October 22, 2021
Trust and Be Grateful/Your Body Is the Temple
On October 23, 2021, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Trust and Be Grateful,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Your Body Is the Temple.”
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.
Characteristics within the Early Church
by Paul Niehoff (Australia)
There are some passages in the book of Acts that describe the conduct of the early disciples immediately after they had had God’s truth revealed to them. They are very positive examples, and we know that these examples were written for our instruction, and it is good to be reminded of them from time to time.
One I would like to consider is the time immediately after the Day of Pentecost when the Church was just beginning. Many Jews were dwelling in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:5). The apostle Peter had just presented a powerful sermon during which he quoted from the prophet Joel and king David. Many of these Jews and proselytes gladly received Peter’s preaching and were baptised. We read in Acts 2:46. “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.”
It is interesting to note that before the Day of Pentecost, the eleven apostles, together with others who were with them, “were continually in the temple praising and blessing God” (Luke 24:53). The number given at that time was around one hundred and twenty, both men and women including Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers (Acts 1:15-16). Since these were all Jews, including the “about three thousand” baptised on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41), the most obvious place to meet as a group after the Day of Pentecost would have been in the temple. However, they also met in smaller groups in one another’s houses to enjoy fellowship and having meals together with gladness.
The expression “simplicity of heart” in Acts 2:46 is very interesting. The Greek word for simplicity is only used here in the New Testament. It is also translated sincerity and singleness in other versions and comes from a Greek word meaning smoothness of a soil without stones. That is, not rough, metaphorically speaking simple or sincere. So, at this time, there was great gladness and peace, not roughness or troubles. In this state the Church continued to grow as we read in Acts 2:47: “And the Lord added to the Church daily those who were being saved.”
However, this time of peace did not last for long. Satan was very angry, and he used the religious leaders and the political rulers to persecute the Church. Stephen and James were killed and there was great persecution against the Church, resulting in the scattering of many of the members (Acts 8:1). Also, false doctrines were brought into the Church at times to cause confusion, including subjects like the necessity for circumcision to be saved, and that there was no resurrection from the dead.
Unfortunately, Satan has been persecuting the Church of God down through the ages, both through false religious leaders and political rulers. The Church was forced to flee into the wilderness for over a thousand years due to this persecution. From what we are able to ascertain over the last around two hundred years, there has been some confusion over doctrines and administrations within the Church of God. Even during the time of Mr. Herbert Armstrong, there were sometimes divisions and departures over doctrinal differences. And today, there are hundreds of groups claiming to be the Church of God, but with many differences in doctrines and understandings. These differences, caused by the adherence to false doctrines, are like stones in soil to prevent unity. Of course, two cannot walk together unless they are agreed (Amos 3:3), and there cannot be “unity” among groups where false doctrines are being taught.
At this time, we do not see Ephesians 4:4-5 being completely fulfilled: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” but it will be fulfilled when Jesus Christ returns to bring one religion to this earth. Perhaps, to a certain extent, it might already be fulfilled, as a forerunner, for those who will be counted worthy to escape the Great Tribulation and be brought to the Place of Safety. But when Christ returns, then people will indeed be fully “with one accord and fellowship with gladness and simplicity of heart.” So, this is a very good reason to cry out, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Only then will a time like that of the early Church immediately after that Day of Pentecost be re-established. A time of unity, gladness and simplicity of heart.
by Norbert Link
We begin with important news, including about coronavirus developments in the USA and elsewhere, especially in Germany; report on Canada’s ongoing persecution of Christian churches and pastors; the punishment of a US marine for telling the truth about the Afghanistan debacle; the breakdown of America [please note our new StandingWatch program, titled, “America Is Breaking Down”]; the crackdown of free speech and governmental cover-ups; the possibility of a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem with the support of the USA; and the Catholic Church’s dubious role in Israel.
We also speak of Europe’s move towards totalitarianism, as Poland claims; and the interesting parallels between ancient emperor Justinian and modern Europe.
We address China’s and Russia’s collaboration in military matters; and Russia’s blackmail of Europe and Ukraine; and we conclude with experiments of animal-to-human organ transplants.
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
Corona News in the USA
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 15:
“The US Navy said Thursday that personnel who refuse to be vaccinated will be expelled from the force… It has set a November 28 deadline for enlistees to be fully inoculated. If all US military services take the same hard line that the navy is taking, it could risk losing as many as 46,000 troop members.”
That is one way to accelerate America’s downfall and defenselessness. A total stupidity, which IS prophesied, one way or another, to happen.
Chicago Battlefield for Legal Action for and against Vaccination Mandate
AFP wrote on October 16:
“A Chicago judge on Friday banned a police union president from making public statements on the city’s Covid-19 policy as a stand-off over vaccine mandates sparked dueling lawsuits.
“The dispute between mayor Lori Lightfoot and police union head John Catanzara has made the city the latest flashpoint in a deeply polarized debate over vaccines and whether governments have the right to mandate them.
