The Coronavirus and End Times Prophecy: An Opportunity Amidst Difficulty
As a pastor I am blessed with the opportunity to walk with people through both life’s joys and life’s sorrows. As the entire human race deals with the threat of the Coronavirus, I am seeing a consistency of questions in the minds of our people:
How dangerous is the disease?
How long will we be forced to stay isolated?
How will I survive the economic fall out?
How long will the threat persist?
While our leaders give us certain estimates and provide social programs, what makes this trial so trying are the uncertainties it presents. That is why during uncertain times Christians look to God’s Word for certainty. Renowned evangelist Bill Graham, once said, “The Bible is more modern than tomorrow morning’s newspaper.”
The Apostle Peter proclaimed of the Bible, “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19-21).
The Bible is God’s literal Word and it shines as light in these dark and uncertain times.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus once prophesied and promised global events like the Coronavirus would come. Not only did he prophesy their arrival, but he also prophesied that they would be signs of HIS arrival!
Luke 21:7-13 tells us:
“They asked him, ‘Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?’ And he said, ‘See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
Jesus then continues, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness.”
Jesus said we can be certain of five things to come before His Second Coming:
- Counterfeit saviors will come (v 8).
- Nation will rise against nation (v 10).
- Earthquakes, famines and pestilence will come (v 11).
- Political and religious powers will persecute the church (v 12).
- This will all be an opportunity to bear witness (v 13).
Last Sunday, on March 15th, Time Magazine released an article called, “In the Battle Against Coronavirus, Humanity Lacks Leadership.” When global threats like the Coronavirus arise, humanity will be looking for a strong leader to rise up as well. Jesus warns His people that these counterfeit saviors will come and we are not to follow them.
The Bible goes on to warn of a singular figure who will capture the globe’s allegiance and perform miraculous signs: John describes him as the “Anti-Christ” (1 John 4:1-3), Revelation describes him as “the Beast” (Rev 13:1-10), Daniel describes him as a “Contemptible Person” (Daniel 11:21-37) and Paul describes him as the “Man of Lawlessness” and “Son of Destruction” (2 Thess 2:1-4).
This ultimate pseudo-savior will come promising peace, safety, and solutions to the world’s problems, but will instead unleash pain, persecution and depravity the likes the world has never seen!
This past Wednesday, March 18th, we heard of a massive 5.7 earthquake that shook the town of Magna, Utah. The last Salt Lake County earthquake of at least a magnitude 5 was in 1962. The shockwave was so potent the angel statue atop of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City lost its trumpet!
Do all of these signs mean the Lord is returning soon?
To put it simply: Yes and No.
Yes, the Lord IS coming again and His return WILL happen suddenly!
For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come." -1 Thessalonians 5:2-3
There are still several signs that Jesus said will happen before His return though. For example, Jesus said, “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt 24:14). Even thousands of years later there are people groups that have not heard the name of Jesus. The Great Commission Jesus gave his disciples 2000 years ago has not yet been fulfilled!
One of the remarkable facets of the Coronavirus is how globalized the nations of the world have become. Not only has this virus affected the entire world in a matter of mere weeks, but most of the world's economies are instantly teetering on collapse. The Coronavirus has revealed how we are so connected… and so fragile. It is now not hard to imagine the economic systems of the world easily toppling because of a pestilence much worse than the Coronavirus.
So this begs the question: Are you ready?
Jesus said trials like the Coronavirus will all be an OPPORTUNITY (Luke 21:13). Yes, it is true difficulty, but ultimately it is an amazing opportunity to proclaim the glorious grace of Jesus Christ! After the world recuperates from the Coronavirus, I cannot wait to hear all the people who will say, “I became a Christian during the Coronavirus." Let us serve, love, and care for our neighbors, but let us also witness to the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.
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