The End Time will come suddenly
The Bible tells us that there will be an end time, and prophesizes that the “famine” will be upon us as one of the signs of the end time (Matt 24:7). Such end time and the signs of the end time will suddenly be upon us a “trap” if we are not alert and awake, and it will be upon all people on this earth. Therefore, the saints must always pray while staying alert (Luke 21:34-36). Not only does this famine refer to a natural disaster like a drought but it also means the spiritual famine that discontinues grace on individuals, families and the church. Let us examine together the meaning and the cause of such famine.
Spiritual meaning of the famine
The Bible defines the spiritual meaning of famine as “unable to receive grace.” While Jesus was tested by Satan in the wilderness, He made us understand that we must consume not only the physical food but the spiritual food which is the Word of God. Jesus was able to overcome three temptations when He was tempted by Satan by the Word of God (Matt 4:1-11). What this means is that if we have the Word, we will be able to overcome all temptations; but on the contrary, we will be defeated without the Word of God and will be faced with famine. This is “not a famine for bread or of thirst for water, but rather for hearing the Words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11-13). Furthermore, Jeremiah 14 and Ezekiel 4:15-17 prophesied that frightening famine will come upon the Israelites. Such famine surely expresses the extent of physical famine; but at the same time, it denotes the spiritual famine as well. Hence, a “doe” or a “wild donkey” that appears in Jeremiah 14 signify the physical church in the end time without the Word (Jer 14:4-6). Here, “grass” refers to the Word. Like the animals that cannot live without grass, it symbolically tells us of the image of the physical church that is struggling with the drought because there was no Word. Thus, the Bible prepares us for the spiritual famine that is to come during the end time.
The causes of the famine
Disobedience to the Word of God causes famine. God sends a famine when His people refuse to hear and obey (Jer 29:18-19). God sent many prophets again and again but the people refused to listen. God spoke and sent His prophets rising up early and called to them but they did not answer (Jer 7:13, 25). Secondly, the famine comes when God’s people commit detestable things. According to the Prophet Ezekiel, God says, “Because of all the wicked and detestable practices of the people of Israel, they will fall by the sword, famine and plague" (Ezek 6:11). Thirdly, God sends the famine due to ignorance and lack of understanding. God says, “My people will go into exile and will die of hunger and thirst for lack of understanding (Isa 5:13). Not only did God say He will send a famine for not understanding, but that He would also send “wrath, hail, pestilence and storms” upon the Israelites with the hope of them returning. However, the people of Israel were still unable to understand. Thus, they did not repent and return to God but continued to grumble (Amos 4:6). Lastly, the cause of famine is because our hearts still continue to face Egypt (the world). Revelation 18:4 says, “Come out of her, My people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues.” God warns His people to come out of the fallen world that is about to be destroyed. Furthermore, God said He would judge the Israelites by sending them the sword, famine and the plague when they tried to rely only on the strong nation of Egypt and not God during the time of Prophet Jeremiah (Jer 42:16-17). Hence, famine and wrath are upon us because our hearts are set on Egypt which symbolizes the world.
Conclusion: In the end time there will be a spiritual and physical famine but the righteous people who believe in Jesus will receive the blessing of absolute protection coming from God (Job 5:19-20, Ps 33:19-22). Just as God protected His chosen man Prophet Elijah until the end and provided for him even though there was a famine (1 Kgs 17:16), there will also be a blessing of absolute protection for the saints today. Thus, as saints, we need to believe that no persecution, tribulation, agony, despair, famine or danger will be able to break us off from the love of Christ (Rom 8:35).