FAMINES AND PESTILENCES IN THE “END TIMES”

End times signs given by Jesus include famines and pestilences. Both are occurring in our times along with so many of the other signs such as apostasy and lawlessness.

Then he (Jesus) 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 because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:12-13

The Good News is that churches are rising to the occasion providing opportunities to complete the Great Commission.

Extreme poverty and food insecurity are on the rise.

In 2020, Oxfam and The World Food Bank predicted that half a billion people would be pushed into extreme poverty and a “famine of biblical proportions” would be ushered in by the pandemic. Today, we’re seeing those predictions play out:

  • 296 million people worldwide are going without food — a statistic that’s up 111 million from April 2020.
  • 56% of the world’s children now lack access to education or health services (up from 47%).
  • And the estimated number of COVID-induced poor is expected to rise from 119 million to 124 million. 

World Relief President and CEO Myal Greene reflected, “The pandemic is basically undoing a decade’s worth of human development around the world in terms of progress in getting people out of poverty. We’re certainly seeing that in many of the communities where we work.”

COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting those in already vulnerable situations. 

When Mount Nyiragongo erupted in DR Congo earlier this year, coronavirus was not the first concern on anyone’s mind. “When people were fleeing, nobody cared about COVID-19 preventive measures,” said Jean Nyandwi, World Relief DR Congo Country Director. 

“After the people who had fled returned back to the city, the government announced the third wave of COVID-19,” he continued. “We believe partly this volcanic eruption may have increased COVID-19 cases.” 

While the volcanic eruption may have increased people’s exposure to the virus, a lack of access to vaccines, as well as vaccine hesitancy, is most certainly putting women and men at a greater risk of contracting the virus. 

In a country that already faces one of the world’s worst food security crises, vulnerability to one crisis made increased vulnerability to the COVID crisis inevitable.

And these stories of increased vulnerability are not unique to DR Congo. Across the globe, those in vulnerable situations are experiencing outsized impacts of the pandemic. 

“It’s making the poor poorer,” Nyandwi said. “When people get sick, they have to pay for their hospital bills. Burials also cost money. Many people have lost their jobs. Prices have increased for basic commodities, particularly in the city of Goma, and likely this is true for the rest of the country as well.”

And it’s not just the poorest of the poor who are being affected.

When we talk about the poorest of the poor, we’re referring to those who live on less than $2 a day. That number is increasing by several hundred million people globally, and that is significant. 

But, as Greene mentioned in a recent interview, “other tiers of poverty are also increasing as people are moving down the scale of development. We’ve had to do food distributions among middle-income populations where we haven’t typically had to do such activities before.

This was the case in Cambodia where an April lockdown affected people like Grandma Phyn Phally who lives in Phnom Penh province. Like many small business owners, Phun Phally relies on daily market sales to afford food and basic necessities. Job losses and decreased incomes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it harder for people like her to afford these necessities, and this latest round of shutdowns only intensified the fragile situation. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the government to limit travel during this time, so I and my family members are unable to go out and do business and earn money,” Phun Phally said. “Because our family owns a small business, we don’t have as much money to spend over such a lengthy period of time. That is something we are very concerned about.”

Churches and local communities are being equipped to respond.

In Cambodia, World Relief partnered with local churches to supply and distribute food relief packages to the neediest households in Phnom Penh. Grandma Phun Phally was one of the recipients. 

Thank God. He heard our plea and answered it,” she said. “A food shipment from WRC, our church’s partner, was another blessing. This package is extremely beneficial to us in continuing to fight through this difficult period…Pray for everyone to come out on top in this difficult situation.

In total, World Relief Cambodia gave $20,000 in grants, which funded food relief packages for 1,378 families. 

World Relief continues to reach local communities across the globe with accurate COVID-19 prevention messages. Thanks to a $2.3 million grant from USAID, this work is expanding in DR Congo, Kenya, Malawi and Rwanda.

