June 29, 2018
Hungering for the Unknown; Is This the Time of the End?
On June 30, 2018, Robb Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “Hungering for the Unknown,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Is This the Time of the End?”
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.
True Life, Liberty and Happiness for All
by Michael Link
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These are the famous memorable words that Thomas Jefferson laid down back in 1776 as the core values of the United States of America in what is known as the Declaration of Independence. They still stand at the head of the US Code to this day.
However, the present day does not seem to harmonize with this statement, as we see corruption all around us. This comes as no surprise, as this has been going on for many, many years, but we see how things are getting worse—not just here, but the whole world is affected.
This Declaration is supposed to be the foundation of the United States. It is remarkable that God has created all of us equally, meaning that we all have the ability and the same choice to follow Him and His Way of Life. God has called out specific people at this time, like you and me within the Church of God, with the special responsibility of proclaiming the Truth, but the time will come when every single person will ultimately have the chance to know and understand what we are experiencing now.
When it comes to what we believe in, no one should be able to take that away from us, as long as we are determined, making sure that our choices are the correct ones. This country still enjoys freedom of religion, but the way things are going, that may very well not be the case anymore for long, as the Book of Revelation shows. We also read in 2 Peter 2:18-22 how false teachers will deceive many people, and this is something that we in the Church need to be cautious about as well.
As quoted above, three specific words are mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, and God talks about the same specific words that we should abide by and experience, namely Life, Liberty and Happiness. God tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 that the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
God explains to us what it is that we need to be doing to draw closer to God in order to gain our freedom. It is quite simple but difficult to do by human standards. Notice what Christ said in John 8:32-36: “‘And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’”
Laws change in this world. Since the Declaration was written, so many things have happened in the meantime. Times are not getting any better, as more and more laws are created or changed that affect society, which is certainly not in accordance with God’s spiritual laws or the Way that He operates. God’s spiritual Law has been the same then, now and will continue so in the future. “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). Do we want to be part of this perfect Law?
Christ has to make us free through the repentance that God the Father offers us. When we sin, we are not free but slaves to sin. However, one may think that we are also slaves when we submit to God and His Way. But there is a big difference. Being a “slave of sin” does not bring forth good fruit, and it will lead to death. Being “slaves to righteousness” brings everlasting life. Which one do we choose? If we want to have our freedom, we must obey God (compare Romans 6:16-19). And only when Jesus Christ returns to establish His Kingdom here on earth will we finally experience TRUE freedom and liberty.
We can say that we have signed our very own Declaration of Independence, but not of this world. We have devoted our lives to God; we look to divine protection and our lives are in God’s hands, for our citizenship is not of this world (Philippians 3:17-21).
God asks us to choose life and reject death (Deuteronomy 30:15-16, 19-20). The life that God is offering us is everlasting life (Matthew 19:17). It requires that we keep His commandments.
This, in turn, leads to true happiness. Proverbs 29:18 says, “…happy is he who keeps the law.” In John 13:17, Christ confirms that we are happy when we do the right things (Authorized Version). And Psalm 144:15 says that “happy are the people whose God is the LORD!”
When Thomas Jefferson wrote about Life, Liberty and Happiness, he had our physical condition in mind. God is using the same words but He is not just referring to our physical life, but also, and more importantly, to our eternal existence.
by Norbert Link
We report on the election of Tayyip Erdogan as the autocratic President of Turkey and his strained relationship with the state of Israel and the USA; address a new European “Military Force” and the concept of core Europe in light of the ongoing devastating migrant situation; and speak on the “end of global Britain” and the fear of a major financial crunch because of Brexit.
We also address the US Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the US travel ban against seven countries; report on a widely-unknown negative consequence of the tax reform bill for churches; and address the escalation of a coming trade war and the unparalleled deteriorating and increasingly hostile relationship between Europe and the USA. In this context, please view out new StandingWatch program, titled, “Soon! The Bible Prophesies WAR Between Europe and the USA!”
We conclude with an article about the failure of the UN and the FDA’s approval of the first drug derived from Marijuana.
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
Erdogan Declares Victory in Turkey
Reuters reported on June 25:
“Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party claimed victory in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary polls on Sunday… [it] ushers in a powerful new executive presidency long sought by Erdogan… Critics say it will further erode democracy in the NATO member state and entrench one-man rule… Under the new constitution, he could serve a further term from 2023, taking him to 2028…
“Turkey held Sunday’s elections under a state of emergency declared after a failed military coup in July 2016 that Erdogan blamed on… U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen… Since the coup attempt, Erdogan has waged a sweeping crackdown on Gulen’s followers in Turkey, detaining some 160,000 people…”
Breitbart wrote on June 26:
“Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh phoned Erdogan Sunday evening… Haniyeh congratulated Erdogan and said he would dispatch a delegation to Turkey in the coming days, and indicated a willingness to deepen ties with Ankara, the statement said.
“…Erdogan has been among Hamas’s strongest supporters on the world stage, and Turkey under him has been accused of harboring leaders of the terror group and allowing it to launder money for militant activities.”
Hamas has been declared by the US as a terrorist organization with the goal to eradicate the state of Israel.
