What COVID-19 Means: “Pestilence Comes Before The Lord; A Plague Comes After”

This morning during my devotional time with the Lord, I was reading the texts in John 14-16 and thinking about this time of trial the whole world is experiencing right now. I remembered that Jesus described the Tribulation Period as a time that will come upon the “whole world.” My thoughts turned to the trial the whole world is experiencing right now with the COVID-19 Pandemic. There has not been a time during my life (63 years) when I have seen the whole world in a trial like this. I don’t think we are in the seven year Tribulation yet, but this Global Pandemic does seem to be a precursor to the beginning of the Tribulation.

While I was reading these texts from John’s Gospel, I noticed that Jesus said in John 16:12: “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.”

I asked the Lord if He would tell me about the future, and what the COVID-19 Pandemic means in relationship to His return and the beginning of the Tribulation. Almost immediately, I was reminded of the texts in Habakkuk where the prophet said “the just shall live by faith.” I opened Habakkuk and began to read through the text. I came to chapter 3, the prayer of Habakkuk:

1 This prayer was sung by the prophet Habakkuk:
2 I have heard all about you, Lord.
I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger, remember your mercy.
3 I see God moving across the deserts from Edom,
the Holy One coming from Mount Paran.
His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
and the earth is filled with his praise.
4 His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
Rays of light flash from his hands,
where his awesome power is hidden.
5 Pestilence marches before him;
plague follows close behind.
6 When he stops, the earth shakes.
When he looks, the nations tremble.
He shatters the everlasting mountains
and levels the eternal hills.
He is the Eternal One! ~Habakkuk 3:1-6 (NLT)

Habakkuk wrote this text during the time when Israel was backslidden and had fallen away from the Lord. The nation was in great need of revival and the people needed to be humbled so they could return to the Lord. Habakkuk reminded the Lord that in the midst of his anger, to remember His mercy.

Then Habakkuk said that He saw the Lord coming as brilliant as the sunrise; “Pestilence marches before Him; plagues follows close behind.”

I believe the Lord was showing me that before Jesus comes for His church, He will send a pestilence (COVID-19) to cause people to reevaluate their lives and turn to Him. Then He will come for His church, followed by the plague of the seven year Tribulation.

First the pestilence comes upon the whole world, then the Lord comes and removes His church from the world (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), then the plagues of the seven year Tribulation will begin.

The purpose of the COVID-19 Pandemic is to prepare the whole world for the coming of Jesus and the beginning of the seven year Tribulation. The purpose of this Pandemic is to cause the unsaved to turn from their sins—to Jesus—and be saved. For those who already know Jesus, this is our opportunity to move closer to the Lord, read and study His world, pray for the lost, and increase our faith by trusting in Him during this time of trial. It is an hour when we must tell everyone we meet that the time of Jesus’ return is near—now is the time to come to Him and be saved.

Haggai Confirms The Earth Will Be Shaken One Last Time

The prophet Haggai also begins his book by stating a text that Paul later quotes in the book of Hebrews: “For thus says the Lord of hosts: Once more (in a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts.” ~Haggai 2:6-7

Paul quotes this text from Haggai in the context of the last days where he also confirms that God will shake the earth once more, and everything that can be shaken, will be shaken, so that the things that remain cannot be shaken will remain:

Hebrews 12:25-29: “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven” (Haggai 2:6-7). Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”

Paul’s commentary on Haggai 2:6-7 is with the intent of informing Christians of the last days, that we are about to receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, when Jesus comes for His church, removes us from earth, and begins the seven year Tribulation. After the days of the Tribulation, Jesus will return to earth (Revelation 19), and this righteous kingdom will be established on earth.

Before this can happen, the COVID-19 Virus takes place on earth, described by Habakkuk as “Pestilence marching before Him,” to shake everything that can be shaken.

Haggai also says something very interesting in his prophecy of 2:6-7. The prophet writes that when God shakes everything in the world that can be shaken, this will cause the world to “come to the Desire of All Nations.”

