Volume XXX Issue V May 2011
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
Increasing Knowledge And A Time Of Trouble!
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."Daniel 12:1-4
"Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."Matthew 10: 26-28
"Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."James 5:7-8
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will once again examine the current events in light of God's Holy Word and take a close look at the driving forces behind the turmoil people are facing in our world today. We now live in an age when even the most adamant naysayer can no longer deny that we live in very troubling times.
Over the centuries there has been a lot of talk about "making the world a better place." Yet, in many regards the circumstances of our lives are worse than they have ever been. It is certainly true that we have seen many technological and medical advances. However, the level of sin that abounds all around us has only grown and intensified, and the invention of many new technologies may actually be doing more harm than good. Instead of trying to make this world a better place, we should focus on getting to a better place and helping as many other people as we can get there too. For as Peter wrote in II Peter 3:13, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
It is my hope and prayer that the contents of this newsletter will strengthen your faith and inspire you to draw closer to God. If you have not yet given your heart to the Lord, I encourage you to do so now. As you call out to God in sincere and humble repentance, He will hear you, deliver you, and abide within your heart.
How Technology Transformed The World!
I have always been fascinated by technology. During the 1980s, I would watch my older siblings use our family's Apple Macintosh computer and be amazed at what could be done with the machine. In the early 1990s when my father purchased a Packard Bell computer running the MS-DOS operating system, I would watch intently as he used it to write the newsletter with the hope that he would someday let me use the machine too when I was old enough. In the late 1990s, my father purchased the first computer for family use, and a few years after that I was designing and building computer systems of my own. Over the years we have seen the introduction and proliferation of new devices such as laptop computers, smart phones, iPods, iPads, GPS navigation systems, and e-book readers. The world has grown increasingly connected; we now live in a world where our personal communication devices, entertainment devices, and workplace devices are all intertwined and interact with each other over the Internet. It's literally everywhere we go; and even if you choose to not own a computer, the banks, grocery stores, gas stations, and other locations where you conduct business are all interfacing with the Internet and in some cases, putting your information online.
While this new era of innovation is touted by many as a great benefit to society, there is an insidious side to the technology we have today. It has caused great detriment to personal privacy, and it can now be used to keep tabs on everything we do and everywhere we go. If you carry a mobile phone, you can be found. If you have a GPS navigation system in your car, your location can be pinpointed. If you use a discount card at the grocery store, your purchases can be tracked.
To make matters worse, the government agencies and the private corporations that collect your data often do not take adequate measures to protect the information. Every year there are new stories of "data breaches" at companies tasked with compiling and storing your personal information. One such recent breach occurred at a company known as Epsilon Interactive. According to a press release by Epsilon's parent company, Alliance Data Systems Corporation, a hacker was able to gain access to Epsilon's email system and steal the names and email addresses of 2% of their total client base, which is a percentage that amounts to millions of records. (1)
In the state of Texas, a far more serious data breach was recently brought to light. Staffers at the office of the State Comptroller discovered that the records of 3.5 million Texans, some of which included social security numbers, were accidentally placed on an unencrypted web server and left exposed for over a year to anyone with a basic knowledge of the Internet. (2)
Another incident took place on April 6, 2011, in the state of Oklahoma. A laptop computer containing the records of about 133,000 Oklahomans was stolen from the car of a state employee who had stopped for lunch at a restaurant. The records contain names, addresses, social security numbers, medical information and other data. (3)
While it is very troubling to see so much personal information at risk, what is even more worrisome, especially for the U.S. military, is the growing concern over potential cyber attacks by foreign enemies or terrorists. Peter Pace, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated at a recent conference, "We are way late in being ready to defend ourselves against a cyber attack and we are highly vulnerable as a nation. We have the most capability on the planet to attack (in cyberspace). But like every other nation, we are vulnerable." (4) The entire infrastructure of the United States, as well as the banking and economic systems, are all run on computer systems.
