Volume XXXIV Issue VII July 2015
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Phone: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
Dangerous Days In A Fallen World!
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."John 14:1-3
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."Revelation 21:1-4
"Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."II Peter 3:11-13
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will carefully examine the facts of our day which remind us that we live in a fallen world, which continues to suffer from a worsening condition each and every year. At this present time, the people of our little speck in the universe, which we call earth, are constantly facing disaster and catastrophe. In fact, simply reading the news in today's modern world can prove to be a rather depressing endeavor for those who know not our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This is especially true of those who put their faith in science since a growing chorus of scientists are now presenting a rather gloomy outlook for our planet.
Oddly enough, scientists, atheists, and other non-religious folks have often accused Bible-believing Christians of preaching a "gloom and doom" message in the past. Yet, it is the scientific community today that presents a bleak and hopeless future for our world's occupants. This includes the late Frank Fenner, who was formerly a professor at the Australian National University in Canberra. In an article published by The Australian in 2010, Professor Fenner was quoted as saying, "We'll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island. Climate change is just at the very beginning. But we're seeing remarkable changes in the weather already. The Aborigines showed that without science and the production of carbon dioxide and global warming, they could survive for 40,000 to 50,000 years. But the world can't. The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we've seen disappear. Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years. A lot of other animals will too. It's an irreversible situation. I think it's too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off." (1) Professor Fenner's work was cited in a recent report published by Reuters in June 2015, which rather pessimistically proclaims, "A child born today may live to see humanity's end." (2)
Additionally, scientists at Stanford University in California, the University of California in Berkeley, and Princeton University in New Jersey, published a report in June 2015 which declares that a new extinction phase has begun and will lead to the eventual extinction of the human race and many species of animals. "We are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event," stated one of the report's authors. (3) Gerardo Ceballos, who also co-authored the report, was quoted as saying, "If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover and our species itself would likely disappear early on." (4) Professor Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University further opined, "There are examples of species all over the world that are essentially the walking dead." (5)
As Christians, we understand that this world we presently occupy will not last forever. Yet, we are promised in the Scriptures that God will give us a new heavens and a new earth. In II Peter 3:13, we are plainly told by the Apostle Peter, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." In like manner, Revelations 21:1 tells us, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." In light of these Scriptures, we have no need to fear the extinction of the human race. I firmly believe that God keeps His promises, and I can say with all certainty that the new heavens and the new earth will be far better than this present world.
A Papal Letter That Could Change The World!
As I mentioned in last month's issue of this newsletter, it has become increasingly common for churches to embrace environmental issues and preach against climate change. Now, perhaps the most prominent religious figure in the world, Pope Francis, has published a papal letter, which he has addressed to every person alive in the world today. The rather longwinded letter, Laudato Si, calls on every person to embrace an environmentalist ideology and forgo many of the comforts, such as air conditioning, that folks have grown accustomed to. (6) "Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it," Pope Francis wrote. (7) In his letter, the Pope uses the issue of climate change and global warming as a means to unite the entire world. "Beginning in the middle of the last century and overcoming many difficulties, there has been a growing conviction that our planet is a homeland and that humanity is one people living in a common home. An interdependent world not only makes us more conscious of the negative effects of certain lifestyles and models of production and consumption which affect us all; more importantly, it motivates us to ensure that solutions are proposed from a global perspective, and not simply to defend the interests of a few countries. Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan," Francis wrote in the fifth chapter of his letter. Further on in the letter, Pope Francis declares the need for a new global authority which would be used to oversee national governments. "The twenty-first century, while maintaining systems of governance inherited from the past, is witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tends to prevail over the political. Given this situation, it is essential to devise stronger and more efficiently organized international institutions, with functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments, and empowered to impose sanctions," the letter states. (8)
We must consider this man's words carefully. He is talking about the establishment of an authority that would rule over every country in the world and have the ability to impose sanctions on countries that refuse to go along with their climate change agenda! If you read between the lines, this Pope is talking about a one world government, which, in all likelihood, would work in concert with his one world religion. It is beyond the obvious that the climate change controversy is being used as a means to control the people and force the masses to bend to the will of the impending power structure that Francis is trying to set up. In his letter, he even quoted his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI who once said, "To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago." (9)
Predictably, American President Barack Obama praised Pope Francis for publishing the papal letter. "As we prepare for global climate negotiations in Paris this December, it is my hope that world leaders - and all God's children - will reflect on Pope Francis's call to come together to care for our common home," Obama said. (10) Scientists also lauded the Pope for speaking out on climate change. "This is exactly what we need. We need leaders who speak to values, connecting the dots between values and climate change," said climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University. (11) Additionally, German scientist John Schellnhuber was quoted by NBC News as saying, "If faith and reason work together hand-in-hand, we can overcome this crisis." (12)
New Dangers From Advanced Technology!
In this modern age of the easily accessible smartphone and computer tablet, it is common knowledge that technology, which is continually advancing to new heights, can allow humans to do incredible things. Yet, these advancements have ushered in new threats that threaten both the livelihoods and the way of life for many people.
