Does the Book of
Revelation predict the coronavirus? Is it one of the prophesied, end-time
plagues? If so, does that mean that this is just a harbinger of much worse
things to come?
There is no
denying the seriousness of the virus.
As Bill Gates noted in
the New England Journal of Medicine on February 28, “In the past week,
Covid-19 has started behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve
been worried about.” And even at this early stage, “Covid-19 has already caused
10 times as many cases as SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] in a quarter
of the time.”
commentator Michael Snyder included the coronavirus in his “list of 10 plagues that are hitting our planet
were: 1) Armies Of Locusts; 2) Extremely Bizarre Weather Patterns; 3) Unprecedented
Flooding; 4) Major Earthquakes; 5) Unusual Volcanic Eruptions; 6) The
Coronavirus; 7) The African Swine Fever; 8) The H1N1 Swine Flu; 9) The H5N1
Bird Flu; 10) The H5N8 Bird Flu.
suggest, then, that Covid-19 is one the end-time judgments described in
Al Mohler noted that, “We
are also reminded of Revelation 6:7-8 in which we read, ‘When he opened the
fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and
see.” So I looked and behold a pale horse, and the name of him who sat on it
was Death and Hades followed with him.’ That fourth horseman has often been associated
with plague, with illness, with a violent death by means of this kind of
disease, which we now identify primarily with deadly viruses spreading across
the human population.”
Mohler nor Snyder are suggesting that the virus is one of the final plagues of
Revelation. And Gates is certainly not thinking in these terms.
To the contrary,
the fact that Gates can describe Covid-19 as a “once-in-a-century pathogen”
indicates that it is hardly an apocalyptic plague, no matter how deadly it may
As underscored by Robert Bartholomew in Psychology Today, “The Chinese Coronavirus Is
Not the Zombie Apocalypse.”
He wrote, “I am
not downplaying the seriousness of the new Coronavirus that has been spreading
around the world. People are dying and every death is a tragedy. But it is not
the end of civilization as we know it—contrary to some media outlets, which
risk causing undue alarm and panic.”
contrast, if the Book of Revelation does, indeed, describe a series of
terrifying, end-time plagues, those plagues will mark the end of
civilization as we know it, along with the ushering in of a glorious new age.
Again, I’m not
minimizing the serious of the virus. And, certainly, “every death is a
In fact, as I
write these words, I’m returning home from Australia via Hong Kong. And I
passed through Hong Kong just a few days ago on the way to Australia.
The vast majority
of people at the airport in Hong Kong were wearing masks, as was the entire
crew during the whole flight. And before you passed through airport security, a
wand was held near your forehead to check for fever.
So, again, I
recognize the seriousness of this virus. But we minimize the intensity of
end-time biblical prophecy by imagining this deadly virus to be an apocalyptic
importantly, we forget that biblical judgments are connected with clear words
coming! Repent! Don’t let sin destroy you! Turn to God for mercy!”
I did not hear
such warnings in the months leading up to Covid-19.
Christian leaders have been sounding warnings like this for centuries, as did
biblical prophets in the centuries before them.
But I personally
believe that, as we approach the end of the age, the warnings will become much clearer,
calling for specific change in light of specific prophecies,
as opposed to a virus just popping up out of the blue.
To be sure,
there are many biblical scholars who do not interpret Revelation in this way at
all. In their minds, many of the events of the book already took place,
described in the highly graphic language called “apocalyptic.”
argue that most of the events are yet future, but they are cloaked in symbolism
and should not be taken literally.
understanding is that there will be massive upheaval before the end of
the world, in the midst of which there will also be a mighty spiritual
But either way,
what is clear to me is that we should not view the coronavirus as a prophesied,
should view it in the same way we have viewed many other epidemics and
pandemics in world history. They are tragic reminders of the broken state of
our world and of the frailty of our race. And while doing all we can to prevent
and combat the spread of Covid-19, we should pray for the mercy of God.
The final shaking will be far more intense than this.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Playing with Holy Fire: A Wake-up Call to the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
Image courtesy Wikipedia Commons.