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Millions have heard of Bible prophecies involving the Middle East. Others know worsening war, famine, disease and earthquakes are foretold. But God also recorded specific prophecies regarding extreme weather. This Personal covers what you have never heard. What you are about to learn is some of the most chilling information in the Bible. This article series reveals the impact that weather has on world conditions.
Part 1 showed that experts do not know what causes severe weather. It also examined devastating hurricanes, storms, floods, tornadoes and wildfires. But there is much more to understand!
The connection between wildfires, drought and famine must first be briefly examined. In previous decades, wealthy Western nations made a general push to eradicate hunger worldwide. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reported, “Progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s.” However, it stated, “For the past decade hunger has been on the rise.”
The Christian Science Monitor reported that the Famine Early Warning Systems Network projects that hunger in Ethiopia could “dramatically increase” in spite of economic growth. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates 41 percent of Ethiopia’s population is undernourished. And the IFPRI gave the nation a 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) rating of “alarming.”
Thirty years ago, the world began to experience something new: pockets of permanent famine. For instance, despite years of foreign aid, hunger still grips Ethiopia. Farm production has fallen while the population doubled. Even worse, continual crop failure has meant the nation must rely largely on aid groups for survival.
But Ethiopia is far from alone. Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and Burundi all received GHI ratings of “extremely alarming.” All these populations remain under threat of famine because of inconsistent rains, civil unrest, war and infertile land.
According to the Department of International Development, last year up to 100,000 people starved to death in the famine stretching across the Horn of Africa, and 13.3 million people are still in need of emergency assistance.
Somalia is experiencing the worst drought and famine in 60 years. “The US government estimates more than 29,000 children under age 5 died in 90 days from May to July, 2011” (Telegraph). The United Nations reports that approximately 325,000 Somali children are acutely malnourished, meaning the death toll will soon explode.
Bloomberg had a sobering report of crop failures throughout Western nations. For example, Spain, Europe’s third-largest grower of barley and sixth-largest producer of corn and wheat, is undergoing its driest season in 65 years. An analyst from the Union InVivo group, France’s number-one farming cooperative, told Bloomberg that “southwest Europe is bad…The further south you go, the worse it gets.”
The article also stated, “France had an average of 28 percent less rain than normal since the start of September …Soil moisture levels were at record lows…from the Pays de la Loire in the west to Alsace in the northeast.”
“About 660,000 hectares of winter crops, mostly wheat and barley, were damaged in Germany by freezing temperatures in February…Some farmers are tearing up and replanting as much as 70 percent of their fields, and there is concern that dry growing conditions may cause further damage.”
In addition, the United Kingdom is also “facing the worst drought in two decades.” And another Bloomberg article reported that “Ukraine lost 20 percent of its winter grains after a cold snap killed plants weakened by a drought.”
AOL News article “Is the Next Global Food Crisis Now in the Making?” detailed the result of such widespread weather upsets: “To see the effects of a bad year for food—and what the world could be in for if the present trend persists—one only has to look to 2008...[when] a confluence of environmental causes compounded by rising fuel costs and a global credit crunch caused food prices to skyrocket an average of 43% worldwide, leading to starvation and riots from Mexico to Bangladesh. Some are worried that was just a warning.”
While Western nations have not recently experienced the plague of drought in life-threatening levels, this longstanding accelerant to famine is emerging—and it is directly related to weather. Severe drought is now hammering the Southwest and much of the Southeast. Last year, Texas saw the highest temperatures in 150 years of record-keeping, and conditions there have intensified. Professor Travis Miller of Texas A&M stated, “This drought is just strangling our agricultural economy” (Time). So far, losses are at a staggering $7.62 billion just in Texas—toppling the previous record of $4.1 billion in 2006. The state lost more than half its cotton crop, resulting in skyrocketing cotton prices globally, and “millions of acres of Texas crops [have not] received enough rain to germinate the planting seed,” according to Texas A&M’s AgriLife Today.
In 2011, Texas ranchers were selling off cattle in record numbers because they could not feed and water them, and “low cattle supplies in 2012 are expected to drive up beef prices for the second year in a row” (USA Today). Water shortage is acute, with whole reservoirs and lakes drying up.
Now notice this: “Through June…, Del Rio had the driest October to June in the 1906-2011 record, San Antonio had the second driest October-June in a period of record beginning in 1871, and Austin Mabry was third driest for October-June in records going back to 1856…For Texas, 80% or more of the pasture and rangeland was rated in poor or very poor condition, and half or more of the winter wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton, peanuts, and oat crops were rated poor or very poor” (National Drought Mitigation Center).