“Lightfoot sought and received an injunction against Catanzara Friday when the judge issued a 10-day restraining order that bans him from making statements that encourage members not to report their vaccination status.
“The police union filed its own lawsuit Friday against Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown that seeks to force arbitration over the matter…
“Catanzara urged police officers to ignore the order and risk loss of pay… he predicted that if a large number of officers refused to be tested or report their vaccinations, Chicago would have a ‘police force at 50 percent or less…’”
Under Lightfoot’s orders, police officers must report their vaccination status. If they are not vaccinated, they must be tested twice each week, but they have to pay for the tests and must do it in their “free” time. This is supposed to last until the end of the year, and it is unclear as to what is supposed to happen then.
A judge is scheduled to decide the two pending lawsuits sometime next week.
Fauci Blames Unvaccinated, Ignores Science
Newsmax wrote on October 17:
“[Fauci] is sounding a continued warning about the unvaccinated causing a fifth wave of COVID-19 in the U.S… Dr. Fauci did not discuss the settled science that has revealed even vaccinated Americans can contract and spread COVID-19…
“Still, Fauci blames the unvaccinated – which critics argue many might have natural immunity from having overcome COVID-19 – for surges of the pandemic in the U.S….
“One very early and vocal critic has been Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kay, who has been an early proponent of natural immunity being an effective protection against COVID-19.
“Science and data now support Paul’s long-held scientific hypothesis, leading to some high-profile clashes from Paul with Fauci and Biden administration health officials.”
But natural immunity does not make big Pharma rich…
Fully Vaccinated Colin Powell Dies of Corona
Breitbart wrote on October 18:
“General Colin Powell, the first black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State, died Monday morning from complications of COVID-19.
“He led a storied military career and emerged on the political scene as a Republican… His stature was considerably undermined after he was used to push the Iraq War on a flawed basis, and after he became a perennial supporter of Democratic presidential candidates….
“The White House indicated in a statement on Monday morning that Powell died from the coronavirus despite being ‘fully vaccinated,’ a revelation that is certain to fuel the continuing controversy about vaccines and mandates…”
CNN wrote on October 18:
“Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response, as well as Parkinson’s, Peggy Cifrino, Powell’s longtime chief of staff, confirmed to CNN. Even if fully vaccinated against Covid-19, those who are immunocompromised are at greater risk from the virus.”
It was not revealed, though, whether Powell died because of any of those underlying health problems. In fact, as Breitbart reported, “Powell’s family did not mention any underlying conditions in their statement announcing his death.”
A doctor was presented by CNN, claiming that Powell died because some Americans have not been vaccinated yet. And Fox News quoted experts saying that Powell’s death “underscores the need for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots among older adults.”
So, two vaccines are not enough now; we need three or four. Truly, the pharmaceutical industry and all the doctors, politicians and everyone else connected monetarily with big pharma, must be jumping for joy… but they are doing it in secret.
A most famous German singer, Tony Marshal, was submitted to the hospital because of corona. He was also fully vaccinated. His wife, who was fully vaccinated as well, was also diagnosed with corona.
Hesse Adopts G2 Rule for Supermarkets
The Local wrote on October 15:
“Supermarkets in Frankfurt and the surrounding region can now implement rules that only allow vaccinated and Covid-recovered people onto their premises.
“The new Covid health pass entry rules announced by the central state of Hesse have upped the pressure on the unvaccinated by allowing all shops to implement the so-called 2G rule at their doors.
“The 2G rule refers to public places being given the option to allow entry only to vaccinated(geimpft in German) or people who’ve recovered from Covid (genesen) and has so far been allowed in half of Germany’s states for certain public places like bars, restaurants, nightclubs and cinemas. [It excludes unvaccinated people who’ve tested (getestet) negatively for Covid.]…
“2G has proved controversial, with many people complaining that it excludes people who can’t [get] vaccinated and that it has the potential to widen societal divisions over the pandemic response.
“Many locations in the hospitality and entertainment sector have stuck to a 3G rule, which allows people to enter if they can show a negative Covid-19 test…
“With several million German adults still to be vaccinated as the winter draws near, authorities have sought to up the pressure on them by making access to some parts of public life more difficult or costly. Eight federal states have allowed businesses and event organisers to adopt the so-called 2G option…”
Many have asked about the designations of G3 and G3 in Germany. The article makes this distinction clear.
Germany’s New Expensive Testing Rules
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 15:
“Germany’s new COVID-19 testing rules came into force on October 11. They are focused on the unvaccinated, who until now could take a free test and with a negative result go to a restaurant or other restricted area…[But now, they have to pay for the tests.]
“Janosch Dahmen, a physician and health expert for the Green Party’s parliamentary group, criticized the decision made by Chancellor Angela Merkel and all the regional state premiers…
“There have been many so-called breakthrough cases — cases when someone fully vaccinated is nonetheless infected with the virus. The RKI [Robert Koch Institute] has reported 80,000 breakthrough infections [in Germany alone]…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 18:
“German Health Minister Jens Spahn has said that special rules relating to the coronavirus pandemic could end on November 25, the Bild newspaper reported on Monday.