Erdogan More Successful in Germany Than in Turkey
Deutsche Welle reported on June 25:
“Nearly two-thirds of the Turkish community in Germany cast votes for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sunday’s election, far more than the support he averaged in Turkey…
“In Berlin… calls of ‘Recep Erdogan, our leader’ could be heard… In Dortmund… Erdogan supporters with Turkish flags shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great) and slogans against the Kurdish militant group PKK. Marco Bülow, a member of the Bundestag for Dortmund with the Social Democrats, wrote on Twitter: ‘Sorry, but that makes me sick.’”
Erdogan’s Autocratic Powers
Deutsche Welle reported on June 25:
“Turkey no longer has a prime minister. The president… is now chief executive. [He] is responsible for appointing and dismissing vice-presidents, ministers and senior officials… parliament has no say in these matters… The president can issue decrees that become legally binding once they are published in the government’s official bulletin. Parliamentary approval is not needed. If parliament does adopt a related law, the decree then becomes invalid…
“… the president effectively controls parliament… [He] appoints six of the 13 members of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors, which in turn appoints judges and prosecutors. Parliament, where the president is majority leader, chooses the council’s other members… Turkey’s military courts have already been abolished.”
Washington’s Chilly Reaction
AFP wrote on June 26:
“Washington’s chilly reaction to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s election victory and consolidation of his presidential powers reflect expectations that no thaw in US-Turkish ties is imminent. Erdogan’s position as Turkey’s leader remains strong, but his parliamentary majority now depends not just on his own AKP party but also on the nationalist MHP — no friend to America… And in particular, Erdogan is now even less likely to bend on his key beef with Washington: Turkey’s determined opposition to the Pentagon’s continued support for Kurdish militia inside Syria…
“Despite being a leading NATO ally, Turkey has entered into an understanding to buy Russia’s advanced S-400 air defense system, in defiance of US sanctions on Moscow.”
Turkey—biblical Edom—is prophesied to take a very hostile stance against “Israel”—both the Jewish people and the USA, the UK and other English-speaking nations which are modern descendants of the ancient house of Israel.
The New European Military Force
The Guardian wrote on June 25:
“Nine EU member states have agreed to establish a European military force for rapid deployment in times of crisis… Spearheaded by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the joint enterprise will allow national armed forces across Europe to coordinate and react swiftly together.
“Ministers from France, Germany, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain and Portugal signed a letter of intent in Luxembourg on Monday. Since the election of its new government, Italy has backtracked on its initial support, but Rome has not ruled out the country’s future involvement…
“The development has caused some anxiety within Nato, where officials are concerned about any duplication of roles and distancing by European nations from the US… The European Intervention Initiative is outside the EU’s structures, so will allow for full UK involvement after Brexit…”
Back to Core Europe?
The Independent wrote on June 25:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will seek direct deals with separate EU states on migration … ‘There will be bilateral and trilateral agreements… not always wait for all 28 members,’ she said… French President Emmanuel Macron offered his backing for Ms Merkel’s proposal, saying the solution should be ‘European’ but it could just be several states together.
“Rome has started turning away ships with migrants rescued at sea… Hungary and Poland have refused to host any arrivals. Now backed by Austria, they want to end any further discussion on rules for sharing them out across the bloc…
“A poll published in Germany on Sunday showed the dispute was weakening support for Merkel’s coalition and pushed the AfD to its highest ratings…”
Euractiv wrote on June 25:
“The recent EU mini-summit on migration held on 24 June has reaffirmed more openly than ever before the fundamental dissensions and schism among member states, if not among EU institutions themselves, in the field of migration and asylum policy. A two-speed EU migration policy would be the best solution to keep EU unity…
“… What is often overlooked by most commentators today is that old-time member states such as Denmark and the United Kingdom, in particular, have consistently opted out of a range of provisions in the area of EU home affairs, the Schengen acquis and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, not to mention several other EU instruments in the fields of justice, employment and social policy, over the past two decades…”
A core Europe or a two-speed Europe is clearly prophesied to occur in the not-too-distant future.
