Volume 41 Issue Four April 2022
Last Trumpet Ministries · PO Box 806 · Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Phone: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” I Cor. 14:8
“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.”
Throughout the course of human history, critical events have taken place that altered the world forever. These events can accurately be called flashpoints. The dictionary defines a flashpoint as “a critical point or stage at which something or someone suddenly causes or creates some significant action.” Since the turn of the century, we have seen significant happenings which have profoundly impacted how we live our lives in this modern age.
One of the most significant events in American history took place on September 11, 2001. I was seventeen years old on this fateful day. Less than two years prior, I had traveled to New York City with my family. One of the trip's highlights was visiting the World Trade Center and standing on the roof of one of the towers to look out at the vast expanse of America’s largest city. Like most Americans, I watched in horror as footage of two commercial airlines barreling into the World Trade Center was shown on the morning of September 11 on most television networks in the land. It was an eerie feeling to see those iconic towers, which I had just visited not so long ago, go up in flames. Before long, these imposing towers crumbled into rubble in a disaster that looked very much like a demolition. Soon, reports told us that terrorists hijacked commercial flights and were intentionally crashing them into buildings. Their targets were said to be the World Trade Center in New York City, the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and the headquarters of our nation’s military known as The Pentagon located in Arlington, Virginia. The hijacked flight intending to hit the Capitol fell out of the sky over the state of Pennsylvania. Tragically, 2,753 people lost their lives in New York City on 9/11. (1)
Fear gripped the nation on that day. For the first time in history, the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, grounded all flights in the United States, (2) leaving worried passengers stranded and desperately trying to get home. We were all left to wonder if there would be more attacks, and a national obsession with terrorism soon set in. On September 12, 2001, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, activated Article 5 of its treaty, which was another first in our world’s history. The article states, “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all…” (3)
Less than a month later on October 7, 2001, NATO forces led by the United States invaded Afghanistan in a bid to overthrow the Taliban regime, which was said to have aided Osama bin Laden and the terrorist group al-Qaida in the 9/11 attacks. (4) At the time, no one would have imagined that this war would last nearly twenty years, but it did. The last American soldier in Afghanistan, Major General Chris Donahue, would not leave the war-torn country until August 31, 2021. (5) The decades-long war came at a horrifying cost. Over the nearly twenty years of the conflict, the United States spent an estimated 2.3 trillion dollars on the war effort. (6) Researchers at Brown University believe at least 241,000 people died as a result of this war, with 71,000 of them being civilians. (7) In total, 980,000 American soldiers fought in Afghanistan. More than 20,700 of them were wounded, and 2,455 of them lost their lives. (8)
To further complicate matters, former President of the United States, George W. Bush, used the ongoing war on terror as a pretext to invade Iraq on March 19, 2003. This war was justified with the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, but these weapons were never found. The conflict in Iraq concluded on December 15, 2011. (9) The cost of this war, too, was staggering. An estimated 134,000 civilians were killed in the conflict, while 4,488 United States military personnel, and 3,400 American contractors perished. The funds used to fight this war were borrowed; thus, it is estimated that ultimately, the Iraqi War will cost the United States taxpayers at least 2.2 trillion dollars, but could be as much as 3.9 trillion dollars by the year 2053. (10)
By now, we can see that the tragic events of September 11, 2001, had far-reaching ramifications for this country. Because those planes hit the World Trade Center, the United States has borne a monstrous burden both financially and in terms of loss of life. Sadly, thousands of United States military veterans have returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This deep trauma has caused an epidemic of suicides amongst this subset of the American population. While over 7,000 soldiers died in the war on terror, a report published by Boston University in June 2021 estimates that more than 30,000 veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken their own lives. (11)
The United States was a different country in many ways before the 9/11 attacks. I can recall trips to the airport to either see someone off or to greet someone arriving. At the time, airport personnel would let you pass through security checkpoints even if you didn’t have a ticket. There were no full-body scanners and pat-downs by TSA officers. In fact, there were no TSA officers because the Transportation Security Administration didn’t exist yet. The TSA is a division of the Department of Homeland Security, which did not exist either before September 11, 2001.
About a year after the attacks, half of the adults surveyed told Pew Research that the United States “had changed in a major way.” When asked how their lives changed, respondents said they “felt more afraid, more careful, more distrustful, or more vulnerable as a result of the attacks.” (12) Fifteen years later in 2016, another study by Pew revealed that 76 percent of adult Americans said that 9/11 was “one of the ten historical events of their lifetime that had the greatest impact on the country.” (13) The events of September 11 also seeded deep mistrust of the government. A survey conducted by Statista in October 2021 found that 11 percent of respondents said they “strongly believe” that the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 were an “inside job.” Twelve percent of respondents said they “somewhat believe” this theory, while 15 percent said they “neither believe nor disbelieve” it. Only 9 percent of respondents said they “somewhat disbelieve” that 9/11 was an inside job, 45 percent said they “strongly disbelieve” it, and 7 percent of respondents said they “don’t know.” (14) Evidently, many questions remain about what really happened that day. In any case, we can say with great certainty that September 11, 2001, was a major flashpoint in our nation’s history that dramatically changed our country forever.
A Look Back At The Great Recession
Six years after the 9/11 attacks, a new crisis gripped America. This time, the United States faced a lengthy period of economic decline which came to be known as The Great Recession. Officially beginning in December 2007, the recession lasted until June 2009, making it the most prolonged recession America had faced since World War II. During this time of national turmoil, the gross domestic product of the United States fell by 4.3 percent, and unemployment climbed from 5 percent in December 2007 all the way to 10 percent by October 2009. Home prices fell by a whopping 30 percent, (15) which left many homeowners struggling with underwater mortgages, a phenomenon that occurs when the amount owed on a mortgage exceeds the total value of the home. Home foreclosures increased dramatically, and millions of people lost their life savings. In fact, the net worth of American households and nonprofit organizations fell precipitously, declining from a total value of 69 trillion dollars in 2007 to 55 trillion dollars in 2009 due in large part to losses sustained by the American Stock Market. (16)
By the end of 2008, the Federal Reserve had lowered the target interest rate in the United States to zero for the first time in history. This was done in the hopes that people and businesses would feel more inclined to borrow money and stimulate a national economy that was far closer to complete and utter collapse than most people realized. The Federal government, led by the Administration of former President George W. Bush, also took unprecedented steps and began doling out billions of dollars in bailout money to American companies that were deemed “too big to fail.” The first company to receive a bailout was insurance and investment firm AIG, which received 85 billion dollars from the government. In the following months, automakers Chrysler and General Motors received bailouts totaling 80 billion dollars, and the giant financial institution known as Bank of America received 125 billion dollars. (17) What did the American people receive? Individuals who met the income requirements received stimulus checks in the amount of 600 dollars. (18)
Although the Great Recession technically ended in June 2009, the effects of this historic economic downturn were felt for years after the fact. The American workforce would not recover the 8.7 million jobs shed during the recession until mid-2014. (19) The Federal Reserve did not raise key interest rates in the United States until December 2015. (20) Nevertheless, by 2017, the United States had mostly recovered from the recession. The economy was thriving, which prompted Annie Lowrey of The Atlantic to write in December 2017, “A decade after it started, the Great Recession has faded into memory. Corporate earnings and the stock market have fully recovered, with the financial sector thriving. The labor market has fully recovered, with middle-class earnings growing and the economy flirting with full employment. The government, at the state, local, and federal levels, has recovered too, and the economy is growing close to what economists think of as the fastest sustainable pace.” (21) It seemed as though prosperity had returned to the United States of America. This optimism and excitement would be short-lived, however.
In March 2020, the world hit another catastrophic flashpoint when a global pandemic was declared due to a new disease known as Covid-19. This burgeoning crisis served as a jarring interruption into what had otherwise been a robust economic recovery. Suddenly, lockdowns were implemented all over the world, non-essential businesses were forced to close, and more than twenty million jobs were abruptly lost. (22) In March 2020, the Federal Reserve again lowered the key interest rate to zero, (23) and the government soon began churning out stimulus packages in a desperate bid to avoid another devastating recession. By April 2020, the government was again sending out stimulus checks, a maneuver, which at the time reminded me of the Great Recession. More checks would follow in December 2020, while the third and final round of direct economic stimulus payments were doled out to Americans in March 2021. (24) The government instituted various stimulus programs designed to provide life support to the economy, which again was at risk of collapse. In total, about five trillion dollars was spent on pandemic stimulus. (25) While this obscene amount of money helped businesses and individuals who were barely hanging on, it further worsened an already out of control national debt which rose to more than thirty trillion dollars in January 2022. (26) In contrast, the United States of America’s national debt was about six trillion dollars in the year 2000. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the United States will spend 60 trillion dollars on interest payments alone over the next three decades. (27)
It is almost unimaginable that the United States could ever default on its debt. However, the national debt cannot continue to grow unchecked forever. To make matters worse, a snarled supply chain, worker shortages, and red hot inflation threaten to inflict more economic pain on the United States. I’ve seen several reports suggesting we could face another recession soon. Will it be worse than the last one? If events of the previous two decades have taught us anything, it is that unexpected and unprecedented catastrophes do happen. Will the dollar collapse? Could a new currency take its place? Hints suggest that a new monetary system could be coming.
