Update 833


The Prophet Elijah in the Past, the Present and the Future

On June 23, 2018, Norbert Link will use the time for the sermonette and the announcements to discuss current events in the light of biblical prophecy. He will also present the sermon, titled, “The Prophet Elijah in the Past, the Present and the Future.”

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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Are You Appalled by Abominations?

by Norbert Link

In last week’s Editorial, Mr. Brian Gale asked whether we are sighing and crying over all the abominations that are done in our countries. He specifically addressed the results of a referendum to repeal Ireland’s abortion ban, legalizing and legitimizing the murder of innocent children. Another abominable development which we should all sigh and cry about is US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ current policy of “zero tolerance” regarding illegal immigrants, leading to the forceful separation of young children from their parents and the internment of the children in detention or concentration camps.

Do we understand HOW mean-spirited and ungodly this policy is? Or have we become so hard-hearted and indifferent to the misery of the weak that we cannot even grasp the enormity of such terrible conduct?

President Trump and his administration have come under unusually strong vocal attacks by Democrats and Republicans alike, and even his own wife, Melania, as well as former first lady Laura Bush did condemn the practice. Mrs. Bush called the practice “immoral” and “cruel.” She wrote: “These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.” First lady Melania Trump said through a spokesperson that she hates to see children separated from their families, and that a country needs to be “governed with heart,” obviously implying that presently, the USA is not.

American Catholic and evangelical leaders, including Cardinal DiNardo and Franklin Graham, condemned the practice; and even Mr. Sessions’ own church, the United Methodist Church, rejected it as well in no uncertain terms. So did Orthodox Jews and the other major Jewish religious movements.

Bowing to political pressure, President Trump issued an executive order on June 20, claiming that it will keep migrant families together. But this order did not abandon or reverse the “zero tolerance” policy. And while the order, if it survives legal challenges, might prevent temporarily the separation of parents and children, it would in effect “lock up immigrant parents and their children together, indefinitely.”

Europeans are watching these unfolding events with horror, but many are guilty of similar atrocities, be it in their mind, in word or even in action. In a compelling article, Handelsblatt Global asked the question whether Europe had lost its soul in the refugee crisis. Pointing at the hypocrisy of French president Emmanuel Macron; the criminal prosecution in France and Belgium of law-abiding citizens who assist illegal immigrants in any way; and questionable methods in Denmark, the author states: “It won’t be long until someone suggests barring them from certain professions altogether,” alluding to Germany’s Nazi regime prohibiting Jews to carry out many designated jobs and occupations.

Today, law-abiding citizens in the USA, including ministers, are also being threatened with legal actions if they were found to help illegal aliens (“harboring a criminal” is the offensive phrase which is being used).

Focusing on the informal alliance of right-wing politicians in Germany, Austria and Italy, the author of the Handelsblatt Global article states, “A right-wing axis from Berlin to Rome–that sure has a ring to it.” Again, the suggested parallel to Nazi Germany, Nazi Austria and Nazi Italy in World War II is unmistakable.

When Jews tried to escape Nazi Germany, America and many other countries refused to take them in, and as a consequence, they were among the millions of Jews who were murdered in concentration camps. Today, many persecuted refugees flee the atrocities in their homelands and seek shelter in Europe and the USA, but again, they may not be allowed to come in and find protection in countries which claim to be willing to help others in need.

Mr. Sessions, with the support of the White House, claimed that the Bible justifies his actions. He said with a smirking smiley face: “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

The Truth is that God NEVER ordained any government or political leader for the purpose of violating the letter or the spirit of HIS Holy Word. In fact, the Apostle Peter tells us, as he told the Sanhedrin, that true Christians have to obey God RATHER than man, and we are NOT to obey men if they demand something of us which is against the Law of God. As many Christian leaders have pointed out, including those who normally support the Trump agenda, the policy of “zero tolerance” and the criminalization of illegal immigrants with the consequence of taking young children away from their parents is a “radical departure from the Christian religion” and “goes against pretty much the entire Bible.” They also stated that we are “sometimes morally obligated not to follow” the laws of the land.

I liked very much the following comment by one writer: “If you had all the power in the world, maybe you would also hear a serpent dipping its smooth body down from some shadowy bough to say: God wants you to do whatever you like with your power, and whatever you do with it is good.”

After all, this is Satan’s world, and he calls good evil and evil good. He pretends to be an angel of light, but he is, and always will be, the prince and power of darkness. What should make our blood boil is when misguided politicians dare to blaspheme God by misquoting His Holy Word in an effort to justify their ungodly behavior.

But thanks be to God that this terrible mismanagement of human rule and the total abandonment of true godly values will end soon, because it can’t be long now until Christ returns to destroy the abominations and atrocities of this evil world. We are called out of this world to qualify for the Kingdom of God–to rule mankind with righteousness, mercy and love. Are YOU qualifying now? Are you developing the mind of Christ and the way of His thinking in your life, or are you still finding any justification and redeeming value in satanically inspired policies which are totally against anything that God stands for? Because if and as long as you do, God would not want you to be in His Kingdom.

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by Norbert Link

In this issue, we are reporting on the controversy pertaining to the Trump Administration’s and Attorney General Sessions’ “zero tolerance” policy regarding illegal immigration, leading to the separation of children from their parents and the internment of the children in temporary detention centers. An executive order by President Trump, claiming to put an end to such internment, might make things worse, not better. We also address Mr. Sessions’ and the White House’s misinterpretation of the biblical teaching in this regard. At the same time, we point at Europe’s and Germany’s struggle with their immigration issues, which could even lead to a premature departure of Angela Merkel as German Chancellor. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, How Does Trump’s Executive Order Help Innocent Children?” 

Among other things, we address the ongoing mutual imposition of tariffs and the likelihood of a worldwide trade war, which might result in military actions; and we report on the current position of Pope Francis on issues such as abortion, homosexuality and the family.

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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America’s Immigration Policy Condemned

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 15:

“Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the US-Mexico border in six-weeks. Despite wide condemnation, the Trump administration defended the policy, saying it was just enforcing the law. Due to an increasing number of migrant children in government custody, officials in US President Donald Trump’s administration confirmed on Friday that a temporary encampment near the US-Mexico border in Texas had been built…

“The startling figure is a result of a new directive from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who on April 6 announced a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on immigration that would refer all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. Cases that involved families were typically sent for civil deportation proceedings. These allow children to remain with their parents. The new directive eliminates that option and has led to the separation and internment of the children in temporary shelters.

