Good to Be Back!
If you are a regular visitor to Eye of Prophecy website, then the absence of a new article for the months of March and April (2020) has been obvious.
Indeed, it is the longest period between articles since the inception of this blogsite in July 2013—with a new article every Saturday, uninterrupted, through July 2018. Since then, at least one post a month, usually two or more … until now.
And you would be correct in making a connection between this gap in Eye of Prophecy postings and the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, only partly.
Ironically, I did not write an article during March due to my own respiratory problems that resulted in a middle-of-the-night trip (acute shortness of breath) to the ER and a hospital stay of two days. Followed by a healthy dose of medications, then rest and recovery. Bad enough as it was, fortunately my ailment was NOT the coronavirus.
COVID-19 has caused physical, mental, and economic devastation on a global scale. But there are also other viruses out there—including the common flu—that can still wreak havoc with our health. Especially on the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, like COPD or diabetes. In my state of Arizona, nearly 80% of COVID-19 caused deaths are aged 65 or older. However, higher fatality figures among the elderly also apply (obviously) to many other causes, including pneumonia not caused by this strain of coronavirus.
But Oh, this Corona thing!
It was the primary reason why the lack of Eye of Prophecy articles continued throughout April.
I seriously didn’t want to write about it, mostly because so many others—both secular and religious—have commented on it. They have done so from a variety of vantage points and a wide variance of analysis and opinions. It has dominated news coverage longer and more intensely than anything else since 9/11.
Still, how could it not be the subject of my next (this) post.
Paradoxically, despite no articles posted recently, the number of visitors to Eye of Prophecy website have spiked significantly since this virus has seized the attention of the whole world. Undoubtedly, this is the case with other internet sites that specialize in Biblical prophecy. People all over this planet are looking for answers to questions that they never needed or even wanted to ask before now. And that includes Christians—both real and those in name only.
What in the world is going on?
Other than the obvious physical phenomenon and economic backlash of this distressing disease, why is this happening?
Or is there a why?
Nonetheless: If I were a visitor to this website, frequent or infrequent, I would expect the author to say something about this epidemic. One that has been officially designated as a pandemic (global). Is it a scourge or a plague in the Biblical sense? One that is already or will be before it’s over, considered a disease of “Biblical proportions.”
Thus, I am compelled to offer some commentary. To calculate and correlate from a Biblical perspective one of the most stunning (on-going) crisis since World War II. And before that: World War I and the Spanish flu that erupted toward the end of the “War to End All Wars” which killed millions more than the war did.
(1918 Spanish flu photo of policemen in Seattle, WA wearing masks, but not “social distancing” as such. Ironically, Seattle was the first city in America to experience multiple COVID-19 deaths).
World War II’s death count was simply unimaginable—some 70 million soldiers and civilians. It dwarfs even the projected loss of life from COVID-19. On the other hand, the current pandemic has interfered with our lifestyles on a truly global level that, in some ways and to some extent, rivals and even exceeds the life-altering conditions of World War II. Except, that is, for the horror of the Holocaust in which six million Jews were systematically murdered by Germany’s Third Reich. That was an appalling, unrivaled tragedy.
On the other, other hand, the mind-numbing numbers of World War II dead and wounded, especially the civilian count and displaced refugees, will absolutely pale in comparison to the death and destruction that will take place during the horrendous Great Tribulation over about the same period of time as World War II (seven years).
Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation (Posted June 6th, 2015).
Let’s take a cursory look at both the national (USA) and international statistics; then determine if we can answer some questions, including how much, if any, God may be in this pandemic.
Somber Statistics of The Coronavirus
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a).
Even many unbelievers are familiar with these famous words from King Solomon, which introduces a list of fourteen extremes that most people have experienced in their lifetime (unless they died an “untimely” death). Ending with, a time for war and a time for peace (verse 8).
Several, including some dignitaries and experts, have compared the COVID-19 pandemic to a war. In some ways, it is an apt comparison. Both war and epidemics result in death. And lives are disrupted by both. But with this pandemic that has paralyzed virtually every aspect of our daily lives to some degree or another, there’s no distinction between soldiers and civilians. Everyone is a soldier and everyone a civilian in this fight against an invisible enemy (to the naked eye).
