Volume XXX Issue I January 2011
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
The Call To Watch And Pray!
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."Ephesians 6:13-18
"Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."Revelation 16:15
"But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch."Mark 13:32-37
"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."Luke 21:34-36
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will once again examine the current events of these last days as we obey our Saviour's command to "watch and pray." I write this newsletter with the full knowledge that many will reject it because the subject matter is so often uncomfortable to deal with. Yet, we are admonished many times in the Bible to "watch," and we obey that command by focusing our attention on what is happening in the world, watching for signs, looking for fulfillment of prophecy, and comparing what we see and learn to God's Holy Scriptures. The purpose of this newsletter has always been to encourage Christians and unbelievers to open their spiritual eyes to the truth so they can see what is happening all around them.
Unfortunately, we live in a time period where most people would rather escape reality than face it. I've talked to numerous people who say they no longer watch the news or read the newspaper because they consider it too depressing. It is those type of people who will hate this newsletter. However, if you are a Christian, I ask you to prayerfully consider the content. Wouldn't you prefer to know what is happening rather than be ignorant of current world events and be caught off guard by the adversary?
In addition to watching, the Bible often includes the admonishment to pray. If you watch only, the cares of this life, the trouble in this world, the spiritual darkness, the lies, the corruption, the deceit, and the wickedness in high places can tear at your soul and bring you down to the depths of despair. We need prayer to renew our spirits and to bring us comfort, peace, and inexplicable joy. Yes, we can be happy in the Lord even though we see the world crumbling around us.
We serve a mighty God who loves us and will protect us and provide for our needs if we only learn to trust Him. If you have not yet repented of your sins and given your heart to God, I encourage you to do so now. He will bless you mightily, and as you grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, your life will never be the same.
The Theft Of American Dignity!
When I think back to the summer of 1997, I recall the first time I flew in an airplane. It was a simpler time when all you had to do to get through security was empty your pockets and walk through a metal detector. Since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the Department of Homeland Security and its division, known as the Transportation Security Administration or TSA, has been working non-stop to make air travel as miserable as they possibly can for the American people. Now, if you want to get through security, you have to take off your shoes, remove your belt, take your laptop out of your bag, make sure all your soaps, gels, and liquids are in tiny bottles placed in a one quart zip-top bag, and submit yourself to a rigorous and intrusive pat-down or scan. Every American is now considered a potential terrorist by the TSA, and because of that, everything about them is carefully scrutinized, including their bodies.
The TSA is now using full-body image detectors at many airports in the United States. The full-body scanners see through clothing and provide TSA screeners with what amounts to a black and white photo of a passenger's naked body, including the passenger's private areas. Many people view this as an invasion of privacy, and there's also a great deal of concern over the low-level radiation emitted by the scanners. (1)
If a passenger should refuse a full-body scan, the only other option he or she has is to be subjected to an invasive pat-down by a TSA screener. The TSA refers to this procedure as an "enhanced pat-down," and it includes touching people in areas that would ordinarily be grounds for a sexual assault charge. To make matters worse, it has been reported that TSA screeners do not change their gloves between screenings and therefore put passengers at risk of bacterial infections. Patrick Schlievert, a microbiology and immunology professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, stated, "When you touch people, you start picking up their organisms. That might be ok if you wear gloves, but what about everyone else you're touching down the road?" (2)
TSA chief John Pistole has made it very clear that every passenger is to be subjected to either the full-body scanners or the intrusive pat-downs. "I see flying as a privilege that is a public safety issue. Passengers have a number of options as they go through screening. But the bottom line is, if somebody decides they don't want to have screening, they don't have a right to get on that plane," said Pistole in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor. (3) When asked about the possibility of exempting grandmothers, he stated, "I hope no grandmother would ever be a suicide bomber. There have been two 64-year-olds who have committed suicide attacks in the world. What I'm concerned about is terrorists going out and getting someone who is 65, so where do you draw the line?" (4)
The new pat-down procedure has been humiliating for many travelers. One such example is Thomas D. Sawyer of Lansing, Michigan. Sawyer is a bladder cancer survivor who now wears a urostomy bag, which collects his urine from an opening in his abdomen. While being subjected to a pat-down by TSA officers, Mr. Sawyer tried to warn them of his medical condition. Describing the pat-down incident, Mr. Sawyer stated, "One agent watched as the other used his flat hand to go slowly down my chest. I tried to warn him that he would hit the bag and break the seal on my bag, but he ignored me. Sure enough, the seal was broken and urine started dribbling down my shirt and my leg and into my pants." The TSA officers never apologized, and Mr. Sawyer was forced to walk through the airport soaked in his own urine. Sawyer later stated, "I am totally appalled by the fact that agents that are performing these pat-downs have so little concern for people with medical conditions." (5)
So what could happen to a passenger if he should enter a screening line and then later refuse to undergo either the full-body scan or the pat-down? ABC News reports that as of August 20, 2009, the TSA has the authority to fine passengers up to $11,000 for refusing to be screened. (6) Although the TSA has yet to levy any fines, they have threatened to do so when dealing with uncooperative passengers. One such threat was issued by a TSA official to a passenger named John Tyner, who is now famous for having posted a video of his screening ordeal on YouTube. (7)
I suspect the new security screening procedures have less to do with safety and more to do with demoralizing and controlling the population. They want to herd us through like helpless cattle while we submit to their will and obey their every command regardless of how unreasonable it is. It has been the trend since the 9/11 attacks to slowly strip us of our rights. We are now starting to see the results of this gradual process as those of us in the United States now enjoy far fewer freedoms than we did on September 10, 2001. Yes, those were simpler days when neither the US Patriot Act, nor the Department of Homeland Security existed and your grandmother was not considered a potential terrorist.
