Volume XXX Issue II February 2011
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
The Fulfillment Of Scriptures In The Last Days!"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."Matthew 24:6-13
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."II Peter 3:3-8
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."Matthew 24:42-44
"Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."Acts 1:11
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will examine the signs of the last days that our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, told us to look for, and we will compare them to the current events happening here and now in the twenty-first century.
Since the time Jesus ascended into heaven as recorded in Acts, chapter 1, the followers of Christ have been watching and waiting patiently for the return of our Saviour. As we grow ever closer to that glorious event, fewer and fewer people seem interested, yet we see signs unfolding that indicate the coming of the Lord could be at the very door. There are many who scoff at the notion that Jesus will be returning soon, saying that people have been waiting thousands of years for the event to occur and it still hasn't happened. Of course, Peter understood this would happen when he astutely reminded us that in the eyes of God, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day. God dwells outside the realm of time and He can see the past, the present, and the future concurrently. I know, as faithful children of God, we long for the return of our Lord. However, we must remember that it is only by the grace of God that Jesus has not yet returned, for He is giving sinners in this world time to repent. Nevertheless, God has appointed a final day, and only He knows when that will be.
Over the last two thousand years, many men have risen up and claimed to know when our Lord Jesus Christ will return. These men often claimed a divine revelation or else they looked for secret codes and mathematical systems in the Bible to predict the end of days. One such man who has received a lot of attention in the media lately is Harold Camping, owner of a radio station known as Family Radio. Mr. Camping has predicted that Judgment Day will occur on May 21, 2011. This, of course, is a modification of his previous prediction that September 6, 1994, would be the day of the event. (1) The Bible makes it clear that no man knows when our Saviour will return and this world will end. In Mark 13:32 we read, "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." When men such as Harold Camping make false predictions about the end of the world, it only serves as fuel for the unbelievers to mock and scoff at Christians.
While you will never hear me make any predictions as to when the end of the world will happen, I do firmly believe that we are living in the last days. In Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus gives us many signs to look for, including wars and rumours of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. When we compare what Jesus told us to look for with recent headlines, it leaves no doubt in my mind that we are living in the end times.
I realize that the thought of the world ending is very scary to many people. However, the children of God have nothing to fear. God doesn't make any mistakes, his timing is always perfect, and He will sustain us through any hardships that we may endure. I know that many people, especially young people, may feel like they don't want the world to end because there are still things they want to do. Young people have an innate desire to grow up, be successful, get married, raise children, and so on. You may or may not get these opportunities; only God knows for sure. Nevertheless, if you never get the chance to fulfill your ambitions, you can be certain that heaven will be better than anything this world has to offer. You will not even remember your earthly intentions, and if you could, they would seem foolish in comparison to the glory of an eternity with God and His saints.
If you have not yet given your heart to God, I encourage you to do so now. Call upon the Lord, repent of your sins and fulfill the Gospel message; and He will strengthen you, encourage you, comfort you, and bless you.
Wars And Rumours Of Wars!
As a young child, I recall riding with my father to church and listening to the news on the radio as we traveled. The men on the radio were talking about something called the "Gulf War," and I remember my father being very concerned about what was happening. Since that time there have been many other conflicts, and many more that were rumored but never came about.
Of course, we know there was a second war in Iraq, which began in 2003 and was proclaimed by Barack Obama to be officially over on August 31, 2010. We also have the war in Afghanistan, which has raged on since October 2001, even before the second Iraqi War began, and it continues to remain unresolved. In fact, Admiral Mike Mullen has indicated that a troop drawdown in Afghanistan may not happen until the year 2014. (2) Mullen has recently taken on a more upbeat tone regarding the Afghani War, claiming that he believes the United States is winning the conflict. However, Mullen also warned that the war cannot be won as long as safe havens remain for al-Qaida and the Taliban in neighboring Pakistan. "It is absolutely critical that the safe havens in Pakistan get shut down. We cannot succeed in Afghanistan without that," Mullen said. (3) The war in Afghanistan will likely exceed ten years, and even as the U.S. military expresses hope that it may end soon, the potential for other wars are now rising up.