“The Trump administration has come under fire for both the criminalization of all immigration cases and the family separations… House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans distanced themselves from the White House, saying they were not comfortable with family separations…”

Current and Former First Ladies Condemn Sessions’ “Zero Tolerance” Policy

The Huffington Post wrote on June 18:

“Former first lady Laura Bush issued a rare castigation of the Trump administration on Sunday, calling family separations at the U.S. border with Mexico ‘immoral’ and drawing parallels to World War II internment camps. Bush’s editorial in The Washington Post mirrored growing criticism of the Justice Department’s new policy to prosecute as many people as possible who cross the border illegally. The move, announced last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has already resulted in a massive spike in children being separated from their parents. Last week, DHS announced that nearly 2,000 kids had been separated from their parents during a six-week period ending last month. Many are currently being held in juvenile detention centers.

“Bush wrote: ‘I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart. Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history… it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place. People on all sides agree that our immigration system isn’t working, but the injustice of zero tolerance is not the answer.’

“First lady Melania Trump appeared to offer her own criticism of the policy on Sunday, telling CNN through a spokeswoman that she ‘hates to see children separated from their families’ by immigration authorities… ‘She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.’”

Europe Condemns…

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 20:

“In Europe, Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy has been met with fierce criticism. British Prime Minister Theresa May said images of migrant children held in cage-like units were ‘deeply disturbing.’ ‘A person’s dignity does not depend on them being a citizen, a migrant or a refugee,’ Pope Francis, a staunch supporter of migrant rights, said in a tweet. ‘Saving the life of someone fleeing war and poverty is an act of humanity.’”

The Telegraph added on June 19:

“Asked if Theresa May thought it was acceptable to cage children, the prime minister’s spokesman said: ‘The welfare and safeguarding of children is at the heart of our immigration policy. We do not separate child refugees or asylum seekers from their families.’”

Trump Administration to Be Blamed for the Refugee Debacle

Business Insider wrote on June 18:

“The Trump administration has repeatedly denied that its policy is to separate children from their parents when families cross the US border illegally. But its own internal documents contradict that… President Donald Trump had previously tried to blame the policy on the Democrats, but over the weekend his secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen, flat-out denied that such a policy existed.

“‘We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period,’ Nielsen tweeted. But the Department of Homeland Security does separate children from their parents at the border, and it just put out a press release about it on Friday, explaining its new ‘zero tolerance’ policy for border crosses…

“Nielsen continued: ‘For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous Administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between “family” members, or if the adult has broken a law.’”

According to the Trump Administration’s new policy of “zero tolerance,” every adult who is illegally entering the USA has broken the law and is now being treated as a criminal (as mentioned above, this was NOT the case before). Therefore, the statement by Nielsen is patently misleading.

Also, the Week wrote on June 18:

“The policy… sees an average of two children separated from their families at the border every hour.”

Trump Unrepentant?

Newsmax wrote on June 18:

“Facing rising outrage from some Republicans as well as Democrats over the forced separation of migrant children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, President Donald Trump dug in Monday, again blaming Democrats and declaring he would keep the U.S. from becoming ‘a migrant camp.’…

“‘The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility,’ he added. ‘Not on my watch.’”

The Week wrote on June 19:

“President Trump on Tuesday defended his administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy against growing outrage over the separation of nearly 2,000 migrant children from their parents… ‘When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away,’ he said. ‘People that come in violate the law, they endanger their children in the process, and frankly, they endanger all of our children.’”

“Trump Team Keeps Misrepresenting”

 Deutsche Welle wrote on June 19:

“Thrice in two days has the administration of US President Donald Trump made misleading claims about Germany. Just a few hours after the president falsely stated that the crime rate in Germany had risen and that Germans were scared of immigrants, Attorney General Jeff Sessions mistakenly told an interviewer that the camps for migrant children at the US-Mexico border should not be compared to Nazi concentration camps because the Nazis  ‘were keeping the Jews from leaving the country.’

“The fact notwithstanding that many Germans detest any comparison to the Holocaust… the reaction in Germany is sure to be one of swift condemnation, just as it was to Trump’s tweet about crime on Monday…

“Despite Sessions’ claims, as has been well-documented, in late 1941 the Nazis began deporting millions of Jews from across Europe to death and concentration camps they had constructed across the continent. Even Fox News later [reported] that Sessions was immediately criticized as being tone-deaf in his response…”

However, the Trump-friendly Fox News network has come under increasing attack for its “coverage” of the immigration disaster. Ingraham said on Monday evening’s The Ingraham Angle that the child detention centers are “essentially summer camps [or] boarding schools.” And Ann Coulter called the migrant children “actors.” These comments are indeed horrible and disgusting.

Christian Leaders Condemn Sessions’ Interpretation of the Bible

The Huffington Post wrote on June 15:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems to think Jesus would love his policy of separating immigrant families at the border. Christian leaders say otherwise.

“‘While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety,’ Cardinal Daniel Nicholas DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement. ‘Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.’ ‘Disgraceful,’… Franklin Graham, son of the late and influential Rev. Billy Graham and a supporter of President Donald Trump, said in a Tuesday interview. ‘It’s terrible to see families ripped apart, and I don’t support that one bit.’

“Even Sessions’ own church, the United Methodist Church, is rejecting what he is doing. ‘Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children,’ reads a statement signed by Bishop Kenneth Carter, president of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church.

“… the attorney general hit another nerve Thursday when he claimed the Bible justifies his actions. ‘Concerns raised by our church friends about separating families’ are not ‘not fair or logical,’ he said in a speech in Fort Wayne, Indiana. ‘I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.’

“White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders backed up Sessions’ claims later that day, calling it ‘very biblical to enforce the law.’

“HuffPost asked some Bible scholars what they make of Trump administration officials invoking Scripture to defend their immigration policy. ‘It makes my blood boil,’ said Matthew Schlimm, a professor of the Old Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa. ‘Sessions has taken the passage from Romans 13 completely out of context… Anyone with half an ounce of moral conviction knows that tearing children away from parents has nothing to do with love.’…

“James Martin, a Jesuit priest and the editor-at-large of the Jesuit magazine America, said Sessions’ actions are in fact the opposite of the Bible’s teachings about caring for the poor and being compassionate. ‘I cannot imagine anyone in his or her right mind thinking Jesus would approve of ripping children from their parents,’ Martin said in a Friday interview on MSNBC. ‘It goes against pretty much the entire Bible in the ethos of Jesus, and it’s deeply un-Christian.’”

