|In God’s Hands; No More Separation
|This Week in the News
|What Does the Bible Say About the Transgender Debate?
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
In God’s Hands; No More Separation
On October 8, 2016, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “In God’s Hands,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “No More Separation.”
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.
The Day of Atonement will be observed on Wednesday, October 12, 2016. We will have live services at 12:30 pm Pacific Time. Robb Harris will present the Offertory, and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Reaching Atonement.”
by Robb Harris
The recent disclosure of Donald Trump’s tax records have rattled a hornet’s nest of opinions in the media, demonstrating, once again, just how far man has separated himself from God.
While our nation grumbles over how much Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have paid in taxes, one glaring point is lost: to our knowledge, most of the citizens have failed to acknowledge God through tithing!
Paul warned, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7-8).
God warned ancient Israel of the consequences of rejecting His leadership and instead desiring a King to rule over them. He warned the people that the King would demand payment of high taxes, but this would not abolish the duty of the people to pay God’s tithe. Today, we are still living under those consequences which God articulated to Samuel, “but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7).
The requirement of tithing has never changed. Man is still obliged to give to God His portion. Malachi makes a comparison when we reject this command, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:8-9).
In addition, God requires more than just the mere act of tithing. As the Pharisees were sorting out their tithe, making sure to give no more or no less than required, He chastised them for their lack of understanding, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:23-24).
For those that do joyfully and properly tithe with the right attitude, Malachi continues, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
God desires the very best for us. All we have to give up is our greed—a task insurmountable for many in this world today. Rejoice that we are so blessed to understand and take part in tithing to God.
We begin with an insightful article on Europe’s future and Hungary’s invalid referendum against the EU migration policy; and focus in detail on the terrible events in Syria and especially the city of Aleppo, showing Russia’s increased involvement and America’s utter helplessness; and Russia’s threat of nuclear World War III. [Please view our new StandingWatch program on this topic, titled, “Russia Threatens America with Nuclear War.”]
We speak on the terrible disaster of Obamacare which punishes hard-working American citizens, rather than helping them; and review a stunning revelation by the late Shimon Peres pertaining to Israel’s nuclear weapons.
We focus on the mass media’s coverage of the American presidential election campaigns, which can only be described as extremely hypocritical; showing once again why we are not to vote or participate in any way in this ungodly process.
In the last part of this section, we quote several articles on developments pertaining to Pope Francis and the Catholic Church. Especially noteworthy is the pope’s strong (and correct) stance on the “gender theory,” which he describes as a “great enemy” of marriage.
This Week in the News
The Christian Science Monitor wrote on October 1:
“Across the Continent, the basic question – what is Europe? – is being asked in living rooms, corporate suites, and government cubicles with more urgency than at any time since World War II. Buffeted by fundamental changes – the decision by Britain to leave the EU, the continuing torrent of refugees, the inexorable rise of far-right political parties, and the threat posed by a resurgent Russia – the EU is confronting a historic crisis of cohesion and identity.
“Many experts fully expect the EU to survive. They believe this is simply the latest in a recurring cycle of challenges. Others think the EU will be a weakened and much less unified bloc of nations in the future – and possibly a much smaller one as well.
“While comparisons of the current period are made with the run-up to World War II, when a depression made Europe ripe for fascism, or with the disruptive globalization that preceded World War I, many dismiss the notion that Europe is about to face anything as cataclysmic. But there is no doubt that Europe finds itself at a hinge moment – one that will have significant implications for the world’s largest trading bloc as well as for the Western world and the kind of democracy it espouses…
“Later in the fall, Austrian voters could very well elect the EU’s first far-right head of state…
“While German residents debate the philosophical underpinnings of Europe, bureaucrats in Brussels are working out the details of something that will hold far more practical implications for the future of Europe – Britain’s pending divorce from the EU. The EU just held its first summit in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Sept. 16 to discuss where the bloc is going from here, without the British leader, new Prime Minister Theresa May.
“In their vote to leave the EU in June, most who were in favor of leaving weren’t motivated by the desire to dismantle Europe. Instead they were driven by a heady mix of defiance and pride over issues of identity and sovereignty and frustration over their own economic plight… Britain, of course, has always been a hesitant European partner. It joined the bloc only in 1973, after its empire was largely a footnote in history and its economy was reeling from deindustrialization. Under leaders from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher, Britain has always had a fraught relationship with continental Europe.
