Volume XXXIII Issue V May 2014
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Fax: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
Earthquakes, Pestilences, And The Fulfillment Of Scriptures!
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”II Peter 3:3-4
“That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”II Thessalonians 2:2-3
“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”Luke 21:9-11
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”Luke 21:28
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will carefully study the current events of our day and compare them to the Holy Scriptures which describe the condition of our world in the days leading up to the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. My father, when he was still on this earth, would often say that the Bible is “more accurate than tomorrow’s newspaper.” As I study the news and the Scriptures, it is evident to me that my father was correct in his assertion, and the characteristics of this modern age which we now live in line up remarkably well with the words we find in God’s holy book.
Yet, despite the warnings we find in the Bible, there will always be doubters who deem God’s people to be insane for believing the words we find in the Scriptures. Such people find it unfathomable that this world we presently live in could ever end and that Jesus Christ will return just as he promised us in His Word. The Apostle Peter warned us in II Peter 3:3-4 that such attitudes would be prevalent in the last days when he wrote, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” Yes, in our minds it may seem as though many years have passed since Jesus Christ walked upon this earth. However, God does not perceive time in the same manner as mere mortal men. In the aforementioned third chapter of II Peter, we are told in verses 8 and 9, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” It is because of our Saviour’s mercy and longsuffering that He has not returned to judge the inhabitants of this earth already. He has given each of us an opportunity to repent, and as long as we still have breath within us, that opportunity remains. Nevertheless, time will run out someday, and although no man knows the day or the hour when our Saviour will return, the signs are all around that we are growing ever closer to that fateful day. If you have not yet fully yielded your life to God, I urge you to do so now.
Great Earthquakes In Divers Places!
In Luke 21:9-11 we find the following warning from our Saviour, “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” In these verses, Jesus describes a scenario which seems as though it could directly summarize the recent happenings of our time. This is especially true in terms of earthquakes which have shaken our planet in recent days. In fact, an official list from the United States Geological Survey indicates that there have been 1,556 earthquakes in the last thirty days as of this writing. (1) Of the earthquakes listed, 593 of them have exceeded a level of 4.5 in magnitude. (2) Further breaking down the list, the government agency classifies twenty-one of those earthquakes as “significant.” (3)
One region of the world which has seen a substantial increase in seismic activity is the nation of Chile. On March 25th, 2014, it was reported that this South American country had experienced over 300 earthquakes within the span of one week. Such a string of quakes is highly unusual and sparked concern that more significant quakes could strike in the near future. “The situation is out of the ordinary. There’s a mix of a string of tremors and their aftershocks that make things more complex to evaluate. We can’t rule out a larger quake,” stated Mario Pardo, deputy head of the seismology center at the Universidad de Chile. (4) Just a short time later on April 1, 2014, a very powerful earthquake, measuring 8.2 in magnitude, shook the region, which resulted in the death of at least six people, caused landslides, started fires, and resulted in thousands of residents being cut off from electricity. (5) Amazingly enough, scientists have warned that this earthquake, as significant as it was, may too have only been a foreshock. “One of the possible scenarios that we’re monitoring right now is that it is still possible that the earthquake we had last night is actually a foreshock to a much bigger earthquake. For the sake of our Chilean friends, we hope that it doesn’t happen,” declared Rick Allmendinger, a geophysicist at Cornell University. (6)
Meanwhile in the United States, the state of California has been rumbling in recent days. On March 28, 2014, a quake measuring 5.1 in magnitude struck the city of La Habra and was also felt in the counties of Kern, San Bernardino, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, San Diego, and Los Angeles. (7) The quake, which followed a smaller temblor which had struck just one hour earlier, (8) was proceeded by about 150 aftershocks. (9) It was fortunate that this event only caused moderate damage; however, experts have warned that a more powerful earthquake could strike the region’s fault line, which is known as the Puente Hills Thrust Fault, in the future. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that a quake measuring 7.5 in magnitude along this fault would kill between 3,000 and 18,000 people while causing an estimated 250 million dollars in damages. (10)
Elsewhere around the United States, a 4.8-magnitude quake struck in Yellowstone National Park on March 30, 2014, and it was reportedly the most powerful earthquake to occur in the region since 1980. (11) A swarm of earthquakes was also reported in the state of Idaho between March 24th, 2014, and April 12, 2014. The mysterious quakes, which have numbered in the hundreds, have baffled scientists. “What has many of us scratching our heads is the present-day swarm doesn’t appear to be on the big, active fault in the area that ruptured in 1983 and caused the largest earthquake in Idaho,” stated Bill Phillips, a geologist at the Idaho Geological Survey. (12) In response to the recent shakings in Idaho, schools in the region are now performing earthquake drills more frequently, and Carl Alexander, the disaster coordinator in the city of Challis, has advised residents to stock up on bottled water and canned goods. “It does make your heart race a little bit to see your windows vibrating,” Alexander said. (13) The state of Oklahoma has also been experiencing an increase in seismic activity with 253 earthquakes that could be felt already occurring in the year of 2014. “We have already crushed last year’s record for number of earthquakes,” declared Austin Holland, a seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey. (14)
