|Desire to Win; Is the Earth a Flat Disc?
|This Week in the News
|What Does the Bible Say About Life Insurance?
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Desire to Win; Is the Earth a Flat Disc?
On June 4, 2016, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “Desire to Win,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Is the Earth a Flat Disc?”
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 Rene Messier (Canada)
For the last two years a robin had been building her nest on the top of a climbing clematis plant on the corner of my front porch. It was somewhat of an ideal location–not too high from the ground so when the baby robins left the nest they did not injure themselves, and it was also under the cover of the eves so it never rained on the nest. It was shaded, so it never got too hot, and the mother robin was used to us going in and out of the front door and sitting on our rocking chairs on the porch.
This spring we had to cut back on the clematis and dispose of the nest which had been there for two years. When the robin returned to find no clematis plant or nest to occupy, she was not deterred but built a nest about six feet away on the downspout of my gutters. It is approximately the same height and a bit closer to where we sit on our rockers, which does not bother her.
In the due course after sitting on her eggs and subsequently hatching two baby robins, I was fascinated while rocking on the porch at how much care she and the male robin had for their babies. They would work as a team in feeding them, each bringing worms for them. At times, when she was on the nest keeping the babies warm, he would show up with a worm, give her a portion and feed the rest to the young robins.
I was impressed by the dedication, focus and teamwork they tirelessly kept in order to feed those young birds and keep them warm. I thought, what an example of teamwork, dedication to a cause, and unity of goal, which they exemplified to feed the young robins to the point they could leave the nest and take care of themselves. This brings to mind the Scripture in Psalm 133:1: ”Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!”
We as a church have been given the responsibility to get a message of hope out to a dying world. This gospel is the only hope for mankind. When we work together in unity and focus on the task at hand, then we can and must complete the task we have been given.
As to the robins, what happens to them? They go south for the winter and return again to carry on the teamwork in the spring to bring forth new baby robins, feed and care for them till they can take care of themselves and repeat this process till they die. That’s dedication, teamwork and unity of task.
If we remain faithful in the task we have been given collectivity as a church to work together in unity and focus on the job at hand, our reward is almost incomprehensible. For our dedicated teamwork, we get to live as members of the ruling God Family for eternity. If we die before Christ returns, we get to be resurrected into that very same Family with the same reward. How good and how pleasant it really is for brethren to work together in unity.
We report on the EU’s secret plans to create a unified European army; the role of the Euro; and Germany’s increased activities in military matters. In this context, please view our latest StandingWatch program, titled, “Secret Plans for Unified European Army?”
We continue with articles regarding the possibility of a Brexit and the EU’s preparation in such a scenario; and speak on Islam in Europe; an ISIS plan to attack the German city of Düsseldorf; and the anger of many Europeans.
We point out ongoing troubles between Turkey and Germany; and report on President Obama’s historic visit to and his warning of mankind’s possibility of self-destruction, which is echoed by a sobering follow-up article by the Huffington Post.
We speak on Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s “liabilities”; the bitter rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia; the spread of a terrible disease in the Middle East and possibly Europe, due to the civil war in Syria; and we close with the undue pressure on parents to vaccinate their children; and with an article on the mysterious Yeti.
This Week in the News
Secret Plans to Create a Unified European Army
The Telegraph wrote on May 27:
“British voters are being ‘conned’ by Brussels officials who are keeping plans for a European army secret until after the referendum, leading Tories have claimed. Liam Fox, the former defence secretary who served under David Cameron, told The Telegraph that the ambitions showed the EU is wedded to the ‘dangerous fantasy’ of creating a single defence force. Another eurosceptic Tory MP said voters were being ‘deceived’ and ‘hoodwinked’ about the true scale of the EU’s drive to create a single army.
“The backlash came as it emerged plans to move towards the creation of a European army are being kept secret from British voters until the day after next month’s referendum. Drawn up by the EU’s foreign policy chief, the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy foresees the formation of new European military and operational structures. This first step towards an EU army is supported by Germany and other countries, The Times reports…
“Mr Fox told The Telegraph: ‘Those of us who have always warned about Europe’s defence ambitions have always been told not to worry, but step-by-step that ever closer union is becoming a reality… The best way to protect ourselves is to stay close to the US… Europe’s defence intentions… risk cutting us off from our closest and most powerful ally.”
A Church of God organization wrote last week: “Bible prophecies have long foretold that just before the return of Jesus Christ, ten kings or groups of nations with links to the ancient Roman Empire will ‘surrender their sovereignty’ to a single European leader and play a major role on the world stage (Daniel 2:40-44; Revelation 17:12-14). The break-up of the EU could lead to the fulfillment of these prophecies.”
This is erroneous, as the Bible does not indicate or even hint at the possibility that the EU will break up (It is true that some nations, such as the UK, will leave the EU, but this will not constitute a break-up of the EU). Quite to the contrary, the EU will remain an extremely powerful bloc– economically, politically and militarily, called “Babylon the Great” in Scripture. It is out of this prosperous power bloc that ten euro nations or groups of nations will emerge, which will then give their power and authority to the beast (a political and military leader). Furthermore, these ten nations or groups of nations do not only have “links” to the ancient Roman Empire, but they will constitute the tenth and last REVIVAL of the ancient Roman Empire. And even though many seem to ignore or forget this important fact, this revival will be under German leadership, with the beast being a MAN (not a woman) of German or Austrian heritage.