The Washington Post wrote on June 15:

“Here, whether deliberately or unknowingly, Sessions and Sanders radically depart from the Christian religion, inventing a faith that makes order itself the highest good and authorizes secular governments to achieve it. In Christianity as billions of faithful have known it, order and lawful procedures are not ‘good in themselves’ and it is not ‘very biblical’ to ‘enforce the law’ whatever it might be… meaning Christians are sometimes morally obligated to follow civil laws and are sometimes morally obligated not to

“As Sessions himself observed quoting James Madison in a lengthy October 2017 memorandum on federal protections concerning religious liberty, ‘the duty owed to one’s Creator is “precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”’ Sessions can either believe that or believe what he and Sanders said Thursday, but he can’t believe both…

“Any number of scriptural passages are available here, though less useful for Sessions’s purposes. From Deuteronomy 10: ‘For the Lord your God . . . loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.’ Or from Jeremiah 7: ‘If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place . . . then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever’…

“If you had all the power in the world, maybe you would also hear a serpent dipping its smooth body down from some shadowy bough to say: God wants you to do whatever you like with your power, and whatever you do with it is good.”

Orthodox Jews Condemn Sessions’ Interpretation of the Bible

JTA wrote on June 14:

“The Orthodox Union released a statement criticizing the Trump administration’s policy of separating the families of illegal immigrants after they cross the U.S. border… ‘As an Orthodox Jewish organization whose values are anchored in those of the Torah and Jewish history, we are deeply concerned about any steps taken that affect families and the parent/child relationship,’ read the statement by O.U. President Moishe Bane.

Because children cannot be prosecuted with adults, they are reclassified as unaccompanied minors and taken away, either to mass children’s shelters or foster homes… Religious groups across the spectrum, Jewish and not, have opposed the policy…

“On Thursday, 26 Jewish groups, including the three other major Jewish religious movements, signed a letter opposing the family separation policy. The statement was organized by the Anti-Defamation League. ‘This policy undermines the values of our nation and jeopardizes the safety and well-being of thousands of people,’ the letter says. ‘As Jews, we understand the plight of being an immigrant fleeing violence and oppression. We believe that the United States is a nation of immigrants and how we treat the stranger reflects on the moral values and ideals of this nation.’”

JTA added on June 20:

“A group representing children hidden during the Holocaust slammed the U.S. border policy of separating families seeking asylum. ‘Separation of the family for us is probably the worst thing that ever happened to us,’ said Rachelle Goldstein, who was separated from her parents in Belgium when she wasn’t even 3 years old…

“‘When you take a child away from the parents, from the home, from everything that they know, they are never the same,’ Goldstein said…, adding that many children separated from their parents during the Holocaust had still not overcome the trauma.”

75 Former U.S. Attorneys Condemn Sessions’ Policy

The Huffington Post wrote on June 19:

“A bipartisan group of former U.S. attorneys has penned an open letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, calling on him to end the Trump administration’s highly controversial family separation policy at the border. The 75 former U.S. attorneys condemned the zero tolerance policy, announced by Sessions in May, under which children are put into shelters while parents facing prosecution for illegally crossing the border into the United States are jailed. ‘Your Zero Tolerance policy has resulted in the unnecessary trauma and suffering of innocent children,’ they wrote in a letter published Monday on Medium. ‘We also emphasize that the Zero Tolerance policy is a radical departure from previous Justice Department policy, and that it is dangerous, expensive, and inconsistent with the values of the institution in which we served,’ they continued…

“Although President Donald Trump and several members of his administration, including Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, have repeatedly claimed the family separation policy must be enforced, legal experts, including this group of attorneys, have challenged such an assertion. ‘As former U.S. Attorneys, we know that none of these consequences  ― nor the policy itself  ―  is required by law,’ they wrote in their letter to Sessions. ‘Rather, its implementation and its execution are taking place solely at your direction, and the unfolding tragedy falls squarely on your shoulders.’…

“Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Trump could ‘stop the policy with one phone call’ during an appearance Friday on CNN. ‘If you don’t like families being separated, you can tell [the Department of Homeland Security] to stop doing it,’ Graham said. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), whose district includes a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border, also criticized the policy… ‘This is clearly something that the administration can change,’ he added. ‘They don’t need legislation to change it.’”

Trump Signs Order that He Says Will Keep Migrant Families Together

After all the condemnation, as quoted above, President Trump gave in for political reasons and signed an executive order, which he originally said he would not and could not do. Trump’s reverse position (some call it, Trump’s defeat) must be viewed in light of the midterm election which Republicans were concerned of losing if Trump’s and Sessions’ controversial policy of separating children from their parents and incarcerating the children in detention camps would not be changed. We need to point out, however, that in spite of all the hype and claims about ruling with a heart, the “zero tolerance” policy itself was NOT changed. And as it will be shown, the executive order might make matters worse, not better.

CNBC wrote on June 20:

“President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that he says will keep migrant families together during detention on the U.S.-Mexico border. The president backed down from his administration’s policy of splitting migrant families, which for days the White House insisted could only end through congressional action. Facing a nationwide uproar and bipartisan calls to at least temporarily end the practice, the president said he ‘didn’t like the sight or feeling of families being separated.’ [It was admitted by Republicans that the “sight” of the disturbing images hurt them deeply politically.]

Trump said he will not end the administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy of criminally prosecuting every adult who crosses U.S. borders illegally, including those seeking asylum. The White House also will keep pressure on Congress to pass legislation that meets Trump’s goals of halting the separation practice, funding his proposed border wall and limiting legal immigration… The order did not appear to address how the government would go about reuniting families.

“Here’s what the executive order would do, according to text circulated by the White House:

“It orders Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen ‘to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations’ to keep families together during criminal proceedings. The measure says the administration does not have to keep families together ‘when there is a concern’ that detaining a child with a parent ‘would pose a risk to the child’s welfare.’ It directs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to file a request with a federal district court in California to change a legal settlement that curbs the government’s ability to keep children in detention. It orders Sessions to prioritize criminal proceedings for cases involving families.”

There are surely very many loopholes and uncertainties contained in that order. And as the next article shows, it’s highly improbable that it will be successful—in fact, it might make matters worse.

Trump’s Executive Order Highly Suspect

The Huffington Post elaborated on the new Executive Order, as follows:

“President Donald Trump’s plan to stop his administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families seems simple: Lock up immigrant parents and their children together, indefinitely.

