|Are You in a Heavenly Place?
|When Busy is Lazy
|This Week in the News
|Should an Unbaptized Person Participate in Footwashing?
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
|Imagine… No Hunger
Are You in a Heavenly Place?
On March 5, 2016, Norbert Link will take the sermonette and announcement time to speak on relevant news in the light of biblical prophecy. The sermon will also be presented by Norbert Link, titled, “Are You in a Heavenly Place?”
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.
When Busy is Lazy
by Eric Rank
I read a book recently, which made the claim that being busy can be a common form of laziness. At first, this claim appears contradictory. How can someone who’s truly active and busy with work be considered lazy?
If laziness is characterized by being slow to take action, to put off responsibilities and procrastinate, then being busy with relatively unimportant activities becomes a means of distraction, and an ally of laziness. It is deceptive to be busy with inconsequential work because the state of activity allows us to falsely justify putting off other work that is more important. By crowding a schedule with activities and taking on unnecessary responsibilities, we might be putting off the most important use of our time – to develop fruits of righteousness and grow in our spiritual understanding of the Truth.
There may always be dishes to wash, laundry to do, other regular chores and jobs that warrant our attention, but that doesn’t mean that we need to be active in doing those things with every waking moment. We must be certain to set aside time to dedicate to more weighty, spiritual matters. In Luke 10:38-42 we read about when Jesus was visiting Mary and Martha. Martha is described as being “distracted with much serving.” Jesus admonished her to not be worried about those matters at that time, but to take time to learn about the more important things that He was discussing with her sister, Mary. This is a perfect example of laziness in the form of being busy. There is a time and a place for being busy with serving, but it should not take priority over our spiritual development.
Unfortunately, conditions have not improved since Martha’s time to reduce the amount of work that needs to be done in this day and age. One might think that advancements in technology would make life easier so that we can live a life that’s entirely dedicated to fruitful, personal development. Nothing could be further from the truth; we have no shortage of distractions to keep us busy today. The world has very much to offer in the way of being busy with new, important things that could turn our attention away from spiritual development.
There are consequences to falling into this trap, however. The parable of the sower describes how individuals, like you and I, receive the Word of God in the context of different circumstances. One of the conditions that Jesus describes is about thorny ground. In Matthew 13:22 He provides the interpretation, “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” The consequence of staying busy with worldly activity is to become unfruitful spiritually. When we allow the cares of the world to distract us and keep us busy, we put our ability to bear spiritual fruit at risk.
If we are serious about our calling to be children in the Family of God, we cannot be lazy. That means that activities that keep us busy, preventing us from bearing fruit, need to find their proper place. What is more important, and perhaps more challenging, is our need to focus on working in those areas of our life that we might be putting off. Do we have difficult problems that need to be overcome? Is it hard to figure out what step to take first? For many of us, the answer to these questions is “Yes”. When we encounter obstacles that are difficult to work on, we need to fight the urge to be busy with something that feels productive, and work on that which will bear fruit instead.
It is the difficult work that we are called to do. In Hosea 10:12 we read, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” Those places in our lives that do not receive attention – the untilled, fallow ground – are what need to be worked on. By being busy in the areas in our lives that might take extra effort, we find new ways to bear even more spiritual fruit and overcome the laziness of busy-ness.
We begin with reports about the UK and the ongoing battle pertaining to a Brexit, which becomes a similar mud-slinging contest as the presidential campaign in the USA.
We speak about the election in Iran—which is just tantamount to a change of labels for the same product—and point out a looming catastrophe for Iraq and surrounding areas.
We continue with the migrant crisis in Germany and Europe, which is bound to become worse—with Finland, Hungary, Greece and France facing tough choices. One newspaper coined the phrase, “the Great Wall of Europe.”
Pope Francis is again in hot water with his controversial praise for an Italian politician who was responsible for 10,000 abortions. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, “False Christianity and Blasphemous Abominations in our Societies.”
Turning to the USA, we speak on disgusting political maneuvering in Colorado regarding unvaccinated students; report on the sad state of world affairs “while Obama fiddles”; and continue with several articles on Donald Trump, including his desire to make legal changes pertaining to libel and tax exemption of churches; a compelling scientific study prognosticating with 97 percent certainty that he will be the next American President; an article showing some interesting differences between Trump and Hitler; and a “brand-new” report by the New York Times from February 28, expressing Europe’s reaction of SHOCK to a Trump presidency—something which we already pointed out some time back in our StandingWatch program from February 10, titled “Trump SHOCKS Europe.” In addition, we addressed Donald Trump’s surprising victories in our StandingWatch program of August 13, 2015, titled “The Trump Phenomenon—How to Explain It.”
We conclude with articles pertaining to Apple’s Fight with the FBI and the danger of smartphones.
This Week in the News
John Kerry Under Attack for His Pro-EU Stance in Britain
The Daily Mail wrote on February 28:
“Barack Obama’s foreign policy chief is a one-time IRA sympathiser unfit to tell Britain to stay in the EU, Eurosceptic Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed. Mr Rees-Mogg, a leading ‘Out’ campaigner, sparked a diplomatic row by accusing US Secretary of State John Kerry of having harboured sympathies for suspected terrorists. The claim comes after Mr Kerry intervened in the referendum debate by saying the US had a ‘profound interest’ in the UK staying in the EU.
