Summary: We should ask whether God has a purpose in coronavirus. It's a logical and reasonable question to ask. But we first need to think about how to even approach the question.
In my second Reflection I wrote: “Some Christians are asking why we’re experiencing this pandemic. Is coronavirus a judgement from God? Are we living in end times?” In my fifth Reflection I noted that the Daily Express [an English newspaper] had asked another question: “What does the Bible say about COVID-19?” So, we have three questions to consider. But, first, we need to consider how we should even approach these questions.
In 1 Peter 1:10-11, Peter tells us that the prophets who “prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and enquired carefully, enquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.”
The prophets “searched and enquired carefully”. We can easily skip over these words. But the commentators draw our attention to how emphatic they are. One commentator, McKnight, tells us: “To emphasize the diligence and intensity of the ancient prophets, Peter uses two terms, ‘searched intently and with the greatest care’ … The two Greek words are [such and such], the first signifying ‘seeking out and searching’, the second ‘inquiring carefully’ (as when, for instance, invading military personnel inquire from house to house)” – and he gives an example of that from Greek literature.
These ancient prophets searched for revelation with the greatest care. But how did they search? Peter mentions that “the Spirit of Christ” indicated things to them. But clearly prophets also built on the insights of other prophets. This is clearly the case in Revelation. Revelation is the great book of prophecy in the New Testament. John, who wrote it, was led by the Holy Spirit; he says so specifically. But clearly, he had an exceptional knowledge of Old Testament prophecy. Revelation quotes more from the Old Testament than any other book in the New Testament. It has more than twice as many quotes as Matthew, which is in second place. It is soaked in Scripture.
I believe our approach to our three questions should be to soak ourselves in relevant Scripture, and as we are doing that, inquire of God and pray that God will give us insight. At present, I have a completely open mind. I don’t know where this inquiry will lead.
My broad plan is to look at passages of Scripture that relate to judgement or ‘End Times’, about 18 from the Old Testament, about 8 from the New Testament (but not from Revelation), and about 18 from Revelation. That makes 44. To add a little variety, I’m going to include a few Reflections on notable events in Christian history, such as the Crusades or Joan of Arc and/or on particular subjects, such as the ‘Second Death’. That will bring the total to 50 Reflections in this set.
Have a good day!