What does the Bible say about worldwide plagues and pandemics in the end time?
We have warned time and again of worldwide plagues and disease epidemics which will come upon mankind in these last days.
We said the following in our Q&A on the events foretold by Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:
“The third horse of the Apocalypse (mainly famine) is followed, according to Revelation 6:7-8, by a pale horse, and the rider’s name is ‘Death,’ and ‘Hades’ or ‘the Grave’ follows him. Christ says in Matthew 24:7 that famines will be followed by pestilences [see also Luke 21:11]… Historically, the Black Death alone killed upwards of one-third of the people living in Europe in the 14th century. The Spanish flu pandemic lasted from March, 1918, to June, 1920, spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands… estimates put the number of those who were killed at 40 to 50 million people…
“Revelation 6:8 adds that one-fourth of mankind will be killed by the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and that these killings will be carried out with the sword (political and also religiously-motivated wars), with hunger (a result of famine), with death (resulting from pestilences), and also with the beasts of the earth. Many times, contagious diseases are communicated by sick animals carrying deadly viruses (remember the Ebola virus, the bird flu or the mad cow disease)…”
Contagious diseases may also be communicated by animals that are not even sick, but which are called unclean in the Bible. These animals were not created for human consumption, but it is interesting that many diseases and epidemics originated with the human consumption of such unclean animals, including monkeys, pigs, camels, civet cats, bats and snakes.
A deadly coronavirus has now spread from China to many countries around the world. This new virus originated apparently at Wuhan’s seafood market which sold live koalas, snakes, rats, bats and wolf pups to locals to eat. It has also been suggested that the virus had been manufactured in Chinese laboratories and then “escaped” by infecting animals, such as bats or snakes.
We also said this in one of our Q&As on Matthew 24:35:
“At this moment in time, we have not yet seen the beginning of the Great Tribulation, but we have been witnessing ever-increasing religious deception, wars, earthquakes, famines and disease epidemics–events which are described by Christ as the ‘beginning of sorrows’ (Matthew 24:8). These will become more and more visible and frightening in the years to come.
“We do not know the exact time of Christ’s return, but based on the parable of the fig tree, we CAN say that we ARE living today in the very last generation, and that Christ WILL return BEFORE this present generation has ‘passed away.’ It is therefore important for us to watch and pray, and to be ‘ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an HOUR [we] do NOT expect’ (Matthew 24:44).”
In the book of Revelation, God describes in detail how end-time plagues causing sickness and disease will be poured out on mankind. It is very possible that some of those plagues or disease epidemics speak of chemical-biological weapons and viruses which have been created in scientists’ laboratories.
Revelation 9:5-6 speaks about a European power causing great physical torment on others:
“And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them…”
Revelation 16:2, 11 speaks about God’s punishment through seven angels on those who follow the beast—an evil future military European leader—and the entire Babylonian system:
“So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image… They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.”
In Revelation 18:4, God warns His people not to be a part of the Babylonian system so that they would not become a victim of the plagues (including terrible diseases and pandemics) which God will pour out on it:
“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.’”
Another very sobering warning of God can be found in Revelation 22:18-19:
“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
In addition, God warned especially the ancient Israelites and their modern descendants that He would inflict them with serious and incurable plagues, diseases, epidemics and pandemics if they were to forsake Him. And we should note that modern Israelites can be found in large numbers today in countries such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe, as well as in many parts of Europe, and of course in the state of Israel.
God says in Leviticus 26:16, 25:
“I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart… when you are gathered together within your cities I will send pestilence among you…”
A vivid description can also be found in Deuteronomy 28:21-22, 27-28, 35, 58-61:
“The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. The LORD will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish…
“The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart… The LORD will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head…
“If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues–great and prolonged plagues–and serious and prolonged sicknesses. Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the LORD bring upon you until you are destroyed.”
You can find additional sober warnings of epidemics and pandemics for the disobedient and rebellious end-time Houses of Israel and Judah in passages such as Jeremiah 14:12; 24:10; 29:17-19; 34:17; as well as in Ezekiel 5:12, 17; 6:11-12; 7:14-15; 12:16; 33:26-29.
As we have seen, terrible diseases and pandemics will afflict all of mankind—not just the modern descendants of the ancient House of Israel. This entire world lives in total rebellion to God and His Laws. It is described as an evil world which is ruled by Satan the Devil. And since God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), His end-time warnings of epidemics and pandemics include all nations and peoples.
In fact, many of those diseases might start in “Gentile” nations and spread from there to the countries which are occupied by modern Israelites. This had already occurred in the past, when diseases originated in Africa (AIDS) or China (SARS), from which they spread to other continents and nations, including Israelite nations.
And so, God warns the modern descendants of the ancient Houses of Israel and Judah of terrible pandemics which will afflict them. True Christians are spiritual Jews and Israelites. But these terrible pandemics do not have to affect them, because God is promising protection to His people who stay faithful and loyal to Him.
For instance, we read about such a promise to His people in Psalm 91:3-11:
“Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence… You shall not be afraid of… the pestilence that walks in darkness… Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.”
He gave that same (timeless) promise already to ancient Israel, as we read in Exodus 15:26:
“If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”
Note, too, His promise to His people in Deuteronomy 7:15, if they were to obey Him:
“And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.” (But also note the sober warning in Ezekiel 14:19-20).
This does not mean, of course, that true Christians could never become sick. This important and oftentimes misunderstood subject is discussed, at length and in great detail, in our free booklet, “Sickness and Healing—What the Bible Tells Us.”
But it has been a remarkable experience within the Church of God that God’s ministers who fulfill God’s commands to anoint those who are sick (compare James 5:14) have not contracted a contagious disease for which and when they anoint the sick person, as God has been protecting His ministers who faithfully follow His directions in this regard.
The wonderful news is that in a few years from now, we will not hear anything anymore about the spread of diseases, sicknesses, epidemics and pandemics.
In a Q&A, discussing the conditions on earth AFTER Christ’s return, we stated:
“In the Millennium, sick, injured and impaired people will be healed, and there will be no more sickness and disease (Isaiah 33:24; Isaiah 35:3-6; Jeremiah 30:17).”
Man will learn God’s Way of Life, and when they do and live by it, they will reap the blessings for obedience. Man will never again play God by creating deadly viruses in laboratories, and they will never again defy God by eating the meat of unclean animals which were never created for human consumption, but which are harmful to human health, causing all kinds of diseases.
What a wonderful time that will be when horrible news of sicknesses and diseases will have become a thing of the past.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link