“But speaking with the protection of Parliamentary privilege, Mr Rees-Mogg told MPs that Mr Kerry had showed himself to be a ‘terrorist sympathiser’ when he held up a treaty in the mid-1980s allowing for the deportation of IRA activists from the US to the UK. ‘He is no friend of Britain,’ Mr Rees-Mogg said…
“Last night, Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘You have to remember this debate about delaying extradition took place in the shadow of the IRA’s attempt at the wholesale murder of the British Government in the Brighton bombing.’ Last night, the State Department in Washington declined to comment on the row. An official said: ‘The UK’s relationship with the EU is a question for the British people and the British Government.’”
BBC Not Impartial
The Sun wrote on February 28:
“Leading Eurosceptics say [BBC] is at serious risk of breaching its rules of impartiality… Tory MP Andrew Bridgen… said: ‘The BBC is emerging as a cheerleader for those who want to remain in the EU.’ Fellow Tory Steve Baker, founder of Conservatives for Britain, added: ‘It is essential for democracy and the credibility of the BBC that our state broadcaster is, and is seen to be, scrupulously impartial.’… Mr Bridgen also claims the BBC has ‘crossed the line’ from impartial reporting to editorial comment… Mr Bridgen called on the BBC to provide full details of how it intends to uphold impartiality so the public can have ‘utmost faith in its integrity’… Mr Bridgen insisted: ‘The BBC and the EU have much in common. Both have an unhealthy air of entitlement to huge amounts of taxpayers’ money, they resent scrutiny of their affairs, they are both unaccountable and undemocratic.’…”
The BBC may be following the lead of American broadcasters, where you can find virtually NO impartial and objective reporting. It is appalling and deeply troublesome how big manipulating institutions such as CNN, NBC, FOX NEWS or MSNBC have been taking political sides for parties and candidates in the presidential campaigns. A distinction between “reporting,” “editorializing” and even “endorsing” can hardly be found.
Express wrote on February 29:
“Most of England wants to see an end to EU supremacy over the UK according to a landmark survey gauging the mood of the nation ahead of the upcoming in/out referendum. The bombshell research will send shockwaves through Westminster and is a crushing blow to Mr Cameron’s pro-Brussels campaign, which has been beset by PR gaffes and accusations of fearmongering. Respected pollsters YouGov asked 80,000 Britons how they intend to vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership, to take place on June 23.
“Their shock results show that the further south in Britain you live the more likely it is that you are a Eurosceptic, with most of England now backing a Brexit. Many of the most densely populated parts of the UK are staunchly in favour of severing ties with Brussels…
“In contrast more pro-EU areas, including Scotland and Wales, have much smaller populations in comparison… There has also been a surge in anti-EU feeling in England’s eastern counties, Wales and the south-west…
“Brexit support is also strong in the more wealthy Tory counties of England like Suffolk, Somerset and Lincolnshire, showing that a concensus is now building behind the case to get Britain out of the EU. On the other hand, areas most supportive of the EU were found in metropolitan areas, Scotland and university cities… The most pro-EU area of Britain was Ceredigion in Wales while Scotland was by far the most pro-EU country in the UK.”
Switzerland To Withdraw Application for EU Membership
The Daily Mail wrote on March 2:
“Switzerland’s parliament has voted to withdraw its long-standing application for membership of the EU – amid a deepening row about migration. The country’s National Council has backed a symbolic motion to retract the country’s 24-year-old bid to join what was then the European Economic Community (EEC).
“Lukas Reimann from the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) argued it was ‘high time’ to make the move, as the country is battling with the European Commission about restricting free movement. He secured the support of 126 out of 200 deputies in the lower house in the vote on Tuesday, and the decision will be reviewed by the senate in the coming months.
“Mr Reimann said Switzerland should no longer be treated as a [country] which wanted to join the EU. Switzerland has never been a member of EU but has enjoyed free trade with the bloc since the 1970s by accepting most of its laws. It accepts free movement of people and is also a member of the Schengen borderless travel zone… it has a web of some 120 agreements with the EU, but its access to the single market does not include financial services hence many Swiss banks are based in London to access the single market…
“Unlike Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the European Economic Area, with full access to the single market. Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg yesterday indicated she was perfectly happy to be outside the EU after a holding a meeting with Commission president Jean Claude Juncker in Brussels…”
The Iranian Vote—Changes Ahead?
Deutsche Welle reported on February 29:
“The government said on Monday that officials had finished counting the votes… Rouhani and his close ally former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani won 15 out of 16 seats in Tehran for the Assembly of Experts…
“Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati was the only conservative hard-liner to make it to the council from Tehran. The cleric is also the chairman of the Guardian Council, which disqualified several reformist leaders from contesting Friday’s polls. Jannati is considered one of the strongest critics of Rouhani’s reform program.
“Rafsanjani was expected to take over as head of the 88-member body, which chooses the country’s supreme leader. The post is currently held by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The reformists also won all 30 seats representing Tehran in the 290-member parliament.
“Moderates have also gained seats and could team up with Rouhani’s supporters to outnumber conservatives opposed to Iran’s nuclear concessions. Signed last year, that agreement helped end crippling sanctions against Iran and open its markets to foreign businesses. Observers said the former president and Rouhani were likely to reduce the influence of conservatives in the council and in Iran’s politics in general.
