The Update

Update 1104

Managing Adversity / Every Word of God

On February 24, 2024, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Managing Adversity,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Every Word of God.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Continued Growth by Application

by Kalon Mitchell

As we live our lives in this world, we are often bombarded by the realities of life. We read in 2 Peter 2:7-8 that God “…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).” Lot was called righteous, even though some of his deeds were unrighteous. God deemed him worthy to be saved from the destruction of the society in which he lived.

We are finding ourselves living in times similar to that of Lot. So much is going wrong around us. It can be easy to be influenced by the “pleasures” in this world. We have to make sure that our moral compasses are being influenced by God and not being sucked into this world in our thoughts and our ways.

There are so many things that we can pay attention to in this life; but really, it comes down to the question if we will pay the most attention to God’s Words which should guide and direct us. God shows us in the Bible those actions that we are to take in our lives. We need to be asking ourselves if we are learning how to accomplish them by living them.

In Micah 6:8, we are shown a few examples of how we should be operating: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy (or lovingkindness), And to walk humbly with your God.”

We have to learn HOW to accomplish these things. It doesn’t come automatically. It requires us to spend time learning to do and develop them in our lives. We have to be paying attention and figuring out how to make them happen in our dealings. When we learn this, it should produce within us the love (agape) for God’s ways as we see how this helps others and benefits all. We have to understand what each of these words mean in the context of being a Christian.

Acting justly requires us to be impartial and knowledgeable, and to act lawfully and to know how to use righteousness (compare James 2:1-8; Proverbs 11:9; Romans 7:7-12; Isaiah 26:9-10).

To love mercy includes, to love the ability to forgive. God forgives abundantly! We also must learn how to forgive; otherwise, we are in jeopardy of not receiving God’s continued mercy in our lives. Mercy is not always easy to show. But it is required. We have to come to realize that all of us are guilty before God and each other (compare Ephesians 2:4-5; Isaiah 55:7; Lamentations 3:22-23; Luke 6:36; James 2:13; Matthew 5:7).

Finally, to walk humbly with God means, to be seeking Him in everything we do. We are seeking to be in alignment with Him. Our thoughts, our actions, our very being need to be in harmony with Him. This takes an immense amount of humility because it shows God we are willing to lay aside our own ways, our own thoughts, and seek and accept what He will show us (compare Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 28:26; Isaiah 55:8-9; Philippians 2:3).

As with so much of God’s laws, each of these characteristics and actions layer on top of each other. They are all required. This means then that we are to be learning how to develop and use all of them in partnership. If we miss out on growing in any of the areas, the other areas will not work properly. We have to continue to grow in righteousness, mercy and humility so that we can become the type of people that God is looking for. Our journey into the Family of God will require these attributes (and more)—therefore, we cannot neglect them! 

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by Norbert Link

Our introductory article, “Our Government and the Culture of Death,” sets the tone for what is to follow throughout this edition of the Current Events—a description of a deceitful or incompetent leadership and a weaponized corrupt justice system. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Will Our Government’s Corruption Ever End?”

We address Biden’s repeated lies regarding his illegal retention of classified documents;  the alleged evil conduct of former CIA Director John BrennanBiden’s betrayal of Israel; the outrageous decision against Trump and others in the New York State “fraud” case; and Biden’s conduct towards Europe.

In other news, we address the apparent murder of Putin’s main opponent and critic, Alexei Navalny; Biden’s backpedaling and Trump’s awkward silence; and Russia’s ongoing threats of using nuclear weapons against the West, including Germany. We report on further atrocities of the “deadly scorpion” Putin and his henchmen and thugs.

We also address the highly controversial political attempt by the USA to have the UK extradite Julian Assange to the USA; and we conclude with an article about China’s “unstoppable military.”

Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.

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Our Government and the Culture of Death

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano wrote on February 16 in the Ron Paul Institute:

“America today epitomizes a culture of death.

 “At home, America is at war with itself. The government permits the slaughter of babies in the womb and teaches babies in government classrooms how to change genders.

And America is at war abroad. The federal government has sent cash and military hardware worth $100 billion to its failing vassal state, Ukraine. The President and the Senate want to send another $61 billion…

“… the government glorifies violence — constant wars, an annual defense budget larger than the next dozen countries combined, the adulation of the military, the encouragement and financing of abortions… it undermines the value of human life and sets a tone whereby because the government kills with impunity, violence has become a personal tool.

“Is it any wonder that deranged people pick up where the government has left off? For a person filled with hate and incapable of reason living in a society that rejects the intrinsic worth of every human life, is it very much of a leap from killing babies in the womb to killing strangers in a supermarket or a classroom?…

The government has banned God in the classroom and on the football field, banished Him from the public square and public buildings, and ignored His commands when it writes laws and unleashes violence…

“Government is the negation of liberty. As Ronald Reagan argued, ‘Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.’

“What can we do about it?

“Bring the troops home. Leave NATO. Shut our 1,000+ foreign military bases. Shrink the defense budget. Sell the Pentagon. Stop killing babies in the womb… Abolish the income tax. Worship God in public… Outlaw punishment before trial.

“And when the government assaults — or fails to protect — life, liberty and property, or uses excessive force, alter or abolish it… Take Jefferson seriously: ‘When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.’”

This is so true with respect to human governments. That is why we need God’s righteous government here on earth, which will be established when Christ returns.

Biden’s Outrageous Lies

The New York Post published on February 15 the following article by Professor Turley:

“In his press conference following the report on his retention of classified documents, Joe Biden lashed out at special counsel Robert Hur for saying the president has such ‘diminished faculties,’ it would be difficult to criminally charge him. One of the key and scripted moments was Biden angrily denouncing Hur for raising his son’s death. Many in the media eagerly replayed the clip the next day, calling Hur’s question outrageous, callous and unprofessional.

“But NBC reports it was not Hur but Biden himself who raised Beau Biden’s death. In the disastrous press conference Biden went on the attack, asking, ‘How in the hell dare he raise that? Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn business.’

“NBC’s sources suggest this was a knowingly false claim by the president — he was the one who raised his son’s death. The corrected version would read: ‘How in the hell dare [I] raise that? Frankly, when [I raised] the question, I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn business.’… While we await the spin, the report indicates the president is either mentally diminished or openly deceptive in such moments…

“He alleged the special counsel did not find willful retention of material. Hur not only did so but repeatedly said so in the report.

Biden claimed he did not show classified material to third parties. Not only did Hur find he did, there’s a witness to that fact.

Biden said he kept material in locked drawers or drawers capable of being locked. Hur showed pictures of ripped boxes holding such material in his garage.

“Once again, it’s hard to see how Biden made these false claims without his staff’s prior review

Using the White House to spread false claims about these investigations is very dangerous… White House staff carrying out a possible disinformation campaign can raise allegations of violations of the public trust and misuse of federal staff and resources… the White House has to be careful that its effort to spin out of scandal doesn’t result in spinning into an impeachment.”

