Volume XXXI Issue VII July 2012
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
A Collision Course With Sudden Destruction!
"For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."I Thessalonians 5:3
"And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows."Mark 13:7-8
"They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, we will not hearken."Jeremiah 6:14-17
In this issue of the Last Trumpet, we will focus on the dangerous collision course of our present world and the actions of mankind which will soon face judgment. Since the earliest days of human existence, men have fought wars with other men out of spite, anger, envy, jealousy, and fear. There have been many calls for "world peace" throughout the ages. Yet we live in a time when the whole world is at risk of descending into a state of chaos and all-out war. The "wars and rumours of wars" which Jesus warned us about in Mark 13:7 are now coming to pass, and each new day seems to bring reports of conflict and strife around the world. We are living in a time when prophecy is rapidly being fulfilled, and I firmly believe that it will not be much longer before our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, returns.
In recent months we have heard much discussion about the potential for a war between Iran and Israel. The contempt between each nation became even more evident in May 2012 when Iranian Major General Hassan Firouzabadi issued a statement saying, "The Iranian nation is standing for its cause and that is the full annihilation of Israel." (1) In a similar statement during a recent speech, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, proclaimed, "In light of the realization of the divine promise by almighty God, the Zionists and the Great Satan [America] will soon be defeated." (2)
While speculation abounds over whether or not a war with Iran will break out, most people fail to realize that the United States and Israel are already waging a covert war with Iran. According to a recent report, former American President George W. Bush, with the assistance of Israel, launched secret computer attacks against Iran, and Barack Obama has only accelerated the program since he took office. The action, which was code-named "Olympic Games," involved the use of a computer worm known as Stuxnet to disable nuclear facilities in Iran. (3) Although waging cyber warfare through computer systems may seem like a safer way to carry out attacks against other nations, there is growing concern that the United States could face a catastrophic scenario if Iran or other nations decided to retaliate by launching a counter cyber-attack. United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed grave concern over the vulnerability of the American infrastructure at a hearing held by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense in June 2012. "There are a lot of capabilities that are being developed in this area. I'm very concerned that the potential in cyber to be able to cripple our power grid, to be able to cripple our government systems, to be able to cripple our financial system would virtually paralyze this country. And, as far as I'm concerned, that represents the potential for another Pearl Harbor as far as the kind of attack that we could be the target of using cyber," stated Panetta in his testimony. (4) Regarding the possibility that the world may soon experience widespread cyber-attacks, computer security expert Eugene Kaspersky made an alarming statement during a conference at Tel Aviv University. "It's not cyber war, it's cyber terrorism, and I'm afraid the game is just beginning. Very soon, many countries around the world will know it beyond a shadow of a doubt. I'm afraid it will be the end of the world as we know it. I'm scared; believe me," Kaspersky said. (5)
Meanwhile, violence in Syria has continued to escalate despite the presence of observers from the United Nations who were sent to the Middle Eastern nation in an attempt to quell the uprising and broker a peace deal. An estimated 13,000 lives have been lost since the unrest began in January 2011. (6) To date, all attempts by the United Nations to restrain Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been stymied by Russia and China who are allies with the Syrian regime. A summit held in June 2012 between leaders of the Western world and Russian President Vladimir Putin has failed to convince Russia to withdraw its support for Syria. "We believe that nobody has the right to decide for other nations who should be brought to power, who should be removed from power," Putin told reporters following the summit. (7) Regarding the talks, Barack Obama made the following statement, "I wouldn't suggest that at this point the United States and the rest of the international community are aligned with Russia and China in their positions, but I do think they recognize the grave dangers of an all-out civil war." (8) According to the Foreign Minister of France, Laurent Fabius, the nation of Syria is already in the throes of a civil war. "If you can't call it a civil war, then there are no words to describe it," Fabius declared. (9)
Reports have surfaced stating that Russia has continued to provide the Assad regime with weapons to carry out attacks against the Syrian rebels. "On a daily basis, on an hourly basis, we are seeing Russian and Soviet-made weaponry used against civilians in towns all across Syria," stated Victoria Nuland, a spokesperson for the State Department of the United States. (10) It has also been reported that Russia has now deployed two warships with a contingent of Marines to Syria in an effort to protect its assets on a military base in Tartus. (11)
This world is becoming increasingly volatile, and a state of conflict could soon engulf many nations around the globe. When we consider the alliances between Iran, Syria, Russia, and China, it becomes easy to see how any attacks against those nations could eventually lead to World War III. This widespread strife exists today despite the formation of such organizations as the United Nations, which was supposedly created to bring about world peace. Here let it be noted that there have been over two hundred and forty wars since the formation of the United Nations in 1945. (12) Furthermore, a cursory examination of the United Nations' website will reveal that they have an entire section under the heading "Peace and Security." (13) That phrase is eerily reminiscent of the words "peace and safety," which were used by the Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians 5:3 when he wrote, "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them…" The truth is that this world will never attain lasting peace as long as the majority of the people continue to reject the Prince of Peace. The good news is that you as an individual can reach out to God, and in doing so, attain lasting peace within your heart. If you have not yet fully given your life to God, I encourage you to do so now. With the presence of our Saviour in your life, you can truly embrace his words "be ye not troubled" even though this world faces new threats, wars, and rumours of wars each and every day.
