Volume XXXVI Issue I January 2017
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Phone: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
Pervasive Deception At Work In Our World!
"And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the Lord."Jeremiah 9:5-6
"If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."John 14:15-18
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God."I Peter 1:18-21
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will examine the current events of our day and the pervasive spirit of deception now at work in our world. As we look back on the year of 2016, we can see that it was a time of upheaval, intrigue, and surprises. Indeed, when citizens of the United Kingdom voted for their country to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016, (1) it was an enormous surprise. A few short months later in November 2016, the entire world watched in astonishment as Donald Trump was declared the winner of the United States presidential election. Since the unfolding of these events, liberals and progressives have sought to find the cause of their failure. After all, Hillary Clinton was so heavily favored to win the Presidency; how could she have possibly lost?
In recent weeks the news media and liberal politicians have blamed Russia for Clinton's loss, claiming that computer hackers sponsored by the Russian government released thousands of emails which were stolen from members of the Democratic Party. They also placed a large share of the blame on fake news stories which are often circulated on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. In December 2016 defeated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying, "The epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year - it's now clear the so-called fake news can have real-world consequences." (2) Outgoing President Barack Obama also decried the spread of fake news. "If fake news released by foreign government is almost identical to reports that are issued through partisan news venues, then it's not surprising that that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect, because it doesn't seem that farfetched," Obama said at a December 2016 news conference. (3) Obama also lashed out against fake news at an event held in Germany in November 2016. "If we are not serious about facts and what's true and what's not - and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in soundbites and snippets off their phones - if we can't discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems. If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won't know what to protect. We won't know what to fight for. And we can lose so much of what we've gained in terms of the kind of democratic freedoms and market-based economies and prosperity that we've come to take for granted," Obama declared. (4)
Is fake news really a problem? Yes, but it is not a new phenomenon. To listen to Democrats talk, one would get the impression that fallacious headlines did not exist before the 2016 presidential campaigns. Yet, fake news has flourished for decades and was certainly in full-swing when Barack Obama ran for President of the United States. In some cases, fake media outlets are actually being operated by liberal Democrats who are working as disinformation agents. According to a report published by National Public Radio in December 2016, one of the most prolific disinformation agents in the online sphere is a man by the name of Jestin Coler. Coler, who is a registered Democrat, operates numerous websites and employs more than twenty people who write completely fabricated news reports. (5) The business is quite lucrative; however, Coler claims that he is not in the fake news business for the money alone. He also enjoys bamboozling his targeted audience. "Really, the financial part of it isn't the only motivator for me. I do enjoy making a mess of the people that share the content that comes out of our site. It's not just the financial incentive for me. I still enjoy the game, I guess," Coler said. He also denied any responsibility for the loss of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. "There are many factors as to why Trump won that don't involve fake news. As much as I like Hillary, she was a poor candidate. She brought in a lot of baggage." (6)
Other news outlets have covered the topic of fake news extensively. According to a recent report published by Buzzfeed News, many of the spurious websites now populating the Internet are actually being operated by enterprising teenagers from the small country of Macedonia. Regarding one of these websites, an unnamed 17 year-old Macedonian was quoted as saying, "I started the site for a [sic] easy way to make money. In Macedonia, the economy is very weak and teenagers are not allowed to work, so we need to find creative ways to make some money." (7) The article also cites a Macedonian university student who reportedly said, "Yes, the info in the blogs is bad, false, and misleading, but the rationale is that 'if it gets people to click on it and engage, then use it.'" (8) Even Pope Francis has weighed-in on the topic of fake news and went as far as to say that it is a sin to slander politicians. "The means of communication have their own temptations, they can be tempted to slander, and therefore used to slander people, to smear them, this above all in the world of politics. They can be used as means of defamation… no one has a right to do this. It is a sin and it is hurtful," Francis declared. (9)
While people fret over the flood of fake news that can be found on the Internet, it should be noted that mainstream news media outlets are not entirely reliable either. It is a well-documented fact that reporters and media executives have a history of working for the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA. In fact, the famous and well regarded journalist known as Carl Bernstein exposed the media's connection to the CIA in a report dating all the way back to October 1977. (10) Furthermore, as I covered in the November 2016 issue of the Last Trumpet, the Democratic Party was caught red-handed planting news stories with mainstream media outlets during the 2016 presidential campaign. (11)
Sadly, the present uproar over fake news could soon be used as an excuse to enforce censorship on a widespread scale. The social networking website known as Facebook has already announced a partnership with certain media entities such as ABC News and Snopes.com to fact-check news stories and websites. (12) While this may seem like a positive development on the surface, it could eventually lead to the removal of any news story they do not like, regardless of whether it is fake or true. "While we don't write the news stories you read and share, we also recognize we're more than just a distributor of news. We're a new kind of platform for public discourse - and that means we have a new kind of responsibility to enable people to have the most meaningful conversations, and to build a space where people can be informed," wrote Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. (13) It is also worth noting that the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017 contains a section of legislation known as the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act. The act was co-sponsored by Rob Portman, a Republican senator from Ohio, and Chris Murphy a Democratic senator from Connecticut. Regarding this development, Senator Portman was quoted in an official press release as saying, "Our enemies are using foreign propaganda and disinformation against us and our allies, and so far the U.S. government has been asleep at the wheel. But today, the United States has taken a critical step towards confronting the extensive, and destabilizing, foreign propaganda and disinformation operations being waged against us by our enemies overseas. With this bill now law, we are finally signaling that enough is enough; the United States will no longer sit on the sidelines. We are going to confront this threat head-on. I am confident that, with the help of this bipartisan bill, the disinformation and propaganda used against us, our allies, and our interests will fail." (14) Just exactly how the government intends to prevent the dissemination of disinformation remains unclear. However, this law could have disastrous ramifications for freedom of speech, which is supposed to be guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Does the mainstream media lie? Yes. Do ambitious teenagers with a knack for sensational headlines lie? Yes. Do disinformation agents lie? Certainly. It is for this reason that we so desperately need to pray for discernment and look to God's Spirit of truth to guide us. In John 14:15-18, we are told by our Lord Jesus Christ, "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." Ultimately, God is the only source of absolute truth.
Obama Threatens Russia!
It is no secret that Russian President Vladimir Putin and former American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton do not like each other. In the weeks leading up to the American election in November 2016, the Russian government was performing nuclear fallout survival drills, gathering troops, and seemingly preparing for war in anticipation of a Clinton presidency. However, Clinton will not be President of the United States. This reality has been a cause of great dismay to outgoing President Barack Obama. In recent weeks, he has blamed the Russians for Clinton's election loss. He has asserted that emails stolen from the Democratic Party and then leaked by Russian computer hackers were a major underlying cause for the failed campaign. The CIA has also concluded that Russian hackers were responsible for the leaked emails. In response, Obama has promised to retaliate against Russia. "I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections… we need to take action. And we will - at a time and a place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized, some of it may not be." (15) How does Obama intend to take action against the Russians with his presidential term about to expire? As of this writing, he would have less than a month to do so, and it is highly unlikely that Donald Trump would punish Russia for supposedly helping him win. Oddly enough, Obama seems unable to comprehend the fact that if Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, had behaved with integrity leaked emails would not have caused a problem. It was the content of these emails which revealed deep corruption that was injurious to the campaign. What Clinton, Obama, and their cronies are truly angry about is the fact that their evil deeds were exposed. This is yet another demonstration of the truth of our Saviour's words that we find in Luke 12:2, which reads, "For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known." (Editor's Note: This newsletter was written before Barack Obama announced the expulsion of thirty-five Russian diplomats from the United States.)
The Assassination Of A Russian Ambassador!
