Volume XXXII Issue III March 2013
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
Peace In A Time Of Trouble!
"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth."Psalm 37:7-9
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."John 14:27
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."Philippians 4:7
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."Matthew 24:12-13
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will closely examine the current events of our day and look to the Scriptures to discover how the children of God can be at peace despite the harsh realities of this modern age. For those who dare to read the news, it quickly becomes obvious that this world is in a deep state of turmoil and despair. It is for this reason that many people choose to forgo following the news altogether because it is a burden too hard for them to bear. Yet we know that it was Jesus Himself who warned us of the dangers of being unaware of what is happening around us and failing to watch and pray. In Luke 21:34-36 we read, "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
As I prepared to write this newsletter, numerous stories came across my desk which told of economic distress, moral decay, earthquakes, flooding, droughts, meteors and asteroids, famines, pestilences, the rise of dark forces, wars and rumors of wars, and a plethora of other distressing news. The current state of the world has caused many of the brightest and best scientists to scramble for solutions to save the world. However, even they are sometimes willing to admit that they may be fighting a losing battle. On January 14, 2013, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that their symbolic doomsday clock would remain at five minutes to midnight, which indicates that the complete destruction of the planet and the end of the world could be near. (1)
Thankfully, the Christian people can be at peace and entirely free of fear despite everything we know of this world's present condition. In John 14:27 Jesus tells us, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." In like manner, the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:7, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Those who do not know Jesus Christ cannot have this peace, nor can they comprehend it. However, we know from Isaiah 9:6 that our Saviour is also our Prince of Peace. By putting your faith and trust in Him, you can be completely free of all fear. If you have not yet fully given your heart to God, I urge you to do so now.
Signs From Heaven!
As people go about their day-to-day lives, they seldom contemplate the plethora of threats to the planet earth from outer space. Yet, we know that Jesus warned us in Luke 21:11 that "great signs shall there be from heaven" in the last days. In recent days, the people of Russia received a sobering reminder of the ever-present danger we face from meteors and asteroids, which sometimes strike the earth unexpectedly. On February 15, 2013, a meteor exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in a blast which injured over one thousand people. (2) This meteor is estimated to have weighed approximately 10,000 tons and measured 55 feet in diameter before exploding with 500 kilotons of force. (3) Amazingly enough, the blast was about thirty times more powerful than the explosion produced by the nuclear bombing on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945. (4) Scientists around the world and the Russian government were completely caught off guard by this unusual event according to reports. "Our ground facilities and, as I understand, those abroad too did not monitor this celestial body," stated a spokesman for the Russian space agency Roscomos. (5)
In an amazing coincidence, an asteroid, known as 2012 DA14, which was only discovered last year, passed within 17,200 miles of the earth on the same day that the meteor struck in Russia. "It's like a shooting gallery here. We have two rare events of near-earth objects approaching the earth on the same day," declared NASA scientist Paul Chodas. (6) Paul Dimotakis, a professor of aeronautics and physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, expressed grave concern over the threat of near-earth objects. "This is a shot across the bow. It illustrates the challenge of the observation campaign which is now in progress," Dimotakis said. Regarding the close call with asteroid 2012 DA14, Dimotakis declared the following: "It's a good thing it's not hitting us, because truth be told there's nothing we could do about it except possibly evacuate, which is not going to be easy given the uncertainty about where the impact would take place." (7)
Threats from the heavens have also garnered special interest from the United Nations as scientists ramp up their efforts to improve their abilities to detect and predict the course of near-earth objects. "This event in Russia and the pass of the larger asteroid 2012 DA14 are good reminders that many thousands of objects like it pass near earth daily," stated Ray Williamson, an advisor to the Secure World Foundation. Williamson further went on to say, "Work is continuing with the United Nations on developing international responses to future threatening asteroids. Given the uncertainties concerning where such asteroids might strike earth and how much damage they might do, international responses will be critical." (8)
Oddly enough, the United States military announced in 2009 that they would no longer share data from government spacecraft with the scientific community. "It's baffling to us why this would suddenly change. It's unfortunate because there was this great synergy... a very good cooperative arrangement. Systems were put into dual-use mode where a lot of science was getting done that couldn't be done any other way. It's a regrettable change in policy," said an unnamed scientist quoted in a report from 2009. (9) The data derived by government spacecraft was used by scientists to study near-earth objects and approaching fireballs. "These fireball data together with astronomical observations of larger near-earth asteroids define the nature of the impact hazard and allow rational planning to deal with this issue," said David Morrison, a NASA scientist at the Ames Research Center. (10) This strange policy can only make me wonder what the United States military is attempting to hide from the scientific community and the population at large. It is interesting to note that a large asteroid, known as Apophis and named after an Egyptian god of chaos, is expected to closely pass by the earth in 2029 and could strike this planet when it comes near again in 2036. (11)
The recent meteor strike in Russia and the threat of asteroids pummeling the earth are intriguing when we consider them in Scriptural context. In colloquial terms, the visible path of an incoming meteor is often known as a "shooting star." In Revelation 6:13 we read the following, "And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind."