Here let it be noted that hackers in Red China have been using cyber attacks to infiltrate foreign governments for years. Attacks which took place last February against Australia targeted the email of the Australian prime minister and at least ten federal ministries. China also launched cyber attacks which infiltrated the computers of the finance, defense and treasury departments in Canada. (5) In the past, China has also launched cyber attacks against the United States, and they will likely continue to do so in the future. In fact, according to a report from the Pentagon, Chinese hackers have a detailed plan to disable America's aircraft battle carrier fleet using cyber attacks if war should ever break out between the United States and China. Larry M. Wortzel, the author of the US Army War College report was quoted as saying, "The thing that should give us pause is that in many Chinese military manuals they identify the US as the country they are most likely to go to war with. They are moving very rapidly to master this new form of warfare." (6) How crippling could cyber warfare against the United States be? Sami Saydjari, a cyber defense specialist at the Pentagon, testified on April 25, 2007, that a mass cyber attack could leave seventy percent of the United States without electricity for six months. (7)
In addition to the loss of privacy and the security threats we now face due to the implementation of modern technology, the Internet has also given millions of users quick and easy access to sin. Pornography is especially rampant with twelve percent of all websites on the Internet providing explicit adult content. Additionally, one quarter of all Internet searches and thirty-five percent of all downloads are related to pornography. (8) Unfortunately, the adult content so prevalent on the Internet has already destroyed marriages and ruined many lives. It is a problem even among those who identify themselves are Christians. According to a 2006 survey of 1000 respondents, the poll found that 50% of self-identified Christian men and 20% of self-identified Christian women admitted to viewing pornography. (9) Perhaps what is most distressing, though, is the impact this unseemly content is having on our impressionable youth. According to an August 2009 survey conducted by the Journal of Adolescent Health, 55.4 percent of teenage respondents admitted that they had visited sexually explicit websites. (10)
Even though I enjoy working with computers and some of the gadgets we now have access to these days, I have to admit that much of our technology has had a profoundly negative impact on our lives. While the Internet can be used for good or even innocuous purposes, it is far too often used for evil. Furthermore, it is the technological advances, or the "increases in knowledge," that have given the governments of this world the ability to track, tag, and follow those of us they consider ordinary people. New technologies have also been killing off entire sectors of industry, including wired phone services, photo processing, and newspaper publishing. In fact, a recent study by a research firm known as IBISWorld found that within its database of seven hundred industries, two hundred of them are in decline. (11)
The United States Economy - Still On The Ropes!
When the American people suffer through an economic downturn, there is always an expectation that things will eventually get better. However, the United States has now been "recovering" from the Great Recession for nearly two years. If there is a slight improvement in unemployment data, economic growth data, or any other relevant data, the mainstream media plays it up big and purports that our country has finally turned the corner and the recovery is taking hold. Yet, the news stories I am seeing now as I write this newsletter in mid April indicate that the economy is once again slowing down. Robert Dye, a senior economist at PNC Financial Services, stated, "It does look like (first quarter) growth will be in the neighborhood of 2 percent. There has been a steady dialing down of expectations. We are facing increased headwinds from higher oil prices and slower demand from Japan and supply bottlenecks." (12)
Of course, unemployment is one of the most important factors, if not the most important, when we consider the health of the economy. In the April 2011 issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, I explained how many of the new jobs being created at this time do not measure up to the old jobs that were lost. In confirmation of what I had previously written, I now have a rather bleak report in front of me with the headline "Future Jobs Won't Support Decent Living Standard." According to this report, the U.S. Labor Department is projecting that fewer than thirteen percent of jobs to be created by the year 2018 will provide enough income for a single parent family with two children. Only forty-three percent of those jobs will provide enough income for a two income family. (13)
As we watch the cost of food and fuel continue to rise, many economists and experts are now sounding off about the direction in which we are heading, and things do not look pretty. Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, stated, "If people think that gas prices are high now and that food prices are high now, just wait for another couple of years. Prices are going to be up in the stratosphere." (14) Bill Simon, the CEO of Walmart, has also warned that inflation is going to be a serious problem, stating, "We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate." (15)
Although President Obama and the politicians in Washington have been putting an emphasis on the national debt and how to reduce it, very little has actually been done to correct the situation so far. Yes, they gave us a grandiose show of theatrics as Republicans threatened to shut down the government if there were not cuts to the budget, but in the end their efforts only yielded what they claimed was a 38.5 billion dollar cut in spending. However, an article published by the Washington Post cited an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office of the true reduction, and it only amounted to 352 million dollars. (16) It is important to note that the United States budget deficit for the month of March 2011 alone was 188 billion dollars. (17) Therefore a reduction in spending, whether it be 352 million dollars or 38.5 billion dollars, does very little to actually help resolve the American debt crisis.
