Saturday, January 8, 2011

"Aflockalypse now" Is the end near?

I compiled a chronological list of all the bird and fish deaths I could find from the last two weeks. Listing them all was quite an eyeopener. Having a body of information to place in context is always more informative. Then I put some articles from secular media exploring the issue, and of course, I end with a biblical response at the bottom.

1. December 27, 2010, Haiti: Authorities probe dead fish in Haitian lake
Haitian authorities were planning Sunday to ban consumption of fish from a lake on the border with the Dominican Republic where scores of dead fish have been found dead in recent days. "Abnormal numbers of dead fish have been found in the waters and on the shores of Lake Azuei," Michel Chancy, a government state secretary, told reporters.

2. December 28, 2010, Scarlino Italy: The massacre (by sea) Christmas (google translation)
A massacre of fish, clams and crabs: is this the scenario that made the beach in Scarborough on Monday morning. The remains of animals, some still dying, were lying in two parallel rows almost two kilometers long. According to preliminary reports, many of these molluscs have died in Santo Stefano with many fish, especially mullet.

4. December 31, 2010, Vietnam: Tonnes of farm fish found dead
More than 150 tonnes of red tilapias have died en masse in the past week in Cao Lanh District in the southern province of Dong Thap, resulting in losses of VND35 billion (S$2.2 million) for aquaculture farmers. Red tilapias are the world's most popular farmed fish. They are fast growing and low in mercury. The dead fish were being raised by 41 households along the Can Lo River. It was the first time such a disaster has occurred.

5. January 2, 2011, Wales, UK,  Dead fish discovered in canal marina near Abergavenny
Environment Agency Wales can confirm that what could be hundreds of dead fish, mostly bream, carp and roach, have been found in the marina on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal at Goytre Wharf near Abergavenny earlier today. A 30cm drop in the water level at the marina by work upstream could be a contributory factor, but more than likely the cold weather, ice and lack of oxygen are to blame.

6. Bio Bio Chile, January 2, 2011: Thousands of dead birds litter the beach
In a strange phenomenon, thousands of black petrels fall tot he ground, dead. [link is to video, In Spanish]

7. January 3, 2011, Arkansas, US: Dead fish cover 20-miles of Arkansas River
Arkansas Game & Fish is trying to figure out why 100,000 fish in Northwest Arkansas turned up dead. They were found along a 20-mile stretch between the Ozark Dam and Highway 109 Bridge in Franklin County.

8. Gilbertsville, Kentucky, January 3, 2011 Woman reports dozens of dead birds in her yard
[A] local woman discovered dozens of dead birds. "I've never seen anything like it. Never," Sandy said of the discovery.

9. Chesapeake, MD, USA, January 3, 2011: 'Very large' fish kill reported in bay
An estimated 2 million fish have been reported dead from the Bay Bridge south to Tangier Sound, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment, which investigates fish kills. The dead fish are primarily adult spot, with some juvenile croakers.

10. January 3, 2011, Faenza Italy: Raining dead turtledoves (google translated from Italian)
[T]he scenario at this time in Faenza (RA) is no less disturbing. The two guards of the WWF have collected nearly three hundred, while others collared dove have been found, now dead, the State Forestry Department which would have made a visit even in some industrial complexes... UPDATE: There are certainly many hundreds, probably thousands, the collared dove who are dying at this moment in Faenza. They are in heaps in the flower beds, crushed by machinery in the streets, horribly hung from trees like Christmas balls. Over all a mystery. Inside the beak, in some animals, the staining was of a strange blue.

11. January 3, 2011, Tokyo, Japan: Japan Is on High Alert as a Virus Infiltrates Bird-Heavy Regions
Recent discovery of several dead migratory birds in Japan has raised concerns about H5NI avian influenza, avian experts said.  Bird sanctuaries, poultry farms and zoos were put on high alert last month after the migratory birds in some region were found dead, The New York Times reported Monday.

It was THIS event that burst the dead bird/fish issue onto the global consciousness:

12. Beebe, Arkansas, USA, January 3, 2011 Arkansas sees more than 3000 birds fall from the sky
Dead red-winged blackbirds, starlings, and grackles rained down on Beebe, Ark., on New Year's Eve, freaking out local residents. After 3,000 birds fall from sky, state biologists look for answers.

