Volume XXXIII Issue IV April 2014
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
The Turbulent Characteristics Of This Age!
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”Jeremiah 17:7-8
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”Psalm 46:1-3
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”Deuteronomy 31:6
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”Isaiah 41:10
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will examine many current events that indicate we are living in a time of great turmoil and distress. Even as I write this newsletter, we are witnessing a time in history when nations are rising against nations, kingdoms are rising against kingdoms, and there are wars and rumours of wars dominating the headlines of global news sources. Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:8 that such circumstances would be the “beginning of sorrows,” and consequently, we can expect the turbulent characteristics of this age to intensify in the coming months and years.
Yet, despite everything that is wrong in this world, we can lean upon our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for strength to endure any trouble or obstacles that may cross our paths in this life. For as we read in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” It is my hope that reading this newsletter will not discourage you, but rather help each and every one of you to realize how desperately we need our Saviour. If you have not yet fully yielded your heart to God, I urge you to do so now.
A Strengthening Russia Asserts Itself!
In recent years, a trend has emerged on the global scene. Nations, such as Russia and China, are expanding their military power and beginning to assert themselves while the United States has grown progressively weaker. In fact, the Russian government announced in December 2013 that it was planning a dramatic expansion of its armed forces. The plan calls for the expenditure of what would be the equivalent of 650 billion dollars on new military equipment and the recruitment of 500,000 professional soldiers by the year 2022. (1) The aforementioned military equipment includes a new stealth submarine which reportedly is nearly undetectable while submerged in water. “Our potential opponents call it the ‘Black Hole’ due to the very low noise emission and visibility of the submarine. To be undetectable is the main quality for a submarine. And this whole project really fits its purpose,” stated Konstantin Tabachny, captain of the recently deployed stealth submarine known as the Novorossiysk. (2)
Although it has not yet been specified who these “potential opponents” of Russia might be, it is an undeniable fact that there is growing hostility from Russia focused on the United States. Much of this animosity has been spurred by an on-going conflict between Russia and the nation of Ukraine. The conflict began in late February 2014 after bloody protests in Ukraine brought about the death of over 70 people and injuries to at least 570 more. (3) The protests eventually led to the impeachment of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych by the nation’s parliament known as the Verkhovna Rada. (4) In response to this development, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the impeachment of President Yanukovych was illegitimate. President Putin then sent Russian troops into a southern section of Ukraine known as Crimea under the pretense of keeping the peace in the region. (5)
As a Russian military presence took hold in Crimea, it soon became evident that the government of Russia was seeking to annex Crimea to its own country, and on March 16, 2014, a referendum vote was held for the people of Crimea. Reports indicate that 93 percent of Crimean citizens voted in favor of seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia. (6) In response to the vote, the Obama Administration in the United States declared that it “will not recognize the results of a poll administered under threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention.” The statement further went on to say, “Russia’s actions are dangerous and destabilizing. Military intervention and violation of international law will bring increasing costs for Russia.” (7) On March 21, 2014, the Russian government declared that they had officially annexed Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to their country. (8)
Numerous world leaders were quick to criticize Russia’s actions in Crimea. Regarding the crisis, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France was quoted as saying, “(Russia) must recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. France calls on the Russian Federation to immediately take measures that will avoid a pointless and dangerous escalation in Ukraine.” (9) Canada also condemned Russia’s actions and warned that Russia could be expelled from a coalition of Western nations known as the Group of Eight, or G8. “(Russian) President Putin’s action has put his country on a course of diplomatic and economic isolation, and that could well see Russia exit the G8 entirely,” said Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (10) Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron issued a similar statement. “I think we should be discussing whether or not to expel Russia permanently from the G8 if further steps are taken,” Cameron said. He further went on to say, “If we turn away from this crisis and don’t act, we will pay a very high price in the longer-term.” (11)