Biden and his administration will give an accounting for their conduct one of these days. Maybe not to man, but certainly to God.

Brennan the Villain?

Professor Jonathan Turley wrote on February 15 in the Ron Paul Institute:

 “There is a disturbing report published on Michael Shellenberger’s Public Substack detailing how the U.S. intelligence community called upon foreign governments to target associates of Donald Trump before the 2016 election. The request to the ‘Five Eyes’ agencies (the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) appears to have come from Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan

“The role of Brennan is intriguing. Brennan was the one who briefed President Barack Obama on Hillary Clinton’s alleged ‘plan’ to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as ‘a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.’ It was also Brennan who later declared during the Trump Administration that a press conference with Vladimir Putin was ‘nothing short of treason.’…

“Brennan also signed the infamous letter warning that the Hunter Biden laptop had all of the markings of Russian intelligence, a letter that he later admitted was ‘political.’”

Brennan will be held accountable for his shameful deeds. Maybe not in our evil society, but one day, he will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

The Death of Navalny

The Sun wrote on February 16:

“VLADIMIR Putin’s top critic Alexei Navalny has allegedly died in a hellhole Siberia prison as Kremlin foes claim he was murderedPrison officials today said the jailed Russian opposition leader, 47, collapsed inside a brutal Polar Wolf jail where he was being kept and could not be resuscitated. Navalny was one of Putin’s greatest enemies and his leading domestic critic in Russia – bravely challenging the tyrant’s brutal war in Ukraine

“Latvian president Edgars Rinkevics raged on X that Navalny was ‘brutally murdered by the Kremlin’…  And Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy raged ‘Obviously, Putin killed him’.

“Navalny was first picked up by Vlad’s brutal police in 2021 after returning to Russia following an assassination attempt. And when a sham trial in Russia found him guilty of trumped-up charges, the brave Putin challenger was locked up amid fears that he would not come out alive… In total Putin’s number one enemy had spent 308 days banged up – and there were reports that a sadistic Putin even demanded to see live footage of Navalny undergoing punishment and being humiliated by guards…

“UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said: ‘Putin should be accountable for what has happened – no one should doubt the dreadful nature of his regime.’…”

Deutsche Welle added on February 16:

“French President Emmanuel Macron accused Russia of sending ‘free spirits’ to the gulag… Meanwhile, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel blamed the Russian state for the death of [the] leading opposition figure… The European Union said it holds Russian President Vladimir Putin solely responsible for the death in prison of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.”

Biden Sound Asleep?

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 16:

“US President Joe Biden said he was ‘outraged’ at Navalny’s reported death… He said that Putin was ‘responsible’ for Navalny’s death. ‘What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin’s brutality,’ he said…

Biden had stated in 2021 that if Navalny would die in prison, there would be devastating consequences for Russia. When asked after Navalny’s death as to what the consequences would be now, Biden backpedaled and said, Russia already paid with the death of many soldiers in the war with Ukraine. As if the one had anything to do with the other. Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton criticized President Joe Biden’s approach to Russia, saying that “Biden’s tough rhetoric lacks meaningful action.” Bowing to national and international outcry and internal pressure, Biden has now announced that unspecified “major sanctions” would be imposed on Russia.

Putin—the Murderer?

Daily Mail wrote on February 16:

Garry Kasparov, a Russian chess grand master, said Putin ‘murdered’ Navalny ‘slowly and publicly in prison’ while Russian Nobel Peace winner Muratov also described Navalny’s death as ‘murder’…

“Navalny miraculously survived a suspected assassination attempt with a nerve agent in August 2020 during a flight to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk, where he was organising opposition candidates. He collapsed in the aisle while returning from the bathroom, and the plane made an emergency landing in the city of Omsk, where he spent two days in a hospital while supporters begged doctors to allow him to be taken to Germany for treatment.

“Once in Germany, doctors determined he had been poisoned with a strain of Novichok – similar to the nerve agent that nearly killed former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in 2018. The attack also resulted in the death of another woman.”

It surely looks like Putin had Navalny killed—in one way or another. Putin has been responsible for many killings of his opponents. As a former KGB spy, Putin has no qualms about murdering people. Russians are being arrested for placing flowers at sites mourning Navalny’s death.

We do not want to neglect to say that Navalny was a controversial figure. Even though he condemned Russia’s invasion of Crimea, he also said that nothing should be done about it now. He also advocated bombing Georgia. Still, none of that excuses or even explains Putin’s alleged murder [as both were on the same wavelength, politically and socially, on many issues]. Putin acted solely to get rid of his strongest political opponent.

Trump Stays Silent

Live Mint wrote on February 17:

“Former US President Donald Trump remained silent on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s death report on Friday, rather his campaign referred a reporter to a statement that made no mention of Navalny or Vladimir Putin…  

Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley slammed Donald Trump for maintaining an amicable relationship with Vladimir Putin and remained silent after Russian officials said opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in a prison colony on Friday. ‘Donald Trump continues to side with Vladimir Putin – a man who kills his political opponents, holds American journalists hostage, and has never hidden his desire to destroy America,’ Haley said in an official statement.

In a separate post on X (formerly Twitter), Haley wrote, ‘Putin murdered his political opponent and Trump hasn’t said a word after he said he would encourage Putin to invade our allies. He has, however, posted 20+ times on social media about his legal drama and fake polls.’…

“Trump has praised Putin on and off for years, calling the Russian leader a ‘genius’ in 2022 for his decision to invade neighboring Ukraine, igniting a war that is still raging.

“The 47-year-old lawyer rose to prominence more than a decade ago by speaking publicly about what he said was the vast corruption and opulence among the ‘crooks and thieves’ who ran Putin’s Russia. Many Western leaders accused the Kremlin of murder regarding Navalny. They produced no evidence, but Putin’s enemies have a history of dying under opaque circumstances.”

Subsequently, the New York Post wrote on February 19:

“Former President Donald Trump broke his protracted silence Monday on the death of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny — comparing Navalny’s demise in an Arctic prison to the legal woes that threaten Trump’s freedom and fortune. ‘The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country. It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction,’ Trump posted on Truth Social.”

He repeated this claim in a town hall meeting, adding that Navalny should perhaps not have returned to Russia.

Trump’s initial silence only helped those who accuse him of having a far-too-cozy relationship with Putin. In light of this, Putin’s comments about Biden and Trump are even more bizarre, but might be politically calculated. Note the next article.

Putin’s Strange Comments

Axios wrote on February 14:

“Putin said Wednesday that he prefers President Biden win the 2024 election over former President Trump… ‘[Biden] is a more experienced, predictable person. He is a politician of the old school,’ Putin said…

“Putin said he ‘did not get full satisfaction’ from his interview with Tucker Carlson last week. ‘I thought that he would behave aggressively and ask so-called sharp questions,’ he said…’

He also said that Tucker stuck to his playbook, and that he is “dangerous.” Putin’s long-winded gratuitous “history” lessons were boring, to say the very least. It is obvious that Putin is not well—physically and mentally. But it is HE who is a very dangerous autocrat, who might get strength from dark spiritual forces. This conclusion might be supported by the next article.

