Volume XXXIV Issue II February 2015
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Phone: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
A Worldwide Pandemic Of Turmoil In Our Day!
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. 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.”Luke 21:8-10
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”Matthew 24:37-39
“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”Psalm 127:3-5
Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.Matthew 18:14
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will scrutinize recent events which indicate that there is now a worldwide pandemic of turmoil in our day. Even a cursory look at our newspapers’ headlines will reveal tensions between Russia, Ukraine, and the United States, terror attacks in France, shocking violence in Africa, cruel ambitions in Iraq and Syria, strife in Yemen, and turmoil in Venezuela. Yet, to hear United States President Barack Obama speak, one might be given the false impression that all is well in the world. On January 20, 2015, Obama gave his annual State of the Union Address wherein he declared the following: “Tonight after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years. Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over. Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain. And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep us safe. We are humbled and grateful for your service. America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.” (1)
While Barack Obama boasts of the present condition in the United States, other prominent figures have suggested that the world stands on the brink of chaos and have even speculated that World War III could soon be upon us. In fact, Pope Francis suggested in September 2014 that a form of World War III has already begun. “Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction,” Pope Francis declared. (2) In similar fashion, King Abdullah of Jordan stated in December 2014 that he believes the ongoing battle with the Islamic State, which is sometimes known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL, amounts to a third world war. “We have to stand up and say this is the line that is drawn in the sand and those that believe in right should stand on this side and those that don’t have to make a decision should stand on the other. It’s clearly a fight between good and evil. I think it’s a generational fight. As I said to [Russian] President Putin, I think this is our third world war by other means,” King Abdullah said in reference to ISIS. (3)
Those affiliated with the Islamic State have shown themselves to be a barbarous and cruel people. According to a report published in January 2015, fighters who belong to ISIS are hoping to kill hundreds of millions of people. These ambitions were revealed by German journalist Jurgen Todenhofer, who lived alongside ISIS members for ten days in the city of Mosul, Iraq. “I always asked them about the value of mercy in Islam, [but] I didn’t see any mercy in their behavior. Something that I don’t understand at all is the enthusiasm in their plan of religious cleansing, planning to kill the non-believers… They also will kill Muslim democrats because they believe that non-ISIL Muslims put the laws of human beings above the commandments of God,” Todenhofer stated. He further went on to say, “They were talking about [killing] hundreds of millions. They were enthusiastic about it, and I just cannot understand that.” (4)
At this present time, we are seeing the formation of new alliances, pacts and agreements which provide insight into which countries would likely be fighting each other in the event of a world war. On January 20, 2015, it was announced that the governments of Russia and Iran had signed a new military cooperation pact. Regarding this new agreement, Defense Minister of Iran Hossein Dehghan was quoted as saying, “Iran and Russia are able to confront the expansionist intervention and greed of the United States through cooperation, synergy, and activating strategic potential capacities. As two neighbors, Iran and Russia have common viewpoints toward political, regional, and global issues.” (5) This new agreement could mean that Russia will soon deliver S-300 missile systems to Iran, which was something Russia had intended to do several years ago but backed down in the face of pressure from the United States and Israel. “A step was taken in the direction of cooperation on the economy and arms technology, at least for such defensive systems such as the S-300 and S-400. Probably we will deliver them,” said Colonel General Leonid Ivashov of Russia. (6)
The nation of Russia is also on friendly terms with China. In November 2014 a deal was struck which will provide China with a vast supply of Russian natural gas. Russian company OAO Gazprom could supply as much as 30 billion cubic meters of gas each year to China, which is an agreement that could prove crucial to a Russian government struggling with a failing economy. (7) Additionally, OAO Gazprom has announced that it will no longer allow delivery of its natural gas to pass through the nation of Ukraine but will ship their fuel to the nation of Turkey instead. (8) This move is likely being made because of ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, which has strained relations between Russia and the United States.
Meanwhile, the European Union, or EU, passed a resolution in January 2015 which allows state members to provide weapons to Ukraine with no restrictions. “There are now no objections or legal restrictions to prevent Member States from providing defensive arms to Ukraine,” declared the resolution. It further went on to say, “The EU should explore ways to support the Ukrainian government in enhancing its defense capabilities and the protection of Ukraine’s external borders.” (9)
For some in Russia, there seems to be an understated expectation that war will break out, not just with Ukraine, but perhaps also with the United States and her allies. Speaking to the communist Russian newspaper known as Pravda, the aforementioned Colonel General Leonid Ivashov was quoted as saying, “The situation has changed dramatically, and we are standing on the brink of a war – not a cold, but a hot war. Therefore, today Russia hastily takes efforts to rebuild the defensive capacity of the armed forces and change the military doctrine.” He later went on to say, “One should keep the US territory at gunpoint to be able to immediately act on the territory. The group should target the Federal Reserve, but I’m joking here, of course. Yet there is some truth in this joke, because, as a rule, it is financial oligarchs, who need to start wars. Non-nuclear deterrence factors should include powerful government agencies, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Economic agencies should be involved as well to cause damage with the use of economic methods. This should be considered as a combat mission. Planning the supplies of hydrocarbons and other strategic goods must necessarily envisage a possibility for a special period of wartime.” (10)
With so much ongoing turmoil today, it has become clear that for many people a potential world war is now on their minds. In recent days, computer hackers have used these fears as motivation to hack the accounts of The New York Post and the United Press International, or UPI, on the social networking site known as Twitter. One such post, which was placed on the UPI account, warned that Pope Francis had declared “World War III has begun.” On the New York Post’s account, a message was posted stating that the American aircraft carrier known as the USS George Washington was “engaged in active combat” with Chinese warships in the South China Sea. (11) Perhaps more worrisome than the fact that these accounts were hacked, is the fact that these fake headlines were actually believable. In fact, as noted previously in this newspaper, Pope Francis has actually stated in the past that the turmoil we see today is much like a third world war. We must remember that it does not take much to start a war, even a global one. In fact, the Great War, which is more commonly known as World War I, began after the assassination of one man, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, on June 28, 1914.
