Monday, October 28, 2013

The end of antibiotics: the beginning of biblical plagues?

SEM depicting methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria
I read an interesting article linked on Drudge to the UK Daily Mail, and discussed over at the American Thinker. It is that we have come to the end of the era of antibiotics.

Here is the American Thinker's take on it
They've been predicting this for years and it looks like it's finally come to pass.
In our human hubris, we think we can outsmart or defeat Mother Nature. It's things like this that remind us how our pitiful efforts to control the natural world usually go for naught.
Daily Mail:
A high-ranking official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared in an interview with PBS that the age of antibiotics has come to an end. 'For a long time, there have been newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about "The end of antibiotics, question mark?"' said Dr Arjun Srinivasan. 'Well, now I would say you can change the title to "The end of antibiotics, period."'
The associate director of the CDC sat down with Frontline over the summer for a lengthy interview about the growing problem of antibacterial resistance.

I suffered from bronchitis and pneumonia quite bit growing up and into my 20s. In my 40s I suffered from sinusitis, and in my 50s, various ailments that run the gamut of all of the above now that I'm working in a school again.

I'm allergic to sulfa drugs so that limits the number and variety of antibiotics I could take. After a couple of times in my 40s I never went to the doctor again for relief of any of them. I was always worried that the doctors were overprescribing. I was worried I'd build an immunity to them and that when the chips were really down, that they wouldn't work as well for me.

My suspicions have been confirmed. The doctor went on in the interview saying,

'We're in the post-antibiotic era,' he said. 'There are patients for whom we have no therapy, and we are literally in a position of having a patient in a bed who has an infection, something that five years ago even we could have treated, but now we can't.'.

It's the era of the superbugs. This story from NPR six days ago tells more.

"Many people are familiar with the type of resistant infections often acquired in hospitals, caused by MRSA, the acronym for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. But most people don't know about the entirely different group of resistant bacteria that Hoffman reports on in , airing Tuesday on PBS' Frontline. The show explores an outbreak of resistant bacteria at one of the most prestigious hospitals in the U.S., and explains why there is surprisingly little research being conducted into new antibiotics to combat these new superbugs."

In the days before antibiotics, men died from the merest cut. That is one of the wonderful things about antibiotics, that people no longer die from simple injuries like they did for thousands of years. In this 2010 article by Rustam Aminov titled A Brief History of the Antibiotic Era, from the journal Frontiers of Microbiology, it is stated,

"Antimicrobials are probably one of the most successful forms of chemotherapy in the history of medicine. It is not necessary to reiterate here how many lives they have saved and how significantly they have contributed to the control of infectious diseases that were the leading causes of human morbidity and mortality for most of human existence."

"We usually associate the beginning of the modern “antibiotic era” with the names of Paul Ehrlich and Alexander Fleming. Ehrlich's idea of a “magic bullet” that selectively targets only disease-causing microbes and not the host was based on an observation that aniline and other synthetic dyes, which first became available at that time, could stain specific microbes but not others. Ehrlich argued that chemical compounds could be synthesized that would “be able to exert their full action exclusively on the parasite harbored within the organism.” This idea led him to begin a large-scale and systematic screening program (as we would call it today) in 1904 to find a drug against syphilis, a disease that was endemic and almost incurable at that time."
Add caption

The September 3, 1928 event that led to the penicillin discovery by Fleming a year later was synthesized as Fleming and Erlich had done, and by 1945, penicillin was being mass produced and distributed.

I was born in 1960, a preemie by 5 weeks. I had pneumonia and no doubt penicillin saved my life. I grew up entirely in the era of widely available medicines for any variety of illnesses, cuts, or injuries. I see that that era is coming to a close, or as the doctor in the Daily Mail article stated, has already closed. Widely available antibiotics are not widely available any more, and where they are, oftentimes the patients with the infections are showing a disheartening resistance to their effectiveness. This is serious, because people are dying.

