Volume XXXII Issue X October 2013
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
A Troubled World Reaping The Fruit Of Iniquity!
"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity."Isaiah 59:1-4
"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men."Hosea 10:12-13
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."II Timothy 2:19
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will examine the current happenings in our world which indicate that life as we know it is changing and that we are now living in a time unlike any other point in human history. As I studied the news in preparation for this newsletter, I could not help but feel deeply troubled regarding the seemingly endless examples of rampant brutality, violence, and sin in this world today. I marveled as I read about the many scientific and technological advances that could change the lives of this planet's inhabitants forever, and I was saddened by the diseases, plagues, and disasters that have befallen mankind in recent days. When I considered the seemingly hopeless state of this world, I recalled the Scriptures in Lamentations 3:21-26 which read, "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord." It is of the utmost importance that we never forget that our hope is in God only. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by what is happening in this present world, yet through the strength of our Lord and Saviour, we can have genuine peace in our hearts. If you have not yet fully given your heart to God, I urge you to do so now.
A Glimpse At The Future Of Technology!
In this modern age, technology continues to move forward at breakneck speed, and some of the world's most brilliant minds have given us a glimpse of how they envision the future of mankind. One of the most important companies responsible for the advancement of technology is none other than Google, which is famous for its search engine, and has become a household name around the globe. Of course, it recently came to light that Google plays a crucial role within the spying apparatus of the United States government and has cooperated extensively with the National Security Agency, or NSA. Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, recently defended such activity and was quoted as saying, "There's been spying for years, there's been surveillance for years, and so forth. I'm not going to pass judgment on that; it's the nature of our society." (1)
It is not surprising that Google would defend such surveillance systems since the company itself reads the contents of every email sent from and to its email service known as Gmail. In fact, Google's policies regarding the scrutiny of email has led to a lawsuit being filed against the company by ten people in what is expected to become a class action lawsuit. Attorney Sean Rommel explained the motivation for the lawsuit. "This company reads, on a daily basis, every email that's submitted, and when I say read, I mean looking at every word to determine meaning," Rommel stated. He later went on to say, "The injury is two-fold: the privacy invasion and the loss of property. Google is taking people's property because they can get it for free as opposed to paying for it." (2) In response, Google declared that "all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automatic processing." (3) Privacy advocates have also begun to sound the alarm against Google. "In this Gmail case, Google is trying to argue that its technology is exempt from privacy and wiretap laws. If they win, it will set a horrible precedent that they will try to apply to other Google technologies greatly threatening consumers' privacy rights," opined John Simpson, director of the Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project. (4)
The scope of Google's ambition goes far beyond search engines and email service. In fact, hidden away at the company's headquarters is a secret research facility known as Google X. This mysterious division is helmed by a man known as Astro Teller, who happens to be the grandson of physicist Edward Teller, who is sometimes called the father of the hydrogen bomb. Amongst the projects at Google X is the development of a computer built into a pair of eyeglasses known as Google Glass, self-driving automobiles, and a system known as Project Loon, which would be used to provide Internet access to even the most remote parts of the world. (5) Amazingly enough, Google announced in September 2013 that it is launching a new company known as Calico, which will focus on health research. The goal of the new firm will be to reverse aging, extend the human lifespan, and eventually bring about an end to death. (6)
It is a bit startling to read some of the words of certain figures at Google and their bold predictions regarding the future of the human race. One might expect that their projects were lifted from Hollywood science fiction projects, but when they speak, they are being completely serious. Such is the case with a man known as Ray Kurzweil who is director of engineering at Google. Kurzweil has predicted that human beings will be able to upload their entire minds to computer systems by the year 2045. He also believes that as early as the year 2100, many biological parts of the human body will be replaced with non-biological mechanical and computerized parts, which he claims will allow people to live forever. (7)
I do not believe such attempts to create a modern-day fountain of youth will ever come to fruition. For as it tells us in Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." However, it is interesting to note that companies such as Google have taken on projects which have an almost religious quality about them. Sadly, for many people in this world, Google plays a far more prominent role in their lives than God.
Meanwhile, a Canadian company known as Bionym has developed a new wristband, which is able to discern the unique pattern of a person's heartbeat and be used as a means of identification. They are hoping this technology will eventually be used to replace an individual's passwords, personal identification number (pin), and credit cards. "It's like your personal pin number is your heartbeat," said Lance Ulanoff of the technology review company known as Mashable. He further went on to say, "You're not going to have a piece of paper in your pocket with your password. You're going to have it as part of your body so that it is safer." (8) Of course, this system could be problematic if an individual were to lose his wristband. One might wonder if the same technology will someday be adapted to an implantable microchip, which would be linked to the actual heart of the user.