(Yet another image of the Novel Coronavirus that produces COVID-19, abbreviation for “coronavirus disease” that began in 2019)
Solomon begins with the beginning: life itself … a time to be born. And ends with the reverse of life … a time to die. Death is unavoidable, a certainty for every living thing. But when is it (a) time to die? It’s evident that Solomon is emphasizing the normal cycle of life and death, after a person has lived a typical lifetime. In the one Psalm attributed to Moses, he defines this (generational) lifespan with some poignant commentary: “Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).
When a person dies young—or at least younger than we think they should have—we sometimes call it, “an untimely death.” Or, we might say: she died before her time. Yet, no matter the circumstances, dealing with death is always difficult. It is hard to lose a loved one; probably harder to think about and experience our own death. But there is something about death that arrests our attention more than any other time: when many people die in a relatively short amount of time from the same cause. How many casualties and over what period depends on the nature and extent of the event, i.e. war, famine, plague. Or abrupt natural disasters … earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes/tornadoes, and volcanic eruptions.
Along with most of the world, you have probably been keeping track of the numbers since the first coronavirus death in China four to five months ago. Then the first U.S. fatality some three months ago. And the exponential spread of the disease in Europe, particularly Italy, Spain, and now England.
As of the morning of this post (May 9, 2020), approximately 3.9 million people from 212 countries have been diagnosed with the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19. With millions more undoubtedly infected and contagious, without a formal test diagnosis. With a global body count of 274,655.
At 1.3 million cases, the COVID-19 count in the United States is higher than any nation on earth. Granted, we are the third largest country with nearly 330 million residents; however, that is much less than China (1.4 billion) and India (1.36 billion). At 4.24% of the world’s population, the U.S. coronavirus related fatalities of 78,200 represents 29% of world-wide deaths from this dreadful disease. Much higher proportionally than any other country. A few days ago, some compared the death count in America to the 58,220 lost in the Vietnam War (over approximately ten years). If the pace continues, we may be relating it to the number of our soldiers killed in World War II … 405,000.
Obviously, these figures will increase daily.
I won’t even bother with projections (tables, models, algorithms) that pandemic pundits have presented in an attempt to determine if/when the disease will dissipate or even die out, or the number of cases and casualties projected before that happens. There are simply too many models and/or they change frequently.
Hopefully, we can look back in a few months, breathe a global sigh of relief, and utter an oft-used axiom: It could have been worse.
For me and for millions of others who are and will be forever (literally) grateful that Messiah Jesus is our personal Savior (whether we fully understand the why of it all, or even if there is a why), it will be: Thank you Lord that it wasn’t worse.
(It doesn’t say, be thankful “for” everything; rather “in” all circumstances)
Whether a believer or unbeliever, should we do more than just breathe a sigh of relief … individually or collectively? Should not something like this cause us to sit up and take notice? To think outside the proverbial box with cause/effect explanations that transcend the ordinary biological reasons for viruses and such things. To ask questions. To make correlations with other historical events. To put into the context of and comparisons to similar Biblical events. To see if it might fit into Biblical prophecies … which have proven time and time again to be 100% accurate.
Though not (yet) as deadly, this pandemic is more widespread (four corners of the earth) than any other event in human history; be it the world wars, the bubonic plague of the 14th century, and even the Spanish flu of the early 20th century.
One of the significant features of end times prophecies, especially those foretold by Jesus himself (Matthew Chapters 24-25) and described in the book of Revelation is that calamities will increase and intensify globally, in scope and/or in severity. Before the Rapture and more so afterwards, especially during the last 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation. Jesus used the graphic analogy of contractions experienced by a woman giving birth.
Cruel Characteristics & Consequences of This Novel Coronavirus
Many consider it to be the most rapidly spread disease of all time. What other disease is carried and transmitted in wholesale numbers by those infected and yet who are asymptomatic? That’s how menacing and virulent this strain of virus has become. It gives a whole new meaning to infectious or contagious. With any other virus or bacterial infection (including the common cold and virtually any strain of the flu or communicable diseases) there are symptoms to warn the person infected and those not diseased to stay away from each other.
Not so, with COVID-19. Scientists and doctors are convinced that millions of people have the coronavirus but were not, are not, and will not be symptomatic at all. Yet they can infect others, even if they never suffer any of the symptoms.
That is just not fair! That is not playing by the rules. Aren’t there rules, even in war?
But then, this novel (new strain) coronavirus is a game-changer. And a game-stopper (think sports unless it hurts too much!).
