Volume 42 Issue Four April 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
“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.”
In the summer of 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic raged, the World Economic Forum set its agenda for the year and proclaimed that it was time for the world to undergo a “Great Reset.” A plethora of documents posted on the elitist group’s website makes it abundantly clear that they had every intention of using the crisis to change the world forever. For example, an article published on June 3, 2020, declares in its headline, “Now is the time for a ‘great reset.’” The piece, which was penned by the Forum’s chief executive, Klaus Schwab, states, “The pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future.” (1) Another article published by the Forum quotes the former Prince of Wales, who is now King Charles III of the United Kingdom. “There is a golden opportunity to seize something good from this crisis… global crises know no borders and highlight how interdependent we are as one people sharing one planet,” Charles said. (2) These comments imply an almost giddy excitement at the prospect of transforming the world even as billions of people were suffering. A month later in July 2020, the Forum published an additional article written by Schwab and economist Thierry Malleret which states, “A new world could emerge, the contours of which it is incumbent on us to re-imagine and to re-draw.” The article later asks, “Will there be enough collective will to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to reimagine our world, in a bid to make it a better and more resilient one as it emerges on the other side of this crisis?” (3)
As the Covid-19 pandemic fades into the past, few would argue that the world emerged from that crisis better than it was before. In reality, the world is more dangerous and volatile than ever, and many of the problems wreaking havoc on our planet are byproducts of the Covid-19 crisis. Extraordinary lockdown measures prompted the United States government to dole out billions upon billions of dollars in stimulus money, which created an imbalance of supply and demand. This imbalance caused a supply chain crisis, which then sparked an inflation crisis. As the pandemic dragged on and people were forced to spend more time at home, throngs of Americans decided a change of scenery might be the best course of action. The housing market surged and led to such an astronomical rise in home values that many Americans, especially young adults, were priced out of the market and could only dream of owning their own homes. Thus, we had a housing crisis. To combat inflation, the Federal Reserve began aggressively raising interest rates in 2022. (4) In total, the Fed hiked interest rates seven times last year and has already raised rates twice in 2023. (5) These rate hikes made borrowing money significantly more expensive and caused financial institutions difficulties, leading to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in March 2023. (6) Now we have a banking crisis.
To make matters worse, the Russian invasion of Ukraine a little over a year ago sparked a war that is unlikely to end soon and has already come at a horrifying cost. A report from the Associated Press estimates that as many as 200,000 Russian soldiers have been wounded or killed, while Ukraine has suffered more than 100,000 casualties. (7) Newsweek claims that Russia lost more than a thousand soldiers in just one day in early March 2023. (8) The United States and countries in Europe have poured tens of billions of dollars into the war effort and have given Ukraine large amounts of ammunition, weaponry, and equipment. Because Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat and other staples, the war, along with the historic drought in the Horn of Africa, has worsened the global food crisis. Before the war, Russia was the world’s largest exporter of oil and natural gas. Europe has relied heavily on Russian natural gas, but since the war began, natural gas flowing from Russia’s pipelines into Europe has dropped by 80 percent. (9) As a consequence of the war and sanctions against Russia, the world was thrown into a global energy crisis.
In the United States, rampant depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies have resulted in a mental health crisis. Mental health issues, along with chronic pain and the corrupt practices of pharmaceutical companies, caused many people to become addicted to dangerous drugs. These problems led to an opioid crisis. The news is replete with stories regarding a border crisis even as Democrats and Republicans argue over how to fix the problem. Widespread violent crime in America’s largest cities, mass shootings, the sin of abortion, society’s open embrace of homosexuality, and confusion regarding gender identity have contributed to America’s moral crisis. With fewer couples having children in developed countries, including the United States, there is also a fertility crisis. Furthermore, if you spend time watching or reading the news, you will likely be bombarded with stories about a climate crisis. If this is the “Great Reset,” how do you like it?
