March 14, 2020 | Gary Hamrick, Cornerstone Chapel
The impact of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) has certainly illustrated just how fragile our world is. It has not only affected the health and well-being of thousands of people around the world, but it has also impacted the financial markets, business and industry, and major sports and entertainment events in historic ways. It feels apocalyptic to go into almost every grocery store or big box retailer and find shelves empty of basic essentials. In my community, local police were called to our area Costco to control the masses as people scrambled to find toilet paper and water, to name a few items. Schools are closed, businesses are opting for telecommuting, and large gatherings are cancelled. What in the world is going on? You might be wondering, “Is there a connection between the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the End Times?” The answer to that question is YES and NO. Let me explain.
There are some things that the Bible presents as harbingers or precursors of the End Times—events or activities in the world that precede the actual “End Times” and are indicators that the time is near. Pestilence, or wide-spread disease, is on that list of predictive events. Jesus said this in Luke 21:11—
“And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:11, NKJV, emphasis added)
But to put things in context, Jesus also made the following statement just two verses earlier—
“… Do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.” (Luke 21:9, NKJV)
So while things like earthquakes, famines, and pestilences will come, they are simply indicators that we are drawing near to the End Times but we are not actually in them. It is a taste of things to come. Thus, the connection of COVID-19 with the End Times is both YES and NO. Certainly this virulent virus is a precursor. Clearly it has impacted the entire globe. But again, “these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately” (Luke 21:9).
With all that in mind, it’s sobering to think that as disruptive and deadly as this virus is (although thankfully according to recent statistics 96.5% of people infected will survive it) it is only a precursor of things to come! How dreadful will the Tribulation be when cataclysmic global events will dominate our world! This is just one virus, but think about what the world will look like when Believers have been raptured (removed from the earth) and there will be outbreaks of disease, meteor showers, global famine, fresh water contamination, and economic collapse, to name a few. If you think Coronavirus is bad, it’s miniscule compared to what is coming, which should challenge us in two ways:
1) Don’t be afraid.
Jesus said so in relation to these events. Quoting again from Luke 21:9, Jesus said, “Do not be terrified…” Our hope and help is always in the Lord! We must exercise faith over fear, trust over trepidation. “God is in control” is not just a mantra of the Christian faith, it is the foundation for our everyday lives. Lean on Him and be sensible about simple matters of hygiene during a pandemic like the one we are presently experiencing.
2) Be concerned for unbelievers.
If COVID-19 is just a precursor of things to come, we should be even more motivated to share our faith with unbelievers so that they won’t have to experience the Great Tribulation spoken of in Revelation 6-18. People need Jesus and we are the conduit of the Gospel in our generation. The pandemic we are currently facing is awakening people to their own mortality and it is an open door for us to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Friends, while the world is presently in crisis, let Believers be an example of Christ’s peace in the midst of the storm. Let us trust Jesus. And let us live our lives in such a way that it will cause people to ask us “for the reason for the hope that [we] have” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV). The End Times are coming, but so is Jesus!
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:28, NKJV)
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(Gary Hamrick is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Chapel, a megachurch in Leesburg, Virginia and is Dave and Kris Kubal’s Pastor.)