Two-thirds of the world's population is starving! By the Year 2000 experts predict the population will double — food production cannot keep up. Does the Bible say anything about famine and hunger in the world TODAY? What WILL the world be like in the YEAR 2000?
EVERY DAY of this week some ten thousand people will DIE of malnutrition or STARVATION! "In India alone, fifty million children will die of malnutrition in the next ten years. "More than half the world's three billion people LIVE IN PERPETUAL HUNGER!" These shocking statistics published in Newsweek magazine, June 17, 1963, illustrate a crying need for a solution to what well may be the BIGGEST PROBLEM the world faces! Will science discover a way to feed these starving millions? Can the United Nations through the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) find a way to support the burgeoning population explosion? Or will these "HAVE NOT" nations bring about a feared and dreaded "HUNGER WAR?" These questions resound in the minds of world leaders everywhere.
What Is the Problem?
As the average American, European or Australian — fortunate enough to live in the "HAVE" nations — sits down to enjoy three full meals a day, the other TWO-THIRDS of all the people in the world are literally STARVING TO DEATH! To vividly illustrate the problem, Assistant Secretary of State Harlan Cleveland said, "If we were suddenly to join the less fortunate, our next meal would be a SMALL BOWL OF RICE and perhaps a piece of fish an inch square the day after tomorrow" (Newsweek, June 17, 1963; emphasis mine). Does it seem possible such conditions could exist in the booming, scientific, SPACE AGE, twentieth century? Nearly two-thirds of all the people in the world would rather eat a good meal than hear about a man shot into space — or a rocket roaring to the moon. That is how real the problem is! Another expert in the field of food and the population is Dr. Georg Borgstrom of Michigan State University's Department of Food Science. He recently disclosed the results of his research and study, declaring, "We ought to seek disarmament, but a GREATER, MORE URGENT NEED is for a gigantic rearmament to wage the sinister war for human survival by providing food to give the human race a future" (Long Beach Independent Press Telegram, August 12, 1962). To put it in other words — the entire human race is in danger of starving to death in the next thirty years! In another recent news clipping, well-known reporter Jim Bishop puts it this way, "If there are no accidental wars, then my guess would be that one will be started by design no later than 1970. IT WILL BE A FOOD WAR! The populations of the nations are increasing so swiftly that some of the big ones will begin to feel the pinch of starvation within ten years. What then happens, either the people revolt or the government goes to war...." In a nutshell the problem is so severe experts and authorities greatly fear entire nations could go to war over it. If a war does not result, mass millions will starve to death. The underlying reasons for these problems are many. Population increases, drought conditions, lack of education on how to produce from the land available, and disobedience to God's natural laws are all contributing factors for the problem we now see in the world. One only needs to look around to realize that the problem is SEVERE. And it is only natural to wonder if any of us could ever be hungry like millions are in other lands of the world today.
Forecast Over Nineteen Hundred Years Ago
What we read in our newspapers today is only what reporters have seen or heard — conditions that exist today. However, the greatest newscaster who ever lived — JESUS CHRIST — predicted that starvation would exist in the world. And not only did He simply predict that, but He predicted it for our time, today! In Matthew 24:3, the disciples came to Jesus Christ, asking Him, "Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of THY COMING, and of the end of the world?" In this prophecy, commonly called the Olivet Prophecy, Jesus Christ unfolds and discloses conditions that will exist in the world at the time of His return! Notice Christ's answer concerning these important SIGNS beginning in Verse 5, "For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall DECEIVE many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars (we are right now in an interim between World War II and the prophesied World War III — and continually about us we hear of small wars and rumors of war on an earth seemingly seething with rebellion and uprisings) see that ye be not troubled: for all these things MUST COME TO PASS, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation (world wars), and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be FAMINES (lack of food and starvation), and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." Notice it again, one of the major signs announcing the return of Jesus Christ will be famine! Many scoff and say, "Oh, we have had famine and hunger since the beginning of time." That is just what Peter said the world would be saying, "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last day scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" (II Peter 3: 3-4). However, those who scoff and ridicule had better take note that famine is as bad now as it ever has been in history. Newsweek magazine said, "Every day of this week some ten thousand people will die of malnutrition or starvation — MORE THAN AT ANY TIME IN HISTORY." And the situation is not going to get better. Jesus prophesied these conditions would continue until He returned! And that at the present rate of increase — with no solution in sight — every man, woman and child in this world would starve to death if he were living in the next twenty-five to one hundred years. We had better look at the signs around us and realize we are living in unprecedented times!
