The nations seem to face one crippling distress followed by another crippling distress Their capacity to provide relief is overwhelmed. The coronavirus is yet one more example of what Jesus called, “…upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity.” Luke 21:25 However, while God permits the disease, God is not sending diseases, God does not enjoy suffering.
Sometimes people think the seven plagues in Revelation 16 are literal. If the seven plagues were literal, not a single one is a respiratory coronavirus! But Revelation is a book of symbolic visions and is not literal. These plagues symbolize conditions and events. Revelation 1:1 (NKJV), "The Revelation of Jesus Christ…And He sent and signified it by His angel…” To “signify” is to use signs or pictures to teach things.
God told Israel that they would experience diseases as a part of His punishments if they disobeyed His law. Leviticus 26:14-16 (NIV), "if you (Israel)…violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength." But God has not made a covenant with our world nations. The coronavirus is not sent from God as a punishment.
We are in the “end times.” Scriptural indications include: 1) Daniel 12:1-4, there will be a great increase in knowledge and in travel. Haven’t we seen this? 2) Israel will be re-established as a nation, Ezekiel 38. We have also witnessed this. 3) People will not recognize the importance of world events. Matthew 24:37,38, “…as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark.”
We are promised that the end of this present world order is the fulfillment of God’s law, “what you sow, you shall reap.” Proverbs 22:8 (HNV), “He who sows wickedness reaps trouble, and…will be destroyed.”
We are seeing the processes of destroying the old in order that God’s kingdom of righteousness may be set up. Daniel 2:44, “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”
So, what should believers do during these end times? Zephaniah 2:3 (RSV), “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his commands; seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the wrath of the LORD.” Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”