“But many indoor rules requiring proof of negative test, vaccination and other hygiene measures would need to remain in place, the report added.”
Bild Editor-in-Chief Julian Reichelt Fired
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 20:
“Bild tabloid Editor-in-Chief Julian Reichelt was fired after The New York Times detailed misconduct toward female employees. The case is now making waves internationally.
“Bild, which Julian Reichelt led since 2017, is the daily newspaper with the highest circulation in Germany and has shaped the country’s media landscape significantly since it was founded in 1952. Known for courting controversy, the media outlet often receives criticism: For example after launching a front-page attack on virologist Christian Dorsten, one of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s advisors, at the start of the pandemic…
“Behind the newspaper is the billion-euro Axel Springer publishing house… Axel Springer this August purchased US media outlet Politico for $1 billion. In 2015, the company bought Business Insider.
“The scandal perhaps marks a turning point in Germany’s #MeToo movement, which has already been well underway in the media scene in the US…. In 2016, Fox News journalist Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit which brought about an internal investigation at the network and led to a number of sexual harassment claims against Ailes, considered to be a kingmaker by the Republican party…
“In 1996, Ailes was hired by Rupert Murdoch, who was at the time CEO of media giant NewsCorp. He launched Fox News, hiring outspoken right-wing commentators like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. The network has since become known for its inflammatory statements and questionable stances, such as casting doubt on where Barack Obama was born; and, more recently, vaccine skepticism….”
When positions are advanced which do not reflect the mass media’s agenda, then they are described as “questionable stances.” It has been stated in Germany that the real reason Reichelt was fired was the constant attack of the left-liberal media on his stance in numerous situations. We have, from time to time, published editorials by Reichelt which were extraordinary and right to the point.
Canada Keeps Persecuting Christian Pastor
Fox News wrote on October 16:
“The Polish-Canadian pastor who has been jailed for holding church services in Calgary, Alberta, said he will refuse to obey a court order mandating him to publicly echo the established opinions of medical experts regarding COVID-19. Pastor Artur Pawlowski was sanctioned by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Adam Germain to 18 months of probation, according to a written ruling released Friday…
“In addition to tens of thousands of dollars in costs and fines, one condition of Pawlowski’s probation requires him to parrot ‘the majority of medical experts in Alberta’ regarding social distancing, mask wearing and vaccines, even when he speaks in church. ‘The final term of his probation order will be that when he is exercising his right of free speech and speaking against [Alberta Health Services] Health Orders and AHS health recommendations, in a public gathering or public forum (including electronic social media), he must indicate in his communications the following,’ wrote Germain, who appended a script:
“‘I am also aware that the views I am expressing to you on this occasion may not be views held by the majority of medical experts in Alberta. While I may disagree with them, I am obliged to inform you that the majority of medical experts favour social distancing, mask wearing, and avoiding large crowds to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Most medical experts also support participation in a vaccination program unless for a valid religious or medical reason you cannot be vaccinated. Vaccinations have been shown statistically to save lives and to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.’
“Pawlowski told Fox News he has no intention of complying with Germain’s sanction, which he condemned as ‘unconstitutional,’ ‘illegal,’ and a clear instance of ‘compelled speech like in China and North Korea.’ ‘This crooked judge wants to turn me into a CBC reporter or CNN reporter, that every time that I am in public, every time I’m opening my mouth, I am to pray their mantra to the government,’ he said.
“Pawlowski said the judge’s condition is ‘without precedent’ in Canada, an assertion echoed by his lawyer, Sarah Miller, who described Germain’s sanction as ‘bizarre’ and ‘likely unconstitutional’ under Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees freedom of expression…
“Germain took particular umbrage at Pawlowski’s speaking tour throughout the United States over the summer, during which he met with lawmakers and warned audiences that Western governments increasingly resemble the communist regime in Poland he fled as a young man…
“Pawlowski, whose probation also forbids him from leaving the province, suggested to Fox News that Germain’s attitude and sanctions prove the point he was trying to make throughout his U.S. tour. ‘When I grew up under the boots of the Soviets, the courts like this were called “show courts”’ he said.
“‘It was to show that the government can do with you whatever they want, and there is nothing you can do about it. And it’s just to scare the public, telling you, “See, we can finish off anyone we want.” They’re terrified of the truth. I’m not hiding. I’m not a criminal. I said I will not obey this court order. I refuse to obey a crooked judge’s order. He’s not a judge, he’s a political activist,’ he added.”
What is happening in Canada is truly shocking. One IS reminded of dictatorial socialist countries.
Rand Paul warns of Socialism
Breitbart wrote on October 16:
“Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) warned there were perils associated with big government socialism. Paul [said] beyond the economic consequences of socialism, historically, it ended with state-sponsored authoritarianism and violence…
“‘I think now we’ve seen eight, nine months of big government socialism coming from Biden, and people are starting to understand that there are consequences… One of the consequences is prices are rising… Big government, socialism doesn’t work…”
It surely does not for the people, but governmental officials accumulate more and more autocratic powers.
US Marine Punished for Telling the Truth
Newsmax wrote on October 15:
“U.S. Marine Corps Judge Col. Glen Hines found [U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Stuart] Scheller guilty… [attorney] Buzbee told Newsmax that Scheller is being punished because he spoke truth to power…
“… no matter which form of discharge Scheller gets, he’ll still lose his retirement pay and benefits, to the tune of at least $2 million, said Buzbee….
“Buzbee said that many people were ‘outraged and frustrated and upset’ by the withdrawal, particularly when a terrorist attack on Aug. 26 killed 13 U.S. military personnel at the Kabul International Airport during the evacuation proceedings. Here’s a man that served 17 years, and is three years from vesting retirement…’
“The attorney said Scheller’s message is resonating nationwide, and that he’s appreciating the support he’s received, but ‘let’s not forget, you know, they took a Marine who was distinguished and decorated and put him in the brig…
“‘He has stepped forward and set an example about accountability, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for the individuals responsible for the planning or lack thereof with the withdrawal of Afghanistan to also step forward, when we see generals testifying in front of Congress trying to make the case that [it] was an operational and tactical success.’”
In fact, all of those responsible, from the very top down, should have the decency to resign.
“America Is Breaking Down!”
The Rutherford Institute wrote on or about October 20:
“This breakdown—triggered by polarizing circus politics, media-fed mass hysteria, racism, classism, fascism, fear-mongering, political correctness, cultural sanitation, virtue signaling, a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness in the face of growing government corruption and brutality, a growing economic divide that has much of the population struggling to get by, and militarization and militainment (the selling of war and violence as entertainment)—is manifesting itself in madness, mayhem and an utter disregard for the very principles and liberties that have kept us out of the clutches of totalitarianism for so long.
“In New York City, for example, a 200-year-old statue of Thomas Jefferson holding the Declaration of Independence will be removed from the City Council’s chambers where it has presided since 1915. Despite Jefferson’s many significant accomplishments, without which we might not have the rights we do today, he will be banished for having been, like many of his day, a slaveowner…
“In Washington, DC, a tribunal of nine men and women spoke with one voice to affirm that the government and its henchmen can literally get away with murder and not be held accountable for their wrongdoing. The Supreme Court’s latest rulings are yet another painful lesson in compliance, a reminder that in the American police state, ‘we the people’ are at the mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to ‘serve and protect.’
“All across the country, from California to Connecticut and every point in between, men and women who have worked faithfully and diligently at their jobs for years are being terminated for daring to believe that they have a right to bodily integrity; that they should not be forced, against their conscience or better judgment, to choose between individual liberty and economic survival; and that they—and not the government, or the FDA, or the CDC, or the Corporate State—have dominion over their bodies. Conveniently enough… the government, corporations and pharmaceutical companies have been shielded from liability with blanket immunity laws that ensure we are little more than guinea pigs for their questionable experiments.
“And then in Pennsylvania, a man traveling on a commuter train harassed, assaulted and then raped a woman over the course of 40 minutes and more than two dozen train stops while fellow travelers, watching and filming the attack, did nothing. Not a single witness called 911. Not a single bystander intervened to help the woman. Despite the fact that the man was outnumbered and could have been overwhelmed by those on the train, no collective effort was made to ward off the attack. Only when it was too late, when the damage had been done and the train had pulled into its last stop, did police show up to intervene…
“This is madness, yet there is a method to this madness. This is how freedom falls and tyranny rises. Remember, authoritarian regimes begin with incremental steps: overcriminalization, surveillance of innocent citizens, imprisonment for nonviolent—victimless—crimes, etc. Bit by bit, the citizenry finds its freedoms being curtailed and undermined for the sake of national security. And slowly the populace begins to submit.“No one speaks up for those being targeted. No one resists these minor acts of oppression. No one recognizes the indoctrination into tyranny for what it is. Historically this failure to speak truth to power has resulted in whole populations being conditioned to tolerate unspoken cruelty toward their fellow human beings, a bystander syndrome in which people remain silent and disengaged—mere onlookers—in the face of abject horrors and injustice.
“… We can continue to spout empty political rhetoric about how great America is, despite the evidence to the contrary… We can zip our lips and bind our hands and shut our eyes… evil happens when bureaucrats (governmental and corporate) unquestioningly carry out orders that are immoral and inhumane; obey immoral instructions unthinkingly; march in lockstep with tyrants; mindlessly perpetuate acts of terror and inhumanity; and justify it all as just ‘doing one’s job.’”
Sadly, this is so true! Our free booklet, “Obeying God Rather Than Men,” includes much more information on this topic.
