Appendix 4: Famine Factors
Secular Chronology Confirmation
How current trends corroborate the Bible’s revealed timeline
In Biblical terms, we have seen how famine is used by God to get our attention—to warn us that we’ve fallen short of His intentions for us. For example, in Deuteronomy 28, the infamous “blessings and cursings” passage addressed to Israel, hunger was listed as one of the very first things they’d suffer if they failed to listen to God. “But if you will not obey the voice of Yahweh your God or be careful to do all His commandments and His statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you…. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.” (Deuteronomy 28:15, 17) A generation previously, Yahweh had used the prospect of hunger to awaken the Israelites to their constant need for His provision—though nobody came close to starving to death. Moses reminded them: “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Yahweh.” (Deuteronomy 8:3) And the Bible is peppered with instances where God used famine as a tool of judgment, a sign of His displeasure and a warning to repent.
Yahshua, in the Olivet Discourse, described the lead up to the Last Days, the signs of the end of the age: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.” (Mark 13:8) “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:11; see also Matthew 24:7) The United Nations estimates that 870 million people worldwide suffer from chronic undernourishment. As bad as that sounds, it’s “only” about one person in eight. So most of us aren’t used to going hungry.
But “famines” are listed as one of the harbingers of the end of the world as we know it. So if we’re living in the last days (or the next-to-last days), we should expect to see famines in the world increasing in severity and range as the days grow short. And perhaps we ought to start looking at the phenomenon of hunger with fresh eyes. That is, are calories without nutritional value a measure of “famine?” If the foods we eat don’t fuel and rebuild our bodies, are they really “foods” at all, by God’s definition? It’s an angle all too many of us miss, but we (as usual) need to learn to pay closer attention to God’s words and works.
But let us begin by looking at the traditional understanding of famine. Historically, famines have been caused by a variety of factors, and we have every reason to expect these to be continued. Perhaps the most obvious is drought. If insufficient rain falls (or water from other sources isn’t available), crops won’t grow as well, and yields will be diminished. So a steady and predictable water supply (preferably the “early and latter rain” spoken of so often in scripture as a blessing from God) is essential.
Another chronic cause of famine is war—something that by its very definition disrupts the production and distribution of food supplies. Wars have always been part of the human landscape, but we are reminded that “wars and rumors of war” are listed along with famine as harbingers of the Last Days. These days, of course, wars need not be “hot.” The so-called “cold war” between the Soviets and the western world did nothing to alleviate hunger in the world, stifling, as it did, the normal course of trade between nations with food shortages and nations with surpluses.
We have already seen how the trend toward the consolidation of power in the hands of a small ruling elite pushes us all toward poverty, whether we “feel it” or not. Widespread poverty, in itself, is a de facto cause of famine. If food is in short supply, market forces begin to have an effect on the region’s degree of food security. In such cases, the poor are always the first to suffer, for if food is scarce, only the rich are in a position to flout the laws of supply and demand. In other words, even if food is available, if you’re too poor to afford it, it’s a famine, as far as you’re concerned.
A related issue is politically driven famine. Perhaps the most blatant example in the last century was the holodomor—a manufactured Stalin-era famine in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s. As a direct result of the first Five-Year Plan, sweeping changes were implemented in the Soviet Union’s breadbasket—the Ukraine and neighboring Cossack regions—forcing a formerly productive peasantry to change the way they’d successfully grown food for centuries. Herded onto collective farms and forced to grow unfamiliar “cash crops” like sugar beets and cotton (instead of the traditional grains), failure was virtually assured. Whatever grain was grown was shipped off to the cities to feed Stalin’s new industrialized Russian machine, while the Ukrainian peasants starved. The jury is still out on whether the disaster was the “merely” the result of gross stupidity on the part of the Communist party “planners,” or whether it was a deliberate purge of independence-minded Ukrainians and Cossacks. It probably didn’t matter to the over three million souls who starved to death between 1932 and 1933—peacetime years, you’ll notice. Knowing how cunning and ruthless Stalin was in other matters, I strongly suspect deliberate genocide via central planning. And you wonder why I distrust big, powerful governments.
Of course, famines need not be “planned” to be man-caused. Since the end of World War II, there have been severe famines in (listed earliest to latest) Viet Nam, the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, China, Nigeria, Central Africa (Chad, Mauritania, Mali, etc.), Ethiopia (again), Bangladesh, Cambodia, Uganda, Ethiopia (once again), Somalia, North Korea, Sudan, Ethiopia (sigh), the Congo, and Somalia (again). Although droughts and wars played their part (and remember, droughts in scripture are invariably sent to encourage people’s repentance, and war is merely the outworking of a people’s unwillingness to trust Yahweh), virtually all of these places were (and are) plagued with either Islam or Communism of one stripe or another. Coincidence? I think not.
Natural (and unnatural) disasters also have a part to play in creating famines. When a food-producing region is subjected to extreme weather events of any conceivable kind—too hot (or cold), too wet (or dry)—or plagues of a hundred descriptions—anything from locusts, fruit flies, caterpillars, stem borers, beetles, weevils, or aphids, to molds and fungi—food production is compromised or decimated. The classic example of such a calamity is the great Irish potato famine of the mid-nineteenth century, which killed a million people (and forced the emigration of a million more—together reducing the population of Ireland by 20-25 percent). The potato had been introduced to Europe centuries before. Over the years it replaced grains and animal products among the Irish peasantry as the staple food source primarily because it grew well in the nutrient-poor Irish soil. The shift in the peasant diet was largely the result of the greed of arrogant (and absent) English landlords watching their “bottom line.” Things still worked reasonably well, however, until an outbreak of “Potato Blight” (Phytophthora infestans) lasting from 1845 to 1852 decimated the potato harvest, leaving the entire working class—about a third of Ireland’s entire population—with practically nothing to eat. The blight hit all of Europe, but Ireland was particularly hard hit because of a lack of genetic variation in their crop—almost total dependence on one vulnerable variety of potato, the “Irish Lumper.”
The typical solution to such “plagues” these days seems to be to soak everything—starting with the seeds themselves—in chemical pesticides and herbicides, but then of course, we end up eating the poison along with the fruit and vegetables. So a whole new agribusiness model has arisen—organic produce (i.e., what they used to call “food”). And the pendulum swings back toward poverty (or should I say, the poverty that exists becomes more apparent), since organic food is far more expensive to grow and market.
One of the reasons people—even in rural settings—tend to congregate in towns or villages is that food is easier to acquire where people live together, in greater variety than would otherwise be possible. The days of growing everything you eat are largely gone: farmers these days usually grow one or two things—corn, wheat, soybeans, alfalfa, cattle, chickens, or what have you—and their crops are for sale, not for personal consumption. Only a tiny minority have the land, leisure, and expertise they’d need to grow all of their own food: folks need money to pay for their property, equipment, energy, insurance, medical care, and (lest we forget) taxes. This in turn means that the vast majority of us are dependent on a local “marketplace” of some sort in which we can buy our food—food that’s grown somewhere else and brought into town.
So cities have their neighborhood markets and bodegas, and supermarkets proliferate in the suburbs, run by companies who rely on the fact that “everybody’s gotta eat.” No famine here, right? Well, perhaps. But there’s a disturbing trend developing in such unlikely places as big American cities: “food deserts.”
This is what happens. The owners of the food stores, whether independent or chains, take a good hard look at their bottom lines. They’re in business to make a profit by selling food, after all. But in certain areas—typically inner cities riddled with crime, poverty, and substance abuse—their costs of doing business are totally out of balance with their historic revenues. It’s not just that they get tired of being robbed all the time. It’s also that their customers can’t afford to buy what they’d really prefer to sell: the prime cuts and high-margin specialty foods go begging, while beans and rice, cheap, fatty meats, and low cost “convenience” foods sell just fine. Gang bangers sell drugs and hookers solicit business openly in their parking lots. The stores’ labor and security costs are too high, and their insurance premiums skyrocket—if they can get insured at all. Most sales involve food stamps or some other form of welfare assistance, so the government’s stifling bureaucracy is constantly involved in their business.
At some point, the store owners decide that being open for business in these neighborhoods doesn’t make any sense. It’s a survival tactic, like insurance companies “red-lining”—leaving unserved—whole neighborhoods, because they just can’t turn a profit there. As the inner city locations close, the residents are faced with a variety of unenviable options: travel farther to shop for food (which can be a great hardship if you rely on public transportation); buy food at local mini-marts and convenience stores (places that don’t typically stock much in the way of nutritional sustenance, and what they do stock is outrageously expensive for what it is); or eat more meals at fast-food restaurants (typically, not the best nutritional choice).
For increasing numbers of poor, then, providing good nutritional choices for their families is a real problem. These “food deserts” are little pockets of stealth famine situated right in the middle of the land of plenty. Chicago, Detroit, or Philadelphia may be big, impressive cities, but that doesn’t mean the people who live there can necessarily get a good meal.
