by Dr. David Kyle Foster —
From Exodus to Revelation it is clear that God does indeed send plagues and disasters upon the earth – which begs the question: Is today’s coronavirus pandemic one of them?
I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. (Exodus 9:14)
The Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. (Deuteronomy 28:59)
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24:6-8)
A Birth Pang?
Is the current pandemic one of the birth pains that presage the soon return of our Lord? And is it Jesus who will be the final judge?
This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. (Romans 2:16)
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead. (2 Timothy 4:1a)
A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. (Revelation 9:18)
They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him. (Revelation 16:9)
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll (Revelation 22:18)
No one really knows if the current plague is a judgment from God on our unbelieving, immoral, materialistic, compromised world – indeed, a foretaste of the final judgment. But sooner or later, the final judgment will come in its fullness.
It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
God or Nature?
Sometimes, disasters are simply the exigencies of nature, (which began when Adam & Eve sinned), expressing its own fallenness.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:22)
On rare occasions, disasters of one sort or another are God’s attempt to warn us that our time on this earth is but a vapor, a breath.
You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him. (Matthew 24:43b)
You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. (Psalm 144:4)
Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath…. (Job 7:7a)
Our Fate Rests in our Hands
It is sobering to realize that our eternal fate rests in our hands. What is our response to God’s offer of eternal life through Jesus Christ? It is a decision that screams at us through trials and tribulations – a most pressing issue that we ignore at our peril.
The truth is, all of us were born with a sinful nature.
I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5)
Through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…. (Romans 5:12)
The Problem of Holiness
The problem for us is this – God is holy. His holiness is a fierce fire that destroys anything that is not holy.
Our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29)
Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? (Isaiah 33:14)
As sinful man, we cannot live in the presence of His holy fire without being consumed. Thus, in order for us to live in His presence, we must be made holy as He is holy. Unfortunately, our righteousness is as filthy rags…..
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 54:6)
But God has mercifully given us the antidote…..
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
How does Jesus make unrighteous man righteous? Let’s follow the path…..
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Romans 3:10-12)
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10: 13)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
An Irrelevant Question
So is the current pandemic a judgment from God? In truth, it is an irrelevant question. The pandemic is a manifestation of our present darkness (Ephesians 6:12) – a warning, if you will, whether from fallen nature or from God Himself, that we must turn to the Lord to be saved before it is too late. And as we’ve seen, too late for us may be today!
It is also a call to those of us who have already been saved by the blood of the Lamb – that the purpose of our lives, whether here or in heaven, is to pursue an intimate relationship with our Creator. That is the purpose of life itself!
The Final Judgment
The final day of judgment will indeed come as a thief in the night when it will be too late to choose. In such a case, suffering becomes a warning and a hard mercy.
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ (Luke 12:20)
For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2)
No matter if this is a natural plague or one sent by God, whether it is a call to believer or sinner, it reminds us why we are here and what our priorities should be. Thus, it is truly a lifesaver for those who will believe.
* * * * *
Dr. David Kyle Foster is the author of Transformed Into His Image and Love Hunger, and is the founder/director of Mastering Life Ministries (MasteringLife.org). Read more of his take on sexual sin and brokenness in his newest book, The Sexual Healing Reference Edition and listen to his twice-weekly podcast at:charismapodcastnetwork.com/show/purepassion.