Volume XXXI Issue I January 2012
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
An Oppressed Generation In Captivity!
"Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation."Isaiah 51:6-8
"God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace."Romans 11:2-5
"And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"Luke 18:7-8
"For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."Hebrews 10:37-39
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will closely examine the happenings of our day and thoughtfully consider the metamorphosis and progression from our past generations into the generation living on earth today. We are truly living in a time unlike any other point in history, and those who now comprise society are radically divergent from any societal composition of previous generations. We are now seeing the fruition of widespread social conditioning that has stripped our youth of the values that were once so cherished in America and have recently produced a generation of captives who are enslaved by a system designed to watch and control their every move.
Historians have adopted a traditional set of names for the modern generations of western history. For example, those who were born in the late 1800s and fought in the first world war are commonly known as the The Lost Generation. Generations following that time period were dubbed The Greatest Generation, The Silent Generation, The Baby Boom Generation, Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z.
Generation Z is typically regarded to consist of everyone born between 1994 and 2004. These young people are sometimes referred to as "Digital Natives" because they have always known and been immersed by technology. They often prefer to interact with friends and acquaintances online rather than face-to-face. They are known to hold little regard for privacy, and while they are adept at multitasking, the fast-paced acquisition of digital information and entertainment has left them with a highly diminished attention span. Psychologists refer to this condition as "acquired attention deficit disorder." (1)
The oldest members of Generation Z will soon be reaching the age of the majority. I cannot help but wonder if they will be the last generation to reach adulthood. Only God knows for certain, but considering that "Generation Z" was named after the final letter in the English alphabet, the possibility seems strikingly apropos.
In any case, those emerging in future generations, if the Lord will tarry and time remains, will likely be drastically different from any people who have ever inhabited the world in the past. However, God has promised that He will always have a remnant people from every generation. Those who heed the call of our Saviour will receive strength from God to withstand temptation and endure any trouble we may face in this world of turmoil and hostility. If you have not yet fully given your heart to God, I urge you to do so now.
A Very Dark "Black Friday"
Each year retailers around the United States attempt to entice shoppers to their stores on the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, by offering deals they are hoping consumers will consider too good to pass up. With an economy still suffering the effects of the "Great Recession," a multitude of shoppers have grown desperate for bargains, and many stores have grown desperate to sell their merchandise. Traditionally, most stores open early in the morning on Black Friday. However, in 2011 many stores opened at midnight or even on Thanksgiving Day itself and transformed what is supposed to be a day to give thanks into a frenzied storm of consumerism. Some folks were so determined to obtain cheap televisions, laptop computers, and other merchandise that they chose to forgo Thanksgiving altogether, instead choosing to spend the day standing in line in front of stores. (2)
Sadly, the clamor for cheap goods seems to bring out the worst in people. On Thanksgiving night in Porter Ranch, California, a woman attacked fellow shoppers with pepper spray in order to gain an advantage over the crowd and obtain the items she wanted. One witness described the scene as follows, "People started screaming, pulling and pushing each other, and then the whole area filled up with pepper spray. I guess what triggered it was people started pulling the plastic off the pallets and then shoving and bombarding the display of games. It started with people pushing and screaming because they were getting shoved into boxes." (3)
Numerous other acts of violence occurred on Thanksgiving and Black Friday around the country. In San Leandro, California, a man was shot in the parking lot of a Walmart store on Thanksgiving night in an attempted robbery gone bad. (4) In Kingston, North Carolina, off-duty police officers working as security guards used pepper spray to subdue an unruly crowd at Walmart. (5) At another Walmart location in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a woman was shot in the foot as she was loading her merchandise into her car. (6) In South Charleston, West Virginia, a 61 year-old man collapsed at a Target store while shopping on Black Friday. The crowd, unfazed by the elderly man lying on the floor, stepped over and around him and continued to shop. The man eventually passed away. The tragic event caused a co-worker and friend of the deceased man to wonder, "Where is the good Samaritan side of people? How could you not notice someone was in trouble? I just don't understand if people didn't help what their reason was, other than greed because of a sale." (7)
The violent spirit which has been shown to engulf the crowds on Black Friday is very troubling to say the least. If we should reach a point in history wherein the United States economy fully collapses and people can no longer obtain what they want, the behavior of shoppers today is indicative of the angry mobs we would see in the future on a much larger scale.