Has Putin Lost His Mind?

Express wrote on February 17:

“Putin ordered the killing of opponent Alexei Navalny and was mentally unstable when he did so, the Russian President’s former speechwriter has claimed in an exclusive interview with Daily Express US….

“‘He is very irrational and lives in his own world. Putin is not mentally stable, he has very high ups and downs. He lost his mind. His mind is off balance. He is emotionally off balance. Over the past two years, he had disappeared for weeks at a time. That means he didn’t know what to do, or what to say. He couldn’t get himself together…’”

This could be further evidence of Putin being demonically influenced. Remember the report on King Saul, as well as Hitler’s irrational behavior. Hitler was clearly demon-possessed.

Russia’s Threats

Daily Mail wrote on February 18:

“The Kremlin today threatened to fire nuclear missiles on London, Washington, Berlin and Kyiv if Russia is forced to give up the Ukrainian territory it has invaded.

“Dmitry Medvedev – a close Putin ally who served as president from 2008 to 2012 – said if a military defeat led to a return to the 1991 frontiers, when the Soviet Union collapsed, Moscow would unleash Armageddon. ‘Attempts to return Russia to the borders of 1991 will lead to only one thing,’ he said. ‘Towards a global war with Western countries using the entire strategic arsenal of our state. In Kyiv, Berlin, London, Washington.’…

“He suggested Kyiv and the West should allow Putin to have the bits of Ukraine he thinks of as Russia. ‘It’s better to return everything [to us] before it’s too late. Or we will return it ourselves with maximum losses for the enemy…. The West should not think that in such a scenario the leadership of Russia will “tremble in its hand” in pushing the nuclear button.’”

Medvedev called Germany’s Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, an “idiot,” and he used even much stronger terms to describe him. Russia WILL push the nuclear button against Europe… but not now. Other prophesied events will have to happen first.

Deluded Republicans?

The New York Post published the following insightful article by Piers Morgan on February 20:

“My favorite fable is ‘The Scorpion and the Frog.’… A scorpion wants to cross a river but can’t swim, so it asks a frog to carry it across. The frog hesitates, fearful that the scorpion will sting, but the scorpion promises not to, explaining that if he did, they’d both drown. The frog thinks this is logical, so it carries the scorpion across the river, and halfway over, the scorpion stings the frog, condemning them both to death. ‘Why did you do that?’ exclaimed the incredulous frog. ‘Sorry,’ came the reply. ‘I couldn’t help myself, it’s my nature.’

“The fable is Russian in origin, which is ironic… because it reminds me of Vladimir Putin and his merry band of brainwashed, demented, deluded or simply woefully naïve supporters… As exiled Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in prison because Putin took a dislike to him, told me in an interview yesterday, Putin is a gangster, a mob boss who will kill anyone who gets in his way and steal anything he wants. There’s no ambiguity about it. Putin doesn’t even try very hard to hide it.

“He is what he is: a ruthless, corrupt, murderous former KGB agent with zero respect for human life, consumed with enriching and empowering himself. He jailed his most popular critic, Alexi Navalny, and then had him killed last week, because that’s what Putin does to all his rivals, especially in the run-up to elections that he’s already rigged to ensure victory. And by displaying such brazen, contemptible, deadly thuggery, he sends a shiver down the spines of others thinking of even raising a quizzical eyebrow in his direction…

“Of course, none of us should ever need reminding what a despicable, despotic, heartless monster he is. Yet, astoundingly, there are still many prominent people in America, particularly on the conservative right, who seem in weird, inexplicable awe of Vlad the Terrible… I don’t know why Trump loves Putin so much that he can’t even bring himself to condemn him for such an egregious act… When I interviewed him in 2008 for GQ magazine, Trump was scornful of President George W. Bush for sucking up to Putin, telling me, ‘Putin played Bush like a fiddle. Bush went around saying what a nice guy he was, and thought he was his friend. And since then, Russia has gone up like a rocket and this country has gone down like a not-so-successful rocket. It’s booming, and we’re the opposite…’

“Equally, what… was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) thinking when he stood up at 2 a.m. last Tuesday to basically wave the white flag of surrender?… Other conservatives like Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) don’t want to help either…  I find it baffling that a party once almost 100% united in entirely justified dislike and distrust for Russian dictators now wants to be complicit in helping them win illegal wars in Europe.

“What do they think Putin will do if he succeeds in his Ukraine land grab, slink back into the Kremlin shadows, full of gratitude for America’s subservience? Of course he won’t. Like the scorpion, he’ll carry on attacking everyone and everything until someone stops him. That’s his nature…”

Lest anyone doubt the murderous nature of war criminal and dictator Vladimir Putin, note the next article.

American Ballerina Arrested in Russia

Daily Mail wrote on February 21:

“Russian-American ballerina Ksenia Karelina was arrested in January by Vladimir Putin’s notorious Federal Security Service (FSB) on treason charges…  for sending just $51.80 to a charity in support of Ukraine. She faces 20 years in prison

“Karelina, who works at a spa in Beverly Hills, California, travelled to Russia to visit her family on January 2… She was immediately arrested after landing in Moscow, ‘interrogated for 13 hours’ and placed in a freezing cold jail cell with two other women…

“The White House is… scrambling to learn more of the arrest… John Kirby… also warned any American citizen, including those with dual Russian citizenship, to leave the country immediately…

“Karelina is the latest American behind bars in Russia, in addition to [Wall Street Journal journalist Evan] Gershkovich, former US Marine Paul Whelan and Texas dad David Barnes who last week was sentenced to 21 years in prison in Moscow on child abuse charges. On the same day that Karelina’s arrest was announced, Gershkovich appeared in a Moscow court where he had his pre-trial detention extended.”

Of course, the lying Russian government is coming up again with ridiculous trumped-up charges. The despicable Nazi-like “policy” of Putin and his henchmen and thugs is obvious to any objective observer. What, if anything, is the Biden Administration going to do about it?

Blinken “Most Hostile” Towards Israel

Israel Today wrote on February 16:

“As the days go by, it is becoming increasingly clear that the second Jewish US secretary of state is the most hostile Israel has known in decades… The most serious thing he does… is trying to stop the Israeli war machine in its tracks.. He demands more and more humanitarian aid, which he knows goes straight to Hamas and helps the organization prolong its rule in the Gaza Strip; he opposes IDF activity in Rafah, Hamas’s last stronghold, for fear of harming the population, of course…

“Now he expects Israel to agree to a very long ceasefire as part of the second deal, turn a blind eye to Hamas’s continued rule, withdraw its forces from the Gaza area and commit to a Palestinian state

“In the same way, he dealt one of the harshest blows the United States has ever inflicted on Israel. This refers to the unprecedented sanctions on the four Israelis who, according to the Americans, harmed Palestinians… The designations of those four individuals are, in fact, a way of telling Israel that the United States does not trust the Israeli judicial system…

“In any case, the one who has been orchestrating this fabrication from his first day in office is Blinken. The same Blinken, the serial bungler of American foreign policy since 2021, from Russia to Iran, wants to add Israel to the list.”

