Volume XXXIII Issue IX September 2014
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Phone: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
The Reality Of This World’s Present Condition!
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”Matthew 24:6-13
“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.”Proverbs 4:14-16
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:35-39
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will conduct an honest and straightforward assessment of the current events of our day. We will examine evidence which indicates we are living in a very distressing time, and we will consider the reality of this world’s present condition which demonstrates how desperately we need guidance and direction from our Lord Jesus Christ.
At this present time, the world’s population at large is facing enormous challenges. While wars and rumors of wars abound; the persecution of God’s people intensifies; violence, looting, and rioting is happening in the United States; and a pestilence known as the Ebola virus is causing death and destruction in Africa. For those who have read the Bible, it is obvious that the news headlines we are now seeing in this modern age line up remarkably well with the warning from Jesus that we find in Matthew 24. In fact, Matthew 24:7-10 tells us, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” It is my hope and prayer that the contents of this newsletter will impress upon you the urgency of the hour and the need for each and every one of us to seek God with a whole heart. It is only through His strength that we are going to survive these perilous times. For as it tells us in Isaiah 40:28-31, “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” If you have not yet fully given your heart to God, I urge you to so now.
Ebola – An Unrelenting Pestilence!
In the May 2014 issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, I wrote about the current outbreak of the Ebola virus, which has been plaguing a large region in western Africa. In that issue, I quoted a man by the name of Dr. Keiji Fukuda from the World Health Organization who predicted the Ebola outbreak would last 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. Fukuda in April 2014. (1) Sadly, it now appears that the present Ebola outbreak could persist for far longer than it was anticipated in earlier months. Regarding the outbreak, Liberia’s assistant minister of health, Tolbert Nyenswah, was quoted in late July 2014 as saying, “Our government has declared this now as a humanitarian crisis that is above the control of the national government.” Nyenswah later went on to say, “This virus, if it is not taken care of, will be a global pandemic.” (2) In another acknowledgement that the outbreak is worse than anticipated, the World Health Organization, or WHO, issued a statement in mid-August 2014 which declared, “Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak. WHO is coordinating a massive scaling up of the international response, marshalling support from individual countries, disease control agencies, agencies within the United Nations system, and others.” (3) In another report published by CBS News, an anonymous senior doctor in Liberia was quoted as saying that the Ebola outbreak is now “spinning out of control.” (4)
As the outbreak continues to intensify in the nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, many doctors have chosen to leave the region rather than risk succumbing to the effects of the Ebola virus. In fact, there are now fewer than 250 doctors in the nation of Liberia, a country which has a population of about four million people. (5) This development prompted Raphael Frankfurter, executive director at the Wellbody Alliance to say, “The locals seeing this mass exodus of expatriates has contributed to the sense that there’s an apocalypse happening and they’re in it on their own.” (5)
Meanwhile, the governments of these African nations are now taking drastic measures in an attempt to prevent the spread of Ebola. According to a report published by Sky News on August 18, 2014, the armed forces of Liberia have been instructed to shoot on sight any people attempting to illegally cross the border from neighboring Sierra Leone. (6) In another effort to stop the spread of the disease, security forces in the Liberian capital of Monrovia have quarantined a region of the city which has been heavily impacted by Ebola. The region which has been sealed off is located on a peninsula where the Mesurado River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The densely populated area, which only spans about one half of a mile is home to an estimated 50,000 people. Regarding the quarantine, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was quoted as saying, “These measures are meant to save lives.” (7) Predictably, the residents of this region, which includes an area known as West Point, were understandably upset to find they had been sealed off from the rest of their country overnight while they slept. In response, hundreds of young men attempted to storm the barricades and break out of the quarantine region but were promptly beaten back by Liberian soldiers as they fired live rounds at the angry mob. (8) Elsewhere in Liberia, villages have also become quarantine zones, which has led critics of the Liberian government to wonder how people living in such regions will be able to survive. “There has to be concern that people in the quarantined areas are left to fend for themselves. Who is going to be the police officer who goes to these places? There’s a risk that these places become plague villages,” said Mike Noyes of the aid group known as ActionAid UK. (9)
On August 20, 2014, it was reported by the World Health Organization that the death toll in West Africa had reached 1350 people with 106 new deaths being reported between August 17-18 in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. (10) As the outbreak continues to worsen in Africa, it has prompted fears that Ebola could soon be spread to other countries around the world. This possibility prompted British Airways to suspend its flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia. “British Airways services from London Heathrow to Freetown [Sierra Leone] and Monrovia [Liberia] will be temporarily suspended from tomorrow, 6 August, until 31 August 2014, due to the deteriorating public health situations in both countries,” declared a statement from the airline published on August 5, 2014. (11) Concern has also been expressed that the Ebola virus could reach the United States. In fact, hospitals in 27 American states reported a possible 68 cases of Ebola infection. In most cases, the results of the tests were negative. However, as of this writing, two patients, which are located in Sacramento, California, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, are awaiting their test results. (12)