Meanwhile, the American government opted to impose sanctions on various officials in Russia and the Ukraine. However, these sanctions have done little to dissuade Russia from moving forward with their plans. In fact, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin laughed at the sanctions and wondered in a message posted online and addressed to “Comrade Barack Obama” if the list of affected individuals had been the work of a prankster. (12) One of the sanctioned individuals, Vladislav Surkov did not seem terribly concerned. “It’s a big honor for me. I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing,” Surkov declared. (13) In response to the American sanctions, Russia opted to issue sanctions of its own against American officials. These officials include White House staff members and Senators Harry Reid, Robert Menendez, John McCain, Mary Landrieu, and Dan Coats. Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, has also been sanctioned. “We have repeatedly warned that sanctions are a double-edged instrument and would hit the United States like a boomerang. There must be no doubt: We will respond adequately to every hostile thrust,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an official statement. (14)
Despite the theatrics, American President Barack Obama has signaled that he has no intention of launching a military intervention against Russia in Ukraine. “We are not going to be getting into [a] military excursion in Ukraine. What we are going to do is mobilize all of our diplomatic resources to make sure that we’ve got a strong international correlation that sends a clear message,” Obama stated. (15) The manner in which Obama has handled the Ukrainian crisis has not been impressive to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. In fact, according to a report published in March 2014, Yaalon has accused President Obama of “showing weakness.” (16)
It is interesting to note that during Obama’s campaign for the 2012 election, he mocked his opponent, Mitt Romney, for suggesting that Russia is a threat to the United States. “You said Russia. Not Al Qaida. You said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the cold war’s been over for twenty years,” Obama smugly declared during a debate. (17) Yet, the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation may only be the tip of the iceberg regarding Vladimir Putin’s ambitions. According to a recent news article, Russia has been quietly building a presence in Latin America. Putin has already sent navy ships and long-range bombers to the area, and plans are underway to build bases in Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba. “They’re on the march. They’re working the scenes where we can’t work, and they’re doing a pretty good job,” stated Senator Joe Donnelly, a Democrat from the state of Indiana. (18) Incidentally, it has also been revealed that Iran and China have been strengthening their presence in Latin America in recent months as well. (19) Truly we are living in an age with many “wars and rumors of wars.”
The United Nations – Poised To Seize Control Of The Internet!
In the March 2014 issue of the Last Trumpet, I wrote extensively regarding the Internet and the role it will likely play in the forthcoming one world government system. Since that time there has been an interesting development regarding the control of the World Wide Web. On March 14, 2014, it was announced that the Commerce Department of the United States will be relinquishing control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is often identified in acronym form as ICANN. (20) As a result, the group, which is tasked with assigning web addresses and Internet domain names along with other administrative functions, will be transitioned to a state of global governance and may eventually fall under the control of the United Nations. In fact, ICANN’s CEO, Fadi Chehadé, has reportedly expressed an interest in setting up an office in Geneva, Switzerland, a city which happens to be home to the largest United Nations presence in the world outside of New York City. (21) This development has raised the ire of former United States State Department senior advisor Christian Whiton. “While the Obama administration says it is merely removing federal oversight of a non-profit, we should assume ICANN would end up as part of the United Nations. If the U.N. gains control of what amounts to the directory and traffic signals of the Internet, it can impose whatever taxes it likes. It likely would start with a tax on registering domains and expand from there,” Whiton stated. He further went on to say, “Under invariably incompetent U.N. control, it could mean a hostile foreign power disabling the Internet for us.” (22)
Of course, we know that the modern incarnation of the Internet serves not only as an advanced global communications system, but also as a mechanism for global monetary transactions. The possibility that the regulatory body of this system could soon be folded into the United Nations provides an interesting scenario in terms of end time events, and this seems to indicate that the establishment of a one world government is growing ever closer to becoming a reality. Yet, I do not believe that God will allow a global government to ever be fully established, which leads me to believe we are growing increasingly near to the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The Increasingly Common RFID Microchip!