Extreme—devastating!—drought across the entire country is long overdue. More than just a fact of science, God actually promises such drought among His many forms of punishment. Let’s read: “I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass” (Lev. 26:19).
Understand. Iron heavens bring no rain, and brass earth is the result. I have dug many postholes in drought-hardened ground where even a power auger would not penetrate the earth with my full weight on it.
God declares, “I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have you not returned unto Me, says the Lord” (Amos 4:9). Blasting (hot, dry winds) and mildew (too much rain) are both mentioned. These two extremes produce the same thing—low crop yield and famine. So do worms.
Consider the power of drought in just the 20th century—only the run-up to grinding droughts soon to sweep Earth. 1930s America saw a near 10-year drought affect 65 percent of the country—two-thirds! Drought in China killed five million people—just in 1936!
Consider a single day during this decade: on April 14, 1935, called “Black Sunday,” a massive dust storm more than 8,000 feet high engulfed the entire lower Midwestern United States—Kansas to Texas—with winds over 70 mph.
Pollution, misuse of the land, overwatering and sin will give rise to disasters of epic proportion. Drought—paling America’s “Dust Bowl” years into near insignificance—lies just over the horizon! God says this, not I.
Drought can mean sudden widespread famine. Let’s see why.
Recent years have seen record increases in grain prices, with supplies reaching record lows because expanding nations such as China bring ever-growing demand. In 2007 and 2008, a global food crisis was marked by dangerously low grain reserves. There were only “64 days of carryover stock [harvested grain stored in stockpiles and silos] in 2007” (Earth Policy Institute). Wheat reserves fell to a 60-year low, and the price per bushel of Chicago wheat futures surged to over $11 for the first time.
In September 2010, carryover stock hovered around 72 days, dangerously close to the levels that ignited the crisis three years before. This was in part caused by a chain reaction: heat waves, drought and wildfires in 2010 in Central Europe and Russia led to a 32 percent grain output decrease in Kazakhstan, a 19 percent decline in the Ukraine, and a 27 percent decrease in Russian wheat production over the previous year—which in turn resulted in a government-imposed wheat export ban. Given that Russia and its neighbors account for a fourth of all wheat exports worldwide, prices for this staple crop spiked sharply in 2010.
The Black Sea region is not the only place where wheat supplies have been dwindling. Canada—which has been receiving too much rain—has been lagging in production and exports. Germany and Poland have also been suffering.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, world food prices for basic commodities—wheat, corn, dairy products, meat and sugar—hit record highs in 2010, and kept going. The UN fears another crisis could lead to food riots, increased tensions between competing nations, sudden inflation, and growing hunger, particularly in the world’s poorest nations.
Another factor related to severe weather and its effects can be seen in how God declares He will use locusts. He warned ancient Israel, 4,000 years ago, of this tool of punishment: “You shall carry much seed out into the field, and shall gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it...All your trees and fruit of your land shall the locust consume” (Deut. 28:38, 42).
The book of Joel calls hordes of locusts a “great army” sent by God (2:25). Joel describes successive waves of crop destruction wrought by this “army”: “That which the palmerworm has left has the locust eaten; and that which the locust has left has the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm has left has the caterpiller eaten” (1:4).
Note the connection of locusts to famine and disease: “If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller [Hebrew: ravager]; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be” (I Kings 8:37).
This passage is part of a longer prophecy that describes how “if” a series of punishments are sent, God will pull back the punishment “if” the nation repents. Prophecy indicates the nations today, even one, will likely not repent. But individuals can.
Some countries are already seeing the front edge of these prophecies coming to pass. In 2010, one of Australia’s largest carrot producers said, “You’ve got to see it to believe it…One centre pivot [plantation] got destroyed completely. We had about 25 million carrots in there. That gives you an idea of how many locusts there are” (The Age).
Quick-breeding locusts, which multiply after periods of severe drought followed by intense rain, have stripped crops, pastures, orchards, gardens and sports fields from Queensland (that’s northeast Australia) to Melbourne (the far south) and Adelaide (in the center). A single swarm can cover up to 186 square miles. These insects can fly 300 miles in one day searching for food. A small swarm, just 0.4 square miles, can have over 50 million locusts, which can devour 11 tons of forage in 24 hours. Big swarms can exceed 20 billion locusts!
