his poll numbers for being much higher than President Barack Obama’s. ‘I think that he’s a strong leader,’ Trump told MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ program about Putin, stunning host Joe Scarborough. ‘He’s a powerful leader.’
“Further, Trump said that Russians respect Putin as a leader, and his poll numbers show that… On Thursday, Putin hailed Trump as the ‘absolute leader’ in the presidential race and praised his talk about building a deeper relationship with Russia…
“But, Scarborough pointed out, Putin is ‘also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries…’ Trump replied that there is ‘a lot of killing going on’ around the world… ‘I think our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe,’ Trump told him. ‘There’s a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now… And that’s the way it is…’ Scarborough… asked Trump if he condemns Putin ‘killing journalists and political opponents.’ ‘Oh sure, absolutely,’ Trump told him.
“Trump also pushed back on questions about Putin’s role in Ukraine and the Crimea, criticizing Germany and other nearby countries for not being more involved in the threat of Putin spreading his hold… Further, he said the United States is $19 trillion in debt, and nothing but problems in this country, but ‘we’re sitting on a big fat beautiful bubble that’s ready to explode, financial bubble, I’m talking about.’… Further, Trump said, the United States needs to rebuild its military, but ‘that doesn’t mean we have to use it.’
“Trump later in the show said he thinks Russia could be a ‘big asset to our country… They’re a powerful nation and they have a big military base and force and I think there can be a lot of good things happen with Russia, if we get along well and they respect us.’ Putin does not like Obama, Trump said, and the feelings are mutual… ‘I watch those two sitting in two chairs looking at each other and I say, “wow, that’s really bad chemistry.”‘
“But Russia can be a ‘positive force with respect,’ said Trump, praising Putin for bombing ISIS after starting out bombing other targets in Syria.”
The Huffington Post wrote on December 20:
“After basking in the ‘great honor’ of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s praise, Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Sunday defended Putin against longstanding accusations that his regime has carried out murders of journalists who oppose him… Trump said there is no evidence that Putin was behind any journalist murders in Russia.”
The Associated Press reported on December 20: “Putin says Russia will continue to develop nuclear weapons but doesn’t intend to use them… ‘Russia as a leading nuclear country will be improving this weapon as a containment factor; the nuclear triad is the basis of our nuclear security polices,’ he said, referring to the three main delivery systems for nuclear warheads — bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ICBMs.”
Thomson/Reuters wrote on December 20:
“Putin said Moscow would not abandon Russians living in southeast Ukraine to Ukrainian nationalists.. More than 9,000 people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops since April 2014. Moscow says Ukrainian nationalists pose a threat to ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the region.”
Could a Trump election as President lead to an American-Russian alliance, angering Europe?
Does Putin Kill Russian Journalists?
The Washington Post wrote on December 21:
“Russia watchers would have to begrudgingly admit that… [there] really is little evidence to suggest that Putin ‘kills journalists that don’t agree with him.’ No one denies that journalists critical of Putin have been killed in Russia. There have been a number of cases over the years. The Committee to Protect Journalists has described Russia as ‘one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists,’ with 36 journalists killed since 1992.
“Perhaps the most well-known case is that of Anna Politkovskaya, a writer who was critical of Putin’s role in the second Chechen war. Politkovskaya was fatally shot in her apartment building on Oct. 7, 2006 – the same day as Putin’s birthday. Opposition politicians also have been killed: Boris Nemtsov, a high-profile figure in post-Soviet politics, was shot just steps from the Kremlin in February. There are plenty of people who suspect that Putin ordered the killings. The evidence, however, isn’t there…
“Given that few of these cases ever find closure in Russia’s flawed justice system… we may never know whether Putin had any involvement. Nina Ognianova, Europe and Central Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, says that about 90 percent of killings of journalists in Russia go unpunished…
“Scarborough’s suggestion that Putin kills journalists is evidence of a widespread misunderstanding of Putin’s Russia — that he is directly responsible for every bad thing that happens in the country. That idea of Russia desperately lacks nuance: Putin may set the tone for everything that happens in the country, but he doesn’t necessarily order every politically charged murder…
“There’s a key difference between ordering the murder of a journalist and creating an environment in which journalists can be murdered. And while Putin may not be guilty of the former, he is certainly guilty of the latter…”
The Third Democratic Debate
AFP wrote on December 20:
“Democratic presidential hopefuls including Hillary Clinton used Donald Trump as a political bogeyman Saturday to highlight their own calls to defeat jihadist extremists without using the bigotry and bluster employed by their Republican rival… It was their party’s third debate of the primary election season — the last of 2015 and their first since the attacks in San Bernardino, California where a radicalized married Muslim couple killed 14 people…
“While the Democrats united against Trump, they disagreed on foreign policy, guns and how to rein in Wall Street excesses. Sanders clashed at length with Clinton over how to tackle extremism, opposing her call for a no-fly zone over Syria and for focusing on ousting that country’s President Bashar al-Assad… The self-described democratic socialist also reminded viewers of Clinton’s 2002 vote when she was a New York senator authorizing president George W. Bush’s use of military force in Iraq.
“Clinton insisted she too was not ready to send US boots into Syria and Iraq, saying she had a strategy to ‘combat and defeat ISIS without getting us involved in another ground war.’…
“The debate unfolded amid a minor scandal between the Clinton and Sanders campaigns, with accusations that a data breach was carried out by Sanders’s team against Clinton’s. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) temporarily suspended the Sanders campaign’s access to a key voter database after at least one of its staffers took advantage of a computer glitch to peek at Clinton voter data. Sanders filed suit against the DNC to regain access to the data on Friday. But on stage Saturday he apologized to Clinton, saying ‘this is not the type of campaign that we run.’…
“Data and IT are uncomfortable topics for Clinton, who was the center of an uproar after it was revealed she used a personal email account and server while secretary of state… Clinton, who has raised much more money than Sanders, has depended significantly on large checks from big donors. In national polls among Democrats, Sanders has 31 percent support, a number that has remained constant since early November. Clinton’s support in the mid-50s.”
A day after the debate, Hillary Clinton sent an email message to potential donors, stating: “I don’t know how else to say it except by saying it: We could lose the nomination… I am not taking anything for granted.”
There is still the ongoing FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s alleged criminal conduct regarding her emails. And the media fact checker pointed out that some of her claims against Trump during the debate were without any factual evidence… which prompted Trump to state that Clinton “lies like crazy about everything… and everybody knows that.” In turn, Sanders stated that Trump was a “pathological liar.”