Manifestations Of A Rising Police State!
To the average American, the notion that a tyrannical police state is rising in the United States may seem like a far-fetched notion. Yet, recent trends suggest that the Obama Administration has grown bolder in its attempt to inflict its will upon the American people. This is a point highlighted in a recent article published by the Associated Press entitled "How Obama is Wielding Executive Power in 2nd Term." The article describes an onslaught of far-reaching new rules that affect gun control, health care, and energy policy amongst numerous other issues. (12) In fact, Barack Obama has grown so comfortable using "executive actions" that he even threatened to do so during the 2013 State of the Union Address. Speaking on the topic of climate change, Obama told his audience, "Now, the good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct... I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy." (13) Barack Obama's propensity to use executive actions has raised the ire of Marco Rubio, a Republican Senator from Florida. "Making matters worse is that President Obama is again abusing his power by imposing his policies via executive fiat instead of allowing them to be debated in Congress. President Obama's frustration with our republic and the way it works doesn't give him license to ignore the Constitution," Rubio declared. (14)
Barack Obama has the distinction of being the first president to order the execution of American citizens abroad through the use of drone strikes. Despite the fact that the Constitution guarantees every American the right to a fair trial, the Justice Department declared in a recent memo that such killings are acceptable if the target is considered to be a terrorist even if there is no evidence that the individual is planning an attack. "The condition that an operational leader present an 'imminent' threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future," states the memo. (15) The memo was heavily criticized by Mike Lee, a Republican Senator from Utah. "If you're going to regard somebody as presenting an imminent threat of an attack on the U.S. simply because you have concluded that they are an 'operational leader' or they are involved in planning an attack in one way or another, you find yourself giving way too much discretion to the government," Lee stated. (16)
The willingness of the Obama Administration to assassinate American citizens through the use of drones is particularly disturbing when we consider the sizable fleet of drones now being unleashed over the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, has issued 1,428 permits for domestic drones since 2007. The government agency estimates that there could be as many as 10,000 drones, which would primarily be used for surveillance, soaring over American skies by the year 2020. (17)
Meanwhile, much attention has been given to the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has stockpiled massive quantities of ammunition in recent months. Officials from the agency insist that the bullets will primarily be used for training; however, the volume of their stockpile has led many people to wonder if Homeland Security's motivation is something more nefarious. The Department of Homeland Security has purchased more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition, which is scheduled to be delivered over the next five years. (18)
It is also interesting to note that a company known as Law Enforcement Targets Inc. has released an unusual line of targets for use by law enforcement agencies to train their personnel. The official description for these targets is as follows: "No More Hesitation Targets were designed to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training. No More Hesitation faded background enhances the isolation and is meant to help the transition for officers who faced with these highly unusual targets for the first time." (19) These targets depict pregnant women, young mothers, small children, and the elderly. (20) The production of these targets has caused such a backlash from the public that the company which produced them announced on January 21, 2013, that they had removed them from their online catalog. "We apologize for the offensive nature of our 'No More Hesitation' products," the company wrote in an online statement. "These products have been taken offline due to the opinions expressed by so many, including members of the law enforcement community." (21)
In another development, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties recently determined that the government has the right to search and seize any electronic devices being carried on the person of anyone within one hundred miles of an American border. This decision reaffirms and expands on a policy which has been in place since 2008. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security searched the electronic devices of 6,500 people between the years 2008 and 2010. In a statement justifying its policy, the government agency stated the following, "We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits." (22)
An Unholy Spirit Of Death!
In these dark and immoral days, there seems to be an ever-decreasing respect for the sanctity of human life. We know that abortion results in the loss of millions of lives in the United States and other countries such as China. Sadly, it has also become apparent that there is now a concerted effort to speed up the passing of people who are sick or elderly. This point is highlighted in a statement issued in January 2013 by Taro Aso, the finance minister of Japan. "Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government. The problem won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die," Aso stated. (23)
Euthanasia, or medically assisted death, has become increasingly common in Europe. For example, the practice is legal in the nation of Belgium and does not even require those who request the procedure to be terminally ill. According to a report, two deaf twin brothers were put to death in December 2012. Describing the incident, the doctor who performed the procedure stated the following, "They were very happy. It was a relief to see the end of their suffering. They had a cup of coffee in the hall. It went well and [had] a rich conversation. Then the separation from their parents was very serene and beautiful. At the last there was a little wave of their hands and then they were gone." (24) In another incident, a Belgian man was shocked to discover that his estranged mother had been euthanized in April 2012. The rationale for allowing the procedure to take place was that the woman suffered from chronic depression. (25) Shockingly, it has now been proposed by Belgian Senator Philippe Mahoux that youth which have not yet reached the age of adulthood should be allowed to seek euthanasia. (26)
Each and every man, woman, and child is a unique creation of God. It should not be left to doctors to decide when a man should die. In Job 33:4 we read, "The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." It is Satan's business to destroy human lives. How sad it is when people give up on living and allow the medical profession to assist them in ending their lives.