“Iran’s official broadcaster reported that the results heralded ‘the end of the presence of a powerful majority in the parliament that overshadowed [the] decision-making apparatus in the country over the past decade.’”
This rather “optimistic” report of wishful thinking is off-set by the following cautionary and more “realistic” article.
The Times of Israel wrote on February 29:
“The unequivocal victory of Iran’s ‘moderate’ camp in Friday’s elections to the Majlis [parliament] and the Assembly of Experts is a resounding victory for two people: President Hassan Rouhani, who, pundits have already noted, faced in these elections a key test of his public support, and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
“Rafsanjani, 81, is the phoenix of Iranian politics, returning time and again from the political wilderness as one of the strongest and most cunning in that world. Despite countless attempts by the conservative establishment of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to isolate him and distance him from the centers of power, Rafsanjani has schooled Khamenei and his supporters in political maneuvering. If he were a Western statesman, an entire season of ‘House of Cards’ would surely have been devoted to him…
“In Friday’s elections, Rafsanjani secured a majority in the Assembly of Experts, which will select Khamenei’s successor as supreme leader…
“Beyond the personal and petty political rivalries, however, the election results are clearly an expression of support by the Iranian public for last year’s nuclear deal and the promise of a new openness to the West… the Iranian public yearns for more of that ‘Western influence’ against which conservatives have so ominously warned… the primary driver of this new desire for openness is the economy…
“Two caveats should be made here: First, Rafsanjani, Rouhani and their allies in the ‘moderate’ camp are devotees of Iran’s revolutionary regime. They do not want a coup or a revolution, but rather the preservation of the Iranian system. Both were involved in past campaigns against ‘enemies of the regime.’
“Second, with all due respect to Iranian politics and ‘democracy,’ the conservative establishment is not defeated. Far from it. They, too, have shown that they have phoenix-like powers. The conservative ayatollahs and Khamenei have no intention of raising a white flag or quietly fading into the night. They and their allies in the Revolutionary Guards will continue to influence Iran’s foreign policy, its Middle East wars and its deployment of terror groups in various countries.
“And Friday’s triumphant ‘moderates’ will be there to help the Guards obtain ever larger funding — made possible by the very openness to the West that so troubles them. The real battle is just beginning. The conservative establishment won’t abandon the field so quickly. This is still revolutionary Iran, the same one that operates so many terror cells across the globe.”
Iraq’s Looming Catastrophe
Express wrote on February 29:
“America has warned of an ‘unprecedented catastrophe’ which could see millions killed if a crumbling dam near an Islamic State stronghold collapses. The resulting ‘tsunami-like wave’ would crush nearly a third of Iraq, flatten major cities and wipe out hundreds of thousands of those living under ISIS control. Health officials have been unable to evacuate many of those in immediate threat as they reside under the control of the evil caliphate, also known as Daesh.
“The US embassy in Baghdad said long-running disrepair meant ‘approximately 500,000 to 1.47 million people living along the Tigris’ would probably not survive the impact of the projected flood wave unless they evacuated. A breach in the country’s biggest dam would unleash an ‘inland tidal wave’ which could reach tens of feet in height and knock out Iraq’s entire power grid. Parts of the ISIS stronghold Mosul could be under 45 feet of water within hours of a dam breach. The flood water would even reach Baghdad within three days and bring chaos to the Iraqi capital with ‘increased health hazards, limited to no mobility, and losses of homes, buildings, and services’…
“The 3.2-kilometer-long Mosul Dam holds back as much as 12.5 million cubic meters of water… A report dating back to 2006 even described the structure ‘the most dangerous dam in the world’. Repair works at the dam, built in 1984, have been neglected amid ongoing instability in the region. ISIS militants seized the dam in August 2014 but US airstrikes helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces take back control of it the same month. However, Mosul still remains in the hands of the militant terror group…
“Iraq’s own prime minister has tried to play down the risk of a breach at the country’s largest dam, calling the possibility ‘unlikely’ and insisting ‘the situation is under control’… But the Iraqi government has issued their own ‘instruction manual’ informing citizens about the likelihood of the dam collapsing and advising them what to do in the event that it did. An advisor to the office of PM revealed a collapse of the Mosul Dam would be ‘a thousand times worse’ than the impact of Hurricane Katrina… ‘there is a nightmare scenario that Daesh could itself strike the dam as they withdraw from Mosul.’”
Germany Declares Passports Invalid
Deutsche Welle reported on February 27:
“The Interior Ministry has confirmed travel documents issued from territory controlled by ‘Islamic State’ are no longer valid forms of ID. Nearly three quarters of migrants arriving to Germany in 2015 had no documents. The measure went into effect in December as concern mounted that ‘IS’ had taken over public administrative functions and obtained vast quantities of blank documents.
“The rule impacts both Iraqis and Syrians who possess travel documents issued after January 1, 2015 in territory controlled by ‘IS’ in Syria in Iraq, the Interior Ministry said… Europe has been on high-alert for jihadists disguised as refugees using false documents following last November’s Paris terror attacks, in which Syrian passports were found on the bodies of two men. The black market for Syrian passports remains rife…
“Passport holders from ‘IS’ controlled areas will still be able to apply for asylum in Germany, but similar to other refugees must prove their identity and country of citizenship.”
