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The Four Horsemen of the Covid Apocalypse

This is this weeks Christian Today article – you can read the original here. 

The four horsemen of the Covid apocalypse

coronavirus
(Photo: Unsplash/Annie Spratt)

It’s a brilliant and terrifying image – much loved of artists and heavy metal musicians. The four horsemen of the apocalypse in the book of Revelation manage to convey so much in their portrayal of the judgement of God upon the nations. The rider on the white horse represents conquest; the red rider is war; the black is famine; and the pale is plague.

When the world is facing a deadly plague which is often conveyed in such apocalyptic terms, it seems unnecessary to add yet another article to the plethora of doomsday writings flooding our screens. But now that we are several weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic, perhaps there are some general patterns we can discern and warnings we can heed.

Death

The first horseman of the Covid-19 apocalypse is death. Media and individuals have become obsessed with numbers and graphs. We apparently all need to be breathlessly informed again and again of just how many people have Covid-19 and how many people have died from it. We can all follow the latest figures online – and if we miss them then the ‘oh so helpful’ click bait alerts sent from numerous media telling us of the latest ‘record rise in deaths’ will keep us fearful and hysterical.

At the time of writing, there have been over 165,000 deaths worldwide from Covid-19 – with the largest numbers being in the US, Italy, Spain, France and the UK, although a caveat needs to added here. There is a fundamental difference between the number of deaths of those with Covid and the number of those who die because of Covid. The UK’s chief scientific adviser suggests that those who die because of Covid will be about one third of the total number.

Nonetheless, the lockdown of society, and the continual daily reminders of death mean that many people have a renewed awareness of our mortality. This is surely an opportunity for the Church to proclaim the Good News of Christ. Offering eternal life to those who live as though they are already immortal, in blissful unawareness of their own mortality, was always a hard sell. When death stares people in the face, speaking of the One who came to save people from their fear of death is much easier.

But death from or because of Covid-19 is not the only horseman.

Poverty

The second horseman of the Covid apocalypse is poverty. I’ve noticed a rather strange correlation. The better off you are, the more likely you are to be shouting for a complete lockdown. Ironically, it is the wealthier countries who have initially suffered most – largely because of international travel. But it is the poorest who will suffer more – both in those countries and outside of them. When a country has an inadequate health service, combined with economic poverty (and the two always go together), it is the poorest who always bear the brunt of the suffering.

It is clearly necessary for some countries to shut down, in order to prevent their health services being overwhelmed. But that shut down comes at a tremendous cost – the majority of which is paid by the poor. 1.5 million people in the UK going without a meal each day.

In Kenya, the shutdown prevents the poor from buying food on their way home from work. Despite the trillions poured out in government largesse in the richer countries of the world, it is inevitably the poor that will pay the highest price in the longer term. A country in severe debt will be a country that cannot afford adequate healthcare. As Christians, we have to reject the simplistic binary approaches of those who, on the one hand, suggest we should let the elderly die in order to build up herd immunity, and those who on the other suggest that we should impoverish the whole nation in order to prevent deaths now. The latter will clearly mean more deaths in the not too distant future.

What if I told you that by taking drastic action, the US government could save over 35,000 lives per year and more than two million serious injuries? Would you think it inhumane and wrong if they refused to do so? Every year 38,000 people die in road accidents in the US and more than two million are seriously injured. If we reduced the speed limit to 5 mph we would save almost all of those lives! But no one would seriously suggest that.

Poverty far too often equates with ill-health and early death. Let’s not be too keen to impoverish the whole nation – especially if we ourselves, are going to be ok. There is nothing more ridiculous than wealthy celebrities, blissfully unaware of their privileges, telling us all that ‘we are all equally in this together’. Covid-19 has not created equality; rather it has exposed some of the fundamental inequalities in our society.

Mental Health

The third horseman of the Covid apocalypse is mental health. Each year in the UK there are over 5,000 suicides; in the US it is almost 50,000, and in Australia 3,000. What if the fears, social restrictions and economic troubles that arise out of Covid-19 lead to more deaths than the illness itself? Who can count the psychological damage of an extensive lockdown on children, broken families and those who already leave with fear, depression and loneliness?

If people are prevented from meeting together, visiting the countryside, going on holiday, eating out, going to pubs, churches, concerts or sport, and even from visiting loved ones (especially when they are sick and dying), what will the mental and emotional cost be?

