Volume XXXVII Issue V May 2018
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Phone: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
"Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes."
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will set our focus on a world that is undergoing a dramatic societal shift right before our very eyes. On June 8, 1949, a book known as Nineteen Eighty-Four was published. This book, which was written by famous author George Orwell, tells the story of a dystopian world where the masses are under constant surveillance by the watchful eye of "Big Brother," the news is continually manipulated, history is rewritten, and the three remaining countries are said to be in a perpetual state of war. Does this description sound familiar? Orwell's novel is a work of fiction, yet the world we live in today is rapidly starting to resemble an Orwellian society. Amazingly enough, the technological advancements of our time far exceed the imagination of Orwell, and the surveillance capabilities now in existence make the fictional Big Brother seem rudimentary in comparison.
Consider what is happening in China. This totalitarian communist country, which is well-known for its human rights violations, is now implementing a new societal system of social credit. Those with a good social credit score will be awarded special privileges, while those with a poor social credit score will find their lives further restricted. For example, Chinese citizens who are deemed to be spreading false information or those who fail to pay a fine or otherwise disobey the government will soon find that they have been banned from taking a train or flying on a plane. (1) This social credit score is powered by a surveillance system with amazing capabilities. According to a report published in April 2018, sophisticated facial recognition technology enabled the Chinese government to pinpoint the location of a fugitive named Ao in a crowd of 50,000 people at a concert in Hong Kong. "Ao was suspected to be involved in an economic crime and was listed on a national online system. He was very shocked and had a blank face when we caught him,"said a Chinese police officer. (2)
In China, there is no right to free speech. Thus, Internet access is highly restricted, and officials in the country have announced plans to further censor and limit content found online. "Without web security there's no national security, there's no economic and social stability, and it's difficult to ensure the interests of the broader masses," Chinese President Xi Jinping said. Xi was further quoted by the state news agency known as Xinhua as saying, "We cannot let the Internet become a platform for disseminating harmful information and stirring up trouble with rumours." (3)
Along with the numerous restrictions on Internet content, the Chinese people are no longer permitted to purchase Bibles online. The new restriction went into effect even as the Chinese government announced plans to retranslate the Bible to ensure that it conforms to "Chinese-style Christianity and theology." (4) I shudder to think of what changes an atheistic communist government might make to the Bible, but it is safe to say that what remains after their modifications will no longer be Scripture. While the Chinese government officially claims to allow Christianity in their country, the churches in China are highly regulated. This is evident in a new document published by the Chinese government, which purports to protect the nation's religious freedom. In section one of this document we read, "Actively guiding religions in adapting to the socialist society means guiding religious believers to love their country and compatriots, safeguard national unity, ethnic solidarity, be subordinate to and serve the overall interests of the nation and the Chinese people. It also means guiding religious groups to support the leadership of the CPC (Communist Party of China) and the socialist system…" (5)
China obviously has a great disdain for God's Word and for God's people. Despite efforts over the years to suppress Christianity in their communist land, underground Christianity has thrived. This new plan is likely an attempt to lull Christians into a false sense of security while surreptitiously altering the Bible and twisting Christian beliefs. Yet we know that the Apostle Paul tells us in II Timothy 2:9 that"… the word of God is not bound." We also know that Jesus promised in Matthew 24:35,"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." In like manner, Psalm 119:89 tells us, "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven."
Our World In A Web
Truly, there is not much privacy left in this modern age. In the Australian state of New South Wales, plans are underway to deploy advanced new camera systems that will not only detect when a driver is using a mobile phone on the road, it will also automatically issue an infringement notice without the driver even knowing that he has been caught."Developing this technology would be a world-first and is one of the priorities of our Road Safety Plan 2021 that we announced," stated New South Wales' Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey. (6)
To make matters worse, global satellite surveillance is about to get a major upgrade. A new company which is known as EarthNow, is developing a system so advanced that it can provide real-time video of every corner of the planet. This network of satellites uses technology designed by a man known as Greg Wyler who gave his system the nameOneWeb. It is an interesting choice for a name since a web is something in which prey is snared. Other investors in the company are Airbus, Softbank Group, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. (7) For those who are wondering how this technology might be used, EarthNow has provided a list of suggestions including: "Catching illegal fishing in the act, watching hurricanes and typhoons as they evolve, detecting forest fires the moment they start, watching volcanoes the instant they start to erupt, assisting the media in telling stories from around the world, tracking large whales as they migrate, helping 'smart cities' become more efficient, providing on-demand data about crop health, and observing conflict zones around the world." (8) If EarthNow's OneWeb technology can do all of those things, it certainly seems as though they will have the capability to surveil the whole world.