“But the decision to definitively leave the EU surprised even the ‘Leave’ campaign… Various opinion surveys from Denmark to Finland showed desire for similar referendums plummeting after Brexit… the risk of copycat exit movements remains, especially if populists gain ground in countries where euroskepticism is highest…
“Europe… has been shaken out of complacency, given a glimpse into the consequences of not responding to the issues Europeans care most about. That includes fortifying exterior borders to make Europe more secure, bringing order to the refugee crisis, generating jobs (especially for European youth)…
“As populism has grown across the West, many fault mainstream politicians for failing to respond – for either just pandering to the populist vote or for failing to convince Europeans to believe in the EU decades after peace has held… eventually politicians will have to integrate the economic system further…The question of unity lies at the heart of the problems facing mainstream politicians in Europe, who have to balance national interest against the greater good of the EU project…
“After successive terrorist attacks by Islamist-inspired perpetrators – in France, Belgium, and this summer in Germany for the first time – Muslims have said that they feel pushed away. This could become one of Europe’s biggest problems, as alienation breeds radicalization… Many residents feel insecure… and refugees and asylum-seekers have played a role in the terror hitting Europe. Bans on burqas – and burkinis at beaches in France – epitomize the public debate playing out…
“Germany’s Angela Merkel, whose leadership is crucial to the future of Europe… faces rising opposition [at home]. Last month, her center-right party lost elections to the populist Alternative for Germany in her home district in northeastern Germany…“German author Andre Wilkens… believes Germany is central to Europe’s future…”
According to the Bible, out of the EU and the Eurozone, ten nations or groups of nations will arise very soon, and they will give their power and authority to a charismatic political leader of German (or Austrian) descent. Indeed, Germany and Germany’s leadership are central and crucial to Europe’s future. Please read our free booklet, “The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire.”
Hungarians Reject EU Migrant Policy in an Invalid Referendum
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 2:
“Citizens in Hungary have voted in a controversial referendum to reject the European Union’s plan to distribute migrants across the bloc. However, data from the National Election Office’s special referendum website suggest the number of voters was less than 50 percent, invalidating the result…
“More than 98 percent… rejected the EU’s migrant quota, while 1.7 percent voted in favor of it… Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the results needed to be taken into account by EU decision-makers. ‘Thirteen years after a large majority of Hungarians voted at a referendum to join the European Union, today Hungarians made their voices heard again in a European issue,’ Orban told a news conference in the capital, Budapest…
“Eastern European countries, including Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, have vehemently opposed accepting migrants. Hungary has refused to accept even one of the 1,294 refugees allotted to it and has instead filed a legal case against the EU, together with Slovakia.”
Aleppo Under Siege
Reuters reported on October 1:
“Russian war planes struck rebel-held areas north of Aleppo on Saturday as the [Syrian] army shelled the besieged old quarter in a major offensive… Russia was reported on Friday to be sending more warplanes to Syria to ramp up its air campaign as the United States said it had not yet given up on finding a diplomatic resolution. The latest strikes come 10 days into a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive to capture eastern Aleppo and crush the last urban stronghold of a revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that began in 2011…
“The army, aided by hundreds of Iranian-backed militias who have arrived in Aleppo, have backed up the air campaign with a ground offensive on several frontlines to break rebel defenses inside the city… Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov… criticized Washington’s failure to separate moderate rebel groups from those the Russians call terrorists…
“The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that monitors the war… said warplanes struck a field hospital in the heavily bombed rebel-held al Sakhour district in the second such strike on one of four such medical facilities targeted in the last few days… Hundreds of people have been killed in the bombing and many hundreds more wounded, with little access to treatment in hospitals that lack basic supplies… Washington, Britain and other allies have condemned the Russian bombing campaign, with the U.S envoy to the U.N. last week calling Russia’s actions in Syria ‘barbarism’ not counter-terrorism…
“Russia joined the war exactly a year ago, tipping the balance of power in favor of Assad, who is also supported by Iranian ground forces and Shi’ite militia from Lebanon and Iraq.”
Deutsche Welle added on October 1:
“British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Moscow risked becoming an international pariah if its bombing continued. But Moscow and Damascus appear unperturbed by Western outrage over the relentless bombardments [which] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon denounced as ‘war crimes.’… Casualties are mounting on both sides of the divided city. About 1.2 million people are facing daily rocket fire by the rebels, while 250,000 civilians are under siege by the Syrian army in the east of the city, which is held by rebels…
“The medical charity Doctors Without Borders has described the indiscriminate bombing of eastern Aleppo by Syrian and Russian forces as a ‘bloodbath.’… Aleppo was Syria’s largest city and commercial hub before civil war broke out in 2011. The city has been divided into government and opposition sectors for the past four years.”
Why Does Russia Support Assad?
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 1:
“For over five years now – but especially since Russia launched its airstrikes in 2015 – many world leaders have asked why the country continues to stand by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Theories abound, but none of those really explains Russia’s massive engagement and its willingness to eat the monetary, military and diplomatic costs.
