NO BREAD IN THE LAND
by Brother Gregory Williams
August 15, 2010
We were promised and are entering a period of change. Change can be good or bad depending on how much, when and what is changed.
When I worked on wheat farms in North Dakota 40 years ago there was enough grain stored in silos on the farms and in warehouses to feed America for six or more years. There had been an agricultural policy set in place by the American government and the people which had encouraged the storing of surplus crops since the days of the dust bowl and the Great Depression. This was a good thing, but all that was changed under the Nixon administration.
Those surpluses no longer exist. We have entered a global economy. Someone is growing wheat and harvesting it somewhere in the world every day. I have told people in our Living Network and on our radio broadcasts for several years now that there is no more than a 6 month supply of grain in storage.
In April the China Daily reported that they sold all of the grain offered in the weekly auctions “indicating tightening domestic supply.” Prices in Chicago were up immediately as “China’s corn futures have gained 3 percent this year on concern of a drought in major producing regions.” Earlier this year we notified people in our network of the US crop failures due to either too wet and too dry spring weather in different parts of the country. Planting was delayed or young crops failed. In some places there will be bumper crops offsetting shortfalls but what do we do if crop failures continue to rise?
This week I spoke with a major seed dealer who travels the world buying and selling seed. He watches crop production, weather patterns and markets because that is his business. There have been crop failures in the southern hemisphere and also in parts of Europe, due to, in different areas, very little or too much rain. That original six month supply estimate is evidently no longer correct. Things have changed.
The truth is there is not much more than 32 days of reserves in the world grain supplies to meet ongoing demands at any given time. Because of changes in agricultural policies of the Federal government, world economic crises, and agribusiness markets world wide we have produced conditions ripe for a planetary famine unprecedented in the history of mankind.
“And [there was] no bread in all the land; for the famine [was] very sore, so that the land of Egypt and [all] the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.” Genesis 47:13
This will be good for the farmers who do produce a crop. Speculators in commodities may make a fortune.
This may not be so good for the consumers who want to eat their daily bread. Do we lobby congress to change their agricultural policies? Do we start campaigning to get new lawmakers to use better sense and make wiser choices? Or do we take responsibility for ourselves and for each other?
The price of grain has always been a major issue in history. It brought people into bondage in Egypt and destroyed the Roman republic when prices were pushed up to unaffordable levels.
The demagogue, Lucius Appuleius Saturninus was in power until a conservative Senate and Gaius Marius stabilized the grain supply. In 87 BC, Marius and Sulla used Rome’s “dependence on imported food” to destroy the remains of Republican institutions, opening a door to tyrants through the rise of Pompey and then Caesar.
This brought in socialist “free grain” distributions, winning the hearts of a covetous and apathetic populace at the price of their own liberty. The socialism of the new Roman government sealed the fate and death of the Republic. Augustus would soon limit who was eligible for free grain. All other emperors used either free or a subsidized supply of grain to bolster their own regimes and control the minds and hearts of the people with their free “Bread and circuses.”
It was not merely the socialist control of major food like grain that brought the people of Rome into subjection to the tyranny of Emperors but the supplanting of good money with bad.
Anthony and Cleopatra had lowered the purity of their silver coins. Nero reduced the weight of the denarius from 3.5 grams to 3.36 and reduced the fineness from 98% to 93.5% silver, setting a precedent for future changes. Before the middle of the third century AD, coins had become only 40% silver and, by its end, was just .02% silver. The price of a modius of wheat went from 8 drachmas to 120,000.
In the first year of the fourth century, Diocletian attempted to enforce price controls, but, even under the threat of capital punishment, they were an utter failure. Inflation continued from 600% to over 40,000%. Society was crushed under a series of economic depressions for centuries. A pound of gold came to cost 2.1 billion denarii.
Central banking, usury, and debasing of coins were evidence of a problem that originated in the people. The governing powers created by the people were simply a manifestation of that same failing. They had strayed from the path that God provided and would pay the price.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
Christians were doing something completely different. The communion of the first-century Church was substantive, filling the true physical and spiritual needs of the people in love and faith in action. Those who received Christ’s baptism were cast out of one system of authoritarian Corban of the Pharisees and entered a government based on faith, hope, and charity under the perfect law of liberty. Christians depended upon the freewill charity of each other, not the entitlements of Rome or the synagogue of Satan.
“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” 1 Corinthians 10:21
The Christian community was well-disciplined and organized from the bottom up by a system of charity rather than force. While the Roman system of political control was breaking down, those who followed Christ were excluded from the dainties of those civic tables. In about AD 150, Justin Martyr, hoping to clear the misconceptions and prejudices surrounding Christianity, wrote the Emperor Antoninus Pius in defense of the Christian faith and allegiance to Christ:
“And the wealthy among us help the needy … and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.” (Ch. 65-67)
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Bread prices have already increased a thousand percent and more since my youth. That increase in price is due to a devaluation of currency because the silver was again removed from the coin of the realm. But we are not looking at merely an increase in price but a decrease in supply. With shortages on the horizon and skyrocketing inflation around the corner, stocking up, while a good idea, may be too little too late. Take hope, there are solutions…
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Victor Frankl
The problem is not our reliance upon foreign oil or imported grain but it is our misplaced faith in the men who call themselves benefactors or public servants, but who exercise authority one over the other.
When there was depression and food shortages in the days of the early Church Christians did not pray to Caesar to save them but they did pray to the God in heaven. They had been told by their king, who came to set them free, to gather together according to His character, to love one another, live by faith, hope and charity, to choose forgiving and giving ministers to lead them, not authoritarian leaders who rule one over the other. Their prayers did not echo in hollow halls of churches made of dead stone and wood. The Church was built of living stones.
In those early days every Christian in congregation with each other were a part of their own Faith Emergency Management Auxiliary. The early Church supplied the daily bread of the people, for the people and by the people through a loving and Living Network of faith, hope and charity.
We need to come together again as a peculiar people. We need to change where we are looking for salvation and solutions. We need to let Christ change our hearts and our thinking. We need to gather together in His Way, according to His Character, in His Spirit and His Name, caring enough about one another to become doers of the word.
But “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” W. Edwards Deming
1. His Holy Church
2. In 1965 the silver content of coins was reduced from 90% to 40% and eliminated altogether in 1971.
3. “By the reign of Claudius II Gothicus (268-270 A.D.) the silver content of the denarius was down to just .02 percent(Michell 1947: 2). As a consequence, prices skyrocketed. A measure of Egyptian wheat, for example, which sold for seven to eight drachmas in the second century now cost 120,000 drachmas. This suggests an inflation of 15,000 percent during the third century.” Bartlett, citing Rostovtzeff 1957: 471
4. John 9:22 “These [words] spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.”
5. Revelation 2:9 “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan.”
6. Luke 22:25 “And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But it shall not be so among you” Matthew 20:25, Mark 10:42
7. 1 Peter 2:5 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
8. Seeking the kingdom of God at hand