US Congress Approves 2016 Budget and Proves Its Total Corruption
Deutsche Welle reported on December 18:
“US lawmakers have approved a compromise spending package that funds the government through September 2016. The budget deal also includes tighter visa requirements…
“US Congress on Friday cleared the way for government to spend a total of $1.14 trillion (1.05 trillion euros) in the current fiscal year, ending September 2016… US defense spending will be increased following pressure from the Republican Party which said this was critical given the level of unrest in the Middle East and rising terrorism.
“… a controversial measure aimed at temporarily halting a program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the United States was scrapped.”
Fox News wrote on December 20:
“A fired-up Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday he voted against the massive $1.1 trillion spending bill because not only was it rushed through Congress — but no one had a chance to read it. ‘It was over a trillion dollars, it was all lumped together, 2,242 pages, nobody read it, so frankly my biggest complaint is that I have no idea what kind of things they stuck in that bill in the middle of the night,’ Paul, R-Ky., said…
“On Friday, President Obama signed the legislation into law… Republicans and Democrats joined to approve the spending bill on a resounding 316-113 vote in the House… The unexpectedly large margin was a victory for new House Speaker Paul Ryan, who saw a majority of his GOP lawmakers back the legislation. Not long after, the Senate voted 65-33 to send the entire package to Obama’s desk. Paul said Sunday passing such large spending measures without thorough examination is ‘part of the reason why government is broke.’ He said the blame fell on every lawmaker’s shoulder. ‘Once again this came not at the behest of just the Democrats,’ he said… ‘It came at the behest of right-wing Republicans who want military spending and left-wing Democrats who want welfare spending, and that’s the first little secret.’
“Paul also called out specific spending habits of both parties. ‘You have people on the right who want unlimited military spending and then you’ve got people on the left who want unlimited welfare spending and the dirty little secret in Washington is that they come together… there’s an unholy alliance and in that unholy alliance everybody gets money and the taxpayer gets stuck with the bill,’ he said…
“Ryan on Sunday dismissed criticism of the $1.1 trillion spending bill that passed Friday, saying that Republican leaders fought hard for compromise. ‘Let me first say, this is a divided government and in divided government you don’t get everything you want,’ Ryan said… ‘we’re going to pick up next year where we left off and keep going for more.’
“Ryan… acknowledged that both Democrats and Republicans employ divisive political tactics…”
What a terrible picture of a US government and its political parties that are hopelessly sunk into the mire of corruption and blatantly unholy alliances.
Franklin Graham Resigns Republican Party for Financing Planned Parenthood
Newsmax reported on December 22:
“Franklin Graham has resigned from the Republican Party and become an independent, declaring that ‘I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or tea party to do what is best for America…’
“[He wrote on Facebook:] ‘Shame on the Republicans and the Democrats for passing such a wasteful spending bill last week. And to top it off, funding Planned Parenthood! A Huffington Post article called it “a big win for Planned Parenthood.” I call it a big loss for America. After all of the appalling facts revealed this year about Planned Parenthood, our representatives in Washington had a chance to put a stop to this, but they didn’t. There’s no question—taxpayers should not be paying for abortions!…’”
“‘Abortion is murder in God’s eyes. Seeing and hearing Planned Parenthood talk nonchalantly about selling baby parts from aborted fetuses with utter disregard for human life is reminiscent of Joseph Mengele and the Nazi concentration camps! That should’ve been all that was needed to turn off the faucet for their funding. Nothing was done to trim this 2,000 page, $1.1 trillion budget. This is an example of why I have resigned from the Republican Party and declared myself Independent. I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or Tea Party to do what is best for America…’”
IRS Allowed to Revoke US Passports
USA Today wrote on December 22:
“A new enforcement provision passed by Congress and signed into law earlier this month… allows the Department of the Treasury and the IRS to authorize the State Department to take away U.S. passports from individuals with seriously delinquent tax liabilities. That’s defined as those greater than $50,000 and for which the IRS has filed a lien or levy….
“The State Department is now authorized to deny, revoke or limit use of a taxpayer’s U.S. passport, and it isn’t supposed to issue a passport to anyone owing that much money (with exceptions for emergencies or for humanitarian reasons). Americans out of the country when their passports are revoked may be allowed to return home…
“It doesn’t help that it’s getting more difficult for people to contact the IRS, which is answering only about 40% of telephone calls from taxpayers… Even tax professionals are looking at average phone waits of about 90 minutes…
“An IRS spokesman said the agency is reviewing the new law and taking steps to implement the program ‘as soon as feasible.’”
“Blessed Are the Peacemakers”
Breitbart published the following editorial by Senator Rand Paul on December 22:
“The birth of our Christ was foretold by the prophet Isaiah, who declared him ‘the Prince of Peace.’ Christ himself extolled the virtue of working for peace in the Beatitudes as he declared, ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers.’ Nowhere does he declare himself the Prince of War, or extol the virtues of those eager for war…
“I believe too many of our leaders are too eager for war—too eager to sacrifice the lives of our sons and daughters on the altar of their nation-building worldview, one that has proved to be so wrong and so destructive.
“The last century was the century of World Wars. There was WWI, the war to end all wars. Then there was the one after that, and the one after that.
“I read All Quiet on the Western Front years ago, which told the horrors of trench warfare, in which millions of young men were led to their slaughter. Then I read Silent Night, the story of the Christmas Armistice, in which opposing troops came out of their trenches, exchanged gifts, and played soccer together. The dichotomy is quite striking. For a brief moment in the middle of war, humanity won, and God’s light of peace broke through. It was short-lived, but it is repeatable if we seek it…”
US Air Force Was Prepared to Drop 91 Atomic Bombs in and around East Berlin
The Local wrote on December 23:
“The US Air Force planned to drop 91 atomic bombs in and around East Berlin in the event of the Cold War turning hot, documents released on Wednesday showed. A 1956 list naming thousands of priority targets compiled by the US Strategic Air Command (SAC) showed that the USAF would drop nuclear weapons on military targets around the East German capital, as well as explicitly targeting the population for ‘systematic destruction’. That was in direct contravention of the international norms that had been established following the Second World War, which prohibited attacks directed mainly at civilians.
“The highest-priority targets on the list, released by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, were airbases from which the Soviets and their allies could launch strikes against the West… Soviet airbases around Berlin included Briesen, Welzow, Werneuchen and Gross Dolln (Templin) – all among the top 150 targets on the USAF list…
“As well as central Berlin, SAC planned to hit nearby Bernau, Hennigsdorf, Oranienburg, Postdam, Schönwalde and Velten, according to a list of targets around East Berlin provided by the National Security Archive… The atomic bombing of East Berlin and its suburbs would likely have produced fire storms, among other effects, with disastrous implications for West Berlin…”
Guns on Top of Christmas Lists
USA Today wrote on December 22:
“The convergence of fears over terrorism, a perceived threat of gun laws being changed and the Christmas holiday have sent gun sales soaring in what is already the busiest month of the year for firearm purchases. Guns are at the top of many Christmas lists, especially if November is any indication.
