Update 760


Walking in the Valley; Fiery Darts

On November 19, 2016, Dave Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “Walking in the Valley,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Fiery Darts.”

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.

PLEASE NOTE: We will now be using YOUTUBE to broadcast our Live Services. Directions for connecting will be available on our webpage at: http://www.eternalgod.org/live-services/

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And the Winner Is…?

by Michael Link

In the coming days, months and even years, we will continue to hear about the current leadership in this country that has been put into place, and we will see how the world will be affected by it.  Currently, there is a lot of anger, frustration, disappointment, concern and shock being heard and felt across the globe due to Mr. Trump being elected President.  What the vast majority of people in this world fail to realize is that it HAD to be this way.  It made no difference when it came to voting for a specific candidate, because God saw to it whom He would place into office; and He did that for a specific reason.  Daniel 2:21 states, “He changes the times and the seasons: He removes kings, and raises up kings: He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” It is clear from Scripture that God is in charge.  It is also clear that we have been given the knowledge to understand that God is in charge and anyone who votes for a specific political candidate, no matter what the reason may be to justify why he or she voted, clearly then DOES NOT understand God’s purpose.  It is not for us to decide who goes into office.

At the same time, Satan the Devil, who is the god of this world, also did his part in making sure that the next president would be the one who could cause more chaos and destruction in this world.  Satan currently is satisfied because he wants nothing more than to see mankind suffer (1 Peter 5:8).  He is very tricky and cunning, like a thief who comes “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).  This is exactly why we need to be careful at ALL times and not get caught up in the politics of the world by voting, for example, thinking that we are thereby speeding up the process or trying to make this a better world or helping our country to become more prosperous.  See how Satan works who deceives the whole world?

So then, the question is, who is the real winner? It isn’t Mr. Trump because he doesn’t realize why he has been put into office, since it was God’s doing for the purpose of fulfilling prophecy, and Mr. Trump can very likely speed things up towards the Great Tribulation and the return of Jesus Christ.

It also isn’t Satan because he knows that he has a short time left insofar as prophecy is concerned (Revelation 12:10), since these things have to take place before he is defeated.

So the real winner here would be WE, the True Church, along with God the Father and Jesus Christ.  We need to understand what the purpose for all this is.  Should we be surprised that Mr. Trump has been elected as the next President?  What does the Bible say about the future for this nation, the modern house of Israel? (Compare Ezekiel 6:6; 7:19; Jeremiah 30:10; Amos 7:17).

Prophecy is indeed unfolding before our eyes, if we have eyes to see (Revelation 19:10; John 16:13; Matthew 24:32-33; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6); and we are eagerly waiting for the climax (Romans 8:23-25) because when we “see these things happening, [we] know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:31).

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In this issue, we focus on the many inconsistent promises and declarations by Mr. Donald Trump and his “surrogates” and spokespersons, prompting the question as to when the “real” Donald Trump will stand up. Issues regarding mass deportations of illegal aliens with a criminal record; moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem; the creation of a Palestinian state; the building of a wall between the USA and Mexico and who will pay for it; the “repeal” of Obamacare; the Iran deal; international trade and “climate-change” agreements; tariffs for Chinese goods; prosecution of Hillary Clinton; entitlement programs; waterboarding; and the very survival of NATO are just a few of the many issues under discussion. Mr. Trump’s appointments of Republican National Committee chairman (and Washington insider) Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff and (highly controversial) Stephen Bannon, his campaign CEO and executive of the conservative website ‘Breitbart,’ as his chief strategist and senior counselor, have perplexed many observers.

Some or many seem to feel that with the election of Mr. Trump as President, we have gained a few more years of peace and freedom. That is a very naive, dangerous and erroneous misconception. For the biblical truth on the matter, please view our new sermon, “God’s Control of the Weather.”

Russia’s neighboring countries, especially the Baltic states, are fearful of Mr. Putin and they are very concerned about America’s future conduct; while Bulgaria and Moldova elected pro-Russian leaders.

Europe is becoming anxious to create its own unified army, recognizing the fact that it is a “superpower” which “ought to” take care of its own affairs.

While most political leaders in the world are trying to cozy up to Mr. Trump, who in turn has found “warm words” for many of them, whom he had severely attacked during his campaigns, Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has been a rare exception in continuing his criticism of Mr. Trump, which, according to many observers, has now gained him, at least in part, the proposal of Germany’s major parties for the German Presidency in February.

We conclude with articles about a nuclear agreement between India and Japan; as well as the most recent series of earthquakes in New Zealand which might have caused damages in excess of 1.4 billion US dollars.

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Is Mr. Trump “Breaking” His Promises?