Germany Ignorant of Whereabouts of 130,000 Migrants
AFP wrote February 26:
“German authorities do not know the whereabouts of 130,000 asylum seekers, the government said in a parliamentary document seen by AFP on Friday. Out of some 1.1 million asylum seekers registered in 2015, ‘about 13 percent did not turn up at the reception centres to which they had been directed,’ the government said in a written reply to a question from a lawmaker of the Left Party…
“A spokesman for the interior ministry said a package of new measures approved by parliament on Thursday is expected to help address the problem. These include plans for an identity document to be issued upon the arrival of a migrant… [They also include] restricting family reunions for some migrants…”
Der Spiegel Online reported on February 29, that according to new polls from January, Angela Merkel gained some support. Her approval rate stands now at 54 percent. Most popular politician is Frank-Walter Steinmeier with a 70 % approval rate, followed by Wolfgang Schaueble with 66 %. However, these figures don’t mean much. When the migrant crisis continues and intensifies, as it surely will, Merkel’s approval rate will again decrease dramatically—and quickly.
In addition, and quite contradictorily, 59 percent of Germans disagree with Merkel regarding her migrant policy, and only 32 percent think that a solution can be reached in the foreseeable future. These 32 percent must be living on a different planet.
The Great Wall of Europe… It Will Get Much Worse
Express wrote on February 29:
“Finland has warned it expects the number of asylum applications to surge in 2016. It comes after Hungary prime minister Viktor Orban described the European Union’s response to the crisis as ‘absurd’ saying it was making no effort to thwart the influx… And Greek leaders warned the block’s policy to the problem was creating a ‘graveyard of souls’ in the south European country. It has taken in thousands more refugees fleeing Middle East warzones…
“Hungary’s Orban announced plans to build an enormous wall sealing his country off from southern Europe.
“Violence erupted across the Calais Jungle camp today as French authorities continued to demolish the camp to reduce its population from some 6,000 to 1,000 migrants. Riot police used tear gas to break up the riots as fires burned across the camp.”
Express wrote on March 2:
“Europe is facing a mass migration time bomb with a visa-free travel deal for Turkish citizens set to unleash an ‘uncountable influx’ on the continent, a top German politician has warned. Johannes Singhammer, vice-president of the Bundestag said there are ‘serious considerations’ about the prospective visa-free regime, because it would open ‘a gateway for further immigration and a flow of refugees to Germany.’
“He said that German consulates in Turkey are already issuing a staggering 200,000 visas a year for free travel in the Schengen zone and that number is now set to explode when the agreement comes into force in October…
“Mr Singhammer’s warning comes days after Mr Erdogan threatened to put millions of refugees on buses and planes to western Europe unless EU leaders handed over more money to host migrants arriving from Syria…
“Hungary’s no-nonsense president Viktor Orban has also slammed the deal, saying: ‘Brussels is making promises to the Turks that we can’t keep – or don’t want to keep. The plan to take in hundreds of thousands of refugees from Turkey and distribute them across Europe is an illusion.’”
Humanitarian Crisis in Greece
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 2:
“Thousands of migrants, many fleeing war in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, have been stranded in Idomeni by Macedonia’s decision to allow only a handful of asylum seekers with identification papers from Syria and Iraq [after several European nations decided to block passage to refugees].
“Wednesday marked the first time in two days that refugees were allowed to cross the frontier following an incident in which Macedonian police fired tear gas at protesting migrants attempting to force their way through the border fence…
“UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Flemming said on Wednesday that the decision taken by Macedonia and other European countries to limit the migration flow has resulted in some 25,000 people stranded in Greece… around 1,800 people reach Greece daily from Turkey by undertaking a perilous journey across the Aegean Sea.”
The EUObserver added on March 1:
“Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann on Tuesday (1 March) defended his controversial decision to tighten border controls, telling EU Council president Donald Tusk that ‘Austria is not a waiting room for Germany.’”
Passenger Flies from London to Germany with False Passport
The website of mashable.com wrote on February 29:
“We have all been there, rushing to the airport, trying to not forget anything – especially our passports because we would not be allowed to board the plane, right? For one man, this was not the case. Without realising he had picked up his girlfriend’s passport, Josh Reed managed to travel all the way from London’s Stansted to Dortmund, Germany, because no one at the airport had stopped him.
“… it was only after he made it through security and landed in Germany with his friends that he realised that his passport did not belong to him — it belonged to his 7 months pregnant girlfriend, Sophie Watkins. ‘We have different surnames and we couldn’t look more different,’ Reed said… ‘It makes you wonder how easy it would be for people that look alike to get through on fake passports.’”
Merkel: “Germany Should Play a Bigger Role in World Affairs”
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 2:
“The country should not just spread its influence via, exports, the chancellor argued. ‘Rather, we will have to take on more responsibility in an open world for what happens outside our European borders,’ she said from a CDU rally in the town of Wittlich in Rhineland-Palatinate, one of three states about to hold parliamentary ballots [next week]…
“One of her most outspoken critics has been Horst Seehofer, leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party the CSU. Speaking at a separate rally in Halle in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, which will also have elections next week, Seehofer said that ‘if the international measures do not come in time or are not effective enough, we will not be able to avoid national measures,’ a clear dig at the chancellor’s policies.
“Instead of bowing to the tension, Merkel has continued to favor a solution at the European level, even as her center-right party loses ground to the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in some areas, including Saxony-Anhalt. A defeat for the CDU at the regional polls could force Merkel to reverse her course if she hopes to keep her party in the majority in the 2017 general election.”