With the astonishing surveillance capabilities now in existence, one might be left with the impression that the only privacy we have left is within the confines of our human minds. That could be changing, too. According to a report published by Newsweek Magazine, scientists now have the ability to read minds. Using a technique that monitors electrical activity in the human brain, researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough performed an experiment with thirteen test subjects. Each person was shown images of 140 human faces. Special computer algorithms were then used to reconstruct the same images of faces from brain scan data. (9) Thus scientists now have the ability to perform a brain scan and use that information to see what people are observing or thinking about. One can only imagine how this technology will be used as it is further developed and perfected. A day may be coming when even our thoughts are no longer private.
The World's New Addiction
If you should ever feel inclined to observe a crowd of people in public, you will likely notice that a large portion of that group is looking down at their smartphones. These devices have revolutionized the way people consume information, and they are so ubiquitous that it seems nearly everyone has one, even young children. In recent years an addiction to smartphones has taken hold to the point that many users cannot even set them down for a half hour to enjoy a meal. Now researchers are sounding the alarm.
According to a new study performed at San Francisco State University in California, the addiction to smartphones and other devices with a screen affect the human brain in a similar manner as opioid drugs. "The behavioral addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking OxyContin for pain relief - gradually," said Erik Peper, co-lead of the study and a professor of health education at the school in California. (10) The authors of the study believe that the overuse of smartphones has led to an epidemic of loneliness and depression. "There is an epidemic of depression and loneliness in this generation. And it's only become quite troubling in the last five years," Professor Peper lamented. (11) According to Peper and his colleague, Professor Richard Harvey, students at their school never cease to put down their smartphones and were observed to be using them before class, during class, and after class with little real-world interaction between each other. (12) Another study performed at a university in India found that students check their smartphones an average of 150 times per day. (13)
Excessive use of smartphones and other devices can wreak havoc on the human body. Those who use smartphones often hunch over them while standing, and this unnatural position has been shown to alter the natural curvature of the human neck. The condition, which has been given the name "tech neck," can cause such a drastic imbalance that those suffering from it will feel as if their heads are ten pounds heavier than normal. As a result, pain in the upper back and neck area are common symptoms. "We're seeing it in younger and younger children because they're getting their phones at a younger age. It's one of the most common things we see," said Dr. Brian Wallace, a chiropractor in Bernardsville, New Jersey. (14)
Inventor Tony Fadell, who helped Apple Computer Corp. design the iPod music player and the iPhone, lamented the scourge of smartphone addiction in an article written for Wired Magazine. "All of us, adults and children, have had our lives transformed in the decade since the iPhone was unveiled. Now we have always-connected email, messaging, shopping, banking and so on, in addition to social, gaming and entertainment apps. Many of these seem benign, but we use them more than we know," Fadell wrote. (15) Interestingly enough, there are now rehab facilities geared at curing smartphone addiction in the United States. These facilities are sometimes called "digital-detox clinics." (16)
There is a great danger in having our minds constantly occupied by devices. If our eyeballs are always glued to a screen and our thoughts are directed at what is happening on them, how will we ever hear the voice of God? I believe that God speaks far more often than people realize, but few people are still listening. Throughout the Scriptures we can find examples of God speaking, but even in the days when Jesus Christ was here on earth, many had lost their ability to hear. In John 12:28-30 we see an example of God audibly speaking from heaven. These verses tell us, "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes."The people in this story did not have our modern devices and still struggled to hear the voice of God. How much more difficult is it now that we have so many distractions?