The problem is very serious, insomuch that it prompted Richard Fisher, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas, to warn, "If we continue down on the path on which the fiscal authorities put us, we will become insolvent, the question is when." He later went on to say, "I think we are at the beginning of the process and it's going to be very painful." (18)
On April 13, 2011, Barack Obama gave a speech regarding the debt crisis and what he plans to do about it. After being sure to pass off all blame for the current economic predicament to the previous administration, he went on to describe the situation here in the United States as follows, "Even after our economy recovers, our government will still be on track to spend more money than it takes in throughout this decade and beyond. That means we'll have to keep borrowing more from countries like China. That means more of your tax dollars each year will go towards paying off the interest on all the loans that we keep taking out. By the end of this decade, the interest that we owe on our debt could rise to nearly $1 trillion. Think about that. That's the interest -- just the interest payments." (19) The solution Obama later presented in his speech was to raise taxes on the wealthy. However, anyone with a reasonable amount of common sense should be able to discern that simply raising the taxes of those who are well off will not be a solution sufficient enough to correct this crisis. I find it unlikely that only the wealthy would see tax increases. Obama also hinted that there would have to be reductions to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Considering the fact that we will also soon be forced to bear the burden of Obama's new health care program, we could be looking at some very hard times ahead.
As the U.S. dollar continues to weaken due to inflation and the ever-increasing level of debt in the United States, the prices of precious metals, such as gold and silver, have been steadily climbing. Gavin Wendt, an analyst with a company known as Minelife Pty, stated, "Commodities, including gold, will continue to be the focus of investors. There's no compelling reason to own the U.S. dollar and I see little significant recovery ahead for the currency." (20) As of this writing, the price of gold is now $1486.37 per ounce. (21) It is interesting to note that the price of gold in April 2001, which was only ten short years ago, was approximately $260 per ounce. (22)
In these times of uncertainty, it is very easy to become discouraged and worried about the future. I am sure many people are wondering how they will be able to afford the cost of gasoline this summer or how they will put food on the table. Thankfully, we serve a mighty God who dearly loves his people. He can make a way where there is no way. Our Lord Jesus demonstrated his ability to provide in the 17th chapter of the gospel of Matthew. When tribute collectors came to Peter seeking payment, Jesus sent him out to go fishing. Upon catching a fish, there was a piece of money in the fish's mouth sufficient enough to cover the tribute for both Jesus and Peter. I firmly believe that the Lord is able and willing to provide for our needs if we seek his kingdom first.
The True Motivation Behind The "Green" Movement!
"Green" seems to be everywhere we turn these days. Automakers are trying to sell us "green" cars, stores are trying to sell us "green" appliances, and politicians in Washington are pushing for "green" energy. These days it has become popular to label anything considered environmentally friendly to be "green." While I am no fan of pollution and I don't mind recycling my used cans, I also know a gimmick when I see one. The truth is that if you can brainwash the public into thinking they are helping to save the planet by purchasing your "green" products, you can earn billions of dollars in profits. Corporations can also earn tax credits and other special considerations from the government by adopting environmentally friendly policies. That is one of the reasons why huge companies such as General Electric can get away without paying income tax. Instead, General Electric receives a rebate from the government worth 3.2 billion dollars. (23)
The green movement goes beyond being a simple gimmick, however. There is a strong religious underpinning to the whole concept, and it is based on beliefs that have been around for thousands of years. Ancient pagan cultures from years gone by were known for worshipping the earth, and it is a practice that is still widespread among witches and other pagan groups to this day. Those involved in pagan religions put a great deal of emphasis on saving "mother earth" because to them the earth is their "mother goddess."