Authoritarianism

The fourth horseman is that of authoritarianism. Governments all over the world have had to take a heavy hand to their populations. In Western liberal democracies, liberties that we have taken for granted and fought for over the centuries are in enormous danger of being eroded. It’s not just the more authoritarian states that can take advantage of this. Once governments and their officials get a taste of this kind of power, it proves intoxicating and they find it hard to give up.

If anyone wants to imagine what an Orwellian police state would look like, just examine the UK today. It probably is necessary in the short term to have police patrolling the streets, examining shopping bags, monitoring phones etc. But there are worrying signs that at least some aspects of this will continue afterwards and the creeping erosion of our civil liberties (freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and freedom of religion) which had begun before Covid-19, could accelerate – all in the name of ‘protection’.

What is the answer to all this?

Can anyone stop the four horsemen? Given the complexities and difficulties involved, perhaps the best place to start would simply be to say, we do not know. In our weakness and ignorance, perhaps we could turn to the One who does. If anything, you would think that this virus would be a big lesson in humility – but it appears we are slow learners!

The Greek word ‘apocalypse’ does not mean great disaster or the end of the world – although it has come to mean that. It means ‘revelation’. It was a revelation of Jesus Christ given to the apostle John on the island of Patmos at a time when all seemed lost for the Church. Its message is at one and the same time complex and simple. The complexity comes from the vividness of the imagery, the simplicity from its basic message that Jesus Christ is on the throne. And no matter what happens – plague, famine, war – Jesus shall reign. There will come a ‘healing of the nations’, the destruction of evil and the marriage feast of the Lamb! Jesus conquers by his sword – the Word of God.

The solution in this apocalyptic situation is not for us to be doomsday prophets standing with our placards announcing ‘the End Is Nigh!’ (We leave that for the Climate Doomsayers).  Nor should we be false comforters soothing everyone with fine words about how it will all get better soon. Rather we stand in the gap – proclaiming the hope, power, love, word and sovereignty of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We invite all to come to the tree of life, to drink from the river of life, to be cleansed, healed and forgiven.

Covid-19 is God’s megaphone warning us of our mortality in order that we may seek the Immortal One. Are we listening?

David Robertson is director of Third Space in Sydney and blogs at www.theweeflea.com

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14 comments

  1. Dear David, I have been watching and waiting for a long time to see you write something on the EndTimes!

    Now we are in some measure of agreement and both believe this is probably the best and possibly final opportunity to reach the world with the Gospel of Salvation please bear with me in sharing my two-pennorth after over 50 years as a Watchman!

    Is the current world pandemic the lead up to the NWO (New World Order) and the unveiling of the Anti-Christ and the Pre-tribulation Rapture?

    Most secular financial gurus are predicting that only a World Government, as promoted this month by Gordon Brown, Antonio Guttierres of the UN and the Jesuit Pope can rescue the world. One report says that the US debt alone would not be paid off in 2000 years at $1m a day! The NWO and the Anti-Christ are surely at the door as early as this Autumn? And lets be very careful of seeing the vaccination as a solution that Christians should accept as Bill Gates is promoting it already with a chip for every person on earth and has financed seven (interesting number!) factories worldwide being made ready right now to administer the VACCINATION and THE 666 MARK. One official report from the Bill Gates Foundation envisages this happening in 18 months (666). Serious readers please check out his fascination with eugenics and pleas for drastic population reduction and his Event 201 Simulation of a worldwide Coronavirus pandemic which took place only a month or so before the outbreak in Wuhan, probably from the biological research centre in that city.

    Jesus told us what will happen when the world will be ‘as in the days of Noah’ when people will be living in an illusion of peace and many will be marrying and being given in marriage.

    When restrictions are lifted, likely August/September time there will be an enormous back-log of weddings, maybe more in a short period than at any time in history? This would favour the Rapture at the Feast of Trumpets and tie-in with the blast of the trumpet when our Lord returns as a thief in the night. As the feast is over a two-day period September 19 & 20 we will not know in advance exactly when it will be. However, we are also told that we can know the season and are always to keep watch, especially with birth pangs speeding up exponentially in this year of 2020.

    20/20 vision is perfect sight and it could make perfect sense, given the astonishingly precise signs, even since the New Year, that ‘Philadelphian’ Christians (Rev 3:7-13) may be taken to the ultimate Wedding Feast by the bridegroom at the same time as the Noah prophecy points to the most intensive marriage season ever!

    Until I started to look closer at the Rapture prophecies in the past couple of years it had not dawned on me that the Marriage Feast of the Lamb would fit beautifully as a seven-year period in heaven when the final acts of history are being played out on the earth. Jewish celebrations went on for seven days after the bridegroom carried his bride away to the marital home. Jesus said ‘I go to prepare a place for you’ and that parallels the wedding practices of his times on the earth.

