…and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places (Matt. 24:7).
While living in a land of plenty it is difficult to envision widespread hunger. Yet famine is a way of life for a great part of the world. More than two billion people go to bed hungry every night.
About 10,000 people die daily because of a lack of food and the effects of malnutrition, but this will increase dramatically because of a multiplying world population. Although population growth has slowed in the United States, other parts of the world are increasing so fast that experts are unable to come up with an answer to the problem.
A few prominent people are advocating the “lifeboat” solution. This approach sees the ever-increasing number of people as impossible to feed, and foresees a day when dividing food among so many would mean the death of the entire race. The idea is to keep plenty of food in the productive areas — the lifeboats — and let the rest of the world starve.
The “lifeboat” solution view is held by a few Americans who undoubtedly see our land as one of the lifeboats. But even our food sufficiency hangs by a very thin thread.
What if God should withhold rain from America for even one year? What if storms or plant diseases ruined our bountiful harvests? What if tractors sat idle in the fields because energy could not be bought to run them? Our surplus would then be but memories. As in Pharaoh’s dream, the lean years would soon devour the fat ones. Hunger would stalk the fruited plains. And the “lifeboat” solution would be the farthest option from our minds.
Pestilence frequently accompanies famine. Often it may be the cause of it. The insect world is multiplying at an unbelievable rate. Entomologists estimate the number has now climbed to one quintillion, including five million different species. The weight of all the insects in the world would be twelve times the combined weight of the entire human race. The insect problem is compounded by the ability of many varieties to develop immunities to our most powerful pesticides.
A number of dictionaries, as well as the Amplified New Testament, define it as “malignancy, malignant growths, or cancer.”
It is well known that exposure to radiation causes malignancies. Nuclear war may well be the cause of much of the pestilence of the last days.
Experiments in germ warfare or in the development of new life forms may bring pestilence. Safety measures have failed to protect the public on some occasions and many people are concerned about the possibility of a laboratory accident or some freak development in an experiment that could bring a plague of major proportions for which there is no known cure.
Earthquakes are taking place on an unprecedented scale.
The United States Geodetic Service reports one million earthquakes annually. Often as many as twenty tremors are in progress simultaneously.
Seismologists inform us that the North Pole is tilted off center.
This is expected to bring about the most devastating earthquakes in history. Biblical prophecies are unfailing, and in God’s time an unprecedented earthquake epidemic is certain.
The greatest quake is yet to come; it will take place when Christ returns to earth.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south (Zech. 14:4).
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Matt. 24:12).
A lady once prayed, “Lord forgive me! I do so many things that I used to think were wrong.”
Her prayer could be prayed by millions. The sexual revolution is now history and its bitter effects remain. Fornication, adultery, and even homosexuality have gained respectability. Nevertheless, neither new and more appealing names nor a change in public opinion have altered the seriousness of these practices in the mind of God. “Premarital relationships,” “affairs,” and “gays” may be words designed to take the shame out of old labels, but the wages of sin remain the same.
We are told that media productions reflect the state of public taste and morality. If that is true, the days of Noah are upon us.
Television has been called a vast wasteland. That may be too complimentary. Writers purporting to create realism have made the tube a dumping ground for their pitiful products. Even families who are careful about their language have dropped barriers and allowed television characters to profane their homes. Burlesque shows and striptease acts have moved from night clubs to living rooms. Prostitution and homosexuality are often portrayed favorably before the whole family.
Shades of Sodom! And all to sell merchandise.
Ironically, we are becoming more puritanical about our environment but not about our lives. We say we want clean air, clean water, and clean countryside’s. But what good is a clean environment filled with polluted bodies and minds?
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased (Dan. 12:4).
For centuries the world seemed to slumber. Thousands of years passed without major changes in most areas of life. Paul and Columbus sailed in similar ships even though their voyages were nearly fifteen hundred years apart. Medical know-how moved at a snail’s pace.
Then came an explosion of knowledge, a rash of life changing discoveries and inventions. People who had traveled in horse-drawn vehicles lived to see the skies filled with jet planes and men walking on the moon. The atom was split, ushering in the nuclear age with its perils and possibilities. Miracle drugs that conquered old killer diseases were discovered and vaccines were developed that eliminated former plague producers.
Now we are in the age of computers. These electronic minds are entering every area of life. Former methods of office procedures have been made obsolete. The fact that records on millions of people are available at the push of the proper buttons is a disturbing thought if wicked men come into power.
Computers seem almost human. They have memories. They solve difficult problems. They even speak. Computers will undoubtedly be employed by the prophesied final world dictator in his move to control people and the economies of the world. These space-age wonders will make it possible to enforce the receiving of a special mark in the hand or forehead that, in a future day, will be required in order to buy or sell merchandise. Starvation and martyrdom will be the lot of any who refuse this beastly identification. (More about this mysterious mark later.)
Each day seems to unveil some invention that baffles most of us.
» What does the knowledge explosion mean?
» Why did this breakthrough tarry for so long?
» Why was it reserved for closing time?
» We will answer these and other questions in the coming weeks.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE