January 5, 2018
Are You Counterfeit?; God’s Deliverance
On January 6, 2018, Robb Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “Are You Counterfeit?”, and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “God’s Deliverance.”
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.
Are YOU a “Suicide Bomber”?
by Dave Harris
While the term “suicide bomber” describes acts of terrorism in our daily news, there is an inescapable parallel to those who teach and practice false doctrines.
Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the doctrine, that is, the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees (compare Matthew 16:5-12). In Matthew 23, Jesus severely criticized the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy, saying, “‘…For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in’”(Matthew 23:13).
Their doctrines were “‘the commandments of men’” (Matthew 15:9). Those who followed them could not and did not enter the path of eternal life! In fact, they all paid the ultimate penalty for their sinful conduct—they died (Romans 6:23).
The apostle Paul addressed Christians in his writings, warning very specifically of the dire problems which would arise—things which we now face:
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times SOME WILL DEPART FROM THE FAITH, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1; also, compare Jude 17-18).
These evil spirits seek to drag mankind, but especially the begotten children of God, into their own hopeless fate! They seek to destroy humanity! They have embraced the rebellion of Satan the Devil, the powerful spirit ruler and god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4) who is able to deceive the whole world (1 John 5:19). His goal is to destroy anyone he can (1 Peter 5:8).
These are adversaries of Christians—indeed, a kind of spiritual suicide bomber! Their “bombs” are false doctrines and rebellion against God! Our zone of safety is the Truth of God—it is the FAITH, “which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
If we depart from the faith to follow seemingly appealing compromised understandings of the Word of God, then we will destroy ourselves unless we repent—that is, unless we have not already gone too far in rejecting God’s Truth! And not only could we be jeopardizing our own salvation, but we may very well pull our family and friends into the same miserable fate!
Among Paul’s admonitions is this encouraging and critical challenge—something we must do:
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ…that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27).
We begin with the downfall of America; its withdrawal from the world scene; and its decline of its worldwide influence; while powers such as Russia, China and Europe are preparing to fill the gap. We also report on serious fact finding results on many of President Trump’s statements, and an ugly battle between Trump and his former key advisor, Steve Bannen, as well as a highly objectionable directive by controversial Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding marihuana, which allegedly breaks his own promise and that of President Trump (even though the White House denies the latter in a typical political doubletalk fashion.)
Russia’s policy of duplicity can also be seen in their support for dictator and mass murderer Assad of Syria and for the war-mongering nuclear state of North Korea, while the world is watching ongoing demonstrations in Iran.
We continue focusing on Europe’s dramatic move to the far right and the far left and troublesome anti-Semitic movements; as well as governmental anti-Jewish activities, such as in France; divisions between American Jews and Israel; and prospects for Germany’s future in 2018.
We conclude with an eye-opening article on the ongoing downfall of Great Britain.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
The Inquirer/Daily News wrote on December 29:
“In 2017, Donald ‘America First’ Trump relinquished America’s 70-year role as global leader, a post already diminished by his two predecessors. Nowhere is the U.S. withdrawal more evident than in the Middle East.
“Even in Israel, whose government lauds Trump for his strong support and recognition of Jerusalem as its capital, the president’s erratic behavior stirs caution. Trump’s admirers and detractors have both reached the same conclusion: The Mideast is entering a new era where Washington is no longer the major player. And as the United States pulls back, Russia and Iran rush in (along with Turkey and even China). Their interests are in conflict with America’s – and guarantee future problems for Washington…
“Israelis, Arabs, Kurds – all are trying to calculate how to operate in a new era where the United States is no longer the main player to turn to in a dicey region…”
The Decline of American Influence
The Washington Post wrote on December 28:
“… the largest trend today is the decline of American influence. Not the decline of American power… but a decline of its desire and capacity to use that power to shape the world… this erosion of U.S. global leadership is already causing other countries to adjust…
“This month, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel declared that ‘the most important changes affecting our Western world and, indeed, the world as a whole’ stem from ‘the United States’ current withdrawal under Trump from its role as a reliable guarantor of Western-influenced multilateralism.’ That shift, he noted, ‘is accelerating the transformation of the global order . . . and the risk of trade wars, arms races and armed conflicts is increasing.’
