What the Bible says about Pandemics


A pandemic is generally defined as a disease which affects a large percentage of people worldwide. Such is the Coronavirus.

Let’s begin in the last Book of the Bible.

The apostle John is given a glimpse of things that will happen after the church is raptured.

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet… saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’” Revelation 4:1

John found himself in heaven in the spirit and beheld the throne of God. The One who sat on the throne held a scroll sealed with seven seals.

The scroll represented the title deed to the earth. John was devastated and he wept because there was no one found worthy to open the scroll.

But then one of the elders told John not to weep because the Lion of the tribe of Judah had prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seals.

The first four seals are generally referred to as the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The seal which speaks of a pandemic is the fourth seal.

As the fourth seal was opened John revealed what he saw.

So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.” Revelation 6:8

The Greek word for death in this verse is thanatos which primarily means pestilence or plague. In a broader sense, it can also mean murder or slaughter.

To kill with sword, hunger, and pestilence are found numerous times in the Old Testament. Their use has one very significant issue in common.

And I will bring a sword against you that will execute the vengeance of the covenant…I will send pestilence among you…” Leviticus 26:25

The sword and pestilence would be brought on the Israelites by God Himself because they had violated the covenant between He and them. They had disobeyed His commandments.

Then the LORD said to Moses: ‘How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them…’” Numbers 14:11

Notice again, God would strike them with the pestilence because they had rejected Him and didn’t believe Him even though He proved Himself to them by many signs and miracles.

Recall, the book of Deuteronomy was written in the eleventh month of the fortieth year following the Exodus, and just prior to the Israelites crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land.

If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book…then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues – great and prolonged plagues – and serious and prolonged sicknesses.” Deuteronomy 28:58-59

Note, the Israelites were to obey ‘all the words of this law.’ If they disobeyed God would bring upon them great plagues and prolonged sicknesses.

God went on to say that they would experience all the diseases He had brought on Egypt. But that wasn’t all…

Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the LORD bring upon you until you are destroyed.” Deuteronomy 28:61

Now, some may say that the Old Testament is not applicable today. Remember the words of Paul during the early days of the church.

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:11-12

Jesus Himself spoke of things to come at the end of this age.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences…All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:7-8

So then, did the Coronavirus ‘just happen?’

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