The Trumpet Herald is a commentary on certain current events in the light of inspired prophecy.
Shiite Muslim leader meets with Pope
In what the Los Angeles Times (March 12, 1999, p. A4) called "a landmark encounter," Pope John Paul II met on March 11 with Mohammad Khatami, the head of Iran's theocratic government and president of the 55-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference. Khatami was in Rome for a three-day state visit, the first trip by an Iranian leader to the West since that country's 1979 Islamic Revolution. The two had a 25-minute discussion. At the end of the discussion, one of the three Islamic clerics kissed the Pope on both cheeks.
Khatami is quoted in the San Bernardino County Sun as saying, "At the end of my stay in Italy, and after this meeting with you, I return to my country and people full of hope for the future." Khatami reportedly told the Pope that he hopes the two monotheistic faiths could join to inspire a more equitable world order in which Islamic nations are treated by the West as full partners. Roman Catholocism and Islam each claim just over 1 billion faithful, according to the Times. Speaking to European scholars on March 10, Khatami said: "All the divine religions are not quintessentially different." The official Vatican communique described the meeting as a warm encounter based on "a spirit of dialogue between Muslims and Christians.
Some have wondered how the following prophecy might come to pass regarding the world of Islam and the Roman Catholic Power. This recent visit should alert students of prophecy to the seriousness of our times.
"And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast" (Revelation 13:3).
"But in this homage to the papacy the United States will not be alone. The influence of Rome in the countries that once acknowledged her dominion is still far from being destroyed. And prophecy foretells a restoration of her power" (The Great Controversy, p. 578).
New Moves by the Religious Right
At a press conference held March 11, Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson sought to dispel any illusion that his organization's strength is waning in the wake of President Clinton's Senate acquittal. Declaring that enthusiasm has never been higher by the Coalition's state organizers and grass-roots activists, Robertson announced plans to distribute as many as 78 million of the so-called nonpartisan "voter guides" in churches during the 2000 presidential race.
Robertson and Coalition executive director Randy Tate expressed confidence that their agenda is shared by a growing number of Americans, and that the next presidential election will augur well for their cause.
Robertson's optimism was boosted by a new poll conducted by the Center for Gender Equality, a group with an agenda decidedly hostile to that of the Religious Right. The March 1999 issue of Church & State reported this poll's results, among which were that twice as many women think the Christian Coalition works "in the interests of women" than think it is a threat. Nearly half of those polled said the United States would be better off if "politicians were guided by religious values when making policy decisions" (Church & State, March 1999, p. 3).
In other church-state news, Jan de Groof, president of the European Society for Education Law and Policy) recently stated that "separation [between church and state] is a completely outdated concept," and proposed for America a "European model" in which church and state would work together to achieve "general, spiritual, and material well being" (Ibid., p. 15).
In an interview in the January issue of San Francisco Faith, incoming California Republican Party chairman John McGraw stated that "Christ came down to this earth and He spent His whole life imposing His views on people." He declared that the Republican Party should endeavor to follow Jesus' example and do the same thing (Church & State, March 1999, p. 22).
Revelation 7, verses 1-3 informs us that the four angels will restrain the winds of strife until the servants of God are sealed. Without question the Religious Right represents the sort of end-time Catholic-Protestant alliance which Inspiration predicts will be the instrument of persecution against God's people as history closes.
The so-called "European model" of church-state unity advocated by Dr. de Groof is precisely what led the founders of this Republic to seek a new home in the New World. It is his view, not the separationist view, which is truly outdated, a throwback to the medieval intolerance which the American experiment was established to oppose. This "European model" will indeed be brought to America, as the lamb-like beast of Revelation 13 begins to imitate the medieval papacy which the first beast in this chapter represents.
John McGraw has obviously not grasped the teachings of Christ as found in the Gospels. To Peter on the night of His arrest, the Saviour declared, "Put up again thy sword into its place, for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matt. 26:52). A few hours later He declared to Pontius Pilate: "My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight" (John 18:36).
Again we quote from the modern prophet as she foresaw the religio-political future of Our land:
"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).
More Bad News for Meat-Eaters
The March 9 broadcast of the CBS Evening News reported yet another study indicating the growing dangers of eating meat. A new federal study reported that the level of hormones used in animals slaughtered for food has accelerated, and that the danger of disease to the eater has markedly increased.
A similar study, reported at about the same time in the San Bernardino Sun, stated that those who refrain from meat-eating are half as likely to fall victim to cancer as well as a number of other ailments.
It is for good reason that inspiration declared that "among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet" (Counsels on Diet and Foods, pp. 380-381). We are also reminded of the statement that "disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men" (Ibid., p. 366). If there was ever an excuse for anyone in the Western World to continue using flesh meat, there is none now.
Amtrak Train Crash
The Amtrak "City of New Orleans" train came to a fatal end on the night of March 15, 1999, in the city of Bourbonnais, Illinois, just south of Chicago. In one of the worst rail disasters of recent times, the trainwith over 200 people on boardslammed into a truck at an intersection.
As we go to press, at least 100 passengers are reported by local hospitals as injured, and at least 13 are dead. Slightly fewer than a dozen are still missing, and feared dead.
Long ago inspiration predicted, regarding the events preceding Christ's return:
"Disasters by rail will become more and more frequent; confusion, collision, and death without a moment's warning will occur on the great lives 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).
The Ice of March
The middle of March witnessed some of the most savage storms of La Niña, successor to El Niño, as blizzards and ice swept the American heartland, closing airports and disrupting travel. Brian Norcross, meteorological consultant to CBS News, reported on the March 15 CBS Evening News that La Niña is far from finished. Norcross predicted that this spring's tornado season will probably be the worst in memory.
Again, from the inspired pen:
"The end of all things is at hand. The day of God is hastening on apace. The world is full of crime and anguish and sorrow. There are calamities by land and by seas. Storm and tempest make it unsafe for us to be separated from God for one single moment. Only those who live by faith in this probationary life, will be able to stand in the day of test, when everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but they shall dwell in safety and be unmoved" (Our High Calling).