Volume XXXII Issue IX September 2013
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
Signs Of Decline In The State Of Mankind!
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind."Ephesians 4:17-23
"Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."Isaiah 42:5-7
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."Romans 12:2
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will thoughtfully consider recent current events and the present state of the human condition in this world. For many years, the scientific community has insisted that the human race continues to evolve and that our lives are constantly improving. Yet, recent evidence suggests that the condition of mankind is actually in a state of decline. My father used to say that each generation is genetically inferior to the previous one. That is to say that my generation is inferior to my father's, his generation is inferior to my grandfather's, and so on. According to a recent report, a well-respected geneticist from Stanford University by the name of Dr. Gerald Crabtree agrees with this assessment. In an article published by the scientific journal Trends In Genetics, Dr. Crabtree wrote the following: "I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues. Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues." (1)
While the opinion of one geneticist is far from conclusive evidence, an unsettling trend has emerged amongst today's young people, which are commonly referred to as Millennials. A national poll conducted by Trending Machine found that the young people of today's modern era are often more forgetful than senior citizens. In fact, the poll found that people between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely than those aged 55 or older to forget what day it is, where they put their keys, or to bring their lunch with them when they leave. (2) Some experts believe that young people may have grown so forgetful because of an excess amount of stress and an over-exposure to technology. "Stress often leads to forgetfulness, depression and poor judgment. We find higher rates of ADHD diagnoses in young adults. This is a population that has grown up multitasking using technology, often compounded by lack of sleep, all of which results in high levels of forgetfulness." (3) It is interesting to note that the results of a recent study which was published in 2011 found that the ubiquitous usage of the Internet has actually changed the way many people think and remember information. Rather than remember the information itself, men and women in today's world often remember where to look up that information instead. "We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools, growing into interconnected systems that remember less by knowing information than by knowing where information can be found," wrote the authors of the study, which hail from Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin, and Harvard University. (4) Psychologist Betsy Sparrow, one of the researchers who worked on the study, was quoted as saying, "Since the advent of search engines, we are reorganizing the way we remember things. Our brains rely on the Internet for memory in much the same way they rely on the memory of a friend, family member or co-worker." (5)
We must remember that the Internet is the backbone of the beast system infrastructure now being developed. Without this net, which now engulfs most of the United States and many other parts of the world, it would not be possible to develop a cashless society. Deploying a far-reaching surveillance system for the watchful eye of Big Brother would be far more difficult.
As the human race continues to grow even more reliant on the Internet to function in their day-to-day lives, devices which allow people to interface with the system are becoming more intertwined with the human body itself. One such example is Google Glass, a computer system so small that it is built into a pair of eyeglasses. The technology allows its users to interface with the Internet on a constant basis as it delivers information straight to the user's eyes. However, Google's ambitions do not stop with this new device. According to a report in The Independent, Google's ultimate goal is to develop a microchip which can be embedded in the brain. "Already people are beginning to experiment with handicapped people for maneuvering their wheelchairs. They are getting a few senses of direction with the wheelchair but getting from there to actual words is a long way off. We have to do this in the brain a lot better to make that interaction possible. We have impatience for that to happen but the pieces of technology have to develop," declared Ben Gomes, the Vice President of Search at Google. (6)
It has also been reported in recent days that many children are unable to develop proper motor and social skills because they watch too much television. In response, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new guidelines advising that children age two and older watch no more than two hours of television per day. They further recommend that children under the age of two watch no television. "These kids are watching too much television at a time when they should be out there in the environment exploring and interacting, especially with other humans," stated Professor Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal. (7) Amazingly, it was reported in 2009 that the average American watches 153 hours of television at home in a typical month. (8)
We live in a fast-paced, push-button society in which consumers have grown accustomed to instantaneous results. However, being so fully ensconced in this modern system can present a serious threat to our spiritual lives. As Christians we must ensure that we are not so connected to the world that we lose our connection to God and become spiritually blind. Yes, the facts seem to indicate that mankind is in a state of decline and that our minds are not as vibrant as they once were. Thankfully, we can turn to our Saviour, and by His mercy and grace, our minds can be renewed. For as it says in Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Our God is well able to transform each and every one of us and deliver our minds from the dense spiritual fog that has dulled the understanding of so many men and women in these troubling times. If you have not yet fully given your heart to God, I urge you to do so now.