“Last month, the FBI ran more than 2.2 million firearm background checks on potential buyers, a 24 percent increase from November 2014. On Black Friday, a record 185,345 background checks were processed by the FBI…
“Giving a gun as a gift to another person within your own state is allowed under federal law, and in many states, the recipient is not required to get a background check… More companies have also tailored their approach to attract more women…”
Hasidic Jews Celebrate Christmas Eve
JTA wrote on December 22:
“Christmas Eve occupies a special place on the Hasidic calendar as a kind of ‘silent night’… Known as ‘Nittel Nacht,’ the hours leading up to Christmas include a few peculiar traditions in Hasidic communities. It’s one of only two times during the year when Torah study is avoided (the other is the summertime fast day of Tisha b’Av). Couples traditionally abstain from sex. Yeshiva students are encouraged to engage in such ‘kosher’ secular activities as playing chess or doing household chores.
“And when it’s over – at the stroke of midnight, the same time many churches hold Midnight Mass – Hasidic study halls come alive when a community leader bangs on a lectern to signal the resumption of Torah study… The origins of Nittel Nacht customs are murky, and even the name itself is a matter of some debate.
“While ‘nacht’ is Yiddish for night, variations on the origins of ‘nittel’ range from the Latin for ‘the birth of our god’ to the Hebrew acronym for the words meaning ‘born on the ninth of Tevet’ — a reference to the time of Jesus’ birth.
“Historically, Christmas Eve was a fraught time for Jews who lived among Christian populations in Eastern Europe and Russia, a night when Jews sought to keep off the street for fear of violence by Christian celebrants… Others cite spiritual reasons for avoiding Torah study on Christmas Eve. Those who saw belief in the Trinity as a form of idolatry believed Christmas Eve was a time when dark forces were about, rendering it unfit for the purity of Torah study. Others say Torah study was avoided on this night so that the heavenly merit of Torah learning would not be accrued by Jesus or those celebrating his birth, or somehow benefit the souls of the wicked…
“Whatever the reason, Nittel Nacht observances remain in Hasidic communities, taking place either for the last six or 12 hours on Dec. 24 or, for Hasidic sects with origins in Russia or Ukraine, for the six or 12 hours before the Eastern Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7…”
Christmas Restricted or Banned in Some Muslim States
Deutsche Welle reported on December 23:
“The Muslim-majority countries of Tajikistan, Somalia and Brunei have clamped down on Christmas. In the case of the latter country, celebrating the Christian holiday has been banned entirely…
“In Tajikistan, the government has issued a decree banning Christmas trees and other decorations from schools – the most aggressive attempt yet by the ex-Soviet country to clamp down on the Christian holiday… The move is part of an ongoing effort to tighten restrictions on Western holidays in general. In 2013 and 2014, for example, people dressed as zombies for Halloween were reportedly detained by Tajikistan police…
“In Somalia, the federal government announced a decision to ban Christmas and New Year celebrations in the capital of Mogadishu… ‘All events related to Christmas and New Year celebrations are contrary to Islamic culture, which could damage aqidah (faith) of the Muslim community,’ Director General of Somalia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs was reported as saying.
“Meanwhile, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of the Southeast Asian country of Brunei is going forward with his plan to enforce sharia law, which includes punishing anyone who defies the country-wide ban on Christmas…”
Mohammed Born on Christmas Eve?
“For Sunni Muslims, Milad un-Nabi is usually celebrated on the 12th day of the Islamic calendar month Rabi’ al-awwal, while the Shia Muslims celebrate it on the 17th of their month.
“This year, the 12th coincides with Christmas Eve, and while some Muslims around the UK took the step of celebrating in public earlier this month, at least two groups decided they wanted to march through British town centres on Christmas Eve.”
Now, this is REALLY interesting.
Israel’s Pro-Shabbat Bill Passes Preliminary Reading
Israel National News reported on December 20:
“The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved MK Mickey Zohar (Likud)’s Weekly Day of Rest bill Sunday afternoon in a preliminary hearing… The bill will ban businesses opening on Saturday without special permission from the Economy Minister and also ban conditional or contract work on Shabbat, forcing employees to work on Shabbat, or penalizing workers for protesting Shabbat work.
“Violating the ban would be considered ‘an injustice against citizens,’ and business owners will be able to file a claim against franchise operators who force businesses to open on the day of rest.
“The Israeli Merchants’ Association welcomed the approval of the bill. ‘This is an important first step to saving tens of thousands of small businesses from economic collapse,’ it said. ‘There is an end to the phenomenon of ‘Israebluff’ where tycoons and retail chains are breaking the law, opening their businesses on Saturdays, and require employees to work then.’”
It is interesting that the State of Israel is a country that at least, nominally, observes the Sabbath. It makes us wonder about the implications of Matthew 24 as far as what would cause God’s people to be in Israel and have to take their “flight.” For more information, please read our free booklet, “When and How Will Christ Return?”
Thousands of Terror Suspects Lost in the USA
Fox News and The Associated Press reported on December 18:
“The Obama administration cannot be sure of the whereabouts of thousands of foreigners in the U.S. who had their visas revoked over terror concerns and other reasons, a State Department official acknowledged Thursday. The admission [was] made at a House oversight hearing examining immigrant vetting in the wake of major terror attacks…”
UK Declares Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group—Clashing with Obama
Newsmax wrote on December 22:
“The United Kingdom declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group after an 18-month study ordered by British Prime Minister David Cameron — and the Obama administration slammed the document as flying in the face of the Brotherhood’s history as a ‘nonviolent Islamist group.’…
“As a result, the prime minister said that the U.K. government would continue to refuse visas to Muslim Brotherhood members and associates… Britain also will continue to uphold the European Community’s freeze on the assets of Hamas, another terrorist group with ties to the Brotherhood, Cameron said…
“Here are some key statements from Cameron’s report:
“‘There is little evidence that the experience of power in Egypt … has caused a rethinking in the Muslim Brotherhood of its ideology or conduct… even by mid-2014, statements from Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood-linked media platforms seem to have deliberately incited violence… Material still being promoted by UKIM [U.K. Islamic Mission] as of July 2014 continued to explicitly claim that it is not possible for an observant Muslim to live under a non-Islamic system of government.’”