A Humanitarian Tragedy
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 27:
“A rescue boat stranded for days in the Mediterranean carrying over 200 migrants was finally allowed to dock in the capital of Malta… The Lifeline, a vessel for German NGO Mission Lifeline, had been waiting to be allocated a port for six days after rescuing 234 migrants off the coast of Libya last Thursday…
“[Maltese Prime Minister Joseph] Muscat said that once in port, the ship would be impounded and the crew placed under investigation for allegedly operating illegally – including violating rescue protocols and operating without the correct registration…
“Lifeline is run by a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Dresden called Mission Lifeline. The ship has been stranded at sea since June 21… The refusal by Italy and Malta to open their ports to the ship – and the haggling among EU states over how to distribute the migrants – showed a hardening of positions [of] EU leaders… Earlier this month, Italy and Malta both refused to let a French humanitarian ship dock, which forced some 630 migrants to travel an additional 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) to Spain…”
AFP wrote on June 27:
“German migrant rescue group Mission Lifeline Wednesday denied breaking the law…
“Italy and France have accused the charity of acting illegally by refusing to hand the shipwrecked migrants over to the [Libyan] coastguard during the June 21 rescue, arguing that such operations play into the hands of human traffickers. But Lifeline argued that the migrants would not be safe in Libya, where they have faced abuse and rape in holding centres…
“Lifeline said it followed the principle of non-refoulement under international law that forbids returning asylum seekers to a country where they likely face persecution…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 26:
“Mediterranean countries are all in the same boat: they don’t want ships carrying rescued refugees to dock at their ports. That approach poses a big problem for aid organizations…
“Repeated cases of refugee rescue boats being turned away from European ports have sparked anger among aid workers and religious authorities…
“Prior to their upcoming summit, EU leaders have held intense discussions with respect to a unified European migration policy… Migrants are to be deterred from embarking on the hazardous passage across the Mediterranean in the first place… Someone who has slim prospects of being rescued from their inflatable dinghy may not embark on the journey at all – that’s the ministers’ reasoning, in a nutshell…
“The number of refugees who completed the passage across the Mediterranean to Italy has decreased to 16,400 during the first half of 2018, compared to 73,000 during the first half of 2017. At the same time, the number of people from Africa who cross over to Spain has increased sharply. At least 635 people are known to have drowned this year on the route between Libya and Italy…”
This is a terrible humanitarian tragedy, and beyond the ability of man to solve. The conflict between the hardening of the European governmental position and the effort of aid organizations to rescue those in need is bound to escalate. It seems that migrants are always losing. Note the next article.
Worldwide Migrants Problem
Daily Mail wrote von June 25:
“Algeria has denied mistreating migrants amid claims it has abandoned more than 13,000 in the Sahara Desert over the past 14 months – including pregnant women and children. The country has been accused of expelling the migrants without food or water and forcing them to walk, sometimes at gunpoint, under a blistering sun before being left to die. Officials from the International Organisation for Migration have warned of a looming ‘catastrophe’…
“Migrants from across sub-Saharan Africa – Mali, the Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger and more – are part of the mass migration toward Europe, some fleeing violence, others just hoping to make a living. Many then attempt perilous attempts to cross the Mediterranean to Italy or Spain… Untold numbers die [or they] simply vanished in the Sahara.
“A European Union spokesman said the EU was aware of what Algeria was doing, but that ‘sovereign countries’ can expel migrants as long as they comply with international law…
“Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has called for processing centres to be set up south of Libya’s borders as a way to block attempts by migrants to cross the Mediterranean… Salvini… bluntly told foreign charities to stop rescuing migrants off the North African coast…”
These are appallingly inhuman proposals and actions.
Nazis Abducted about 400,000 “Aryan”-Looking Children
Handelsblatt Global wrote on June 22:
“A trial by a victim of Nazi Germany’s policy of abducting ‘Aryan’-looking children in occupied Eastern Europe shows the lasting pain suffered by families torn apart by cruel governments… The plaintiff, Hermann Lüdeking, is suing the German government for a crime committed in the early 1940s. As Nazi Germany occupied much of Europe, the SS kidnapped hundreds of thousands of blond-haired, blue-eyed children who fit the regime’s racist ideals. The children were brought into ‘assimilation camps’ where they were ‘Germanized,’ robbed of their identities and eventually given up for adoption to loyal Nazi couples… Many of those children never saw their real families again. Estimates vary, but it is usually stated that up to 400,000 ‘Aryan’-looking children were taken from their families in Eastern Europe and Nazi-occupied Norway. Half of all the abductions took place in Poland.
“Mr. Lüdeking… was 6 years old when the Germans abducted him. He still remembers the day when, months later, ‘an elegant woman with a hat’ turned up at his Nazi-run orphanage and chose him. From then on, Maria Lüdeking, a senior member of a Nazi women’s organization, was his ‘mother.’ Some 76 years later, her ‘son’ is still fighting for justice… He found his Nazi adoption paperwork, which referred to him as Roman Roszantowski, born in Poland in 1936. But even that birth name probably is fake. The Nazis were good at covering their tracks, and post-war Germany was all too eager to sweep war crimes under the carpet…”
A lesson from history! The Bible shows that in the future, slavery and abductions will become wide-spread among many “civilized” countries.
Hostility Towards Christians Accelerating Worldwide
One News Now wrote on June 22:
“… more and more nations are targeting believers in Christ than any other faith… Across the globe, peacefully practicing one’s faith as a Christian is becoming more and more scarce… Some of the biggest suppressors of religious freedom were found to come at the hands of state officials governing over tens or hundreds of millions of citizens.
“Laws prohibiting the freedom to practice one’s faith continue to rise for more than half of the nations of the world.”
Scripture tells us that a worldwide martyrdom of true Christians will occur in the future. The hostility against “Christianity” in general will of course include antagonism against true Christians who will be considered as sects or cults—being unworthy of protection.