Pope Francis Again in Hot Water
Newsmax wrote on February 27:
“Italian pro-life leaders are speaking out against Pope Francis’ praise of former Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino as one of the nation’s ‘forgotten greats,’ complaining that she is best known in the nation for her stance on legalizing abortion. ‘How can the pope praise a woman that is best known in Italy for practicing illegal abortion and promoting abortion?’ said Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, who was until last year the head of the Rome office of Human Life International…
“In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere Della Serra, the Pope acknowledged that his praise, in which he compared her to historical figures such as Konrad Adenauer, who was the first post-world War II chancellor of Germany, and the famed statesman Robert Schuman, could be considered controversial. However, she offered the best advice to Italy on Africa, said the pontiff, and commented that it is ‘people who think very differently from us… We have to look at people, at what they do.’
“Bonino, a leading member of the Radical Party and former European Commissioner, though, is well known for having an abortion at the age of 27 and then working with the Information Centre on Sterilization and Abortion, which was responsible for 10,000 abortions… She entered politics after being acquitted on charges of performing illegal abortions… and there are photos of her performing abortions using a homemade device being operated by a bicycle pump…”
More Attacks on Unvaccinated Students
CBS Denver wrote on February 25:
“A bill introduced in the state House would require the reporting of non-vaccinated students to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. Currently those records are kept with the school… A hearing at the state Capitol on Thursday was packed with parents who oppose the bill…
“The proposal opened an emotional debate about Colorado’s low vaccination rates. Colorado is one of 20 states that allow parents to claim any kind of personal opposition to required immunizations, and vaccine rates for some diseases are among the nation’s lowest… Some of those who are opposed to vaccinations are fearful of the state obtaining the names of those who have opted out for fear it’s a step towards tracking them down… After Thursday’s marathon hearing the bill passed committee 7-6.”
In spite of right concerns by parents, the drug lobby prevailed again in Colorado. There should be no doubt that those records WOULD be used to track down and put pressure on parents of unvaccinated children.
“While Obama Fiddles…”
On February 25, the Washington Post published the following article by Charles Krauthammer:
“1. In the South China Sea… China has just installed antiaircraft batteries and stationed fighter jets. This after China landed planes on an artificial island it created on another disputed island chain (the Spratlys, claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam). These facilities now function as forward bases for Beijing to challenge seven decades of American naval dominance of the Pacific Rim…
“2. Syria. Russian intervention has turned the tide of war. Having rescued the Bashar al-Assad regime from collapse, relentless Russian bombing is destroying the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, creating a massive new wave of refugees and demonstrating to the entire Middle East what a Great Power can achieve when it acts seriously…
“3. Ukraine. Having swallowed Crimea so thoroughly that no one even talks about it anymore, Russia continues to trample with impunity on the Minsk cease-fire agreements…
“4. Iran. Last Thursday, Iran received its first shipment of S-300 antiaircraft batteries from Russia, a major advance in developing immunity to any attack on its nuclear facilities. And it is negotiating an $8 billion arms deal with Russia that includes sophisticated combat aircraft…
“Amid global disarray and American decline, Obama sticks to his cherished concerns: Cuba, Guantanamo (about which he gave a rare televised address this week) and, of course, climate change…”
Legal Changes Proposed by Donald Trump
Frontburner.dmagazine.com reported on February 26:
“Speaking at a rally in Fort Worth today, presidential candidate Donald Trump said he hopes to remove the federal restriction against tax-exempt organizations endorsing politicians, in order to create ‘the strongest Christian lobby.’… The current law, which was passed during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration and strengthened in 1987, prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches… ‘That’s one of the first things I want to do,’ Trump said… ‘ You can hold me to it…’
“Trump then launched into a defense of the word ‘Christmas’… ‘We’re going to say “Merry Christmas” now,’ Trump said. ‘We’re going to start going into department stores, and you’re going to see big beautiful signs that say “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays.”’”
Business Insider wrote on February 26:
“Donald Trump threatened on Friday to change America’s libel laws to make it easier to sue media companies. Trump told the press that if he becomes president, then he would rewrite US libel laws so people can ‘sue you like you’d never get sued before.’…
“The billionaire businessman has issued a number of legal threats to reporters and others throughout the years, though in the US it is difficult for public figures to sue the media for libel unless they can prove malice… ‘I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. … So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace — or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons — write a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected…”
97 Percent Certainty that Trump Will Be the Next President?
Sbstatesman.com wrote on February 23, 2016:
“A professor of political science at Stony Brook University has forecasted that Donald Trump has a minimum 97 percent chance of winning the general election as the Republican nominee… Donald Trump has a 97 percent chance of defeating Hillary Clinton and a 99 percent chance of defeating Bernie Sanders in the general election, according to [Professor] Norpoth’s formula…
“Norpoth’s primary model works for every presidential election since 1912, with the notable exception of the 1960 election. These results give the model an accuracy of 96.1 percent… ‘You think “This is crazy. How can anything come up with something like that?”’, Norpoth said. ‘But that’s exactly the kind of equation I used to predict Bill Clinton winning in ’96, that I used to predict that George Bush would win in 2004, and, as you remember four years ago, that Obama would win in 2012.’”
This forecast was even given before “Super Tuesday,” when Trump was victorious in seven states (see articles below).