Churches and faith leaders are being equipped and mobilized to rally their congregations and communities around infection prevention efforts including supplying community members with cloth masks, handwashing soap, and other community care supplies while also providing accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Faith leaders, who are often seen as trustworthy authorities in local communities, are playing a key role in accelerating equitable access to and widespread use of COVID-19 vaccinations and prevention measures.  God often uses catastrophes for His purposes. Check out my post “God Uses Catastrophes for His Purposes” September 21st, 2020

INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH HAS FAILED

These statistics are from three different Research organisations.

  1. Less than half of Americans, including just 63% of churchgoing Christians, believe Jesus existed before His virgin birth in Bethlehem, a new study from Lifeway research shows.
  2. recent survey by Probe Research found that nearly 70% of so-called evangelical Christians disagree with the biblical position that Jesus is the only way to God. Also, the percentage of Born Again Christians with a Biblical Worldview has been cut in half over the last decade
  3. Another study from Arizona Christian University published earlier this year, showed that among an estimated 176 million American adults who identify as Christian, just 6% or 15 million of them actually hold a biblical worldview.
Jesus' Nativity Story
The live reenactment of Jesus’ nativity scene held outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. on Thursday Dec. 2, 2021. | Christian Post

The Lifeway study, conducted Sept. 3-14 through an online survey of a national pre-recruited panel of 1,005 Americans, shows that only 2 in 5 or 41% of American adults, in general, believe Jesus existed before His Bethlehem birth. Some 32% disagree with the idea that Christ existed before His Bethlehem birth, while 28% say they’re not sure.

Researchers also found that even among Christians who attend church four times a month or more, only 63% agree that Jesus existed before His Bethlehem birth even though many Scriptures from the Bible support that position.

“Prophecies such as those in Isaiah 9 reflect that the Messiah would be the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. While these titles reflect the Trinity, some Americans do not connect the Jesus born in Bethlehem with the Messiah who already existed as God now coming in the flesh,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.

The religiously unaffiliated were the least likely among respondents in the survey to believe Jesus existed before Bethlehem, with fewer than 15% of them supporting the notion.

And yet in John 6:62 for example, Jesus asks His many disciples at the time: “Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

The Scripture further highlights how difficult it was for many of them to embrace the idea of His divinity and pre-existence when it notes in John 6:66 that: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

In a 2016 presentation in New York City, the American Bible Society explained that despite the Bible being the most printed and sold book in the world over the last five decades, less than half of practicing Christians in the U.S. spend serious time engaging with their Bible and the rest of the country is even worse.

At the time, Samuel Harrell, director of Project Ignition at the American Bible Society, presented evidence gathered from a six-year assessment of the state of the Bible conducted by the Barna Group which showed that just 18% of the American population 18 years and older read the Bible. Among practicing Christians, only 37% were found to engage with their Bible.

The good news is that Jesus told us that this would happen just prior to His return and that before God pours out His wrath on unrepentant sinners Christians will be taken to Heaven.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:9-14

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

END OF DAYS MESSAGE FROM JONATHAN CAHN

This is more a podcast than a video but in it Jonathan reveals how the Bible consistently, right from the early books of Moses, outlines the events that will unfold in the last days, the end of days before Jesus returns to rule and reign on this earth during the Millennium.. He then shows us how the godless events, the vulgar culture, the great falling away in the church, but also a great falling away from the natural to the unnatural, that are unfolding in our time are prophesied in God’s Word. Jesus has also revealed to Christians that He will purify His church before He comes again.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:9-14

CHRISTIANITY WITHOUT CHRIST

Have we arrived at a Christianity without Christ? Find out with guest Dennis Pollock and Tim Moore of the Lamb & Lion Ministries evangelism team as they provide their Prophetic Perspectives.

Lamb & Lion Ministries was founded in 1980 by Dr David Reagan as a non-denominational, independent ministry. The Ministry does not seek to convert people to any particular church. Rather, it seeks to lift up Jesus and draw people to Him as Lord and Saviour.

The Ministry was established for the purpose of proclaiming the soon return of Jesus. We do not believe it is possible to know the date when Jesus will return. But we do believe it is possible to know the season of the Lord’s return, and it is our conviction that we are living in that season. As all of my followers know this is also my calling.

WHAT IS YOUR WORLDVIEW?

