Volume 42 Issue Eight August 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
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?”
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
In 1971 a man named John Lennon released a song entitled “Imagine.” Inspired by his wife, Yoko Ono, the former Beatles member wrote the now-famous tune that has become known as an anthem for world peace. The song begins with the words, “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try, no hell below us, above us only sky.” From the start, we see the song calls for a rejection of God and Biblical principles. The song continues, “Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion, too.” Thus, we see a call for a world without borders and the absence of any religion, the description of what would essentially be a global government. Finally, we’re told, “Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man.” It should be noted that Lennon wrote this song in his mansion, which, ironically enough, was filled with his possessions.
The principles espoused in this song are unequivocally communistic, a fact that was admitted by Lennon himself. “‘Imagine,’ which says: ‘Imagine that there was no more religion, no more country, no more politics,’ is virtually the Communist Manifesto, even though I’m not particularly a Communist and I do not belong to any movement,” Lennon said in 1980 shortly before his death. (1) Yet, this song remains immensely popular more than fifty years after its release. In fact, the song is often used at the Olympic Games (2) and is played on New Year’s Eve every year in New York City right before the ball drops at midnight to ring in a new year. (3) Popular artists such as Madonna, Queen, Neil Young, and others have covered the song. (4) Why do so many people love this song?
In 2014 the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, endorsed the song and announced that young people around the world would perform it on December 31, 2014. Speaking of the initiative to use the song, Yoka Brandt who was UNICEF’s Executive Deputy Director at the time, said in 2014, “We must imagine a better future for every child – and commit ourselves to achieving it. As the global community charts its course for 2015 and beyond, children must be at the heart of the development agenda -- for their future is the future of the world.” (5) In other words, the United Nations Children’s Fund believes that a better future for our children is one where no one believes in heaven or hell, there’s no religion, and people do not have any possessions. In 2015, the United Nations issued a document entitled “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” This lengthy document details the organization’s plans which have implications for nearly every facet of our lives. For this plan to be successful, however, they understand that you cannot transform the world unless you transform the children first. 2015 was eight years ago. Those who were children at the time have either reached young adulthood or will reach it within the next decade. One thing is absolutely undeniable: the world today is dramatically different than it was fifty, thirty, or even twenty years ago.
In a strange way, the world John Lennon imagined half a century ago is beginning to take shape in our modern age. In his famous song, Lennon asks the listener to “Imagine there’s no heaven.” According to the Ipsos Global Religion 2023 survey, only 52 percent of respondents in twenty-six countries said they believe in heaven. Belgium ranked the lowest on the survey with only 22 percent of respondents answering in the affirmative. Only six countries – Peru, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, and Mexico – had more than 70 percent of respondents say they believe in heaven. In Europe, only one country, Poland, had more than 50 percent of respondents affirm their belief in the place of eternal paradise. Amongst other notable countries, 66 percent of respondents from the United States, 47 percent from Canada, and 34 percent from Great Britain said they believe in heaven.
Even fewer people believe in hell. Amongst the 26 countries surveyed, only 41 percent of respondents said they believe in the place of eternal torment. The results of the study indicate that there is a significant number of people who do believe in heaven, but don’t believe in hell. For example, as cited above, 66 percent of respondents in the United States said they believe in heaven, but only 53 percent said they believe in hell. Similarly, only 41 percent of respondents to the global survey said they believe in the devil. (6) This is remarkable, considering the fact that the footprints of Satan can be clearly perceived by discerning Christians. The book of Job, found in God’s Holy Word, describes the devil “going to and fro in the earth” and “walking up and down in it.” I Peter 5:8, warns “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” These verses describe an adversary who is always on the prowl. There is a reason we are seeing so much sin, violence, and perversion in this world. It is the devil and his cohorts who inspire such behavior, but if people do not even believe he is real, it gives him the ability to operate under the radar and wreak even more havoc.
