Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, March 1, 2020
Shavuah Tov *|FNAME|*,
Is Coronavirus Infection A Preview of Tribulation Plagues?
By Dr. Raymond Finney
INTRODUCTION: In this RR, I discuss coronavirus infection, which is of global concern. Coronavirus is a novel (never before recognized) virus. In a few weeks, this infection has caused great misery to and numerous deaths in China, has caused significant international economic distress, and is spreading so fast that some experts are whispering a rarely used term (“pandemic”) and even preparing for such an inevitable situation.
No one knows how badly the world will suffer from the coronavirus. If we can trust Chinese news releases, the infection may be waning a little. Scientists are feverishly working on a coronavirus vaccine, initially having promising results. Hopefully, this infection outlook will improve before a highly lethal pandemic results.
Scriptures assure us that mankind will suffer greatly from pandemics (“plagues, pestilences”) during the Tribulation. We are not presently in the Tribulation and the coronavirus is not a Tribulation plague, but does this infection offer a preview of future infectious illnesses and deaths.
THE TRIBULATION: Bible prophecy warns that God will punish rebellious mankind with the Tribulation before Yeshua returns to earth to right wrongs and usher in His Millennial Kingdom. The B’rit Chadashah text translates the English “tribulation” from the Greek thlipsis, which means “pressure” or “oppressive pressure.” Yeshua warned us of the horrible time that awaits mankind during this period (Matthew 24:21): “For then there will be great trouble, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.” (The Tree of Life Version [TLV], used in this RR, translates thlipsis in this verse as “trouble,” but most Bible translations render this word “tribulation.”)
This seven-year period of time is called differently by Bible authors, such as:
** Daniel: “seventieth shabua” (Daniel 9:27);
** Jeremiah: “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7);
** Joel: “great and terrible day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31);
** Yeshua: “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21); and
** Paul: “day of wrath, revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).
During this time:
** There will arise to power the Unholy Trinity– Satan, Antichrist (TLV = anti-messiah), and False Prophet– who will be the opposite in every way of the Holy Trinity– God the Father, Yeshua, and Ruach ha-Kodesh.
** God will unleash twenty-one judgments on the earth’s inhabitants to break mankind, to compel men and women to overcome Satan’s hold on their lives, and to seek God. These judgments are divided into a triad of seven judgments each:
… Seven Seal Judgments (Revelation, chapter 6);
… Seven Trumpet Judgments (Revelation, chapters 8, 9, 11); and
… Seven Bowl, or Vial, Judgments (Revelation, chapters 15, 16).
Why would God cause His children to endure the Tribulation? Three reasons are offered in http://www.according2prophecy.org/50colleague.html, including: (1) to make an end of wickedness and wicked ones (see Isaiah 13:9; 24:19-20); (2) to cause a great worldwide revival (see Matthew 24:14; Revelation 7:1-17); and (3) to break in pieces the will of the holy people (see Daniel 12:5-7; Ezekiel 20:34-38).
DEFINITIONS: You may hear unfamiliar words when this infection is discussed:
** nCoV2019 (COVID-19): the World Health Organization (WHO) has renamed the coronavirus as nCoV2019 (that is, novel coronavirus discovered in 2019). I will continue using the more familiar coronavirus in this RR.
** Novel virus: coronavirus is called a “novel” virus, which is a newly discovered virus. Coronavirus was first seen in Wuhan, China in late 2019. A novel virus may create unique epidemiological problems in that humans may have no native immunity. This problem has been encountered before. For example, American whalers carried the measles virus to Hawaii in the early nineteenth century. Native Hawaiians had never encountered measles before, and they were much more severely affected than people of European ancestry– for example, the whalers themselves, who had been exposed to measles for many centuries. See https://www.history.com/news/hawaii-monarchy-downfall-measles-outbreak .
