by Keijo Lindeman
COVID-19 and Discerning Signs
How can believers discern the signs of the times?
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part.” – 1 Corinthians 13:9
“As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show My wonders. Nations will see and be ashamed,deprived of all their might. They will put their hands over their mouths, and their ears will become deaf. They will lick the dust like a snake, like reptiles slithering on the ground. They will crawl from their holes in the presence of the Lord our God; they will tremble in fear of You.” – Micah 7:15-17
When God delivered the people of Israel from the slavery of Egypt in the days of Moses, it was after the tenth plague through which the Lord punished Egypt and the proud pharaoh (Exodus 5-14).
God made wonders through Moses in the midst of Egyptians then (Exodus 11:9), and these wonders and plagues will occur again in the end time. The world will also see the final great exodus, when God gathers his people back to their own land “not leaving any behind” (Ezekiel 39:28,29).
When we turn to the Book of Revelation, we find there all the plagues of Egypt occurring in the end time in a modern form. One of these plagues was pestilence, a serious infectious disease.
Plague on Livestock in Egypt
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and tell him that this is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let My people go, so that they may worship Me. But if you continue to restrain them and refuse to let them go, then the hand of the Lord will bring a severe plague [in Hebrew “dever”, a plague, a severe infectious disease] on your livestock in the field—on your horses, donkeys, camels, herds, and flocks. But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.”’’
“The Lord set a time, saying, ‘Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.’ And the next day the Lord did just that. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. Pharaoh sent officials and found that none of the livestock of the Israelites had died. But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not let the people go.” – Exodus 9:1-7
A severe plague on livestock was the fifth plague God punished Egypt with. All these plagues were directed against the idols of Egypt and the proud pharaoh who was considered the son of sun-god Ra and a god according to the Egyptian religion (Exodus 12:12). But the Israelites were kept safe from the plague on livestock, and from all plagues.
The Plague Killed the Firstborn of Egypt
“He unleashed His fury against them,wrath, indignation, and calamity—a band of destroying angels. He cleared a path for His anger; He did not spare them from death but delivered their lives to the plague. He struck all the firstborn of Egypt,the virility in the tents of Ham.” – Psalms 78:49-51
The Book of Psalms describes the tenth plague of Egypt. In his hot anger God struck down the firstborn of Egypt. The plague went through the whole land of Egypt so that all the firstborn, Pharaoh’s firstborn included, died of a severe pestilence (Exodus 12:29,30).
Only the firstborn of Israel were not touched (Exodus 12:21-23). Eventually God hurled the army of Pharaoh into the Red Sea (Exodus 14). This was the final blow to the proud pharaoh and Egypt for having enslaved and oppressed the Israelites for 400 years and drowned their male children in the river Nile into the jaws of crocodiles (Exodus 1:13-22).
End Time Plague – a Sign of Yeshua’s Coming
“‘When you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be alarmed. These things must happen first, but the end is not imminent.’ Then He told them, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines, and pestilences [Greek NT “loimoi”; Hebrew “dever”] in various places, along with fearful sights and great signs from heaven [and enormous storms, Aramaic NT].’” – Luke 21:9-11
When Yeshua told His disciples about the signs of the end time and of His coming, He talked about many things that would tell that His coming was near (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). There would be deception, natural catastrophes, violent storms, rebellions (manifestations), rumours of war, fighting that would even lead to a global war, turning away from faith, persecution, hard times and great tribulations.
One of the signs of the Messiah’s coming is pestilence.
Pestilence in Revelation
“Or if I send a plague into that land and pour out My wrath upon it through bloodshed, cutting off from it both man and beast, then as surely as I live, declares the Lord God, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, they could deliver neither sons nor daughters. Their righteousness could save only themselves. For this is what the Lord God says: ‘How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem My four dire judgments—sword, famine, wild beasts, and plague—in order to cut off from it both man and beast?’” – Ezekiel 14:19-21
“And when the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, ‘Come!’ Then I looked and saw a pale horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed close behind. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, by famine, by plague [Greek NT “thanato” – death; Hebrew NT “dever” – pestilence], and by the beasts of the earth.” – Revelation 6:7,8
In Ezekiel’s days God was angry at Israelites because of their sins and idolatry. God threatened to discipline his people with four dire judgments: sword, famine, plague, and beasts.
Not even the three righteous men, Noah, Daniel and Job, if they were in the midst of the people, could not save the people from judgment. These three righteous men would only save their own lives because of their righteousness.
When the Lamb, in Revelation, opens the fourth seal, similar judgments are poured on the ungodly world in the end time: sword, famine, plague and wild beasts. In the modern world wild beasts like lions, bears, and panthers are not so great a danger to man as man is to them.
The text refers to the beastly kingdoms of the end time, about which Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 speak. These four plagues, severe infectious disease included, strikes a fourth part of the earth.
In the past, a global pandemic called Spanish flu made havoc in the years 1918-1920. It was caused by a remarkably deadly H1N1 virus, a mutation of influenza A. The worst stage of the pandemic lasted about eighteen months.