End Times Economic Plight!
As the days, weeks, months, and now years continue to tick by, Barack Obama and his cronies continue to insist that our economy is recovering. In October 2010, the United States added 172,000 new jobs, and the headlines across the nation were suddenly jubilant and optimistic. The news stories left the impression that maybe the economy had finally turned the corner and the recovery was gaining momentum. Then November came along.
In a stunning turn of events, the United States added only 39,000 jobs in the month of November 2010. Based on positive reports from the previous month, economists had predicted an addition of 150,000 jobs. The official unemployment rate now sits at 9.8% with 15.1 million Americans considered unemployed. Paul Dales, U.S. economist for Capital Economics, had this to say, "November's U.S. employment report is a painful reality check for those hoping that a meaningful acceleration in economic activity was underway. The truth is that the economy is going nowhere at a time when companies are not willing to boost hiring." (8) According to a report by the Associated Press, the United States needs to add at least 120,000 jobs every month just to prevent unemployment from rising. (9) With so many millions of people out of work, it only takes common sense to realize that even within a growing economy, it would take several years for unemployment to recede to pre-recession levels. However, despite the so-called recovery, the unemployment rate has not been dropping. In fact, the official unemployment rate in the United States has been over nine percent for a record nineteen months. (10)
Even Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is expecting the unemployment rate to remain high for an extended period of time. "Between the peak and the end of last year, we lost eight-and-a-half million jobs. We've only gotten about a million of them back so far. And that doesn't even account for the new people coming into the labor force. At the rate we're going, it could be four, five years before we are back to a more normal unemployment rate," said Bernanke in an interview with the CBS News program, "60 Minutes." (11)
Unless Congress acts soon to prevent it, millions of people will lose their unemployment benefits in the coming months. Considering there are not enough jobs to go around and many people may soon have no income coming in, we will likely see an increase in instances of adult children moving back in with their parents, multiple families sharing homes, a continued increase in reliance on food stamps, and even homelessness. Carol Hardison, executive director of Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte, North Carolina, stated, "We're going to have to have a new conversation with the people who are still suffering, about the potentially drastic changes they're going to have to make to stay out of the homeless shelter." (12)
Unemployment isn't the only issue plaguing the United States' economy. The housing market remains weak, the cost of food is rising, and many Americans are up to their ears in debt. In fact, nearly forty percent of retired Americans surveyed by CNBC said they've accumulated credit card debt during their retirement years and admitted they aren't planning to pay off the debt before passing on. Neil Ellington, executive vice president at CESI Debt Solutions, was quoted as saying, "At the end of the day, some people of a certain age say, 'it's too late in the game for me to do anything about it. I can't win. So I'm just going to stop playing the game.'" (13)
These are amazing and shocking times that we live in. For years our American money has been colloquially known as the "almighty dollar." Yet, Bloomberg News reported in November 2010 that the U.S. dollar may soon become the world's weakest currency. Tohru Sasaki, head of Japanese rates and foreign exchange research at JPMorgan & Chase stated, "The U.S. has the world's largest current-account deficit but keeps interest rates at virtually zero. The dollar can't avoid the status as the weakest currency." (14) It certainly appears that based on the news reports that we have been seeing over the last few months, the United States of America is on the decline.
When we consider the state of our American economy, it is easy to feel stressed out, worried, or angry as we struggle to get by. In fact, a recent ABC News/Yahoo poll found that 85 percent of respondents were angry about the state of the economy. (15) But as my father used to say, "This world isn't fair. There is no level playing field." However, there are manifold blessings in store for those who love and obey God. For as Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew, chapter 5, "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." We serve a mighty God who can send manna from heaven, provide an endless supply of flour and oil, or feed a multitude with five barley loaves and two small fishes. God has promised to take care of us, and I believe that He will.