Crackdown on Free Speech
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 19:
“Amnesty said that many governments had used the pandemic as an opportunity to further restrict freedom of expression. ‘Communication channels have been targeted, social media has been censored, and media outlets have been closed down… Governments that have long kept a tight control over what is shared in the public domain with overly restrictive legislation, have used the pandemic as another excuse to apply laws to censor and silence criticism, debate, and the sharing of information… Other governments have used the widespread alarm and confusion generated by the pandemic to rush through new legislation and other emergency measures that are not only disproportionate but also ineffective to deal with issues such as misinformation.’
“The report said that China, where the virus first emerged at the end of 2019, had opened criminal investigations into 5,511 people by February 2020. These people had been charged with ‘fabricating and deliberately disseminating false and harmful information’ about the nature and extent of the outbreak, according to Chinese authorities. Russia... introduced amendments that imposed criminal penalties for what it called ‘public dissemination of knowingly false information’ in the context of emergencies, Amnesty said. It also imposed administrative penalties for media outlets that publish such information, the report added…
“The London-based group warned that these laws and penalties were likely to stay in force even after the pandemic.”
Why Government Cover-Ups Succeed
The Ron Paul Institute published on October 19 the following article which was originally released by the Future of Freedom Foundation:“‘It’s not necessary to censor the news, it’s sufficient to delay the news until it no longer matters,’ Napoleon Bonaparte reportedly said. The same standard helps explain why Washington politicians and federal agencies usually get away with covering up their lies and abuses…“Cover-ups succeed because people defer to promises by government officials to investigate themselves.
This was how the Nixon-era Pentagon buried scores of Vietnam atrocities even after confirming the carnage… Nine thousand pages of documents were compiled confirming more than 300 war crimes, including seven other massacres of civilians by US troops… American soldiers faced more legal perils for reporting than for committing atrocities… As long as the government claimed to be investigating an alleged atrocity, the media downplayed the story…“The George W. Bush administration used similar charades to stifle the scandal over its worldwide torture regime. The only thing necessary for a successful cover-up was for the president first to continually proclaim that everything will be investigated, and then, months later, to proclaim that everything has already been investigated… In reality, none of the investigations had been independent, and none of the reports were available in full to the public… Yet, the Bush administration created the impression that anyone who refused to accept the good faith of the government’s self-investigations was acting in bad faith.
“… The Washington Post blocked or buried pre-war articles exposing the holes in the Bush team’s assertions on Iraq…
“But things will be different now that Joe Biden is president, right? Unfortunately, the media continues celebrating his election victory by ignoring almost all his falsehoods and failures. The mere fact that Biden is not Donald Trump will likely continue to give him a free pass from the media for at least another six months…”
The mass media bears great responsibility for not fulfilling its job.
A Palestinian Consulate in Jerusalem?
JNS (Jewish News Syndicate) wrote on October 18:
“If Washington follows through on its plan to forcibly open a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem, it will be the greatest humiliation Israel has ever experienced. The Americans are well aware of Israel’s opposition to the move. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made that much clear in a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House. Speaking at a conference hosted by The Jerusalem Post last week, Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar said: ‘I want to be perfectly clear: We oppose it. I heard that for the president, it’s a campaign promise. For us, it’s the promise of generations.’
“According to international law, the opening of a diplomatic mission or the altering of its status requires the written signature of the host country’s foreign minister—who in this case is Yesh Atid Party head Yair Lapid. Even if Lapid, who has sworn his allegiance to a unified Jerusalem countless times, was willing to align himself with the administration’s stance, he knows his authorization of the move would lead to the government’s collapse. That is why he has shifted to an opposing stance.
“Nevertheless, with Lapid by his side, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in Washington: ‘We’ll be moving forward with the process of opening a consulate as part of deepening those ties with the Palestinians.’ Or in other words, we have decided to show contempt for Israel’s position.
“Blinken has not taken such a condescending stance on Iran, the Palestinians, the Chinese, or any other U.S. partner… And what do the Israelis get in return? A stinging slap in the face.”
America will turn more and more against Israel.
Is the Catholic Church Guilty of Tax Evasion in Israel?
Israel 365 wrote on October 14:
“Is the Pope evading taxes on Vatican property in Israel?… the Vatican’s churches claim to be houses of worship exclusively even though it is well documented that many of them double as hotels, restaurants, stores, and schools.
“… the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and other churches affiliated with the Vatican… demonized Israel, going so far as to imply that Jerusalem does not belong to the Jewish state…
“The Vatican’s excuse for their tax evasion is that according to the Holy See, ‘Jerusalem must be internationalized and become a corpus separatum (Latin for ‘separate body’).’”
Again, we see that the Catholic church is showing its true colors relating to Israel.