According to the American Worldview Inventory 2021, nearly half of the millennials surveyed said they either don’t know, don’t care, or don’t believe that God exists. Only 26% of Gen X, and a mere 16% of millennials, understand and believe the basics of the Gospel. In addition, 31% of teens and young adults “strongly agree” that what is “morally right and wrong changes over time, based on society.”

Almost half of Americans consider abortion to be “morally acceptable,” the highest percentage to think so in the past 20 years of surveying the question, according to a new report by Gallup.

The health of the Christian worldview appears increasingly bleak. According to the American Worldview Inventory 2021, Only 26% of Gen X, and a mere 16% of millennials, understand and believe the basics of the Gospel.

Acceptance of and teaching of evolution and an earths history of billions of years in our schools and universities has relegated the Bible to the book category of myths and fables. And yet the scientific evidence of the universe points unequivocally to intelligent design. Particularly since the discovery of DNA which demonstrates that complex information controls the functioning of all the cells in the body. What is the origin of this complex information? It can only come from a mind that is beyond our comprehension. It cannot come from matter and energy by random chance this is nonsense of the highest order and yet this is what is taught in our institutes of highest learning.

Amazing facts about DNA

Fortunately, what has emerged is a new program for scientific research known as Intelligent Design. Within biology, Intelligent Design is a theory of biological origins and development. Its fundamental claim is that intelligent causes are necessary to explain the complex, information-rich structures of biology such as DNA, and that these causes are empirically detectable.

The Intelligent Design movement is growing and because it does not talk about God, in other words the mind behind the intelligence, it is harder for the establishment to attack it on the grounds that it is religion and not science.

Intelligent Design properly formulated is a theory of information. Within such a theory, information becomes a reliable indicator of intelligent causation as well as a proper object for scientific investigation. Intelligent Design thereby becomes a theory for detecting and measuring information, explaining its origin, and tracing its flow. Intelligent Design is therefore not the study of intelligent causes per se, but of informational pathways induced by intelligent causes.

As a result, Intelligent Design presupposes neither a creator nor miracles. Intelligent Design is theologically minimalist. It detects intelligence without speculating about the nature of the intelligence. Biochemist Michael Behe’s “irreducible complexity,” physicist David Bohm’s “active information,” mathematician Marcel Schützenberger’s “functional complexity,” and William Dembski’s “complex specified information” are alternate routes to the same reality.

Through this approach of critiquing Darwinism on the one hand and providing a positive alternative on the other, the Intelligent Design movement has rapidly gained adherents among the best and brightest in the academy. Already it is responsible for Darwinism losing its corner on the intellectual market. If fully successful, Intelligent Design will unseat not just Darwinism but also Darwinism’s cultural legacy. And since no aspect of western culture has escaped Darwinism’s influence, so no aspect of western culture will escape reevaluation in the light of Intelligent Design.

It is the empirical detectability of intelligent causes that renders Intelligent Design a fully scientific theory, and distinguishes it from the design arguments of philosophers, or what has traditionally been called “natural theology.” The world contains events, objects, and structures which exhaust the explanatory resources of undirected natural causes, and which can be adequately explained only by recourse to intelligent causes. Scientists are now in a position to demonstrate this rigorously. Thus what has been a long-standing philosophical intuition is now being cashed out as a scientific research program. 

Where does this leave special creation? Logically speaking, Intelligent Design is compatible with the starkest creationism (i.e., God creating all species at the beginning with the potential for adaptation to the environment). For Intelligent Design the first question is not how organisms came to be (though this is a research question that needs to be addressed), but whether they demonstrate clear, empirically detectable marks of being intelligently caused.

However, the good news is that Intelligent design brings God back into existence. People must consider who is this Intelligent Designer who exists outside of His creation. Could He be the God of the Bible?

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.Romans 1:18-20

The Creator who has gone to extraordinary lengths to make Himself known, even to sending His Son to pay the price for our redemption. His book the Bible demonstrates with fulfilled prophecy that it has been constructed by God to be His Story book of this Cosmos from its beginning to its prophesied end. We know the end of the story and the last one thousand years of this Cosmos will begin in the not too distant future.

The information on Intelligent Design is taken from the opening page of The Intelligent Design Movement, Discovery institute. http://www.discovery.org