Current Events

Current Events

Coronavirus: a Biblical Point of View

Coronavirus: a Biblical Point of View

The coronavirus is a concern for almost everyone on the planet. Considered the most serious crisis since the 2nd World War, it affects not only the health of the world’s population but also its economic, political and social stability. It is concentrating minds everywhere. Some say the coronavirus has been sent by God as ‘a punishment’, or that it heralds the ‘End of the World’, quoting Bible passages in proof.  But what does the Bible actually say about ‘pestilences’ like this (defined as “a deadly and overwhelming disease that affects an entire community”)  and of the ‘time of the end’?  Before answering that, take some time to view the videos below, and then with Bible in hand, continue down this page to consider two themes:  1. God’s overall control of the universe, and 2. His very specific plan for the earth.

The coronavirus is a concern for almost everyone on the planet. Considered the most serious crisis since the 2nd World War, it affects not only the health of the world’s population but also its economic, political and social stability. It is concentrating minds everywhere. Some say the coronavirus has been sent by God as ‘a punishment’, or that it heralds the ‘End of the World’, quoting Bible passages in proof.  But what does the Bible actually say about ‘pestilences’ like this (defined as “a deadly and overwhelming disease that affects an entire community”)  and of the ‘time of the end’?  Before answering that, take some time to view the videos below, and then with Bible in hand, continue down this page to consider two themes:  1. God’s overall control of the universe, and 2. His very specific plan for the earth.

CORONA - A Christadelphian Response
Video - Covid 19 - Are we living in the End Times?
Video - 2020 - A dramatic year!! - Is Christ's Return near?
CORONA - A Christadelphian Response
Video - Covid 19 - Are we living in the End Times?
Video - 2020 - A dramatic year!! - Is Christ's Return near?

God is in control
It’s a comforting fact that the Lord God is in control of what happens to the world he created.  Many of His acts throughout history have shown the inescapable truth:

‘The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,The world and those who dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1)
‘…the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He will. (Daniel 4:17)

Surely that is a great reassurance, knowing that God is in control, whatever humankind has in mind.  

God is in control
It’s a comforting fact that the Lord God is in control of what happens to the world he created.  Many of His acts throughout history have shown the inescapable truth:

‘The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,The world and those who dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1)
‘…the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He will. (Daniel 4:17)

Surely that is a great reassurance, knowing that God is in control, whatever humankind has in mind.  

God has a plan
What is more, the Bible shows clearly that God made the world specifically as a place for people to live:

‘For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else’ (Isaiah 45:18)
‘The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever.’ (Psalm 37:29)

God has a plan
What is more, the Bible shows clearly that God made the world specifically as a place for people to live:

‘For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else’ (Isaiah 45:18)
‘The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever.’ (Psalm 37:29)

He promised it would always be there:

‘… the earth which He has established forever(Psalm 78:69).
‘Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever(Psalm 104:5).

He promised it would always be there:

‘… the earth which He has established forever(Psalm 78:69).
‘Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever(Psalm 104:5).

He also promised that familiar agricultural and weather patterns will continue:

‘While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.’ Genesis 8:22 (NKJV)

He also promised that familiar agricultural and weather patterns will continue:

‘While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.’ Genesis 8:22 (NKJV)

In fact, it is God’s declared intention that, far from the world ending up as smouldering scene of desolation following some terrible holocaust (or pestilence), it will be just the opposite:

In fact, it is God’s declared intention that, far from the world ending up as smouldering scene of desolation following some terrible holocaust (or pestilence), it will be just the opposite:

What God has promised
For a start, everyone will acknowledge God:

‘from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD (Isaiah 66:23).
‘the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.’ (Habakkuk 2:14)

What God has promised
For a start, everyone will acknowledge God:

‘from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD (Isaiah 66:23).
‘the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.’ (Habakkuk 2:14)

There will be righteousness, peace and justice in the world:

‘… they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid’ (Micah 4:4)
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.(Isaiah32:16,17)

There will be righteousness, peace and justice in the world:

‘… they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid’ (Micah 4:4)
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.  (Isaiah32:16,17)

Conflict will be removed from the Earth:

They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

Conflict will be removed from the Earth:

They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

Sorrow, pain and death will end:

 ‘…I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed…So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:51-54)
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ (Revelation 21:4)

Sorrow, pain and death will end:

 ‘…I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed…So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:51-54)
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ (Revelation 21:4)

To sum up the outcome of all these promised changes, the prophet Micah gives a delightful image of our future world at peace:

‘Now … in the latter days .. the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and … be exalted above the hills; … peoples shall flow to it.  many nations shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.”(Micah 4:1,2)

To sum up the outcome of all these promised changes, the prophet Micah gives a delightful image of our future world at peace:

‘Now … in the latter days .. the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and … be exalted above the hills; … peoples shall flow to it.  many nations shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.”(Micah 4:1,2)

So, How can this happen?
How, you might ask, can we get from where we are today, with wars, civil unrest, terrorism, social breakdown, increased drug use and now a pandemic, to a world of peace and tranquillity?

