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Greg Laurie Answers the Question, "Is Coronavirus a Sign of the End Times?"

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
October 11, 2020 4:00 am

Greg Laurie Answers the Question, "Is Coronavirus a Sign of the End Times?"

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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October 11, 2020 4:00 am

In this Sunday morning message, Pastor Greg Laurie gives an answer to the question many are asking: "Is Coronavirus a Sign of the End Times?" We'll take a look at what the Bible has to say about these tumultuous current events. 


“A stunning 43% of poll respondents said they believe the Coronavirus and resulting economic meltdown is a ‘wakeup call’ for us to turn back to faith in God.”

In the span of 40 years, COVID-19 is the sixth infectious plague unleashed on the planet.

You can freak out . . . or you can look up!

1. What is the rapture?

The rapture is when Christ descends from Heaven and we are caught up to meet Him.

Though the word rapture is not in the Bible, the word harpazo is; it’s used 13 times in the New Testament.

2. Why is there a rapture?

The word revelation means, “unveiling.”

It’s not God’s desire to conceal, but to reveal.

“A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.” —C. S. Lewis

3. Talking about the Lord’s return makes us want to be closer to God.

4. When will the Lord return in the rapture?

Read Matthew 24:36.


Matthew 16:1–4

Luke 21:8–11

Luke 21:26

2 Thessalonians 2:7–8

1 Thessalonians 4:16–18

1 Thessalonians 4:13

1 John 3:3

Matthew 24:36


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Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast and my objective is to deliver, hopefully, compelling practical insights in faith, culture, and current events from a biblical perspective. To find out more about our ministry, just go to our website, So thanks for joining me for this podcast.

You have the answer to all of our needs. And we know, Lord, that we're living in scary times, but we also know that the Bible is filled with promises that you've given. And one of those promises repeated over and over again is, you are coming back to this earth. And we look forward to that day. So speak to us from your word, we ask, in Jesus' name.

Amen. I heard a story about some Christians who were standing by the side of a road holding up a sign. It was a hand-lettered sign with these words, the end is near, turn around before it's too late. Some guy drove by them, hit the brakes, rolled down his window, and he said, you stupid Christians, why don't you just leave people alone?

Rolled up his window and gunned it. And then a couple of moments passed and there was a loud splash. And one of the Christians turned to the other and said, maybe we should just put up a sign that says bridge out instead. Yeah, you know, there's a lot of signs out there, a lot of warnings out there that are saying one thing and that one thing is get ready because Jesus Christ is coming back again. I mean, just look at our world at this present moment.

You can feel the fear in the air, the anxiety, the stress. We're talking about COVID-19 in practically every news story and new words have entered our vocabulary. Pandemic, sheltering in place, self-isolation, social distancing, community spread, herd immunity, flatten the curve. But here's another word we're hearing more often, plagues. Plagues?

Wait, I thought that was like an ancient history, like in Bible times. We've all heard the story of the plagues that came upon Egypt. But no, we have had plagues throughout history, of course, but the Bible tells us in the last days there will be an increase of plagues. Here's a headline from a newspaper, quote, Apocalypse Now. Here's how Americans think it will end. And this headline from the Jerusalem Post, quote, Why do some Christians believe coronavirus is an apocalyptic prophecy?

Well, let me answer that. We believe it could be an apocalyptic prophecy, to use their verbiage, because the Bible says we would see this sort of thing in the last days. We would see an increase of wars.

We would see the emergence ultimately of a one world government. We would also see the increase of plagues and earthquakes. There's a lot of things the Bible tells us to look for. The Bible compares the end times events to the labor pains of a woman who is ready to give birth.

Now, you ladies know, you moms know, of course, that as you get closer to the day of delivery, your labor pains get closer and closer together. So the Bible says effectively when you see these things not just happen, but happen with more intensity and they're increasing, that's a sign the end is near. You can almost take the main events of the end times and compare them to dominoes.

Once the first domino falls, all of the other dominoes will also fall in rapid succession. So let's talk about some signs of the times, and here's what Jesus himself said about it. I'm going to Matthew chapter 16, and I'm going to read verses one to three. One day, the Bible says, the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven and to prove his authority. And he replied, you know the saying, red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow. Red sky in the morning means foul weather all day. You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don't know, says our Lord, how to interpret the signs of the times. Only an evil and adulterous generation demands a miraculous sign, and the only sign I will give them is that of the prophet Jonah.

That is, Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Now, you don't have to be a weatherman to necessarily predict that it's going to rain if the sky is filled with dark clouds. In fact, I've developed a foolproof way to make it rain. If I wanted to rain, I'd just wash my car and it rains.