The Central American nation of Nicaragua also suffered from earthquakes in recent days with two major shakings occurring on April 10th and April 11th, 2014. The first quake, which measured 6.1 in magnitude, reportedly injured at least 200 people and damaged hundreds of homes. The second quake, which measured 6.6 in magnitude, did not cause as much damage, despite its greater force. (15) Another quake which occurred on April 11th struck Papua New Guinea. The powerful quake struck with a magnitude of 7.3, but thankfully there was no serious damage reported. (16)
As we continue to move through time, I believe we will see more and more earthquakes happening around the world, or as Jesus said, “In divers places.” It is one of the numerous signs for which the Scriptures tell us to watch, and we are living in a period of time when those Scriptures are being fulfilled.
Disruptions In The Global Food Supply!
Here in the United States, most of us are accustomed to being able to visit the supermarket whenever we desire and purchase the groceries that we need. Yet, numerous factors are causing new disruptions in the food supply both here and abroad. These disruptions are inducing a steep rise in the cost of food, and this is a trend which will likely continue for quite some time.
Predictably, the drought in the state of California has had a major impact on the United States supply of fruits and vegetables. A report published by the Wall Street Journal on April 15, 2014, details some of the projected price increases for certain types of produce. The study cited in the report, which was composed by an agribusiness professor at Arizona State University by the name of Timothy Richards, projects that the price of lettuce will increase by 34 percent in the coming months, the cost of avocadoes will increase 28 percent, broccoli will increase 22 percent, grapes will increase 21 percent, tomatoes will increase 19 percent, melons will increase 18 percent, peppers will increase 17 percent, berries will increase 14 percent, corn will increase 14 percent, and packaged salad will increase 13 percent. (17)
To further complicate matters in the United States, the production of oranges in the state of Florida has been decimated by a citrus disease known as citrus greening disease. The disease, which causes fruit to taste bitter and drop from trees prematurely, has forced the U.S. Department of Agriculture to downgrade its outlook for orange production in Florida four times in 2014. In fact, the projected yield for oranges this year is now 18 percent lower than the yield of 2013, and the lowest rate of production since 1985. (18)
Another fruit which is being ravaged by disease is the Cavendish variety of bananas, which is the most common variety consumed in the United States and around the world. The disease, which is a strain of Panama Disease known as Tropical Race 4, has the capability to destroy large banana plantations within a few years’ time and has been spreading quickly from southeast Asia to Mozambique and Jordan. (19) The crisis prompted the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization to issue the following warning: “In view of the challenges associated with control of the disease and risk posed to global banana supply, it is evident that a concerted effort is required from industry, research institutions, government and international organizations to prevent spread of the disease.” (20) Scientists have expressed concern over the possibility that the disease might spread to Latin America, which would have a devastating impact on the world’s banana supply. “If [Tropical Race 4] is in Latin America, it is going to be a disaster, whatever the multinationals do. Teams of workers move across different countries. The risk is it is going to spread like a bush fire,” declared Professor Rony Swennem, from Leuven University in Belgium. (21) It is important to note that approximately 410 million people in developing countries rely on bananas as a major food staple, which can account for up to one third of their daily caloric consumption. (22)
Meat prices have also been on the rise in the United States, which saw the price of ground beef reach an all-time high in February 2014. This new trend prompted Dennis Smith, a commodities broker at Archer Financial Services in Chicago, Illinois, to declare, “We’ve seen strong prices before but nothing this extreme. This is really new territory.” (23) The rising price of beef has mainly been caused by persistent drought which has plagued the western United States for the last few years. During the height of the drought, ranchers were forced to sell off much of their cattle, and because of that, the animals are now in short supply. In fact, beef cattle herds are now at their lowest point in the United States since 1951. “We’re dealing with chronically low herds. Beef prices should remain at near-record highs this year and into 2015,” stated Richard Volpe, an economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (24)
The price of pork has also been rising substantially, due in part to a deadly virus which has been killing piglets on farms in more than half of the states in the United States, including 93 farms in the state of Michigan. This crisis has caused great alarm among American pork producers. “The researchers that are working on this tell us that this is one of the most infectious viruses that they’ve ever encountered,” declared Sam Hines, vice-president of the Michigan Pork Producers Association. He later went on to say, “U.S. production is going to decline this year about 7 percent and that will probably translate into 10 to 20 percent higher prices in pork.” (25)
Sadly, these recent trends indicate that many sources of food are being threatened by drought and disease. If this trend persists, we may soon see widespread famine, just as Jesus warned us in Luke, chapter 21. The day could come when we have no other choice but to rely on God to sustain us. Thankfully, we serve a God who loves us and is well able to provide for the needs of His people.
