October 30, 2020
Comments on News and Prophecy (October 31, 2020) / Shining in a Dark World
On October 31, 2020, Norbert Link will present “Comments on News and Prophecy (October 31, 2020),” and Michael Link will present the sermon, titled, “Shining in a Dark World.”
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.
by Michael Link
Realizing that our lives are in God’s hands and what the outcome is going to be as God sees fit is hard to grasp at times because we are always put to the challenge whether we allow Him to guide and direct our paths, as opposed to doing things strictly ourselves. But do we realize just how much our lives are in God’s hands? Or do we sometimes forget, not necessarily in an intentional manner, but our minds can get clouded as all kinds of distractions can set in, causing us to lose our focus? When we are affected by a trial, we should be able to see that God has a hand in that situation, directly or indirectly, which is necessary for our road to perfection. We may not think that at the moment a trial has set in, but hopefully we will be able to determine that at some point and realize that there had been a reason for it, which is why God tells us to test ourselves and examine ourselves at ALL times, making sure that we are counted worthy, making sure that our faith is strong enough (2 Corinthians 13:5).
God also has a hand in what is going on in the world. Yes, Satan is the “god of this world” but he does not control everything. And yes, God does allow Satan to do things but God still has the final word. We can see this in the upcoming elections. God will determine what the outcome will be, and we will see what the future will bring. We already know what the future will be like, and NO man can alter the fate of this nation and what it will bring about. No matter how one looks at this, the outcome, as we know it, looks dreadful. This nation will never dig its way out of the hole it has dug. That is until Christ returns to put a stop to all of this, as we read about in Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation.
This is no surprise to those who actually understand what the Bible is saying, what the Bible has prophesied for a long time, about the fate of this country, the UK and the commonwealth nations. The current state that this nation is in is the result of a selfish attitude to put matters in their own hands and ignorantly giving into Satan instead of looking to God for help and how we are supposed to obey Him.
What we must understand is that God is in control of this entire situation. He is in control of our individual lives. God is the One who places certain individuals in power to FULFILL His purpose (Daniel 2:21; 4:17) or Who allows Satan to do so (Luke 4:5-6). God is very clear in the book of Hosea, in 13:9-11, as to who is in ultimate control as to who rules a nation. But God does not take pity on those who rebel against His Law, as it says in Hosea 8:1: “Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD, Because they have transgressed My covenant And rebelled against My law.”
Just as God has a specific plan for you and me, He also has predetermined His plan and purpose for all nations, as we read in Acts 17:26: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” Today, the leaders of this world are not in search of the one true God, to have God fight their battles, yet they look to their own reasoning and resources. What about us? Do we look to God in EVERY situation we are faced with?
God the Father has given some of His authority to the “god of this world”, allowing him to rule this earth until Christ returns, but Satan can only do what God allows. The leaders of this world have unknowingly followed Satan instead of the one true God (Revelation 13:4-5). And so have many of the people we may know, including close friends of ours, that have been deceived by keeping the things that God prohibits and thereby not keeping the things that God commands. God’s plan for this nation is quite evident and clearly prophesied. Since we are aware of it, we have to be extra vigilant that we don’t slip up and “forget” His plan and purpose. We still live in this world, and we are surrounded by a corrupt society where we need to be vigilant and not sway into false concepts devised by Satan who wants nothing more than to see us struggle and fail.
Situations will become more severe, and we will have to stand up for what is right despite what politicians and leaders insist on what is “ok,” but which is contrary to God’s Law. We must NEVER leave Him out of the picture, but put matters into His hands (Jeremiah 17:5-8). This is very difficult to do at times, especially in the heat of the moment. We must keep our heads high and look to God for help. It’s not going to get easier for this nation but it’s necessary in light of prophecy and God’s plan, for He states in Jeremiah 27:5: “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me.” Satan may have his glory here on earth, but it is only temporary, for God is in complete control and the end result will be fulfilled victoriously, according to HIS plan.
by Norbert Link
We begin with articles revealing a very troublesome picture of autocratic dictatorship and censorship in Germany, due to unauthorized coronavirus restrictions; and point out similar methods elsewhere, including in California. Regarding the extremely troublesome developments in Germany, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Germany’s Ongoing Descend into Undemocratic Dictatorship.”
We speak on a coming military collaboration between Russia and China; Erdogan’s vocal attacks on France and the USA; and Pope Francis’ controversial statements on same sex unions; his other comments and warnings; and the feud between Francis and Trump.
We also address different scenarios as to what could happen if Trump, who claims that he experienced miracles from heaven, loses the popular and the electoral votes and still proclaims victory; and conclude with a striking analysis that “allies” do not have to mean “friends.”
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
The Threat to German Democracy
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 21:
“Repeatedly Chancellor Merkel met with all 16 premiers of Germany’s powerful federal states to decide on measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic. After the latest one, last week, politicians across the spectrum began complaining that, for months now, such measures were all decided behind closed doors and without due parliamentary debate or consultation. Among the most vehement critics of this apparent marginalization of parliament is Florian Post, a member of the Bundestag and legal affairs expert with the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partners in Angela Merkel’s coalition government. ‘For nearly nine months now, regulations have been put in place by local, regional and central authorities which are restricting people’s freedoms in a manner unprecedented in post-war Germany,’ he told the mass-circulation Bild newspaper. ‘And not even once has an elected parliament been called on to vote on the measures,’ he complained. ‘There is no provision in the German constitution for the kind of power-sharing we are seeing between the chancellor and the heads of the federal states,’ Post argued. It is high time for the elected parliament to become more involved in the discussion, he concluded.
“Opposition parties are just as vociferous. ‘It’s simply not acceptable that parliament only hears about the latest anti-corona measures via Chancellor Merkel’s weekly podcast or random press conferences,’ said Christian Lindner, head of the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP.) ‘The Bundestag is being shut out, despite the fact that we’re witnessing drastic incursions into our fundamental rights and freedoms.’