EU Leaders Plan for a EU without the UK
The Independent wrote on May 27:
“Senior EU leaders are preparing the ground for a possible Brexit vote with high-level meetings aimed at a “plan B” future of the bloc without the UK, including closer co-operation on security and defence matters. The leaders of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and other core members are likely to ‘double down’ on closer union… the bloc will be unlikely to offer Britain a favourable trade deal in the event of Brexit…
“Closer integration in a post-Brexit EU is likely to take the form of tighter security and defence collaboration, against the backdrop of aggression from Russia in the East, and the threat of Islamist terrorism enhanced by the war in Syria and instability in neighbouring Turkey… the [UK] Government has repeatedly insisted that Britain will never be part of any EU army.
“However, it is understood the plans… are supported by other leading EU countries, and refer to powers set out in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, which could allow nine or more member states to embark on their own plans for an EU military headquarters…”
The reference to military action by NINE OR MORE European member states is very interesting.
Britain Better Off Within the EU?
The Daily Mail wrote on May 30:
“Withdrawal from the EU would impact badly on Britain’s growth rates over the next five years, according to 88 per cent of the 600 economists. The poll by Ipsos Mori for The Observer also found that 82 per cent of the economists said Brexit would cut household incomes, and 61 per cent thought it would fuel unemployment…
“Mr Cameron welcomed the survey, of 600 members of the Royal Economic Society and Society of Business Economists, saying: ‘This poll confirms the overwhelming view of economists – leaving the EU would damage our economy, costing jobs and increasing prices. We are stronger, safer and better off in the EU.’…
“Another letter signed by 37 faith leaders including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams warns that Brexit could put peace in Europe at risk.”
Time for Germany to Take a Leading Military Role in Europe
Deutsche Welle reported on May 27:
“Germany is ready to take on a bigger military role to maintain global security, according to a government white paper. The draft document indicates a possible shift away from Germany’s postwar era of military restraint. The government’s position paper on security policy… said Germany was increasingly seen as a ‘key player’ in Europe, and had ‘a responsibility to actively help shape the global order.’
“It added that Germany could do more at a time when the global community was grappling with threats including terrorism waged by ‘Islamic State,’ cybercrime and a more aggressive Russia… The document also stressed that Germany would avoid unilateral action, and would instead rely on engagement with the European Union…
“The new white paper on security policy, the first of its kind since 2006, aims to provide guidelines for the future operations of the German armed forces. The Foreign and Defense ministries, as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office, have reportedly agreed on the draft plan, which is expected to be debated in cabinet before July.
“The paper comes a fortnight after Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced plans to boost troop numbers for the first time since 1990….
“German officials have made similar statements in the past. One of the more recent instances occurred at the annual Munich Security Conference in 2014 when the defense and foreign ministers as well as the president all said it was time for Germany to take a leading role in global affairs.”
And in time, Germany will take THE leading role in Europe, including in economic, political and military matters.
Euro Proof that EU Wants a United States of Europe
Express wrote on May 28:
“As the historic referendum looms less than a month away, a parliamentary veteran delivered a rousing speech drawing parallels with the EU and famous empires throughout history. Lord Owen, who served as foreign secretary in the 1970s, said the single currency showed Brussels bureaucrats are trying to create a unified European state.
“… the former Labour minister said: ‘[The single currency] is the founding element of a United States of Europe… Look at the history, Charlemagne, the first empire that they tried to build in Europe, they had a single currency… There’s pages of history written about creating currency unions across a number of countries and there’s that end result: they either merge or the currency fails.”
The euro is the glue which keeps the Eurozone together. It is therefore short-sighted to propose that the euro will fail and that the individual member states will return to national currencies, since we know from biblical prophecy that ten European nations or groups of nations will gain power together for a short time, and they will, in a united fashion, give their power to a charismatic political and military leader.
Next Rotating EU President: Islam Has No Place in Europe
Breitbart wrote on May 28:
“Just over a month before Slovakia will take the rotating presidency of the European Union, Prime Minister Robert Fico claims that Islam has no place in his country. ‘Islam has no place in Slovakia,’ Fico told media on Wednesday night saying that the problem of the migrant crisis was not, ‘that migrants come, but that migrants change the character of our country,’ and continued, ‘we do not want the character of this country to change. Let’s be honest and say that will not happen in Slovakia’…
“The Slovakian Prime Minister has made similar comments in the past in reaction to the Cologne New Year’s Eve sex attacks when he and several other nations demanded stricter border controls and said, ‘the idea of multicultural Europe has failed… The migrants cannot be integrated, it’s simply impossible.’
“Slovakia, along with Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, also known as the Visegrad 4 nations (V4), have been some of the staunchest opponents of the European Union’s policies toward the migrant crisis. Slovakia has taken part in a total boycott against the bloc’s attempts to spread the burden of migrants across Europe by relocating them according to a quota system.
“Slovakia, alongside Poland and Hungary are being threatened with €250,000 fines per migrant they refuse to rehome from the European Union. ‘I do not wish tens of thousands of Muslims coming here and promoting their own stuff,’ Fico said, confirming that he will not back down on his views that Islamisation is a threat to Slovakian culture.
“The six month term presidency of the European Union will give the Slovakian Prime Minister a platform to express his views to the council of ministers which he will chair and the European Union Commission who are fiercely opposed to attitudes of his country and the V4.
“President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has already expressed displeasure over the views of the V4 and the rise of anti-mass migration candidates across Europe…
“Juncker has also vowed to use his power to make sure no right wing populists can be elected in a European Union member state. ‘There will be no debate or dialogue with the far-right,’ he told media. The comments were in response to the Austrian presidential elections that saw the right wing Freedom Party (FPOe) candidate Norbert Hofer lose by just 31,000 votes.
“Many, including FPOe leader Heinz-Christian Strache have questioned the result and the many irregularities surrounding the postal vote which tipped the election in president-elect Alexander Van der Bellen’s favour.
“Fico has also indirectly commented on the rise of the FPOe in Austria saying that… Slovakia had gone down the same road as the Austrians in regards to the migrant crisis they would also see the rise of right wing parties. He claimed that it is, ‘not enough to lead by example alone, there are also developments in Germany, where radical parties have gained support.’ The last Slovakian election also saw the rise of populist anti-mass migration parties earlier this year.”
The European resentment against Islam and those politicians who tolerate or invite it is becoming greater.
ISIS Attackers in Germany
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 2:
“Germany’s Federal Prosecutors Office said three Syrians have been arrested for planning an ‘Islamic State’ attack on Düsseldorf’s historic city center. The arrests took place separately in three German states. The Karlsruhe-based prosecutors said a fourth Syrian national was arrested in Paris in February and was in French investigative custody while pending extradition to Germany.
“The German news agency DPA said the arrests announced Thursday had taken place in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), in Germany’s southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg as well as the eastern state of Brandenburg…
“The Federal Prosecutors Office said the quartet had intended to carry out the attack, but added that there were no indications they had actually begun to implement the plan. The alleged plan was for two suicide attackers to detonate their vests in Düsseldorf’s city hub, the Heinrich-Heine Allee.
“Afterwards, additional attackers were to shoot and kill as many passersby as possible with guns and explosive devices… German prosecutors said two of the accused had joined IS in Syria in 2014 and received instructions from IS leadership to attack Düsseldorf.”
The People Are Angry!
On May 27, Breitbart published the following editorial by Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch Parliament and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands:
“Last November, Pew Research revealed that only 19% of Americans still trust the government. And 55% are convinced that ‘ordinary Americans’ would do a better job of solving national problems than the elected politicians.
“Elsewhere in the West, the situation isn’t much different. Research by the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) in the Netherlands indicates similar distrust towards the government, with people complaining that politicians do not listen to ordinary citizens. 55% state that they want to have a bigger say…
“The anger of the people is caused by the failure of the present ruling classes to address the problems of the people. Our governments are failing in their most basic obligation to keep country and people safe.
“Take Germany for example. Official crime statistics, published earlier this month by the German Interior Ministry, show that immigrants were responsible for 26% of all crimes committed in Germany in 2015 – up from 8.4% in 2014…
“Take Britain for example. Last month, a poll revealed that 2 out of 3 British Muslims will not report it to the police if someone close to them is getting involved with people supporting terrorism…
“Our governments have also failed to deliver economic progress to middle-class and working-class Europeans and Americans… Domestic jobs are being outsourced to foreigners, fiscal transfer payments are being made to foreign shores. Meanwhile, our people are suffering rising taxes and austerity measures, their retirement is being postponed, their pension provisions cut, their healthcare dismantled [while being confronted with] rising levels of crime and Islamization…”
Anger has caused many peaceful or violent uprisings in the past, including the toppling and replacements of governments and political leaders.
More Trouble with Turkey
The Local wrote on May 30:
“Turkey on Monday strongly warned the German parliament against adopting a resolution recognising the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide, saying it could have repercussions for bilateral ties. The German lower house of parliament is set to vote on Thursday on the resolution over the two years of slaughter from 1915, which carries the contested word ‘genocide’ throughout the text. ‘Germany is our friend and our ally where many citizens of Turkish origin live,’ said deputy prime minister and government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus. ‘Germany must be careful concerning its relations with Turkey. I do not think that the German parliament will destroy this relationship for the sake of two or three politicians’ who put the resolution before the Bundestag, he added.
“The debate over the resolution also comes at a hugely sensitive time in Berlin-Ankara relations. Turkish authorities are angry over the failure to grant citizens visa-free travel to the EU and Germany is worried by the worsening rights situation in Turkey. Turkish authorities have long lobbied Western allies not to recognise the killings as genocide and stepped up efforts last year on the 100th anniversary of the tragedy. Armenians say up to 1.5 million were killed between 1915 and 1917 in a targeted campaign of genocide by top Ottoman officials to wipe out their people from Anatolia. Modern Turkey insists comparable numbers of Armenians and Turks died in a collective tragedy when Armenians sided with invading Russian troops in World War I.”
Deutsche Welle added on June 1:
“Armenia’s president has urged German politicians to brand deaths in 1915 Ottoman Turkey as ‘genocide’ and not be intimidated by Ankara… More than 20 nations, including France and Russia, have already recognized the mass deaths as genocide, albeit prompting diplomatic tension with Turkey… Germany has extensive ties with Turkey, including 3 million residents of Turkish origin, dating back to a ‘guest worker’ scheme in the 1960s and 70s.”
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 2:
“Germany’s Bundestag passed a resolution qualifying the Ottoman era Armenian killings as ‘genocide’. The lower house of parliament voted almost unanimously, with one vote against the motion and one abstention…
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and the leader of the Social Democrats, Sigmar Gabriel, failed to attend the vote on account of other appointments. Critics have said, however, that they deliberately attempted to dodge a difficult vote…
“The co-leader of Germany’s Green party, Cem Özdemir, who has a Turkish background, told reporters that Germany was even involved in the massacres 101 years ago, highlighting that the German Empire at the time provided the Ottoman Empire with the weapons needed to carry out such war crimes. Özdemir added that the German Empire had also sent military consultants, who supported and fought with the Ottomans. ‘They knew exactly what was going on,’ Özdemir said. ‘In this respect we’re guilty of complicity, and have to admit this.’