I am sure most people have heard about the growing tensions between North and South Korea in recent months. Officials in South Korea only expect the situation to get worse, and they have ramped up their military exercises in preparation of any potential attacks from the North. Brigadier General Ju Eun-sik, chief of the South Korean army's 1st armored brigade stated, "We will completely punish the enemy if it provokes us again like the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island." (4) North Korea seems quite proud of their recent attack on the South, and as one North Korean soldier boasted, "At the order of 'fire' we poured out merciless thunderbolt of fire at the enemy." (5) The North has issued many threats, including a message on New Year's Day, claiming, "If a war breaks out on this land, it will bring nothing but a nuclear holocaust." (6) The United States is growing increasingly concerned over North Korea, insomuch that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated, "With the North Koreans' continuing development of nuclear weapons and their development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, North Korea is becoming a direct threat to the United States." (7)
In addition to North Korea, China is now making headlines in the news as they take steps to bolster their military. One news report indicates that China may launch its very first aircraft carrier in 2011. (8) On January 11, 2011, the Associated Press reported that a new Chinese stealth fighter jet, known as the J-20, completed its first test flight. (9) In December 2010, China's defense minister, Liang Guanglie, made the following remarks, "In the coming five years, our military will push forward preparations for military conflict in every strategic direction. We may be living in peaceful times, but we can never forget war, never send the horses south, or put the bayonets and guns away." Mr. Liang further went on to say, "The modernization of the Chinese military cannot depend on others, and cannot be bought. In the next five years, our economy and society will develop faster, boosting comprehensive national power. We will take the opportunity and speed up modernization of the military." (10) With all of this "modernization" transpiring, U.S. Defense Secretary Gates has expressed concern over China as well. Of the recent Chinese military advancements, Gates stated, "I've been concerned about the development of the anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles ever since I took this job. They clearly have the potential to put some of our capabilities at risk and we have to pay attention to them. We have to respond appropriately with our own programs." (11)
There certainly is an abundance of "wars and rumours of wars." North Korea is a threat, Iran is a threat, China could become a threat in the coming years, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. At any given time, there are wars, conflicts, and skirmishes all over the world. Many of us, particularly in the United States, dwell in relative safety, away from the ongoing wars. Because of that, it can be easy to forget or not even be aware of the struggles that others face around the globe every day. One thing is certain, we have nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. The related fulfillment of Scripture in Matthew 24 has already come to pass.
Famines And Pestilences!
When Americans go to the supermarket and see aisles and aisles of food, it can make it hard to believe that there is a famine in the world today. Yet, while it may seem like there are many foods we can buy and consume, most of the items on the store shelves have very little nutritional value. Even foods that ordinarily should be very healthy, such as fruits and vegetables, are not, due to the widespread use of genetically modified crops. Additionally, vast amounts of our food supply are heavily processed with chemicals, leading many people to question the safety of our common everyday products.
To make matters worse, the cost of our subpar food supply is on the rise. Bloomberg News reported on January 5th, 2011, that world food prices had surged to a new record, surpassing the levels that sparked riots in 2008. (12) In December 2010, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the price of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs has increased by 5.8 percent since November 2009. Dairy products have increased 3.8 percent, fats and oils increased 3 percent, and sugar and sweets increased 1.2 percent within that period. (13)
There has also been an incredibly large decrease in the population of bumble bees in the United States with some populations decreasing by a level of 90 percent. Bumble bees play a crucial role in food production as they pollinate crops such as tomatoes, peppers and berries. (14) In the August 2010 issue of the Last Trumpet, I reported that cell phone usage could be partially responsible for the decrease in the population of honey bees. I suspect it may be part of the problem with the decrease in bumble bees as well. Whatever the cause may be, the decline of both bumble bee and honey bee populations around the world could have a detrimental impact on our food supply.
The global increase in food prices has already caused riots to break out in Algeria. The riots resulted in the death of three people and the injury of four hundred more. (15) The majority of the rioting Algerians were young people, who reportedly began torching government buildings while shouting, "Bring us sugar!" (16) An older Algerian woman named Amara Ourab was quoted as saying, "They are right, these young people. They have no job, no housing, no visa, and now not even bread or milk." (17)
Kenya is now undertaking emergency measures to fight famine as people and livestock have now begun to die due to a persistent drought blamed on La Nina weather. (18) Kenya, a nation in Africa which Michelle Obama once referred to as her husband's "home country," is no stranger to famine, having suffered from a similar condition in 2008.