“The Left Party is also calling for parliament to play a more central role in decision-making. One leading party member, Jan Korte, has gone so far as to say that he believes that last week’s controversial meeting between Chancellor Merkel and the heads of the federal states, ‘effectively means that an alternative government is making all sorts of decisions without even consulting parliament.’ The Greens, too, are up in arms. Their parliamentarians at the national and regional levels say they have been disempowered and kept in the dark by federal and national governments…
“Decision making behind closed doors by Angela Merkel and the state premiers was not the only thing to anger parliamentarians. It also emerged that the health ministry in Berlin is fast-tracking efforts to push through both an extension (beyond March 2021) and an expansion of the special rights granted to Health Minister Jens Spahn of the Christian Democrats (CDU). The new version of the so-called and much-cited Infection Protection Act would enable Spahn to issue directives on his own initiative, provided that these, ‘are required for the protection of the population against the danger of serious infectious diseases.’ The new legislation would, for instance, give the minister the power to impose controls on international and national transport systems and issue special regulations for air- and seaports.”
The proposed change of the law to give controversial Jens Spahn unlimited autocratic powers solely based on his own discretion would be “permanent”, according to an article by Der Tagesspiegel, dated October. What the article by Deutsche Welle—predictably—ignores is the fact that the AfD—Germany’s BIGGEST opposition party—is also totally against the dangerous actions of Merkel and Co. However, the next article does quote the AfD…
New Lockdown in Germany
Deutsche Welle reported on October 28:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s state premiers announced on Wednesday a new partial lockdown to begin on Monday, November 2….
“Restaurants and bars will close, except for take-away. Large events will be canceled again. Unnecessary travel is strongly discouraged. Overnight stays in hotels for tourist purposes is banned. [Meetings or gatherings in hotels will also be banned.] All those who can work from home should do so and employers should ease a transition into working from home. Meetings in public will be restricted to just two households of up to 10 people total. Entertainment facilities such as theaters and cinemas will be closed. Public recreation centers such as swimming pools, gyms and saunas will be closed. No crowds at sports events… Schools and kindergartens will remain open. Church services and protests will be allowed to continue due [to] constitutional concerns. Nursing home residents will be allowed to receive visitors. Shops will remain open, with one customer allowed per 10 square meters (108 square feet). Borders remain open…
“State and federal leaders will meet again in two weeks to assess if the new measures are having enough of an effect, and recalibrate if needed. Merkel promised that firms hit by the new measures would receive economic support. Companies with up to 50 employees and the self-employed will receive 75% of their income in support… According to media reports, a total of €10 billion ($11.8 billion) has been earmarked for support. Larger companies will be reliant on EU rules for assistance and this will vary from company to company. Emergency loans will be made available for self-employed workers such as artists and stage hands, while small businesses with less than 10 employees will gain access to very cheap loans.
“… public mood has been shifting and criticism among the population of government-ordained measures is on the rise… Some of those who vehemently oppose further restrictions are fearful of the economic impact. Many Berlin restaurant owners, for example, have said they would probably have to close down their business if faced with a second lockdown. They have already seen losses after the closure in the spring, followed by rules that forced them to adhere to social distancing regulations and then the curfew imposed last month…
“For many in Germany, the question of individual freedom is at least as important as a thriving economy. Leaders of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is the largest opposition party in the German federal parliament, have been among those [who have been] widely critical of further restrictions. ‘No measures — including lockdowns — have had a demonstrable influence on the infection rate, but the lockdown fantasies of government politicians are becoming increasingly absurd,’ the AfD parliamentary leader Alexander Gauland said in a statement on Tuesday…
“Germany’s relatively strong acceptance of measures up until now may have been key in the low infection and death rates. But surveys show that 50% of Germans believe that efforts by police and authorities to enforce the restrictions have not gone far enough. The challenge is to make sure the German people accept the new measures — and to enforce them. Relying on goodwill and compliance, as the chancellor called for in her most recent video podcast, may not go far enough.”
Deutsche Welle reported on October 29:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the government’s decision to impose a [partial] lockdown in a tense speech to lawmakers in the Bundestag on Thursday… In a speech that was regularly interrupted by shouts from several German lawmakers, Merkel said the current rate of infection poses a massive threat to the country’s health system… ‘The winter will be difficult. Four long difficult months…’ she said….
“The chancellor also [said:] ‘Lies, disinformation and conspiracy theories not only damage democratic debate, but also the fight against the virus…’
“AfD parliamentary leader Alexander Gauland accused Merkel’s government of ‘wartime propaganda.’ [He also spoke of a war parliament and the corona dictatorship.]”
And so, are we going to see even more violent actions in Germany towards those who are unsatisfied with governmental restrictions? Similar restrictions were announced by Emmanuel Macron of France, shortly after Angela Merkel made her announcements. The French lockdown begins on Friday and will last at least until December 1. Is the USA facing lockdowns too? Fears are there. Note the next article.
Dow Plunges due to Fears of More Lockdowns
npr wrote on October 28:
“Stocks fell sharply on Wednesday as a spike in coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe is raising the prospect of further lockdowns that could hurt the global economy. At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 943 points, a decline of 3.4%, and is in negative territory for the month… Losses accelerated Wednesday afternoon after Germany said it would close down restaurants and bars to contain a surge in coronavirus cases, while imposing other restrictions on social gatherings. Germany’s action comes as the rise in coronavirus cases is leading European countries such as Spain and Italy to declare states of emergency as well as restrictions.
“In the United States, investors had been grappling with a wave of uncertainty that’s already sent the market lower in recent weeks. The White House and Democrats in Congress have struggled to agree on a new relief bill, and the possibility of a contested election makes the likelihood of an agreement even murkier. Now, the coronavirus appears to be surging in the United States as well…
“Global lockdowns severely dented economies worldwide earlier during the pandemic, raising fears of a new hit should the spike in coronavirus cases accelerate… The ongoing slowdown in economic activity is taking a toll on companies, especially those that depend on travel and tourism.
“Boeing said Wednesday it plans to cut thousands of additional jobs through next year because of the decline in air travel. The airplane maker reported its fourth quarterly loss, sending its shares down 4.6%. Losses in markets were widespread, with airlines and leisure stocks continuing to extend recent losses. United Airlines was down 4.6%, while Marriott International fell 3.7%…”
Dr. Fauci declared that we might not see any “normality” until sometime in 2022.
Lockdowns Based on Wrong Test Results?