“One theory is that President Vladimir Putin wants to maintain Syria’s port of Tartus as Russia’s only direct access to the Mediterranean Sea. Another is that Putin wants to show that he is willing to counter all civil society uprisings and revolts and that by supporting Assad he is sending signals to opposition movements in Russia. Or maybe Putin is striving for political stability in the Middle East in order to prevent extremists from spreading to Russia and neighboring countries. The prevailing theory, however, is that Putin wants to prove that Russia is a superpower just like the United States…
“A year ago, Russia began its airstrikes on Syria. The attacks targeted everyone who was labeled a ‘terrorist’ by the governments of Russia and Syria… The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that the airstrikes have killed almost 9,500 people – including at least 3,800 civilians, 900 of whom were children…
“Russia’s open entry into the war was harshly criticized by officials from the United States and EU – including German leaders. ‘Anyone… who drops bunker-busting bombs on residential buildings is committing war crimes,’ Omid Nouripour, of the Greens, told the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. Nouripour also accused Russia and the Assad regime of ruthlessness in their fight for the eastern part of Aleppo…”
Russia Warns of Nuclear World War III
The Sun wrote on October 5, 2016:
“A RUSSIAN newspaper fears a Third World War with the US over Syria. Tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets predicts a ‘direct military confrontation’ on par with the Cuban Missile Crisis. The US suspended contact with Russia over Syria on Monday. Secretary of State John Kerry has been enraged by airstrikes on rebel-controlled areas of Aleppo…”
Metro.co.uk wrote on Oct. 4, 2016:
“As tensions rise in the Middle East, an official TV channel in Russia has issued a chilling warning that war with the West could be imminent. Zvezda, a nationwide TV service run by the country’s Ministry of Defence, said last week, ‘Schizophrenics from America are sharpening nuclear weapons for Moscow.’… Both Russia and NATO are still in the position to unleash global-scale nuclear attacks – and the weapons are armed and ready…
“What would a nuclear blast actually do?… What observers fear is a military or political confrontation which builds up tensions around a nuclear missile attack – possibly leading one side to fire.
“Hydrogen bombs would destroy most civilian buildings in a 10-mile radius (based on a 20-megaton weapon exploding 3.3 miles above the ground)… The effects on people nearby would be even more frightening, with a blast killing thousands or millions instantly, followed by poisoning from radioactive fallout from the blast.
“Witnesses of the Hiroshima attack said that people near the centre of the blast ‘vanished’. … William Burchett said, ‘Of thousands of others, nearer the centre of the explosion, there was no trace. They vanished. The theory in Hiroshima is that the atomic heat was so great that they burned instantly to ashes – except that there were no ashes.’”
The Federalist Paper Project wrote on October 5:
“[Zvezda] breathlessly reported that underground nuclear bunkers had been built to house 12 million people – enough to house the entire population of Moscow… Russia’s nuclear stockpile is the largest in the world with 8,400 warheads compared to America’s 7,500…
“The Russians have also launched a nationwide civil defense training exercise in preparation for an all-out war with the West. The Independent reports: “Lasting three days, the exercise being run by the Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM) will involve 200,000 emergency personnel and the co-operation of 40 million civilians.”[The Daily Mail added on October 5 that “Russia is evacuating more than 40million people in drills to prepare for nuclear war.”]
“In their doomsday broadcast, they told viewers that the United States would ‘Face terrible, tectonic’ consequences if they took action against the Syrian regime.”
Flashback: Russia’s New Naval Doctrine Endangers Georgia
On September 8, 2016, Georgia Today wrote the following:
“Due to the strained relations between the West and Russia, including an ongoing economic war between the EU and the USA and Russia via a sanction policy and ever worsening confrontation between NATO and Russia via the constant flexing of ‘military muscles’ between competing forces, there is many a thing a little country like Georgia has to think of. In that scope, one of the dangerous ‘combat zones’ is thought to be the Black Sea Basin…
“The Russian policy-makers seek to regain the status-quo through domination in the basin by controlling three key points: Crimea, the mouths of the Danube and the Bosphorus [sic].
“Considering the latest events, Russia has partially achieved its strategic goals – first occupying and then annexing Crimea and reinforcing military positions in the peninsula, with the creation of the so-called ‘Mediterranean Task Force’ within the Black Sea Fleet, and detachment of combat ships and boats for the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf region to pursue its second objective of obtaining control over the Bosphorus…
“With this reinforcement of its naval forces, Russia is not so far away from securing the third pillar of its strategy – the mouth of the Danube. Before that, however, in order to better reinforce its presence in the Black Sea basin, the Russian authority announced that 30 new ships are to be added to the Black Sea Fleet… Georgia is in a dangerous position due to… its sea ports that Russia will need badly to establish its hegemony…”
Outrageous Obamacare Penalizes Hard-Working Americans
The Washington Free Beacon wrote on September 26:
“Nearly 8.1 million taxpayers paid $1,694,088,000 in Obamacare penalties for not having health insurance in 2014, the first year the penalty was in effect, according to the most recent data from the Internal Revenue Service. ‘Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that individuals must have had health care coverage, qualified for a health coverage exemption, or made a shared responsibility payment with a tax return,’ the IRS said…
“IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told lawmakers in 2015 that preliminary data from the IRS found that approximately 7.5 million taxpayers paid a total of $1.5 billion in penalties. This means about 560,000 more taxpayers paid about $200 million more in penalties than was previously reported.