JTA wrote on November 11:

“Walid Phares, one of Trump’s top foreign policy advisers… signaled that Trump might not move the US Embassy to Jerusalem immediately and indicated he would make negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal a priority right off the bat.  The comments appeared to represent a break with some comments made by other Trump advisers and the president-elect himself, and highlighted persisting confusion over what the contours of a Trump administration’s foreign policy may look like. Speaking to BBC Radio on Thursday, Phares said the nuclear deal, which Trump has railed against and vowed to dismantle, would instead be renegotiated with Tehran. ‘Ripping up is maybe a too strong of word, he’s gonna take that agreement… and then review it,’ he said…

“During the election campaign, Trump described the nuclear deal as ‘disastrous’ and said it would be his ‘number one priority’ to dismantle it. Yet he also sowed confusion when he said he would demand greater oversight over the deal and enforce it…

“On Thursday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner warned that nothing was stopping Trump from tearing up the agreement, rebuffing comments from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the pact was enshrined by the United Nations Security Council and could therefore not be canceled by one party…

“Phares also told the BBC that while Trump was committed to moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as other presidential candidates have vowed, he would not do so unilaterally… Earlier Thursday, Trump Israel adviser Jason Dov Greenblatt told Israel’s Army Radio that the president-elect would make good on his promise… Congress passed a law in 1995 mandating the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, but allowed the president a waiver. Each president since then has routinely exercised the waiver, citing the national security interests of the United States, despite repeated campaign promises…

“In comments published in German weekly Der Spiegel Thursday, Germany Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier [see more articles about him below] said it was urgent for the incoming US administration to set out its positions quickly since ‘very many questions are open’ on its foreign policy. Steinmeier said he had spoken several times with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about what President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policies might look like. But Steinmeier said even Kissinger had no insights to offer…

“In Israel, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported Thursday that Israeli officials were viewing Trump as ‘a puzzle,’ without a clear sense of whether he will match his words with actions…”

Only Words…?

Deutsche Welle wrote on November 11:

“Donald Trump promised to undo the Iran nuclear deal hammered out by the Obama administration and its international partners with Tehran. He promised to take the United States out of the Paris climate agreement signed earlier this year after years of international negotiations. He promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s health care reform, better known as ‘Obamacare.’ He vowed to undo numerous trade agreements negotiated by previous US administrations with various nations and replace them with better deals.

“These are just four out of the range of existing agreements and laws Donald Trump promised to repeal upon becoming president. And with both chambers of Congress in Republican hands, what could hold a President Trump back from making good on these promises which played a key role in his change-driven campaign agenda?…

“President Trump could pull the United States out of both the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. Since both agreements are not binding treaties, which would have required Senate approval President Obama was unlikely to get, but executive agreements, Trump could potentially issue an executive order repealing Obama’s existing executive agreements…

“… while revoking the Affordable Care Act, loathed by conservatives, would fulfill a long-standing Republican promise and hand them an important symbolic victory, it would also strongly impact those covered by it…

“While there are clear political obstacles to fulfilling many of Trump’s central campaign promises, if Donald Trump has proven anything during his campaign, then it is that… in the end, he, not his advisors, makes the important decisions… The trouble with Trump is nobody really knows him…”

… Or Maybe Not?

The Los Angeles Times wrote on November 10:

“Donald Trump’s pledge to deny entry to the country for all Muslims temporarily disappeared from his campaign website after lingering there since December, following the attacks in San Bernardino. The removal prompted new questions about one of Trump’s most controversial promises. But it was restored Thursday afternoon after what Trump’s staff characterized as a technical glitch…

“Trump’s promise helped him win the GOP primary, while drawing criticism from people who said it ran counter to American values of religious tolerance. In recent months, Trump has suggested that he would revise it to instead target people from countries linked to terrorism, rather than use religion as a criteria. But he had not, until recent days, removed the initial statement from his website. Thursday, as he was strolling the Capitol with congressional leaders, he walked away from reporters who asked whether the plan to ban Muslims remained on his agenda.”

Mass Deportations or Not?

Deutsche Welle reported on November 13:

“Donald Trump has said he will deport 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants ‘immediately’ upon taking office…

“Speaking on CBS’ ’60 Minutes; on Sunday, Trump said that on entering office in January he will deport as many as 3 million undocumented migrants. ‘What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people – probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million – we are getting them out of the country or we are going to incarcerate,’ Trump said. ‘But we’re getting them out of the country; they’re here illegally.’

“However, Trump’s comments contradicted those made by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Speaking with CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday, Ryan said that mass deportation is not a focus of the Republicans right now. ‘I think we should put people’s minds at ease’ on mass deportation, he said, because the top priority is really border security.

“Reiterating his plans to reinforce the border between the US and Mexico, Trump also said in Sunday’s interview that his proposed wall may not entirely be built from concrete or bricks and mortar. ‘There could be some fencing,’ Trump said. ‘But [in] certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I’m very good at this; it’s called construction,’ he added… Once the border is ‘secure,’ the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement will assess the status of the remaining undocumented immigrants in the country, Trump told CBS…

“Trump made the first major appointments of his administration on Sunday, selecting Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff, the top employee in the administration. He also named Stephen Bannon, his campaign CEO and executive of the conservative website ‘Breitbart,’ as his chief strategist and senior counselor… As the head of the Republican National Committee, Priebus is expected to interact with Republicans on Capitol Hill, some of whom have been skeptical of a Trump presidency. Priebus is close to House Speaker Ryan.

“Priebus said the top priorities of the Trump administration were ‘to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism.’ Priebus, Bannon and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was tasked with heading the transition team, will be the three primarily responsible for choosing Trump’s cabinet.”

Mr. Trump’s promises during the campaign did not allow for a “fence.” In addition, some of Mr. Trump’s surrogates suggested that the “wall” might not be a “real” wall made out of bricks, but just some security control from the air or through border guards.

