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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

May 2008

The Pope on the Law of God

Pope Benedict XVI recently sent a message to the United States as he prepares to visit New York City and Washington, D.C. At one point in the message he promoted obedience to God's law -- well, sort of:

Indeed, the world has greater need of hope than ever: hope for peace, for justice, and for freedom, but this hope can never be fulfilled without obedience to the law of God, which Christ brought to fulfillment in the commandment to love one another. Do to others as you would have them do to you, and avoid doing what you would not want them to do. This "golden rule" is given in the Bible, but it is valid for all people, including non-believers. It is the law written on the human heart; on this we can all agree, so that when we come to address other matters we can do so in a positive and constructive manner for the entire human community. ("Benedict XVI's Message to the United States," www.zenit.org, Apr. 8, 2008)

One might suppose from the above that to be a good Christian, the main thing is to be nice to others and that since Christ has brought "fulfillment," one need no longer be concerned about the specifics of the Ten Commandments.

Inspired commentary

When the "golden rule" is apparently used to depreciate specific obedience to the Ten Commandments, one of them in particular, the subtlety of the argument is likely to confuse many.

The substitution of the false for the true is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal Himself. When the laws of men are exalted above the laws of God, when the powers of this earth try to force men to keep the first day of the week, know that the time has come for God to work. He will arise in His majesty, and will shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity (Review & Herald April 23, 1901).

And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities." Rev. 18:4, 5.

Bush: Catholic Church the Rock

In a background story printed on the day that the Pope comes to Washington, D.C. a conversation between U.S. President George Bush and a Catholic bishop visiting from Hong Kong was recounted.

As recounted by former speechwriter Bill McGurn, who was at the meeting, Bush told Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun that "the church is the rock -- it is the only thing that can withstand the wave of secularization, which says you can kill someone else to make your own life more convenient. He said the Catholic Church must never give in on this." ("Building Ties With Catholics A Bush Priority," www.washingtonpost.com, Apr. 15, 2008)

For the Pope's visit, the White House is preparing an elaborate welcome:

A sign of this respect will come this afternoon, when Bush and first lady Laura Bush greet Pope Benedict XVI after his plane lands at Andrews Air Force Base, the first time in his seven years in office that the president will leave the White House to receive a visiting foreign dignitary. Bush will host Benedict tomorrow for a private 45-minute meeting in the Oval Office after an elaborate official arrival ceremony featuring soprano Kathleen Battle singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." About 9,000 invited guests are expected on the South Lawn, more than were present for the arrival ceremony for Queen Elizabeth II last May. (ibid.)

Inspired commentary

While the meeting between the Pope and President Bush is expected to cover various current social and political issues, the great honor and status accorded the Pope's six-day visit to the United States is a step toward the fulfillment of inspired prophecy:

The Word of God plainly declares that His law is to be scorned, trampled upon, by the world; there will be an extraordinary prevalence of iniquity. The professed Protestant world will form a confederacy with the man of sin, and the church and the world will be in corrupt harmony. (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary vol. 7, p. 975)

Here the great crisis is coming upon the world. The Scriptures teach that popery is to regain its lost supremacy, and that the fires of persecution will be rekindled through the timeserving concessions of the so-called Protestant world (ibid.)

Bush sees God in Pope's Eyes

An interesting exchange was reported during an Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) interview with U.S. President Bush two days before the Pope's visit to Washington, D.C. EWTN is a Roman Catholic television network. Quoting President Bush:

"I think it's important for people to understand that a culture of life is in our national interests and that -- it's also important to understand that the politics of abortion isn't going to change until people's hearts change, and fully understand the meaning of life and what it means for a society to value life in all forms -- whether it be the life of the unborn, or the life of the elderly; whether it be the life of the less fortunate among us, or the life of the rich guy. I mean, it's a moral touchstone, I think, that will speak to a healthy society in the long run."

The president said that the moral strength of the Pope is key for politicians.

"And I'm going to remind His Holy Father how important his voice is in making it easier for politicians like me to be able to kind of stand and defend our positions that are, I think, very important positions to take," he said.

Finally, Arroyo asked him, "You said, famously, when you looked into Vladimir Putin's eyes you saw his soul. [...] When you look into Benedict XVI's eyes what do you see?"

And Bush answered immediately, "God." ("Bush Says He Sees God in Eyes of Pope," www.zenit.com, Apr. 13, 2008)

Inspired commentary

While the 42 months of Bible prophecy have come and gone, the final scenes have yet to be played out.

