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Is the COVID-19 global pandemic a sign of the end times?

Some say that recent events mean the end of the world is near. Is the COVID-19 global pandemic a sign of the end times?

The Bible teaches that before Jesus returns to establish His kingdom on earth, there will be a 7-year period known as the Tribulation or the Day of the Lord. Some are concerned that we are now in that period of tribulation. But, as bad as this pandemic may be, I do not believe it to be the Day of the Lord.

First, none of the corollary events connected to the tribulation period have taken place. Earthquakes, famines, and terrifying signs in the heavens are mentioned in Luke 21. Revelation 6:12–14, describes the 6th-seal judgment which will take place in the first half of the seven-year tribulation (violent earthquakes, cosmic signs in the heavens, and the uprooting of mountains and islands). The Day of the Lord will include plagues, but also other terrifying events which have not occurred yet. While we are enduring a pandemic now—other plagues in the past have been more serious than this one.

Second, the man of lawlessness has not yet been revealed. In the first century, false teachers spread the idea that the Tribulation had already begun. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul said the “man of lawlessness” had not yet been revealed. Paul was speaking of a coming world dictator, the future false messiah, also called the antichrist (1 John 2:18) and the Beast (Rev. 13:1–10). Since this person has not yet been revealed, we are not yet in the Day of the Lord.

Third, Israel has not signed a covenant with this future false messiah. Daniel 9:27 indicates that the end times seven-year tribulation will begin when this future false messiah makes a treaty with the leadership of Israel. It has not yet been signed, so we are not yet in the tribulation.

We should not be surprised that we are facing difficulties. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Nevertheless, we are not to fear. Nothing can befall us apart from God’s loving hand. He will bring us through this crisis or home to His loving arms.

BY Dr. Michael Rydelnik

Dr. Michael Rydelnik is a professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute and the host of Moody Radio’s Open Line with Michael Rydelnik. He is the author of 50 Most Important Bible Questions inspired by both his radio show and his columns for Today in the Word. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael also appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The Case for Christ. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, Ill.

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