So, How can this happen?
How, you might ask, can we get from where we are today, with wars, civil unrest, terrorism, social breakdown, increased drug use and now a pandemic, to a world of peace and tranquillity?

God’s promises fulfilled
The Bible is full of promises God has made and fulfilled.  One promise that has not been fulfilled yet is that God will send His son, Jesus, back to the earth to judge and reign as king over the earth:

‘…while [the disciples] watched, [Jesus] was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked … toward heaven as He went up, …, two men stood by them in white …, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This … Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10.11).

 ‘because [God] has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained (Acts 17:31)

 ‘For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem’ (Isaiah 2:3).

God’s promises fulfilled
The Bible is full of promises God has made and fulfilled.  One promise that has not been fulfilled yet is that God will send His son, Jesus, back to the earth to judge and reign as king over the earth:

‘…while [the disciples] watched, [Jesus] was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked … toward heaven as He went up, …, two men stood by them in white …, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This … Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10.11).

 ‘because [God] has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained (Acts 17:31)

 ‘For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem’ (Isaiah 2:3).

What significance do events like the current pandemic have in Bible  prophecy?
Toward the end of Jesus’s three and a half year ministry, shortly before his crucifixion and resurrection,  he was asked by his disciples:

Tell us… what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?(Matthew 24:3)

And Jesus gave them a surprising graphic and complete answer in what is known as the “Olivet Prophecy”

“…Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven,…………..And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.  And there will be …….  on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, (meaning – impasse, no way out) the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”   (Luke 21:10,24-28)

We can see, then, that, of themselves, pandemics have always been seen as part of world events both now and in the past – The Black Death (1348), the Great Plague (1665), the Spanish Influenza (1918),  SARS Outbreak (2003), The Swine Flu Pandemic (2009), The Corona Virus Pandemic (2019-2020) – along with wars and  earthquakes; they have always been  part and parcel of everyday existence on this planet. 

At the time of writing, one third of the world’s population is in ‘lockdown’ and the British government have made it clear that things will get worse before they improve. No one can accurately predict when this crisis will be over.  What we can be confident of  is that however difficult and painful times will be, they will pass.

However, what we are seeing today is a greater frequency of such pestilences, along with countless incidences of earthquakes around the globe, togther with distress in the world’s population with fear and worry among mankind for the “things which are coming upon the earth”, along with the deliverence from 2000 years of Gentile (non-Jewish) suppression of Jerusalem in recent years.  When all this is seen to be occuring together, those with faith in God’s word know they are all signs that something big is about to happen.. “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory”

What significance do events like the current pandemic have in Bible  prophecy?
Toward the end of Jesus’s three and a half year ministry, shortly before his crucifixion and resurrection,  he was asked by his disciples:

Tell us… what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?(Matthew 24:3)

And Jesus gave them a surprising graphic and complete answer in what is known as the “Olivet Prophecy”

“…Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven,…………..And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.  And there will be …….  on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, (meaning – impasse, no way out) the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”   (Luke 21:10,24-28)

We can see from history that  pandemics have always been seen as part of world events in the past – The Black Death (1348), the Great Plague (1665), the Spanish Influenza (1918),  SARS Outbreak (2003), The Swine Flu Pandemic (2009), The Corona Virus Pandemic (2019-2020) – along with wars and  earthquakes; they have always been  part and parcel of everyday existence on this planet. 

At the time of writing, one third of the world’s population is in ‘lockdown’ and the British government have made it clear that things will get worse before they improve. No one can accurately predict when this crisis will be over.  What we can be confident of  is that however difficult and painful times will be, they will pass.

However, what we are seeing today is a greater frequency of such pestilences, along with countless incidences of earthquakes around the globe, togther with distress in the world’s population with fear and worry among mankind for the “things which are coming upon the earth”, along with the deliverence from 2000 years of Gentile (non-Jewish) suppression of Jerusalem in recent years.  When all this is seen to be occuring together, those with faith in God’s word know they are all signs that something big is about to happen. “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory”

Coronavirus:  a punishment? or a Sign?
Should we understand the current emergency as a God-given reprimand?  I would suggest that,  on the contrary, there is nothing unusual about this emergency in the context of human history. However, as we have already pointed out, taken together with all the other events in the world, we should perhaps view this emergency  as a Sign of the Times in which we live.  That, perhaps, should make us think about our own position before God.