The virus’ origin is debated. China claims this virus spread to humans from infected animals (bats?), and the World Health Organization has apparently signed off on this explanation. The Chinese have even trace the infected animal to the Hunnan Seafood Market in Wuhan. China, a wet seafood market selling many varieties of dead and live animals. The Chinese do not observe Kosher or even Western diets, and bats would, I suppose, be fair game. Yumm! Patient Zero (the first patient known to be infected) had no known contact with this market, however.
Others have been concerned the virus may have been released accidentally from a Wuhan research laboratory. The Wuhan Institute of Virology, a biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) laboratory, is known to house and study coronavirus and other pathogens.
Could it be that the Chinese were working on biological weapons of war, and an accidental release of the virus occurred? We will never know. We do know that Yeshua told us that the last great war will involve “the kings of the east,” which includes China, and they will advance their 200-million man army toward Israel (Revelation 9:14-19). Virtually unknown by the public, infectious agents are stored by many governments for biological warfare (see https://www.army-technology.com/features/featurethe-worlds-most-dangerous-bioweapons-4546207/ ). See also biological weapons previously developed by just one of America’s enemies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_biological_weapons_program . Scientists in governments (some of which are our enemies) are synthesizing, hybridizing, weaponizing, and otherwise altering biological agents at this very moment.
** Three levels of infection may occur: Endemic infection is a background infection always present to some degree in an area. Epidemic infection is an infectious event, which is actively spreading and is causing concern that it may get out of control. Pandemic infection is an infectious event which has spread to a wider area and greater degree, usually affecting an entire geographical area or the world. A pandemic is obviously of more concern than an epidemic.
COVER-UP? A MUST READ: This may be leaning toward paranoia, but we need to ask: Is there a cover-up for China? Are the United Nations (World Health Organization), mainstream media, and others– all globalist (New World Order) advocates– conspiring to protect China? I try to leave politics out of these RRs. However, it is no secret that President Trump and the United States are hated by much of the world. To argue otherwise is to turn a blind eye to the real world.
Do your own research. I suggest you begin by reading a recent report, “Coronavirus Bioweapon – How China Stole Coronavirus From Canada And Weaponized It,” https://greatgameindia.com/coronavirus-bioweapon/ . A transcript of an interview with Dr. Francis Boyle is also available: https://greatgameindia.com/transcript-bioweapons-expert-dr-francis-boyle-on-coronavirus/ . Credentials: Dr. Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, drafted the U.S. domestic implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention (the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989), that was approved unanimously by both Houses of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
A RECENT PANDEMIC: A little more than one century ago, the world experienced the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. The virus responsible for that pandemic was a H1N1 influenza virus of avian (bird) origin. It is estimated that 500-million persons (one-third of the world’s population at that time) became infected with this virus, and at least 50-million persons died. The pattern of mortality in this pandemic was unusual for influenza, with most deaths occurring in three age ranges– less than 5, 20 to 40, and older than 65 years of age. The healthcare community was unable to stem this pandemic. Several obstacles may have been operative: World War I military troop movement and close-contact encampment spread the virus; quarantine and other public prevention measures were unevenly applied throughout the world; antiseptic agents were poorly utilized; there was no influenza vaccine to immunize the population; the protective value of vitamin D was unknown; aspirin was widely used to treat fever and the aches and pains of influenza (aspirin given with influenza may result in Reye’s syndrome, especially in younger persons); and there were no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections (such as, bacterial pneumonia). Even knowing these factors, scientists still debate why influenza was so severe in the 1918-1919 season.
YESHUA’S WARNINGS: Yeshua has warned us about future infections. I include His warnings about famines and infections because the two typically co-exist.
** In His Olivet Discourse, Yeshua answered His disciples questions about the end of time and His return. Yeshua said (Luke 21:11): “There will be… famines and epidemics in various places,….”
