One of the tragedies of modern American life is that every event is given a political slant. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different, as most politicians and media outlets seem more concerned about scoring political points than coming together for the good of nations. While honest disagreements about how to help the public may arise in these times, it looks like politicians of all persuasions are more concerned with using the crisis to influence public opinion and elections.
This political focus leads to many different “what if” scenarios playing out in the news and social media. How many people will die if we continue to quarantine? How many will die if we don't? What will unemployment look like if we keep people from going out? Will coronavirus cause a recession even if businesses reopen, as some are beginning to do? A simply staggering number of factors have made it difficult to predict which path is the best, but the ultimate goal should be obvious: saving as many lives as possible while minimizing negative economic impacts. Further complicating the situation is the obvious fact that we do not get a “do-over.” We can endlessly speculate about all the “what if” scenarios, but no one really knows what impact any of them will truly have.
Thankfully, Christians who accept the Bible as the inspired word of God do not have to rely on political prognostications to discern the times. If we truly know that God is guiding affairs to a conclusion in this age, there are a few scriptures that can help us ignore the political commentary and understand what is truly going on.
First off, Jesus Christ predicted in Matthew 24:7 that pestilences would be present at the end of the age. Notably, they are only one of the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8), so it can be difficult to label COVID-19 as a specific fulfillment of this scripture. However, the point is that Christians should be looking for pestilences at the end of the age and taking such events as wake-up calls before the much more disastrous prophecies come to pass (see the rest of Matthew 24).
As this is only one of the beginning sorrows, Luke 17:26–30 reminds us that the economy will most likely survive this current crisis. There could be another recession, but it will not shut things down to the point that people stop buying, selling, planting, and building. COVID-19 will almost certainly make the economy suffer in the short run, but until God is ready to suddenly intervene in major ways, Luke 17 should remind us that the economy will still encourage people to live as if they are planning for life to continue as normal.
In some ways, this is because most people no longer connect pestilences (or other national disasters) to individual sins. Beyond COVID-19, 2020 has already seen Australia devastated by fires and many African nations suffering from plagues of locusts! Leviticus 26 shows that God will bring punishments upon nations that despise His laws. These punishments include pestilences! Tragically, most Americans refuse to connect their personal behavior with the wake-up calls God is giving us right now. Revelation 9:20–21 also shows that most of mankind will remain unrepentant even in the midst of further prophetic fulfillment.
These few scriptures should remind us that pestilences like COVID-19 are prophesied to happen at the end of the age. They remind us that we have to personally be awake, as we are living in a time of unbridled sin that will lead to consequences for our nation! Thankfully, one of these consequences is Jesus Christ's eventual return. Before that, however, the Bible forecasts times of great suffering. This particular virus should, at minimum, remind all of us of how easily God can bring down any nation.
Finally, instead of being consumed with politics, sincere Christians must look to their own spiritual lives. Bluntly, the Bible does not speak kindly about the spiritual state of most Christians at the end of the age. Christ wondered if He would “really find faith on the earth” when He returned (Luke 18:8). In Matthew 25:1–13, the foolish virgins fell asleep without first having been prepared for the coming of the bridegroom. Revelation 3:14–22 shows that many people in God’s true Church will be spiritually lukewarm due to their lack of discernment.
In light of all of this, how much do politics really matter? While we should pray for our leaders and hope they are able to make the best decisions they can, the Bible is clear that no matter what government or political party is in charge, pestilences will come. When they do, it should be a sign for all Christians to spend more time staying spiritually alert than worrying about who claims any temporary political victory.