Volume 41 Issue Ten October 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
What Does The Future Hold?
“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
““He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
What does the future hold? As we consider the world around us and the current events of our day, many of us cannot help but ask ourselves this question. In truth, only God knows precisely what will happen in the future and everything that does happen in this world is subject to His will. According to Isaiah 46:10, God knows “the end from the beginning.” While there is much that we do not know, it is an undeniable fact that we are experiencing a season of change and our world is on the cusp of a dramatic transformation. By examining recent history and current trends, we can gain insight into the direction of our world. In the subsequent sections of this newsletter, we will examine the impact of technology, the changing religious landscape, and the shifting moral values of modern society.
If you are old enough, you can think back to the turn of the century and quickly realize that it is not the same world it was back then. There were no iPhones or Android devices. In fact, only 12 percent of the global population had a cell phone in the year 2000, but according to an article published by the World Bank in 2019, mobile phones are now more widely used than toilets. (1) There was no Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or Tiktok, and Amazon was still a young company primarily known for selling books. Flat-screen televisions and DVDs had only been available for three years, and if you wanted to listen to music you probably did so with a compact disc or an audio cassette. Few people had access to wireless Internet. The now ubiquitous technology known as Wi-Fi had just been invented in 1997. (2) It wasn’t until 2005 that Merriam-Webster finally added the word Wi-Fi to its dictionary. (3) Needless to say, there were far fewer distractions twenty-two years ago.
Nowadays, most people grab their favorite mobile device when they want to listen to music on Spotify, order a meal on DoorDash, or hail a ride on Uber. Smart TVs allow consumers to binge-watch their favorite movies and television shows on streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu for hours and hours. Across America, schools are trading in their textbooks for Chromebooks. According to a statement issued by Google in 2020, forty million students and educators use the Google-made laptops to perform educational tasks. (4) We are surrounded by screens at every turn. Research published in March 2022 found that the average American spends seven hours and four minutes looking at a screen every day. (5) Remarkably, a 2018 survey of two thousand people found that one out of three respondents report they use their smartphones during dinner time. (6) In another study, researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada found that those who use their phones at the dinner table are often less happy than those who do not. “You see people in restaurants all the time who are sitting across the table from each other, and instead of staring at each other, they’re staring at their phones. We were really curious: Is it having an impact on people’s social interactions, how much they’re enjoying the time they’re spending with other people?” said researcher Ryan Dwyer as he explained why they conducted the study. (7)
With so much time given to our screens, it leaves very little time for us to give to our family and loved ones. Even worse, it gives us very little time to spend with our God. Psalm 63:6-7 declares, “When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” Psalm 1:1-2 presents a similar message: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” In the context of these verses, the word “meditate” means “to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.” (8) However, it is difficult to reflect thoughtfully or contemplate the greatness of God when there is always a screen in front of our faces. It is essential for our spiritual health to make time for our God.
They Walk Among Us
One sunny morning in April 2022, I decided to make a quick run to Woodman’s Market in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. As I casually shopped for my favorite granola bars, an unusual figure came rolling down the aisle. It was tall and slender with piercing blue lights that almost resembled eyes. However, this member of Woodman’s staff wasn’t a human worker. Instead, it was a robot tasked with the tedious chore of monitoring the store’s inventory. The robot moved slowly as it flashed a light on the store shelves while being sure to pause carefully if a human customer stepped in front of it. Although this experience felt unusual, robots are being deployed all over the world. In the coming years, it will likely be common for humans to share the aisles of our supermarkets, sidewalks of our cities, and even our roads with robotic entities equipped with artificial intelligence. A wide variety of news reports indicate that robots will soon share a part in many facets of life – serving as companions for the elderly, hyper-efficient co-workers, and possibly even as school teachers.