When we think of “soil depletion,” we (or at least I) immediately conjure up visions of 1930s dust-bowl conditions, in which nutrient-rich organic topsoil that took thousands of years to build up was simply blown away over the course of a couple of years of drought—the result (in part) of decades of ruinous and invasive plowing practices—“overtillage,” which damages the soil’s structure. As we shall see, this stereotype of soil depletion merely scratches the surface of the Last Days reality. But I suppose it’s as good a place as any to begin our discussion of this component of the prophesied famine.
Agricultural production began in earnest in the American Great Plains in the 1880s, replacing prairie grasses with wheat, corn, soybeans, and other crops. Since that time, about half of the region’s topsoil has disappeared. Of course, the Midwest is still the nation’s “breadbasket,” but only because of the widespread use of fertilizers—mostly inorganic because they’re less expensive and (according to the brochure) contain higher concentrations of essential nutrients than organic (i.e., life-based) fertilizers. The whole point of using artificial fertilizers is to counteract the loss of nutrients in the soil through intensive farming: as soil fertility decreases, crop yields per acre plummet. In North America, a great deal of emphasis is thus placed on “soil management,” the art and science of keeping farmlands capable of producing as much grain (or whatever) this year as they did in the past. (Note that this is an entirely separate issue from human nutritional needs. Getting grain to grow is not necessarily the same thing as making sure it’s good for you.)
What can happen if the nutrient condition of the soil is ignored is the horror story of the South American rain forests. Here the nutrient content is low to begin with, but increasing population densities, industrial-scale logging operations, and slash-and-burn land reclamation practices, the soil can be depleted at an astonishing rate: one or two crops after the land has been cleared of its trees, and the land is virtually worthless for growing food—its nutrients have been almost completely removed.
Perhaps that’s why God placed man on a seven thousand year schedule (in our fallen state, that is), instead of, say, seventy thousand years. He knew the soil of the planet would have trouble “keeping up” once our population got near the seven billion mark. But He also told us how to keep our lands healthy, if only we’d trust Him. Let’s connect the dots…
The most important element in soil nutrition—the one that’s most readily depleted—is bio-available nitrogen. (Phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur are important, too, but only in relatively small amounts.) The air we breathe is 78% nitrogen, so there’s no shortage of the raw element. The “trick” is to get it into the soil in a form the plants can utilize. The first part of God’s formula for healthy soil is rainfall—the “early and latter rains” that are so consistently linked in scripture with Yahweh’s blessings upon mankind.
The second part (believe it or not) is lightning, which oxidizes atmospheric N2 to form plant-available nitrates. You may have been wondering why God was so “unthoughtful” as to place some of America’s richest soils—our nation’s breadbasket—right in the middle of “tornado alley,” a place where thunderstorms are apt to spawn those dreaded twisters. Why can’t we just have nice, sunny days, gentle breezes, and clear, starlit nights? First, because you need the rain, and second, because those thunderstorms produce the lightning needed to put badly needed nitrogen back into your soil (not to mention keeping the ozone layer intact so you won’t get fried by ultraviolet rays every time you walk out your front door).
The third element of Yahweh’s plan for maintaining nutrient-rich soil is found in the Torah. “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruit, but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to Yahweh. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.” (Leviticus 25: 3-4) You would be “mistaken” to assume that just because this is found in the Bible, it’s nothing but pointless religious hocus pocus. God told the Israelites (in the very next chapter) that keeping His commandments (such as this one) would result in “blessing.” It’s not a miracle; it’s simply the law of cause and effect. If we observed the law of the Sabbath year (that is, letting the land rest, being neither cultivated, sown, or harvested one year out of every seven) the soil would remain fertile and productive indefinitely.
Here’s how it works, in admittedly simplified terms: the objective (one of them, anyway) is to return nitrogen to the soil. It should be obvious by now that planting and harvesting crops year after year without a break removes this essential nutrient: every year that goes by without replenishing the nitrogen steadily diminishes the soil’s ability to produce a crop. Meanwhile, however, the hydrologic (weather) cycle continues unabated. Thunderstorms spawn lightning, which combines atmospheric nitrogen with oxygen, producing a plant-usable form of nitrogen (NO2) that’s brought to earth with the rain. Green plants in turn provide food for animals, creating manure (read: organic fertilizer—considered “too expensive” in a world that doesn’t trust Yahweh), as a byproduct—something that is supposed to be returned to the soil, providing soil nutrients of a more complex nature than just nitrogen. (Thus the case for feed lots, as opposed to farm-raised, grass-fed cattle, looks pretty stupid, as we shall see.)
This is where bacteria enter the picture. In this context, there are two types in play: denitrifying bacteria act on plants to return free nitrogen to the atmosphere. Meanwhile, nitrifying bacteria attack manure and decaying plants in the ground: with ammonia (NH3) from the animal wastes, nitrites are produced. Bacterial action in the soil then adds oxygen to make the nitrogen usable to plants (through their roots) in nitrate form.
If you’re sharp, you’ve begun to see how observing the sabbath year would tend to keep the soil fertile and productive. First, and most obviously, for one whole year in the cycle, there would be no crops sucking life-giving nutrients—nitrogen and other essentials—out of soil. But God’s rain (rich in nitrogen because of the normal thunderstorm activity) would continue to fall. Farm animals would continue to defecate, and bacteria would continue to do their thing. Cations (positively charged ions critical to soil health—look it up) would be exchanged. Mineral balance, pH, soil aeration, and other factors would be allowed to naturally adjust themselves without man’s uninformed and untimely interference.
But there’s even more to it. Man’s unrelenting war against weeds actually exacerbates the problem. (Google: “Roundup health dangers.”) If left alone for one year out of seven, these “weeds” would merely add to the decaying organic biomass fertilizing the soil when plowed under at the beginning of the next sabbatical cycle. And remember what I said about “overtillage” being one of the causes of the “dustbowl” conditions of the 1930s? Relentless plowing, year after year, eventually breaks down the clods to the point where the soil has no adherence structure. Leaving the soil alone for one year in seven helps to reverse that problem. And what about pests? With the occasional interruption in the yearly cycle of planting, growth, and harvesting (something the insects rely on), bug populations can be kept to a manageable level.
That’s all swell in theory, you might be protesting, but what farmer can afford to just shut down his entire operation for one year out of seven? Haven’t you ever heard of mortgages? Yes, usury is a big part of the problem these days—combined with the predatory greed of agribusiness. But consider this: the principle could still be applied by dividing a family farm into seven sections—only six of which would be under cultivation in any given year (on a rotating basis), the seventh being allowed to lie fallow according the Sabbath principle. Once a farmer was on this system, his costs (fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, seed, labor) would be reduced enough to offset the “loss” of crop income—which in practice wouldn’t really be a loss at all, because the six sevenths of his land that were “working” at any one time could (under God’s plan) be expected to produce more bountifully than the whole farm could have if he ignored Yahweh’s principles. This way, the land will hold up quite nicely: the only thing that will “wear out” faster than necessary is the farmer himself.
By the way, many folks have tried to torture the principle of the Sabbatical Year into a Biblical mandate for crop rotation. Sorry, guys. It’s just not there. While rotating crops periodically is indeed a good way to slow down the loss of some nutrients in the soil and break pest cycles, it does nothing to address the issue of overtillage—turning dirt clods into dust. No, God’s word stands. Where the land is concerned, give it a rest—and trust Him.
Remember: our whole reason for looking into the subject of soil depletion was that Christ predicted famine as one of the signs heralding the Last Days. Just because you haven’t missed a meal lately (or ever) is that really a sign that famine hasn’t touched you? Perhaps not. An article in Scientific American (April 27, 2011) points out that the foods that are available to us today, even in “first world” countries, do not deliver the same level of nutrition that they used to a generation or two ago. The article states that “Fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Sadly, each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before.” It’s equally true for fruits, vegetables, grains, or even meats: you are what you eat. If the soil that “feeds” your food has been starved to the point of exhaustion by short-sighted and greed-driven farming practices, the nutritional value that our grandparents used to enjoy isn’t available to us anymore—at any price.
The article goes on: “A landmark study on the topic by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. They studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition…. ‘Efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly,’ reported Davis, ‘but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.’ There have likely been declines in other nutrients, too, he said, such as magnesium, zinc and vitamins B-6 and E, but they were not studied in 1950 and more research is needed to find out how much less we are getting of these key vitamins and minerals.” We have sacrificed the essence of “food”—nutrition—on the twin altars of economics and marketing. Our fruits and veggies look as good or better than they ever did—they’re big, beautiful, and even tasty. But they don’t fuel or rebuild our bodies nearly as well as they used to. Some would call this “progress.” I call it famine.
“The Organic Consumers Association cites several other studies with similar findings: A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent. A similar study of British nutrient data from 1930 to 1980, published in the British Food Journal, found that in 20 vegetables the average calcium content had declined 19 percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent. Yet another study concluded that one would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one.”
