Warnings about famine may sound absurd to affluent overfed nations in Western Europe, North America and other parts of the world, where obesity is a growing problem! However, large segments of the human family experience daily hunger and starvation as agonizing facts of life.
Warnings about famine may sound absurd to affluent overfed nations in Western Europe, North America and other parts of the world, where obesity is a growing problem! However, large segments of the human family experience daily hunger and starvation as agonizing facts of life. Remarkably, many religious leaders talk about love, peace and tolerance, yet ignore ancient prophecies about literal events that are coming alive today!
Jesus warned that one of the prominent signs that would precede His Second Coming would be increasingly severe famines on a global scale (Matthew 24:3–8; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11). He used the symbol of the Third Horseman of the Apocalypse—a rider on a black horse carrying scales (balances)—to depict an era of famines that would mark the end of this age (Revelation 6:5–8). These prophecies reveal that, before Christ returns, warfare, widespread famines, disease epidemics and a string of natural disasters will bring death to one quarter of the earth.
To modern ears, this sounds like morbid science fiction or the scare tactics of an alarmist. This is a subject that trendy, "feel-good Christianity" does not like to talk about. But actual global conditions show that the world is beginning to resemble what the Bible has long predicted. According to the World Health Organization, one third of the world's population is starving and another third is malnourished. Only one third is considered well fed. Each year, millions die from starvation—including 100 million children in the 1990s alone. Every minute, 23 children die of malnutrition and preventable diseases. Drought-induced famines threaten the lives of 15 million people in the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia and Eritrea) and in Mauritania (in northwest Africa). In nations of southern Africa, 14 million struggle to get enough food. These are facts of life today!
Though most of the world's current famine-induced suffering affects developing countries in Africa and Southeast Asia, Bible prophecies indicate that a similar situation will develop in more affluent Western countries. Long ago, God told the rebellious house of Israel that "one third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one third shall fall by the sword [war] all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds" (Ezekiel 5:12). The lack of rain and ensuing drought will be major factors contributing to this dire situation (Leviticus 26:19–20; Deuteronomy 28:23–24).
A lack of rain, and widespread drought, are not the only causes of modern famines. Severe or erratic weather, related to climate shifts like El Niño or La Niña, can bring heavy rains, freezes and tornadoes that damage crops and produce food shortages. Wars that drive farmers off the land reduce food production, disrupt distribution systems and destroy stored food. Political opponents are often deprived access to food supplies. In some African nations, the forced takeover of farms has crippled food production, and erased jobs and income for buying food. Structural changes foisted on debtor nations by the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund also generate famine conditions in segments of society. Nations that are "encouraged" to grow cash crops for exports, instead of raising food, often become unable to feed themselves. The displacement of rural subsistence farmers by large corporations also sends many into poverty and starvation.
The costs of environmental deterioration and destruction will eventually have to be paid—and the bills are coming due! Fish stocks in the world's oceans are in serious decline, devastated by modern factory fishing techniques. Plagues such as mad cow disease have seriously damaged Britain's beef industry, and threaten other countries.
Misguided government policies, amplified by drought, have caused devastating famines in the past and continue to do so today. British, Dutch and French colonial policies contributed to the deaths of millions in Ireland, Africa and South Asia (see Floods, Famines, and Emperors, Fagan; also Late Victorian Holocausts, Davis). More than 12 million died of starvation during Russia's disastrous experiments with collectivism and centralized planning in the 1920s and 1930s—which included Stalin deliberately withholding food from the Ukraine to eliminate political opponents (see Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, Pipes; also The Harvest of Sorrow, Conquest). An estimated 30 million starved in famines during China's "Great Leap Forward" in the late 1950s for some of the same reasons. Today, the European Union wants central control of Europe's food supplies—agriculture, fisheries, food processing and distribution—a policy that could have sobering consequences.
When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses prophesied that if they obeyed the laws of God they would be blessed with "rain in due season" and abundant crops, but if they ignored the laws of God, He would "break the pride of your power" by making "your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze" so that "your land shall not yield its produce" and disease epidemics would afflict their flocks and herds (Leviticus 26:14–22). God also warned that because of disobedience "you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it" and that God would "cut off your supply of bread" (Leviticus 26:16, 26). God later warned the Israelites that in addition to crop damage by drought and insects, "you shall be oppressed and plundered" and your flocks and herds will be "violently taken away from you" and "given to your enemies… a nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land… you shall be driven mad because of the sight which your eyes see" (Deuteronomy 28:23–42).
What God foretold is happening today to Britain, and to other modern descendants of Israel in Europe and Africa. In the 1970s, in order to join the Common Market, Britain's political leaders signed away control over the richest fishing grounds in the world, just off its shores. In recent years, the British have watched helplessly as EU regulations destroyed the fishing fleets of Scotland, England and Ireland while fleets of other EU nations decimated once abundant fish stocks. Productive farms in southern African countries have been forcefully taken away from owners who have been murdered or fled the country. If Britain and other modern Israelite nations refuse to join—or decide to leave—the emerging power block in Europe, present regulations could be used to strangle and starve these nations. The controls are already in place, and history records that this has been done before, which brings to mind Ezekiel's prophetic warning: "I will send against them the terrible arrows of famine… and cut off your supply of food" (Ezekiel 5:14–17). God has warned his rebellious children: "I will heap disasters on them… they shall be wasted by hunger" (Deuteronomy 32:23–24).
We are witnessing the beginnings of a time of crisis. The modern Israelite nations have largely rejected the laws of God, and have jumped on a moral "toboggan slide" to decay, setting a bad example for the world. Bible prophecy indicates that God is about to correct us in an unprecedented manner, using devastating weather-related events and politically motivated schemes by foreign nations. This will bring some of the most destructive famines the world has ever seen, as these end-time prophecies come alive!