“But there’s no evidence that Trump has the legal authority to make his wish reality. His plan, issued in an executive order on Wednesday, conflicts with a 2015 court ruling that required the government to release child migrants from detention after 20 days. Trump can’t dismiss federal judges’ rulings by decree. So his executive order will trigger a massive showdown between his administration and human rights activists in court

“Trump administration officials have insisted that they enacted the family separation policy in part because of a 2015 court order over a 1997 court settlement called the Flores agreement. The Flores agreement and the ensuing 2015 ruling limit the length of time that children can be detained, including with their parents. Most detained immigrant children must be released within about 20 days to continue their deportation proceedings outside of detention. In the past, the federal government has generally released the children’s mothers from family detention along with them rather than splitting them up [which is known as the “catch and release” policy. It has been wrongly claimed by the Trump administration that most of those who were released disappeared and never showed up in court. However, about 75 % did appear in court.]…

“… according to his order, parents being prosecuted will be locked up with their kids in most circumstances while criminal proceedings go forward ― and even after, while they pursue immigration cases. Those proceedings can take years.

The order conscripts the entirety of the federal government into mass immigrant family detention

“It’s hard to predict how the courts might rule… U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee, who presides over the case, repeatedly hammered the Obama administration with harshly worded rulings in the years that it tried to expand family detention to deal with an influx of Central Americans seeking asylum.”

Too Little Too Late

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 21:

“Trump’s migrant family separations reversal too little, too late… Trump bowing to pressure does nothing for the children already taken from their families. The likelihood that they’ll be reunited with their parents swiftly – if at all – looks grim. US administration officials said on Wednesday that they had no plan on how to bring them back together…”

Are Republicans Intentionally Blinding Themselves?

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 21:

“A poll published on Monday… showed that two-thirds of Americans were against separating children from their parents, but a majority of Republican voters supported the idea…

“… no one in this administration and only a few of the Republicans who control Congress are prepared to stand up to Trump… Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents served as a litmus test for conservatives who traditionally viewed themselves as the defenders of family unity…

“There was no huge outcry from the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan about the fact that a Republican government instituted a policy that mandates taking children away from their parents.

“Instead, many defended the policy while others obfuscated or tried to rationalize the issue for themselves… Together, the episode was just the latest sign that the GOP is now fully the party of Trump.

That does not bode well for the future of the country. If taking away children from their parents is not enough for Republicans to break with… [President Trump]. What is? It’s a troubling prospect to consider.”

Indeed it is!

USA Withdraws From UN Human Rights Council

JTA wrote on June 19:

“The Trump administration has withdrawn the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council because of its bias against Israel. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, jointly announced the pullout on Tuesday evening. ‘The Human Rights Council is an exercise in shameless hypocrisy,’ Pompeo told the media…

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the departure ‘courageous.’…

“The George W. Bush administration refused to join the council when it was established in 2006 as a successor to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights… The Obama administration joined the council, arguing that its presence was a more effective means of defending Israel on the council and of addressing human rights abuses elsewhere…”

Kim Jong Un in China Again

The Week wrote on June 19:

“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in China on Tuesday for a two-day visit, his third trip since March. Kim briefed Chinese President Xi Jinping on his recent summit with President Trump, and Xi said he was ‘very pleased’ with Kim’s performance at the meeting, CNN wrote. Kim and Trump agreed to work together toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Trump also offered to guarantee the security of the North Korean regime and promised to end ‘war games’ with South Korea, which both North Korea and China have criticized as provocative.”

China Announces Retaliatory Tariffs

CNBC wrote on June 15:

“The Chinese State Council’s commission on tariffs and customs said in an online statement that a 25 percent tariff will take effect July 6 on agriculture products, automobiles and ‘aquatic products.’

“The tariffs counter the United States Trade Representative’s announcement earlier on Friday that the U.S. will initially impose an additional 25 percent tariff on 818 Chinese imports worth about $34 billion on July 6.”

Trump’s Tariffs Could Bite Americans and the Rest of the World

The New York Times wrote on June 16:

“As the Trump administration imposes tariffs on allies and rivals alike, provoking broad retaliation, global commerce is suffering disruption… As the conflict broadens, shipments are slowing at ports and airfreight terminals around the world. Prices for crucial raw materials are rising. At factories from Germany to Mexico, orders are being cut and investments delayed. American farmers are losing sales as trading partners hit back with duties of their own.

“Workers in a Canadian steel mill scrambled to recall rail cars headed to the United States border after Mr. Trump this month slapped tariffs on imported metals.

“… history has proved that trade wars are costly while escalating risks of broader hostilities. Fears are deepening that the current outbreak of antagonism could drag down the rest of the world…

“The United States last year imported more than $600 billion in goods and services from Canada and Mexico, the two other nations in the North American Free Trade Agreement — a deal Mr. Trump has threatened to blow up. Americans bought more than $500 billion in wares from China, and another $450 billion from the European Union. Collectively, that amounts to nearly two-thirds of all American imports…

“Sixteen years ago, when President George W. Bush put tariffs on steel, imports fell substantially. Such memories now stoke modern-day fears… economists and business leaders note that many imports are components that are used to manufacture goods at American factories.”

EU Retaliates with Tariffs

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 20:

“A raft of retaliatory tariffs from the European Union on US products will come into effect on June 22. The EU’s list of targets reads like a summary of emblematic American exports, including motorbikes and jeans.

“The retaliatory measure comes in response to US tariff hikes on steel and aluminum that were imposed on EU member countries on June 1, with the White House citing grounds of national security… The agreed EU countermeasures will initially target a list of US goods worth $3.2 billion (€2.8 billion), most of which will be hit with import duties of 25 percent.

“The products affected by the move range from agricultural produce such as rice and orange juice to jeans, bourbon, motorbikes and various steel products…

“Canada and Mexico have also announced their own similar countermeasures just as an even greater trade spat pits the US against China. Together, the current battles have raised the specter of a global trade war, spooking financial markets that fear major consequences for the world economy.”

Turkey Retaliates with Tariffs

Newsweek wrote on June 21:

“Turkey implemented $266.5 million in tariffs against the United States on Thursday… The Turkish tariffs affect American imports of coal, paper, walnuts, almonds, tobacco, unprocessed rice, whiskey, automobiles, cosmetics, machinery equipment and petrochemical products.

“Bloomberg reported that the tariffs impact 19 percent of the $9.4 billion in products the U.S. sends to Turkey.”

CNN Money added on June 21:

“Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said in a statement: ‘We cannot and will not allow Turkey to be wrongly blamed for America’s economic challenges.’

“… India said this month that it plans to move ahead with retaliatory tariffs, too.

“Turkey is the world’s eighth largest steel exporter… The United States was Turkey’s top market for steel in 2017.”

Will President Trump wake up to reality before it is too late for America?