It is well-known that much of Europe has become secular in recent decades. We are now seeing a similar trend emerge in the United States. This trend is frequently covered by major news sources including the New York Times, which published a story on June 21, 2023, with the headline, “The Largest and Fastest Religious Shift in America Is Well Underway.” (7) The piece’s author, Jessica Grose, who is not a believer, seems to be fascinated by the topic and has written a series of articles on the decline of religion in the United States. In one of her other articles published in April 2023, Grose asked in her headline, “Lots of Americans Are Losing Their Religion. Have You?” (8) In her article, it is noted that between 6,000 and 10,000 churches are closing their doors permanently every year. Some of these buildings have been repurposed into apartments, laser-tag arenas, or even skate parks. (9)
Americans clearly have different priorities than they did in times past. A survey published by The Wall Street Journal in March 2023 found that only 39 percent of the 1,000 adults questioned said religion is “very important” to them. (10) Meanwhile, Gallup reported in June 2023 that church attendance has fallen by 10 percentage points since 2012. Only about 30 percent of adult Americans who were surveyed said they had attended a church service in the past seven days. (11)
Why are so many people abandoning religion, Christianity in particular, in the United States? The Covid-19 pandemic certainly didn’t help matters. When churches across the country closed their doors in 2020 and beyond and began holding virtual services online, a large number of congregants never came back, even when in-person services finally resumed. Others still seek an alternative spiritual experience, and as I have covered in-depth in recent issues of this newsletter, have turned to paganism, witchcraft, and even Satanism. All of these factors have contributed to the rise of the nones. The word nones, which is often used in news articles and academic studies, refers to those who are atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular.”
Sadly, we live in a corrupt world, and religious institutions have shown themselves to be prone to corruption. This is especially true of the Catholic Church, which has been plagued by scandals in recent years. According to a report published by a Bay Area NBC affiliate in California, nearly 700 lawsuits have been filed against Catholic institutions in northern California over the last three years. More than 200 Catholic clergy members and lay employees in the state have been accused of abusing children in this finding. “I think it just shows what a pervasive, uncontrollable disaster was happening in the Catholic Church as far as children,” said attorney Rick Simons. (12)
It was further reported in April 2023 by the Associated Press that more than 150 Catholic priests and other employees of the Archdiocese of Baltimore in Maryland abused more than 600 children over the last eighty years. Baltimore Archbishop William Lori acknowledged these shameful transgressions and offered an apology. “It is difficult for most to imagine that such evil acts could have actually occurred. For victim-survivors everywhere, they know the hard truth: These evil acts did occur,” Lori admitted. (13)
In May 2023, it was reported by the New York Times that more than 450 Catholic priests and employees in the state of Illinois had abused at least 1,997 children over the last seven decades. (14) According to Newsweek, the Catholic Church has paid nearly four billion dollars in settlements regarding a multitude of abuse cases. The same article claims that there have been at least 100,000 victims in the United States. (15) As such, the amount of money paid out will likely increase significantly in the coming years. Yet, no amount of money can undo the damage that was done and the pain and suffering that was inflicted.
The fact that this abuse has been so prevalent is shameful enough. It is even worse when we consider that it went on for decades and was routinely covered up by officials within the Catholic Church. For this reason, many longtime Catholics are choosing to leave the religion. “It’s shocking, so people will sometimes get disgusted with the church and not want to be a part of it. The hypocrisy is something people don’t like very much,” said psychologist Marlene Winell. A recent piece published by the Baltimore Banner details the reasons why some are leaving Catholicism. “How can I go in and have someone like that guide my spiritual well-being? They’re only there to protect themselves and their money,” one former Catholic said. (16)
It should be noted that abuse has been reported in other denominations, too. These scandals within the Catholic Church and other religious organizations give religion a bad name. While some folks tend to dismiss all religion out of hand, religion is not bad as long as it adheres to Biblical principles and the truth of God’s Word. James 1:26-27 tells us, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Those who abuse children certainly are not unspotted from the world. Furthermore, the Scriptures make it very clear that God hates child abuse. Jesus Christ declares in Matthew 18:6, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Even as reprehensible scandals are plaguing organized religion, some church officials are arguing and debating foolish topics. This includes the Church of England, where Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell recently claimed that the Lord’s Prayer might be “problematic” because it starts with “Our Father.” “I know the word ‘father’ is problematic for those whose experience of earthly fathers has been destructive and abusive, and for all of us who have laboured rather too much from an oppressively patriarchal grip on life,” Cottrell bloviated. (17) The Lord’s Prayer can be found in Matthew 6:9-13. It clearly begins with our Saviour using the words “Our Father.” The original Greek manuscript uses the word pater, which means father. As such, there is nothing to argue or debate. According to Scripture, God is our Father in Heaven. To suggest otherwise is not only intellectually dishonest, but it is blasphemous.