It is also interesting to note that shoplifting is on the rise, having increased 6 percent in the year 2011 alone. The estimated loss to retailers is expected to be approximately 119 billion dollars. According to a report by Ad Week, one out of every eleven customers at stores is stealing merchandise and 75 percent of those thieves are adults. Speaking of the growing shoplifting problem, Johnny Custer, director of field operations for Merchant Analytic Solutions stated, "Most shoplifters simply succumb to temptation. But add a sense of desperation because of the economy and holiday pressures, and you have the recipe for theft soup." Remarkably, the two most commonly stolen items are filet mignon steak and Jameson whiskey. (8) It certainly seems that many Americans have forgotten the words of Jesus who warned us in Luke 12:15, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
The Watchful Eye Of Big Brother!
In George Orwell's novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell wrote of a totalitarian state that watched the people's every move through the use of telescreens. The people were always told, "Big Brother is watching you." Amazingly, the surveillance technology now in use in the United States far exceeds anything Orwell ever could have imagined.
In a recent case in Nelson County, North Dakota, Sheriff Kelly Janke went to a farm to look for six missing cows. The owners of the farm were uncooperative towards the sheriff and chased him off their property with rifles. In response, the sheriff called in an unmanned Predator B drone. The drone, which is equipped with high-resolution cameras, heat sensors, and radar, flew ten thousand feet over the farm while the sheriff and his officers watched live video on a hand-held 4-inch screen. When they determined that the suspects had finally disarmed themselves, a SWAT team moved in and arrested the men. Speaking of the drone, Sheriff Janke stated, "We don't have to go in guns blazing. We can take our time and methodically plan out what our approach should be." According to retired Air Force General, Michael C. Kostelnik, domestic usage of drones in the United States is not uncommon. In an interview Kostelnik stated that Predator drones are used "in many areas around the country, not only for federal operators, but also for state and local law enforcement and emergency responders in times of crisis." Others have warned that the use of drones for surveillance will likely increase. "Any time you have a tool like that in the hands of law enforcement that makes it easier to do surveillance, they will do more of it," said Ryan Calo, director for privacy and robotics at the Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. He further went on to say, "This could be a time when people are uncomfortable, and they want to place limits on that technology. It could make us question the doctrine that you do not have privacy in public." (9)
Spy drones are not the only method of surveillance in use by the authorities in America. Surveillance cameras which are capable of reading license plates on cars and tracking drivers' movements are becoming increasingly common as well. The highest concentration of these cameras are in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas where 250 of them are constantly watching motorists. Police officers can enter any license plate number into their database, and if the vehicle in question has passed any of the cameras around the city, officers are instantly informed on where the cars have been and when they were there. Law enforcement officials have been gushing over the technology. "The new technology makes our job a lot easier and the bad guys' job a lot harder," said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier. However, not everyone is enthusiastic about the technology. "It's big brother, and the question is, is it big brother we want, or big brother that we don't want? This technology could be used for good and it could be used for bad. I think we need a conversation about whether and how this technology is used. Who gets the information and when? How long before the information is deleted? All those questions need scrutiny," said Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. (10)
A report has now surfaced claiming that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, has awarded a $524,972 contract to a Virginia-based company to record as much talk radio content as possible. "This doesn't give us any enhanced capability, prying into or any 'big brother' concerns because this is information that's being put out on the airwaves. It's very important to our investigators to know what's being reported," stated FBI spokesman Paul Bresson. (11) According to an article in the Daily Mail, the Department of Homeland Security has increased its monitoring of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in order to monitor trends that may foreshadow an uprising in the United States. (12) It has also been announced that the Library of Congress will be receiving the entire archive of every public Twitter post ever made. (13) For those who do not know, Twitter is a popular website at which users can post short comments up to 160 characters long. These posts, which often contain details of its users' daily lives, are called "tweets." Twitter was heavily used to organize uprisings in places such as Tunisia and Egypt in recent times.
