Wheat for a Penny

‘Don’t Hurt the Oil or the Wine’: As the wealthy quaff wine in comfort, India’s poor are thrown to the wolves. Sauvignon blanc or viognier”? The essence of Revelation 6:5-6. Prophecy unfolding before our eyes. Truth be told.

Foreshadow Now, ‘Season of the End Times’:

Blog note. Jesus indicated that ‘fearful sights’ (various natural disasters) would occur leading up to the time known as the Tribulation and Great Tribulation (a combined seven year period of great destruction on earth). Although these types of things have occurred in the past for centuries and thousands of years, they could be identified as the ‘season of the times’ due to the ferociousness of these events. They would be occurring in greater intensity, severity, frequency, size, duration, scope … just like the pains that a woman experiences in labor the farther along she is in the labor process. We are in the ‘season of the times’ that comes just before the seven (7) year Tribulation/Great Tribulation period

… And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Luke 21:11).
… And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (Luke 21:25)
… Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken; (Luke 21:26)
… This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1)

Jesus is giving a series of prophecies about what to look for as the age of grace comes to a close. These verses are several of many such prophecies from throughout the Bible. 2017 was the worst year in recorded history for the intensity, frequency, severity, duration and occurrence of a large number of severe natural disasters worldwide. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, torrential flooding, unprecedented wildfires in unusual places, devastating droughts, excessive/scorching heat setting records everywhere, record snowfalls in Europe and Russia. Snow in the Arabia. This list can go on. Most studied Eschatologists believe these ‘fearful sights’ and massive natural disasters are all part of the ‘CONVERGENCE’ of signs that this Biblical and prophetic age is closing. Most people who study prophecy are familiar with the routine reference(s) made that these things will be like a woman having labor.

The world is fast approaching a “climate apartheid” where only the wealthy can afford basic food resources in the face of fatal droughts, famine and heatwaves, while the rest of the world suffers. Revelation 6:5-6 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

‘Don’t Hurt the Oil or the Wine’: As the wealthy quaff wine in comfort, India’s poor are thrown to the wolves. Sauvignon blanc or viognier”?

With the country in lockdown because of coronavirus, deep social inequalities have been exposed more sharply than ever

Divided Delhi: ‘If coronavirus doesn’t kill me, hunger will’

The Guardian. April 8, 2020

Sauvignon blanc or viognier”? As the words left my mouth, my son and I locked eyes, our expressions flashing from shame-faced to half laughing at the irony. My live-in maid Ranjita had just laid out dinner and, since the fish and lyonnaise potatoes looked appetising, I thought it deserved a bottle of wine.

For people like us, under lockdown, the existential questions that punctuate our daily lives are: is it to be Curb Your Enthusiasm or Line of Duty, Netflix or Hotstar?

For millions of rich and middle-class people in India, the lockdown is almost an enforced period of recreation or a chance for self-improvement. Time to enroll for an online art appreciation course, learn the intricacies of Thai cooking, take up gardening, learn a language, take up the guitar, go for a detox by eating healthy food.

It’s a good time to start War and Peace. Watch those Visconti classics. Or finish Proust’s À La Recherche du Temps Perdu, or rather just the first volume. It requires several lockdowns to finish the whole novel.

If, like me, you have a live-in maid who happens to have picked up some beautician skills, you are “condemned” to confinement in a spa. Shall I have a facial today? Or a pedicure? No, let’s settle for a massage. It will relieve my lockdown tension.

The fridge is well stocked with food. Not, I hasten to add, because I have hoarded – I very deliberately refused to do something so cheap – but because Ranjita happened to do a big shop just a few days before Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown. There is more wine, along with single malt, vodka and rum.

I have some money in the bank. I even have cash because my sister, when she left India after a holiday to return to Oxford (she caught literally the last flight out of the country before flights to and from India were stopped), paid me for the new ticket we had to book to get her home. Hell, I’m even able to earn some money sitting indoors, if this article gets published.

What the lockdown has done, just two days in, is to magnify a hundredfold the social inequality in India until you feel as though it is screaming at you, wild-eyed and with bared teeth.

