May 4, 2009

Plague: The Third Major Birth Pang of 2009

By Todd Strandberg

For the first time in four decades, the world is dealing with the threat of an influenza pandemic. The swine flu virus seems to have started in Mexico and has now spread to dozens of other nations.

A pandemic is an outbreak of a contagious disease that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population. In such cases, almost no one has natural immunity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) raised its six-tier alert to 5, the second-highest. It has confirmed over 200 cases in nine countries, and hundreds of people are being tested for the virus from Australia to New York.
“It is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic,” Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said at a news conference in Geneva. “The biggest question right now is this: How severe will the pandemic be? All countries should immediately now activate their pandemic plans.”
The last pandemic was the 1968-1969 Hong Kong flu. It killed around 1 million people and was mild compared with the global outbreak of the 1918 Spanish flu, which may have killed as many as 50 million.

In a normal year, the flu virus will cause between 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. The people who die of the disease are typically the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems. What is troubling about this variant of the swine flu virus is that many of the deaths in Mexico have been young adults in the prime of their lives.

Even though the virus has been given the term "swine flu," it is not spread by hogs. Egypt made the foolish decision to slaughter its pig population of roughly 300,000 based purely on the name of the virus. To help clear things up, the WHO came up with this rather forgettable new name: “Influenza A virus subtype H1N1.” I have a suggestion - how about Mexican flu?

We will probably have to wait several months to find out if this virus will turn into a classic pandemic. Right now, it is occurring when progression of the flu virus is hampered by school being out for summer and people being less confined by winter weather.

Jesus warned that plagues would be a sign of the end times. They are part of the birth pangs that might seem general taken alone, but when factored together, give a clear indication of how close we are to the Lord’s return.
“There will be great earthquakes and famines and plagues in various places” (Luke 21:11).
I’ve been watching for the outbreak of a deadly virus for nearly 20 years. Every now and then, we have seen some horrible viruses emerge from the jungles of Africa or South America — a virus that has killed a few people and then just vanished. Ebola is one such candidate. The people who caught this nasty bug had their internal organs nearly liquefied.

I believe the reason we have not seen a major pandemic is because of the protective hand of God. As we get closer to the tribulation hour, the Lord is allowing more judgments to be manifested.

AIDS is good example of the stepped-up nature of judgment. At first, people thought anyone could catch the disease, but we eventually learned that AIDS is almost exclusively spread by some form of sin. We are now faced with a virus that anyone can catch.

Plague is actually the second-to-last end-time indicator to be fully active. If swine flu turns into a full-blown pandemic, “supernatural events” would be the last remaining indicator that is showing low activity. I’m not totally sure we will see - on this side of the rapture - the type of supernatural events the Bible says will be performed by the false prophet and the Antichrist.

I think it is very remarkable that this year is only four months old and I’m now reporting on the third major prophetic warning sign. I had previously talked about the global economic meltdown and record levels of violent crime. Because we are told that the last days will advance at an exponential rate, I suspect there will probably be a fourth or fifth end-time component in our near future.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

Related News

Swine Flu Cases Rise in U.S., World - CBN
Second swine flu coming may deliver knockout punch - The Australian
UN urges closer monitoring of swine flu in pigs - AP