Cameron Investigates US Ban of British Muslims Entering USA
The Associated Press reported on December 24:
“British Prime Minister David Cameron will look into claims that U.S. officials prevented a British Muslim family of 11 from flying to Disneyland for a planned holiday. The issue is sensitive because U.S. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims visiting the U.S. due to concerns about extremist attacks.
“Stella Creasy, a member of the opposition Labour Party, said Wednesday that U.S. officials gave no explanation for refusing to allow her constituents to board a flight from Gatwick Airport on Dec. 15, so she wrote Cameron seeking his intervention. She said there is ‘growing fear’ among British Muslims that aspects of Trump’s plans are coming into practice even though they have been widely condemned…
“Mohammed Zahid Mahmood said he and his family – two brothers and their nine children – were told nothing except that they were not allowed to travel to the U.S. despite having previously obtained clearance. ‘We were the only family that was of Asian, Muslim, sort of appearance, and it seemed a little bit embarrassing that only we were taken out (of the line to board),’ he told the BBC.
“Cameron… had earlier characterized Trump’s policy as ‘divisive and wrong’… Ajmal Masroor, a London-based imam and broadcaster, said he received similar treatment when trying to travel to the U.S. for business recently. He told the AP that a U.S. Embassy official prevented him from boarding a Dec. 17 flight and told him his business visa had been revoked…
“The Muslim Council of Britain also said the last-minute denial of boarding privileges without explanation is distressing for Muslims. ‘There is a perception that such decisions are being made due to the faith or political activism of individuals,’ the council said.”
In addition, the family had spent about 16,000 dollars in preparation for the trip. It was reported that they cannot expect any reimbursement. The US Immigration procedures came under attack some time ago when they refused entry to world-known artist Cat Stevens (“Morning Has Broken”) because he converted to Islam and was perceived to be a “threat” to the USA.
Ridiculous actions like these will make America extremely unpopular throughout the world.
ISIS Wants to Bring Terror Blitz to Europe’s Cities
Express wrote on December 19:
“ISIS militants are set to launch a ‘series of coordinated attacks across European cities.’ The terror blitz will… happen ‘all at once’ according to a former propaganda mastermind of the Islamic State group… British authorities are concerned that the recent wave of migrants across Europe could set the stage for pan-European terror. The horrifying plan has been revealed after a former Daesh identified only as Harry S escaped the terror group and is now being questioned by authorities in Germany…
“He told German intelligence officers that senior ISIS commanders asked him, along with other fighters, if he would ‘bring jihad back to their homeland’. He then detailed a plan to carry out a Europe-wide terror attack. He said: ‘They want something that happens everywhere at the same time. ‘All you need is to take a big knife, and go down to the streets and [slaughter] every infidel you encounter.’ The German jihadist witnessed beheadings and executions in Syria for three months but fled after he could no longer stand its brutality…
“Germany’s domestic intelligence agency believes more than 700 Germans have joined ISIS in Iraq and Syria…”
Planned French Anti-Terrorist Measures “Deeply Worrying”
Deutsche Welle reported on December 23:
“French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told a news conference on Wednesday that constitutional changes were necessary to protect France from the threat of French nationals returning home from territory controlled by the self-declared ‘Islamic State’ (IS). Under the planned changes, state-of-emergency laws which allow authorities to detain and search suspects without warrants would be enshrined in the French constitution. This would prevent the measures from being challenged in court…
“The constitutional reforms still need to be passed by a three-fifths majority in the upper and lower houses of parliament, where debates will start on February 3…
“Amnesty International said the constitutional reforms were ‘deeply worrying’ and added to an ‘already extensive and sometimes disproportionate arsenal’ of measures. ‘The government cannot undermine the rule of law and violate the very human rights it is trying to protect: freedom of expression, freedom of movement and non-discrimination,’ said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty’s Europe director.
“Controversial justice minister Christiane Taubira has come under pressure to resign after publicly opposing the changes….”
Merkel under Attack
Reuters reported on December 20:
“Not since 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell and communism crumbled across eastern Europe, has the continent’s geopolitical kaleidoscope been shaken up so vigorously…
“The collapse of the Iron Curtain led within two years to the agreement to create a single European currency and, over the following 15 years, to the eastward enlargement of the EU and NATO up to the borders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. That appeared to confirm founding father Jean Monnet’s prediction that a united Europe would be built out of crises.
“In contrast, this year’s political and economic shocks over an influx of migrants, Greek debt, Islamist violence and Russian military action have led to the return of border controls in many places, the rise of populist anti-EU political forces and recrimination among EU governments…
“[Angela] Merkel has received little support from her EU partners in sharing the migrant burden… Some partners also accuse Berlin of hypocrisy over its energy ties with Russia… Merkel’s critics rounded on her at an end-of-year EU summit.
“Italy’s Matteo Renzi, backed by Portugal and Greece, attacked her refusal to accept a euro zone bank deposit guarantee scheme. The Baltic states, Bulgaria and Italy denounced her support for a direct gas pipeline from Russia to Germany at a time when the EU is sanctioning Moscow over its military action in Ukraine and has forced the cancellation of a pipeline to southern Europe. ‘It was pretty much everyone against Merkel in the room,’ a diplomat who heard the exchanges said.
“One problem likely to worsen in 2016 is that Europe’s main leaders are politically weak and so preoccupied by domestic challenges that they are unable to take the necessary collective action. The conservative Merkel’s survival in the chancellery hinges on her ability to bring down the number of refugees flooding into Germany next year and show she has migration under control…”
Germany Threatens Legal Actions Against Some EU Countries on Migrant Crisis Issue
The Local wrote on December 20:
“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier threatened legal action on Saturday against EU countries that refused to accept refugees under the bloc’s quota programme. Steinmeier said in an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel that ‘if it cannot be done otherwise, things will be resolved through the appropriate legal channels’, adding that ‘Europe is a community of law’. The German minister spoke specifically of Slovakia and Hungary, which have both made their own threats of legal action against the controversial quota system… ‘European solidarity is not a one-way street,’ Steinmeier said, adding that ‘those who refuse (to welcome refugees) must know what is at stake for them: open borders in Europe’.
“… EU leaders on Thursday set an end-of-June deadline to agree on a new border and coastguard force to slow the influx of migrants across the 28-nation bloc’s porous external frontiers… they acknowledged they had been too slow to carry out a joint strategy to tackle Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.”
