With the recent news of the Ebola virus epidemic in Africa, many Christians have become more convinced that we are living in the end times. Throughout Scripture, pestilence has been linked with the end of the world.
As shown below in the following verses from Revelation about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, pestilence is one of the four judgments that come to the earth when the seven seals are opened. The Four horses represent Conquest, War, Monetary Inflation and Death. The last horse is ridden by Death and Death has a companion named Hades or the Grave. They are given the power to destroy the world with violent death, famine, pestilence, and wild animals.
Nature is interwoven and the last horse and its rider and companion is a group. We see this in nature. Diseases such as AIDS and Ebola often arise from wild animals, especially when humans and animals live in the same areas. When the animal-caused illness arises, often there are epidemics. Human nature being what it is, we become especially nervous when epidemics or suffering come to our land. In the same way, religious persecution is everywhere but when it comes to our nation we become more aware of Bible verses about persecution.
1As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll. Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and gain the victory.
3When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” 4Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere.
5When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t wastec the olive oil and wine.”
7When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” 8I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals. Revelation 6:1-7
When faced with incidents that might be connected to the end of the world we must ask ourselves three questions.
The first is: Is this particular evil in the world done by God or is it a consequence of man’s fooling around with nature or man’s inhumanity to man? If God is doing this, why is He doing it? If man is the cause of the evil, what can we do about it?
The second: Are we living by faith, hope and love? Living in the endtimes requires all of these.
The last: How do we react to the suffering of others who are not Christian? Are we so desperate to get to Heaven that we rejoice at the sorrows coming in the world?
We must remember what Jeremiah the prophet declared and understand that if our neighbors or our country is affected by a disaster, we may not go unscathe:
1The prophet Jeremiah gave a message to Baruch son of Neriah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah,a after Baruch had written down everything Jeremiah had dictated to him. He said, 2“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: 3You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the LORD has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’
4“Baruch, this is what the LORD says: ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. 5Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the LORD, have spoken!’” – Jeremiah 45
Again, we cannot be sure about specifics but we can discern the sign of the times.
54Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. 55When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. 56You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times. Luke 12:54-56
Whether Ebola is one of the pestilences that will happen in the last days is unknown but in all ways, we are commanded to watch. We are also commanded to trust God and to not limit Him. In these days of illness, one would do well to meditate on, pray on and believe Psalm 91. That is a psalm that has been known as the Protection Psalm because many miracles have been attributed to it.