** In His warnings about the Tribulation judgments, Yeshua gave us a mental picture of the first four Seal Judgments. These judgments are depicted as horsemen (riders) on colored horses. As each rider gallops onto a future world stage, a different judgment is unleashed on men and women unfortunate enough to be alive at this time. These riders are:
… Rider on the white horse (Revelation 6:2, First Seal Judgment): this rider is the Antichrist (TLV: anti-messiah). This completely evil Satan-worshiper will head a regime which will persecute Jews and Christians. He appears in every way the opposite of Yeshua HaMashiach’s appearance at His Second Coming (see Revelation 19:11-16). It is appropriate that God’s first judgment will be to reveal this man, as he will head all Tribulation evil. The next three riders (the next three Seal Judgments) will be caused by the Unholy Trinity and are interconnected (war, famine, and plagues commonly occur at the same time and same place).
… Rider on the fiery red horse (Revelation 6:3-4, Second Seal Judgment): this rider is war. He takes peace from the world, so that people slaughter one another. The “great sword” given to this rider most likely represents nuclear weaponry.
… Rider on the black horse (Revelation 6:5-6, Third Seal Judgment): this rider is famine. He holds a balance scale, emphasizing that food will be so scarce it must be weighed (rationed) as though a precious metal. John heard this comment, as he saw this rider (Revelation 6:6): Then I heard… a voice… saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius– but do no harm to the oil and wine!” In John’s time, a denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer. A day’s wage in the future will buy the equivalent of a quart of wheat. A quart of wheat would barely be enough calories to keep a laborer alive, but there would not be left enough for his wife and children. Therefore, we are told that a poor man, a laborer, will work all day to provide enough food to keep him barely alive, with not enough wages left to feed his family or provide other living necessities. John also heard instructions not to harm the oil and wine. Oil and wine would have been expensive luxury items. I interpret this verse to indicate that a poor laborer and his family will starve, but the rich will continue living and eating very well. In the nineteenth century, Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote a well-known aphorism, which applies here: “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
… Rider on the pale greenish-gray horse (Revelation 6:7-8, Fourth Seal Judgment): this rider– Death, followed by Hades– is death from plagues (including especially plagues originating in animals) and other means (including the sword, or war). (Note: Translators try to help John, adding “pale” and other adjectives to paint the horse as sickly. John described the color with a single Greek word, chloros [“green”]. The green pigment of plants, chlorophyll, comes from chloros.)
** The Two Witnesses may inflict earth’s inhabitants with plagues (Revelation 11:6c): These two have the power… to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish.
** The First Bowl Judgment (Revelation 16:2) will cause painful sores on people who received the mark of the Beast.
In summary, the privation of famine, war, stress, and other lack in the Tribulation will weaken the earth’s inhabitants, and they will be most susceptible to infections. Person-to-person spread will be readily accomplished. Governments may use the biological weapons of mass destruction that are now being developed. Imagine communities being bombed with weapons containing the Ebola virus, altered so that it is easily spread by the respiratory (lung) route from person to person.
HAS CHINA LIED TO US, AND CONTINUES TO LIE? What can we believe about coronavirus, if a major source of our news comes from the Chinese government? The Chinese place extraordinary value in “saving face.”
China is taking draconian measures to try to stop this infection. Examples include: ** Cities with millions of residents have been quarantined. We have had a real-time quarantine experiment. Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship were strictly quarantined (essentially placed on “house arrest” on the ship). New cases soared and deaths resulted, even in this tightly controlled environment. One of the world’s most respected virologists, Dr. Anthony Faucci, assessing the Diamond Princess situation, stated: “The quarantine process failed. I’d like to sugarcoat it and try to be diplomatic about it, but it failed. People were getting infected on that ship.” If we cannot control the infection in a tightly closed system in which each person is quarantined from the others, how can we hope to quarantine an entire nation (or, with air travel, an entire world)?
** It disturbs me that hospital workers (physicians, nurses, etc.) are contracting the virus and dying. If trained professionals know in advance that they are in a dangerous situation and have abundant resources to protect themselves (masks, hazmat suits, etc.) – but, still become infected– this must be a dangerous virus.
** The virus may be more easily spread through the air than previously thought. Airborne virus spread is always the most problematic. The virus can be spread on clothing and other surfaces. Infected individuals may be able to spread the coronavirus without showing symptoms. How can airplane passengers deplaning at our international airports be certified as showing no infection, when the virus may incubate for fourteen days before causing symptomatic illness?