Will all of this lead to a rapid emergence of ten nations or groups of nations, developing out of the EU, as prophesied in Scripture, as well as the manifestation of a strong charismatic political leader from Germany or Austria, replacing the current leaders in these countries?
UN Resolution for “Peace” in Syria… a Total and Complete Joke
On December 18, the Los Angeles Times reported the following:
“The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution Friday outlining a process to end the civil war in Syria, but without settling one of the most contentious issues: the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad. After five hours of discussion, foreign ministers from 17 countries — some on opposing sides of the Syrian conflict — endorsed a plan that calls for cease-fire talks to begin next month and for U.N.-supervised elections to be held in mid-2017…
“The resolution urges the Syrian government and its opposition to embark, under the auspices of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on ‘urgent’ discussions of a ‘political transition process’ for the country… But key differences remain over how and on what timetable Assad should be removed from power… The lawlessness in much of Syria and neighboring Iraq has supplied the Islamic militants with a vast area to operate…
“The resolution… makes clear that a ceasefire would not apply to international operations aimed at ‘terrorist organizations.’ That means the U.S.-dominated coalition may continue airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria. It also gives the green light to Russia, which has been accused of bombing Assad’s foes rather than Islamic State.
“In addition to atrocities and carnage since 2011, the fighting in Syria and Iraq has sparked a desperate exodus. Fueled in large part by the Syrian war, the number of people forcibly displaced worldwide this year will surpass the record of 60 million, the U.N. refugee agency reported Friday.”
Not only is the UN resolution a complete joke, there may be more going on behind the scenes. Note the next article:
Are Germany and the USA Working with Syria’s Assad Behind the Scenes?
The Local reported on December 18:
“Germany’s foreign intelligence service BND has resumed cooperation with the Syrian secret service in the fight against Islamist extremists, according to a newspaper report Friday. The BND declined to comment on the report by Bild daily which comes as Berlin and other Western governments shun official cooperation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over his regime’s abuses.
“The mass-circulation daily, citing unnamed ‘informed sources’, said BND agents had been travelling regularly to Damascus for talks with their Syrian counterparts and that the service wanted to reopen an office there… a spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel also declined comment at a press conference.
“Bild said the aim of the contact was to exchange information on Islamist extremists and to open a channel of communication in the event of any potential crisis, such as a German Tornado pilot being shot down over territory held by jihadists. Germany has deployed Tornado surveillance aircraft and other non-combat military support to the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, which controls wide areas of Syria and Iraq.
“Merkel has argued the world must seek a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict to end the killing there, to better focus on fighting IS, and to reduce massive refugee flows to Europe. But she has repeatedly stressed that this must not include cooperation with Assad, who, she said, ‘keeps dropping barrel bombs on his own people’, and whose regime was the main cause of the refugee exodus.”
One has to be very careful with the accuracy of “information” supplied by the mass tabloid “Bild.” However, Bild is known to express what most Germans think, and it is also quite instrumental in forming public opinion…
According to Newsmax, dated December 23, Germany would not be the only Western nation working with Assad. The magazine reported:
“The Joint Chiefs of Staff has indirectly supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a bid to help him defeat jihadist groups, a bombshell report by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claims. Hersh writes… that the group of senior military leaders who advise Secretary of Defense Ash Carter sent intelligence through Israel, Germany, and even Russia.”
Turkey’s Forked Tongue
Reuters reported on December 19:
“Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met with Khaled Meshaal, leader of Palestinian militant group Hamas, on Saturday in Istanbul, Turkish presidential sources said, a day after Israel and Turkey said they were close to patching up five-year political rift…
“Israel’s once-strong ties to Turkey soured in 2010 when Israeli commandoes killed 10 Turkish activists when storming the Mavi Marmara, a ship in a convoy seeking to break an Israeli naval blockade of the Palestinian territory of Gaza. Turkey had demanded Israel apologize over the assault, pay compensation and lift the Gaza blockade. For Israel, limiting Hamas activity in Turkey has been key.
“Under the preliminary deal between the two countries, Saleh al-Aruori, a senior leader in the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas who has been living in Turkey, would be barred from the country, the Israeli official had said.”
Anti-Semitism in Greece
JTA wrote on December 21:
“A leading Greek bishop has blamed the ‘Zionist monster’ for new legislation that would give same-sex couples in Greece expanded civil rights. Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus said the cohabitation bill is a result of the ‘constant war against the true faith’ being waged ‘by the international Zionist monster,’ which he said controls the Greek government…
“The bishop has a long history of making anti-Semitic comments. In 2010, he told a Greek TV station that Jews had orchestrated the Holocaust and were behind Greece’s financial crisis. He later clarified that these were his personal opinions and did not represent the Church of Greece…
“While the bill is highly unpopular in Greece, the Parliament could face European Court of Justice sanctions for discrimination if it does not pass the measure to meet European Union standards.
“Anti-Semitic stereotypes are widespread in Greek public and political discourse… Greece has Europe’s highest rate of anti-Semitic attitudes…”
More Than 60 Million Refugees in 2015
Reuters reported on December 18:
“The number of people forcibly displaced worldwide is likely to have ‘far surpassed’ a record 60 million this year, mainly driven by the Syrian war and other protracted conflicts, the United Nations said on Friday. The estimated figure includes 20.2 million refugees fleeing wars and persecution, the most since 1992… Nearly 2.5 million asylum seekers have requests pending, with Germany, Russia and the United States receiving the highest numbers of the nearly one million new claims lodged in the first half of the year…
“‘2015 is on track to see worldwide forced displacement exceeding 60 million for the first time – 1 in every 122 humans is today someone who has been forced to flee their homes,’ [a UN report] said. The total figure at the end of 2014 was 59.5 million.
“An estimated 34 million people were internally displaced as of mid-year, about 2 million more than the same time in 2014. Yemen, where civil war erupted in March, reported the highest number of newly uprooted people at 933,500.
“Syria’s civil war that began in 2011 has been the main driver of mass displacement, with more than 4.2 million Syrian refugees having fled abroad and 7.6 million uprooted within their shattered homeland as of mid-year… Together, nationals of Syria and Ukraine, where a separatist rebellion in the east erupted in April 2014, accounted for half of the 839,000 people who became refugees in the first half of 2015…
“Violence in Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan sparked large refugee movements, as well as fighting in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq… Many refugees will live in exile for years to come…”
Judicial Watch Takes on Obama Administration on Climate Change “Alarmism”
Judicial Watch reported on December 22:
“Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a lawsuit on December 2, 2015, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking records of communications from National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials regarding methodology for collecting and interpreting data used in climate models… The lawsuit sought the same documents unsuccessfully subpoenaed by a House committee. Less than week after Judicial Watch served its lawsuit on NOAA, the agency finally turned over the targeted documents to Congress.
