Volume XXXII Issue XI November 2013
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
The Coming Final Shutdown!
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."Romans 13:11-12
"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."Ephesians 5:14-16
"But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth."Luke 11:17
"And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets."Revelation 10:5-7
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will carefully study recent trends, including a pervasive discordant state amongst the people of the United States and their government. The growing dissatisfaction with the performance of the American government gained traction in October 2013 as the two dominant political parties, Republican and Democratic, squared off in a war of wills that resulted in a government shutdown which lasted from October 1, 2013, until the early hours of October 17, 2013. (1) The shutdown came about after the two branches of Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives, were unable to pass the necessary appropriation bills which would have adequately funded government operations. (2) As a result, only the segments of American government deemed to be absolutely essential continued to operate throughout the shutdown, and 800,000 federal workers were sent home. (3)
The areas of government which are considered essential is obviously open to the interpretation of the Obama Administration, and this shutdown revealed the cruel nature of Barack Obama who seemed more concerned about making lives miserable than governing in a fair and impartial manner. In fact, Obama admitted that he intentionally allowed government closures in order to put heat on the Republican Party to end the shutdown. "You'd like to think you could solve at least some of the problems if you couldn't solve all of it. But here's the problem. What you've seen are bills that come up wherever Republicans are feeling political pressure, they put a bill forward. And if there's no political heat, if there's no television story on it, then nothing happens," Obama declared. (4)
As a consequence of the shutdown, all national parks in the United States were closed. The park rangers at the behest of Obama acted swiftly, and visitors who were present at the parks when they closed were often treated harshly. Such was the scene at Yellowstone National Park where visitors were systematically rounded up and forced to leave. Those who had hotel reservations were allowed to stay for 48 hours, but they were not allowed to do anything inside the park. When a group of visitors, including senior citizens, exited a tour bus to take pictures of a large herd of bison, they were ordered by an armed ranger to get back in the bus because they were not allowed to participate in anything that would be considered recreation. When the tour guide argued that they were not recreating but merely taking photos, the armed ranger replied, "Sir, you are recreating." When the tour group arrived at the Old Faithful Inn, they found that the famous geyser known as Old Faithful had been barricaded, and the visitors were then locked inside the hotel while an armed ranger stood guard at the door. "They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us 'you can't go outside.' Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, 'O my God, are we under arrest?' They felt like they were criminals," stated Pat Vaillancourt, one of the detained members of the tour group. (5) The unpleasant experience raised the ire of tour guide Gordon Hodgson. "She (the park ranger) told me you need to return to your hotel and stay there. This is just Gestapo tactics," Hodgson said. (6)
In Yorktown, Virginia, restaurant owner Glenn Helseth was ordered to close his establishment by the Park Service because the building he leases is owned by the federal government. "I was called about 9 o'clock Tuesday morning, October 1. I was told I had three hours to vacate my restaurant. I was shocked and called back to say I can't quite possibly do that," Helseth said. The restaurant owner finally closed his business three days later, but in an act of defiance he reopened after a week's time. "I'm willing to go to jail for this. If the Parks Service wants to put me in jail because I want to honor the terms of my contract, well I suppose they have that right," Helseth stated. (7) In the state of North Carolina, a hotel known as the Pisgah Inn was forced to shut down by the government because the property is located on federal land. When the business owner, Bruce O'Connell, attempted to reopen his business, Park Rangers soon arrived and blocked all of the entrances. "They have been there 24-hours a day since 12:30 last Friday," O'Connell stated on October 8, 2013. Park Rangers told the business owner that they were just following orders. (8)
It is an obvious fact that many of the park and monument closures throughout the country were not done out of a desire for cost-cutting efficiency, but rather out of spite. In fact, the Park Service in the United States was so methodical about their closings that they even blocked off viewing areas along the highway in the state of South Dakota at which Mount Rushmore is visible. (9) Some residents were also forced out of their homes due to the government shutdown. In fact, a 77 year-old woman and an 80 year-old man were ordered to leave their home on Lake Mead in the state of Nevada. Although the couple owns their home, it is located on federal land and they were thus forced to vacate their property. Residents in the area were told they could only return to retrieve some of their belongings. "Unfortunately, overnight stays are not permitted until a budget is passed and the park can reopen," park officials said in a statement issued to the press. (10)
