Update 787


Something to Keep; Ways of Knowing

On June 17, 2017, Dave Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “Something to Keep,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Ways of Knowing.”

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.

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Whose Slaves Are We?

by Dave Harris

We get to choose! (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

It all boils down to being a slave of righteousness or a slave of sin—to being a slave of obedience to God or a slave of obedience to Satan. The outcome is either eternal life or eternal death (Romans 3:15-23).

We are a slave of sin if we commit sin (John 8:34). Remember that before becoming a Christian we were all captives of Satan—we did what he wanted us to do (2 Timothy 2:26). We were slaves of sin (Romans 6:17).

But God called us out of Satan’s slavery (Romans 8:2). He revealed the truth, and that made us free (John 8:32). We are “called to liberty” (Galatians 5:13), and it is the truth that enables us to understand God’s “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25; also: 2:12). It is the truth which sets Christians apart from Satan’s influence (John 17:17).

Now, as Christians, we are “slaves of God” (Romans 6:22). We have been redeemed—our freedom from slavery was bought by the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

As slaves, we are called servants of God and Jesus Christ (compare Revelation 1:1; 22:6). That means we are to give our service to them—which understanding is borne out in many of the parables of Jesus, for example, “‘So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, “We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do”’” (Luke 17:10).

There is a very high standard for serving God—and Jesus Christ, as the Servant of God, has set the example for us (compare Matthew 12:18; Acts 3:13, 26; 4:27, 30). The reward for serving God as Jesus Christ did places us in a very special relationship with Him:

“‘No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you’” (John 15:15).

Yet, there is so much more in store for the former slaves of Satan who have been called to become slaves of God—as the apostle John reveals:

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).

Whose slaves we are will be reflected in how we live—will it be in righteousness or wickedness? There really is only one right choice to make!

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We begin with the devastating election debacle of UK Prime Minister Theresa May; her struggle to stay in power; and the potential negative consequences for Britain’s negotiations with Europe over Brexit (Please view our new StandingWatch program, Why Britain’s Election Debacle?” ). At the same time, we observe French President Emmanuel Macron’s overwhelming election victory which will enable him to carry out plans to make the EU more successful. Another article shows that a most powerful European army IS coming; and we also focus on developments in The Netherlands.

The controversy over President Trump’s fight with former FBI director James Comey continues and observers are taking sides as to who might be lying; Attorney General Jeff Session’s testimony did not accomplish much to establish clarity; a new report alleges that President Trump is now under criminal investigation for obstruction of justice; and disputed reports emerged that President Trump might cancel any visits in the UK for fear of and anger about demonstrations against him. Another court rules against President Trump’s travel ban; and conflicting messages from President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson over Qatar and Iran’s and Turkey’s involvement make the situation in the Middle East highly unpredictable.

We report on Angela Merkel’s visit in Mexico and her praise for the German army; on the perception that it is Germany’s role to lead Europe; and on violence in the Philippines and the Philippine government’s unclear stance towards America’s assistance in their fight against “Muslim militants”.

We continue with articles about violence on the Temple Mount; the position of the Israeli people on gay marriage and Tel Aviv’s annual gay parade; smoking; parents being charged with murder for refusing to give medical assistance to their child;  the danger of the daily use of Aspirin; Attorney General Session’s fight against medical marijuana; the threat emerging from driverless cars and drones; and the major threat from asteroids.

We conclude with articles about the Pope’s claim for unquestioned obedience; and the false doctrine of the Trinity.

Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.

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Theresa May’s Election Debacle

The Associated Press wrote on June 9:

“Having called an early election in hopes of getting an increased majority that could have strengthened her hand in Britain’s exit talks with the EU, [Theresa] May instead saw her majority evaporate completely — leaving her fortunes hanging by a thread and dark clouds over the Brexit negotiations just 10 days before they are due to start…

“May’s snap election call was the second time that a Conservative gamble on the issue of Britain’s relations with Europe backfired. Her predecessor, David Cameron, first asked British voters to decide in 2016 whether to leave the EU. Cameron, gambling that Britons wouldn’t want to sever their network of ties with the continent, had promised the Brexit referendum during a 2015 election campaign that gave Conservatives a surprise Parliamentary majority. When voters stunned him and Europe by voting to leave, he resigned, leaving May to deal with the mess…

“May… was criticized for a lackluster campaigning style and for a plan to force elderly people to pay more for their care, a proposal her opponents dubbed the ‘dementia tax.’… Then, attacks in Manchester and London that killed a total of 30 people brought the campaign to a halt — twice. They sent a wave of anxiety through Britain and forced May to defend the government’s record on fighting terrorism…”

Theresa May’s debacle might have negative consequences for Britain regarding its power to negotiate successfully in the upcoming Brexit talks. Note the next articles.

Consequences for Brexit

Express wrote on June 9:

“European Council President Mr Tusk… tweeted: ‘We don’t know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end.’ … Manfred Weber, MEP and chairman of the European People’s Party group, wrote: ‘… EU is united, UK is deeply split…’ [Tusk also wrote:] ‘The timeframe set by Article 50 of the Treaty leaves us with no time to lose,’… referring to a deadline of March 2019 when Britain will no longer be a member of the bloc, whether or not a deal is reached to avoid legal uncertainties.”

The Guardian wrote on June 11:

“Theresa May is to be told the EU will take a year to draft a new mandate for its chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, effectively killing the Brexit negotiations, if she insists on discussing a future trade relationship at the same time as the UK’s divorce bill…

“The EU’s 27 leaders formally agreed to give Barnier a narrow set of tasks at a summit in April and they have no intention of rethinking the so-called phased approach when they meet May at a European summit on 22-23 June…

“The threat to take a year out of the already dwindling window for negotiations under article 50 of the Lisbon treaty illustrates the intense frustration felt in Brussels.”

A one-year delay in negotiations or their total abandonment would not change the fact that Britain will no longer be a member of the EU by March 2019. But Britain would clearly end up on the losing side. Note the next article.

The Clock Is Ticking

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 12:

“When Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March, thus beginning the formal process of Britain’s exit from the European Union, she did not realize she would soon be fighting for her political life. Article 50, which was not designed to make things easy for the country exiting the EU, sets a strict two-year timeline for talks, giving Britain until March 2019 to conclude discussions…

“Talks had been expected to begin on June 19. ‘There is absolutely no doubt that the UK government enters these negotiations tremendously diminished, and the absence of a clear mandate risks further destabilizing what was already likely to be a difficult, complex process,’ Sophie Gaston, head of international projects at the think tank Demos, told DW. ‘Triggering Article 50 before an election was grossly arrogant and has left the country in a highly vulnerable position. We can delay the start date for talks as long as we wish, but the clock will not stop ticking on their end date.’…

“‘The damage that will be caused by Brexit will be more directly caused by May’s sequence of bad decisions than by the actual referendum result,’ lawyer and legal commentator David Allen Green told DW. ‘The UK is now three months into the Article 50 process and it seems we are in a worse position because of May’s frolic of a general election than when the UK made the notification.’”

“British Employers Unprepared for Immigration Changes after Brexit”

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 12:

“Roughly half of employers in the UK looked unprepared for the government’s planned changes to immigration rules after Brexit… About 30 percent of respondents said they expected freedom of movement to continue for citizens from the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) as long as job offers were available. Another 17 percent thought there would be no change at all to the current rules, with the Resolution Foundation calling such views ‘totally unrealistic,’ given that Prime Minister Theresa May had pledged to cut immigration to the tens of thousands, regardless of businesses’ demand for foreign labor.

“Forty-six percent of companies employing nationals from the EU or EEA said they did not expect any decline in their numbers, even though official data had already shown a sharp drop in net migration. ‘There’s a stark gap between what businesses want and expect from our post-Brexit immigration system and what the government has pledged to deliver,’ policy analyst Stephen Clarke said in a statement.”