There’s an interesting story in Luke 13:1-5. Some bystanders told Jesus about a hideous event that had happened to some local people from Galilee at the hand of the governor, Pontius Pilate.  Jesus then reminded his listeners of the deaths of eighteen people who’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time when a tower collapsed on them.  And, reading their thoughts, Jesus asked whether they believed these people were greater sinners than the rest of the population because they had suffered so much?   Jesus response to both incidents was:  no, in neither case were these people more evil than anyone else.  Then he added: ‘…but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’

Coronavirus:  a punishment? or a Sign?
Should we understand the current emergency as a God-given reprimand?  I would suggest that,  on the contrary, there is nothing unusual about this emergency in the context of human history. However, as we have already pointed out, taken together with all the other events in the world, we should perhaps view this emergency  as a Sign of the Times in which we live.  That, perhaps, should make us think about our own position before God.

There’s an interesting story in Luke 13:1-5. Some bystanders told Jesus about a hideous event that had happened to some local people from Galilee at the hand of the governor, Pontius Pilate.  Jesus then reminded his listeners of the deaths of eighteen people who’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time when a tower collapsed on them.  And, reading their thoughts, Jesus asked whether they believed these people were greater sinners than the rest of the population because they had suffered so much?   Jesus response to both incidents was:  no, in neither case were these people more evil than anyone else.  Then he added: ‘…but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’

A lesson for us all
Maybe this is the lesson we should take. The virus has brought us face to face with our mortality. It has, sadly, already taken the lives of thousands who would, in normal circumstances, have gone on to enjoy much longer lives. In the Old Testament, Leviticus  13  describes what people had to do if they thought they had contracted leprosy. Under their law, they were required to go into quarantine for 14 days (exactly the time that today’s health experts recommend for suspected coronavirus cases). Modern medicine, of course, has found a cure for leprosy, but then the person with early signs of infection had to sit alone, reflecting upon his or her future: if the disease was confirmed,  a lingering, living death awaited them. That 14-day pause would surely have made them think seriously about their relationship with God and what they were doing with their lives. No doubt it was a deep period of self-examination for them.
So, what about us today? For someone with faith and an understanding of God’s plan for mankind, even at a time of uncertainty like this, there comes an assurance that, however bleak the immediate outlook, they personally and the world generally, can depend on God’s salvation and care for those who belong to Him. The prospect of Jesus Christ “coming again in a cloud with power and great glory” to reign as king over a peaceful world, untroubled by war, disease and death, provides encouragement and hope and the strength to carry on.

A lesson for us all
Maybe this is the lesson we should take. The virus has brought us face to face with our mortality. It has, sadly, already taken the lives of thousands who would, in normal circumstances, have gone on to enjoy much longer lives. In the Old Testament, Leviticus  13  describes what people had to do if they thought they had contracted leprosy. Under their law, they were required to go into quarantine for 14 days (exactly the time that today’s health experts recommend for suspected coronavirus cases). Modern medicine, of course, has found a cure for leprosy, but then the person with early signs of infection had to sit alone, reflecting upon his or her future: if the disease was confirmed,  a lingering, living death awaited them. That 14-day pause would surely have made them think seriously about their relationship with God and what they were doing with their lives. No doubt it was a deep period of self-examination for them.
So, what about us today? For someone with faith and an understanding of God’s plan for mankind, even at a time of uncertainty like this, there comes an assurance that, however bleak the immediate outlook, they personally and the world generally, can depend on God’s salvation and care for those who belong to Him. The prospect of Jesus Christ “coming again in a cloud with power and great glory” to reign as king over a peaceful world, untroubled by war, disease and death, provides encouragement and hope and the strength to carry on.

So, what should I do?
It is not enough to think “that sounds very interesting” but it’s not for me, then turn away to other things.  What God offers everyone of us is a ‘pearl of great price’ (Matthew 13:46) that must be genuinely and honestly searched for.  Now is the time to examine what God has prepared for anyone who is willing put their trust in him and His Son. We’re encouraged to ‘repent’ (or ‘turn around’) in response to the Word of God (Acts 2:38).  So while you are at home, with time on your hands, make this pause in everyday life your opportunity to listen and turn around towards God.

If you would like to explore this further, we would encourage you to Read your Bible, (here you will find the help you need  with reading your Bible in a systematic way). Perhaps you would like to reflect upon some Useful Documents. If you would like to discuss any matter further – by email or correspondence if you would prefer – do Contact Us

So, what should I do?
It is not enough to think “that sounds very interesting” but it’s not for me, then turn away to other things.  What God offers everyone of us is a ‘pearl of great price’ (Matthew 13:46) that must be genuinely and honestly searched for.  Now is the time to examine what God has prepared for anyone who is willing put their trust in him and His Son. We’re encouraged to ‘repent’ (or ‘turn around’) in response to the Word of God (Acts 2:38).  So while you are at home, with time on your hands, make this pause in everyday life your opportunity to listen and turn around towards God.

If you would like to explore this further, we would encourage you to Read your Bible, (here you will find the help you need  with reading your Bible in a systematic way). Perhaps you would like to reflect upon some Useful Documents. If you would like to discuss any matter further – by email or correspondence if you would prefer – do Contact Us

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