“During the parliamentary hearing, Germany’s former Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung admitted that the German Empire allowed the events to happen and supported them quietly. Both politicians also called on parliament to address another past massacre, this time actively carried out by the German Empire. In what is Namibia today, up to 100,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama tribal people were reportedly killed under German colonial rule. The massacres took place between 1904 and 1907 and are commonly referred to as the first genocide of the 20th century.”
Mankind Possesses the Means to Destroy Itself
The New York Times wrote on May 27:
“President Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on Friday, telling an audience that included survivors of America’s atomic bombing in 1945 that technology as devastating as nuclear arms demands a ‘moral revolution.’ Thousands of Japanese lined the route of the presidential motorcade to the memorial in the hopes of glimpsing Mr. Obama, the first sitting American president to visit the most potent symbol of the dawning of the nuclear age. Many watched the ceremony on their cellphones.
“‘Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed,’ Mr. Obama said in opening his speech at the memorial… [He said] that technology often outruns the human ability to manage that progress…
“Many survivors long for an apology for an event that destroyed just about everyone and everything they knew, and there were small demonstrations near the ceremony on Friday by protesters demanding an apology. But Mr. Obama said before his trip that he would not apologize for the attack…
“In his speech, Mr. Obama… said that the bombing of Hiroshima demonstrated that ‘mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.’ But he said that in the 71 years since the bombing, world institutions had grown up to help prevent a recurrence. Still, nations like the United States continue to possess thousands of nuclear weapons. And that is something that must change, he said.
“In a striking example of the gap between Mr. Obama’s vision of a nuclear weapons-free world and the realities of purging them, a new Pentagon census of the American nuclear arsenal shows his administration has reduced the stockpile less than any other post-Cold War presidency…
“Noting that far more primitive weapons than nuclear arms are causing widespread destruction today, Mr. Obama called for humanity to change its mind-set about war…
“People in Asian countries that were brutalized by imperial Japan had warned that a presidential apology at Hiroshima would be inappropriate. Mr. Obama not only did not apologize, he made clear that Japan, despite a highly advanced culture, was to blame for the war, which ‘grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes’… failures by the Japanese to acknowledge their own role in the bombings has long bothered the Chinese, Koreans and others who suffered under the empire’s rule… [Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe has promoted a version of history that plays down Japan’s wartime transgressions, and he has moved to give the military limited powers to fight in foreign conflicts…”
The sad truth is that mankind has not learned at all from the past, and that it WOULD destroy itself, if Christ were not to return to shorten the days of human madness.
We Make—or End—History!
The Huffington Post wrote on May 27:
“… the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have not produced eternal peace. Instead they opened a Pandora’s box that can never be fully locked back up…
“The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ ‘Doomsday Clock’ has this ominous message today: it is still three minutes to midnight. Beginning in 1947 the clock’s hands have moved based on the scientists’ evaluation of whether events are pushing humanity closer to or further from nuclear apocalypse… In January 2016 they announced it has not changed: ‘Last year, the Science and Security Board moved the Doomsday Clock forward to three minutes to midnight, noting: “The probability of global catastrophe is very high…”
“When anyone argues that the world might be safer if more countries had nuclear weapons it is yet another reminder that history can and may repeat itself on our watch if we are not vigilant. The clock is still ticking.
“…Thomas Merton… wrote this in the essay ‘Nuclear War and Christian Responsibility’: ‘… History does not make us, we make it—or end it.’”
Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s Liabilities
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 27:
“Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and the fact that she can’t seem to lock up the Democratic race against Bernie Sanders are only symptoms, but not the cause of her campaign problems… ‘One of her top liabilities when we look electorally is her net favorability rating,’ said Adam Ramey, a US politics scholar at New York University Abu Dhabi. ‘Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in both their respective parties have the dishonor of being the least favorably viewed major party candidates in any presidential election since we began gathering data on candidate favorability.’
“Clinton is currently viewed unfavorably by 55.8 percent of Americans… Only 37.6 percent of respondents have a positive impression of her.
“The favorability ratings of… Trump are only slightly worse… [He] is disliked by 58 percent of those polled, with only 35.4 percent viewing him positively.
“These figures show that many voters, even in her own party, don’t consider Clinton likable or trustworthy… ‘Her honesty and her trustworthiness is the single biggest issue she faces, and it funnels into everything else,’ Ramey said…
“Trump has managed to ride the anti-establishment wave all the way to the Republican nomination. For Clinton, who is considered the personification of the establishment by many, that is a bad sign, because Trump is bound to try to exploit that perception ruthlessly in his campaign.
“That Trump has been successful so far in styling himself as an anti-elite candidate and riling up anti-establishment fervor is intriguing – or vexing if you are Clinton – because Trump himself is as establishment and elite a candidate as they come, said Scott Lucas, a professor of American studies at the University of Birmingham in Britain… ‘We have two candidates who are very much inside the establishment, albeit Trump being inside the business establishment whereas Clinton has been inside the political establishment.’ The difference is that Trump has so far been able to convince voters that he does not belong to the establishment…
“‘The big thing is, Hillary just doesn’t connect with people the way that Bill did and still does,’ Professor Lucas said. ‘She is very awkward in public, whether it is set-piece campaign appearances or just meeting people.’ Ramey… said Clinton was widely perceived as ‘robotic and inauthentic’ and that her public appearances leave many people questioning where she really stands on various issues…
“Meanwhile, Trump – despite or because of his many outrageous statements, his abrasive style and his flip-flops on party affiliation and political issues – is viewed as authentic by many. ‘Trump is like bad political jazz. He is just saying what comes into his head,’ Lucas said…
“But it won’t be enough for Clinton to bet that Trump will undermine himself in the general election with his off-the-cuff remarks, Ramey said: ‘If Hillary wants to have a fighting chance, she will have to exude some sort of human quality and some way to communicate authenticity to the average voter.’”