Social inequality has always been extreme here. Nothing new about that. Waiting at the traffic lights in your air-conditioned car (a kind of gleaming sealed egg, as novelist Aravind Adiga puts it in White Tiger), in your nice fresh clothes on your way to meet a friend for lunch at an elegant restaurant that is going to cost what could feed a family of four for a month, a man comes up to the window selling slices of coconut or crisps and the 250 rupees (£2.71) that he earns in a day will go towards feeding his family, if he is lucky.

With the lockdown, the man at the traffic lights has been immobilised. The lives of millions and millions of Indians are being shattered by the lockdown to an unimaginable degree and the contrast between their suffering and those who can comfortably ride out this storm is so sharp that it provokes an intake of breath. In Europe and the US where societies are more egalitarian, the lockdown experience is not marked by the same sharp disparities as in India.

We are staying indoors, all cosy and cocooned in our nice spacious homes with sofas and lamps, snug as a bug in a rug and busy on our laptops and phones, safe and protected. The poor have been thrown to the wolves. The government is doing its best to offer relief to help them survive but they are in extremis in every single respect: no work, money or food and, in many cases no family around for affection and support.

Casual workers are paid by the day. If they don’t work for a day, their wallets are empty. The first thing you notice when you walk into the home of a poor Indian is the absence of any processed or packaged foods. There are no jars, packets, bottles or boxes, nothing that can last. No packet of biscuits or noodles or a can of beans. There is never enough money to buy these superfluous items; the money is enough only for the vegetables or dal needed for one meal, and even the quantity of that meal is carefully calibrated to appetite as there is no fridge to keep any leftovers.

If they need medicines, they ask the chemist for the number of pills – paracetamol, say – they need for that day rather than buying a strip.

The crucial difference is that the poor have no buffer, no reserves of anything, whether money, food or medicines. Life is lived on the edge. While we can talk with our loved ones in other cities or countries on video calls or Facetime, they won’t have smartphones or won’t have the money to pay for packages with enough bandwidth.

The lockdown is necessary, no doubt, but it is a catastrophe for poor Indians. Some families at least live together in urban slums, but millions of migrant labourers are separated from their wives, parents and children back in the village. Lockdown means being confined to dingy cells that pass for rented accommodation, usually shared with six or seven other labourers.

In pre-Covid-19 days, they could spend some time outside these cells, chatting with others on the stairs or landings of their tenements, inhaling some of Delhi’s particulate matter. Now social distancing has made even that impossible.

Former maid Pushpa used to spend the day with her toddler in a tiny rented room while her husband and in-laws went out to work. Now all of them are locked up in that one room 24/7.

The lockdown has stripped the poor of the one thing that allowed them to hang on to a shred of dignity: work. When a poor Indian saw a rich man rushing off to work in his car, getting busy to support his family, he could feel that he too was working to be able to put food on the table that evening for his children. The lockdown has taken away this function and rendered him truly helpless.

Weirdest of all, none of this suffering is visible. Homebound as the rich are, the poor have become truly invisible, apart from the images on the news and in the papers. They have been walled off. And yet you can feel it. In one passage, Proust talks of how, as a child, he could experience the summer heat outside more intensely and vividly, lying inside his darkened bedroom, than he could if he had been outside in the bright sunshine. That is what some of us are feeling now, safe inside our homes while the suffering happens outside somewhere.

And yet … yet, true to habit, trivial thoughts keep intruding. What if I can’t get any hair dye? I don’t want to emerge from the lockdown looking like a badger.

 (Night Watchman Note: What will happen when millions of Christians suddenly ‘disappear’ in the ‘twinkling of an eye”??? Those who may be first-responders, doctors, nurses, support staff, policemen, firefighters, homeless volunteers, those in the red cross or other emergency aid and relief organizations, in the national guard or military, pharmacies, grocery stores, etc. You get the picture.)

1 Corinthians 15:52

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:

The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)

A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.

. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).

B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.

. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).

C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.

. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).

. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).

. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).

. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).

. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).

. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).

. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).

. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).

. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).

True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:

 Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Romans 12:19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Categories: Wheat for a Penny

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