Blinken is not working against Biden. So Biden is behind all of this.

“Spineless Biden” to “Betray Israel”?

On February 17, The New York Post published the following opinion piece by Michael Goodwin:

“Is there a Margaret Thatcher in the house who can help stiffen Joe Biden’s spine? The late British prime minister, in a 1990 phone call during the early days of the first Gulf war, famously told a hesitant President George H. W. Bush that it ‘was no time to go wobbly’… Bush adopted the Iron Lady’s resolve and soon unleashed Operation Desert Storm, leading to a retreat of Iraq’s forces and a smashing allied triumph.

“Biden needs a Thatcher now to set him straight during the current Mideast conflict. Faced with Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza and a shaky re-election campaign, the president isn’t just going wobbly in his support for our embattled ally — he’s inching toward a full betrayal of Israel to appease American radicals… It is dishonest to defend Biden’s undercutting of Israel as part of some strategic view of how to bring a just and lasting peace to the region. His words and actions increasingly have little to do with peace and everything to do with pandering to domestic political critics.

“A timeline of the president’s shifting attitude shows his position, which began as forceful backing of Israel after the Oct. 7 invasion by Hamas, changed as large parts of the Democrats’ base made it clear they would not vote for him because of his support for Israel.

“Some of those people, who include Muslim Americans and leftist students at elite colleges, can be charitably described as ignorant of both history and current events, especially their absurd accusations that Israel is committing ‘genocide.’ They claim to be concerned about the suffering of Palestinian civilians, but voiced no concern that Hamas uses those civilians as human shields and turned Gaza into a terrorist launching pad while stealing billions of foreign aid. Nor are they moved by the horrific events of Oct. 7, including the slaughter of Israeli children and the raping and torture of women.

“Many other Biden objectors are classic antisemites who oppose Israel’s very existence. These so-called protesters, some of them violent, don’t try to hide their support for Hamas’ plan to control all land ‘from the river to the sea.’ Biden makes no distinction about the critics’ motivations and is disgracefully mute about the shocking explosion of antisemitism in America

“He tells donors Israeli bombing was ‘indiscriminate’ and mumbles at a press conference that Israel’s reaction to Oct. 7 is ‘over the top.’… his policies… include a demand for an immediate cease-fire before Hamas has been eliminated or releases its hostages, some of them American citizens. If the war stopped now, the terror group would retain control of Gaza. It would also siphon off much of the billions of dollars likely to be contributed to rebuilding, just as it now seizes much of the daily humanitarian aid.

“Similarly, Biden’s push for the creation of a Palestinian state rewards Hamas’ brutality and would result in perpetual war that could become a global conflict. It is also astonishing that Biden ignores how Hamas leaders in Qatar and Lebanon say publicly they will not accept any ‘two-state solution’ because it implies acceptance of a Jewish state… “

The Biden Administration’s conduct towards Israel is just shameful, but in line with biblical prophecy which tells us that America will turn against Israel.

Netanyahu Defies Biden

Breitbart wrote on February 18:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defied U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday by submitting a version of Biden’s peace plan to his government, including a Palestinian state imposed from outside, to a vote — and having it rejected unanimously. Netanyahu acted after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken continued to press for Israel to accept a Palestinian state…

“The Prime Minister’s Office released the following statement: ‘The Israeli Government has unanimously approved a declaratory decision regarding Israel’s opposition to international diktats.’

“‘The text of the final statement:

“‘1. Israel utterly rejects international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians. A settlement, if it is to be reached, will come about solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions.

“‘2. Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such recognition in the wake of the October 7th massacre would be a massive and unprecedented reward to terrorism and would prevent any future peace settlement.’

“The Biden administration has been obsessed with a Palestinian state since before the conflict, reportedly blocking Saudi-Israeli peace negotiations in September 2023 because the proposed deal did not explicitly call for the creation of a Palestinian state. Israelis overwhelmingly oppose a Palestinian state… because of their experience in suffering rocket attacks and terror attacks from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, which was essentially a Palestinian state in all but name…”

More and More Weapons

Reuters wrote on February 15:

“As German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attended the groundbreaking ceremony for a new munitions factory on Monday, he warned that Europe must move to mass producing weapons ‘because the painful reality is that we do not live in times of peace’…

“… there was also acknowledgement that whoever wins the U.S. election in November, the time had come for NATO members in Europe to step up to the plate to help pay for their own defence.”

“Why Is Biden Turning His Back on Europe?”

The New York Post wrote on February 17:

“The European Union is good at coming up with inoffensive-sounding terminology to talk about unpleasant things. For example, the phrase ‘strategic autonomy’ is a nice way of saying, ‘We don’t trust the Americans’ — and, with Donald Trump leading the polls and boasting about encouraging Vladimir Putin to invade European countries, it is impossible to blame them…

“And the message isn’t coming only from Trump: Accounting for total goods and services, the European Union is the United States’ largest trading partner, and it has not escaped the attention of public-sector bureaucrats in Brussels or private-sector executives from Stuttgart to Copenhagen that the Biden administration has continued the Trump administration’s anti-trade practices and has, in some cases, made them worse. 

The Biden administration has been every bit as contemptuous as the Trump administration when it comes to Europe, ambushing the French with the launch of the Australia-UK-US pact, cutting our allies out of the loop in the Afghanistan withdrawal, hectoring the Germans over their energy policies — all the while believing that our most important negotiating partner in Europe is François Mitterrand, who has been dead for almost 30 years. 

“Nor is the worry limited to the EU or NATO members. Israel has found its alliance with the United States undermined by the Democrats’ intraparty politics, including the political pressure to accommodate persistent antisemitism in the party’s urban-progressive wing; Ukraine has found its alliance with the United States undermined by a GOP that is increasingly open in its embrace of Vladimir Putin and his brand of authoritarian rule…”

A Corrupt Decision in Trump Case

Daily Mail wrote on February 16:

“Donald Trump and his family business have been fined a devastating $364 million for [allegedly] inflating property prices worth following a blockbuster fraud trial in New York. Judge Arthur Engoron also banned the former president from serving as the director of a company in the state for three years in the crushing ruling issued on Friday that puts the future of his business in the Big Apple in doubt. His sons Eric and Don Jr. were fined more than $4 million each and his former CFO Allen Weisselberg was fined $1million for the [alleged] scheme to massively inflate prices of his properties including Mar-a-Lago to get favorable loan terms from lenders…

[As we pointed out before in our Current Events, Engoron’s appraisal of the Mar-a-Lago property was totally false and ridiculous, which means that his findings and his judgment were wrong for that reason alone.]