Software which is designed to track faces has now been developed and deployed in places such as malls and bus stations. One such software package is Intel's AIM Suite, which is used on digital signs equipped with facial detection software. If you view these digital advertisements, the technology can detect your approximate age and gender and customize the screen to show ads that it believes you would find interesting. Data is then sent to advertisers detailing how long a consumer was looking at an ad and how far away they are standing from the sign. (14) A company known as Affective Interfaces is hoping to take the technology a step farther and use facial recognition software to detect the emotions of its users. (15) It is also interesting to note that Google has developed a technology deemed so frightening that they decided not to release it. The software would have allowed users to take a picture of a person with their phone which would then compare it to a database and tell you who the person is. "We built that technology, and we withheld it. As far as I know, it was the only technology that Google built, and we decided to stop," said Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman. (16) Although Google has withheld this technology, it would not be surprising if it landed in the hands of our Big Brother government, assuming that it has not already.
I take comfort in the knowledge that ultimately God is in control. Yes, Big Brother is watching, but God is watching Big Brother. In Jeremiah 16:17 we read, "For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes."
It is no secret that Barack Obama holds a great disdain for the Constitution of the United States. In an interview with Chicago Public Radio in 2001, Obama made the following statement regarding the Constitution, "I don't think the two views are contradictory to say that it was a remarkable political document that paved the way for where we are now and to say it also reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day." (17) I have always considered it amazing that the people of the United States would elect a man who would denigrate the Constitution and then turn and swear on a Bible to uphold the principles of a document he considers to reflect a "fundamental flaw."
Sadly, the United States Congress has just passed the National Defense Authorization Act which effectively nullifies the Constitutional rights of Americans and allows them to be detained indefinitely by the military without due process if they are determined by the government to be terrorists or supporters of terrorism. Section 1031 of the bill contains the following text, "Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons pending disposition under the law of war. A covered person under this section is any person as follows: A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 or harbored those responsible for those attacks. A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces." The bill further states that those meeting the above description could be subject to "detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force." (18) Some folks have argued that the bill provides an exemption for American citizens in section 1032 which states, "The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States." However, this section, which was intentionally worded in a vague manner, could be construed to mean that the United States military is not required to detain American citizens, but would still have the option of doing so.
Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel at the liberal organization known as the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, suggests that the vague exemption in section 1032 does not apply to section 1031 anyway. "The exclusion on Section 1032 only apples to 1032. It doesn't apply to 1031. And that only makes it worse, because any judge is going to say, 'Of course, members of Congress meant for American citizens to be detained because if they didn't, they would have put in the exception they put in one section later,'" Anders stated. (19) Those who wonder about the true intention of the provisions in the bill need to look no further than Senator John McCain of Arizona, who was cosponsor of the legislation. "I think that as long as that individual, no matter who they are, if they pose a threat to the security of the United States of America, should not be allowed to continue that threat," said McCain. (20) Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who strongly supported the bill, stated on November 17, 2011, "1031, the statement of authority to detain does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland." (21)
A Global Economy At Risk!