Trump Unlike Hitler
The Local wrote on February 24:
“Many liberal commentators have been wringing their hands about US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s alleged similarity to Hitler…
“Despite actually coming from Austria, Hitler was obsessed with the superiority of the German people and could barely finish a sentence without blurting out a reference to the Fatherland. In one of the most well-known ironies of history the squat, dark-haired dictator proclaimed that only tall blond, blue-eyed people were true ‘Aryans.’
“Donald Trump on the other hand is a tall, blond and has blue eyes, but is so ashamed of his links to Germany he tried to cover up his family heritage for years. After originally trying to pass himself off as a Swede, the billionaire has more recently admitted that his grandfather did indeed come from Kallstadt in Rhineland-Palatinate…
“Trump’s signature policy is, of course, the construction of a giant wall along the southern border of the USA to keep people from entering illegally… Hitler, of course, was all for Germany having open borders – just as long as it was German soldiers and settlers streaming out rather than other people coming in. The dictator’s fondest dream was to acquire Lebensraum – living space – in eastern Europe and Russia where the German race could expand, at the cost of those already living there…
“[Hitler’s] failure to invade the United Kingdom may have been one of the turning points that ultimately cost Hitler the war. After his troops conquered France in the early summer of 1940, the Luftwaffe (German air force) fought a bitter battle with the Royal Air Force (RAF) for control of the skies that would become known as the Battle of Britain. But try as the German pilots might, they never won control of the air, which would have allowed the Nazis to establish a bridgehead for invasion on the southern British coast.
“Trump has already colonized his own little corner of Britain, building the Trump International Golf Links on the east coast of Scotland – which he has tried, unsuccessfully, to defend against the government’s plans to build an offshore wind farm nearby…
“Hitler’s devastating war led to the destruction of the largest medieval city centre in Europe Germany. The RAF and US Air Force bombed Frankfurt over six years between 1939-45, leaving most of the city little more than rubble.
“Quite the opposite has been true of Trump, who planned to build the tallest residential building in the world in the German finance capital on the Main at the start of the millennium. The tycoon eventually backed away from the project, possibly due to annoyance with Germany’s planning regulations.”
“Donald Trump Elicits Shock in European Media”
The New York Times wrote on February 28:
“… the European media, like its American counterpart, is adjusting to the prospect of a seemingly unstoppable Trump juggernaut. The reaction is a mix of befuddlement, outrage and panic…
“In Germany… the front page of a recent issue of Der Spiegel, the influential German magazine, shows Mr. Trump with the American flag behind him engulfed in flames. ‘Madness: America’s agitator,’ the headline says…
“Mr. Trump seemed too much even for Bild. It published a commentary recently by Franz Josef Wagner, a former editor of the newspaper, who wrote: ‘The ugly side of America is not dead, nor the ugly side of Germany.’ He compared Trump to a German politician, Frauke Petry of the right-wing Alternative for Germany party, who has called for the police to shoot at people crossing the border illegally. ‘What kind of world will we live in,’ he asked, ‘if these people come to power?’”
The New York Times is waking up to a phenomenon in Europe, which we already discussed sometime back. Please view our StandingWatch program from February 10, titled “Trump Shocks Europe.”
How Germany Sees It
The Local wrote on March 2:
“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday took a thinly veiled shot at Donald Trump, decrying the ‘politics of fear’ in the US presidential campaign. ‘Building walls is a very bad idea – no matter who pays for them,’ Steinmeier told university students during a visit to Washington… Steinmeier warned that the rise of populist parties and politicians in Europe and the United States could undermine ‘effective foreign policy in our Western democracies.’
“‘In Germany and in Europe, something is gaining momentum in our domestic politics – and to be honest, I am also seeing it here in the United States during the primary campaigns: It’s the politics of fear,’ he said. ‘Let’s guard against those politics of fear – they are dangerous for Europe and the US. They are bad for the world and, in the end, they will also be bad for our transatlantic relations.’”
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 3:
“There’s something of a Trump-induced paralysis hanging over the German political establishment… For months now, German politicians have been looking across the Atlantic with a mixture of fascination and horror…
“It brings to mind how the Germans felt about George W. Bush – but only a little. Bush was anything but popular in Germany, but nonetheless, Angela Merkel stood by his side in the days before she became chancellor and defended the US invasion of Iraq – something she now concedes was a mistake. But Trump? God help us…
“74 percent of Germans would vote for Hillary Clinton, and only 8 percent would support Donald Trump. Trump has admitted that he admires Russian President Vladimir Putin… The idea of Russia and the United States cozying up to one another with Germany caught in the middle is enough to make anyone afraid.
“But the sense from Berlin is that politicians have so many other things to worry about at the moment: The refugee crisis, the collapse of Europe, the war in Syria, the conflict in Ukraine and Russian intervention. Generally speaking, Germans have lost interest in US politics. Barack Obama was once celebrated here like a hero. What a historic moment – the first black president! But he didn’t live up to Germans’ expectations of him, and gradually, the US didn’t seem so important anymore. And doesn’t all this with Trump seem surreal, like something dreamed up in Hollywood? And if it should become real, what then? But no, that’s not something anyone really wants to consider just yet.”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on March 2 that it appears inevitable that Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee and that Hillary Clinton has to “save America and the entire world from this man.”