13. Louisiana, USA, January 4, 2011: Hundreds of dead blackbirds found in Louisiana
00 dead birds have been found near New Roads Louisiana just days after thousands of birds turned up dead in Arkansas and at least ten identical birds were reported dead in Kentucky! To top it off, Arkansas has been slammed with at least 500 earthquakes since September 20th.

14. Brazil, January 4, 2011 Mysterious killing of fish in coast (google translated from Portuguese)
A survey conducted by the Federation of Fishermen's Colony of Paraná, Paranaguá on the coast of the state, indicates that at least 100 tons of fish (sardine, croaker and catfish) have turned up dead since last Thursday off the coast of Parana.

15. January 4, 2011, Ontario Canada, Hundreds of dead fish natural, not chemical
Hundreds of dead fish that washed up on shore in the north end of the St. Clair River is a natural occurrence and not the result of a chemical spill, a government officials say. Ministry of Natural Resources spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski confirmed that both the MNR and environment ministry were alerted to a massive die-off of gizzard shad fish late last week.

16. Florida USA, January 4, 2011: Thousands Of Fish Dead In Spruce Creek
Thousands of dead fish were floating in Volusia County Tuesday. They were all in Spruce Creek in Port Orange. The fish kill is unusual because it is warm, according to people who live along the creek.

17. London UK, January 5, 2011. 40,000 crabs die of cold in Britain
Over 40,000 dead crabs have washed up along the coast in Britain, and environmental experts say the cold weather is to blame. The Velvet swimming crabs - also called devil crabs - were found dead in beaches around Thanet in Kent along with smaller numbers of whelks, sponges and anemones, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

18. Texas, USA, January 5, 2011: Now East Texas also reports hundreds of dead birds
Texans are observing hundreds of dead birds on an East Texas bridge, according to a report by KLTV in Tyler. This latest discovery compounds the mystery of recent reported discoveries of dozens, hundreds, even thousands of dead birds and fish documented in the southern United States as well as dead wildlife reports in other parts of the world this week.

19. Georgia USA, January 5, 2011: Authorities investigate whooping crane deaths
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Georgia wildlife officials are investigating the “suspicious” deaths of three young whooping cranes that had recently migrated through Indiana and Kentucky to Georgia, where they were found dead on Dec. 30. “They were released in (Wisconsin) in October, and had made it through Kentucky, where they were last tracked using the transmitters,” said Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Tom MacKenzie. Authorities consider the deaths of the rare birds suspicious because all three were found close to each other, he said. A predator would have normally taken just one, he added.

20. Tennessee USA, January 5, 2011: Flock Of Birds Found Dead In Wilson County
Now, more than 100 dead birds were recently found in Wilson County, causing the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to investigate. A resident notified the agency Tuesday afternoon after he spotted dozens of dead birds along Highway 70 north in Lebanon a few days ago.“It’s kind of a strange, odd thing. It plays into some of the things that have been happening in other places,” said Lt. Jim Hooper of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. TWRA officials found 120 dead grackles in the Spring Creek area when they investigated the situation on Wednesday.“We searched the adjoining fields and everywhere else, and there are no other birds except in this one very localized area,” said Hooper.

21. Central Sweden, January 5, 2011: Swedish birds 'scared to death': veterinarian
Shortly before midnight on Tuesday, residents found 50 to 100 jackdaws on a street in Falköping southeast of Skövde. The incident echoed a number of unexplained incidents earlier this week across the southern US. County veterinarian Robert ter Horst believes that the birds may have been literally scared to death by fireworks set off on Tuesday night.

22. North Carolina USA, January 5, 2011: Preliminary pelican autopsy findings do not rule injuries intentional
A task force meeting is being planned between local, state and federal officials to address the large number of pelican deaths in the area. And despite the injuries to the dead birds appearing to be intentional, preliminary results of pelican autopsies detected no evidence of malicious injuries, according to experts. Deb Woody, a volunteer with Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, said the count to date exceeds 200 and reports of dead birds continue to come in. UPDATE: "Topsail clams up about pelican deaths" - Officials are remaining tight-lipped about a task force meeting involving local law enforcement and state and federal officials to discuss the dead and injured pelicans that have been washing up along Topsail Island. Toni O’Neil, the director of Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, who first reported the incidents of pelican deaths to officials, said she doesn’t know why she too was excluded from the meeting. “It sounds like they’re trying to downplay this thing … or they’re stymied and don’t know what to do about it,” she said.