“In 2014, individuals were required to pay either a flat penalty of $95 for each uninsured adult or one percent of their household’s adjusted gross income in excess of the threshold for mandatory tax filing, whichever is greater. In 2016, those penalties rose to a flat fee of $695 or 2.5 percent of the AGI measure.
“Around four million individuals are estimated to pay $4 billion in penalties this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The budget office projects that $5 billion will be collected each year from 2017 to 2024… Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) [said:] ‘Obamacare penalizes taxpayers who can no longer afford insurance that Obamacare made unaffordable… The legacy of Obamacare is skyrocketing premiums, unaffordable deductibles, the destruction of the individual insurance market, and tax penalties on Obamacare’s victims.’”
This “penalty” or “tax,” which was unconstitutionally held by the US Supreme Court to be constitutional, is really a shameful governmental and judicial attack on the freedom and liberty (and the money) of hard-working American citizens.
Israel Has the Bomb… and Shimon Peres Helped Develop It
Daily Mail wrote on October 2:
“The secret of whether Israel has the nuclear bomb has finally been exposed – after former president Shimon Peres admitted from beyond the grave that he helped develop an atomic weapons programme. Israeli leaders have always refused to admit having a nuclear arsenal, preferring to keep enemies in doubt.
“But in a remarkable interview recorded just before his death last Thursday at the age of 93, the veteran statesman not only confirmed the nuclear capability – but also admitted that he was its architect. The candid confession follows decades of speculation over whether Israel had managed to build a bomb at its Dimona plant in the Negev desert, which officials insist is used simply for scientific research…
“Peres, one of the founding fathers of Israel in 1948, revealed he persuaded President Ben Gurion to develop a nuclear reactor in 1955, fearing a threat from neighbouring Iran… It is understood, although unconfirmed, that the country’s first bomb was created in 1966…
“Israeli media are forbidden from reporting on their country’s nuclear ambitions, and politicians refuse to discuss it. Yet external observers estimate that the country has about 80 nuclear weapons.”
From this it follows that at this point, Israel is apparently the only country in the Middle East which possesses nuclear weapons. But countries like Iran and others are very desirous of obtaining the bomb.
USA Today Breaks a 34-Year Old Tradition
On September 30, 2016, USA Today published the following article by its Editorial Board:
“In the 34-year history of USA TODAY, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. Instead, we’ve expressed opinions about the major issues and haven’t presumed to tell our readers, who have a variety of priorities and values, which choice is best for them… We’ve never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now. This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. This year, one of the candidates – Republican nominee Donald Trump – is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.
“From the day he declared his candidacy 15 months ago through this week’s first presidential debate, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents. Whether through indifference or ignorance, Trump has betrayed fundamental commitments made by all presidents since the end of World War II. These commitments include unwavering support for NATO allies, steadfast opposition to Russian aggression, and the absolute certainty that the United States will make good on its debts. He has expressed troubling admiration for authoritarian leaders and scant regard for constitutional protections…
“A list prepared by NBC details 124 shifts by Trump on 20 major issues since shortly before he entered the race… In a Wall Street Journal column this month, Robert Gates, the highly respected former Defense secretary who served presidents of both parties over a half-century, described Trump as ‘beyond repair.’… His proposals for mass deportations and religious tests are unworkable and contrary to America’s ideals…
“The Editorial Board does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement. Some of us… believe she’d serve the nation ably as its president. Other board members have serious reservations about Clinton’s sense of entitlement, her lack of candor and her extreme carelessness in handling classified information…”
The article paints a really bad picture of Donald Trump, and we did not even quote most of the rather outrageous statements. On the other hand, the article is far too condescending towards the many serious problems associated with Hillary Clinton. It then asks the question, “Where does that leave us?” The answer should be obvious. The USA is left with a terrible future, no matter who will win the Presidency. That is WHY members of the Church of God do not… or ought not… vote in presidential elections like the next one.
Germany Highly Critical of Trump
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 1:
“In an internal paper drawn up by the German Economy Ministry, experts say the US economy would suffer if Donald Trump were elected president. The weekly news magazine Spiegel quoted the paper as saying that the United States could expect ‘a shrinking GDP, fewer jobs and higher unemployment’ if the Republican candidate were to triumph in November.