One of the strange quirks of living in an increasingly digital world is that people no longer buy certain things. In the not-so-distant past, music enthusiasts would buy compact discs, and before that, they bought audio cassettes. Many people never listen to CDs anymore. Instead, they listen to music on Spotify or Apple Music. Although buying movies was once popular, most people just stream them on Netflix or on their favorite streaming service these days. Even Microsoft discourages customers from buying its Microsoft Office software. Instead, they want you to subscribe to their Office suite, so instead of paying for it once, you can pay for it every year. Everywhere you turn, it seems a company is trying to sell a subscription to something.
As for material goods, you don’t have to buy them anymore. In 2018 Forbes Magazine published a piece titled “Having it all, but owning none of it: Welcome to the Rentership Society.” The report covers an emerging trend wherein a growing number of people are renting things instead of buying them. Want to have new furniture in your home but don’t want to buy any? A furniture company called Feather would be happy to rent you whatever you need. Do you want to update your wardrobe without buying any clothes? A website called Rent-The-Runway is standing by to rent you whatever clothing items you desire. The company’s co-founder, Jennifer Hyman, once said, “I think your closet is going to be as obsolete as a landline phone one day.” (18) The trend of renting clothes instead of purchasing them is especially popular amongst members of Generation Z, according to a study published by Washington State University in 2021. “The idea is growing more popular, especially among Gen Z consumers. They are very interested in sustainable consumerism, care about the environment, and are willing to make changes to help the planet,” said Ting Chi from Washington State University. (19)
What about cars? Getting a driver’s license was once a significant milestone for teenagers in the United States. Yet, in these peculiar times, many young people are not interested in getting a license or purchasing a car. This trend was highlighted in a report published in February 2023 by the Washington Post. The article notes that only 25 percent of 16-year-olds have driver’s licenses today. In 1997 that number was 43 percent. “Anecdotally, we’re hearing that younger people aren’t driving or getting their licenses as quickly as in the past,” said Mark Friedlander, communications director at the Insurance Information Institute. Why don’t young people want to drive? Many don’t feel the need for it because if they need to go somewhere, they can use ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft. Others simply don’t hang out with their friends in person very much since socializing with friends and playing games can be done online. These activities are often accomplished on smartphones. “Their thumbs have become much more mobile than their legs,” said Ming Zhang, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. (20)
What some folks may not realize is that there has been an ongoing movement to do away with private ownership of cars for years. In 2016, the World Economic Forum, or WEF, published a story with the headline, “Goodbye car ownership, hello clean air: welcome to the future of transport.” (21) Instead of individuals owning cars, the WEF envisions a future where fleets of autonomous electric vehicles can be quickly summoned via smartphone apps by anyone in need of transportation. Instead of owning a car, passengers will use a digital wallet to purchase tokens that allow them to share a car with others. “Over time, ownership models will evolve. By registering vehicles on the blockchain, ‘ownership’ and ‘access’ will be tokenized, meaning owners can trade their shares in the vehicles or their rights to use them directly through the blockchain without the involvement of third parties,” the article proposes. The article goes on, “Some vehicles will continue to be owned by individuals or legal entities. Others will have multiple owners whose identities and shares in the vehicle can change in real-time.” (21)
Could we someday see driverless taxis traveling down the streets of our American cities? It turns out that they already exist in Phoenix, Arizona, and San Francisco, California. These taxis are operated by Waymo, a company owned by Alphabet, Inc. (The parent company of Google.) According to a recent report from CBS News, the company plans to expand to other communities soon. It was eerie watching the footage from CBS as passengers traveled in a car with no one in the driver’s seat. The steering wheel turned on its own, much to the delight of a passenger from a retirement home in Tempe, Arizona. “We love it. It’s going to replace a car for us sooner than later,” he said. Waymo has already been in business for six years. About 10,000 passengers take a ride in their driverless cars each week. (22)
In March 2019, writer Kara Swisher wrote in a piece for the New York Times, “Owning a car will soon be like owning a horse – a quaint hobby, an interesting rarity, and a cool thing to take out for a spin on the weekend.” She later wrote, “But the concept of actually purchasing, maintaining, insuring and garaging an automobile in the next few decades? Finished.” (23)
Why is all of this being done? To fight climate change, of course. In 2019, an organization called Arup published a gargantuan report of 134 pages detailing what must be done in our modern society to curtail climate change. The report, which is titled “The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5° C World,” states on page 127, “On transport, private car ownership needs to end and the shared vehicles that replace it have to use less materials and be longer lasting.” The report then goes on to say, “Urban residents will also need to adopt a largely plant-based diet, mostly replace flying with less energy-intensive forms of long distance transport, change how clothes and textiles are consumed and keep electronics and household appliances for longer.” (24) What do they mean by “change how clothes and textiles are consumed?” We find the answer on page 82 of the report. “Progressive target in 2030: eight new clothing items per person per year. Ambitious target in 2030: Three new clothing items per person per year.” (25) Here let it be noted that the Arup Group has ties to the World Economic Forum. Imagine a world where you can’t travel by airplane very often, your diet is heavily restricted, you can’t own a car, and can only purchase three clothing items per year. What they describe is not a free world but rather an enslaved one. This is the future they want for you and your children.
In Psalm 2:1, we are asked, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” Convincing people that there is no heaven or hell and abolishing religion will not bring peace to this world because you cannot have peace without Jesus Christ. In fact, as people distance themselves from God, the world becomes less peaceful. Romans 5:1-2 admonishes us, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” If you would like to be at peace with God, you can be 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 to all of our supporters who make this newsletter possible. May God bless you abundantly. If you have any prayer needs, we invite you 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
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. Far Out Magazine, December 14, 2020, By Joe Taysom, http://faroutmagazine.com.
02. International Olympic Committee, July 23, 2021, By IOC News, http://olympics.com.
03. UDiscoverMusic, October 11, 2022, By Martin Chilton, http://udiscovermusic.com.
04. WhoSampled, http://whosampled.com.
05. Unicef, December 31, 2014, By Unicef, http://unicef.org.
06. Ipsos Global Religion 2023 Survey, May 2023, http://ipsos.com.
07. The New York Times, June 21, 2023, By Jessica Grose, http://nytimes.com.
08. The New York Times, April 19, 2023, By Jessica Grose, http://nytimes.com.
10. The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2023, By Aaron Zitner, http://wsj.com.
11. Gallup, June 26, 2023, By Jeffrey M. Jones, http://gallup.com.
12. NBC Bay Area, February 22, 2023, By Candice Nguyen, Michael Bott, Mark Villarreal, and Michael Horn, http://nbcbayarea.com.
13. Associated Press, April 5, 2023, By Lea Skene, Brian Witte, and Sarah Brumfield, http://apnews.com.
14. The New York Times, May 23, 2023, By Ruth Graham, http://nytimes.com.
15. Newsweek, August 25, 2018, By Emily Zogbi, http://newsweek.com.
16. The Baltimore Banner, May 31, 2023, By Jasmine Vaughn-Hill, http://thebaltimorebanner.com.
17. The Guardian, July 7, 2023, By Harriet Sherwood, http://theguardian.com.
17. Forbes, August 12, 2018, By Joseph Coughlin, http://forbes.com.
19. Study Finds, August 12, 2021, By Chris Melore, http://studyfinds.org.
20. The Washington Post, February 13, 2023, By Shannon Osaka, http://washingtonpost.com.
21. The World Economic Forum, December 16, 2016, By Carsten Stocker, http://weforum.org.
22. CBS News, June 1, 2023, By Kris Van Cleave and Analisa Novak, http://cbsnews.com.
23. The New York Times, March 22, 2019, By Kara Swisher, http://nytimes.com.
24. Arup, 2019, http://arup.com.
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