“Trump now [owes] more than $454 million for judgements in New York after a jury ordered him to pay up for defaming his rape accuser E. Jean Carroll [Rape was never proven]. His net worth is believed to be around $2.6 billion… and most of his assets are tied up in his sprawling real estate and golf empire…

“The Trump Organization called the ruling a ‘gross miscarriage of justice’, accused New York Attorney General Letitia James of ‘overreach’ and said Deutsche Bank made ‘hundreds of millions’ doing business with them. ‘Every member of the New York business community, no matter the industry, should be gravely concerned with this gross overreach and brazen attempt by the Attorney General to exert limitless power where no private or public harm has been established. If allowed to stand, this ruling will only further expedite the continuing exodus of companies from New York.’

“On Truth Social Friday, Trump complained about the unfairness of the judgment in several posts. ‘The Justice System in New York State, and America as a whole, is under assault by partisan, deluded, biased Judges and Prosecutors. Racist, Corrupt A.G. Tish James has been obsessed with “Getting Trump” for years, and used Crooked New York State Judge Engoron to get an illegal, unAmerican judgment against me, my family, and my tremendous business,’ the former president wrote. ‘I helped New York City during its worst of times, and now, while it is overrun with Violent Biden Migrant Crime, the Radicals are doing all they can to kick me out.’ ‘This “decision” is a Complete and Total SHAM,’ the 2024 hopeful continued.

“’There were No Victims, No Damages, No Complaints. Only satisfied Banks and Insurance Companies (which made a ton of money), GREAT Financial Statements, that didn’t even include the most valuable Asset – The TRUMP Brand, IRONCLAD Disclaimers (Buyer Beware, and Do your Own Due Diligence), and amazing Properties all over the World.’ 

“’All the other side had was a ridiculous $18 million valuation of magnificent Mar-a-Lago, an unConstitutional Gag Order, a Consumer Fraud Statute never before used for this purpose, No Jury allowed, and a refusal to send this disgusting charade to the Commercial Division, where it would have been put to a deserving end…,’ Trump continued in a second post. 

“’This “case” is OVER ever since the Appellate Division ended it on Statute of Limitations, also letting my daughter Ivanka out of this Witch Hunt. The Democrat Club-controlled Judge Engoron has already been reversed four times on this case, a shameful record, and he will be reversed again,’ he added. ‘We cannot let injustice stand, and will fight Crooked Joe Biden’s weaponized persecution at every step…’

“… legal experts have expressed concern that victory for James could make it easier for courts to wipe out companies in the future. Adam Leitman Bailey, a New York real estate lawyer, said it would ‘set a horrible precedent’

“Under the New York anti-fraud statute, known as Executive Law 63(12), there have been only a handful of cases resulting in a ‘dissolution,’ and in all of those there were victims and losses. Trump’s was the only big business that was threatened with a shutdown without a showing of obvious victims and major losses.”

In fact, there were NO losses and NO victims. This case, as so many others against Trump, proves how CORRUPT our entire legal system is.

A Corrupt Weaponized Legal System

Newsmax reported on February 17:

“Former President Donald Trump wasted no time at his Waterford Township, Michigan, rally Saturday night to denounce what he called President Joe Biden’s weaponization of justice against his chief political rival, ripping a page out of Vladimir Putin’s dictator playbook.

“‘Joe Biden and the fascists that control him are a threat to democracy,” Trump said… ‘Now he’s not smart enough to know that, but he’s got people that control him.’… “When we win back the White House, we will have no higher priority than ending the weaponization of this horrible legal system that has developed around us…’

“Biden and his ‘fascist’ controllers and Democrat-controlled judges, attorneys general, and district attorneys are putting American democracy on life support….’

“Trump blasted ‘crooked Judge’ Arthur Engeron’s $364 million judgment Friday. ‘He’s a crooked judge, a radical left-wing judge,’ enacting a ‘lawless and unconstitutional atrocity that sets fire to our laws like no one has ever seen in this country before,’ Trump said. ‘That happens in banana republics’

“It proves that Biden has corrupted the American justice system, according to Trump, who also mocked Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis and her lover Nathan Wade…

“‘Businesses are going to flee New York State — they already are, taking with them tens of thousands of jobs — because they can’t subject themselves to this. And if this persecution of political opponents continues, no one will want to do business in the United States of America any longer. We will truly become a Third World country; we are going to be. We are already in many ways.’”

He also called on Congress to impeach Joe Biden to stop what he called the “weaponization” of the Department of Justice. Of course, that will never happen, as long as Biden is President and the Democrats and some “RINOS” control the Senate.

“A Ridiculous Judgment of a Ridiculous Judge”

 Newsmax wrote on February 16:

“Former acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker criticized New York Judge Arthur Engoron’s Friday ruling against former President Donald Trump, calling it a ‘ridiculous judgment by a ridiculous judge’…  ‘This is a complete miscarriage of justice, as you can imagine… I don’t believe this will ultimately stand after appellate review, but right now, obviously, that puts him in a very serious situation.’

“‘This judge decided this case … on the paper filings and didn’t even take any witnesses or evidence or challenge any of the evidence that was presented by Letitia James, the attorney general of New York… And so I think there’s a long legal path to go still for Mr. Trump and his businesses… This judge violated many rules and trial procedures…’ Whitaker added. ‘So I expect that, you know, the court of appeals might be sympathetic.’”

How can a judge like this be allowed to preside over a case like this? His prejudice has been so blatantly obvious. He should have been disqualified from the outset. Or, as a reasonable and ethical judge, he should have recused himself. He did not do it, so that he could render blatantly wrong decisions. The same is true for the drama-queen-prosecutor.

A Political Decision

The New York Post wrote on February 17:

“ A host of Trump properties in Manhattan, Westchester, and the Hudson Valley…  could end up on the chopping block, sources told The Post, as a 30-day deadline to pay the fine imposed by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron looms…

“The monstrous fine alone raises ‘serious concerns,’ said George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley — enough, he said, to potentially send the case to the US Supreme Court. ‘The glaring disconnect between $355 million in fines and $0 in actual damages raises obvious concerns over grossly excessive awards,’ Turley said. ‘In extreme cases, it can be a violation of due process under the federal constitution.’

“But before any other court can review Engoron’s decision, Trump will have to pay hundreds of millions out of a portfolio based mainly on residential properties, commercial buildings, and resort holdings in New York City and around the world. That could put any of Trump’s New York properties — including two of his 18 golf resorts, his $248 million tower at 40 Wall Street, a $283 million commercial building at 6 East 57th Street, the $30 million Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, and Trump’s longtime penthouse home in Fifth Avenue’s Trump Tower — under threat. ‘The amount he will have to put up will be in excess of $450 million, just to appeal,’ a person familiar with the case told The Post.

“In civil matters, it’s customary for judges to require up to 120% of a fine to be held in escrow while the case wends its way through the court system… Engoron’s ruling slapped a 9% interest charge on top of Trump’s fine, which will accrue daily until it’s paid. And Trump will have to collect the money fast: he has just 30 days to come up with the cash, or to find a surety company to guarantee it for him – using some of his properties as collateral. No bank that does business in New York is permitted to lend to the former president, under the terms of Engoron’s ruling.

