Volume XXXI Issue V May 2012
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
Manifestations Of A Rising Antichrist System!
"The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The LORD shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied."Psalm 37:12-19
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."Revelation 13:16-18
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will thoughtfully consider the implications of today's current events as we draw ever closer to the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. There is much happening and we are moving at breakneck speed toward the events which will bring about the demise of Satan and his people while concurrently bringing about the salvation of God's children. There are many things happening which are hard to understand sometimes, and even more difficult to bear, but we know that whatever may happen, God will cause the end-result to work in His favor. For as the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
We must always remember that everything Satan does just brings him closer to his complete and utter destruction. We know that he inspired men to conspire against Jesus Christ and sentence him to a painful and gruesome death on the cross. For a brief period of time, the devil was actually foolish enough to believe that he was winning the war against our Almighty God. Yet, God knew everything that would be done before it was even set in motion, and it was the actions of Satan and his children which sealed their fate and slated them for destruction nearly two thousand years ago.
In like manner, the enemies of God's Kingdom are still very active today, and they are working feverishly to bring about their one world government. However, they are without the understanding that their actions will ultimately bring about their own downfall. Not only will they fail to accomplish their goals, but the Bible tells us they will be caught in their own devices. In Psalm 9:15 we read, "The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken." For those who oppose God, every step they take brings them one step closer to failure.
Thankfully, if you seek God and follow after Him with a whole heart, you will not be subjected to the condemnation of those involved with the antichrist system, now so prevalent in this modern age. I encourage everyone reading this newsletter to heed the admonishment of the Apostle Paul who wrote in II Corinthians 6:17, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." If you have not yet fully given your heart to God, I urge you to do so now.
The Coming Cashless Society!
Throughout the history of the world, many different types of money have been used. For example, in ancient times, items such as cattle and cowrie shells were used as forms of money. In later centuries, coins and eventually paper currency were developed. From the year 1900 until the year 1933, the United States of America was on the gold standard, which meant that all paper money in distribution was backed by gold and could be exchanged for an equivalent amount of the precious metal upon request. Today, the United States and most other nations in the world operate on fiat money. Fiat money has little intrinsic value in and of itself, and it is only considered money because the government has declared it to be so. In fact, the word fiat is of Latin origin and means "let it be done" or "it shall be." (1) Although the money itself has almost no literal value, it is still a tangible currency that can be held, spent, and traded by passing from hand to the next. However, the days of physical money, which is commonly referred to as cash, seems to be quickly coming to an end.
There are several nations in the world moving toward a cashless society; however, none have seen a more rapid transformation than the European country of Sweden. Many businesses now refuse to accept cash, and patrons riding public buses must pay their fares electronically. Even some banks have stopped handling cash. "There are towns where it isn't at all possible anymore to enter a bank and use cash," said Curt Persson, chairman of Sweden's National Pensioners' Organization. (2) This development is now being heralded as great progress by some individuals. "Less cash in circulation makes things safer, both for the staff that handle cash, but also of course, for the public," stated Par Karlsson, a security expert at the Swedish Bankers' Association. "If people use more cards, they are less involved in shadow economy activities," declared Friedrich Schneider, an economics professor at Johannes Kepler University in Austria. Amazingly, cash now accounts for only three percent of Sweden's economy. (3)
Many stories in the mainstream news media are now portraying cash as an archaic means of exchange, which should be abolished. David Birch, one of the directors at Consult Hyperion, a company specializing in electronic payments, was quoted as saying the following in a recent article by Slate, "We're trying to use industrial age money to support commerce in a post-industrial age. It just doesn't work. Sooner or later the tectonic plates shift and then, very quickly, you'll find yourself in this new environment where if you ask somebody to pay you in cash, you'll just assume that they're a prostitute or a Somali pirate." (4)
CBS News also demonized cash in an article published on March 25, 2012, entitled, "Why Cash Is Losing Its Currency." The article cites economist Robert Reich who is quoted as saying, "There will be a time - I don't know when, I can't give you a date - when physical money is just going to cease to exist." (5) The article also discusses trendy new ways people are conducting transactions electronically, such as a new system known as "Card Case," which operates on iPad tablet computers and smart phones. The program enables customers to pay for their goods and services without swiping or scanning anything. Instead, when a customer using the program is in range, his name and picture automatically pops up on the screen at the checkout counter. (6) Sam Shrauger, an executive at the e-payments firm PayPal, eagerly anticipates a world without cash. "Anyone who has a wallet can use a digital wallet, more easily than they can use a physical wallet. I think money can be better in a digital world. It can move more easily. It can be more flexible. It can actually be smarter," Shrauger stated. (7)
I believe the transformation to a global cashless society will be gradual. Even so, we are already seeing efforts by some governments to eliminate cash, coin, and other paper instruments such as checks. In Canada, a new system known as MintChip is being developed with the hope that it will someday replace coins. (8) In the United Kingdom, the Payments Council Board is planning to abolish all paper checks (cheques in British English) by October 31st, 2018. (9)
Proponents of the coming cashless society tout it as a safer, faster, more efficient system that is also better for the environment. However, none of these supposed benefits are the real reason a cashless society is slowly being put into place. The rising antichrist system will require a cashless society to control the people and keep a close eye on every transaction being made. If any member of the enslaved masses was to ever fall out of line, every financial resource of that person could be immediately frozen or seized with just a few keystrokes on a computer. When the system has been fully implemented, there will be no way to opt out, and any man, woman, or child refusing to be a part of it will be unable to buy or sell.
Dark Clouds On The Horizon!
The world as it exists today still consists of many nations which consider themselves sovereign. This poses a problem for Satan who wants to unite the entire world under a global antichrist government. In order for such a takeover to be possible, every economy in the world must fail. Here let it be noted that a 1972 study, published by MIT at the behest of The Club of Rome, predicted that the world would experience a "global economic collapse" and "precipitous population decline" by the year 2030. (10)
Many countries of the world are already suffering from great economic distress. In fact, the European nation of Greece is presently in the throes of a persistent and devastating depression wherein 21.8 percent of the population is now unemployed. (11) In the year 2011, nearly one thousand people per day lost their jobs. (12) Sadly, austerity measures put in place by the government have taken their toll on the healthcare system of Greece. The spread of the HIV/AIDs virus has become rampant, particularly in the city of Athens, where the incidence of the disease amongst drug users rose by 1,250 percent in 2010. (13) West Nile virus and malaria have also been spreading due the unavailability of medical care. The healthcare crisis prompted Raveka Papadopoulos, head of the humanitarian aid organization known as Medecins Sans Frontieres Greece, to say, "What we are seeing are very clear indicators of a system that cannot cope." Commenting on the endemic of malaria, Ms. Papadopoulos stated, "The simple fact of the reappearance of malaria, with 100-odd cases in southern Greece last year and 20 to 30 more elsewhere, shows barriers to healthcare access have risen. Malaria is treatable; it shouldn't spread if the system is working." (14)
The nation of Spain is suffering from the effects of a catastrophic housing market collapse, and consequently, many Spaniards are now unemployed. In March 2012, 4.75 million people were without a job in Spain, which is an all-time record high within the Eurozone. The bleak economic data prompted budget minister Cristobal Montoro to say, "Spain is in a critical situation." (15) New austerity measures, which will slash public sector spending and increase taxes in an effort to save the Spanish government the equivalent of 35 billion dollars this year, are now being implemented. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy explained that the new austerity measures are "necessary… so that in the future we can get out of this situation." He further went on to say, "There's no money because we have spent so much over the last few years." (16)
Greece, Spain, Italy, and other troubled nations in the Eurozone, which are now being crushed by the weight of unsustainable debt, are prime examples of what happens when government spending goes unchecked for an extended period of time. Yet, the United States government continues to increase our nation's debt by a whopping average of 3.97 billion dollars per day! (17) In fact, the federal budget deficit in each of the last three years has been about 1.3 trillion dollars. (18) It is interesting to note that on February 23, 2009, Barack Obama issued the following statement: "Today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. This will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we've long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay - and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control." (19) Perhaps Obama has decided that the future of our nation's children is not so important after all. Meanwhile, credit rating agency Egan Jones has downgraded the rating of the United States from AA+ to AA in April 2012. (20)
It has become clear that the global economy is on very shaky footing at this present time. Speaking of the current economic climate, Christine Lagarde, director of the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, stated the following, "It's obviously very diverse, and if I was to use a weather analogy, because we are all very fond of weather reports, we are seeing a light recovery blowing in a spring wind, but we are also seeing some very dark clouds on the horizon." (21)
Is Unemployment Improving?