Sit Up at Attention and Listen to Trump

Politico wrote on June 16:

“President Donald Trump… likes the way dictators do business. ‘He speaks, and his people sit up at attention,’ Trump said on Friday morning of North Korean despot Kim Jong Un… ‘I want my people to do the same.’…

“Fox’s Bret Baier reminded the president of Kim’s record earlier this week… that Kim is ‘clearly executing people.’ But the president blew Baier off. ‘He’s a tough guy. Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, tough people, and you take it over from your father I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you could do that at 27 years old, I mean, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that,’ Trump explained…”

So did Adolf Hitler.

Germany’s New US Ambassador Must Navigate Trump-Merkel Divide

“Amid deeply strained ties between Washington and Berlin, Emily Haber, Germany’s new US ambassador, has her work cut out for herself… Haber… will be Germany’s first female envoy to Washington when she officially starts her post later this month…

“Haber, who earlier in her career was posted in Russia and Turkey, also served for several years as deputy minister in the foreign ministry, where she played a key role representing Germany in the negotiations that lead to the Iran nuclear accord — another thorny topic that necessitated working closely with Washington…”

Trump Gets Involved in German Immigration Battle, Angers Germany and Misrepresents the Facts

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 18:

“The US president has waded into the ongoing standoff between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her interior minister over migration. But his claim that crime in Germany ‘is way up’ doesn’t tally with official statistics…

“US President Donald Trump on Monday claimed that Germany’s leaders were losing the support of the public over the migration issue. His untimely comments come amid a deepening split between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leader of her coalition ally, Horst Seehofer, over asylum policy and border controls.

“Trump told his Twitter followers: ‘The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition.’ The US leader went on to say that ‘Crime in Germany is way up’ before adding that there had been a ‘big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!’ In a warning to the American electorate, Trump warned: ‘We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!’

Trump’s comments are certain to irk German ministers, especially as Europe’s largest economy recently reported the lowest crime figures in more than 25 years. The number of crimes fell almost 10 percent in 2017 over the previous year. A 22 percent reduction in non-German suspects was also noted. Separate studies suggest that Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Germany are less likely to commit crimes, as they don’t want to spoil their chances of obtaining asylum…

“Rolf Mützenich, foreign affairs expert for the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), cautioned Trump against interfering in German politics. ‘As the American ambassador has done previously, Trump is trying to sway the domestic political debate in favor of right-wing conservatives and populist elements in Germany,’ he told DW. ‘We will not change our constitutional principles and precepts of European cooperation learnt from history to align with the “America First” policy in Washington.’”

President Trump has a unique talent to meddle when he should keep out of it; thereby making more and more enemies out of former friends.

Merkel Has Two Weeks

Handelsblatt Global wrote on June 18:

“With the migrant crisis stoking tensions in the EU and within her government, Angela Merkel has two weeks to broker complicated compromises. Without a deal, her days as chancellor could be numbered.

“Angela Merkel’s rebellious interior minister appears to have given her more time to work out a European solution to the refugee crisis, and possibly to save her disunited government. Writing in a German Sunday newspaper, Horst Seehofer said that tough decisions on migration must be taken at the European Union summit at the end of this month, but stressed that his CSU party had no desire to see the governing coalition fall apart.

“Such are the tensions within Ms. Merkel’s government that this was regarded as a conciliatory statement, giving the green light to the German chancellor to plunge into bilateral negotiations with other EU leaders ahead of the summit… The one thing everyone can agree on is that this is a daunting diplomatic challenge, even for Ms. Merkel, the virtuoso of fudge and compromise…

“Mr. Seehofer is a senior figure in the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). On migration, he has long been a thorn in the chancellor’s side, including through his informal alliances with right-wing leaders in Austria, Hungary and Poland… The party faces Bavarian regional elections in October. With its polling numbers weak, it wants to combat the threat of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD). The CSU has ruled Germany’s second most-populous state since the Second World War, but could lose its absolute majority this time around.”

Deutsche Welle added on June 18:

“The German constitution guarantees the right to asylum to anyone persecuted for political reasons, while the Dublin convention stipulates that everyone’s application be checked on a case-by-case basis. That means migrants have a right to be heard if they claim asylum, even if they don’t have valid travel documents

“Critics and political pundits, including former Interior Minister Gerhart Baum, have described Seehofer’s proposal as illegal, not to mention a reckless destabilization of Merkel’s new government… If Seehofer were to impose border controls unilaterally using his authority as interior minister, Merkel could overrule him using her constitutional power as chancellor. But that scenario would likely lead to Seehofer’s resignation, a collapse of the government coalition, and new elections…

“Bavarian State Premier Markus Söder, a rival of Seehofer in the CSU, has questioned the efficacy of the upcoming EU summit, because, he claimed, no European agreement had been reached in the last three years…”

First Planned Biological Bomb Attack on Germany Confirmed

Handelsblatt Global wrote on June 20:

“German authorities have now confirmed what many feared: The 29-year-old Tunisian man arrested last week in Cologne was creating a deadly biological weapon he intended to use for a terrorist attack somewhere in the country…

“Various Islamist groups… have published instructions on the internet on how to make biological weapons from the deadly toxin ricin…

“The substance kills the body’s cells by preventing them from creating vital protein. It is far deadlier than cyanide, with no antidote; just a few milligrams are enough to kill a person when injected, inhaled or swallowed.

“As early as World War I, the United States tested ricin as a potential weapon, mixed together with ammunition or spread as a dust, but never deployed it. The substance is still subject to global biological and chemical weapons conventions

“The Bild newspaper… claims American security officials tipped off German investigators…

“A father of four with a wife who converted to Islam, Sief Allah H. came to Germany in 2016. Media has reported that he has sympathies with the Islamic State…

“Currently, Germany has 770 people classified as a threat. Many of them are believed to have entered the country during the refugee influx in 2015 and 2016.”

This new shocking development is not going to help Angela Merkel.

Has Europe Lost Its Soul in the Refugee Crisis?

Handelsblatt Global wrote on June 18:

“How convenient it would have been if the 629 migrants rescued by SOS Méditerranée on the MS Aquarius had drowned instead. Sure, it would have been awful. But the deaths would quickly have been a mere statistic of the kind we have got used to. The media would have churned out a few chilling headlines, and then moved on. This or that European politician would have uttered the usual platitudes. Most wouldn’t have bothered at all. And everybody would have just gone on with their lives, once again oblivious to the corpses at the bottom of the sea, anonymous and faceless like dust under a rug.