When I was studying the animals that the Torah listed as “safe to eat” (in Leviticus 11) I explored the seemingly odd case of locusts—listed as Kosher, in spite of the fact that they’re (let’s face it) bugs. In The Owner’s Manual (Chapter 5) I wrote, “Oxford University researchers have discovered that locusts will regulate their food intake: when given food diluted fivefold with indigestible cellulose, the locusts merely increase their intake—fivefold! They will also compensate for past deficiencies in their diet if given the opportunity, eating precisely the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and salts. So locusts and their cousins are safe to eat (which is not to say they’re not an acquired taste).” Could this be one key to understanding obesity in America today? Our bodies (according to the theory) “know” they aren’t getting the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive from the foods we eat—even though we’re getting plenty of calories. So we tend to over-eat, subconsciously trying (usually unsuccessfully) to satisfy cravings for things we don’t even realize we need—like calcium, potassium, or magnesium. We have become the most over-fed famine victims in history. (Well, it’s a theory: I suspect I’m overweight mostly because I sit here at this keyboard for days on end exercising only my mind and my fingers.)
Lynn Berry, in Natural News, writes, “Dr. Linus Pauling [Nobel Prize winning founding father of both molecular biology and quantum chemistry] is famous for saying, ‘You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.’ The reason is that minerals are required for every cell in our body to function. If minerals are lacking in our food, vitamins are of no use because vitamins (and enzymes) need minerals for them to work in our bodies. This means that vitamin supplements would be of no use unless we also have adequate minerals…. Our focus on progress in the name of money is having significant impacts on our health. Money was the very reason why authorities did not over the past 70 years insist on sustainable farming practices, and why producers of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers held sway. So some people have benefited financially, but what use is money if it cannot buy us food that will sustain us and keep us healthy in the long term?”
Soil depletion, then, is a root cause of the “famine” that even “well-fed” people suffer today—and the root cause of soil depletion is (at least partially) the love of money. As Paul told Timothy: “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (I Timothy 6:10) Of course, the root cause of the love of money is a failure to love, revere, and honor Yahweh. It’s the First Commandment all over again: “You shall have no other Gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:2) That includes Mammon.
If the trend continues at its present pace, by the fourth decade of the twenty-first century much of the world’s food-producing topsoil will be either depleted beyond timely restoration, or be so dependent on chemical fertilizers and pesticides it can’t support even a fraction of today’s massive population. And much of the food that is grown will be a lie—promising nutritious fuel for our lives, but delivering only empty, unbalanced calories: stealth famine. This in turn will allow diseases and ailments to proliferate in ways we haven’t seen since the Middle Ages. (See the article on “Pestilence,” below.)
I can’t help but wonder if the following precepts from the Torah may include a subtle caution against genetically modified foods (commonly known as GMOs). We read, “You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.” (Leviticus 19:19) And, “You shall not sow your vineyard with different kinds of seed, lest the yield of the seed which you have sown and the fruit of your vineyard be defiled. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear a garment of different sorts, such as wool and linen mixed together.” (Deuteronomy 22:9-11)
It should be obvious by now that the primary lesson Israel was to learn through this (and pass on to us) was that we are to be holy—set apart from the world for Yahweh’s glory and purpose. Our “spiritual DNA,” our life in Yahweh, is not to be “crossed” with the world’s—we are to remain separate and pure. “Mixed seed” brings to mind the “wheat and tares” parable of Christ—one of them was fruitful and nutritious, and the other was just a counterfeit weed, bereft of any value to anyone. The linen-wool mixture speaks of a misguided attempt to blend works (wool) with grace (linen—see Ezekiel 44:18) as a soteriological strategy. The Bible, in contrast, presents God’s grace alone as the door to redemption, with good works resulting from that salvation: evidence of the efficacy of grace, not a means of attaining it. The prohibition against plowing with an ox and a donkey together warns against the “unequal yoking” the clean with the unclean when trying to do the work God has assigned to us. Once again, we are to remain holy, even if doing so seems inconvenient or inefficient to us.
As so often happens, it all boils down to a question of whether or not we are willing to take Yahweh’s word for something we don’t entirely understand. We could say (in our arrogance), “Oh, that’s only symbolic,” or “Oh, that’s just for the Jews.” But I can’t get past the idea that Yahweh said to do it. So to me, it just makes good sense to seriously explore His precepts with an eye to discovering what may be hidden beneath the surface. We should, then, take a good, hard look at GMOs in light of their newfound prevalence in the world and their potential impact on the earth’s food supply over the next couple of decades.
First, however, we should define what they are—and what they are not. A genetically modified organism (GMO) is one “whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, insects, plants, fish, and mammals. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods, and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food. The term GMO is very close to the technical legal term, ‘living modified organism’ defined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which regulates international trade in living GMOs (specifically, ‘any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology’).” That is to say, these living organisms (some of which can be used as food) have been purposely genetically engineered, a process that “involves the mutation, insertion, or deletion of genes. When genes are inserted, they usually come from a different species, which is a form of horizontal gene transfer. In nature this can occur when exogenous DNA penetrates the cell membrane for any reason. To do this artificially may require attaching the genes to a virus or just physically inserting the extra DNA into the nucleus of the intended host.”—Wikipedia.
To put things in perspective, this is not remotely the same thing as selective breeding or cross-pollination, techniques that have been around for millennia. These things are done to strengthen (or weaken) certain aspects of a species’ natural characteristics. A few examples will suffice. At one time all dogs were rather wolf- or coyote-like. But with selective breeding, today we’ve got varieties ranging from tiny Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus to Great Danes and Mastiffs. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear they were different species altogether. And how about corn? The “maize” that the early European explorers found growing in the new world was a domesticated version of a grass from the genus zea, a tiny-eared plant called teosinte. Through selective breeding to take advantage of natural mutations, the fat yellow corn we know today was purposely developed over many generations.
Well, perhaps I shouldn’t say “the corn we know today.” How about “the corn we knew until a few years ago”? Today’s corn is more likely than just about any other plant to have been genetically modified at the molecular level. The game these days (one I believe the Torah may have been warning us to avoid) is to alter the actual genetic profile of a plant’s or animal’s genome. This may involve forcing mutations or adding or deleting genetic material—and not necessarily from something closely related, as when we grow hybrid roses. Sometimes, genetic material from an entirely different species is added, like adding crab DNA to corn, or a non-pathogenic strain of E. coli bacteria for large-scale laboratory production of an enzyme (chymosin) used in the manufacture of cheese. About 60% of the hard cheese made in the U.S. is made with genetically engineered chymosin today, something the government assures us is “safe.” But considering the government’s abysmal track record for honesty, or even competence, I have my doubts.
These days, most genes used in genetic manipulation for fun and profit come from bacterial sources known as plasmids. The process is only possible, of course, because Yahweh designed all living things—plants and animals alike—to use the same genetic “alphabet,” the DNA molecule: the famous double helix structure discovered by Watson and Crick back in 1953. Taking DNA from one kind of organism and splicing it into the genome of another is, of course, something Moses couldn’t have begun to comprehend or communicate, hence the broad-brush approach of Yahweh’s precepts about remaining pure, holy, and set-apart. The end product of the of genetic modification process is called a “transgenic organism” and the building blocks used to create it are called “recombinant DNA.” These are sometimes referred to as chimeric DNA, because they’re often made of material from two or more different species, like the mythical chimera mentioned in Homer’s Illiad—a fire-breathing creature composed of a lion, a goat, and a snake. (And in case you’ve forgotten your mythology, sighting the chimera was considered a bad omen—a portent of storms, shipwrecks, and volcanic eruptions. It seems that even the ancient Greeks did what they could to warn us that this maybe isn’t the smartest idea man ever came up with.)
If you ask the government, or the people who manufacture and distribute GM food products, they’ll insist that GMOs are perfectly safe. There’s no doubt that they help big agribusiness companies improve efficiencies and yields—enhancing the bottom line. But what they say is less telling than what they do: in America, at least, the people pushing GMOs (the poster child for the industry seems to be Monsanto, but there are many others) have so far been successful in blocking any and all attempts to require that the presence of GMOs is indicated on a product’s labeling, along with the net contents declaration, ingredients list, and nutritional facts.
In a former life, I was a packaging designer, and I designed quite a few food packages. It seems exceedingly odd to me that if you buy corn flakes, they have to tell you how much sodium, cholesterol, and fat there is, but they don’t have to tell you if the ingredients in your breakfast cereal have been genetically modified by splicing gene sequences from some bacteria into them. The “paranoid fringe” aren’t even demanding GMOs to be banned outright (in most cases); they’re merely asking that food producers tell the truth about what’s been done to what we eat. If they have nothing to hide—if GMOs are really so “safe”—then why have Monsanto and other companies spent over half a billion dollars in lobbying efforts and campaign contributions, all to hide their presence from consumers?
