The Trumpet Herald is a commentary on certain current events in the light of inspired prophecy.Pope Offers Indulgences
The current Pope seems determined to take Roman Catholicism back to the Middle Ages. The November 28, 1996 issue of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the announcement by Pope John Paul II of the "Great Jubilee of 2000," an extravagant celebration starting next year to be held in both Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
The San Diego paper reported the Pope's incredible statement that "throughout the millennium celebration, penitents who do a charitable deed or give up cigarettes or alcohol for a day may earn an 'indulgence' that will eliminate time in purgatory" (San Diego Union-Tribune, Nov. 28, 1993, p. A1).
Many will remember that the sale of indulgences was one of the main issues that sparked the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. The Pope claims he is encouraging an "ecumenica1 spirit" in these celebrations by "broadening the ways believers can earn an indulgence" (Ibid). These ways include visiting the sick or imprisoned, or giving to the poor. These suggestions are especially offered to those who, in the words of one church official, might find it too hard to give up wine or cigarettes even for a day (Ibid. p. A12).
Perhaps the Pope is convinced that Protestants want unity with Catholics so much that they will overlook even the most outrageous denials of Bible truth.
The Bible, through the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, predicted long ago that the papacy would speak great things against God (Dan. 7:25, Rev. 13:5-6) . We see the fulfillment of these prophecies in the Pope's granting of indulgences for sin, a sacrilegious practice with no foundation in the Bible.
According to Scripture, God's forgiveness is conditional on our giving up sin (Prov. 28:13, Isa. 55:7), made possible by the power of Jesus' blood. "The blood at Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. ... If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:7, 9). To give Christians a license to sin because one or two bad habits are given up for a day, or a couple of good deeds performed, would be funny if it weren't so serious!
The warning is more than a century old: "Let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never changes" (The Great Controversy, p. 581). We can see that this observation is as true today as when it was first written.
The Fraying of Democracy and the Resurgent Religious Right
Much could be said regarding the recent vote in the House of Representatives to impeach the President of the United States While the Trumpet Herald does not speak out on strictly political aspects of issues. We wish only to direct our readers to events which indicate the increasing fulfillment of inspired predictions.
The personal moral corruption and the relentless exposure of it in politicians' private lives, the decline of public civility in the present climate, the influence of the Religious Right even after the recent elections on the current leadership of the House of Representatives all have born fruit in the recent national drama, both in the impeachment vote itself, and the simultaneous resignation of House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston.
According to several reports on CNN, more than a few of the Republican House members who decided late to vote for impeachment were threatened by the Religious Right with primary challenges in their districts it they voted not to impeach. One Tennessee congressman defended his vote by saying that at least 35 percent of his local Republican support were members of the Christian Coalition, who would likely turn against him if he voted against impeachment.
As we go to press, it looks as if the new Speaker designate for the House will be Rep. Dennis Hastert of Illinois. Hastert's selection likely responds at least in part to the influence of the Christian Coalition. Hastert has a near-perfect voting score from the Christian Coalition as did Livingston before him.
The modern prophet predicted long ago, in words of devastating relevance to the present moment:
"Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers, and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance" (The Great Controversy, p. 592).
The moral tone of the people is reflected in the lives of the leaders, and that of an apparently large number of leaders reinforces the moral decline in much of society at large. The popular opinion and the political voices calling for expediency are an ominous cloud on the religious liberty horizon.
Power of Labor Unions
The recent election of James P. Hoffa to the presidency of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has brought the power and influence of labor unions the headlines again. The son of the militant former Teamster boss, who disappeared in 1975 and was presumed murdered, young Hoffa has pledged that the Teamsters will even more aggressively pursue their agenda in the future, with more strike threats and greater stridency in their demands.
Inspiration, has foretold.
"The trades unions will be one of the agencies that will bring upon this earth a time of trouble such as has not been since the world began" (Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 142).
"The time is fast coming when the controlling power of the labor unions will be very oppressive. Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the trouble of buying and selling will be a very serious one" (Ibid. p. 141).