In less than three months, COVID-19 (a.k.a. the coronavirus) has spread from Wuhan, China to over a hundred countries and six continents. To stop the virus, Wuhan went into full lockdown mode on January 23. The drastic measure led to a drop in cases, but the city still remains under quarantine to this day. On March 9, the entire nation of Italy followed Wuhan’s example. The government closed all businesses except grocery stores and pharmacies. Since then, France and Spain have announced similar measures. As mobs of panicked shoppers strip store shelves bare, and police and military personnel impose forced quarantines and border checkpoints, other nations around the world are expected to follow the same course of action. So what’s next? How will all this end? Is this how the world ends?
The World Will Survive This
These are difficult times, but the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t herald the end of the world. In fact, the first chapter of my most recent book The End Times, presented a scenario just like the one we’re facing now. Here’s what I wrote about the multiplying threats to humanity:
“Consider just one of those modern day threats – a global pandemic. Could a contagious disease kill a billion people? Yes. History is filled with stories of plagues that kill on a mass scale. The 14th Century Black Plague is probably the best known example. But we’ve had others. For instance, one hundred years ago, the world struggled against a relentless enemy – H1N1, also known as “the Spanish Flu.” Rising from the trenches of World War I, it spread to every corner of the globe in 1918 and 1919 – even remote Pacific islands… When the global pandemic finally came to an end, it had taken more lives than the Great War itself. H1N1 killed an estimated 50 to 100 million people – approximately 3% to 6% of the world’s population. Today, if a disease killed 3% of the world population, it would leave 230 million people dead. That’s almost the entire population of Indonesia – the fourth most populous nation in the world.”
A global pandemic like the one we’re experiencing now isn’t unprecedented. It’s terrible, but it’s happened before. The world will survive, and the human race will survive. How can I be so sure? Because God says so. Through the Bible, God describes our future. He’s told us what’s coming. And the Bible says the world will NOT come to an end – ever. The earth is eternal (Psalm 78:69), and the human race will exist for all eternity (Psalm 23:6).
What will come to an end is this present age. The world as we know it will not go on forever. All the things we hate about this world – war, greed, lust, murder, jealousy, injustice, and evil – will all come to an abrupt end. A new age will begin. One of love, peace, justice, mercy, and kindness. An age where Jesus Christ physically reigns as King of the earth (Revelation 20:6).
Expect Trying Times
Until that day comes, the earth will experience great hardship. When this global pandemic ends, odds are you’ll know someone who died from the coronavirus. Compounding the problem, the economic impact will be massive. Airlines have already canceled thousands of flights. The cruise ship industry is fighting for its life. Thousands of restaurants are closed. If things don’t change soon, countless businesses will go bankrupt, and millions of people will lose their jobs. The economic pain will be severe. How long will it be until everything returns to normal? It could be months. It could be years. No one knows.
But you can be certain of one thing. If you know Jesus, you’re equipped to handle it. Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Through Jesus, not only can you gain the strength to endure this pandemic (Philippians 4:13), but you can do the work of God (1 Corinthians 15:58) and transform the lives of those around you.
While authorities recommend social distancing to stop the pandemic, that doesn’t mean you should sit around and do nothing. God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). You can take three bold steps now:
1) Pray – Pray to God. Never underestimate the power of prayer. When the Lord’s people cry out to Him in their trouble, He delivers them from distress (Psalm 107:28). The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power (James 5:16). So be persistent in your prayers (Ephesians 6:18). Have faith, and you will receive what you ask for (Matthew 21:22). Pray for those nations hardest hit. Pray for all nations. Pray for good health and recovery for the sick. And most important, pray God uses this event to bring people to faith in Him.
2) Help Others – Find ways to help those around you. You obey the law of Christ when you share other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). When you give generously to others (Matthew 25:35) or take care of those in need (Luke 10:25-37), it’s as if you’ve done those things to Jesus Himself. If you have an abundance of food or other supplies, look for opportunities to share with those in need (Hebrews 13:16). If you know someone who falls into a high risk category (those who are elderly and/or with an underlying health condition), find a way to bring supplies to them so they don’t have to go out in public and risk infection. Do the same for anyone else who lacks transportation or can’t get around easily because of a disability.
While you’re doing these things, take every precaution you can to avoid infection. Use the proper personal protective equipment (N-95 mask, goggles, gloves, etc.). Otherwise, you risk spreading the virus to those you’re most trying to help. And that leads us to another important step you can take.
3) Self-Isolate – Self-isolate as much as possible. Even if you’re young and healthy, and you think the coronavirus won’t harm you, stay away from crowds. The best thing you can do for your community and those around you is avoid infection. If you’re not infected, you can’t infect someone else. We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of this virus. If it spreads too fast, our hospitals will be overwhelmed. We won’t have the resources to take care of the sick, and people will die unnecessarily. So if you can, stay home. If you have no reason to go out in public, don’t. If you can work from home, do it. Slowing the spread of the coronavirus will save countless lives.
While governments around the world issue orders “to shelter in place,” you should take shelter as well. Turn to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Take refuge in Him alone. Psalm 91 says trust in the Lord your God, and He will “rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease” (Psalm 91:1-3). Make the Lord your refuge, and “no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home” (Psalm 91:9-10).
These are difficult times. Many are fearful. But you don’t have to be. Trust in God. Make Him your refuge. He will see you through this time. Fix your eyes on Him alone, and don’t lose sight of our blessed hope (Titus 2:13).
When asked to describe the signs of His coming, Jesus cited pandemics just like the one we’re experiencing now as a major sign (Luke 21:11). The other signs He said to look for are all around us. The Jewish people are back in the land of Israel (Jeremiah 23:7-8)… The Jewish people are once again in possession of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24-28)… And the Gospel is being preached to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14)… This means Jesus is coming soon! So take comfort in this time of distress, knowing the rapture of the church is near.