Volume 42 Issue One January 2023
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
Enduring Unto The End
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
As we enter a new year, we do so with the understanding that humanity is facing many challenges in these perilous times. The year 2022 was certainly eventful and in many ways disastrous. Running the gamut from powerful storms, drought, heatwaves, wildfires, famine, and flooding, the world saw ten disasters in 2022 that each caused more than three billion dollars in damages. (1) The costliest disaster by far was Hurricane Ian, which struck Cuba and the United States in September 2022 and inflicted more than one hundred billion dollars in damages. Between June and September of last year, devastating floods soaked Pakistan, resulting in 1,739 deaths and the displacement of more than seven million people. Destructive flooding also hit eastern Australia in February, South Africa in April, and much of China between the months of June and September. (2)
On the opposite end of the spectrum, unprecedented heatwaves brought misery, devastation, and drought to the European continent in the summer of 2022. These bleak conditions lowered water levels considerably, reduced crop yields, and caused the price of meat and milk to rise by 12 percent. It was the hottest summer ever recorded in Europe, and the sweltering heat is believed to have caused more than 20,000 excess deaths. (3) The drought of 2022 was part of a widening trend in Europe. “We have now had consecutive droughts for the last five years, and this year is the worst Europe-wide drought in hundreds of years,” said Dr. Fred Hattermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. (4)
Drought continues to ravage the Horn of Africa, too. As we enter this new year, the prolonged dry spell is affecting 24.1 million people in Ethiopia, 7.8 million people in Somalia, and 4.5 million people in Kenya. (5) As many as 26 million people in this region could face severe food insecurity by February 2023. (6) According to the international aid organization known as Oxfam, it is estimated that one person will die from hunger every thirty-six seconds in this area of the world throughout the coming months. (7) “After four seasons of failed rains, people are losing their struggle to survive – their livestock has died, crops have failed, and food prices have been pushed higher by the war in Ukraine. The alarm has been sounding for months, but donors are yet to wake up to the terrible reality. With another failed rainy [season] expected, failure to act will turn a crisis into a full-scale catastrophe,” warned Oxfam’s Parvin Ngala. (8) According to the NASA Earth Observatory, “The Horn of Africa is experiencing the longest and most severe drought on record.” (9)
Here in the United States, the drought of 2022 was quite extensive. On November 1, 2022, eighty-five percent of the contiguous United States was either abnormally dry or experiencing drought. Remarkably, the entire states of California, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico, along with much of the Southwest and Northwest, experienced at least forty consecutive weeks of moderate or worse drought last year. (10) As of December 20, 2022, drought conditions have improved significantly in the United States, but it should be noted that 49.31 percent of the lower forty-eight states is still experiencing drought at this time. This drought affects portions of forty-one states. (11)
Although drought conditions have improved in some areas of the country, the American Southwest is still in the throes of the worst megadrought in 1,200 years. The drought has persisted since the year 2000, (12) and scientists do not expect it to end any time soon. According to a report from National Geographic, the drought is expected to last at least until the year 2030. “Not only is this drought continuing to chug along, it’s proceeding at as full-steam pace as it ever has been,” said Park Williams, a climate scientist at the University of California-Los Angeles. (13)
The seemingly endless megadrought has caused water levels to drop dramatically at two of the most important reservoirs in the American West. Lake Powell, which is located in Arizona and Utah, and Lake Mead, which is located in Arizona and Nevada, held 47.6 million acre-feet of water in 1999. Today these reservoirs only hold about 13.1 million acre-feet of water. This is only 26 percent of their capacity. (14) Both reservoirs are fed by the mighty Colorado River and provide water to millions of people in the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, California, Arizona, and Nevada. Without drastic action, these states could soon be cut off from this vital water source. “Without immediate and decisive actions, elevations at Lake Powell and Mead could force the system to stop functioning. That’s an intolerable condition that we won’t allow to happen,” declared Tommy Beaudreau, the Deputy Secretary at the United States Department of the Interior. As it stands, the Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell and the Hoover Dam at Lake Mead could stop functioning in two years if current trends continue. “We may not be able to get water past either of the two dams in the major reservoirs for certain parts of the year. This is on our doorstep,” warned Ted Cooke, general manager of the Central Arizona Project. (15)
Twenty years ago, it would have seemed unlikely that the Hoover Dam would ever stop flowing. Now we are told that it could happen within a couple of years, and if this happens, there will be far-reaching consequences. According to an article by Newsweek, the Hoover Dam provides hydroelectricity for 1.3 million households in Nevada, Arizona, and California. (16) A shutdown at Lake Mead would put increased pressure on a power grid that is already often stressed. More concerning, twenty-five million people rely on the Hoover Dam as a water source. A shutdown at the Hoover Dam would prove catastrophic for the agricultural sector in the western United States, too. It is estimated that government officials could soon force farmers to fallow between 500,000 and a million acres of farmland. Regarding this scenario, Professor Jay Lund of the University of California-Davis was quoted as saying, “We’ll get there. There’s no way around it.” (17) This staggering amount of idle farmland would be in addition to the fields already left unplanted. According to an article published by Bloomberg in July 2022, an estimated 800,000 acres were fallowed in California last year. (18) This trend has increased pressure on the American food supply and worsened inflation.
