Recently, a high-profile professional athlete whom I greatly respect sent me this question: “Is the coronavirus in Bible prophecy?” That is a question many Christians are asking today, as they have throughout history whenever a world-changing event—like the coronavirus—comes into their lives.
Jesus said that in the future, there would be many signs of the end of the age, but as to knowing when these things will be, He stated: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36).
While no one on earth knows the time of His return, Jesus provided six signs in Matthew 24 that help us prepare for that day, including the appearance of false christs; wars; calamities, such as famines, pestilences and earthquakes; tribulation for believers; defections of false believers; and worldwide Gospel proclamation.
These six signs point to the Second Coming of Christ, which is at the end of the tribulation period. According to Jesus, the generation that sees all of these signs will also see His return (see Matthew 24:32-34).
But long before the return of Christ, the events He predicted are going to spill into the world in which you and I live.
So is the current coronavirus pandemic a sign of the rapture? No, because the rapture is a sign-less, imminent event with no warning. Is this a sign of the Second Coming of Christ? Probably not, but it could be the early evidence of the third sign on Jesus’ list, the coming of pestilence. The word pestilence is defined as “a contagion or infectious epidemic that is virulent and devastating.” That’s a pretty good description of what’s going on right now. It does not perfectly qualify as a prophetic sign. But it is a picture of it. It reminds us that these events will happen one day.
While our current situation may not be in Bible prophecy, it is a sign for today. The coronavirus can teach us many things. In fact, there are six lessons we can learn from this pandemic that will help us serve our Lord better, live better lives and be better people:
The vulnerability of everyone. This crisis has shown that no matter who you are or what you do or how much money you have, everyone is vulnerable. This ought to help us realize just how dependent upon God we really are!
The credibility of the Bible. I have often been brought to a pause when I read of the worldwide events that are going to happen during the tribulation—events that are much more horrific than what we are facing today—which may have seemed improbable to some until recently. When you read those sections of the Bible now, you will read them with greater care because not only does the Bible say they will happen, you will understand more fully how such events couldhappen.
The uncertainty of life. It is safe to say that none of us saw this pandemic coming. Who could have known or imagined such a time as this? Life is truly uncertain. But we can be certain that God is in control and is on His throne, even in the midst of our uncertain circumstances.
The scarcity of hope. While the reporting on this pandemic has been mostly negative, there is reason to hope—most people recover from this illness. Are we in trouble? Yes! But the end of the world has not come. It is a warning and a reminder that our hope is in God.
The sufficiency of Jesus. As Jesus prepared to leave His disciples and return to Heaven, He said, “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). Also, in John 16:33, Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Jesus doesn’t just overcome tribulation. He overcomes the world—the entire environment in which tribulation takes place. He is in total control! We can trust in the sufficiency of Jesus.
The urgency of salvation. Everyone is rightfully focused on getting physically healed at this time. But if people are not healed spiritually, the healing they receive will not be very meaningful. This is an urgent time for salvation. Has there ever been a time in your life when you acknowledged that you are a sinner and asked Jesus Christ to forgive your sin, come into your life, and give you the gift of eternal life?
If you have never done that, you can do it today. You can make that decision right now wherever you are—in your home, in the hospital or in some faraway place where nobody knows you are there. Wherever you are, there is One who sees you, and that’s God Himself. That is my prayer and hope for you, that you come to know the joy and ultimate healing that comes from salvation through Jesus Christ. ©2020 David Jeremiah
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.
David Jeremiah has served as the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, for more than 30 years. He is the founder of Turning Point, a ministry committed to providing Christians with sound Bible teaching relevant to today’s changing times through radio and television, the Internet, live events and resource materials and books. He has written more than 50 books, including “Overcomer,” “The Book of Signs” and “Shelter in God.”