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Is the Coronavirus in Bible Prophecy?

Is the Coronavirus in Bible Prophecy?

By David Jeremiah

Let’s face it: The pandemic feels like something we’ve read about in the Bible. It is the most apocalyptic thing that has ever happened to us. But is it a sign that the world is coming to an end? Could we be living in the Last Days before the return of Jesus Christ?

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, there is a section of Scripture known as the Olivet Discourse. It records our Lord’s discussion with four of His disciples about the signs of the times. Here is Matthew’s record of that interchange:

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24:3–8)

The message of Matthew 24 is a prophetic sermon Jesus gave to His disciples that swept them into a future time, a day they would not personally experience. This passage is so comprehensive that many have called it the mini–Apocalypse. Our Lord gives a broad outline of the future, and it’s like an overture to the book of Revelation.

Matthew 24 is like an overture to the book of Revelation.

Focusing our attention on “pestilences…in various places,” there are two layers to understanding COVID’s role in Bible prophecy. First, we need to understand that the Rapture is the next prophetic event described in Scripture, and the signs outlined in Matthew 24 have nothing to do with it. They’re not related to the Lord Jesus Christ coming to get us. Our Lord plainly stated that we would not know when He is coming (Matthew 24:42–44; Luke 12:40). But, seven years after the Rapture, Jesus Christ will return in the Second Coming. This is the event for which Jesus gave His disciples signs to discern the times.

So, is COVID a sign of the Second Coming of Christ?

I cannot say with any sense of certainty that it is, but neither can I say that it is not. It could be early evidence of the coming pestilence. Between the Rapture and the Second Coming, everyone who does not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will experience the seven–year Tribulation period. The signs of Christ’s return will occur and intensify during these seven years, but some of them will probably begin gradually long before the Rapture takes place.

Matthew 24:8 says, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Some Bible translations use the phrase “birth pains” in place of “sorrows.” That is a good analogy. We know the End Times are coming, but we do not have all the details of how things will develop.

Most likely, the coronavirus is not the pestilence Jesus talked about in Matthew 24. It does not perfectly qualify as a prophetic sign. However, it reminds us that such indications exist and such things will happen. While it may not be a sign of the future, it is a sign for today. Let me tell you what it teaches us.

1. We are all vulnerable. From heads of state to professional athletes to the elderly, every layer of society has been affected by the pandemic. In other cases, if we have enough money, we can protect ourselves from things like this. Money may buy a test, but it cannot buy immunity or a cure. We are all vulnerable to the super plagues. This reality ought to humble us and remind us how dependent we are upon God.

2. We can trust the Bible. When I began to study Scripture as a young man, I believed what it said about the signs of the End Times because it is God’s Word. But the events of the Last Days seemed unimaginable to me. Now, I have a greater understanding.

After experiencing the COVID pandemic, it is much easier to comprehend how the Tribulation events could occur.

3. We cannot control the future. Before March 2020, if anyone had said our calendars would be wiped clean and the government would close our schools and businesses for weeks at a time, no one would have believed it. Today, we read passages like James 4:14 with new eyes: “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” Like never before, we understand that tomorrow does not belong to us.

4. Jesus is our source of hope. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, most of the reporting has skewed toward the negative. Hope is scarce. We know this is a serious time, but it will not be the end of the world. Rather than being overwhelmed with negativity, we can place our trust and hope in the Lord (Jeremiah 17:7).

5. Jesus is enough. As Jesus was preparing to leave His disciples and return to heaven, He told them, “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” (John 16:33, emphasis added). These may be familiar words, but during these turbulent times, let’s not miss our Lord’s promises. Jesus is the peace we need, and He has already overcome every challenge we will face. He is in control. His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

6. There is an urgent need for salvation. Through prophecy, God has revealed the darkness of this world’s approaching doom. This should cause us to think seriously about our future. When the Tribulation arrives and God’s people are taken into heaven, the door will close on those who have heard and rejected the Gospel. The most important question you can settle today is whether you are a Christian.

Have you ever done that? Has there been a time in your life when you acknowledged that you are a sinner and asked Jesus Christ to forgive your sin, come into your life, and give you the gift of eternal life? If not, you can do it today—right now. There is One who sees you, and that’s God Himself. And He will hear you if you pray this simple prayer from your heart:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I understand that the wages of sin is death. I do not want to die in my sin. I want to be forgiven and live in hope. So, Lord Jesus, come into my heart and forgive me. Give me the gift of eternal life which You have promised. Give me salvation, Lord. I trust You. I believe in You. I know that You love me and gave Yourself for me. And I receive you as my Savior today.

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