Is the COVID-19 pandemic a fulfillment of biblical prophecy?
Dr Fruchtenbaum Answers
It is no secret that a massive plague has hit the world in general and the USA in particular. At this point, however, given the fact that there are billions of people on the earth, the actual number of those who have been tested positive is relatively small, and the number of those who have died from the coronavirus is even smaller. The pandemic is tragic, nonetheless.
Newspaper exegetes have gone to town on this event, seeing it as a major biblical issue. There are conspiracy theories all over the internet that have made COVID-19 a major issue between good and evil or God and Satan. One must be very careful of such conspiracy theories since the majority of them eventually end up blaming the Jews for what is taking place.
We have received many phone calls and some letters asking our evaluation of this pandemic, and many of those who contacted us have been influenced by this type of internet information. One email I received called COVID-19 a “plandemic” and claimed that the virus was a “bio-weapon” released by “globalists” who are planning a “mass destruction upon the whole world.” The email came with the accusation that “Fruchtenbaum is silent about such a catastrophic event while this intentionally man-made and premeditated virus shuts down the world.” The writer called upon me to provide “an official biblically prophetic understanding of this end time event! For once, silence is not golden!”
This I intend to do, but many, like the writer I quoted above, may not be happy with what I have to say. I see myself as a biblicist and not a sensationalist, and I do not allow myself to be influenced by speculations that are not based on proven facts and acts. I will also not be influenced by people who see all things as being connived by a cabal, a hidden body of people trying to control the world.
In Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21, the Messiah gave a long discourse on the last days. The details of these three passages are expounded upon in The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Therefore, I will only summarize what is relevant to this topic.
According to the Scriptures, the event that actually triggers the beginning of the last days is when nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (Mt. 24:7). According to Matthew, this will be coupled with famines and earthquakes. Luke adds one more element: pestilences. This term would cover plagues, diseases, viruses, and all other similar things. It certainly would include COVID-19. Therefore, the pandemic is one of the signs that we are living in the last days, but there is no need to believe in a conspiracy theory that claims that the virus will destroy the world. Biblically speaking, it will not do so.
A short while ago, I received a list of eleven questions, some of which deal with COVID-19. Two of the questions asked what a pestilence is and whether COVID-19 could be considered a pestilence. These two questions were answered above.
Does the current pandemic fall into the category of pre-tribulational events? This was a third question. The answer is that the pandemic is not a specific event that was prophesied since the term “pestilence” is more general. COVID-19 does fulfill the general prophecy of pestilences, but it is not the only virus that falls into this category.
Is the coronavirus a punishment of God? This was a fourth question. Yes, it is, but so is the common cold. When Adam fell, God judged him. God also judged what was under Adam's authority, and this was the earth. Since the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, man has lived in a broken world, and humanity will suffer all kinds of thorns and briers, including all kinds of sicknesses. Obviously, this also includes COVID-19. Nothing ever happens outside the will of God, and nothing ever catches God by surprise.
Is what is happening a directive will of God (such as the Noahic Flood) or is it the permissive will of God (such as the fall of man into sin)? This is the question. This we cannot answer because we do not know.
Our security does not lie in man or government. It lies in living a life of faith, always recognizing that God is in control. Furthermore, we must always remember Romans 8:28: And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. We may not always know the “Why” in this life, but we will in the afterlife, in eternity.