Unfortunately, the green movement has caught up many people in earth worship who do not even realize that they are involved in pagan practices. Devotion to the earth is not Biblical, and the driving force behind it has caused many people to go spiritually insane. For example, the European Commission recently proposed that automobiles be removed from all European cities by the year 2050. Siim Kallas of the EU Transport Commission indicated that there will be directives and new taxes on fuel that would force people to use alternative forms of transportation. "That means no more conventionally fueled cars in our city centres. Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behavior," stated Kallas. This ridiculous proposal stirred Hugh Bladon, a spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, to say, "I suggest that he goes and finds himself a space in the local mental asylum. If he wants to bring everywhere to a grinding halt and to plunge us into a new dark age, he is on the right track." (24)
It has also come to light that the South American nation of Bolivia is in the process of drafting an United Nations' treaty that would recognize "mother earth" as a living entity with rights equal to those of humans. Pablo Salon, Bolivia's ambassador to the United Nations, stated, "If you want to have balance, and you think that the only (entities) who have rights are humans or companies, then how can you reach balance? But if you recognize that nature too has rights, and (if you provide) legal forms to protect and preserve those rights, then you can achieve balance." (25) The treaty also calls for the establishment of a "Ministry of Mother Earth," which would be put in place to respond to nature's complaints. (26)
Folks, we as Christians should not be concerned with trying to "save the planet." We certainly shouldn't be giving reverence to "mother earth." As Christians, our devotion is to our Almighty God, not this planet. The fate of this world has already been foretold, for as it says in II Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." Any and all efforts to save the planet will be futile in the end.
Is The United States Of America Really A Free Country?
Throughout the very brief history of the United States, there has always been a great emphasis on freedom and liberty. The American National Anthem calls it "the land of the free and the home of the brave." But is the United States of America still a free country? The following are some recent events in America that might make you think otherwise.
In the city of Hazelwood, Missouri, two sisters were banned from selling Girl Scout cookies from a stand on their front lawn. Apparently their cookie stand ran afoul with a local ordinance which prohibits the sale of commodities from a residence. (27)
In Houston, Texas, a couple which had been providing meals nightly to between 60 and 120 homeless people were shut down by officials because they did not have a permit and in all likelihood would not be approved for one if they applied. (28)
Little Village Academy in Chicago, Illinois, has enacted a new rule which prohibits children from bringing packed lunches to the school. Instead, the children are forced to eat the cafeteria food. Principal Elsa Carmona stated, "Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school. It's about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception." (29) Apparently, Ms. Carmona doesn't feel that parents can be trusted to make sound decisions about the food their children should be eating.
In Detroit, Michigan, when a mother who had been homeschooling her daughter decided to send the child to public school, the young girl was required to receive numerous immunizations. Upon receiving the shots, the child began acting out of character with strange facial grimaces and an unusual level of irritability. The mother was then told to give her child an anti-psychotic drug known as Risperdal. However, the medication only made the girl's condition worst, so her mother ceased administering the drug to her child. Upon learning that administration of the drug had stopped, Child Protective Services decided that the mother was medically neglecting her daughter and came to her home accompanied by police officers to take the girl away. According to reports, the mother fired a gun at the police officers, and in response a SWAT team with automatic rifles descended upon the woman's home. In the end, there was a ten hour standoff; the mother is now in jail, and the child is in custody of Child Protective Services. (30)
It is a strange time in America. Those running the system are slowly tightening their grip and closing in on the people. If we have authorities telling us that our children cannot sell cookies from their front lawn or that we cannot feed the homeless without a permit, how much longer will it be before more liberties are taken away? If parents are forced against their will to drug their children, what else will the authorities try to force upon Americans? We need God's help now more than ever.