This term, “The Desire of all Nations,” is an extremely important prophetic text:

To Rock Our World

The key to Haggai’s prophecy is the term the “Desire of All Nations,” seen here in capitals, because the translators understood that this verse or title was speaking of the Messiah. The Messiah states that He will fill this latter temple with His glory. At no time did the Lord fill the temple of Zerubbabel or Herod’s Temple with His glory. He will not fill the Tribulation Temple with His glory. The glory the Messiah is speaking of, which will fill the “latter temple,” will occur during the existence of the fourth—Millennial Temple—that will be built at the beginning of the thousand-year reign of Jesus as the Messiah.

When Paul wrote Hebrews 12:25-29 (above), he references this prophecy from Haggai 2:6-9. One more time, the Messiah will shake the heavens and the earth. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, in the last days. All this, in preparation for the one thousand-year reign of Jesus over a worldwide kingdom of Righteousness. This new kingdom Jesus will establish “cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28). It will last forever, with the Lord as the ruler of the universe, and all those who love Him as co-rulers over all the cities and nations of the earth.

This prophecy from Haggai 2:6-9 is the only verse, by this prophet, that is directly quoted in the New Testament. Commentators have struggled for many years over the text, “Desire of Nations.” The most reliable translation omits nations and leaves us with the words, The Desired will come. This is the most accurate translation of the Hebrew, hemdat (Desired) and bau (will come).[1]

It Is Clear From The Context That When The World Is Shaken By the Pestilence Of The COVID-19 Pandemic, This Will Cause Many In The World To Seek “The Desire Of Nations,” Jesus The Messiah.

Certainly, the Desire of all Nations will be fulfilled when Jesus returns to earth to begin His one thousand-year reign. At the time Haggai wrote these words, it was not the desire of the whole world to receive the Messiah. Certainly, most of the world had no knowledge of the Messiah of Israel, and therefore could not desire Him.

When Jesus begins His new kingdom of righteousness, those who are allowed to enter and enjoy the wonderful government of the Lord will feel a great sense of gratefulness. The people who inhabit this planet will see the earth as it was intended when the Lord first created it—perfect and without the presence of sin, sickness, or death. When Jesus rules over this perfect kingdom, the term “Desire of Nations” will be fulfilled. For all those who live under Jesus’ great love and care will desire Him and earnestly seek Him for their every need.

An Earlier And Later Fulfillment of the Same Prophecy

Often we see in the Bible that before a major prophecy is fulfilled, there is an earlier fulfillment that is intended to prepare people for the main event.

When Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He was asked to read from the prophet Isaiah, to whom 131 of the Messianic prophecies were written.

So Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Luke 4:16-20

Compare Isaiah’s words to those spoken by Jesus, in Luke’s gospel (above), when He comes into the synagogue at Nazareth and quotes from this verse found in Isaiah 61:

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God…” Isaiah 61:1-62

Jesus stopped and did not read the text from Isaiah’s prophecy: And the day of vengeance of our God…

Why?

At Jesus’ first arrival on earth, He did not come to complete “the day of vengeance of our God.” He came to fulfill the first part of Isaiah’s prophecy: to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. On His first visit to earth, Jesus came to offer grace, mercy, and salvation to every person. He was coming as the suffering Servant of God—the Lamb who would lay down His life for the sins of the world.

At Jesus’ second appearance on earth, at the end of the seven-year tribulation, He is returning as the King of kings and Lord of lords. At His return, Jesus will bring the vengeance of God to the earth.

When Jesus finished reading the words of Isaiah Chapter 61, He rolled up the scroll and handed it back to the attendant. As He sat down, the eyes of all those in the synagogue were transfixed on Jesus. Then He said these words:

Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. Luke 4:21

Those who had heard Jesus speak in the synagogue were utterly astonished. The words of these prophecies from Isaiah Chapter 61 could only be fulfilled by the coming of the Messiah. By stating that this prophecy had been fulfilled as Jesus spoke, He was claiming to be the One whom Isaiah had written this prophecy for. Jesus said He would fulfill the first part of Isaiah 61, the acceptable year of the Lord, during His first arrival and then the day of vengeance of our God at His return.