The Population Explosion
To further illustrate the increasing problem we have, every second of every day THREE new babies are born into the world. Nearly two million babies will be born next week, and the week after, and the week after that. It took over five thousand years (from the creation of Adam to about 1825) for the population of the world to first reach one billion! A little over one hundred years later — by 1930 — the population had doubled to nearly two billion. Only twenty-five years later — by 1965 — the population of the world will be three billion! And in the next twenty-five to thirty years that three billion would double to over SIX BILLION-at the present rate! Fantastic, you say? Yes, but TRUE! That is why many are calling this the "POPULATION EXPLOSION"! Can you imagine! Two-thirds of the world's population is starving now — and even at the present rate of increase what will it be like when there are twice as many people to eat approximately the same amount of food? In a UPI release, May 27, 1961, United Nations diplomat Ralph Teatsorth said, "The United Nations is reluctant to face up to the fact that MAN IS BREEDING HIMSELF OUT OF LIVING SPACE AT AN ALARMING RATE! There will be standing room only on earth in less than eight hundred years if the population explosion goes unchecked." The population of China now is about six hundred fifty million. In twenty years there will be over one billion Chinese. What do you suppose they will do when their food supply is shorter than it is now and their population increasing that rapidly? In areas of Latin America, Africa and India — areas where hunger is a major problem — the population continues to increase at alarming rates. Dr. Herman Santa Cruz, Assistant Director General of the United Nations FAO, reporting on Latin America, said, "Within the next twenty years, Central and South America will see a population rise of about two hundred million to a total of some three hundred sixty million." He said further, "An increase of only one pet cent annually in the average family's income would double the total internal demand for farm and livestock products by 1980" (Los Angeles Times, November 26, 1962).
Bible Reveals Population Increase in The Far East!
The teeming millions in India and China — strange as it may seem — were prophesied in your Bible. We read in Matthew 24 of prophesied wars and rumors of war. These signs of famine, hunger and pestilence along with upset weather, were to reveal the meaning of today's news to those who understand. You have been reading in the pages of The PLAIN TRUTH magazine how a prophesied "BEAST" is going to arise in Europe. Ten nations will ally themselves under one head to form one of the most powerful military machines this world has ever seen. This combine of nations — perhaps to be known as the United States of Europe — will make war upon God's people, Israel (if you have not read Mr. Armstrong's booklet entitled The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy, read it immediately). But that is not the end. This tremendous war machine is to continue making captive nations of this world. In Revelation 9:13, God shows a great war is going to take place between that United States of Europe and the vast hordes of the East. Let's read it, "And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates (the river Euphrates is northeast above Palestine. Continuing on a direct line northeast, you come in to the great, vast areas of the East where these tremendous armies are amassed as we will see). And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year (they have been preparing for this for some time), for to slay THE THIRD PART OF MEN. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand (that is, two hundred MILLION): and I heard the number of them." Can you imagine an army of two hundred million soldiers? Where else on earth could such an army be amassed except from the hordes of China and India and the Far Eastern countries? And yet God tells us in advance — we can know — the meaning of the conditions in the world today. Yes, the times we live in are climactic! We are living in the prophesied END TIMES. And until Jesus Christ comes, the situation is not going to improve! Instead, God Almighty says that famines will increase and grow worse and worse. Ultimately, they will result in a tremendous war and a surge for land and development to feed the teeming millions of the East.