There are already people in this modern age who have microchips implanted in their bodies. In fact, according to a recent news report, one man had a radio frequency identification chip, which is commonly referred to as RFID, implanted in his hand voluntarily. The chip, which is about the size of one grain of sand, is used to display digital art on compatible mobile phones when they are placed within two centimeters of the chip. (9) Although this particular chip is used as a novelty, implantable chips were approved for use in humans for medical use by the Food and Drug Administration in the year 2004. At that time it was reported that about one thousand individuals around the world had already been implanted with a microchip. (10)
Abounding Hatred And Violence In The Last Days!
Each month as I do my research, I cannot help but feel startled by the extreme levels of hatred and violence which now permeate the land. These senseless acts of brutality are doubtlessly driven by demonic forces, and many of the news headlines which come across my desk call to mind Galatians 5:19-21. In these verses, the Apostle Paul gives a fitting description of today's world when he writes, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
At this present time in the United States, there is a festering spirit of hatred which has become increasingly prominent in recent months. This hatred is even present within the offices of government agencies and the people who are supposedly working to protect the American people. In fact, an acquisitions officer at the Department of Homeland Security by the name of Ayo Kimathi was placed on paid leave in August 2013 when it came to light that he was operating a website known as "War on the Horizon," which advocates a race war and speaks of an "unavoidable inevitable clash with the white race." An unnamed supervisor at Homeland Security was quoted as saying, "I am astounded he's employed by the federal government, let alone Homeland Security." (11)
Sadly, violence in the United States often comes in the form of a mass shooting. Yet another such incident came to pass on August 16, 2013, when Navy veteran Aaron Alexis shot and killed twelve individuals at a Navy yard in Washington, D.C. (12) Those who knew him claim he was a man unhappy with his life in the United States. "I knew he was not happy with America and he felt slighted as a veteran and he was ready to move out of the country," said a woman who used to be Alexis' roommate. (13) News reports portray Aaron Alexis as a man who suffered from mental illness and complained of hearing voices in his head. He also stated that he believed he was being followed and that individuals who meant him harm were using a microwave device to send vibrations through his body which would not allow him to sleep. (14) According to the Associated Press, Alexis was being treated by the Veterans Administration Hospital for mental illness. (15) However, the hospital claims they have no record of treating the man for mental illness but had only given him prescription medication to control his insomnia. (16) In either case, Alexis, who died in a shootout with police officers, was obviously in a very troubled state. It is important to remember that many cases of mental illness are actually caused by evil spirits. Such was the case in the Bible story recorded in Mark 5:1-20. In fact, the man which was tormented by evil spirits was described in Mark 5:15 as "sitting, clothed, and in his right mind" after Jesus cast the devils out of him.
Meanwhile, violence in the city of Chicago, Illinois, has escalated to the point that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, has declared that the city now has more murders than any other city in the United States. Media outlets have referred to Chicago as "murder capital of the United States." (17) The month of August 2013 was a particularly brutal time for the city in which 53 people were killed and another 224 were wounded. (18) Unfortunately, the brutality and violence has not abated during the month of September. On September 19, 2013, thirteen people, including a three year-old boy, were shot while playing at a basketball court. One witness described the scene as follows: "They hit the light pole next to me but I ducked down and ran into the house. They've been coming round here looking for people to shoot every night - just gangbanging stuff. It's what they do." (19) Four more individuals were shot and killed between September 20 and September 21, 2013. The recent breakout of violence prompted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to declare, "We cannot allow children in the city of Chicago and we will not allow children in the city of Chicago to have their youthfulness, their optimism, their hope taken from them. That's what gun violence does." (20)