“… the Economy Ministry reports that his plans would violate both US and international law. The experts, who directly advise Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, the possible 2017 chancellor candidate for the Social Democrats (SPD), wrote that Trump’s ideas were ‘impossible to put into practice’ and ‘no basis for a realistic economic policy.’ The criticism is the latest instance in which prominent German government officials and employees have voiced dismay at Trump.
“Trump is massively unpopular in Germany and most of Europe… German politicians, including Gabriel, were extraordinarily frank in criticizing the Republican. ‘Trump has no plan for the United States – to say nothing of the great challenges of international politics,’ Gabriel said on Tuesday in the wake of the first US presidential debate… Other SPD and left-wing politicians echoed those sentiments. That was hardly surprising. After all, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, of the SPD, went so far as call Trump a ‘preacher of hate’ in August.
“What’s remarkable is how much criticism Trump has attracted from German conservatives. ‘You have to look at his character, and that promises nothing good,’ Norbert Röttgen, the chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in an unusually blistering statement after the debate. He is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union.
“But Spiegel also reported that… Markus Ederer, the state secretary of the German Foreign Ministry, has met with Trump advisers to talk about foreign policy issues, particularly NATO. Trump has been critical of the status quo within the military alliance and has called for members, including Germany, to bear more of the costs for the joint defense, insinuating that US troops could be withdrawn from Europe if his demands weren’t met…”
Germany would clearly prefer Hillary Clinton to become the next American President. However, since the relationship between the USA and Europe, under German leadership, will drastically deteriorate in the near future, Germany might not get her wish.
New York Times Hypocritical on Trump Tax Issue?
Breitbart wrote on October 2:
“The New York Times has excited the Clinton campaign and the rest of the media with a revelation that Republican nominee Donald Trump declared a $916 million loss in 1995 that might have resulted in him not paying taxes in some subsequent years [some claim, for 18 years]. The implication, reinforced by CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union on Sunday morning, is that Trump ‘avoided’ paying taxes, when in fact his tax liability was zero.
“But the Times itself has ‘avoided’ paying taxes — in 2014, for example. As Forbes noted at the time: ‘… for tax year 2014, The New York Times paid no taxes and got an income tax refund of $3.5 million even though they had a pre-tax profit of $29.9 million in 2014. In other words, their post-tax profit was higher than their pre-tax profit…’
“New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended Trump on Sunday, telling NBC News’ Meet the Press that Trump was a ‘genius’ in business who was simply doing what the tax code allows every American to do by counting losses against tax liabilities, and bouncing back from failure to success. That would include the New York Times — which, however, is still struggling.
“As Jazz Shaw of HotAir.com notes, the Times — or whoever was its source — likely obtained Trump’s tax document illegally. The ongoing IRS scandal, in which the federal government targeted conservative organizations, involved several cases in which the agency illegally shared taxpayer information with other branches of government, and in one case leaked taxpayer information to a conservative organization’s political opponents. In 2008, the confidential tax information of Joe ‘the Plumber’ Wurzelbacher, who emerged as a critic of then-Sen. Barack Obama, was leaked illegally by an Ohio state official…
“The news comes just a few weeks after in early September the New York Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet said he would go to jail to print Trump’s tax returns, even if he obtained them illegally… He made the remark during a Harvard University forum Sunday, when he was asked about the legal risks tied to publishing a leaked or hacked copy of Trump’s taxes…
“Washington Post editor Bob Woodward… also said he would go to jail too over it. ‘Some things you have to do. Dean is exactly right. This defines Donald Trump,’ Woodward said.”
These hypocritical statements of intent to commit crimes are outrageous.
Zero Hedge wrote on October 2:
“With the leaked 1995 Trump tax returns ‘scandal’ focused on the billionaire’s yuuge ‘net operating loss’ and how it might have ‘legally’ enabled him to pay no taxes for years, we now discover none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton utilized a $700,000 ‘loss’ to avoid paying some taxes in 2015… While not on the scale of Trump’s business ‘operating loss’, Hillary Clinton… like many ‘wealthy’ individuals is taking advantage of a legal scheme to use historical losses to avoid paying current taxes.”
Such hypocritical conduct by the New York Times and Hillary Clinton is outrageous. The Bible tells us to pay our taxes, but it does not command us to pay “taxes” which we don’t owe.
Deaconesses in the Early Church
Catholic Culture wrote on September 29:
“Nearly two months after Pope Francis instituted a commission to study women and the diaconate, L’Osservatore Romano has published an article on deaconesses and the early Church. Carlo Carletti, an archaeology professor at the University of Bari, said that the starting point for any examination of the topic is Romans 16:1, in which… Paul refers to ‘our sister Phoebe, a deaconess.’