“But the migrants aboard the Aquarius did not drown. Unlike the 10,000 women, men and children who went missing while attempting to reach European shores in the past three years, they got lucky. A French NGO patrolling the Mediterranean had plucked them out of their overcrowded dinghies, where they were facing certain death. Among the migrants are seven pregnant women and over 100 children or minors. Most of them are from sub-Saharan Africa.

“The case of the Aquarius has since cascaded through the politics of the European Union. Italy’s new populist government closed its ports to the ship, international obligations and human decency be damned. Malta didn’t let the Aquarius dock either. Fortunately, Spain’s new prime minister finally stepped in and offered the Aquarius a safe harbor in Valencia. The Africans got there on Sunday, after a week-long odyssey in precarious conditions.

“All the while, the French president cast aspersions rather than lifting a finger. Emmanuel Macron criticized Italy’s ‘cynicism and irresponsibility’ for not taking in the boat people. Never mind that several French ports were much closer than Valencia. In fact, Paris quashed an offer by Corsican regional authorities for the Aquarius to dock there. Italy was furious at Macron’s hypocrisy.

“This is the same Emmanuel Macron who, in January of last year, praised Angela Merkel because she had ‘saved our collective dignity’ by allowing Germany to take in hundreds of thousands of migrants during the refugee crisis of 2015… Since he took power, Mr. Macron has done little to end the asylum stalemate in the EU… Paris has taken in less than 10 percent of the 9,816 refugees from Italy it had agreed on under an EU resettlement scheme from 2015. It has closed its long border with Italy to migrants headed north, leaving hundreds stranded outside of the resort town of Ventimiglia. Untold numbers have died in the Alps, trying to make the perilous crossing that’s off the well-trodden paths in order to avoid being caught.

“It gets worse. The French government has prosecuted law-abiding citizens for the crime of assisting immigrants after they entered the country on foot… France is not alone in its appalling behavior. Belgium, too, is prosecuting citizens under the controversial ‘crime of solidarity’ towards illegal migrants. Denmark confiscates the valuables of anybody who has the temerity to apply for asylum there. Last month, a center-right minister in Copenhagen suggested that Muslims in certain jobs should be banned from working during Ramadan. It won’t be long until someone suggests barring them from certain professions altogether.

“And Germany… The country that saved the continent’s dignity three years ago is now so transfixed by its own xenophobic far right that the question of whether to allow in a few thousands of relatives from the refugees’ home countries caused coalition talks to fail last year. And now the government is on the verge of collapse because right-wingers want to crack down even harder on immigration. In neighboring Austria, a young and ambitious chancellor who governs with the far right has called for an ‘axis of the willing’ with Italy and Germany to combat illegal immigration. A right-wing axis from Berlin to Rome — that sure has a ring to it.

“So maybe the Axis should live up to its name and bring in warships to sink the migrants’ dinghies. Nothing short of this will stop desperate people with nothing to lose from attempting to come to Europe. No one embarks on a dangerous journey across the Sahara and then on unseaworthy boats without a truly compelling reason.

“Or perhaps EU politicians should instead grow a conscience and stop selling their souls for a few far-right votes. Pedro Sánchez of Spain has put Mr. Macron, Ms. Merkel and Italy’s Matteo Salvini to shame. Spain is a troubled country — it has high unemployment, a struggling economy and is mired in its worst political crisis in decades as Catalonia tries to secede. And with the Moroccan coast clearly visible from its southernmost region, it is also on the front line of the refugee crisis. More than 10,000 migrants arrived there by sea this year alone. Yet most Spaniards don’t blame immigrants for all their ills or vote for far-right parties to keep them out. The Spanish prime minister didn’t think twice about doing the right thing.

“So if Spain can do it, why not the rest of the EU?… Europe is the richest continent in the world and certainly can handle a few thousand migrants in a dignified manner… If France and other EU countries had respected their pledges to support Italy instead of bickering, the far right probably wouldn’t be in power in Rome now…”

The hypocrisy of some European leaders is indeed appalling.

“Italian Jews Recall Holocaust-Era Law in Condemning Plan to Register Country’s Roma”

JTA wrote on June 19:

“Italy’s Jewish community condemned a call by the country’s hardline interior minister to take a census of Italy’s Roma, or Gypsy, population. The Union of Italian Jewish Communities, or UCEI, said in a statement issued Tuesday that the call by Matteo Salvini to create a ‘registry’ of Roma in Italy recalled the anti-Semitic legislation introduced by Italy’s fascist government on the eve of the Holocaust in 1938…

“Salvini’s ‘announcement of a possible, specific census of the Roma population in Italy worries us and reawakens memories of the racist measures taken just 80 years ago and, sadly, increasingly forgotten,’ the UCEI statement said… The UCEI statement said there was no ‘search for consensus, no anxiety about public order that justifies the disturbing proposal to single out specific social categories of citizens, to censor them and subject them to special security policies reserved only for them.’”

Strong Earthquake Hits Japan

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 18:

“A 6.1 magnitude quake hit the western city [of Osaka] during the morning commute. It was the largest since records began in 1923… the earthquake struck at 8.a.m. local time… at a depth of about 13 kilometers (8.1 miles)…

“The train and subway service in and around Osaka, including the bullet train to Tokyo, was suspended while checks were made… About 80 flights from and to Osaka were canceled… It is expected to take eight to 12 days to resume piped gas supplies to more than 110,000 residents in the Osaka region…

“A major manufacturing center, Osaka is the headquarters for companies including Panasonic and Sharp. Production at the Honda, Mitsubishi and Toyota car plants was temporarily suspended when the quake hit. Osaka is due to hold the G20 meeting in June 2019.”

A foretaste of worse things to come.

Scientist Searches for Loch Ness Monster DNA

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 17:

“A New Zealand scientist has traveled to Loch Ness in Scotland with a team to collect water samples from the lake that may give clues as to what creatures are lurking in its waters — including the legendary monster that has allegedly been sighted more than 1,000 times in the past 1,500 years… ‘Maybe there is something extraordinary out there,’ geneticist Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

“Professor Gemmell said the water samples he had taken would be assessed for ‘monster DNA’… The first sighting of a strange creature in Loch Ness, a lake in northern Scotland, is attributed to Saint Columba, who brought Christianity to Scotland in the sixth century. But the most recent was on March 26 this year by a US couple.

“Many people who claim to have seen the creature describe it as a long-necked reptilian being, which has led to theories that Nessie, as the monster has affectionately been named, could be a plesiosaur left over from the age of dinosaurs. The animal is thought otherwise to have been extinct for at least 66 million years. Other theories say Nessie could be a sturgeon or a Wels catfish, though none have ever been caught in the lake.”

