We write this at a time when many European countries are entering varying degrees of lockdown in response to the accelerating infection rates (and deaths) due to coronavirus. The fragility of our lives and the systems we rely on has been exposed in a matter of days – panic buying and the stockpiling of goods threaten our food chains, huge job losses will lead to enormous financial dependence on the state and we can expect to have our freedom heavily controlled for months to come, if not longer.
At the present time, it is difficult to see the bigger picture with this pandemic – some believe tougher government intervention is needed to contain the infection, while others feel that the harm caused by the reaction to the virus is more damaging than the virus itself.
It is also worth asking questions from a spiritual perspective: is God shaking the European nations who have so brazenly rejected belief in God in recent years as Europe seems to be the epicentre for this outbreak now? Maybe this will cause us all to become less materialistic and shake our culture out of its lazy and comfortable lives? If things get really bad, will events cause states to turn to the Lord in national repentance? There are numerous references in Scripture to the Lord using pestilence and plague to chasten rebellious nations and grab the attention of those who ignore him – could this be what is behind the epidemic?
There are lots of possibilities, but very hard to gauge what’s going on from a broader perspective – if this snaps our culture out of the lethargy towards God and causes serious questions of life to be asked through this, there could be some good that comes out of the uncertainty.
If nothing else, this outbreak is surely a sign of a creaking and fallen world that is awaiting its redemption.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23 NIV)
As you can expect, there are endless conspiracy theories about the cause of this virus but we prefer to avoid speculation as none of this will change the reality of the situation for each of us. We are interested in seeing how this pandemic could tie into end-time events.
We should not be surprised when we see outbreaks of infection like this – the Bible clearly anticipates that ‘pestilence’ type outbreaks will continually trouble humanity, a situation that will climax towards the end-time showdown. In fact, references to the tribulation period paint a bleak picture where disease will cause untold devastation across the world – hopefully the faithful church will not have to endure that particular time of chaos.
Whatever comes of coronavirus, we are certain that the fallout will result in a significant acceleration of conditions that pave the way for the arrival of the Antichrist and the end-time world system. Just as 9/11 changed international travel dramatically, this pandemic will also change the way we live – possibly permanently. The UK government have already suggested that ‘social distancing’ is likely to remain in place for at least a year – this could be just the start of measures that restrict the freedom we currently enjoy.
The is no question that we will have to get used to a lifestyle that involves tighter control by the government. For example, it is difficult to see when group gatherings (such as church meetings) will be permitted and we can expect numerous measures to restrict our freedom to move – the authorities will have little difficulty persuading a fearful population to comply and changes to legislation will likely be passed without much resistance.
Furthermore, there are likely to be other changes to the way we live that are hinted at in Scripture as being in place in the last days. For example, there will be an accelerated push to become a cashless society as the handling of cash is an effective way to transmit germs. As multitudes of people lose their jobs, there will be a greater financial dependence on the government and we can expect the heavy censorship and marginalisation of those who question the measures that are taken. We are also going to become even more reliant on IT for every area of life as the physical connection between people is discouraged – the end-time system appears to indicate that these trends will be the norm (see Revelation 13:15-18).
All in all, life is unlikely to be the same again, certainly for quite some time, if at all. The world will almost certainly take a huge leap towards the end-game and European governments are going to take control of their populations like never before – a perfect platform for the entrance of the Antichrist.
As Christians, we must not fear – ultimately, we can take great comfort that we look forward to the arrival of a coming King who will reign supreme as Lord of Lords and King of Kings – our great Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Keep looking up!
If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. (Psalm 91:9-10 NIV)