Thus, the whole world has been forced to make up new rules such as 6-foot social distancing. Billions of people wearing face masks, some daily. Because we don’t necessarily know who’s infected and who is not. There are more repercussions with this plague than ever experienced, even during times of war.
(A model case of both masks and distancing!)
How many times have you read or heard doctors and nurses say, “I’ve never seen anything like this!” Or patients exclaiming, “I’ve never been through anything like this!”
A plethora of routine activities in our lives—recreational, social, sporting, political, and religious have been shuttered, scuttled, or stopped … some temporarily and some permanently.
Restaurants (dine in), schools and colleges, churches, theaters, salons, entire shopping malls, thousands of retail stores that carry non-essential goods, and public transportation have been shut down for varying periods.
It is NOT business as usual. It is anything but that.
Not even during two world wars were such things as children’s playgrounds, public pools, and zoos closed on such a massive scale. The list is long, but there’s time only for a few more examples.
Here in the United States the unthinkable has happened: NCAA basketball is done for the year with no March madness or Final Four. The madness is the kind that the word was intended to mean: the madness of an enemy killing us or imprisoning us via lockdowns and restrictions normally reserved for criminals. Professional basketball and hockey seasons may not resume even for the playoffs. Baseball might not even begin this year and the NFL may not start until later in the season.
This dreaded disease has dominated the news and dramatized our lives like nothing has since … well, many say since World War II.
When was the last time the Olympic Games were cancelled? Answer: World War II.
Or the Masters Golf Tournament? The (British) Open? Wimbledon?
Same answer. In fact, COVID-19 has resulted in the cancellation or postponement of more events than did World War II.
Special occasions taken totally for granted where entire families and friends could ordinarily attend have been drastically curtailed or condensed or cancelled or postponed: weddings, funerals, reunions, concerts … to name just a few.
All the while politicians, business managers, educators, religious leaders, and a host of others are conducting “virtual” meetings and “remote” conferences all over the world. Just ZOOM in from wherever you are.
And the list goes on.
Including the worst of all: massive loss of jobs all over the world. Thirty-four million layoffs during April in the United States alone. How many will be permanent? Unemployment in March of 4.4% skyrocketed to 16% by the end of April. The most since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Businesses folding daily.
The consensus is clear: the economic fallout will surpass the recession of 2008, and then some. As has the largest (by-far) federal bailout of businesses of all sizes; plus, un-heard of individual “stimulus” payments to most Americans—to the tune of over two trillion dollars. Incredible! Who is going to pay for that and when? For how long? Is that kind of debt sustainable?
An economy so devastated that many say will never fully recover, not nationally nor internationally.
It’s not just the big things. All the little inconveniencies add up to a level of frustration quite unlike anything people have experienced. And once again … on a global scale. Bordering on disbelief that something like this could happen for this long that does not involve an all-out war.
With a nagging uncertainty over whether things will ever be the same again.
For example: The last time someone other than a professional barber or stylist cut my hair was my mother when I was six or seven years old. Just last week my wife cut my hair for the second time. Thanks honey, I look as good as ever! (Really … she did a great job).
Here in Arizona, even the Grand Canyon is closed! Did they throw a tarp over it? Okay, chill out—we need a little humor from time to time. But, hey, I know: this whole thing is not one bit funny.
So, back to the serious side. The debate continues within and between nations—politically, economically, socially. How much do we shut down? Are the restrictions too many or not enough? Too strict or not strict enough? What to reopen and when? To what extent? Are we moving too slow or too fast? Too soon or not soon enough? Who has the final right to define what things are “essential” or what are not?
There’s nothing that gets our attention more than when the things (or places) that we take for granted and feel we have a right to have, own, do, go, be … suddenly have been taken away. Freedom to travel, work, play, worship, shop, and gather with friends and family. Nature does not always cooperate with our inalienable right of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. But then, maybe it takes natural (or supernatural) interruptions of these freedoms to remind us that it is, in fact, God who has given us the privileges and prosperity that we take for granted.
Obviously, COVID-19 has not (yet) equaled the collective trauma of a world war. And God forbid that this pandemic will result in anything approaching the number of deaths attributed to World War II. Or the estimated 50 million who died from the Spanish flu some one hundred years ago. And certainly not the bubonic plague … estimated 100 million but who knew for sure back then.
God forbid. Why did I say that?
Was it because those words are often used when speaking of things that we dread happening; with a sinking realization that they are ultimately beyond our control? Or whatever control we have may not be enough to deal conclusively with the problem. Calamities that only God can control or prevent.