A quick Internet search will turn up literally thousands of sites warning of the dangers—real or perceived—of GMO technology. I’ll give you but one example: this is from the website for the Institute for Responsible Technology:
“Genetically modified foods…Are they safe? The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) doesn’t think so. The Academy reported that ‘Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,’ including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods.” (Good luck with that: they’re not labeled.)
“Before the FDA decided to allow GMOs into food without labeling, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored.” It makes one wonder who got paid off, and how much they got.
“Since then, findings include: (1) Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt [Bacillus thuringiensis] cotton plants. (2) Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies. (3) More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller. (4) Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy changed significantly. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. (5) Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity. (6) Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7 times the amount of a known soy allergen. Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced. (7) The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer. (8) Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc.” Considering how focused the world’s self-proclaimed elite are on reducing the world’s population, could it be that they’ve seized upon GMOs as one way to make the human race infertile? I may be paranoid, but that’s not the craziest idea I’ve ever had.
“Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical trials of GM foods. The only published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have their GM proteins produced continuously inside us. This could mean that if the antibiotic gene inserted into most GM crops were to transfer, it could create super diseases, resistant to antibiotics. And if the gene that creates Bt-toxin in GM corn were to transfer, it might turn our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories.” Should we be alarmed that over 65% of all corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to produce the Bt-toxin, or that 80% of our processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients? I am.
How, precisely, do the problems inherent in GMOs tend to manifest themselves? Let’s track the cause-and-effect sequence of just one trait that’s built into genetically modified corn and soybeans. In order to combat pests in the field, these crops are genetically spliced with Bt-toxin, Bacillus thuringiensis, which turns the grain itself into a pesticide. It acts by creating holes or pores in the digestive tracts of insects. America’s Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA) goes so far as to label Bt-corn and Bt-cotton as registered pesticides, but they insist that “Bt-toxin will have absolutely no influence on human or mammalian cells.”
Really? The IFRT folks report that “Research published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology [in February, 2012] proves them wrong. Researchers ‘documented that modified Bt toxins [from GM plants] are not inert on human cells, but can exert toxicity.’ In high concentrations (generally higher than that produced in average Bt corn), Bt-toxin disrupts the membrane in just 24 hours, causing fluids to leak through the cell walls. The authors specifically note, ‘This may be due to pore formation like in insect cells.’” It appears that Bt-toxin may indeed create gastrointestinal havoc—just as it was designed to do.
Bt-toxin is designed to kill insects in the field—ostensibly a good thing if you’ve got a forty thousand acres under cultivation and you’re trying to turn a profit. But is the genetically induced pesticide also a problem for larger animals (or people)? Yes, it is. Butchers have long noticed that the intestinal tracts of the GMO-fed animals they slaughter are compromised in several ways. First, the intestinal walls are thinner and more permeable than in non-GMO-fed livestock. (American sausage makers have had to resort to buying their natural casings from New Zealand, because domestic GMO-corn-fed casings are no longer strong enough.) This also means that the nutrients in the grain are not being properly absorbed into the meat. (Forget the fact that God designed them to eat grass in the field, not corn in some feed lot.) Second, the intestinal microflora—the natural bacteria that are supposed to be breaking down the food in the intestinal tract—are totally out of balance. Meat packers have noted that butchered GMO-fed pigs and cattle have a horrible stench and discolored organs, due to a radical shift in intestinal flora, when the animals are fed GM corn or soybeans.
How are GMOs throwing gut bacteria off? Most genetically engineered crops are “herbicide tolerant,” so they end up with far greater concentrations of weed killers in the “food” portions of the plants than they ordinarily would. The two most widely used weed killers, Roundup and Liberty, have antibacterial properties: they kill the natural bacteria that normally control the growth of botulism in animals and humans. So disaster is compounded by catastrophe: intestines trying to cope with GMOs (whether of animals or the people who eat them) become porous and thin-walled, less able to absorb whatever nutrients are left in the food. The balance of microflora that’s required for digestion (again, either in the animal or the one eating it) ceases to function properly. This, you may have noticed, is one more permutation of the “famine” that Yahshua predicted will plague us in the days leading up to His return.
And remember, pestilence—disease—is predicted alongside famine. So it is significant that physician Gary Gordon notes: “If [Bt-toxin] is causing an increased propensity for our intestines to become permeable or leaky and for foods to be presented to our bloodstream in a premature fashion, the havoc that it will cause will be across the entire spectrum of disease, from premature aging and Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s to autism to cancer to asthma.” Autism in particular, it must be noted, has a high statistical correlation to gastrointestinal issues—the same issues that are so characteristic of GMO-fed livestock.
Of course, the thing autism is known for—the thing that makes it so debilitating—is the characteristic behaviors its sufferers display. And again, we find a terrifying GMO connection. Researchers using rats as subjects noticed a profound shift in behavior when their subjects’ diets were switched from non-GMO to genetically engineered food. Over the course of six or eight weeks, the rats went from being so docile they could be picked up, handled, and treated almost as pets, to being skittish, irritable, unsociable, and antagonistic toward their cage-mates. Farmers reported the same sort of thing with pigs fed GMO corn. They couldn’t get along with other pigs; aggression and paranoia became evident; they even bit the ears and tails of the other pigs. Some piglets, upon weaning, seemed to forget where the feed trough was, dying from starvation even though food was available. One may be tempted to chalk these problems up to stress from living in unnatural confined spaces, but the destructive and antisocial behaviors disappeared when non-GMO feeds were reintroduced.
Laboratory experiments done to study the specific effects of GMO versus non-GMO foods, using rodents as test subjects, were also revealing. One researcher reported, “The mice fed on GM food seemed less active while in their cages. The differences in activity between the two cages [GMO vs. non-GMO] grew as the experiment progressed.” When he moved the mice to weigh them, more differences became apparent: “The mice from the GM cage were noticeably more distressed by the occurrence than the other mice. Many were running round and round the basket, scrabbling desperately in the sawdust, and even frantically jumping up the sides, something I’d never seen before. They were clearly more nervous. . . . For me this was the most disconcerting evidence that GM food is not quite normal.” Another researcher reported that rats fed GM soy exhibited anxiety and aggression, while those fed non-GMO soy did not. The GM-fed animals attacked and bit each other—and the worker. Worse, more than 50% of the offspring from the GMO-fed group died within three weeks when compared with a 10% death rate among the group fed natural soy. The GM group also had high rates of infertility.
I find it noteworthy that, as the fastest growing developmental disability, the incidence of autism tracks perfectly (if you’ll pardon the word choice) with the introduction of GMOs. In 1975, only one person in 5,000 suffered from autism; by 1995, that had risen to one in 500; in 2001, it was one in 250; by 2009, one person in 110 suffered from this debilitating malady. What, then, do the years between now and my hypothetical “target date” of 2033 portend? You do the math.
The stunning correlation between autism and dietary GMOs is something we dare not ignore. And the correlation is just as striking with other issues such as infertility, lung damage, cancer, immune impairment, liver, kidney, heart and spleen dysfunction, SIDS, vitamin deficiencies, premature aging, and insulin regulation problems. I have only scratched the surface here: the truth is as deep as it is ugly. If the trend continues at its present pace, by the fourth decade of the twenty-first century it will be nearly impossible to procure food that isn’t tainted with GMOs, and half the world will be dealing with the debilitating effects of autism or some other health plague that is directly attributable to man’s constant willingness to tinker with God’s perfect design in order to make a quick buck.
I should reiterate at this point that this was all prophesied (albeit subtly): famine and pestilence (the kinds of things GMOs apparently bring to our world) are going to be part of life on earth as the Last Days approach, or Christ is a liar. Ergo, there’s nothing we can do to stop them. So our proper response to this bad news shouldn’t be burning GM crops in the field (unless they belong to you, of course), lynching Monsanto execs, or engaging in political activism designed to replace the old politicians with all new ones. The hour is far too late for any of that. Rather, we should (1) know of a certainty that the time of Christ’s return grows near, and comport ourselves accordingly; (2) feed our families as well as we can, growing our own food if possible, or at least avoiding processed foods and GMO-fed meats to the best of our ability. (Corn and soy are particularly suspect, at least in America, and they’re found in ’most everything.) And (3) educate our loved ones on how to remain reasonably healthy until our Messiah calls us home at the sound of the last trump.
The Disappearance of Honeybees
Another harbinger of worldwide famine in these Last Days is the puzzling mass die-offs of honey bees that we’ve seen in the past decade or so. The strange and largely inexplicable (or at least consensus-resistant) disappearance of honey bee populations is a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. The primary indicator of CCD is that very few adult honey bees (or none at all) are found in the hive; a live queen is present, but no honey bee corpses. It’s as if the workers have simply flown off and failed to return to the hive, leaving no forwarding address. There’s usually even honey left in the hive, and immature bees (brood) are often present—just no mature honey bees.