Trump has been totally underestimated from the start. First, political “experts” predicted that his run would last for only a month; then they kept saying, time and again, that he would never become the Republican nominee, but all desperate efforts to the contrary did not prevent his steady rise. The same “experts” finally admitted that they were completely wrong, as the “rules” don’t seem to apply to Trump. Nevertheless, they kept pronouncing that he did not have a chance of winning against Hillary Clinton, and polls were published stating that he was far behind. Recently, it was indicated that both have equal poll numbers. It appears more and more likely to us that Trump will beat Clinton and become the next US President, which would fall in line with biblical prophecy.
Iran and Saudi Arabia Bitter Rivals
The Telegraph wrote on May 29:
“Iran accused Saudi Arabia of ‘blocking the path leading to Allah’ on Sunday when Tehran announced that its pilgrims would not perform the Hajj in Mecca this year. If this ban is enforced, the annual Hajj in September will be the first in 30 years without any pilgrims from Iran, the largest Shia Muslim nation.
“Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter rivals, seeing themselves as the leaders of Shia and Sunni Islam respectively. Officials from both countries have tried to negotiate arrangements for Iranians to perform the Hajj this year, but without success…
“Last year, 60,000 Iranians travelled to Mecca. But a stampede caused the death of 2,300 pilgrims, including 464 Iranians, leading Tehran to accuse the kingdom of being unable or unwilling to manage the Hajj safely.
“Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with its regional neighbour in January after a mob stormed and looted the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran, retaliating for the execution of a prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Among other counter-measures, Saudi Arabia banned Iranian airlines from entering its airspace. In addition, there are no Saudi diplomatic missions in Iranian where pilgrims could collect their visas.
“The latest talks have failed to overcome these practical obstacles to Iranians performing the Hajj, although Saudi Arabia was willing to allow selected flights to carry pilgrims . Whether Iran will actually prevent its citizens from travelling to Mecca in September – or whether the latest announcement is simply a negotiating tactic – remains to be seen.”
The idea that either Iran or Saudi Arabia will become the leader of all Arab nations in the region is an unrealistic fantasy.
Disease Epidemic Spreading in Middle East and Possibly Europe
The website of news.com.au write on May 30:
“A FLESH-EATING tropical disease is sweeping the Middle East and may yet end up in Europe, after Islamic State’s civil war helped to create the perfect breeding grounds for infected vectors. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease caused by bites from infected sand flies, which are thriving in the squalid conditions created by the war in the Middle East. The disease can eventually lead to severe scarring, and is spreading rapidly as displaced people and refugees flee the ISIS strongholds where the disease is thriving…
“Those infected suffer from open sores on the skin, nose bleeds and difficulties breathing and swallowing, with more serious strains of the disease leading to death, if left unchecked. In its most deadly form, leishmaniasis can be a destructive and debilitating condition, which eats away at the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and throat. The civil war has been largely blamed for the emergence of the flesh-eating disease, with the war torn surroundings creating serious health risks for those unfortunate enough to be trapped in conflict zones.
“A lack of medical facilities and doctors, coupled with serious water shortages, have only served to help the disease’s spread, with most cases going undiagnosed and untreated. Previously, the disease had been contained to Syria… but now the parasite is eating its way through the entire region… The disease has emerged in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, after over four million Syrians fled the country to seek asylum from the bloody conflict in their home country… with health experts concerned that the disease may soon spread to Saudi Arabia as well.
“It is possible that the disease has already been spread to Europe by refugees, who are made more susceptible to illness while living in temporary camps. These camps tend to be overcrowded, with poor medical facilities and low hygiene standards similar to the conditions in the Middle East, where the disease originated.
“Dr Waleed Al-Salem, of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, told MailOnline: ‘It’s a very bad situation. The disease has spread dramatically in Syria, but also into countries like Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and even into southern Europe with refugees coming in. There are thousands of cases in the region but it is still underestimated because no one can count the exact number of people affected. When people are bitten by sand flies — which are tiny and smaller than a mosquito — it can take anything between two to six months to have the infection…
“‘Someone might have picked it up in Syria but then they may have fled into Lebanon or Turkey, or even into Europe as they seek refuge…’”
Disease epidemics are a logical consequence of war and famine. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse describe, in the following order, the occurrence of religious deception, war, famine or shortness of food and water, and disease epidemics.
The website of pewtrusts.org published the following article on May 25. We are omitting the slanted comments approving and endorsing mandatory vaccinations, but we quote the following excerpts, as they are of interest to those parents who oppose vaccinations because of medical and/or religious grounds:
“When Jennifer Stella’s two children were babies, she made sure they got all the usual vaccines. But when one started having seizures and the other developed eczema after they’d gotten immunizations, the Vermont woman decided her kids would no longer get shots required to attend school. Stella, a co-founder of the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice, is among a growing number of parents who are opting out of childhood vaccinations because they’re worried about their safety…
“All states require children to get vaccinated to attend school… [Some] have pushed lawmakers to eliminate exemptions from state vaccine requirements and sought to make it more difficult for families to qualify for the exemptions that remain… children in California can only be exempted from vaccines if their doctor determines immunization to be unsafe for them.