“For Europe, Gabriel argued, the situation is almost existential. Since the end of World War II, he said, ‘Europe had been an American project in the United States’ clearly understood interests. However, the current U.S. administration now perceives Europe in a very distanced way, regarding previous partners as competitors and sometimes even as at the very least economic opponents.’ He urged Europe to take its fate into its own hands and decouple itself from U.S. foreign policy.
“Consider also the speech in June by Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, in which she thanked the United States for its seven-decade-long stewardship of the international system and strongly implied that, under the Trump administration, American leadership of that system had reached its end…”
The Bible has predicted that the time would come when America would lose the pride of its power.
The American Empire Is Crumbling
The Week wrote on December 29:
“America’s power and global influence have plummeted like a stone during the Trump presidency… In the years after the Second World War, America constructed what amounted to a globe-spanning empire… Western Europe in particular, which was a smoking crater after the war, was rebuilt quickly under the astoundingly generous Marshall Plan…
“The American imperial framework consisted of the overwhelming strength of the U.S. military… the U.S. dollar as global reserve currency and U.S. Treasury bonds as key global asset; and most importantly, the mostly-accurate perception among Western powers that sheltering under the American security umbrella was a good deal…
“Now… Western powers are dealing with the shocking possibility that America is best considered an enemy. In his first foreign policy tour, while cozying up to the brutal Saudi monarchy, Trump offended Western European leaders for no reason, especially Angela Merkel, who said afterwards that ‘[t]he era in which we could rely completely on others are gone, at least partially.’ Trump also badly cracked the U.K. alliance simply by impulsively retweeting a British fascist, stoking fury across the country…
“The likeliest… nations to fill some of the power vacuum are Germany and France…”
The downfall of America has long been prophesied in the Bible. Please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”
Trump On Track to Exceed 2,000 False or Misleading Claims
National Post wrote on January 3:
“With just 18 days before President Donald Trump completes his first year as president, he is now on track to exceed 2,000 false or misleading claims, according to our database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. As of Monday, the total stood at 1,950 claims in 347 days, or an average of 5.6 claims a day.
“… There are now more than 60 claims that he has repeated three or more times. The president’s impromptu 30-minute interview with the New York Times over the holidays, in which he made at least 24 false or misleading claims, included many statements that we have previously fact-checked…
“Trump… repeatedly takes credit for events or business decisions that happened before he took the oath of office — or had even been elected. Sixty-one times, he has touted that he secured business investments and job announcements that had been previously announced and could easily be found with a Google search. With the successful push in Congress to pass a tax plan, two of Trump’s favourite talking points about taxes — that the tax plan will be the biggest tax cut in U.S. history and that the United States is one of the highest—taxed nations — have rapidly moved up the list. Trump repeated the falsehood about having the biggest tax cut 53 times, even though Treasury Department data shows it would rank eighth. And 58 times Trump has claimed that the United States pays the highest corporate taxes (25 times) or that it is one of the highest-taxed nations (33 times). The latter is false; the former is misleading, as the effective U.S. corporate tax rate (what companies end up paying after deductions and benefits) ends up being lower than the statutory tax rate.
“We also track the president’s flip-flops on our list, as they are so glaring. He spent the 2016 campaign telling supporters that the unemployment rate was really 42 percent and the official statistics were phony; now, on 46 occasions he has hailed the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years. It was already very low when he was elected — 4.6 percent, the lowest in a decade — so his failure to acknowledge that is misleading…”
Trump: “Steve Bannon Has Lost His Mind”
The Telegraph wrote on January 3:
“Donald Trump has publicly disowned Steve Bannon as the pair fell out spectacularly over a new book revealing embarrassing details about the White House. The US president said Mr Bannon, who ran Mr Trump’s election campaign and advised him in office, ‘has nothing to do with me or my presidency’. Mr Trump claimed his former chief strategist had ‘lost his mind’ and ‘rarely’ met him one-on-one before leaving the White House last August.