The number of deaths is estimated to be from 39 to 100 million. In recent years there have been epidemics of Asian flu, swine flu, bird flu and SARS. At the end of 2019, coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, from where it has spread all over the world.
Because of this pandemic emergency procedures and laws have been enforced in most countries to restrict freedom of movement and public gatherings. Elderly people and people belonging to a high risk group have been advised to stay at home in quarantine.
For the first time after the war, the Finnish Government was authorized to use emergency powers. All around the world millions of people have been infected and hundreds of thousands have died, especially aged and sick people.
There is the danger of a second or even a third wave of coronavirus pandemic which delays the end of this pandemic and kills more people.
This pandemic has caused chaos in economic life, which may bring about recession, bankrupts, and increase of unemployment and national debt. Many people think that life will be permanently changed after the coronavirus pandemic. The situation is uncertain; no one knows what the future will bring.
People walk like blind men when there is no way to see clearly into the future, just as the prophet Zephaniah had prophesied would happen when the great day of the Lord is near in the end time (Zephaniah 1:14-18).
This plague of coronavirus pandemic is just a reminder from God for us to repent and turn to the living God and give Him the glory. Unless this happens, we may expect much worse things to happen also in economic life (Isaiah 13:9-13).
Corona in the Book of Proverbs
“A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” – Proverbs 18:14
In the Hebrew Scriptures this verse reads as follows: “Ruakh ish yekhalkel makhalehu veruakh nekheah mi yishaenah”, in English: “A spiritual man endures his sickness, and who can bear an anxious mind?”
The Aramaic Bible (Targum) uses here the word “corona” instead of sickness. Corona in the Aramaic text does not mean “crown” but “sickness, weakness”. Therefore the first part of the verse reads as follows: “A spiritual man endures his corona (sickness, weakness)…” Corona, meaning weakness or sickness, is found also in the Aramaic texts of the New Covenant (e.g. Matthew 8:17; Luke 13:12).
Masks and Quarantine in the Torah
“A diseased person must wear torn clothes and let his hair hang loose, and he must cover his mouth [Hebrew NT: mustache] and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ As long as he has the infection, he remains unclean. He must live alone in a place outside the camp.” – Leviticus 13:45,46
During this coronavirus pandemic the authorities have given instructions and orders on how to behave. All people, especially those infected, must take care not to infect other people,nor let themselves be infected.
Big events and gatherings, such as festivals, sports events and the like, are forbidden or restricted during the pandemic. People must keep a safety distance between each other and a mask covering the lower part of the face is recommended. The mask is obligatory for those involved in health care.
There is nothing new here. God already gave through Moses similar instructions on how to prevent leprosy from spreading. People who had contracted the disease were obliged to live isolated, in quarantine, and cover their mouth (mustache). They had to shout “unclean, unclean” so that healthy people would stay in a safe distance from them.
God has given good instructions thousands of years ago to the people of Israel, and when they have followed these instructions, they have enjoyed better health than other people. The result was, however, tragic: superstitious people thought they were “witches” and persecuted them.
Israelites Were Saved by the Blood of the Lamb
“Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and told them, ‘Go at once and select for yourselves a lamb for each family, and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin, and brush the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When the Lord passes through to strike down the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway; so He will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.’” – Exodus 12:21-23
“The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,’” – John 1:29
“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” – Revelation 12:11
“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” – Proverbs 22:3
When the plague killed the firstborn of Egypt, Israelites were safe. God told them to stay indoors, in their homes (“in quarantine”), as the plague passed by striking down all firstborn of Egypt. Israelites had put some blood of a slaughtered lamb on the sides and tops of the door-frames of their houses, and the plague never touched any of them.
This is what is going to happen in the end time. When the coronavirus pandemic is spreading in Finland and all over the world, the government and health care authorities have recommended to avoid gatherings and stay indoors (in quarantine). This is vital for the aged and the sick.
Believers’ safeguard is the blood of the Lamb of God, Yeshua the Messiah, that He shed on the cross as atonement for our sins. It is by the power of the blood of Yeshua that believers overcome the powers of darkness.
It is also good to follow the orders given by the authorities, and avoid taking unnecessary risks. A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge.
God is the Believer’s Refuge
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘You are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the deadly plague. He will cover you with His feathers; under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and rampart.”
“You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the calamity that destroys at noon. Though a thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, no harm will come near you.” – Psalms 91:1-7
The most important piece of advice against the pestilence and plagues of the end time is: “Trust the Almighty God!”
The Bible tells us that even the hairs of our head are numbered (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7). If a hair falls down from our head, we don’t even know it, but God does. Nothing happens to God’s own people without His knowledge and permission.
Let us not be afraid. Let us trust in God and take refuge under the atoning blood of Yeshua, and follow the advice of the authorities. Eventually everything turns out for the best for God’s children while we continually discern these signs of the times.
This article originally appeared on Netivyah, May 11, 2020, and reposted with permission.