The Love Of Many Shall Wax Cold!
In the Holy Scriptures, we are given many warnings regarding the characteristics of the world in the days leading up to the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. One such trait we were instructed to watch for is highlighted in Matthew 24:12 which reads, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." These words of Jesus are a very fitting description for a growing segment of the world's population which has been given over to demonic forces and commits acts of unthinkable cruelty.
Sadly, it is often young people who commit brutal acts of violence in this modern age. Such was the case in East Chicago, Indiana, where a teenage boy recently decided to hunt kittens in his neighborhood because he was bored. The 17 year-old hunted the kittens with a bow and arrow and then posted gruesome pictures on the social networking website known as Facebook according to reports. "He did confess. He said he was bored out of his mind the week before school started and decided to hunt some kittens," said investigator Michelle Dvorscak. (9)
In a far more serious incident, three teenaged boys, ages 15, 16, and 17, were arrested in Duncan, Oklahoma, after slaying 22 year-old Australian Chris Lane on August 16, 2013. (10) According to reports, the teenagers saw Lane jogging in their neighborhood and decided to follow the man in a car. As they drew close to their target, one of the boys shot and killed the jogger. In an attempt to explain the boys' motive for this senseless killing, Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford was quoted as saying, "They were bored and just wanted to see somebody die." (11)
Meanwhile, violence continues to rage in Chicago, Illinois. The city, which saw 532 murders in 2012, (12) was once again rocked by violence on August 19, 2013. In the incident, five men, which were standing near a church, were shot and wounded by gang members. A pastor from the church described the scene as follows: "We heard a barrage of shots outside. There must have been at least 15 to 20 shots fired, and then after that, I went out to find out what was going on, and just saw carnage at the base of the church steps." (13) The incident occurred within an area of the city which has been designated a "safe passage" route by city officials. (14) The new program, which is designed to protect school children, is a system which designates approximately 600 city employees to stand guard along their assigned safe passage routes in an effort to deter crime. (15)
When we consider the violent behavior now so common in our world, one might be inclined to wonder why such horrifying incidents continue to happen on such a frequent basis. I believe this behavior is the result of demonic activity, and it is evidence that Satan is still exerting his influence in this world.
The Detrimental Impact Of Obamacare!
The recent years have not been kind to the people of the United States. Since the economic downturn of 2008, this erstwhile great nation has continued to suffer from the nagging effects of the Great Recession. With Barack Obama leading the way, the United States continues to suffer from high unemployment, low wages, and job insecurity due in part to expansive new healthcare reform. Even Obama himself has acknowledged in recent weeks that the American economy is sputtering. However, he is unwilling to take responsibility for his failures and rather seeks to place the blame on others, particularly his political opponents. In a recent speech given at Knox College in Gallesburg, Illinois, Obama declared the following: "Reversing these trends must be Washington's highest priority. It's certainly my highest priority. Unfortunately, over the past couple of years in particular, Washington hasn't just ignored the problem; too often it's made things worse." He further went on to say later in his speech, "With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop. Short-term thinking and stale debates are not what this moment requires." As Obama continued to bemoan the unwillingness of his opponents to obey him, he arrogantly threatened once again to use executive orders to inflict his will upon the people. "I will not allow gridlock, inaction, or willful indifference to get in our way. Whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I'll use it," Obama declared. (16)