Mr. Trump’s Shifting Positions

Newsmax wrote on November 11:

“In the first interview since his election Tuesday, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that President Barack Obama asked that he reconsider repealing the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act during their meeting Thursday at the White House.  ‘I told him I will look at his suggestions, and out of respect, I will do that,’ Trump told the Journal. ‘Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced.’

“Trump described Obamacare as having become so unworkable and expensive that ‘you can’t use it,’ the Journal reported. But he said he favors keeping the prohibition against insurers denying coverage because of patients’ existing conditions — and a provision that allows parents to provide years of additional coverage for children on their insurance policies, the Journal reported.

“Trump also punted on a question if he’d appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, saying: ‘It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought, because I want to solve health care, jobs, border control, tax reform.'”

Deutsche Welle added:

“During the presidential campaign, Trump described the Obama healthcare plan as ‘a total disaster’ and promised to ‘ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare’ on ‘day one of the Trump administration.’”

CNN added:

“President-elect Donald Trump appeared open Friday to compromising on his oft-repeated pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare — citing a conversation with none other than President Barack Obama himself. But the openness was complicated by a shift in the official positions listed on his website…”

The Huffington Post wrote:

“… it’s conceivable Republicans could decide to pass a law that they can label as ‘repeal and replace’ but that mostly modifies the existing system… Stopping short of full repeal would involve its own political peril, of course. Right-wing groups eager to rip out Obamacare, root-and-branch, would be furious. And, to be clear, it’s entirely possible Trump’s statement was just poor phrasing…

“But chances are good that Trump has never spent much time thinking about how the health care law actually works, let alone how to replace it. After finally confronting the real effects of repeal, he might not want to be the president whose term begins by yanking insurance from millions of people ― many of whom, assuredly, count themselves among his supporters.”

On Mr. Trump’s Website, the following is stated as of November 11: “Congress must act. Our elected representatives in the House and Senate must[c]ompletely repeal Obamacare.” Mr. Trump’s words were not carefully chosen. He should not have used the word “amend,” as this is different from “repeal and replace.” To be fair, Mr. Trump did say before that he would like to retain some of the provisions in Obamacare, by incorporating them in his new health-care proposals.

Just Campaign Talk?

The Washington Post wrote on November 11:

“President-elect Donald Trump and key advisers in recent days have backed away from some of the most sweeping pledges that the Republican candidate made on the campaign trail, suggesting that his administration may not deliver on promises that were important to his most fervent supporters. Trump built his campaign message around bold vows to, among other things, force Mexico to pay for a massive border wall, fully repeal the Affordable Care Act and ban Muslims from entering the United States. But in the days since his upset election victory, he or his advisers have suggested that those proposals and others may be subject to revision…

“Trump… avoided answering whether he would follow through on a campaign vow to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state…

“There is also no guarantee that Trump will not return to his previous positions. In August, he appeared to consider softening his proposal to deport millions of illegal immigrants en masse, only to give a rousing speech retaining his hard-line stance. With little clarity from Trump himself, some of his surrogates and advisers have given a mixed view of what Trump will hope to accomplish in his first 100 days in office, discounting some of his most well-known proposals.

“Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump adviser, cast doubt this week on whether the new president would seek to have Mexico fund his proposed border wall — a pledge that inspired regular chants of ‘Build that wall!’ during campaign rallies. He’ll spend a lot of time controlling the border. He may not spend very much time trying to get Mexico to pay for it, but it was a great campaign device,’ Gingrich said Thursday…

“Former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a close adviser to Trump, sounded certain that the wall would be built — but was far from clear about the timeline. He said during an interview on CNN Thursday that he thinks Trump should prioritize tax reform in his first 100 days rather than issues such as building the border wall…

“On deportations, the campaign has yet to detail how many undocumented immigrants might be targeted for immediate removal by the Trump administration. The number could range from 1 million to 6 million, according to various priorities Trump outlined over time throughout the campaign. During the GOP primaries, he repeatedly said that all of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants would have to leave. Other proposals also carry constitutional and ethical implications. After calling for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ in 2015, Trump recast the idea this year as encompassing countries that have been ‘compromised by terrorism.’…

“Trump said during the campaign that he would reinstate the use of waterboarding against terrorism suspects — a practice that Congress made illegal after its use during the George W. Bush administration. But former House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said this week that Trump’s waterboarding remarks were just ‘campaign talk,’ according to CNN.

“The future president, who ran on an anti-establishment message, also faces pressure to accede to conservative orthodoxies that run counter to promises he made on the campaign trail. Speaking about the months ahead, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) signaled this week that he would consider cutting Medicare, arguing that the program ‘is going broke’ and would need to be reformed at the same time Republicans repeal Obamacare. That, however, would contradict Trump’s vows not to touch entitlement programs…

“On international trade, it remains unclear whether Trump will follow through on his recommendations for punitive tariffs against China. Trump made a point throughout his campaign of trashing the Chinese for devaluing their currency, and said on occasion that he would put a tax on goods from China as a retaliation. ‘The tax should be 45 percent,’ he told the New York Times in January, a figure he used on several occasions. But senior policy adviser Wilbur Ross, who has consulted with Trump on his first 100 days, sought to walk back those campaign claims during an interview this week with Yahoo Finance, denying that Trump had made the suggestion…”

The American people who followed the debates and campaigns diligently, remember very well what was promised. Even and especially Trump supporters will by no means be satisfied with broken promises labeled as “a great campaign device” or “just campaign talk.”  Nor will they accept that they are now being told that Mr. Trump never made a particular promise, while millions heard him doing so. If Mr. Trump does not deliver on what he has promised, he will have to face an angry nation. And if he delivers on some of his more outrageous promises, he will face an angry nation and an angry world. Mr. Trump appears to be in a “no-win” situation.