The Spread Of Pestilence In Africa!
In the aforementioned Scriptures from Luke, chapter 21, Jesus also warned us that there would be pestilences in the tumultuous period of time leading up to His return. Sadly, the ongoing spread of the Ebola virus in Africa is a timely example of a pestilence, and the spread of the disease has already wreaked havoc on many lives. The first cases of Ebola Virus infection were reported in the nation of Guinea and first started popping up on news headlines in late March 2014. According to a report published by BBC News on March 31st, 2014, officials have called this outbreak “unprecedented.” “We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases,” said Mariano Lugli, an official with a medical aid group known as Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF. Mr. Lugli further went on to say, “The geographical spread is worrisome because it will greatly complicate the tasks of the organizations working to control the epidemic.” (26) The article also reported that there had been 122 cases of the disease reported at the time of which 78 were fatal. (27) By April 20th, 2014, the number of reported infections in Guinea reached 208 with 136 of them resulting in death. (28) The disease has also spread to the nation of Liberia with at least 34 cases and 6 deaths being reported. (29)
As the struggle continues to contain this outbreak of the Ebola virus, tempers have flared in Guinea. In fact, an angry mob was reported to have attacked an Ebola treatment center on April 4, 2014 forcing the facility to close temporarily. “We have evacuated all our staff and closed the treatment center. We have the full support of the local leaders and we’re working with the authorities to try and resolve this problem as quickly as possible so we can start treating people again,” stated Sam Taylor of MSF. (30)
For those who have been infected with the virus and managed to survive, they are numbered among the blessed few. The strain of Ebola virus now plaguing Guinea is so virulent that it has a mortality rate of up to 90 percent, and the World Health Organization, or WHO, refers to cases where the patients survive as “Lazarus” cases. (31) This, of course, is in reference to the Biblical story of Jesus miraculously restoring life to a man named Lazarus after he had died.
In mid-April 2014, the WHO issued a statement declaring that they expect this epidemic of the Ebola virus to continue for at least two to four months. “We fully expect to be engaged in this outbreak for the next two to three to four months before we are comfortable that we are through it,” said Dr. Keija Fukuda who is the assistant director general at the WHO. (32)
The State Of Christianity In America And China!
From a traditional perspective, the United States of America has often been regarded as a Christian nation. Yet, in recent decades it has become apparent that the behavior of the American people often does not match that classification, and research shows that the last two decades have brought about a significant decline in religious adherence. In fact, a report published by the MIT Technology Review indicates that the percentage of non-religious Americans has risen from 8 percent in 1990 to 18 percent in 2010, a percentage which amounts to about 25 million people. (33) Although this decline may seem to be a cause for joy to many atheists and agnostics, it is not surprising to those who have studied the Scriptures in depth. In II Thessalonians 2:3, the Apostle Paul gives us the following warning: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” In this verse, we are warned that professing Christians will fall away in the latter days, and we are starting to see that happen, at least in the United States.