On the other hand, Der Stern Online wrote on March 2: “Trump is right. For many Americans, the USA is no longer a great country. That is why he won in seven of eleven states on Super Tuesday [Ted Cruz won in three states, and Marco Rubio in one.]. It is not only dumb people and Hillbillies who vote for him. He receives votes from Latinos, blacks, blue color workers and university graduates. Even supporters of Democrats watch him approvingly… He gives true hope to millions of people. It is time to take them and him seriously.“
What Your Phone Knows About You
Bloomberg wrote on February 29:
“Your phone knows more about you than you think. ‘You can extract enough information on a typical person’s phone that you can construct a virtual clone of that individual,’ said Elad Yoran, executive chairman of Koolspan Inc., a communications security company… ‘There’s probably more information about you on your phone than there is in your house,’ Apple chief executive Tim Cook told ABC News last week. ‘Our smartphones are loaded with our intimate conversations, our financial data, our health records. They’re also loaded with the location of our kids in many cases.’
“The world’s 7.3 billion people now have an estimated 3.4 billion smartphones. That’s expected to climb to 6.4 billion by 2021… The phones are powerful, processing more information faster than the computers NASA used to put humans on the moon… There’s a record of calls made and received, text messages, photos, contact lists, calendar entries, Internet browsing history and notes, as well as access to e-mail accounts, banking institutions and websites like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Netflix…
“Many people instruct their phones to remember passwords for these apps so they can be quickly opened — which means they are available to anyone who gets into the phone. That reveals your taste in films, shopping habits and relationships… Navigation programs can serve as a record of places visited. If you use a friend finder app, the phone will know where your friends or family members are or have been.
“Moreover, smartphones quietly collect data about a user and share it with others… Most users don’t realize the extent to which their phone is connected to the outside world because accounts stay automatically logged in…”
Federal Judge Sides With Apple Against FBI
The Guardian wrote on February 29:
“A federal judge on Monday rejected an FBI request to order Apple to open the iPhone of a drug dealer in a major setback to the US government’s increasingly heated efforts to force the company to help unlock an iPhone used by a San Bernardino terrorist.
“The ruling late on Monday by magistrate judge James Orenstein rejected the US Justice Department’s attempt to gain access to the iPhone of accused crystal meth dealer Jun Feng, whose case is ongoing, though Feng has pleaded guilty. He will be sentenced in April.
“… The New York magistrate echoed at least one of the key arguments Apple is making in its other, higher-profile fight with the government: the [ancient] All Writs Act (AWA) can’t be used to order a technology company to manipulate its products, he said. ‘The implications of the government’s position are so far-reaching – both in terms of what it would allow today and what it implies about Congressional intent in 1789 – as to produce impermissibly absurd results,’ said the judge.”
Judge Orenstein is absolutely correct. In addition, this case also shows that the FBI’s contention is patently untrue that it would only compel Apple to unlock the iPhone in the San Bernardino case. Please view our StandingWatch program, “Why Would Apple Resist the FBI?”
Should an Unbaptized Person Participate in Footwashing?
In our last Q&A, we asked and answered the question whether footwashing is still necessary today as a part of the Passover ceremony.
We pointed out that footwashing at Passover eve is indeed a command by Christ which is still in force and effect today (obvious exceptions apply, for instance, when a person is alone and partakes of the Passover at home). We also mentioned that the entire Passover service is in remembrance of Christ’s death, and that it is only to be observed by properly baptized true Christians who have received the Holy Spirit. Those who have not (yet) been baptized in accordance with Scripture should not participate in the annual Passover service.
In our free booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days,” we stated the following on pages 10-12:
“The Old Testament demands that no male who was uncircumcised was to participate at the Passover (Exodus 12:48). Even though physical circumcision is no longer a requirement for New Testament Christians, they are circumcised spiritually (Colossians 2:11–12; Romans 2:26–29). This can only occur through the indwelling Holy Spirit, which God gives us after proper baptism. Christ’s disciples had been baptized (even though, in the extraordinary case of the eleven apostles, they had not yet received the Holy Spirit—they would receive it, however, on the Day of Pentecost).
“During the Passover evening, Christ told Peter and the other apostles, when He proceeded to wash their feet, that they had been ‘bathed’ or baptized (John 13:10). The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown points out that the term, ‘who is bathed’ [or ‘washed’ in the Authorized Version] means, in a ‘thorough sense… to wash “as in a bath.”‘ In regard to Christ’s subsequent statement that the one who is bathed only needs to wash his feet, the same commentary points out that ‘the former word [for washing, not bathing] is [used], meaning just to wash hands or feet.’…
“Christ waited until Judas Iscariot had left before He changed the Old Testament symbol of a Passover lamb to the New Testament symbols of bread and wine. The obvious reason for Judas’ exclusion from participation of the New Testament symbols of bread and wine was that Judas had not been PROPERLY baptized—his entire lifestyle and conduct showed that he did not have GODLY repentance. Judas was not qualified to participate in the new symbols—although he was present for the Passover meal and the footwashing. The symbols of bread and wine did not apply to Judas: ‘He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him’ (John 6:56). Note that after Jesus gave Judas the ‘dipped’ piece of bread (which was not the same as the bread representative of Christ, but it was just a part of the Passover meal, compare Psalm 41:9), ‘Satan entered him’ (John 13:27). Judas left following the traditional Passover meal and the footwashing, but before the institution of the symbols of the bread and wine…
“No male was allowed, in Old Testament times, to partake of the Passover, unless he was circumcised. True Christians are circumcised spiritually, in the heart, by and through the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, after proper baptism. Therefore, only properly baptized members of the spiritual body of Christ—the Church—who don’t hold grudges against anyone, and who do not have hate toward others in their hearts, are to partake of the annual symbols of bread and wine. In doing so, they reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. This teaching is supported by the fact that Jesus waited until Judas had left them, before He introduced the New Testament symbols of bread and wine.”