“Of the 30 inscriptions that refer to deaconesses, said Carletti, 25 have been found in Asia Minor (in modern-day Turkey). Carletti attributes this geographical concentration to the legacy of Paul, who included women in his missionary activity.”
The Bible does indeed provide for the ordination of women as deaconesses, but not for the purpose of preaching. Paul makes it very clear that women are not to preach in church, and they are not to be ordained as elders or ministers, pastors or bishops.
Pope Celebrates with Assyrian-Chaldean Diaspora
Zenit reported on September 30:
“The final official stop on Pope Francis’ first day in Georgia was a visit to the Church of St. Shemon Bar Sabbae to meet with the Assyrian-Chaldean community. He was welcomed by the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans… [Francis] proceeded in procession to the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament among the faithful of the Assyrian-Chaldean diaspora. After a song and a prayer in Aramaic, the Pope recited a Prayer for Peace.”
Some ancient Assyrians can be found today in diverse areas, but most live in Germany and Austria. Please read our free booklet, “Germany in Prophecy.”
Pope Francis and “Jewish” Holy Days
Zenit reported on October 1:
“Pope Francis has sent a message to Riccardo De Segni, Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in Rome, the most ancient in the world, on the occasion of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah…), Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), celebrated this month.
“Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday evening and concludes Tuesday. Yom Kippur begins the evening of Oct. 11, and Sukkot the evening of Oct. 16. ‘I am particularly glad to convey my warmest wishes to you and the Jewish community of Rome. My sentiment extends also to Jewish communities throughout the world, in the hope that the upcoming festivities may be harbingers of abundant blessings to all. May the Almighty grant peace and the tireless wish to promote it. In His eternal mercy, may He grant hope and serenity in our times and strengthen the cordial bonds of friendship between us.’”
Note that the Jews erroneously keep the Feast of Trumpets (“Rosh Hashanah”) on two days, whereas the Bible only commands the celebration of one day.
Poland Rejects Ban on Abortion Bill
The Telegraph wrote on October 6:
“Poland’s parliament has voted to reject a bill proposing a near-total ban on abortion, inflicting the first serious defeat on the country’s ruling socially conservative government since it came to power last year. An overwhelming majority of MPs voted to kill the bill on Thursday morning after a passionate and at times chaotic debate that had been continued from the previous night. However, the ruling Law and Justice party has said it will continue to pursue a tightening of the country’s abortion law, though not to the degree outlined in the now dead bill.
“The bill would have tightened Poland’s already strict abortion law by outlawing the practice, even if the pregnancy was the result of rape and incest, and would have imposed tough prison sentences on anybody who carried out a termination. [The bill] had won the unofficial backing of Law and Justice, which has always portrayed itself as a guardian of Roman Catholic values and the Church’s position in majority Catholic Polish society.
“But the proposed legislation triggered huge public anger. On Monday, an estimated 100,000 women took to the streets in a series of protests across the country, while many more went on strike, in a demonstration of outrage caught the government off guard, prompting a U-turn. Scores of Law and Justice politicians decided to reject the bill on Thursday, many of them reversing their earlier decision to approve it during its first reading in parliament in September…
“The rejection of the bill came as a bitter blow to its proponents. ‘A nation that kills its own children is a nation without a future,’ said Joanna Banasiuk, an advocate of the bill. ‘What has happened? This is the same project that recently received the enthusiastic support of the state.'”
Gender Theory To Destroy Marriage
On October 2, Breitbart reported:
“On Saturday, Pope Francis called gender theory a ‘great enemy’ of marriage, adding that the ideology of gender is part of a global war of ideas out to destroy traditional marriage… Francis said that today we are witnessing a ‘global war to destroy marriage’ in which gender theory places a key role, fighting ‘not with weapons, but with ideas.’…
“The Pope has been an outspoken critic of LGBT agitators’ efforts to impose same-sex marriage and theories of gender fluidity that divorce gender from biological sexual differences… It is unacceptable that ‘international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish “marriage” between persons of the same sex,’ he said… Efforts to cancel out sexual differences based in anatomy are a symptom of a sick society…
“… the American College of Pediatricians issued a position paper warning that gender ideology is harmful to children. Failing to identify with one’s biological sex signals a psychological disorder,… the physicians argued… ‘When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body…’”
Please see our Q&A in this issue about the biblical viewpoint on the transgender debate.
What Does the Bible Say About the Transgender Debate?
Before we look at the Bible’s straightforward answers to this subject, let us first of all look at the current state of affairs in society today. There is no doubt that there are those who espouse a very liberal approach, perhaps none more so than those who are involved with the gender agenda which includes many sexual variations and perversions.
