The Trumpet Herald is a commentary on certain current events in the light of inspired prophecy.
"The land was filled with violence"
New grisly violence seared the consciousness of the world as an Atlanta day-trader murdered his entire family, plus nine office workers at two Atlanta brokerage houses, then took his own life.
One week later, another disgruntled worker in Pelham, Alabama, shot to death three other workers at two different job sites. "Everybody around here is just regular working people," said one carpet store owner in Pelham. The shootings, she said, "were just beyond my comprehension" (USA Today, August 6, 1999, p. 3A).
The following week, an anti-Semtitic zealot opened fire on helpless little children at a Jewish Community Center in El Granada, a suburb of Los Angeles, California. Again observers everywhere sought answers as to why anyone would commit such a ghastly deed.
In the wake of all this, political analyst Bill Schneider spoke of what he calls a "values panic" on the August 13 edition of CNN's "Inside Politics." He spoke of the abject physical fear these shooting incidents are creating, and how many think "culture control" is as importantif not more sothan gun control.
"Do people want more regulation and censorship?" Schneider asks. "No. But they do want leaders with moral authority."
The problem is, unless laws are passed, a political leader's moral authority amounts to little more than words. As society grows more and more unsafe, words will seem increasingly inadequate without coercive regulation.
Again we recall the Bible's description of the world before the flood, in which we read that "the earth was filled with violence" (Gen. 6:11). Christ compared the days just before Noah's flood to the world's condition just prior to His return: "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man" (Luke 17:26).
Again we recall inspiration regarding this comparison of past and present conditions:
"They [the people who lived before the flood] worshipped selfish indulgence,eating, drinking, merry-making,and resorted to acts of violence and crime if their desires and passions were interfered with. . . . The land was filled with violence. War, crime, murder, was the order of the day. Just so will it be before Christ's second coming" (SDA Bible Commentary, vol., 1, 1090).
Weather Watch and Natural Disasters
Late July and early August witnessed a continuation of bizarre and destructive weather, as a killer heat wave scorched the Midwestern United States and left over 200 dead. Crops of all kinds have been well-nigh destroyed from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania.
The strange weather got even stranger as tornadoes touched down in such unlikely places as Long Island, New York, on August 9, and in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 11. The Salt Lake twister left one dead, 73 inured, and scores of buildings damaged. The one death was the first tornado fatality in Utah's recorded history.
In other natural-disaster news, a powerful earthquake (magnitude 7.4 according to CNN Interactive) shook northwestern Turkey on August 17 at 3:02 a.m. killing thousands and injuring many more thousands. Two earthquakes rocked the Nevada desert on the first of August registering 5.6 and 6.2, respectively, on the Richter scale. The same day saw floods ravage South Korea, leaving a wide trail of destruction. Two days later more floods wreaked havoc in Thailand, and a typhoon devastated the Philippines.
Once more we review the inspired prediction of what we now see in present natural chaos:
"Even now he [Satan] is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous" (The Great Controversy, p. 589-590).
More on Cloning
The Forum section of USA Today, August 10, 1999, contained a headline, "Concerns over human-animal experiments overblown" (p. 15A). The article insisted that while some scientists are exploring the possibility of cross-breeding animals with humans, such experiments are neither likely to succeed, nor are the majority of scientists likely to approve of such experiments becauseso we are assuredmost scientists are "too ethical." Those now trying to get the U.S. Patent Office to forbid such experiments are being accused of needlessly "thwarting research" because of what are thought to be needless fears of what scientists might do.
Optimistic observers might repose great faith in human morality, but we know from the inspired record what has happened in mankind's history. Again, from the modern prophet's pen:
"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 proposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long-lived race that had corrupted their ways before him" (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 64).
Whatever the ancient "amalgamation" was, human with human and beast with beast, or human with beast, the above statement seems ominous indeed in the context of modern genetic manipulation.
In the wake of the Littleton tragedy last spring, state legislatures in Alaska, Nevada, Louisiana, and South Carolina have either passed or are presently considering laws to bring organized prayer back to the public schools. One state legislator in Louisiana declared, regarding the school prayer bill she supports: "If we are afraid to stand up for God, when all the storms and hurricanes come, He will turn his back on us" (Church & State, July-August 1999, p. 21).
Again we are reminded of the modern prophet's warning regarding religious legislation in the last days:
"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).
The statement cited earlier from Louisiana reminds us of another warning, following the statement we cite so often in this newsletter regarding natural disasters in the last days:
"It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity" (Ibid., p. 590).