Negative news abounds when it comes to coronavirus, and when you stop to think about how easily it spreads and how little can be done when someone develops acute respiratory distress syndrome from it, it’s easy to wonder if this won’t be what finally spells the end for humanity. And according to the interpretation of some bible scholars, it’s either a sign of end times or the second coming of Jesus Christ, depending on who you believe.
In the book of Revelation, there is talk of a scroll in the right hand of God secured with seven seals. When the first four seals are opened, they call out four beings who ride on various colored horses and bring about death, famine, war and plague. The four horsemen of the apocalypse are named as one of God’s punishments.
Some believers have taken to Twitter to share their belief that the cause of the coronavirus crisis is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. It’s an event some have even been waiting for. In 2005, one bible scholar, Fred Dattolo, wrote that “the galloping hoofbeats of the four horses are getting ever louder and closer,” adding that a pandemic was the last piece of the puzzle that would set the final horseman free, who would then spread disease to a quarter of the world.
In addition to Revelation saying that the world will be rocked by plagues and famines, the book of Luke also cautions there will be “pestilences in various places and fearful events” during the final days.
In case you’re worried, keep in mind these are just the first four seals; the other three seals will still need to be broken. The fifth seal is said to reveal the souls of people who were slain for the “word of God.” The sixth seal, when broken, will unleash a great earthquake, with the sun turning black and the moon becoming like blood. When the seventh seal is broken, heaven will be silent for half an hour and then seven trumpets will play to cue the apocalyptic events.
Of course, many people believe the Bible isn’t meant to be taken literally, even though it may indeed feel like end times some days.
Lots of people are asking these days if coronavirus is a judgment from God, writes Jim Denison, a pastor and philosophy scholar, in Christianity Today. He says it’s not hard to find Bible quotes to back up the notion, but he believes there are two big reasons it’s simply not the case here.
First, he says that biblical judgments in the form of disease tended to be more supernatural in nature. He cites the example of when God sent “boils” to Egypt. Immediately, they appeared on men and animals everywhere, and even the Bible itself says the “pestilence” in Revelation will come by horseman and not a Chinese lab. This virus, he says, is “a consequence of living in a fallen world.”
Moreover, he says that biblical judgments come against specific sins and sinners. People suffering from the disease aren’t more sinful than those who aren’t afflicted. Also, people of different nationalities and ages are being impacted differently by the disease, but God loves everyone equally, so it doesn’t make sense to think that the pandemic is some sort of punishment.
To end on a more positive note, Denison points out that he sees lots of signs that God is with us as we face this pandemic. It’s manifesting in some unexpected ways, like agencies that normally have animosity toward one another now working together to save people and billions of people across the planet staying home and sacrificing their income to protect people they don’t even know – not to mention healthcare workers risking infection to save patients and the delivery drivers and grocery store workers who are putting their lives on the line so others can stay safely at home during the pandemic.
Sources for this article include: