End Times Sign: Pestilence Increasing on a Global Scale
In the books of Matthew and Luke, the disciples record how that they asked Jesus what will be the “signs” of the end times, and what should they look for….
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.
6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.“
.- Matt 24:3-8
“There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven …
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
—Luke 21:11, 28
The thing to notice here is that Jesus was likening the approaching End Times as when a woman begin to experience the “birth pains” of labor, which will eventually give way to the new life of a child. What we are to gather from this is that these “signs” should start to occur in 1) increasing frequency, and 2) in increasing strength. This goes for all the the “signs” mentioned – wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and “pestilences”.
The End Times Sign of “Pestilence”
What is a Pestilence?
According to vocabulary,com, Pestilence means a deadly and overwhelming disease that affects an entire community. The Black Plague, a disease that killed over thirty percent of Europe’s population, was certainly a pestilence. Pestilence is also one of the four Horseman of the Apocalypse in the book of Revelation, so it is certain to explode during the last 7 years of history, or the Tribulation.
Have Major Epidemics/Pandemics Increased in the Last Few Centuries?
In the last few years, we have endured SARS, the swine flu, ebola, avian flu, MERS, West Nile virus and now the Coronavirus or Covid-19. Let us take a look at the frequency, scale and impact of epidemics and pandemics over the last few centuries in the list below, and in the supporting table below.
Dates, Major Types of Pestilence, Impact and Deaths
Please see the attached table below for a list of the major epidemics/pandemics (plagues) just during the last century, but it is clear from the data in this table that in the last few centuries we have seen an alarming increase in worldwide epidemics and pandemics, with some resulting in millions of lives lost:
- 2019 – Covid-19 – Worldwide – 452,394 deaths
- 2017 – Flu epidemic – United States – 61,000 deaths
- 2013-16 – Ebola – Worldwide, primarily Africa – 11,323 deaths
- 2009-10 – Influenza A H1N1 – Worldwide 284,000 deaths
- 1981 – HIV Aids – Worldwide – 35 million deaths
- 1968-70 – Hong Kong Flu -Worldwide H3N2 – 1-4 million deaths
- 1957-58 – Influenza A H2N2 – Worldwide – 1-4 million deaths
- 1918-22 – Typhoid – Eussia – 2.5 million deaths
- 1918 – Spanish Flu – H1N1 – Worldwide – 60 million deaths
- 1915 – Encephalitus -Worldwide – 1.5 million deaths
- 1899-1923 – Cholera – Europe, Africa, Asia – 800,000 deaths
Is there Evidence that “Plagues” Occurring More often, and on a Global scale?
- YES – This is Happening on a Global Scale – because of the increase in travel and global interdependency of countries. Once a virus or bacteria gets loose in a particular city, country, or region, the chance of it spreading to other countries quickly has been magnified many times over in the past 100 years. Witness how quickly the Coronavirus Covid-19 spread around the globe during the first few months of 2020.
- YES – The Frequency and Impact of Plagues is Increasing. The frequency and impact of such pestilences is increasing withing the last few centuries, and the impact is magnified due to the increase in travel and commerce on a global scale.
Chart from the World Health Organization, using only data collected from 1954 – 1997, shows a dramatic INCREASE in the number of cases of plague reported to the WHO:
Below is Other Supporting Data (source – Wikipedia) show the list of epidemics and pandemics which have had widespread impact, and serious impact in terms of deaths. Notice the increase of widespread epidemics/pandemics since the 1800s, into the 19th and 20th centuries.