The Ron Paul Institute wrote on October 28:
“Across Europe, supposedly in reaction to rises in the numbers of coronavirus cases, many national governments are imposing increased crackdowns that severely restrict the exercise of liberty. These coronavirus cases are in large part derived from testing that produces many false positives and that is often conducted on relatively young and healthy people who have very little risk of dying or even becoming seriously sick from a coronavirus infection.
“Of course, the European politicians exerting their newly increased power say ‘the science’ supports their tyrannical actions. And they will tend to give platforms to doctors and other scientists who back up those claims while ignoring or deriding the many doctors and other scientists who disagree.”
The next article is a case in point.
President of German Medical Association Questions Efficacy of Masks
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 23:
“Klaus Reinhardt, the president of the German Medical Association… told a talk show on public broadcaster ZDF that he had doubts wearing simple non-medical masks outdoors was effective against the coronavirus. Such face coverings, he said, offered ‘no protection at all’ to those wearing them, and only ‘very little protection against infecting others.’… While Reinhardt acknowledged that masks served a purpose in areas where social distancing wasn’t possible, such as on public transport, he told ZDF that orders to wear them outdoors would be ‘nonsense.’ He also referred to German anti-terror legislation that bars people from covering their faces in open-air public areas for security reasons. ‘And now we have a “mask order”’, he said. ‘It does something to a society…’
Of course, something like this must not be said in panic-stricken Germany. As the article continues to state:
“The response to Reinhardt’s comments was swift, with one member of parliament even calling for his resignation. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Friday he found the remarks ‘from the highest authority in the medical profession’ to be ‘almost shocking.’”
It cannot be what must not be!
Largest Study on Masks Rejected by Medical Journals
The Blaze wrote on October 22:
“Why not just conduct a randomized controlled trial to test whether masks work against COVID-19? Why assume such a draconian and dehumanizing mandate works as if it’s an article of faith and create such division when we can discover which side is correct? That’s what a group of Danish researchers felt, which is why, over the spring, they conducted such a study. So why have the results not been published, three months later? According to [Denmark’s oldest operating daily newspaper], the study has been rejected by three medical journals because the results are too controversial… The article reveals that, thus far, the study has been rejected by the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the American Medical Association’s journal JAMA, three of the publications that have been posting much of the research on coronavirus…
“The CDC, prior to changing its position on universal mask-wearing, had previously cited 10 randomized controlled trials that showed ‘no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks.’ Now, the CDC and other elite institutions would have us believe that coronavirus is somehow different… do you think this study shows any degree of effectiveness in mask-wearing against the spread of COVID-19? Remember, this is the only study of its kind. If it truly showed what the media-political-scientific complex wants it to show, why would it not be published expeditiously? This is the most vexing question of our time. Yet nobody seems interested in having a debate or finding out the truth.
“The phobia among the political elites against subjecting mask-wearing mandates to the scientific method is not surprising. In July, Dr. Fauci told a group of Georgetown University students that he has no intention of conducting a controlled study in the U.S…. I’d say the realm of possibilities likely range from no effect at all to making the spread worse! Time will tell, but this ordeal raises a larger question: How many other scientific and academic studies covering an array of very consequential policy questions rooted in scientific debate are being censored because they don’t fit the narrative of the political elites?…”
Sadly, this is SO true!
Gov. Newsom’s “Thanksgiving Insanity”
Daily Mail wrote on October 25:
“Megyn Kelly joined in on excoriating California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday for his extremely restrictive Thanksgiving guidelines, which includes ‘strongly discouraging’ singing at the festivities this year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. In a tweet posted Sunday morning, the former Fox News and NBC News host listed some of Newsom’s ‘Thanksgiving insanity.’…
“Social media users and public figures were quick to react to the Democratic governor’s announcement on attempts to control how people celebrate the holiday. Comedian and Saturday Night Live veteran Rob Schneider took to Twitter earlier this month to insinuate that Newsom is trying to run California like a monarchy by imposing such stringent rules for individual’s personal and private gatherings on Thanksgiving… Adam Carolla, radio personality and actor, also responded on Twitter. ‘How many of you sheep are going along with Newsom’s Thanksgiving protocols?’ he questioned.
“Among the rules announced by Newsom and CDPH are a three-household limit, and an urge to hold the gathering outside and keep it short… The rules also allow for attendees to take off face covering ‘briefly’ while eating their Thanksgiving meal, but requires that while they do so they ‘stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done with the activity’ of eating or drinking. The statement concedes that ‘face coverings can also be removed to meet urgent medical needs (for example, to use an asthma inhaler, take medication, or if feeling light-headed)…’ One Twitter user suggested Newsom could be swaying deep blue California voters to cast their ballot for President Donald Trump to gain personal liberties back.”
It is really insane what’s happening in the USA… and elsewhere.
Daily Mail wrote on October 23:
“Piers Morgan has slammed CNN for canceling his interview with the network after he said they and other American news outlets were being biased for not covering a story about a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden… ‘Last time I appeared on this show, I appeared after I wrote a series of negative Trump columns,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘They were prepared to take me when I was negative, but not so much when I would be slightly more positive.’
“He added that he believes most media outlets have likely not investigated the story because, if they do, it could lead to revelations that would cause the Democrats to lose the presidential election…
“Morgan told DailyMail.com that CNN spent at least a month asking him to appear on the show. He said he had a ‘weird feeling’ his appearance might be canceled, but he was still very surprised by the move. ‘Maybe they were worried I wouldn’t bash Trump as they wanted, and that’s what my [new] book itself is all about – illiberal liberals who want to cancel anybody who doesn’t suit their agenda,’ he said…
“’I just made the point that it doesn’t matter if you’re pro-Trump or anti-Trump. A major newspaper has published serious allegations, none of which have been denied by Joe Biden or Hunter Biden,’ he said… ‘The fact they’re not investigating is a hyper-partisan approach by the US media,’ he said.”
America’s mass media is mostly run by left-wing liberals who are not interested in reporting on questionable conduct by the Democrats’ presidential candidate. As the saying goes, “One crow does not peck the other’s eyes out.”
