The Trumpet Herald is a commentary on certain current events in the light of inspired prophecy.
The August 25, 1997 issue of Newsweek magazine featured as its cover article, "The Meaning of Mary," a report on the pressure now being exerted on Pope John Paul II to officially make Mary a "Co-Redeemer" of the human race (p. 49). In the Pope's own words:
"Having created man 'male and female,' the Lord also wants to place the New Eve beside the New Adam in the Redemption. ... Mary, the New Eve, thus becomes the perfect icon of the Church. ... We can therefore turn to the Blessed Virgin, trustfully imploring her aid in the awareness of the singular role entrusted to her by God, the role of co-operator in the Redemption" (p. 51).
The article observes:
'If the drive succeeds, Catholics would be obliged as a matter of faith to accept three extraordinary doctrines: that Mary participates in the redemption achieved by her son, that all graces that flow from the suffering and death of Jesus Christ are granted only through Mary's intercession with her son, and that all prayers and petitions from the faithful on earth must likewise flow through Mary, who then brings them to the attention of Jesus. ... In place of the Holy Trinity, it would appear, there would be a kind of Holy Quartet, with Mary playing the multiple roles of daughter of the Father, mother of the Son and spouse of the Holy Spirit" (p. 49).
Even Newsweek acknowledges:
"This is what theologians call Mariology, and it seems to contradict the basic New Testament belief that 'there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus' (I Timothy 2:5)" (Ibid.).Noting that more than 400 "apparitions" of the Virgin Mary that have been reported from nearly every continent, and the millions of pilgrims who travel to view these sights, Newsweek observes: "Here, old fashioned Catholicism blends easily into New Age hunger for the supernatural" (p. 50).
Speaking prophetically of the papacy, the Bible declares:
"And he shall speak great words against the most High, ... and think to change times and laws" (Dan. 7:25).
"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies ... And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven" (Rev. 13:5-6).
The papal statements quoted earlier speak for themselves. It would seem that the little horn is no longer content merely to change times and laws; now it seeks to change the Godhead as well! As we noted above, even a secular publication like Newsweek understands how contrary to Scripture this proposed papal dogma is.
The widely reported Marian apparitions remind us of the following Ellen White statement:
"The apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictations of the Holy Spirit when on earth" (The Great Controversy, p. 557).
If the apostles will be impersonated by lying spirits, the Virgin Mary can be also.
Newsweek's claim that on this point, "old-fashioned Catholicism blends easily into New Age hunger for the supernatural" (p. 50), sounds very much like Inspiration's description of the end-time threefold union (Rev. 16:13-14):
"When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, ... then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near " (Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 451).
In a news brief titled "Ecumenical Summer," the August 11, 1997 issue of U.S. News & World Report declared that five major Protestant denominations--the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church of the USA, the Episcopal Church, and the Reformed Church in America--had moved close to a settlement of major doctrinal differences. The report observed:
"While the pacts stop short of outright mergers, they mark a significant step in unifying American Protestantism. The churches would recognize one another's clergy and baptism and encourage sharing the Eucharist with members of the other churches. The churches would also withdraw any 'historic condemnations' against one another over past doctrinal disagreements. ... Supporters say the agreements emphasize what the churches hold in common" (p. 12).
This news brief pictured two outstretched hands clasped around a wine goblet, a gesture pointed reminiscent of Ellen White's "hands across the gulf" statements.
On August 18, delegates to the biennial churchwide assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted to approve the agreement with the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, and the Reformed Church in America. The agreement wit the Episcopalians fell six votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority (see the Los Angeles Times, Aug. 19, 1997, pp. A1, A26). Governing bodies of each of the other denominations approved the joint agreements earlier this summer.
Two days later, however, the ELCA delegates voted to develop a new plan to pursue ties with the Episcopalians. The Lutheran delegates also voted to withdraw the historic condemnation of the Roman Catholic teaching on justification, declaring that both Lutherans and Catholics agree that God's grace alone is the basis of salvation (see the San Bernardino Sun, Aug. 20, 1977, p. A6). (Unfortunately, because Catholicism still holds that God's grace is dispensed by the tradition-based Seven Sacraments, the Virgin Mary, etc., the Catholic doctrine against which the Reformers protested remains unchanged.)
