Sunday, 26 April 2020

Coronavirus and the End Times

There is nothing new about pandemics - they have occurred all through history. In our own news we have already had comparisons with the so-called 'Spanish Flu' in 1918 which killed millions around the world. The Black Death in London 1665 killed an estimated 15% of the population. It was even worse 300 years earlier where it is estimated to have wiped out half of the mainland European population. We can go back to Roman times (or even further). A famous Roman era plague was the 'Cyprian' plague, named after a prominent Christian bishop who literally wrote "this it - this is the end of the world!". That was because 5,000 people were dying every day in Rome alone. Of course he was wrong about it being the end of the world, but it was a time where the compassion of Christians was noted across the empire.

For the End Times Christians of course try to read the book of Revelation. Yet we often make one of two mistakes. The first is to try and directly map the pages of the book to specific events in our history. The second is to use the pages to try and predict actual events, claiming 'it says this so that is going to happen ...'. These mistakes are of course tempting - just look at chapter 18 verse 8 which talks of plagues! Note also the same verse talks of scorching heat and fire (remember only back in January our main news story was Australian forest fires!).

When I read Revelation I see an 'unfolding'. You go through a sequence (e.g. the 'seals'), and just when you think you get to the end then a new unfolding occurs (the 'trumpets') ... and then another. It gives a multi-dimensional view, or perhaps it is even different camera angles on the same scenes?

One way to make sense of all this in our linear time is to consider it as waves. The different calamities comes as waves - some are big, some are smaller, and they come at different intervals.

The other thing to note in Revelation is the statement "but still people refused to turn". This is in chapter 9 verse 20 but is repeated a few times. This is tragic, and reminds us that the waves themselves (as well as any time in between) are opportunities for people to turn to God.

Right now I think we have a big wave passing over us - producing churning and frothing as big waves do. Yet just as the waves crash about, the rocks on the sea bed still stay in their positions: as followers we can stay anchored to the unmovable rock - that is Jesus! Our role is therefore to keep our foundations in Christ, to point to His grace and His desire that all people can turn and look to Him.

I do not think this wave is necessarily the last. Yet it is at least one more opportunity for anyone to look to God, discover His forgiveness for themselves, and join to be part of God's revolution for humanity and indeed the whole of creation.

No comments:

Post a comment