“The president also accused Mr Bannon of leaking ‘false information’ to ‘make himself seem far more important than he was’. The comments, issued through a rare statement in the president’s name, complete a remarkable break down in trust between the two men most credited with Mr Trump’s presidential win… He is also quoted as saying Mr Trump repeatedly tried to meet Vladimir Putin but that the Russian president ‘couldn’t give a… about him’… The comments threatened to challenge Mr Trump’s claim that the Russian investigation is a ‘witch hunt’ and baseless…
“On Wednesday afternoon, the White House entered all-out rebuttal modes as they attacked Mr Bannon – quoted at length in the piece – and the book itself…”
Bannen also revealed some very intimate details about Trump’s private life. Trump responded by saying that “Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates.” However, that Steve Bannon had a very important and some say, decisive role in the White House cannot be denied. That he would stay on amicable terms with Donald Trump after his departure was not to be expected. After leaving the White House, Bannon returned to Breitbart News as chairman and the host of the radio show Breitbart News Daily on Sirius/XM Patriot. Further ugly confrontations between Trump and Bannen will follow, even though Newsmax wrote on January 4:
“Steve Bannon responded to President Donald Trump’s blistering assault by calling the president ‘a great man’ and saying, ‘I support him day in and day out.’… Trump’s legal team issued a ‘cease and desist’ to Bannon; and the White House tore into Bannon as well, saying the president was ‘disgusted.'”
Jeff Sessions’ “Extremist Anti-Marijuana Crusade” Breaks His Alleged Promise
CNN reported on January 4:
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday rescinded a trio of memos from the Obama administration that had adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws.
“The move essentially shifts federal policy from the hands-off approach adopted under the previous administration to unleashing federal prosecutors across the country to decide individually how to prioritize resources to crack down on pot possession, distribution and cultivation of the drug in states where it is legal.
“While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law, creating a conflict between federal and state law. Thursday’s announcement is a major decision for an attorney general who has regularly decried marijuana use as dangerous.
“In a written statement Thursday, Sessions called the shift a ‘return to the rule of law’ but he did not go as far as some advocates had feared he might, stopping short of explicitly directing more prosecutions, resources or other efforts to take down the industry as a whole…
“Sessions’ shift at the Justice Department comes days after marijuana became officially legal under laws in California, the largest state. Voters in California approved the measure in November 2016, but the legal, commercial sale of marijuana under state law just went into effect with the new year.
“A majority of states allow the use of medical marijuana and eight, including the entire West Coast and the District of Columbia, allow recreational use…
“The immediate reaction to Thursday’s news from the marijuana industry and some members of Congress was alarm. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, tweeted that the issue ‘must be left up to the states,’ ran counter to what he had been previously told by Sessions and threatened to hold up confirmation of DOJ nominees.
“Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden from Oregon, where marijuana is also legal, similarly blasted the move. ‘Trump promised to let states set their own marijuana policies. Now he’s breaking that promise so Jeff Sessions can pursue his extremist anti-marijuana crusade. Once again the Trump administration is doubling down on protecting states’ rights only when they believe the state is right,’ Wyden said in a statement.
“One issue that may be potentially litigated is how the new memo affects medical versus recreational marijuana use. Congress voted in its last session to extend a spending provision known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which blocks the Justice Department from using federal funds to impede the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.
“Sessions’ new memo does not explicitly set forth how prosecutors should treat medical marijuana…”
The New York Times added on January 4:
“The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, maintained that President Trump was not going back on a campaign promise to refrain from using federal authority to shut down sales of recreational marijuana in states where they were legal. The Justice Department move, she said, “simply gives prosecutors the tools to take on large-scale distributors and enforce federal law. The president’s position hasn’t changed, but he does strongly believe that we have to enforce federal law.”
This typical political doubletalk by the White House reveals nothing and unsuccessfully attempts to satisfy everybody, while it satisfies nobody. Highly controversial Attorney General Sessions’ position regarding medical marijuana is unconscionable and wrong. The position of the federal government in regard to medical marijuana has been widely held as being entirely hypocritical. Litigation is to be expected.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals already found in August of 2016 in a landmark decision that you cannot be prosecuted in federal court if you comply with state law regarding the use of medical marijuana. In this light, Sessions’ memo, which does not distinguish between medical and recreational marijuana, might very well be considered by the court system as being unlawful and unconstitutional, even though one never knows what the US Supreme Court might decide.
Russia Continues to Support Assad
Reuters reported on December 29:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in a new year’s greeting that Russia will continue supporting Syria’s efforts to defend its sovereignty, the Kremlin said on Saturday…
“Putin stressed that Russia would ‘continue to render every assistance to Syria in the protection of state sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, in the promotion of a political settlement process, as well as in efforts to restore the national economy,’ the Kremlin said.”
The much praised collaboration between Putin and Trump pertaining to Syria does not to seem to have any validity.