For instance, a 45% tax on Chinese goods was most certainly more than just a suggestion, and the Chinese understood very well what Mr. Trump was saying. Please note the next article:

China Warns Mr. Trump

CNBC wrote on November 14:

“Apple iPhones and other U.S. goods could suffer sales hits in China if President-elect Donald Trump goes through with his ‘naïve’ plan of slapping a large import tariff on Chinese products, a state-backed newspaper warned on Sunday. During his election campaign this year, Trump spoke of a 45 percent import tariff on all Chinese goods while failing to outline how it would work. Should any such policy come into effect, China will take a ‘tit-for-tat approach’, according to an opinion piece in the Global Times, a newspaper backed by the Communist party. ‘A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S.,’ the Global Times article read…

“But the Chinese newspaper was not convinced Trump would go through with his suggestion, calling it ‘merely campaign rhetoric’ and questioning its legal validity. U.S. law dictates that presidents can only impose tariffs of no more than 15 percent for a maximum of 150 days on all imports. As an example of earlier tariff-tit-for-tats, the Global Times pointed toward the 35 percent tariffs imposed in 2009 on Chinese tires. China retaliated with its own tariffs on U.S. car parts and chicken. ‘Both China and the U.S. suffered losses as a result. From then on, the Obama administration waged no trade war against China. If Trump imposes a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports, China-U.S. trade will be paralyzed,’ the Global Times said…

“Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump spoke over the phone on Sunday. ‘During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another, and President-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward,’ a statement from Trump’s presidential transition team said.”

What incredible nice political words after months and months of accusations…

Donald Trump Profited from Fake News

AFP wrote on November 10:

“With the mainstream media almost uniformly hostile toward him, Donald Trump rallied supporters during the presidential campaign by delivering his message on Twitter and a loose network of alternative news sites… The real estate billionaire kept momentum even as major news organizations unearthed embarrassing episodes about his past, including on his finances and sexual conduct. As mainstream media stepped up their investigations, going so far as to call him a ‘liar,’ Trump was able to sustain a counter-narrative on social media used by conservative, or ‘alt-right,’ news sites friendly to the Republican candidate…

“As a result, fact-checking by traditional media — which revealed Trump’s massive penchant for exaggeration and falsehood — had less impact than might have been expected… Many Trump supporters and conservatives turned to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to spread their messages and counter the news in traditional outlets. But much of the news on Facebook was fake… One local official shared news on Facebook with headlines such as ‘Hillary Clinton Calling for Civil War If Trump Is Elected’ and ‘Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President’… The dissemination of such fake news was a key factor in Trump’s win…”

The Bible reports about incidents when God allowed false rumors to spread, in order to fulfill His purpose.

Mr. Trump’s Double Standard

The Huffington Post wrote on November 12:

In… tweets related to the 2012 election… Trump described the Electoral College as ‘phoney’ [sic] and called for a ‘revolution.’ ‘He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election,’ Trump said then of Obama. ‘We should have a revolution in this country!’

“Of course, Trump ended up being wrong: Obama won both the popular and Electoral College votes.

“Trump himself won this year’s vote of the Electoral College, which he attacked in 2012 as a ‘disaster for a democracy.’ As of Friday, he was losing the popular vote, with 60,248,555 votes, compared with 60,811,795 for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to CNN.”

Will NATO Evaporate?

NBC News reported on November 12:

“If Donald Trump actually follows through on his bold rhetoric he is in danger of tearing NATO apart, and with it the very concept of ‘the West’ itself, according to experts. During his campaign, Trump sent shock waves of alarm through Europe after revealing that he might not come to the aid of his NATO allies if they were attacked. This called into question a fundamental principle of the alliance: that an attack against one of its 28 members is considered an attack against all.

“Furthermore, the president-elect has cozied up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a strongman who’s positioned himself as NATO’s arch-antagonist. All this could have mortal consequences for a Euro-American alliance funded by billions of U.S. dollars over its 67-year history. ‘If a NATO member was attacked by Russia and Washington didn’t come to its aid, then ‘it’s finished — that’s completely the end of NATO,’ according to Judy Dempsey…  ‘If it becomes clear that the U.S. will not honor Article 5 commitments, or enough members believe that they won’t, then there’s a possibility to total disintegration,’ said Tate Nurkin…

“Many analysts agree Moscow could potentially create a standoff in the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia… The Baltics were once part of the Soviet Union and many of their citizens self-identify as ethnic Russians. Moscow could claim that these ethnic Russians were somehow under threat by their Western-leaning governments, so the hypothetical scenario goes, and stage a military intervention to protect them. This could force the U.S. into a dilemma: Defend the Baltic nations and risk war with Russia, or abandon Article 5 and effect the disintegration of NATO.

