Many believe that the coronavirus is a sign of the end times. Are they right? Is this pandemic a sign that Jesus is coming soon?
A Seared Conscience
The Apostle Paul warned about a time when people would be living in such a sinful state that they acquire a seared conscience. Sinning often desensitizes us to sin. We sin and sin and sin, and after a while think, “It’s no big deal,” but that’s a serious problem. Living in a continual state of sin sears our conscience and takes away the conviction of the Holy Spirit when we sin. It reached the point in ancient Israel that Jeremiah asked, “Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among the fallen; when I punish them, they shall be overthrown, says the LORD” (Jer 8:12). Modesty has been slain on the altar of self. The Apostle Paul warned that “the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron” (1 Tim 4:1-2). That’s a sign of the last days or end times, if you ask me.
A Judgment of God?
There are many in Christian circles and ministries who believe the coronavirus is a judgment of God, but can we know that for sure? Who can know the mind of God or who has given Him counsel? Don’t time and chance happen to us all (Eccl 9:11)? Nevertheless, some pastors have publicly proclaimed that this is a judgment of God, but what becomes of the same pastor who later contracts it and dies from it (which has happened)? We must be careful about jumping to conclusions when catastrophic events take place. Remember, Christians living in the mid-1300’s faced a bacterial plague that we refer to as the Black Death, and it was infinitely more deadly than the covid-19 virus (so-far!), but there were many who believed those were the last days and that the Black Death was referred to in the Book of Revelation plagues.
Learning to Trust
Covid-19 has so disrupted the world that unemployment has skyrocketed, millions of businesses have closed, and the virus is still not done yet! We don’t know what’s ahead. What we do know is, God does. That’s why we must learn to trust Him in all of this. Read Habakkuk’s trust in God despite the worst of circumstances. Habakkuk wrote, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls” (Hab 3:17). Despite the lack of food, he didn’t think, “I’ll starve and die.” Instead he writes, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab 3:18). That’s the kind of trust we need today when the cupboards are more bare than usual.
A Sign of the End?
Is the coronavirus a sign of the end times or last days? No more than when “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet” (Matt 24:6). We have seen with our own eyes that there have been “famines and earthquakes in various places” (Matt 24:7) but we must keep our perspective that “All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt 24:7-8). Notice that these signs were given to the apostles and referred to the last days in their lifetime, but many see this as a dual prophecy; one that is for the latter times. In the Apostle Paul’s last letter…a letter written prior to his death, he warned Timothy “that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good” (2 Tim 3:1-3). And worse yet, they will be “treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim 3:4). These people might even sit next to you in church and have “the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people” (2 Tim 3:5).
Been rejected for sharing Christ? Join the club because scoffers not only have come, but “will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet 3:3-4). There will also be a large departing of the faith (which we have seen) and turning to another gospel, which is demonic in origin (1 Tim 4:1). Some believe that today, there are more false ministries out there than theologically sound ones. They could be right.
His Imminent Return
Please don’t wait for things to “fall into place” from a prophetic viewpoint to trust in Christ. There is nothing that needs to happen before Jesus returns. We are not waiting for the rebuilding of the Temple, or the beast to become known. Jesus said He will come when no one expects Him and that no one can know when that time, besides the Father (Matt 24:36). The recent pandemic has destroyed many lives, robbed many jobs, and threatens the livelihood of many families. Maybe this crisis has made you think about God for the first time in a long time. The sobering fact is, every day is the “last day” and every moment is the “end time” as you are one heartbeat away from eternity or one split second from Jesus’ appearance, but for sure, if you die outside of the faith, you face God’s judgment (Heb 9:27; Rev 20:12-15). Do not wait to “get right” with God. You cannot straighten out your own life. Come to Christ and He will enable you to.
Just as Jesus’ prophesied about the latter days of Jerusalem, today we can say “lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt 24:12). And worse, the self-proclaimed “carnal Christian” should be careful that their sin doesn’t carry them away by slow and steady deception. Sin is sneaky…it has a way of overtaking us without our knowing it, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 1)12). Remember that pride comes first…and then the fall (Prov 16:18). Be sure of your election today, for no one knows if tomorrow may even come or if Jesus won’t split the sky at any moment now.
Here is some related reading for you: Is the Coronavirus a Judgment of God? 
Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.