Russia and Turkey Sign Troublesome Missile Deal
Reuters wrote on December 29:
“Turkey and Russia have signed an accord regarding the supply of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles to Turkey…
“The S-400 accord, reportedly worth some $2.5 billion, has caused concern in the West because Turkey is a member of NATO and the system cannot be integrated into NATO’s military architecture.”
This is mainly directed against the USA… as the Bible predicts terrible hatred of many Turks against America and the state of Israel.
Russia and China Continue to Support North Korea
Reuters wrote on December 29:
“Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea… The sales of oil or oil products from Russia, the world’s second biggest oil exporter and a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, breach U.N. sanctions…
“The transfers in October and November indicate that smuggling from Russia to North Korea has evolved to loading cargoes at sea since Reuters reported in September that North Korean ships were sailing directly from Russia to their homeland…
“The latest report came as China, responding on Friday to criticism from President Donald Trump, denied it had illicitly shipped oil products to North Korea.
“North Korea relies on imported fuel to keep its struggling economy functioning. It also requires oil for its intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear program that the United States says threatens the peace in Asia…
“In September, Reuters reported that at least eight North Korean ships that left Russia loaded with fuel this year headed for their homeland despite declaring other destinations, a ploy that U.S. officials say is often used to undermine sanctions.”
The UN sanctions against North Korea seem to be a farce when it comes to China and Russia.. .even through both powers DENY having any involvement of providing North Korea with oil.
North Korea Continues to Prepare for “Pre-Emptive Nuclear Attacks” against USA
Bloomberg wrote on December 30:
“North Korea promised on Saturday to continue preparing ‘pre-emptive attacks with nuclear force’ in the face of U.S. ‘blackmail’… ‘Do not expect any change in its policy,’ the state’s official media arm [said]…”
“KCNA said the regime has been working toward ‘bolstering the capabilities for self-defense and pre-emptive attacks with nuclear force,’ in response to ongoing ‘nuclear threat and blackmail and war drills’ by the U.S.
“North Korea has tested missiles at least 16 times in 2017, and threatened the use of a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit on a missile. More than one North Korean missile flew into the air space of neighboring Japan, and new models of rocket have flown to heights that some military analysts predict could reach the mainland U.S…”
One should not underestimate the desires of North Korea’s crazy dictator. It seems the entire country is being held captive by strong demonic influences.
Turmoil in Iran
The Associated Press reported on December 31:
“A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran’s weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government just hours after hard-liners held their own rally in support of the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment. The demonstrations appear to be the largest to strike the Islamic Republic since the protests that followed the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election. Thousands already have taken to the streets of cities across Iran, beginning at first on Thursday in Mashhad, the country’s second-largest city and a holy site for Shiite pilgrims…
“Trump tweeted out support for the protests Saturday. ‘The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most….’ he tweeted. ‘Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. The world is watching!’
“It’s unclear what effect Trump’s support would have. Iranians already are largely skeptical of him over his refusal to re-certify the nuclear deal and Iran being included in his travel bans…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 3:
“The elite branch of Iran’s military has hailed ‘the end of sedition’ as it embarks on a crackdown against anti-government protests. The country’s supreme leader blames foreign agents for the unrest that killed 21 people.
“Iran’s Revolutionary Guard promised ‘very serious penalties’ for protestors on Wednesday, the same day it declared the ‘end of the conspiracy’ after a week of unrest rocked the country… The government crackdown and blackout of certain social media channels resulted in the protests dwindling down to several thousand according to Jafari…”
Iranians are deeply divided as to their government’s stance towards the West. Dictatorial measures will only “work” for so long.
Europe’s Move Towards the Far Right and the Far Left
JTA wrote on December 22:
“… a closer examination suggests that 2017… has been a watershed year for the continent’s far-right and far-left movements. They have had unprecedented successes in a series of elections thanks to discontent, economic anxiety, nationalistic sentiment and xenophobia.
“The first upset came in March, when the Dutch anti-Islam Party for Freedom for the first time since its creation in 2006 became the country’s second largest, with 13 percent of the vote… In December, the Austrian Freedom Party, founded by a former SS officer in the 1950s, for the second time in its history joined the coalition government after garnering 26 percent of the vote in elections two months earlier… In September, the populist Alternative for Germany entered parliament for the first time with its best electoral result ever: 12.6 percent of the vote in the federal election. And in Bulgaria, the far-right Volya party entered parliament for the first time in elections that also saw the successor to the Bulgarian Communist Party double its voters to become the country’s second-largest.