So far attempts to quell the violence in Chicago have been unsuccessful. Such attempts include the establishment of "safe passage routes," which are watched over by guards working for the city in an attempt to protect school children. A 28-year-old man was shot and wounded and a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed in areas designated as safe passage routes the day before school started after summer break in August 2013. (21) The horrific violence in Chicago has prompted one city alderman to suggest that drones be deployed over safe passage routes to keep children safe. "We could use the help! Why not use drones in safe passage?" wrote Alderman George Cardenas in an online message. He was later quoted as saying in an interview, "There is no doubt [drone] technology is migrating from military use… It's going to take time to find those uses in an urban environment. It is, however, the future and I think people will want to take that leap. I think eventually we're going to have to look at this technology." (22) At least one advocate for the usage of drones did not object to the idea. "The technology could certainly be used to help keep children safe. Importantly, however, it is up to local leaders to determine whether this is an appropriate use in their community," declared Melanie Hinton, who is the spokeswoman for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. (23)
Other areas of the United States have also seen heinous acts of violence in recent weeks. On the afternoon of September 6, 2013, a user of public transportation in the Harlem area of New York City was attacked after being referred to by a racial slur for white people. The victim was punched so hard that some of his facial bones were smashed, including his nose and eye socket. (24) Just two days prior on September 4, 2013, a 62 year-old white man was fatally attacked by a 31 year-old black man at Union Square in New York City. The victim hit the pavement so forcefully that the impact caused brain damage and left him in a coma, which eventually led to his death. The attacker denied that the attack was racially motivated and was quoted as saying "I've punched white people. I've punched brown people. I've punched Hispanic people. So what? I don't target anyone." (25)
Why is there so much violence in the land today? It is an unfortunate fact that there is a great appetite for violence in the United States. This is demonstrated by the astounding success of the new video game known as Grand Theft Auto 5. In this game, the player becomes a criminal who goes on missions which involve stealing cars, killing, and other violent acts. Amazingly enough, the game earned $800 million in sales within 24 hours of its release. (26) Those who play violent video games often claim that the violence does not affect them because they know it is only a game and they can detach the experience from reality. However, recent news reports indicate that video games do cause violent impulses in some people. In fact, a gamer who had just purchased Grand Theft Auto 5 at a store in London, England, on the first night of the game's release, was immediately stabbed, hit with a brick, and robbed by three individuals who were desperate to get their hands on the game. (27) In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a man was arrested on September 21, 2013, after he decided to play a real life version of Grand Theft Auto. The man hopped into a car which had been left running outside of a bar, and then proceeded to go on a joyride, which involved hitting several parked vehicles. Because a woman was still inside the vehicle when the man stole it, he was charged with kidnapping in addition to vehicle theft and nine counts of fleeing the scene of an accident. (28)
Reaping The Consequences Of Sin!
In Galatians 6:7-8, we find the following warning, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." These verses seem strikingly apropos after the revelation that the adult entertainment industry is now suffering the consequences of an HIV virus outbreak amongst its performers. This outbreak has forced pornography companies to cease operations on numerous occasions even as reports surface indicating that four adult entertainment stars have been infected with the virus. (29) "We are not currently in production. Our next shoot is scheduled for mid-October. We will assess the situation at that time," stated the co-chairman of one pornography company. (30)
Meanwhile, antibiotic-resistant illnesses have become an area of concern for the medical profession in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, nearly two million Americans are sickened by such illnesses each year with about 23,000 cases leading to death. One of these illnesses includes a drug-resistant form of the sexually transmitted disease known as gonorrhea. "The cushion of new antibiotics is gone. We're right at the edge of this cliff where we're approaching the post-antibiotic era," declared Steve Solomon, one of the directors of the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. (31) Overall, the CDC estimates that there are approximately 110 million men and women in the United States infected with a sexually transmitted disease. (32) This figure becomes even more mind-boggling when we realize that there are only about 317 million people living in the United States today, according to the United States Census Bureau. (33) This is further evidence that we are far better off just following God's Word and living our lives in the manner which the Holy Scriptures prescribe.
New Reports Of A Troubled Economy!