But you know, sometimes I think I know as much as some of these weathermen know by just looking out the window and sort of figuring out what the day's going to look like. And by the way, bald men always know when it's raining first. Sometimes I'm walking with my wife and I'll say, it's raining. She'll say, no, it isn't. I say, oh, it is. And she can't sense the rain.

She has so much hair. I say, oh, no, bald men always know, and it's true. But look, we can look around us and see effectively signs of the times telling us the coming of the Lord is near. Many Americans are beginning to wonder if COVID-19 is not a sign of the end times. A poll was recently done by the nationally recognized McLaughlin and Associates that revealed, quote, a stunning 43 percent of poll respondents said they believe the coronavirus and resulting economic meltdown is a wakeup call for us to turn back to faith in God, end quote.

I think that's true. My friend and Bible prophecy expert Mark Hitchcock wrote these words in his new book, Corona Crisis, and I quote, I believe that the coronavirus is part of the stage setting for the end times, in that sense, it's a sign that points beyond itself to future events. For example, coronavirus is revealing the interconnectedness of the modern world as well as accelerating it, COVID-19 is speeding the rise of globalism, end quote.

And that's very true. As Bible students, we know the Bible tells us there's coming a world leader on the scene. He's called the beast. He's better known as the antichrist. He'll be initially a man of peace with global solutions, with economic solutions, but then he will require that no one can buy or sell without the special mark that he will give to them. So is that happening before our eyes?

Let me put it this way. I think we are seeing things that will ultimately lead to that moment, but I don't think it's happening quite yet. But I do believe we're getting close. Let's turn to another passage of scripture together, Luke chapter 21. Luke chapter 21, and I want to read verses 8 to 11 as Jesus talks about what will happen in the end times and he mentions antichrist in a different way. He says, this is in response to the question of the disciples, what will be the signs of the end? And Jesus says, don't let anyone mislead you. Many will come in my name, saying I am the Messiah, saying the time has come.

Don't believe them. So according to Christ, one of the signs of the end times is there will come a world leader and other false prophets who will say I am the Messiah. By the way, the prefix anti doesn't just mean against.

It also means instead of. Antichrist, the beast, is an alternate version of the Messiah. He's a fake Messiah. Many will come saying I am the Messiah. But when you see these wars and interactions, don't panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won't follow immediately. Then Christ adds, nation will go to war against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There'll be great earthquakes and famines and plagues in many lands and terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven. Now look, we've always had plagues throughout history.

I mentioned the plagues that came against Egypt when he refused to release the people of Israel. There was also the Black Death in the 1300s, also known as the Bubonic Plague, that took the lives of 200 million people. The Spanish Flu in 1918 took the lives of 40 to 50 million people.

So basically the Bible says when you see these things happen with greater frequency, you should look up. In the span of 40 years, COVID-19 is the sixth most infectious plague unleashed on the planet. We've had HIV-AIDS, swine flu, Ebola, and now coronavirus. One expert said, quote, the number of new infectious diseases like SARS, HIV, and COVID-19 has increased by nearly fourfold in the past century.

Since 1980 alone, the number of outbreaks per year is more than triple. OK, so these things are coming closer together with greater intensity. So you have two choices at a moment like this in human history.

You can look up or you can freak out. Jesus speaking on how people will react in the end times says this in Luke 21. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world. Is that not an accurate description of the way that many people are feeling right now? They are apprehensive. Some are fainting from terror, drinking, partying, drugging. Anything to distract them from the reality they're facing. Sales of anxiety medications are way up.

So you can freak out or you can look up. Jesus says when you see these things begin to happen, look up. Look up for your redemption is drawing near. Now some wonder if this COVID-19 vaccination program that is coming could possibly be the mark of the beast.

Short answer, no, I don't think so. But it is interesting. And I'll talk about that more in my message next time as we gather together as I deal with Antichrist, Armageddon, and the Second Coming. But we should not be looking for Antichrist, folks. We should be looking for Jesus Christ.

That's where our focus should be right now. So let me give to you sort of a flyover of the end time events because I think this is where people get confused. They think is this guy Antichrist? Is this it?

No. Again, remember they're like a stack of dominoes close together. And when the first one falls, they'll all fall. Antichrist is not here yet. And when we talk about the increase of plagues and the wars and all those things, those are a description of what is called in the Bible the great tribulation period that lasts for seven years. So let me give to you what I believe is the accurate order of events of the end times. Next up on the prophetic calendar is the rapture. That's where believers are caught up to meet the Lord in the air.

I'll have more to say about that in a few moments. After the rapture, sometimes after that, or sometime after that, this coming world leader emerges on the scene. He's suave. He's debonair. He'll probably be on the cover of Time Magazine and GQ at the same time.

Think the devil wears Prada. He won't be dressed head to toe in black. He'll be a very persuasive, charismatic individual, a powerful world leader. And to show this, he brings about a global peace plan that works.

It works for three and a half years. In fact, he even helps the Jewish people to rebuild their temple. And some are so excited, they hail him as the very Messiah. But at the midway point of this seven-year period called the tribulation period, Antichrist shows his true colors.

And he forces people to take his mark. And a series of plagues and God's judgment comes upon the world. And it builds and builds and builds until the final battles of humanity known as the battles of Armageddon. And as the world is at war, the second coming takes place and Christ returns to the earth and he establishes his kingdom. Following that, we have what is called the millennium.

Millennium is a word that just means a thousand. It's a thousand-year reign of Christ. And after that, heaven and earth become one as the new Jerusalem descends as a bride adorned for her husband out of heaven to the earth. And this is a fulfillment of the statement of Jesus or really the prayer he taught us to pray when we pray. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So coming back to Antichrist. He cannot even be revealed. He cannot even burst on the scene until true believers are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Second Thessalonians 2 says this mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then the lawless one, that's the Antichrist, will be revealed whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming. So the constraining force in the world today is the Holy Spirit working through the church. Once the church is caught up to meet the Lord in heaven, now all hell can basically break loose and Antichrist can, to use 60's vernacular, do his thing.

And it's not going to be a good thing. So if we see signs that would indicate to us that Antichrist is close, that would also be a reminder that Jesus Christ is even closer. You know as we approach Christmas, ultimately, there are the reminders that Christmas is coming. And you usually start seeing the decorations in the stores and the ads in the papers and all of the commercials on television.

What is it, August now? But seriously, it starts pretty early. So all of those signs say, Christmas is coming.

Oh no, you can buy your tree. Okay, you better get your presents. Christmas is coming. But listen, we often forget about Thanksgiving. And I love Thanksgiving because they haven't completely commercialized it as they have Christmas and even Halloween. Thanksgiving is a day where we give thanks, hopefully, and enjoy a wonderful meal with our family.

So here's my point. If I'm seeing all of those reminders out there that Christmas is coming, that means Thanksgiving is even sooner. So if I'm seeing signs out there in our world saying Antichrist is coming, then really what those signs are saying is the coming of Jesus for his people, it's even closer. I mentioned the word rapture.

Some people push back. They say, you can't find the word rapture in the Bible. Well, that depends what translation you have.

If you have a Latin translation, I think you can. The word rapture comes from the Latin root word rapturis, and that comes from the Greek word harpazo, which means to be taken away by force. And that word harpazo is used 13 times in the New Testament. So call it the rapture. Call it the harpazo.

Call it the great escape. I don't really care. It's an event the Bible speaks of multiple times. So what is the rapture?

Let me define it for you. The rapture is when Christ descends from heaven and we are caught up to meet him in the air and we receive our new resurrection bodies. It's also the moment that we will be reunited with loved ones who have died in faith, who have preceded us to heaven.

There's another passage to look at. 1 Thessalonians 4. And we read, The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first, and we which are alive and remaining shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we will ever be with the Lord.

Therefore, comfort one another with these words. What happens to a Christian when they die? They go immediately into the presence of God. The dead in Christ rise first. But when the rapture comes, and that can happen today, it can happen tonight, it can happen tomorrow, we are reunited with our loved ones. And that is when they and we all receive our resurrection bodies because God is going to give us a new body that's a radically upgraded version of our old one. So question number two. Why is there a rapture?

Why? Well, Paul talked to these folks here who lived in Thessalonica and they were stressed out. They were unhappy. They were sad.

Because a number of their loved ones had died and they thought they would never see them again. So Paul wanted to share this great truth with them. In fact, he says in First Thessalonians 4, 13, hey, we don't want you to be uninformed about those who have died so that you grieve as those who have no hope. Notice he says we don't want you to be uninformed. I bring this up because sometimes people say no one can figure out Bible prophecy. No one understands it. There's so many different views, so we shouldn't even talk about it.

Au contraire, that's French for snails with garlic. No, that says cargo. No, to the contrary, God wants us to know about the end times. Again, Paul says I don't want you to be uninformed. Remember in Matthew 24, Jesus said when you see the abomination of desolation, let the reader understand. And basically the Bible is saying he understand what is being said. The very word revelation, that's the title of the last book of the Bible. Revelation means the unveiling. Listen, it is not God's desire to conceal but to reveal. He wants us to know these things. And he doesn't give us Bible prophecy to scare us but to encourage us, especially if we put our faith in him.