“London May Lose Euro Clearing Business”

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 13:

“The EU is scheduled to unveil new rules for the financial sector that could result in a huge slice of London’s banking business leaving after Brexit. It would be a severe blow to London’s role as a financial hub… the new rules could deny post-Brexit London the right to host financial market clearing houses that deal in euros, the eurozone’s single currency. Clearing houses are a key part of London’s financial operations, with trillions of euros being handled every year.

“The issue of whether the euro clearing business can remain in the British capital is set to be one of the most contentious issues when the UK negotiates its future trade relationship with the EU.

“Brussels said last month it was exploring several options including the possibility of Britain keeping its euro clearing, while accepting strict EU oversight. But experts fear that this oversight might be so tough that many clearing houses would still want to relocate to EU member countries. The London Stock Exchange has bitterly objected to any such relocation activities. ‘It’s going to be complete chaos,’ LSE Chief Executive Xavier Rolet told reporters…

“Rolet argued a forced relocation of euro clearing to the EU would require a near doubling of the $83 billion (74 billion euros) that finance companies set aside for contract defaults. European financial experts say this figure is exaggerated…”

The end-result of the Brexit will be an economic downfall for the UK.

Civil War in May’s Party

The Daily Mail wrote on June 9:

“Furious Tory MPs last night threatened to oust Theresa May within six months after her disastrous election campaign. The party was plunged into civil war after the Prime Minister lost her Commons majority, with MPs aghast at her campaign tactics that resulted in the Tories blowing a 20-point lead over Labour. They demanded the resignation of Mrs May’s closest aides, and amid reports the PM had to be talked out of resigning early yesterday, some ministers said she would be forced from office in months…

“In a defiant statement on the steps of No 10 yesterday, Mrs May vowed to ‘get to work’ on delivering Brexit… However, the tone of Mrs May’s statement only enraged Tory MPs further as she failed to mention the MPs who had lost their seats, or show any contrition for a result that plunges the country – and Brexit negotiations – into turmoil.

“After critics said she was ‘in denial’, Mrs May later made a statement in which she apologised to Tory MPs who lost their seats and promised to ‘reflect’ on the result.”

Many feel that Theresa May will not survive this debacle for long.

Party Uncomfortable with DUP Alliance

Bloomberg reported on June 10:

“Anger in her ranks is palpable, with some prominent [members] uncomfortable with the plan to form a parliamentary alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party, [a pro-British Protestant group] which opposes gay marriage and abortion. Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, who is a lesbian, expressed those doubts publicly on Friday evening after speaking to May…

“Conservatives [are left] with 317 seats in Parliament out of 650, meaning they’re likely to need the DUP’s 10 votes to win a confidence motion… In return, the DUP is likely to ask for more money to be spent on Northern Ireland, and other specific concessions.

“In the meantime, European Union leaders are showing May little sympathy with Brexit negotiations due to start in nine days. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she saw no reason to grant the U.K. a grace period…”

Note too that British voters elected a record number of 45 LGBTQ candidates to parliament — 7 percent of its 650 members, according to the Washington Post, dated June 11.

Warnings against a Deal with DUP

The Daily Mail wrote on June 10:

“It had previously been thought that the party once run by the late Ian Paisley would only enter into a confidence and supply deal with the Tories – an agreement which would see the two parties agreeing support on a law-by-law basis…

“The DUP is the leading unionist party in Northern Ireland and it is supposed to share power with republican Sinn Fein but bitter feuds have left the devolved assembly suspended. Westminster is supposed to act as an honest broker between the parties… Sinn Fein is already suspicious of Tory neutrality because of the party’s traditional closeness to the DUP and any form of coalition will chill relations further. The deal will raise the prospect of a long-term collapse in Northern Ireland devolution. The current row was triggered by DUP leader Arlene Foster refusing to resign as First Minister over a green energy funding scandal.

“Jonathan Powell, a key adviser to Tony Blair when he brokered peace in Northern Ireland, warned yesterday: ‘Even John Major didn’t resort to relying on DUP… This could undo 20 years of work in Northern Ireland.’”

This makes it indeed very difficult for Britain to be a neutral broker in Northern Ireland’s internal fight. Deutsche Welle added on June 15: The EU’s Michel Barnier and UK’s David Davis have agreed to meet next week to start talks on Britain’s departure from the bloc. Theresa May has still not sealed a deal for the DUP to support her minority government.”

Macron’s Overwhelming Victory

Reuters reported on June 11:

“French President Emmanuel Macron’s party and its allies have won the biggest share of the vote in the first round of legislative elections on Sunday… Macron’s Republic on the Move party (LREM) and its allies [won] over 30 percent of the vote… a result that pollsters say could deliver him as much as three quarters of lower house seats when the second round results [which will take place next Sunday] come in [putting his party and ally Modem on track to take between 415 and 455 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly].

“The results are another blow to the country’s mainstream Socialist and conservative parties already reeling from Macron’s election in May, which blew apart the left-right divide that has shaped French politics for the past century.

“Macron professes to be neither right nor left. His one-year-old Republic on the Move (LREM) party fielded more than 400 candidates, bringing together seasoned veterans and political novices…

“[The] results… give France’s youngest leader since Napoleon a powerful mandate with which to make good on his campaign pledges to revive France’s fortunes by cleaning up politics and easing regulations that investors say hobble the euro zone’s No.2 economy.”

Emmanuel Macron’s victory is indeed interesting in the light of the European unification process, given the fact that Mr. Macron and Mrs. Merkel are strong supporters of a powerful Europe. Note the next article.

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 12:

“LREM’s win is one of the largest parliamentary majorities in the history of France’s Fifth Republic, allowing Macron to implement a range of reforms he promised ahead of the presidential election a month ago.

“Macron had called for a reform of the European Union, including a strengthening of the Eurozone through a common budget, as well as introducing ‘new executive powers’ in the euro region, a ‘Euro chamber’ and a ‘Euro commissioner.’ …”

Coming… a Most Powerful EU Army

The Daily Star wrote on June 13:

“THE EU is developing a massive army capable of going toe-to-toe with Vladimir Putin in eastern Europe… European nations are working together to finance plans for a combined fighter jet force as the dawn of a new EU super-army draws closer. French aviation giant Airbus has been commissioned to build the deadly new fighters by the governments of Germany and Spain – with France also looking likely to take part.

“Airbus’ military division head Fernando Alonso said: ‘We have to work together in Europe. There is no more space for two or three different systems. The time is ripe for making and implementing a decision on common defence.’”

We hear more and more about Europe’s determination to establish a powerful army. Some still question this or feel this will take a long time. However, the Bible says that it will happen very suddenly and it will be surprising to many.

The Netherlands Still Without a Government

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 13:

“Almost three months after the federal election, the Netherlands still can’t form a coalition government… Four parties were attempting to form a coalition on Monday evening, but discussions ran aground…

“Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Liberal VVD party won the most seats in the March 15 election, and was negotiating with leaders from the centre-right CDA, progressive D66 and ecologist leftwing GroenLinks to form a four-party coalition. Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam, anti-EU Freedom Party came second in the election, but most major parties had vowed not to work with him… Wilders seized on the disagreement, saying that only with the help of his party would the Netherlands get a strict immigration policy…”

The Netherlands—descendant of the biblical tribe of Zebulon—are an interesting phenomenon. Traditionally on bad terms with Germany, it will remain to be seen whether they will end up as a part of the core European nations.

Who Is Lying—Mr. Trump or Mr. Comey?

The Guardian wrote on June 9:

“Who is lying – Trump or Comey? What is clear is that the members of the Senate intelligence committee appear unanimous in their agreement that it must be Trump. Not one senator hazarded as much as a single question challenging Comey’s veracity… a bipartisan group of senators made clear their belief that the president was lying.