One of Barack Obama's proudest accomplishments is the passing of the Affordable Care Act, which is often referred to as Obamacare. Obama and his cohorts promote this new system, which is socialist in nature, as a means by which every American citizen will have access to affordable healthcare. In reality, this new law will prove burdensome for many people and businesses in the United States. For example, the cost of individual health insurance plans in the state of Indiana are expected to rise by 72 percent because of Obamacare. "This new data regrettably confirms the negative impact of the Affordable Care Act on the insurance markets in Indiana. The Affordable Care Act requires many Hoosiers to purchase more comprehensive and more expensive health insurance than they may want or need. These rates call into question just how affordable health insurance will really be for many Hoosiers," Indiana Governor Mike Pence said. (17)
As a consequence of Obamacare, many employers in the United States are opting to hire part-time workers. This development is due in part because the Affordable Care Act requires all businesses with over fifty employees to provide all full-time employees with health insurance. Conversely, they are not required to provide part-time employees, those who work under thirty hours per week, with insurance. There have been nearly one million job hires in the United States so far this year; however, three out of every four of those jobs are part-time positions. Many of these jobs are also low-paying. (18) An economist from the Economic Policy Institute by the name of Heidi Shierholz has warned of the detrimental impact this trend is having on the American people. "The difference between 30 and 40 hours can be the difference between being able to make ends meet month-to-month. That contributes to reduced living standards for American families and translates into having less income to spend on goods and services, which holds back the economy," Shierholz stated. (19)
Meanwhile, United Parcel Service, which is more commonly known as UPS, has announced that they plan to drop insurance coverage for 15,000 of their employees' spouses. The company cited Obamacare and rising medical costs as their motivation for this latest move. (20) In the state of Georgia, an Atlanta-based parking garage operator, known as AAA Parking, has moved 250 of its employees to part-time status. In a statement explaining why this move was necessary, the company stated that the Affordable Care Act forced them to either make "substantial changes in our hourly staffing models, or suffer an enormous and unsustainable annual net loss." (21) Additionally, clothing store chain Forever 21 recently announced that non-managerial positions will be reduced to 29.5 hours per week beginning on August 31st, 2013. (22)
Obama has proven himself to be a hard taskmaster, not unlike the Pharaoh spoken of in the Bible book of Exodus. We are just now starting to see the impact of Obamacare, and a close examination of the facts reveal that this new healthcare system could have a very detrimental effect on the people of the United States who are already suffering from poor economic conditions. In fact, an article published by the Associated Press in July 2013 makes the claim that 4 out of every 5 Americans have faced struggles with unemployment, near poverty, and a need for welfare. (23)
Amazingly enough, those who turn to welfare are sometimes better off than those who do not. A recent report published by the Cato Institute has declared that it is now a better deal to receive welfare than work an entry-level position in over thirty American states. "One of the single best ways to climb out of poverty is taking a job, but as long as welfare provides a better standard of living than an entry-level job, recipients will continue to choose it over work," stated Michael Tanner, one of the co-authors of the report. (24) The report further elaborates on the problem. "The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive to work. Welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in 13 states it pays more than $15 an hour," the report declares. (25)
Strange Religion In This Modern Age!
As we draw closer to the return of our Saviour, many strange developments are happening in the realm of religion. For example, an unusual church was founded in Lynnwood, Washington, three years ago. This church, which is known as the Living Interfaith Church of Lynnwood, is not like other churches, but rather its leaders claim to embrace all religions. According to reports, a service at this church might include elements of Islam, Judaism, Native American Religion, Christianity, Wicca, and other religions. (26) Although the church only has thirty members at this time, it serves as a prime example of the antichrist one world religious system that Satan is hoping to establish in the last days.