“But the real shocker came this spring in the two rounds of the presidential election in France, which is home to both Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim populations. In May, France’s National Front achieved its best electoral result ever when 34 percent of voters cast their votes for the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the presidential election won by Emmanuel Macron… Like nearly all of Europe’s far-right and anti-Muslim parties, the National Front has formally distanced itself from supporters and members who espouse anti-Semitism. But such declarations were generally met with suspicion by Jewish community leaders… In France, where wartime collaboration with the Nazis is still the subject of acrimonious debate, the gains of the far right and far left were widely seen as signs of the breaching of conventions held in place after World War II and the growing polarization in society.
“… the National Front is believed to enjoy the backing of 13.5 percent of Jewish voters… In the Netherlands, Party of Freedom leader Geert Wilders polled 10 percent among Jewish voters despite his party’s support for a ban on the ritual slaughter of animals… Many blame the revival of far-right parties in countries where bitter memories of Nazism had kept such movements at bay on leaders who admitted into the European Union at least 2 million refugees from the Middle East since 2015. Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the European Conference of Rabbis, said the far-right renaissance in Europe ‘is a counterreaction’ to the pro-refugee policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who took the lead in welcoming the immigrants… The rise of the far-right Freedom Party to power in Austria ‘is a backlash against Merkel’s policy,’ Goldschmidt said…
“Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Croatia have moved to close their borders to newcomers in open defiance of Brussels’ decision to welcome them… Fears of Muslim immigration this year were a main theme at one of the largest nationalist rallies in the recent history of Central Europe: On Nov. 11, some 60,000 people attended a march in Warsaw that featured anti-Muslim banners and anti-Semitic chants. In nearby Hungary, the rightist government placed the immigration issue squarely at the center of a campaign against the Jewish and pro-immigration billionaire George Soros, which some critics said had anti-Semitic overtones.”
The EUObserver wrote on December 29:
“France’s former foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, has called on the EU to boycott Austria’s upcoming six-month presidency of the Council of the EU as well as Austrian ministers belonging to the country’s far-right coalition party… ‘These are the heirs of Nazism that have come to power in the new Austrian government,’ Kouchner wrote in a letter published in French daily Le Monde on Thursday (28 December).
“The letter was co-signed by Benjamin Abtan, the founder of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement, and Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, founders of the Sons and Daughters of Jewish Deportees from France group. They said that other EU leaders have met the rise to power of the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) in Austria with ‘silence and a guilty apathy’, and that they were ‘concerned’ about the party’s ‘ideology of hatred’… A boycott of the Austrian presidency would mean a de facto standstill of the European legislative machine for six months.”
There will be no boycott of Austria in Europe.
Division between American Jews and Israel
JTA wrote on December 20:
“This hasn’t been a good year for Israel and American Jews. The two poles of world Jewry, each boasting about half of the globe’s total Jews, have never quite seen eye to eye on everything from religion to politics. But this year — particularly the last six months — has seen those disagreements balloon into public spats over the future of the Jewish people and Jewish values…
“American Jewish leaders say Israel takes their support for granted, paying no heed to demands for recognition or religious pluralism. Israeli leaders, meanwhile, wish American Jews would defer to the political, military and diplomatic realities that constrain the country…
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really likes President Trump. Most American Jews do not. Perhaps more than anything else, that division has animated the ideological split between Israel and American Jews… Trump… maintains high approval ratings among Israelis as a whole — certainly higher than his predecessor, Barack Obama, whom American Jews supported in droves…
“The majority of American Jews… favor a Palestinian state, which neither Trump nor Netanyahu embraces wholeheartedly… A September poll showed that 77 percent of American Jews viewed Trump unfavorably… A June survey by the Pew Research Center on America’s image abroad found that some 81 percent of Israelis held a positive view of the United States under Trump.”
France Singling out Jews for Tax Evasion Allegations
The Jerusalem Post wrote on December 30:
“In Paris’s 12th arrondissement, on Bercy Street by the banks of the River Seine, on the 13th floor of the Ministry of Finance is France’s tax authority headquarters… Under the radar, a secret department has been created with the sole purpose of handling tax evasion by French Jews…
“Tax authorities do not usually establish departments targeting a specific nationality or religion…”
This is rather revealing!