“Judicial Watch is investigating how NOAA collects and disseminates climate data that is used in determining global climate change. NOAA collects data in thousands of ways – from temperature gauges on land and buoys at sea, to satellites orbiting Earth. Considered the ‘environmental intelligence agency,’ NOAA is the nation’s leading collector of climate data…
“Information provided to the Committee by whistleblowers appears to show that the study was rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA employees. On November 26, Smith published an opinion editorial in The Washington Times, which accused NOAA of tampering with data to help promote global warming alarmism… ‘We have little doubt that our lawsuit helped to pry these scandalous climate change report documents from the Obama administration… we have little doubt that the documents will show the Obama administration put politics before science to advance global warming alarmism’ [said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton].”
Undiscovered Asteroid Passes Near Earth
Express wrote on December 19:
“The asteroid was discovered just two days ago. Astronomers were oblivious to the existence of the space rock, which is big enough to destroy a town and called 2015 YB, until Wednesday… A Slooh spokesman said the pass was so near it would be within range of geosynchronous satellites which orbit at the same rotation period as Earth…
“It may sound far, but the estimated 34,672 miles away pass, it’s a cat’s whisker in cosmic terms, and is less than a fifth of the 238,000 miles between earth and the moon. The asteroid is only 20 metres in length, but an asteroid of the same size exploded suddenly in Earth’s atmosphere above Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February 2013 – injuring 1,500 people. If an asteroid of 50 metres hit London it could destroy the city.
“Astronomers have nicknamed the asteroid The Flea, in honour of the world’s greatest soccer player, Lionel Messi. The spokesman added: ‘We will be asking, why, like Messi, it got through our best defences until two days ago.’… It is the second recent near Earth asteroid to turn up out of the blue.”
This article proves the total misrepresentation of the occasional claim by “scientists” that asteroids pose no threat to us, and that all asteroids which could come close to earth have been discovered.
Giant Comets May Threaten Earth
AFP wrote on December 22
“Planet Earth could be at higher risk of a space rock impact than widely thought, according to astronomers who suggested Tuesday keeping a closer eye on distant giant comets. Most studies of potential Earth-smashers focus on objects in the asteroid belt roughly between Mars, Earth’s outside neighbour, and Jupiter on its other flank, said the researchers. But they noted that the discovery in the last two decades of hundreds of giant comets dubbed centaurs, albeit with much larger orbits, requires expanding the list of potential hazards.
“These balls of ice and dust, typically 50-100 kilometres (31-62 miles) wide, have unstable, elliptical orbits that start way beyond Neptune, the most distant planet from the Sun. Their paths cross those of the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, whose gravity fields occasionally deflect a comet towards Earth — once about every 40,000-100,000 years. As they draw closer to the Sun, the comets would gradually break up, which is what causes the trademark cometary debris tail — ‘making impacts on our planet inevitable’…
“They noted that a single centaur contains more mass than the entire population of Earth-crossing asteroids discovered to date… A comet strike is… a leading contender for having ended the reign of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago… ‘A centaur arrival carries the risk of injecting, into the atmosphere… a mass of dust and smoke comparable to that assumed in nuclear winter studies,’ wrote the researchers, referring to the hypothesised climate effects from the soot that would be released by firestorms caused in an atomic war.”
Pope Francis to Receive the Charlemagne Prize 2016
Deutsche Welle reported on December 23:
“Pope Francis will receive the annual Charlemagne Prize for 2016, according to some reports. The award, given out by the German city of Aachen, honors those who promote European unity… More specifically, the prize is given to people or institutions ‘distinguished by their outstanding work toward European unity or cooperation between its states.’
“The Charlemagne Prize was created by Dr. Kurt Pfeiffer in March 1950. In 1969, the Commission of the European Community became the first institution that would eventually become part of the EU to receive the award. Martin Schultz, a German citizen and President of the European Parliament, was the recipient of the prize in 2015.”
Angela Merkel received the prize as well. Pope Francis will be the first pope to receive it. Normally, the prize is given in Aachen, but in this case, the pope will receive it in Rome.
Utter Confusion in the “Christian” World
On December 18, JTA linked to an article by Forward, stating this:
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of the new document on the conversion of Jews that the Vatican released December 10… What the document says is that the Catholic Church rejects ‘specific institutional mission work’… aimed at Jews…
“Protestants don’t always admit it, but Vatican thinking has a trickle-down influence beyond Catholics. What happens in Rome doesn’t stay in Rome…
“… many Catholics believe… that Jews, unlike other non-Christians, can end up in heaven without believing in Jesus… that implication has been stated explicitly by growing numbers of Catholic scholars… Mainline and liberal Protestant churches, including Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Lutherans, have largely adopted [this concept] …
“The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, has repeatedly voted by huge majorities to reject proposals that it give up missionizing Jews…
“… the Vatican itself has difficulty explaining how it can reconcile its belief in the continuing Jewish covenant [and the concept that Jews go to heaven when they die, without having believed in Jesus]… with the equally clear principle appearing elsewhere in the New Testament that salvation comes only through Jesus. The new document puts it this way: ‘That Jews are participants in God’s salvation is unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable divine mystery.’…”
When the Catholic Church has no answers to the many contradictions between the clear teachings of the Bible and the church’s dogmas, the biblical doctrines are explained away as “mysteries.” The unbiblical claim of the Trinity is labeled as another mystery, which no one can explain, but which one “must believe.” In times past, those who questioned the Trinity were considered by the Roman church as heretics and “anathema” of Christ.
Germany Releases Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”
The Economist wrote on December 19:
“IN GERMANY, as in the rest of Europe, copyright expires seven decades after the author’s year of death. That applies even when the author is Adolf Hitler and the work is ‘Mein Kampf’. Since 1945, the state of Bavaria has owned the book’s German-language rights and has refused to allow its republication. German libraries stock old copies, and they can be bought and sold. But from January 1st no permission will be needed to reprint it.
