Going Up

“Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth?”  Ecclesiastes 3:21


“For affliction does not come forth from the dust, nor does trouble spring up out of the ground; yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.”  Job 5:6-7


“And when He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, Come and see. So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.  And I heard 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 the wine.”  Revelation 6:5-6


“For the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.  And when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.  And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you. So they went.  Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.  And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, Why do you stand here idle all day?  They said to him, Because no one hired us. He said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.  So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.  And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius.  But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.  And when they had received it, they murmured against the landowner, saying, These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.  But he answered one of them and said, Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?  Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.  Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?  So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”  Matthew 20:1-16


It used to be that there was a lot of talk amongst those who attended church about ‘a day’s wages for a loaf of bread’.  Where exactly does that come from?  How is it that one can deduce that during the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7), better known as the Tribulation, that people will have to work an entire day just for their food?


When I was in college I took both micro and macro economics and was fascinated by it.  I managed to get a free 10-week subscription to the Wall Street Journal and would look over it, sometimes staying after in class discussing things with my professor.  Yet I didn’t understand the true monetary system, the Federal Reserve, how things really worked.  In hindsight I am glad that I did not pursue a career in economics, though I am sure I could have made a living doing so, my conscience would have been troubled by being involved in such a crooked system.


Every worker in America and around the world realizes that prices have been going up faster than wages for quite some time.  This is nothing new, in fact when my wife and I were younger we did some research on how much homes costs, how much people made, etc., back in the 1960’s.  We kept on asking ourselves, back in the early 2000’s, why it seemed so hard to make it.


Fast forward to 2021 and now price increases are becoming obvious.  At the local big box grocery store that we shop at on a weekly basis, we see numerous price increases.  I am really good with numbers and will often remember what the price was and then see the increase and know that it went up in price.  Oftentimes if you look hard at the price tag on the shelf you can spot a date that tells you when the pricing went up.


Now this is a far cry from a day’s wages for a loaf of bread, but how does one come to that conclusion, how can one read what is written and determine that that is what the Bible is prophetically saying will happen during the Tribulation?  Well, by using the Holy Scriptures, we can come to what seems to be a sound conclusion that indeed that is exactly what the Bible is talking about when it compares a quart of wheat to a denarius.  (The KJV uses penny, which is a translation of the word denarius.)


Jesus gave a parable found in Matthew chapter 20, listed above, that describes laborers working for a day in order to receive a denarius, thus the conclusion is that a denarius was a day’s wage.  Now how much is a quart of wheat? 


A quart of wheat is about 4 cups of flour, which if one were to whip up a loaf of bread, that would be about what one could eat per day.  One could then come to a conclusion that during the Tribulation people will work for a day in order to simply feed themselves.  So what appears to be going on in our world nowadays?  Are we heading in that direction?


One thing we know for certain, in general terms overall, things will not get that bad prior to the Tribulation.  In fact, I doubt that even when the Tribulation begins that things will be that bad during the first half of it.  You can read the book Repent!, available for free via All Will Stand’s website, for a bit more detail on such things.  I think it is a common mistake that people assume that once the Rapture happens that the Antichrist has instantaneous absolute full power and that the people automatically work all day for a loaf of bread, that the mark of the beast is instantly revealed, etc. 


No one can say for certain exactly when such things will take place in the Tribulation, but the Bible never says how long the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:16-18) is occurring.  While one could argue that it happens instantly, one could argue that it could simply be the last few months of the Tribulation.  Where the Bible is silent, we shouldn’t be certain.  We won’t know, we only know that these things will come to pass, however that may be.


The pandemic has provided an ample opportunity and setting for price increases to happen.  While panic buying in the early stages of the pandemic obviously provide the classic supply verses demand that allows for price increases, behind the scenes there have also been other global trade problems that are becoming a serious issue in regards to increase of costs for raw materials, which will eventually make there way into every  final produced product.


My family operates a small cleaning business where the Lord provides the work that we need.  In order to operate that business I need to purchase supplies.  For years I have watched some of the supplies that we order going up in price, this is nothing new. 


We strive to use the right products and equipment in order to provide our service.  For instance, we used to use Rubbermaid mops, 3-ply cotton, web-footed.  The pricing on the mop used to be in the 8 dollar range.  Then the price increased overtime to nearly $14 a mop.  I would find the product discounted via another vendor, using their coupons and generally have to purchase a large bulk of the mops at once, but could ultimately get the price down below $9 a mop.  Finally when I could do it no more, I ended up switching to another brand made in Honduras, where it is a 4-ply cotton mop, web-footed.  This is where we stand now.


However, recently I have been reading about some major price increases, that we haven’t even seen yet, that are heading our way.  This is not specifically hitting the janitorial market, but rather everything from the food we eat to the clothes we wear.  This will also affect manufacturing which ultimately will effect the pricing on all of the goods that we buy.  The price increase in building a home is a good example of some of the major problems being blamed on the pandemic.


The other day while providing janitorial services at a manufacturing job, I heard a discussion going on with a major price increase for raw materials heading to that factory.  Their supplier was having the second price increase in six months and this time it was an 8.5% increase in the raw goods for them to package their final product.  Like myself, there was talk of trying to find a different supplier to provide that product for them.  Yet there comes a point where there simply is no other way to get a cheaper price, at least not without compromising on the specs of exactly what service or product that you are trying to provide.


The amount of natural disasters, which in my opinion is the beginning of travails (Matt. 24:8), which has been going on for some time, certainly isn’t letting up.  Consider the crop loss in Iowa last year due to the derecho, as well as the massive wildfires, burnt cities, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts and other problems that the world as a whole have seen in the past several decades. 