In January 2023 as members of the World Economic Forum prepared to meet for their annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, an article posted to the group’s website asked in its headline, “We’re on the brink of a ‘polycrisis’ – how worried should we be?” (10) Polycrisis is a word so obscure that you may not even find it in your dictionary. However, the prefix poly simply means many or much. Thus, the term polycrisis refers to a dire situation in which many crises are occurring at the same time. The term was used repeatedly throughout the group’s meeting in January. In March 2023, another article was published on the Forum’s website with the headline “This is why ‘polycrisis’ is a useful way of looking at the world right now.” (11) The report quotes historian Adam Tooze who said, “If you’ve been feeling confused and as though everything is impacting on you all at the same time, this is not a personal, private experience. This is actually a collective experience.” He later went on to say, “This coming together at a single moment of things which, on the face of it, don’t have anything to do with each other, but seem to pile onto each other to create a situation in the minds of policymakers, business people, families, [and] individuals.” (12)
This era of crises has left the masses feeling exhausted, frustrated, and discouraged. When we consider everything happening in the world, it is easy to understand why. Interestingly enough, a report published by Axios in July 2022 indicates that the American people’s engagement with news fell dramatically last year. The decline includes news on television, news websites, and social media. A 2022 survey conducted by the Reuters Institute found that 42 percent of respondents said they “sometimes or often actively avoid the news.” (13) If you are tired of endless bad news in this world, you can find good news in God’s Word. In fact, the word gospel means “good news.” This good news includes a reminder that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, can have peace in our hearts even in a world overwhelmed by a polycrisis. In John 14:27 our Saviour tells us, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jesus further tells us in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
The Worst Banking Crisis Since The Great Recession
If you could only choose one word to describe the events of March 2023, collapse would be an appropriate choice. During this tumultuous month, a series of events roiled the American banking system and our country’s already shaky economy. It all began on March 8, 2023, when a bank in California known as Silvergate Capital announced it was closing its doors and liquidating all assets. Although this was a niche bank that specialized in cryptocurrency, its demise set banking customers on edge. On the same day, a much larger financial institution known as Silicon Valley Bank announced that it needed to raise two billion dollars in capital. To do this, the bank sold bonds, which, unfortunately for them, had lost much of their value because of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. The next day, March 9, panic began to spread on social media, and customers started pulling money out of their accounts in droves. By March 10 it was all over for Silicon Valley Bank and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, seized control of the financial institution. Silicon Valley Bank was the sixteenth largest bank in the United States, and its demise sent shockwaves throughout the nation. (14)
In the aftermath of this surprising collapse, investors began rapidly dumping stock in various financial institutions such as Signature Bank and First Republic. By March 12, 2023, Signature Bank failed, too, and regulators seized the institution. (15) By March 13, 2023, First Republic had lost 60 percent of its value on the stock market, (16) and many feared that this ailing bank would be the next domino to fall. To prevent another bank failure, some of the largest banks in the United States – JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and others – banded together and deposited 30 billion dollars at First Republic. (17) First Republic would likely have collapsed without this cash infusion, and even more banks would have failed in rapid succession.
In the days following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen took extraordinary measures to calm nerves and restore confidence in the American banking system. Under normal circumstances, the FDIC only insures deposits up to 250,000 dollars. However, these failed institutions catered to tech companies, venture capitalists, startups, and the wealthy, which means many customers had much more than 250,000 dollars in their accounts. So the FDIC announced it would fully cover all of the deposits at these failed banks. (18) Had these measures not been taken, the fallout could have forced some companies to close their doors entirely and lay off their employees. However, Secretary Yellen later admitted that these unusual measures would not be extended to all financial institutions if there are more closures in the future. (19)
Although the situation has calmed down for now, considerable risks still remain. A report published by the Wall Street Journal claims 186 banks are at risk of failing in the United States. “Our calculations suggest these banks are certainly at a potential risk of a run, absent other government intervention or recapitalization," said the economists quoted in the report. (20) On March 23, 2023, Fortune Magazine reported that banks in the United States are sitting on 1.7 trillion dollars worth of unrealized losses. (21) Unrealized losses refer to assets that are held but have decreased in value. The losses are not realized until the assets are sold. Such losses were instrumental in the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. In the days following the collapse of several banks, customers all over the country began pulling money out of small and mid-size financial institutions. Such institutions lost a trillion dollars worth of deposits in just days. “The chances of facing those unrealized losses are going up,” warned Professor Stephen Weller of Colorado State University. (22) In total, banks in the United States hold seventeen trillion dollars in deposits at this time. Of those deposits, about seven trillion dollars are not insured by the FDIC. (23)
As the world watched the turmoil in the United States unfold, panic soon spread overseas, too. This panic resulted in the collapse of the famous Swiss bank known as Credit Suisse. Before it fell, stock shares of the once-stalwart institution fell by about 60 percent. (24) Before long, the even larger Swiss bank known as UBS announced plans to buy Credit Suisse. “This acquisition is attractive for UBS shareholders but, let us be clear, as far as Credit Suisse is concerned, this is an emergency rescue,” said UBS chairman Colm Kelleher. (25) Credit Suisse was founded in 1856 and was nearly 167 years old. (26) Its demise would have once been unthinkable.
In light of recent events in the United States and Europe, there is growing concern that financial institutions will significantly tighten their credit standards. “What’s unclear for us is how much of these banking stresses are leading to a widespread credit crunch. That credit crunch… would slow down the economy. This is something we are monitoring very, very closely. It definitely brings us closer,” said Neel Kashkari, who is the president of the Federal Reserve branch in Minneapolis. (27) If a credit crunch does materialize, the American people will find it more difficult to take out loans and obtain credit cards. It should be noted that many Americans have been using credit cards to maintain their standard of living even as high inflation erodes spending power continuously. According to a report by ABC News, credit card debt in the United States recently surpassed one trillion dollars for the very first time. Jill Gonzelez, who is a senior analyst at the firm known as WalletHub, warned that many Americans are getting in over their heads. “People are spending so much more than they have. They cannot keep up with the bill,” Gonzalez lamented. She further went on to say, “This is not good news any way you cut it. [People are not] remembering the lessons taught during the recession.” (28) As interest rates continue to rise, now is an especially bad time to hold credit card debt.
Hopefully, the banking industry can be stabilized, because if it is not there will be extreme hardship in the days ahead. This situation could rapidly deteriorate. Consider this sobering headline from Business Insider, “Silicon Valley Bank imploded in a single day. It could be just the tip of the iceberg.” (29) Interestingly enough, the Holy Scriptures indicate that there will be a financial crisis of sorts in the last days. James 5:1-3 declares, “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.”
Multiple Paths To War
Since the war between Russia and Ukraine began in February 2022, there has been grave concern that the conflict could spill over Ukrainian borders and pull other countries into the conflict. It is widely believed that a broader conflict would likely lead to the outbreak of World War III. We know that the United States and Russia are on hostile terms, but alarmingly, relations between the United States and China have become increasingly fraught in recent months. To make matters worse, Iran has shown signs of aggression against the United States. New alliances are forming, and with these alliances, new paths to a global war are emerging. There are multiple ways that World War III could start, and the intensifying geopolitical climate is like a powder keg waiting to explode.
To be sure, the war taking place in Ukraine is already a de facto war between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. Ukraine would not have survived this long without funding and arms from the United States and its European allies. Despite the billions of dollars that have already been committed to the cause, there is no indication that this support will diminish in the days ahead. In fact, the United States announced it is expediting plans to send thirty-one sophisticated tanks to Ukraine. (30) Both Poland and Slovakia have pledged to send fighter jets to Ukraine, (31) and the United Kingdom promised to send armor-piercing ammunition made from depleted uranium. (32)
In yet another reminder of the tensions between the United States and Russia, a Russian jet downed an American drone flying over the Black Sea on March 14, 2023. “Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9. In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash,” said U.S. Air Force General James Hecker. (33) This is yet another incident that brings the United States closer to direct conflict with Russia. If the United States had retaliated against Russia, our country would be at war right now.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia will place nuclear weapons in Belarus. (34) This plan was announced even as Russia’s Deputy Secretary of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, warned that Russia’s relations with the West are at an all-time low. “Our relations with the West are already worse than they have ever been in history,” Medvedev complained. He also said, “Every day, when they provide Ukraine with foreign weapons, brings the nuclear apocalypse closer.” (35) It should be noted that the Russian President signed a bill at the end of February 2023 that suspended the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the United States. (36)
In other developments, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, has issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin for war crimes. The warrant legally obligates officials in 123 countries to arrest Putin if he sets foot inside their borders. What remains to be seen is if all of these countries will abide by the treaty they have signed. South Africa is expected to host Putin in August of this year as part of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit. Will South Africa arrest Putin if he shows up? It seems doubtful. If they don’t, however, they risk the scorn of NATO. If they do, they risk World War III. (37)
While much of the world is shunning Vladimir Putin, China is on friendlier terms than ever with Russia. This is evident in a letter penned by Putin himself for publication in China’s The People’s Daily. “The Russia-China relations have reached the highest level in their history, and are gaining even more strength; they surpass Cold-War-time military-political alliances in their quality,” Putin wrote. (38) To further cement the two countries’ growing cooperation, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Russia on March 20, 2023, to visit the Russian President. The two reportedly referred to each other as “dear friends,” and Putin made no effort to hide his admiration for China. “China has made a colossal leap ahead in its development in recent years. It’s causing genuine interest all around the world, and we even feel a bit envious,” Putin said. President Xi also spoke favorably of Russia. “We hope that the strategic partnership between China and Russia will, on the one hand, uphold international fairness and justice, and on the other hand promote the common prosperity and development of our countries,” Xi said. (39)
What else has happened lately? China, Russia, and Iran staged joint naval exercises in Oman. Militia forces linked to Iran launched an attack against United States forces in Syria, and the United States retaliated by firing missiles at the Iranian-backed forces. China brokered a deal to get Saudi Arabia and Iran to reestablish diplomatic ties. The State of Israel threatened to attack Iran if Iran enriches weapons-grade uranium, and the United States reached a submarine deal with Australia. These alliances and agreements seem to suggest that the world is preparing for war. Whether or not a global war becomes a reality remains to be seen. Let us hope and pray that a catastrophic war can be averted. However, given the growing hostilities and the signals we are seeing between countries around the world, we could be entering one of the most dangerous periods of time this planet has ever known. May God have mercy.
