Coronavirus is now sweeping across the globe with the ferocity of a tsunami. We’ve watched it devastate Wuhan, Italy, Spain. This week all eyes are on New York, the newest epicenter of the virus. There, doctors are battling desperately against a host of obstacles.
From the shortage of personal protective equipment for health care workers to the application submitted by city officials to the federal government for a second disaster relief morgue, New York is at the centre of an unfolding nightmare.
The picture is just as grim farther afield in other parts of the world. For those of us in Australia and New Zealand, though it seems that the curve is beginning to flatten we’re still on the edge of our seats, wondering which way this behemoth will turn.
So, is this pandemic apocalyptic? Are we staring down the blade that will slice apart the world and usher in the end as we know it? What does the Bible have to say about everything that is taking place around us? Well, Bible prophecy does, in fact, mention deadly viruses or pestilences.
In Luke 21 Jesus outlines the events that will take place just before the end of the world. In Luke 21:11 (NKJV) Jesus says that one of the signs of His coming will be pestilences. “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven”.
The Greek definition for pestilence used here means plague or disease. So the Bible does mention that prior to Jesus coming there will be widespread natural disasters and diseases around the world.
In Matthew 24 which outlines the same sequence of events described in Luke 21, Jesus offers us further clarity regarding these signs. In Matthew 24:7-8 He says “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs”.
Jesus used labour and birth as an analogy for the sequence of events that leads up to His second coming and the end of the world. Pestilence, disease or virus, is one of a long list of signs that occur as part of this process.
Any mother can tell you that labour can be a long and painful process. But the thing about labour is this; it usually begins with relatively mild contractions that build in frequency and intensity.
The signs surrounding the end of the world will be similar. They will be relatively mild and further apart, to begin with, but as the end draws nearer and nearer they will be more intense and closer together. If you look at history you will notice that many of the signs Jesus mentions are actually becoming progressively more intense and closer together.
And that’s true of viruses. In recent times we’ve seen
– and now, COVID-19
The main point of what Jesus is saying in Luke 21 and Matthew 24 is to watch for the prophetic signs to increase in frequency. This increase will signal the soon return of Jesus.
Which means that, while we don’t know exactly when Jesus will come, we can be sure that His coming is near. While Covid-19 might not signal the end of the world as we know it, it might be a signal for us to sit up and take notice and to prepare for Jesus’ soon coming.
But regardless of the severity and intensity of the crisis before us Jesus tells us not to panic. In John 16:33 he tells us “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”.
In John 14:27 Jesus reminds us not to be troubled or afraid, because He is with us no matter what the situation or circumstances. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
And again in Hebrews 13:5 he says “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. Regardless of what is happening around us, you can be sure that you can find refuge and comfort in Jesus. Don’t be afraid, reach out and take hold of Jesus’ hand and He is there for you.
Building on the analogy Jesus used about labour and birth it’s important to realize that as a mother’s contractions get more painful and frequent, the most important thing for her to do is to keep calm.
Keep calm and focus on what lies at the end of the painful and difficult ordeal she is going through; the joy of seeing her baby face to face. As we face crises of increasing intensity and frequency, we should remember the same thing.
Keep calm and lookup. The joy of seeing Jesus face to face will far outweigh any ordeal we might have to face here and now. So, hold on to Jesus and pray, look to him for peace and trust that He will carry you through whatever lies ahead.
If you would like to know more about the peace and hope that Jesus offers us, then I’d like to invite you to go to our new website: bibleinfo.com. You’ll find a wealth of Bible information as well as answers to many of the questions that people are asking today.