What is truly remarkable, however, is the fact that Christianity has been growing at an astonishing rate in China. Although the Asian country is ruled by a cruel Communist government, which espouses atheism and restricts the number of children a family is allowed to have, none of the efforts of the Chinese government has been able to dampen the growth of Christianity in their country. In fact, an article published by The Telegraph in April 2014 indicates that China may soon have more professing Christians than any other nation in the world. “By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon. It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change,” said Professor Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University. Professor Yang estimates that there will be 160 million Christians in China by the year 2025 which will likely exceed the number of Christians in the United States. Professor Yang later went on to say, “Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this. It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.” (34)
The growth of Christianity in China has become sorely displeasing to the nation’s government. Reports indicate that officials in the communist regime of China have been ordering that some churches be demolished in the province of Zhejiang while other church leaders have been ordered to take steps, such as turning their lights off at night, to make their buildings less noticeable. It was also reported that Feng Zhili, the chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs committee in Zhejiang, was quoted as saying that the growth of Christianity has been “too excessive and haphazard.” (35)
When we consider how difficult life can be in China for the Christian people, it makes the rapid growth seem that much more amazing. Chinese Christians are routinely harassed and persecuted. The printing of the Bible is heavily restricted, and if any dare to hand out Christian tracts in public or criticize the government’s policies they are often imprisoned or even killed. (36) It is reminiscent of the early days of the Christian church shortly after the resurrection of Jesus. Christians in that time period were routinely tortured, imprisoned, and killed, but nothing could stop the church from growing. I believe this is because the Christian people always thrive in the face of adversity, and the more our adversary tries to prevent the Gospel from going forth, the more mightily God works through his people. We should also be mindful of the fact that there is a growing hostility to our Christian beliefs in the United States, and those of us who live here may someday find ourselves in similar circumstances as the believers in China.
Grotesque Behavior In Our Modern World!
In this modern world, it seems that morality has been turned on its head. Behavior which was once considered despicable is now touted as virtuous, and developed nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom are unrepentantly slaughtering innocent babies through the practice of abortion. In the United States, one of the largest providers of abortions is Planned Parenthood, an organization which traces its roots back to a woman named Margaret Sanger. Ms. Sanger was undoubtedly one of the most wicked women who ever lived, and she was known to be a proponent of eugenics, which is the practice of restricting human reproduction to those who are deemed to have desirable genetic traits. It was this woman who gave a speech on August 5, 1926, wherein she stated the following: “It now remains for the United States government to set a sensible example to the world by offering a bonus or a yearly pension to all obviously unfit parents who allow themselves to be sterilized by harmless and scientific means. In this way the moron and the diseased would have no posterity to inherit their unhappy condition. The number of the feeble-minded would decrease and a heavy burden would be lifted from the shoulders of the unfit.” (37) It is interesting to note that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from the state of California, was awarded the Margaret Sanger Award by Planned Parenthood on March 27, 2014. The group issued a statement declaring that they were giving Pelosi the award for her “leadership, excellence, and outstanding contributions to the reproductive health and rights movement over the course of her career.” (38) It is a reproach upon this nation that a government official would accept such an award, but Pelosi was honored to receive it.
Because of the barbaric practice of abortion, millions of babies are routinely slaughtered every year. One might wonder what becomes of these innocent victims, and in March 2014 a grotesque practice in the United Kingdom was revealed. According to a report dated March 24, 2014, the bodies of babies who have been aborted or miscarried are sometimes used as fuel to heat hospitals. The article estimates that at least 15,500 infants were disposed of in such a manner over the last two years, a fact that has caused much outrage and disgust. In fact, Dr. Dan Poulter, who is the health minister at the Depart of Health in the United Kingdom, was so appalled by this revelation that he issued an immediate ban on the practice. “This practice is totally unacceptable,” Dr. Poulter declared. (39)
Sadly, a similar procedure is also used within the American state of Oregon. In this case, the remains are actually shipped from the Canadian province of British Columbia to Oregon where this so-called “medical waste” is then disposed of at a waste-to-energy plant. (40) Thus, the lifeless bodies of innocent babies are now being used as fuel to provide household electricity to residents within the United States.
In closing, I encourage all of you to put your faith and trust in God. We are living in trying times and we are now seeing Scriptures fulfilled on a daily basis. These truly are the days when wars and rumours of wars, earthquakes in divers places, famines, and pestilences are growing increasingly common, just as our Saviour said they would. Yet, we can draw comfort from the 28th verse in Luke 21 where Jesus tells us, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Thank you all for your generous support of this ministry. We will endeavor to serve each and every one of you to the best of our ability as we obey our Saviour’s command to occupy until He comes. If you have any prayer requests, please do not hesitate to send them our way. We are honored to carry your petitions before the throne of the Almighty. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.