Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Oct 18, 2010

Grain Yields Takes a Sudden Turn for the Worse

I use several guidelines to determine which news event should be the focus of my "Nearing Midnight" articles. One of the most important rules I follow is to pursue stories that can be supported with repeated examples. If prophecy is progressing, we’re to likely see it have an impact on a number of areas. Earlier this year, I reported on major earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, and I referenced a list of similar strong quakes that had occurred over the past decade.

We are now seeing a trend in food production. All over the world, crop yields have suddenly declined. Fears of a global food crisis swept the world’s commodity markets as prices for staples such as corn, rice, and wheat have shot up. The U.S. government sparked a huge grain rally when it warned of dramatically lower supplies. For the first time since 1997, the U.S. corn stock is expected to drop below 1 billion bushels.

The source of the problem is a host of adverse weather events. What is amazing here is the sudden run of bad luck for nearly every key grain exporter. Here is a list:

  • Pakistan -- A huge flood has devastated its rice crop.
  • European Union -- Wet weather has cut barley production by 15 percent to the smallest level in more than 10 years.
  • Russia -- A severe drought reduced the nation’s wheat crop by 25 percent.
  • U.S. -- Corn production fell 3.4 percent from an already-lowered yield.
  • U.S -- Hot weather in the South reduced the rice crop by 5 percent to 11 million tons.
  • Australia -- Both pests and drought trimmed the nation’s wheat production.
  • Brazil -- Below-average rainfall pared yields by as much as 7.5 percent for the 2011 corn crop.

The fall in grain supplies has prompted countries such as Russia and Ukraine to impose export restrictions on grains. Big importers in the Middle East and North Africa have started to hoard supplies, which has further tightened the market.

Long-term factors are at work to keep supplies tight. Corn has also emerged as an important feed for livestock in China, India, and other parts of Asia. Families who for generations have raised cows, sheep, pigs, and poultry in their own backyards are buying meat from commercial producers working on an industrial scale and who use corn to fatten the animals. In China, a longer-term shift in diet has increased the demand for meat, stretching the country’s traditional self-sufficiency in corn. Beijing is set to import at least 1 million tons of the grain this year. (www.ft.com/cms/s/0/36deb566-d55e-11df-8e86-00144feabdc0.html)

A large part of our corn crop goes for fuel production. The ethanol industry now consumes 4.7 billion bushels, more than a third of the crop. Despite the fact that it takes more energy to make ethanol from grain than the combustion that ethanol produces, the farm lobby will make sure there is no change to the status quo.

It is extremely odd to have such wide-scale reduction in crop yield. Normally, a region that experiences a shortfall is balanced out by another with a surplus. The 2011 crop is going to be vital in restoring stability to the grain markets. If we have another bad year, we may face a global shortage the likes of which has not been seen since World War II.

The state of the grain supply is very important to Bible prophecy. The book of Revelation predicts a time will come when food will be very scarce. Any movement towards greater famine could be an indication that the rider on the black horse is getting ready to roll.

“When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come!’ And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!’” (Rev 6:5-6).

Unsaved people often ask me if they can have my car or money once we Christians are gone. I always tell them that it’s more likely that they will be rummaging through my kitchen cabinets looking for canned goods. A wiser choice for these folks would be to come to Christ and be ensured a seat at the great feast that will take place at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, 'These are the true words of God.’” (Rev. 19:9). -- Todd

Strange Prophetic Silence: Part 1

Todd often makes the observation these days that there seems to be a strange lack of prophetic activity; nothing in the news rivets the observer in the dramatic way, say, that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities might grab one’s attention.

This Strandberg perception of a lull in prophetic progression, as he calls it, might seem at first nonsensical, considering the tremendous procession of probable end-times issues and events that we at Rapture Ready address each week. Geopolitically, there are many signals of biblically prophetic significance. The European Union (EU) continues to consolidate power while remaining at the same time loosely confederated. Certainly, we legitimately can and do make the case for this strange entity being the likely candidate for producing revived Rome–the ten toes of iron and miry clay given in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream-vision of the final world empire (Daniel 2).

Russia is a brooding giant to Israel’s north, and at every opportunity, Iran threatens the Jewish state with oblivion. These nations combine with Turkey and others to constitute a coalescing agglomerate that has the characteristics of the foretold Gog-Magog military machine of Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin openly displays ambition that easily qualifies him as one who might aspire to be the Gog of the Ezekiel prophecies. Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spouts the kind of hatred for God’s chosen people that the prince of Persia no doubt will use to inspire Iran’s (Persia’s) leader to join with Gog in raging against Israel in that satanic attack (Daniel 10:20).

Recently, Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has brought his nation into the Iranian and Arab world’s mantra for Israel to, in effect, be neutralized–be eradicated as an entity in the Middle East. Thus, Ezekiel’s prophecy about the Gog-Magog forces continues to congeal, with the ancient area of Togormah now firmly within the foretold mix of peoples that will storm over the mountains of Israel to meet their God-ordained doom.

So, again, it seems nonsensical to say that there is a lack of prophetic progression, based upon such spectacular developments. Yet, Todd Strandberg and, I must say, I have agreed with his assessment during our conversations. And, yet the signals of this being the very end of the age continue to accrue.

Socioeconomically, the end-times signals are prolific, with the whole world in economic distress. The 2008-2009 U.S. and international monetary crises were nothing short of earth-shaking. With the global financial structure intricately linked to the U.S. dollar and its economy, America’s banking meltdown and all attendant to it suddenly had the western nations in panic. The panic is unabated, despite America throwing trillions of dollars that don’t really exist into the fiscal fiasco.

Rioting in Greece, Spain, Italy, and other so-called “civilized” countries displayed in blatant fashion the economic turmoil. Rage over government-provided social services being withdrawn and jobs cut from government, along with unions losing their funding, caused--and continue to cause--withdrawal spasms like those suffered by addicts needing their heroin fixes.

The nations are in distress with perplexity, just as Jesus prophesied as recorded in Luke 21:25. There is a call for a rearrangement of the economic order. It is just such an order that will serve Antichrist’s dastardly regime as he sets about to enslave the world. His 666 numbers-and-mark system as found in Revelation 13:16-18 can be seen in the making in these very days in which we live.

The electronic means to produce such a system exists, too. The computer-satellite capabilities and linkages–with Internet connecting practically every place on earth--doubtless will be all brought together in some spectacular way to produce the Beast’s system of economic gulag.

Ironically, about the only area of the world that seems to be progressing economically is part of Asia–particularly one specific nation that almost certainly has a prophetic destiny. While the economic and technological apex nation of the world–the United States of America—is suffering, causing the other industrial nations and socialist countries to suffer, that great prophetic Oriental region of the world benefits mightily from the distress and perplexity. China holds much of the debt owed by the most economically powerful nation ever to exist!

China will almost certainly be the "king" of the "kings" of the east mentioned in Revelation chapters 9 and 16. It is even now apparently acquiring the level of wealth that will assure the accumulation of military strength with which to (along with demonic assistance of major magnitude) kill one-third of the world’s population (Revelation 9:15-16, 16:12).

It seems beyond irony that it is the U.S. that is funding most of the Sino-monster. It is the American technological/wealth base that has been primarily instrumental also in providing the financial wherewithal for paving Antichrist’s future kingdom. It is perhaps within these fiscal facts that can be found America’s own ultimate judgment for straying so far from the godly founding principles upon which it was based. Yet there is this strange silence of prophetic progression that bugs Todd and me. We will further examine the matter in this column.