For those who study economic figures, it is a plain and obvious fact that the American economy has suffered greatly under the reign of Barack Obama. However, those who have not been paying close attention may be surprised to learn of the true conditions of the American economy at this present time in late 2013. Obama has often boasted about lowering the rate of unemployment. Yet, even the highly manipulated numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that not much progress has been made since Obama became President in 2009. In January 2009, the official unemployment rate in America was 7.8 percent. By August 2013 that rate had only dropped to 7.3 percent, which means over the course of 56 months, Obama managed to lower unemployment by a paltry 0.5 percent, according to the official numbers. (34) Nevertheless, we must remember that the official unemployment rate does not account for discouraged workers who no longer seek employment. The truth is that the number of Americans age 16 and older who are not in the labor force has actually increased by nearly ten million people since Obama took office and has climbed to a record high of 90,473,000 people who are not working as of August 2013. (35)
One segment of the American population which has been particularly struggling with unemployment are those between the ages of 16-19. According to reports, only 3 out of every 10 teenagers in this age segment worked a job in the summer of 2013. "We have never had anything this low in our lives. This is a Great Depression for teens, and no time in history have encountered anything like that. That's why it's such an important story," stated Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. (36) Teenagers who are unable to work are missing out on a crucial opportunity which leads to a better chance of success later in life. "People entering into the labor force in their 20s, it looks like more and more now they're not going to have any work experience as teens. Labor force participation is as low as it's ever been," declared Keith Hall, a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He further went on to say, "I think that means a lot of workers aren't advancing through their careers. Younger workers aren't going to be progressing through their careers as they did before." (37) The unemployment rate amongst black Americans is also quite dismal. According to the official statistics released in September 2013, the rate of unemployment for black people stands at 13 percent. (38)
Just how much have the living standards of Americans declined under Obama's leadership? Reports indicate that real median income for American households dropped by $2,627 during Obama's first term. During the same time period, 6,667,000 individuals were added to the poverty level. (39) According to a report issued in September 2013, there are 23,116,928 American households which now receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or the program commonly referred to as food stamps. (40) Additionally, many Americans now resort to receiving disability benefits after their unemployment benefits are exhausted. Disability payments have increased from around 5 million recipients in the year 2000 to 8.8 million recipients in the year 2012. (41) "The disability program is increasingly becoming a long-term unemployment program. We see a lot of it now because of the effects of the recession," said Richard Burkhauser, a professor at the University of Cornell. (42)
In October 2013, some provisions of Obama's Affordable Care Act will go into effect. This new healthcare system, which is commonly known as Obamacare, threatens to further damage the American economy and lower the standard of living for people in the United States. In fact, a report published by Forbes makes the claim that the annual average cost of health insurance for a family of four will increase by $7,450 under Obamacare. (43) In response to the impending healthcare reforms, franchise restaurant owners journeyed to Washington, D.C., in September 2013 to protest the provision in Obamacare requiring all businesses with over fifty employees to provide all full-time workers with health insurance. "Employees won't have the hours they need, and they won't get employer sponsored healthcare either," said Steve Caldeira, president of the International Franchise Association. He further went on to say, "[Franchisees] are dealing with high commodity costs, high energy prices, higher taxes from the 'fiscal cliff' deal, and now they are trying to work through Obamacare." (44)
Stepping Back From The Brink Of War!
Based on a belief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against rebel fighters battling his regime, American President Barack Obama seemed determined to launch an attack against Syria in late August and early September 2013. In a speech addressed to the American people, Obama declared the following on September 10, 2013: "After careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime's ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use." (45)
Obama would later change his mind about launching an attack against Syria after the Russian government convinced Assad that it would be in his best interest to relinquish his supply of chemical weapons and allow them to be destroyed. Speaking during an interview after this development, Obama declared the following: "I consider this a modestly positive development. Let's see if we can come up with language that avoids a strike but accomplishes our key goals to make sure that these chemical weapons are not used." (46) After agreeing to destroy the chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad suggested that the United States should foot the bill. "It's a very complicated operation technically and it takes a lot of money. It's not about will; it's about techniques," Bashar said. He estimates that the operation will cost about one billion dollars. (47)
It is worthwhile to note that many of the rebel fighters battling the Assad regime in Syria are Islamist extremists, and some are even Al Qaida members. In fact, a report published by IHS Jane's, a company specializing in defense and security intelligence, estimates that nearly one half of all the rebel fighters in Syria are hardline extremists which are hostile to the United States and much of the Western world. (48) Barack Obama is already supporting these rebels to some extent insomuch that he recently waived a ban on providing weapons and arms to terrorist groups. (49) Thus, Barack Obama is now aiding and abetting terrorists. He had even planned to launch military strikes to assist them further.
In closing, I urge every reader of the newsletter to fully put your faith and trust in our Almighty God. When I consider the present and worsening condition of this world, I cannot help but long for the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. A Bible passage that resonates in my mind over and over again can be found in Revelation 22:20 which reads, "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
Thank you for your generous support of this ministry. We are deeply appreciative of this opportunity that we have to serve each and every one of you. If you have any prayer requests, great or small, please do not hesitate to send them our way. We always give each request individual attention. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.