Former German Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor Joschka Fischer wrote on June 22 in Project Syndicate:
“It is now clear that the twenty-first century is ushering in a new world order…
“Europe and the North Atlantic dominated the global economy for four centuries… Though the US remains the world’s leading superpower, China has emerged as both a new and ancient geopolitical force. With a population of 1.4 billion people and an enormous domestic market, China is already challenging the US as the world’s economic, political, and technological leader…
“Anyone who has ever visited the corridors of power in Beijing knows that Chinese leaders have their own map of the world. On it, China – the ‘Middle Kingdom’ – lies at the center, while Europe and the US drop off the left and right sides, respectively. In other words, the US and Europe… are already… consigned to the margins…”
The Bible predicts that many Far Eastern nations, including China and Russia, will form a union in competition to the West. They are called in Scripture the “kings of the East.”
“The End of Global Britain”
Project Syndicate wrote on June 25:
“In the two years since the Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom’s global influence has been significantly diminished…
“Since the June 2016 Brexit referendum, British foreign policy seems to have all but collapsed…
“Since World War II, Britain’s close relationships with continental Europe and the US have served as the two anchors of its foreign policy. But now, both lines have essentially been severed… a Europe without Britain’s traditional leadership, judgment, and diplomacy will be a lesser Europe. And Britain, by its own hand, risks being reduced to a footnote.”
Major Financial Crunch on the Horizon?
Business Insider wrote von June 27:
“A major financial crunch on contracts worth almost £30 trillion ($39.7 trillion) could be on the horizon in March next year, the Bank of England warned on Wednesday. The UK’s central bank used its latest Financial Stability Report… to warn that Britain’s impending exit from the European Union could have a huge impact on over-the-counter derivative markets…
“The Bank of England’s warning comes amid growing tensions between UK and EU financial authorities… ‘Firms cannot take for granted that they continue to operate as at present nor can they rely on as yet unrealised political agreements or public policy interventions,’ Andrea Enria, the EBA’s chair said, warning that banks need to ‘speed up’ their preparations for a cliff-edge EU exit.”
Iranians Protest Against their Regime
CBN wrote on June 26:
“… thousands of Iranians take part in a second day of protests against the Islamic regime… Iran’s currency, the rial, has plummetted in recent days against the US dollar prompting thousands of Iranians to protest in front of Parliament and on the streets of Tehran…
“‘This protest in Iran is significant,’ said Dr. Mike Ansari… ‘It is the traders of Tehran’s Grand Bazaar that have taken to the streets protesting the rising prices and the plummeting value of Iran’s currency.’ Ansari… said traders at the sprawling Grand Bazaar have historically played a significant role in the political affairs of the Islamic republic. ‘Remember, it was this group of traders who were extremely influential in Iranian politics in 1979 when they economically backed the uprising, the revolution against the Shah, and brought Ayatollah Khoemeni to power,’ Ansari noted.
“Iranians chanting ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’ are a common occurrence. Monday’s protests were different… thousands of angry protesters [were] chanting, ‘Death to Palestine’ and ‘Death to Syria,’ an apparent reference to Iran’s military engagement in Syria and funding of the terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. ‘Most Iranian families are facing grave economic hardship,’ Ansari said. ‘The prices of milk, eggs, meat, bread have skyrocketed, yet Iranian people are witnessing their government investing millions of dollars in expensive regional disputes in Iraq, Syria, Yemen to increase its regional influence, while [Iranian people] go hungry,’ Ansari added…”
Supreme Court Upholds Trump’s Travel Ban
ABC reported on June 26:
“The Supreme Court has upheld President Donald Trump’s travel ban in one of the most highly anticipated decisions of this year, saying the ban is ‘squarely within’ the president’s authority. The Court’s 5-4 ruling that the third iteration of Trump’s controversial proposal… is constitutional comes after two previous attempts by the administration to bar immigration to the United States from certain foreign countries.
“That newest iteration of the travel ban is a presidential proclamation signed on Sept. 24, 2017, that indefinitely restricted most travel from the countries of Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen—linking the restrictions to those countries’ purported vetting deficiencies. In April, The U.S. lifted travel restrictions on Chad… Trump said in a statement the ruling is a ‘tremendous victory’ for the American people…
“The court ruled in favor of the administration, Chief Justice John Roberts writing ‘…the Government has set forth a sufficient national security justification to survive rational basis review. We express no view on the soundness of the policy. We simply hold today that plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their constitutional claim…
“‘The Proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices. The text says nothing about religion,’ Roberts said. ‘Plaintiffs and the dissent nonetheless emphasize that five of the seven nations currently included in the Proclamation have Muslim-majority populations. Yet that fact alone does not support an inference of religious hostility, given that the policy covers just 8% of the world’s Muslim population.’”
Newsmax wrote on June 26:
“Alan Dershowitz said Tuesday the Supreme Court’s decision upholding President Donald Trump’s travel ban ‘is right to the Constitution’… ‘This is about people who want to come into the country and have no rights under the American Constitution,’ the Harvard Law School professor emeritus [said]… Dershowitz also slammed Democratic attacks on the Trump administration, citing the call by California Rep. Maxine Waters for Americans to ‘absolutely harass’ White House officials while they are off duty or out in public spaces…
“‘We’ve become a very divided country. Anything that Trump does, whether it be recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or negotiating with North Korea, he can do no right when it comes to extremists on partisan grounds — and for some extremists on the other side, President Trump could do no wrong…”
The Week wrote on June 26:
“The Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban Tuesday, but in the process it quietly overturned its 1944 ruling that the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was constitutional. The case, Korematsu v. United States, was invoked in the dissent, but ‘whatever rhetorical advantage the dissent may see in doing so, Korematsu has nothing to do with this case,’ the majority opinion said.