Witchcraft - Is It Real Or Make Believe?
We're living in a time when witchcraft and paganism permeate throughout world culture. Pagan beliefs and philosophies have found their way into books, television programs, movies, and in the day-to-day lives of people around the world. One such example can be found in the days of the week. Every single weekday in the English language is named after a false god or goddess. Sunday was named after the sun god. Monday was named after the moon goddess. Tuesday was named after the Germanic god Teiwaz (Tiw in Old English, or Tyr in Norse). Wednesday was named after the English god Woden (or Odin in Norse). Thursday was named after the Norse god Thor. Friday was named after the goddess Frigg. Finally, Saturday was named after the ancient Roman god Saturn.
Considering the origins of the names of our days, it is not surprising that pagan influence is found throughout pop culture as well. I recall reading a plot summary for the movie "Avatar" when it was first released. In the description of the film, it was mentioned that the inhabitants of the fictional planet Pandora worship a "mother goddess." James Cameron obviously has a level of familiarity of paganism since the concept of worshipping a mother goddess is pure witchcraft.
Of course, few icons of pop culture have done more to raise awareness of witchcraft than the Harry Potter franchise. Many people, including Christians, claim it's just fantasy, and that there's nothing wrong with reading the books or watching the movies. However, the Bible makes it very clear that God hates witchcraft. Anything that attempts to put forth witchcraft in a positive light is contrary to the Word of God. Presenting witchcraft as child-friendly fantasy doesn't make God hate it any less.
Yet many Christians can't seem to get enough Harry Potter, and a theologian by the name of Dr. Stephen Holmes has even gone as far as to claim that Harry Potter should be seen as "Christ-like." Dr. Holmes has made the claim, "The behavior that is recommended in the Potter books is profoundly Christian." Holmes further stated, "JK Rowling is not saying to people 'you ought to be a witch'. She is trying to imagine a world in which wizardry and witchcraft are a reality and that is an important distinction." (16) It is not necessary to imagine a world where witchcraft is a reality. It already is a reality and has been for thousands of years.
Examples of witchcraft and paganism can be easily found all over the world. In fact, there are more "occult healers" in Russia than medical doctors. (17) At the recent climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, the proceedings were opened with a woman named, Christiana Figueres, praying to the ancient pagan goddess known as Ixchel. (18) According to a recent news story, prisoners in the United Kingdom will now be given four days off per year to celebrate their pagan festivals. Prisons have also been told they must prepare special food for its pagan inmates if it is required for them to properly celebrate their customs. (19) Yes, witchcraft is real; it is dangerous too, and as Christians we should follow the Biblical admonishment to abstain from all appearance of evil.
Science Fiction, Minus The Fiction!
My father used to say that if Frankenstein were a real person and alive today they would award him the Nobel Prize. That seems like a very poignant observation when we consider some of the projects scientists are working on these days. Researchers at John Hopkins University are working on a pill that could permanently erase memories. Those involved in the study say it could be an effective treatment for people suffering from such afflictions as post traumatic stress disorder or other instances of painful memories. Kate Farinholt, executive director of the mental health support and information group, NAMI Maryland, was rather critical of the idea. "Erasing a memory and then everything bad built on that is an amazing idea and I can see all sorts of potential. But completely deleting a memory, assuming it's one memory, is a little scary. How do you remove a memory without removing a whole part of someone's life, and is it best to do that, considering that people grow and learn from their experiences?" (20) I'm sure there are many nefarious entities out there who would just love to have access to such a convenient and handy brainwashing tool.
A Technology Review article published by MIT has reported that researchers at Tufts University have now made a small implantable antenna from liquid silk and micropatterned gold. The antenna is designed to detect specific proteins and chemicals in the body and then send wireless alerts to doctors to warn them of signs of disease. (21)
As most of you probably already know, I've covered the advancement of cashless payment systems in previous newsletters. I've already written about various systems that are being developed to use smart phones for monetary transactions. Now another system is being designed through a joint venture with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile. (22) The system is known as Isis, and the wireless companies are hoping to roll out the system in about a year and a half. Michael Abbott, the chief executive officer of Isis, seems to have big plans for the program. "While mobile payments will be at the core of our offering, it is only the start. We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes." (23) It is interesting to note that the new system is called Isis, which is named after a pagan goddess from ancient Egyptian mythology. Isis was believed to be the mother of the Egyptian god Horus. Horus also has ties to our money system as his all-seeing eye is prominently featured on the back of the United States' one-dollar bill.
The Declining Health Of Americans!