In recent years, the usage of radio frequency identification, or RFID, microchips has become increasingly common. The technology, which uses radio frequencies to transmit data and information to chip readers, is often used for inventory control and as implants used to identify pets as well as other animals. (23) The technology is also found in passport cards issued by the U.S. Department of State. (24) Amazingly enough, the RFID market is expected to expand by 17 percent in 2014 with estimated sales of 9.2 billion dollars. (25)
The technology has now been adopted by Walt Disney’s theme parks in the form of a bracelet equipped with an RFID microchip. The bracelet, which is known as a MagicBand, allows the wearers to simply wave their wrists in front of a chip reader and enter the park or their hotel room, using it to pay for merchandise and dining within the parks. (26) The devices can even be programmed to inform Disney mascots of a nearby child’s name, which allows various Disney characters to address children in a personal manner. (27) Is this new bracelet just harmless fun which allows the user to more conveniently enjoy Disney’s parks? One might surmise that such a device serves a far more nefarious purpose and could be used to acclimate children to a world where opening doors and paying for goods and services only requires the wave of a hand. It would be a quick and easy step to go from wearing a wristband to receiving an implantable chip in your hand. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, approved the use of implantable RFID microchips for humans in 2004. (28)
Despite the fact that RFID chips and tags are growing increasingly common in this modern age, the use of such technology is not without risk. In fact, experts have warned that RFID chips are far from secure and often make the user’s personal information readily available to thieves. “RFID-enabled credit card data can be easily, cheaply, and undetectably stolen and used for fraudulent transactions,” declared Andy Greenberg, a writer at Forbes. (29) Kim Komando, a columnist at USA Today, also expressed her concern. “You don’t have to be paranoid to be concerned about the (security) implications of RFID tags built into your personal identification. From a distance, anyone with the right equipment can read the contents of that chip,” Komando wrote on her website. (30)
More Shocking Surveillance Capabilities Revealed!
By now, most Americans are aware of the fact that government agencies, such as the National Security Agency, or NSA, are using advanced surveillance techniques to spy on people all over the world, including American citizens. This has sparked much outrage in recent months, and we are slowly gaining insight into just how advanced these surveillance capabilities are due to whistleblowers, such as former government worker Edward Snowden. In March 2014 an article published by the Washington Post revealed that in one unspecified foreign country, the NSA has the capability to record 100 percent of that nation’s phone calls. The recorded calls are stored for 30 days, and the oldest calls are deleted as new ones are saved by this system, which is known as MYSTIC. (31) Thus, analysts at the NSA have the capability to go back to any of these recorded conversations and listen to what was said. NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines condemned the ongoing leak of information regarding the NSA’s activities. “Continuous and selective reporting of specific techniques and tolls used for legitimate U.S. foreign intelligence activities is highly detrimental to the national security of the United States and of our allies, and places at risk those we are sworn to protect,” Vines complained. (32)
In recent days it has also been revealed that even the United States Senate has been subjected to government snooping performed by the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA. In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has publically scorned the CIA, complaining that the government agency overstepped its boundaries. “The CIA has not only interfered with the lawful congressional oversight of its activities, but has also seemingly attempted to intimidate its overseers by subjecting them to criminal investigation,” Reid wrote in a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Reid further went on to write, “The CIA’s decision to access the resources and work product of the legislative branch without permission is absolutely indefensible, regardless of the context.” (33)
Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, has also strongly condemned the broad and unrestrained surveillance performed by American government agencies. Citing an advanced copy of a speech prepared for a crowd in Berkeley, California, a recent news report from Politico quoted Paul as saying, “I don’t know about you, but I’m worried. If the CIA is spying on Congress, who exactly can or will stop them? I look into the eyes of senators and I think I see real fear. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I think I perceive FEAR of an intelligence community drunk with power, unrepentant, and uninclined to relinquish power.” (34)
Homosexuality – Accepted And Celebrated In The United States!