For more information on the Loch Ness creature, please read our free booklet, “Heavens and Earth—Before and After the First Man.”

Koko Dies

The New York Post wrote on June 21:

“Koko, the thoughtful gorilla who captivated the world through her ability to use sign language and revealed an empathetic side to great apes, has died. She was 46… Koko… could sign more than 1,000 words

“Her remarkable ability to sign landed her on the cover of National Geographic twice – in 1978, in a photo she took of herself in a mirror, and again in 1985, with an image of her mourning the death of one of her pet kittens.

“Throughout her life, Koko adopted several felines, using sign language to give them names like All Ball, Lipstick and Smoky…

“In 2012, she stunned scientists by playing wind instruments, including the recorder, harmonica and party-favor whistles – an ability that showed primates can learn to control their breathing…”

Pope Francis Defines Family and Equates Abortion to Nazi-Era Race Purification

The Wall Street Journal wrote on June 17:

“Pope Francis likened abortion to Nazi eugenics practiced ‘with white gloves,’ and said the only real families are those based on marriage between a man and a woman, using uncharacteristically blunt language on two controversial moral issues.

“Addressing an Italian family association on Saturday, the pope equated the contemporary termination of pregnancies in response to fetal maladies or defects discovered through prenatal testing to the policies of Hitler’s Germany. ‘Children should be welcomed the way they come, the way God sends them to us, the way God allows, even if sometimes they are ill. I’ve heard that it’s fashionable—or at least habitual—to perform certain exams in the early months of pregnancy, to see if the baby is unwell or comes with a certain problem,’ the pope said. ‘And to have an easy life, one does away with an innocent,’ he added.

“The pope also rejected the concept of nontraditional families not based on heterosexual marriage. ‘Today—it hurts to say it—one speaks of “diversified” families: different types of family …but the human family as the image of God, man and woman, is only one. Only one,’ the pope said…

“Pope Francis’ remarks were consistent with traditional Catholic teaching yet unusually strong for a pope who has generally played down medical and sexual ethics and taken a strikingly conciliatory approach to gay people…”

Pink News added on June 17:

“It had been hoped that the Pope was in the process of softening the Catholic Church’s position on LGBT rights, particularly as it was just last month that he told Juan Carlos Cruz, a gay survivor of sexual abuse by a prominent Chilean priest: ‘God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care.’… The Pope also praised spouses who stay with unfaithful partners, hoping for them to stop cheating on them instead of asking for a divorce. ‘Many women – but even men sometimes do it [with wives] – wait in silence, looking the other way, waiting for their husband to become faithful again,’ he said. This, he added, was ‘the sanctity that forgives all out of love.’

“Conspiracy theorist and alt-right host Alex Jones, whose InfoWars YouTube channel has 2.3 million subscribers, went on an alarming rant after the Pope’s more accepting comments last month… Jones then told his followers that the pontiff was ‘as close as you’re gonna get to Satan in the flesh.’…

“But the Pope gave notice that he wasn’t upturning thousands of years of Church doctrine just days after speaking to Cruz, when he reportedly used a private meeting to warn bishops in Italy that they should reject any applicants to the priesthood who they suspect might be gay…”

The double-talk of Pope Francis is mind-boggling.

Compulsively Playing Video Games a Mental Health Condition?

Medical Press wrote on June 18:

“… the U.N. health agency [WHO] said Monday that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a mental health condition…

“WHO said classifying ‘gaming disorder’ as a separate addiction will help governments, families and health care workers be more vigilant and prepared to identify the risks. The agency and other experts were quick to note that cases of the condition are still very rare, with no more than up to 3 percent of all gamers believed to be affected…

“Dr. Joan Harvey, a spokeswoman for the British Psychological Society, warned that the new designation might cause unnecessary concern among parents. ‘People need to understand this doesn’t mean every child who spends hours in their room playing games is an addict, otherwise medics are going to be flooded with requests for help,’ she said…

“The American Psychiatric Association has not yet deemed gaming disorder to be a new mental health problem…

“Dr. Mark Griffiths… guessed that the percentage of video game players with a compulsive problem was likely to be extremely small—much less than 1 percent—and that many such people would likely have other underlying problems, like depression, bipolar disorder or autism… Griffiths said playing video games, for the vast majority of people, is more about entertainment and novelty…”

It seems WHO has nothing better to do than to waste their time with such ridiculous research and misleading conclusions.

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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Is it correct to say, “Once Saved, Always Saved?”, or can true Christians lose their salvation? (Part 1)

In our Update number 663, dated 21st November 2014, was an editorial by Mr. Michael Link, entitled “Once Saved, Always Saved?” We will continue with that presentation to provide additional information on this important subject.

There are a number of theological subjects that evoke much discussion and debate on both sides of the argument, and “once saved, always saved?” is one of those.

“Can true Christians lose their salvation?” is a very good question to ask and is one that arouses much debate back and forth about whether someone who believes they are saved will always be saved irrespective of their actions after “giving their heart to the Lord.”   There are many who see the fallacy of the “once saved, always saved” concept whilst there are many others who share a diametrically opposite theological stance on this subject and who, no doubt, use many of the same Scriptures but interpret them differently.

So, what is the Truth of the matter?

In this series on the subject, we won’t be able, nor do we wish to try and emulate those who have spent a lot of time putting together so much material but to look at it by a sound review that comes to a conclusion that we believe to be entirely scriptural.

One very short tract about this matter spoke about “eternal security” and one telling phrase in their explanation is as follows: “You see, when you were saved, you died to sin and changed masters. Instead of serving sin, you now serve Christ. You are not free to do as you like; you are now free to do the Lord’s will.  Any true believer who tries to ‘live as they like’ will be chastened by their Father and any professing Christian who ‘lives like the devil’ and gets away with it, is only proving they were never saved in the first place.”

That sounds good at face value but it means that everyone who, for whatever reason, falls away from the Truth must be regarded as someone who was never saved in the first place – they believe that every last one of them, however much they were once on fire for the Truth, was never converted.

The ”once saved, always saved” approach is a popular one and one that emotionally is very easy to accept! It conveys a message that little is required on our part beyond “accepting” the Sacrifice Christ made for us. However, such teachings are deceptive and misleading because they completely overlook clear and important biblical instructions regarding that which God holds us accountable for in the process of salvation. The Bible reveals that Jesus didn’t do everything for us.  To enter the Kingdom of God, there are specific things we must do – and on a regular basis.