Another Shocking Statement From Pope Francis
Without a doubt, Pope Francis has made his share of controversial statements in the past. Regarding homosexuality, the Pope once wrote, "I prefer that homosexuals come to confession, that they stay close to the Lord, and that we pray together. You can advise them to pray, show goodwill, show them the way, and accompany them along it." (17) In this statement, he never mentions the need to repent. Francis has also made overtures to atheists by telling them, "Just do good and we'll find a meeting point." (18) The leader of the Catholic Church has also attempted to appeal to Muslims and wrote in a 2015 post on the social networking website known as Twitter, "Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters and we must act as such." (19) In January 2016 the Pope issued an appeal to every type of religious adherent when he declared, "Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God." (20) This statement directly contradicts the words of Jesus in John 8:44 when he addressed his critics by saying, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
Further stoking the flames of controversy, a story broke in late March 2018 indicating that Pope Francis had expressed doubt regarding the existence of hell. According to the story, Francis had a private meeting with Eugenio Scalfari, the man who founded an Italian newspaper known as La Repubblica. During the course of their conversation, Scalfari asked about the final destination of "bad souls" to which the Pope replied, "They are not punished. Those who repent obtain God's forgiveness and take their place among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. A hell doesn't exist, the disappearance of sinning souls exists." (21) While we cannot be absolutely certain that Pope Francis made these remarks, considering his track record, I find it likely that he did. The Vatican was quick to rebuff the report from Scalfari, saying on March 29, 2018, "What is reported by the author in today's article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered a faithful transcription of the words of the 'holy father.'" (22) Nevertheless, Pope Francis and Eugenio Scalfari, who is an atheist, appear to be good friends. According to the New York Times, the duo met five times in the month of March 2018. Speaking of their relationship, Scalfari was quoted as saying, "We've become friends. He blessed me, but knowing that I'm not faithful, he blew me a kiss. And I responded in the same mode." (23)
Lest there be any confusion regarding eternity, Jesus gave us a succinct statement in John 5:28-29, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
Progress In The Fight For Life
Abortion is truly a heinous and vile act that should not be legal in the United States of America. It is a terrible sin and one that I believe brings a curse from God upon the land. Thankfully, there has been some progress in the fight for life. On March 29, 2018, American Vice-President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in the United States Senate that allows states to withhold federal funds from the nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. (24) Shortly thereafter, it was announced that lawmakers in Nebraska had voted 38 to 6 to defund Planned Parenthood in their state. (25) The state of Tennessee took it a step further. They not only defunded Planned Parenthood but will also withhold state funds from any facility that provides abortions. (26) This is wonderful news.
Sadly, in this twisted world where many people can no longer discern right from wrong, some of the strongest supporters of abortion can be found in American churches. In March 2018 a group of sixty-six clergy members in the state of Iowa signed a letter opposing a proposed law that would make it unlawful for an Iowan woman to undergo an abortion if her unborn child was found to have a beating heart. In a letter published by theDes Moines Register, this collective of ministers wrote the following: "As faith leaders, we want to use our collective voices to stand with Iowa women in support of their constitutional right to make independent healthcare decisions, including the right to an abortion. It is not the role of government to infringe upon a woman's right to make private medical decisions. Most Iowans, people of faith and no faith, believe in and are standing with every woman's right to be in control of their bodies and the healthcare decisions that impact their lives. We stand with Iowa women too." (27) Oddly enough, I do not recall a section of the United States Constitution that declares women have a right to murder their unborn children. The closing portion of the letter further states, "Every woman deserves to consult her values, faith, and doctor when making a decision about her body and her pregnancy. Any law that strips a woman of her faith and tries instead to legislate her values for her is immoral." (28) Such beliefs as outlined in this letter call to mind Isaiah 5:20 which declares, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" The ministers who signed the letter come from a wide variety of religious denominations in Iowa including the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and the American Baptist Church. (29)
The Shifting Tides Of War
These days, there is always a threat of war. The news reports are full of threats, insults, and rhetoric that usually involve the United States, North Korea, Syria, Iran, and Russia. It seems as though as soon as tensions ease on one front, they always open on another. For example, for much of last year, we were told over and over again that North Korea was an imminent nuclear threat and could even launch missiles at the American state of Hawaii. American President Donald Trump and North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un traded insults back and forth. Now we are told that Kim Jong Un wants peace. In April 2018, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea. "It was more than hello. They got along. They spoke and [Pompeo] also spoke with his counterparts in North Korea. They had a great meeting. He then left. It was very, very secret. Very, very quiet," President Trump recounted. Trump also raised the possibility of meeting with the North Korean leader. "We're having very, very good discussions. Kim Jong Un was - he really has been very open. I think very honorable, from everything we're seeing." (30) According to the latest reports, the Korean War is finally ending.