“The conclusion follows not simply from Trump’s long and durable history of mendacity. To believe the president’s statement, we must conclude not only that Comey perjured himself on Thursday but that the former director is a liar of exceptional premeditation and forethought. We must conclude that Comey dashed out of a [private] meeting with the president [after Trump allegedly asked everyone else to leave] to fabricate a false contemporaneous account of that meeting [during which Trump allegedly said to Comey that he “hoped” he would let Flynn go] which he then maliciously shared with other senior officials.

“We must additionally believe that Comey is not simply a liar but also a traitor, who has been conspiring to bring down the recently elected president of the United States. Bizarre as this sounds, it is precisely what the president’s statement claims…

“[It has been] suggested that no one has ever been convicted of obstruction of justice for expressing ‘hope’… The eighth circuit court of appeals has upheld a conviction in precisely such a case…”

The Huffington Post reported on June 10 that a new Huffpost/YouGov poll found that “by a 20-point margin, 46 percent to 26 percent, Americans say Comey is more honest and trustworthy than Trump, with the remainder unsure.”

Troubling Facts Emerge

Business Insider wrote on June 10:

“Trump’s defenders make much of the fact that Comey said he wasn’t under investigation for collusion. But they ignore the likelihood that Trump is now under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for obstruction of justice — and for good reason: He all but confessed to the crime. As former Watergate prosecutor Philip Allen Lacovara writes: ‘Any experienced prosecutor would see these facts as establishing a prima facie case of obstruction of justice.’…

“The only thing standing between Trump and impeachment is the new partisanship of the Republican majority on Capitol Hill. But if Democrats win the 2018 midterm elections, we are likely to see the most serious impeachment proceedings since Watergate.”

Even though impeachment proceedings might be initiated, they will not lead to President Trump’s stepping down from office… he was placed in his position to fulfill his purpose, and he will stay in office until it has been fulfilled… leading to the complete downfall of the United States.

President Trump Under Criminal Investigation?

The Times of Israel reported on June 15:

“US President Donald Trump on Thursday denounced reports that the special counsel appointed to investigate Russian influence in the 2016 presidential campaign is now examining whether he tried to obstruct justice…  ‘They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice,’ the president tweeted just before 4 a.m….

“An hour later Trump tweeted… ‘You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!… ‘

“In a pivotal shift in the investigation that has riveted Americans like no other for decades, senior intelligence officials have agreed to be interviewed by investigators working for the special counsel, Robert Mueller, the [Washington] Post said.

“It quoted five people briefed on the requests and said those who have agreed to be interviewed are Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, Admiral Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, and his recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett…

“Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz, who issued a statement which did not deny the story, but did say that the FBI was behind it, calling the leak ‘outrageous, inexcusable and illegal.’…

“Quoting officials, the newspaper said one event of interest to Mueller is an exchange on March 22, when Coats told associates that Trump had asked him to intervene with Comey to get him to back off the focus on Trump’s former national security advisor Mike Flynn as part of the FBI probe of the Russia affair.

“A few days after the March 22 meeting, Trump spoke separately with Coats and Rogers and asked them to issue public statements to the effect that there was no evidence of coordination between his campaign and Russia. The Post said both men refused the president’s request…”

The irony is that if President Trump had not fired Mr. Comey, there would not be, in all likelihood, any criminal investigation. In addition, to imply that special prosecutor Robert Mueller is part of a witch hunt and belongs to the category of “very bad people” is not the wisest of all comments.

Attorney General Sessions “Testifies” –Sort of…

Bloomberg wrote on June 14:

“Anyone hoping for a big revelation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions yesterday would have been disappointed. Sessions, who reportedly had fallen out of favor with Trump in recent weeks, staunchly refused to answer senators’ questions about his exchanges with the president during a hearing about Russian election interference and the James Comey firing. That prompted Democrats to accuse him of stonewalling without any legal justification.”

Jeff Sessions “stonewalling” and his refusal to answer any “sensitive” questions should have been obvious to everyone. Jeff Sessions did not cite any legal justification for his assertion of any privilege, and in fact, there does not seem to exist one (He only cited an unnamed DOJ “policy,” which would of course have no legal relevance). He did not plead “executive privilege,” because only the President can do this, and Mr. Sessions admitted that the President had not done so. But then, he alleged that since the President could raise it in the future, Mr. Sessions would not answer any questions pertaining to talks between him and the President. A rather strange legal conclusion by the highest legal official in the USA!

In addition, Bild Online wrote: “The most common phrase which Sessions used was, ‘I do not remember.’” Mr. Sessions also “vehemently rejected the suggestion he colluded with Russia… branding the accusations an ‘appalling and detestable lie.’… Sessions may be under a further cloud after Comey suggested the attorney general may have failed to take appropriate steps to protect the FBI chief from political pressure from Trump’s White House” (The Times of Israel/AFP, dated June 13).

Jeff Sessions admitted that a private meeting between President Trump and Mr. Comey took place after everyone had left the room. But he did not adequately explain why—after Mr. Sessions had recused himself–Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s letter and Mr. Session’s letter of recommendation to fire Mr. Comey (containing evaluations which have been strongly disputed by the FBI and the acting FBI director) played any role in President Trump’s previous decision to fire Mr. Comey anyhow over the “Russian thing.”

Deutsche Welle added on June 14:

“[Sessions] submitted himself to probing questions by senators about Russia’s influence on the US federal election or the reasons behind the dismissal of former FBI director, James Comey. The attorney general did not disclose any information that could damage Trump. During the hearing, Sessions suffered from attacks of amnesia; or he refused to give evidence when things got too risky… transparency comes across differently. Sessions’ testimony did not instill any confidence – neither in him, nor in this administration

“So the ghost of potentially too close contact between Trump and Russia will continue to haunt the corridors of Congress… Jeff Sessions defended the president’s decisions and his process of decision-making. One day he might regret this.”

US Recession Coming?

Agora Financial wrote on June 14:

“Last December, the Fed began a cycle of rate increases every three months. The Fed is eager to raise interest rates so it has room to cut them again whenever the next recession or financial shock hits.

“But these increases now appear to be pushing a fragile economy over the edge — perhaps causing the very recession the Fed was preparing to fight…”

Trump Afraid of Visiting the UK?

The Daily Mail wrote on June 11:

“President Donald Trump has said he has called off state visits to the UK over large scale protests he is likely to face from the British public. The commander-in-chief is understood to have called Prime Minister Theresa May to tell her that he didn’t want to visit the UK if there were going to be demonstrations against him – meaning his visit could be indefinitely postponed. But Mrs May’s office denied there had been any changes to the planned visit and refused to comment on the reports around the phone call – even though it is possible she will not be Prime Minister by the time the scheduled visit occurs [the trip was tentatively planned, but not yet scheduled for October]…

“Trump’s relationship with the British public has been highly strained for years… Last week Theresa May told Trump she was ‘disappointed’ at his decision to take the US out of the Paris climate change agreement, although she did not join other European leaders in signing a joint statement condemning the action… The animosity felt towards Trump by the British people is likely to be a thorn in the president’s side. An Anglophile who has long boasted of his British heritage – his mother, Mary-Anne Trump, was born in Tong, Scotland – Trump longs for acceptance from the country.

“At the start of the year he sent the UK government a list of demands for his then-expected visit. They included having the Queen join him for a game of golf on the nine-hole course at her castle in Balmoral, Scotland… His PR team had hoped to replicate a photograph similar to the 1982 image of Ronald Reagan and the Queen riding horses together. He also wanted dinner at Blenheim Palace – Winston Churchill’s birthplace – in Oxfordshire, England, and tea at Buckingham Palace in London…”

Even though Theresa May’s office refused to comment on the report and the White House flatly denied its accuracy, the source claimed to be present in Downing Street when the call came through and The New York Times confirmed at least some details of the report from American officials. This means, somebody is lying.

“Trump Finally Finds Place to Stay in Hamburg for G20 Summit”

The Local wrote on June 9:

“US President Donald Trump reportedly struggled at first to find a place to stay on his first official visit to Germany. But the Hamburg city government has come to his rescue, German media report. Is it just that there wasn’t any space left in the inn?