We are much more accustomed to exercising at least enough control to keep our daily routines reasonably intact. Or, if interrupted, to regain some degree of normalcy within an acceptable period. This applies to virtually every natural disaster; even the catastrophic ones like the earthquake and tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004 killing a quarter million people, many of them children. Or to a lesser, but still devastating damage and loss of life from Hurricane Katrina the following year.
Yes, that is one reason I said: God forbid.
Also, for another reason.
God forbid. In that phrase is the profound theological question as to just how much sovereignty God will exercise at any given time, during any given event or series of events. To either prevent something from happening; or reduce the extent of the catastrophe (damage control); or allow it to express the full magnitude (literally, like a 9.0 earthquake) of its potential. Especially those things which have national and then international consequences. The corona pandemic would certainly fit that criteria, now and as projected for both the near and more distant future.
There have been deadly disasters, devastating droughts (famines) and powerful plagues down through the centuries, but this is the first that is truly global in scope. Which was to be expected eventually, considering the ease and volume of international travel in today’s high-tech, high-speed, portable world. Which is one of many Biblical prophecies concerning the condition of the last days of the end times. “…when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4).
What Are The Best Questions to Ask / Are There Answers?
Because there hasn’t been a scourge quite like this coronavirus—how easily and extensively it has spread—both believers and unbelievers are voicing their opinions and/or seeking answers to questions outside of or in addition to quantified (data based) “scientific” solutions and explanations.
Like (but not limited to) the following:
(If) God is in control; will he step in and bring it under control? If so, when? How many people must suffer and die? How much damage to the economy will there be?
Did God merely allow this pandemic, or did he send it? Meaning, is it simply a warning or is it a judgment? Is there even a difference between the two, considering God’s ultimate sovereignty?
With the understanding that God can and sometimes will prevent natural disasters and man-made catastrophes from happening in the first place, does he on other occasions not only allow such things to happen, but intensify them? In the case of the coronavirus, on a global scale.
Is this global epidemic, in fact, a wake-up call from God to get our attention? A preview of and preparation for coming attractions? In which His sovereignty will be on universal display, i.e. His obliteration of the Gog/Magog coalition and then resounding victory over the Antichrist-led ten nation coalition following the Seal, Trumpet, & Bowl Judgments.
Does this pandemic have special relevance to the last days of the end times?
Some of these five questions (or to some degree or another, all of them) could be considered rhetorical. Particularly so, because we are the Omega generation … living in the last days of the end times. There is an abundance of 20th & 21st century signs that match up with Biblical prophecy to affirm that statement. Several Eye of Prophecy articles have been written on that subject. For example: Look Up, Redemption is Near … Part I & Part II. (Published July 2015).
The following is an excerpt from Part II with a summary list of 12 flashpoint indicators:
- Rebirth of Israel as a Sovereign Nation, 1948
- Recapture of Jerusalem in the June 1967 Six-Day War
- Jerusalem, a Heavy Burden to the Nations
- The 3rd Rebuilt Temple
- Israel’s Phenomenal Agricultural Accomplishments
- Modern-Day Alignment of Gog/Magog Nations against Israel
- National and Ethnic Wars in the 20th & 21st Centuries
- Amazing Increase of Natural Disasters
- Moral & Spiritual Decline & Intense Persecution of Christians
- False Messiahs & Prophets
- Unequaled Increase in Quantity and Speed of Transportation and Information
- Unprecedented Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the World
Natural or Supernatural?
There is another question, with the response to this question concluding this week’s (Part I) article. The next Eye of Prophecy article (Part II) will address, to some extent or another, the five questions posed earlier.
Question: Is this coronavirus merely the latest natural calamity (one of many in human history) that is a direct result of the loss of the earth’s original perfection found in and represented by the Garden of Eden? Or is it supernatural in origin and/or spread?
With the Biblically based premise that supernatural entails God’s sovereignty which may use something natural but with divine design and direction, i.e. providential purpose.
In contrast to a natural (event) absent divine control or intervention. Meaning that God is not in it, as such.
Consequently, when some (I would propose most) disasters strike us, they are not caused by the Lord. Technically, they are also not even allowed by God, because he has already permitted nature to periodically alter its normal activity, hence natural disasters. Which, then, are a direct result of the monumental geological and geophysical changes the earth has undergone since the Great Flood of Noah’s time, i.e. earthquakes, tsunamis, famines, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes.