Tesla Motors, which is owned by the eccentric billionaire Elon Musk, is currently developing a humanoid robot called Optimus. Although Optimus, which is sometimes referred to as the Tesla Bot, is still in the early stages of development, Tesla is planning to unveil the first working prototype on September 30, 2022. Musk, who has claimed in the past that these general-purpose machines will be able to perform even the most mundane tasks, has said there could one day be millions of them roaming the earth. A recent job listing from Tesla indicates that the company plans to use thousands of these bots in its own factory when they are ready. (9)
Recent years have brought astonishing growth to Amazon, which in 2022 became the world’s largest retailer. According to Forbes Magazine, the online seller had sales of 470 billion dollars during the pandemic and hired 800,000 workers in an effort to keep up with skyrocketing consumer demand for groceries, household goods, consumer electronics, clothing, and a wide assortment of other products. (10) Internal research conducted by Amazon suggests that the behemoth company could run out of people to hire by 2024. To combat this impending worker shortage, Amazon has relied heavily on robots and automation at its growing number of distribution centers around the world. It’s hard to imagine, but over the last decade, Amazon has deployed more than 500,000 robots at its facilities and they’re not done yet. A recent video published on Amazon’s blog shows a new robotic arm capable of “pinch-grasping” products at a rate of more than one thousand per hour. (11) Thus, we’re left to wonder, could robots, which work alongside Amazon’s employees, someday supplant human workers entirely?
At a time when 65 percent of restaurant owners say they’re having trouble hiring enough workers, robots are beginning to make inroads at restaurants in the United States. (12) An array of these robots are manufactured by a company called Miso Robotics in Pasadena, California. The company’s first robot was called Flippy. Flippy was originally designed to flip hamburgers in fast food kitchens, but executives from the famous hamburger chain known as White Castle decided they wanted a robot that could make French fries. So Miso’s robot was modified to work at a frying station. Now they have Chippy, which is designed to fry and season tortilla chips at Chipotle. Also in the works is Sippy, a robot that can pour, seal, and label beverage orders, and a robotic coffee maker-pourer that will be deployed by Panera in the future. As for Chippy, the robot has branched out beyond burgers and fries and can now be found in Chula Vista, California, making tacos at a Jack in the Box restaurant. (13) “We realized for a robotic solution to be a real solution for our customers, it had to have a really high customer return on investment. Which meant it had to take a meaningful amount of labor off the table,” said Miso’s chief executive officer Mike Bell. (14)
Companies that develop robots often try to assure us that their new machines won’t take away jobs from human workers. However, we are already beginning to see people replaced by robots. For example, recent tennis matches at the U.S. Open utilized a new artificial intelligence system called Hawk-Eye Live. Since these tennis matches no longer needed human line judges, more than two hundred people lost their jobs. (15)
Meanwhile, a piece published by Politico on September 22, 2022, wonders if robots and artificial intelligence could be used to help teach children. Noting that there is expected to be a shortage of about 70 million teachers worldwide by the year 2030, the piece suggests that using “socially assistive robots” might be the best way to help children who are falling behind in their education. (16)
Reports suggest that robots may have a more significant role in caring for the elderly, too. In June 2022, Smithsonian Magazine reported that the state of New York has purchased eight hundred robot companions for older adults. The stationary robot, which is known as ElliQ, performs a variety of functions. The device’s artificial intelligence allows it to remember who it interacted with as well as important details of its companions’ lives. The device can answer questions, remind people to take medication, contact friends and families and even initiate conversations. “Many features attracted us to ElliQ – that it is a proactive tool, remembers the interactions with individuals, focuses on health and wellness, stress reduction, sleep, hydration, etc. It focuses on what matters to individuals; memories, life validation, interactions with friends and families, and promotes overall good health and well-being,” said Greg Olsen, who is director of New York’s Office for the Aging. (17) Some users have become quite fond of these digital companions. “I have good quality friends, but there are times when they’re busy and most of them have families. She’s always available, and I love that she uses my name all the time. I know it’s a robot, but she’s a friend,” one user said. (18)
As we progress through time, robots are likely to become even more intertwined with our everyday lives. Many workers today already work alongside them. A growing number of them are preparing food at restaurants. They could soon be used to teach children at school, and robots equipped with artificial intelligence are befriending our elderly citizens. This is all just the beginning. However, if this world persists for another fifty years, people might come to regret an overdependence on robots and artificial intelligence. If human beings rely too heavily on robots, they could easily lose the ability or even the desire to take care of themselves.