Conditions in America
Now that we have seen what will transpire within the next ten to twenty years as far as conditions of famine and war are concerned in the Far East, let's come back to the United States and analyze our society today. While much of the world goes hungry, Americans are producing — of all things — a SURPLUS! The United States Government has spent billions of dollars to HOLD DOWN food production! In fact, we pay about four billion dollars a year for farmers NOT TO GROW FOOD! Rent on the storage areas for our surplus food alone costs about one billion dollars a day. Our problem is just the opposite of hunger. Perhaps we are even over-fed — if not, we certainly over-produce! A very interesting comparison was recently published by Mr. Henry Smith Lyper in Presbyterian Life magazine. He reduced the whole population of the world to approximately one thousand. 'Hypothetically, this became a community of one thousand persons living in a single town. The following is a picture of the contrasts we would then vividly see: "Sixty persons would represent the United States' population; the rest of the world would be represented by 940 persons. The sixty Americans would be receiving half of the total income of the entire community; the 940 other persons would share the remaining half. The 60 Americans would have a life expectancy of 70 years; all of the other 940 would average under 40 years. They would produce sixteen percent of the town's total food supply, but would consume all but 1.5 percent of what they raise and keep most of it for their own future use in expensive storage equipment. Since most of the 940 non-Americans in the community would always be hungry, and would never quite know when they would get enough to eat, the situation created by this disparity in food supply and the existence of vast food reserves becomes readily apparent, particularly in view of the fact that Americans already eat seventy-two percent above the maximum food requirements. "Because of the cost of storing their surplus food, they would actually save money by giving away any excess food; but would regard that as the dangerous 'give-away' program of soft-headed 'do-gooders.' Of the sixty Americans, the lowest income groups would be better off than the average in much of the rest of the town. Literally most of the non-American people in this imaginary compressed community would be ignorant, poor, hungry and sick. Half of them would be unable to read or write." This comparison is alarming! And there are very few in America who could even begin to comprehend what it is like to be HUNGRY! The average American consumes about four and one-half pounds of food every day. The average Indian gets LESS THAN one and one-quarter pounds of food a day — and that is mostly rice. Truly the nations which we call the "have" nations are abundantly blessed by God. But how long will these blessings last?
Famine in the "Have" Nations
As long as the nation of Israel remained in obedience to God, they were blessed and prospered in every way. But God warned Israel if they began to disobey and to go after other gods, He would curse them. In the pages of this magazine we have pointed out to you many times that the prophecies of the Bible are DUAL. What happened to ancient Israel happened only AS A TYPE of what would happen in the final end time before Jesus Christ would return. In the 26th Chapter of Leviticus, God shows the great blessings He gave His people for obedience to His law. It also shows exactly how God would bring about punishment upon His people if they would stray from Him and begin to DISOBEY His laws. Modern Israel — the United States, Britain, South Africa and Australia — have not turned to obey God. Our societies run rampant with crime. Sickness and disease are prevalent even in these prosperous nations. We have gone astray from our God! Because we have not heeded, God prophesies, "I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; AND I WILL MAKE YOUR HEAVEN AS IRON, AND YOUR EARTH AS BRASS (the Bible symbols for drought which brings about famine): And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits" (Lev. 26:17-20). The handwriting is on the wall — these things are beginning to happen. After the tremendous display of power of the United States in World War II, we were the most respected nation on earth. However, as the years began to go by, the world began to respect us less and less. The gum-chewing, camera-toting American tourist became despised in virtually every nation. Our raucous personality and way of life began to irritate people who didn't have as much as we did. In the early 1950's, Russia announced they also had the atomic bomb. At that same time, the Chinese hordes pushed across the Manchurian border into North Korea and nearly pushed us off the peninsula — we finally fought to a draw at the 38th parallel. That was the war we did not win! The pride of our power began to be broken. Since that time, the world's public opinion of the United States and its citizens has slowly diminished to where now we have very little respect in foreign lands, And God said that He would bring a drought that would begin also to cause our land not to yield her increase. Can we remember the "seven years' drought" (as United States News and World Report called it) that extended from 1951 through 1958? Can we deny that there is a drought right now in many states right in our own nation of the United States? We may say, "there will be a great brighter day tomorrow," but God says that it is going to get worse! Yes, a prophesied drought and the resultant famine are in store for our own people of Israel.
