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Is Covid-19 a Sign of the Apocalypse?

By April 4, 2020April 27th, 202030 Comments

Is the Covid-19 virus a sign of the Apocalypse? Has the Tribulation before the return of Jesus begun? There has been a lot of talk lately that the Covid-19 pandemic proves we are in the last days; that this is the apocalypse. One scripture used to demonstrate this is Luke 21:11: “There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven.” The prediction of “plagues in various places” is taken as proof that we’re in the time of the end. Yet, as serious as this pandemic is, for several reasons, it clearly isn’t the “Day of the Lord.”

First of all, none of the corollary events connected to the tribulation period have taken place. These are the earthquakes, famines, and terrifying signs in the heavens mentioned in Luke 21. In Revelation 6:12-14, there is a description of the 6th seal judgment which will take place in the first half of the 7 year tribulation. It says: “A violent earthquake occurred;  the sun turned black like  sackcloth made of goat hair; the entire moon became like blood; the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind; the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place.” Plagues will be part of the Day of the Lord—but so will other terrifying events, none of which have occurred yet. And while there is a pandemic now—there have been other terrible outbreaks in the past, some that were even more serious than this one. For example, there was the black plague of the Middle Ages in which 25 million people died, about 40% of Europe’s population. As bad as that was, it was not the tribulation period predicted in Scripture. A plague alone is not the sign of the Day of the Lord.

Second, the man of lawlessness has not yet been revealed. In the first century, there were false teachers spreading the idea that the tribulation had already begun. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul responded by pointing out that it could not be so because the man of lawlessness had not yet been revealed. Paul was speaking of a coming world dictator, the future false Messiah, the ruler the Scriptures also call the Anti-Christ. In every generation, people speculate as to who this ruler will be, but like Paul, I can categorically state, he has not yet been revealed. Therefore, we are not yet in the Tribulation period.

Third, Israel has not signed a covenant with this future false Messiah. Daniel 9:27 indicates that the future 7 year tribulation (the 70th Week) will only begin when this future false Messiah makes a treaty or covenant with the leadership of Israel. Perhaps this will be a 7 year treaty guraanteeing peace and security to Israel. Whatever it is, it has not yet been signed, so we are not yet in the tribulation.

But even if we are not in the Day of the Lord, what can we learn about the end times from this? First, this pandemic shows how a crisis like this can cause people to turn to a dictator, like the Anti-Christ. An example of this is in Hungary, where in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, that nation’s parliament has handed their leader, Viktor Orban, absolute dictatorial power to cope with it.  When the world is in crisis, it’s evident that people will turn to a dictator to solve their problems. That is how Adolf Hitler obtained absolute dictatorial powers. And that is how, the future false Messiah will become a world dictator.

Second, this pandemic shows how quickly God can indeed bring about the end-time events described in Scripture. Some skeptics have doubted whether God could actually bring about the events described in the book of Revelation in just 7 years. The Covid-19 pandemic shows that the Lord would only need about 7 weeks to bring the world to its knees. In this way, the pandemic is just a sign that God can very well bring about the end very quickly.

Even though we are not in the Tribulation, it’s not surprising that we are facing this frightening situation. Yeshua said, “In this world, you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Nevertheless, He told us not not fear because He has conquered the world. He is the Sovereign of the universe and nothing can befall us apart from His loving hand. He can and will bring us through this crisis or bring us home to His loving arms. No matter what, although it is entirely natural to experience stress and fear, we can take comfort in knowing that when we believe in Yeshua, the Lord will deliver us from the wrath to come (1Thess 1:10).

UPDATE: A number of people have written, wondering if I believe the body of Messiah will be caught up before the Tribulation begins. Yes, absolutely I do, and even alluded to that in the last sentence of the above blog post. In 1 Thess 5:3 it says that the Day of the Lord will NOT overtake believers like a thief. Moreover, 1 Thess 5:9 assures us that “God did not appoint us for wrath but to obtain deliverance through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah!” Then, 1 Thess 5:10 declares that we are to encourage one another with the promise that followers of Yeshua will be removed before God’s wrath falls on the earth. I did not explicitly mention that the rapture had not yet taken place as an evidence that we’re not in the Tribulation because it would not convince those who believe that we will go through the tribulation. It’s the same reason Paul did not say that the Great Snatch (my name for the Rapture) had not yet taken place as proof that they were not in the Tribulation yet because that would not convince people who thought it had already begun (2 Thess 2:3-4).

30 Comments

  • Avatar Ron H Hirschhorn says:

    Very good perspective Michael. This is just one sign of the beginning of birth pangs. As you’ve stated, there’s plenty more to go.

    • Dr. Michael Rydelnik Dr. Michael Rydelnik says:

      Likely, the birth pangs of Matt 24:8 refers to events in the first half of the Tribulation, like the seal judgments of Revelation 6.

  • Avatar Debbie says:

    Wonderful teaching. I do feel as though all that is going g on shows ne that the time is short for the rapture.

  • Avatar Michelle Mitchell says:

    Dr Rydelnik,

    Would you consider these birth pains? Also, nothing more needs to happen before the rapture of the church, so the Bible mentions no signs prior to this happening. He said He will come like a thief in the night. Would these statement be true.

    • Dr. Michael Rydelnik Dr. Michael Rydelnik says:

      Likely, the birth pangs of Matt 24:8 refers to events in the first half of the Tribulation, like the seal judgments of Revelation 6.

  • Avatar Pamela Carson says:

    Thank you for your wise words, Dr. Rydelnik.

