The Great Locust Plague of 2020
The year 2020 has been such a disaster, it will likely take some time to figure out what made it such a train wreck. Unless we end with a global nuclear war, the coronavirus and the financial meltdown will dominate how people are remembering this year. There is a third calamity taking place in Africa that is currently a second-page news story, but it has my attention because of its Biblical connection.
A massive swarm of locusts has invaded at least eight countries (Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Sudan). About a month ago, this cloud of insects was declared the worst plague of locusts in 70 years. It would appear we are headed toward breaking the record set during the time of Moses. However, I read in the Bible that the plague on Egyptians was promised by God to be a “…dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again” (Exodus 10:14, ESV).
This infestation of desert locusts first arrived in East Africa last June, feeding on hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops and pastureland. They came from the uninhabited portion of the Arabian Peninsula which is normally bone dry. In 2018, two perfectly timed cyclones dumped heavy rains in this region, creating the ideal wet, sandy conditions the desert locusts require to breed.
Three generations of breeding occurred in nine months, causing locust numbers to increase by 8,000 times and forming the original source of the East Africa upsurge. Scientists say these devastating insects never left East Africa: in fact, favorable wet conditions due to above average rainfall this season mean they are likely to achieve two more generations of new breeding by June this year, increasing their population size up to 400 times.
Eventually, the desert is going to dry up, and the swarm of locusts will move inland. A typical swarm can consist of up to 150 million locusts per square kilometer. These insects move with the wind, and can migrate as far as 150 kilometers in one day. Even a tiny, one-square-kilometer locust swarm is capable of consuming the same amount of food in one day as approximately 35,000 people.
The coronavirus lockdown is harming the effort to combat the swarm. Some farmers in Abokat’s village near the Kenyan border bang metal pans, whistle or throw stones to try to drive the locusts away. But mostly they watch in frustration, largely barred by a coronavirus lockdown from gathering outside their homes.
From the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations: “Suppliers of motorized sprayers and pesticides are facing major challenges with limited air freight options to facilitate delivery,” Cyril Ferrand, FAO’s resilience team leader for East Africa, said on March 30. “Purchased orders were placed [a] few weeks ago and pesticides expected last week in Kenya have been delayed by 10 days.”
The coronavirus pandemic is just getting started in Africa. There have only been 562 reported deaths and nearly 11,000 COVID-19 cases, according to Al Jazeera, which are relatively low figures compared with other affected regions. As the number of cases spike, the locust invasion is going to be a low priority of governments and world organizations.
A year from now we will likely be writing articles about the Great Famine of 2021. East Africa already has 20 million severely food-insecure people, who barely eat enough to fill their stomachs each day. The region was recently devastated by conflict, droughts, and floods. With food lines forming in America from the lockdown, it’s going to be hard to draw attention to a crisis on the other side of the globe.
It is widely believed in the pre-tribulation rapture camp that we are only to see the birth pangs up until the rapture takes place, not the wrath. Since God is always trying to get man’s attention with calamity, I think what we are seeing is a shadow of what will unfold during the tribulation hour. The locusts in Moses time only ate plants, as do the locusts of today. The locusts of Revelation will prey upon people. I warn all salvation fence-sitters to repent now to avoid a far greater wrath to come.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.’ So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land. And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field…'” (Exodus 10:1-19, ESV).
“They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them” (Revelation 9:4-6, ESV).
“If” Is for Children
Reading through a news article today, the title of an old song sung by Roger Whittaker came to mind, and then the melody of it running through my head caused me to listen to it on YouTube.
“I Don’t Believe in ‘if’ Anymore” begins with a driving beat, telling all the fearsome things of war and trouble the youth of this world face—how they fight the battles to save their nations, etc. The song then gets into a haunting rendition of how the dreams of children are built on “if”.
But the lyrics and melody state that “if” is for children. “It’s an illusion,” the lyrics say. “If’s an illusion. If is for children, building daydreams.…I don’t believe in if any more…” the song goes on to conclude.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a grandfather’s heart for children. Some even think I, myself, am under an illusion by thinking that the Heavenly Father’s great plan in the Rapture is to include all children under the age of accountability—those who are too young to make the decision to accept or reject Christ for salvation.
But despite those who think I’m a bit too soft-hearted (and even some think, “soft headed”) in this regard have it wrong. In this case, I’m not thinking with my emotional heart, but with my belief that God’s Holy Word explains His Holy character.
