Let’s get one thing clear right up front: God is sovereign, and that means the current coronavirus was let loose with His permission. Satan may have been the agent, but it would be unbiblical to blame it on Satan. The Bible never blames Satan for natural disasters.
So, what is God doing? What is He trying to say to us? I believe He is warning us of impending judgment, and therefore He is calling the world to repentance. The Bible teaches that God never pours out His wrath without warning because He does not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and salvation (2 Peter 3:9).
How God Warns
God warns in two ways. First, He raises up prophetic voices who identify the sins of the people and issue a call for them to repent. Then, if they dismiss the prophets and refuse to repent, God will send remedial judgments — again, for the purpose of calling people to repentance.
Deuteronomy 28 contains a detailed listing of the types of remedial judgments God will place on a nation that becomes rebellious against Him and His Word. They include:
- Cities in chaos (verse 16)
- Crop Failures (verses 16-18,38-40,42)
- Livestock diseases (verses 18,31)
- Loss of children (verses 18,32,41)
- Confusion in all undertakings (verse 20)
- Pestilence (verses 21-22)
- Diseases (verses 27,35)
- Insanity (verses 28-29,34)
- Drought (verse 24)
- Troubled marriages (verse 30)
- Defeat in wars (verse 25)
- Foreign domination (verses 33,43-44)
God specifically warned the nation of Judah that if they ignored His prophets and His remedial judgments, the ultimate result would be the destruction of their nation and the exile of their people worldwide.
One of the prophets God raised up to deliver His message of warning to Judah was a man named Jeremiah. God told him to survey the nation and compile a list of the people’s sins. God was well aware of the sins. He wanted his prophet to become aware of them.
Jeremiah reported back an incredible list of sins — incredible when you consider the fact that God had blessed Judah more than any nation that had ever existed up to that time. He had given them great leaders like Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah — the king who was ruling when Jeremiah was called. Yet, the people of Judah had turned their backs on their Creator and Sustainer, the very One who was the source of all their blessings.
Jeremiah’s report to God contained a very dirty laundry list of sins:
- Lies and blasphemy (5:2)
- Immorality (5:7)
- Arrogance (5:12-13)
- Social injustice (5:25-28)
- Religious corruption (5:30-31)
- Closed minds (6:10)
- Greed (6:13)
Jeremiah proceeded to sum it all up in three breathtaking statements:
- “They have made their faces harder than rock” (5:3).
- “They have a stubborn and rebellious heart” (5:23).
- “They do not even know how to blush” (6:15).
Jeremiah went forth and began proclaiming the sins of his people while calling for their repentance. Needless to say, this did not make him a popular person. The people of Judah turned against him big time when he began to prophesy that if they refused to repent, God would pour out His wrath upon them (6:22-26).
The people accused the prophet of being full of wind (5:13). And they taunted him by chanting, “The Temple, the Temple, the Temple” (7:13). What they meant by this was that they did not believe God would ever allow Judah and Jerusalem to be conquered and destroyed because His Shekinah Glory resided in the Temple.
But the destruction prophesied did come at the hands of the Babylonians who completely destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 BC. All of which led to the writing of two of the saddest verses to be found in the Hebrew Scriptures (2 Chronicles 36):
15) The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place;
16) but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy.
Back to the Question
So, what does all this have to do with today’s worldwide pandemic?
Ever since the mid-1970s, God has been raising up prophetic voices around the world, calling people to repentance. Additionally, He has been sending remedial judgments to get people’s attention in order to motivate them to repentance.
Take our nation for example. In my book, God’s Prophetic Voices to America (2017), I identified 13 prophets God has raised up (four in the past and nine in the present) to call our nation to repentance, one of which was a foreigner — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This great Russian author was kicked out of his homeland after he revealed the Soviet persecution of the Russian people in the gulag concentration camps located mainly in Siberia.
He came to the United States and settled in Vermont. In 1978, Harvard University invited him to be their commencement speaker. He arrived on campus a hero and left as a pariah. Instead of delivering an address condemning Communism, he focused on the sins of America, denouncing our materialism in no uncertain terms. He prophesied that, like the Communists who had put Russia through a living hell, our leaders had forgotten God.
The Harvard intelligentsia was outraged. They booed him and wrote him off as a “Tsarist reactionary.”
God has continued to send us prophetic voices, and we as a nation have continued to turn a deaf ear to their pleas for repentance and their warnings of impending destruction. God has also sent remedial judgments like the Vietnam War, Hurricane Katrina, wildfires, ungodly leaders and now the pandemic that is killing people and ravaging our economy.
Remedial judgments have also been occurring around the world. Consider, for example, the wildfires in Australia, the locust invasion in Africa, the epidemic of earthquakes along the Pacific “ring of fire” and now the virus pandemic.
In the second part of this look what God may be saying with this Coronavirus pandemic, we’ll compare the world’s reaction to the nation of Judah.