Remarkably, two American aid workers who were infected with Ebola while working in Africa and then transferred to a medical facility in Atlanta, Georgia, have both fully recovered. One of the patients, Dr. Kent Brantly, was quoted as saying after his release, “Today is a miraculous day. I am thrilled to be alive, to be well, and to be reunited with my family.” He later went on to say, “God saved my life. A direct answer to thousands and thousands of prayers.” (13) David Writebol, the husband of the other patient, Nancy Writebol, issued a statement saying his wife “was greatly encouraged knowing that there were so many people around the world lifting prayers to God for her return to health. Her departure from the hospital, free of the disease, is powerful testimony to God’s sustaining grace in time of need.” (14)
Truly the current Ebola outbreak has been horrific in scope thus far, and just how much damage will be done remains to be seen. Shockingly, the Ebola virus, as deadly as it has been, could be the least of our worries if a newly developed strain of the H1N1 flu virus should ever escape from the laboratory. The virus, which was developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka, was intentionally designed to evade the human immune system, which means the human body is essentially defenseless against it. “Through selection of immune escape viruses in the laboratory under appropriate containment conditions, we were able to identify the key regions [that] would enable 2009 H1N1 viruses to escape immunity,” Professor Kawaoka said. (15) An unnamed scientist who attended a talk given by Professor Kawaoka expressed his concern regarding the virus in an article published by The Independent. “He took the 2009 pandemic flu virus and selected out strains that were not neutralized by human antibodies. He repeated this several times until he got a real humdinger of a virus. He left no doubt in my mind that he had achieved it. He used a flu virus that is known to infect humans and then manipulated it in such a way that it would effectively leave the global population defenseless if it ever escaped from its laboratory,” the scientist said. (16)
The Islamic State’s Reign Of Terror!
In recent months, the news headlines have been dominated by stories of a terrorist group which is now wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria. The group which has been known by at least three different names, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or simply as the Islamic State (IS), has seized control of numerous cities in Iraq and Syria. The goal of this organization is to establish a hardline Islamist state or caliphate, which will strictly adhere to sharia law and drive away any non-Muslim people from the land. As a consequence of the Islamic State’s success, nearly all Christians have fled from the city of Mosul in Iraq, and those who remain in other areas controlled by the group continue to be persecuted and terrorized in a manner almost too brutal to imagine. In fact, numerous reports have now surfaced which claim that members of the Islamic State have been beheading children. “Christianity in Mosul is dead, and a Christian holocaust is in our midst,” declared Mark Arabo, a prominent Chaldean-American business man who resides in California. “Children are being beheaded, mothers are being raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.” Mr. Arabo later went on to say, “They are absolutely killing every Christian they see. This is absolutely a genocide in every sense of the word. They want everyone to convert, and they want sharia law to be the law of the land.” (17) In certain areas of eastern Syria, members of the Islamic State have been reportedly beheading and crucifying those who oppose them. (18)
In an effort to halt the progress of the Islamic State, American President Barack Obama has authorized a series of airstrikes in Iraq which began on August 8, 2014. This included a barrage of thirty-five such strikes which were carried out over a period of three days and reportedly hit ninety Islamic State targets. (19) Speaking of the airstrikes, Obama has indicated that he expects such operations to continue in Iraq for a significant period of time. “I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks. I think this is going to take some time,” Obama stated. (20)
In retaliation to the airstrikes, an American journalist by the name of James Foley, who had been captured in 2012, was brutally beheaded on film by a masked member of the Islamic State in a video released to the website known as YouTube on August 19, 2014. (21) This gruesome video shocked the world, and some expressed dismay over the fact that the executioner spoke with a British accent. However, it has since come to light that many Muslims within the United Kingdom have been radicalized and are now fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “It is disturbing that people born and raised in Britain, and who have gone to the same schools as us could have been essentially indoctrinated to the extent where they can justify raping and chopping heads off,” said Ghaffar Hussain, managing director of an anti-extremism group known as the Quilliam Foundation. (22) Oddly enough, a report published by The Telegraph on August 25, 2014, makes the claim that the video which purports to show the beheading of James Foley may have actually been staged. The article cites a forensics report which declares the following: “After enhancements, the knife can be seen to be drawn across the upper neck at least six times, with no blood evidence to the point that the picture fades to black.” The report also quoted a forensics expert who said, “I think it has been staged. My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped.” (23)
In response to the execution of James Foley, President Obama is being urged by members of the United States military to expand his airstrike operations into areas of Syria held by the Islamic State. “Can they [the Islamic State] be defeated without addressing that part of their organization which resides in Syria? The answer is no. That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border,” declared Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey. (24) Thus, it seems that the United States has been effectively dragged back into a war in the Middle East. Perhaps that was part of the plan all along, and forces behind the scenes were simply waiting for an excuse to expand military operations.
Meanwhile, great concern has been expressed over the possibility that Islamic State operatives have already made their way into the United States. These fears have been sparked in part by a picture which has appeared on the Internet, which features a man holding a smartphone which displays an Islamic State flag as the person carrying the phone stands in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. (25) Additionally, American Senator, Jim Inhofe of the state of Oklahoma, has warned that members of the Islamic State may try to execute acts of terrorism within the United States. “We’re in the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in as a nation. ISIS, they’re really bad terrorists, they’re so bad even Al Qaida is afraid of them,” Inhofe declared. He further went on to say, “They’re crazy out there and they’re rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city and people just can’t believe that’s happening.” (26) Additionally, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, has communicated his concern that the Islamic State could also come to the United Kingdom. “If we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain,” Cameron wrote in a piece for the Sunday Telegraph. (27)
As Christians, it is important that we do not let ourselves get caught up in the spirit of fear that is so common in our world. Yes, this world today is full of many dangers, and it is not difficult for worries of such things to dominate our minds. Yet, we know that if we truly put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus there is really nothing for us to fear. For as Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
The Volatile State Of Russia And Ukraine!
With so much happening around the world, it can be easy to forget that the conflict between the nations of Russia and Ukraine is still in a tremendously volatile state. This point is highlighted in a report published by Reuters on August 22, 2014, which indicates that there has been a significant military buildup by Russia near the borders of Ukraine in recent days. (28) In response to this development, United States Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to keep Russian military forces out of Ukraine. “Russia should not intervene in Ukraine under the guise of humanitarian convoys or any other pretext of peacekeeping,” Kerry said. (29) Kerry’s warning, however, was unheeded, and on August 22, 2014, a Russian convoy crossed the border into Ukraine and delivered supplies to pro-Russian separatists located in a city known as Lugansk. Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby immediately condemned the maneuver and called on Russia to immediately withdraw the convoy, warning, “Failure to do so will result in additional costs and isolation.” (30) The head of Ukraine’s security service, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko also condemned this development and declared that Russia’s convoy was a “direct invasion” into Ukraine. (31) For those who have followed the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, it has become obvious that Russia does not seem to care about warnings from the United States or the European Union. In fact, the Russian government has seemingly continued to do whatever it wants, while nothing has been done to stop them except the implementation of sanctions which have yielded little to no impact thus far.
In the meantime, Russia has bolstered its alliance with the nation of China. In August 2014, it came to light that Russia is participating in what has been called the largest military drill ever conducted by the Chinese military. The Russian contingent of the drill, which is being held in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China, consists of over 1,000 servicemen, 60 armored vehicles, 13 battle tanks, and more than 20 artillery and missile systems. (32) It is also interesting to note that the Chinese government is in the process of testing a new high-speed missile system, which would have the capability to hit the United States if it was perfected. The missile system, which is known as the Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle, was first tested on January 9, 2014, and then tested again on August 7, 2014, according to reports. (33) One can only wonder what China intends to do with this weapon.
Riots And Unrest In Ferguson, Missouri!
The United States of America is no stranger to violence and brutality. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, numerous events have occurred which remind us again and again that our country is rife with turmoil. One such event began on August 9, 2014, when an eighteen year-old man by the name of Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. (34) The overwhelming consensus amongst residents of Ferguson was that the shooting was racially motivated because the slain teenage man was black and the officer who killed him is white. (35) As a consequence, an angry crowd gathered on the streets of Ferguson to protest, and on many nights violence, rioting, and looting were commonplace. In fact, reports indicate that on the night of August 10, 2014, more than two dozen businesses in Ferguson and nearby Dellwood were damaged or looted by the angry mob. (36) In an effort to quell the looting and violence, more than 300 police officers clad in riot gear were on-hand that night. (37)
In the nights that followed, numerous stories of a highly militarized police department using excessive force began to surface. This included the arrest of journalists in Ferguson who claim they were arrested because police officers deemed them to be moving too slowly. One such reporter is Wesley Lowery who works for the Washington Post. In recounting his ordeal, Lowery stated the following: “Officers slammed me into a fountain soda machine because I was confused about which door they were asking me to walk out of.” The reporter was then subsequently arrested. (38)
The unrest in Ferguson continued for numerous days and finally began to settle down on August 20, 2014. Throughout the course of the protests, various tactics were used in an attempt to control the crowds. On August 16, 2014, a curfew, which required all people to be off the streets from midnight until 5 o’clock in the morning, was established in Ferguson. Speaking of his decision to implement the curfew, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was quoted as saying, “This is a test. The eyes of the world are on Ferguson.” (39) The curfew, however, was unsuccessful in restoring order to the city of Ferguson, and Governor Nixon would later attempt other measures, which included sending the Missouri National Guard to the area in an attempt to restore order. (40) As I write this newsletter, the words of Governor Nixon are resonating in my mind. “This is a test.” In considering all that happened in Ferguson, Missouri, perhaps what we witnessed was a preview of what things would be like within the United States should widespread unrest break out. After all, when you have the government attempting to enforce curfews and the National Guard is on-hand to maintain peace and order, it sounds a lot like martial law. In any case, these recent events in Missouri serve as another reminder that regardless of what the color of our skin may be and regardless of what our socioeconomic status may be, we all need our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
In closing, I thank you all for your generous support of this ministry. It is always a privilege to serve you, and we will endeavor to do so to the best of our ability as the Lord enables us. Please remember that we are here to lift you up in prayer for whatever your needs may be. We always give each prayer request individual hands-on attention. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.Samuel David Meyer