In the United States we often hear about new breakthroughs in medical research. Yet, despite all the progress that has been made over the last century, Americans are facing an increasing number of health risks all the time. Obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are all widespread and seem to be growing worse with every passing year. In fact, recent studies indicate that over half of all Americans will either be prediabetic or diabetic by the year 2020. The projected medical cost for the affliction is expected to rise to $500 billion per year. (24)
CNBC reported in November 2010 that 45 million Americans, or 20 percent of the adult population, were suffering from a mental illness in 2009. (25) A recent government survey found that one out of every ten children supposedly suffers from ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (26) Of course, diagnosis of a mental illness or ADHD is usually left to the interpretation of doctors and those in the medical or psychiatric profession. Many patients may not actually be suffering from the disorders they're diagnosed with. The unfortunate end result is millions of Americans being put on drugs. Those drug prescriptions result in vast profits for the pharmaceutical companies while inhibiting the ability of a large portion of the American population to think clearly. In some cases, the side effects from drugs can be worse than the symptoms of the disorder. I recall seeing a recent commercial for an antidepressant which had an extensive list of side effects, including "suicidal thoughts" and "death."
As if Americans were not sick enough already, the state of California recently approved the use of a pesticide which had been previously linked to cancer. Officials in California have insisted that the chemical, which is known as methyl iodide, is safe to use despite the fact that it is toxic. (27) John Krist, CEO of the Ventura County Farm Bureau stated, "I appreciate people's concerns about the health risk, but the mere fact that the chemical is toxic is not an issue." Among those protesting the approval of methyl iodide was Assemblyman Bill Monning, who was quoted as saying, "I think there is sufficient scientific evidence to say that this chemical is unsafe at any speed." It is expected that California fruit producers will widely use the chemical on strawberry crops. Unfortunately, methyl iodide is already registered in 47 states and used on tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other crops. (28)
The Growing Korean Crisis!
On November 23, 2010, North Korea attacked South Korea with what has been called the most aggressive act of war in Korea since the 1950s. After the South refused to heed warnings from the North to halt military drills near disputed waters, North Korea shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, which is home to military installations and a small civilian population. The attack resulted with the death of four people: two civilians and two marines, and it left eighteen people wounded. (29)
South Korea is understandably upset and has issued several threats of war to the North. The South's newly appointed defense minister, Kim Kwan-jin, stated in a speech, "If North Korea carries out a military provocation on our territory and people again, we must retaliate immediately and strongly until they completely surrender." (30) In response, North Korea has threatened the South with nuclear war. (31) North Korea already has nuclear weapons and is believed to be enriching weapons-grade plutonium at up to four sites, according to a report by The Daily Telegraph. (32)
Ultimately, the direction this crisis takes could depend on the actions of China. China is North Korea's only major ally, and without the Chinese aid they receive, North Korea would have likely collapsed a long time ago. The United States has been hoping that China would rebuke North Korea over the recent attacks, but so far China has continued to express support for North Korea. This situation has been quite distressing to the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Mullen stated, "The Chinese have enormous influence over the North, influence that no other nation on earth enjoys. And yet, despite a shared interest in reducing tensions, they appear unwilling to use it.... Even tacit approval of Pyongyang's brazenness leaves all their neighbors asking, 'What will be next?'" (33)
A Fatal Mix Of Sin!
Although God has a remnant people, there is wholesale sin taking place all over the globe twenty-four hours a day. Here are a few shocking examples of things taking place around the world. A New Hampshire couple pulled their son out of high school after he was given an assignment to read a book entitled "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America." In the book, the author referred to Jesus Christ as "a wine guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist." (34)
Life News reported in November 2010 that the United States has aborted 53 million babies since the Roe Vs. Wade decision in 1973. (35) That number must seem quite delightful to Ted Turner who recently urged world leaders to adopt a global one-child per family policy in order to "save the earth's environment." (36) Here let it be noted that the hypocritical Mr. Turner is the father of five children.
Twenty-nine percent of children under eighteen in the United States now live with a parent or parents who are unwed or no longer married. A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 39% of respondents believe marriage is becoming obsolete. (37)
In November 2010, Muslims set fire to at least ten houses belonging to Christians in Egypt after rumors spread that a Christian man had an affair with a Muslim girl, according to a report by the Associated Press. (38) Once again, the true colors of Islam are showing, and it certainly is not a religion of peace.
In closing, I want to encourage you all to stay strong in the faith. The reality we face is a world that is growing ever harsher to the remnant Christian people. While many of the current events now happening are hard to bear, we can take comfort in the fact that all the signs we see point to the soon return of our Lord and Savior. Let us continue to watch and pray and look up, for our redemption draweth nigh. If you have any prayer requests, please do not hesitate to send them our way. Our teams of intercessors will give each prayer request individual attention. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.