A Measure of Wheat
The Bible speaks of a great famine that will sweep the earth in the ‘last days’. Revelation 6:5-6 states:
“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny…”
The passage above foresees a food shortage of unprecedented proportions coming to pass in the prophetic future - one that will be so far-reaching it will essentially cost a worker a day's wages to buy the ingredients for a loaf of bread! This is descriptive, in my opinion, of a global scarcity of food that has never been witnessed before.
Right now, at this very hour, the stage is being set for the fulfillment of all the Bible's yet to be fulfilled prophecies to follow the path that those which have already been fulfilled did in times past.
A ‘measure of wheat’ baked one loaf of bread. And Bible scholars agree that ‘a penny’ (some translations read ‘a denarius’) was the equivalent of a day’s wages. Imagine a famine so great that it took you all day to earn the money for one loaf of bread. Will you be able to feed your family on that?
Revelation Chapter Six’s coming famine might become a reality in our life time as nuclear war looms over the horizon and humanity continues to consume more food each year that it can produce. It is estimated there will be about 9.1 billion people living in the world in 2050. Yet they will eat as much food as 13 billion people at today's nutritional levels. So how will we feed them all? The answer to this question could be the greatest scientific challenge of the 21st century greater even than finding a solution to climate change.
The price of rice, the most common food for half the world, increased by 2 percent to a record $20.910 per 100lbs in Chicago, double the price a year ago and a fivefold increase from 2001.
Already, nations that possess food and typically have been willing to share their harvests with the world via exporting their crops are now having to lessen their exports to be able to feed their own. The rippleeffect from that impacts food prices and demand around the globe and you can bet that, depending on how hungry nations around the globe eventually become, the stronger nations, militarily-speaking, will eventually do what they have to lest their people starve in the streets.
Global food prices, based on United Nations records, rose 35 percent in the last year, escalating a trend that began in 2002. Since then, prices have risen 65 percent.
Last year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's world food index, dairy prices rose nearly 80 percent and grain 42 percent. This is anything but a sign of better days coming for unrepentant mankind yet few are even aware this is going on.
Genetically Modified Foods is said to be the cure for world famine but in 1999, Dr. Arpad Pusztai, the world’s top Genetically Modified Organisms safety researcher at the prestigious Rowett Institute in Scotland was working on a UK government grant to design long-term testing protocols intended to become part of the official European GM food safety assessment process. When Pusztai fed supposedly harmless genetically modified organisim’s to rats, they developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers and testicles, partially atrophied livers, and showed signs of a damaged immune system. Moreover, the results clearly indicated that the cause of the problem was due to the unpredictable side effects arising from the process of genetic engineering itself. In other words, his study suggested that the GM foods already on the market, which were created from the same process, might also create such effects. When Dr Pusztai expressed his concern he was fired from his job of 35 years and silenced with threats of a lawsuit. His 20-member research team was disbanded, all testing protocols were abandoned, and the pro-genetically modified establishment embarked on an extensive disinformation campaign to discredit the study’s results to protect the reputation of GM foods already in the marketplace.
Today there are mysterious diseases popping up everywhere from Fibromyalgia , Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to Mogellon’s disease which is a mysterious skin disorder characterized by disfiguring sores and crawling sensations on and under the skin; finding fibers on or under the skin including biting, and stinging sensations. Imagine strange fibers and other inorganic materials growing out of sores on your skin and feeling like bugs are crawling around under your skin. It’s the type of images that you’d expect from science fiction and horror movies. But it’s a real and frightening disease with increasing occurrences around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Morgellon’s is a mystery disease worth investigating.
Whether people all over the world know it or not, Genetically Modified foods have probably crept into their diet. Even though people talk about GM food a lot nothing seems to have been done, at least not in the U.S., to halt its enormous growth. In the U.S. alone, 60% of all processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients. Growth over the past 10 years has been especially huge. Now, about 130 million acres of GM crops are grown around the world in countries like Argentina, Canada, Germany, Spain, and many others. But, the U.S. grows the most GM crops by far. After increasing 25-fold in acreage, from 3.6 million in 1996, the U.S. now controls over half of the GM foods market, with 88.2 million acres of GM crops in 2001. There are 50 registered GM crops in the United States, and many more in development, soon to be appearing on your grocery shelves. This means that if GM food protestors want to stop the expansion of GM crops, they need to act quickly.