“‘By imposing an astronomical award, Engoron made it difficult to even appeal his decision,’ Turley said, calling it ‘one of the most insidious aspects of the ruling. This award should shock the conscience of any objective jurist,’ he said…”

The attempt to destroy Trump through this blatantly political and appalling decision should be obvious to any objective observer. The only goal of the judge and prosecutor in the New York State case was to get rid of Trump as a challenger to Biden. It was reported that Trump owes another $87,500 in interest PER DAY on the massive legal penalties. This is outrageous and entirely illegal. In addition, Democrats want him to go to jail too for the rest of his life. As Trump Jr. said (see next article), just as in Russia.

Just Like in Russia

Newsmax wrote on February 16:

Donald Trump Jr. told Newsmax on Friday the $363.8 million penalty issued by a New York judge in a civil fraud case regarding his father, his brother Eric Trump, himself and The Trump Organization is ‘absolute insanity’ and ‘absolutely despicable.’.. ‘The reality is, what we complain about in Russia is happening right here in the United States of America,’ Trump Jr. [said]…

“The former president’s legal team… argued that most of the claims in James’ lawsuit should have been dismissed for falling outside the statute of limitations. ‘It’s still New York, right?’ Trump Jr. said. ‘So, you never know. You’ve got to remember that half of the [fine] that you’re talking about … was already ruled inadmissible because of statute of limitations in the [state] court of appeals. The court of appeals has already ruled that, and this judge simply decided to ignore that because, again, it’s not about the law… It’s about penalizing Trump, trying to hurt Joe Biden’s No. 1 political rival.”

New York City and New York State have become corrupt beyond repair. It has been compared with a “legal banana republic.” Sadly, this is true for so many cities and states in the USA.

Truckers Will Refuse New York Loads

Newsmax wrote on February 18:

“Truckers who support former President Donald Trump say they will refuse to drive loads to and from New York City following the $355 million verdict in Trump’s civil fraud trial. A trucker with the X name ‘Chicago Ray’ took to the social media platform Friday night and posted a video in which he expressed fellow truckers’ outrage at the verdict… ‘Truckers are (95%) Trump…’

“In the video, Chicago Ray said truckers were ‘tired with you leftists’ focused on getting Trump, and added the truckers’ bosses did not care where the loads are dropped… By Sunday morning, Ray’s post had been viewed more than 5.4 million times and received more than 54,000 likes. Since Chicago Ray sharing his video, others have commented in support of the alleged boycott…

“Late last month, a convoy of protestors… drove to the U.S. southern border, with organizers aiming to expose the Biden administration’s lax immigration policies… A coalition of 15 Republican governors, led by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, later joined the convoy at the border.”

Will New York State become a ghost town soon?

Highly Controversial UK Extradition of Julian Assange to US Looms

Peter Hitchens wrote in The Daily Mail on February 14:

“Even a self-respecting poodle would object to the way we are currently behaving towards the USA. We are on the brink of allowing the American government to reach into this country and seize a man who has broken no British law. Once they have hold of him, there is every chance that he will be buried alive in some federal dungeon, quite possibly until he dies… The man involved is the Australian journalist Julian Assange, whose Wikileaks organisation is hated by the USA because he embarrassed them

“Julian Assange published scandalous facts which proper journalists in a free society are entitled – and in fact obliged – to disclose for the benefit of that society…  the prosecution is openly political, not criminal. As the text of the US-UK extradition treaty states… ‘Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.’

“It is quite astonishing that the British courts and more than one home Secretary have been persuaded by lawyers to pretend that this is not such an offence… The law under which Mr Assange is being pursued is the notorious US Espionage Act…

“For me, it is a question of whether this is a proper sovereign country governed by its own laws, or a servile satellite, bearing the same relation to Washington DC as the Warsaw Pact states once bore to Moscow

“But as the day of decision approaches on the Assange case, the media silence is so total that you could hear a mouse sneeze. There are exceptions. In a fine article in Prospect Magazine, former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger wonders if too many in British public life have been seduced by the supposed glamour of our security and spy services… But where are the rest of you? Right-wing patriot, wishy-washy liberal or Left-wing radical, we all have an interest in saving Julian Asange.”

On February 15, The Daily Mail added:

“Julian Assange’s wife has warned that the WikiLeaks founder ‘will die’ if he is extradited to the US ahead of his High Court appeal next week… Assange is awaiting the results of his final appeal against being extradited to the US, where he faces espionage charges and up to 175 years in jail…  ‘His health is in decline, mentally and physically. His life is at risk every single day he stays in prison, and if he’s extradited, he will die. ‘But it’s not just about being extradited. Julian should never have been put in prison in the first place.’…

“She said the ‘bogus extradition request’ would have been thrown out by the UK authorities if it was made by any country other than the US… Ms Assange… said her husband was ‘isolated’ in prison and spends more than 22 hours a day in confinement… ‘Julian will be put in a hole if he is extradited, there is no doubt about that. He will be put in a hole so far and deep in the ground that I don’t think I’ll ever see him again.

“If his appeal is unsuccessful, Ms Assange said her husband would apply to the European Court of Human Rights for a Rule 39 order to stop extradition while it considers his case. Assange’s campaign against extradition is supported by human rights and journalistic organisations across the world.”

The parallels to the death of Putin’s opponent in prison, Alexei Navalny, are rather obvious. This whole world is corrupt. It is time that Christ comes back to put an end to man’s ungodly misrule.

Watch China

The Sun wrote on February 17:

“CHINA has crafted an unstoppable military under Xi Jinping’s ruthless dictatorship which poses the greatest threat to the world order, experts have warned… Like his friend Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, Xi locks up those who criticise his regime and pours billions into the development of new weapons to scare off enemies… China’s defence budget was an incredible £175billion in 2023. Xi’s army is the biggest in the world with more than two million active personnel.

“China’s ground forces, navy, air force and hefty reserves make up the enormous figure – which is miles ahead of any other superpower army. Even the US – second in place to China – has an army of around 1.3million active reserves.

China also boasts a terrifying nuclear arsenal…  It is believed that Xi could now have around 500 nuclear warheads, and more are on the way for future weapons of mass destruction… China [is] planning on doubling its terrifying nuclear arsenal in just six years – meaning it could have enough nukes to destroy the world 10 times over. China also had a wide array of dubious allies including Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia  – meaning the expansion of its military and nuke stores could be bolstered by relationships with other ruthless dictators.

“… while China might have fewer nukes than the West or Russia, it is ‘developing more powerful nuclear bombs and modernising their delivery systems… including the development of new and innovative weapons’

“Xi has ordered China’s military to be ready to annex Taiwan by 2027 – the 100th anniversary of Chairman Chaos’ creation of the communist Red Army…

“Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, China’s Xi Jinping, and Russian dictator Putin have already been compared to the ‘Axis of Evil’ from World War two. With their combined nuclear power, formidable armies and hatred of Western life, the alliance poses a very real risk to the West.”