These days it appears that many professing Christian institutions are beginning to lose their sense of moral conviction. One such example is a denomination known as Disciples of Christ, which recently passed a resolution to embrace homosexuality. A portion of the text from the church's official resolution is as follows: "Be it further resolved that the General Assembly calls upon the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to affirm the faith, baptism, and spiritual gifts of all Christians regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that neither is grounds for exclusion from fellowship or service within the church, but we celebrate that all are a part of God's good creation." (27)
Meanwhile, Fuller Seminary, which is known to be one of the most influential seminaries in the United States, recently allowed the formation of a student group for homosexuals. The group, which is known as OneTable, claims its goal is to be "a safe place for dialogue between LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) students and the wider Fuller Community." (28) The homosexual advocacy group known as GLAAD was excited to learn of this development. "While the progress may seem small to people outside the evangelical world, those within will undoubtedly recognize the gravity of this step. As a leading evangelical seminary, Fuller prepares future leaders of the church to be ministers and advocates for change," wrote GLAAD in an official statement. (29)
Even Pope Francis has made remarks in recent days which seemingly soften his stance regarding the homosexual lifestyle. Speaking to reporters, the Pope was quoted as saying, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?" (30) It is interesting to note that a recent article published by U.S. News & World Report claims that as many as 60 percent of all Catholic priests are gay. "It's an empirical fact that lots of men are gay who are priests. And they are very good priests. I would also observe that the numbers of gay men and women in the church ministry is probably larger than the general population, precisely because they are not seeking marriage," stated Father James Bretzke, a professor at Boston College. (31)
An Emergency Declared In Japan!
Although it has been nearly two and a half years since a devastating earthquake struck Japan and crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the surrounding area is still grappling with the effects of the disaster. In fact, it has now been revealed that the crippled facility has been leaking an estimated 300 tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis. (32) This revelation has prompted government officials in Japan to declare an emergency and promised to step in with a plan to stop the problem. "There is heightened concern among the public, particularly about the contaminated water problem. This is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed. The government will step in to take firm measures," Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared. (33) Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Shunichi Tanaka, expressed grave concern over the condition of the damaged plant. "I don't know if describing it this way is appropriate, but it's like a haunted house and, as I've said, mishaps keep happening one after the other. We have to look into how we can reduce the risks and how to prevent it from becoming a fatal or serious incident," Tanaka said. (34) Officials from the Foreign Ministry in China have also expressed dismay regarding this disaster. "We hope the Japanese side can earnestly take effective steps to put an end to the negative impact of the after-effects of the Fukushima nuclear accident," the agency said in a statement. (35)
Sadly, this disaster could very easily contaminate a large portion of our planet. As massive quantities of contaminated water flow into the ocean, it is difficult to predict how far the radioactive material will spread. Based on what information I can glean from recent news reports, I would say that the situation regarding this nuclear disaster is far worse than we have been told. This is yet another reason that we must continue to watch and pray in these troubling times.
A Deepening Crisis In Syria!
On August 21, 2013, it was reported by mainstream media outlets that the military in Syria had allegedly used chemical weapons in an attack on civilians. Reports vary widely and estimate that anywhere from 136 to 1300 people were killed in the attack. (36) The alleged incident has sparked outrage throughout the international community with many officials from various countries around the world calling for action to be taken in Syria. This outcry includes officials such as French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who declared that "a reaction of force must be taken" if the allegations are proven to be true. (37) United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson has promised that the United Nations will launch a serious investigation. "We see the need to investigate this as soon as possible; no matter what the conclusions, this represents a serious escalation with grave humanitarian and human consequences," Eliasson said. (38) Meanwhile, Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs, Yuval Steinitz, lashed out against the United Nations regarding their response to the Syrian crisis. "Nothing practical, significant, has been done in the last two years in order to stop the continuing massacre of civilians carried out by the Assad regime. I think that the investigation of the United Nations is a joke," Steinitz declared. (39) The civil war in Syria, which has been ongoing since March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 individuals so far. (40) The Syrian regime, which is headed by Bashar al-Assad, has not fallen despite the prolonged war, due in part to support from key allies such as Russia, China, and Iran.
In closing, I encourage every reader of this newsletter to remain steadfast in the faith. The world in which we live is in an increasingly deplorable state, yet we know that Jesus promised us in Matthew 24:13, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Thank you for your gracious support of this ministry. We appreciate each and every one of you more than words can describe, and we at Last Trumpet Ministries will endeavor to faithfully serve you to the best of our ability as we draw ever closer to the return of our Saviour. As always, we welcome you to send us your prayer requests. We always give each request individual attention. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.Samuel David Meyer