Jews Under Threat in Germany
Breitbart wrote on December 30:
“Former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Charlotte Knobloch claims that Jews are increasingly under threat in public and may require police protection to lead a normal life without harassment and violence. Ms Knobloch, who is now the President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, said that Jews are increasingly under threat, Die Welt reports. ‘Aggressive anti-Semitism, from verbal hostility on the Internet and in the analogue world to desecration and destruction to physical attacks are commonplace in Germany,’ she said. ‘Jewish life can only take place in public under police protection and the strictest security precautions, or it must be completely cancelled for security reasons,’ Knobloch added.
“The Jewish leader spoke about several recent anti-semitic cases including the vandalism of a Menorah in the city of Heilbronn, and the cancellation of a public Menorah lighting in Mülheim/Ruhr due to security issues. ‘Anti-Semitism is strengthening on the right and the left, in the Muslim community and also in the middle of society…’
“Many have blamed the influx of Muslim migrants under Chancellor Angela Merkel for the growth in anti-Semitic incidents. Fashion mogul Karl Lagerfeld blamed Ms Merkel directly earlier this year, saying: ‘One cannot – even if there are decades between them – kill millions of Jews and then bring millions of their worst enemies in their place.’
“In a survey of Jews in Germany, many said that most of the violent attacks they experienced came from Muslims, while far-right and far-left attacks were mostly limited to verbal harassment or harassment online. After U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would be moving the U.S. Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the city as the capital of Israel, Germany saw anti-Semitic protests which were denounced by the Chancellor and her government. Despite the opposition to the protests, some, like German police union head Rainer Wendt, slammed Merkel. ‘The same politicians who continue this immigration and deportation drama by illegally allowing in more and more foreigners from the most anti-Semitic region of the world and not even deporting the offenders among them, then proclaim that they are doing everything against anti-Semitism,’ Wendt observed.”
Is history repeating itself, as it was experienced in Europe under Hitler and Mussolini?
What’s In Store for Germany in 2018?
The Local wrote on December 29:
“Chancellor Angela Merkel has still yet to successfully form a coalition government, even though federal elections took place three months ago. With pressure mounting and her popularity waning, Merkel will have to go back to the political negotiating table with her opponents and form a government in 2018…
“Germany’s economic upswing is expected to continue… Of 48 industry associations, two-thirds will continue to see production expansion in 2018. Economic growth has been taking place for ten years…
“Real estate prices in major German cities will increase… Construction of new properties will keep housing prices in check, despite the demand for hundreds of thousands of flats.
“Mutterschutz (maternity leave) benefits will be extended to students, interns and even high school pupils, with financial assistance kicking in six weeks before birth and eight weeks afterwards…
“Lower Saxony is set to get an additional national holiday, most likely on Reformation Day, which was a nationwide public holiday in commemoration of Martin Luther’s 500th birthday in 2017…
“Starting on March 20th, there will be free streaming for users of Netflix, Sky Go or Maxdome – thanks to a change in the European Parliament’s rules that previously barred free streaming. This means that when on holidays in France or Spain, for instance, you’ll be allowed a limited amount of free streaming with your online subscription services.”
Extended maternity leave benefits for high school students? But what can we expect when considering the liberal sex “education” classes in Germany’s schools?
The Incredible Shrinking Britain
Politico wrote on January 3, 2018:
“A few recent events illustrate how Brexit has taken its toll on Britain’s foreign policy. In June, the U.K. lost a humiliating U.N. General Assembly vote over the Chagos Islands. London had tried to block an effort by Mauritius to refer a dispute over the islands to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In a stone-cold move that would have been unthinkable 18 months ago, several EU and NATO partners chose to abstain, rather than support the U.K. Then in late November, the U.K. failed to secure a second term for its judge serving in the ICJ, losing against a challenger from India. Having deemed it ‘impractical’ to exercise its veto against a coalition of developing countries, the U.K. found itself without a seat on the court for the first time since it was set up in 1945.
“Such incidents are superficial compared to the bigger picture: For power summitry that really matters — like the G7 — the U.K. presence has been barely noticeable since its domestic conundrums started to pile up. One sherpa present at the 2016 Ise-Shima summit, just before the Brexit referendum, recalled that ‘no one took notice whenever the U.K. raised an issue, and just simply changed the topic.’ Silent treatment is cruel, even in the clubhouse of power-alphas.