"The mortality rates due to multidrug-resistant bacterial infections are high. Each year, about 25,000 patients in the EU die from an infection with the selected multidrug-resistant bacteria (ECDC/EMEA Joint Working Group, 2009), and more than 63,000 patients in the United States die every year from hospital-acquired bacterial infections." (source)

So what is to be done about this? It seems that the superbugs are rising fast. The answer is complex and involves societies, government, mass behavior change, widespread education, research and mass distribution. In other words, nothing will happen fast that will help, and a lot can happen fast that will hurt. This is where I see prophecy coming in.

Jesus said that many will die by pestilence.

"Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven."(Luke 21:10-12)

"When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:7-8)

Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas,
ill with Spanish influenza at a hospital ward at Camp Funston.
The time is ripe for any superbug to cover the world quickly. The verse in Revelation says a fourth of the earth will be killed by famine and beasts and pestilence. Assuming a billion are raptured away as Christians (I am being generous, I don't think there will even be that many), that leaves 6 billion people, so that leaves one billion five hundred million dead from the variety given in the verse. By contrast, the number killed in one of history's worst pandemics, the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918-19 killed 100 million in the largest estimate.

If the Spanish Influenza killed that many and so quickly prior tot he age of travel, what will a superbug do? Well, what the bible shows us.

Now, you may ask, why am I bringing this up? Why speculate on what hasn't happened? Why camp on gloom and doom? Because it is a matter of scale.

People first of all don't take judgment seriously. Look at Lot's sons-in-law. When Lot said the angels in their home were there to render judgment on the city, the men thought Lot was joking. (Genesis 19:14). But just because the Lord is long-suffering does not mean He won't punish sin- and sinners. (Numbers 14:18, 2 Peter 3:9). He will.

Secondly, the scale of the judgments shown to us in revelation are unknown to any in the history of the world. (Matthew 24:21). Heaps of dead, masses of dead, hospitals overrun, entire communities with dead in the streets. The blood running and running. The police simply unable to keep up, whole neighborhoods will burn, whole oceans become as blood.

it is good to dwell on the might of the Lord and the power of His wrath. it is good not to think ones self able to withstand the torments from heaven that will over take the whole world (Daniel 7:23) and would ave overcome all flesh if Jesus had not elected to shorten the days. (Matthew 24:22). Do not think that you will wait to make a decision about Jesus when you see the rapture happening. It will happen in the blink of an eye. (1 Corinthians 15:52). Death will then ensue on a scale no man or era has ever seen or written about. You will be as a mote on a violent tsunami wave, disappearing in an instant into the gaping maw of hell if you have not repented. Hell is enlarging its mouth even now.

"Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it." (Isaiah 5:14)

Do not cockily think you have "the stuff" to endure, even as you delay repentance and submitting to Jesus. Do not think that you will be able to handle it. Men will drop dead on the spot from fear and terror. (Luke 21:26). You will be no different.

The scale of what is coming and even as I see it on the horizon is something to fear and respect. God's long-suffering hand has been stayed these long epochs. It will descend one day on an unsuspecting world, and the scale of the horrors will be unlike anything a person can even rationally comprehend.

The era of antibiotics is ending. The era of the Tribulation may be soon on the horizon. But the Age of Grace is NOW. Jesus has come in the flesh to live the sinless life as the spotless lamb, to die sacrificially and be resurrected by the power of God. He substituted Himself for our place for on the cross, so that any person who believes in Him will not have to endure the wrath that is to come!

That is the reason I focus on this, the prophetic, from time to time. It is the end of days and Jesus will return. His long-suffering, mercy, and patience is one of the miraculous characteristics He shows us daily. William S. Plumer wrote in 1865 in his wonderful essay on Providence,

"Truly, it is astonishing that such sinners as we are should be spared; but surely it is not astonishing that if spared at all, it should be under the government of such a God. "The Lord is long-suffering, not willing that any should perish." God never punishes with delight. He does not will, or plan, or seek the ruin of his bitterest and most inveterate enemies. In the esteem of God the death of a sinner is a dreadful thing. "Many a time he turns his anger away" (Psalm 78:38) before he strikes a blow or crushes a sinful worm. The reason is, "God is love." None else would bear so long—would so long avert deserved and terrible punishments from the heads of the rebellious. Truly, the prophet told us of the glorious nature of God, when he said, "The Lord does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men."