Meanwhile, attempts by the government to close down open air memorials in Washington, D.C., were met with swift protests and acts of defiance by many American citizens. One such incident, which gained attention in the national spotlight, occurred on October 1, 2013. On this day, ninety-two World War II veterans crossed the barricades at the World War II monument in Washington, D.C., despite the area having been closed by the government. (11) On October 13, 2013, this same location became the site of an angry protest wherein demonstrators toppled the barricades which had been erected in an effort to keep visitors out. Demonstrators were heard to be shouting, "Tear down these walls," as they entered the area which was supposed to be off limits. (12) The angry protestors then marched to the White House where they made their feelings known while Barack Obama remained inside his presidential residence. News reports indicate that a sizable segment of the police force was on-hand and tasked with moving the protestors away from the White House. (13)
Throughout the course of the shutdown, public opinion of the federal government sank to new lows. According to a poll published by Rasmussen Reports on October 16, 2013, only 13 percent of respondents indicated that they felt the United States was heading in the right direction. (14) Another poll conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that 60 percent of respondents felt that every member of the United States Congress should be fired. "We continue to use this number as a way to sort of understand how much revulsion there is. We now have a new high-water mark," said pollster Peter D. Hart, regarding the results of this research. (15) Bill McInturff, another pollster involved with the research, also offered his take on the results. "What these numbers tell us is that the already shaken public - this kicked the stool out from under them. We're seeing numbers that are associated with historic lows in public confidence," McInturff declared. (16) A Gallup poll published on October 11, 2013, found that 60 percent of respondents believe that there is a need for a third political party, which would compete with the Republicans and Democrats, in the United States. (17)
Although the government shutdown finally ended during the early hours of October 17, 2013, the agreement reached in Congress is only a temporary fix. The deal will fund the federal government through January 15, 2014, which sets the stage for another battle in Washington, D.C., in the coming months. (18) The deal also enacted a suspension of the national debt ceiling, which had previously been set at 16.4 trillion dollars and is a level of debt which would have been surpassed on October 17, 2013. This new suspension of a debt limit will last until February 7, 2014, and will allow the government to spend as much money as they like until that date. (19) Speaking of this development, David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, was quoted as saying, "Suspending the debt ceiling without a dollar amount is further proof that Congress is taking a major step backward in fiscal responsibility. A real dollar figure is a constant reminder to taxpayers and Congress that the country is broke. This was done to hide the real debt from the taxpayers." (20)
In reality, the recent so-called government shutdown, despite all the misery it caused, did not actually shut down the government of the United States, nor did it prevent the government from spending money. In fact, reports indicate that throughout the first two days of the shutdown, the federal government managed to spend over 63 billion dollars. (21) It also came to light that during the shutdown, the government was still operating at an estimated 83 percent, which means in reality, the government was only shut down at a rate of 17 percent in terms of money being spent. (22)
As I consider the dysfunctional government of the United States today, I cannot help but recall the words of Jesus in Luke 11:17, which warns, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth." The United States of America is now divided more than it has ever been since the time of the American Civil War. However, a critical thinker might ask himself if all of this American discord so prevalent today is just a byproduct of poor leadership, or if there are powerful people who want to bring the United States to its knees and reshape it to fit their vision of "hope and change." It is a poorly hidden secret that Barack Obama is a socialist at heart, and we must remember the words of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt who once said, "In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way." (23)
In any case, all of the recent chatter regarding the government shutdown serves as a reminder that a final shutdown is coming, and it will impact the entire world. For as it tells us in Revelation 10:5-6, "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer." Thankfully, if you are reading this newsletter, there is still time to reach out to God and dedicate your life to Him. If you have not yet fully given your heart to God, I urge you to do so now.
A Rocky Start To Obamacare!
As most Americans know by now, the new healthcare system in the United States, known as The Affordable Care Act and is sometimes referred to as Obamacare, is firmly entrenched as the law of the land. The program requires every American citizen to purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty to the Internal Revenue Service. On October 1, 2013, a government website known as healthcare.gov opened for business and was supposed to allow those seeking insurance to sign up for it easily and quickly. As of this writing, the launch of the Obamacare website has been a disaster.
