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As we sit on the precipice of the beginning of the Tribulation and await the introduction of the Four Horsemen that follow, storm clouds for global famine are gathering to create the perfect storm. China is all ready experiencing famine conditions as they struggle to provide enough food for their 1.4 billion inhabitants. To combat the situation and stretch their grain reserves as far as they can, China has launched a government coordinated campaign to compel people to eat less and not waste any food.
(https://thehill.com/.../516607-another-famine-coming...). Their efforts to control consumer behavior goes so far as to fine people $15,300 for uploading images of themselves binge-eating (https://finance.yahoo.com/.../chinas-food-waste-law-hard...). Alongside the agricultural issues that China currently faces, the UN recently announced that they expect "famines of biblical proportions" within the next year (https://thehill.com/.../526146-un-warns-of-famines-of...). I've said it before and I'll say it again: If you haven't done so all ready, now is the time to start setting aside some long-term food storage preparations. Don't count on the fact that the rapture will occur before we have to experience the effects of the global food shortage situation. Many generations who have gone before us experienced famine and were not raptured. Preparation is a biblical concept. Joseph had everyone set aside supplies for a seven year period. Noah stocked the ark for a period of lack that he and his family were about to go through. My favorite verse is 1 Corinthians 3:6-8:
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
While we are always to rely on God's ultimate provision, this verse speaks to the fact that we are still responsible for taking whatever actions are within our ability to take on an earthly level. After we have responsibly done what is reasonable for us to do, then God will take over for the rest of what needs to be done. Have faith in God, but show your faith through your actions as God requires of us in James 2:17:
17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Faith and works must always go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other.
One of the famous Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is famine. Right on cue, the weather seems to be lining up to support that possibility in the future. To be clear, I do not believe we are in the Tribulation right now, but I think we are on the very edge of it starting. Along those lines, the polar vortex seems to have gone a little whack-o this year. According to an article on MSN, a massive blast of cold air is set to bring freezing temperatures to every state in the US for the upcoming week including Hawaii (https://www.msn.com/.../polar-vortex-2021.../ar-BB1dkuia...). While freezing temperatures are a normal part of winter for many areas, they are not normal for areas in the United States that grow food crops requiring tropical or sub-tropical weather conditions. Hawaii grows sugar and coffee. California and Florida grow oranges and other warm weather crops. A week of freezing temperatures in those areas could seriously impact food production this upcoming year. For example, I grow Pineapple Guavas (also known as Feijoas) in my backyard which are a subtropical food crop. Virginia Beach is listed on the agricultural growing zone chart as an 8 (first level of subtropical growing conditions). However, it used to be listed as a 7b and we do still get some years of 7b weather. On years with light cold weather appropriate for a zone 8, my bushes bear a fruit crop. Any year that we get a snow that lasts for a few days, the bushes still live, but they drop all of their evergreen leaves. Then, it takes an entire growing season for them to regrow their leaves. During the regrowth period, all of the plants energy goes into leaf production and there is no fruit crop that year and I have to wait until the following growing season to get fruit again as long as it isn't a harsh winter that year too. As I said in my previous post: it's time to get serious about long term food storage for a rainy day (or year...).
2021 seems to be off to an ominous start as scientists moved the famous "Doomsday Clock" ahead by 20 seconds (https://abcnews.go.com/US/doomsday-clock-decision-looming-scientists-gauge-nuclear-climate/story?id=68299493). I would argue that a 30 second move forward may have been a more appropriate move from a Christian prophetic perspective. Israel is publicly announcing preparations for a possible war with Iran (https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=israel+war+with+iran&docid=13830373645508&mid=FF1D941EDE4C0DB7CB3EFF1D941EDE4C0DB7CB3E&view=detail&FORM=VIRE). This is something that prophetically-minded Christians should note and follow closely. On the prophetic timeline, the next event we are waiting for is the War of Ezekiel found in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 38. In the war described by the Bible, a war involving Iran and Israel erupts in the Middle East. Ezekiel 38:19 warns that the war is connected with an earthquake in the Israeli area which scientists are warning could be iminent (https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-southern-israel-is-hundreds-of-years-overdue-for-an-earthquake-1.6933565).