It has long been feared that the governments of this world would someday try to force people to receive an implantable microchip, which would allow the authorities to watch and track the world's population. Now, in response to a recent prison break, involving two convicted murderers in the state of New York, a state senator by the name of Kathy Marchione has proposed that some inmates need to be implanted with global positioning satellite microchips, which would allow such prisoners to be easily tracked. "If you've got convicted murderers, the type of people those two men are, it would make good sense at that level that we should have something that we could track them," Senator Marchione declared. (13) A representative from the New York Civil Liberties Union, or NYCLU, was quick to condemn the proposal. "It sounds like a knee-jerk reaction. They should plug the security inside prisons. As a constitutional matter, it won't survive a challenge because it's an invasion of body autonomy," said Donna Lieberman, the executive director at the NYCLU. (14) Residents of New York state were more receptive to the idea, however. "It wouldn't do any harm, I guess. They do it with dogs," said one local resident. (15) In another recent news report published by a local television network in San Antonio, Texas, it was suggested that implanting children with microchips could soon become a reality, much to the delight of one local mother. "I just might be one of those mothers who would do it. He has no fear, of anybody or anything. He has no stranger danger." She then went on to say, "I microchip my dog, why couldn't I microchip my son?" (16)
Even as a debate rages in the United States over the current minimum wage, a very real possibility that robots could soon replace large segments of workers has become increasingly likely. According to an article published by CNN in May 2015, jobs such as toll-booth operators, marketers, customer service representatives, factory workers, and even journalists are at high risk of being replaced by robots. In fact, robotic journalists have already written thousands of news stories for the Associated Press. (17)
In Des Moines, Iowa, plans are now underway to build a fully automated robotic grocery store. The store will be about 260 square feet and will allow customers to make their selections on a touchscreen. "Our stores can be anywhere from 200 to 800 items; it's fully refrigerated, the product can be anywhere from one ounce to ten pounds," said David Maurer, the CEO of a company known as Oasis24seven. (18)
Meanwhile, strict population control in China, which allows most families to have only one child, has caused a shortage of workers for entry-level positions at many factories in the communist country. To fill this void, the Chinese government and numerous Chinese firms are installing robotic factory workers. (19) This trend demonstrates that such technology is already readily accessible, and as a result, a multitude of working class men and women could soon find that their positions have been rendered obsolete.
While the robots now being developed are growing more sophisticated and powerful each year, some of the world's most technologically advanced companies are hard at work developing artificial intelligence. In May 2015 it was announced that the Chinese web search company known as Baidu has a supercomputer they call Minwa, which has the ability to teach itself. Specifically, the machine was able to sort more than one million images and place them in 1,000 categories with an accuracy of 95.42 percent. The company believes its next supercomputer will be capable of 7 quadrillion calculations per second. (20)
For quite some time, the United States Navy has been involved in the development of artificial intelligence, which they plan to use in unmanned weapons. Some of these weapons, which already exist in varying stages of development, include an Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike weapon and a Large Diameter Unmanned Underwater Vehicle. (21) In a recent memo, the Department of the Navy announced plans to integrate advancements from civilian corporations, such as Google, into their plans. "The private sector is investing heavily in AI and robotics automation for decision making and physical implementation tasks. The DON (Department of the Navy) could benefit from considering how to adapt recent private sector advances in fields such as machine learning, natural language processing, ontological engineering, and automated planning for naval applications," the memo states. (22) Lawrence Schuette, the director of research at the Office of Naval Research, defined artificial intelligence as "that thinking system that finds itself someplace it's never been anticipated to be and is able to figure out what to do." (23) It is worthwhile to note that the Pentagon established a new department, known as the Biological Technology Office, or BTO, in July 2014. One of the main goals of this group is to develop technology that will merge man with machine, thus allowing soldiers to perform superhuman feats and potentially expand the human lifespan beyond natural limits. "The next 20 years are going to make our heads spin, because we've already crossed over into that realm" said neurologist Geoffrey Ling, who is heading the new department. (24)
The advancement of technology, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence, has led men who are considered to be some of the most intelligent individuals in the world to express grave concern. In regards to artificial intelligence, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk wrote in a message last year, "The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe - 10 years at most. Please note that I am normally super pro technology, and have never raised this issue until recent months. This is not a case of crying wolf about something I don't understand." (25) Stephen Hawking, who is well-known for his work in cosmology and his anti-God views, also warned that artificial intelligence poses an imminent threat to the human race. "Computers will overtake humans with AI (artificial intelligence) at some [point] within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours," Hawking said. (26) Microsoft Founder Bill Gates is not optimistic about the future either. "I'm in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be a positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don't understand why some people are not concerned," Gates warned. (27)
Despite an underlying knowledge that they probably should not be doing it, scientists and technology corporations are continuously working on the development of artificial intelligence. I do not believe that they will be successful in everything they are attempting to achieve, because ultimately God is in control. It is dangerous, however, and I cannot help but wonder if these supposed "super intelligent" machines, which would not have souls and be completely devoid of any compassion or empathy, could become the playthings of demons and evil spirits. With that thought, it seems appropriate to consider another quote from Elon Musk. "With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there's a guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it's like yeah he's sure he can control the demon. Didn't work out." (28)
A Trio Of Threats To Our Food Supply!