The End Of Cash Is On The Horizon
In recent years, people around the world have taken a growing interest in a new form of money known as cryptocurrency. This type of money, which is entirely digital and not backed by any central bank, tends to rise and fall dramatically. Despite its wild swings in value, a growing contingent of people view it as the future of money. Thus, we have seen cryptocurrency exchange websites heavily advertised on both television and the Internet as efforts are made to propel cryptocurrency into mainstream society. These efforts include endorsements by several professional athletes, including National Football League quarterback Tom Brady, who starred in a commercial for the cryptocurrency exchange website FTX last year. (28) NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made headlines in 2021 when he announced that his entire salary of 750,000 dollars would be paid in the world’s most well-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin. (29) Aaron Rodgers, another quarterback who plays in the National Football League, also endorsed bitcoin. He announced on November 1, 2021, that he would receive some of his salary in the digital currency. (30) Meanwhile, New York City’s new mayor, Eric Adams, announced in January 2022 that his first paycheck would be converted to cryptocurrency. “New York is the center of the world, and we want it to be the center of cryptocurrency and other financial innovations,” Adams declared. (31)
Governments generally dislike cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, because these currencies are unregulated, anonymous, and seen as competitors to money issued by central banks. In an effort to compete with cryptocurrencies, some countries have already begun to roll out digital currencies of their own. This includes China, which has developed a digital yuan. Under this system, transaction data is anonymous to other currency users and invisible to the banks that conduct the transactions, but fully visible to the Chinese government. (32) Thus, the authorities in China can track every transaction conducted with the digital yuan and can confiscate money or restrict the flow of funds at will. The new currency works hand-in-hand with China’s recently implemented social credit system, which assigns a “social credit score” to Chinese citizens based on their behavior. For example, playing video games excessively or jaywalking on public streets can lower a person’s score, while government approved activities can raise the score. Those who commit too many infractions can be banned from owning property, taking out loans, or purchasing airline tickets, amongst many other limitations. (33)
It is easy to see the many ways a central bank controlled digital currency could become a privacy nightmare. Nevertheless, the Federal Reserve in the United States has been hard at work researching a digital dollar. In February 2022, it was reported that the branch of the Federal Reserve in Boston, Massachusetts, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is already testing designs for a new digital dollar processing system. According to reports, the new system is able to process 1.7 million transactions per second. (34) “It is critical to understand how emerging technologies could support a CBDC (central bank digital currency) and what challenges remain. This collaboration between MIT and our technologists has a scalable CBDC research model that allows us to learn more about these technologies and the choices that should be considered when designing a CBDC,” said Jim Cunha, who is the Executive Vice President and Interim Chief Operating Officer at the Boston Federal Reserve. (35)
In March 2022, American President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing the American government to focus new attention on cryptocurrencies. The order calls on the Treasury Department to develop policy recommendations on protecting consumers, investors, and businesses from the risks associated with unregulated digital currencies. More telling, the order declares that the President of the United States is “placing urgency” on the research and development of a digital dollar. (36) These developments indicate that it is no longer a question of if a digital dollar will be developed but when a digital dollar will be developed. Here let it be noted that eighty-seven countries around the world are in the process of researching and developing central bank digital currencies. (37)
In August 2021, the think tank known as the Brookings Institution published a piece with a headline declaring, “Cash will soon be obsolete. Will America be ready?” The article then urges the Federal Reserve to create a digital dollar. “The United States should develop a digital dollar, not because of what other countries are doing, but because the benefits of a digital currency far outweigh the costs,” author Eswar Prasad insists. These purported benefits include providing the poor and those without a bank account access to digital transactions. The article also suggests that a digital dollar would allow the government to disburse stimulus payments quickly and efficiently to all Americans. We are further told that the Federal Reserve could use the digital dollar as a tool to impose negative interest rates during poor economic conditions. “If cash were replaced with a digital dollar, however, the Fed could impose a negative interest rate by gradually shrinking the electronic balances in everyone’s digital currency accounts, creating an incentive for consumers to spend and for companies to invest.” (38) I suspect most Americans would resent the Federal Reserve surreptitiously stealing money from their accounts, but that could easily happen when a digital dollar is introduced.