On December 19, 2016, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was shot in the back and killed at an art gallery event in the capital city of Ankara, Turkey. Reports indicate that the assassin was a 22 year-old off duty Turkish police officer by the name of Mevlut Mert Altintas. According to the official story, this Islamic assassin was heard to shout as he pulled the trigger, "We die in Aleppo; you die here," in reference to the ongoing civil war in Syria. He also cried the familiar words "Allahu Akbar," which means "God is great" in Arabic, after shooting the ambassador. The assassin was then killed in a shootout with other police officers at the gallery. (16) As would be expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised swift retribution for the attack. "A crime has been committed and it was without a doubt a provocation aimed at spoiling the normalization of Russo-Turkish relations and spoiling the Syrian peace process which is being actively pushed by Russia, Turkey, Iran, and others," Putin stated. He then went on to say, "There can be only one response - stepping up the fight against terrorism. The bandits will feel this happening." Evidently, Putin does not believe this was a lone-wolf attack. "We must know who directed the killer's hand," Putin told members of his government. (17)
The assassination of Andrey Karlov has the potential to worsen already strained relations between Russia and Turkey. The two nations are on opposing sides in the Syrian War, and we can be certain that Putin and the Russians have not forgotten that the Turkish military shot down a Russian bomber near the Syrian border in November 2015. (18) To further complicate matters, Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is commonly known by the acronym NATO. Therefore a conflict between Russia and Turkey could quickly become a conflict between Russia and the twenty-eight members of NATO. It is interesting to note that NATO suspended all military and civilian cooperation with Russia back in April 2014, so there is already tension between the two entities. (19) A message posted on NATO's official website states: "For more than two decades, NATO has strived to build a partnership with Russia, developing dialogue and practical cooperation in areas of common interest. Cooperation has been suspended in response to Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, which the Allies condemn in the strongest terms. Political and military channels of communications remain open. NATO remains concerned by Russia's continued destabilizing pattern of military activities and aggressive rhetoric, which goes well beyond Ukraine." (20) Truly, we know that assassinations of public figures can have disastrous consequences. The world learned this the hard way in 1914 when the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia. This assassination led to the Great War, which is now commonly known as World War I. The secret society behind this assassination was known as the Black Hand. When we consider this fact, it makes the aforementioned quote from Vladimir Putin even more interesting. Was it just a coincidence that Putin said, "We must know who directed the killer's hand," or was he perhaps hinting at something more ominous? Only God knows what the future holds.
The Death Of A Dictator!
On November 25, 2016, the famous revolutionary and former President of Cuba, Fidel Castro, passed away. The death of the 90 year-old communist dictator was first announced by Cuba's current President and brother of Fidel, Raul Castro, on state television. "At 10:29 at night, the chief commander of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, died," Raul Castro said. (21) I never rejoice at the death of anyone; however, many Cuban people are likely relieved that their former dictator will no longer have an influence on their lives. Oddly enough, despite the carnage he caused and the trail of bodies he left behind, numerous liberal figures are actually mourning the death of Castro. The current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, spoke fondly of the Cuban tyrant in an official statement released on November 26, 2016. "It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba's longest serving President. Fidel Castrol was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation. While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro's supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for "el Commandante." (22)
Jesse Jackson, a man who fancies himself a minister and civil rights activist, also praised the departed dictator. "In many ways, after 1959, the oppressed world over joined Castro's cause of fighting for freedom and liberation. He changed the world. RIP," Jackson posted on the social networking website known as Twitter. (23) It is an odd thing when a man who is supposed to be a Christian minister is praising a man who was known to be secular, plus an atheist, and a communist. I highly doubt that the hundreds of thousands of people who fled Cuba over the years agree with Jackson's assessment that Fidel Castro fought for "freedom and liberation."