We Are Ruining Our Land
The handwriting is on the wall in other ways, as well. A leading professor of botany at the University of Liege, Belgium, Raymond Bouillene, in a paper published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, stated "Mankind is gaining 120,000 mouths to feed each day and losing 20 million acres of food-producing land each year — almost 55,000 acres a day. Man, the great destroyer, having wiped out hundreds of animal and plant species, is embarked upon a course which threatens his own kind with extinction. "Mankind apparently has not tumbled to the elementary fact that homo sapiens and all other animal species are dependent upon vegetation. Green plants are the only basic producers of foods. All flesh is grass. Yet, to extend the crop or pasture land, human beings have attacked the forests with fire and axe. The result has been that the soil, laid bare, turns to dust or rock, or is carried away by erosion. We are in the throes of an apparently irreversible progressive reduction of the surface of cultivatable lands" (New York Sunday News, March 11, 1962). In Our Plundered Planet, a widely read book on this vital subject, Mr. Fairfield Osborn warns, "The people of the world are compelled to live off 18 inches of topsoil around the globe. From this 18 inches we get all of our food — from bread to steak. Man has abused his resources to the point where his topsoil is blown on the winds of the world, his oil and coal resources are depleted, and he talks hopefully of ersatz (substitute) food as though science could invent a pill to take the place of milk and wheat." It seems, even apart from the prophecies of the Bible, MAN is MARCHING IRREVOCABLY TOWARD HIS DOOM by creating a situation that would STARVE HIM TO DEATH in a very few generations.
Result of a Famine
The Prophet Jeremiah looked down into our time today — at what will take place in America and Britain within the next 10 to 15 years. The picture is not very pretty — but it will happen."The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them. They that did feed delicately (and what nation has eaten better than we have) are DESOLATE in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet (wore fine clothing) embrace dunghills. For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people (God's chosen nation of Israel) is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her. Her Nazarites (priests and ministers who didn't teach God's true way) were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire: (now) their visage is blacker than a coal (dying of starvation); they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field" (Lam. 4:4-9). As tragic as it may seem, this is what God says must happen to His people UNLESS they wake up and repent and TURN TO HIM!
How Man Would Solve the Problem
As the severity of the world's population problem increases, men devise, often frantically and without thought, scores of ways for HUMAN BEINGS to solve this imminent problem. Let's analyze a few of the proposed solutions: Perhaps the first step in solving the problem — many believe — is to distribute all of the surpluses produced in the United States and other nations which have an abundance. These surpluses, they say, could be distributed to the poor and underprivileged of the world. Is this the answer? Offhand, it seems like it might help, but as Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman says, "If all our stored-up abundance of food were made available abroad to people with inadequate diets, it would not close the food gap for even one year." That is how underfed some nations are. Even though we spend billions for storage of surplus, if we depleted our entire stock it would not help for more than a year. That, evidently, is not a workable solution. Most experts in food and population are in agreement that universal BIRTH CONTROL is the answer. The first step is to control the population. Then, through science and technology and common sense, we would begin to solve the problem, they believe. But of course the question now is: how can we bring about and enforce universal birth control? The obvious answer is that it's going to take a lot of doing. In many areas of the world that are overpopulated the religious issue is a great question. As a result of the "moral controversy" over birth control, nothing can be done and so the population increases more rapidly than ever. Other areas of the world which are not religiously opposed in any way to birth control do not have the PROPER EDUCATION. We have set up clinics and study groups to bring education to these people. But even then, there are teeming millions in all areas of the Far East and Africa that we cannot reach. In many cases, it would be impossible to bring this knowledge to the people behind the Iron Curtain because of government restrictions. No, there are too many insurmountable barriers for this to be a workable solution either.
What Is the Solution?