“With 6,000 delegates set to attend the G20 summit in Hamburg in July, plus security personnel and several thousand journalists, there is high demand for rooms in the port city. So maybe this is the reason that the swanky Four Seasons Hotel told Trump back in April that they couldn’t offer him a room for the event, despite having hosted former Secretary of State John Kerry in December…

“Rumour had it that the US President’s team had been unable to find him suitable accommodation in the port city, deciding instead to book him a room in Berlin and fly him to Hamburg for the summit on each of the two days. But Bild reported on Friday that the White House has now secured a roof over the President’s well-coiffed head. The Hamburg city government has offered Trump a villa it uses as a guest house, according to the tabloid. US Secret Service teams are set to visit the location next week with German colleagues to assess its security. A river that passes in front of the building is likely to be closed to boats.”

Very suspicious. President Trump is just not liked at all in Germany, and the feeling seems to be mutual.

Another Court Ruling Against Trump’s Travel Ban

CNN wrote on June 12:

Another federal court has ruled against President Donald Trump’s revised executive order limiting travel from six predominately Muslim countries — and like other courts, used his tweets against him… ‘We conclude that the President, in issuing the Executive Order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress,’ the three judges… wrote… The judges cited Trump’s latest tweets in the travel ban saga. ‘That’s right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!’ Trump tweeted on June 5.

“They also cited White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s confirmation that the President’s tweets are ‘considered official statements by the President of the United States’… Monday’s ruling will no doubt be appealed to the Supreme Court, which is already considering a similar case from the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia…”

The Associated Press added:

“US President Donald Trump says the latest federal court ruling against his proposed travel ban comes at a ‘dangerous time.’ The president tweets: ‘well, as predicted, the 9th Circuit did it again – Ruled against the TRAVEL BAN at such a dangerous time in the history of our country. S.C.’ It was not immediately clear what “S.C.” refers to in his tweet.”

Unwisely, from a legal standpoint, President Trump used again the words “Travel Ban,” even though the White House spokespersons and his lawyers had represented that it was not a travel ban.

America’s Inconsistent Messages on Qatar

The Huffington Post wrote on June 9:

“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to end their blockade of Qatar on Friday. He then went over to the Rose Garden at the White House, where President Donald Trump completely contradicted his messaging, choosing to lambast Qatar for funding terrorists…

“Tillerson seemed to be doing damage control Friday, which was all upended when his boss approached the podium later in the day… Trump appeared to offer support for the blockade on Twitter beginning Tuesday, saying ‘So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off.’ He reportedly [according to MSNBC] ‘may not have known’ Qatar is home to the United States’ largest military base in the Middle East.”

President Trump’s position on Qatar remains a mystery, as it clearly does not serve American interests.

Iran to the Rescue?

Deutsche Welle reported on June 11:

Iran has sent cargo planes laden with vegetables and fruits to Qatar as the Gulf country faces a food shortage… Five Iranian cargo planes arrived in Doha on Sunday with food supplies as sanctions placed by the neighboring Gulf states have started to hurt Qatar. ‘So far five planes carrying … vegetables have been sent to Qatar, each carrying around 90 tones of cargo, while another plane will be sent today,’ Iran Air spokesman Shahrokh Noushabadi said. ‘We will continue deliveries as long as there is demand’ from Qatar, Noushabadi added…

“The Iranian Tasnim news agency quoted a government official as saying that three ships loaded with 350 tones of food items were also set to leave for Qatar. Qatar, a tiny nation of 2.5 million people, was importing 80 percent of its food requirements from bigger Gulf Arab neighbors before the diplomatic standoff.

“The Arab countries have blocked their air, land and sea routes with Qatar, which is affecting its air traffic and imports. To ease stress on Qatar, Iran opened its airspace to about 100 more Qatari flights, which has increased Iranian air traffic by 17 percent.”

When a vacuum is created, it is filled somehow. In addition, Turkey has also voiced strong support for “the leadership of Qatar… sending a clear signal to Saudi Arabia [and the USA] that Qatar is not alone” (Deutsche Welle, June 12). In addition, “The Saudi-Qatari standoff poses a great diplomatic challenge to Pakistani authorities as they enjoy close economic and geopolitical ties with both Riyadh and Doha” (Deutsche Welle, June 12).

AFP added on June 13:

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slams the economic and political isolation of Qatar as inhumane and contrary to Islamic values… ‘Taking action to isolate a country in all areas is inhumane and un-Islamic,’ Erdogan says in televised comments to his party in Ankara… Erdogan adds he will hold three-way phone talks on the crisis later today with French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatar’s emir…”

Turkey’s stance on the matter is very interesting, as it clearly conflicts with the Trump administration’s undefined and confusing policy.

How confusing and inconsistent the American policy is, can be seen when considering this note by Deutsche Welle, dated June 15:  

The US and Qatari defense ministers have met in Washington, signing off on a fighter jet deal worth billions. This follows four regional rivals severing ties with US ally Qatar, a move Donald Trump initially lauded.”

Newsmax commented on June 15:President Donald Trump authorized a $12 billion arms deal with Qatar days after he accused the country of sponsoring terrorism.”

Merkel in Mexico

AFP wrote on June 10:

“President Enrique Pena Nieto told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday he wants a significant increase in trade with the European Union, vowing to complete a new trade deal by year’s end. Pena Nieto’s Mexican government has been actively seeking new trade opportunities since US President Donald Trump came to office with a threat to curb Mexico’s privileged access to American markets… Merkel praised Mexico’s ‘strong commitment to free trade,’ in a veiled jab at Trump’s attacks on globalization.

“Both Merkel and Pena Nieto have been on the receiving end of some of Trump’s most fiery attacks on trade. The US president has triggered the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, which he says has resulted in American jobs flooding south across the border. Last month he also lashed out at what he called the United States’ massive trade deficit with Germany, and accused the country of failing to pay its way in the Nato alliance.

“Mexico and Germany did $17.8 billion in trade last year, and are keen to expand the relationship. Major German automakers such as Volkswagen and Audi have opened large plants here, helping make Mexico the seventh-largest auto producer in the world. Germany’s foreign direct investment here totaled $2.4 billion last year, more than any other country except the United States and Spain.

“Merkel, who is traveling with a large business delegation, was in Argentina – another Latin American powerhouse – on Thursday and Friday morning.”

Reuters added on June 10:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that putting up walls will not solve problems that countries are seeing due to immigration. Speaking in Mexico City alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Merkel said the history showed only when empires have gotten on well with their neighbors have migration pressures been resolved in a way that ensured stability.”

While trade agreements between America and its partners are placed on hold, other powerful economic agreements are reached between America’s “allies,” to the exclusion of America.

Merkel Praises German Army

The Associated Press reported on June 10:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel is praising the country’s army as ‘indispensable’ amid friction between military and government over the handling of a series of scandals in the Bundeswehr. It is under scrutiny over allegations of abuse, the discovery of suspected far-right extremists in its ranks and questions over its ability to fulfil its missions. In a pre-recorded video Saturday, Merkel said ‘there were events recently that deserved to be criticized.’ But she insisted that ‘the vast majority of soldiers are performing an invaluable service.’

“Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen angered some in the military with her sweeping criticism while investigations into alleged wrongdoing were still underway. German weekly Der Spiegel reported Friday that the army filed a criminal complaint against an officer who jokingly called for a military putsch.”

These comments are somewhat interesting in light of the fact that Germany’s army will indeed become indispensable and invaluable for the EU army in the making.

Germany to Lead

The website of ecfr.eu wrote recently:

“Under the cover of business as usual, a silent revolution is taking place in German attitudes to Europe. The habitual reluctance of post-war Germans to assume responsibility, to express their preferences and to lead in their neighbourhood, is giving way to an acceptance of Germany’s special role in Europe. This new attitude is more functionalist than triumphalist, but it is underpinned by considerable confidence…”

Bloomberg added on June 14:

“Merkel may not like to hear it, but in the age of Donald Trump, Germany is re-emerging as an alternative global power in Europe and beyond.”