|Event||Date||Location||Disease||Death toll (estimate)|
|Antonine Plague||165–180 (possibly up to 190)||Roman Empire||Unknown, possibly smallpox||5–10 million|
|Plague of Cyprian||250–266||Europe||Unknown, possibly smallpox||1 million+|
|Plague of Justinian||541–542||Europe and West Asia||Bubonic plague (beginning of First plague pandemic)||25–100 million (40–50% of population of Europe)|
|735–737 Japanese smallpox epidemic||735–737||Japan||Smallpox||2 million (approx. 1⁄3 of Japanese population)|
|Black Death (start of the Second plague pandemic)||1346–1353||Europe, Asia and North Africa||Bubonic plague||75–200 million (10–60% of European population)|
|Yersinia pestis bacterium|
|Sweating sickness (multiple outbreaks)||1485–1551||Britain (England) and later continental Europe||Unknown, possibly an unknown species of hantavirus||10,000+|
|1510 influenza pandemic||1510||Asia, North Africa, Europe||Influenza||Unknown, around 1% of those infected|
|1616 New England infections epidemic||1616–1620||Southern New England, United States, especially the Wampanoag people||Unknown, possibly leptospirosis with Weil syndrome. Classic explanations include yellow fever, bubonic plague, influenza, smallpox, chickenpox, typhus, and syndemic infection of hepatitis B and hepatitis D||Unknown (estimated 30–90% of population)|
|1668 France plague||1668||France||Bubonic plague||40,000|
|Great Plague of Vienna||1679||Vienna, Austria||Bubonic plague||76,000|
|1735–1741 Diphtheria epidemic||1735–1741||New England, New York, New Jersey, United States||Diphtheria||20,000|
|Great Plague of 1738||1738||Balkans||Bubonic plague||50,000|
|Russian plague of 1770–1772||1770–1772||Russia||Bubonic plague||50,000|
|1789–1790 New South Wales smallpox epidemic||1789–1790||New South Wales, Australia||Smallpox||Unknown (50–70% of native population)|
|1800–1803 Spain yellow fever epidemic||1800–1803||Spain||Yellow fever||60,000+|
|1812 Russia Typhus epidemic||1812||Russia||Typhus||300,000|
|1812–19 Ottoman plague epidemic||1812–1819||Ottoman Empire||Bubonic plague||300,000+|
|First cholera pandemic||1817–1824||Asia, Europe||Cholera||100,000+|
|Second cholera pandemic||1826–1837||Asia, Europe, North America||Cholera||100,000+|
|1829–1833 Pacific Northwest malaria epidemic||1829–1833||Pacific Northwest, United States||Malaria, possibly other diseases too||150,000|
|1837 Great Plains smallpox epidemic||1837–1838||Great Plains, United States and Canada||Smallpox||17,000+|
|Third cholera pandemic||1846–1860||Russia||Cholera||1 million+|
|Third plague pandemic||1855–1960||Worldwide||Bubonic plague||12 million+ in India and China alone|
|1861–1865 United States typhoid fever epidemic||1861–1865||United States||Typhoid fever||80,000|
|Fourth cholera pandemic||1863–1875||Middle East||Cholera||600,000|
|1870–1875 Europe smallpox epidemic||1870–1875||Europe||Smallpox||500,000|
|Fifth cholera pandemic||1881–1896||Asia, Africa, Europe, South America||Cholera||298,600|
|1889–1890 flu pandemic||1889–1890||Worldwide||Influenza||1 million|
|1896–1906 Congo Basin African trypanosomiasis epidemic||1896–1906||Congo Basin||African trypanosomiasis||500,000|
|Sixth cholera pandemic||1899–1923||Europe, Asia, Africa||Cholera||800,000+|
|1900–1920 Uganda African trypanosomiasis epidemic||1900–1920||Uganda||African trypanosomiasis||200,000–300,000|
|Manchurian plague||1910–1911||China||Pneumonic plague||60,000|
|1910 China plague||1910–1912||China||Bubonic plague||40,000|
|1915 Encephalitis lethargica pandemic||1915–1926||Worldwide||Encephalitis lethargica||1.5 million|
|1918 influenza pandemic (‘Spanish flu’)||1918–1920||Worldwide||Influenza A virus subtype H1N1||17–100 million|
|Spanish flu virus|
|1918–1922 Russia typhus epidemic||1918–1922||Russia||Typhus||2.5 million|
|1948-1952 United States polio epidemic||1948||United States||Poliomyelitis||ca. 9,000 in these 5 years|
|1957–1958 influenza pandemic (‘Asian Flu’)||1957–1958||Worldwide||Influenza A virus subtype H2N2||1–4 million|
|Hong Kong flu||1968–1970||Worldwide||Influenza A virus subtype H3N2||1–4 million|
|HIV/AIDS||1981||Worldwide||HIV/AIDS – destroys a person’s immune system||35 million|
|2009 swine flu pandemic||2009–2010||Worldwide||Influenza A virus subtype H1N1||284,000 (possible range 151,700-575,400)|
|Western African Ebola virus epidemic||2013–2016||Worldwide, primarily concentrated in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone||Ebola virus disease||11,323+|
|Ebola virus virion|
|2017–18 United States flu season||2017–2018||United States||Seasonal influenza||61,000 (46,000-95,000)|
|COVID-19 pandemic||2019–present||Worldwide||COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2||480,119 (as of 22 June 2020)|
The Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Latest Global Pandemic
COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus, has created national fear in a way I have not witnessed in my lifetime. As of this writing, ball games are being canceled; theaters are shutting down; schools are closing; travel is restricted, and the stock market is on a crazy, wild roller coaster ride.