“Those living outside Germany may not immediately grasp the significance of the moment. ‘Mein Kampf’ has always been available in translation and is now just a click away online. But that is not the point. For Germans, the expiry of the copyright has caused hand-wringing and controversy. The question, as they ring in the new year, is not what to do about ‘Mein Kampf’ as it enters the public domain. Rather, it is what Hitler means for Germany today…
“One by one, post-war taboos connected to Hitler are vanishing. Flag-waving is one. A breakthrough occurred in 2006, when Germany hosted the football World Cup. For the first time since the war the black-red-and-gold came out everywhere…
“Germans know that whenever others are angry with them, they will paint a Hitler moustache on posters of their chancellor. Many Germans are fed up with this—with being ‘blackmailed’, as Bild, the leading tabloid, complained this spring, when Greece unexpectedly brought war reparations into negotiations about bail-outs in the euro crisis…”
The American Papers that Praised Hitler
The Daily Beast wrote on December 20, 2015:
“‘The train arrived punctually,’ a Christian Science Monitor report from Germany informed its readers, not long after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933… As for all those ‘harrowing stories’ of Jews being mistreated—they seemed to apply ‘only to a small proportion’; most were ‘not in any way molested.’ Overall, the Monitor’s dispatch declared, the Hitler regime was providing ‘a dark land a clear light of hope.’
“Why did many mainstream American newspapers portray the Hitler regime positively, especially in its early months?… Why did they excuse or rationalize Nazi anti-Semitism?… many American editors and reporters assumed… that a radical candidate would show some restraint once in office.
“An editorial in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin on Jan. 30, 1933, asserted that ‘there have been indications of moderation’ on Hitler’s part. The editors of The Cleveland Press, on Jan. 31, claimed the ‘appointment of Hitler as German chancellor may not be such a threat to world peace as it appears at first blush.’…
“Soon after Hitler assumed power, all Jews were dismissed from government jobs and ousted from a wide range of other professions, from dentistry to the movie industry. Sporadic anti-Jewish violence erupted throughout the country—and was amply reported in the American press. The Chicago Tribune described assaults… ‘Hundreds of Jews have been beaten or tortured. Thousands of Jews have fled. Thousands of Jews have been, or will be deprived of their livelihood. All of Germany’s 600,000 Jews are in terror.’
“Yet some American journalists presented a very different view of Germany… A page-one dispatch from the New York Herald Tribune’s Berlin correspondent on March 25 asserted that while the situation of German Jewry was ‘an unhappy one,’ many atrocity stories were ‘exaggerated and often unfounded.’…
“The New York Herald Tribune’s Berlin correspondent, John Elliott, claimed the Nazis were targeting Jews not because of their ‘race,’ but because they were political opponents of the Hitler regime… A Christian Science Monitor editorial declared that it was the Jews’ own ‘commercial clannishness’ which ‘gets them into trouble.’
“A leading Protestant periodical, The Christian Century, proclaimed in an April 26 editorial: ‘May we ask if Hitler’s attitude may be somewhat governed by the fact that too many Jews, at least in Germany, are radical, too many are communists? May that have any bearing on the situation? There must be some reason other than race or creed—just what is that reason?’…
“Anne O’Hare McCormick [of the Times]… provided the Nazi leader with a major public-relations boost in July 1933. Her page-one interview, headlined ‘Hitler Seeks Jobs for All Germans,’ gave the Führer paragraph after paragraph to justify his domestic policies as the only way to deal with Germany’s unemployment, improve its roads, and promote national unity…
“Remarkably, even five years later—after five years of anti-Jewish violence, German militarization, and the annexation of Austria—some in the Western press still tried to present Hitler’s human side. In November 1938, the same month that the Kristallnacht pogrom devastated German Jewry, the British magazine Homes & Gardens ran a fawning three-page photo spread on Hitler’s “bright, airy chalet” in the Bavarian Alps… Not long before that puff piece, The New York Times published a dispatch from one of its Berlin correspondents in which he could barely conceal his admiration of Hitler’s ‘mountain retreat.’…
“There was another important factor that influenced U.S. press coverage of Hitler’s early years: the position taken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration. Many editors and reporters took their cues from the White House… The Roosevelt administration, which carefully monitored 425 newspapers daily, downplayed the plight of the Jews… During the 1930s, the position of the White House was not just to sidestep the plight of the Jews, but also to combat any domestic criticism or protests that might interfere with U.S.-German diplomatic and economic relations.
“The administration intervened to block congressional resolutions in 1933-34 criticizing Nazi Germany… Secretary of State Cordell Hull shared with U.S. diplomats in Germany his ‘fear that the continued dissemination of exaggerated reports may prejudice the friendly feelings between the peoples of the two countries and be of doubtful service to anyone.’… Roosevelt even compelled Interior Secretary Harold Ickes to remove critical references to Hitler, Mussolini, and Nazism from a 1938 speech.
“When U.S. Jewish groups organized a boycott of German products, Hull asserted it would be damaging to American interests. The administration even quietly permitted goods to be labeled as having been made in a particular city or province rather than requiring that they be stamped ‘Made in Germany.’ It took the threat of a lawsuit by Jewish leaders to put an end to that. The labeling episode was a tailor-made opportunity for investigative journalism—if the mainstream news media had any interest in exposing the administration’s duplicity. Which it didn’t.
“Perhaps it is not surprising that the sudden, unexpected rise of an extremist from beer halls to the halls of power would catch the Fifth Estate off-guard. What is troubling, however, is the extent to which some mainstream American newspaper editors and reporters deviated from accepted journalistic standards and allowed their better judgment to be clouded by wishful thinking, admiration for punctual trains, susceptibility to celebrity, or deference to the president. One wonders how their successors would respond if a comparable situation were to arise in our own time.”
A comparable situation WILL arise in our time, and it will have to be seen how it is going to be reported in the mainstream media.
How Much Wealth Did Solomon Possess?
In 1 Kings 3:5, God appears to Solomon in a dream and asks him what he wishes to receive from God. In verse 9, Solomon answers and asks for an “understanding heart” so he may judge the people of Israel righteously and that he “may discern between good and evil.” Solomon didn’t ask for riches and a long life or the death of his enemies, and this pleased God (verse 10-11). In verse 12, God granted him what he wished for and gave him wisdom, more than any man has ever had or will ever have (excluding of course Jesus Christ, Who, even as a human being, was much wiser than Solomon). But God also GAVE him what he did not ask for. We read in the next verse that Solomon received riches and honor, so that there wouldn’t be any king like him in all his days. Even though Solomon was the son of David and did inherit riches from him, God was the one who granted him more riches than any man in his time. God also granted him a long life but only IF he kept His commandments, just as his father David did (verse 14).
How then did Solomon become the wealthiest king alive? He received wealth and riches through the gifts that he received, through trading and business dealings, tribute money that was paid to him and heavy taxation: “Hiram, the king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress and gold, as much as he desired” (1 Kings 9:11).