Martin Luther should be rolling over in his grave!
Concerning the end-time union of churches, the modern prophet writes:
"When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result" (The Great Controversy, p. 445).
Clearly, the first phase of the above statement is well on the way to fulfillment. We can expect the final phase (civil coercion against God's people) to follow shortly.
The Lutheran concession to the Catholic stance on justification reminds us of another Ellen White statement, which predicts the outline of end-time ecumenism:
"This union will not, however, be effected by a change in Catholicism; for Rome never changes. She claims infallibility. It is Protestantism that will change" (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 1, 1886).
Newsweek recently warned that the just-ended UPS strike, the most significant work stoppage in the United States for twenty-five years, "may be just the first of many battles to come over higher wages" (Aug. 25, 1997, p. 26). The blended issues of part-time work, benefits and pensions, and the demands of the global economy will no doubt inspire similar battles in many companies, in the very near future.
What did God's last-day prophet foretell, along these lines?
"For years I have been given special light that we are not to center our work in the cities. The turmoil and confusion that fill these cities, the conditions brought about by the labor unions and the strikes, would prove a great hindrance to our work. Men are seeking to bring those engaged in the different trades under bondage to certain unions. This is not God's planning, but the planning of a power that we should in no wise acknowledge. God's Word is fulfilling; the wicked are binding themselves up in bundles ready to be burned" (Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 143).
"Through the working of trusts, and the results of labor unions and strikes, the conditions of life in the city are constantly becoming more and more difficult. Serious troubles are before us; and for many families removal from the cities will become a necessity" (Ministry of Healing, p. 364).
The recent recall by Hudson Foods of 25 million pounds of potentially diseased hamburgers easily qualifies as "the largest food recall in U.S. history" (Los Angeles Times, Aug. 22, 1997, p. A1). And it seems this is only the beginning.
The lead headline in the September 1, 1997 U.S. News & World Report reads, "The next bad beef scandal?" (p. 22). As the article reports:
"The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimates there may be as many as 80 million incidents of food-borne illness each year in the United States, and about 9,000 deaths" (p. 23).
"Some 40 billion pounds a year of slaughterhouse wastes like blood, bone, and viscera, as well as the remains of millions of euthanized cats and dogs passed along by veterinarians and animal shelters, are rendered annually into livestock feed" (Ibid.).
At the same time, Newsweek reports that since 1991, billions of fish in waters from Delaware to Alabama have died from a disease known as Pfiesteria piscicida--Latin for "fish killer" (Aug. 25, 1997, p. 63). And in the past several weeks this plague has struck again, "killing tens of thousands of fish in a 4.5-mile stretch of Maryland's Pocomoke River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay."
"While the effect of Pfiesteria on humans remains controversial, one researcher and her associates have reported a number of symptoms which they have suffered while in contact with the diseased fish, including dizziness, memory loss, fatigue, and asthmatic problems. Many believe the vast disposal of chicken manure and fertilizer into waters off the Atlantic coast to be largely responsible for this disease. 'It's disconcerting to realize you were an inadvertent guinea pig,' observes researcher JoAnn Burkholder" (Ibid.).
Nearly a century ago, Ellen White wrote:
"Flesh was never the best food; but its use is now doubly objectionable, since disease in animals is so rapidly increasing. Those who use flesh foods little know what they are eating. Often if they could see the animals when living and know the quality of the meat they eat, they would turn from it with loathing. People are continually eating flesh that is filled with tuberculous and cancerous germs. Tuberculosis, cancer, and other fatal diseases are thus communicated" (Ministry of Healing, p. 313).
"In many places fish become so contaminated by the filth on which they feed as to be a cause of disease. This is especially the case where the fish come in contact with the sewage of large cities. The fish that are fed on the contents of the drains may pass into distant waters and may be caught where the water is pure and fresh. Thus when used as food they bring disease and death on those who do not suspect the danger" (Ibid., pp. 314-315).
"Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth" (Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 366).