“The majority went on to argue that the ‘forcible relocation of U.S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of presidential authority,’ adding: ‘Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and — to be clear — has no place in law under the Constitution.'”
Tax Reform Requires Churches to Pay Huge Tax for Some Fringe Benefits
Newsmax wrote on June 26:
“The Republican tax reform passed in December is requiring churches, hospitals, colleges and other historically tax-exempt organizations to begin paying a 21 percent tax on some types of fringe benefits they give their employees…
“Many non-profit organizations are stunned to learn of the tax, which has been little noticed and could cost them tens of thousands of dollars. Many of the groups say it will be a significant financial burden, as well as an administrative one, as they previously did not have to deal with the IRS… Even though many are still unaware of the change, more than 600 churches and other groups have already signed a petition demanding the change be repealed…
“The main benefits affected are transportation-related, like free parking in a garage and subway and bus passes, as well as targeting meals provided to workers… Many nonprofits say they are confused over how exactly the tax works, with churches, for example, asking how they are supposed to calculate the value of parking spaces for employees… The Treasury is now working on regulations detailing how the tax will work, even though the groups are supposed to have already been paying the tax every quarter since it went into effect on Jan. 1…”
As many churches and other nonprofit organizations would be affected by these rules, which Congress was reportedly not even aware of when they passed the law, it is hoped that they will be rescinded as soon as possible.
Trump Germany’s Enemy?
Der Spiegel wrote on June 20:
“Vladimir Putin operates in the shadows. The Russian president controls a clever disinformation campaign with the aim of upsetting the populations of Western countries, discrediting their institutions, dividing society, influencing elections and ultimately causing the collapse of liberal democracy. Nevertheless, there are still many people who continue to believe that Putin is innocent and that the claims are merely the malicious fabrications of Western intelligence agencies. Is it all just a conspiracy theory?
“Regarding Donald Trump’s intentions, by contrast, there can no longer be any doubt… Trump acts quite openly. And now, the American president has turned his attentions toward launching a disinformation campaign against Germany. He is doing so as a way of justifying his morally repugnant refugee policies to the American people…
“In an unprecedented step into German domestic affairs, the U.S. president seized on the current disagreements within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition about refugee policy. The German people were ‘turning against their leadership,’ he tweeted gleefully, and followed that up with a blatant lie, saying ‘crime in Germany is way up.’ Europe, he intimated, had made the big mistake of letting in millions of people who had ‘violently’ changed the culture.
“Apart from the fact that this is all lies, the author is a man who bears more responsibility than any other for the ongoing, brutal attempts to rip down all that has been laboriously built up since World War II. In a second tweet, Trump then repeated his lie about rising crime rates in Germany and said that ‘officials do not want to report these crimes.’ It reads like a speech that could be held at a right-wing extremist rally in Dresden… The claim – leveled without a shred of proof – that the German government and its officials would deliberately keep the true extent of criminality from the citizens of Germany should not go without consequences. His open support for German right-wing populists is nothing less than a blatant attack by a foreign power on this country’s government. It is a direct attempt by the White House to destabilize the Federal Republic of Germany.
“Angela Merkel has been far too restrained in her reaction to this threat. The chancellor simply responded that the crime figures recently presented by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer speak for themselves. Those statistics show that crime has in fact gone down slightly. And if there is one person in German politics who could never be accused of whitewashing crime statistics, it is Seefhofer, who is currently looking for any excuse possible to take an even harder line on migration.
“No, this U.S. president was never a partner. He is a hostile opponent. We should finally start to treat him as such and act accordingly… relations to this U.S. government should be reduced to a bare minimum. It is also no longer necessary to pretend to be on friendly terms. Germany and the European Union should abandon polite self-restraint when dealing publicly with Trump and his government… We have long known that we could no longer rely on the United States under Donald Trump. Now, though, it has become clear that we have to protect ourselves from him.”
Some may claim that we publish this article because we want to support Europe and reject Trump. This would be untrue. We do NOT take any political side nor do we speak for or against a political candidate or a political party or the policy of a particular country; in fact, we could not care less about politics. The reason why this article is highly explosive is the fact that it represents the view point of the majority of Germans and Europeans. And this shows that—and why—it is no longer inconceivable that—and why—open hostilities will break out between the USA and Europe, under German leadership. The Bible has long ago prophesied that in the end times, a NUCLEAR WAR will be fought between those two power blocs… and that Europe will attack the USA militarily. The following articles give further credence to this conclusion.
Trade War Escalating—Harley-Davidson Announces Production Outside USA
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 25:
“In a regulatory filing on Monday, Harley-Davidson said each of its motorcycle[s] shipped to the European Union would cost about $2,200 (€1,880) more after the bloc raised its levies on imported US bikes to 31 percent from 6 percent on June 22. This would cost the company about $90 million to $100 million annually, the manufacturer said and added that it was striving to absorb rather than pass extra costs on to customers in the medium-term.