Germany, with the help of France, will in fact become the leading nation of Europe.

Violence in the Philippines

The Associated Press wrote on June 10:

“Thirteen Philippine marines were killed in fierce fighting with Muslim militants who have laid siege to a southern city for nearly three weeks in the biggest single-day loss for government forces… A U.S. Navy aircraft provided surveillance for the local troops as the battle raged in Marawi on Friday, confirming the involvement of the U.S. military in helping quell the urban insurrection at the request of the Philippine government…

“Philippine marines were conducting a house-to-house search for militants allied with the Islamic State group who are still occupying parts of Marawi… Philippine military officials say the violence has left at least 138 militants and 58 government troops dead. At least 21 civilians have been killed… Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the city, parts of which were reduced to rubble by fighting and government airstrikes in an attempt to dislodge the rebels…

“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in the Mindanao region, the southern third of the Philippines and home to a decades-long Muslim separatist rebellion. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the designated administrator of martial law, has ordered the arrest of nearly 200 militants, politicians and other suspected civilian backers of the unprecedented uprising in Marawi, the mosque-studded heartland of Islamic faith in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation…”

Reuters reported on June 11:

“President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he did not seek support from Washington to end the siege of a southern Philippines town by Islamist militants, a day after the United States said it was providing assistance at the request of the government. Duterte told a news conference… that he had ‘never approached America’ for help.

“The cooperation between the longtime allies in the battle is significant because Duterte, who came to power a year ago, has taken a hostile stance towards Washington and has vowed to eject U.S. military trainers and advisers from his country. It is unclear whether the pro-American military went over Duterte’s head in seeking U.S. help…”

Time will tell how long the cooperation between the USA and the Philippines will continue—if it even exists today. In the long run, such cooperation will cease completely, as the USA will become totally isolated and utterly forsaken by all of its allies.

“Temple Mount Briefly Closed to Muslim Entrance Following Attack”

The Jewish Press wrote on June 11:

“On Sunday morning, a group of Jews touring on the Temple Mount were attacked by a Muslim stone-thrower from the direction of the mosques. One of the men was lightly injured in the leg, but did not require evacuation for medical treatment…

“In response to the stoning attack, the police, following the Jerusalem District Commander[‘s] new instructions… closed the entrance to the Temple Mount to Muslim worshipers. In the past, following Islamic attacks on the Temple Mount, the Jewish visitors are usually rushed off the Temple Mount, and often enough, no further Jewish visits are allowed for the day.

“This represents a very interesting change in policy.”

Jordan Won’t Ban “Wonder Woman”

JTA wrote on June 14:

“Jordan decided not to ban the film ‘Wonder Woman’ from the country’s movie theaters… The movie will be rolled out throughout Jordan over the next month…

“But at least one movie theater in Amman has apologized for showing the movie and canceled future screenings over the fact that the star, Gal Gadot, is Jewish…

“Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement in 1994. The Jordanian commission’s review of the ‘Wonder Woman’ came after Lebanon banned the film as part of its boycott of all things Israeli. Lebanon remains technically at war with Israel.

“A Tunisian court last week banned the screening of the film while the country’s cultural review commission decides whether or not the movie should be permanently banned over Gadot’s Israeli military service.”

Israeli Support for Gay Marriage at an All-Time High

JTA wrote on June 9:

“… public support for allowing gay couples to marry in Israel has reached an all-time high… 76 percent support last year, and just 53 percent in 2009… 92 percent of secular Jews and 100 percent of voters for the left-wing Meretz and center left Zionist Union parties said they support same-sex marriage, compared to zero percent of haredi Orthodox Jews and a 65 percent of voters for the pro-settlement Jewish Home party…

“Even among religious Zionists, who generally vote right wing, a plurality — 47 percent — backed gay marriage… The state recognizes gay marriages and civil unions performed abroad… there are some 284,000 gay people in the country, who cannot marry due to the lack of civil marriage or state recognition for gay marriage.”

This is a sad report on “God’s chosen people,” as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob condemns same-sex marriages in the strongest terms. Note the next article.

Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Parade

The Times of Israel reported on June 10:

“Over 200,000 people from Israel and abroad attended Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Parade on Friday… The parade is the region’s biggest as Israel stands in sharp contrast to much of its neighbors. Across the rest of the Middle East, gay and lesbian relationships are mostly taboo… Same-sex relations are punishable by death in Iran, Sudan and elsewhere…

“About 10 floats took part in the beachside procession, one of them depicting an ancient warship built by staff at the British embassy in Tel Aviv, the embassy website said. Britain’s ambassador to Israel is David Quarrey, an openly gay man… ‘Tel Aviv, which has already been acknowledged as the world’s “most gay-friendly city” will continue to be a light-house city – spreading the values of freedom, tolerance and democracy to the world,’ said Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai…

“The Tel Aviv municipality places a large emphasis on Pride Week, since it is a huge draw for international tourists. More than 30,000 came to Israel for pride week last year. Eitan Schwartz, CEO of Tel Aviv Global — part of the mayor’s office — said, ‘Gay tourism is one of the pillars of our economy’…

“The theme of the parade this year was ‘Bisexual Visibility,’ making it one of the largest parades in the world celebrating bisexuality…”

We should be able to see more and more why God is very angry with the Jewish people. For further information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of the Jewish People.” Please also note the next article.

Smoking on the Rise in Israel

JTA wrote on June 7:

“Israel has one of the highest life expectancies in the world — 82.5 years, on average. But a surprising increase in smoking rates may threaten that status… Israel’s Health Ministry recorded the biggest single-year setback in more than a decade, with the rate rising to 22.5 percent in 2016 from 19.7 percent the previous year…

“Health professionals and anti-smoking activists have long been sounding the alarm about smoking in the Jewish state… And while numerous factors are likely in play, many have accused the government of not taking the threat seriously enough.

“Smoking is one of the leading causes of death in Israel, and has been shown to kill up to half of smokers… approximately 8,000 Israelis die each year for reasons linked to smoking, among them 800 non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke inhalation. The Jewish state’s new smoking rate is comparatively high — ranking 28 out of 35 European countries… Europe has the highest rate of any region of the world… About 15 percent of Americans smoked in 2015…

“Although e-cigarettes are not tobacco products, they often contain nicotine and other chemicals that could pose health risks to users… tobacco companies spend more than 60 million shekels ($17 million) a year on marketing, while the ministry only spend 500,000 shekels ($140,000) on anti-smoking advertising… The price of a pack of cigarettes is now between 22 and 35 shekels (about $6 to $10). But a growing number of Israelis have started smoking loose tobacco, which costs about 43 percent less than buying the same amount of tobacco in a pack…

“Yehuda Glick, a Knesset member for the ruling Likud party…  is working on a bill to reduce smoking among Israelis under the age of 21, since many young Israelis begin smoking in high school or during their army service… Although Israel last year enacted a ban on smoking at educational institutions…, it needs to be better enforced. The Health Ministry found that 24.8 percent of males and 14.9 percent of females were smoking by the time they began their mandatory military service after high school… by the time they were discharged from the army, 40 percent of men and 32 percent of women smoked — a 42 percent increase over the course of service.”

This is another troubling development in Israel and all over the world. Smoking IS a killer. Those who smoke are engaging in slow suicide. Note the next article.

Smoking by Pregnant Women Dangerous for Unborn Baby

 The Daily Mail wrote on May 29:

“A potent mix of chemicals found in cigarette smoke destroys the livers of unborn children… The findings are yet further damning evidence of just how dangerous smoking is for pregnant women…

“Dangers include: Increased risk of complications in pregnancy and birth; Less likely to have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby; Increased risk of stillbirth; Baby more likely to be born too early… Baby more likely to be born underweight; Increased risk of cot death.