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

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Why does the Bible say that some are called and chosen in this day and age? (Part 2)

In the first part of this series, we discussed that few people, identified as the firstfruits, were foreknown and predestined by God, long before they were born, to be called for salvation in this age. We showed from the Bible that those who are called today to salvation were elected or chosen to be called before the foundation of the world—before time began. We debunked the idea that some would be called first, and only later, after having proven themselves to be worthy, they would become chosen. We showed that the Bible teaches the exact opposite— that God from the beginning chose us for salvation to which He called us; in other words, those who are called to salvation today had been chosen long ago by God to be called.

The reason why some erroneously teach that we must be called first and that only later, once we have proven ourselves, we can belong to those who are also chosen, is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of basically two Scriptures in the book of Matthew which state that “many are called, but few are chosen.” In misapplying these passages to God’s call to salvation, they conclude that God calls many people today, but only few qualify and become God’s chosen people, worthy of inheriting salvation. In teaching this, they would also have to say, as we pointed out in the first installment, “that God, even though He foreknew and predestined some to be called in this day and age, engaged in a big gamble as to who would also advance to becoming chosen, and that most of those whom God predestined to be called would not make it, and would fall away, and that God knew this ahead of time; in fact, before time began. This is truly a preposterous concept. Why would God call those whom He had foreknown and predestined, knowing that they would not make it, but fall away?”

Part of this false teaching is that they do not believe in the biblical concept of predestination. Rather than understanding that God has very specifically elected certain designated individuals, foreknown to Him, long before they were born, long before the foundation of the earth, even before time began, they teach that God only had a general plan of calling at random an unidentified group of unspecified and undesignated people, and that out of that group, many would fail, but some would succeed. This is clearly NOT the biblical teaching, as we have proven from the Bible in the last installment.

We also say in our free booklet, “Are You Predestined to Be Saved?”, in chapter 1, on pages 15-17:

“So then, did God know from, or even before, the foundation of the world—before time began—that He would call certain ones to salvation? Based on the testimony of Scripture, the answer is, Yes!…  Predestination does not mean that we whom God has called to salvation at this time are guaranteed to attain eternal life. But it DOES mean that we were preordained—’predestined’—by God to be called to salvation in this life, so that we CAN attain eternal life at the time of the resurrection. We can also fail, however.

“Predestination, then, has to do with the time of our calling to salvation. It also has to do with the fact that our names—the names of those who are called in this life—are written in the Book of Life, and that they have been written in it since the foundation of the world—before time began—and that our names will remain in that Book, as long as we do not commit the unpardonable sin.

“Note the following quote from Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet, ‘Predestination… Does the Bible teach it?’, copyrighted 1957, pages 14 and 15: ‘… predestination has… only to do with the TIME of your calling—whether you are called NOW, in this age, or later! Notice it in the passage in Romans 8:28-30: ‘For whom He did foreknow.’ How GREAT is God! If you are now called, God ‘foreknew’ you—knew you thousands of years before you were born!…  Those now being called, in this age, were foreknown, and PRE-destined to be called now—to be the FIRST to put their hope in Christ… God… DID decide far in advance which ones He would call in this FIRST calling, to be a priest or a king in His Kingdom—to have part in the saving of OTHERS!…’

“If YOU are called today to salvation—if YOU have been preordained and predestined to be called in this life—God KNOWS that you can make it and He is confident that you WILL make it…”

We will now discuss in detail what Christ meant when He said twice in the book of Matthew that many are called, but few are chosen (compare Matthew 22:14; Matthew 20:16). To state right from the outset, neither passage describes our call to salvation.

We start with Christ’s saying in Matthew 22:14, by quoting the passage in context, beginning with verse 1:

“(1) And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:

(2) ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,

(3) and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.

(4) Again, he sent out other servants, saying, “Tell those who are invited, ‘See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.’”

(5) But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.

(6) And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.

(7) But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

(8) Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.

(9) Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.”

(10) So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.

(11) But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.

(12) So he said to him, “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?” And he was speechless.

(13) Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

(14) For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Notice, first of all, that in this parable, the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God is compared or likened to a king who arranged a marriage for his son. This is obviously referring to God the Father, the Highest in the Godhead and the Kingdom, who is arranging a marriage for His Son, Jesus Christ. It is Christ, the Bridegroom, who will marry His bride—the church—when He returns, as we clearly read in Revelation 19:7-8:

“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’…”

Next, note that the king sends out his servants to invite guests to the wedding. The servants have been rightly understood as God’s disciples who, through the ages, have labored in God’s Work to help proclaim the gospel and the need for repentance. But the guests were unwilling to attend the wedding ceremony. They are obviously different from the servants. Please also note that the “servants”, mentioned in this parable, do not describe God’s angels, as the servants being sent out to invite the guests to the wedding, are mentioned twice, at different times, and seem to refer to different groups of individuals. First, in verse 3, “servants” are mentioned, and in verse 4, “other servants” are mentioned. If the reference was to angels, why would God send out different kinds of angels the second time, as if the first group had been incapable of fulfilling their job? Rather, a time sequence is described, when God sends out His disciples, at different times, throughout the ages, to invite people to have a relationship with Him. Emphasis is placed, after the first group of servants had been sent out, on the events occurring during the last days.

The guests, however, refuse steadfastly to come.  They do NOT describe converted Christians or those having been invited and called to salvation. Rather, they are clearly identified, in verses 6 and 7, as murderers who killed the king’s servants (proving that the servants could not have been angels who cannot die), and the king sent out his armies, killed them and burned their cities—apparently referring especially to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

The Benson Commentary stated in regard to Matthew 22:7:

“This branch of the parable plainly predicted the destruction of the Jews by the Roman armies, called God’s armies, because they were appointed by him to execute vengeance upon that once favourite, but now rebellious people.”

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible states:

“This doubtless refers to the Jews and to Jerusalem. They were murderers, having slain the prophets; and God was about to send forth the armies of the Romans under his providential direction, and to burn up their city.”

The Jews at the time of Christ were never called to salvation. Neither were the houses of ancient Israel and Judah in the Old Testament, let alone the Gentile nations.  Only very few are CALLED to salvation in this age.

Christ’s statement in Matthew 22 mirrors and echoes what He said in the parable of the wicked vinedressers, in Matthew 21:34-41:

“‘(34) Now when vintage-time drew near, he [the owner of the vineyard] sent his servants to the vinedressers [to whom he had leased the vineyard], that they might receive its fruit.

(35) And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another.

(36) Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.

(37) Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.”

(38) But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.”

(39) So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.

(40) Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?’

(41) They said to Him, ‘He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.’”