It is interesting to note that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reached a decision in January 2015 to move the hand on their symbolic “doomsday clock” forward by two minutes, which now stands at three minutes to midnight. In so doing, they are declaring that the world today is now the closest it has been to complete destruction in more than thirty years. Speaking of their decision, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Sciences, Kennette Benedict, was quoted as saying, “This is about doomsday; this is about the end of civilization as we know it.” She then went on to say, “The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.” (12)
As Christians, we know this world is heading for catastrophe and difficult times even as we get ever closer to the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Jesus warned us that this would be the case in Luke 21:9 when he said, “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.” I am so thankful for that assurance that we need not be terrified. Yes, scientists are afraid and fearful of doomsday. However, we are God’s children, and we do not have to live in fear. For as Jesus tells 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.”
Deadly Islamist Attacks!
In these perilous times, it is becoming increasingly common to see deadly attacks meted out against those who oppose Islam. These attacks, which are perpetrated by heartless members of the Islamic State, al Qaida, and other groups, have become especially problematic in the European nation of France in recent days. According to the official story, two gunmen entered the headquarters of an irreverent satirical newspaper, known as Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015, and methodically murdered twelve people in Paris, France. In total, eight journalists, a visitor, a maintenance worker, and two police officers were killed. The attackers were motivated by the fact that the newspaper often published caricatures which purported to be the so-called prophet of Islam known as Mohammad, an offense which many Muslims believe is worthy of death. The two shooters were identified as Cherif Koachi, age 32, and his brother Said Koachi, age 34. The brothers were eventually shot and killed by French authorities, and the terrorist organization known as al Qaida claimed responsibility for the attacks. (13)
In response to the attacks, the French government deployed 10,000 troops to the streets of France and announced plans to bolster the nation’s surveillance capabilities. (14) French journalists, Jacques Follorou and Franck Johannes, bemoaned this seemingly knee-jerk reaction of the French government, which could result in a great loss of privacy amongst French citizens. “The very idea of a war on terrorism is worrisome. For the law, there is nothing worse than these moments of intense unanimity, this wave of emotion that submerges rationality,” the duo wrote. (15) For those of us in America, we are all too familiar with a government that seizes any opportunity they can find to encroach on our freedom and privacy. There was a time in the United States when there was no Patriot Act, Department of Homeland Security, or Transportation Security Administration. In any case, the growth of Islam in France has been exponential in recent years. According to the World Fact Book, which is published by the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, it is estimated that between five and ten percent of the population in France is Muslim, which amounts to at least 3,312,951 people, and could potentially be twice as many. (16)
Meanwhile in Nigeria, another brutal attack has been carried out by a group which is known as Boko Haram. The assault began on January 3, 2015, and persisted for multiple days in the Nigerian town of Baga. Although the exact number of fatalities are unknown, some claims indicate that as many as 2,000 people may have been killed. “If reports that the town was largely razed to the ground and that hundreds or even as many as 2,000 civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught,” stated Daniel Eyre of the organization known as Amnesty International. (17) The Nigerian military also confirmed that this was one of the deadliest attacks ever conducted by Boko Haram, stating, “The attack on the town by the bloodhounds and their activities since January 3 should convince well-meaning people all over the world that Boko Haram is the evil all must collaborate to end.” (18)
Shockingly, suicide bombings, which have been organized by groups such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram, increased by a whopping 94 percent between the years 2013 and 2014. (19) This development makes it obvious to discerning Christians that we are living in a time period much like the days of Noah, recorded in the sixth chapter of Genesis, which declares that the “earth was filled with violence.” We also know that Jesus told us there would be such a propensity for violence in the days leading up to his return. In Matthew 24:37, we are warned, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Forty-three Years Of Slaughter In The United States!
