A Return to Eden: When Hunger and Disease Disappear

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A Return to Eden

When Hunger and Disease Disappear

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“The poster children that tug at our heartstrings are all there, wide-eyed and ribbed with pain, their skulls grotesquely out of proportion to their withered bodies,” wrote World Food Program executive director James Morris about a drought- and locust-caused famine in Niger in 2005.

“Their skin hangs loose on feeble bones and many feed through tubes taped to their faces. They are gathered to play out their final days on a well-worn set that many may never leave.”

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that more than 840 million people go hungry every day, including one in three people in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, 25,000 people die every day from malnutrition and hunger-related disease—three quarters of them children under 5 (www.just1world.org/food-and-hunger.htm ).

Children make up about half of the approximately 50 million refugees in the world. Luise Druke of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that more than 2 million children were killed in conflicts in the 1990s. Another 6 million were wounded and 1 million orphaned.

Millions more children (and adults) are stricken with disease, maimed or disabled each year.

“Your kingdom come”!

Such heartrending stories and statistics make us cry out to God for His Kingdom to come to bring a time when hunger and disease will be halted—even while we do what we can to help today.

The prophet Ezekiel records some of God’s fantastic promises for the world beyond today:

“I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger” (Ezekiel 34:29 Ezekiel 34:29And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.
American King James Version×
).

“I will deliver you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations” (Ezekiel 36:29-30 Ezekiel 36:29-30 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine on you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that you shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
American King James Version×
).

Famine has afflicted mankind throughout history. Every effort to eradicate hunger by greater agricultural production and massive relief programs has failed to end the scourge. Wars, droughts, pestilence and government inefficiency and corruption have combined to thwart even the great gains of the green and biotech revolutions.

But God promises agricultural abundance that will bring an end to hunger and starvation.

“ ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it…They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them” (Amos 9:13-14 Amos 9:13-14 13 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
American King James Version×
).

The Nelson Study Bible explains the significance of Amos’s statement: “Israelite farmers plowed…from mid-October. They harvested the grain crop…from late March to early June. For the plowman to overtake the reaper would mean such an abundant harvest that it would last all summer and would not be gathered until the plowing had started again.”

With the fear of war and hunger removed, each elderly person, adult and child will feel secure and content. “Everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken” (Micah 4:4 Micah 4:4But 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.
American King James Version×
).

Isaiah painted word pictures of the barren land being transformed into productive and beautiful fields “like Eden…the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3 Isaiah 51:3For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
American King James Version×
).

For thousands of years man’s activities have reduced the amount of productive farmland in the world and increased the size of the deserts. But all that will change in the world beyond today. Isaiah pictured it this way:

“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing…For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water” (Isaiah 35:1-2 Isaiah 35:1-2 1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.
American King James Version×
, 6-7).

Disease and disability to disappear!

This beautiful chapter also describes the healing of the disabilities that have plagued mankind for millennia.

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing” (Isaiah 35:5-6 Isaiah 35:5-6 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
American King James Version×
).

God’s healing power will do what medical science has only dreamed of doing, repairing the intricate systems that allow us to see and hear, run and speak.

After describing the sin and the incurable sickness so prevalent in today’s world, Jeremiah records God’s promise of restoration: “ ‘For I will restore health to you and heal your wounds,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 30:17 Jeremiah 30:17For I will restore health to you, and I will heal you of your wounds, said the LORD; because they called you an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeks after.
American King James Version×
).

God, as our Creator, knows how our bodies should work and has the power to repair the cumulative effects of mankind’s abuse of the human body over thousands of years. Peter reminds us of this focus of the incredible love of Jesus Christ, “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24 1 Peter 2:24Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
American King James Version×
). Matthew tells us, “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17 Matthew 8:17That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses.
American King James Version×
).

Disease, sickness and all the sorrow that accompanies them will finally be conquered. People will be taught the causes of diseases and how to prevent them. The huge drain on individuals, families and society caused by the suffering, medical expenses and lost productivity will be a thing of the past.

A n economic system that works

Exactly how the economy of the future will run and the nature of future technology might be matters for speculation. But we do know that with agricultural abundance and without the drain of military and medical expenses and without governmental corruption and wastefulness, there will be plenty for all to share.

Everyone will be taught to be a contributing, productive member of society. God will hold those accountable who try to oppress the poor or who seek to sponge off others (James 5:1-6 James 5:1-6 1 Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come on you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver is corroded; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed the just; and he does not resist you.
American King James Version×
; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
American King James Version×
).

A just and reasonable taxation system will contribute to a fair and prosperous future. In fact, God promises incredible blessings to those who no longer rob from Him, as mankind has throughout history, but who pay the 10th that He requires.

“ ‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it’ ” (Malachi 3:10 Malachi 3:10Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, said the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
American King James Version×
). This promise included preventing pests from attacking the crops and providing productivity (verse 11).

Where it all leads

The bountiful harvests, the beautifully restored environment, the vibrant health of the people, the productive economy—all these are wonderful in themselves. But humans have enjoyed some of these things before, yet eventually ruined them. What is to prevent that from happening again?

God shows that He intends these physical blessings to lead to something even more incredible. After describing the abundance that will replace the famines of today, Ezekiel writes:

“Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good [the causes of the suffering of this present age]; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations” (Ezekiel 36:31 Ezekiel 36:31Then shall you remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
American King James Version×
).

God intends these blessings to lead to repentance—the vehement desire to change from within. God wants to win and change hearts and minds so that we will not repeat the tragedies of this age. Identifying the problems in our hearts and coming to deeply desire to change ourselves are the first steps to becoming citizens who will not befoul or destroy the beautiful world God is bringing.

For more about the process of repentance and change that can begin now, download or request a free copy of Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion . Allowing God to transform you won’t change the whole world now, but it will dramatically change your corner of it. And it will prepare you to serve God in helping others and bringing His utopian Kingdom soon to this earth. WNP