Our news here is so 24/7 COVID-19, that rarely can they have time to talk about the major wildfires that happened in Australia or the even more recent severe flooding that they had.  Instead we have to be reminded to simply wear our mask day-in and day-out, as well as to get vaccinated.  Behind the news, what is not being spoke of is some major problems happening with industries around the world.  The food industry is taking a major hit right now with increased demand and decreased supply.


Manufacturers have always used planned product obsolescence, as well as the ever sneaky product size reduction as a means to hide the inflation.  Recently I picked up a cheeseburger at McDonald’s and having been a general manager there, I thought it looked smaller so I called up a buddy who is an assistant manager at a McD’s and he verified that they made them slightly smaller.  These things will simply continue, just as the orange juice and ice cream containers at the grocery stores shrunk years ago. 


Just the other day I went to replace a perch in my bird cage, a ‘crunchy’ one that the birds tear apart.  I have had two of these over the years and the last one that I purchased about a year and a half ago was $4.36, this time it was $13.03, I didn’t buy it.  Now we are not going to get to the point of a day’s wages for a loaf of bread as a society at large, though there are some countries where it is there already, but things we can see getting progressively worse.


The next time you are out and about and notice the price increase, remember that the Bible has prophesized that eventually people will have to work an entire day just to eat during the Tribulation.  Prices are going up, but the soul of man also goes up, as the opening verses stipulate. 


“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, so that the evil days do not come, nor the years draw near, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them.  While the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain; in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men bow down, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look out of the windows are darkened, and the doors are shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are silenced; also they are afraid of the heights, and terrors along the way, and the almond tree blossoms, and the grasshopper is a burden, and desire fails; because man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets; or before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern; then the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.  Vanity of vanities, says the preacher; all is vanity.  And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge. Yes, he pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.  The preacher sought to learn acceptable words; written words of uprightness and truth.  The words of the wise are like goads, and as nails from the collection, fastened by the Master, given from one Shepherd.  And further, by these, my son, be admonished: The making of many books has no end, and much study is a weariness to the flesh.  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is for every man.  For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”  Ecclesiastes 12


While I suspect that we will continue to see things getting worse and worse, we know that God will take care of those who are His.


“Unless Jehovah builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless Jehovah guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”  Psalms 127:1


“No one is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. It is not possible to serve God and mammon.  Therefore I say to you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Observe the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by being anxious is able to add one cubit to his stature?  So why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear?  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matthew 6:24-34


“The Angel of Jehovah encamps round about those who fear Him, and rescues them.  O taste and see that Jehovah is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him.  O fear Jehovah, you His holy ones; for there is nothing lacking to those who fear Him.  The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek Jehovah shall not lack any good thing.”  Psalms 34:7-10


Those who have repented (Acts 17:30-31) and by faith believed into Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (John 14:6) do not have to worry about the Tribulation or having to work an entire day just to feed oneself.  For we have not been appointed to wrath.


“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.  For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we watch or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Therefore encourage each other and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”  1st Thessalonians 5:8-11


The world will endure these things because they have not accepted the free gift of Salvation (Eph. 2:8-9).  We can see the beginning of such things and I marvel of how well the pandemic seems to fit into all of this.  This is not to say that it will not come to an end or that the Rapture will not be a hundred years down the road, but I know that we who are Saved ought to be watching and ready.


“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of Heaven, but My Father only.  But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and did not realize until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  Then two will be in the field: one is taken and the other is left.  Two will be grinding at the mill: one is taken and the other is left.  Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord comes.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief comes, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be dug through.  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man comes at an hour you do not expect.  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made administrator over his household, to give them food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.  Truly, I say to you that he will appoint him as administrator over all his possessions.  But if that wicked servant says in his heart, My master delays his coming, and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards,  the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not expecting him and in an hour he does not know, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Matthew 24:36-51


How exciting of times we live in!  We can literally see, whether the time is very soon or not, how easily many of the Bible prophecies could be fulfilled that relate to the end times.  Yet, let us not let our guards down (Phil. 3:12), let us continue to warn men (Col. 1:28) to repent towards God and by faith believe into Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (Acts 20:21).  For the will of God is that none would perish, but we know that the work out there to be done for Christ is endless (Matt. 9:37)


“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be kept safe.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  Matthew 24:12-14


“But, beloved, do not be unaware of this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is longsuffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with intense burning; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, of what sort ought you to be in holy behavior and godliness, looking for and earnestly hastening unto the coming of the Day of God, through which the heavens will be dissolved, being set on fire, and the elements will melt with intense burning?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and without blemish; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable twist, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.  You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware also that you not be led away with the error of the wicked, and fall from your own steadfastness.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”  2nd Peter 3:8-18


For some they see things like this and they figure it is too late, but until that Trumpet sounds (1 Cor. 15:52), it is not too late (Rev. 4:1).  For you dear reader or listener, if you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, it is not too late.  You too can accept the free gift of Salvation (Eph. 2:8-9), for Christ paid the penalty on the Cross for your sins as well (2 Cor. 5:21).  Why o’ why will you die?  For prices aren’t the only thing that are going up, so too the soul of man is going up to God after he dies.


“And the devil, who led them astray, was cast into the Lake of Fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away. And there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. And books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, out of the things which were written in the books.  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one, according to their works.  And Death and Hades were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.”  Revelation 20:10-15