The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc upon our way of life. From schools to jobs, the economy and even churches have been impacted in unprecedented ways.
One question people continue to ask is when will it get better? When will we return to our previous way of life and no longer need to fear closures, restrictions, wearing masks, or getting sick?
In program 4 of Dr. Ankerberg’s series with Dr. Erwin Lutzer entitled Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters: What is God Saying to Us?, they address the relationship between today’s pandemic and what the Bible predicts in the future. They conclude that for believers, we have a future hope in heaven to anticipate. However, for unbelievers, they note the worst is yet to come.
How could the worst be yet to come for those who do not know Christ? The following areas are mentioned in Scripture:
Eternal separation from God: We don’t like to talk about hell, but those who die apart from Christ will go there. In Luke 16:23, Jesus describes Hades, the place where the unbelieving rich man entered upon death, as a place of torment. Verse 24 says Lazarus was “in agony in this fire.” At the end of time, all unbelievers whose names are not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
Future Tribulation: The Bible describes a time of future tribulation that will come upon the world. Those who hold to a pre-tribulational view of the rapture place this tribulation after Christ takes believers to heaven at the rapture described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. This tribulation includes a variety of plagues, the destruction of much of the earth, as well as millions (or even billions) or people before the Lord’s coming at Armageddon in Revelation 19.
Coming Persecution: In addition to the tribulations described in Revelation and other prophecies of the Bible, we are told believers will experience persecution as part of following Christ. The earliest Christians faced arrest and sometimes death for their beliefs and preaching. 2 Timothy 3:12 states, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Growing Apostasy: Jesus predicted many who claim to follow God will turn away from Him. In Matthew 24:4-5, He said, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.”
Verse 11 adds “many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” Verse 12 further emphasizes “the love of most will grow cold.” While God is changing the lives of many in our world today, there is also a growing number of people who present a variety of false teachings and deceive those seeking God’s truth. This is predicted to increase in the future, not decrease.
While some voices in our world predict everything will get better in the future, this perspective is only partially accurate. For believers, we will face persecution as part of following God until being with Him in heaven. For unbelievers, the worse truly is yet to come, both in this life and the next. The only remedy to this situation is turning to the Lord who can redeem us, strengthen us in this life, and offer us eternal life.