For the last several months, we have been told by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the unemployment rate in the United States is declining. However, a closer look at the facts reveals that the supposed rate of joblessness does not mesh with reality. In fact, a recent news article published in April 2012 has reported that there are presently 87,897,000 working-age Americans who do not hold a job. (22) The manipulated numbers used to calculate the official unemployment rate has raised the ire of Representative Duncan Hunter (Republican-California) who has introduced legislation known as the REAL Unemployment Calculation Act. If passed, the legislation would require the government to release slightly more accurate figures each month. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics does in fact provide alternative measures of unemployment, but they are consistently overshadowed by the U-3 rate, which ignores a large group of people. We need to be realistic and focus our attention on the figure that provides the most accurate representation of national unemployment - not the figure that under-represents the challenge we face," said Hunter in a recent statement. (23) According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal on April 12, 2012, the actual unemployment rate is 11.8 percent, which is far higher than the official rate of 8.2 percent. (24)
Sadly, numerous companies have recently announced that they are planning major layoffs. The cuts include the Internet portal known as Yahoo, which will lay off 2000 workers (25); Dow Chemical, which will lay off 900 workers (26); department store retailer J.C. Penney, which has already laid off 600 workers and plans to eliminate 300 more positions (27); paint and coating manufacturer PPG, which will lay off 2000 workers (28); and Lockheed Martin, which intends to lay off 450 to 500 workers. (29)
Although the Obama Administration insists that unemployment is improving in the United States, the number of Americans receiving assistance from the government continues to grow. According to the Congressional Budget Office, food stamp usage has risen by 70 percent since 2007, and this trend is expected to continue at least until 2014. (30)
It has now come to light that millions of Americans who are unable to find work are applying for benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance program. In fact, 5.4 million people have joined the program since Barack Obama began his tenure as president. "We see a lot of people applying for disability once their unemployment insurance expires," reported Matthew Rutledge, an economist at Boston College's Center for Retirement Research. (31) Regarding why people seek benefits from the disability insurance program, the Congressional Budget Office stated, "When opportunities for employment are plentiful, some people who could qualify for (disability insurance) benefits find working more attractive… when employment opportunities are scarce, some of these people participate in the DI program instead." (32) It is a sad state of affairs when so many people must rely on the government to provide for their needs.
Pestilences On The Land And In The Sea!
As we grow ever closer to the coming of our Saviour, new forms of pestilence are constantly being discovered. It has now come to light that many of the sea creatures who make their home in the Gulf of Mexico have been heavily damaged by the BP oil spill which occurred in April 2010 and took several months to clean up. In a story published by The Week on April 19, 2012, the catastrophic impact on the region is described. The story tells of "shrimp born without eyes, clawless crabs, and fish with visible tumors." (33) "I've never seen anything like this. The fishermen have never seen anything like this," said Dr. Jim Cowan of Louisiana State University. (34) According to the report, one fisherman caught four hundred pounds of eyeless shrimp at the height of last year's shrimp season. It is interesting to note that the Gulf of Mexico region provides 40 percent of all seafood in the United States, and despite the fact that many of the sea creatures are disfigured and mutated, the FDA insists the seafood is safe for human consumption. (35) Dolphins living in Barataria Bay off the coast of Louisiana are also reportedly very ill. (36)
In Europe, thousands of lambs have died after being afflicted by the mysterious Schmallenberg virus. (37) The deadly illness causes lambs to develop deformities in the womb and to often die within seconds after being born. One farmer described the horrific effects of the virus as follows, "The legs were fused together and tucked underneath, its head was angular, not formed properly. They had undershot jaws and they weren't fleshed out properly but nearly every one was alive when it was pulled out but only lived seconds up to a minute." (38) As of March 25, 2012, the virus has been found on over two hundred farms in England. (39)
On April 18, 2012, it was reported that Chinese government officials were forced to destroy 95,000 chickens in an effort to eradicate an outbreak of H5N1 virus, which is commonly known as bird flu. (40) In a similar event which occurred in Nepal, 20,000 chickens died in just a matter of weeks in February 2012. (41)
Sadly, the pestilences which have become so widespread around the world in these last days, sometimes result in the loss of human lives as well. A strange new disease has emerged in Vietnam which has killed 19 people and sickened 171 more as of April 23, 2012. People who contract the disease experience a rash on their hands and feet, high fever, loss of appetite, and eventual organ failure. (42)
A World Within An Inch Of War!
