What’s Behind the Coronavirus Outbreak?

The coronavirus is causing fear throughout the world. What’s behind this disease epidemic? Is there a solution to it? Will disease epidemics ever end?

The four horsemen of the Apocalypse represent four major trends the world has faced for centuries, but which will intensify to their maximum level in the end times (Revelation 6:1-8).

The fourth horseman is described as riding a “pale horse” (verse 8). This horse is associated with death. By comparing Revelation 6 with Jesus’ Olivet Discourse (found in Matthew 24), we can identify this pale horse as “pestilences,” or plagues (Matthew 24:7). To learn how Jesus’ Olivet Discourse aligns with the four horsemen of Revelation, read “What Are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

The pale horse represents disease epidemics that have killed millions of people throughout history and that will afflict the world on an unimaginable scale in the end time.

Disease epidemics are a major issue in the world right now because of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19; earlier called 2019-nCoV). Although it began with China as the epicenter of the outbreak and the most affected country, the coronavirus has spread to countries across the globe. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic (defined as a "worldwide spread of a new disease"). 

In the age of the plane, nations no longer live in relative isolation. Now a possible disease carrier can infect people in another country or continent thousands of miles away, all in a matter of hours. As of May 13, there are at least 295,323 confirmed deaths and over 4,390,141 confirmed infections (in 213 countries or territories). The numbers increase hour by hour.

How did coronavirus start? 

Initially, it was believed that this coronavirus originated from bats and was transferred to people through bat soup. Scientists researching the origin of the virus believe it can be traced back to a particular “wet market” (a Chinese marketplace specializing in fresh seafood and other meats).

According to Health.com, “researchers studied the genetic code of 2019-nCoV and found that it’s most closely related to two SARS-like coronavirus samples, suggesting that it, too, may have had a bat origin. But when researchers looked deeper, they discovered that the protein codes of 2019-nCoV were most like those used in snakes.”

The current thinking is that the virus could have been transferred to snakes from bats (snakes often eat bats in the wild), and then transferred to humans through snake meat sold at a particular wet market in Wuhan, China.

A recent article in the Journal of Medical Virology found: “Snakes were also sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market where many patients worked or had history of exposure to wildlife or farm animals. Taken together, snakes could be the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV.”

Though consuming reptiles and bats is repulsive to many in the Western world, these and many other unusual creatures are commonly eaten in many Asian cultures.

Could biblical laws have prevented the coronavirus?

Though largely ignored in our world today, the Bible contains dietary laws that tell us which meats are designed by God to be eaten and which meats are not. Many have found that these laws benefit human health.

Both bats and snakes are labeled “unclean” in the Bible, that is, not fit for human consumption (Leviticus 11). As is often the case, had human beings respected and obeyed the Bible’s food laws by not eating snake or bat meat, the coronavirus outbreak would likely never have occurred.

Had human beings respected and obeyed the Bible’s food laws, the coronavirus outbreak would likely never have occurred.To learn more about the biblical laws of clean and unclean meats, read our article “Clean and Unclean Animals: Does God Care What Meats We Eat?

Another example of a biblical law that can prevent the spread of disease is the Seventh Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.” This law forbids all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman (Exodus 20:14). This simple law is insurance against contracting the many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that are carried by so many people today—HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital herpes, etc.

(Of course, not everyone who contracts an STI is guilty of breaking this law. Unfortunately, sometimes these diseases are passed to children by a parent or by unsanitary practices at hospitals. Sadly, people’s sins often have repercussions that impact other innocent people.)

God also told the Israelites to bury their bodily waste (Deuteronomy 23:12-13), instead of disposing of it in rivers, lakes and oceans as is often done today—especially in the developing world. This simple preventive measure, if followed, would virtually eliminate the threat of devastating waterborne diseases, such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and others.

Sanitation, cleaning and quarantine were also emphasized in the Bible. Procedures were also given for the treatment of people with various types of sores and infections (Leviticus 15). Virtually everything the person touched was considered contaminated, including dishes, clothing and even where he or she sat.

These laws were given to help Israel stay healthy and show love to each other. When these laws are applied in the modern world, they can have the same effect!

The ride of the pale horse will be ended

Hopefully, the current coronavirus will be brought under control and its spread will be stopped. But we still know from Bible prophecy that even more serious and deadly disease epidemics are ahead of us. The “pale horse” is already riding—and will ride with more strength and speed during the coming Great Tribulation.

The good news is that Jesus Christ will return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. When that happens, God’s laws will be implemented throughout the world (Isaiah 2:2-4), which will result in a healthy world—both physically and spiritually!

Jesus Christ, who will return on a white horse, will overpower and destroy the four horsemen of Revelation, including the “pale horse” of pestilence.

The sins that led to the pale horse’s ride will be corrected when humanity repents and starts obeying God’s good and beneficial laws. Human beings will no longer eat unclean meats or do any of the other things that have historically contributed to disease outbreaks.

Pray for those suffering from the terrible coronavirus—and for the return of Jesus Christ to earth to stop disease epidemics!

For more insight on the spiritual and prophetic implications of the coronavirus pandemic, visit "How Should a Christian Deal With the Coronavirus Pandemic?"

Originally posted on Feb. 7, 2020; Updated on May 13, 2020. 

Topics Covered: Prophecy, End Times, News and Trends

About the Author

Daniel Campos and Erik Jones

Daniel Campos is a deacon in the Buenos Aires, Argentina, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. Erik Jones is a full-time writer and editor at the Life, Hope & Truth offices near Dallas, Texas.