“The truth is that Britain’s strategic importance has been waning with an exponential half-life, even before Brexit… Brexit will seriously erode the U.K.’s public finances… Brexit could very well be the country’s worst geo-economic miscalculation to date. The U.K.’s global role springs from its close relationships with continental Europe (from which it is abdicating) and the White House. The declining affinity between the U.K. and the U.S. in recent years has proven the limits of Britain’s influence over a range of issues, from a transatlantic trade pact to intervention in Syria. And the era of America First makes it unlikely it will return anytime soon…”
The truth is, Britain “won’t return” at all to an important and influential position on the world scene prior to Christ’s return…
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.
Will God’s People be Protected at a Certain Place on Earth During the Time of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? (Part 1)
If so, who will and who will not be at that place; where is it; and how can one get there?
We have written much about the place of safety. In this new series, we will present information which we already provided in the past, while adding additional thoughts and explanations in an attempt to answer follow-up questions.
Protection During the Day of the Lord
In our two previous Q&As, we addressed 144,000 Israelites and a great multitude of Gentile nations, as mentioned in Revelation 7, and explained that following the beginning of the Great Tribulation, which is Satan’s wrath, God will pour out the plagues of His wrath during a time referred to as the Day of the Lord. We showed that God will protect at that time many of those who will have experienced and survived the trials of the Great Tribulation, including the 144,000 and the great multitude. However, there is no indication that God will bring those survivors to a special place of safety; rather, He will protect them wherever they will be at that time.
Persecution BEFORE the Great Tribulation
On the other hand, we will explain that the Bible clearly shows that there WILL BE a special place of safety, here on earth, which God will provide for some members of His Church throughout the time of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. But before we address this important issue, we must clarify that even those who WILL BE protected DURING the Great Tribulation may have to suffer persecution BEFORE the Great Tribulation begins. The Great Tribulation is described as the fifth seal in the book of Revelation. The first four seals describe the four horsemen of the Apocalypse which will have already begun to ride PRIOR to the Great Tribulation, and the combination of religious deception and “holy” wars will cause much suffering.
Many passages tell us about future persecution, apart from the general declaration that everyone who wants to live godly will encounter and suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus said in John 15:20: “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” Matthew 10:16-26 tells us about future persecution, and Luke 11:47-52 speaks about past and future persecution of God’s prophets and saints in very vivid terms.
We should always remember that no trial will come upon us that will be too difficult for us to bear, and that God will show us the way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). We have to be willing to accept God’s Will for us, whatever that Will might be.
Protection During the Great Tribulation at the Place of Safety
Jesus Christ warned His end-time disciples of the Great Tribulation, which will be so terrible that nothing like it ever happened before and will ever happen again (Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1). At the same time, Christ challenged us to watch and pray always to be counted worthy to escape or be protected from the Great Tribulation. We read in Luke 21:34–36: “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Christ tells us in Revelation 3:10: “Because you have kept My command to persevere (to have patience), I also will keep you from the hour of trial [tribulation] which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” The Moffat translation renders this passage as follows: “I will keep you safe through the hour of trial.” The Living Bible interprets: “I will protect you from the time of Great Tribulation and temptation.”
The book of Zephaniah also reveals God’s special protection for some of His people during the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. The name “Zephaniah” means, “Whom the LORD has hidden.” Zephaniah 2:3 says: “Seek the LORD, all you meek [humble] of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’S anger.” God challenges all of us to become worthy so that we may belong to those who will be hidden or protected at a special secret place on the Day of the Lord.
King David was inspired to write in Psalm 31:20: “You shall hide them in the secret place of your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion From the strife of tongues.”
Joel 3:14–16 reads: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness. The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter his voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.’”
This hidden and secret place of refuge, shelter and protection is more clearly described in the book of Revelation, promising the end-time Church of God her place in the wilderness—on this earth—prepared by God, a place where she will be nourished for 3 ½ years and protected from Satan the devil. Compare this with Isaiah 33:16, describing the righteous person (verse 15) as dwelling “on high; His place of defense [or refuge, shelter or protection] will be the fortress of rocks; Bread will be given him, His water will be sure.”
