The world has been dealing with the most catastrophic pandemic in more than a century. Entire economies have been turned upside down and we will probably be sorting through the aftermath for years to come.
Jesus Christ referred to an increase in “pestilences” or disease epidemics along with other disasters leading up to His return (Luke 21:11). Revelation 6 describes the well-known “four horsemen of the Apocalypse” which parallels Jesus’ prophecy, representing spiritual deception, war, famine and plagues.
While these conditions have always been a part of human history, a marked increase is prophesied to occur at the time of the end. Revelation 6:8 indicates these end-time catastrophes will kill a fourth of the earth’s population.
As a result of the COVID pandemic many wonder if we are now experiencing the fulfilment of these prophesied, end-time events. Bible prophecy, however, is clear that other key prophetic events must occur before we reach that point. So while the global COVID-19 pandemic fits within Jesus’ warning of increasing epidemics leading to global fear and other troubles, it is more of a foretaste of worse things to come. We still have further to go before the final devastating events preceding Christ’s return.
During the past two decades the United States and the rest of the world have experienced two significant crises. The first was the 9/11 attack by Islamic terrorists on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. That incident changed national security guidelines in America and many other countries, and resulted in a game-changing war in the Middle East. The second incident was the financial crisis of September 2008, which began primarily in the United States as a result of subprime lending, and eventually spread into a worldwide economic downturn.
Now we are facing a global pandemic and we need to ensure we learn what we need to so we are not caught unawares when more serious events occur. Jesus described a worsening of present-day conditions to His disciples on the Mount of Olives in Mark 13:3-8. He then warned, “But watch out for yourselves...” (Mark 13:9), adding the sobering prophecy in verse 20, “And unless the Lord had shortened those days [through intervening], no flesh would be saved” (Mark 13:20). It’s only in our lifetime that the human race has developed nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capable of wiping out the human race.
In Mark 13:33 Jesus tells us what we are to do, “Take heed, watch and pray, for you do not know when the time is.” Christ uses the term “watch” to tell us to be aware and alert and discern the conditions of the world around us to understand where we are in the progression of God’s prophetic plan for this world.
But more than that, we are also to be watching our own spiritual condition. When you know a time of trouble and ultimate judgment is coming on the world, you live differently, and take steps to live in alignment with God’s truth.
A true disciple will develop a prayerful relationship with God, trusting Him to help us to manage during a time of stress like this pandemic. We do not know when Christ will return, but we know we have a command from Him to watch, pray and continue the work He’s given us to do. Will you use this moment to seek God while He may be found, and His truth understood?
Beyond Today Magazine