It’s almost as though every nation is being attacked by an invisible enemy seeking to spread fear, and enslave people to government so that they have a sense safety. People are demonstrating that they are wiling to give up their very freedoms – of speech, of movement, of whether they choose to wear a mask even when perfectly healthy – in exchange for a false sense of security. Could this be one of the ways the evil one – the “anti-Christ” seeks to bring on his “one world” rule? By conditioning people to conform, to give up their freedoms in exchange for a promise of safety?
Jesus said also that one of the signs of the End Times would be the appearance of many false Christs, or “anti-Christs”. Most people agree that Hitler, of Nazi Germany, was a form of anti-Christ. One of the popular maxims he used to get people to obey to orders that violated their freedoms was, “its for your own protection”. Sad to say those are the very words we are hearing today from our governments, as they pass laws to fool us into thinking we are gaining safety, while they take away our freedoms.
What Will Be Next?
If indeed we are seeing an increase in the frequency and impact of”pestilences” (or pandemics), we can be sure that another worldwide pandemic in not too far off in the future. And if we are at the start of the “End Times”, its only going to get worse.
But if you are a believer, and trust that God has the future in His hands, and is bringing all things to a close as He has had it recorded in His written word, the Bible, then you have no need to fear. He has His hedge of protection around you, and even if you were to catch a virus and grow sick, as a believer you already have eternal life, and can look forward to a “heavenly city, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
If We are Entering End Times, What Should be Your Response?
The message is clear from the Bible: Repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be healed and saved. Good works won’t save you, since even our best works are as “filthy rags” to a Holy God. Other gods won’t save, as there is only one true, all powerful, all mighty God who exists in a complex unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. the Father, the Alpha, the Creator; the Son who gave His life for human kind, the Redeemer and Image of the invisible God; and the Holy Spirit, the person that fills each believer who accepts Jesus, empowering them to live a godly life. Jesus can heal you of any pestilence! Place your trust and faith in Him!
Turn back to the Lord and recognize Him as the ultimate authority above everything else. We must bring God back into our schools, into our classrooms, and into our workplaces and government offices. We must repent and cry out to the LORD to forgive us, and heal our land.
You were made for a purpose, and your daily walk with Jesus will help you come to realize His purpose in your life and fulfill it. If you don’t have a relationship with the Lord, you can! Give Jesus a chance! Don’t put it off. Allow Him to come into your life and make you “a new creation”! You have nothing to loose everything to gain. Here is a link to Billy Graham’s web site that can show you how you can invite Jesus into your life and be the creation He has always intended you to be …
Take Me to Steps to Peace With God ==> http://www.billygraham.org/SH_StepsToPeace.asp
Bill Graham Evangelistic Association – Anne Graham Lotz: Is COVID-19 a Sign of the End? https://billygraham.org/story/anne-graham-lotz-is-the-coronavirus-a-sign-of-the-end/
The History Channel: “Pandemics that Changed History” – https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/pandemics-timeline
Wikipedia – “List of Epidemics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics
Wikipedia – the Coronavirus
World Heath Organization – WHO Report on Global Surveillance of Epidemic-prone Infectious Diseases – Plague – https://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/plague/CSR_ISR_2000_1/en/index5.html