The Trumpet Herald
Giving the trumpet a certain sound
Famine in Southern Africa
Once again warnings are being given about famine in Africa. The Associated Press reported on February 19, 2002:
"Throughout southern Africa, the 2001 corn harvest — the region’s staple crop — was down a quarter from the previous year because of bad weather, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said Tuesday.
"Worst-hit were Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia, the agency said. In Malawi, the 2001 harvest was a full third lower than the already low 2000 harvest because of heavy rains and flooding, it said.
"Catholic priests in Malawi said many villagers could not afford to buy food and had resorted to eating roots and leaves. The elderly were flocking to rural parishes and dying of hunger, they said at a prayer retreat, and one priest recounted burying seven villagers in a single day" ("U.N.: Southern Africa Going Hungry" The Wire (The Associated Press on the Internet)).
Although we have not detailed many of these, natural and human-caused or exacerbated disasters continue to be reported around the world. Human greed and exploitation along with poverty and desperation are continuing factors in widespread human suffering.
The words of Jesus again come to mind:
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matt. 23:6-8).
The "end is not yet," but we seem to be seeing the signposts.
Train Disaster in Egypt
"The fire broke out just after midnight early Wednesday [Feb. 20, 2002], soon after the train left Cairo packed with passengers. The burning train barreled ahead for 2 1/2 miles — with desperate people jumping from windows and doors — before the engineer realized there was a fire. Even after he stopped, the fire went on for hours, whipped by strong winds, with scores of people trapped inside. …
"The accident was the deadliest [361 deaths] in more than 150 years of Egyptian railroad history and one of the worst train fires anywhere in the world. In 1989, about 600 people were killed when a gas pipeline explosion blew apart two trains stopped in Russia's Ural Mountains" ("Probe of Egyptian Train Tragedy Begins," The Wire, Feb. 21, 2002).
Although the warning below was given in 1890 when trains were much more state of the art in terms of mass transportation on "the great lines of travel," the message is still specifically and generically relevant:
"Disasters by rail will become more and more frequent; confusion, collision, and death without a moment's warning will occur on the great lines of travel. The end is near, probation is closing. Oh, let us seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near!" (Messages to Young People, p. 90).
Prelate Endorses Violence
"TBILISI, Georgia, (KESTON/CWNews.com) -- The second-ranking Orthodox bishop in Georgia has caused a sensation by apparently endorsing violence against Protestant groups.
"The Keston news service has reported that during a February 10 television program, Metropolitan Atanase Chkhvashvili of Rustavi demanded the ‘abolition’ of all religions other than the Orthodox in Georgia, and said that ‘sectarians’-- a term that he used to include Baptists, Pentecostalists, and Anglicans as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses—‘have to be shot dead’ ("Georgian Orthodox Prelate Endorses Religious Violence," EWTN News, Feb. 15, 2002).
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake" (Matt. 24:9)
While understanding the prophecies of greater religious persecution as evil wages the final battles before the return of Christ, may we suggest to the prelate the counsel of ancient Gamaliel:
"And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God" (Acts 5:38, 39).
Cloning Continues – a Cat and a Womb
The Washington Post reported recently:
"Scientists in Texas have created the first cloned cat, a calico named ‘CC’ that has immediately taken a curious and controversial place in history as the first cloned domestic pet" ("Copy Cat Is First Cloned Pet," The Washington Post Online, Feb. 15, 2002).
Also recently, The Observer, a British newspaper and online source reported:
"Doctors are developing artificial wombs in which embryos can grow outside a woman’s body. The work has been hailed as a breakthrough in treating the childless.
"Scientists have created prototypes made out of cells extracted from women’s bodies. Embryos successfully attached themselves to the walls of these laboratory wombs and began to grow. However, experiments had to be terminated after a few days to comply with in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) regulations" ("Men Redundant? Now We Don’t Need Women Either," The Observer, Feb. 10, 2002).
Anciently God called Noah to give a message of appeal and warning. While many offer nice-sounding rationalizations for the course and benefits of cloning research, inspired comments on the Bible flood story should give us pause and then urgency.
"But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere. God purposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long-lived race that had corrupted their ways before him" (Spirit of Prophecy, v.1, p. 69).