This is one time when the reader must stop and make himself ponder the sheer power and impact of such events!
Certainly, given today’s headlines, a far-worse “perfect storm” of compounding weather catastrophes, followed by famine and disease, now looms. An array of weather calamities have been occurring—record floods in the American Midwest, Australia and China, increasingly violent hurricanes and typhoons in uncommon locations, massive dust storms, and crop-eradicating droughts and forest fires. This will ultimately result in increased pest infestation, wild animals looking for food, and severe famine. Increasingly turbulent natural disasters will bring food shortages, disease—and death!
We are now ready to grasp more fully what God’s Word says about weather. Is God in control, or has He deserted mankind?
From ancient times, people have turned to spiritual explanations to understand the weather. This led to extreme measures, including human sacrifice, to appease gods they felt controlled the sky. Of course, such vain worship brings no answers.
Three thousand years ago—long before modern meteorological advancements—Scripture recorded that “He [God] causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain…” (Psa. 135:7). The water cycle process, including evaporation, cloud formation, and precipitation, were known millennia prior to its discovery by scientists.
King Solomon spoke of the complexity of Earth’s wind currents: “The wind goes toward the south, and turns about unto the north; it whirls about continually, and the wind returns again according to [its] circuits” (Ecc. 1:6). But weathermen could not explain these wind circuits until the 1800s! Solomon also understood a big, global water pattern: “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come…they return again” (vs. 7).
If mankind would stop neglecting knowledge only revealed in God’s Word, then it would understand the wild weather it has been unable to comprehend for centuries—and the God who creates weather patterns.
The Bible also reveals another factor regarding weather: “…time and chance happens to them all” (9:11). Here is what Jesus said: “[God] makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). That God is in control does not mean He directly causes every weather event, small or large.
Most weather throughout man’s history has been the result of natural patterns. When a farmer has too much or too little rain, it is generally due to normal shifts in weather. But God will use weather to fulfill His purpose. In Part 1, we saw Jesus explained that natural disasters would increase and intensify in what are called the “last days.” The 2011 tornado swarm is but one example. Ask: When have 800 tornadoes hit the U.S. in just one month? The answer: Never!
Jesus specifically warned that weather-related calamities—famine and disease—would be one part of a succession of events that would overwhelm the world—including the most affluent nations: “…there shall be famines, and pestilences [disease], and earthquakes, in [various] places” (Matt. 24:7).
God has both protected and punished His people by controlling and guiding the weather. This is the element that mankind fails to understand. When people please God, He uses weather to bless, protect and even save them. When their ways displease Him, He uses the elements to get their attention.
God declares that “He brings the wind out of His treasuries” (Psa. 135:7). In Hebrew, treasuries can also mean “armory.” God intends weather be a blessing, but He will use it as a weapon of punishment on those who oppose Him. Here is a verse no one else will show you: “I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered” (Amos 4:7).
While this may sound harsh, God is loving and merciful. He wants man to enjoy life’s good things. But He realizes this means people must obey His laws. Following their own ways leads to destruction and every evil evident in the world.
Deuteronomy 28 is considered the blessing and cursing chapter. God specifically says that if we obey Him, He will bless us. He also records what will come to pass if one does not obey Him. Two long portions of the chapter are necessary to grasp its full impact. First notice how God blesses those who obey Him: “If you shall hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord your God…blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be…the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your kine, and the flocks of your sheep. Blessed shall be your basket and your store…The Lord shall command the blessing upon you in your storehouses…[and] make you plenteous in goods…in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your ground…The Lord shall open unto you His good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto your land in [its] season…” (vs. 1, 3-5, 8, 11-12).
But God curses those who disobey Him: “…it shall come to pass, if you will not hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes…all these curses shall come upon you, and overtake you…cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your store. Cursed shall be…the fruit of your land, the increase of your kine, and the flocks of your sheep…The Lord shall smite you with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue you until you perish…”
“The Lord shall make the rain of your land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon you, until you be destroyed…you shall plant a vineyard, and shall not gather the grapes thereof…The fruit of your land, and all your labors, shall a nation which you know not eat up; and you shall be only oppressed and crushed always…You shall plant vineyards, and dress them, but shall neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your coasts, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olive shall cast [its] fruit.”