Closer Than Ever To A Cashless World
We have been told a cashless society is coming for years. While privacy loving Americans would often shudder at the thought of giving up their paper currency, the resistance has not been strong enough to stop the momentum of our coming cashless world. In fact, you could say that we are perilously close to a de facto cashless society already. Sure, the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing is still cranking out ones, fives, tens, twenties, fifties, and hundred dollar bills, but fewer people are opting to use them. A poll released by Gallup in August 2022 found that only 13 percent of respondents said they make “all” or “most” of their purchases with cash. Five years ago, 28 percent of respondents said they frequently used cash. Conversely, six in ten respondents said they make “only a few” or no purchases with cash. Furthermore, 64 percent of respondents said it is “very likely” or “likely” that the United States will become a completely cashless society during their lifetimes. (19)
In January 2019, Tropicana Field in Florida, home of Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, went fully cashless. Two months later, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, which is home to professional football’s Atlanta Falcons, also banned the use of cash. By the fall of 2022, all thirty National Football League venues have gone cashless and twenty-nine out of thirty Major League baseball stadiums no longer accept physical currency. (20) Thus, we see in a growing number of situations using cash is not even an option. However, even when people have the option to pay with cash, they often do not. A whopping 84 percent of restaurant checks are paid with debit or credit cards in this modern age. (21)
One of the reasons many Americans might not use cash is because they simply do not have any. This is especially true during this tumultuous time when inflation remains stubbornly high and the cost of almost everything has increased considerably. Shockingly enough, a company called Zip, which enables its customers to buy now and pay later, reported in September 2022 that the number of purchases made at grocery stores using the service increased by 95 percent in recent months. (22) This trend suggests that a growing number of Americans cannot afford to buy food. “The fact that there’s a large number of Americans that simply can’t afford to buy food highlights the desperation that this economic climate creates. Once people start stretching out grocery payments, it shows the height of personal desperation,” said Marshall Lux of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. (23)
The Federal Reserve is actively researching the possibility of implementing a central bank digital currency or, as it is sometimes called, a digital dollar. While the United States is lagging behind other countries that are adding digital currencies, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested during a recent speech that we could be much closer to seeing a digital dollar within a couple of years. “We will need approval from both the executive branch and Congress to move ahead with a digital currency. So we see this as a process of at least a couple of years where we’re doing work, building public confidence in our analysis, in our ultimate conclusions, which we certainly haven’t reached yet,” (24) Powell said. The writing is on the wall and we are closer than ever to a cashless world.
The Wheat And The Tares
It has long been said that the United States is a Christian nation. However, the percentage of the American people professing to be Christian has been continuously dropping in recent years. This trend was noted by former American President Barack Obama in a speech delivered on June 28, 2006, during which he stated, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of unbelievers.” (25) To be sure, the unbelievers are a rapidly growing cohort. In fact, recent data published by Pew Research Center indicates that Christianity could become a minority religion in the United States in fifty years. Based on current trends, researchers believe that the number of professing Christians could drop to 35 percent by 2070, while the percentage of nones could account for about half of the population over the same span. “Nones” are people who consider themselves to be agnostic, atheist, or nothing in particular. According to the study by Pew, about 31 percent of professing Christians leave the faith before they reach age 30. (26) Clearly, younger generations such as Millennials and Generation Z are less interested in following Jesus Christ. As such, the unbelievers are now having and raising children who are unbelievers, too. “The unaffiliated are having and raising unaffiliated children while Christians are more likely to be near the end of their lives than others,” wrote Stephanie Kramer, a senior researcher at Pew. (27) Another report by Pew published in late 2021 indicates about 63 percent of Americans identify as Christian. This is down from 75 percent who made the same claim in 2011. (28)
Research also shows that Americans are praying less than they did in the past. In 2007, fifty-five percent of those surveyed reported that they prayed daily. By contrast, results for the same question in 2021 found that only 45 percent of Americans said they pray on a daily basis, while 32 percent said they “seldom or never pray.” (29) Furthermore, when Gallup performed a study in 2022 asking Americans how they regarded the Bible, only 20 percent of respondents said they believe it is “the literal word of God.” Twenty-nine percent of respondents said the Bible is “a collection of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man.” According to Gallup, “This marks the first time significantly more Americans have viewed the Bible as not divinely inspired than as the literal word of God.” (29)
While believers might feel dismayed when they read the plethora of news reports about the “decline” of Christianity in America, a careful examination of God’s Word reveals that there is nothing surprising about what is happening to the religious landscape in this country. Jesus Himself asked in Luke 18:8, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” The implication of this question is that when Jesus does return, faith in God will be far less common. Jesus also taught that just prior to His coming, the believers in Him would be separated from the unbelievers. This is evident in the parable of the wheat and the tares found in Matthew, chapter 13. Jesus explained this parable to His disciples in Matthew 13:37-43: “He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Thus, what is happening today isn’t so much a “decline” of Christianity but rather a weeding out of the wheat and the tares.