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Rev. 13:3-8

Roman Catholic Primacy

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Roman primacy in the Church is "necessary", today as in the past it is "at the service of truth and charity" and "serves communion" in the one Church of Christ. Benedict XVI made the remarks during the illustration of the figure of St Leo the Great, to whom he dedicated today's address for the general audience, to again assert the purpose of Petrine primacy and to recall its existence since the time of the undivided Church. ("Pope: Roman primacy is "necessary" in the Church, today as in the past," www.asianews.it, Mar. 5, 2008)

Inspired commentary

Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. (The Great Controversy, p. 571)

Labor Leader's Plans

Although the organized labor movement in the United States has been in membership decline, according to one commentator, some of the leaders see hope in the current political situation:

A global economy has meant higher-paying, more flexible jobs, and a U.S. workforce that sees little value in unions. Union membership has been in a free-fall for years, with private-sector membership now at just 7.4% of the labor force. Fights over how to stop this bleeding have fractured the movement. Labor leaders worry that if they don't reverse the trend soon, they'll be out of a job.

But the outlooks seems to be positive for labor leaders at this time:

As Gerald McEntee, the savvy head of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, succinctly put it, Big Labor is looking for a "trifecta" the Oval Office, the House and a filibuster-proof Senate. And after that, the biggest rewrite of labor law in modern America.

And what would they like to do?

...a rewrite of Nafta and an end to more trade deals. Both promise to throw government money at new union-only jobs, to boost unemployment insurance, to penalize companies that hire overseas, and to take a run at "universal" health care.

To this, unions will add passage of "card check," which would outlaw secret ballots in union organizing elections. Alongside will be legislation to make union officials the exclusive bargaining agents of most police, fire and rescue personnel. Then there's the biggie so big that most officials don't talk about it publicly. Tucked into the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act is a provision called 14(b), which allows for "right to work" states. Big Labor last took a run at deleting this section, and forcing more unionization, in the Johnson administration. With a filibuster-proof Senate, they'd have a far better shot. ("The Union Agenda," wsj.com (Wall Street Journal), Apr. 4, 2008)

Inspired Commentary

Although organized labor in the United States has been experiencing a decline recently, inspiration indicates it will finally play a role in last day events:

Men are seeking to bring those engaged in the different trades under bondage to certain unions. This is not God's planning, but the planning of a power that we should in no wise acknowledge. God's Word is fulfilling; the wicked are binding themselves up in bundles ready to be burned.

The trades unions and confederacies of the world are a snare. Keep out of them, and away from them, brethren. Have nothing to do with them. Because of these unions and confederacies, it will soon be very difficult for our [Christian] institutions to carry on their work in the cities. . . . Educate our people to get out of the cities into the country, where they can obtain a small piece of land, and make a home for themselves and their children. . . . (Mararanatha p.180)

Global Warming and Disease

Whether the apparent warming is a natural cycle or influenced by human activity, significant changes are being predicted:

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Millions of people could face poverty, disease and hunger as a result of rising temperatures and changing rainfall expected to hit poor countries the hardest, the World Health Organization warned Monday.

Malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition and floods cause an estimated 150,000 deaths annually, with Asia accounting for more than half, said regional WHO Director Shigeru Omi. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes represent the clearest sign that global warming has begun to impact human health, he said, adding they are now found in cooler climates such as South Korea and the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Warmer weather means that mosquitoes' breeding cycles are shortening, allowing them to multiply at a much faster rate, posing an even greater threat of disease, he told reporters in Manila. ...

Omi said poorer countries with meager resources and weak health systems will be hit hardest because malnutrition is already widespread, with the young, women and the elderly at particular risk. ("WHO: Climate Change Threatens Millions," news.wired.com (Associated Press) Apr. 7, 2008)

Inspired Commentary

While planet-wide climate trends are not generally influenced by the actions of a single individual who may not be in harmony with the large majority, inspiration points to a personal application in response to the threat of disease:

The violation of physical law, with its consequent suffering and premature death, has so long prevailed that these results are regarded as the appointed lot of humanity; but God did not create the race in such a feeble condition. This state of things is not the work of Providence, but of man. It has been brought about by wrong habits -- by violating the laws that God has made to govern man's existence. A continual transgression of nature's laws is a continual transgression of the law of God. Had men always been obedient to the law of the Ten Commandments, carrying out in their lives the principles of those precepts, the curse of disease now flooding the world would not exist.... (Counsels on Health, p. 19)

Page created:04/10/08. Updated: 05/06/08
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