By Dr. Roger Barrier, Crosswalk.com
Dear Roger, This Coronavirus is so frightening. People seem to be losing their minds and I wonder if it could be detrimental to not only our health but our faith. Does it have anything to do with End Times? Sincerely, Les
Dear Les, I’m so glad you asked!
What does the Bible say about Coronavirus?
Whether or not the coronavirus signals the beginning of the end times, or not, I don’t know. However, as I examine it closely, the spreading coronavirus is certainly a foreshadowing of the plagues of the book of Revelation. As such, we can learn a lot.
Whether or not the coronavirus is more virulent than the flu, or not, the fact that it is spreading so rapidly is a deep cause for concern. The young ones may sicken and be miserable; on the other hand, those over 60 and those with respiratory illnesses are far more likely to die. Therefore, arresting the spread is of critical importance.
As I stated in my other article on coronavirus, the sweeping Spanish flu killed over 100 million people in Europe and the United States from 1918 to 1920. Each flu season we know that we must inoculate people against a different strain of flu than the year before. Why? Because the flu mutates and changes each year. Some viruses burn themselves out-like Ebola. Others, like the Spanish flu, can mutate and become worse over time.
We have yet to see which direction the coronavirus might take. Let’s look at how this pandemic could be a foreshadowing, and how we should respond.
Global Panic Is Almost More Dangerous than the Disease
In fact, the response to this crisis is almost supernatural. Countries all over the world have closed their borders. President Trump along with countless world leaders declared nationwide emergencies and quarantines unprecedented around our globe.
By now every nation in the world is reporting coronavirus infestations.
The world economy is at risk as trade is compromised, workers stay home, essential supplies like pharmaceuticals run short because of interrupted production; foodstuffs grind to a halt and stock markets struggle worldwide for balance.
If what I have written sounds a little bit “over-the-top”, and negative, please note that everything I’ve said is occurring today in one part of the world or another.
Put all these things together with our global hourly news cycle producing updates about plagues, natural disasters, governmental coups, and economic viability and including a world full of wars, it’s easy to think the last days are here!
Hopefully, everything will quiet down and return to some sort of “normal.” Hopefully, our world will learn some lessons that make it a better and more peaceful place to live.
Is the Coronavirus a Foreshadowing of Revelation Events?
Seldom, if ever, has our earth faced a global crisis like the current worldwide spreading of the coronavirus. In like manner, the coming of the Antichrist during the end times will precipitate a worldwide crisis.
The whole world was astonished and followed the beast...All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:3-8)
I recently told a friend, “From what I can tell, the coronavirus is not that big of a deal.” Now a few weeks later, hundreds of thousands are infected and the virus is spread across the globe.
It all happened so quickly. Let’s look at four biblical and current concepts that could align as foreshadowing:
1. Birth Pains
Watching the advancement of the coronavirus is like watching and hearing Jesus describe the “End Times” as being like “birth pains.” Just as labor pains grow stronger and closer together, God will allow an escalation in trials of all kinds to bring men to Christ. In fact, the purpose of the Tribulation itself is to bring pressure for men to surrender to Jesus and find salvation. Jesus describes End Time events in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:6-8).
The coronavirus’ fear level is increasing daily—especially among the elderly and infirm. However, the coronavirus may, or may not, fit into God’s plan, it certainly foreshadows the terrors that will occur on earth during the tribulation.
But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them (Revelation 11:11)
2. Food Shortages
Food shortages are occurring in various places. The unknown is scary. So many are beginning to hoard in anticipation of long-term shortages. What we are seeing with the coronavirus foreshadows the soaring costs for basic essentials on the black market during the End Times of the Great Tribulation.
A court quart of wheat for a day’s wages and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine! (Revelation 6:6)
That verse is rather enigmatic, so let me make it simple. This verse is like saying, “A luxurious roll of six-ply toilet paper for $1,000 or three rolls of plain paper for $1,000.”
Coronavirus portends the four Horsemen of Revelation 6:1-14: the white horse of conquest; the red horse of war; the black course of famine; and the pale horse of death!
3. Economic Collapse
Coronavirus may very well foreshadow a potential worldwide economic collapse because of the ensuing panic and incredible debt loads incurred by almost all nations. The October 1929 stock market crash was the beginning and not the end of the deep depression.
Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the great!... The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries...In one hour she has been brought to ruin.
“Babylon” is difficult to identify precisely; however, it is obviously a symbol for the economic center of the kingdom of the Antichrist.
Of course, it’s unthinkable to fail to mention the personal and economic costs foreshadowed during the end times by the present coronavirus. Think of the economic sanctions of the mark of the beast!
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead. So that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666 (Revelation 13:16-18).
4. Dastardly Viruses
The coronavirus foreshadows the dastardly viruses that torment those who refuse to repent, change their ways, and surrender to Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth...They were not given power to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man (Revelation 9:3-4).
Did God Send the Coronavirus?
People often ask me, “Did God send the coronavirus?” I really don’t think so. However, I do believe that one day he will send multiple plagues at the second coming of Christ!
As we study the Word of God we see that he often sent plague and pestilence to deal with his own people.
It’s no stretch of the imagination to believe that he will send the same sort of plagues today upon a world that wallows in sin and ultimately rejects him as Lord and Savior.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages
How Do We Find Peace and Protection in the Midst of the Storm?
The psalmist wrote Psalm 103:2-3: “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all of his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals your diseases.” Here are six suggestions for living in peace through this pandemic:
1. Wash Your Hands and Your Heart
Get your life right with Christ by receiving Him and your Savior and Lord.
2. Saturate Your Mind With Biblical Promises of Comfort And Care
Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives, for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of his body. And always be thankful. (Colossians 3:15-16)
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:26-27)
3. Stop worrying, Pray, and Thank God for Answers
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6).
4. Focus on Heaven, Not on Earth
Don’t camp on social media hysteria. God is not surprised by these events and they are not out of His control. After all, heaven is our real home for eternity.
By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (Hebrews 11:9)
5. Ask God for Wisdom during the Crisis
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:2-5)
6. Pray Solomon’s Prayer
Join with others in praying Solomon’s classic prayer for Israel and make your prayer applicable to the United States as well as to the entire world. This prayer is still effective today.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Well, Les, I hope these thoughts are helpful, and that God gives to you and others great grace.
Bible Verses about Plagues and Disease
Psalm 103:3 ESV - "Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases"
Proverbs 17:22 ESV - "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
Exodus 23:25 ESV - "You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you."
Exodus 15:26 ESV - "Saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”
Revelation 15:1 ESV - "Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished."
Revelation 11:6 ESV - "They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire."
Revelation 22:18 ESV - "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book"
Revelation 15:8 ESV - "And the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished."
Prayers for Coronavirus: Healing, Protection, and Peace
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has become a resource for many seeking to understand if the Coronavirus pandemic is an End Times plague. We hope it can direct you toward scriptural truths about plagues and a study of the Book of Revelation. In addition, the following articles may offer more encouragement for all to remember as we face the trials of COVID-19 together:
- Prayers for Peace Amidst Pandemic Fear
- What Does the Bible Say About Coronavirus: Is it a Sign of the End Times?
- What Is the Mark of the Beast in the Bible?
- Who Are the Four Horsemen in Revelation? Their Meaning and Significance During Apocalypse
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Simon Lehmann
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his 35-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
Editor's Note: This Ask Roger article features insights from Roger's daughter, Brie Barrier Wetherbee, a sought-after Bible teacher and conference speaker, author, analyst, and Christian theologian.
Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at [email protected].