Dear Wake Up Friends,
This March, fear and panic about the Wuhan Coronavirus has exploded in the United States. Groceries and household supplies have been flying off the shelves and toilet paper is nowhere to be found! Stock market values have dropped precipitously, and schools, restaurants, and bars have closed. Cruise lines are closing and airline passenger levels are dropping. Social distancing is becoming a common term and people are encouraged to stay home to avoid getting or sharing COVID-19.
Was this pandemic an act of God: a deliberate punishment? Is it a harbinger of end time events? Is the world being targeted because of its decline into depravity? Following are some edited comments Larry Wilson made in 2005 about Hurricane Katrina that are just as applicable today.
I believe the COVID-19 pandemic, like Hurricane Katrina, was another “birth pain,” and you need to be aware that more “birth pains” are coming. As the Second Coming of Jesus draws near, events of biblical proportion will escalate in severity and frequency, with a fourfold purpose: First, disasters remind us material things are temporal. The people around us – loved ones and neighbors matter most in life. Second, disaster bring out the best and worst in people. Caring people respond to the needs of those around them, and selfish people think only of themselves and their survival. The problem with the carnal nature is many people are law abiding only because they are forced to be so. Price gougers, thieves, and looters are of the same ilk. Third, the economic ripple caused by huge disasters forces those who were unaffected to sympathize with those who lost everything. Last, horrific events are prophetic samples of things to come.
Terrible events will grow in frequency and strength as we draw closer to the Second Coming. The forces creating these events were “built in” from the beginning of creation. God designed that nature would draw attention to the fact that this planet is predestined for destruction. The cancer of sin is about to be eliminated and the appointed hour for the total destruction of Earth is near.
The apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel and Revelation prove the end is near because they are chronological in nature. The sequence of events presented in Daniel and Revelation means there is no other possible conclusion. The frequency and intensity of “birth pains” also indicates the Second Coming is near. Sooner or later, the whole world will be affected by these catastrophic events and many will awaken to the fact that planet Earth itself is dying. Finally, the degenerate condition of people indicates the Second Coming is near.
Just before Jesus’ death, His disciples asked about signs that would herald His return and the end of the world. Jesus said, “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, italics mine)
Calamitous events are often blamed on God (called acts of God) because God is sovereign. Many people believe God controls everything that happens, but this is not the case. If this were true, then sin itself would never have happened. However, Bible history does indicate that God destroys nations and punishes people. He even destroyed the whole world in Noah’s day. There is one major difference between acts of nature and God’s wrath. God lets people know what He is about to do before He does it!
This is why the book of Revelation demands understanding. There is a specific warning for Earth’s final generation in the book of Revelation. This warning can be understood before the Great Tribulation begins and if people choose to reject it, they do so at their own peril. “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)
Hurricanes, tsunamis, famines, earthquakes, pandemics, and runaway fires are not necessarily a deliberate punishment sent from God. God has used and will use such events as punishment, but when He does, He sends a specific warning. In today’s context, calamitous events that come without divine warning should be understood as “birth pains.” God has not yet punished notoriously wicked places on Earth, but that day is coming.
Currently, God is trying to speak to our generation, but unfortunately, too few people listen to His Word. For example, millions of Christians are acquainted with the term, “The Great Tribulation,” but the irony is that very few people believe it applies to them. Jesus said that birth pains will indicate the end of the world is coming and the good news is that birth pains will eventually give way to the creation of a new order. Like Abraham, let’s keep looking for the city whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:10)