The World Health Organization, the British and American Medical Associations, and several other groups have expressed concern that if the "antibiotic resistant marker genes" used in GM foods got transferred to bacteria, it could create super-diseases that are immune to antibiotics. More worrisome is that the "promoter" used inside GM foods could get transferred to bacteria or internal organs. Promoters act like a light switches, permanently turning on genes that might otherwise be switched off. Scientists believe that this might create unpredictable health effects, including the potentially pre-cancerous cell growth found in the animal feeding studies mentioned above.
In as little as 15 years, the United States alone has been stricken by a wave of pestilence and new infections. Toxic shock syndrome, Legionnaires disease, AIDS, Lyme disease bird flu, Ebola and hanta virus have emerged from obscurity to become household names. Infectious disease experts fear an escalation of new and possibly more deadly epidemics in the future. Why this sudden explosion of pestilence? Throughout the Bible we see that part of Gods punishments upon mankind for our sins is Pestilence.
When God first set ancient Israel in a land of promise, He gave them instruction on how to live and conduct their affairs in a way that would bring peace and harmony. God wanted them to live with blessing and abundance, not suffering and misery. In His basic instruction, our Creator explained how to avoid the problems that will devastate the world with the opening of these seals.
Take notice of the pattern set in Leviticus 26: "You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God" (Leviticus 26:1).
Here is the result to an idolatrous religion any form of worship other than that given by God is a false idol having no value or validity. Lacking meaning or sense, it is worse than nothing because it leads to willful ignorance and lack of understanding of the true God and His purpose for human life.
Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. (Jeremiah 34:17)
For obedience, God promises the opposite of famine—plenty of food from abundant harvests "If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit" (Leviticus 26:3-4)
When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He told them: "If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you" (Exodus 15:26). However, if they disobeyed and broke the covenant, they could expect disease to afflict them, their families and their nation.
Observe, "But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God ... the Lord will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from the land into which you go to possess. The Lord will smite you with consumption, with fever and inflammation ... and the tumors, the scurvy and the itch, from which you cannot be healed. The Lord will smite you with madness and blindness and dismay of (mind and) heart" (Deuteronomy 28:15, 21-22, 27-28).
Bound within the promises of blessings and curses is the larger context for the four seals of Revelation 6. The human race is bound to its Creator in a relationship that will reach a conclusion. God will accomplish His purpose of "bringing many sons to glory" (Hebrews 2:10). Mankind eventually will come face to face with God and admit that He is the one and only true God.
The book of Revelation shows God's merciful intervention in human affairs to both correct and save man from destruction. God will bring justice to the earth, but first there will be a time of unparalleled tribulation.
During the end times God also spoke of a famine of His Word. God inspired the prophet Amos to record: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, but shall not find it" (Amos 8:11–12).
The prophet Daniel explains how this "famine" of hearing the truth will come about in the last days. In a vision, Daniel saw a "little horn" dominating the last seven revivals of the Roman Empire (the fourth beast; Daniel 7:7–8, 19–20). This little horn will be a prominent religious figure teaching blasphemous doctrines that contradict Scripture. This "horn" will work to change the calendar of religious observances, and will persecute those who follow Scripture (Daniel 7:21, 24–25).
The New Testament provides additional insights about end-time events that will contribute to "a famine… of the hearing of the word of the LORD." Jesus said that in the years just preceding His return, "many will come in My name… and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:5). False teachers will preach about another Jesus and a different gospel, contradicting the Scriptures (2 Corinthians 11:1–4).
While we are today hearing of this impending famine, a time is coming when global famine is going to be near the forefront of all mankind's collective consciousness!
Fortunately for believers in Christ, I don't believe that is going to occur until the Rapture of the Church takes place and what is presently "the beginnings of sorrows" becomes far, far more!