In 1973 the United States of America changed forever. It was in that year that the landmark case of Roe vs. Wade was brought before the Supreme Court and abortion became legal in this country. It has now been forty-three years since abortion was legalized, and in that time 55 million babies have been brutally slaughtered using this barbaric practice. (20) To make matters worse, about 18,000 of these abortions which are performed each year occur in the late term stages of the babies’ development. “More than 18,000 ‘very late term’ abortions are performed every year on perfectly healthy unborn babies in America. These are innocent and defenseless children who can not only feel pain, but who can survive outside the womb in most cases, and who are torturously killed without even basic anesthesia,” said Representative Ted Franks, a Republican from the state of Arizona. (21)
In many cases, abortions performed in the United States are paid for with tax dollars. However, efforts are being made to reverse this practice. On January 22, 2015, the United States House of Representatives passed legislation known as the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” by a margin of 242-179. If this act becomes law in the United States, no medical insurance plans which receive funding from the government will be allowed to cover elective abortions. (22) While this law, which is also expected to pass in the United States Senate, would certainly be a step in the right direction, President Barack Obama has vowed to veto it. “I am deeply committed to protecting this core constitutional right, and I believe that efforts like H.R. 7, the bill the House considered today, would intrude on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care and unnecessarily restrict the private insurance choices that consumers have today,” Obama declared. He further went on to say, “The federal government should not be injecting itself into decisions best made between women, their families, and their doctors. Today as we reflect on this critical moment in our history, may we all rededicate ourselves to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons.” (23)
It is disheartening to know that the so-called leader of the free world has such a morally askew point of view. God’s love for children is evident throughout the Scriptures, and it is a Biblical teaching that children are a gift from our Creator. This principle can be found in Psalm 127:3 which tells us, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Yet, we live in a time period when children are considered more of a burden than a blessing, and those who do have children are often looked down upon by those who believe our planet is overpopulated. Even Pope Francis recently made a comment which suggested that Catholics should make a greater effort to restrict the size of their families. “God gives you methods to be responsible. Some think that – excuse the word – that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No,” Pope Francis said. (24)
When Science Fiction Is No Longer Fiction!
The world we live in today is faced with many different threats. One threat that is often not considered by the average citizens of the world today is the possibility that our future will be dominated by invasive technology which previously only existed in the minds of science fiction writers. The rapid development of robots and artificial intelligence has become a cause of concern for some scientists who believe that the human race may someday lose control over its own technology. This concern is highlighted in an open letter which was released in January 2015 by the newly formed organization known as the Future of Life Institute. “Because of the great potential of AI (artificial intelligence), it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls. Our AI systems must do what we want them to do,” states the letter, which was signed by notable figures such as Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and numerous other scientists. (25)
Meanwhile, researchers in Japan have continued to perfect their robot technology to the extent that a news conference was recently held by two life-like robots in Tokyo. At the event, two robots, known as Kodomoroid and Otonaroid, introduced two new robots which had recently been developed. Speaking at the conference, the baby-like robot known as CommU told Otonaroid, “We’re good at natural dialog and that’s tough to do.” (26) It has also been announced that a Japanese firm by the name of Komatsu is planning to start using drones to perform foundation work at construction sites. (27)
As people’s lives continue to become more intertwined with today’s technology, Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, has expressed his belief that people and technology will soon become one. “I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear. There will be so many IP addresses… so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it. It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room,” Schmidt said. He then concluded, “A highly personalized, highly interactive, and very, very interesting world emerges.” (28) Of course, in such a world as Schmidt describes, privacy would be non-existent. I believe what he is actually describing is a beast system wherein man and machine are irrevocably connected, which could progress to a system wherein those who are a part of it will be unable to disconnect even if they want to.
An Inferior Quality Of Life In The United States!
In recent days, the Obama Administration has boasted that good times have returned in the United States. In his State of the Union Address, Obama made the claim that the American economy is now in even better shape than it was before the Great Recession began. Perhaps he is hoping that the so-called ordinary American people will not notice that many of us now have an inferior quality of life. Although the official unemployment rate has fallen to 5.6 percent as of December 2014, average hourly wages have decreased. (29) It was also reported in January 2015 that a record 92,898,000 Americans are not presently a part of the workforce in the United States. (30) Of those who are not currently working, 55,807,000 of them are women, which is the lowest workforce participation rate for the female gender in 26 years. (31) It is also worthwhile to note that despite Obama’s jubilance over the present state of the American economy, there are still over 46 million people who are recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is commonly referred to as food stamps. (32) When we consider that the entire population of the United States right now stands at just over 320 million people, there is a large percentage receiving food stamps and an enormous percentage not working. It is quite obvious that the official numbers released by the government are often very deceptive.
In closing, I want to remind every reader of this newsletter that our strength, our joy, and our salvation comes from our God. For as we read in Psalm 62:7-8, “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” Yes, even in these distressing days when so many things are wrong in the world, we still have a refuge in our God. If you have not yet fully given your heart to God, I urge you to do so now.
Please remember that we are here to pray for you and your needs. We always make sure that every prayer request is given individual attention, and we have seen many answers to prayer over the years. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.