In a recent interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confessed he often has trouble sleeping at night. He cited issues such as the potential for conflict with Iran, Syria, and the Middle East as reasons he suffers from insomnia. When questioned about North Korea, Panetta stated, "We're within an inch of war almost every day in that part of the world. And we just have to be very careful about what we say and what we do." (43)
Relations between North Korea and South Korea have grown particularly tense in recent weeks after the North Korean regime conducted a test launch of a long-range missile. Although the missile launch was a failure, the fact that it was even attempted has worried officials from the United States and South Korea who fear more tests may soon be forthcoming. "If they continue to take additional provocative actions, we of course have to continue to look at ways in which we could tighten sanctions on the North Koreans, and take additional steps to apply pressure on the regime," stated White House National Security Council spokesman Ben Rhodes. (44) North Korea is particularly enraged over recent comments by South Korea's President Lee Myung-Bak, who pointed out that the money spent on the North's failed missile launch could have instead been used to purchase 2.5 million tons of corn. In response, the North has threatened to carry out "special actions" against the South, which they claim "will reduce all… to ashes in three or four minutes… by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style." (45) Although North Korea has been threatening South Korea for decades, experts on the region are worried that this time, the North might actually be serious. "This time, I think there's a high possibility that the North's words, unlike in the past, will actually lead to specific actions," said Cheong Seong-Chang of the Sejong Institute in South Korea. (46)
Meanwhile, it is widely believed that nuclear talks with Iran, which are scheduled for May 2012, will be the last opportunity to prevent a war between Israel and Iran. Reporter Alon Ben-David, who interviewed several officials and members of the Israeli Air Force, believes Israel will set out for an attack if negotiations with Iran should fail. "Years of preparations are likely to come to realization. The moment of truth is near," stated Ben-David. (47) Israeli forces Lieutenant General Benny Gantz has declared that they are ready to hit Iran if the order is given. "We think that a nuclear Iran is a very bad thing, which the world needs to stop and which Israel needs to stop - and we are planning accordingly," Gantz said. (48) Conversely, Russia has developed an action plan to move troops to the Iranian border in the event that a war should break out. "Iran is our neighbor. If Iran is involved in any military action, it's a direct threat to our security," said Russian Deputy Prime Minister, former NATO ambassador, Dmitry Rogozin. (49) Truly we are seeing "wars and rumors of wars" intensify as we progress through time. Although these are not pleasant thoughts to consider, it is yet another indicator that Bible prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes at an increasingly rapid pace.
Intensifying Earthquakes Around The World!
We are often told that earthquakes are just a normal part of life and not a great cause for concern. On the other hand, one scientist is now sounding the alarm that something is seriously wrong. Gheorghe Marmureanu, a scientist from the National Institute of Earth Physics in Romania, says that thirty-nine earthquakes took place in just a period of just two days in mid April 2012. It all began in Indonesia with two major quakes, which measured 8.6 and 8.2 in magnitude. "There is no doubt that something is seriously wrong. There have been too many strong earthquakes. The quakes are a surprise that cannot be easily explained by current scientific knowledge. With the Indonesian quake for example, statistically, there should be one big earthquake in this part of Asia every 500 years. However, since 2004, there were already three quakes with a magnitude of over 8, which is not normal," Marmureanu stated. (50)
In closing, I urge everyone reading this newsletter to stay strong in the faith while we endure these end times. As we read about famines, pestilences, diseases, wars, rumors of wars and earthquakes, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and become discouraged. Yet, we can take comfort in the knowledge that God's Holy Scriptures forewarned us that all of these things would happen. Although there is much sorrow in the world, we can rejoice knowing that each day brings us closer to the coming of our Saviour. Thank you to all who so generously support this ministry. We at Last Trumpet Ministries understand that we could not do what we do without your help, and for that we are very grateful. If you have any prayer requests, please feel welcomed to send them our way. Our intercessors always give each request individual attention. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.