Although CCD is a recent phenomenon, the world has seen spontaneous and sporadic bee colony losses before. There were recorded honey bee disappearances in the 1880s, 1920s, and the 1960s, and in 1995-96, Pennsylvania beekeepers lost 53 percent of their bee colonies without any specific identifiable cause. That being said, the problem has never this persistent or widespread before. If it continues (as it seems likely to do) CCD could have a huge negative effect on the world’s ability to feed itself within the next couple of decades. Albert Einstein is said to have remarked that if the honey bee were to disappear altogether, mankind would live for only four more years. It’s a theory I’d hate to see tested.
About a third of the plants we eat depend to some degree upon insects—mostly honeybees—for pollination. Insect pollination is an important (and sometimes essential) step in the growth of many of the fruits, nuts, seeds, and green vegetables that people like to eat. Wikipedia lists 120 plant families used for food that are, to one extent or another, dependent on pollinating insects. I suppose we could do without macadamia nuts, watermelons, and zucchini (and dozens of other things, including honey) if we had to, although our quality of life would be diminished with each loss. But there’s more to this than what goes directly into the normal human diet. We (well, some of us) eat animals too, and what they eat is also affected by the presence or absence of bees—alfalfa, clover, buckwheat, and soybeans, for example. The twin blessings of the Promised Land, “milk and honey,” are related concepts, for even cows depend to some extent on how well honeybees do their jobs. And the problem goes even deeper. Although plants such as root vegetables and salad greens can indeed grow without pollination when started from seeds, they may require insect activity to produce seeds for the next generation.
It may come as a surprise to “city-folk” that much of the pollination chores in commercial agriculture are done with the assistance of professional beekeepers, who move their hives from location to location as needed. This has been the case for many decades now. In 1945, managed bee colonies in America numbered about five million. But despite a vast increase in the agricultural output of the nation—with agribusiness doing whatever it can to keep up with the demands of a rapidly expanding world population—our total number of honey bee colonies has shrunk to only about 2.5 million today. This, of course, forces beekeepers to transport their hives over much longer distances than ever before, in the process exposing the insects to a wider range of hazards than they ever would have faced in the wild.
Some areas (notably California) have reported up to a seventy percent decline in the number of bees. How the hives fare over the winter tells the tale. Annual over-winter losses between 2006-2011 averaged about 33 percent each year, with a third of these losses attributed to CCD by beekeepers. (That is, a third of the losses were from unexplained causes, things they couldn’t chalk up to known hazards, diseases, or the normal cycle of colony maturity.) The unusually mild winter of 2011-2012 was an exception, when total losses dropped to “only” 22 percent. But everyone agrees that there’s far more to CCD than cold winters. Though the bee colonies can recover to some extent in the spring, there has still been an alarming net loss in the world’s honey bee populations—one that could contribute to famine in the world’s very near future.
Domestic bees aren’t alone in their plight. Wild bees and other pollinating insects (which are just as important as domesticated bees in pollinating food crops) have been hit hard as well. In fact, feral honey bee populations in the U.S. have dropped an alarming 90 percent over the last 50 years. Fifteen pollinating insect species have earned unenviable spots on the U.S. endangered species list. And the dominoes continue to fall: the World Conservation Union gloomily predicts that 20,000 species of flowering plants could disappear over the next few decades, mostly resulting from the global declines in wild pollinator populations. So you may want to “stop and smell the roses” now, while there are still roses to smell.
There are any number of theories to explain CCD, from pesticides, to pollution, to poor nutrition, to pests, including viruses and fungi. Some of the more creative doomsday theorists have blamed cell phone radiation or the genetic modification of crops (something that actually deserves a closer look, in light of what we’ve already discovered about GMOs). I also wonder if the earth’s weakening magnetic field (by which bees presumably navigate their way back to the hive) may have something to do with it.
Perhaps decreasing genetic variation is a factor. (After all, it exacerbated the Irish potato famine of the 1840s.) The introduction (whether intended or not) of non-native species has reduced the numbers of native pollinators in the U.S. and elsewhere. Does anyone remember the “killer bee” scare of a few decades ago? These “Africanized Honey Bees” displaced native bee populations as they advanced from South America into the north. But the European honey bee (the variety commercial beekeepers raise) is an invasive species as well. It too competes with our native insects for limited resources.
Two potential causes for Colony Collapse Disorder in particular have drawn the attention of researchers. The first is the over-use of certain class of pesticides. Known as neonicotinoids (“neonics” for short), they’re chemically related to nicotine. They are said to have “little effect on mammals,” an observation in which I find little comfort, for some reason. Neonics act as a nerve poison in insects, and were designed to kill aphids and beetles. But they’ve also been linked to honey bee deaths, a fact attested to by the USDA. They harm bees, it is suspected, by disrupting the navigational ability which they use to find flowers and make their way back to the hive. Everyone seems to agree that neonics basically scramble the bees’ little brains.
The only question left to be answered is, at what level of exposure do neonics become a problem for bees? You’ve got to wonder at the sanity of scientists who readily admit that these neurotoxins are bad (which, let’s face it, was the whole idea), but who insist that bees (who are bigger than their intended victims) can surely withstand a little bit of the poison with no ill effects (or at least, they will suffer only “acceptable losses”). That’s like giving your children “just a little bit” of arsenic in their orange juice each morning, because some traditional Chinese herbalists used it to fight diseases like acute promyelocytic leukemia, and you’re pretty sure “just a little bit” of it won’t hurt them. The reckless arrogance of these scientists is stunning.
The EU recently banned neonicotinoids for two years so they could study the link (if it exists) between this class of pesticide and CCD. The proposal met with fierce resistance from chemical and pesticide manufacturers, of course. The moratorium was granted only because of overwhelming popular support—nearly three million Europeans signed petitions begging the government to take action.
Meanwhile, the American Environmental Protection Agency sent (count ’em) three representatives to California’s San Joaquin Valley (home to 800,000 acres of bee-dependent almond trees) to “show their concern” for their plight. Wow. Unimpressed (since the EPA is carrying on an openly incestuous relationship with pesticide and GMO-producing corporations) a coalition of beekeepers, environmental and consumer groups sued the EPA in April, 2013 for its failure to protect bees from harmful pesticides. Peter Jenkins, of the Center for Food Safety, has called for the tightening of pesticide regulations in this country, complaining that, “The one factor that EPA actually has control over is the one that they refuse to regulate.”
Richard Schiffman reports, “In one of the most widely publicized studies, scientists at Harvard were actually able to duplicate the symptoms of CCD by exposing bees over a 23 week period to a low dose of imidacloprid, a neonic which is produced by the German company Bayer AG. Another report published in PLOS One found ‘remarkably high’ levels of neonics and other agro-chemical toxins in pollen collected by honeybees, leading, the researchers said, to significant reductions in overall honey bee fitness. Yet another study conducted by Jeffrey Pettis, the head of the US Department of Agriculture’s Bee Research Laboratory, concluded that exposure to the neonic imidacloprid (the most popular pesticide in the world) makes bees more susceptible to infection by a variety of common pathogens.”
The second potential CCD culprit (at least, one that researchers can blame without running afoul of the PC police and costing them their funding) is a blood-sucking bee parasite known as the Varroa mite. Introduced into American bee populations in the 1980s and ’90s (along with tracheal mites), these could prove to be a significant factor in our bees’ increasing inability to hold the hives together. Varroa mites latch onto the bees and feed on their fluids, weakening the insects. It has been suggested that one possible solution would be to genetically engineer new varieties of bees that could resist the mites.
Sure. What could possibly go wrong?
And although this wouldn’t help to explain CCD in feral bee colonies, there is a widespread practice among commercial beekeepers that seems guaranteed to compromise the health of their hives. They’ve been harvesting the honey from their hives and replacing it (since bees have to eat too) with high-fructose corn syrup—which is sort of the entomological equivalent of feeding your kids Skittles and Mountain Dew for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Forget the fact that 65% of all corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to be insect-lethal. (Remember what Bt-toxin does? It destroys the gut and weakens the immune system.) High-fructose corn syrup lacks the critical ingredients contained in natural honey that would serve to combat the ill effects of environmental toxins like neonicotinoids. Specifically, it is bereft of the enzyme p-coumaric (not surprisingly, found in their own honey), a nutrient crucial to the regulation of the bees’ immune systems.
So here’s the bottom line: (1) Critically important honey bee populations are decreasing. (2) Agribusiness giants, GMO developers, and pesticide manufacturers are well aware that their practices and products are doubtlessly a big part of the problem, but their profitability depends on doing “business as usual.” Covering up their culpability, then, has merely become part of the “overhead,” a tax deductible component of the cost of doing business. (3) Governmental agencies like the EPA, USDA, and FDA, knowing where their funding comes from, are increasingly reluctant to do anything meaningful to deal with the impending disaster. There always seems to be time for another study, another field test, another theory. There are a thousand ways to drag one’s feet if the money’s there. Real solutions are assailed and ridiculed, and whistleblowers are persecuted (and sometimes prosecuted) as traitors.