    So many are no different to the pharisees who Jesus rebuked for being very good at predicting what the weather would do but none put the 300 or so prophecies of Jesus virgin birth, death and resurrection together. If they had, maybe we would have been spared the tribulations of the past 2000 years? But then, none of us gentiles would be part of the redemption! It is surely significant that there are calculated to be around 1500 prophecies in the Bible of the Second Coming, some indicating a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

    As for Outreach in a time when Gospel preaching is never heard or seen in the media, A realistic solution has been imprinted upon my mind since before the Lockdown and seems more significant now, please forgive CAPITALS:

    WHILE THE WORLD CRIES S.O.S. – SAVE OUR SOULS!
    WHILE WE CAN STILL GO OUTSIDE OUR DOORS AND WINDOWS – SING OUT THE LORD’S SONGS!

    IN THE BIBLE KING JEHOSHAPHAT WON A GREAT VICTORY BY OBEYING GOD AND PUTTING THE SINGERS AT THE HEAD OF THE ARMY

    2 CHRONICLES 20:20-23

    These verses were in UCB Bible study notes 20 – 23/02 2020

    Coincidence? Or what?

    I have had the S.O.S. message urgently and repeatedly imprinted on my mind and spirit since the start of 2020:

    SEND OUT SINGERS with
    SONGS OF SALVATION to
    SING OUT SCRIPTURES!

    As the world cries out for answers the CV Pandemic reinforces the urgency every day to SAVE SOULS while there is yet time.

    IF NOT NOW, WHEN?

    IF NOT US, WHO?

    MARANATHA!

    Much more, I am sure, can be added by discerning Watchmen as we are on the edge of our seats!

    (20 April 2020 BREAKING NEWS!

    Emmanuel Macron yesterday threw his hat into the ring to lead the predicted world government – too many parallels to go into here and no doubt a thousand objections! Keep Watching and Praying!

    Maranatha- Soon?

  2. Some things I don’t agree with.There will always be richer and poorer people in the world.one should learn to live within ones means.I would come within the category of not rich but not poor.I learn to make do with what I have.I can eat relatively cheaply,I don’t crave fancy clothes phones etc.Sometimes you see people who claim to be poor shouting about equality ,and they crave the riches that the rich have.Sometimes people who are rich have done it with sheer hard work and built up a business, but then they are criticised for having wealth. Yes there should be a lock down until an antidote is found and yes there will be hardship,but it will save lives.If Ihad a choice of been poor but alive or rich but dead I know what I would choose

    1. I live in Scotland so am rich, but am paid just above minimum wage so on the poorer side of rich.

      It is not the case of poor or dead. We will all die. 100% of people die. It is just a case of when and in what conditions.

      More than average deaths this year vs economic hardship + people not going to hospital as per normal at the moment means more deaths on average over next years.

      The death rate figure now coming out appears to be nearer normal flu death rate.
      John Hopkins- 291k-646k worldwide deaths per year with normal flu.
      The other day the BBC said deaths so far this year in UK were double normal and at a 20 year high. 20 year high, not 50 year high or longer. No lockdown 20 years ago.

      To be in lockdown until a vaccine is found is just fanciful.

      To me the richer people call for lockdown because they feel equally vulnerable as poor people. They might not consciously think the following, but lockdown effectively protects only the rich in the long term-they will still be able to afford private healthcare in the future should the economy collapse and with it the NHS.

      There is a saying which goes something like: If you seek safety above freedom, then you will end up neither free nor safe. I think in trying to save the NHS through an extended lockdown we may lose the NHS.

      Stop the lockdown, accept the deaths, as higher than a normal year, rather than deaths later.

      PS.
      I think it is, so middle class, that one of the first places discussed about being unlocked are bookshops along with garden centres.

  3. Thank you for this article.
    I’m not worried at all about the “Covid Saga”, but I’m deeply concerned about the consequences.
    …by the way, Christians we are called to remember Phil 4,4!

    Robert from Switzerland.

  4. Let’s all be clear that whilst we would like to know the end of the end times, eschatology wise, that only God knows the day and the hour…

    Remember that Queen Victoria thought it would happen on her watch, and was ready to ‘place her crown at Jesus’ feet…

    Only God knows the end days and whilst looking more likely we should not try to presume, and instead simply be prepared for these days, and the day itself..?

