I want to devote this column to examining a couple of areas contributing to what seems the winding down of human history, in preparation for the things Jesus talked about in the Olivet Discourse almost 2,000 years ago. He was precise in His prophecies about conditions leading up to His second advent. Two of those predictions involve some things manifesting their presence on the scene today. And, there is more to them, I think, than, as they say, meets the eye. Jesus foretold as part of that Olivet Discourse: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matt. 24:7).
We often cover the “nation against nation” portion of this section of prophecy by Jesus. Also, we have pointed many times to the dramatic rise and spread of larger and larger “earthquakes.” I would like to look for this brief time into the “famine and pestilence” part of the Lord’s words–perhaps stretching the literal application of those terms, using metaphorical license just a bit.
Every empire throughout human history has gone through much the same kind of boom and bust cycle. This is because the fallen minds of men set up human government, so the ultimate outcome of empire building–no matter the benevolence with which the effort begins, results in decline and fall.
Sometimes the falls seem abrupt, although they had been deteriorating, like when the Medes and Persians invaded beneath the walls of Babylon to end that great empire that was once the “head of gold” ruled over by the great King Nebuchadnezzar. More often–especially in latter-day times—the empires slowly dissolve, without catastrophic overthrow. Two modern empires to consider in that regard are the Soviet empire, which imploded, then was forced to dissolve and reconfigure in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The British Empire, of course, is now in the throes of dissolution. The sun, which was boasted to never set on the British Empire, has indeed set. The result is that the gospel light is all but turned out and the dark forces of Islam are spreading like the pestilence of Pharaoh’s day, when Moses forewarned him of things to come if Pharaoh didn’t let God’s chosen people go.
Perhaps the segue is somewhat less apropos than it could be. However, thinking on pestilence of a religious nature now bringing the British Empire to its final throes of dissolution sparks thought of recent news about pestilence of a biological nature—the way that plague-condition is most often considered.
The ancient Roman Empire, once the most glorious empire on earth, is thought to be linked to a modern plague with which our generation is intimately acquainted. The following is from a number of years ago, but still is appropriate for consideration in thinking on these things in 2014. “The spread of the Roman Empire through Europe could help explain why those living in its former colonies are more vulnerable to HIV. The claim, by French researchers, is that people once ruled by Rome are less likely to have a gene variant which protects against HIV. This includes England, France, Greece and Spain, New Scientist reports. Others argue the difference is linked to a far larger event, such as the spread of bubonic plague or smallpox… The idea that something carried by the occupying Romans could have a widespread influence on the genes of modern Europeans comes from researchers at the University of Provence. They say that the frequency of the variant corresponds closely with the shifting boundaries of the thousand-year empire… Dr Susan Scott, one of the researchers, said that the idea of Roman occupation being the driving force behind this was another theory to be considered. ‘We just don’t know. This is just another piece of the jigsaw, but we’re waiting for the big piece of evidence which will solve this’” (“Roman Empire ‘raised HIV threat,'” BBC News, 9/4/08).
Today, the Ebola virus, it is feared, will eventuate in an apocalyptic pandemic. One story tells of it’s spreading horrors. Dogs can act as a transmitter of Ebola, but canines do not development symptoms from the virus, according to medical experts. A medical doctor told News24, “this means that dogs won’t get sick but they still could carry a potential risk through licking or biting.”
Ebola Is Rapidly Mutating As It Spreads Across West Africa
For starters, the data show that the virus is rapidly accumulating new mutations as it spreads through people. “We’ve found over 250 mutations that are changing in real time as we’re watching,” Sabeti says. While moving through the human population in West Africa, she says, the virus has been collecting mutations about twice as quickly as it did while circulating among animals in the past decade or so. (Dogs feast on Ebola victim carcasses in Liberia, Rapture Ready News, Aug. 29, 2014).
Famine is another major signal that the time of Christ’s return is near. The forewarning of massive famine is, in addition to Jesus’ words in the Olivet Discourse, predicted in the ominous passages dealing with the riding forth of the horsemen of the apocalypse. “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; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Rev. 6:5-6).
Human governments, determined to do things that are right in their own eyes, and to break the safety bands that tether them to the Creator, are most often the cause of the famine that have plagued mankind throughout history, and that continues to do so today. Mounting famine of catastrophic potentiality grows by the hour.
The farther mankind moves from the God of heaven, the more trouble comes humanity’s way. While man sows to the wind, he is guaranteed to reap the whirlwind. Such is not what the Lord wants for His rebellious creation, but the cycle that leads to decline and fall is inevitable when God is pushed aside. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
Whether nations, empires, or individuals, the Lord must be in control, or pestilences and famines will ultimately come. God’s judgment must fall on rebellion, and the tribulation judgment hoof beats thunder in spiritually attuned ears today.