“Each year, smoking during pregnancy in the UK causes an estimated: 2,200 premature births; 5,000 miscarriages; 300 stillbirths…

“Expectant women are encouraged to give up tobacco use due to the known links it has to a range of medical conditions… But it is not illegal for a pregnant woman to harm her unborn child by smoking and drinking… More than ten per cent of British women smoke while pregnant and this figure is as high as 27 per cent in some northern cities such as Blackpool.”

How irresponsible of a mother to jeopardize the life of her baby in such a way.

Parents Charged for Murder for Refusing Medical Treatment for their Child

Slate wrote on June 9:

“Two members of an Oregon sect that believes in faith healing have been charged with murder in the death of their premature infant daughter… [The mother] gave birth to twin girls at her grandparents’ home in March. The birth was attended by three midwives, church members, and family members. But when one of the twins… struggled to breathe, no one called 911. A church elder contacted the city’s medical examiner only after the baby died.

“The [parents] are members of a Christian sect called the Followers of Christ Church, which has a history of infant deaths. Adherents reject traditional medical care in favor of prayer, and believe that if a person dies, the death was God’s will… The church [is] influenced by Pentecostalism…”

We say the following in our free booklet, “Sickness and Healing – What the Bible Tells Us”:

 “… the law in most countries prescribes that, as a parent, you are to seek medical help for your sick child. If you fail to do so, the government might take your child away from you, or, if the child should die, you may face charges of involuntary manslaughter, or worse… This is not to say that parents are not to teach their children the necessity of having faith in God when they are sick. They are, in fact, supposed to encourage them to ask God for healing by asking the elders of the church to anoint them with oil and to pray over them. We are only addressing here those parents who, because of conscientious reasons, would refuse to consult and work with doctors and get medical help. Even though parents are to teach their children to place their faith in GOD for healing, they should not withhold medical help from them, if it is due (compare Proverbs 3:27).”

Daily Aspirin Far More Dangerous Than Thought

The Telegraph wrote on June 13:

“Taking a daily aspirin is far more dangerous than was thought, causing more than 3,000 deaths a year, a major study suggests.  Millions of pensioners should reconsider taking pills which are taken by almost half of elderly people to ward off heart attacks and strokes, researchers said. The study by Oxford University found that those over the age of 75 who take the blood-thinning pills are ten times more likely than younger patients to suffer disabling or fatal bleeds.

“Researchers said patients of this age who have already suffered heart attacks or stroke should still take the daily tablet, but should also take an extra drug to reduce the risk of bleeding. And they said millions more pensioners who take aspirin daily ‘as a health choice’ to cut their risks of heart disease should consider weaning themselves off the drugs. Doctors stressed that no-one should come off the pills quickly, or without consulting their doctor, as doing so would create an immediate risk of heart attacks…

“It has long been known that the pills carry a risk of gastro-intestinal bleeding. But the new study, published in The Lancet, suggests the danger increases far more sharply with age than was thought… Dr Tim Chico, consultant cardiologist, University of Sheffield, said the risks of aspirin were often underestimated. ‘Although bleeding is a well-recognised side effect of aspirin, this drug is still seen by many people as harmless, perhaps because of how easily it can be bought over the counter,’ he said. ‘Prescription of any drug is a balance between the benefits of the medication against its risks, and aspirin is no different,’ he said. “

It goes without saying that one should be careful with and be knowledgeable about the risks and side-effects, before taking ANY medications.

Sessions Asks Congress to Let Him Prosecute Medical Marijuana Providers

The Washington Post wrote on June 13:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014, according to a May letter that became public Monday. The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states ‘from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.’ In his letter… Sessions argued that the amendment would ‘inhibit [the Justice Department’s] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.’ He continues:  ‘I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.’

 Sessions’s citing of a ‘historic drug epidemic’ to justify a crackdown on medical marijuana is at odds with what researchers know about current drug use and abuse in the United States. The epidemic Sessions refers to involves deadly opiate drugs, not marijuana. A growing body of research (acknowledged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has shown that opiate deaths and overdoses actually decrease in states with medical marijuana laws on the books. That research strongly suggests that cracking down on medical marijuana laws, as Sessions requested, could perversely make the opiate epidemic even worse.

“… In a Senate drug hearing in April 2016, Sessions was vocal in opposition of marijuana legalization…

“The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment has significant bipartisan support in Congress. Medical marijuana is incredibly popular with voters overall. A Quinnipiac poll conducted in April found it was supported by 94 percent of the public. Nearly three-quarters of voters said they disapprove of the government enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it either medically or recreationally. Through a spokesman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) said that ‘Mr. Sessions stands athwart an overwhelming majority of Americans and even, sadly, against veterans and other suffering Americans who we now know conclusively are helped dramatically by medical marijuana.’…

“The letter, along with a signing statement from President Trump indicating some skepticism of medical marijuana protections, ‘should make everyone openly question whether candidate Trump’s rhetoric and the White House’s words on his support for medical marijuana was actually a lie to the American public on an issue that garners broad, bipartisan support,’ said Hudak of the Brookings Institution.”

It seems like the Trump administration wants to pursue bullheadedly what they want to do, irrespective of the wishes of the vast majority of American citizens who voted them into office. How long can this continue until there will be a violent uprising and an open revolt in America? More and more observers already speak of civil war in the USA, which, at this point, is still rather peaceful, apart from some mindless violent attacks by crazy people, criminals and fanatics. But this can change quickly. Again, we emphasize in this context that no Christian should have any part in violence, or in the incitement of violence. Please read our free booklet, Should You Fight in War?

Soon… Driverless Cars Pose Huge Security Concerns

The New York Times wrote on June 7:

“It started about seven years ago. Iran’s top nuclear scientists were being assassinated in a string of similar attacks: Assailants on motorcycles were pulling up to their moving cars, attaching magnetic bombs and detonating them after the motorcyclists had fled the scene. In another seven years, security experts warn, assassins won’t need motorcycles or magnetic bombs. All they’ll need is a laptop and code to send driverless cars careering off a bridge, colliding with a driverless truck or coming to an unexpected stop in the middle of fast-moving traffic…

“Those fears came into focus two years ago when two ‘white hat’ hackers — researchers who look for computer vulnerabilities to spot problems and fix them, rather than to commit a crime or cause problems — successfully gained access to a Jeep Cherokee from their computer miles away. They rendered their crash-test dummy (in this case a nervous reporter) powerless over his vehicle and disabling his transmission in the middle of a highway. The hackers… discovered an electronic route from the Jeep’s entertainment system to its dashboard. From there, they had control of the vehicle’s steering, brakes and transmission — everything they needed to paralyze their crash test dummy in the middle of a highway… the research… came at a steep price for Jeep’s manufacturer, Fiat Chrysler, which was forced to recall 1.4 million of its vehicles as a result of the hacking experiment…”

It seems that America is just being threatened from many different directions. Note the next article.

America’s Fight against Drones

Flipboard wrote on June 10:

“A US Air Force F-15 jet fighter has shot down a large, armed drone that attacked pro-US forces near At Tanf, a strategic town in southeastern Syria near the border with Iraq. The aerial clash on June 8, 2017 was the first time that an American warplane had engaged an armed enemy drone in the sky—and could be a preview of dangers to come as more and more rogue states acquire cheap, sophisticated, armed robotic aircraft…

“Iranian and similar Chinese-made drones are popular with poor and rogue states across Africa and the Middle East. Syria, Iraq and Nigeria [as well as pro-Syrian government militias and Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group that has intervened in Syria on behalf of the government] all operate missile-armed Iranian- or Chinese-made UAVs… the Islamic State has bought quadcopter-style commercial drones, fitted them with hand-grenade-size bombs and sent them on bombing runs against its opponents in Iraq and Syria.

