“That this plague of coronavirus shaking the world now mercilessly is a mystery hidden in the Bible prophecy of the beginning of birth pain in Matthew 24 #BreakingOfTheSeals”
This and many other tweets like it claim that the recent pandemic is a direct result of God’s judgement. So what does the Bible really have to say about this recent pandemic?
God’s Use of Judgment
There are examples in the Bible where God alters the natural order of things as part of judgment. The most dramatic case was the unleashing of the fountains of the great deep and the global flood that wiped out the entire planet save Noah and his family. Then we have the classic case of God’s judgement of a nation found in Exodus 7:14-11:10 and the 10 plagues of Egypt. Still to come are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Seven Bowls of Revelation, which once again brings us God’s judgement on a global scale. God has also used nations as tools of judgement against other nations (Deuteronomy 20:16-17, 2 Kings 17:1–6, 2 Kings 25, etc.).
So what can we take from this alone? God can and has used judgement on a wide scale including a pandemic. However, historically speaking we can also see that God’s intervention to judge a nation or the world is rare, in the grand scheme of things.
The Natural Order of Things
“For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” – Romans 8:22
We know from the Bible that we live in a fallen creation, and when bad things happen, it does not automatically mean it is the result of God’s judgement. Jesus rebuked his disciples when they assumed a person was blind either because of his or his parents sins (John 9:2). Jesus also gave the example of the eighteen who were killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them, asking “do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no…”. (Luke 13:4–5). And to much chagrin to the Calvinists out there, we know from the Bible that “time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).
Is the Pandemic God’s Judgement?
Because we live in a fallen creation, we are going to have a wide swath of irresponsible opinions on this question. There are Christians who will push the agenda that this is God’s judgment, and there are secularists who will twist things to push their agenda. Lee Fang of the far-left liberal The Intercept wrote a piece titled “TRUMP CABINET BIBLE TEACHER BLAMES CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC ON GOD’S WRATH — SOMEHOW IT INVOLVES CHINA, GAY PEOPLE, AND ENVIRONMENTALISTS”. Because of the liberal bias in the media, I suspected this was fake news and found out quickly I was right by simply reading the article he referenced, Pastor Ralph Drollinger’s blog Is God Judging America Today?. It turns out Pastor Drollinger essentially made the same argument I have here, but in much more eloquent and detailed fashion. Drollinger lamented “I make this abundantly clear in the study that the media got wrong – they reported just the opposite of what I said in my Bible study.”
To conclude, while we cannot be absolutely certain God is not using this pandemic as judgement, what we can be certain of is that we live in a fallen creation, bad things will happen, and God’s mercy will provide a victory. Ultimately none of the pandemics, hurricanes, floods and other calamities throughout history are God’s fault, they’re our fault. Perhaps the grandest irony of them all is that such calamities are a blessing, in this sense – without a penalty for our sin (fallen creation, death), there would be no mechanism for God to pay that penalty Himself. God already took all of the death, pandemics, tragedies, and hung them on a cross over 2000 years ago, a free and undeserved gift to those who believe in Him.
“… Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” – Psalms 50:15