“It wouldn’t even have to come to that. In reality, the concept of collective-defense works purely because of the threat the U.S. military would get involved. If Russia and the Baltics don’t believe the White House would intervene then this evaporates.”

Lithuania Fearful

The Guardian wrote on November 11:

“Donald Trump appeared overnight on a wall in the Lithuanian capital this spring – larger than lifesize and locked in a kiss with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The mural was meant as satire, a nod to the unexpected mutual appreciation between two macho demagogues on opposite sides of the world, and a wink at the long shadow of Soviet history that still hangs over the region. Now, with Trump president-elect and America’s commitment to protecting the Baltics in question for the first time in decades, it seems to express something much darker…

“Trump’s victory has been greeted with trepidation far beyond America’s borders. His confusing collection of policy promises and pride in his own unpredictability threaten disruption to the geopolitical order from South Korea to Syria. But those fears are felt particularly keenly in the Baltic states, western outposts of the Soviet empire less than three decades ago, now vulnerable republics on the doorstep of an increasingly assertive Russia…

“Lithuanians and other Baltic nations…  have watched the Russian leader foment war in Georgia and Ukraine, and seize Crimea, and have warned that they could be next, if Putin believes the protection from their US and European allies is faltering…

“Even more chilling for those willing to trust Trump was just indulging in election politicking were remarks from key ally Newt Gingrich, who dismissed Estonia… as virtually part of Russia and barely worth defending…

“Once a regional power, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania came under Moscow’s control in the 18th century, when Russia also tried to stamp out Lithuanian identity, banning books in Lithuanian and persecuting the Roman Catholic church… Immediately south-west of Lithuania is the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, where it has been ramping up troops and military hardware. Those weapons, and Russia’s close relationship with neighbouring Belarus, means the Baltics could be swiftly cut off from the rest of Europe, if Lithuania’s short stretch of border with Poland was threatened.”

Pro-Russian Candidates in Bulgaria and Moldova Win

Deutsche Welle reported on November 13:

“With nearly 100 percent of votes counted, Igor Dodon has declared victory in Moldova’s presidential election. The former economy minister hopes to strengthen ties with Moscow… The election results came as nearby Bulgaria voted in Moscow-friendly Rumen Radev in their presidential election. The victory for the Socialist ally triggered the resignation of center-right Prime Minister Boiko Borisov.”

Coming — A Great Bargain Between the USA and Russia?

The Daily Mail wrote on November 16:

“The restoration of the Soviet empire is under way — and America is not going to stop it. That is the chilling conclusion we must draw from Donald Trump’s first few days as President-elect, in which he received what he termed a ‘beautiful’ letter from Vladimir Putin, followed by an amicable phone call in which the two pledged to restore friendly relations between Washington and Moscow.

“Then, yesterday, Syria’s President Assad said that Mr Trump would be a ‘natural ally’ alongside Russia in the bloodsoaked Syrian civil war if he fulfils his pledge to fight terrorism. Assad and Putin are, of course, at the forefront of the aerial bombardment that began on Tuesday against rebel-held areas of the city of Aleppo after several weeks of relative calm.  The assaults were launched by war planes and via missile attacks from a Russian aircraft carrier stationed off the Syrian coast… the U.S. President-elect does not see it as a priority to stop Russian aggression outside its borders…

“The real damage will be done abroad — to us and to others who depend on strong defence and intelligence ties with America. Intelligence experts fear Putin will offer President Trump a ‘Grand Bargain’ some time in 2017… He [Putin] would promise… a future of peace and friendship. The deal-loving tycoon [Trump]… would boast about saving billions of dollars by being able to pull American troops out of Europe.

“In truth, this deal would be as shameful as the Yalta summit of 1945 at which Stalin outmanoeuvred Britain and America, consigning Eastern Europe to misery and captivity within the Soviet Empire. It would also have echoes of the Munich Agreement of 1938 in which our Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sought to appease Hitler by letting him dismember our ally, Czechoslovakia. Either way, the ‘Grand Bargain’ would be both cynical and astonishingly dangerous.

“Countries such as Estonia would fight, just as Ukraine has, rather than submit to a Kremlin take-over. We [Europe] would be drawn in — and would face an emboldened and powerful Russia — and without American help…”

 Barack Obama and Angela Merkel Lecture Donald Trump

The Associated Press wrote on November 17:

“Offering some pointed foreign policy advice to his successor, President Barack Obama expressed hope Thursday that President-elect Donald Trump would stand up to Russia when it deviates from U.S. ‘values and international norms.’ Obama, in a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his final presidential visit to Germany, said that… Trump shouldn’t ‘simply take a real-politik approach’ and suggest[ed] ‘that if we just cut some deals with Russia, even if it hurts people or even if it violates international norms or even if it leaves smaller countries vulnerable or creates long-term problems in regions like Syria, that we just do whatever’s convenient at the time.’

“… A joint opinion piece by Obama and Merkel published Thursday in Germany’s weekly business magazine WirtschaftsWoche seemed directed as much at the incoming Trump administration in the U.S. as at European nations… Obama and Merkel noted that European Union-U.S. trade was the largest between any two partners worldwide, and emphasized that the trans-Atlantic friendship has helped forge a climate accord, provide help for refugees worldwide, form a collective defense under NATO, and strengthen the global fight against the Islamic State extremist group.