23. Michigan, USA, January 5, 2011: Dead Fish Appear In Lincoln Park
Hundreds of dead fish have been found in a pond in Lincoln Park. A Local 4 viewer sent in photos of the dead fish in Council Point Park.

24. New Zealand, January 5, 2011: Carpet of dead fish wash up on beaches
There's been another inexplicable case of dead animals with dozens of dead fish washing up on a New Zealand beach. Auckland resident James Hughes spotted the snapper floating close to shore after children rushed up to him and his friends holding some of the dead fish, NZPA reports. It comes after several instances of thousands of birds dropping dead out of the sky in the US this week.

25. Kentucky USA, January 6, 2011: Hundreds of dead birds found in Murray
A phenomena resulting in thousands of dead birds reported mysteriously fallen dead from the sky in Arkansas and Louisiana last week may have also taken place in Murray. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources officials reported ‘several hundred’ grackles, red wing blackbirds, robins and starlings were among those reported near Murray State University. The birds were primarily found in the Calloway Street, Ryan Avenue and College Terrace area.

25. Charleston SC, USA, January 6, 2011: Major fish kill reported in S. Carolina
Hundreds of thousands of dead fish (menhaden) washed ashore on the South Carolina coast Thursday morning, littering the sand along the tide line, wildlife officials said. State wildlife biologists say early indications are that it's another in a series of wildlife die-offs blamed on record-breaking cold conditions around the nation this winter, The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier reported.

26. Ontario Canada, January 8, 2011: 80 pigeons keel over, bird deaths stump officials
More than 80 pigeons have keeled over and died at a farm near Quebec City for unknown reasons, the latest in a string of mysterious animal deaths around the world.

27. Taiwan, January 8, 2011: Hundreds of dead birds occurred in Taichung paradise Orchard Cemetery [Link is to a video in Chinese]

The world is wondering, and wondering, and "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2Timothy 3:7). They come close, but they do not get it right. One author at a news outlet called The Student Operated Press asked, "Dead Fish, Dead Birds: Taste Of Horrors That Will Be Unleashed In 2012?" He wrote:
The new year was ushered in with the usual revelry and celebrations all over the world. As I watched the crystal ball descend in Times Square I wondered what good things lay in store for me in 2011. The next day all my optimism quickly dissipated as I read about the thousands of dead birds falling from the sky in Beebe Arkansas. The next day 100,000 dead fish were discovered in the Arkansas River, and almost every day since there has been another episode of dead fish or dead birds. This disturbing phenomena has born-again Christians dreaming apocalyptic nightmares, and New Agers wondering if these strange happenings are the birth pangs of the Earth and its inhabitants undergoing a physical and spiritual transformation. Even secular and rational individuals are pondering if we are living in the End Times...

The Sacramento Press asked Dead Birds, Dead Fish: What Does it Mean?
"It starts off in Arkansas on New Year's Eve. Birds fall from the sky, there is talk, there are rumors. Just over the horizon, something is brewing, something ominous. There is chatter on Facebook. What does this all mean? Stories from reliable newspapers tell us that the birds seemed to hit an invisible wall, because the birds displayed hemorrhaging and blunt force trauma. Could it be that the birds hit a cloaked UFO that was traveling from Arkansas to Louisiana and back up to Kentucky? Or is the answer much more mundane, that the blunt force trauma is from hitting the ground?"

Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein says it's all normal! "First, the blackbirds fell out of the sky on New Year's Eve in Arkansas. In recent days, wildlife have mysteriously died in big numbers: 2 million fish in the Chesapeake Bay, 150 tons of red tilapia in Vietnam, 40,000 crabs in Britain and other places across the world. Blogs connected the deadly dots, joking about the "aflockalypse" while others saw real signs of something sinister, either biblical or environmental. The reality, say biologists, is that these mass die-offs happen all the time and usually are unrelated. Federal records show they happen on average every other day somewhere in North America. Usually, we don't notice them and don't try to link them to each other. "They generally fly under the radar," said ornithologist John Wiens, chief scientist at the California research institution PRBO Conservation Science." I'm sure that the ornithologist chuckles at his pun, even if the rest of us do not.