As time continues on, we'll likely see more and more famines around the world. A report from 2007 indicated that 75 percent of all land in Central America is infertile, one fifth of the land in Africa has degraded soil, and 11 percent of Asia is no longer suitable for farming. (19)
Since the beginning of 2011, we have been seeing numerous news reports of massive animal die-offs all over the world. The media frenzy began after it was reported that between 3,000 and 5,000 blackbirds fell from the sky over Beebe, Arkansas, just before midnight on New Year's Eve. (20) Other incidences of animal die-offs soon were reported, including 100,000 drum fish spanning about twenty miles along the Arkansas River (21), 2,000,000 fish in Chesapeake Bay (22), 8,000 turtle doves Faenza, Italy (23), 500 redwing blackbirds and starlings in Louisiana (24), 300 blackbirds in Alabama (25), and many other occurrences too great in number to list in this newsletter.
As news reports of the animal die-offs began to circulate, the scientific community was quick to try and reassure us that there is nothing unusual happening. LeAnn White, a wildlife disease specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin, was quoted as saying, "This instant and global communication, it's just a human instinct to read mystery and portents of dangers and wondrous things in events that are unusual. Not to worry, these are not portents that the world is about to come to an end." (26)
The assertion by scientists that animal die-offs are nothing unusual and have actually been happening for years is hardly comforting. If what they say is true, it only means the situation is more serious than we realized. Are we, the people, so self-absorbed and distracted that we didn't notice thousands of animals dropping dead until now?
In reality, the animal die-offs we have been seeing in recent weeks are not quite the same as the die-offs that normally happen. The majority of the records at the U.S. Geological Survey indicate that a typical die-off event involves far fewer animals and is generally spread out over a longer period of time. A record for a single incident will often span several days, weeks, or even months. What we've been seeing lately involves a very sudden death affecting thousands, tens of thousands, or even millions of animals all at once.
Here let it be noted that two of the leading causes of wildlife death are pollution and disease. When we consider that fact, it becomes obvious that there is already widespread pestilence all over the land. One can only wonder what unseen effects this may have on the human population!
Earthquakes In Divers Places!
In Mathew 24:7 we are warned to watch for earthquakes in "divers places," which means several earthquakes in various locations. I've written about earthquakes before, and most readers of the Last Trumpet are probably already aware that earthquakes are now occurring every day. There have been many earthquakes reported over the last few months. In fact, according to a report by CNN, dated December 24, 2010, there have been over 500 measurable earthquakes since September 20, 2010, in the state of Arkansas. Some have grown weary of all the earthquakes, especially Steve Wilson, the assistant superintendant at Woolly Hallow State Park. Wilson was quoted as saying, "In the beginning it was fun, it was neat, it was a cool thing to experience. But now we're wanting it to go away. We've had all the fun we want." (27)
A small sampling of earthquakes since December 2010 include an unusual 4.2-magnitude earthquake in Indiana (28), a 5.4-magnitude earthquake in Puerto Rico (29), a 5.7-magnitude earthquake in Indonesia (30), a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Argentina (31), a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Chile (32), a 6.6-magnitude earthquake near the Pacific Island of Vanuatu (33), a 4.9-magnitude earthquake in New Zealand (34), two earthquakes in Japan, one with a 6.3 magnitude (35) and the other a 7.4 (36); and two earthquakes in Iran - one 5.3 (37), the second 6.5 magnitude. (38)
Aberrant Weather And Widespread Destruction!
Earthquakes are not the only natural disaster that people around the world have been forced to contend with. Many areas have reported strange weather resulting in massive damages and an unfortunate loss of life.
In California there were massive floodings, mudslides, and evacuations as the state was hit with a weeklong deluge of rain in December 2010. Five homes were completely destroyed while seventy others were damaged, resulting in about $17.2 million worth of destruction. (39)
Great Britain endured temperatures which were reportedly the lowest ever since their recordkeeping began. The temperature often dropped below zero degrees Celsius, and the accompanying snow and ice caused ensnarled traffic and many flight delays at London's Heathrow Airport. (40)
Brazil was hit by a major flood in January 2011, which killed at least 537 people, (41) and saw 57 cities enter a state of emergency as 100,000 people were forced to flee from their homes. (42) South Africa also suffered a January flood, which claimed the lives of at least 39 people. (43) Also in January, the Associated Press has reported that dozens of people in India, mostly homeless, have died from exposure to abnormally cold temperatures. (44)
Australia has also suffered much flood damage, and as of this writing, this continent continues to be at risk. Brisbane, which is the capital city of the state of Queensland, was hit hard by the catastrophe. 30,000 homes and businesses were flooded. As of mid-January, 26 deaths have been confirmed with 53 people still missing. (45) I know we have many loyal readers in Australia, and we were certainly keep you all in prayer as you deal with the aftermath in the coming months.
We are certainly living in tumultuous times. In the year 2010, there were natural disasters that claimed the lives of 295,000 people around the globe with economic losses of $130 billion. (46) Thankfully, we serve a merciful God who loves His people and will keep us safe even when there is disaster all round us. I find great encouragement in Nahum 1:7, which reads, "The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." God knows each of us personally, and He will never forsake us.
A Poisoned Water Supply!
My father warned about the dangers of fluoride in the water supply for years. Many others have also sounded the alarm, but for the most part, the dangers have been written off by the government, the news media, and the scientific community. However, new research now indicates that fluoride can weaken teeth and bones. Another study has found that exposure to fluoride can lower intelligence in children. Now a New York City Councilman from Queens, known as Peter Vallone, has begun to fight for the removal of fluoride from the New York City water supply. In an article from the New York Daily News, Vallone is quoted as saying, "This amounts to forced medication by the government. What's next? They decide we're depressed and add Prozac to our drinking water?" (47) In an astonishing turnabout, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced plans to lower the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water. The decision came about after it was discovered that two out of five adolescents suffer from splotchy teeth, a condition otherwise known as fluorosis. (48) Although a reduction in the fluoride levels of drinking water is a good start, it doesn't go far enough as the chemical should be completely removed. Fluoride is the active ingredient in most toothpastes now sold in the United States. Have you ever noticed the warnings on the packaging? One tube of toothpaste I happened to have nearby warns, "Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away." Personally, I'd rather not have poison in my drinking water!
The United States' Economy: "Recovering" At A Snail's Pace!
The "Great Recession" in the United States has officially been over since 2009. However, we are now in the year 2011, and considering the amount of time that has passed, very little economic improvement has been made. There were 157 bank closures in the United States during the year 2010, which was the highest closure rate since 1992. (49)
Although the official unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent, this was mainly due to the fact that so many discouraged job-seekers decided to stop searching for work and are no longer considered unemployed. Julie Coronado, a senior economist at BNP Paribas in New York, stated, "The Fed will not take much comfort in the decline in the unemployment rate when it is not driven by job growth." Of all the people in the United States who could potentially be working, only 64.3 percent of them actually have a job. (50)
Home foreclosures are continuing at a shocking and disheartening pace. Over one million homes were foreclosed on in 2010, and RealityTrac Inc is predicting that another 1.2 million homes will be repossessed in 2011. (51) To make matters worse, many banks have been improperly foreclosing on homeowners that aren't delinquent on their mortgage payments, or in some cases, don't even have a mortgage. One such example took place in Pennsylvania at the home of woman named Angela Iannelli. The woman, who was up to date on her mortgage payments, arrived home to find her house ransacked, her utilities cut off, and anti-freeze poured down her drain. (52) Similar incidents have been reported all over the country.
In the city of Detroit, Michigan, the circumstances are so dire that the mayor is now considering a plan that would cut off 20 percent of the city from municipal services such as garbage pickup, police patrols, road repair, and street lights. (53) The schools in Detroit are in trouble, too, and may soon be forced to file for bankruptcy. (54)
In the city of Camden, New Jersey, which is one of the most violent cities in the United States, half of the police department and nearly seventy firefighters may soon be laid off. (55)
Despite Barack Obama's recent tax package, which resulted in the renewal of former President Bush's tax cuts, other types of taxes around the country have been increased. One such example is the state of Illinois, which upon facing a $15 billion state deficit, passed legislation to increase personal state income tax by 66 percent and corporate income tax by 45 percent. (56) I would not be surprised to see other states pass similar tax hikes, since many other states are suffering from large budget deficits.
In closing, I know there is so much more that could be said about current events and the times we live in. There were many things I had planned to write about, but I'm unable to cover them in this newsletter because I just don't have the space to do so. However, the Lord has impressed upon me that we are indeed living in the last days, and much of the Scripture has already been fulfilled. Each sign Jesus warned us to watch for is clearly unfolding before our very eyes. These are times of great turmoil; yet, I am fully confident that our Saviour will sustain, protect, and carry us through as we face challenges that no other generation has ever faced. I encourage you all to stay strong in the faith and keep watching for the soon return of our Lord.
Thank you to all who support this ministry. We could not do what we do without your generosity, and it is truly humbling to have such an opportunity to work for God. If any of you have any prayer requests, small or great, our teams of intercessors will gladly lift you up in prayer. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.