In closing, there has never been a better time to draw near to God and establish a close relationship with Him. Psalm 73:28 declares, “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” We are further instructed in James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” If we stay true to God, He will give us the strength to endure all that is ahead. 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. May God’s blessings be abundant in your lives. If you have any prayer needs, we invite you to send us your requests. We always give each request individual attention. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Samuel David Meyer
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01. The World Economic Forum, June 3, 2020, By Klaus Schwab, http://weforum.org.
02. The World Economic Forum, June 3, 2020, By Christopher Alessi, http://weforum.org.
03. The World Economic Forum, July 14, 2020, By Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret, http://weforum.org.
04. CNBC, March 16, 2022, By Jeff Cox, http://cnbc.com.
05. Forbes, March 22, 2023, By Taylor Tepper and Benjamin Curry, http://forbes.com.
06. ProMarket, March 27, 2023, By Raghuram Rajan and Viral V. Acharya, http://promarket.org.
07. Associated Press, February 24, 2023, By Jamey Keaten, http://apnews.com.
08. Newsweek, March 7, 2023, By Brendan Cole, http://newsweek.com.
09. International Energy Agency, February 23, 2023, By Dr. Fatih Birol, http://iea.org.
10. The World Economic Forum, January 13, 2023, By Simon Torkington, http://weforum.org.
11. The World Economic Forum, March 7, 2023, By Katie Whiting, http://weforum.org.
13. Axios, July 12, 2022, By Neal Rothschild and Sara Fischer, http://axios.com.
14. The New York Times, March 15, 2023, By The New York Times, http://nytimes.com.
17. The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2023, By David Benoit, Dana Cimilluca, Ben Eisen, Rachel Louise Ensign, and Anna Maria Andriotis, http://wsj.com.
18. CNBC, March 16, 2023, By Christina Wilkie and Chelsey Cox, http://cnbc.com.
20. The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2023, By Matt Grossman, http://wsj.com.
21. Yahoo News, March 23, 2023, By Will Daniel, http://news.yahoo.com.
24. NTD News, March 20, 2023, By Tom Ozimek, http://ntd.com.
25. Just The News, March 19, 2023, By Madeleine Hubbard, http://justthenews.com.
27. Reuters, March 26, 2023, By Howard Schneider and Tom Sims, http://reuters.com.
28. ABC News, March 8, 2023, By Nataly Pak, http://abcnews.go.com.
29. Yahoo News, March 11, 2023, By Matthew Fox, http://news.yahoo.com.
30. The Hill, March 21, 2023, By Ellen Mitchell, http://thehill.com.
31. BBC News, March 17, 2023, By Jonathan Beale and Robert Greenall http://bbc.com.
32. Associated Press, March 23, 2023, By Tara Copp, http://apnews.com.
33. CBS News, March 14, 2023, By CBS News, http://cbs.com.
34. France 24, March 25, 2023, By France 24, http://france24.com.
35. South China Morning Post, March 23, 2023, By Associated Press, http://scmp.com.
36. ABC News, February 28, 2023, By Vladimir Isachenkov, http://abcnews.go.com.
37. NBC News, March 25, 2023, By Phil McCausland, http://nbcnews.com.
38. Newsmax, March 19, 2023, By Nick Koutsobinas, http://newsmax.com.
39. Fox News, March 20, 2023, By Greg Norman, http://foxnews.com.
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