Two weeks ago, a professional football player in Dr. David Jeremiah’s Shadow Mountain Community Church congregation asked about the significance of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in light of biblical prophecies about the End Times. In response, Dr. David Jeremiah wrote two sermons that have been viewed close to 2 million times and have been shared more than 4,000 times.
We spoke with Dr. David Jeremiah to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on his life, his church and on people around the world.
This conversation has been edited for clarity and length:
1. How do we go deeper in prayer — maybe more than we’ve ever gone before — through this time?
Prayer should be the first thing. I got a call from my daughter late last night. She was feeling a little bit cut off and afraid, and I reminded her that God is available to us. We don’t have to go anywhere. God is a breath away, and I told her that when I have moments when I feel a little bit disconnected, I hear God’s voice in my heart and I think I hear him saying, “I’ve got this,” and God is in control. And when you pray, you become so much aware of that. You become aware of the presence of God in your life and the fact that there aren’t any surprises for God. He didn’t get surprised by all of this.
2. Tell us some principles that we can use to calm our minds as we face isolation and hear news about what is going on around us.
We should open our Bibles instead of turning on the television, because that’s what will help us more than anything else. There’s so much in the Word of God to comfort our hearts and strengthen us.
And I’ll just give you a little nugget that I shared the other night: The Bible says that “in the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” God didn’t say, “In the world you will have tribulation but I have overcome tribulation.” No, he said, “in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer because I have overcome the world.” God doesn’t just overcome the event, he overcomes the environment in which the event occurs. So God’s not just in charge of what’s going on; he’s in charge of everything. He is still on the throne, and we’re gonna look back on this and see that in spite of all of the difficulty that this has created for everyone, God got glory to his name.
3. Can you give us some principles and techniques from Scripture that we can focus on when we really feel anxious?
Well, in the book of Philippians it says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God.” Be anxious for nothing, but be prayerful in everything. What Paul was saying there is, if you want to be anxious, you can have anxiety, but you don’t have to be anxious for anything, but you have to replace that with prayer. Be anxious for nothing, but be prayerful in everything.
There’s two circles. One is anxiety — you don’t want to be in there. If you’re in the prayer circle, you won’t be in the anxiety circle. But so often what happens is we let our anxiety run crazy with us and today I’m just seeing that in talking to some people. They’re just saying “but what if and what if” and before you know it they’ve spun this thing out and I just want to say to them, “This is not the end of the world.” So step back, take a deep breath, and get into the Word of God and be reminded that God is in control.
4. What does COVID-19 mean in the context of biblical prophecy and End Times events?
The real answer that I need to give is there is no real reason to prove that it is and there’s no real reason to prove that it’s not, and it’s for this reason: the signs in the Bible are not for the Rapture, which is the next event that’s going to happen for believers, but the signs are for the Second Coming of Christ, which is at least seven years away, because the Second Coming of Christ is at the end of the seven-year tribulation period.
The beginning of the tribulation period is the Rapture, when Christ comes for his Church. The end of it is the Second Advent when he comes back to this earth to set up his Kingdom. The interesting thing in the Bible is there are no signs for the Rapture. The Rapture is a signless event; it is referred to as “imminent,” which means it can happen at any time. So there’s no way you can say that the coronavirus is a sign for the Rapture, because the Rapture doesn’t have any signs. Could it be a sign for the Second Advent? Well, if it is, it’s got a seven-year tail on it, because the Second Advent is not going to come until seven years after the tribulation.
So maybe this is a preliminary warning of what the Bible refers to in Matthew 24 as a pestilence. That’s what this is; it’s a pestilence, and it is a plague, according to the Bible. But is it a sign that Jesus is going to come now? No, it is not. In my estimation, it is not a sign for the coming of Jesus now. And if it’s a sign for Jesus coming at the Second Advent, there are still seven years until that happens.
What I think it is more than anything else is that it’s not a sign for the future but a sign for today, reminding us of some things we need to be aware of: our vulnerability. One of the things I thought about, that was really exciting for me is this event proves that the Bible and the things in the Bible are true. You may read those things and say, “How can a worldwide plague happen?” Well, we just experienced one, so the Bible isn’t out in left field like a lot of people say it is. It describes things that are going to happen in the future; some of those things are happening now.
5. Give us some help on how to have hope about the End Times and the expectation that we’re going to be with Christ again.
Here’s what I told my friend in the professional football league: “Here’s the deal, if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior” - which he has - “none of these things should trouble you because the Bible says that when the time is ready for the End Times to take place, the Lord Jesus Christ is going to come back from heaven and take to heaven all those who have put their trust in him. No matter who they are, where they live, or whatever religion they may have been a part of, if they know Christ personally, he’s going to come and receive them to heaven. And then all of these terrible things that people are afraid of are going to break out here on this earth, and for seven years it will be all hell breaking loose on this earth. Then Jesus comes back, he puts down the rebellion, sets up his kingdom.”
I tell people that I’m not looking for the undertaker, I’m looking for the uppertaker. I’m looking for the one who is going to come back and take me to be in heaven. So do I fear these events? No, I really don’t, because they don’t belong to the world I live in. I live in the world of the Rapture and the return of Christ. Those things are warnings to all of us, they are wake-up calls, and I believe that we should take them seriously.
6. Any last words of wisdom or things pressing on your heart that you’d like to share?
I just want to encourage everybody to not let fear become a greater problem than the Coronavirus, but trust God. He’s able to control this and take this and we’re going to come through this, and we’re going to come through better than we were when we came in. And in the meantime, we just have to be calm and ask God to give us peace. And the Bible says that God’s peace is in him. When we have his peace, we have him.
Follow this link for a free COVID-19 prayer guide prepared by My Faith Votes: https://www.myfaithvotes.org/covid-19-pandemic-prayer-guide.
Watch the full interview with Dr. David Jeremiah on My Faith Votes’ Youtube channel.
Photo courtesy: David Jeremiah Facebook
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Dr. David Jeremiah is among the best known Christian leaders in the world. He serves as senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California and is the founder and host of Turning Point. Turning Point's 30-minute radio program is heard on more than 2,200 radio stations daily. A New York Times bestselling author and Gold Medallion winner, he has written more than fifty books.