April 23, 2008
In recent months, there has been a rising crescendo of media reports from around the world about foods riots and food shortages in an increasing number of nations. Nations such as Egypt, Haiti, Mexico, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, etc. have all been named in stories I’ve read concerning food riots about shortages or high prices. Some nations in Asia have introduced export bans on certain food categories. Rice and wheat, two main staples of the planet’s food supply, seem to be the items in shortest supply.
The reasons for these shortages are varied. A multi-year drought in Australia has dramatically limited that nation’s wheat and food production. Biofuels are also cited as diverting food production to energy production. There have also been reports that an African wheat blight has spread to the Indian subcontinent, endangering wheat crops on two continents. China’s increasing appetite for meat has been blames as well as it takes far more grain to produce livestock meat than to directly feed consumers. All of these factors have converged in the present to create food shortage fears.
Americans generally ignore such reports as we have long felt immune from such threats and dangers. No more. There have recently been reports of stores on the east and west coasts limiting customer purchases of rice, wheat and cooking oil (see first link below). There is also a report of a shortage of rye flour in the USA, and an industry spokesman was cited as saying “…by June or July there will be no more US rye flour to purchase” (see second link below). Japan is also experiencing an “acute butter shortage” and “80& of Japanese are frightened about…their food supply” (see third link below). I have also seen a report on the developing food shortages on the Glenn Beck cable-TV program. The fourth link below indicates that these reports are leading more Americans to stock up on food, exacerbating already tight supplies.
If these food shortages steadily worsen, they could lead to warfare between nations as hungry populations go to war when they reach the point that they have nothing to lose. The world could be quickly tipped into a much worse food if the great honeybee die-off (called colony collapse disorder) continues to spread without a solution. Critical to the pollination of many food crops, bee colonies are continuing to die off in great numbers this year just as they did last year. Many vegetable and fruit crops are dependent on insect pollinators, so a continuing drop in bee populations could trigger major crop failures in many categories of foodstuffs. USA Today reported in its April 23, 2008 issue (see “Beekeepers stung by hive thefts,” p. 3A) that “hive theft is on the rise in parts of the country where bees and honey are big business.” Personally, I have heard of no honey shortages, and I doubt any consumers are going to head for the countryside and risk getting a bunch of bee stings to steal some honey. It is Springtime in the USA and orchard crops need bee pollinators now. It is my bet that orchard owners who cannot obtain bee hives to pollinate their crops could resort to stealing surviving bee hives from others in order to avoid crop failures in their own orchard crops. If bee populations continue to drop rapidly, there will be major crop shortages in many categories of food that Americans take for granted. Will such shortages happen this year or next year? I don’t know, but I suggest we all watch stories about the die-off of the honeybees very closely. To keep things in perspective, I checked some reference sources and learned that crops are also pollinated by wild bees, bats, birds, other insects and even the wind. Therefore, a honeybee die-off will not end crop production, but it will greatly reduce crop yields and cause even more food shortages and higher prices for food (exactly what is prophesied in Revelation 6:5-6).
Christians should be neither surprised nor frightened by these reports. Many believers know that food shortages are prophesied in the Bible to occur in the latter-days. Revelation 6:5-6 specifically predicts that global food shortages and high food prices will occur in the latter-days preceding the return of Jesus Christ. This prophecy specifically foretells of food shortages in such crops as “wheat, barley, [cooking] oil and wine.” Interestingly, wheat and cooking oil are two of the items first coming under pressure in the USA, and I wouldn’t doubt if grapes (from which we make wine) need bee pollination. There have been “food scares” in the past, but this time has a different “feel” to it. The current food shortages are developing at a time when many other latter-day prophecies are also being fulfilled (see my article “Are We Living in the Biblical Latter-Days?” at this website). Even the end-time alliance of Russia, China, Iran and other nations prophesied in Ezekiel 38 is coming to pass before our eyes. The fact that ALL latter-day prophecies are converging toward fulfillments in our time confirms that we are living in the biblical latter-days which will climax in the literal return of Jesus Christ. While many latter-day events are troubling, Jesus himself told us in his discourse about the latter-days in Luke 21:28 that “when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.”