The Chinese people have so far been deeply affected by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Many Christians have prayed for the situation to get better and informed others on ways to prevent the spread of virus. Some of them are contributing towards the anti-epidemic effort.
Unfortunately, some Christians sounding discordant. They think that the outbreak of 2019-nCoV was a doomsday sign and put have forth several reasons that "correspond with Bible". Their comments on the epidemic has had some negative influence on many Christians. Some have lost their minds, while others have partially believed in them.
There is nothing new about these comments. Some extremely conservative Christians, as well as those with heterodox minds, tend to support their own theological ideas by manipulating news of disasters. If any calamity happens somewhere, they treat it like treasure and spread it along with their own mis-presentations to gain attention and promote their own views.
The 2019-nCoV has had a great impact on China, resulting in several patients and fatalities, and badly influencing life during the spring festival and the Chinese economy. How could they not take advantage of such a big disaster?
It cannot be denied that the plague is one sign of doomsday. "And great earthquakes shall be in various places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." (Luke 21:11). However, we cannot arbitrarily interpret the Bible, especially the signs of doomsday, without historical context. We should see the end day with the course of human development.
All along human history, plagues have never left the human society. There were plagues in ancient times, such as the Justinian Plague of Byzantine Empire, pestilence during the late Ming Dynasty of China; and also plagues occurring in modern times, such as SARS, Ebola, as well as the prevalence of AIDS.
The Black Death in medieval times was an unprecedented catastrophe. That pestilence, which happened in Europe between 1347 and 1353, killed 25,000,000 people; that is one third of the total European population at that time and far more than population losses in Europe during World Wars I & II.
A plague alone cannot simply be seen as a sign of doomsday, for humans have been through many plagues, but never met doomsday. The nCoV, despite spreading fast and wide, is far weaker in perniciousness than other major plagues preceding it; not to mention that its impact is far less than the Biblical proportion referred to for doomsday: "... was given unto them over a quarter of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:8).
It is believed that the epidemic will soon be brought under control by the hard-working medical personnel, and the usual routine of daily life will soon be restored.
Christians should pray and do all what they can to help others during the epidemic.
- Translated by Lin Changfeng