Poland and the EU’s Move towards Totalitarianism
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 19:
“The top Polish court ruled on October 7 that parts of the EU treaties are ‘incompatible’ with the country’s constitution and that the latter takes precedence. It has been widely criticized by the European Commission and several member states, including France and Germany…
“The Polish prime minister defended the stance of Poland’s constitutional court over the primacy of Polish law and rejected comments suggesting the country was on a path to a possible ‘Polexit.’ ‘We should not be spreading further lies about Poland leaving the EU,’ he said.
“But he also accused the EU of ‘blackmail,’ saying ‘it is unacceptable to talk about financial penalties… I will not accept politicians wanting to blackmail and threaten Poland.’ Morawiecki went on to criticize the ‘creeping’ expansion of EU powers, pushed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ)…
“European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told EU lawmakers on Monday that she was ‘deeply concerned’ over the developments in Poland… She went on to mention the ‘Article 7 procedure’ as a ‘powerful tool’ to deal with violations from member states. Article 7 allows the EU to remove certain rights of member states, including stripping them of their voting rights…
“Poland, along with Hungary, has threatened to use its veto power to block key EU legislation on climate change and migration. While there is no procedure to kick a member state out of the union, the evocation of Article 7 could leave Poland powerless in any negotiations.”
Europe and Emperor Justinian
Lowyinstitute wrote on October 19:
“Constantinople, the capital of ancient Byzantium, was dominated by a statue of Emperor Justinian. Legend has it that Justinian’s hand was lifted to the East to ward off prospective attacks from Persia, while his gaze was turned to the West, portending that the real threat to the capital came from that direction…
“Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, acknowledged… that ‘there are deeply troubling questions’ regarding the future of NATO [i.e., referring to the above-mentioned legend, the real threat would be coming from the West] and that the EU needs to develop independent security capacities through the establishment of a ‘European Defence Union’.
“The key power brokers of Europe – especially Macron, von der Leyen and, of course, the new German chancellor – would do well to heed Justinian’s strategic dictum: ‘keep cool and you will command everyone’. Keeping cool entails Europe seeing the current potential for US disengagement on the continent not as a looming security disaster, but as a golden opportunity… European interests should not be conflated with US interests. Europe pursuing more strategic autonomy sans-US involvement would help Europe avoid being sucked into a potential Sino-American Cold War.
“Justinian is remembered for his boldness. If European leaders can harness some of this courage to break free of their reliance on the United States, not only would it benefit European security and strategic flexibility on the continent, it might also help Europe fulfil its long-touted ‘super-power’ potential.”
And this is exactly what will happen.
Shatner’s Trip to Space and Prince William’s Criticism
Newsmax wrote on October15:
“After taking a trip to space, ‘Star Trek’ actor William Shatner is lamenting the short-sightedness of Prince William’s space science denial… ‘He’s got the wrong idea,’ Shatner, 90, [said]. ‘… this is a baby step into the idea of getting industry, all those polluting industries, off of Earth,’ he continued. ‘You can build a base 250, 280 miles above the Earth and send that power down here, and they catch it, and they then use it, and it’s there,’ he added…
“Prince William, 39, had been politicking for climate change while denying science of space exploration to BBC. ‘We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,’ William said. ‘It really is quite crucial to be focusing on this [planet] rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future,’ he added…
“‘The prince is missing the point,’ Shatner [said.] ‘The point is these are the baby steps to show people it’s very practical. You can send somebody like me up into space.’”
Wherever man has put his feet, he has polluted and destroyed the environment. At the same time, the idea of sending all the polluting industries and material (including perhaps radioactive material) into space is interesting in the light of what Christ may do when He has returned to govern this [polluted] Earth.
Russia’s and China’s Collaboration
Israel 365 wrote on October 18:
“It was recently revealed that in August, China tested a hypersonic missile that is capable of carrying a nuclear payload… the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realized…
“Hypersonic weapons travel long distances through the atmosphere at speeds of Mach 5-10 making them invulnerable to any air or missile defense system…
“Along with China, the United States, Russia, and at least five other countries are working on hypersonic technology…
“The test comes at a sensitive time when tensions are high as China has made aggressive moves towards Taiwan.
“In addition, China and Russia are currently holding joint naval exercises in Russia’s Peter the Great Gulf called Joint Sea 2021…
“It is interesting to note that according to Mongolian tradition, their nation was descended from Magog. The Mongolian Empire once included sections of Russia, China, and North Korea. The Chinese and all the minority groups living in China are of the Mongoloid race, which stems from Noah’s son Japheth. Etymologists have conjectured that the name Mongol is derived from the name Magog.”
The Daily Mail added on October 17:
“The hypersonic missiles can reach speeds of up to 21,000 mph and can strike anywhere on Earth from space within minutes.”
Russia’s Blackmail of Europe and Ukraine
Express wrote on October 18:
“RUSSIA has dealt a hammer blow to the EU after refusing to pump more gas into the bloc despite Vladimir Putin claiming he would do so. It comes after European gas prices have soared to record highs and have left the bloc in the face of a gas crisis. Prices soared when Russia decided to decrease the flow of gas travelling into Europe following a deal for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Putin struck a deal to see the new pipeline transit gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland and Ukraine. But as the pipeline awaits approval from German regulators, Mr Putin ordered a tightening of supplies to avoid EU rules from being applied to the system and to speed up the pipeline’s approval.
