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[7] For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. [8] All these are the beginning of sorrows.  (Matthew 24:7,8)

In previous prophecy updates we have discussed the importance of the word “odin”, which is the Greek word translated “sorrows” in Matthew 24:8.  It refers to the birth pangs experienced by a woman in childbirth.  So in using this word Jesus indicates they will follow this pattern just before he comes again.  A woman’s birth pains begin with a single pain and then continue to increase in frequency and intensity until the child is born.  These three phenomena, earthquakes, famine, and pestilence had never, in historical records, followed this pattern until Old Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were taken from the Jordanians in 1967.  Since that time all three have developed such a pattern.  In the two previous prophecy updates we covered earthquakes and pestilence.  But what about famine, is it also following the same pattern?  Absolutely!  The population explosion that has suddenly burst on the scene should come as no surprise to mankind.  The world’s population has roughly, in somewhat similar manner, followed the principle of daily doubling pennies.  Suppose that someone proposed to give you five billion dollars if you would double a penny he gave you for forty days.  Would you take the deal?  A single penny on the first day would produce two cents on the second day, four cents on the third day, eight cents on the fourth day, sixteen cents on the fifth day, thirty-two cents on the sixth day, sixty-four cents on the seventh day, and only $1.28 on the eighth day.  So, based on what you’ve read so far, it seems like a pretty good deal.  But on day forty you would have to fork over move than five billion dollars.  This principle is now being added into the famine equation.

The world’s famine outbreaks in the developing countries have been occurring closer and closer together in time since World War II, and this trend, like a woman’s birth pangs, will definitely accelerate until Jesus comes.  Why?  A few thousand years ago eight men and women descended in an ark “upon the mountains of Ararat,” and then began to multiply.  At first, like the penny, the increase was slow and insignificant numerically.  When Jesus was born, the world population had only reached about 200 million.  When Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, it had only reached 400 million.  But, like the multiplying multiples of the penny, it began to accelerate about the time of the Civil War, and exploded after the Great Depression of the thirties.  In 1989 the world population reached five billion and, the same year, eleven million of the earth’s residents died of starvation.  The world population passed six billion in October of 1999, and is predicted to reach ten billion in 2030.  There is no way under heaven that the developing countries across the Bible Lands of Asia and Africa, where most of this increase is forecast to occur, can fail to have an ever increasing, massive famine.  Some say the population will only reach 8.5 billion in 2030.  But even if this is true, how can the additional 3.5 billion be fed if 11 million died of starvation in 1989 with a population of only five billion.

In the late seventies, when I wrote my second book, TheTribulation Triad, I pointed out that the famines absolutely had to continue to increase in frequency and intensity.  It is even more of a sure thing today!  One might suppose that the prediction of thirty million Africans dying from AIDS during the next quarter century, would cause the predicted population growth to be canceled out.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!  In spite of this staggering AIDS toll, Africa’s population is expected to double during this time period.

Some say, don’t worry, agricultural technology will solve the famine problem.  No way!  The latest U.N. study found ten percent of the world’s soil profile badly damaged.  The three-year study accessed soil conditions on a global scale, and involved more than 250 soil scientists.  It marked the first time since World War II that soil profiles had been assessed on a global scale.  As reported by Larry B. Stammer in the Los Angeles Times, the study found that “about two-thirds of all seriously eroded land is in Asia and Africa, home to most of the world’s poor.”  The article, using the report as its basis, stated: “ Despite the much acclaimed green revolution of the past several decades, which produced unprecedented gains in food production through the introduction of fertilizers and hybrid grains, the per-capita food production has declined in about eighty developing countries in the past decade.”  The report, Vital Signs 1993: The Trends That Are Shaping Our Future, as reported by David Brisco in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of July 18, 1993, stated: “This new report shows the first clear sign that population is outpacing the food available for humans.  The trend is mostly because of record world population growth, but also reflects a slowdown in decades of increasing food supplies.  The main sources of food – farms, ranches, and oceans – all appear to be approaching, or may have reached, their maximum per-capita output, according to Vital Signs 1993.”  The simple truth is this, the world’s maximum food production, since the mid-nineties, has not been able to keep up with the stork, and the ever increasing population will cause it to fall farther and farther behind.  Earthquakes, pestilence, and famine will continue to increase the pain of God’s creation while it awaits the manifestation of his sons at the appearance of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.