Let us reprise the definition of Colony Collapse Disorder: a few pages back, I wrote, “The primary indicator of CCD is that very few adult honey bees (or none at all) are found in the hive; a live queen is present, but no honey bee corpses are found. It’s as if the workers have simply flown off and failed to return to the hive, leaving no forwarding address. There’s usually even honey left in the hive, and immature bees (brood larvae) are often present—just no mature honey bees.”
I don’t know about you, but to me that description sounds an awful lot like something else the scriptures tell us to expect. Here’s my crazy idea of the day: CCD reminds me of what the world will feel like after the rapture of the church. We (like the bees) will leave no corpses behind in the hive (the world)—we will have been “caught up into the clouds” to be with Christ, as it’s described in I Thessalonians 5:16-17 and I Corinthians 15:51-52. The “leaders,” the “wealth,” the infrastructure, the unproductive, and the parasites will all still be there, but those faithful workers who actually made the golden sweet stuff and brought “value” to the hive will have departed, never to return—and no one who’s left behind will have a clue as to what happened, how, or why. The “hive” will have collapsed, even if the queen and the larvae don’t realize it yet.
And if you don’t mind stretching the metaphor to the breaking point, it seems to me that the brood bees, the immature larvae left behind in the hive, could be analogous to Laodicea, the seventh and last church on Yahshua’s “mailing list” in Revelation 2 and 3—the original recipients of John’s vision. Whereas the Philadelphians (church #6) represent the honey bees who have left the hive (in the rapture: see Revelation 3:10), the “larvae” left behind are like those who will face the terrors of the Tribulation without the benefit of the worker bees. Will they survive? Only if they take Yahshua’s advice: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold [immutable purity] refined in the fire [the crucible of the Tribulation], that you may be rich; and white garments [imputed righteousness], that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see [that is, overcome your spiritual blindness]. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:18-19) The subsequent record strongly implies that multitudes will repent, even though many will pay for their former immaturity and willful blindness with their mortal lives.
But as I said when I began this rant, the Bible predicts famine as a harbinger to the Last Days. It is coming. And the disappearance of the honey bees could well be a major contributor to the plague of famine that will visit the world before the return of Christ. It remains to be seen just how severe the famine will become in the days before the rapture, but it is guaranteed to take on “Biblical” proportions during the Tribulation—the last seven years of the age.
In John’s apocalyptic vision, he saw this scene: “Now I watched when the Lamb [Yahshua] opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’...When He [Yahshua] opened the third seal, I heard the third living being 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 beings, saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!’” (Revelation 6:1, 5-6) All sorts of basic foodstuffs are going to be in such short supply, they’ll become terribly expensive—due, at least in part, to a shortage of honey bees. But what does it mean not to “harm the oil and the wine”? As it turns out, neither olive trees nor grapevines depend on honeybees for the development of their fruit. Could it be that we’ve stumbled upon a central cause of the severe and deadly famine of the Tribulation years—the disappearance of the honey bees?
But there is a lot more to nutrition than olive oil and wine. Honey bees have always had a great deal to do with putting food on our tables, but today they are disappearing at an alarming rate—worldwide. If the trend continues at its present pace, by the fourth decade of the twenty-first century, the typical human diet will be inadequate, monochromatic, and horrendously expensive.
Once again, however, I should reiterate that our energies should not be squandered in a vain effort to stave off the demise of these valuable and productive insects, or in trying to circumvent anything else God told us (or merely intimated) would happen as the day approached. Rest assured, Yahweh is not done with the world: He’s going to need it for at least another thousand years. If we (those believers who survive the Tribulation or who will inhabit the Millennial kingdom as raptured immortals) need honey bees, God will see to it that bees are present.
Agribusiness and Famine
With a world population now topping seven billion souls and continuing to grow at an unprecedented rate, it was inevitable that the growing, processing, and marketing of food for the masses would be taken over by “specialists” who could be far more efficient in getting large quantities of food from where it’s grown to where it’s eaten than individual farmers, ranchers, and fishermen ever could. As a whole, this industry does a marvelous job of doing what it can to keep the world fed. But there are problems fundamentally inherent in the whole idea as well. These too, I suppose, were inevitable.
I was once on the fringes of the agribusiness world. As a packaging designer, I dealt with food producers on a regular basis: poultry, fish, snack foods, liquid foods like dressings, syrups, and sauces, ramen noodles, even nutritional supplements and bottled water. I not only had to know my own side of the business—design, visual and verbal communication, marketing, legal issues, print technologies, and packaging materials—but I often got quite familiar with my clients’ challenges as well. Although they were selling processed foods, the actual nutritional aspects of their products often had to take a back seat to more mundane issues. How could they mechanize processes to keep their labor costs in line? What could they do to enhance the flavor? How could they extend the shelf life? How could they best maintain product consistency (since the labels by law had to list certain nutritional realities, ingredients, cooking instructions, etc.).
Their businesses became (out of necessity) more about chemistry, cost analysis, and logistics, than about the food itself. They didn’t have to produce (for example) foods with a certain minimum level of riboflavin or protein, or less than “X” amount of sodium or fat. But they did have to be able to back up any labeling claims they made with hard laboratory analysis. The only incentive they had to make and market nutritious food was the keen eye of careful shoppers—label readers. Of course, sometimes it was a “given” that the food was horrible for you: ramen noodles, for instance, were expected to be high in fat and loaded with salt. As long as it was convenient and tasted good, nobody really cared. Chocolate syrup wasn’t really supposed to be “good for you.” But if you were selling gourmet frozen chicken entrees in health food stores (as one of my clients did) then your “numbers” had better look good to discerning health-conscious consumers. And if you wanted any repeat business, the food had to taste good and be affordable as well.
As I intimated before, today’s epiphany concerning “famine” is that it can no longer be strictly defined as “not getting enough to eat.” For many of us, it now means “not getting the right nutrients from the foods we do eat.” Most of us think we’re eating well, when the fact is that increasingly, we’re merely consuming nutritionally bankrupt calories. We may feel full, but our bodies are actually suffering from starvation. It doesn’t diminish our waistlines (quite the opposite), but it does affect our physical performance, our mental acuity, our “drive,” energy level, cognitive awareness, and the ability of our bodies to repair themselves. Ironically, the more empty calories we eat, the less we are able to perceive our own predicament. But the starvation of the world (in this sense) is a process that has been gaining steam for generations—it has proceeded right under our noses, with glacial deliberation. The contrast only shows up when you begin studying the statistical outliers—the increasing incidence of autism, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, diabetes, and ADHD, for example.
Beyond Health News reports that, “Today, the conventional produce you buy at the supermarket is vastly inferior to what was available only fifty years ago. Compared to fifty years ago, you have to eat twice as many vegetables to get the same amount of calcium. You have to eat four carrots to get you same magnesium, and up to twenty carrots to get the same amount of zinc, that used to be in just one carrot. Today, food is harvested before it is ripe so that it can be shipped, but this reduces the nutritional content by as much as 80 percent. ‘Fresh’ produce is days to weeks old before it gets to the store.
“Nutrients are lost rapidly after the produce is harvested. For example, spinach loses 60 percent of its folic acid in three days. Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli and green beans lose 50 percent of their vitamin C long before they reach the produce counter. When you cook these vegetables, it results in even more losses, including another 25 percent of the vitamin C, 70 percent of vitamin B1 and 50 percent of B2. Eating a “balanced diet” is not as easy as it sounds! The leading cause of disease in America is malnutrition—virtually every American suffers from malnutrition to one degree or another….”
Beyond Health, it should be noted, is in the business of selling nutritional supplements. But that doesn’t negate the fact that the vast majority of Americans—arguably the best-fed people on earth—are deficient in dietary zinc, Vitamin B6, and magnesium. We are also short on vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, C, and D, calcium, iron, enzymes and essential fatty acids. It makes you wonder what dietary essentials they’re short of in Papua New Guinea or Somalia.
“No wonder more than three-out-of-four Americans have a diagnosable chronic disease, and almost all of the remainder are in the early stages of disease. We are a sick population and getting sicker every year. The typical factory-produced, low-quality foods we get at supermarkets and restaurants are tragically far from the kind of food that can supply our cells with all the nutrients they need to provide us with good health. Unfortunately, these realities are all but ignored by modern medicine because our physicians have little or no training in nutrition, and their focus is on disease [that is, dealing with symptoms], not prevention. It has been estimated that our ancestors consumed three-to-four times more nutrients than we get today. Americans spend 90 cents of every [food] dollar on processed foods, which are lacking in nutrition. Yet the decline in the nutrient quality of our food is only half the reason why supplementation is needed. The other reason is that changes in our environment and lifestyle make our need for nutrients higher than ever.”