“Gas prices across Europe have now skyrocketed as supplies decrease and the continent prepares for a cold winter where even more pressure will be put on supplies. But now, state-owned Russian gas company, Gazprom, has reportedly said that it doesn’t even plan to send more gas via pipelines through Ukraine next month. Instead, it will send only limited supplies through Poland…
“Mr Putin has fiercely denied the claims that Russia is using gas as a geopolitical weapon… But Mr Putin’s latest [move] has again displayed Moscow’s tight control on the gas market…
““Mr Putin’s use of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to control gas prices has threatened tensions with Ukraine. And after the latest of Gazprom’s gas flow restrictions through its neighbouring country, it has raised even more fears.
“… the boss of Ukraine gas giant Naftogaz, Yuriy Vitrenko, said: ‘The worst-case scenario is that there could be no gas flowing through Ukraine, it would allow him to blackmail Ukraine so could lead to either a full-scale war.
“‘For example, forget about Crimea, take back Donbass, the occupied regions, but on Putin’s terms, and basically the whole of Ukraine would become part of the Russian world.’
“Back in 2014, Russian troops took control of Crimea before annexing the peninsula after the region voted to join the Russian Federation in a disputed local referendum.”
Putin is using gas to blackmail Europe. In addition, Russia might indeed force a “unification” of Ukraine and Russia.
The Dangerous Experiments with Animal-to-Human Transplants
Newsmax wrote on October 19:
“Scientists temporarily attached a pig’s kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work… The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to… avoid an immune system attack.
“… The dream of animal-to-human transplants… goes back to the 17th century with stumbling attempts to use animal blood for transfusions. By the 20th century, surgeons were attempting transplants of organs from baboons into humans, notably Baby Fae, a dying infant, who lived 21 days with a baboon heart.
“With no lasting success and much public uproar, scientists turned from primates to pigs…
“In the NYU case, researchers kept a deceased woman’s body going on a ventilator after her family agreed to the experiment…
“Experts say tests on nonhuman primates and last month’s experiment with a human body pave the way for the first experimental pig kidney or heart transplants in living people in the next several years….”
The question was raised: Should we do it only because we can?
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.
What can we learn from the example of Lot and his daughters?—Part 1
Whenever and wherever it is necessary, we try to give the background to any question which can give reasons and explanations that might not otherwise be taken into account.
Let us look into the background of Lot. He was the son of Abraham’s brother, Haran, and his wife was Milcah (see Genesis 11:27-29). We may have read these events many times before, but it is helpful to review them again with the thought in our mind that we are all, to one degree or another, a product of our environment. Bearing that in mind may give more than a clue as to why some terrible sins could have been committed.
In Genesis 12:1-4 we read:
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”
We read in the following verse: “Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan” (Genesis 12:5). They then went to other places and finished up in Egypt because of a severe famine (verse 10).
In chapter 13, we read that Abram left Egypt and became very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold, and Lot, who also had flocks and herds and tents, went with him. Then we read in Genesis 13:6-7: “Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.”
Abram, being the considerate man that he was, offered a choice to Lot, even though it was he to whom God had made His promises. We read in verse 8-11: “So Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.’ And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.”
This was the first of a number of mistakes that Lot made when deciding to go east towards Sodom and Gomorrah, as we read in verse 13: “But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.” We also read that at first, Lot “pitched his tent even as far as Sodom” (verse 12), but later, he ended up living in Sodom (Genesis 14:12). It is important to see the events leading up to the sin that Lot’s daughters committed with their father, as we will discuss later.
In chapter 14, we read that Lot, who by that time dwelt in Sodom, was captured, apparently because of his goods and, as we will discuss, the stature and influential position that he had in Sodom, and he was then rescued by Abram. The narrative about Lot continues in chapter 19 where the sub-heading in the New King James Bible is “Sodom’s Depravity”. Lot had chosen to live in a very sinful city. We have covered the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, not just about their homosexuality, but all of the other sins that they were guilty of, and this can read in the following Q&A:
It was a city where Lot should never have gone to in the first place. But he did, and the consequences were dire for him and his family.
Let us move on to Genesis chapter 19:1-3:
“Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, ‘Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.’ And they said, ‘No, but we will spend the night in the open square.’ But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.”
We read that Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. The Ryrie Study Bible remarks: “The gate of Sodom was the centre of public activity. Lot’s being there may indicate he was a judge in the city (see 19:9).” The Application Bible adds: ”Evidently Lot held an important position in the government or associated with those who did because the angels found him at the city gate. Perhaps Lot’s status in Sodom was one reason he was so reluctant to leave.”
Elliott’s Commentary for English Readers states:
“This personal respect had made him close his eyes to the sinfulness of the people, and he had consented to live inside the town, and even to let its citizens marry his daughters.”