“Trump, in contrast, has called climate change a ‘hoax’ and said the climate accord should be renegotiated. He promised to tighten rules for accepting refugees, complained the U.S. was paying more than its share to support NATO and has sharply criticized the U.S. strategy for fighting IS…

“The mood for Obama’s latest visit was significantly tamped down compared with his first visit to the German capital in 2008, when some 200,000 exuberant fans packed the road between the landmark Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column to hear the then-candidate, in a speech that solidified his place on the world stage. Obama told Berliners then that progress requires sacrifice and shared burdens among allies. ‘That is why America cannot turn inward,’ Obama told the cheering crowd. ‘That is why Europe cannot turn inward.’

“Eight years later, his words seem to have foreshadowed the nationalist, isolationist forces gaining traction in some parts of Europe and punctuated by Trump’s victory in the U.S. election.”

EU to Uphold “Iran Deal”

The Associated Press reported on November 14:

“Top EU diplomats are calling for more robust European defense and a greater European voice in world affairs as Donald Trump — whose isolationist, protectionist promises have worried many in Europe — prepares to assume the US presidency… ‘The European Union is a superpower,’ EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters…

“In a first move Monday, the ministers reaffirmed their support for the Iran nuclear agreement, which Trump has branded the ‘worst deal in the world’… They said ‘the European Union reiterates its resolute commitment’ to the part of the action plan that EU heavyweights Britain, France and Germany agreed upon with Iran…”

The “Need” for a European Army after Mr. Trump’s Election

Daily Mail wrote on November 11:

“Donald Trump’s election as US President makes an EU army even more necessary, Eurocrats have said. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said Mr Trump’s pledge to cut spending on Nato and his isolationist approach to foreign policy gives Europe no choice but to strengthen its commons security and defence structures. His call to arms was echoed by the EU’s head of diplomacy, who called for the bloc to become a ‘superpower’ and act as the ‘principal global security provider’.

“It has sent alarm bells ringing in Britain as MPs fear that an EU army and a disengaged America will leave the UK isolated on the global stage. Setting out his plans to press ahead with building an EU army, Mr Juncker said: ‘The Americans… will not ensure the security of the Europeans in the long term. We have to do this ourselves. That is why we need a new start in the field of European defence, up to the goal of setting up a European army.

“Federica Mogherini, the EU high representative who represents the bloc on the global stage – published extensive plans for an EU army in the summer, deliberately waiting until after Britain’s EU referendum. Yesterday she said the EU must strengthen militarily in response to Mr Trump’s election to the White House. ‘In a changing global landscape, Europe will be more and more an indispensable power,’ she said. ‘This is the time to take on our responsibilities and to respond to that call and we can do this only as a true union.’…

“Reaction to Mr Trump’s shock victory on Wednesday was much colder in tone on the continent than Theresa May’s warm congratulations. French President Francois Hollande said his election ‘opens a period of uncertainty’ that must be met by a united Europe, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel… said her offer of ‘close cooperation’ was dependent with Mr Trump was dependent on him respecting liberal values.”

Germany Backs EU Army

The EUObserver wrote von November 11:

“Donald Trump’s victory, as well as Brexit, ought to speed up plans for EU defence integration, Germany has said. ‘Europe needs the common political will for more security policy relevance. The outcome of the election in America could provide an additional impetus’, German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen said in an opinion article in the Rheinische Post, a German newspaper, on Thursday (10 November).”

The Irish Times added on November 11:

“Germany has backed a renewed call by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker for the European Union to push ahead with developing an EU army… His call received swift backing from senior German figures on Thursday, ahead of an EU defence minister summit in mid-December.”

Europe’s Perfect Storm

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 10:

“The European Union is facing what the Americans like to call a ‘perfect storm.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin is pursuing expansionism on the back of violence and propaganda, Turkey is transforming into a dictatorship and populists are driving Britain out of the EU and have risen to power in Poland and Hungary… And now, Donald Trump.

“Chancellor Angela Merkel even made her cooperation with Trump dependent on his adherence to fundamental values. A German head of government admonishing a newly elected US president to uphold freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human dignity?… almost nothing seems normal these days — neither in European relations with the US nor elsewhere. Current events in Turkey, for example, would likely be the top issue of concern for the EU if it weren’t for Trump’s election…

“Trump could contribute to European unity, even if unwittingly… Thus far, the US president-elect hasn’t presented anything that could even remotely be called a coherent foreign policy agenda… Eastern European countries under threat from Russia… may not be able to wait until Trump presents more precise plans, if indeed he ever does. During the campaign, after all, Trump repeatedly emphasized that unpredictability in foreign and security policy was advantageous…

“Daniela Schwarzer of the German Council on Foreign Relations expressed a similar view. Even if Trump won’t be able to implement everything that he promised during the campaign, ‘Germany and Europe can no longer rely as usual on the trans-Atlantic partnership,’ says Schwarzer…

“Many in Brussels are concerned that the EU is facing the same fate as the US — namely that Front National leader Marine Le Pen could end up being elected president in France and that Frauke Petry, head of the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany, could even take over the German Chancellery. Such a thing might seem unimaginable, but many thought that Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections was unimaginable too.