Amy Coney Barrett New US Supreme Court Judge
JTA wrote on October 26:
“Hours after she was confirmed in a narrow party-line vote in the U.S. Senate, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in at the White House as a Supreme Court justice. Barrett, a conservative Roman Catholic who replaces Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal Jewish justice who died last month, was sworn in Monday evening by Justice Clarence Thomas at an event where President Donald Trump presided. Barely an hour earlier, the Senate approved her in a 52-48 vote…
“Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, rushed through Barrett’s nomination before Nov. 3 elections…
“A number of liberal Jewish groups joined others in speaking out against Barrett, citing evidence in her past statements that she favored overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision upholding a woman’s right to an abortion, and undoing the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature legislation. Conservative Jewish groups and figures, however, indicated their approval of Barrett, saying she would protect religious freedoms.”
With this appointment, the conservative judges have a strong majority on the US Supreme Court.
Military Collaboration between Russia and China
Newsweek wrote on October 23:
“China has reacted warmly to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion that the two nations could one day upgrade their strategic partnership to an official military alliance, thus uniting two of the United States’ top global competitors… The Russian leader explained that the reason such a pact had not already been forged had nothing to do with reservations on either side, but a lack of necessity.
“China and Russia launched a new joint Siberian pipeline in December. The two nations announced last year that they are seeking to double the trade between them, with a goal of reaching $200 billion a year by 2024.
“Russia has also stepped in to fill the gaps in China’s military experience, inviting the People’s Liberation Army to more joint exercises than ever before. Already a customer of Russia’s advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system, Beijing contracted Moscow’s help in developing a new missile early warning system, demonstrating deep trust… ‘We have reached a high level of interaction in the field of military-technical cooperation, and this is probably the most important thing,’ Putin said Thursday… He hinted that there is more to come. ‘There are very sensitive things here,’ Putin said. ‘I will not speak about it publicly now, but our Chinese friends know about it.’
“While the U.S. leads the 30-member NATO Western military alliance, it has, particularly under President Donald Trump, shored up ties in the East with Australia, India and Japan as part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Both groupings have raised insecurities for Moscow and Beijing, who share concerns about the potential deployment of mid-range missile systems, made possible by the U.S. exit last year from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
“‘The intention and statement of our American partners about the possibility of deploying medium and shorter-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region, of course, cannot but alert us, and, without any doubt, we will have to do something in response,’ Putin said Thursday.”
The Associated Press wrote on October 22:
“Putin’s statement signaled deepening ties between Moscow and Beijing amid growing tensions in their relations with the United States… Russia has sought to develop stronger ties with China as its relations with the West sank to post-Cold War lows over Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other rifts.”
The Bible shows that there will be a strong military collaboration between China and Russia in the near future.
Erdogan on the Attack
Israel 365 wrote on October 26:
“Tensions between France and Turkey turned personal as, Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in an address on Friday that French President Emmanuel Macron was mentally unbalanced and required ‘treatment.’ Additionally, Erdogan issued a challenge to the US, daring them to sanction his country…
“The conflict arose earlier this month over a speech in which Macron described Islam as ‘a religion that is in crisis today all over the world,’ proposing legislation to fight ‘Islamist separatism.’ The goal, said the president, is ‘to build an Islam in France that can be compatible with the Enlightenment.’ A few weeks later, an 18-year-old Muslim refugee murdered Samuel Paty, a French high-school teacher, by beheading. [This week, another murder of an Islamist on three French churchgoers occurred.]
“Turkey and France are both members of the NATO military alliance but have been at odds over issues including Syria and Libya, maritime jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean… [Erdogan’s] ire was due to American warnings not to get involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces. Turkey supports Azerbaijan but many are wary, remembering how Turkey perpetrated a genocide against the Christian Armenian at the beginning of the 20th century… He went on to rail against the US disapproval of his acquiring military hardware from Russia. When Turkey made a deal to purchase the advanced S-400 air defense system, the US canceled a deal for Turkey to purchase F-35 stealth fighters that the Russian system was designed to combat….”
Especially the situation between Turkey and the USA is bound to deteriorate drastically.
Francis and Vatican Criticized for Comments on Same-Sex Unions
The New York Post wrote on October 23:
“Pope Francis’ support for same-sex unions being openly criticized by several Roman Catholic leaders in America — who say his recently revealed pro-gay remarks cause ‘confusion and error’ and fly in the face of church teachings. Cardinal Raymond Burke, a frequent critic of Francis, said the pope’s comments should be ‘rightly interpreted as simple private opinions of the person who made them… Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful,’ Burke, a member of the Vatican’s highest court, said in a statement Thursday on his website. He added that Francis’ views were contrary to Catholic teachings.
“The pontiff, 83, endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples in a 2019 interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa. The never-before-seen clip was aired in the new documentary ‘Francesco’… On Thursday night, Televisa spokesman Ruben Acosta Montoya confirmed the pope’s comments in the 2019 interview to the Washington Post and accused the Vatican — which owned and controlled the cameras — of removing it from the segment…
“Bishop Thomas Tobin, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, also agreed with Burke that the pope’s statement ‘clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions.’ ‘The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships,’ Tobin said…
“Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, went even further, calling the pope’s gay support ‘confusing and very dangerous… The church is weak. The church is not clear… We were relying on the papacy to be this beacon of clarity and stability, and it just doesn’t feel clear and stable anymore,’ said Strickland, a frequent critic of the pope.”
In his new encyclical “Fratelli Tutti,” Pope Francs wrote this under No. 138: “We need to attain a global juridical, political and economic order ‘which can increase and give direction to international cooperation for the development of all peoples in solidarity.’”
Obviously, he perceives the Catholic church as such an “order” which can give direction or at least recommend such. In the above-mentioned encyclical, Pope Francis makes the further troublesome comments:
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of the possibility of legitimate defence by means of military force, which involves demonstrating… certain ‘rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy’… For these reasons, the Church… does not restrict her mission to the private sphere. On the contrary, ‘she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines’ in the building of a better world, or fail to ‘reawaken the spiritual energy’ that can contribute to the betterment of society… The Church esteems the ways in which God works in other religions…”
Building a better world by using military force?