“… most US fighter pilots do not routinely train to shoot down slow-flying drones, which by virtue of their small size and lightweight construction can be difficult to detect—especially if they’re flying low over rough terrain…”

“Massive Asteroids in Popular Meteor Shower Pose Major Threat”

CNet wrote on June 9:

“If a newly discovered group of asteroids makes its way to Earth, the biggest of the fireballs could make a destructive entrance, astronomers warn… A team of Czech astronomers analyzed 144 fireballs seen during the last hyperactive Taurid shower in 2015 and concluded a ‘new branch’ of the Taurids exists that the Earth drifts through every few years.

“While great for shooting-star fans, the bad news is this newfound orbital structure contains at least two asteroids that are nearly 1,000 feet (300 meters) across, and probably more big ones that haven’t been spotted yet…

“If an asteroid 1,000 feet across were to make impact anywhere near a major population center, the results would be catastrophic, to say the least.”

Express added on June 11:

“NASA has announced that it has discovered 10 new ‘potentially hazardous’ space rocks close to Earth that could put life on this planet at risk… On top of the 10 ‘potentially hazardous’ objects, Nasa says that they have identified 97 other space rocks and seen an unexplained spike in comet activity.”

The danger from asteroids should not be under-estimated. Our free booklet, Evolution—a Fairy Tale for Adults? describes in detail the devastating effects of asteroids—in the past and in the future.

“You Must Obey Your Pope”

Zenit wrote on June 13:

“When Pope Benedict XVI appointed Msgr. Peter Ebere Okpaleke as the diocese’ [Nigeria’s Diocese of Ahiara’s] bishop in 2012, lay people and priests of the diocese rejected their new bishop because, unlike his predecessor, Msgr. Victor Chikwe, part of the Mbaise ethnic group, which makes up the majority of the diocese, he comes from the Ibero ethnic group, which makes up the majority in southeast Nigeria…

“Pope Francis’… said, ‘I ask that every priest or ecclesiastic incardinated in the Diocese of Ahiara, whether he resides there or works elsewhere, even abroad, write a letter addressed to me in which he asks for forgiveness; all must write individually and personally… In the letter, one must clearly manifest total obedience to the Pope, and whoever writes must be willing to accept the Bishop whom the Pope sends and has appointed.’ The letter, Francis explained, must be sent within 30 days, from today to July 9th, 2017. Whoever does not do this,’ the Pope warned, ‘will be ipso facto suspended a divinis and will lose his current office.’”

The Pope’s claim for unquestioned (godly) authority will become stronger in the future.

The (False) Mystery of the Trinity

Zenit wrote on June 11, quoting from several Catholic rites:

“The Mystery of the Trinity is a great mystery which surpasses our minds but speaks deeply to our heart because it is, in its essence, nothing but the explication of the profound expression of Saint John: ‘God is love’ (1 Jn 4:8,16). If God is love, he cannot be loneliness in himself. In order to have a love affair, it must be at least two

“This mystery of love is concrete… when… we make the sign of the cross. By marking this holy sign, almost without being fully aware, we call upon the One and Triune God, saying, ‘In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’…

“The entire Christian life is accompanied by the Trinity… In fact, we are baptized (= immersed) in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… Not only Baptism, but all the other Sacraments of the Church are conferred with the sign of the Cross and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In fact, we have been confirmed with the anointing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. In the Sacrament of Penance, we are forgiven for our sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Again, in this name the bride and groom are united in marriage… In the Eucharist [communion], the Triune God… is fully involved with our human condition…

“In the priestly ordination, the new priests are consecrated in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit… In illness and in the last hour, when the priest will anoint us, he will recommend the soul in the name of the Father who created us, of the Son who has redeemed us, and of the Holy Spirit who has sanctified us.

“In this way, all of our Christian existence is under the irradiation of the Trinity…”

When reading this, one becomes aware how shocking this false concept of the Trinity is, and how it permeates the entire belief system (both in theory and in practice) of Catholics and Protestants alike. However, God is NOT a Trinity. This false idea has been adopted from pagan philosophies, and so is the sign of the cross. It is true that God consists of TWO Persons—the Father and the Son—while the Holy Spirit is NOT a person, but the power of God emanating from the Father and the Son. For more information, please read our free booklets, Is God a Trinity?; “God is a Family”; and Baptism—a Requirement for Salvation?

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

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Would You Please Explain Exodus 34:24?

To see the entire context of this passage, we are quoting God’s promise to ancient Israel in its entirety, as quoted in Exodus 34:22-24:

“(22) And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks of the firstfruits of wheat harvest [Pentecost], and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end [Feast of Tabernacles]. (23) Three times in a year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the LORD God of Israel [Three festival seasons—one in the spring, one in the summer and one in the autumn—are mentioned here, as one has to appear before God on every annual Holy Day: Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread as the first season in the spring; Pentecost as the second season in the summer; and the fall season, consisting of the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day]. (24) For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in a year.”

The Church of God has taught for a long time that this statement applies to us today as well, in that God grants us security when we observe God’s annual Holy Days by assembling at the Church’s designated Feast sites—especially during the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. The Church’s understanding of this passage has been that God will protect our belongings, which we are leaving behind during this time, so that no one will covet them and break into our homes to rob us during our absence.

While in the overwhelming number of cases, the homes of members were not robbed while they were observing the Feast of Tabernacles, there have been a few incidents when thieves broke into the homes of members and prospective members during the time of God’s annual Holy Days. How can we explain this apparent inconsistency?

Let us look at some biblical examples in order to fully understand the nature of God’s promises.


Regarding physical healing in this life, God has promised that He will heal us, when we pray to the Father in faith and fulfill other biblical requirements such as understanding and accepting Christ’s Sacrifice and God’s limitless power; keeping God’s commandments; reconciling with others; and asking for the elders of the Church to anoint us with oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Still, some are not healed in this life. We state the following in our Q&A, “When we ask God for healing and are not healed, does this mean that we don’t have enough faith?” 

“Scripture says that the prayer of faith will ‘save the sick,’ and God will ‘raise him up’… [But] we must understand that it may NOT be God’s Will to heal us right away, or completely, or at all, in this life. And there are reasons for that. To argue with and deny this, we are really ‘tempting’ God or better ‘testing Him severely,’ trying to force OUR Will on Him…

“… even if we had ‘perfect’ faith and lived a ‘perfect’ life and had brought about perfect reconciliation with our brother and sister, God might STILL NOT heal us in this life from a particular sickness. Why not? Because God might have in mind a superior purpose for us in this life which He deems much more important than our healing from temporary frailties… We… understand that ‘all things work together for good to those who love God’ (Romans 8:28)… We might not fully understand all the reasons why someone is not healed right away or at all… but we MUST have the absolute faith and conviction that God knows everything; that He can do everything; and that He will do everything that we ask… in His due time and subject to His Will.”

We also wrote this in our Q&A, “Unconditional Promise for Healing in this Life?”

“When we ask God for healing, we MUST believe that our request will be granted. When we ask God for healing, we must not doubt at the same time by thinking that perhaps it is not God’s Will to heal us. Such a prayer would show doubt (Matthew 21:21-22; Mark 11:23)…

“It really boils down to the question as to whether we have ‘unconditional love’ for God and His Way of Life–never willing to forsake that way if things don’t work out in the way which we want them to… Christ NEVER doubted that whatever the Father decided was best for Him and others… We must never lose this conviction that God knows best, and that whatever He decides is the very best for us. With that understanding, we will gladly accept God’s Will in our lives… whatever it may be.”

Applying this example to Exodus 34:24, we can likewise say that even though God’s promise might sound to be an unconditional promise, there might be overriding circumstances and a superior purpose prompting God in a particular case not to protect a member’s home during his absence for the Feast, and even though this might perhaps be hard to understand, God would have decided to act in such way for the best of the member.

