God's Four Sore Judgments:
# 3: Pestilence
Yesterday I introduced a series examining the LORD'S "Four Sore Judgments." In other translations they are called the "LORD'S Four Severe Judgments." They're mentioned in Ezekiel 14:21: "For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast!"
The four are Sword, Famine, Pestilence, and Beasts. Wesley's notes says, "How much more - If they could not be able to keep off one of the four, how much less would they be able to keep off all four, when I commission them all to go at once."
It is a very dread situation when all four are unleashed. If you read Revelation 6, you will see that the four are unleashed all at once, or in very rapid succession. Jesus called it the worst time on earth there ever has been or ever will be. (Matthew 24:21)
Many bible scholars, pastors, and lay people feel and believe the rapture is going to occur at any moment. Please note however that the rapture itself has always been imminent. That means it could have happened at any moment over the last 2000 years. The first century church believed this, as Paul taught:
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ," (Titus 2:11-13).
We are to be doing what Paul instructed in verse 11 & 12, while we are waiting for our Blessed Hope. They waited, and we wait. He is coming imminently.
If Jesus's return for His saints was imminent 2000 years ago, how much more so is it today? We look at the signs of the Tribulation nearing and if the Tribulation is close how much closer is the rapture, which the bible teaches will occur prior? Jesus, Paul, and Peter warned us to remain awake and watchful. (Revelation 3:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 2 Peter 3:12). Don't let anyone tell you that it is a bad thing to observe the times or see the signs of His soon appearing. It is commanded that we do so. On the other end of the spectrum, don't let sign watching consume you, because as Paul said above in Titus 2, we are to go about living our lives to the utmost for Jesus (2 Peter 3:11), but soberly, watchfully, with our mind and eyes on the prize: which is Jesus. But do watch while we persevere in our waiting.
Here are examples of what I mean when I say the season of His rapture is close because of the Tribulation pieces coming together so visibly.
Famine is increasingly a part of the world's vocabulary. Famine takes a long time to set up. It is a problem with complex and varied origins, relating to poverty, agriculture, weather, wars and more. Drought most often is the last symptom to appear before famine strikes hard and deep. War also is a catalyst for famine.
See Lamentations 5:9, which speaks of the sword and then the difficulty of getting bread:
"We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert.'
See the situation in Syria, the ongoing revolution which is causing hunger and grief. This is a story out of Homs, Syria about a month ago: "He said the situation was worst in Cairo Street, which divides two districts. "No one can cross the streets to buy bread, water or their daily necessities." Locals have resorted to throwing supplies over the road because it is too dangerous to walk across. At 6pm one day in October, Jamal al-Fadel was struck by a sniper as he crossed Shrakess Street in Homs on his way to the bakery to buy some bread ..."
"He fell to the ground in the middle of the road. People on either side of the street tried to help him but the sniper on the roof of the nearby post office building continued to shoot. They attempted to drag him to safety using a rope. Mr Homsi's friend, Tarek al-Ajdab, moved closer, stretching out a hand to pull him to safety, but a sniper shot him in the head." [source]
Ponder the Lamentations again, "We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert."
Famine does not happen overnight. Drought starts it. Lack of water from above and below continues it. War exacerbates it. Unemployment pressures it. With the wars and rumors of wars increasing to a fever pitch all around the world, the famines are increasing also.
The pieces are in place for the great famine of the Tribulation to begin. Revelation's Second seal unleashes war (sword) and the third seal unleashes famine. But the fourth seal combines sword, famine, pestilence and beasts, all four sore judgments at once. Some have said that the overview Jesus gives in Matthew 24:4-14 is an overview parallel to the Four Seal judgments of Revelation 6:3-8.
People like me who watch and see the trends and the pieces coming together see the individual preparations for sword, famine, pestilence and beasts at a level where they are almost combined. When Jesus unseals the judgments they will be ready to ignite into a conflagration the world has never seen before, no, nor shall ever see again.