In an article in the Brighton Argus newspaper (UK) on 28th January 2016, Brighton school children were asked to choose from a list of terms to describe their gender. The selection list included: “Agender,” “All genders,” “Androgynous,” “Bi-gender,” “Boy,” “Demi-boy,” “Demi-girl,” “Female,” “Gender fluid,” “Gender nonconforming,” “Genderqueer,” “Girl,” “In the middle of boy and girl,” “Intersex,” “Male,” “Non-binary,” “Not sure,” “Others (please state),” “Rather not say,” “Tomboy,” “Trans-boy,” “Trans-girl,” Tri-gender,” “Young man” and “Young woman.”
On the 20th April 2016, the Daily Mail reported that “the proposed national survey was linked from the website of the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, and was forwarded to some schools by local councils. It later emerged that the survey had been withdrawn. Anyway it was only a draft.”
You can be assured that in the current climate of “diversity and anything goes,” this will appear again at some time in the future as the liberal agenda increases its momentum as we plunge headlong through a moral crisis that will only be solved by the return of Jesus Christ.
Christian Institute Deputy Director Simon Calvert maintains that “there are simply two sexes — not 20-plus genders — and that the survey only incited confusion and jesting. [Giving children so many options will spur answers] across the spectrum — not least from kids who want to make fun of the whole thing,” Calvert contends. “But for some children, it will be profoundly confusing to find out that there are adults who don’t seem to know that boys are boys and girls are girls. The British Christian leader insists that the distinctions given in the Bible about human sexuality are those given by God to safeguard them from falling into all types of deviant attitudes, behaviors, and lifestyles.”
In our Update 686 on May 1st 2015 we published the following:
“America’s Descent into the Abyss of Sexual Perversion.
“CNN wrote on April 23:
“It’s only April, but 2015 may be remembered as the year the term ‘transgender’ fully entered mainstream consciousness. In January, President Obama condemned the persecution of ‘people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,’ becoming the first president to utter the word in a State of the Union address…
“Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity — their internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman — differs from what’s typically associated with their sex at birth. Some transgender people alter their bodies through hormones and or surgery, although many don’t…”
In another article on the same subject, we commented that “the very concept of ‘transgender’ is an abomination in the eyes of God.”
In our Update 751 on September 2nd 2016, we quoted a Newsmax report under the headline, “Transgender Bathroom ‘Rights’ Upheld by Bush-Appointed Judge,” part of which stated:
“Bathroom access has become a flashpoint in the legal and cultural battle over transgender rights in the United States. An estimated 0.6 percent of U.S. adults identify as transgender…”
In his StandingWatch programme of 16th September 2016 entitled “America’s Persecution of Churches”, Mr Norbert Link repeated this percentage of 0.6 percent people – but look at the pressure from such a small group!
An updated article, written in the Wall Street Journal on May 13, 2016, entitled “Transgender Surgery Isn’t the Solution – A drastic physical change doesn’t address underlying psycho-social troubles,” Dr Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA, examined the matter and here are a few excerpts from that article:
“….policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention. This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken—it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.
“For the transgendered, this argument holds that one’s feeling of ‘gender’ is a conscious, subjective sense that, being in one’s mind, cannot be questioned by others. The individual often seeks not just society’s tolerance of this ‘personal truth’ but affirmation of it. Here rests the support for ‘transgender equality,’ the demands for government payment for medical and surgical treatments, and for access to all sex-based public roles and privileges.
“You won’t hear it from those championing transgender equality, but controlled and follow-up studies reveal fundamental problems with this movement. When children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic, 70%-80% of them spontaneously lost those feelings. Some 25% did have persisting feelings; what differentiates those individuals remains to be discerned.
“At the heart of the problem is confusion over the nature of the transgendered. ‘Sex change’ is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is [a] civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”
You can read the article in its entirety at http://www.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120
In short, Dr McHugh opined that the transgender issue was a mental disorder. It seems that, like many other sexual orientations, it may have become a fashionable thing to do. We must never underestimate the power of peer pressure.
The Bible is very clear on this matter. In Genesis 1:27-28, we read the following:
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”
God created male and female – two genders with no other variation – and told them to be fruitful and multiply. That cannot happen with a number of the wrong sexual practices that exist today. In Genesis 5:2 we read confirmation of the instruction in Genesis 1:27-28: “He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.”
Jesus Christ also confirmed this God-ordained order as we read in Matthew 19:4-6: “And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.’”
One commentator online wrote: “My gender is part of my created identity; it is God’s plan for my life. It is not fluid or changeable. It is fixed. Just as a dog cannot be changed into a cat or a fish into a bird, a man cannot be changed into a woman, or vice versa, because gender is a fundamental aspect of creation.”
In Deuteronomy 22:5 we read: “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.” An abomination is a thing that causes disgust or loathing. Synonyms are: atrocity, disgrace, horror, obscenity, outrage, curse, torment, evil, crime, monstrosity, violation. God does not mince His words.