The article does admit that there are some risks involved with implementing a central bank digital currency. “Even with protections in place to ensure confidentiality, no central bank would forgo the ability to audit and trace transactions. A digital dollar could threaten what remains of anonymity and privacy in commercial transactions – a reminder that adopting a digital dollar is not just an economic but also a social decision.” (39) In other words, the author believes that the American people should surrender their financial privacy for the good of society. He concludes the piece by writing, “The end of cash is on the horizon, and it will have far-reaching effects on the economy, finance, and society more broadly. With proper preparation and open discussion, we should embrace the advent of a digital dollar.” (39)
With so many countries now developing central bank digital currencies, I strongly suspect that these various digital monetary systems could eventually be merged into one, thus producing a global cashless society. This cashless society would become part of a worldwide economic system that seeks to unite the entire world under a global antichrist government. It is very possible that the world’s population could find themselves unable to buy or sell without using digital currency.
The World At Risk
In what has quickly become the biggest flashpoint of 2022, Russian military forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Suddenly, we see a devastating war in Europe, which could easily spill over to other European countries. World leaders know that this conflict, if it is prolonged, and if there is a miscalculation or misunderstanding, could lead to World War III and possibly even nuclear war.
On February 27, 2022, just days after the invasion by Russia into Ukraine began, Vladimir Putin put his nuclear forces on high alert. (40) Putin’s move quickly changed the conversation regarding the conflict and left us wondering, could he really use nuclear weapons? Shortly after that, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was quoted as saying, “Raising the alert of Russian nuclear forces is a bone-chilling development. The prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility.” (41) It has long been understood that in the event of an all-out nuclear war, no one wins. Thus, nuclear powers have traditionally adopted the military doctrine of mutually assured destruction, which posits that if one country uses nuclear weapons, the target or its allies will respond in kind, retaliating with a nuclear attack against the perpetrator. A study conducted by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1947 determined that it would take between ten and one hundred nuclear weapons to destroy the entire world. (42) It should be noted that nuclear weapons have greatly advanced since that study was conducted and are now far more powerful and damaging. Regarding the possibility of a nuclear assault, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned, “Russia must stop its nuclear saber-rattling. Any use of nuclear weapons will fundamentally change the nature of the conflict, and Russia must understand that a nuclear war should never be fought and they can never win a nuclear war.” (43) Here let it noted that during the month of March 2022, two Russian fighter jets illegally violated sovereign airspace over Sweden for approximately one minute. It was later determined that these fighter jets were armed with nuclear warheads. (44)
Nuclear war is the worst case scenario. It is far more likely that the conflict will continue to be fought by more conventional means. Nevertheless, there is a very real and dangerous possibility that the war could spill over Ukraine’s borders and ignite World War III. Just a miscalculation could spark a global conflict. There has already been at least one close call. On March 13, 2022, it was reported that a stray Soviet-made drone armed with an explosive device crashed in Croatia. The bomb went off in a parking lot and damaged forty cars. Remarkably, no one was injured or killed. (45) If there had been casualties, World War III could have already started because Croatia is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member. An attack against one NATO country is considered an attack against them all. Nevertheless, the conflict has already taken an international slant even without a formal global war. As many as three thousand Americans have expressed an interest in fighting the Russians in Ukraine, and some are already there battling the invading forces. (46) Canadians have volunteered to fight for Ukraine as well, and they even have their own battalion consisting of 550 soldiers. (47) Not to be outdone, the Russian President has backed a plan to bring foreign fighters from Syria and other parts of the Middle East to Ukraine to fight for the Russians. (48) Thus, you could have Americans and Canadians fighting Syrians in Ukraine, resulting in an international conflict by default.
American President Joe Biden claims to be exercising caution in an effort to avoid escalating the conflict and involving American troops in the war. For example, he has refused to enforce a no-fly zone over Russia despite repeated pleas from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Biden also refused to transfer fighter jets to Ukraine, stating, “The idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews – just understand, don’t kid yourself, no matter what y’all say, that’s called World War III.” (49) The President did spark an uproar, however, while giving a speech in Poland. Speaking of Vladimir Putin, Biden told his audience, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” (50)
While world leaders bicker, the fact that millions of people are suffering because of this war should not be forgotten. Millions of Ukrainians have fled their country, and others have been killed. Recent reports indicate that at least 1,119 Ukrainian civilians had died by March 27, 2022. (51) The Russian military has also sustained significant losses. In late March 2022, the Russian government reported that 1,351 Russian soldiers had died in the war and that 3,825 were injured. Ukraine’s government, however, estimates that more than 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed so far. (52) All of this death is tragic and unnecessary, yet as it has so often been true in the past, we see countries using their citizens and soldiers like pawns on a chessboard. It is my prayer that this conflict will be resolved before it escalates into something far worse. In any case, we see that once again, the words of Jesus Christ ring true even as nations rise against nation and the world suffers from famines, pestilences, earthquakes in diverse places, and fearful sights.
