This industrial age in which we live has so divorced the people from the land that our children don’t know that milk comes from cows that eat grass to get the raw materials to make it, or that apples grow on trees.
The same children think that “production” means some widget coming off the end of a factory conveyor belt. They are unaware that both the widget and the conveyor belt came from the ground and will eventually rust and rot back into it.
They don’t understand that, when the family’s needs exceed 20 percent of what they produce from the ground on which they live, their very existence is in danger. When that applies to an entire nation, the nation will cease to exist.
The limit of the land to support a population is limited to 10 percent trade – money-based activity – for sustainability, 15 percent under famine conditions, and 20 percent at the very hardest pressures from the population it supports. Any time that 20 percent mark is exceeded, the land turns to desert and life on it fails regardless of how much the land is forced by artificial fertilizers and chemicals.
The earth is a living eco-system. It takes millions of living organism – bacteria and fungi, as opposed to dirt, which is barren – to break the bare earth down into the nutrients that plants need to survive. The plants themselves cannot do this.
It takes a minimum percentage of decomposing plant matter to feed those living organisms so they can do their work. If either the plant matter or the living organisms fall below that limit, the soil sinks back into dirt, then into desert where nothing can live.
And the fuel for all this activity is rain. Irrigation water is not the same as rain for two reasons. First, combining hydrogen and oxygen does not produce water. What it produces has entirely different chemical properties than water. We don’t know what water actually is. We know that it comes from outer space and falls to earth as dew and rain, but we don’t actually know how it is made, where it is made, or what gives it the properties specific to water.
Irrigation water, especially that taken from underground aquifers, is so loaded with dissolved rock minerals that it leaves a deadly white coating on the soil after it sinks into the ground. This rock residue so damages the ground that it becomes barren in a very short period of time.
River water has different properties. It starts out as snow on the mountains, then melts and flows down to the oceans. The only river known to be different is the Jordan in Israel, which starts out as a spring in the mountains of Lebanon. Every other known river on earth will dry up if the snows stop.
That explains the fragility of the food production system.
What about the “stuff” that gets traded?
There are two classes of stuff traded: raw materials and finished goods. The raw materials are things like timber, metal ore, raw agricultural products such as cotton fiber, and labor in the form of slaves, wage laborers, and experts in every field on earth.
Finished goods at this point in history are computer chips, iron and other metal ingots, clothing, automobiles, airplanes, submarines, tanks, and tractors. Most of King Solomon’s wealth that flowed into Israel came from importing war chariots and horses from Egypt and selling them to his neighbors. The end result is that those neighbors returned the merchandise in the form of invading armies. It pays to pay attention to what gets traded to whom.
The modern opposite equivalent was when Henry Ford tried to give a full ship load of farm tractors to India as a gift, free of change including the shipping cost, during a famine in which many people starved to death. India stopped the ship in international waters and ordered it to return to its home port without unloading its cargo. Trade is a funny business.
The first traders documented in our written history was the specialty of the descendants of the warriors that were with Abraham1, whose contribution to sustaining the camp of several thousand wives, children, elderly, and other family members was herding the sheep, camels, cows, goats, and donkeys required to support the camp. Their secondary occupation came to a halt when Esau raided the herds and took them all to Seir while Jacob was in the fields of Aram, leaving the herders with no visible means of supporting their families. Doing that to professional soldiers is not recommended.
Their response was to relocate along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and begin trading with the towns located on the shores, eventually expanding all the way around the western coast of Africa to trade with India. When piracy got to the point where too much loss was being sustained, they moved the trade to land routes, carving out the northern and southern Silk Roads and developing trade with the spice lands on the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula called Punt, the land ruled by the Queen of Sheba, who also ruled a province in what is Ethiopia. Her land in Arabia was known as “the land of the two rivers” because the river that flowed through her land was divided by the engineers of that day to flow into a large reservoir, then out again in two rivers to irrigate the very fertile land.
Then two things happened. The mountains that were catching the snows that melted into the rivers began failing to catch the snow, and a major earthquake destroyed the dam that defined the reservoir. The queen led her entire population down into Ethiopia to her other property, leaving the “land of the two rivers” to become “the forgotten land” that was entirely desert and deserted.
The basis of the fertility of the land was the organic matter that replenished the land every seventh year, during the Land Sabbaths. Everything that fell from the trees and plants in that year was dug back into the ground to feed the bacteria and fungi. When the water stopped and the land dried into dust, the winds began blowing the dust around, sifting out the organic matter to travel the fartherest and leaving the sand in the nearer regions, turning the land into barren desert.
The common misconception that the Land Sabbaths were instituted during the settling of Israel into the Promised Land. This is incorrect. The Land Sabbaths had been in effect on the other side of Noah’s Flood, and were simply written into the national code by Moses because warfare had caused it to be abandoned in many areas. It was practiced in the United States as recently as the 1950s, then taxed on the land and crops became so high, the young people were lured to the cities, and other changes caused it to be abandoned and forgotten.
The national implications of abandoning the Land Sabbaths is underlined by the claim by the Jews that the Babylonian Captivity was prompted by this very lapse. That is a warning to future generations from that time forward. What is missing from the record is the change of calendar by Solomon from the Jubilee Calendar that was developed under Noah after the flood to account for the earth changes during that event, and marked the Land Sabbaths and Jubilee years. There is no Land Sabbath or Jubilee in the moon-based calendar, and every nation that has grown great under that calendar has failed and fallen into ruins.
The past is a prophecy of the future. It’s up to humans to be warned and heed the lessons of the past. Will that happen? The ancient prophets say that they will not, because their leaders lead them astray, enabled by the lack of the ability to adapt by the populations under their guidance. Nevertheless, the warning must be given, even if the people will not listen and learn.