    1. Dear David and all posters on here! Have you had your ‘Aha moment’ yet, this is very timely:

      https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=3982

      There will be a political solution but don’t get taken in by the Plannedemic! Or Bill Gates philanthropy as he has opened 7 factories throughout the world to manufacture the Covid 19 vaccine. Together with the UN, WHO and the WEF etc etc it is to be administered to every citizen of the world. But the sting will be in the tail – he has developed an RFID chip which will be compulsory, ostensibly to track your health and intervene to prolong your life!

      Google Bill Gates Pandemic Simulation enacted December 2019, also ID2020 and UN Agenda 21 and perhaps note that Emmanuel Macron whose name/s all add up to 666 threw his hat into the ring to be the World Leader when this is all over:

      https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/15/opinions/emmanuel-macron-world-wide-ceasefire-leader-andelman/index.html

      How coincidental that SpaceX, Elon Musk’s baby has launced 60 satellites last month. I was very fortunate (?) to just go into my yard in our dark sky area of Britain on Sunday night 20th April to see 7 stars one after the other passing across the sky! Turns out the line of dots were just some of the Starlinks waiting for their commands to deploy to the appointed place in the sky. Just in time also for the full rolling out of 5G and AI? You couldn’t make it up ! But God’s Holy Bible tells the whole story for those with eyes to see (Isaiah40:28 -Do we have eyes to see…do we have ears to hear…do we understand?)

      What was that verse again? What shall it profit a man…

      1. JUde – My advice for what’s its worth is to stick with the Bible and stay away from conspiracy theories…and please don’t confuse the two!

  5. In the meantime will you be recommending all your political, social and religious followers to take the Vax and the Chip?

    I do wonder why you see these as conspiracy theories when they are clearly facts as I have shown.

    What will it take for you to take seriously our Saviour’s instructions to read the signs of the times? One of his severest rebukes was for those who could tell what the weather would be like the next day but did not recognise the obvious signs of his advent.

    It is so clearly as in the days of Noah and the prospect of a world leader who will be welcomed by most to provide a humanistic/inter-faith solution is so inexorably fulfilling the scripture you urge Watchmen to stick to.

    Watchmen seek earnestly and humbly to follow Jesus, obeying his instructions:

    “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13:35-37

    1. Jude…a few points. I don’t have any political, social or religious followers…and I don’t want any.

      No – you have not shown them ‘clearly as facts’. You believe they are but you have no evidence for them. I hop[e you are not a conspiracy theorist because then I am wasting my time talking to you.

      Don’t be so arrogant and patronising. I take very seriously the Saviour’s instructions – not least the ones about not listening to those who says the end is nigh. Even Christ did not know when that would be – do you know better?

      I see little humility and little following of Jesus in your remarks….sorry

  6. Hi there. I’m wary of wading into this discussion as I know nothing at all. But that in a way is the point. I have read Jude’s comments with interest. I was exposed to a lot of (1970s) prophetic teaching as a teenager, all about Russia and the EEC, and most of that has now blown away like smoke on the wind, at least the Russian aspect. The jury’s still out on the EU.

    While I think Jude may well be mistaken in the general thesis, and this percentage possibility rises exponentially as predictions get more specific, at the same time I don’t know for a certainty that he’s wrong. He may be dogmatic in his views but I don’t think he’s necessarily being arrogant or un-Christlike. It’s fair enough to disagree with him but we should be content to disagree and not denigrate.

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, well, I suppose I am, a bit, but I think it’s fair comment that there are some sinister forces at work in the present world scene. And it’s the same people, groups and national and supra-national institutions that all seem to at one with regard to certain ideological objectives, into which vast amounts of money are being pumped: the crushing of any idea of human sexual relations being heteronormative, the relentless promotion of transgenderism, the obsession with so-called climate change, the destruction of the nuclear and extended family, so we all become pensioners of the state, the undermining of regional and national distinctives through uncontrolled mass immigration, the unleashing of a toxic kind of feminism, and the extension of globalist economics whereby our industrial production has been outsourced, particularly to China.

    I don’t know if I’m able to join the dots, but the energy and determination of these forces is almost demonic. It’s interesting that the atheist Douglas Murray shares some of these concerns, as set out in The Madness of Crowds. He makes the very good point that just when it seemed we were settling down into a liberal secular subtopia the fanatics of gender theory and race politics seemed to get a new lease of life, as if we are living in the most racist, homophobic, patriarchal society ever!

    I’ve no idea whether Jude is right, and I would hazard that he probably isn’t, but there are signs of a terminal sickness of our culture and even if we’re wrong it’s good for us to be on tenterhooks awaiting the day of the Lord’s appearing.

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