"19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel." Ezekiel 38:19
This war ends in a particularly devastating manner with Israel declaring victory by destroying 5/6 of the invading army:
"2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee..." Ezekiel 39:2
The victory comes at a high cost though. According to Ezekiel 39:9, it takes seven years, or the length of the entire Tribulation, for Israel to clean up the mess after the war:
"9 And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years." Ezekiel 39:9
The War of Ezekiel could also pave the way for a third temple to be built in Jerusalem. Currently, the accepted location for where the third temple should be built is currently occupied by Muslim holy sites. The earthquake that occurs is said to be so destructive that structures fall down:
"...and every wall shall fall to the ground." Ezekiel 38:20
If the earthquake causes significant damage to the Muslim structures, I doubt Israel would care about diplomatic relations with her Muslim neighbors who would have waged a massive attack on the country and Israel might just begin construction of the third temple without permission from the international community. As I mentioned in my book Are We the Terminal Generation, the third temple begins construction at the beginning of the Tribulation.
So what do we do with this information? Both those who believe in a Pre-Trib rapture and those who believe in a Post-Trib rapture should set aside some long term food storage options. For those who believe in a Post-Trib rapture, the connection is obvious: get set to go through the Tribulation. But the connection is also important for Pre-Trib believers. Even if you believe that you will be raptured before all of this begins, it is not a guarantee that all of your family members will be raptured. We cannot begin to know the hearts of man. Only God knows that. There will be people we will be shocked to see in heaven and there will be confusion over people who are not in heaven, but appeared to be pious on earth. If you are raptured and a beloved family member is not, your supplies will be a last act of kindness to help them weather what they are about to face during the Tribulation. Either way, start stocking up on long term food storage options.
More biblical prophecy heads towards fulfillment...
8 Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. 9 And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. 10 And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. 11 But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt". Ezekiel 47:8-11
The Dead Sea in Israel is famous for, well, being dead. The salinity level is so high that no form of sea life can sustain life in the ocean. Yet, the Bible predicts that there will come a day when fish will once again thrive in the waters of the Dead Sea. Miraculously, we are now witnessing the beginning of the fulfillment of that prophecy. Sink holes around the edge of the sea are filling with fresh water and are populated with fish. Once again, God is proven true!
"14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14
With the onset of the global pandemic, life as we knew it changed in an instant. Changes arrived in a variety of ways from schools shutting down to social distancing and masks. Another way that changed was the way people worshipped. In an effort to minimize exposure risks, many churches who previously had no online ministry began broadcasting their Sunday services. I personally know of three churches who have taken this evolutionary step as a result of the pandemic. The viewership numbers associated with those online broadcasts are greatly exceeding the regular attendance numbers for in-person worship services. An article in Christianity Today also references that unchurched people who have nowhere to turn for answers are once again seeking out God online to cope with the fear of the situation. Is this a fulfillment of Matthew 24:14? It may be. And if it is, the beginning of the Tribulation is just around the corner.
"The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, And shall totter like a hut; Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, And it will fall, and not rise again." Isaiah 24:20 (NKJV)
Last year it was reported that the earth's magnetic field was changing much faster than expected as magnetic north plunged from Canada towards Siberia. Certain areas under the ocean in the southern Atlantic have already registered a pole shift from north to south. Magnetic pole shifts are the result of changes in the earth's core of liquid iron. Is it possible that other changes are happening in the magma beneath the earth's crust which will ultimately invoke a shift in the earth's crust (plate tectonic theory) or a change in the actual orientation of the physical globe? Only time will tell, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on as we near the time of Jesus' return...
During the Tribulation, anyone who refuses the Mark of the Beast will be unable to buy or sell:
"16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." Revelation 13:16-17
There are movements currently afoot in our society to remove our ability to use cash for legal purchases. For example, Louisiana state bill R.S. 37:1866 makes it a crime to use cash for certain purchases of metals. While this may seem minor in the grand scheme of things, it is yet another inch closer to instituting a truly cashless society. While the concept in theory may appeal in some aspects since many illegal activities rely on the free flow of cash, it is problematic in other respects. With the elimination of cash, private transactions are a thing of the past. Everything will be traceable by a digital footprint. Along with the ability to track every penny spent by every person, it ushers in the ability to control commerce in a way that lines up with Revelation 13:16-17. Just another sign that we are approaching the Tribulation timeframe.
Today I'm thinking about Matthew 24:3:
"3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?' "
We all know that there are signs that occur in the immediate time period before Jesus returns. In fact, our world has many of those signs evident right now such as wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes as I discussed in my book, Are We the Terminal Generation. But if we are truly approaching the time of Jesus' return, there should be another, more specific sign that we can identify--the Third Temple in Jerusalem.