Scientists Predict The End Of The World!
This year has already been a busy one for alarmist scientists who fear the effects of climate change, global warming, and overpopulation. Yet another report has surfaced on the topic, and this time the scientists involved are claiming it could lead to the end of the world. The study was written by a group of twenty-two biologists and ecologists and published in the June 7, 2012, issue of the journal known as Nature. (14) Professor James Brown of the University of New Mexico, and one of the co-authors of the report was quoted as saying, "We have created a bubble of human population and economy… that is totally unsustainable and is either going to have to deflate gradually or is going to burst. If it's going to burst, the consequences are really going to be grim for people as well as biodiversity and the rest of the planet." (15) The report's lead author, Professor Anthony Barnosky of the biology department at the University of California-Berkeley, stated, "The net effect of what we're causing could actually be the equivalent to an asteroid striking the Earth in a worst-case scenario." (16) Another co-author of the report claims that it may already be too late. "We may have already passed the tipping point or we may not get an early warning," said Alan Hastings, an ecologist at the University of California-Davis. (17) Finally, Arne Mooers, a biodiversity professor at Simon Fraser University, offered this brief summary of the study's conclusions, "Society globally has to collectively decide that we need to drastically lower our population very quickly. More of us need to move to optimal areas at higher density and let parts of the planet recover. Folks like us have to be forced to be materially poorer, at least in the short-term. We also need to invest a lot more in creating technologies to produce and distribute food without eating up more land and wild species. It's a very tall order." (18)
According to New York Times writer James Gillis, the authors of the report are predicting that the world as we know it may end "within a few human generations, if not sooner." (19) Although this group of scientists may be correct regarding the timeframe of the earth's destruction, they are incorrect regarding the cause of the destruction. It has always been sin which has caused the world to grow progressively worse throughout history, and that is a trend which will continue until the end of time. I believe the recent barrage of reports from the scientific community warning of the earth's demise is an attempt to condition the masses to accept the harsh sacrifices which the rising antichrist system will claim to be necessary to "save the planet." After all, people are much easier to control if they are told that the very existence of the human race is at stake.
Surveillance In The Skies!
In recent weeks the development and deployment of unmanned drones has received a lot of coverage in the mainstream news media. Many Americans have grown increasingly worried about the possibility that this technology will be used to keep the people under constant surveillance. "There is a distrust amongst the people who have come and discussed this issue with me about our government. It's raising an alarm with the American public," said Jeff Landry, a Republican congressman from Louisiana. (20) Numerous police departments across the United States are already using drones, and in a May 2012 radio interview, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell expressed support for increased usage of the technology. "I think we ought to be using technology to make law enforcement more productive; it cuts down on manpower in the air - and more safe. That's why we use it on the battlefield," McDonnell declared. (21) McDonnell's statement raised the ire of John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia. "America is not a battlefield, and the citizens of this nation are not insurgents in need of vanquishing," Whitehead said. (22) In response to the controversy, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has introduced legislation entitled "Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012." Explaining his rationale for introducing the act, Paul wrote the following, "I do not want a drone monitoring where I go, what I do and for how long I do whatever it is that I'm doing. I do not want a nanny state watching over my every move. We should not be treated like criminals or terrorists while we are simply conducting our everyday lives. We should not have our rights infringed upon by unwarranted police-state tactics." Paul further went on to write, "If the warrant is not obtained, this act would allow any person to sue the government. This act also specifies that no evidence obtained or collected in violation of this act can be admissible as evidence in a criminal, civil or regulatory action." (23)
Although backlash against the deployment of drones has been building with the American public, it seems unlikely to dissuade the government from implementing the technology. Instead, they may simply use smaller drones which are much harder to detect. In fact, reports of strange flying objects hovering over group gatherings speculated that the United States government was using insect-like drones to spy on antiwar protests as far back as 2007. While it may not be possible to prove one way or another if the speculation was true, it was revealed in 2008 that the U.S. Air Force had developed miniature drones, also known as "micro air vehicles," which were the size of bumblebees. According to reports, these tiny drones have the capability to "photograph, record, and even attack insurgents and terrorists." (24) In a further development, the University of Pennsylvania has produced drones which have the ability to swarm together and fly in synchronized formations. Those who are responsible for the project are hopeful that their drones may someday be able to operate "with little or no direct human supervision." (25)
The Erosion Of Religious Freedom In America!
