But The End Is Not Yet
Before Russia brutally massacred civilians and intentionally targeted critical infrastructure in Ukraine such as hospitals and schools and day-care centers, and before the Russian invasion brought Ukraine’s vast wheat-growing operations to a grinding halt, food prices were already near all-time highs. For very poor people the world over – meaning those living on $2 a day or less – the food price situation was already critical. Since Russia’s invasion, food prices the world over have skyrocketed, in no small part because oil is such an embodied part of our energy-intense agricultural process that the price of oil heavily influences the price of food.
Since Russia’s invasion, the price of oil is up by about 25 percent (as of this writing), with potential to push much higher. The price of wheat, on the other hand, is up nearly 40 percent while the price of corn is up about 17 percent and the price of soybeans is up only about eight percent. In other words, food prices have a great deal of rising left to do if they are to reach equilibrium with the increase in oil.
The increase in the price of food is a huge problem and also a part of Bible prophecy for these last days. Take a look at this food price chart below. The chart is from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Note that real prices (inflation adjusted prices) are teetering on the edge of making all time highs at prices not seen since the incredible inflation of the 1970’s. Now take a look at the first two months of global food prices in 2022 (in red).
Now let’s take a look at current events through the clarifying lens of scripture, and also look ahead to the profound events that scripture says is coming soon, even at the door.
The 24th chapter of Matthew is critical to understanding these last days. The setting for Matthew 24 is striking. Christ is at the very end of His ministry. In but a few hours, he will be abused, tried, and hung on the cross to die. The establishment of His Kingdom of Love depends on His disciples, and He has just one last chance to inform them and strengthen them for the almost impossible difficulties that lay ahead. The 24th chapter starts out with his disciples asking a simple but profound question. Jesus is on the Mount of Olives meeting privately with His disciples and they say to Him, “…what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (NKJV). His answer was sweeping, including detailed descriptions as well as parables to enhance their (and our) understanding. His reply also went beyond Chapter 24 and took up all of Chapter 25 as well.
Those two chapters are extremely important and should be the object of careful study by Christians. But of those two extensive chapters, perhaps the most important verses for this moment in history are Mathew 24:6-8: “ And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Each verse is packed with meaning. Verse six provides not only an articulation of immediate impact, but also provides context. Here Christ says that in the last days there will be significant conflict as well as anticipation of even more conflict. This is the “hear of wars and rumors or wars” part. He immediately tells us that we should not be troubled – should not be shaken off our responsibilities in these last days – and then He tells us that these things must happen. This is a reference to the fact that we are living in a world where Satan has dominion and that Satan has perverted and twisted creation so that it is a reflection of his system of selfishness, so it no longer has an organizing principle of love or lovingkindness that it had when God created the earth. I just hurried through some very important and very foundational scripturally-based theology, so if you are not familiar with it please see my other writings on this blog as it is not my purpose to go into great detail on this topic in this post.
This brings us to the final part of verse six, where Christ says “the end is not yet”. In other words, Satan’s system will keep collapsing in on itself, but Christ will not yet step in to end things. It is necessary that Satan’s system demonstrate itself to be a complete and abject failure, and that his accusations against the character of God will thus also be proven to be completely without foundation.
In verse seven we return to the impacts of these last days. Here is that verse: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” The first six words are a continuation of the “wars and rumors of wars” thought from verse six, except that we are specifically told that nations will be in conflict – entities that have a flag and a border and a leadership structure and perhaps a currency. Compare and contract that with kingdoms, or groups of people who share a common identity but do not have a land with borders and a flag. People groups will be fighting against other people groups. Think Kurds against Turks, think Jews against Arabs, think Tutsis against Hutus, etc. In some cases, of course, the fight between nations and between people groups will combine and overlay each other, resulting in a multi-faceted conflict.
Christ also told His disciples that in the last days, just before the end of the age, there will be horrible food shortages (famines) and multiple instances of contagious disease as well as a notable increase in earthquakes, presumably including large and damaging earthquakes. We’re beginning to see more and more vulnerable populations suffer from hunger, particularly in places where there is also unrest and conflict (Sudan, for instance). I highly recommend you take a look at World Food Program’s Hunger Map
And here is what you need to know about food shortages and price spikes: they lead to the overthrow of governments, the attempted overthrow of nations by other nations, and the attempted displacement or annihilation of one people group by another people group. Food price spikes are a trigger for violence whether it is nation upon nation or kingdom upon kingdom, and it is the desire either to take food resources that drives this or, just as often, a desire to strike while a long-term enemy is in a weakened state. As for the overthrow of governments by their own people, this happens during food price spikes where populations were extremely burdened and barely surviving, then were triggered when food prices made their lives simply impossible.
So, food price spikes dramatically increase conflict, and conflict dramatically increases severe hunger. It is a horrible spiral and it has been set in motion in multiple countries around the world (again, see the WFP Hunger Map).
We’ve already seen in Covid what can only be described as a global, multi-wave pestilence and there is no way of knowing how long that will linger as it mutates. Will we see more global pestilence? My guess is yes, we will, based on Christ’s description of these last days to His disciples. We can also expect to see both a ramping up and normalization of violence on people as conflict continues to rachet up.
What we are seeing is nothing less than the natural implosion of Satan’s selfishness-based kingdom – a kingdom most of the world eagerly accepts and strives to excel in. We’re seeing nature, which Satan perverted when he took our dominion after he conquered us, spiraling downward, and weakening the foundation upon which human society stands. We’re seeing conflict begat conflict, in part because countries that feared being censured by the world know that the world’s attention is diverted elsewhere. We’re seeing the love of man for his fellow man grow cold (just look at the Slavs in the Russian army murdering huge numbers of their fellow Ukrainian Slavs in cold blood). And we’re seeing the desire for power and control and wealth (desires that stem completely from earth’s prevailing selfishness system) lead to conflict and suffering and death in diverse places all around the world. All we lack to more completely fulfill scripture is a spike in earthquakes, and I believe this spike will come soon enough.
So what can we expect to see in the near future? More conflict, especially as economies are pressured if and as the world slips into recession and shortages, and especially if food prices stay high or, more likely, continue to increase. We can also expect more pestilence, perhaps in the form of biological warfare, and more famines.
Let me put it to you plainly: we will see the world, including human society and the natural world, continue to fall apart as it more fully expresses the character of Satan. At the same time, we will see God’s people more and more fully express the character of Christ. We will see the stark difference between God’s people – people who reflect his character of love and expressly try to live as citizens of the Kingdom of Love whether they know the name of Christ or not – and those people who expressly embrace and pursue a kingdom of selfishness and who come to have the mark of Satan’s character upon them.
As the battle between Christ’s Kingdom and Satan’s kingdom comes to its culmination right in front of us, two questions stand out: Which side are you firmly, relentlessly, unshrinkingly a part of, and; what are you doing to reach and persuade the last few undecided people to enter into a relationship with Christ and become a citizen of the Kingdom of Love? The end is not yet. What is happening was so clearly foretold by Christ, who also foretold that there would also be a little more time in which to work. So, let’s be about our Master’s business. Let’s demonstrate that we are citizens of the Kingdom of Love. This will make us the enemy of many, and the introduction to saving relationship for a few.