“Vermont eliminated its philosophical exemption in 2015, leaving only religious and medical exemptions. In the last year, similar bills to eliminate philosophical or religious exemptions were proposed in at least seven states: Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
“… it’s about to get harder for parents to exempt their children from regular vaccines in Colorado. New rules issued by the state Board of Health that take effect in July will require parents to apply for an exemption every time their children are due for a vaccine, rather than filing one exemption for an entire childhood… The rules will also force schools to report their vaccination numbers so parents can choose not to send their kids to a school with a low vaccination rate.”
The Mysterious Yeti
The Telegraph wrote on May 30:
“It is one of the world’s greatest enduring mysteries. Stories of a yeti, or an abominable snowman, have been entrenched in Himalayan folklore for hundreds of years… Tibetans refer to the yeti as ‘miché’ – which translates loosely as ‘man-bear’. They also use the term ‘mirka’ – which loosely boils down to ‘wild man’. In China, the yeti is known as ‘yeren’ or ‘wild man’. Other names that the yeti goes by include Almas (Mongolia), Batutut (Vietnam), Bigfoot (North America), Yowie (Australia) and Fear liath (Scotland)…
“Has the yeti ever been seen? There have been plenty of supposed sightings of the beast – and of course, plenty of hoaxes. Stories of the yeti have been around for hundreds of years, so the idea of something existing up in those mountains is not utterly improbable. More common than sightings are mysterious footprints spotted on the icy trails of the Himalayas…
“Alexander the Great is said to have coveted a yeti during his conquest of the Indus Valley in 326 BC… The first publicised report of a Yeti sighting came from a German photographer. N.A. Tombazi, a photographer and member of the Royal Geographical Society, provided one of the clearest descriptions, of a ‘figure in outline was exactly like a human being, walking upright … It showed up dark against the snow, and as far as I could make out, wore no clothes.’…
“During the Second World War, Sławomir Rawicz, a Polish soldier, who claims he escaped from a Siberian gulag and walked across the Himalayas to India, said his path was blocked, at one point, by two yetis… Photographs published [in 1951] of several large footprints, taken by Eric Shipton, a respected mountaineer, sparked renewed interest… After one expedition, James Stewart, the actor, is said to have helped smuggle parts of the supposed remains of a yeti from India to London, by concealing them in his luggage… Reinhold Messner, a celebrated mountaineer, claimed to have had a face-to-face encounter with a yeti [in 1986]…”
For a further discussion on the mysterious Yeti or Bigfoot, please read our free booklet, “Heavens and Earth… Before and After the First Man.”
What Does the Bible Say About Life Insurance?
The Bible in fact has plenty to say about life insurance or protection through life insurance, which is applied by many different principles. It’s however a lack of knowledge which confuses many when it comes to life insurance. In the 1972 Good News magazine, Vol XXI, No. 03, the questions were asked if Christians should purchase life insurance in today’s society; if there is any need for God’s people to have insurance today; and “why most people feel their insurance payments serve no useful service except to swell the bulging pockets of someone else.” For the answers, we will quote extensively in this Q&A from the above-stated article.
First, an article in the 1960 Good News magazine, Vol IX, No. 01, pointed out:
“Understanding what insurance IS can help you properly exercise both FAITH in God and solid GODLY WISDOM! Insurance is not a way to get something for nothing. Neither is it solely a way to protect the self. Nor is it a gimmick that costs you money from which you’ll never get any value. Insurance can be defined as a pooling of resources exposed to a common risk to which a certain percentage of people will fall victim during a given period.”
Insurance doesn’t prevent accidents or death; it provides protection for unanticipated expenses you couldn’t otherwise pay; and as the above-quoted article continues to state, it “merely compensates you if you suffer such a loss so that you can regain your economic feet. In case of death, insurance provides security for widows and children.”
“What does the Bible have to say about this kind of insurance? In Deuteronomy 14:28-29 we read about the principle of third tithe: ‘At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates.’ Who is it stored up for? Ourselves? No! It’s for ‘the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates.’ Why? So that they ‘may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.’
“This is INSURANCE! Here is God’s insurance program to take care of widows and orphans in case of death of the husband and father. It often happens that people will not have sufficient laid up for emergencies until later in life. God knew this might happen. To provide for this He ordered the people to save 10% of their income once in three years – that is, the third and sixth year out of every seven years. We commonly call this the THIRD TITHE. The same command is repeated in Deut[eronomy] 26:12.
“Such problems as this have already faced God’s Church. Sometimes women who have young children are converted. Either the husbands have died or have left them without means of support. What shall the Church do? It is the responsibility of its members to save THIRD TITHE to take care of just such emergencies. Such young women should not be working, but ought to be at home taking care of their children, until they become old enough to support themselves.
“Insurance is the principle of saving to help others. God wants us to save the third tithe once in three years as an insurance program for the Church, just as He wants us to save the FIRST TITHE for the spread of the gospel. It is a lack of faith not to save the third tithe for the fatherless and widows. Saving the third tithe is a test of your faith! It is also a type of ‘life insurance,’ aiding the widows and the young children if the head of the household dies unexpectedly. This can and does happen!” (For a thorough discussion regarding the requirement of saving third tithe, and the different purposes for the Church’s use of third tithe funds, please read our free booklet, “Tithing Today?”)