Lot showed the customary hospitality to the angels whom he probably did not recognize as such (compare Hebrews 13:2), but the problems were only just beginning, as we read in verses 4-5:
“Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.’”
To try and counter this affront to his guests, he made a terrible mistake, as we read in verses 6-8:
“So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, ‘Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.’”
To offer his daughters in such a manner to a baying mob was a shocking sin! We read the following in Barnes Notes on the Bible:
“The wicked violence of the citizens displays itself. They compass the house, and demand the men for the vilest ends. How familiar Lot had become with vice, when any necessity whatever could induce him to offer his daughters to the lust of these Sodomites! We may suppose it was spoken rashly, in the heat of the moment, and with the expectation that he would not be taken at his word. So it turned out. ‘Stand back.’ This seems to be a menace to frighten Lot out of the way of their perverse will.”
The Application Bible comments:
“Possibly Lot was hoping… that the homosexual men would be disinterested and simply go away… [Lot’s] terrible suggestion reveals how deeply sin had been absorbed into Lot’s life. He had become hardened to evil acts in an evil city.”
Lot might even have thought that in offering his two daughters to these homosexual men, they would recognize the evil of their contemplated action and leave in shame (which of course did not happen), but to make such an offer was a terrible sin.
The locals continued to argue with Lot and the men (angels) came to the rescue, as we read in verses 9-11:
“And they said, ‘Stand back!’ Then they said, ‘This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.’ So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door.”
The family were then urged to leave the city – verses 12-14:
“Then the men said to Lot, ‘Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place! For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.’ So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, ‘Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!’ But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.”
In verses 15-17, we read that Lot and his family had to be persuaded to leave the city:
“When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, ‘Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.’ And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.’”
Lot pleaded with the two angels that he be allowed to flee to a city named Zoar, rather than escaping to the mountains (verses 18-22).
Lot’s wife looked back which they were instructed not to do: “The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (verses 23-26)
When we review the actions of Lot, we see the climate and culture that they, as a family, were subjected to and it does not make good reading:
Lot made the choice of going to live in the wrong place.
- He chose to live in the sinful city and “sat in the gate” (Genesis 19:1) which was an important place and showed that Lot was a leading citizen, a judge and a ruler of some kind.
- His family would be affected by their surroundings and the fact that Lot had become an active part of the “system” of Sodom. If he could behave in this way, then his family, including his daughters, must have believed that it could not be that bad.
- He offered his daughters to the baying mob.
- He was reluctant to leave Sodom even though he knew it was a rotten place and he had been told that God would destroy it (Genesis 19:15-17).
- He allowed himself to become drunk, which we will examine, when terrible sins with his daughters took place.
In spite of all of these mistakes, we read in 2 Peter 2:6-8: “… and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)…”
The Benson commentary observes:
“And turning the cities of Sodom, &c., into ashes — When the inhabitants of those places were sunk into the lowest degeneracy; and condemned them with an overthrow — Punished them with utter destruction, both of their persons and habitations; making them an ensample — Not an example to be imitated, but an example to be avoided, as the word υποδειγμα, here used, signifies.
“Hence Jude, to express the same idea, uses the word δειγμα. And delivered just Lot — By the miraculous interposition of his providence; vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked — Exceedingly grieved by the lewd behaviour of the lawless Sodomites. For that righteous man, dwelling among them — Lot appears to have dwelt sixteen years in Sodom, after he parted from Abraham; a long space to abide in one of the lewdest and most outrageously wicked cities in the world, and not be tainted with their vices. Doubtless, as he was so exceedingly grieved with their lewd conduct from day to day, he often earnestly desired to leave the place… In seeing their base actions, and in hearing their lewd speeches, he vexed — Εβασανιζεν, tormented; his righteous soul from day to day — For their wickedness was incessant; with their unlawful deeds — The cry of which came up at length to heaven, and brought down upon them flaming destruction.”
(To be continued)
Lead Writers: Brian Gale and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Norbert Link
Our new booklet, “Why this Confusion about Life after Death?” has been received from the printer and will be sent out to our subscribers early next week.
A new StandingWatch program has been recorded by Norbert Link, titled, “America Is Breaking Down.”
Here is a summary:
America is indeed breaking down and falling apart. This situation has been described as “utter madness.” This program gives shocking examples as to how far we have drifted away from what is good and right, while showing utter disregard for those who suffer, warning that this is how freedom falls and tyranny rises.
“Durch Leid vollkommen werden” (“Being made perfect through Suffering”) is the title of this coming Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link.
“Alle Ehre gehört Gott,” (“All honour belongs to God”), the German sermonette presented last week by Mike Richter, has been posted.
The sermonette presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, titled, “The Canadian Dictatorship—Comments on News and Prophecy, October 16, 2021,” is now posted.
The sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, titled, “Being Made Perfect Through Sufferings,” has also been posted.
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