More Comments by Pope Francis
The National Catholic Register wrote on October 24:
“Pope Francis again returned to the theme of rigidity today, saying those who unbendingly follow the law of God are ‘sick’ and in need of the Lord’s help… He once called those who try to unbendingly follow the Law of God people as having ‘weak hearts’… In June, he said ‘rigid’ people in the Church who tell us ‘it’s this or nothing’ are heretics and not Catholics…
“‘A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism,’ he believes… He further believes that ‘in neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others’ and argues it is ‘impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.’”
So, is Pope Francis advocating license to sin? Inasmuch as sin is the transgression of God’s law, he most certainly is.
Pope Warns Europe
Crux Now reported on October 25:
“Pope Francis broke tradition again on Saturday, delivering an eight-minute off-the-cuff speech to members of a visiting Spanish delegation against the dangers of ideologies in the midst of a grave economic crisis which, the pope said, could be worse than the Great Depression of 1929…
“To make his point, he spoke about the book Sindrome 1933… This book, Francis said, details the situation Germany faced back then after the fall of the Weimar empire… ‘That marked the beginning of an ideology, the path of the national socialism… In this book the author, very delicately, makes a comparison with what is happening in Europe,’ warning that the continent is today following a path similar to the one Germany followed leading up to World War II.
“The book was written by Siegmund Ginzberg, published in June 2020 and [is] available only in Italian…”
In this regard, the Pope may be right, as we pointed out above. What we see in many European countries today (including in Germany) is clearly a movement towards autocratic dictatorship.
Pope Francis vs. Trump
The Washington Post wrote on October 22:
“Over the course of Trump’s tenure in office, few people have cut a more contrasting figure than Pope Francis… two have already squabbled: In 2016, Francis suggested Trump was ‘not Christian’ because of his anti-migrant rhetoric and desire to build walls between nations. Trump reacted angrily at the time, calling the comments ‘disgraceful’ and warning darkly that when Islamist terrorists strike the Vatican, the pope would regret not supporting a Trump presidency.
“The following year, Francis questioned how Trump could be ‘pro-life’ while pursuing policies that broke up the families of immigrants and asylum seekers. In their sole meeting, in 2017, he presented Trump a copy of his treatise on protecting the environment and reckoning with climate change, but that hardly dissuaded the president from withdrawing from the Paris climate accord…
“Former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon… declared the pope to be ‘dead wrong’ and reportedly also advised far-right politicians in Italy to view Francis as ‘the enemy.’… The pope’s views… fit far more easily with the Catholicism of Trump’s challenger, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden…”
Biden supports same-sex marriages. But he also supports abortion. A Catholic archbishop in the USA refused to let him take the mass. What about the pope?
Trump Praises Faith and Prayer
Newsmax wrote on October 24:
“President Donald Trump, raised Presbyterian, now considers himself a ‘non-denominational Christian.’… Trump praised the power of faith and prayer in his recovery from COVID-19, crediting his parents who ‘taught me the importance of faith and prayer from a young age.’ ‘Melania and I have gotten to visit some amazing churches and meet with great faith leaders from around the world,’ Trump added…
“‘During the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, I tuned into several virtual church services and know that millions of Americans did the same. I said, “There were miracles coming down from heaven.” I meant it — Melania and I are very thankful to God for looking out for our family and returning us to good health.’”
What If…? Could Trump Lose and Still Stay in Office?
The Washington Post wrote on October 23:
“The answer, if it comes to that, will depend on the response of Trump’s fellow Republicans. It’s one thing if the numbers on election night, or in the days afterward, show Biden winning handily and Senate Republicans make clear they acknowledge that reality. Then there will be no suspense over the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress that will serve as official confirmation of the result. But if Senate Republicans hesitate, waiting to see how things play out, then the responsibility will shift to Republicans in battleground states, where Trump could encourage GOP-controlled state legislatures to overturn their voters’ judgment…
“The result could look like this: A majority of voters in a battleground state — Pennsylvania is one potential example — back former vice president Joe Biden. The state’s Democratic governor certifies that result and approves a slate of electors pledged to support Biden. But the state legislature, controlled by Republicans, agrees with Trump that the results are rigged and approves a competing slate of Trump electors… if state legislatures refuse to accept the certified results of their popular votes, the fight will come to Congress in January. And Republicans — including Mike Pence as president of the Senate — will have to decide…
“If Democrats take control of the Senate, this won’t matter under the relevant statute. The Democratic House and Senate would reject the Trump elector slate from any state where the popular vote went to Biden. But if Republicans remain in control of the Senate, Republican senators would then have to choose whether to accept the certified results of the popular vote in that state or… to declare Trump the winner…”
Unthinkable? We will see…
It Has Happened Before…
The Chicago Tribune wrote on October 28:
“In an initial count, the Democrat won by roughly 100 votes. Then an audit found a counting error that put the Republican ahead. Officials launch a recount, but it’s not finished by the December deadline for the Electoral College to cast votes. So the state’s Democratic and Republican electors each declare victory and cast competing sets of electoral votes for their candidates.
“Outlandish? Not really. This happened in Hawaii in 1960, when John F. Kennedy faced then-Vice President Richard Nixon in a high-turnout election marked nationally by voting irregularities and allegations of fraud. This year, as millions of Americans mail their ballots or stand in line well before Election Day, Nov. 3, to make sure their votes get counted, few may be aware of the complex legal machinery that exists to select the next president if things go wrong at the ballot box.
“It’s a complex system of electoral fail-safes that starts and ends with the calendar. It’s also a system where voters don’t necessarily get the final word, at least not directly. For the 2020 election, the states have until Dec. 8 — six days before the Electoral College must meet — to count votes and settle all election disputes. If states can’t figure things out by that ‘safe harbor’ day, the newly elected Congress gains the ability to determine the state’s winner when lawmakers meet to count electoral votes on Jan. 6.
“…Congress passed the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which gave states the ‘safe harbor’ deadline by which they could resolve their own disputes without Congress getting involved. After that deadline, if state officials submit multiple sets of conflicting electoral votes, the U.S. House and Senate must agree on which set to accept. (If the chambers don’t agree, the votes certified by the state’s governor prevail.)
“… Consider Florida in 2000, where the race between the Republican, George W. Bush, and the Democrat, Al Gore, was unbelievably close, leading to an infamous recount as Florida’s Republican secretary of state initially certified Bush as the winner. The race ended after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling, Bush vs. Gore, on ‘safe harbor’ day, that ended the recount… Congress never got involved. It was obligated to accept the results presented by Florida in favor of Bush because the state met the safe harbor deadline.
“In North Carolina, a key 2020 presidential battleground, a state law enacted in 2001 actually spells out how the state would avoid another Bush vs. Gore scenario and ensure that Congress doesn’t meddle with its results. If there’s no certified winner by safe harbor day, the state’s currently Republican-controlled Legislature picks the electors ‘in accord with their best judgment of the will of the electorate.’ The statute adds that ‘the judgment itself of what was the will of the electorate is not subject to judicial review.’”
Try to make sense out of that one…
“Europe Preparing for the Worst in Washington”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 16:
“A horror scenario is making the rounds these days in both Berlin and Brussels: Should the outcome of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3 be close, incumbent Donald Trump could declare himself the winner when polls close, even if he is behind in the vote count. He could… claim the presidency… What happens if Donald Trump simply refuses to leave the White House even if he loses the election?…
“[European] politicians and diplomats have made it clear that they see such a… scenario as a very real possibility. Some politicians have even been open about their concerns. ‘I am aware of the danger that, should the results of the election be close, Trump could declare victory prematurely and the U.S. could find itself in a constitutional crisis,’ says Peter Beyer, a parliamentarian with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the German government’s trans-Atlantic coordinator. Everybody must consider such a scenario, he says: ‘Years ago, such a thing was inconceivable.’…
“Would the EU then dare to declare Trump’s presence in the White House illegitimate, as it did most recently following Alexander Lukashenko’s claim to power in Belarus? ‘If it is blatant, the EU would have to quickly take a position,’ says Elmar Brok, a former long-time European Parliament member with the CDU. ‘It couldn’t act differently than it does in other instances.’”
Some European countries, favoring a Trump victory, would not participate, while others might. How far they would go remains to be seen. Trump did declare repeatedly that the only way he could lose the election would be if massive fraud was involved.
Allies or Friends?
Politico wrote on October 22:
“… the United States has never treated alliances as friendships. For one thing, prior presidents have coerced allies behind closed doors, threatening long-standing partners such as South Korea over their pursuit of nuclear weapons. Similarly, the second Bush and Obama administrations regularly aired grievances with U.S. allies in a bid to pressure them to accede to U.S. interests. For example, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates criticized NATO members for failing to be ‘serious and capable partners in their own defense’; former Secretary of State Colin Powell threatened those who opposed the 2003 Iraq War with punishment and hinted at possible abandonment; and even President Barack Obama accused allies from Europe to the Middle East of seeking a ‘free ride’ on American power while dragging the United States into their own conflicts…
“… the U.S often changed its ‘friends’ for the sake of larger interests. The United States de-recognized its Taiwanese ally in 1979 in order to gain the People’s Republic of China as an ally against the Soviet Union. Likewise, U.S. leaders have had little compunction ending U.S. partnerships with the Kurds. And, lest we forget, the United States’ German and Japanese ‘friends’ were anything but prior to 1945…
“The rhetoric of friendship obscures the reality of U.S. foreign policy to the American people… [it] risks undermining international stability by giving U.S. partners ill-placed faith in U.S. commitments… At a time of geopolitical change, a sounder approach instead would acknowledge the reality that alliances hinge on common interests and, as such, are neither permanent nor inviolate… Ultimately, America’s allies would be foolish to expect that… America would replace self-interest with friendship. Likewise, Americans should not expect their allies to align their interests with Washington consistently…”
Telling… America’s allies (or “friends”?) of today WILL BE its enemies tomorrow.
Politico wrote on September 29:
“French President Emmanuel Macron called for Europe to end its dependency on American weapons systems as he made a renewed pitch for the Continent to take control of its destiny… he made a plea for Europe to take on a more independent and assertive role in the world — subservient to neither Washington nor Beijing… Macron has insisted the only way Europe can exist is by building a third way in global affairs, in which it doesn’t shy away from asserting its interests on the global stage. That would include building up Europe’s defense capabilities…”
A powerful unified European army is clearly prophesied.
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.
The Pope has recently spoken about indulgences. How do you understand this? (Part 2)
In the first part of this series, we began to discuss the concept taught by the Roman Catholic Church that “indulgences” can allegedly remove, partially (“plenary”) or completely (“in full”), punishment for sin. We referred to an article that we published in our Update #936, dated August 7, 2020. A recent article by “Crux”, dated October 23, 2020, is worth mentioning in this regard. It has the headline, “Vatican extends time to obtain full indulgences for souls in purgatory,” and continues to read, in part:
“Plenary or full indulgences traditionally obtained during the first week of November for the souls of the faithful in purgatory can now be gained throughout the entire month of November, the Vatican said. Also, those who are ill or homebound and would not be able to physically visit a church or cemetery in the prescribed timeframe still will be able to receive a plenary indulgence when meeting certain conditions…
“The new provisions were made after a number of bishops asked for guidance as to how the faithful could perform the works required for receiving a plenary indulgence given the ongoing pandemic and restrictions in many parts of the world limiting the number of people who can gather in one place… Traditionally, the faithful could receive a full indulgence each day from Nov. 1 to Nov. 8 when they visited a cemetery to pray for the departed and fulfilled other conditions, and, in particular, when they went to a church or an oratory to pray Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day…
“The Vatican decided to extend the time one can receive a full indulgence to include the whole month of November… Typically, only a partial indulgence is granted after the first week of November. The full indulgence traditionally offered Nov. 2 for those who visit a church or an oratory and recite the Our Father and the Creed can also be gained any day in November… Those who cannot leave their homes or residence for ‘serious reasons,’ which includes government restrictions during a pandemic… also can receive a plenary indulgence after reciting specific prayers for the deceased or reflecting on a Gospel reading designated for Masses of the dead before an image of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary, or by performing a work of mercy…
“The church teaches that prayer, particularly the Mass, and sacrifices may be offered on behalf of the souls in purgatory. The feast of All Souls differs from the Nov. 1 feast of All Saints precisely because it offers prayers for the eternal peace and heavenly rest of all those who died in a state of grace, but not totally purified. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, ‘All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.’”