God talks about His wrath on unrighteousness in Romans 1:24-32: “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
There is a lot in this passage but it can be very briefly summarised by saying that those who practice any of these sins are deserving of death along with those who approve of such practices. We have been warned!
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is further admonition for those who have ears to hear: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
Sexual sins are clearly mentioned here and those involved with transgender issues had better be careful as we have seen from this and other passages. There is only one way of proper sexual conduct, and that is between a man and a woman who are married to each other, and God allows no other variation.
What we always have to remember is that Satan is the author of confusion, but 1 Corinthians 14:33 states: “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” Having to select from 20 plus definitions to define gender is confusion especially for the young mind, but God has made the whole process simple by creating man and woman with no other acceptable variations.
As we race towards the end of this age, Satan will become more and more accusatory and dangerous as we read in Revelation 12:9-12: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.’”
It is a sad fact that today the biblical approach is one that is scorned and disregarded, which is very dangerous to do. We should have love and concern for those who are engaged in these practices, loving the sinner but hating the sin. God instructs us in His way which is always for our own good and we ignore it at our peril. Transgender practices, along with many other sexual sins, are not to be part of any true Christian’s life. Such practices will not be allowed in the Kingdom of God and that should be enough proof for anyone with an open mind and a willing heart.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new Member Letter (October 2016) has been written and mailed to our subscribers. In this letter, Pastor Dave Harris asks Christians whether or not they are ready and watching for the return of Jesus Christ.
A brochure for the 2016 US Feast of Tabernacles has been produced and is now posted.
“Russia Threatens America with Nuclear War” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
The Russian media, which is sponsored by the government, “issued a chilling warning” that nuclear war with the West “could be imminent.” We must not take these warnings lightly, because events in Russia show that Mr. Putin is very serious. According to the Bible, there WILL be a nuclear Third World War, with catastrophic consequences for the entire planet. God tells us who will be involved, as friends and as enemies.
“Increased Demonism in the USA,” is the title of another new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Exorcisms, demonism and paganism are on the rise in the USA, and most are totally unaware of this disturbing fact. Many engage in satanic activities, without realizing the dangers. The Telegraph published an article on September 26, 2016, reporting on these frightening developments in the USA. At the same time, Roman Catholic “exorcists” engage in equally objectionable conduct, based on wrong doctrines, ideologies and mysticism. This program shows you the deception and explains the biblical truth.
“Wie Man Gottes Heilige Feiertage Hält,” is the title of this coming Sabbath’s German sermon. It is based on the series of articles regarding the Sabbath which we published in our recent weekly Updates. Title in English: “How to Keep God’s Holy Days.”
“Gottes Feste dem Geiste nach,” is the title of the German sermon presented on the Feast of Trumpets. Title in English: “God’s Holy Days according to the Spirit.”
“Too Much Stuff,” the afternoon offertory for the Feast of Trumpets presented by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We live in a country that has been richly blessed over the last few decades. But as our riches have grown so has our attitude against obeying God as we have become a self-reliant people. What does God have to say on this subject? Should He be involved in how we live? What exactly is it that we are striving for?
“God’s Holy Days According to the Spirit,” the afternoon sermon for the Feast of Trumpets presented by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The weekly Sabbath and the annual Holy Days are still to be observed today by true Christians, but they do so according to the Spirit, without applying the letter about sacrifices, washings and Jewish traditions. The shadow of temporary rituals is of symbolic significance for us today.
“God’s Protection,” the morning sermonette for the Feast of Trumpets presented by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
With so much trouble in the world today and in the future to come, mere thoughts of danger might invoke anxiety and inspire fear. However, God promises protection in the most dire of circumstances, but not to everyone. How can this divine protection from God be obtained?
“You Have Been Warned,” the morning sermon for the Feast of Trumpets presented by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We grow use to warnings, and it is easy to think that they don’t really apply to us. That attitude becomes tragic when the warnings are from God—for His warnings are a matter of life and death!
“What do you Seek?,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
If we want to find the answers that will lead us to eternal life, we need to ask the right questions. What are the kind of questions that Christians need to ask? How are we to respond once we learn the answers? By actively seeking the will of God to be done, we will obtain the greatest gift ever offered to mankind.
“Desire Godly Vision,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
So much in this world clouds our vision to what is true and important. We can easily have our senses dulled, to the point of spiritual blindness—if we allow ourselves to seek after ungodly pursuits. We must strive to keep the beacon of God’s Truth ahead of us and guiding us always.
Here are the dates for the remaining 2016 Fall Holy Days:
October 12—Day of Atonement
October 17 through October 23—Feast of Tabernacles
October 24—Last Great Day
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