Revelation 12:13-17 reads:
“Now when the dragon (Satan the devil, Revelation 12:9) saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child (Jesus Christ). But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness TO HER PLACE [New International Version: “to the place prepared for her in the desert”], where she is nourished [Living Bible: “cared for and protected”; Amplified Bible: “where she is to be kept safe and fed”] FOR A TIME AND TIMES AND HALF A TIME [Living Bible: “for three and a half years”], from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
We understand that the woman is, first of all, symbolic for Eve (Genesis 3:15); then for the Old Testament Church which would evolve from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Jacob’s TWELVE sons, and which would become known as the Church of Israel in the wilderness; then for Mary, the mother of Christ; and—subsequent to Christ’s ascension—for the New Testament Church of God (compare Matthew 25:1; Ephesians 5:22–32; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Galatians 4: 26).
While the woman is on her way to the place of safety, Satan will try to persecute her by spewing water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman. This might perhaps allude to an army or to a military force (compare Daniel 9:26; Jeremiah 47:2–3). It might also allude to false brethren whom Satan may bring into God’s Church to deceive and confuse God’s true people (2 Peter 2:1; Jude 4-5, 11; 2 Samuel 22:5). Many times, “waters” just refer to many people (Revelation 17:1, 15). The earth will open its mouth to help the woman, as God opened up the earth to swallow up Korah and his rebellious friends and supporters (compare Numbers 16:31–32). All of this will happen on earth. Satan will proceed to persecute others within the Church who will not be at the place of safety here on earth.
No Protection in Heaven
Some Bible commentaries conclude from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and especially from the words “shall be caught up… in the clouds,” that those in Christ will be secretly transported to heaven, to be protected there during the time of the Great Tribulation, and then later return visibly–together with Christ–to rule the world. The assumption is that Jesus will first come secretly for His disciples or saints by “rapturing” them to heaven where they will be protected during the time of the Great Tribulation which will ravage the earth.
However, the idea of a secret rapture of the saints was entirely unknown to Christians before the sixteenth century when it was first mentioned as a very vague concept. In 1830, men claimed divine inspiration, stating that the Holy Spirit had revealed to them that the last days had come; that Christ was about to return; that He would first “rapture” the believers who were ready, at a secret coming; and that He would come again in manifest power after the Great Tribulation.
The Bible does not teach a secret rapture. Rather, God’s Word reveals that Christ will return ONCE, NOT TWICE (Hebrews 9:28). He will come openly, not in secret (Matthew 24:21-31; Revelation 1:7; Acts 1:10-11), and He will END the Great Tribulation at the time of His Coming by establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth (Revelation 11:15-18). Mark 13:24-27 specifically states: “But in those days, AFTER that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. THEN they will SEE the Son of Man COMING in the clouds with great power and glory. And THEN [not before then] He will send His angels, and GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT…”
Christ will come at the time of the LAST TRUMPET when His elect will be resurrected from the dead or changed to immortality (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-52). There can only be ONE last trumpet, which means, there can only be ONE return of Christ. The Bible speaks about the last trumpet as the SEVENTH trumpet. In the book of Revelation, we read that seven angels will blow seven trumpets, but that at the time of the seventh trumpet—logically the last one—“the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). The seven angels blow the seven last trumpets AFTER the Great Tribulation has begun—in fact, when the seventh angel blows the seventh or last trumpet, the Great Tribulation will have ENDED. Christ returns to shorten the time of the Great Tribulation, lest all human beings on the earth would die (compare Matthew 24:21-22).
The idea of a rapture to heaven—secret or otherwise—is nowhere taught in Scripture. But God does offer us His protection at a place of safety HERE ON EARTH, if we prove ourselves worthy to receive it. The FACT that Christ’s Church will be protected here on EARTH proves that His Church will not be at that time in heaven—nor, that it was transferred to heaven before the Great Tribulation by means of a “secret rapture.”
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A new Member Letter (December 2017) has been written and mailed to our subscribers. In this letter, Kalon Mitchell points out the importance of how we are to be using our time to let our light shine as examples of God’s Way of Life. This letter is also posted.
“Die 144.000 und die große Schar in Offenbarung 7,” is the title of this week’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The 144,000 and the Great Multitude in Revelation 7.”
“Friend, Friendship and Trust,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Christoph Sperzel, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Are you trustworthy? Are we trustworthy at all? Can someone rely on us when it comes to confidential information that should not be passed on?
“The Girdle of Truth,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We are told in Ephesians 6,14, to have our waist girded with truth. This admonition includes two important aspects for our fight with Satan, which we will examine in this sermon: What is truth, and how can we wear the truth as a girdle?
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, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
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