The Trumpet Herald is a commentary on certain current events in the light of inspired prophecy.
Prophecy In the News
The December 15, 1997 cover story of U.S. News & World Report carried the headline: "Prophecy: Religious scholars' new insights into predictions about the Second Coming and the end of the world." End-time predictions of various religious groupsJews, Christians, Muslims, and New Agersare profiled. While Seventh-day Adventists would certainly dispute many of the article's assumptions regarding those who focus on prophecy, the article nevertheless bears witness to the growing public interest in this subject as the year 2000 approaches.
While rightfully dismissing groups like the violent Branch Davidians as "fortunately rare" among avid students of prophecy, the article nevertheless states: "People who think the Second Coming is imminent, scholars argue, have little incentive to worry about conditions in the here and now" (p. 71). The notion is thus created that taking seriously those Bible promises of the Saviour's return makes people less useful in this present world.
The prominence of such articles in mainstream magazines calls to mind the following inspired statement:
"The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take placethat the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis." (Prophets and Kings, p. 537).
Perhaps there are some who have permitted the awareness of Jesus' soon coming to make them less involved with helping others around them. But the history of those adhering to classic Seventh-day Adventist theology tells a different story. Our pioneers spoke out against may social evils, such as slavery. Most of all, the teachings of Ellen White reflect the Bible truth that God is waiting for a perfect reflection of Jesus' character in His people as a prerequisite for His return (II Peter 3:10-14; I John 3:2-3; Rev. 7:1-3; 14:5).
"Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own" (Christ Object Lessons, p. 69).
Ralph Reed Drops "Non-partisan" Mask
Since resigning from the leadership of the "non-partisan" Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed has become an active, highly paid Republican political consultant. Requests for him to advise and manage various campaigns are coming to him fast and furiously (see "Washington Whispers," U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 15, 1997, p. 21).
Those seeking Reed's advice will no doubt be indebted to him and those of like mind for his help in victories gained. Should the Republicans gain significantly in the 1998 midterm elections, the Religious Right will likely be much stronger.
As we have noted in previous newsletters, Inspiration has foretold this illegitimate union of church and state:
"Let the principle once be established in the United States that the church may employ or control the power of the state; that religious observances may be enforced by secular laws; in short, that the authority of church and state is to dominate the conscience, and the triumph of Rome in this country is assured" (The Great Controversy, p. 581).
Fleeing To the Country
The December 8, 1997 cover of Time magazine featured a story titled, "Fleeing to Small Towns," detailing the flight of many middle and upper-middle class Americans to rural areas in order to escape the crime, congestion, and pollution found in the large cities. Many who have done so testify to the tranquillity and increased time with one's family that such moves often bring.
Again, it would seem, the world seems to be catching up with counsel God gave His people long ago:
"Light has been given me that the cities will be filled with confusion, violence, and crime, and that these things will increase till the end of this earth's history.
"It is time for our people to take their families from the cities into more retired localities, else many of the youth, and many also of those older in years, will be ensnared and taken by the enemy.
"'Out of the cities; out of the cities!'--this is the message the Lord has been giving me" (Maranatha, p. 141).
The "Jekyll and Hyde" Drug
A new report on the positive and negative effects of wine, released in the December 1997 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, gives evidence that while alcoholic wine may be beneficial for one's heart condition, the increase in cancer risk still makes total abstinence the wisest choice.
The report, aired on the December 10,1997 broadcast of the CBS Evening News, pointed out that moderate drinkers significantly decrease their chance of heart disease, at times by more than 30 percent. But at the same time, women who drink at least once a week increase their risk for breast cancer by at least 20 percent, and both men and women who drink at least once a week increase their risk of all forms of cancer by at least 30 percent. The CBS reported describing the study stated that wine would best be depicted as the "Jekyll and Hyde" drug.
Indeed, the words of the wise man still hold true:
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (Proverbs 20:1).
"Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder" (Proverbs 23:31-32).
Touched By Angels?
The December 22, 1997 cover of People magazine featured an article with the title, "Touched By Angels," detailing stories of miraculous rescues and healings apparently performed by supernatural beings for a number of very mainstream, everyday Americans. From terminal cancer patients to victims of chronic depression, each of the persons profiled claims to have been healed by visitors from heaven.
Among other things, one is troubled by the fact that at least two of those making these claims went on, after their angelic encounters, to abandon their marriages in favor of live-in boyfriends. (Unlike Jesus, these supernatural visitors don't seem to be telling those they heal to "go and sin no more.") Most seriously of all, one lady who describes how her dying husband was touched by an angel, remarked, "After he (Chris) saw the angel, he knew his life wasn't coming to an end. Maybe his physical body was going to die, but he wasn't going to die" (People, Dec. 22, 1997, p. 84).
None can deny that God's angels are active in many human lives, imparting health and courage to millions. But we must ever bear in mind that God and His angels are not the only supernatural beings in the universe, and that the devil and his demons can work miracles also (Rev. 16:14).
Ellen White is clear that not all miracles originate with God:
"The sick will be healed before us. Miracles will be performed in our sight. Are we prepared for the trial which awaits us when the lying wonders of Satan shall be more fully exhibited?" (Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 302).
"Wonderful scenes, with which Satan will be closely connected, will soon take place. God's Word declares that Satan will work miracles. He will make people sick, and then will suddenly remove from them his satanic power. They will then be regarded as healed. These works of apparent healing will bring Seventh-day Adventists to the test" (Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 53).
We can be sure that anyone who is convinced by some supernatural personage that he will survive his physical form in a disembodied state has been persuaded by the wrong power. The Word of God still maintains:
"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing," (Eccl. 9:5).