Many of these “environmental toxins” are a bio-cultural trade off. In order to prevent disease-causing bacteria from proliferating in our public water supplies, city water sources are treated with chlorine—which (taste aside) does its job reasonably well. But chlorine also creates an “oxidizing” environment—introducing so-called “free radicals” that age us more quickly and compromise our DNA and immune systems. Ozone in the air (O3, a byproduct of certain chemical reactions endemic to the modern world) also increases the amount of oxidants in our environment. But ozone, you’ll recall, is a necessary—even crucial—component of the upper atmosphere, shielding our planet from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays from the sun. Other oxidizing hazards in our modern world are the additives found in processed foods (put there to enhance visual appeal, flavor, or shelf life), and prescription drugs—especially cholesterol-lowering drugs (which deplete nutrients such as coenzyme Q10, vitamins A, B12, D, and E, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc), and good old-fashioned stress—which causes our bodies to secrete chemicals that further deplete our nutrient stores. It’s the proverbial “vicious cycle.” The bottom line is that our need for dietary antioxidants has tripled since 1970, while the typical antioxidant level in the food we eat has been cut in half. (In case you were wondering, berries, tomatoes, garlic, broccoli, green tea, kale, and spinach are all foods rich in antioxidants, though not as “rich” as they used to be.)
It would be easy enough to wag the finger of blame for all of this at big agribusiness. But let’s be honest with ourselves: they’ve only supplied what we—the consuming public—demanded. For the past half-century, we have been placing a premium on convenience, flavor, and price. It is we—the consumers—who have created an atmosphere in which agribusiness feels it must ruthlessly compete with all rivals, real or imagined, innovate for show (rather than substance), and stack the deck through lobbying and bribes to persuade politicians and regulators to “see things their way.”
Back in 1999, Novartis published this candid assessment—and things have only gotten more intense in the intervening years: “The agribusiness industry is in a state of upheaval and rapid change. Low farm commodity prices and depressed farm income have impacted sales. Margins have eroded, putting pressure on financial results and the distribution channels. Restructuring in the agribusiness industry has created a more aggressive competitive environment. New technologies, including genetically modified crops and precision agriculture, are challenging traditional farming practices. Moreover, farmers and growers are increasingly influenced by other players in the food chain, from food and feed processors and food companies right down to supermarkets and consumers.” Simply stated, the competition is fierce, and any advantage, real or imagined, safe or dangerous, is grasped at with desperation. Quarterly earnings reports, not genuine long-term consumer benefits, drive the policies of today’s agribusinesses.
I can’t help but pause and compare this stressful, frenetic, desperate grasping for profits with the almost lackadaisical, laid-back, low-maintenance approach mandated in Yahweh’s Instructions. He says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff; don’t pick every last apple or olive or grape; if you discover you’ve left a sheaf of grain out there in the field, don’t bother going back out to pick it up—leave it for the poor. Don’t reap the edges of your field: those are reserved for the poor as well. Give ten percent of what your field or orchard produces to the Levites, who are in turn commanded to use it to make sure nobody in the whole country goes hungry. And every seventh year, don’t even plow and plant your field, or pick the fruit off your trees. I’ve always provided for you: follow My Instructions, and you’ll always have plenty to eat.” It’s not that agribusiness has no business existing. They do. But if their trust is placed in something other than God—whether in questionable science, cheating politicians, or short-sighted business practices—then they’ve missed the point. Let’s face it: “food” is living things, harvested to feed other living things. If you’re in the food business, it only makes sense to follow the advice—the “business plan”—of the Inventor of life itself.
We’ve already discussed at length one way agribusiness has compromised itself—sacrificed the integrity (and yes, safety) of conventional farming practices in hopes of maximizing short term profits by using “fringe science” to create transgenic crops. These genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, forsake the proven (but slower) techniques of hybridization and cross pollination to create entirely new genetic entities. The example we concentrated upon, if you’ll recall, blends the genetic code of bacteria with that of corn, creating “Bt-toxin” corn, which is in itself a pesticide.
The animal husbandry side of things has also begun to suffer under the desperate quest of today’s agribusiness for “efficiency at all costs.” Most of us have heard horror stories of how cattle, chickens, or pigs are now being “raised” on feedlots instead of farms. The industry term is CAFO, which stands for “Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operation.” Basically, these are industrial scale animal factories that have come to dominate the modern commercial livestock business, especially in the U.S. The animals are forced to live in tightly confined spaces (since space is expensive, and free movement slows down the fattening process). They’re fed huge amounts of unnatural feed—mostly GMO corn and soy, not hay. (Does feeding a feedlot steer over five pounds of corn for every pound of meat produced strike anybody else as a bit wasteful?) And they’re given reckless dosages of drugs—hormones and antibiotics—partially to keep them from dying due to the filthy, feces-infested environments in which they’re forced to live, and partially to cause water retention, so they can reach their “killing weights” that much faster.
CAFO facilities are part of the new model of vertically integrated agribusiness operations, in which most or all of the phases of the animal’s life are owned by only one giant company—the breeding, feeding, butchering, and meat-packing are all done by the same firm: cradle to carton control, so to speak. Of course, the byproduct side of the business is run the same way: dairy farms and egg ranches are run as a numbers game: this many animals, this much feed, this much time, this much space, this much product, resulting in this bottom line. When I was a boy, my grandfather ran a nice little dairy farm in central Oregon. He made a decent living with forty or fifty cows and 80 acres of pasture. He would not have recognized a CAFO, the smallest of which would have had 700 dairy cows. And my old packaging client with his free-range chickens and turkeys? The 82,000 laying hens (minimum) in a CAFO would have dwarfed his operation—and given him nightmares.
Call me old fashioned, but it seems to me that God designed it so that animals would eat and poop near where their feed is grown. That way, the nitrogen in the manure can easily find its way back into the soil in which the grains and grasses are grown. Agribusiness, while presumably meaning well, has separated the two disciplines (farming and ranching) in the name of efficiency. But is it more efficient? Our ecology is more like chess then checkers: you need to be thinking four or five moves ahead. (Or, if you’re like me and don’t like games, simply rely on Yahweh, who’s thinking a thousand moves ahead.)
Once agribusiness has taken the animals (and their poo) off the farms and forsaken the Sabbath rule, a disastrous chain of events ensues. (1) The growing of crops begins to leach nutrients out of the topsoil faster than they can be replaced. (2) The soil doesn’t have enough time to recover from the mechanical damage caused by repeated plowing, leaving it vulnerable to wind and water erosion. (3) Uninterrupted cultivation promotes uninterrupted insect activity. (4) Feedlot animal wastes accumulate so far away from where they might be of use in fertilizing the soil that plants are grown in, it’s deemed “inefficient” to transport and distribute these organic fertilizers. So much of it ends up being dumped into rivers and streams. (5) Fields are fertilized instead with inorganic chemical compounds—cheaper, and (according to the sales pitch) richer in some nutrients than organic (manure-based) fertilizer. (What you don’t know can hurt you.) (6) Pesticides are used in prodigious quantities to kill crop-eating insects (whose life-cycles would have been interrupted if farmers simply observed the Sabbatical year). (7) GMOs are developed to make the crops themselves behave as pesticides. (8) Through agribusiness’ incompetence and naivety, the honey bees who are relied upon to pollinate so many of the crops are disoriented or killed by the pesticides and GMOs that have been purposely deployed against other insects. (9) The use of pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs on food crops eventually begins to adversely affect some of the people who eat foods treated with these things, causing the incidence of formerly rare maladies such as autism, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease to skyrocket. (10) Pesticide and herbicide residues and chemical fertilizers are dissolved in rain water and make their way into ground water, streams, rivers, and eventually, lakes, seas and oceans. (11) “Dead zones” form offshore from the mouths of the rivers that carry these chemicals (particularly nitrogen and phosphorus). Dissolved oxygen disappears, and fish and other marine life can no longer survive there. But this process, called eutrophication, can lead to rapid increases in the density of algae and phytoplankton, a phenomenon known as an algal bloom.
So as strange as it may sound, agribusiness practices on land contribute to world famine by killing fish offshore. No problem, you may be saying. We’ll just get farm-raised fish. But Dr. Josh Axe writes, “There is a vast difference between wild caught fish and farmed fish. Fish farms produce supermarket protein with high concentrations of antibiotics, pesticides and lower levels of healthy nutrients. Research has found that farmed fish has less usable omega-3 fatty acids than wild-caught fish and a 20% lower protein content. A USDA review confirmed the findings. Farmed fish are fattier and have a high concentration of omega-6 fatty acids. Imbalances in the levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids create inflammation in the body. Farm-raised fish are given antibiotics to stave off disease that results from crowded conditions and are also treated with pesticides to combat sea lice. Sea lice from fish farms kill up to 95% of migrating juvenile wild salmon. The pesticides used to treat sea lice in fish farms circulate throughout the ocean. Pesticides that have been banned for decades have concentrated in the fat of much marine life.”