** China is building new “hospitals,” spending only a few days for completion. I have only seen limited photographs, but these look (to me) like giant warehouses with wall-to-wall cots. The thought that crosses my mind is: Are these “hospitals” really holding (warehouse) facilities, in which families bring relatives to die to make it easier for the government to collect the bodies for cremation? Cynicism is not always a bad thing.
** China is taking an enormous financial “hit,” because so much of its workforce is ill or quarantined. Since the United States and other countries have become so dependent on cheap Chinese labor, could a global recession (depression?) result?
** I will not attempt to give statistics on the number of Chinese who are ill or have died. The data may be unreliable, and they change by the hour.
** I will not say anything more about the coronavirus infection in China or the world. We have a most serious infection now, and Yeshua warns we will have even more serious infections in the future. Consider our 2019-2020 coronavirus infection a preview of the future.
KNOWLEDGE: Some media reports seemingly contain political biases in what should be straight-forward healthcare information. Since you should not want politically incorrect, biased information, you should know about Google Scholar, https://scholar.google.com/ . “Zillions” of medical journal reports are available at your fingertips. In Google Scholar, you will find a search bar (similar to the Google search engine). Type in a word or phrase of interest in this field, and press the enter command. You have immediate access to much of the world’s medical literature. If the entire report is not opened, you will at least find the parts of the article of most interest to you, such as, the abstract (summary). I frequently use (and prefer) Google Scholar. There are other information sites, including: WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/ , and PubMed, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed . If you want to check drug-drug or drug-food/beverage interactions, consider: Drug Interactions Checker, https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html .
PREPARATION: I thought about writing in next week’s RR about ways to prepare for a pandemic and other emergencies. Several years ago, I spent several weeks writing a manual (booklet) for a Blount County church I attended. I thought this emergency preparedness plan was quite thorough and useful (practical), as I immodestly pat myself on my back. Sadly, I doubt anyone read even the first page of the plan or prepared for the future. I will not go through this laborious exercise again. If you are prudent, you will think of things you may need, if you are voluntarily or forcefully isolated (pandemic? EMP explosion? revolution? other?). Yeshua and other prophets have assured us that the future world will be especially dangerous (“perilous”). However, we do not know when these trials will start.
Whether you have long-storage food, water purification equipment, first aid supplies, and other materials available is one issue (and beyond the scope of this brief RR). However, there are two absolutely essential things you and your family must take into consideration and observe during the Tribulation, if you live during this time:
** Be ready to meet Yeshua. You must receive Yeshua as your Savior (that is, your name must be inscribed in the Lamb’s Book of Life), and you must overcome sin by the blood of the Lamb. Absent these acts, you cannot enter Heaven. Also, you should serve others in Yeshua’s name to prepare for your Bema Judgment.
** You must never receive the mark of the Beast. (Beast = Antichrist; in the TLV = anti-messiah.) The Antichrist’s regime will force all subjects to receive this “mark,” as prophesied in Revelation 13:15-18. The “mark” is likely some sort of implanted electronic device. Such devices are presently available and in use in veterinary medicine practice. By this device, all financial transactions can be conducted. More importantly, the subject who wears the device can be located within a three-foot radius at any spot on earth. This device sounds appealing (no credit/ debit cards, no checks, no fraudulent purchases). I suspect the device is more than a credit/ debit card, though. I suspect the subject must swear allegiance to the Antichrist, even acknowledging him as god. WARNING: Anyone who accepts the mark of the Beast forfeits his/ her soul to Hell (Revelation 14:9-11): And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying in a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he shall also drink the wine of God’s fury, poured full strength into the cup of His wrath. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb. The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. Those who worship the beast and its image and those who receive the mark of his name have no rest day or night.”
Even when chastising His children, God always provides the opportunity for redemption. The Apostle John ends The Revelation with hope (Revelation 22:20): The One giving testimony to these things says, “Yes! I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! Shalom and Maranatha.