Although President Obama did not praise the dictator outright, he did refrain from criticizing the controversial figure. "History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him," Obama said. He then went on to say, "In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America." (24) In contrast, President-elect Donald Trump was quite blunt in his assessment of Castro's life. "Fidel Castro's legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty, and the denial of fundamental human rights," Trump stated. (25)
It is amazing to me that liberal people are actually praising Fidel Castro. This is yet another indicator that the ideology of much of the population in the world has shifted. Socialism and communism are no longer viewed as negative forms of government by prominent public figures and young people, and Castro is being lauded as a hero. Of course, supporters are always quick to commend the education and healthcare systems of Cuba, but they often neglect to mention the fact that most Cubans are very poor. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group found that half of the Cuban population lives on a median income of 300 to 400 dollars per year. (26) They say in a communist society that everything is supposed to be equally shared amongst the people. In reality, they are all equally poor and equally dependent on the government for their basic needs.
A Cashless Society Is Closer Than Ever!
For decades we have been warned that a cashless society is coming. This newsletter has covered the topic many times, and current events suggest that we are closer than ever to a cashless world. I realize scoffers may read this newsletter and think it is a bunch of nonsense, but the truth is that we have been conditioned for years to accept a cashless financial system. For example, if you go to a grocery store and watch people in line at the checkouts, you will see that it has become a normal thing for consumers to reach for a credit or debit card to pay for their groceries.
In recent days television advertisements have surfaced from the electronic payment service known as PayPal which denigrate the usage of cash. In one such ad, we are shown the words, "New money is not a dirty word. New money isn't paper. It's progress. Old money closes at 5. New money is always open. Old money is stuck in the past. New money gets better every day." Finally, the advertisement ends with flashing text that declares, "New money is all people. Move over old money. There's a new money in town. PayPal is new money." (27) The commercial has an almost hypnotic quality about it, with rapidly changing text and pictures and background music with an enthralling beat that combine to form an effective brainwashing session.
Meanwhile, an article published in October 2016 features a stunning quote from the chief executive officer at the computer company known as Apple, Inc. In an interview with the Japanese news service Nikkei, Apple CEO Tim Cook told his interviewer, "We would like to be a catalyst for taking cash out of the system. We don't think the consumer particularly likes cash." (28) Apple has a cashless payment system known as Apple Pay, which allows consumers to pay for goods and services with their iPhones.
Just how close is our world to becoming a cashless society? Consider what is now happening in India. In November 2016, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, assembled his cabinet together and proceeded to go on television to announce that India was removing almost 90 percent of its currency from circulation. In one short moment, the Indian people suddenly had currency they could no longer spend, because the bill denomination is no longer valid. In explaining the rationale of this maneuver, Prime Minister Modi told the people, "The great task that the country wants to accomplish today is the realization of our dream of a cashless society." (29) This sudden change in policy has caused great detriment to the people of India who are accustomed to conducting most transactions with cash. Many factories have closed, while other companies have resorted to paying their employees with groceries because they do not have enough cash on hand. (30) This new policy will especially cause difficulties for the 600 million Indians who do not even have a bank account. (31) Could something like this ever happen in the United States? Here let it be noted that the Washington Post published an article in February 2016, written by former United States Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, which declares in the headline, "It's time to kill the $100 bill." (32)
In closing, we are most definitely living in uncertain times and our world is changing every day. There are many people in this world who feel hopeless, and this apparently includes outgoing First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama. Referencing the recent election of Donald Trump, she told Oprah Winfrey in an interview, "We feel the difference now. See, now, we're feeling what not having hope feels like." (33) However, we as the people of God are never without hope. For as it tells us in I Peter 1:18-21, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." If you have not yet repented of your sins and dedicated your life to God, I urge you to do so now. In so doing, you will know what it feels like to have hope.
Thank you all for your kind support of this ministry. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve you. Over the course of the last month, we have received a great number of prayer requests. Each one was given individual attention as they always are, and we invite all of our readers to keep sending your prayer requests. We serve a God without limitations. He can truly do anything, and we know that He hears every prayer. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.