Pandemics, Fear, and the Lord’s Great Shaking

Posted on April 9, 2020

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By David Ettinger

Near and Distant
Haggai 2:6-7 reads:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the Lord Almighty.

Like most Bible prophecy, this passage has both a “near” – as relating to Israel at the time of the writing – and a “distant” application. In this case, the distant application refers to the Day of the Lord, when Jesus Christ will return to Earth to both Rapture the Church and then punish the world’s wickedness.

However, I believe “near” and “distant” prophecies also have an “in-between” aspect. In this case, the Lord’s “shaking” has always been a reality since the fall of humanity and is prevalent today.

I would describe the word “shaking” – in this context – as God’s direct intervention into the affairs of the human race for purposes of discipline, warning, or sending a message. I believe this is happening now with the Covid-19 pandemic, and God is using it to shake up the human race – unbelievers AND believers.

Shaking Unbelievers
Though only believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are “God’s children” (John 1:12), all of humanity is God’s creation, and God cares deeply about His creation (John 3:16). In fact, God cares about the human race so much that He is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). As such, He takes an active hand in the “salvation process,” making the means to salvation available to all people. One of the ways God does this is by shaking the world up every now and then.

I believe the Coronavirus is God’s way of saying: “Hey, human race, see how quickly this has all happened. See how quickly you have succumbed to this plague – physically, economically, and emotionally, not to mention the fear you are experiencing. And, if this was not enough, you should see what I have planned for the end of this age. By comparison, it will make this outbreak seem as nothing more than a bit of hayfever.”

Note, this shaking by God is not an act of vindictiveness. Perish the thought! No, this is a shaking of the soul of humanity, an act of mercy and compassion. This pandemic is God’s way of shaking up human beings that they would ponder their mortality and what will become of them when this life is over. If they ponder long and deeply enough, they could find themselves in the throne room of the Savior (Deuteronomy 4:29)!

So though Covid-19 is deadly, if people heed the warning God is giving through it, it could well be the gateway to salvation and eternal life.

Shaking Believers
But unbelievers are not the only ones God is looking to shake up via the Coronavirus. Christians, predominantly in the West, have no idea what it truly means to suffer. Our lives are easy compared to third-world nations, and for many of us, our biggest hardships are when the car doesn’t start or the air conditioner stops working.

In general, Western believers are weak in prayer, studying their Bibles, holy living, and sharing the Gospel. We too often put the comfort of our lives ahead of the concerns of God, and live almost entirely as citizens of Earth rather than citizens of Heaven.

With the world growing more hostile to Christianity, and end-times prophecy drawing ever nearer to fulfillment, Western believers need God’s shaking now! We need a good scare. We need to have our soft lives rattled. We need to take personally the invitation Paul extended to Timothy:

Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

God is shaking up His people that we might, like good soldiers, be prepared for not only the battle which lies ahead, but for the battle in which we are now engaged.

May we – lovers of the Lord Jesus Christ – be sensitive to God’s shaking in the face of pandemics and fear that we may bring a saving message of life to a lost and dying world!