For Bible prophecy readers, a once-in-a-century pandemic crisis easily triggers anxiety, thoughts, and questions about end-time prophetic events. Is this the start of the end or something else? Here are some reassuring answers based on the Bible.
Surprise: Global "Pestilence" Before The End Begins
I have a confession to make. After decades of near-daily study on end time Bible prophecy, writing a book, hundreds of articles, and receiving a few dreams (I think) from God with revelation on the end times I did not see this COVID-19 disaster coming. It surprised even me (or especially me, as I will explain below) To a non-believer, that admission would probably sound bad. Yet, studying prophecy does not make you a prophet, psychic or know-it-all. You're limited to what prophecy reveals, which certainly does not include every global crisis that humanity will experience.
The tricky aspect, in this case, is how there is one global pandemic described in prophecy and it is placed after the end of civilization (Lk 21:11). There is no global pandemic before that on the roadmap (the 4th seal/Pale Horseman does describe pestilence in general but not any specific or global event). Thus, I assumed we would not face a pandemic like this before we enter the final seven years. I did not believe the warnings of many scientists that the world could end by a pandemic or even that a pandemic was sure to happen again. I did not think we had enough time for that to play out.
Yes, I had studied the 1918 Influenza pandemic that killed perhaps around 100 million. Yet it seemed to me like modern medicine and public health systems prepared us to keep anything as severe as that from ever happening again.
So I am just as surprised as most of you were to find myself in this once-in-a-century type of crisis impacting and changing all of our lives. After I got over the shock, I began praying about what it means. (I may add to this article when I feel strongly I have an answer on that.) Note that I do not wonder or worry about, why it happened or what's next. But that's just me as you'll see below.
Frequently Asked Questions/Fears
As the virus proliferated in the United States, so did the number of people to my website with their own burning questions. I have seen or answered each of the following questions multiple times on Facebook and my website over the past weeks. Here are the top ones with my answers all in one place.
1. "US Economic Collapse Soon?"
Doomsday prophecies regarding the US economy were last popular during the Great Recession. They have been absent ever since Trump took office in 2016 when the current stock market and economic boom took off. COVID-19 stomped on that trend. In March 2020, all the post-election stock-market gains were erased. Layoffs began because of the social distancing restrictions and closures. Unemployment is climbing and recession is also being talked about, and some say it has already begun (although the official definition requires two consecutive quarters of decline to be declared). Then add to this the $2 trillion stimulus bill bringing the debt to the highest levels since WWII can sound like trouble. Every American already knows the national debt to be some ungodly number per person.
Despite how it looks, I can say with certainty there will not be a collapse because Revelation 18 describes America ("Babylon the Great") as the dominant economy making the merchants of the world rich and who weep over the loss of all her wealth when she burns. The end of America is by fire (in a single hour), not by gradual economic malaise.
2. "Will Trump still be Re-elected?"
This question comes up for two reasons. Most of my readers like what President Trump is doing and want to see him re-elected. As well, I am on record in a previous article expressing my conviction that Trump will be re-elected, back when he looked unstoppable because of the great economy and enthusiastic conservatives.
But now, in addition to the economic downturn from COVID-19 social distancing, Trump has been widely criticized by experts for mishandling the US response. These kinds of issues factor heavily into prediction models for elections. As such, it does not look quite as likely that Trump will be re-elected as it did before.
Again, I'm not a prophet, but my conviction remains the same that Trump seems to be the long-awaited provocateur needed for the Arabs to launch their final and quite suicidal war on nuclear Israel. That's why I think he'll be re-elected, regardless of how his chances look now or from one news cycle to the next.
I could be wrong. If I am, I'm left with no answer for how or why the Arabs will instigate a war with a nuclear power...
3. "The Great Tribulation is soon..."
Thankfully, the Great Tribulation cannot come as soon as some have been imagining during the pandemic. The Great Tribulation (5th trumpet - 7th trumpet) does not come until after Wormwood hits (6th seal - 4th trumpet). Wormwood has not happened yet.
4. "OK, then this is the Beginning of Sorrows..."
Nope. I've seen a few people claim this on Facebook. Fortunately, Jesus gave enough details to identify what the "sorrows" (or "birth pains") are (Mt 24:7-8). They include earthquakes all over the earth at once along with global famine and global pestilence starting with cataclysm coming from space (Lk 21:11). Obviously, we have not had all that happen in modern history, and we will not until a semi-collision Wormwood brings it all upon us.
5. "Rapture Soon?"
If you are new to my website, you may not know that I do not find the mainstream, popular "imminent, pretrib rapture" in Jesus' words. I see him describe a rapture-like gathering into the sky from everywhere on earth "after the tribulation" (Mt 24:29-31=Mk 13:27).
This explains why there have been thousands upon thousands of rapture date theories in history that always prove wrong. They are missing the prerequisites to the rapture that Jesus stated. The pretrib rapture theory is based on many misunderstandings like what "no man knows the day or hour" means. Be sure that it is not coming next or even soon—at the earliest, in 2030!
6. "Ushering in Mark of the Beast (COVID-19 Vaccine, Stimulus Checks)"
This is another current prophecy theory that exists only in a vacuum outside the fundamental framework of end-time prophecy. The mark of the beast does not arrive until the Antichrist and False Prophet come and decree it (Rev 13:16-17), and they do not come until the Great Tribulation (see above). Thus, you cannot take the mark today or before the Great Tribulation. Further, Revelation indicates you cannot take it by accident or unknowingly, hence the five months of torture by locusts unleashed when the mark is rolled out to help adoption (Rev 9:5).