The website was plagued by Internet website traffic and numerous technical glitches right from the start. Barack Obama began making excuses almost immediately. Speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House on October 1, 2013, Obama was quoted as saying, "Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system and within days they found a glitch, so they fixed it. I don't remember anyone suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn't," Obama said. (24) By October 4, 2013, it was reported by CNBC that 99 percent of all participants failed to successfully submit an application on the website due to technical glitches. (25) Experts familiar with the situation have claimed the end results could be catastrophic if the Obama Administration is unable to get their website working properly in a timely manner. "If we continue to see these issues through the next three or four weeks there's a lot of concern about how many people will have effective coverage by January 1," Dan Shuyler said, director of the Leavitt Partners consultancy group. (26)
For those who have attempted to use the government run website or the telephone hotlines associated with the program, it has required an enormous amount of patience. One such example is a self-employed grant writer from the state of New Hampshire. Although her experience is cited as a success story by the Obama Administration, it took the woman three days to successfully sign up for health insurance using the Obamacare website. (27) In the state of Iowa, it took a man over one hundred tries before he was successful in his endeavor to sign up for health insurance online. (28) In mid-October 2013, the magazine known as Consumer Reports recommended that Americans seeking health insurance stay away from the government run website for at least another month. On October 8, 2013, the magazine reported, "One week in, Healthcare.gov is barely operational." In another report dated October 10, 2013, a member of the magazine staff wrote the following: "Healthcare.gov is slightly less terrible today. The bad news is that it's still next to impossible to create a user name and password that you can actually use to sign in. I myself have tried five times without success. Our readers report similar frustrations." Finally, in a story dated October 21, 2013, the magazine was quoted as saying, "Stay away from Healthcare.gov for at least another month if you can." (29)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has attempted to dissuade fears that American citizens may be stuck paying the penalty to the IRS even after attempting to buy insurance but being unable to do so because of the faulty website. "The law is clear that if you do not have access to affordable health insurance then you will not be asked to pay a penalty because you haven't purchased affordable health insurance," Carney stated. (30) Thus, a prolonged failure of the Obamacare website may force the Obama Administration to delay the rollout of the Affordable Care Act provisions if they are unable to get the website working in an orderly fashion soon.
Despite the poor launch of the Obamacare website, the propaganda machine which is promoting the Affordable Care Act is out in full force. In fact, professional basketball players, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, have been publically urging people to sign up for Obamacare. "We can reach young adults. We're with kids all day, every day, and they're watching our games, and we have an influence, so we have an opportunity to use our voice," Chris Paul said. (31) Additionally, the professional football team known as the Baltimore Ravens has been given 130,000 dollars of taxpayer money in exchange for an agreement to promote Obama's new health care system. (32) Meanwhile, a 500,000 dollar grant has been awarded to an institution known as the Hollywood Health & Society program, which will be tasked with educating Hollywood insiders about Obamacare so that they are able to insert relevant propaganda into their movies and television shows. "Our experience has shown that the public gets just as much, if not more, information about current events and important issues from their favorite television shows and characters as they do from news media and online resources. This grant will allow us to ensure that industry practitioners have up-to-date, relevant facts on health care reform to integrate into their storylines and projects," stated Martin Kaplan of the Hollywood Health and Society program. (33)
Impending Threats To Our Quaking Planet!