The Tribulation will usher in a construction period for a Third Temple in Jerusalem. So where are we in terms of this sign preparing for the temple construction? Everything is in place to begin construction except for an agreed upon location that is available to begin the task. All of the temple vessels and prescribed items have been recreated and necessary farm items are growing. One of the necessary farm items required for a temple rite is a kosher red heifer. Red Heifer's were extinct for 2000 years. Then, miraculously, one was born two years ago. Two more were born this year. To be eligible for a sacrifice, the red heifer must be blemish-free. At this time, it looks promising that an appropriate blemish-free candidate exists and can be sacrificed when needed. Jewish tradition states that there will be 10 red heifers sacrificed throughout history and the 10th one will usher in the Messiah. There have been 9 sacrificed throughout history to this date. What makes this sign even more ominous to observe is that regular cows are being burned as research to determine pertinent information to the process such as how much wood is necessary to cremate a cow and, when a cow is completely cremated, how many ashes are left for the temple rite. So I leave you all with this thought for the day: If the cow is almost ready, is that yet one more sign that we will need it in the near future?
Let's talk about Daniel 9:27 this morning:
"Then he (the Antichrist) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”
The one week spoken of in this verse is the final 70th week, or the Tribulation week of seven years. Note that this verse simply states that the covenant, which is a contractual agreement, is "with many". It can be one contract with a single entity representing a group or it can be multiple single contracts totaling "many". We are in the process of witnessing this right now with the Abraham Accord. Either way you look at it, the interpretation holds. First, the UAE is comprised of seven emirates which is a single organization of "many". Second, the UAE will not be the only Arab entity to sign such an agreement with Israel in the coming months which also satisfies the requirement of "many". Regarding the seven year timeframe of one week, scripture only says that this final period of history before Jesus returns is one week, or seven years. It is not a requirement that the seven year term be specified as a term in the agreement(s) which is/are signed. In the above verse, "for one week", can be interpreted either way. Either the agreement specifies a length of seven years or the agreement is of an unspecified, indefinite length of time, but just happens to fall within the final seven year period. Given that it is not a necessity for the agreement itself to state an end point seven years into the future, it is a possibility that this very well could be the peace agreement(s) spoken of in Daniel 9:27. If that is the case, look for the Sanhedrin (Jewish religious leadership), to announce they will begin construction of the Jewish temple. As I mentioned in my book, Are We the Terminal Generation, all of the pieces are in place to begin temple construction except the location. Once a location is agreed upon, construction may begin. Due to the ceremonial rights necessary to be performed at different points during the construction process, the construction will last 3.5 years.
"28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” -- Luke 21:28
Some food for thought for my Christian friends: Scripture states the generation which sees the coming together of Israel will see the return of Christ. There is much debate about the timing of when Israel came together and how long a generation will be, but there is one particular combination of years that is more than a bit thought-provoking considering the times we live in. Israel formally came into existence in 1948. Psalm 90:10 states "The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years." 1948 plus 80 is the year 2028. However, biblical years are based on the Jewish calendar which only have 360 days per year, not 365 days. If we lose 5 days every year for 80 years, we lose a total of 400 days, or one year and 35 days. Subtract roughly one year from 2028 and we get the year 2027. Using 2027 as the end point for Christ's return, back out 7 years for the tribulation and we arrive at the year 2020 for the start of the tribulation. The start of the tribulation begins with a peace agreement in the Middle East which is exactly what is beginning to form between Israel and her Arab neighbors. Since the UAE agreed to peace, other Arab nations are looking promising to follow suit. It's not a far stretch of the imagination that we might actually see a peace agreement before the end of this year. And, given the rough year 2020 has been in many other aspects, a logical argument can be made that 2020 has seen the beginning of birth pangs (global pandemic, fires in Australia and West Coast of United States, impeachment trial of the US President, Dow Jones Industrial Average has it's largest one day point decline, Ebola reappears in the Congo, the IMF expects the global economy to shrink by 3% which is the largest decline since the Great Depression, oil prices fall out of bed, Palestinian Authority terminates all agreements with US and Israel, cyclones, hurricanes, and floods around the world, Pakistan Airlines crash, civil unrest and violence in the streets of the US, 20 tons of oil leaked into the waters near the Arctic Circle, 7.5 earthquake in Mexico, storm in Iowa devastates 10.8 million acres of farmland and destroys silos storing grain, murder hornets arrive in the US, deadly explosions in Lebanon, Olympics postponed, and most important of all, the great toilet paper shortage of 2020!)
While no one knows the exact day or hour of Jesus' return, Matthew 24:33 makes it our responsibility to read the signs of our time and know when it is near: "33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!"