The United States of America has changed in many ways over the last few years. One of the most drastic ways this country has changed is the general attitude towards homosexuality. While this Biblically-contrary lifestyle was once looked down upon by the majority of the American population, it is now not only accepted by many people, government officials, and corporations, it is also celebrated. In fact, the company known as Nabisco recently released a commercial for its line of Honey Maid graham crackers, which prominently features a family consisting of two homosexual men and a baby. At the end of the commercial, a voiceover is heard to say, “Everyday wholesome snacks for every wholesome family.” (35) General Motors has also released commercials which portray homosexuality in a positive light. In one of their commercials, which promotes their vehicle known as the Chevrolet Traverse, a family consisting of two homosexual men, a son, and a daughter are shown. A voiceover in the ad then declares, “While what it means to be a family hasn’t changed, what a family looks like has. This is the new us.” (36) In another ad for the Chevrolet brand in general, an image of a gay couple getting married is displayed. A voiceover then declares, “Like the old love, the new love starts with a kiss. Like the old community, the new community still keeps us connected… A whole new lineup for a whole new world.” (37) The ads, which were specifically made to air during the 2014 winter Olympics, were praised by Allen Adamson, the managing director at the New York office of a branding firm known as Landor Associates. “Actions speak louder than words. The action of putting a spot on the Olympics is far more powerful than a press release. It’s a very clear statement of what they believe Chevy stands for,” Adamson stated. (38) The ads from General Motors were released only a short time after Coca-Cola became the first company to feature a homosexual couple in a Super Bowl ad. This development has delighted Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO of the homosexual advocacy group known as GLAAD. According to reports she declared that the ads “truly reflect the fabric of our nation, which today includes gay and lesbian families.” (39) The homosexual lifestyle has also been promoted on the television network known as the Disney Channel. On January 26, 2014, the so-called family-friendly network aired an episode of its television program called “Good Luck Charlie” which featured a young girl with two lesbian moms. (40)
There is no doubt that the American viewpoint on homosexuality has changed. In fact, politicians involved with the Republican Party, which is generally known to be conservative, have suggested that their party may need to reach a compromise if they want to thrive in modern day America. This includes Senator Rand Paul, who recently told a reporter in response to a question about same-sex marriage, “I think that the Republican Party, in order to get bigger, will have to agree to disagree on social issues. The Republican Party is not going to give up on having quite a few people who do believe in traditional marriage. But the Republican Party also has to find a place for young people and others who don’t want to be festooned by those issues.” (41)
Meanwhile, a battle is raging in the state of Michigan at this present time regarding the legality of same-sex marriage. On March 21, 2014, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman issued a ruling which overturned Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. In response, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an emergency motion requesting a stay on Judge Friedman’s decision. The stay was granted by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals a short time later. (42) However, during the brief period that same-sex marriage was legal in Michigan, more than 100 gay couples were married. (43) Whether or not these marriages will ultimately be recognized by the state of Michigan is unknown at the time of this writing.
Despite the efforts of man to normalize homosexuality in America, the Bible is clear and unchanging regarding God’s point of view on the matter, and no amount of television commercials or court decisions will ever change God’s mind.
The Drought of 2014 Continues!
As most people would expect, the great drought of 2014 in the state of California is still ongoing. Sadly, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has warned that the situation could worsen in the coming months. In a report issued on March 20, 2014, NOAA issued the following warning: “Significant and widespread drought conditions continue in California which experienced its warmest and third driest winter on record. Drought is expected to persist or intensify in California, Nevada, most of interior Oregon and Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, southeast Colorado, western Oklahoma, and most of west Texas because of below-average rain or snow this winter and the onset of the dry season in April. If the drought persists as predicted in the West and Southwest, it will likely result in an active wildfire season, continued stress on crops and livestock due to low water levels, and an expansion of water conservation measures.” (44)
The drought in California has predictably dampened the moods of those involved in the state’s agricultural sector. “You’re used to going around, seeing everything green. In a normal year, 72 million heads of lettuce would come out of this ground,” said William Bourdeau, an executive at Harris Ranch, as he surveyed a dry and desolate field. (45) Speaking of tomato production, Bruce Rominger, chairman of the California Tomato Growers Association was quoted as saying, “There’s going to be several million tons of production that will be lost. It will be devastating to the industry.” (46) Almond production is also expected to suffer because almond trees require a large amount of water to stay alive, and water supplies in the state are scarce. Crop yields for almonds could fall by as much as 25 percent this year, according to a report published by the Sacramento Bee. (47)
Even as California and other parts of the United States struggle to survive widespread drought, the South American nation of Brazil is grappling with a drought of its own. In fact, it was revealed in February 2014, that the drought in Brazil has grown so severe that over 140 cities are now rationing water. (48) Brazil is a leading producer of soybeans, coffee, orange juice, sugar, and beef. (49) It is likely that the cost of food, not only in the United States, but around the world will continue to rise.
In closing, I encourage each and every reader of this newsletter to fully put your faith and trust in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For as Jesus told us in John 14:27, “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.” Yes, there is great turmoil in this world today and a host of problems which only seem to grow worse with each passing month. However, we have a Saviour who has promised us that He will not leave us, and through Him we can be unafraid and at peace in our hearts. Thank you all for your generous support of this ministry. We at Last Trumpet Ministries feel honored to serve you, and we will continue to work as hard as we can for the cause of Christ now and in the coming months and years. If you have any prayer requests, please remember that we are always here to pray for you and whatever your needs might be. We always give every prayer request individual attention. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.