7. "Tim, is it really the end times now/What else has to happen?"
As you might guess after reading the answers above, the answer is no, it's not even the "end times" yet. Daniel spoke of the "end-time" (Dan 12:4,9-10) as the final 7 years of his "70th Week" begin (Dan 9:27). We can know this is the same as NT prophecies because Jesus referred in his Olivet Discourse (Mt 24) to one of Daniel's key events from the 70th week, the abomination of desolation, (Dan 9:27=Mt 24:15) as something to look for.
"Depart From Me, I Never Knew you!" - Jesus
Jesus predicted that he will tell many sincere believers to basically "get lost" instead of welcoming them into the Kingdom. So...who are they and what did they miss or do wrong? In this study, get those answers and the one requirement for salvation Jesus taught (that Christianity misses) so that you can make sure you don't hear these dreaded words yourself!
All the bad stuff that destroys civilization in the end times cannot come until at the beginning of the end time the Gospel of the Kingdom goes out worldwide (Mt 24:14). That will not happen until we're in the 70th week which is a sabbath year cycle (7 years ending with a sabbath year).
8. "COVID-19 is ushering in New World Order (NWO) (global currency, digital tracking, new restrictions)"
The surprising thing is, there is no "NWO" in Bible prophecy. There is a Beast ("Antichrist") who rises from the Abyss and subjugates the world with the False Prophet after Wormwood destroys civilization. He presents himself not as merely Christ, but as God himself (2Th 2:4), coming to save the world from that crisis, without even a peace treaty before it!
Note, this happens suddenly after a global cataclysm, not gradually, nor through some erosion of privacy, personal rights, and freedom like is happening under COVID-19. While it may be accurate how the conspiracy theories or "insider leaks" indicate that "the powers that be" have such plans and are actually making progress on them, that does not mean they will succeed or that is our destiny. What will succeed is what Bible prophecy says: the abyss will open and a spirit trapped there will inhabit a body and take over the world.
When that happens, the COVID-19 pandemic will probably be just a memory.
9. "When Will Elijah Appear?"
I've been hearing this question more than ever lately!
The third and final Elijah comes when we need his leadership to announce the safe place and gather us to it (Joel 2:32) along with his warning and instructions on repentance (Mt 24:14=Mal 4:5-6). Again, this has no relation to the current, pre-end-time crisis.
At this rate, the earliest I expect to see Elijah is 2022.
Elijah will not go by the name "Elijah"
Note, since writing the main Elijah article, I have come to realize and cannot emphasize enough that identifying Elijah will not be as easy as an impressive godly man coming along with the name "Elijah." For example, a reader wrote to me from Africa:
Here in Tanzania we have already a man claiming that he is ELIJAH promised in Bible. What about it?
There have been hundreds of people like this in history. There are always several walking the earth at any given moment as this correspondent testifies to. Many have written to me personally claiming they are Elijah. (One repeatedly emphasized how tall and muscular he is, seemingly to think that qualified him?)
Note, Elijah the prophet comes in the power and spirit of Elijah, not the name of Elijah. In other words, the minute someone claims they are Elijah, they are not him, but a charlatan. I say this with confidence because John the Baptist never called himself that and denied it when asked (John 1:21) even though the angel told his parents he was (Lk 1:17=Mal 4:5-6). The hard truth for us to hear is that when Elijah comes it will leave some doubt in our minds whether he is the one from God spoke of to Malachi or whether he is from God at all. It will take discernment and not something as simple as a miracle-working man who goes by the name "Eli." Start praying (Lk 21:36).
10. "Manmade Virus/Planned Crisis/5G Cause?"
If only I had a dollar for every time I see someone in a video or comment claim the coronavirus is caused by the 5G rollout...or was planned by Bill Gates so he could make money off the vaccine...or is all to force a vaccine on us (which is the mark of the beast).
Psychologists say that people are attracted to conspiracy theories because our minds have trouble accepting that something so big and terrible such as a pandemic like this can have a simple, natural explanation. Something evil and big must have something evil and big driving it, we reason.
Here I will plainly admit I'm not an expert on genetic-engineering, vaccine development, or 5G cell phone signals and at the same time will also point out to you that the people who are repeating these theories are not all experts or authorities, either. I'm not the person to ask, nor are they. If you do not consult an actual (preferably credentialed) expert on these matters, you are likely to get unreliable, potentially harmful misinformation (people who fear 5G is causing COVID-19 are already burning down 5G towers). Remember, social media reward users for sharing sensational, absorbing information, not boring, accurate information, and is not making the human race better in the last days as Paul predicted.
Personally, when I researched whether this was a manmade virus, the conclusion of leading scientists was that no one would engineer a virus like this based on the simulations used that would indicate it would fail. Likewise, the code of this coronavirus is new and not copied from any existing viruses. The expert consensus then is that this really did come out of nature, just as experts have been warning would eventually happen again (1918, SARS, MERS, swine flu) as we continued to interact with animals the way we do.
But, hey, my expertise is not in viruses but in end-time prophecy, so don't listen to me on this; go to the experts on this one.
If you did not see your particular question or fear addressed, check out my previous article on common end-time fears and concerns.
Next time I hope to expand this article by addressing what this pandemic means for us and how best to handle this with Biblical wisdom. God willing.
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Tim is the author of this site (since 1999) and the book Know the Future that explains Revelation literally at last--including the key event of Wormwood (Rev 6-8). To read more from Tim and not miss a single new article, sign up for his free newsletter above.