One example of how this “once saved, always saved” issue could not be correct is in the case of the apostle Paul. He was a giant of the New Testament Church and thoroughly converted but he said that even he could be lost.  Paul says, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified (adikomos).”  This word is translated “castaway” in the Authorized Version (1 Corinthians 9:27). Paul is clearly saying that he could lose out if he had strayed from the Way of Life that he had been called to.  In Matthew 7:13-14, this Way of Life is referred to in this way: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  A few verses later, in Matthew 7:21-23, we read “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

This passage might address those who were never converted but thought that they were, supposing to work for Christ, which they in fact never did. But it is also possible that they were converted at one time but lost their salvation, and Christ never knew them in the sense that He could never be sure how they would act. In any event, this is a stark warning that we must live the Way of Life to which we have been called.

In his valedictory, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 that he was faithful until the end: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Paul said that he had finished the race. He had been faithful to the end. He had made it, showing that it was necessary to do these things throughout his life.

In Hebrews 2:1 we read: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” Proponents of the “once saved, always saved” concept try to minimise what disqualified really means but in 2 Corinthians 13:5 we read: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified (adikomos).”  Therefore, if you are disqualified, Jesus Christ is not (any longer) in you which is something that must be, in order to be a true Christian.

There are three aspects of salvation, and these are:

  1. We are saved now.   After we repent and are baptised, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).   At that point, we are saved from the penalty of death from our past sins.   However, it doesn’t mean that we are finally saved and that we could not lose the salvation which we did receive.
  2. We are being saved – it is a process of growing in grace and knowledge.
  3. To be finally saved, we must endure to the end.

Webster defines salvation as: “The saving of man from the spiritual consequences of sin; especially deliverance from sin and eternal damnation.” We read this: “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).   In the Authorized Version, it states that “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”

  1. We are saved now!

Let us look at some Scriptures which reflect this position.

1 Corinthians 15:2: “… you are saved IF you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.”  Holding fast indicates that salvation can be lost. We are saved now but must remain saved by steadfast continuance in the Word of God.

Ephesians 2:5: “even when we were dead in trespasses, [He] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” The Greek says here, “you are in a saved state.” Not merely, “you are being saved.” However, it doesn’t just stop there and it isn’t just a simple case of belief and faith. There are conditions which we will discuss later.  As long as we are growing, overcoming and being faithful to God we are in a “saved state” but this state can be lost if we leave “the narrow way,” as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 7:13-14.

Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Again, we are saved now, but that faith must be living faith because faith without works is dead (James 2:17; see also verses 14-26 which discuss this whole issue). This is not a once and for all scenario where salvation can’t be lost, as it would contradict ALL of the other Scriptures that clearly teach that salvation is a process.

In 2 Timothy 1:9 we read the phrase “who has saved us.” We are saved at the time, but can lose out if “we neglect so great a salvation” (please see Hebrews 2:3).

Titus 3:5: “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Again, we are saved at the time, but can lose out if “we neglect so great a salvation” – as referenced previously.   We are in a special category and our salvation is sure if we continue faithfully following God and His ways.

  1. We are being saved!

Acts 2:47: “… And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” This is indicating a process. The Authorized Version says: “… such as should be saved.” This is a conditional tense – indicating conditions and not a fait accompli.

1 Corinthians 1:18: “… but to us who are being saved (indicating a process) it is the power of God.”

2 Corinthians 2:15: “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved (again indicating a process) and among those who are perishing.”

  1. To be finally saved, we must endure to the end!

Matthew 10:22: “… But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Matthew 24:13: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

Mark 13:13: “… But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

Mark 16:16: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved…”

In Colossians 1:21-23, we read about the apostle Paul reminding the brethren, both then and now, that we have to continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, not a lukewarm “Christian” who has strayed far from the course that God intends that we pursue earnestly. It reads: “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

1 Timothy 1:19: “… having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.” If a ship is no longer seaworthy, it sinks.

Hebrews 3:6: “… but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”

In Hebrews 3:12-14, it does talk about the possibility of church members departing from the living God but needing to be steadfast to the end: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.”

Hebrews 6:15, when talking about Abraham, states: “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Had Abraham not patiently endured, he would not have obtained the promise. Endurance is vital.

Hebrews 10:36: “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”

In Hebrews 12:1, 4, we read: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.”

God wants Christians to continually strive to put sin out of their lives. If we are to become Spirit-born members of God’s Family, we must prove that we will obey God here and now by striving with all of our heart, mind and strength, and together with God’s help, to put sin out of our lives and keep it out! It’s a full-time job that continues for the rest of our natural lives.

2 John 1:8: “ Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.”

Revelation 2:26: “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.” The very obvious indication here is that those who don’t overcome and don’t keep His works until the end will not be in the Kingdom of God and will not have power over the nations.

Revelation 3:10: “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I will also keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” It is a command of God to persevere as the Scripture here clearly reveals.

Let us look at an analogy that someone gave that may be helpful.  Supposing that you were shipwrecked, along came another ship and you were saved. This wouldn’t mean that once saved, always saved, as you could be shipwrecked for the second time and would need to be rescued once again. You were originally saved and needed to make sure that you continued to avoid getting into a position where you could be shipwrecked again. Likewise, we are in the process of being saved but we can lose out. We must make sure that we continue in the faith. Our salvation is sure if we continue faithfully but is lost if we neglect it (Hebrews 2:3).

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“How Does Trump’s Executive Order Help Innocent Children?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

After a worldwide outcry over the “zero tolerance” policy of the Trump administration, criminalizing all illegal immigrants and leading to the separation of young children from their parents and the internment of the children in detention camps, President Trump signed an executive order, claiming that it will keep migrant families together. But does the executive order help the children, or does it make matters worse? Is the European condemnation hypocritical as they are engaging in similar conduct? Why are our immigration systems so broken and what does the Bible have to say about all of this? Is Attorney General Jeff Sessions right when he stated that Romans 13 commands us to obey the laws of the government? Must we obey all laws, even though they might violate the letter or the spirit of God’s Word?

“Hat Christus die steinernen Tafeln mit den 10 Geboten abgeschafft?” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Here is the summary for the German sermon. Title in English:  “Did Jesus Abolish the Tablets of Stone With the Ten Commandments?”

“God’s Children,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

What are the requirements to actually be considered God’s children? Do we have to do more than just “believe” in Jesus Christ and what does that all entail? What is the difference between “born again” and “begotten” children of God?

“Joy of Living Today,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:

We are told as Christians that we need to be joyful. In fact one of the fruits of the Spirit is Joy! But what does it mean to be joyful in a Christian way? How can we achieve in obtaining this crucial part of God’s Spirit? What does it take and what are the consequences for not obtaining it and then also for it dwelling in our lives?

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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

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