“In order to avoid the impact of higher EU tariffs on its sales, the company also announced that it would be ‘implementing a plan to shift production of motorcycles for EU destinations from the US to its international facilities.’… The Milwaukee-based company sold almost 40,000 motorcycles in the EU last year, generating revenue second only to the United States…
“Harley-Davidson is the first American manufacturer to detail the financial impact of the escalating trade tensions between Washington and its allies… Daimler, which also produces its premium Mercedes cars in the US, said its 2018 profits were expected to be hit by higher Chinese tariffs on imports of American-made cars.”
In response, President Trump tweeted the following on June 26:
“Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand. That was long before Tariffs were announced. Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse… A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never! Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end – they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!… Harley must know that they won’t be able to sell back into U.S. without paying a big tax!”
The concern is that other American firms may follow Harley-Davidson’s example.
“US President Insists EU Will Drop Its Retaliatory Tariffs. Brussels Has No Plans to Do So.”
Politico wrote in June 26:
“In the escalating trade war with the U.S., Brussels has a clear message for Donald Trump: It’s not backing down… French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Europe was ready for Round Two if Trump really wanted it. ‘If the United States hits us again with a 20 percent increase on cars, we will respond again…
“Even in Berlin… the view is now that there can’t be any offer to Trump… If Trump does impose tariffs on European cars — which he threatened to do if Brussels doesn’t remove certain tariffs and trade barriers — the EU would likely debate further countermeasures…”
The Associated Press wrote on June 27:
“European Council President Donald Tusk says the European Union must prepare for the worst due to the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, as a trade war looms between Washington and Brussels. In a letter to EU leaders Wednesday, Tusk wrote that ‘trans-Atlantic relations are under immense pressure due to the policies of President Trump.’ Tusk… said that ‘unfortunately, the divisions go beyond trade.’ He wrote: ‘It is my belief that, while hoping for the best, we must be ready to prepare our Union for worst-case scenarios.’”
One must ask the question as to what is meant with a “worst-case scenario.” Again, we are NOT publishing these articles about the trade conflict to take political sides but rather to show how biblical prophecy is being fulfilled, predicting the growing antagonism of Europeans towards the USA; the total isolation of the USA in the world; and the increasingly deteriorating relationship between the USA and its allies. One might say, “You have said it often enough, so we do not need to hear it again and again.” However, we are quick to forget and need to be constantly reminded as to what is happening, showing that it is in fulfillment of God’s faithful Word.
The UN Has Failed
On June 20, Bild Online published the following interview with “Carla del Ponte (71) [who] was the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia from 1999 to 2007. For four years, she was also responsible for investigating war crimes in Rwanda. Following several years as Ambassador to Argentina, she became member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria… the Swiss native explains how the UN’s inactivity in the face of the atrocities in Syria, which have even amounted to genocide, drove her to despair”:
“When you’ve been investigating horrible crimes like those in Syria, there has to be a tribunal at the end, an international court of justice… However, the international community – the UN Security Council, to be more precise – does not want this tribunal. Syria is a member of this committee. The ambassador is allowed to spread his stupid ideas there. The UN, who likes to consider itself the world’s conscience, prefers to watch and do nothing…
“Russia and China with their right to veto [prevented al-Assad and his henchmen from being brought to court]. Russia used to support al-Assad’s father. Now they are standing by a war criminal. Don’t forget that Russia is selling weapons. In seven years of war, you need a lot of weapons… the UN has failed. It has failed completely when it comes to the protection of human rights… Human rights violations are happening everywhere in the world. In Africa, in Yemen. Half of the states who are members of the Human Rights Council violate human rights themselves. We urgently need a reform. Countries that violate human rights every day must be kicked out of the UNHRC. The right to veto must go…”
When asked whether it is correct to say that “there is only a thin, cracked layer of civilization that covers the darkness that’s slumbering in every human being,” she answered:
“I tend to agree. Take Rwanda as an example. Neighbours who lived and even ate together all the time suddenly killed each other with machetes. This hatred was the consequence of brainwashing. The same thing that Milosevic did in Yugoslavia. Although I very much hope that something like this is not possible in my home country, I cannot exclude the possibility…”
The assessment of the UN’s failure is very true. No human attempt to bring peace has ever succeeded. It will require the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom and the Government of God to usher in lasting peace on earth.
FDA Approves First Drug Derived from Marijuana
The Website of statnews.com reported on June 25:
“The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the country’s first drug derived from marijuana, a medication that treats two rare and devastating forms of epilepsy. The drug, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is made of cannabidiol, or CBD, a component of marijuana that does not give users a high. It is given as an oil, and in clinical trials, it was shown to reduce the number of seizures by about 40 percent in patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes…
“Before GW can market Epidiolex, though, the Drug Enforcement Administration will have to reclassify CBD, which in this case, because it comes from marijuana, is considered a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no medical value and a high risk of abuse. The agency is expected to do so within 90 days…
“Many families have moved to states where marijuana is legal medically or recreationally so they could treat their children with CBD on their own…”
It is hoped that medical marijuana will be reclassified so that the present unnecessary controversy between the Federal government and the states on this issue will cease once and for all.