“King Solomon also built a fleet of ships… in the land of Edom. Then Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, seamen who knew the sea, to work with the servants of Solomon. And they went to Ophir, and acquired FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY TALENTS OF GOLD from there, and brought it to King Solomon” (1 Kings 9:26-28). Through his trade dealings with Hiram, in addition to gold and silver, Solomon also received ivory, apes and monkeys every three years (1 Kings 10:22).
He received gifts from the queen of Sheba who came to Jerusalem to test his knowledge. She was so impressed by his wisdom and understanding which he had received from God, that she gave him “ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY TALENTS OF GOLD, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never again came such an abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. Also, the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought great quantities of almug wood and precious stones from Ophir… There never again came such almug wood, nor has the like been seen to this day” (1 Kings 10:10-12). Solomon was also very generous in return as he gave the queen of Sheba all she desired, and he also gave Hiram cities for his gifts, even though Hiram did not like the cities (1 Kings 10:13; 9:11-14).
Solomon’s great wealth is expounded upon in 1 Kings 10:14-15: “The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was SIX HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SIX TALENTS of gold, besides that from the traveling merchants, from the income of traders, from all the kings of Arabia, and from the governors of the country.” With the gold he received, he made shields, a great throne of ivory covered in gold with twelve lions made of gold; all his drinking vessels were made of gold, including all the vessels of Lebanon which were pure gold (1 Kings 10:16-21). King Solomon “surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom” (verse 23). Because of his great fame and wisdom, people from all over the world went to see him, bearing presents, such as “articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year. And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen…” (verses 25-26). He also had horses and chariots imported from Egypt and Keveh (verses 28-29).
He received goods which were paid by kingdoms or countries in acknowledgment of his superiority in a form of tribute money. “They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life” (1 Kings 4:21). The following verses expound on the amount of daily food he received (verse 22-23). He also received money from heavy taxation on the people. In 1 Kings 12:4 the people complained to Rehoboam, after he adopted the throne of his father Solomon and travelled to Shechem where many of the northern-most tribes of Israel gathered to make him king: “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us…”
According to John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Solomon “[l]aid heavy taxes upon them, for the finishing of his buildings, for the maintenance of his household, for keeping such a large number of horses and chariots, and for the salaries of his officers, and for the support of his magnificent court; though they had very little reason to complain, since this was for the honour and grandeur of their nation, and they enjoyed their liberty, and lived in peace, plenty, and safety all his days; and such an abundance of riches was brought unto them by him that silver was as the stones of the street; though perhaps the taxes might be increased in the latter part of his life, for the support of his vast number of wives, and of their idolatrous worship, and for the defence of himself and kingdom against the attempts of Hadad and Rezon; but, as most interpreters observe, what they find most reason to complain of, they take no notice of, even the idolatry he had set up among them.” The people wanted Rehoboam to “lighten” Solomon’s “heavy yoke which he put on” them, including to ease them of their taxes or lessen them (1 Kings 12:4).
Solomon was very rich and even though the Bible doesn’t say exactly just how much gold he owned, it does give us an idea as to how much he possessed, in addition to the silver, bronze, precious gems, garments, spices, livestock, etc. We are told in 1 Kings 10:14 that he received 666 talents of gold a year, which was around 25 tons. In ancient times, talents were a measure of weight and money. A talent weighs around 34.3 kilograms (75 U.S. pounds), which is equal to 1,094 troy ounces (1 pound = 14.58 troy ounces). As of December 2015, the price of gold is worth $1,075 a troy ounce, so a talent of gold in today’s value is worth $1,176,050. Solomon received 666 talents of gold EACH YEAR. The value he received each year was around $785 million in today’s value. This does not include all the additional gifts and monies he received. His net worth was astounding.
Since he ruled Israel for forty years (1 Kings 11:42), and since he brought in close to a billion dollars of gold each year, his assets were in the billions of dollars, in addition to his inheritance from his father, King David; the gold and silver he received from kings, governors and merchants; heavy taxes paid by the Israelites; tribute money from countries and kingdoms; gold, silver, ivory, various animals and foreign slaves, which he received every three years due to his business partnership with Hiram, King of Tyre; and other additional gifts of gold, spices, precious stones, garments, armor, horses, mules, etc., which he received each year. This made Solomon the richest king of his time, and one of the richest individuals, or even perhaps the richest human being who has ever lived.
What we need to understand is that this was God’s doing. He made Solomon the wisest human who ever lived and as a bonus, He gave him wealth and fortune. But Solomon had a weakness which made him turn from God so that he did “evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD” (1 Kings 11:6), but “his heart… turned away from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice” (1 Kings 11:9), and he “did not keep what the LORD had commanded” (verse 10). And so, God told Solomon that after his death, He would tear the kingdom away from him in the days of his son Rehoboam (verse 11-12) and leave him only with one tribe “for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen” (verse 13).
Solomon speaks about his life and his experiences in the book of Ecclesiastes. He pointed out that without God, man is lost, no matter how many precious physical gifts and riches he might have. God inspired him to write down for us the timeless “conclusion of the whole matter”: “Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all” or “the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Solomon’s riches and his human wisdom did not prevent him from sinning, but it appears that he repented deeply at the end of his life. God gave him His wisdom and inspired him to write and pass on to us, for our education, learning and benefit, additional writings in the Bible, including a psalm, the book of Proverbs and the Song of Solomon.
Lead Writer: Michael Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
“Germany Will Dumbfound the World,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Most will be caught by utter surprise when developments in Germany will occur in the not-too-distant future, which will affect the entire world. History will repeat itself, and so we should learn from historical mistakes. Especially the incredibly sad US politics and reports of the American mainstream media about the Hitler regime in its early years gives us strong indications as to what will happen again… but next time, the rude awakening will come far too late for most.
A special new StandingWatch program has been recorded by Evangelist Norbert Link. Titled, “The Dark Side of Christmas,” we are promoting this video through several outlets—Facebook, directed emails, our CEG website and press releases. For additional information, please refer to our booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas!”
“Deutschlands Gerüchteküche,” is the title of this week’s Sabbath sermon. Title in English (approximately): “Germany’s Rumor Mill.”
“You Shall Not Kill!” is the title of last Sabbath’s sermonette, presented by Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Some teach that the commandment against killing does not include an injunction against killing in war. They say that the Hebrew word for killing means murder, and that killing in war is not murder. But is this correct?
“God’s Unlimited Power,” is the title of last Sabbath’s sermon, presented by Mike Link. Here is a summary:
There is no limit to what God can do. The Bible is full of examples for our admonition to show us just how powerful He is. If we understand that, then there should be no reason to underestimate Him.
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
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