The deadly march of the coronavirus has sparked panic in many countries across the world, with some believers even claiming it is a sign of the End Times.
Covid-19 is a pandemic that is unlike anything else seen before and has forced entire nations to go into complete lockdown in a bid to curb its deadly assault.
Already, the virus has infected more than 200,000 and killed a massive 16,610 within the four months since it first appeared in China.
The drastic measures taken by nations and the alarming death rate has led numerous Christians to question whether we are living in the End Times, and point to passages in the Bible as proof.
One of the more popular beliefs among some Christians is that the coronavirus is evidence the first Horseman of the Apocalypse has started to ride.
In the Bible, John the Apostle wrote in Revelation 6: “They (the Four Horsemen) 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.”
In numerous interpretations of the Bible, the first horseman is known as Pestilence – and is associated with disease and plague.
But, the Bible is actually very specific about what will happen before the End Times are triggered, namely that the great temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt – something that has not happened yet.
Despite this, many Christians took to social media and chat groups, believing that the coronavirus crisis is a one of the natural disasters that, according to them, signify the end of days.
One Christian said on social media: “It’s mad how two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse can already be seen this year.
“War: America’s feud with Iran and Pestilence: Coronavirus outbreak.”
Another believer posted: “Global food shortages coming to an all-time high famine. Coronavirus – Pestilence. US- Iran air strikes and standoff – War. Kobe and also tons of other people – Death.
“We really do be living in the rapture.”
But, many other Christians and pastors are not buying into the hype of some of their fellow believers – with Bible experts claiming they have not understood the sacred text.
Jeff Kinley, who has written books on Biblical prophecy, told MSN News: “If a person were just completely ignorant about what the Bible says about the End Times, they may think this right now. This is it.”
He then pointed to Jesus’s own words in Luke 21:11, which said: “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”
Mr Kinley said of this passage: “I think he’s referring to a future time. I don’t think this is an actual fulfilment of that.”
Of course, scientists take a starkly different view and have pointed to the origins of the virus as coming from a Chinese wet market where live animals are slaughtered and sold on site – something that can easily cause disease spread.
And, as the virus continues to rapidly spread, scientists are racing to develop a vaccine to finally put an end to the epidemic.
Already, dozens of participants have received an experimental COVID-19 job, with the World Health Organisation stating that 35 experimental vaccines are in development, including in the US. (link 1 to previous DS story)
But, Dr Anthony Fauci – director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease – said it could be 2022 before a vaccine is safe to release to the world.