So here's what Paul is saying. Look, if you've lost a loved one and they've gone to heaven, you're going to see them again. Just imagine for a moment you're just going about your daily business doing whatever it is you do and suddenly in a moment that happens so quickly you can't even measure it in time, you're reunited with your loved one again because the Bible says it will happen in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. I mean the twinkling of an eye is something that can't even be measured. The word twinkling comes from the root word Adamos. We get our word Adam from it. How long does it take for that to happen? Probably about as long as it takes to say the word Adamos.

It booms. You're in the presence of the Lord and you're with your loved ones that have gone before you. Isn't that encouraging? That's why Paul said, therefore, comfort one another with these words. Imagine, husbands will be reunited with wives and wives with husbands. Children reunited with parents and parents with children. Brothers reunited with brothers and sisters and everyone will be brought back together again.

Friends reunited with friends. Your sorrow immediately vanishes and it's replaced with ecstatic joy. That is why the Bible calls the rapture the blessed hope. So when a Christian loses a loved one, we grieve but not hopelessly but rather hopefully.

We grieve hopefully because we know we will see them again and that is a great encouragement. It's a good thing to think about these things, folks. It's a good thing to just think about heaven, to think about the afterlife.

C.S. Lewis, the great professor who taught at Oxford and wrote many significant books including the Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity, talked a lot about heaven. And he made this statement and I quote, A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but rather it's one of the things that Christian is meant to do. End quote.

Very true. It's good to think about these things. Colossians 3 says, Set your mind on things above. Or another way to translate it, think heaven. It's a good thing to think about heaven.

Look forward to heaven. And by the way, when we talk about things like this, it makes us want to be closer to God. Again, talking about the Lord's imminent return makes us want to be closer to God. It reminds us there is a God and His word can be trusted when we see Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes.

And over in 1 John 3 it says, That he that has this hope, that is the hope of the return of Christ, will purify himself even as God is pure. Let me illustrate. Remember when you were a little kid and maybe you got in trouble with your mom and she said, okay, you're in trouble and you just wait until your father gets home. And so maybe around 6.30 you hear the car pulling into the driveway and the approach of your father and you're filled with dread because he's the authority figure and there might be some discipline involved. So you're not looking forward to your father's return.

But let's just say you're a good boy or a good girl and dad got home, you'd run out to greet him. So I think when we're right with God, we look forward to his return. It keeps us on our toes spiritually.

It causes us to want to live godly lives. But if you're not right with the Lord, when you hear that Christ could return at any moment, well, that's quite frightening. Really, a litmus test of where you're at right now in this moment in time is if you're looking forward to the return of Jesus, that would be an indication to me that you are right with God. And if you're dreading the return of Jesus, that would be an indication to me you're not right with God. And I'm going to tell you how to get right with God in a few moments because you're either going to get right or you're going to get left. And when I say get left, I mean you will not be caught up to meet the Lord in the rapture, but you'll be left behind.

Here's another point. When will the Lord return in the rapture? Now this one gets interesting because there's people that come along periodically that say they've cracked the code and they know when Jesus is returning. They know when he will come in the rapture. Let me say something that might surprise you. I know when the second coming is.

You say, what? No one knows the day of the hour. Understand, there's the difference between the rapture and the second coming. In the rapture, which could happen in any moment, he comes for his people.

In the second coming, he returns with his people. The rapture is before antichrist and the tribulation. The second coming is at the end of the tribulation.

Okay, so here's my point. The second coming will happen after the seven year reign of antichrist after the battle of Armageddon. So once that happens, you can count it down seven years.

Now that hasn't started yet, so I can't give you a date, but I know in sequence when it will happen. But the rapture, that could happen at any moment. And Jesus says, no man knows the day of the hour. And if you were to go back to the original language and translate that, it would translate out to no man knows the day of the hour. And what it actually means is no man knows the day of the hour.

Nobody. So only God knows and he'll come at the right moment. It could happen at any time, as I've already said, but it is going to happen and you can count on it and it's going to be one of the greatest events of all human history.

And I want to ask you right now, are you going to be ready for that day? Jesus said, two will be in a field, one will be taken and the other left. A man and wife will be asleep in bed and one will be taken and the other left. Which shows it's a global event. A man and wife in bed, they're sleeping, it's nighttime.

Two men working in a field, it's daytime. Happens around the world. People are caught up to meet the Lord. There's an old song by Larry Norman with the lyrics. A man and wife asleep in bed, she hears a noise and turns her head. He's gone. I wish we had all been ready. You know, one night, Kathy and I, my wife, who you already met, were laying in bed. It's okay, we're married. And we were talking about how Jesus could come back.