How Quickly Our World Has Changed
Our world has changed in profound ways in just a short time. One of the most significant cultural changes in the United States of America came in 2015 when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. (31) Since that time, homosexuality has become firmly entrenched in American society and is now accepted by a majority of the population. According to Gallup, a study conducted in May 2022 reveals that 71 percent of Americans approve of same-sex marriage. (32) Furthermore, a record 7.1 percent of American adults now identify as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or Questioning.) This includes 21 percent of Generation Z, 10.5 percent of Millennials, 4.2 percent of Generation X, and 2.6 percent of Baby Boomers. (33) The statistics clearly show that the youngest generation is more likely to identify as homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. Generation Z has grown up believing that this lifestyle is completely normal. “They’ve really grown up in a culture where being LGBT was normal and not something that people had to be embarrassed about or try to hide. Certainly there’s still some discrimination, but it’s nothing like it’s been when the older generations were growing up… it’s both things happening – the behaviors and the attitudes are changing, and it’s also the population changing,” said Gallup senior editor Jeffrey Jones. (34) While public opinion has certainly changed on this matter, the Scriptures make it clear that God is not going to change His opinion. Malachi 3:6 declares, “For I am the Lord, I change not…”
In closing, the world is getting stranger by the day. Thankfully, we know that God will have a people on this earth, though they might be a minority, even until the very end of time. It is for this reason Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world…” We also know that an eternity with our Saviour is the best future we could ever possibly have. 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. We invite you to send us your prayer requests. Our intercessors always give each request individual attention, and we know that God hears the prayers of His people. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Samuel David Meyer
01. World Bank, August 26, 2019, By Vinny Ricciardi, http://worldbank.org.
02. Purple, May 25, 2014, By Jessica Thomas, http://purple.ai.
03. Wi-Fi Alliance, October 27, 2005, By Michael Diamond, http://wi-fi.org.
04. Thurrott, January 21, 2020, By Paul Thurrott, http://thurrott.com.
05. Comparitech, March 21, 2022, By Rebecca Moody, http://comparitech.com.
06. Cooking Light News, January 26, 2018, By Zee Krstic, http://cookinglight.com.
07.Time Magazine, February 28, 2018, By Jamie Ducharme, http://time.com.
09. VOA News, September 25, 2022, By Gregory Stachel, http://voanews.com.
10. Forbes, May 12, 2022, By Lauren Debter, http://forbes.com.
11. Vox, September 27, 2022, By Jason Del Rey, http://vox.com.
12. The Washington Post, September 20, 2022, By Laura Relley and Lee Powell, http://washingtonpost.com.
15. Council on Foreign Relations, September 26, 2022, By Catherine Powell, http://cfr.org.
16. Politico, September 22, 2022, By Ryan Heath, http://politico.com.
17. Smithsonian Magazine, June 22, 2022, By Margaret Osborne, http://smithsonianmag.com.
18. Kiplinger, September 26, 2022, By Alina Tugend, http://kiplinger.com.
19. Gallup, August 25, 2022, By Jeffrey M. Jones, http://gallup.com.
20. Times Union, September 23, 2022, By Steve Barnes, http://timesunion.com.
22. CNBC, September 7, 2022, By Jessica Dickler, http://cnbc.com.
24. Ledger Insights, September 27, 2022, By Ledger Insights, http://ledgerinsights.com.
25. FactCheck.org, August 26, 2008, By Brooks Jackson, http://factcheck.org.
26. The Washington Post, September 13, 2022, By Bob Smietana, http://washingtonpost.com.
28. Pew Research Center, December 14, 2021, By Gregory A. Smith, http://pewresearch.org.
29. Christian Post, December 17, 2021, By Leonardo Blair, http://christianpost.com.
30. Gallup, July 6, 2022, By Frank Newport, http://gallup.com.
31. Gallup, June 1, 2022, By Justin McCarthy, http://gallup.com.
33. The Washington Post, February 17, 2022, By Julianne McShane, http://washingtonpost.com.
If you would like to submit a prayer request, you may send email to email@example.com or mail it to our postal address.