Even as we see reports of an improvement in relations between the United States and North Korea, conditions between the United States, Syria, and Russia are worsening. On April 7, 2018, news broke of a chemical attack in the city of Douma, Syria, which claimed the lives of at least seventy people. (31) Since that time, the Syrian government and the regime of Bashar Al-Assad have been blamed for the tragic event. If Assad is really responsible for this chemical attack, he is quite a foolish man. Just days before the attack transpired, President Trump had expressed a desire to remove all American troops from the Syrian region. "I want to get out; I want to bring our troops back home," Trump stated. He further said that having troops in Syria is "very costly for our country." (32) On April 13, 2018, France, Britain, and the United States launched a series of airstrikes in Syria that involved more than one hundred missiles. (33) Shortly thereafter, Trump posted a message online declaring "Mission accomplished." (34)
In the aftermath of the missile attacks on Syria, numerous figures expressed their displeasure over what Trump had done, including prominent conservative voices who are well-known for their support of the President. This includes Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson who told his audience, "All the geniuses tell us that Assad killed those children, but do they really know that? Of course they don't really know that, they're making it up. They have no real idea what happened. Actually, both sides in the Syrian civil war possess chemical weapons."(35) Alex Jones, the founder of Infowars and a vocal supporter of Trump, was also upset about Trump's decision. "It makes me sick,"Jones said after breaking down in tears. (36)
Russia, which is closely aligned with the Syrian regime, is also angry over the missile attack. "We are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences," declared Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov. (37) The tension between Russia and The United States prompted President Trump to write, "Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War." (38)
In closing, the future is uncertain, and our world is undergoing a rapid societal shift. The things we see happening around us can be unpleasant at times. Yet, as we move through time, we await the coming of our Saviour with great anticipation. As it tells us in Revelation 22:17-20, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." For those who love God, the coming of our Saviour will be a glorious event. 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 pray that our work will continue to be a blessing to you in the days ahead. If you have any prayer requests, please do not hesitate to send them our way. Our team of intercessors faithfully pray for each request individually every week. We know that God hears and answers prayer. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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 athttp://lasttrumpetnewsletter.org/donate.
01. Reuters News Service, April 16, 2018, By Reuters Staff, http://reuters.com.
02. Digital Trends, April 14, 2018, By Luke Dormehl, http://digitaltrends.com.
03. Reuters News Service, April 21, 2018, By Adam Jourdan, http://reuters.com.
04. Christianity Today, April 5, 2018, By Morgan Lee, http://christianitytoday.com.
05. China Daily, April 4, 2018, By China Daily, http://chinadaily.com.cn.
06. News.com.au, April 11, 2018, By Megan Palin, http://news.com.au.
07. Gizmodo, April 19, 2018, By Rhett Jones, http://gizmodo.com.
09. Newsweek Magazine, March 2, 2018, By Aristos Georgiou, http://newsweek.com.
10. Study Finds, April 19, 2018, By Ben Renner, http://studyfinds.org.
11. Golden Gate Xpress, April 25, 2018, By Darrin Baluyot, http://goldengatexpress.org.
13. First Post, April 23, 2018, By Tech 2 News Staff, http://firstpost.com.
14. The New York Post, March 5, 2018, By Kirsten Fleming, http://nypost.com.
15. Wired Magazine, April 14, 2018, By Tony Fadell, http://wired.co.uk.
17. National Catholic Reporter, January 10, 2016, By Joshua J. McElwee, http://ncronline.org.
18. The Huffington Post, March 3, 2018, By Carol Kuruvilla, http://huffingtonpost.com.
19. Twitter, November 30, 2015, By Pope Francis, http://twitter.com.
20. Catholic News Agency, January 7, 2016, By Elise Harris, http://catholicnewsagency.com.
21. The Guardian, March 30, 2018, By Angela Giuffrida, http://theguardian.com.
22. New York Magazine, March 30, 2018, By Ed Kilgore, http://nymag.com.
23. The New York Times, March 30, 2018, By Jason Horowitz, http://nytimes.com.
24. USA Today, March 30, 2018, By Nicole Gaudiano, http://usatoday.com.
25. The Cut, April 3, 2018, By Amanda Arnold, http://thecut.com.
26. CNS News, April 13, 2018, By Craig Bannister, http://cnsnews.com.
27. The Des Moines Register, By Connie Ryan, et al, http://desmoinesregister.com.
30. Politico, April 26, 2018, By Quint Forgey, http://politico.com.
31. BBC News, April 8, 2018, By BBC News, http://bbc.com.
32. The Huffington Post, March 3, 2018, By Mary Papenfuss, http://huffingtonpost.com.
33. Reuters News Service, April 13, 2018, By Phil Stewart and Tom Perry, http://reuters.com.
35. Haaretz, April 11, 2018, By Haaretz, http://haaretz.com.
36. The Hill, April 14, 2018, By Jacqueline Thomsen, http://thehill.com.
37. National Public Radio, April 14, 2018, By James Doubek, http://npr.org.
38. Ynet News, April 11, 2018, By Ynet News, http://ynetnews.com.
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