But we should also consider a personal responsibility of each member in God’s Church. In 1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8, 16, Paul wrote to Timothy that it was Timothy’s duty that nobody would take advantage of the financial sacrifice of God’s people. “Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God… But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever…If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.”
The 1960 Good News magazine, Vol IX, No 01 wrote: “If you are able – and some think that they are not able when they are able – to support widows and orphans in your household, you are to do so. That is acceptable before God, Paul said. It is not the Church’s duty in such cases to use the third tithe. God doesn’t want spongers in His Kingdom.”
Quoting from the 1972 Good News magazine, Vol XXI, No 03:
“… insurance, in principle, is similar to third tithe. In cases where third tithe assistance is needed to help sustain widows and their families, a financial loss has resulted from the death of the husband who was the breadwinner. Unless some financial provision was previously made, the widow often faces severe economic hardship. Third tithe — contributed by a large number of individuals — helps alleviate this situation.
“The United States government has instituted for the nation a very similar program. It is the Social Security system. In essence, Social Security is merely a federal insurance program subsidized by employers as well as employees… (Many people don’t realize, however, that Social Security benefits and pension plans are generally designed as supplements to retirement income, rather than as a means of sole support. Husbands and breadwinners should therefore develop — if possible — other means of strengthening their financial security. One good way of doing this is through life insurance).”
Regarding life insurance, the article in the 1960 Good News magazine, Vol IX, No 01, pointed out:
“The problem of owning insurance continues to perplex many in the Church. It is often reasoned by those who don’t have insurance that it would be showing a lack of faith to be ‘protected’ by insurance.”
Brian Gale, our Pastor in the United Kingdom, sent us the following remarkable comments:
“I was in the insurance industry from 1961 to 1993 and when I first started attending church in 1973, I was concerned as to whether insurance was in accord with biblical principles. My mind was soon put at rest. It was interesting though that the local minister told me that he had taken out an insurance policy when younger but when he came into the church he cancelled it as he would never reap the benefits at age 65. He died aged 85 last year and Christ has still not returned!”
This is very true. We don’t know when Christ will return and for that very reason it is good to have protection through insurance. Not only that, insurance is constantly upgrading and today, one does not have to wait until one is 65 years old to reap the benefits, depending on what kind of insurance one has, but with a cash value policy, one could access money much sooner, and the money is tax free and penalty free. So if the local minister wouldn’t have cancelled the policy, which appeared to have been a cash value policy, and depending on how much he was putting in each month, he would have accumulated a lot of money at the time of his death.
What does the Bible say about owning insurance, even about saving for the future? Notice what the prophet Agur said in Proverbs 30:24-25: “There are four things which are little on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer.” The ant prepares and SAVES for the winter and they are wise and not lazy creatures, that don’t need to beg for food. Just as Solomon said in Proverbs 6:6-8: “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.” Preparing for hard times is the wise thing to do which is why the Bible advises “laying up for a rainy day.”
Jesus also applied the principle of saving for the future in Matthew 6:19-21, where He said: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The 1960 Good News magazine, Vol IX, No 01, stated: “Does this mean that Jesus frowned upon saving for the future? Not at all! Jesus sanctioned saving for all eternity—‘treasure up for yourselves treasure in heaven.’ That saving Jesus will give us as a reward when He returns. But Jesus warned not to treasure up ‘for yourselves’ earthly savings. Don’t save for yourselves-save for others! A good man does not lay up for himself. He saves for his grandchildren! A wise man does not build up a bank account only for himself, but for his family.”
God is our source and provider for everything we need (Philippians 4:19) and the Bible teaches that saving money is a wise practice for many different reasons. God provides for us through money and it is our job to manage that money well (Matthew 25:14-27) and saving money allows us to be prepared for the future, which is a good thing. Planning ahead and saving money makes it easier to accomplish goals and God certainly urges planning ahead, as in the story of Joseph which not only saved the nation of Egypt but also the people of Israel and the lineage of Christ (Genesis 41).
Now what about today? There are many different types of insurances available today. Do you know about life insurance, the difference between Term, Whole Life, Variable, Universal, and Index Life? Do you know about the tax advantages of cash value in life insurance such as tax deferred growth, tax free withdrawals and tax free death benefit? Yes, insurance can most certainly be a financial life saver and there are so many different benefits for having it. When it’s used properly, it can help a family during a major illness or disability; provide replacement income for the loss of a spouse; it can rebuild a damaged home; it can pay for costly medical bills during a prolonged stay in a nursing home. Is it a lack of faith when we purchase insurance? Not at all! Insurance can be a wise way to protect the assets and income God blesses us with and He also instructs us to prepare during good and bad times, which demonstrates proper planning. He also wants us to provide for our families (Proverbs 13:22).
The following is stated in “Finance 101, Saving Your Future-World System Builder (2015)”:
“Life insurance isn’t a fun topic, but it’s a critical part of your financial strategy. People don’t often talk about it. Most don’t understand it. Few want to buy it. Even those people who buy it don’t necessarily understand or appreciate its importance in building and preserving wealth. As a result, a lot of people don’t have any life insurance protection. If they do, most don’t have enough. Today, people have all kinds of protection. They insure their house, cars, phones, and appliances. They even buy travel insurance for their vacations. But when it comes to life insurance, people remain skeptical. The most important insurance that protects their family and their children is not taken seriously. Life insurance doesn’t insure your life. It insures your family’s ability to continue on without being financially devastated. A good number of people believe that they won’t die anytime soon. Why would they need life insurance? Some take it easy by just signing up with their employer’s group life insurance. There’s no need for a medical checkup. Others get it free from their company. However, the company may not provide enough coverage, and if their employment terminates, they don’t have protection. They may also have difficulties buying individual life insurance if they have medical problems and need more coverage.