The Impact Of Inflation
Throughout 2022, one of the biggest concerns facing the American public was rising inflation. However, it should be noted that this is not a uniquely American problem. In fact, a survey of 20,000 adults, published by Ipsos in October 2022, found that inflation was the biggest worry in the entire world. Remarkably, inflation was the top concern for the global population for six months in a row. (19)
The impact that inflation has had on the American people cannot be understated. The population of this country has lost a mind-boggling amount of wealth in just a short amount of time. According to Marketwatch columnist Rex Nutting, “Americans just don’t feel poorer – they are poorer. In fact, they have never lost so much purchasing power in just one year.” (20) Amazingly enough, household wealth fell by 13.5 trillion dollars from January to September 2022. (21) Furthermore, a new report published on December 20, 2022, reveals that the personal savings rate in the United States has fallen close to an all-time low. The American people are saving just two dollars and thirty cents from every one hundred dollars they earn. In December 2021, Americans were saving about seven dollars and fifty cents from every one hundred dollars they earned. (22)
At the same time, consumer debt continues its rapid rise as households try to maintain a standard of living that was enjoyed during more prosperous years. According to CNBC, credit card debt in the United States increased by 15 percent in just the third quarter of 2022, which is the biggest year-over-year increase in two decades. At the time of the report, credit card debt totaled 930 billion dollars. (23) Even as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates in an effort to tamp down inflation, the average credit card interest rate reached 22.91 percent in December 2022. (24) With more interest rate hikes expected in 2023, credit card debt will become even more expensive and burdensome this year. Proverbs 22:7 tells us, “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Thus, in these troubling times, the American people have become the servants of financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, American Express, and Discover.
However, credit card debt is just a small portion of total household debt. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that total household debt reached an astonishing 16.51 trillion dollars in November 2022. (25) This amount is nearly half the size of the entire national debt of the United States, which topped 31 trillion dollars for the first time in October 2022. (26) One trillion is a number so large that it is difficult to conceptualize. One trillion is a million millions. If you stacked a trillion dollars worth of one hundred dollar bills, it would reach 631 miles high. (27)
Just how bad is inflation in the United States? A survey conducted in late 2022 reveals that high inflation has been particularly difficult for senior citizens. Ninety-four percent of respondents over the age of fifty-five said they reduced spending on recreation and leisure activities because of rising costs. Thirty-five percent could not afford to travel to see family members, one in ten had to delay or cancel medical procedures, and one in seven reported that they skipped meals because food is too expensive. (28)
Rising energy costs have proven to be another source of hardship. The average cost to heat a home this winter is expected to rise more than 17 percent over last winter’s cost. As it stands, twenty million American households are behind on utility bills by an average of 788 dollars. “I expect a tsunami of shutoffs,” said attorney Jean Su. (29)
Sadly, a significant portion of the American population can’t even pay for housing. According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, commonly known as Freddie Mac, 60 percent of renters saw their rent increase over the last twelve months. “The surge in rents that took place over the last twelve months has created even greater housing uncertainty for the most vulnerable renters. Our survey shows that the national housing affordability crisis is worsening and that inflation is the key driver,” said Freddie Mac representative Kevin Palmer. (30) The housing crisis has grown so dire that approximately one out of four Millennials between the ages of 26 and 41 are currently living with their parents. (31)
Of course, the biggest reminder that inflation is bad happens every time we go to the grocery store. It can be unsettling to see prices on nearly every product in the store rise from one shopping trip to the next, but that was the reality of life in 2022. Overall, food inflation rose by 10.6 percent in November 2022 compared with November 2021. However, some food staples have increased far more. This includes flour, which is now 24.9 percent more expensive than it was a year ago. Bread and crackers cost 19.9 percent more, and eggs have risen by a colossal 49.1 percent. (32)
Salad lovers, too, are likely to be dismayed by recent price hikes. The cost of vegetables rose by a whopping 38 percent in just one month between October and November 2022. The prices paid for vegetables in November 2022 were 80 percent higher than the prices paid in November 2021. (33) To make matters worse, a crop disease has been wreaking havoc in the Salinas Valley region of California. This region, which is sometimes called “the salad bowl of the world,” is well-known for the vast amount of lettuce it produces. However, because the lettuce crops have been ravaged by disease, a nationwide shortage took hold in December 2022. Fast food restaurants such as Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell told customers they wouldn’t be able to prepare some orders, and if you could find lettuce, it was far more expensive than usual. One grocery store in Oakland, California, was charging $10.99 for one head of iceberg lettuce. (34) As of mid-December 2022, the national average cost for a head of lettuce was $2.50. While this is far cheaper than what stores were charging in California’s Bay area, it is still a 47 percent increase over the cost in October 2022. (35)