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.
Q: Is it correct to say, “Once Saved, Always Saved?”, or can true Christians lose their salvation? (Part 2)
Let us review some Scriptures that reveal that the unrighteous will NOT be in the Kingdom of God
1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
We read here that some Church members used to behave in a wrong and sinful manner but we also read in Proverbs 26:11: “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly,” meaning that some Church members could turn back to their former life. Therefore, anyone who has gone off the straight and narrow way and has not repented and got back on track will not be in the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2: “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” Paul says they have to hold fast to that which he preached to them.
Hebrews 10:26: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” So again, anyone who has been converted can still go off track and sin willfully and will not be continuing in the Truth. For such a person, the consequences are dire.
2 Peter 2:20-22: “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’”
It Does Matter What We Do!
In Romans 2:5-11, we read about God’s righteous judgment: “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.”
This passage is very clear about those who obey the Truth and their reward and those who do not obey the Truth.
Romans 6:15-19: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” This passage clearly shows that we are slaves to whom we obey—God or sin.
Romans 8:13-14: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” We must put the deeds of the body to death; i.e., it truly DOES matter what we do!
Galatians 6:7-8: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
People who emotionally “gave their heart to the Lord” at a crusade or at some other time did not really repent, and unless they do, they will not be in God’s Kingdom. But even those who became converted may have drifted away from the Truth or may have even deliberately turned their back on that which they once embraced, and as such, are no longer Christians. Of course, if they were called by God, then they can repent and it is God’s wish that they do so, but they will be held responsible for their actions, whatever course they may take.
So, putting all of these Scriptures together, the Bible tells us the following:
When Peter was asked what they should do, he said: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). It was not just an emotional experience—a one-off experience. Repent means to be sorry for past sins and implicit in it is that we will try and avoid such sins in the future. After repentance and belief in Christ’s Sacrifice and in the gospel of the Kingdom of God, then what do we have to do?
- We should be baptized followed by the laying on of hands.
- We have to develop and practice an ongoing godly behavioural pattern.
- We must not look back to our former life (compare Luke 9:62: “But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’”)
- We have to surrender our lives to God and He must come first (see Luke 14:26-27).
- It becomes clear that being saved (salvation) is not a once in a lifetime experience but a process that lasts throughout our lives.
- And we must endure to the end or we can lose out.
Jesus reproved those who were hypocrites, as we read in Luke 6:46: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” We have to follow the instructions that we are given and keeping the Commandments of God is of paramount importance.
It is critical to make these further observations.
- We can lose our crown of life.
Revelation 2:10: “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Faithfulness to God is a requirement and the only conclusion from this verse is that those who were being saved, but weren’t faithful unto death, would not receive the crown of life!
Revelation 3:11: “Behold, I come quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” This verse clearly shows that we can lose out and can lose our crown.
- At the end time, the love of many will grow cold.
Matthew 24:12: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” The love mentioned here is “agape” which is godly love and applies to Church members. Unconverted people of this world do not have godly love within them and, because of lawlessness, the love of many in the Church will grow cold. When that happens, those who lose this godly love will not make it into the Kingdom of God unless they repent quickly of this and return to fully following the Way of God.
- There will be a falling away from the Truth at the end of the age.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3: “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” The time frame is obviously the end time as it talks about the man of sin or the false prophet, and in verse 10 is a very telling verse in the context of the “once saved, always saved” belief of some. It states: “… and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” The love of the Truth is vital to our salvation; without it, we will lose out!
1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” Departing from the faith, for whatever reason, will be a terrible position to be in unless there is true repentance.
Hebrews 6:4-6: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” Interestingly, this is one of many Scriptures that proponents of “once saved, always saved” quote as part of their proof saying that it is “an often misunderstood passage” and then go on to make assertions that don’t stack up with what the Bible reveals.
To avoid falling away, it is imperative that we must persevere in God’s Truth giving God thanks for our calling. Having a laid back approach to what God expects of us and never uncompromisingly carry out our individual and collective responsibilities could well lead to Christ saying: “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:23).
One writer asked the following:
“Why would our arch enemy, the devil, tempt Christians to sin if our future sins are all forgiven and could never be imputed to us? In fact, the devil would be wasting his time if no sin could ever be charged against the believer! The devil obviously believes what the OSAS (once saved, always saved) teachers want us to believe, for he is ever trying to get us to yield to his temptations. Jesus told us to pray to not be led into temptation (Matthew 6:13). Why would the Lord want us to pray daily about such if sin could not be imputed to the believer anyhow?”
It is a very dangerous thing to think that “once saved, always saved” is approved by biblical instruction. One English entertainer once said that he was told that he should “give his heart to the Lord” which he did, and that he didn’t have to change anything. The Bible clearly says otherwise.
Can true Christians lose their salvation? Yes! Once saved, always saved? The Bible gives an emphatic NO to that question.
If we’re saved now and we can’t lose out whatever we do, where’s the motivation? Why continue to grow and overcome? There would be no need, as the matter would be unchangeable, irrespective of our future behaviour. However, the Scriptures clearly tell us that we must grow and overcome AND endure to the end.
