CORONAVIRUS has swept across the globe in a deadly pandemic that has been labelled by Christian fundamentalists biblical.
The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has infected more than 174,000 people as of March 16 after it escaped from China last December. The disease (COVID-19) has since killed nearly 7,000 people and spread to more than 150 countries.
The pace at which coronavirus spreads and crosses borders has forced the World Health Organization (WHO) to officially brand COVID-19 a pandemic.
Many Christians, however, believe the coronavirus is a much worse harbinger of death foretold centuries ago in the Bible.
According to literal interpretations of the Bible, widespread plagues, calamities and natural disasters will strike the world in the end days.
One Twitter user said: “It’s mad how two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse can already be seen this year.
“War: America’s feud with Iran
“Pestilence: Coronavirus outbreak
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Another person said: “First came Pestilence. Then came War. Next was Famine. And finally Death. #coronavirus #Covid_19 #CoronavirusPandemic #CoronaOutbreak”
The last chapters of the Bible penned in the Book of Revelation prophesy the arrival of Four Horsemen who will carry death and destruction to the four corners of the world.
The Four Horsemen are Death, War, Famine and Plague or Pestilence.
John the Apostle wrote in Revelation 6: “When the lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, ‘Come!’
“As I looked, there was a pale horse, and its rider’s name was Death. Hades followed along behind him.
“They were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with famine, and with death, and by means of earth’s wild animals.”
Make wise decisions, especially based on your health
Many Christian evangelists believe these passages are to be interpreted literally and can be linked to contemporary events.
Watch Jerusalem editor-in-chief Gerald Flurry has recently claimed the coronavirus is a sign from God, who is trying to steer humanity back on the right path.
Mr Flurry wrote for The Trumpet: “He not destroying indiscriminately: He is punishing the world in love and in measure – to help mankind turn from the paths of destruction to the way of truth and peace.
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“God will allow the diseases and other afflictions… to affect mankind to precisely the degree needed to help them repent – no more, no less.”
But is there any evidence to support the outrageous suggestion coronavirus is biblical in its scope?
The claims were challenged by Christian writer and host of the Line of Fire radio show, Michael Brown.
In an article for The Stream, Dr Brown warned against spreading conspiracies and panic.
He said: “Let’s remember that the media, by nature, can be sensationalistic.
“That means that coverage of the coronavirus will also be sensationalistic.
“So, analyse the reporting with your head and not just your heart.
“Then, make wise decisions, especially based on your health.”
Dr Brown added the coronavirus presents an opportunity for people to think about their neighbours, friends, co-workers, to help them out when in need.