There is no question that people are struggling right now. On December 15, 2022, CNBC revealed that 63 percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. (36) When will things get better? It depends on who you ask. One farmer from Tennessee was quoted by Fox News as saying, “2022 was a really hard year. I think there’s going to be a lot of shortages next year for sure. We’re going to have a supply chain shortage; we’re going to have an increase in our food [prices] at the grocery store. I don’t think it’s going to go down anytime soon. I think Americans are really going to be hurting in their wallet.” (37) This statement captures the mood of the American people quite well. However, Adam Posen, who is the head of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a former official at the Bank of England, predicts that inflation will fall rapidly in 2023 and reach a mark of about 3.3 percent by the end of the year. (38) Time will tell, but current trends suggest we’re in for a rough ride in the months ahead.
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates seven times in 2022. We are told this was done to curtail inflation, but there is a very real possibility that these rate hikes will drag the entire country into a prolonged economic recession. Even if the rate hikes cool an economy that we are told is burning too hot, the actions of the Federal Reserve won’t prevent drought and disease from ravaging crops or stop bird flu from decimating poultry flocks. Rate hikes won’t end the war between Russia and Ukraine, and they certainly won’t prevent Covid-19 from spreading like wildfire in China. All of these factors could seriously disrupt the global supply chain and further exacerbate inflation, and God only knows what surprises are waiting for us around the corner.
What we do know is that we need God’s mercy. Thankfully, we can be recipients of God’s mercy each day. Lamentations 3:21-23 declares, “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Not only are God’s mercies new every morning, but He has a plentiful supply for His people. Psalm 103:8 tells us, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” He is able to get us through whatever lies ahead.
Is The End Near?
The world today is filled with constant reminders that we are growing closer to the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The pandemic that began in 2020 put the majority of the world’s population front and center with the outbreak of a highly contagious pestilence that rapidly swept across the globe. The war between Russia and Ukraine sparked fear that World War III could start in Europe, and even worse, cause a devastating global nuclear war. The world has been battered by storms, earthquakes, heatwaves, wildfires that look like hell on earth, historic drought, and historic flooding. The existential dread is palpable. All of these events are causing a growing number of people to wonder, “Is the end near?” Amazingly enough, a survey published by Pew Research in December 2022 found that four-in-ten American adults believe that humanity is “living in the end times.” (39)
It should be quite clear that we are not living in normal times when the President of the United States starts talking about Armageddon. Yet, this is exactly what happened in October 2022 when President Biden famously said, “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” He then suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin might use nuclear weapons in the conflict with Ukraine. “He is not joking when he talks about the potential use of tactical and nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons….” Biden said. (40) Meanwhile, Russian TV personality Margarita Simonyan, who is head of the Russian news outlet known as RT, recently suggested that if Russia fails to reach its objective in Ukraine in a timely manner, the conflict could progress to World War III. “Either we win in the way we consider our victory, or there will be World War III sooner or later. I don’t see any other way,” she said. (41)
The war in Ukraine, which began in February 2022, has persisted far longer than most people expected. The longevity of this conflict has been made possible by the United States, which has poured billions of dollars into Ukraine and provided substantial amounts of sophisticated weaponry to the Ukrainian military. In December 2022, the Biden Administration announced plans to send Patriot defense missiles to Ukraine. These missiles cost three million dollars each. (42) Additionally, the American Congress approved an aid package that will send 45 billion dollars to Ukraine. (43) Thus, the Ukrainian military is using American-made weapons while being funded by American dollars. In a way, the United States is already fighting this war. Meanwhile, news reports indicate that Russia has strengthened ties with China in recent days and has relied heavily on trade partnerships with the Asian superpower to prop up the Russian economy. (44) Russia has also formed an alliance with Iran and is said to be using Iranian-made drones to launch attacks in Ukraine. Could these alliances eventually lead to a global conflict? It’s happened before and it could certainly happen again. Without a doubt, we have much to pray about.