In these tumultuous times, people can sometimes become forgetful of the threat that our world faces from earthquakes. In fact, it has become so normal for our planet to shake and quake each and every day that the human race has grown accustomed to it. Yet, we know that Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:7 that earthquakes would play a pivotal role in the end time scenario and specifically states that there will be "earthquakes in divers places." Here let it be noted that as I write this newsletter, the United States Geological Survey reports that there have been 1,132 earthquakes in the last 30 days. (34)
One area of particular concern is Yellowstone National Park, which is primarily located within the state of Wyoming in the United States. Although earthquakes occur regularly in the area, what occurred in the month of September 2013 was quite unusual. Beginning on September 10 and lasting through September 16, a total of 130 earthquakes occurred in Yellowstone National Park. These quakes were part of three distinct yet simultaneous earthquake swarms, which is a phenomenon never seen before by many geologists. In fact, Bob Smith, a geophysics professor at the University of Utah, was surprised by this development. "It's very remarkable. How does one swarm relate to another? Can one swarm trigger another and vice versa? Smith wondered. He later went on to say, "They weren't big earthquakes, but they were felt. This is pretty unusual, to be honest." (35) Seismic activity at Yellowstone National Park is always carefully monitored because it is the site of a dormant volcano, which would cause extreme devastation throughout a large portion of the United States if it were to erupt. It is worthwhile to note that the ground above the Yellowstone Caldera rose by as much as 10 inches in some areas between the years of 2004 and 2010 according to a report published by National Geographic in 2011. (36) The previously mentioned professor, Bob Smith, warned that such activity can sometimes lead to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. "These calderas tend to go up and down, up and down. But every once in a while they burp, creating hydrothermal explosions, earthquakes, or - ultimately - they can produce volcanic eruptions," Smith said. (37) Approximately 3000 earthquakes occur at Yellowstone National Park each year. (38)
Geologists are also concerned about the Seattle Fault, a fault line located in the region of Seattle, Washington. According to recent reports, a major earthquake in the region would be catastrophic and could see as many as 8000 buildings destroyed by earthquake induced landslides. "A major quake along the Seattle Fault is among the worst case scenarios for the area since the fault runs just south of downtown," said Kate Allstadt, a doctoral student at the University of Washington who co-authored recent research regarding this threat. Geologists believe that the last earthquake on the Seattle Fault occurred in the year 900 A.D., and they warn that another quake could strike at any time. (39)
A recent example of the destruction that an earthquake can cause occurred on September 24, 2013, in the nation of Pakistan. In fact, the earthquake, which measured 7.7 in magnitude, was so forceful that it caused the formation of a muddy island, which was been dubbed Zalzala Jazeera (earthquake island.) (40) Sadly, the powerful quake destroyed 30 villages, 20,000 homes, and led to the death of at least 825 people. (41)
A deadly quake also occurred on October 16, 2013, in the Philippines, which caused the loss of over one hundred lives. (42) Additionally, five earthquakes recently struck the nation of Israel; however, there were no reports of damage caused by those temblors. (43)
New Reports Of Animals Die-offs!
These days, it is not unusual to hear of large herds of animals dying off. However, this recent trend is rather disconcerting, especially for scientists who are unable to figure out why it is happening. One such example is the moose population in the United States, which has been declining for several years. In fact, the moose population in the state of New Hampshire has fallen from 7,000 to about 4,600 animals. In northeast Minnesota, the size of the moose population has fallen by 50 percent, and the number of moose in Montana have decreased by 40 percent since 1995. In the state of Wyoming, only 919 moose remain. (44)
Meanwhile, a freak snowstorm, which occurred in early October 2013, has caused tremendous damage to livestock in South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Iowa. This unusual storm dumped more snow in three days than the region typically receives throughout the entire month of October. According to reports, the snowstorm was accompanied by tornadoes, thunder, lightning and powerful winds. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 cattle were killed in this storm. "Things here are far worse than I anticipated in terms of deaths among cattle. Livestock losses on the plains of Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming are estimated to be between 60,000 and 100,000 head. There are also animals that will sicken and die as time goes on which will add to these numbers," said Senator Al Davis of Nebraska. (45)
The Pope Stirs More Controversy!
In July 2013, Pope Francis stirred up controversy as he took an accepting stance on homosexuality when he famously said, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" (46) Since that time, Pope Francis has made overtures to atheists, declaring that they too can be saved without believing in God. In September 2013, the Pope wrote in a paper, "You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don't believe and who don't seek the faith. I start by saying - and this is the fundamental thing - that God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience." (47) Oddly enough, I cannot think of a single Scripture which instructs us to "obey our conscience." In fact, the Apostle Peter was recorded as saying, "We ought to obey God rather than men" in Acts 5:29. It is quite obvious that Pope Francis wants people to like him and is making a concerted effort to please men. Yet, Jesus warns us in Luke 6:26, "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets."
In closing, I know these are troubling times, but I urge each and every one of you to put your faith and trust in God. Even as we see so many things going wrong in this world, we can take comfort in the knowledge that the day of our Lord's return is growing closer with each passing moment. For as it says in Romans 13:11, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." Thank you all for your generous support of this ministry. We are honored to serve you and will continue to do so as long as God allows. If you have any prayer requests, great or small, please feel welcome to send them our way. Our God has answered many prayers over the years of this ministry. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.