The Trumpet Herald is a commentary on certain current events in the light of inspired prophecy.
The Wrath of El Nino
Hurricane Nora's crash into the southwestern United States at the end of September opens a winter likely to be dominated by "El Nino," a recurrent weather phenomenon characterized by warm ocean currents building along the equatorial Pacific. The October 6 cover story of U.S. News & World Report led with "The Power of El Nino: Our century's biggest weather event is underway," and warns of "upheavals to come in global weather" (Shannon Brownlee & Laura Tangley, "The Wrath of El Nino," U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 6, 1997, p. 17).
El Nino is already "scrambling climatic conditions worldwide, causing droughts in Asia and Brazil and torrential rains in Peru" (Dorian Friedman, "The Wrath of El Nino," U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 29, 1997, p. 34). CBS News reported September 25 that this season's El Nino could well be three times worse than the system's last occurrence in the winter of 1982-83.
On the second weekend of October, El Nino struck again as Hurricane Pauline slammed into the coast of Mexico. The October 10 broadcast of the CBS Evening News reported that over 400 were left dead by the storm.
The following inspired statement quickly comes to mind:
"The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause. Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds that they shall not blow until the servants of God are sealed" (Testimonies, Vol. 6, P. 408).
"Satan works through the elements also to gather his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows" (The Great Controversy, p. 589).
Promise Keepers Come to Washington
The weekend of October 4 witnessed the so-called Promise Keepers Christian men's movement, over half a million strong, advance on the nation's capital. Time magazine featured the march in its October 6 cover story, asking, "Are they men behaving nobly? Or a threat to freedom?" (p. 35).
While the movement's leaders deny profusely that they have a political agenda, one is led to ask why--if they aren't political--would they choose to march on Washington? Which movement that has marched on Washington in the past has lacked a political agenda?
The widespread suspicion that Promise Keepers is yet another Religious Right political movement is well founded. At a 1993 Promise Keepers rally in Boulder, Colorado, the group's founder Bill McCartney declared:
"Wherever the truth is at risk, in the schools or legislature, we are going to contend for it. We will win. The truth is already on our side" (quoted by Hans Johnson, "Broken Promise?" Church and State, May 1995, p. 10).
McCartney gave further evidence of his political leanings by publicly declaring that homosexuals do not deserve civil protection from discrimination (Ibid.).
No Bible-believing Christian can fault McCartney or his movement for opposing as sinful the homosexual way of life. Nor can any Bible believer question the need for godly men to claim their divinely-appointed place as servant-leaders in the home. But to use government legislation to enforce religion or personal morality is a violation of humanity's God-given liberty. In the words of Ellen White:
"To protect liberty of conscience is the duty of the state, and this is the limit of its authority in matters of religion. Every secular government that attempts to regulate or enforce religious observances by civil authority is sacrificing the very principle for which the evangelical Christian so nobly struggled" (The Great Controversy, p. 201).
"Why did God allow all this fearful iniquity that men might be made free? To this there can be one answer: It was because He knew the worthlessness of all forced obedience, and that therefore, the freedom to sin was absolutely necessary to the possibility of righteousness" (The Watchman, May 1, 1906 -- endorsed but apparently not written directly by Ellen White).
Massive religio-political movements like the Promise Keepers remind us of inspired predictions such as the following:
"By false representations and angry appeals, men will stir up the passions of the people. ... To secure popularity and patronage, legislators will yield to the demand for a Sunday law" (Prophets and Kings, p. 606).
Drinking to Death
The recent alcohol-induced death of a fraternity member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has focused national attention o the problem of binge-drinking by college students. The CBS Evening News led with this story September 30, and reported a survey indicating that nearly half of American college students qualify as binge-drinkers.
Enoch Gordis, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, observes, "There is a kind of feeling with the war on drugs that the real problem is cocaine and heroin. But it's really alcohol that is killing kids" (quoted by Martha T. Moore, "Binge Drinking Stalks Campuses," USA Today, Oct. 1, 1997, p. 3a).
In a recent Time magazine essay, Charles Krauthammer writes:
"Drunk driving alone kills 17,000 people a year. And alcohol's influence extends far beyond driving. It contributes to everything from bar fights to domestic violence. One study found that 44% of assailants in cases of marital abuse had been drinking. Another study found that 60% of wife batterers had been under the influence" ("The New Prohibitionism," Time, Oct. 6, 1997, p. 112).
Nearly a century ago, God's prophet declared:
"Every year millions upon millions of intoxicating liquors are consumed. Millions upon millions of dollars are spent in buying wretchedness, poverty, disease, degradation, lust, crime, and death" (Ministry of Healing, p. 338).
"A great test is coming; it will be upon obedience or disobedience to the commandments of God. Intemperance is seen everywhere. Disregard for the law of God, rioting, and drunkenness prevail" Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, p. 367).
Flesh Meat and Human Emotions
The October 1997 issue of Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, a prominent alternative medicine magazine, featured a cover story on a new book by Kim Le, Ph.D., titled High Energy Living: Oriental Vegetarian Cooking for Health (Rudra Press, P.O. Box 13390, Portland, OR 97213). Reviewing this book, Irene Alleger states the following:
"There is more research now on how food affects our minds and emotions, as well as our physical bodies, but the Oriental culture was aware of that centuries ago. Vegetarianism is less stressful on the body but it also make the mind clearer, and calms the emotions, qualities that are much needed in our society" (Townsend Letter, October 1997, p. 14).
The same author goes on to say:
"The belief that meat is essential to our health, and provides us with more strength, is debunked by studies showing that vegetarians eating a balanced diet have at least as much strength and endurance as meat eaters" (Ibid., pp. 14-15).
Seventh-day Adventists have had this information for a least a hundred years. In the words of our prophet:
"I have been instructed that flesh food has a tendency to animalize the nature, to rob men and women of that love and sympathy which they should feel for everyone, and to give the lower passions control over the higher powers of the being" (Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 159).
"It is a mistake to assume that muscular strength depends on the use of animal food. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and more vigorous health can be enjoyed, without its use. The grains, with fruits, nuts, and vegetables, contain all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood" (Ministry of Healing, p. 316).