The Trumpet Herald is a commentary on certain current events in the light of inspired prophecy.
The recent death of Princess Diana while under pursuit by aggressive reporters made prominent once again the concerns many feel over the loss of personal privacy in a world of intrusiveness and inquisitive technology. A week prior to Diana's untimely death, Time magazine ran a cover article with the title, "The Death of Privacy," detailing the loss of our personal space through sophisticated eavesdroppers, the information age, and the Internet.
The Time cover story, describing the author's personal experience with the loss of privacy through the Internet, observed pointedly:
"As I watched my personal digital hell unfold, it struck me that our privacy_mine and yours_has already disappeared, not in one Big Brotherly blitzkrieg but in Little Brotherly moments, bit by bit. ...
"If things seem crazy now, think how much crazier they will be when everybody is as wired as I am. We're in the midst of a global interconnection that is happening much faster than electrification did a century ago and is expected to have consequences at least as profound. What would happen if all the information stored on the world's computers were accessible via the Internet to anyone? Who would own it? Who would control it? Who would protect it from abuse?" (Joshua Quittner, "Invasion of Privacy," Time, August 25, 1997, pp. 30-31).
More and more, we are witnessing the arrival of technology which will make possible the final global assault on God's people foretold in Revelation 13. As we see our privacy and safe havens vanishing, the following verse of Scripture reminds us of the only impenetrable security in the universe:
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust " (Psalm 91:1, 2).
The death of Mother Theresa September 5 produced an avalanche of calls that the Pope make her a saint. But among other things, this will require the witnessing of at least two miracles connected with Mother Theresa's life. Considering all the "sightings" of the Virgin Mary that have lately occurred, we shouldn't be surprised if Mother Theresa is also sighted in a forthcoming appearance with Mary.
Speaking of end-time impersonations, Ellen White declared:
"The apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth" (The Great Controversy, p. 557).
If this can happen with the apostles and the Virgin Mary, it could happen to Mother Theresa also. Those who bow down to worship the so-called "saints" of the Catholic Church would do well to read how God's angel on two occasions forbade the apostle John to bow at his feet (Rev. 19:10; 22:9). Moreover, as one lady interviewed on the CBS Evening News stated on the night of September 12, when asked about Mother Theresa's proposed sainthood:
"Only God makes saints."
Two developing news stories call our minds to the reality that religious persecution is far from dead in our world. One is a proposed bill in Congress which would create a special White House office to monitor religious persecution throughout the world, and enforce sanctions against nations and governments which engage in such persecution. This bill is expected to pass easily and reach the President's desk early next year (see the Los Angeles Times, Sept. 8, 1997, pp. A1, A9).
The other, far more ominous development is a bill now making its way through the Russian legislature, which would ban or severely restrict religious activities by groups other than the Russian Orthodox Church. The bill passed in the lower house of the Russian Parliament and is expected to pass the upper chamber also. And in contrast with his decision to veto a similar bill several years ago, Russian President Boris Yeltsin is expected to sign this one (see "Russian Bill Deals Blow to Freedom for Religions," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 20, 1997, pp. A1, A6).
Both of the above incidents call attention to persecution directed at Christians in general. But as Seventh-day Adventists who know our Bible-based teachings about last-day events, we must remember that ultimately it will be mainstream Christians who will themselves be our persecutors.
Nevertheless, what we read above reminds us of two inspired observations:
"Let there be a revival of the faith and power of the early church, and the spirit of persecution will be revived, and the fires of persecution will be rekindled" (The Great Controversy, p. 48).
"The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will have to do in a terrible crisis under most discouraging, forbidding circumstances." (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 463).
The last issue of Trumpet Herald reported on the pfisteria plague now killing millions of fish off the Atlantic coast. Recently the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page article on this continuing story, titled, "First a Slew of Dead Fish, Now Sick People" (Sept. 20, 1997, pp. A1, A12).
In just one week, doctors in the Chesapeake region have reported at least 35 patients whose symptoms confirm those of numerous fishermen in recent months, who have reported dizziness, memory loss, and a number of other problems. Worse still, the sort of manure-dumping which seems to have helped produce this problem is a national issue, not a local one. "`All across the country, where you have polluted runoff, we're seeing a host of problems,' a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency has stated" (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 20, 1997, p. A12).
Again we recall an inspired observation which our last newsletter cited:
"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" (The Ministry of Healing, pp. 314-315).