In closing, it is obvious that our world is under constant pressure as the people of earth move from one crisis to the next. We can look back at 2022 and say it was a difficult year. However, if you are reading this newsletter today, it means that you survived. Your survival was made possible by our Almighty God. We are a year closer to eternal victory through Jesus Christ our Lord. I encourage every reader to remain strong in the faith. Our Saviour promised in Matthew 24:13, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” We are also told in James 5:11, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” By God’s mercy and grace, we will find the strength to endure to the very end. 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 are thrilled to have you with us for Volume 42 of the Last Trumpet. As always, we invite you to send us your prayer requests. We always give each prayer request individual attention. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Samuel David Meyer
This newsletter is made possible by the kind donations of our supporters. If you would like to help us, you may send your contribution to our postal address or donate online at http://lasttrumpetnewsletter.org/donate.
01. Christian Aid, December 2022, http://christianaid.org.uk.
04. BBC News, September 17, 2022, By Reality Check & Visual Journalism, http://bbc.com.
05. In Depth News, December 26, 2022, By J. Nastranis, http://indepthnews.net.
07. Oxfam International, October 14, 2022, http://oxfam.org.
09. NASA Earth Observatory, December 14, 2022, http://earthobservatory.nasa.com.
10. Climate Central, December 6, 2022, http://climatecentral.org.
11. Drought.gov, December 14, 2022 - December 20, 2022, http://drought.gov.
12. NBC News, February 15, 2022, By Denise Chow, http://nbcnews.com.
13. National Geographic, February 14, 2022, By Alejandra Borunda, http://nationalgeographic.com.
14. The Washington Post, December 17, 2022, By Joshua Partlow, http://washingtonpost.com.
16. Newsweek, November 18, 2022, By Anna Skinner, http://newsweek.com.
18. Bloomberg News, July 15, 2022, By Kim Chipman, http://bloomberg.com.
19. World Economic Forum, October 21, 2022, By Simon Torkington, http://weforum.org.
20. Marketwatch, June 30, 2022, By Rex Nutting, http://marketwatch.com.
21. Marketwatch, December 12, 2022, By Rex Nutting, http://marketwatch.com.
22. StudyFinds, December 20, 2022, By Ara-binda Basistha, http://studyfinds.org.
23. CNBC, November 16, 2022, By Jessica Dickler, http://cnbc.com.
24. LendingTree, December 13, 2022, By Matt Schulz, http://lendingtree.com.
25. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Official Press Release, November 15, 2022, http://newyorkfed.org.
26. CNBC, December 17, 2022, By Lauren Bird, http://cnbc.com.
27. ABC News 10, March 10, 2021, By ABC News 10, http://news10.com.
28. NTD, December 5, 2022, By Petr Svab, http://ntd.com.
29. CNBC, December 24, 2022, By Jing Pan, http://cnbc.com.
30. Benzinga, December 19, 2022, By AJ Fabino, http://benzinga.com.
31. Business Insider, December 8, 2022, By Jacob Zinkula, http://businessinsider.com.
32. WZTV News, December 27, 2022, By Adrian Mojica, http://fox17.com.
33. Food Dive, December 13, 2022, By Chris Casey, http://fooddive.com.
34. Mercury News, December 16, 2022, By Ethan Varian, http://mercurynews.com.
36. CNBC, December 15, 2022, By Jessica Dickler, http://cnbc.com.
37. Fox News, December 27, 2022, By Teny Sahakian, http://foxnews.com.
38. Marketwatch, December 27, 2022, By Greg Robb, http://marketwatch.com.
39. Pew Research Center, December 8, 2022, By Jeff Diamant, http://pewresearch.org.
40. The White House, October 6, 2022, Comments by President Joe Biden, http://whitehouse.gov.
41. Newsweek, December 4, 2022, By Anders Anglesey, http://newsweek.com.
42. BBC News, December 21, 2022, By Chris Partridge, http://bbc.com.
43. VOA News, December 23, 2022, By VOA News, http://voanews.com.
44. The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2022, By Lingling Wei and Marcus Walker, http://wsj.com.
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