The United States of America is a nation that has been historically known for its religious freedom. Yet, in recent years we have seen the right to practice one's religion, particularly Christianity, being slowly stripped away. One shocking case recently occurred in the state of Wisconsin when a pastor from the village of Black Earth was sentenced to two years in prison for teaching his congregation to enact corporal punishment on their children when they misbehaved. What is truly remarkable and frightening about this case is that the pastor had not spanked any child himself and was therefore essentially imprisoned for his speech. Not only that, but the pastor was stripped of his church, and he has been forbidden to have any interaction with the congregation even after his prison sentence has been fulfilled. (26) This nation once prided itself on the guarantee of free speech, but it seems in this modern era, free speech is no longer guaranteed.
Another incident recently occurred in Buffalo, New York, wherein a Christian was ordered by police officers to cease the distribution of Christian tracts and was told that if he failed to comply he would be arrested. At one point during the dispute, a police officer snatched the tracts out of the man's hand and said, "I'm not playing. If you hand out one more tract, you're going to jail." (27) The Alliance Defense Fund or ADF has filed a lawsuit against the city of Buffalo in response to the events that transpired. "Exercising your constitutionally protected free speech rights is not a crime," said ADF lawyer Jonathan Scruggs. (28)
There also seems to be an effort to stifle the prayers of Christians in the United States. For example, a volunteer police chaplain at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has been told by his superiors that he would no longer be allowed to pray "in the name of Jesus" at public events. "I was told chaplains can no longer invoke the name of Jesus on government property," said chaplain Terry Sartain. He later went on to say, "I'm very sad about it. I'm a pastor and Jesus is the only thing I have to offer to bless people - his life and his person. It brings about a very real concern about where we are heading as a nation." (29)
Sadly, incidents of religious repression against Christians also sometimes occur in Canada. This became poignantly clear in May 2012 when a student at Forest Heights Community School in Nova Scotia was suspended for a week after he wore a t-shirt to school with a message that said, "Life is wasted without Jesus." The student was told that if he tried to wear the shirt to school again, he would be suspended for the remainder of the year. "I've been told by my principal that it is hate talk and is disrespectful to other people's religions. She said it (the shirt) cannot be in school because people would get offended," the student recounted. (30)
The efforts we are now seeing to restrain the Christian faith are likely only the first stirrings of persecution that will only intensify as we draw closer to the return of our Saviour. In Matthew 24:9-10 Jesus warns, "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." Thankfully, we know that those who stand up for their Christian beliefs will be greatly rewarded in the end. For as Jesus said in Matthew 5:10-12, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
Obama's Gay Pride Month!