David said in Psalm 37:25: “I have been young, and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.” But still, for a very short time on the cross, God the Father had to forsake Christ, the righteous, because at that time, He was carrying the sins of all the people, and God does forsake us when we become unrighteous and forsake Him. Even though one could view David’s statement in Psalm 37:25 as a godly promise, there might be overriding circumstances in a particular case which would prompt God to decide in a different way. With each one of God’s promises, it is important to take all passages together and look at the entire picture.

Obedience to Parents and Tithing

Obedience to parents and tithing are examples of godly promises of long life and physical blessings, but we might find that some who apparently honored their parents might die at a young age or that some who might have tithed may not be blessed physically. We address both aspects in our Q&A: “Why do people die prematurely, even though they honor their parents? Doesn’t this contradict God’s promise of long life in Exodus 20:12?”

“To properly understand God’s promise of a long life to respectful children who honor their parents, we need to consider three different possibilities:

“(1) Even though some may appear to live righteously and to keep the Fifth Commandment, they really don’t–in God’s eyes… In addition, some who die, without having enjoyed long lives, might have kept the Fifth Commandment, in a general way, but they might have violated other commandments of God. But God’s law is a package, and can’t be looked upon in an isolated fashion. James tells us that when we violate one of God’s commandments, even though we keep the rest, we have still violated God’s entire law (James 2:8-13). When we do that, we cannot expect God’s protection in dangerous situations, or His intervention to save us from premature death.

“The same is true in respect to God’s promise in Malachi 3:10. God promises us physical blessings if we pay His tithe to His Church. We cannot expect being physically blessed by God, if we refuse to obey His commandment to tithe (verse 9). In other words, one is under a curse who refuses to pay God’s tithe to God’s Church… But even if a person tithes diligently–like the Pharisees did in Christ’s time–he still can’t expect that God will bless him financially, if he violates other laws of God. These could be laws regulating sound financial principles, as well as spiritual laws…

“(2)… in properly understanding Exodus 20:12, we must realize that God may decide to override His general promise of long physical life, under certain circumstances. It was preordained that Christ’s life on earth would be short–even though He kept all of God’s laws perfectly. Also, God may sometimes decide to let a righteous person die, to save him from the evil to come, as the righteous will be resurrected to eternal life within the next second of his consciousness (compare 1 Corinthians 15:50-54).

“(3) The fact that the righteous will inherit ETERNAL life provides a third way of looking at God’s promise in Exodus 20:12. When God resurrects a righteous person to eternal life, He will give him the land or the earth to possess forever (compare Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:11; Isaiah 57:13; 60:21)… When we read in Exodus 20:12 that the one who honors his parents will be living long in the land, it can also be understood to mean that he will live long on the earth–as an immortal spirit being. The implication is, of course, that if we refuse to keep God’s commandments, and especially the one enjoining us to honor our parents, we will not obtain eternal life–we won’t live long on the earth or in the land which God has promised to Abraham and his spiritual descendants (compare Romans 4:13-25; Galatians 3:29).

“God has indeed promised long life to those who obey Him. A special blessing is expressed for those who honor their parents. It is not an unconditional promise in the physical realm, as God may deem fit to override His promise for special, individual reasons. Barring this, we can rely on God’s promise of long life in this flesh–and, more importantly, life everlasting in the Kingdom of God.”

Applying these examples to Exodus 34:24, some perhaps uncomfortable questions need to be asked:

Did the person who was robbed try to keep all of God’s commandments, or was he or she perhaps somewhat selective? Did God withhold His protection in a particular case, because physical possessions might have become too important in a person’s life? Without knowing the particular circumstances, we only speak in generalities without making any judgment call. But even though God promises us physical protection from robberies in a general way, we do read in Hebrews 10:32-34: “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings… for you… joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven…”

Also, God’s physical promise of security and protection will most certainly become reality for all when the Kingdom of God rules on earth.

Violence and Protection

Not committing violence and trusting instead in God’s promise for our protection would be other related examples of godly promises. We state in our Q&A, “Do You Believe in and Teach Self-Defense?”:

“Do we believe in God and rely on Him for our protection, having the faith that it is GOD who is our protecting shield, or do we think that we must have additional security in the form of a handgun or some sort of firearm? Do we think that God is incapable of helping us in certain circumstances?… When man places his trust and confidence in God, God will protect man. Ultimately though, no matter the consequences, we must be living a life pleasing to God

“We must always have the attitude that Daniel’s three friends had when they were asked to violate God’s laws by worshipping an idol, and in case of refusal, were threatened with being thrown into a fiery furnace… We read their answer in Daniel 3:17-18: ‘ … our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.’

“… we must always look at God’s overall Will for us and our great potential and destiny for our lives, as Christ expressed in Matthew 10:28-31: ‘And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground APART FROM YOUR FATHER’S WILL. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.’”

Again, applying these principles to Exodus 34:24, we might ask whether God allowed a robbery during the Feast to test us whether we would be willing to continue to obey Him, even in circumstances which, at least for a while, might be hard to comprehend (compare Romans 11:33; Job 5:9; Ecclesiastes 3:11; 8:17).

Looking again at God’s promise in Exodus 34:24, we should ask ourselves the following questions regarding the subject of a robbery during the Feast:

How righteous and subject to all of God’s commandments were we at the time of the robbery?

Did we do whatever we could do, from a physical standpoint, such as locking our home and preventing that everyone could see right away that no one was at home?

Did we pray to God for protection of our home before leaving and while at the Feast, and did we have the faith that God would hear us?

Did God allow that our home might be robbed during the Feast of Tabernacles in order to impress on us and all of God’s people the need to always look to Him for help, without taking it for granted? Sometimes, we may have to suffer so that others can learn from it.

Did God allow this incident to test our faith? Would our faith weaken? Would we lose confidence in God? Or would we react in the same way as Daniel’s three friends, declaring that they would continue to have faith in God and not begin to disobey Him, even if He decided not to save them from the fiery furnace? God had promised to Abraham that through his son Isaac, his offspring would be blessed, but then God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, which was a pagan practice and completely in violation of God’s Word. This was of course only a test, and God never intended that Abraham had to kill his own son, but Abraham did not know this, and what questions might have crossed his mind at the time? But he did not weaken in his faith, and he did not cease obeying God. And so, we must also continue believing God, even though we might not always understand as to why certain things happen.

In conclusion, God cannot lie. Whatever He promises, He will do. But a particular physical promise may not always be an unconditional promise, so that it can be overridden by extraordinary circumstances, for the spiritual best of the persons involved. As it is true for healing, tithing, physical blessing and protection, God’s particular promises are ALWAYS subject to God’s Will and His judgment as to what is best for us and others. We don’t always know why God might choose not to intervene in a particular circumstance.

This Q&A only gives some possibilities of explanation and understanding. What is important for us is to realize that we may not have all the answers as to why God allows certain things to happen, but we must never lose the conviction that God knows what He is doing (even though we sometimes may not fully understand), and that whatever He does is for our very best.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

A new Member Letter (June 2017) has been written and sent out to our subscribers. In this letter Dave Harris focuses on the Work of God and our role in the end-time commission given to the Church of God.

Why Britain’s Election Debacle?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Theresa May’s call for early elections has backfired and left her and Great Britian in a deeply vulnerable position in the light of Brexit negotiations which are supposed to start very soon. Her miscalculations followed David Cameron’s gamble which equally went wrong. Why is all of this happening? Are there spiritual reasons which go far beyond human explanations?

“Prüfet aber alles–doch wie genau?,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German Sermon by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Prove all Things… But How Exactly?”

“Safety,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:

How do we plan for safety in the threat of imminent danger? What are the things that we try to protect? If we seek true safety, we must learn where to find it while avoiding the trap of false security.

“The Thessalonian Struggle,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

The building of the Thessalonian church exemplifies Christian character and a “first love” attitude. But that initial desire to follow Christian ideals turned lackluster in the latter examples of this church. We can easily fall into the same idle attitude if we don’t take Paul’s warnings to heart.

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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