“Do stay-at-home parents need life insurance? Yes, they do. A lot of people think life insurance is for the breadwinner only. But stay-at-home parents should have protection to replace their valuable services to the family. Without them, these services can cost a lot.
“Do single people need life insurance? Most people buy life insurance to take care of their spouse and children. However, single people buy life insurance for different reasons. They have loved ones to take care of, they may start a family soon and want to buy when the cost is lower or while they are healthy and insurable, they are in a business partnership and want to protect their business, they want to take advantage of the tax benefits of savings in the policy and have coverage at the same time, or they may want to leave a legacy to the cause they are passionate about.”
The 1960 Good News magazine, Vol IX, No 01 stated: “Accidents can happen to YOU! The experience of our own church members proves it! God is not going to prevent you from reaping the consequences of carelessness. But He will deliver you. Thanks to God we can always pray to be healed or to be protected from infection in case of injury. No insurance can replace faith. Otherwise God would not have provided life and disaster insurance for His people in His own law in the form of third tithe. If you are one who believes that insurance replaces faith, that is merely proof that you probably DID NOT HAVE ABIDING FAITH IN THE FIRST PLACE.”
The 1972 Good News magazine, Vol XXI, No 03, added: “If a person looks to the physical only for his source of security, protection and peace of mind, he is showing a lack of faith toward God. God is our Rock, our security, our peace and our whole life. We must still trust in Him, over and above any physical source, and beyond anything we are able to do. Insurance is never a substitute for faith. Faith is that assurance that God will deliver you out of every difficulty you may become involved in. Paul was in several shipwrecks… often lost property. God alone could deliver Paul from death in such accidents. No insurance could have! But savings in the form of insurance would compensate Paul for his loss. That is how God wants us to view the question of insurance and third tithe…
“What is the purpose of life insurance? Simply to provide funds to compensate for the financial loss resulting from a death. Does that mean it is a lack of faith to purchase life insurance? Not at all. It is proof that we believe that God means what he says — that human beings are temporal, mortal and shall DIE! (Hebrews 9:27).
“Some may feel that because they won’t personally benefit from the proceeds of their life insurance, they don’t want to spend money on it. What selfish and foolish reasoning! Life insurance can be of personal benefit. A cash value policy builds funds as a form of savings. But primarily, life insurance is for others! A man’s family responsibilities go on even after he is dead — especially if he dies prematurely. What better way is there in today’s society to lay up for our children than through life insurance?
“Of course, sound judgment must be exercised in its purchase. You should ask yourself, ‘How much, if any, can I afford? Will it curb my ability to serve the work financially? How much insurance coverage is right for my situation?’ We must be balanced!
“The three basic coverages needed by every family for their own as well as the protection of others are liability, property and life insurance. Amounts and coverages must be based on your needs and your budget. These are best determined in consultation with a knowledgeable, experienced and trustworthy insurance agent. Insurance can be a physical means to meet a spiritual obligation. Through insurance (sharing the risk with others for the benefit of all) you can provide for the future and protect the present.”
Time is precious and we are only growing older each day. Look at the frightening statistics when it comes to cancer. For example, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will have the risk of developing cancer during their lifetime. Also 80 million Americans have one or more types of heart disease (www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerbasics/lifetime-probability-of-developing-or-dying-from-cancer). Just because we are in the Church doesn’t mean that we are exempt from getting sick or dying. There have been many faithful members who have gotten sick, who have gotten cancer, who have lost their lives. In fact, God says that even Christians will die (compare again Hebrews 9:27). Time is money and procrastination is the enemy of saving. We shouldn’t procrastinate and assume that nothing can happen to us because we do not know what will happen tomorrow (James 4:14). Often times we may come up with excuses why we don’t “need” to get insurance yet, even though we KNOW we need it for our loved ones, and Christ tells us, “If you KNOW these things, blessed are you if you DO them” (John 13:17).
Lead Writer: Michael Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
We will observe Pentecost on Sunday, June 12, 2016. There will be morning and afternoon services on this Holy Day. You might want to check out the following booklets: “God’s Commanded Holy Days,” and “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days.”
“Secret Plans for Unified European Army?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Far too many are indifferent or confused about what is going on in continental Europe, including the secret goal to create a unified EU army under the control of “nine or more member states”; the “leading role on global affairs” which Germany is destined to fulfill as “a key player” with the “responsibility to actively help shape the global order”; and the euro as the “founding element of a United States of Europe.” Many claim wrongfully that the EU will break up and that the euro will fail. They simply do not understand biblical prophecy.
“Hebräische Namen für Gottesanbetung?” is the title of this week’s new German sermon. It is based on our recent Q&A, “Should We Use Hebrew Expressions in Our Worship of God?”
“ASK,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
As Christians, we are taught to ASK. Asking God about things in our lives is paramount for how we live. And what we ask for now will dramatically affect our future!
“Hesitation and Haste,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The timing of our actions is an important factor that affects our successful, Christian development. If we wait too long to commit ourselves to do what is right in the eyes of God, we may miss out on opportunities to learn, grow in righteousness, and put our talents to practice. But on the other hand, if we lose our patience and take action too soon, we may not be demonstrating our faith in God, and place too much trust in our human judgment. Finding the right balance between hesitation and haste is important for us to practice so we can spiritually develop our character to its fullest potential.
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