At this present time, there is a trio of threats that have the potential to wreak havoc on the food supply in the United States. One particular area of concern is a continual decline in the population of honey bees. According to reports, about 42 percent of honeybee colonies in the United States were lost between 2014 and 2015. In the period from 2013-2014, a 34 percent loss was reported. (29) Honey bees, as it turns out, are absolutely crucial to agricultural activity. Without honey bees to pollinate crops, there would no longer be a plentiful supply of apples, almonds, blueberries, cherries, avocados, cucumbers, onions, grapefruits, oranges, and pumpkins, amongst numerous other crops. (30) The unexplained die-off of honey bees was first discovered by the French in 1996, and ten years later in 2006, the phenomenon was given the name Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD after it was observed in the United States. (31) Government officials are worried, insomuch that the White House recently issued a special report which details their strategy to reverse this disturbing trend. The document, which is known as the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, was published on May 19, 2015. The document, which was signed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, states in the introduction, "Pollinators are critical to our Nation's economy, food security, and environmental health. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year, and provides the backbone to ensuring our diets are plentiful with fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Through the actions discussed in this Strategy, and by working with partners across our country, we can and will help restore and sustain pollinator health nationwide." (32)
In the meantime, the drought in the state of California has been persistent to say the least. According to data released by the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought is affecting 99.86 percent of the state with only 0.14 percent experiencing normal conditions. This includes an exceptional drought, which is the most severe type possible, which covers 46.73 percent of the state. In total, this expansive drought affects about 37 million people. (33) Scientists from the University of California in Davis are now warning that this prolonged drought has begun to have a detrimental effect on the state's wildflowers. "Grasses and wildflowers may be able to withstand the current drying period through their extensive seed banks, which can lie dormant for decades waiting for the right conditions to germinate. However, California's drought is expected to intensify in the coming decades, so this rescue effect may end up being too late for some species," stated a press release from a group of scientists at UC Davis. (34) It stands to reason that this drought is also having an impact on food crops as well, and the longer these drought conditions persist, the greater the impact will be. In a recent article published by CBS News, it was reported that California has received only one year's worth of rain over the course of the last four years. (35) In response, the state government has implemented a series of water restrictions, which could result in hefty fines if Californians fail to comply. Farmers could be penalized up to one thousand dollars each day if they violate the rules. (36) The new restrictions have caused desperate situations in some communities. In mid-June 2015 it was reported that the upscale community of Mountain House was only days away from completely running out of water after the state government cut off their supply. "We're out there looking for water supplies as we speak. We have storage tanks, but those are basically just to ensure the correct pressurization of the distribution system. No more than two days are in those storage tanks," the community's general manager, Ed Pattison, said. (37)
As if the decline of the honey bee population and the drought in California were not bad enough, the avian flu outbreak which occurred earlier this spring has now led to a shortage of eggs in the United States. To date, the outbreak has led to the deaths of 48 million chickens and turkeys. Consequently, an increase in price for eggs has been noted around the country, and it has been predicted that this disruption in supply will last for at least a year. "The best case scenario, we're talking about a year before the availability is more robust," said John Howeth, an official at the American Egg Board. (38) In the state of Texas, grocery stores which belong to the chain known as H-E-B have begun rationing eggs and now limit each customer to no more than three cartons. "The United States is facing a temporary disruption in the supply of eggs due to the Avian Flu. H-E-B is committed to ensuring that Texas families and households have access to eggs. The signs placed on our shelves last week are to deter commercial users from buying eggs in bulk," the company said in a statement. (39)
When we read about a decline in honey bee population and an outbreak of avian flu, it can certainly be a cause of anxiety. However, I am thankful to know that we serve a God who can provide for his people in even the most desperate of situations. In Matthew 6:26, we are told by our Saviour, "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"
In closing, I know that we live in troubling times. There are many challenges we will face in the coming days, and there are great dangers lurking in the shadows. In recent weeks we were reminded that even the simple act of attending a church Bible study could be fraught with peril as was the case on the night of June 17, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina, when a demon-filled young man gunned down nine people. (40) It is difficult to comprehend how something so reprehensible and evil could happen, but such incidents are one of the consequences of living in a fallen world.
I urge every reader of this newsletter to hold fast to God's promises. In John 14:1-3, we are told by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Yes, Jesus will come again, for it is not possible for God to lie and His promises are sure. If you have not yet fully dedicated your life to God, I urge you to do so now.
Thank you all for your kind support of this ministry. We appreciate each and every one of you. As always, we are here to pray for you and any needs that you may have. We give each request individual attention, and we fully believe that our God hears and answers our prayers. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.Samuel David Meyer