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SARS and the New Age of Epidemics

Writer: Mark Hitchcock | The Left Behind Prophecy Club | May 2003 |

Is SARS a fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy about plagues in the End Times?

Two weeks ago we first reported on the SARS epidemic. At the time it appeared to be easing in some countries. Since then, it continued to grow in China and other parts of Southeast Asia. Last week health experts also reported that deaths among the infected were occuring at a higher rate than expected. Mark Hitchcock adds his thoughts to that first report.

Two days before He died on the cross, in His great prophetic sermon from the Mount of Olives, Jesus said that one of the signs of His coming is "in various places plagues" (Luke 21:11Bible quoteAnd great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.Luke 21 verse 11).

Of course, throughout recorded history there have been many terrible plagues that have killed millions, decimating entire continents. The Black Death. Influenza. Smallpox.

However, in the 1970s scientists believed that deadly pestilence was a thing of the past. Smallpox had been defeated. AIDS was undreamed of, and medical science was developing and expanding at an amazing rate.

But that has all changed in the last thirty years. According to Newsweek, How Progress Makes Us Sick (May 5, 2003, pp 33-34),

"Some 30 new diseases have cropped up since the mid 1970s, causing tens of millions of deaths — and forgotten scourges have resurfaced with alarming regularity."

We are all aware of the recent SARS outbreak, but most of us are unaware of a fresh outbreak of Ebola in central Africa and a virulent new strain of avian flu in Belgium and the Netherlands that has led Dutch farmers to slaughter 18 million chickens to stem the tide.

Have you wondered lately, why is this suddenly happening now? Why are these plagues beginning to make such a strong comeback? How can this happen in our day of modern medicine? There may be several explanations but one key reason is the rise of globalism. The May 5, 2003 Newsweek article continues:

"But even as optimists proclaimed victory over the germ, our megacities, factory farms, jet planes, and blood banks were opening new avenues for infection. The dark side of progress is now unmistakable; many of the advances that have made our lives more comfortable have also made them more dangerous."

"Infectious diseases will continue to emerge."

The article issues this ominous warning from the Institute of Medicine.

Not good news for our already troubled world.

Are these recent outbreaks a fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy of endtime plagues?

Some prophecy teachers believe they are. While this is possible, I prefer to see SARS, AIDS, Ebola, and other modern epidemics as foreshadows of even worse things to come. They don't fulfill Jesus' words, but they do point toward their fulfillment. People had been led to believe that terrible plagues were a thing of the past. But all that has changed now. Fear of deadly epidemics is alive and well. And when the coming seven year tribulation arrives, one of the terrible judgments of God on an unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world will be the unleashing of terrible plagues that will kill millions, even billions.

The pale rider, the fourth horseman of the apocalypse, is a vivid reminder of the terrible plagues that are coming.

The epidemics we see today are just a small foretaste and faint glimpse of what is coming upon the whole world. Make sure you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior from sin! Flee the wrath to come. Jesus is the only refuge from the gathering storm.

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