Come to Jesus now, under His grace. Repent, and live.

"Shall your repentance be unto life and salvation? Or shall it be but the fruitless relenting of a soul in an undone eternity? O accept the mercy offered to you now. Embrace the Savior, while he waits to be gracious."

9 comments:

  1. Stated,

    "...Do not cockily think you have 'the stuff' to endure, even as you delay repentance and submitting to Jesus. Do not think that you will be able to handle it..."

    When you run against man and they wear you out, how will you run against horses and during peace time, you have troubles, how will you endure when total chaos erupts (Jeremiah 12:5).

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    Replies
    1. Hi ANonymous,

      Thanks so much for the verse! I love when people respond with verses :)

      I can't find a translation where it says 'when total chaos erupts."? In mine it says

      “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?"

      (PS the thickets of the Jordan are where the lions hunted)

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    2. Stated,

      "...I can't find a translation where it says 'when total chaos erupts..."

      Sorry, I was paraphrasing. I guess my memory is not what it once was. I remembered the scripture but failed to look it up to see if I was on track.

      I use the KJV which reads, "...how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan" The Septuagint reads "...how wilt thou do in the roaring of Jordan"

      This may relate to Joshua 3:15 which the KJV reads, "(for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest)" as well as the Septuagint.

      I am not a KJV proponent, I just like its flow.

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    3. I do too, I especially love that it is from the OT. In one translation & commentary I read, 'The thickets of the Jordan' are the briars and bushes the lions used to hide in to hunt and for shade.

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    4. "...The thickets of the Jordan' are the briars and bushes the lions used to hide in to hunt and for shade."

      And speaking of "lions," just east of the "thickets," the Lion of Judah was baptized.

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  2. Oh Elizabeth! I know its futile of me. You will believe what you believe. I will believe what I believe, and I don't think we will penetrate any thinking of the other.

    You had me in this article right up to we "will not have to endure the wrath that is to come."

    God's wrath? We will certainly not see any of that. However, God's wrath starts with the six seal. The first five are just a result of the protection of God's hand taken away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hopeful_watcher, it is only futile because of what the text says, and means. Revelation 5 shows that there is no one worthy to open the seals...except Jesus the Christ. Rev 6:1 shows Him opening them, and thus begins the wrath. The first four seals release the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.

      The horsemen indicate a purposeful unleashing of something, in these 4 cases, the antichrist, war, famine, pestilence/death. (wrath= judgment). The fifth seal shows the multitudes who will be martyred, and the sixth unleashes massive geo-physical and celestial phenomenon. The judgments are cumulative, and by the time the world reaches the 6th seal of Rev 6:15-17 the people of the world are reeling, chaos reigns, and they right to cry out,' the wrath has come and who can stand.'

      There is nothing in the text to indicate a difference between the 1st 5 seals and the 6th as per in your claim the the first 5 are merely removing the hand of protection while the 6th begins the wrath. As a matter of fact, the text is clear, that as we go from Rev 5 and Jesus opens the first seal in Rev 6, the wrath is beginning. Both the plain text AND the context make this clear. To get any other interpretation, one must wrench it away from the plain interpretation, something that always twists its meaning. You can be sure that God's wrath upon humanity begins when Jesus opens the first seal.

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  3. Seems like the 7 years can be split by the rapture with Christians suffering in the tribulation for 31/2 years and the remaining 3 1/2 years being the wrath of God for the sinners.

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    Replies
    1. It could...but it won't be. We are to be kept from the hour of trial that is to come upon the whole world, (Rev 3:0) because we are not appointed to wrath (1 Thess 5:9). The Bride of Christ will not be on earth when the first seal is opened

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