Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. (Genesis 47:13)
The Hebrew wording translated as “in all the land” is literally translated as “all of the earth.” So we imagine that the entire world of Joseph’s day was impacted by this famine; it was global in its scope. Considering that the rest of Joseph’s story is prophetic in nature, this would imply that, in the future, another famine of this magnitude will affect the entire world again. In fact, the Bible speaks of such a famine.
When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature 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 creatures, 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 6:5-6)
This describes a time when a daily ration of wheat suitable for one person or enough barley to feed three people for one day will cost a day’s wages. In today’s world we would refer to this as hyper-inflation, apparently brought on by intense food shortages. It’s not hard to imagine that in such a scenario, most of the world’s population, lulled into an apathetic slumber by years of abundance, would be caught completely off guard. Such a famine would conceivably lead to outbreaks of violence and lead to general chaos. In an environment such as that, people will be looking for something — someone — who is able to help them.
The text in Revelation says that, in spite of the intense famine, the oil and wine would not be harmed. While we take this to be literal, nevertheless, what could this imply where you and I are concerned? Consider that, as the followers of the Messiah, we are part of a cultivated olive tree. Paul goes into great detail to make this point in Romans 11. Of course, olives produce olive oil. Messiah referred to Himself as the True Vine and that, as His followers, we are the branches. Upon those branches fruit appears which is then converted into wine. So then, does this verse in Revelation hint that, in the midst of this great global famine, God’s people will have protection and provision?
That would be in sync with the prophetic pattern we find in the story of Joseph; he sustained his family with food in midst of a widespread famine. It also agrees with the nature of our God and the promises that He has made to His people. Anyone who is paying attention can see that trouble is on the horizon and with it challenges for the Body of Messiah. As we enter this perilous time, take comfort in the fact that, from the beginning, our Father has always made provision for His people. What He has done in the past, He will do again.
Blessings and Shalom,