He goes on to list a few of them: “Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) exist in farm-raised salmon at 16 times the rate of wild salmon…. Dibutyltin is a chemical used in PVC plastics. Dibutyltin can interfere with normal immune responses and inflammation control in both animals and humans. A 2008 study found that dibutyltin may be contributing to the rise of allergies, asthma, obesity and other metabolic and immune disorders in humans. Scientists have found that dibutyltin in farm-raised mussels is more than 6 times higher than that of wild mussels…. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), a chemical used as a flame retardant, [is found] in high levels in farm-raised fish. PBDEs are endocrine disruptors that are thought to contribute to cancer…. Dioxin levels in farm-raised salmon are 11 times higher than those in wild salmon. Dioxins are one of the ‘dirty dozen,’ says the World Health Organization (WHO) because they are highly toxic and are stored for a long time in the body: their half life in fat cells is 7 to 11 years. Dioxins impair the endocrine, immune, nervous and reproductive systems and are carcinogens…. Wild salmon get their color naturally by feeding on krill. Canthaxanthin is a synthetic pigment that is used to add a pink color to farm-raised salmon. Canthaxanthin is a compound found in sunless tanning pills. Studies have found that canthaxanthin can affect pigments in the retina of the eye, leading to a ban of its use in the UK—but not the US.”
But fish farms are touted as an answer to greedy overfishing practices, aren’t they? While it’s true that they tend to make the seafood supply more predictable, we need to remember that fish have to eat too. And that food has to come from somewhere. Dr. Axe explains: “Fish farms don’t really combat overfishing: they contribute to it. Salmon, for instance, are carnivores. It takes about 2½ to 4 pounds of other fish to create the salmon chow needed to produce 1 pound of farm-raised salmon. The overfishing of wild sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring and other fish upset natural ecosystems. ‘We are not taking strain off wild fisheries,’ says agricultural economist Rosamond L. Naylor. ‘We are adding to it. This cannot be sustained forever.’”
And then there’s the little matter of the genetic modification of farm raised salmon—“frankenfish,” as they’re known. These are the first genetically engineered animals specifically “designed” for human consumption. The genetic tinkering is intended to increase the growth rate—perhaps by double. Digital Journal (May 7, 2013) explains how: “The AquAdvantage Salmon founder population was generated in 1989 by micro-injecting a recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) construct (opAFP-GHc2), composed of a promoter from an ocean pout antifreeze protein (opAFP) gene and a protein-coding sequence from a Chinook salmon growth hormone (GHc2) gene into the fertilized eggs of wild Atlantic salmon. Subsequent selection and breeding led to the establishment of the AquAdvantage Salmon line, which has been reproduced for eight generations.”
As I write these words, the FDA is poised to give final approval to the marketing in the U.S. of these GMO farm raised salmon for human consumption. They claim, “The AquAdvantage Salmon will not jeopardize the continued existence of United States populations of threatened or endangered Atlantic salmon, or result in the destruction or adverse modification of their critical habitat, when produced and reared under the conditions described… FDA has carefully considered the potential environmental impacts of the proposed action and at this time has made a preliminary determination that this action would not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment in the United States.”
Indeed, it appears that every possible precaution is being taken to ensure that the GMO fish are never released into the wild—something that everyone agrees could potentially cause an unprecedented ecological disaster by making it impossible for wild varieties to compete for resources with the fast-growing “frankenfish.” So only inland fish farm sites—with no direct links to the open ocean—are to be used. That makes sense, because in conventional fish farms (areas within open waters confined by netting), millions of salmon have escaped into the wild through breaches in the barrier nets. Also, the GMO fish are supposed to be sterile—something designed to preclude inbreeding with wild species should any GMO individuals escape into the open ocean.
But the United States is not the only country wrestling with the GMO issue, and others may not be quite as cautious about opening Pandora’s Bait Box. The Digital Journal article goes on to state, “Atlantic salmon is not the only fish species considered for commercial production using genetic engineering. A report from FAO published in 2003 indicates that since 1982 research is underway in various countries on genetic modification for commercial production of about 20 fish species including Coho and Chinook salmon, rainbow trout, tilapia, common carp, channel catfish, African catfish, and seabream, among others. China is among the leading countries actively working on production of GM fish and other farm animals destined for human consumption. According to Nature, AquaBounty’s chief executive Ronald Stotish says that in the event the FDA does not give the go ahead to market the AquAdvantage salmon, ‘I think we will end up eating genetically modified animals of a variety of species, but they’ll come from other countries.’”
It is not my place (nor my area of expertise) to declare GMO fish to be either safe or unsafe. But as a Bible researcher, a few scriptural hints keep tugging on my sleeve, trying to get my attention. So let us connect some dots. First, of course, there’s the admonition against cross-breeding and “mixing kinds” in the Torah that I mentioned above when discussing GMO crops. To reprise, “You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.” (Leviticus 19:19) And, “You shall not sow your vineyard with different kinds of seed, lest the yield of the seed which you have sown and the fruit of your vineyard be defiled. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear a garment of different sorts, such as wool and linen mixed together.” (Deuteronomy 22:9-11) How much of that is symbolic, and how much is practical, remains to be seen, but it never pays to ignore God’s word.
Then, there’s the admittedly cryptic notice about what happened to the human gene pool prior to the flood of Noah: “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (Genesis 6:4-6) Whatever was meant by the “sons of God” and the “daughters of man” (and the theories are as numerous as the stars in the sky), it is reasonably clear that some sort of genetic disaster had happened, producing a race of men whose wickedness was matched only by their physical prowess. The subsequent record indicates that the purpose for sending the flood was to wipe out every human—descendants of Adam and Eve equipped with the neshamah, the capacity for spiritual indwelling—with the exception of Noah and his immediate family. This establishes the precedent that Yahweh is perfectly willing to wipe out entire ecosystems if they have become hopelessly corrupt, starting over with a remnant of the “pure strain.”
In the Olivet Discourse, Yahshua compares the conditions of the Last Days to those immediately preceding the flood: it will be “As in the days of Noah.” And we have seen how He intends to rid the world of man’s evil prior to the establishment of His Millennial kingdom on earth, via the “Great Unpleasantness”—the Tribulation. But will men be the only casualties of their folly and rebellion? Apparently not. In Noah’s day, this is what happened: “So Yahweh said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.’” (Genesis 6:7) Not only were men to be punished for their wickedness, but there was going to be “collateral damage” on a massive scale—land animals and birds.
Now consider this. During the Tribulation, man won’t be the only species to become “endangered.” Whatever happens to us will also happen to many of the innocent creatures God entrusted to our care in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 1:28). So first we read, “Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died.” (Revelation 8:8-9) This, if you’ll recall the timeline that emerged as we laid out all of the Tribulation’s “puzzle pieces,” will occur before the midpoint of the Tribulation. But a bit later, this will happen: “Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.” (Revelation 16:3) In each marine “die-off,” the cause given is that the water “became like a dead man’s blood,” that is, utterly polluted, bereft of life giving oxygen. This reminds me of the “dead zones” in the seas today, where run-off pesticides and herbicides have created oxygen-starved pockets of water in which no marine animals can live, but in which anaerobic algal blooms can thrive. These “red tides” look for all the world like blood in the water. Coincidence?
For the moment, forget about how this could happen. Ponder the why of it. Why would Yahweh allow (or cause—we’re not told which) the death of “every living creature in the sea” if His purpose was “merely” to deal with rebellious humans? Could it be a parallel to the flood of Noah? Might it reveal why all of neshamah-equipped humanity was wiped out during the great flood? That is, could it have something to do with genetic monstrosities running (okay, swimming) amok—and breeding—in the world’s oceans?
I have no direct knowledge that viable (i.e., fertile) “frankenfish” have escaped into the wild, but I do know for certain that if such a thing were to happen, (1) no one would admit to it, not in the U.S., and certainly not abroad; (2) there would be no way to undo the damage—to “close Pandora’s Box”; (3) the GM fish would breed and mature twice as fast as the competing species (just as they were designed to do), devouring twice as much food in the process, tending to drive the competing wild fish species toward extinction. Considering the fact that several companies in several countries have been working on creating GM fish for almost twenty years now. It strains credulity to imagine that none of their “experiments” have been released (whether accidentally or on purpose) into the oceans in all that time.
In the end, it’s just one more possible indicator that there is (or could be) a paradigm shift of “biblical proportions” on our near horizon. The whole agribusiness model, from fish farms (genetically modified or otherwise) Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations (CAFOs), soil-depleting farming methods, GMOs, and near-hysterical dependence on inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, is pushing the world’s ability to feed itself to the breaking point. Reckless scientists who worry only about “can we do it” rather than “should we do it” are playing Russian roulette with the future of the human race—but the trigger is being pulled by the business moguls who fund their research, thinking only of profits and monopolies, not of the long term welfare of their fellow man.
If the trend continues at its present pace, by the fourth decade of the twenty-first century, the world will find itself at an event horizon of catastrophic proportions. The tipping point of diminishing returns will have been reached in which so much “artificial assistance” is required to feed the world, it will have become an impossible task. As Yahshua revealed, famine looms in our future. Why? Because, as Solomon said, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 16:25)
(First published 2013)