In the last installment, we reviewed, among other questions, the fact that we do not have an immortal soul and that no one goes to heaven when they die. Let us continue with the next error—the belief that people can go to hell when they die. [The related concept of purgatory—the “temporary” stay in “hell”—will also be discussed herein and more fully in subsequent installments.]
The Roman Catholic’s Catechism reads:
“1057 Hell’s principal punishment consists of eternal separation from God in whom alone man can have the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.”
As this is a “brief” summation, let us review a slightly enhanced explanation by the Roman Catholic Church, as follows:
“1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.”
On the Catholic Answers website: https://www.catholic.com/tract/the-hell-there-is, we read the following:
“The doctrine of hell is so frightening that numerous heretical sects end up denying the reality of an eternal hell. The Unitarian-Universalists, the Seventh-day Adventists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians, the Christian Scientists, the Religious Scientists, the New Agers, and the Mormons—all have rejected or modified the doctrine of hell so radically that it is no longer a serious threat. In recent decades, this decay has even invaded mainstream Evangelicalism, and a number of major Evangelical figures have advocated the view that there is no eternal hell—the wicked will simply be annihilated.
“But the eternal nature of hell is stressed in the New Testament. For example, in Mark 9:47–48 Jesus warns us, ‘[I]t is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ And in Revelation 14:11, we read: ‘And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.’
“Hell is not just a theoretical possibility. Jesus warns us that real people go there. He says, ‘Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few’ (Matt. 7:13–14).”
Quite frankly, to quote Matthew 7:13-14 in this context is ridiculous. In fact, the narrow way of keeping God’s Commandments and His Law is in contradiction to Catholic teaching. The 4th Commandment has been “done away with” by replacing the true Sabbath with Sunday. God’s Way is a Way of Life; indeed, it is the narrow way, but the way of the world of which the Catholic Church is a key part, keeps Christmas, Easter and saints’ days which are, in no way, enjoined or even permitted in the Word of God. When one understands the identity of the Catholic Church which is clearly seen in the book of Revelation, it is plain that their ways are that of the wide gate and easy way.
In addition, let us review some of the information in our Q&A, entitled, “Do the Wicked go to Hell?”:
“The concept that the wicked go to an ever-burning hell after their death is nowhere taught in Scripture. In fact, the Bible does not even teach the existence of an ever-burning hell, torturing wicked souls of departed ones for their evil deeds. The concept of an ever-burning hellfire is derived from paganism. Richard Craze explains in his book, ‘Hell, An Illustrated History of the Netherworld,’ copyrighted 1996:
“‘… the old horned gods of the Stone Age people became the new rulers of hell. There was a sort of logic in locating the place of the dead below ground — the underworld — because that was exactly where the dead were buried… The early [nominal] Christians borrowed Hel’s name [the goddess Hel ruled over the place of the ‘lost souls’ in Viking mythology] for their own place of punishment… The early [nominal] Christians borrowed heavily from earlier mythologies, and the generally accepted appearance of Satan is an amalgamation of such things as the horns and shaggy hindquarters of the Greek god Pan, the wings of the Mesopotamian devil Pazuzu, and the scales and dragon skin of the Persian Azhidaahaka… The Greeks borrowed freely from the Babylonians… Pluto, Zeus’ brother, governed [hell] with a merciless severity and subjected his poor guests to the most ingenious tortures… [Others] were consigned to the deep bottomless pit… ruled by Kronos. Here they would suffer eternal torment… sinners were tortured for eternity… The Romans knew exactly where hell was located — underneath Italy. Everything else they borrowed from the Greeks.’
“The author also points out:
“‘… it was the Synod of Bishops in Constantinople in 543 that… set the seal on hell, when they decreed that “if anyone shall say or even think that there is an end to the torment of… ungodly persons, or that there ever will be an end to it, then let them be excommunicated.” And they promptly excommunicated Origen, an early Church father, for saying that he thought hell was finite.’
“It is true that the New Testament speaks about a fiery place, which is translated in some English Bibles as, ‘hell.’ The Greek word for this place is ‘gehenna.’ It does not, however, describe an ever-burning hell, as commonly understand by many. Craze explains:
“‘Gehenna — the place of fire. It is probable that it was named after the place just outside Jerusalem where the household rubbish, including the bodies of criminals and animals, was burnt.’
“Please note the following excerpts from our free booklet, ‘Do You Have an Immortal Soul?’, addressing the concept of a fiery hell:
“‘The word “gehenna” and the very concept of it are derived from the Valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem in which the corpses of dead people, mainly criminals, would be burned up. It is another expression for the ‘lake of fire’ in Revelation 20:15, in which all who have acted wickedly, and who have refused to repent, will be thrown into, to be burned up or “devoured.” (Remember that Hebrews 10:27… tells us that the wicked wait for God’s fiery indignation that will “devour” them.). That is the “hell” or the “gehenna” fire that Christ is talking about…– “the second death” from which there will be no resurrection.
“‘Those who sin deliberately, wilfully and maliciously, God will resurrect to physical life [please note that they were dead — not in heaven, hell, limbo or purgatory — and that they had to be brought back from death to physical life] to throw them—their physical body and their soul or their “life”—into “gehenna” or the lake of fire (Revelation 20:13-15; 21:8). They won’t burn there forever-rather, they will be burned up. They are the “chaff,” that will be “burned up” with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:12)—that is, no human can quench it. Notice that this fire will ultimately even burn up or bring to dissolution “heaven and earth,” so that a “new heaven and a new earth” can be created by God (2 Peter 3:10-13).
“‘The wicked, such as the rich man in Christ’s parable in Luke 16, will not burn forever and ever, for all eternity, in an everlasting hell fire, but they will be “burned up” (cp. again Matthew 3:12). The Greek word for “burned up” is “katakaio”—conveying the meaning that nothing of what is burned up will remain. We read in Revelation 18:8 that modern Babylon “shall be utterly burned with fire.” The word for “utterly burned” is, again, “katakaio” in the Greek. And we are told that “that great city Babylon [will] be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all” (Revelation 18:21). In the same way, the wicked, such as the rich man in Luke 16, that are [brought back to life from the dead and then] thrown into “gehenna” or the lake of fire [called the SECOND death!], will be “burnt up”—they “shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up… that it shall leave them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1). They will become ashes under the feet of the righteous (Malachi 4:3); it will be as if they had never existed (Obadiah 16).”