The God who has given His love letter to mankind deals one on one with each person He has determined to be born into this fallen world. Salvation is an individual matter. It is not a corporate matter, in which He “grandfathers in” all who are born under a certain religious system or to a certain Christian parent or family and brings them into His heavenly family.
The only way we go into eternity to be in God’s heavenly presence following this earthly life is by accepting God’s Son and His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. When we believe in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, then confess that belief with our mouths, we are instantaneously brought into God’s heavenly family forever (Romans 10: 9–10).
The Rapture is only for those who have made that simple commitment. Nonetheless, those who have never had the opportunity to believe, whether because of mental incapability or because they are too young to understand, will instantly go to Christ when He calls believers to Himself (Revelation 4: 1). Otherwise, God’s very character would be in question. His righteousness would be impeachable, and that is absolutely impossible.
So it was that I was cogitating a bit on all of this after reading some really depressing headlines, and I thought of that word: “if.”
What “if” the Rapture might, in large part, be about to take place for the sake of the children below the age of accountability of this world? Their suffering is unbelievably great in some parts of this increasingly evil sphere.
The news headlines can deflate the spirit of even the most optimistic. Some of them follow:
- New, Larger Wave of Locusts Threatens Millions in Africa
Weeks before the coronavirus spread through much of the world, parts of Africa were already threatened by another kind of plague, the biggest locust outbreak some countries had seen in seventy years. Now the second wave of the voracious insects, some twenty times the size of the first, is arriving.
- The Virus Vaccine Fetal-Tissue Question
It’s enough to make your head spin. In the midst of the worldwide deaths from the coronavirus, we find ourselves in the midst of another killing issue—that of abortion.
- Giant Asian Hornets That Can “Kill with a Single Sting” to Invade Virus-Stricken US—The US Sun
Giant Asian hornets that have begun to invade the coronavirus-stricken US may cost the economy millions of dollars a year.
- Awakening Volcanic Region in Iceland “Could Cause Disruption for Centuries”
There are other news headlines even more spirit-deflating. However, the above are some immediately surrounding the headline story that pushed my buttons on the “if” matter, in regard to children below the age of accountability. Here is that headline:
- Coronavirus: The Children Struggling to Survive India’s Lockdown
The sudden imposition of a twenty-one-day lockdown in India to stop the spread of the coronavirus has thrown the lives of millions of children into chaos. Tens of thousands are calling helplines daily while thousands are going to bed hungry as the country shuts down to battle the pandemic. With 472 million children, India has the largest child population in the world.
The number is staggering. There are more than 472 million children in India, alone! Many, the story tells, are totally on their own. Many are very young kids, having to find scraps of food when and where they can. These have little hope of salvation of their souls through the process given in Romans 10:9–10.
Some who confute my belief that these will go to Jesus when the Rapture takes place would say that these little ones will go to Him if they die under that age-of-accountability rubric. After all, millions have died in wars, and God hasn’t intervened. Thus they went to Him when they died.
The argument holds no spiritual water whatsoever with me. We are talking about two entirely different scenarios: physical death vs. spiritual separation forever.
We are talking about one thing more—the most important matter: the very character of God.
God has promised to keep believers from that hour of testing –the Tribulation that will follow the Rapture of the Church. These will not face that terrible time of God’s judgment and wrath.
Yet children don’t have the capability to “believe.”
The argument I’ve heard is that children below the age of accountability, like all other people, will have to come to the point that they can “believe.” If they don’t believe, they can’t be “saved.” They can die during the time following the Rapture and then go automatically to Heaven.
Nonsense, I say—and totally out of character for the God of our Bible.
If children of this young age go to be with God in Heaven when they die—and we know they do, as King David related upon the death of his and Bathsheba’s child—without first “believing,” why must the child first “believe” before being Raptured? David’s infant son never came to the point of “believing” for salvation.
Every child during the Age of Grace in this accountability category will go to Jesus at that glorious moment of Rapture.
“If” the children are too young to believe for their individual salvation, they will be rescued from the Tribulation storm that is coming. That rescue will include every child just conceived and those in the womb, including the millions on the very brink of being aborted.
People currently are in near-panic over fear generated by a microscopic virus. Just imagine, tragically, the “crisis” the disappearance of billions of children, even those yet unborn, will create for those left behind!