(Geological evidence for Noah’s Flood)
This also includes, both before and after Noah’s flood, the progressive and devastating biological consequences of our original parent’s original sin … diseases that affect animals and people alike.
Where does COVID-19 fit? With the ultimate catastrophic result that of death itself.
“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Romans 5:12).
“For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).
Death is the ultimate pandemic. It claims every human being. And, there are all kinds of ways to die, including “old age” itself.
Thank God, he provided a remarkable remedy for the penalty of sin and (reversal of) death itself.
All who believe and receive his Son, Messiah Jesus as their personal Savior will be given new everlasting transformed bodies at the soon-to-come (any moment now) Rapture. The dead in Christ will be raised and those believers alive at the time will be taken with them to our home in heaven (I Thessalonians 4 & I Corinthians 15).
Completing Romans 6:23: “…but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Getting back to the first (imperfect) Adam and the second (perfect) Adam, we read: “…For Adam’s sin led to condemnation… But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:16-17).
Believers in Messiah Jesus can (and do) have supreme confidence in every promise made by our Great Triune God … Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Even in (especially in) these troubled times when everything seems to be going viral (pun intended). And the world is spinning out of control.
Let it spin. The Lord has assured believers that we will win!
Said Jesus to his disciples (all believers): “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
However, until the Rapture then the Second Coming of Christ takes place, we await the final victory.
Between the Rapture and the Return of Messiah Jesus to this earth to rule and reign for a thousand years, the seven-year Great Tribulation will be a time of, “…greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:21-22; words of Jesus).
Following the Millennial Reign of Christ when he establishes his Kingdom of justice, righteousness, and peace on earth, everything will be made new. Everything geologically, biologically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually wrong with this world will be made right, including the elimination of natural disasters and diseases.
To even include, “…a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).
“…God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Verses 3-4).
In preparation for the Part II sequel to this week’s post, I will propose a premise as to where the COVID-19 pandemic falls within the framework of God’s sovereignty over all things. To, in that next article, provide Scriptural case studies to support this premise, including examples of when God causes a disaster, or when he just allows it, or when he does neither. To conceivably find some answers to the questions posed earlier.
In fact, as intimated earlier, the Bible provides compelling evidence to demonstrate that there is a difference between ordinary natural disasters and those that are extraordinary … supernatural.
Premise: The Lord did not cause (initiate) this virus, but he permitted it to spread … as opposed to divinely intervening to stop it sooner. The purpose of which is to prepare (warning, not a judgment) the world for the soon-to-come Great Tribulation in which the Wrath of God will be poured out on a global scale for the second and final time in human history. That and man-made carnage which will result in death and devastation, including economic, that far (beyond measurement) exceeds the impact of COVID-19.
Thus, without forecasting the severity of the numbers, this pandemic will subside with infections and fatalities less than most models predict.
Disclaimer: The last part of the premise is by no means a prediction. I am not a prophet. Rather, it is an opinion; albeit it one that relies heavily, if not exclusively, on the principles and parallels of Scripture concerning natural disasters and diseases (plagues).
Things to Ponder
In the long-term effort to contain Covid-19 and the effect on our daily lives, will we be tasked to accept a “new normal?”
But maybe this new normal would be a return to the old normal in America at least. The norm of Judeo/Christian Biblical principles and practices upon which the United States was built. Our founding fathers (and mothers) who, at the very least, acknowledged God in the affairs of our nation. Those who expressed their gratitude for God’s blessings.
Then came a new normal: secular humanism that seeks to eliminate all traces of God and His Son, Messiah Jesus from society. A deceptive philosophy and lifestyle whose (many) followers, “…traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshipped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself; who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen” (Romans 1:25).
Even we believers are sometimes too preoccupied with the things of this world, beyond moderation. Piling up possessions. Pursuing pleasure. Producing idols out of our entertainment, sports, business, and political heroes. Pushing God out of our lives and forgetting that he is the source of every breath (physical and spiritual) that we take.
In the meantime, where does COVID-19 fit? I wonder if it is more than just coincidental that the coronavirus literally takes the breath out of our lungs (and oxygen from our body).
Said God to his people: “At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore (heal) their land” (II Chronicles 7:13-14, emphasis added in preparation for the next article).
“…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops” (James 5:16-18)
*Note: Elijah will be one of the examples in the next post … Part II.