2 Peter 3:18: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” This doesn’t indicate that nothing else needs to be done after conversion!
One passage of Scripture that proponents of “once saved, always saved” use is in John 10:27-29 which reads as follows: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” But to follow is a continuous tense and we need to continue to follow Jesus to receive eternal life – we mustn’t grow weary and give up.
In Philippians 1:6 we read: “… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” To achieve this goal, we need to stick to the process that was started when we were baptised and keep repenting, growing and overcoming with God’s help and that way the good work that was begun in us, God will complete at Christ’s return.
1 John 1:7-9: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God will forgive our sins but we do have to repent and confess them.
In our booklet “Are You Predestined to be Saved?,” we read the flowing on page 71:
“WE WILL SUCCEED! True Christians ought to have a continual attitude of thankfulness and appreciation to God for both the physical blessings and spiritual blessings that He gives us. There is one most fundamental reason WHY we CAN be truly thankful to God. That reason is the PROMISE that we who are called, WILL make it into God’s Kingdom! Yes, God has called us to SUCCEED. If God had any doubt whether or not we would succeed, He would not have called us in this day and age. God is SURE and CERTAIN that we will make it! How certain are WE? Let us notice God’s absolute conviction that YOU, if you are one of God’s begotten children, WILL make it into His kingdom.
“Realize first, that, as far as God is concerned, it is already a done deal. Only ONE person can stop you from qualifying, and that person is YOU! As we saw in the last chapter, it IS possible for those who are truly called to salvation, to commit the ‘unpardonable sin.’ That is why the concept, ‘once saved—always saved,’ is wrong. We were saved from our past sins (Matthew 1:21; compare Romans 3:25); we are being saved right now (Acts 2:47); and we will be saved in the future—when Christ returns (Romans 5:10). Only the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13). We need to conquer our fears and doubts, and that is why we need to overcome our carnality that tempts us to return to this world. BUT, in God’s eyes, this battle WILL BE won! It is not impossible to succeed! To the contrary, it is certain that we WILL succeed, as long as we let God live and rule our lives. And THAT is WHY we can be truly thankful, always, now and forever!“
It might come as somewhat of a surprise to some that when a person is saved and becomes a righteous person, he can die spiritually if he leaves the Way of the Life that he has been called to. We must remember that at the dawn of civilisation, Satan tempted Eve in the garden of Eden and said “you will not surely die” but she did, although she lived a long time after this action that she took.
In the book of Ezekiel, chapter 18, we read the following in verses 24-26:
“But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
“Yet you say, ‘The way of the LORD is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.”
This a revealing piece of Scripture showing that a righteous man can turn away from righteousness and die in his iniquity because there is no repentance of his sins. “Once saved, always saved” is shown to be a false concept from these verses in the book of Ezekiel.
In John 8:51, Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word he shall never see death.” This must be about spiritual death as all men die at some time. That is how we must live and those who were once saved and stray away from their calling will be lost – not once saved, always saved!
So, recapping, there are 3 aspects to salvation as the Scriptures clearly reveal:
- We are saved now.
- We are being saved.
- And to be finally saved, we must endure to the end.
As previously mentioned, there are many writers who present the case for the fallacy of the “once saved, always saved” debate, giving voluminous evidence to prove their stance but, inevitably, there will be counter arguments and discussions put forth by the adherents of this belief. As we said at the beginning of this series, this subject is one where there are many proponents on both sides of the debate who can present their case powerfully, but the Church of God has, historically, had the understanding that is shown in this presentation.
The real Christian life is a life of overcoming, of spiritual growing. The concept of “once saved, always saved” is clearly wrong and unscriptural.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Soon! The Bible Prophesies WAR Between Europe and the USA!” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Even though this might still be difficult or even impossible for many to comprehend, the Bible clearly reveals that prior to Christ’s return, a terrible war will be fought between Europe and the USA. Reviewing the facts, we can see that preparatory movements are already in place to bring about what Scripture calls the “Great Tribulation.” Without taking any political position, we are just telling you what God’s Word is revealing to you, and if Jesus were not to return to shorten those coming days, no human being would survive.
“Are you Already Born Again?” is the title of a new StandingWatch Talking Points, presented by Pastor Rene Messier. Here is a summary:
Many professing Christians think they are already born again, and they readily share their convictions with others, presenting what would seem to be a convincing case for the need to be “born again” in this life. In reality, they miss one of the most important teachings of the Bible—what man’s ultimate potential is and how to attain it.
“Sagt uns Christus, dass seine Rückkehr nahe ist?” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Does Jesus Tell Us that His Return Is Near?”
“The Prophet Elijah in the Past, the Present and the Future,” last Sabbath’s sermon, presented by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Remarkable events occurred in the life of ancient Elijah, and they are written down for us today for our learning, admonition and example. There are those who believe that Elijah did not die, but that he is still alive today in heaven or someplace else, and that we will soon return to do a powerful Work, prior to Christ’s Second Coming. What does the Bible tell us about these ideas? How are we to understand that Elijah will come before the terrible Day of the Lord?
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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