Food Research And A Dirty Secret!
In this modern era of the twenty-first century, there are many different sins plaguing the United States. However, of all the sins people and entities are committing, I believe abortion is the most grievous to the Lord. Abortion is not only murder, but it is murder of human beings in their most fragile and innocent state.
Sadly, not only are innocent babies being butchered by the millions, but their cells are also being used for research after the fact. A company known as Senomyx has been using cell lines from aborted babies to test flavor enhancers for some of America's largest food manufacturers. "Using isolated human taste receptors, we created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor," states the Senomyx website. The cells that the company are using are called HEK 293, and they come from the embryonic kidney cells of aborted babies. Pepsico, Nestle, and Kraft Foods are among the companies utilizing Senomyx's services. (31)
Earth - A Planet Continually Trembling!
Despite the fact that the 9.0-magnitude earthquake which struck Japan occurred a little over a month ago as of this writing, the small Asian nation is still in chaos as workers struggle to regain control over the situation. Numerous aftershock earthquakes have been reported, some of which were quite significant. Japan is still shaking, and those aftershocks are only making it more difficult to contain the disaster which occurred at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant after a tsunami swept through on March 11, 2011, and knocked out power to the plant's cooling systems.
The nuclear disaster has resulted in vast amounts of radiation escaping into the atmosphere and large quantities of radioactive water seeping into the ocean. In fact, the level of radioactive iodine-131 in the seawater has climbed to 6,500 times the legal limit according to an Associated Press report dated April 16, 2011. (32) The same reported indicated that the levels of cesium-134 and cesium-137 in the water has increased fourfold. (33) The contaminated water has raised concerns about the safety of seafood caught in the regions close to the disaster area. "Even if the government says the fish is safe, people won't want to buy seafood from Fukushima. We probably can't fish there for several years," said Ichiro Yamagata, a local fisherman. (34) Unfortunately, the contamination does not only affect seafood, and the contamination is not limited to only Japan. On April 5, 2011, it was reported that radioactive iodine-131 was detected in rainwater and milk in the European nation of France. (35) Just how far this disaster will reach remains to be seen, and the long-term health effects remain to be known.
Will there be more disastrous earthquakes happening? Some experts seem to think so. Jerry Thompson, a writer, director, and journalist who has covered earthquakes and tsunamis for twenty-five years, has warned that the west coast of Canada will suffer from a mega earthquake at some point in the future. (36) It is interesting to note that before the devastating 2004 earthquake and tsunami that took place in Indonesia there had not been a earthquake of that magnitude since 1967. With extremely powerful earthquakes occurring in Indonesia, Chile, and Japan within just a few years time, scientist Richard Aster of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology has stated that we may be "in the middle of a new age of larger earthquakes." (37) Interestingly enough, there have been a swarm of earthquakes in Hawthorne, Nevada, where hundreds of earthquakes have occurred over just a matter of days. (38) We are truly living in a period of time when the whole earth is shaking, and I believe that it is one the many signs that our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, will be coming again very, very soon.
In closing, I wish to thank each and every one of you who so generously support this ministry. It is your contributions that allow us to do what we do here at Last Trumpet Ministries, and I am very grateful. I appreciate the kind letters, the newspaper clippings, and the articles that are sent. I know that many of you miss my father and often wonder what he would say about all the things we see happening. I often wonder the same thing, but I believe that if he were still with us, he would tell us to keep our hearts ready for the soon coming of our Lord. The signs are all around us, and as Jesus told us in Luke 21-28, "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
If you have any prayer requests, please feel free to send them to us. Our intercessors will give each prayer request individual attention and carry your petition before the throne of the Almighty. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.