  • Avatar Ellen G says:

    Wouldn’t we call Donald Trump a “man of lawlessness” ?

    • Dr. Michael Rydelnik Dr. Michael Rydelnik says:

      As we would call Nero a lawless man. Whatever you think of President Trump, this is not talking about “a man of lawlessness” but “THE man of lawlessness” who has other qualities besides his lawless nature. Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Henry Kissinger did not have those other characteristics.

  • Avatar Sharon Leslie-Clarke says:

    Amen…

  • Avatar Beth Mosior says:

    soooo true , praying for you and your family stay safe

  • Avatar Carolyn Stockland says:

    thank you Michael for that clarification of the Scripture. No worries! GOD is in control and those that love HIM are in HIS hands. Please give Eva my love. As aye Carolyn.

  • Avatar David says:

    Right on all counts. However, I wish Dr. Rydelnik would assure his readers that Jesus is going to rapture His church before the Tribulation starts. We don’t need any signs to know that Jesus can return for Christians at any time.

  • Avatar Vonne Cahaney says:

    Terrific message, thank you.

  • Avatar Mirela Ursache says:

    Hello, Dr. Rydelnik,
    Would you say that the church will be raptured before, or during the Tribulation?
    We all hear different opinions, I would like to know yours and the verses you would refer to. Any articles you would recommend about this? Thanks!
    God bless you! Grateful for how the Lord is using you for His glory!

    Mirela Ursache

  • Avatar David Dinius says:

    What is amazing to me is how wrong the “experts” are about end times scenarios. Most mix up rapture and the tribulation. They are probably separated by years. What is happening now may seem bad but it is nothing compared to those two events. You are absolutely correct how people will turn to anyone they believe will solve the problem.

  • Avatar Mark Haeck says:

    Thank Michael. We’ll said. I think your spot on.

  • Avatar Bernice kirby says:

    Amen

  • Avatar David James says:

    Hey Michael,

    I’ve known of you for a long time, but I don’t think we’ve ever connected.

    Thanks for this article. I’ve been saying these things for weeks.

    Your comment about Hungary caught my attention because I had just read an article about this last night. My family and I were missionaries in Hungary from 12/92 to 2/09 – I was the founding director of the Word of Life Bible Institute there – and my son and his families are missionaries there now. Our daughter-in-law is a Hungarian who was saved in our summer camp at age 15 – and her father is ethnically Jewish – and was a young boy in the Budapest ghetto in WWII).

    Anyway, I was wondering if you have some Hungarian connection – because not many people would be aware of what Orban has been doing there.

    Blessings to you.
    Dave James
    Executive Director
    The Alliance for Biblical Integrity

  • Avatar Kevin Breau says:

    Thank you for this even handed scriptural based and historically grounded writing.
    It is refreshing in light of a lot of what is going around these days.

  • Avatar Marilou Long says:

    I appreciate your very balanced and Biblical response to this issue, Dr. Rydelnik. Thank you!

  • Avatar J. N. says:

    “He can and will bring us through this crisis or bring us home to His loving arms.”
    This sentence brought me to tears. I cannot adequately thank you for that anointed, tender picture of how this is guaranteed to turn out for me and my loved ones in Him. I needed comfort right now. Thank you.

  • Avatar Kathy says:

    Thank you Dr Rydelnik. You always make things very clear.

  • Avatar Lisa says:

    Dr. Rydelnik, I am confused by the beginning of your update. You state that you absolutely believe that Messiah’s body will be caught up before the Tribulation begins. Scripture states that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and even showed Thomas His nail pierced hands and wound in His side. Why would His body need to be caught up before the Tribulation when He is already seated at the right hand of God the Father ? Please explain with Scripture how you came to this belief. Thank you

    • Dr. Michael Rydelnik Dr. Michael Rydelnik says:

      I don’t mean the physical body of Jesus, I mean the community of believers from Pentecost until the Rapture. This is called the ekklesia (translated church) or the body of Messiah (Christ) in 1 Cor 12.

  • Avatar Lisa says:

    Thank you for your clarification Michael.

  • Avatar (Rev) H. Davis Haw [PC(USA)] If you publish this, please use only my name. says:

    The ultimate hope of every Christian is to spend eternity with Jesus. Therfore, death by any means is not to be feared. I have often said, “I am looking forward to eternally being in my Lord’s presence, but I’m in no hurry.” I also say, “As long as he gives me his work to do, he will keep me here.” It is important to note that he does not always tell me what work I am doing that is his. Nevertheless, I do the work I see to do and pray for his guidance and direction, and that what I am doing is in fact in accord with his will. My daily prayer is that “Everything I say be to praise God; that everything I do be to glorify God; that everything I am honors God.”

  • Hi Dr. Rydelnik, Charles Salvaggio here, it’s been a long time. Enjoy “Open Line” when possible; and I really appreciate your work on the “Moody Bible Commentary”. I heard from Brian Carlson that you two had a conversation following your Message (was it in an Aurora Church?), where you spoke of Brynford Bible Church, amazing! Yes, you were in the Sun. evening rotation; I couldn’t have missed you by too long, Malcolm Bowes remembers you! I began in the rotation in Jan. of 1985. And yes Brian, a devoted, blessed Believer is a current Sun. evening speaker too. And he knew Pastor Gus also, though Brian and Gail were primarily at Edgewater Baptist for decades, going back to Dr. Lutzer’s pastorate! Anyway, God bless you and your family, maybe you can visit us some time and bring a word, once we engage the ‘new normal’, thanks for your ministry, Pastor Charles.

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