“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be FAMINES, AND PESTILENCES (capitals mine), and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
In two of my previous posts (Jesus DID say we would have “…wars and rumors of wars” and Jesus DID say we would have “…earthquakes”) I tried to explain the relevance of His prophecies and how they pertain to what we are seeing increasingly happening in the world today. This is critical for Bible Believers because Jesus was specifically asked by His disciples in Matthew 24:3: “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these THINGS (capitals mine) be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?” Their questions were literally asked BEFORE he told them about the coming wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places which would only be the beginning of sorrows. Instead, their questions actually came AFTER he said in Matthew 24:2, “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these THINGS (capitals mine)? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Jesus answered with a direct response to the disciples that they would see the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Later He told them the world would see things happening which would be the beginning of sorrows which would eventually culminate in His Return.
Basically, the disciples were concerned because Jesus had said they would see “things” occur and then the End would come. They wanted to know what to be looking for because they incorrectly assumed He would return in their lifetimes. Instead, what Jesus was saying was ALL of us should be aware and watchful for the “things” he mentioned. In fact, “famines” are not new and were first noted in the Bible in Genesis 12:10 AFTER the Flood of Noah, “And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was grievous in the land.” As I tried to explain in those previous posts, we have ALWAYS had wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes but never in the growing frequency, intensity and/or knowledge of them which we possess today! Instead, we have had various times when we have witnessed a bad earthquake or war happen but they tended to be separate occurrences from each other. We DID NOT connect them! Today their exponential growths appear to be happening at the SAME time with the SAME increasing intensity. And, we are now aware of it!
So, two questions beg to be asked. First, why combine “famines and pestilences” in one post when they could be discussed separately, and two, how have they grown when modern technology and science should have already eliminated them by now from around the world? With a very small amount of research, and candidly, with some very surprising information uncovered which completely validates what Jesus said in the Olivet Discourse, these questions are easily answered. Also just one example of why they should be addressed together, in the Books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel “famines and pestilences” are associated with each other 25 times! They deserve to be discussed together.
To be clear, let me identify what I am referring to when I talk about famines and pestilences. Wikipedia describes a famine as “a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, inflation, crop failure, population imbalance, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic (pestilence), and increased mortality.” Here we see the connection between “famines and pestilences”. I find it intriguing that lack of rain or climate doesn’t necessarily seem to be the main culprit. Rather, things like WARS and GOVERNMENT POLICIES seem to be more of the cause than anything natural. When you continue to examine where famines are happening today, it is simply astonishing the vast majority are happening in non-Christian, authoritarian ruled countries. Since 1959, major famines have occurred in China, Ethiopia, Congo, North Korea, Bangladesh, Cambodia, numerous African and many other countries and have claimed the lives of over 55 million people. These famines continue today even with the scientific knowledge to be able to greatly reduce their impact!
Interestingly, to the UN famines are ONLY classified as famines when one out of every 5,000 or more of a specific population die EVERY DAY from hunger! With a global population now of almost 8 billion people, that means 1,600,000 would have to die EVERY day for the UN to even recognize a global famine. Now to be fair to the UN (you won’t hear that very often from me!), the world has never experienced a “global” famine. Rather, they tend to be regionalized by geography. This gives further credibility to Christ’s prophecy that ALL these things would happen “…in diverse places.”
When these predictions were made, the global population was estimated by scientists to be approximately 150 million. Using the UN guidelines, a famine at that time would have to have 30,000 people a day dying from starvation. As the world population has grown, the numbers go up and we all become much more aware of them. Like in the time of Christ, there are still many famines but more and more people are dying because the population is so much larger.
Jesus, in the Olivet Discourse, also told His disciples in the Last Days there would be “…pestilences”. While I believe the increase in the world’s population and our ability to communicate globally immediately has raised our awareness of this tragedy, we must still remember while diseases have always been here, the magnitude and severity of many have not abated even with the improvements modern science and medicine have brought to the people of the world. For example, there are still 350-500 MILLION cases of malaria PER YEAR diagnosed. AIDS (originally called GRID – Gay Related Immuno Deficiency) only became known in the past 30 years and has already killed over 25 million people worldwide. Recently, over two million people died from an outbreak of smallpox. Other diseases like tuberculosis, the flu, yellow fever, etc. have NOT been eradicated and still account for tens of millions of deaths a year. All this does not even count new and wildly migrating diseases like the Zika virus, once confined to the equatorial region but now spreading into places like the U.S.
These two “things” Jesus told His disciples would, included with the others mentioned, be the beginning of sorrows, “…famines and pestilences” still kill tens of millions of people every year! Can you even imagine the fear the unknowing, non-believer would think when all these things happen with increasing frequency and intensity? It is with this God given, pre-warning and Biblical knowledge of those things to come which should comfort us. But you know what else is comforting?
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in FAMINE (capitals mine). Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.”
We WILL continue to see increasing “…wars, and rumors of wars, famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places.” But, IF we believe Jesus died for our sins and gave us eternal salvation and we ask for forgiveness of our sins, we will also see the soon Coming of Him at the Rapture, whether we are alive OR dead. And, we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven! Now that IS comforting! Please help me to tell others about what is coming and do as we are all instructed by Jesus to do and that is to “…therefore, comfort one another with these words.”
May God Bless you!