What is the biblical response? I see several people online affirming that it is not the end of the world because bird deaths are not mentioned in Revelation as one of the judgments. However, they do appear in other books of the bible. People forget that there are approximately 2500 prophecies appearing in the pages of the Bible, around  2000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter with no errors.

Kirk Cameron is a believer who starred in the Left Behind movie series and also "Fireproof". He is one believer the main stream media will touch with a ten-foot pole. He was interviewed on CNN's Anderson Cooper show, and Cameron's response was disappointing. "Cameron, who stars in the popular 'Left Behind' films, which take place following the Rapture, was not amused by Cooper's implication that his religious beliefs were the same as end-of-days zealotry. The actor told the Silver Fox, "You know, I'm not the religious-conspiracy theorist go-to guy, particularly. But I think it's really kind of silly to try to equate birds falling from the sky with some kind of an end-times theory."" I disagree with that position.

I just wonder if, when the rapture comes, people look back on the first week of January's headlines and ask 'How in the world did we MISS seeing it?' If we think of the verses that speak of 'all of creation groaning under sin' and move forward from there we can see that the bird deaths are indeed a sign.

In Romans 8:22-23 Paul wrote: "that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now."

What he is saying here is that sin has an eternal effect. When you lie, the words go out from your mouth, but the sin of lying never evaporates. If sin simply evaporated, we would be granted access to heaven without having to go through Jesus. Since God is eternally Holy, and sin is eternally damned, the twain never meet.

Jeremiah 12:4 says  "How long will the land mourn, And the herbs of every field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, For the wickedness of those who dwell there, Because they said, “He will not see our final end.”"

Mt 24:8 "All these [signs] are the beginning of the birth pains". The birth pains, or pangs, are always used in reference to the time before the beginning of the tribulation. What is being birthed is the Millennium Kingdom, long promised to the Jews.

Isaiah 24:20- "The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls—never to rise again."

Paul says that sin affects the very creation, but Isaiah shows that it accumulates. Isaiah reminds us that by the time of the end, sin's accumulation is so heavy that the earth itself labors under its weight. In Revelation 18:5 we are again reminded that sin does not evaporate, accumulates. "for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes."

Ezekiel 38:20 says "The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground." Everything under creation is affected by sin, as Paul said, 'all creation groaneth'. Fish and birds are included in this. The translation of the word 'shake' in the verse is "make afraid, remove, quake, make to shake, make to tremble." In reference to the bird deaths the most common reason given for their death is stress, which physiologically, can also manifest as fear.

In Hosea 4:1b-3 says God is fed up with the Israelites "There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying."

Barnes Notes says of that verse "Therefore shall the land mourn - Dumb inanimate nature seems to rejoice and to be in unison with our sense of joy, when bedewed and fresh through rain and radiant with light; and, again, to mourn, when smitten with drought or blight or disease, or devoured by the creatures which God employs to lay it waste for man's sins. Dumb nature is, as it were, in sympathy with man, cursed in Adam, smitten amid man's offences, its outward show responding to man's inward heart, wasted, parched, desolate, when man himself was marred and wasted by his sins. With the beasts of the field - Literally, "in the beasts," etc. God included "the fowl and the cattle and every beast of the field" in His covenant with man. So here, in this sentence of woe, He includes them in the inhabitants of the land, and orders that, since man would not serve God, the creatures made to serve him, should be withdrawn from him. "General iniquity is punished by general desolation."

"Yea, the fishes of the sea also - Inland seas or lakes are called by this same name, as the Sea of Tiberias and the Dead Sea. Yet here the prophet probably alludes to the history of man's creation, when God gave him dominion "over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over every living thing (chaiah)" Genesis 1:28, in just the inverse order, in which he here declares that they shall be taken away. There God gives dominion over all, from lowest to highest; here God denounces that He will take away all, down to those which are least affected by any changes."

If the Lord judged Israel in this way for her wickedness, are we Gentiles any different that we should not be judged in this way? No.

Zephaniah 1:3 speaks to the Day of Judgment against Judah and Jerusalem, and the whole earth! "I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD."

I should state unequivocally that we are not under judgment now. The church will NOT go through the Tribulation and the wrath of God is not descending on the whole earth- yet. But the signs are such that we can say with assurance that the Day is not far off. Are you ready?


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