“The anger that many voters feel against government institutions and the establishment, the anger that propelled Trump to the presidency, is also widely present in Europe. But nobody has yet found an answer for how to oppose it…”

Angela Merkel Last Powerful Defender of Europe?

The New York Times wrote on November 12:

Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has emerged as the last powerful defender of Europe and the trans-Atlantic alliance after the election of Donald J. Trump… An increasingly divided Europe is looking to Germany, its richest power, to cope with its many problems…

“Italy and Spain are politically fragile, Austria might elect a hard-right president next month, and Ms. Merkel faces difficult negotiations with Britain over its so-called Brexit. And with Mr. Trump advocating ‘America First’ and questioning the value of the NATO alliance, there is pressure on Germany to take a greater role in European security — always a delicate matter…

“Berlin’s B.Z. tabloid… pronounced the election of Mr. Trump ‘the night the West died.’”

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Refuses to Apologize to Mr. Trump

Express wrote on November 11:

“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has refused to apologise to President-Elect Donald Trump after calling him a hate preacher. And while world leaders have flocked to offer their congratulations to Mr Trump on his shock US election – Mr Steinmeier is not for turning. In a video of an interview the politician was asked directly whether he will apologise to Mr Trump now that he will have to work alongside him on world affairs. But Mr Steinmeier did what politicians do best and ignored the question – giving another scathing review of Mr Trump.

“He said: ‘We have probably never experienced an election campaign, especially not in the US, but I also can’t remember European election campaigns, in which the rift between the political candidates were dug so deeply and in which the confrontation was so harsh, so unyielding and so unforgiving as it was during this election campaign… A lot of hatred was involved there and I believe that this is an impression that I share with many others. If I think back to many conversations with my European colleagues who were similarly irritated, shook their heads. But, who were also especially worried about the question of how a society can come back together after such an election campaign and I believe this is one of the big challenges that a president Trump will be facing now, who was elected.’”

Frank-Walter Steinmeier the Next German President?

Deutsche Welle wrote on November 14:

“The conservative CDU and CSU parties have backed Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier to replace Joachim Gauck as president, paving the way for him to take up the post without a serious challenge. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) has backed Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier to be the ruling coaliton’s candidate for the German presidency, following talks among party leaders on Monday morning. The CDU’s Bavarian sister-party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), also gave its backing for Steinmeier. ‘We have come to an agreement, CSU and CDU,’ CSU leader Horst Seehofer said…

“The conservative Union’s support clears the way for the current foreign minister to go unchallenged in taking over the presidency from Joachim Gauck on February 12. The grand CDU-SPD-CSU coalition enjoys an overwhelming advantage in the electoral assembly that will choose the new president, meaning challenges from a candidate fielded by the Left party or the Greens should be easily overcome.

“The German presidency is a largely ceremonial role that is meant to transcend party politics and serve as a moral compass speaking hard truths to the nation. Steinmeier tends to score well in personal approval ratings, and has recently exhibited some of the hard talk expected from a president – for instance being cool towards British Foreign Minister and Brexit figurehead Boris Johnson, and towards newly-elected US President Donald Trump…

“Steinmeier has twice served as foreign minister in grand coalition governments, each time cooperating with the CDU/CSU and working under Merkel.”

The Anti-Trump Candidate

The Local wrote on November 14:

“Germany’s ruling coalition has backed Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as the country’s next president, party sources said Monday, paving the way for a sharp critic of Donald Trump to become head of state… Steinmeier, 60, has emerged in recent months as the German government’s most strident detractor of US president-elect Donald Trump. He warned a day after Trump’s shock election that transatlantic relations would become ‘more difficult’… During the US campaign, Steinmeier was even more outspoken, saying the prospect of a Trump presidency was a ‘frightening’ prospect for the world. He also compared Trump to a ‘hate preacher’, saying he had much in common with ‘fear-mongers’ in Germany’s right-wing populist AfD party as well as advocates of Britain’s exit from the EU.

“On Monday, the respected daily Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) also saw the Trump presidency as relevant to Steinmeier’s proposed new role, describing him as the ‘anti-Trump.”

Japan and India Sign Nuclear Agreement

Deutsche Welle reported on November 11:

“Japan signed a civilian nuclear agreement with India on Friday, allowing the East Asian country to supply its advanced nuclear technology to its South Asian ally. The pact forbids that India use the resources for the production of nuclear weapons.

“This marks the first time that Japan has agreed to contribute to the nuclear energy industry of any country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The treaty’s objective is to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy while stemming the production of nuclear arms… India has refused to sign the NPT on the grounds that the treaty’s definition of states who are allowed to build nuclear weapons discriminates against India. The definition in the treaty is limited to those states who tested weapons before 1967. India, which has nuclear weapons, tested its first bomb in 1974.”

Powerful Earthquakes Hits New Zealand

Reuters wrote on November 14:

“A powerful earthquake (with a revised magnitude of 7.8) rocked New Zealand on Monday… Emergency response teams were flying by helicopter to the region at the epicentre of the 7.8 magnitude quake, some 91 km (57 miles) northeast of Christchurch in the South Island, amid reports of injuries and collapsed buildings. Hundreds of aftershocks, the strongest measuring 6.1 magnitude, continued to shake the country well into mid-morning, after the initial quake struck minutes after midnight…

“New Zealand lies in the seismically active ‘Ring of Fire’, a 40,000 km arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that partly encircles the Pacific Ocean. Around 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur within this region…”

Deutsche Welle added on November 14:

“New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Monday indicated that damage… could cost the country around 2 billion New Zealand dollars ($1.43 billion, 1.33 billion euros), local news reported.”