“The Lord shall bring a nation against you from far…And [it] shall eat the fruit of your cattle, and the fruit of your land, until you be destroyed: which also shall not leave you either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of your kine, or flocks of your sheep, until [it has] destroyed you” (vs. 15-18, 22, 24, 30, 33, 39-40, 49, 51).
May this sober all who read it!
Why then are today’s weather patterns so odd? Because the nations of this world are not pleasing God—and they are cut off from Him (Isa. 59:1-2; Jer. 5:25). The apostle Paul wrote, “The god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of them which believe not” (II Cor. 4:4). The devil has deceived the whole world into disobeying God (Rev. 12:9).
The Bible also describes Satan as “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). The devil does have a certain limited control over the weather. Sometimes this is under God’s overall direction, while at other times his hatred of mankind is the cause. Job 1 is an example of Satan being given permission to cause disruptive weather—in this case, a great windstorm killed all 10 of Job’s children. The devil had power to bring a tornado or hurricane-like wind. So says the Bible.
Mankind has put itself under a curse! Our farmlands are cursed with upset weather, drought, floods, insects and disease. The soil has become like rock in many places, with all its nutrients depleted. Food reserves are at all-time lows. When shipped to starving people around the world it is no more than a momentary quick fix to hunger. Our cities are open wounds, which will not heal. They are filled with hatred, poverty, violence, riots, crime, pornography and pollution. Driven by covetousness, their inhabitants do not know what produces peace and happiness.
Only God Almighty can bless nations with rain at the right time—the growing season—and stop damaging weather patterns: “Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit” (Lev. 26:4).
Man cannot stop the weather. But he can obey God and be protected from it.
In all of this there is good news. The solution to all weather-related problems will come, but only after Christ’s Return. He will make the earth able to be cultivated—will smooth out desolate, snow-covered mountains—will raise ocean floors and deep desert valleys—and God will completely change the world’s weather. Deserts will become green and fertile. The Sahara in North Africa, the Gobi in Asia, and the Kalahari in South Africa will support life. So will wastelands in Saudi Arabia, Mongolia and Siberia. Planet Earth will be able to sustain many billions of people throughout Jesus’ 1,000-year reign.
All problems stemming from bad weather will be solved. (To learn more, read my book Tomorrow’s Wonderful World – An Inside View!)
While weather conditions will worsen before later getting better permanently, humanity is still in the relative quiet before the storm.
Cities build systems to warn local populations, but the prophet Isaiah warned that the only way to escape what is coming is to seek God before the most devastating conditions arrive: “Seek you the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7).
God is using severe weather—floods, mildew, plagues, drought and famine—to serve as a wake-up call to return to Him. Allow the mere front edge of end-time events to awaken you to the reality of what is coming. God commands you to seek Him while He may be found. This means there will be a time when people will, as a last resort, attempt to find God, but He will not be available.
While food shortages will soon plague nations of the earth, another famine will also strike: “Behold, the days come, says the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).
Most hear God’s warnings and do nothing. Others hear and think they do not apply because Jesus has supposedly done away with the Law, and the punishment that comes from breaking it. Still others think they can wait until the last minute to seek God.
Do not let these describe you!
Heed what Jesus said, using weather to make His point: “Why call you Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings, and does them…he is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that hears, and does not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49).
During times of disaster, many die for lack of prevention, often out of ignorance of impending danger. Do not wait to seek spiritual shelter when the shutters are already flapping, debris is shattering windows, ceilings are cracking, power lines are collapsing, and the storm is upon you. Rather, be like those who looked outside—saw dark clouds—believed the weather forecast—and took immediate action.
The world today is lurching from one weather disaster to another. With each new report of tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters, you are witnessing what was foretold millennia ago. Now is the time to seek protection by obeying God. Twice God’s Word declares, “A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Prov. 22:3; 27:12).
As more weather-related disasters strike, an attitude will prevail. The apostle Peter wrote, “…there shall come in the last days scoffers…” (II Pet. 3:3).
Presented with the facts of Bible prophecy, most scoff and laugh. God knew this and recorded their pooh-poohing response: “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning…” (vs. 4). As weather conditions grow worse, do not deceive yourself into thinking things will get better.
They will not!
My personal Why Does God Allow Suffering? explains why a loving God permits human beings to go through so much suffering and pain, including extreme weather.
Let news reports of devastating weather hit home. Seek the true God while He may be found. Hear and obey Him before the greatest storm of events in world history crashes into an unsuspecting populace.