Most authorities on this vital subject realize the only true solution to this seemingly insurmountable problem is to bring TRUE EDUCATION to the "have-not" nations. One respected leader said, "You can give a man a fish today and he will be fed today; you can teach a man to fish and he will be fed the rest of his life!" How true this is! Many of the "underprivileged" nations have food supplies all around them, but don't know how to cultivate or use them. Superstition darkens the minds of many. For example, while millions starve in India they sit and watch their "holy cows" eat up valuable crops and wander loose in the streets of every city. The native Hindu looks for the blessing of the Gau Mata (the cow goddess). But the blessings never come. Instead starvation increases. And it would be unheard-of to eat the flesh of such a "sacred cow." Superstition likewise darkens the minds of the starving millions of Africa and China. And they just don't know the way to peace and happiness. They have not had the blessings of Almighty God. The land in many of these areas could be used to much greater advantage. Once again, the bare, essential knowledge of soil conservation has never been taught to many of these people. Try as we may by sending representatives from the United States, we still cannot educate the entire population of the earth in these matters. We cannot overcome the barriers of ignorance and superstition in a short period of time. In fact, through years of effort the world is still progressively getting worse! The facilities we have tried have only slightly altered what irrevocably was happening anyway. Man may begin to know the solution of the problem, but he does not have the power to bring it about!
God Solves the Problem by the Year 2000
Jesus Christ said in Matthew 24:22, "Except those days (the days of famine and war) should be SHORTENED, there should no flesh be saved (alive): but for the elect's sake THOSE DAYS SHALL BE SHORTENED!" And He added in verse 33, "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, KNOW THAT IT IS NEAR, even at the doors." Yes, the time is near when God is going to cut short man's race to destroy himself! Economically, agriculturally, militarily — any way you want to look at it — mankind could be destroyed within a very few generations. If he didn't blow himself up by mass nuclear weapons, if he didn't bankrupt himself on the world market economically, he would starve himself to death! The only possible solution IS THE INTERVENTION OF GOD ALMIGHTY AND THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST! And that is just what is going to happen. Peter gives us the answer in the book of Acts — we are not only told what is going to happen, but how we can be an active part in establishing peace and prosperity and ending starvation in this world. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, WHEN THE TIMES OF REFRESHING SHALL COME from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive UNTIL THE TIMES OF RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19-21). Here is the only solution! A time when God is going to restore the knowledge of His way. A time of REFRESHING. When Christ comes, men are going to seek Him to find His way. And one of the very first items that Christ will begin to teach will be AGRICULTURAL REFORM. Notice it in Isaiah 2:4, "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: AND THEY SHALL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES, AND THEIR SPEARS INTO PRUNINGHOOKS: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." Man has spent multiple billions of dollars — far more than on any other facet of life — on war machines! These myriad implements of war are going to be smelted down and manufactured into implements of agriculture. And all of this will be governed under Christ's direction. This vast program will be well underway by the year 2000. At that time, "the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; AND THE DESERT SHALL REJOICE, AND BLOSSOM AS THE ROSE" (Isa. 35:1). Vast areas of land now unable to be cultivated will be blooming beautifully. Through the proper amount of rainfall — through increased knowledge on conservation — the waste areas of this world will become productive. Right now in the United States, only eight percent of the population produces our food supply. At that time, "They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it" (Micah 4:4). The majority of the population is going to have at least enough property that each may produce many food commodities on his own land. The world will once more be productive as it was thousands of years ago when God first created man upon the earth. Men will at last be happy — all men will be well-fed! There will be no fear of war or starvation! But man cannot bring this about through his own efforts! He has been trying for nearly six thousand years to erase human suffering and misery — while all the time it has only increased in intensity and become worse and worse! It is going to take the intervention of God. It is going to take Jesus Christ to force the world to be happy! But when this does happen — and it is just around the corner, probably within fifteen to twenty years or less — man will learn the true values of life. In the WORLD TOMORROW there will be no threat of annihilation by the hydrogen bomb or extinction by starvation!