We have covered some of the most significant flashpoints of recent decades in this newsletter. These events have had severe consequences and a profound impact on our world. Yet, we have hope because the most significant and world-changing event in history took place nearly two thousand years ago when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gave his life on the cross of Calvary. The impact of this gift was felt immediately. Matthew 27:50-54 tells us, “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” The opened graves were a preview of what will happen to all of God’s people who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The impact of what our Saviour did for us so long ago is still felt today. If you have not yet repented of your sins and dedicated your life to God, I urge you to do so now.
Thank you all for your kind support of this ministry. As always, you are invited to send us your prayer requests. Each request is always given individual attention. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Samuel David Meyer
01. Voices of America News, September 7, 2021, By Agence France-Presse, http://voanews.com.
02. CNN, September 11, 2001, By CNN, http://cnn.com.
03. History.com, March 14, 2022, By Sarah Pruitt, http://history.com.
04. DW, June 10, 2021, By Shamil Shams, http://dw.com.
05. BBC News, August 31, 2021, By BBC News, http://bbc.com.
06. USA Today, September 1, 2021, By Deirdre Shesgreen, http://usatoday.com.
07. Watson Institute, April 2021, By Watson Institute, http://thewatsoninstitute.org.
08. The Conversation, September 1, 2021, By Nate C. Crawford, http://theconversation.com.
09. History.com, March 15, 2022, By History.com Editors, http://history.com.
10. Brown University, March 14, 2013, By Courtney Coelho, http://brown.edu.
11. Colorado Newsline, July 8, 2021, By Faith Miller, http://coloradonewsline.com.
12. Pew Research Center, September 2, 2021, By Hannah Hartig and Carroll Doherty, http://pewresearch.org.
14. Statista, October 19, 2021, By Statista Research Department, http://statista.com.
15. The Federal Reserve History, November 22, 2013, By Robert Rich, http://federalreservehistory.org.
16. History.com, October 11, 2019, By History.com editors, http://history.com.
19. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, June 6, 2019, By CBPP, http://cbpp.org.
20. CNN, December 16, 2015, By Patrick Gillespie, http://cnn.com.
21. The Atlantic, December 1, 2017, By Annie Lowrey, http://theatlantic.com.
22. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, May 8, 2020, By Stephanie Soucheray, http://cidrap.umn.edu.
23. The Balance, March 25, 2022, By Kimberly Amadeo, http://thebalance.com.
24. AS, March 17, 2022, By AS, http://en.as.com.
25. The New York Times, March 11, 2022, By Alicia Parlapiano, Deborah B. Solomon, Madeleine Ngo, and Stacy Cowley, http://nytimes.com.
26. The Hill, March 21, 2022, By Thomas P. Vartanian and William M. Isaac, http://thehill.com.
28. Boston.com, September 10, 2021, By Conor Roche, http://boston.com.
29. Business Insider, January 31, 2022, By Matthew Fox, http://businessinsider.com.
30. GoBankingRates, March 6, 2022, By John Csiszar, http://gobankingrates.com.
32. The Hill, March 8, 2021, By Kristin Tate, http://thehill.com.
34. Forbes Magazine, February 7, 2022, By Jason Brett, http://forbes.com.
36. Business Insider, March 9, 2022, By Carla Mozee, http://businessinsider.com.
38. The Brookings Institute, August 25, 2021, By Eswar Prasad, http://brookings.edu.
40. News 24, February 27, 2022, By News 24, http://news24.com.
41. Business Insider, March 14, 2022, By Jake Epstein and John Haltiwanger, http://businessinsider.com.
42. HITC, February 28, 2022, By Arpita Adhya, http://hitc.com.
43. The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2022, By Thomas Grove, http://wsj.com.
44. Israel National News, March 30, 2022, By Israel National News, http://israelnationalnews.com.
45. Fox News, March 13, 2022, By Associated Press, http://foxnews.com.
46. Slate, March 10, 2022, By Molly Olmstead, http://slate.com.
47. National Post, March 9, 2022, By Tom Blackwell, http://nationalpost.com.
48. The Times of Israel, March 11, 2022, By Agencies, http://timesofisrael.com.
49. The New York Post, March 11, 2022, By Steven Nelson, http://nypost.com.
50. The Washington Post, March 26, 2022, By Tyler Page and Matt Viser, http://washingtonpost.com.
51. Reuters News Service, March 27, 2022, By Reuters, http://reuters.com.
52. CNBC, March 29, 2022, By Holly Ellyatt, http://cnbc.com.
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