Unclean Religion And Blasphemy In The Last Days!
The days in which we live are truly remarkable as we see an ever-increasing amount of strange and shocking headlines. These stories range from bizarre to blasphemous and indicate we are living in a time unlike any other in history. One such story tells of a new church in the United Kingdom comprised entirely of atheists. The church, which is known as "The Sunday Assembly," claims to be a "godless congregation that will meet on the first Sunday of every month to hear great talks, sing songs and generally celebrate the wonders of life." One of the church's founders, Sanderson Jones, explains his rationale for forming the congregation as follows: "It is intended to tap into a feeling of wonder that atheists have like believers, to challenge beliefs and give you something to think about for the week ahead. People also love to feel part of something and in a sense you lose that when you lose God. Our view is you don't need to believe to get that back." (27) According to reports, two hundred people attended the first service, and by the second service that number had swelled to three hundred participants. (28)
Yet another indicator that many professing Christians have a severe deficiency of God-given discernment is the growing popularity of a new band of musicians amongst the mainstream Christian community. The band, which calls itself "Micah's Rule," consists of an openly gay man, a transgender woman, and a lesbian. The band members have sought to downplay their background saying that they just like to make gospel music. "It's just our back story, plain and simple, but we're not using that as a marketing tool for our music, positively or negatively. We want to be a musical group like any other, but we realize our back story will get out," said band member Greg McCaw. (29) In addition to the songs which the band claim are Christian in nature, they have also recorded a medley of John Lennon's "Imagine," The O'Jays "Love Train," and Bob Marley's "One Love." Although the song "Imagine" is heavily favored by music fans around the world, the lyrics paint a clearly anti-god picture. The song starts out with the words, "Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky." Despite these disturbing facts, the fan base of the band is growing. Referring to the band's CD, one churchgoer was quoted as saying, "I listen to it day and night. It's a message I think everyone needs to hear." (30)
In an act of complete blasphemy, a woman by the name of Browyn Lundberg, who refers to herself as an artist, has created a new image entitled "Lesbian Last Supper." In the so-called art piece, Jesus Christ is replaced with lesbian actress Ellen Degeneres, who is then surrounded by fellow lesbians Jane Lynch, Sandra Bernhard, Rachel Maddow, Linda Perry, Portia De Rossi, Heather Matarazzo, Wanda Sykes, KD Lang, Lily Tomlin, Melissa Etheridge, and Rosie O'Donnell. The fictional lesbian character of "Shane McCutcheon" from the Showtime television network's program known as "The L Word" takes the spot of Judas Iscariot. Speaking of her artwork, Lundberg was quoted as saying, "I drew it because it made me smile and because I wanted to pay tribute to the woman who made it easier to be myself. Religious art will inevitably strike strong responses in some people but those are issues I can't worry about because I really can't identify with them." (31)
In a move that stunned the world, 85 year-old Pope Benedict XVI announced on February 11, 2013, that he would resign from the papacy, becoming the first pope to do so in 600 years. Citing poor health in his announcement, Pope Benedict declared, "Both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter." (32) After the pope's announcement, much speculation was made over his real motivation for stepping down. According to a report published by USA Today, Pope Benedict reached his decision to abdicate after receiving the results of an internal investigation which found that the Vatican had become a hotbed of homosexual activity. "What's coming out is a very detailed x-ray of the Roman Curia that does not spare even the closest collaborators of the pope. The pope was no stranger to the intrigues, but he probably did not know that under his pontificate there was such a complex network and such intricate chains of personal interests and unmentionable relationships," declared Ignazio Ingrao, a well-respected expert on the Vatican. (33) The internal investigation, performed by three Cardinals at the Vatican, reportedly uncovered an underground network of homosexual priests who would meet in several locations, including a villa outside of Rome and a beauty parlor in the Vatican for shameful homosexual activity. (34)
In closing, I know these are troubling times in which we live, and we will continue to face numerous challenges in the days ahead. Even as the second presidential term of Barack Obama is now fully underway, we are already beginning to see new economic hardships coming upon the United States. In fact, economists were recently shocked to discover that the economy in the United States shrunk by 0.1 percent in the final quarter of the year 2012. (35) Meanwhile, the European Commission has warned that they expect a recession to continue in the European Union at least through the year 2013. The European nations of Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Netherlands, and Portugal are all expected to have shrinking economies. (36) Despite all of this trouble and the myriad potential problems facing the United States and the entire world, we can put our faith and trust in God, and in doing so we can have peace in our lives. In Psalm 29:11 we read, "The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." It is my hope and prayer that all who read this newsletter will embrace this peace and fully give your lives to God.
Thank you to all who so generously support this ministry. We at Last Trumpet Ministries realize the importance of proclaiming the Gospel in these tumultuous times, and we could not do what we do without your help. If you have any prayer requests, small or great, please feel welcome to send them our way. Our dedicated teams of intercessors will carry your petition through prayer to the throne of the Almighty. We take prayer seriously, and we always give each request individual attention. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.