A massive swarm of locusts has invaded at least eight countries (Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Sudan). About a month ago, this cloud of insects was declared the worst plague of locusts in 70 years. It would appear we are headed toward breaking the record set during the time of Moses. However, I read in the Bible that the plague on Egyptians was promised by God to be a “…dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again” (Exodus 10:14, ESV).
This infestation of desert locusts first arrived in East Africa last June, feeding on hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops and pastureland. They came from the uninhabited portion of the Arabian Peninsula which is normally bone dry. In 2018, two perfectly timed cyclones dumped heavy rains in this region, creating the ideal wet, sandy conditions the desert locusts require to breed.
Three generations of breeding occurred in nine months, causing locust numbers to increase by 8,000 times and forming the original source of the East Africa upsurge. Scientists say these devastating insects never left East Africa: in fact, favorable wet conditions due to above average rainfall this season mean they are likely to achieve two more generations of new breeding by June this year, increasing their population size up to 400 times.
Eventually, the desert is going to dry up, and the swarm of locusts will move inland. A typical swarm can consist of up to 150 million locusts per square kilometer. These insects move with the wind, and can migrate as far as 150 kilometers in one day. Even a tiny, one-square-kilometer locust swarm is capable of consuming the same amount of food in one day as approximately 35,000 people.
The coronavirus lockdown is harming the effort to combat the swarm. Some farmers in Abokat’s village near the Kenyan border bang metal pans, whistle or throw stones to try to drive the locusts away. But mostly they watch in frustration, largely barred by a coronavirus lockdown from gathering outside their homes.
A year from now we will likely be writing articles about the Great Famine of 2021. East Africa already has 20 million severely food-insecure people, who barely eat enough to fill their stomachs each day. The region was recently devastated by conflict, droughts, and floods. With food lines forming in America from the lockdown, it’s going to be hard to draw attention to a crisis on the other side of the globe.
It is widely believed in the pre-tribulation rapture camp that we are only to see the birth pangs up until the rapture takes place, not the wrath. Since God is always trying to get man’s attention with calamity, I think what we are seeing is a shadow of what will unfold during the tribulation hour. The locusts in Moses time only ate plants, as do the locusts of today. The locusts of Revelation will prey upon people. I warn all salvation fence-sitters to repent now to avoid a far greater wrath to come.