“The wicked will be burnt up in a temporary gehenna fire, to die the SECOND death, from which there will be no further resurrection to life (Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8) — they will not be tortured forever and ever in an eternal hell fire, without ever being destroyed. We need to understand, too, that those who will be burnt up will have committed the unpardonable sin. As it is true in regard to the concept of ‘hell,’ very few understand properly, either, what the ‘unpardonable sin’ really is.”
We have other Q&A’s which cover different aspects of hell and purgatory. For instance, one Q&A answers the question as to what is meant in Revelation 14:11, which states: “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night…” (Recall that the Catholic Church is using this passage to “prove” that the wicked are being tortured in “hell.”) The Q&A is titled, “Would you please explain Revelation 14:11? Does this Scripture teach that the wicked will be forever tormented in hell fire?”
Another Q&A addresses Revelation 20:10, which states, in the rendition of the new King James Bible:
“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” That Q&A is titled: “Would you explain Revelation 20:10? Does this Scripture say that the beast and the false prophet will be tormented in hell fire forever?”
The Roman Catholic Church is also referring to Mark 9:47-48 (see quote above) to “prove” that the wicked, after they die, keep on living in hell “where their worm does not die” and where “the fire is not quenched.” We are explaining this passage in our Q&A, titled, “Please explain Jesus’ saying in Mark 9:43-48.”
A booklet by the (now defunct) Worldwide Church of God from 1972, titled, “After Death… Then What?”, asked the question as to whether there was any life after death. The answer given was as follows:
“Remember what Job was inspired to say? ‘O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come’ (Job 14:13, 14).
“Job knew about the resurrection of the dead. And so does anyone who knows the promises of God. Your Bible speaks in both Old and New Testaments of a resurrection of the dead — a re-creation of life!
“Daniel was inspired to write: ‘And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt’ (Dan. 12:2).
“Later, Christ quoted these same words. Read John 5:21 through verse 29. Jesus said: ‘For as the Father raiseth up the dead . . . even so the Son quickeneth [makes alive] whom he will. . . . Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.. .. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [judgment — margin].’
“Christ spoke of more than one resurrection! Notice the proof. Turn to Revelation, chapter 20. Now read verses 4 and 5. ‘And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them [Greek word: psuche — meaning same as nephesh in the Hebrew] that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.’ And the ‘souls’ John saw in this vision were dead! Notice the proof. ‘But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished’ (Rev. 20:5).
“John saw a vision concerning the resurrection of the just. Christ promises rulership with Him to those who overcome (Rev. 2:26; 3:21), which He will give at His return (I Cor. 15:23; Phil. 3:20, 21).
“The resurrection of the dead was the whole hope — the heart and center of the message — of the early Church. Notice how it completely dominates the sermons of Peter and Paul in early Church history. Read all of the following verses in context in your own Bible. ‘Ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up . . .’ (Acts 2:23, 24). ‘This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses… For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself… The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool’ (verses 32-35).
“Peter continually emphasized Christ’s resurrection as proof of the future resurrection of all mankind. ‘And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead…’ (Acts 3:15). ‘Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus…’ (verse 26). ‘… The Sadducees came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead’ (Acts 4:1-2).
“Notice. Peter preached the resurrection. He said nothing about the completely pagan doctrines of a supposed ‘immortal soul’ or going to ‘hell’ or ‘heaven’ when one dies.
“Rather, he emphasized how even David, a man after God’s own heart, was dead and buried (Acts 2:29) and showed the believers that David had not gone to heaven (Acts 2:34), but was waiting in his grave, just as the Bible says, until a resurrection of the just.”
We read in the Word of God that, “For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten (Ecclesiastes 9:5). It is clear from this passage of Scripture that when we die we simply cease, as a human being, to exist. Those who are dead can’t breathe, eat, drink, speak, act, think, or feel anything.
The Bible is clear on this issue—we will return to dust. Because of his disobedience, God told Adam: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).
When Adam died, he returned to dust and ceased to exist. The same happens to those who die now. “For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust” (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20).
In the above-quoted excerpts from the Roman Catholic’s Catechism, death was defined as “separation from God” or even as “eternal separation from God.” This idea is false. Life and death are opposites. Death is not merely separation from God, while the person is still alive. As we stated in the first installment, death is a dreamless sleep without consciousness. We said: “He will not go to heaven when he dies, nor will he suffer in a purgatory or ‘hell.’ Rather, he is asleep, until Christ awakens him out of his sleep.” We showed above that when we die, we know nothing.
We read in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
When Christ died, He was not merely “separated” from God. He was DEAD—without any life or consciousness. He said in Revelation 1:18: “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.”
(To be continued)
Lead Writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Germany’s Ongoing Descend into Undemocratic Dictatorship,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
This program will discuss Germany’s continuing unconstitutional restrictions by Angela Merkel and all 16 state premiers, without any involvement of the German parliament. Now, another partial lockdown has been announced by Merkel and her allies, again without parliamentary approval. This has been termed by German politicians “across the spectrum” as “unprecedented” since World War II and as “wartime propaganda.” But this is just the beginning of what is to follow very soon.
“Muss man Gott wirklich fürchten?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Do We Really Have to Fear God?”
“Lohn der Gerechten,” last Sabbath’s German sermonette presented by Johann Schell, is now posted. Title in English: “Reward of the Righteous.”
“Germany’s Democracy under Autocratic Attack—Comments on News and Prophecy (October 24, 2020),” the first message presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
In this special program, we speak on the threat to German democracy and the controversial role of Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn; continue with the second and final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden and its blunders and missed opportunities; address false predictions, as recently announced by Pat Robertson; speak on the mass media’s censorship and suppression of “politically incorrect” issues; as well as the looming Brexit disaster; and we conclude with deeply troubling developments in certain Church of God organizations.
“Are You a Soldier?”, the sermon presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Do we consider ourselves to be Soldiers? When we are called as Christians, we also get recruited into the army of God. We are not fighting though in this world’s wars, but rather we are fighting battles that are unseen, against foes that are powerful! How do we do this?
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
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