Jesus revealed something to us that was hidden in verse 19 of Luke 4, that Isaiah 61:2 included: “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God.

Isaiah 61 included both the acceptable day (Jesus first arrival), and the day of vengeance (Jesus second arrival).

There were two parts to the fulfillment of this prophecy. This example from Isaiah 61, which is partially fulfilled in Luke Chapter 4, demonstrates that there can be an earlier fulfillment as well as a later fulfillment of the same prophecy.

What Does It Mean?

Most Christians realize that we are in the final days before Jesus comes again. We don’t know when He will come, but we do know that the time of His arrival is near. We know this by the things that are happening all over the world. The COVID-19 Pandemic is the most significant event ever to happen in my lifetime. It does have a purpose, and it is significant regarding the coming of Jesus.

God is preparing the world for the arrival of Jesus by humbling us and taking our eyes off this world and placing them on what really matters. In our day to day lives we get so busy and caught up in living, we forget about eternity and the things the Bible said were going to happen.

Right now, because of the pestilence of COVID-19, the world is being confined to their homes, away from the normal distractions we experience every day. Many people are reading their Bible now, when they were not before. Many people are praying who had not prayed much before. People who don’t know God are finding that their hearts are more open to God now. The whole world is in a state of shock over what has been taking place. We have all been humbled—we are all searching for answers.

This is the atmosphere were the Holy Spirit can speak to the whole world and remind us that this present world is not all there is—Jesus will come again as He promised, and the world will soon enter the seven year Tribulation.

The Holy Spirit told me that this is the purpose of the COVID-19 Pandemic; to prepare the hearts and minds of people all over the world for the coming of Jesus for His church—before the seven year Tribulation begins.

I don’t know when the Lord will come; I don’t know when the seven year Tribulation will arrive; I do know that this pestilence—is as Habakkuk wrote: to come before the Lord arrives, and then the plagues of the Tribulation will follow.

The events described in the book of Revelation, speak of twenty-one judgements that are divided into three sets of seven: Seven Seals; Seven Trumpets,: Seven Bowls. These are progressive judgements that will begin in chapter 6 of Revelation with the opening of the first seal, and then continue in severity and scope over the last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation.

I am nearly finished with my commentary on the book of Revelation that I have been teaching during the past 40 years. I was reminded while writing—just how incredible the events that are written in Revelation really are. It was clear to me how the events John describes—parallel the things that are taking place in the world today. I realized the urgent necessity of getting this book finished as soon as possible so that people can understand the events we are seeing now in our world.

I will update this post over the coming weeks as I continue to study and learn what the Lord reveals to me. It is important to understand that I am not a prophet, nor do I have any special standing with the Lord. I am just like you—someone who loves Jesus. I read the texts this morning where Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to tell us about the future. I asked Him to tell me about what is happening right now and what it means, so I could write and tell the world about what is taking place. Jesus said that if we will ask in faith, He will tell us.

I want every person to be saved. I know that people are dying all over the world from this Pandemic. I wanted to be able to communicate an intelligent, scriptural answer to people about what this all means and what is coming in the months ahead.


NOTES:

[1] “Desired”, Strong’s Hebrew #2532, “hemdat,” and “will come,” Strong’s Hebrew #935, “bau.”



Categories: America Abandons God, Covid-19, Expecting Jesus Return, Following Jesus, Hearing Jesus' Voice, Jesus is the Messiah, Messianic Prophecies, Overcoming trials, Robert Clifton Robinson, Sickness and Suffering, The prophecies of Isaiah 61, The Prophecy of Daniel 9, The Tribulation Period, True Repentance, Understanding Suffering, Watching for Jesus return

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7 replies

  1. Dear Mr. Robinson,
    I enjoyed this inspiring essay.
    You had written: “Jesus revealed something to us that was hidden in verse 12 of Isaiah 61.”
    As there is no Verse 12 in Isaiah 61, I believe this sentence may be a typographical error.
    Would you please indicate the intended passage?
    Thank you.
    Steve Rodak

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve and Theresa,

      Thank you for pointing out this error. I corrected it in the article so that it is clear now. Also, thank you for the kind words, I sincerely appreciate your encouragement.