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Please Explain Why the Concept of Being a Jew “Inwardly” Is Mentioned in Romans 2:28-29.

The underlying point of this statement centers on Paul’s explanation about true Christianity. Note these opening comments in the Book of Romans: “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called… saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1-7).

In this introduction Paul establishes that Jesus Christ was a Jew by birth. This is confirmed in Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 11:1; Micah 5:2; Luke 3:23-38; Hebrews 7:14; and Revelation 5:5. Furthermore, Jesus Himself revealed that “‘salvation is of the Jews’” (John 4:22).

Continuing in the first chapter of Romans, Paul states:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

When it came to the promises of God, the issue of “Jewishness” was a source of great contention in the society of Paul’s day—and in the Church of God.

The most obvious physical identification of male Jews was circumcision. Gentiles did not generally practice circumcision. However, the rite of circumcision in the first century A.D. had become ritualistic for Jews. This physical procedure was viewed as securing their relationship with God—a false confidence and an empty profession of religion.

Circumcision, as Paul explains concerning Abraham, was merely an outward sign:

And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,

and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised” (Romans 4:11-12).

The true intention of this “sign of circumcision” was revealed in the Old Testament:

“‘Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer’” (Deuteronomy 10:16; also: Jeremiah 4:4; Deuteronomy 30:6).

Paul carries forward this teaching in Romans 2:28-29:

“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”

The pride of the religious leaders in Judaism had blinded them. When John the Baptist encountered Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him for baptism, he said:

“‘Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones’” (Matthew 3:8-9).

When Jesus taught the Jews who followed Him that they could learn the truth and become free, their response was one of arrogance:

“They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, “You will be made free?”’” (John 8:33).

Jesus responded, “‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham’” (John 8:39).

From these two examples we see that being in the physical lineage of righteous Abraham did not fulfill the inward requirements for repentance or for understanding the Truth of God on the part of the Jews. Furthermore, the hope of eternal salvation is not based on physical lineage—note what is promised to those who live “in the Spirit”; that is, who are “inwardly” true Christians:

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29).

The New Testament makes reference to circumcision to show that this physical action was no longer necessary (compare Acts 15:1-29), but there was a strong demand by some Jewish Christians to require the Gentile converts to be circumcised. The Book of Galatians addresses this false teaching. While it is not wrong to circumcise new-born babies on the eighth day (understanding however that circumcision is not and never has been a physical health law), it would be wrong to circumcise if it is believed that it is a biblical requirement today, and that one can thereby obtain justification and salvation. Paul made very clear that if we think and act that way, “Christ will profit [us] nothing” (Galatians 5:2) and we “have fallen from grace” (verse 4)—the need for God’s help and forgiveness—while rejecting forgiveness of sin through Christ’s Sacrifice (compare our comments to Galatians 5:2-4 in our free booklet, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians.” )

Let us note Paul’s conclusion:

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:15-16; compare Romans 9:6).

Of this “Israel of God,” Paul further describes what being a Jew “inwardly” means:

“For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).

In conclusion, true Christians are “inward Jews” because they are spiritually circumcised in their hearts, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God.

Lead Writer: Dave Harris

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Our new booklet, “God’s Law or God’s Grace?”, along with the November Member Letter have been mailed to our subscribers. These publications are available upon request. In the letter, Norbert Link discusses the future of this country and the world under a Trump administration and points out that the Bible does not condone our sinful conduct as a nation.

“Die Abtreibung im Blickfeld der Bibel,” is the title of this week’s German sermon. Title in English: “Abortion in Light of the Bible”.

“Power of One,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:

People have great strength. But what happens when we as Christians don’t have great strength? Where do we turn when we are down and discouraged? How do we get out of these types of situations? How can we move forward? We can accomplish great things if we allow God to lead us.

“God’s Control of the Weather,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

This sermon shows the difference between today’s weather conditions, which are oftentimes catastrophic, and the weather conditions in the future, when God rules on earth. Bad weather conditions can be the direct result of God’s punishment for sin, while good weather can be the direct consequence of God’s blessing for right conduct. We will also address the political situation around the world, following Mr. Trump’s election as President; his “no-win”-position; and “Europe’s perfect storm,” leading to unparalleled terrible world conditions, as a result of sin.

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Selling My Birthright?

by Delia Messier (Canada)

We have been taught that today only very few are called and chosen to know God and to worship Him in spirit and in truth. The exciting fact is that I am one of those very privileged few—a begotten child,  part of His firstfruits, waiting to be born into the Royal Family of God as one of His spiritual daughters, and to share His joy eternally!

Each day I realize that this is the greatest and most wonderful opportunity, privilege and promise on earth, which God has given to me! Each day and moment I have a choice  to make:  To do God’s Will  or my will.

Do I allow my will to prevail, no matter how small? Do those very small things even count? Or are they— in the end—very big things?

Could it really be that—for that very small bowl of pottage—I could be “Selling my Birthright”?

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

©2024 Church of the Eternal God