When we read that people are called, this does not have to mean, called to salvation. Even though the Greek word for “called” in Matthew  22:14 is “kletos” (see discussion in the last installment), it and related words such as “klesis” and “kaleo”, can refer to other aspects of “calling.” We read, for example, that Paul was “called” (“kletos”) an apostle (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1), and there are examples where the word “kalero” (“called”) does not refer to a call to salvation at all (compare Matthew 2:7; 22;45; 23:9; Acts 4:18). Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words states that the word “kaleo,” while “particularly” used of the “Divine call to partake of the blessings of redemption,” can also be used “to call anyone, invite, summon.”

In the parable of Matthew 22:1-14, the word for “called” is used in this more general sense.

We read in this parable (in verses 8 and 9) that the king sent out his servants to find others to invite as guests to the wedding, until the hall was filled with guests (verse 10). Again, the distinction between guests and servants is important and is being maintained. The fact that one of the guests does not have on a wedding garment, does not mean that the guest suddenly had become a servant unworthy of salvation. In passing, the word “guest” (“anakeimai” in Greek) is used in Mark 5:40, describing the dead girl lying on the bed. The word normally describes a guest reclining, lying or sitting at a table.

We read the following explanation about the guest without proper apparel in the Benson Commentary:

“To explain this, it must be observed, it was usual in the eastern countries to present the guests at marriages, and other solemnities, with garments wherein they were to appear, and the number of them was esteemed an evidence of the wealth and magnificence of the giver. This king, therefore, having invited so many from the lanes, and hedges, and highways, who could never have provided themselves with proper raiment in which to make their appearance at this marriage-feast, according to the custom of the country, must be supposed to have ordered each, on his applying to the ruler of the feast, to be presented with a proper garment, that they might all be clothed in a manner becoming the magnificence of the solemnity. But this man either neglected to apply, or refused to accept and put on, the garment offered him, which was the circumstance that rendered his conduct inexcusable.”

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary comes to the same conclusion, stating:

“The language here is drawn from the following remarkable passage in [Zephaniah] 1:7, 8:—”Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God; for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, He hath bid His guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.” The custom in the East of presenting festival garments (see [Genesis] 45:22; [2 Kings] 5:22), even though [not] clearly proved, is certainly presupposed here.”

We explain in our before-mentioned booklet, on pages 53-54:

“The guests, mentioned in verses 3 to 8, seem to describe Old Testament Israel—the physical descendants of Abraham—as well as the religious leadership at the time of Christ’s First Coming. We need to understand that Old Testament Israel was never offered eternal salvation. Still, the Bible says that they were all called to the wedding (compare Luke 13:34); but not in the sense that they were ‘called’ to eternal salvation—just as ‘guests.’ They were called, on a physical level, to have a relationship with God, but they even rejected that kind of a relationship (compare Matthew 21:33–46, especially verses 43 and 45, clarifying that Christ was speaking of the Pharisees and chief priests). Luke 13:34 reveals that Christ wanted often to gather the children of Jerusalem together, but they were unwilling, rather choosing to kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to them.

“Please also note Matthew 8:11–12: ‘And I say to you that many will come from east to west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Christ is addressing here the Pharisees and chief priests, calling them the ‘sons of the kingdom.’ But they were never called to salvation. The fact that they will be cast into outer darkness does not mean that they have committed the unpardonable sin. It means, however, that they will not enter the kingdom of God at Christ’s First Coming (compare the parallel passage in Luke 13:28–30, showing that they, who thought that they would be ‘first’ in the kingdom, will actually be ‘last.’) They will still get their chance to qualify at a later time.

“In that sense, many, including the modern houses of Israel and Judah, are ‘called’ to a physical relationship with God, but few are chosen today to have a spiritual relationship with God that leads to eternal life.”

We do not deny the fact that this parable has also spiritual applications and can be seen as describing a “member” or better a “guest” attending Church services who refuses to repent, which would be shown by his blatant refusal to be dressed with a white garment of righteousness. In that case, his being cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, would indicate the final fate of this person who refused to repent and who showed this by his rebellious attitude, having committed the unpardonable sin.

But in focusing on the obvious meaning of the parable, it tells us that many are called for certain tasks and even for a physical relationship with God, but only few (the firstfruits) had been chosen before time began to be called today for eternal life. To put it differently, out of the many called for a physical relationship with God, only few were called and chosen (“eklektos” in the Greek) to have a spiritual relationship with Him.

To stick with the obvious meaning of the parable, the emphasis is not on members of the Church of God, but on guests—unconverted people who are not called for salvation, but who are called to have a physical relationship with God—specifically, but not exclusively, referring to the modern descendants of the houses of Israel and Judah, who, like the Pharisees of old, should have known better.

God expects the modern descendants of the houses of Israel and Judah to keep His commandments—at least by following the letter of the Law. There is no excuse for breaking the Law of the Ten Commandments. Even though most are not yet called to salvation, they ARE called to have a special physical relationship with God, as was also the case with Old Testament Israel. Their refusal to keep the Law and to even appear before God as “guests” to the wedding, with dignity and respect for Him, His Son and His servants, is inexcusable. And as God destroyed ancient Jerusalem by the ancient Romans as a consequence, so He will destroy modern Jerusalem and the modern cities of the USA, the UK, Canada and other English-speaking nations through the modern Romans—the last European revival of the ancient Roman Empire.

(To be continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“Will Our Government’s Corruption Ever End?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

We are showing you outrageous examples of governmental corruption, from an insightful article by Judge Andrew Napolitano to the ridiculous prosecution of Donald Trump by biased New York attorney general Letitia James and the ridiculous decision by biased Judge Arthur Engoron, accompanied by law professor Jonathan Turley’s legal analysis. We are pointing out, with the words of Judge Napolitano, that “the government enacted a statute that permitted to claim harm where none existed and then steal from a wealthy entity.” In fact, Engoron’s judgment is even far worse than that, but it might badly backfire on New York City. So, then, what IS the only solution for ending the governmental corruption in the USA and this entire rotten world?

A new Member Letter (February 2024) has been posted and mailed to our subscribers. Michael Link writes about our perspective regarding time. He emphasizes our need to remain vigilant as key biblical prophecies are now quickly moving forward.

“Wohnen Sie mit Gott oder mit Satan?” is this Sabbath’s new German sermon presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Do You Dwell With God or Satan?”

“Die Umkehr, die zum Leben führt, und der Glaube Jesu Christi,” last Sabbath’s German split sermon presented by Mike Richter, is now posted. Title in English: “Conversion that Leads to Life and the Faith of Jesus Christ.”

“Ein König werden,” last Sabbath’s German split sermon presented by Christoph Sperzel, is now posted. Title in English: “To Become A King”.

“Strength and Soundness of Identity,” last Sabbath’s sermonette presented by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Being honest about who we are is an essential requirement for our Christian growth. When we can see our strengths, weaknesses, and individual peculiarities with clarity it helps us understand what we must do to overcome our sins and use our talents to become profitable servants to God.

“Mission Statement,” last Sabbath’s sermon presented by Rene Messier, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Most companies have a mission statement, and so do members, the church, Satan and God.  This sermon examines and expands on them.

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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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

©2024 Church of the Eternal God