The question arises, naturally, as to whether a person who is not yet baptized could or should nevertheless participate in the footwashing ceremony, given the fact that Judas did so before leaving. However, Judas was a special case. He was an apostle, who, with the others, had been given special powers from Jesus to cast out demons and heal the sick. He had also been sent out by Christ to preach the gospel. He had been baptized with the other eleven apostles. He was one of Christ’s intimate friends.
Even though he betrayed Him for money, the other apostles did not know what he was going to do until after the footwashing ceremony had been completed. That Judas was allowed to participate in the footwashing shows Christ’s great humility and servant attitude in that He washed Judas’ feet, even though He knew that Judas would betray Him.
When focusing on prospective members today who have not yet been baptized, it is the judgment of the Church of the Eternal God and its international affiliates that these individuals ought not participate in the footwashing, as it has become an integral part of the entire Passover observance. It would make little sense to allow a prospective member to participate in the footwashing ceremony, but then ask him to leave the room before the baptized members partake of the bread and wine. This could even be quite embarrassing for everybody in attendance. Given the holiness and sanctity of the entire Passover service, it has also been the judgment of the Church of God that, barring extraordinary circumstances (which will be evaluated by the local pastor), unbaptized visitors, including children, should not be present during the observance.
Please recall that in Old Testament times, no uncircumcised male was to participate at the entire Passover ceremony. Since footwashing is today an inseparable part of the Passover observance, a spiritually uncircumcised person should not be participating at the entire Passover service, either, including footwashing.
It would be advisable, however, that a prospective member contemplate at home during the time of the Passover service on the meaning of the same, by perhaps reading literature about the Passover or listening to a related sermon, while spiritually preparing for and anticipating the time when he or she will be baptized and able to participate actively in the service.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
“Punishment for Our Sins,” our newest booklet written by Norbert Link, has been sent to graphic designer Shelly Bruno for finalization. We anticipate being able to distribute this publication at Passover time.
A new speaking schedule is now posted which includes relevant information for the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread: www.eternalgod.org
“False Christianity and Blasphemous Abominations in Our Societies,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Pope Francis praises a former Italian foreign minister as a “forgotten great,” even though she is known for her active support of 10,000 abortions; British schoolchildren are asked to identify their gender by choosing from twenty “equally acceptable” options, such as bi-gender, tri-gender, Tomboy and Intersex; and the Bishop of Manchester refuses to block a play in a Church of England church by an award-winning Scottish transsexual, portraying Christ as a transgender woman and the queen of heaven. Where is the outcry over such abominations and blasphemies?
A new StandingWatch program about Easter has been recorded by Evangelist Norbert Link. This video will be posted on March 9, 2016, and is another in our series which will be accompanied with special announcements and press releases.
“Sind Christen Heute im Himmel?” is the title of this week’s German Sermon. Title in English: “Are Christians Today in Heaven?”
“Fertile Ground?” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The true gospel of the Kingdom of God is being preached in all the world as a witness, and responses are sometimes remarkable and encouraging. But how fertile and lasting is the ground on which the seed falls?
“Not of This World,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Mike Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We may have heard the phrase “Not of this World” and seen it branded on clothing and used as decals on car windows and bumpers. But what does this saying mean to the “Christian” world? Are they truly not of this world? The Bible talks about two different categories of people – those who obey God’s commands, and those who don’t. Which category do we, as TRUE Christians, belong to and what sets us apart from all other “Christian” religions who believe that they are “Not of this World?”
Imagine… No Hunger
by Phyllis Bourque
While traveling on the freeway on our way to church services one Sabbath, I noticed a delivery truck in the lane next to us with advertising painted on the side of the truck that read: “Imagine… no hunger.” Below and all around was painted a variety of beautiful fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts and meats. At the bottom was some wording that identified the truck as being a Food Share truck.
My mind instantly projected an array of imagery of starving peoples around the world, as well as the many global organizations who are engaged in efforts to end world hunger. Side-by-side, the imagery was not equal–there are far more hungry people in all countries than there are provisions for them at this time.
I thought about the many people who put forth time, effort, and money to distribute food to the hungry, both on a local and a global level. I don’t want to diminish the work they do, but in looking at the larger picture, I can easily see that not enough progress has been made to really END hunger.
While I am no expert on this subject, it has been my observation that there are too many variables and too many obstacles that prevent man from growing and distributing healthy food for everyone, obstacles such as dictatorial governments, wars, huge corporate “farming” and distribution practices, and the use of chemicals in the growing fields as well as in the animals we eat.
In other words, man’s ineffectiveness in ensuring no one goes hungry can be traced back to man not living by God’s instructions for right living.
How much different it will be when Christ returns and sets up His government and teaches mankind the right way of living. How satisfying it will be in the Millennium when people will grow their own healthy food or will buy from local farmers who produce healthy food.
Yes, I can imagine no hunger, but in a way that only God can provide.
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