      Blessings!

      Rob

      Like

  2. Thank you for sharing this intimate counsel Rob.
    You are a strong soul for the Lord.
    ricardo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Blessings to you in Leyte, Rick.

      Praying for you and all my friends in the Philippines. The Lord is coming, let us prepare our hearts and tell everyone to get ready for Jesus as he is about to come for us.

      Rob

      Like

  3. Greetings from Greenock in Scotland.
    Thank you for the insight. You’re correct in saying that we have now been given a chance to reflect on the Lord. As a lapsed Christian, I find myself closer to him now. Just as I was ready to return to church, they all close down! Ah well, I know there’s a good reason for this. Currently reading your One Gospel book. I pray this world will take heed.
    Thanks
    Steven Ross

    Like

    • Steven,

      Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. Welcome home! In the midst of many terrible things that are happening with this Pandemic, there are also many wonderful things taking place (like yours). Every blessing possible to you as you continue with Jesus and grow in your relationship with Him. The following is a link where we are attending church online during the Pandemic with Pastor Greg Laurie, and old friend from the the early days of my own new relationship with Jesus in 1975. There is live, online church services at 8 and 10 am US West Coast Time, and also several free and encouraging videos at Greg’s site.

      https://harvest.org/

      Blessings!

      Rob

      Like

  4. Grace and peace, Rob.

    I very much appreciated your article. You may want to read my article in 4 parts, IS THE CORONAVIRUS PESTILENCE?

    Also, my last 4 posts on COVID-19 on my Facebook page, which I rarely use. Here was my last post:

    OF 42 RESULTS FOR “PESTILENCE” IN THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, HERE IS THE MOST INTERESTING:

    Habakkuk 3:5 New American Standard Bible (NASB):

    Before Him goes pestilence,
    And plague comes after Him.

    I BELIEVE THAT THIS REFERS TO CHRIST’S COMING AT THE RESURRECTION AND RAPTURE, WHICH I BELIEVE IS ONLY ABOUT 3 YEARS AWAY. NOBODY KNOWS THE DAY AND THE HOUR, BUT THAT IS A GOOD GUESS AT THE YEAR. 2030 IS THE END OF 6000 YEARS OF HUMAN HISTORY (AFTER 14 BILLION, WITHOUT MACRO-EVOLUTION), THE END OF 4000 YEARS OF JEWISH HISTORY (WHY ALL THE 40S ARE IN THE BIBLE: 40 JEWISH CENTURIES), AND THE END OF 2000 YEARS SINCE CHRIST’S CRUCIFIXION, BURIAL, RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION (CHRIST ROSE AT DAWN OF THE 3RD DAY TO SHOW HE WOULD RETURN AT DAWN OF THE 3RD MILLENNIUM).

    I BELIEVE THAT COVID-19 IS THE “PESTILENCE.” THE “PLAGUE” IS BETTER TRANSLATED “FIRE.” REVELATION 11 TELLS US THAT “TWO WITNESSES” WILL BE IN JERUSALEM IN THE FIRST 3 1/2 YEARS OF THE LAST 7 YEARS BEFORE CHRIST’S SECOND COMING. THEY WILL BE KILLED BY THE JEWISH ANTICHRIST. I BELIEVE, AS DO MANY, THAT THEY WILL BE MOSES AND ELIJAH (WHO WERE ON THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION). REMEMBER THAT IT WAS ELIJAH THAT CALLED FIRE DOWN FROM HEAVEN (1 KINGS 18). HERE IS WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT THE “TWO WITNESSES”:

    Revelation 11:5 New American Standard Bible (NASB):

    And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.

    WAKE UP, ALL! THIS IS WHERE WE ARE IN HUMAN HISTORY!

    Love in the Lord,
    Clive Campbell

    Like

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