On June 1, 2012, Barack Obama issued a proclamation declaring the month of June to be "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month." An excerpt of his proclamation is as follows, "The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has written a proud chapter in this fundamentally American story. From brave men and women who came out and spoke out, to union and faith leaders who rallied for equality, to activists and advocates who challenged unjust laws and marched on Washington, LGBT Americans and allies have achieved what once seemed inconceivable. This month, we reflect on their enduring legacy, celebrate the movement that has made progress possible, and recommit to securing the fullest blessings of freedom for all Americans." (31) Obama's proclamation is another indicator that the attitudes of the government and the general population have now shifted in favor of homosexuality. In addition to his proclamation, Obama also hosted a reception at the White House on June 15, 2012 to celebrate "Gay Pride Month." (32) In his remarks at the reception, Obama told those involved in homosexuality that they have "every right to push, loudly and forcefully, for equality." He also reiterated his support for same-sex marriage in his speech. "Americans may be still evolving when it comes to marriage equality but as I've indicated personally, Michelle and I have made up our minds on this issue," Obama insisted. (33)
Furthermore, Barack Obama is seeking to enact legislation known as the "Employment Non-Discrimination Act," or ENDA, which could potentially force religious organizations to employ homosexuals. "Congress needs to pass that legislation, so that no American is ever fired simply for being gay or transgender," Obama said. However, Craig Parshall, the senior vice president of the National Religious Broadcasters Association did not hesitate to voice his displeasure over the measure. "ENDA would impose a stunningly heavy constitutional burden on religious organizations and would interfere with their ability to pursue their mission," Parshall stated. (34)
Other prominent figures in American government have also expressed their strong support for homosexuality, including Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary Hilda Solis of the Department of Labor, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. (35) In a salute to gay members of the United States military, Panetta praised the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a policy which disallowed openly gay men and women to serve in the armed forces. "Now you can be proud of serving your country, and be proud of who you are," Panetta declared. (36) It was also announced that the Pentagon would host a gay pride celebration on June 26, 2012. (37)
As Christians, we understand that we cannot support the homosexual lifestyle. While Barack Obama may believe that the opinions of Americans are "still evolving," God does not change, and His opinions do not evolve. Sadly, many young people in the United States are now forsaking their Christian beliefs, and according to a recent news article, the prevalence and acceptance of homosexuality may be partly to blame for the falling away. "Younger Christians are turned off by attacks on gays and lesbians," declared Stephanie Mencimer, a writer at the liberal magazine known as Mother Jones. (38) Another writer at a journal known as Outside the Beltway by the name of James Joyner wrote, "Younger folks are simply more likely to figure that, if their religion is teaching them things that they believe to be silly - such as that homosexuality is wrong - then their religion must be silly too." (39) With so much disdain now being expressed for the Christian faith, it's no wonder that Jesus asked in Luke 18:8, "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
The Crisis In Europe Continues!
Following the election in Greece on June 17, 2012, many were relieved that the conservative pro-austerity party, known as the New Democracy Party, won the election. As a result, it seems likely that Greece will continue to use the euro as its currency for the time being at least. However, the crisis in Greece is far from over. The European nation, which has now been in recession for five straight years, is seeking to renegotiate their bailout terms with the European Union in an effort to help alleviate the suffering of the people under the harsh austerity measures now in place. "The unity government's goal is to tackle the crisis, open the road to growth and revise terms of the bailout without putting at risk the country's European course, nor its euro zone membership," stated a policy document written by the new government. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that there will be no significant renegotiations of the bailout terms. (40)
Meanwhile, the European nation of Spain has now become the fourth nation in Europe to receive a bailout in order to prop up its ailing economy and rescue its failing banks. An ABC News report indicates that the bailout may be as much 100 billion euros or 125 billion dollars. (41) The crisis in Europe is already having an impact on the global economy. On June 21, 2012, it was reported that credit rating Moody's has downgraded their rating on fifteen financial institutions, including such large banks as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and JPMorgan. Bank of America and Citigroup now have a credit rating of only two notches above junk status. Exposure to the crisis in Europe was one of the reasons cited by Moody's for the rating downgrade. (42)
In closing, for those of us who continue to watch and pray as we await the return of our Saviour, we can see that this entire world is now on a collision course with sudden destruction. Thankfully, we do not have to go the same direction as the majority of the people now attempting to navigate their lives through these confusing days of turmoil. It is my hope and prayer that this newsletter will touch the hearts of as many people as possible and encourage everyone who reads it to draw closer to our Almighty God. Please accept my heartfelt thanks to all who so generously support this ministry. As always, if you have any prayers please feel welcomed to pass them on to us. Our intercessors always give each request individual attention as we seek God's guidance on your behalf. I'm also pleased to announce that I will be marrying my fiancée, Leah, in just a few weeks. We graciously ask that you would keep us in prayer as we start our life together and strive to wholly serve our God. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.Acknowledgements