Here is some news regarding famine of today:
The Price Of Corn Hits A Record High As A Global Food Crisis Looms
"Are you ready for the next major global food crisis? The price of corn hit an all-time record high on Thursday. So did the price of soybeans. The price of corn is up about 50 percent since the middle of last month, and the price of wheat has risen by about 50 percent over the past five weeks. On Thursday, corn for September delivery reached $8.166 per bushel, and many analysts believe that it could hit $10 a bushel before this crisis is over. The worst drought in the United States in more than 50 years is projected to continue well into August, and more than 1,300 counties in the United States have been declared to be official natural disaster areas. So how is this crisis going to affect the average person on the street? Well, most Americans and mo Europeans are going to notice their grocery bills go up significantly over the coming months. That will not be pleasant. But in other areas of the world this crisis could mean the difference between life and death for some people. You see, half of all global corn exports come from the United States. So what happens if the U.S. does not have any corn to export? About a billion people around the world live on the edge of starvation, and today the Financial Times ran a front page story with the following headline: "World braced for new food crisis"."
Extended drought in US sends prices for corn and soybeans higher again; no relief in sight
"Prices for corn and soybeans jumped again as forecasts call for more blistering heat in crop-growing regions across the U.S.Corn for September delivery jumped 16.75 cents to settle $8.245 a bushel, the second straight day of record highs. August soybeans settled at $17.575 a bushel, up 23.75 cents and the third straight record-setting day."
Famine anniversary: Somalis again dying on food walks; little rain, more violence
"The long, dusty walks from hungry homes to far-away refugee camps are again claiming lives in Somalia one year after up to 100,000 people died in the country’s worst famine in generations."
GenerationS, plural. O, the woe!
Food prices soar as drought worsens
"NEW YORK (CNN Money) - As the Midwest continues to suffer through its worst drought in more than 50 years and corn prices near record highs, sixth generation farmer Pam Johnson stares out her window, praying for rain."
Food price crisis feared as erratic weather wreaks havoc on crops
"'What the world economy really needs right now is a break', one economist says, but instead it appears headed toward upheaval."
The world is not going to get a break. Upheaval is the only thing on the menu.
When we read of 'record setting" so frequently, the records going higher and higher, and the unusual and 'freak' weather happening on a sustained, regular basis, then that is what I mean by the signs. I realize that when I use metaphors like 'the bonfire is laid' and the 'match is lit', that is it my opinion. I have no extra insight and no conversations with God to tell me this. But I have the bible and I have my mind and I have my eyes to see. I also have elder ordained brothers in the faith who are more knowledgeable than I am, saying the same thing. The rousing cry is gaining momentum from all corners.
What we Christian believers can do is trust the Lord all the more. He is our Savior and Lord, the Shepherd who guards His sheep. We might struggle with earthly needs but He will provide those and so much more will He provide spiritual needs: comfort, faith, strength, discernment, clarity.
For the unsuspecting world, the upheavals will be very trying. Immediately as these first four sore judgment seals are opened, a quarter of the world will die. (Rev 6:8). It will be the largest death toll in history.
Prophecy is part of scripture so we study it, but as with any scripture, it should be put into action. We are called to be Ambassadors for His name--
"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20)
So our action is first to be sure we are in the faith, reconciled to Him. Then, be ambassadors, so He will make His appeal to the lost through us. Be strong and hardy, never quailing in public, instead, relying on His strength to be calm and loving, even when sin is rising so palpably. That means sin is rising in your co-workers, families, neighbors, too. Not just "out there." Don't fall into the trap of becoming angry. We are Ambassadors, remember.
Prophecy should give us a reminder of the times and an urgency to seek Jesus all the more so His light will be evident in us to others. And, be salt. The salt must be in the food. We have to stay in the world but not be OF the world. Don't retreat, as much as we might want to. We are Christ's seasoning in this lost world. Let's flavor it with love and patience.
Next in the series examining the four sore judgments is "Pestilence."
I wrote about what famine does to the body and how quickly starvation sets in, and how scarcity flows into its heightening, all from a biological perspective here:
"Looking at the coming Famine"
These are the openings of all of Paul's letters, except Galatians. Please don't skip, read them through. I thank my God in all my ...
I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars Isn't that an evocative a...
Yesterday I looked at a popular HGTV personality, Joanna Gaines, and her testimony . She and her husband Chip are stars of a new show that a...