“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Mat 24:7-8 – NKJV)
One of the end time signs that Jesus mentioned is pestilence or epidemics. Again these are just the “beginning of sorrows”. So that means the world will be facing increasing number of epidemics as the end draws nearer.
It really does not take much to understand this. The world has been plagued by horrifying epidemics in the 20th century in spite of medical science growing by leaps and bounds. Here is a glimpse of epidemics which spread across several continents in the 20th century.
|1918-1920||Influenza, Spanish flu|
|1957-1958||Influenza, Asian flu|
|1968-1969||Influenza, Hong Kong flu|
|1960s||Cholera called El Tor|
|1980s – present||HIV|
|2009||Influenza, 2009 swine flu pandemic|
The above is just a small list of epidemics which spread across the world. There are countless others which were regional.
I do not intend to give exhaustive statistics of worldwide devastation due to innumerable epidemics. However, some selected facts may help us to gauge the situation in the world today.
- A UNAIDS 2008 report on global AIDS epidemic has estimated that around 30.8 million adults and 2 million children were AIDS patients in 2007. This year also saw 2 million deaths due to AIDS despite the antiretroviral (ARV) therapy which reduced AIDS – related deaths among those who received it.
- AIDS is the second most common cause of death among 20-24 year olds. By the end of 2007, 15 million children were orphaned due to this disease. (Source: http://www.avert.org/worlstatinfo.htm)
- 250 million people in the world are diabetics. Diabetes or related complications kill about 3.8 million people every year which is about the same number as HIV/AIDS. Now they have termed it as the epidemic of the 21st century.
We haven’t even touched upon the people killed due to influenza (more people were killed by this disease during World War I than war wounds, an estimated 20-100 million deaths worldwide), small pox, cholera, tuberculosis, bubonic plague, dengue, malaria, hepatitis B, chikungunya, avian flu, swine flu and many others.
In the 20th century, medical research and health care have cost the world government billions of dollars. There have been amazing drug discoveries and new treatment methods. In spite of it all, it seems that mankind is losing its grip with overall health deteriorating rather than improving. The medical fraternity is faced with newer and tougher challenges every day without the earlier problems being solved.
Where is all this leading to? When Christ shall reign on earth, the Bible says:
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4 – NKJV)
Maranatha! Our Lord is coming soon.