For those of us here in the United States, we are painfully familiar with the poor economic conditions that have plagued this country over the last few years. Since 2008 Americans have suffered from high unemployment, stagnant wages, an increase in the cost of living, widespread poverty, and a plethora of other woes. The United States has suffered through hard times before, but with the slow pace at which this country is "recovering," many people have grown weary and hopeless. According to an article published by MSNBC, nearly half of all Americans are now living in poverty. Sheldon Danziger, a public policy professor at the University of Michigan, explained the dire situation as follows, "Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too 'rich' to qualify. The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal. If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years." (22)
Unfortunately, the United States is not the only region of the world suffering from poor economic conditions. In Europe, the unemployment rate for youth is 46 percent in Spain, 43 percent in Greece, 32 percent in Ireland, and 27 percent in Italy. (23) As of September 2011, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain had accumulated over three trillion Euros worth of debt. (24) The situation has grown particularly precarious for Italy, which will need to sell more than 30 million Euros worth of bonds by the end of January 2012, or face a possible default on their debt. (25) Fearful over the economic uncertainty in Europe, many corporations have been moving their funds out of the European banking system. "We are starting to witness signs that corporates are withdrawing deposits from banks in Spain, Italy, France and Belgium. This is a worrying development," stated an analyst at Citi Group. (26) There is also an ongoing run on the banks in Greece. At the beginning of 2010, Greek banks held 237.7 billion Euros on deposit. By the end of 2011, that amount had fallen by 49 billion Euros. (27)
The economic crisis in the Eurozone is a cause of great alarm for many. According to a report by The Telegraph, the British military is now working on strategy to cope with a potential "global financial crash." (28) General Martin Dempsey, a top United States military commander, has also expressed worry over the possible collapse of the European economy. "I know that they've taken some measures here with the 17 members of the eurozone to try to better align... monetary and fiscal policy. But it's unclear, to me at least, that that will be the glue that actually holds it together," Dempsey said. Much of his concern is for the 80,000 US troops and 20,000 American civilian workers living in Europe. (29)
The Stirrings Of War!
The potential for war in Iran has continued to grow over the last few months. The constant back-and-forth rhetoric between Israel and Iran has left many people wondering if a war between the two nations is imminent. According to a recent news report, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ordered his military to prepare for war. In response to these orders, military officials have redistributed long-range Shahab missiles to secret sites throughout the country. Their air force has also formed "rapid reaction units," which have been carrying out exercises. (30) Iran has also added three new submarines to its naval fleet. (31) Additionally, Iran has begun to prepare to move its nuclear facilities underground in an effort to protect them from military attacks. (32) Another news report has claimed that hundreds of North Korean scientists are presently in Iran assisting them in the development of their nuclear capabilities. (33)
In a further development, the United States military suffered an embarrassing loss of property after Iranian forces successfully captured an RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone. The drone, which is worth six million dollars, was called a "significant loss" by defense journalist Robert Densmore. "These Sentinels are pretty rare technology still, and to have one in such good condition, to be lost to a potential adversary like this, is pretty significant, especially because Iran has open ties to Russia and has been courted by China," Densmore said. (34) Speaking of the lost drone, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney stated that Obama should have responded with a quick airstrike against Iran. (35) Instead, Obama decided to simply ask for the drone back. Regarding Barack Obama's request to Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Given Iran's behavior to date, we do not expect them to comply." In response, Iran mocked Obama, stating that he "begs [us] to give him back his toy plane." (36)
Tensions between the allies of Israel and the supporters of Iran have only continued to increase as we enter the new year. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has now stated that the United States will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon and will do whatever is necessary to prevent it. "The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us and that's a red line [and] obviously for the Israelis. If we have to do it, we will deal with it," Panetta declared. (37) Could a war with Iran actually lead to World War III as many people fear? According to the state-controlled Iranian news outlet PressTV, Chinese Major General Zhang Zhaozhong recently made this shocking statement, "China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a third world war." (38)
In closing, I know the year of 2011 was certainly very tumultuous, and 2012 has the potential to be even more intense. In fact, recent current events inspired one journalist to write, "With elections and leadership changes in the most powerful countries, Europe in crisis, ferment in the Middle East, and worsening economic hardship driving unrest and discontent everywhere, 2012 could be just as volatile as 2011 if not worse." (39) We need our Saviour now more than ever, and as we draw closer to His return, we will continue to obey His command to watch and pray. I wish to thank all of you who support this ministry. We at Last Trumpet Ministries consider it an honor and a privilege to serve you, and we will continue to do so for as long as we are able. Please remember to mail us your completed renewal form if you have not yet done so. If you have any prayer requests, please do not hesitate to send them our way. Each request is given individual attention by our intercessors. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.