The Biblical Foreshadowing of the Corona Virus Crisis: An Interview with Mark Hitchcock
How does the coronavirus outbreak related to the vivid, end-time biblical prophecies about plagues, pestilences, and pandemics? Jesus listed “pestilences in various places” as a sign of his coming. In the prophecy of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, the fourth rider kills one-fourth of the earth with pestilence and the “wild beasts of the earth.” How does the coronavirus foreshadow what lies ahead?
Bible Gateway interviewed Mark Hitchcock (@markhitchcock) about his book, Corona Crisis: Plagues, Pandemics, and the Coming Apocalypse (W Publishing Group, 2020).
For context, please capsulize where the world is right now concerning COVID-19.
Mark Hitchcock: COVID-19 hit the world seemingly out of nowhere and has changed the world forever. Millions have been infected and hundreds of thousands have died. The situation fluctuates on an almost daily basis, and there’s still a great deal we don’t know.
What we do know is that, barring a vaccine or cure, we’re in this for a long haul. The virus is highly contagious and sometimes fatal. Businesses and government are very slowly opening, but the end of this crisis doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight. That’s one of the difficult aspects of this outbreak—the nagging uncertainty. It seems like there’s more we don’t know than what we do know.
You write, “This isn’t the end of the world, but I do believe Jesus could come at any time, and we need to make sure we know him and that we’re ready.” Please explain.
Mark Hitchcock: The coronavirus and other crises in our world today are not the end, but they are signs that point toward the end. They tell us that Jesus’ coming may be near. In fact, Jesus can come at any moment, so we need to be alert and aware, making sure we’re living a life that pleases him.
What does the Bible mean when it says the world will someday come to an end?
Mark Hitchcock: When Jesus returns at his second coming, he’ll establish a 1,000 year kingdom of peace and prosperity that will fill the earth. That age is called the millennium. When the millennium ends, this present creation will be destroyed by God, or “uncreated,” and he’ll make a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1-2). That’ll be the end of the world as we know it, but the beginning of a brand new universe in which righteousness dwells.
What plagues are recorded in the Bible?
Mark Hitchcock: Most people are probably familiar with the Egyptian plagues in the book of Exodus, but there are several others mentioned. Here are just a few of the main ones: the Philistines when they captured the ark of the covenant (1 Samuel 5:11-12), the nation of Israel for King David’s sin (2 Samuel 24:12, 25), the people of Judah for their disobedience (Jeremiah 27:4-8), and enemies who attack Israel in the end times (Ezekiel 39:21-22). During the final days of this age, plagues are predicted that’ll have a devastating impact on the world (Revelation 6:8).
Is the coronavirus prophesied in the Bible?
You write that, to survive this crisis, we need perspective, practicality, prayer, and proclamation. Please explain.
Mark Hitchcock: When any crisis comes, we first need to remember God is on his throne in heaven. That’s our perspective. Heaven has an occupied throne.
Second, we need to love others in practical, everyday ways, doing what we can to help slow the spread of the virus.
Third, prayer for our health, our leaders, the economy and a cure or vaccine for the virus should be part of our daily spiritual lives.
Finally, we always need to leverage times of crisis to share and proclaim the gospel because people are often more open to the truth in times of uncertainty. When we board a plane and hear the safety speech by the flight attendant most people don’t pay much attention. They tune it out. But if the pilot were to announce during the flight that two of the engines had just failed, and the flight attendant were to go over the instructions again, everyone would listen up with undivided attention. In the same way, times of crisis make people more open to the gospel message.
What is the universal virus and its cure that you write about in the book?
Mark Hitchcock: The universal virus or pandemic is sin that infects the soul of every person. We’re all born infected, and there’s no human cure or vaccine. The only remedy for the sin virus is the death and resurrection of Jesus who took the full force of the virus for us. All we have to do for a complete cure is accept Jesus as our Savior.
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Mark Hitchcock: My favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 5:21 which says, “God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” I love this verse because it captures the essence of the good news. Jesus took all my sin and gave me all his righteousness. I can’t think of anything better than that.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?
Mark Hitchcock: Great, reliable tools to access a host of great resources.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Mark Hitchcock: Thank you to Bible Gateway for the opportunity to share about my new book.
Corona Crisis: Plagues, Pandemics, and the Coming Apocalypse is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: Mark Hitchcock has authored over 30 books related to Bible prophecy. He has earned ThM and PhD degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and is an associate professor there. He lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with his wife Cheryl and serves as Senior Pastor of Faith Bible Church. He and his wife have two married sons and three grandchildren.
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