And I said he could come back at any moment. And Kathy said, just imagine, Greg, we could just be laying here in bed and all of a sudden we're in heaven and being the prankster that I am. I quietly slipped out of the bed and I got down on the floor. Greg, just imagine, we'd go to heaven together.

Greg, Greg, Greg! And she's reaching, I'm not there, and I'm down on the floor laughing. That's really bad. Don't do that at home. I'm a professional.

Idiot. Anyway, I digress. Okay, so it really is a real thing.

I'm making a joke about that, but this is no joke and I wonder if you'll be ready. I mentioned that statement of Christ early on where he said, A wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign. And no sign will be given to them except that of the prophet Jonah. And as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Interesting, Jesus just validated the story of Jonah.

He was a real dude with a real message that resulted in a spiritual awakening in a city known as Nineveh. But he was swallowed by a great fish. By the way, the Bible never says he was swallowed by a whale. Maybe it was a whale. Maybe it was a fish. It can be literally translated sea monster that never existed until the moment it swallowed Jonah.

But whatever the case, the story is not about Jonah and a whale. It's a picture of what Christ did. Jesus is effectively saying, You guys want a miracle, right? Would you want me to pull a rabbit out of a hat? Do you want me to do some trick that will convince you? Here's my sign for you.

As Jonah was in the belly of that fish, I'm going to go to a cross and die from the sin of the world and rise again from the dead. That's my sign. That's my miracle. You might say, Well, show me a miracle and I'll believe.

Show me and I'll believe. Effectively, God says, Believe and I'll show you. See, God has demonstrated his love toward you. God has shown how much he loves you by sending his son to die on the cross for you.

You know, the Bible says, Some of us might die for a righteous man. But God demonstrated his love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. When we were breaking his commandments, when we were falling short of his standards, God showed love in a tangible way.

And as I've often said, it wasn't nails that held Jesus to that cross 2,000 years ago. It was love for you. God loves you. I don't know what you've been told about God, but I'm here to tell you today on the authority of Scripture that God loves you. And he proved his love for you by sending Jesus to die in your place. Jesus said, For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son, and whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Not only does God love you, but he has a wonderful plan for your life. And that plan starts with him forgiving you of all of your sin.

And then he has a special plan for how your life will go. And when that day comes, you'll go to meet him in heaven in the afterlife. But maybe even before you die, the rapture can happen. It can happen in our lifetime.

It can happen today. And I ask you, if Christ were to come back again, would you be ready? Don't miss this opportunity to get right with God. I mentioned a couple earlier who wrote me and said that they were living a miserable life, and they recommitted their life to the Lord, and they were prodigals. And maybe you're a prodigal. What's a prodigal? It's someone that's been raised in the faith and has walked away from it. Or someone that made a profession of faith and turned their back on it. And if you're a prodigal son or daughter, you can come back to Jesus. But there's someone watching me right now who's never asked Christ to come into your life.

You've never even heard these things I'm talking about before. But you realize, I need God. I want my sin forgiven. Maybe you've been trying to fill that big hole in your heart with drugs or with booze or with partying or with accomplishments. And you know, the whole COVID-19 thing has sort of revealed how empty all those things are because people can't go out and do all the things they were doing before.

And they can't go and hang out in big parties with all of their friends, and you're isolated, and you're alone, and you're scared. But you're not alone because God is there. And Jesus says, Behold, I stand at the door and I knock, and if you'll hear my voice and open the door, I will come in.

Listen to this. The same Jesus who was born in a manger in Bethlehem, who died on a cross outside of Jerusalem. The same Jesus who will come again for his people in the rapture and will return to the earth and the second coming is alive.

And he's standing right now at the door of your life saying, I want to come in. Would you like Jesus to come into your life? Would you like to be forgiven of all of your sin? Would you like to know with certainty that you will go to heaven when you die? Or know for sure that you'll be ready when the Lord comes for us? If so, I'm going to lead you in a prayer. And I'm going to ask you to pray this prayer with me. If you want Jesus to come into your life, pray this prayer with me.

And I'm telling you, in the authority of the Bible, Christ will come into your life right here, right now. If you want Jesus to come into your life, pray this prayer with me. Just pray these words. Pray them out loud if you like. Pray, Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, but I know that you are the Savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering it. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. Thanks for listening to our podcast. And to learn more about Harvest Ministries, please subscribe and consider supporting this show. Just go to And by the way, if you want to find out how to come into a personal relationship with God, go to That's K-N-O-W-G-O-D dot org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-05 17:57:28 / 2024-02-05 18:10:16 / 13

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