Of the catastrophic events recorded in Revelation, the most well-known prophecy is likely that of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” As COVID-19 and its variants gallop on, let’s consider this specific question: Is COVID-19 a sign that the four horsemen have started their end-time ride?
Revelation 6:1–8 describes the four horsemen, and in Jesus’ famous Olivet Prophecy, in which He explained the events that would occur at the end of the age leading up to His second coming, He also explained the symbolism of the four horsemen (Matthew 24:3–8). Perhaps the pale horse represents COVID-19, as some may claim? Can we know for sure?
Revelation 6:8 provides an important clue. It says that the horsemen will have power to kill a fourth of mankind—25 percent. How much human life has COVID-19 taken?
As of February 1, 2022, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is about 5.7 million according to Our World in Data, and the world’s population is about 7.9 billion. A million and a billion might sound similar, but one billion is actually one thousand times greater than one million. Simple division shows that COVID-19 has only killed about 0.07 percent of the world’s population. This is not insignificant by any means, but in comparison to the death of an entire fourth of mankind that the four horsemen will cause, it is minuscule—a tiny fraction compared to a quarter of the whole. In other words, the number of COVID-19 deaths would have to be about 350 times greater to reach a fourth of today’s population, which would be almost two billion.
The four horsemen will cause death on a scale humanity has never experienced—yet, astonishingly, the four horsemen only represent the “beginning of sorrows,” as Jesus says in Matthew 24:8. The remainder of the seven seals, followed by the seven trumpets and then the seven bowl plagues, will lead to the death of the majority of humanity, in addition to the loss of much plant and animal life (Revelation 6:8; 8:7–12; 16:3). These cataclysms will be the culmination of God’s wrath upon humanity for its wickedness (Revelation 15:1).
Therefore, to state a sobering fact bluntly, unless the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies substantially, it is not deadly enough to indicate that the four horsemen have begun riding.
This is obviously a sobering point to think about, because COVID-19 has taken the lives of nearly six million people. Most of us, if not all, have acquaintances, friends, or even family members who have died after contracting COVID-19. Yet as deadly and devastating as COVID-19 has been, God is going to allow much worse events to take place because of the rampant evil and wickedness engulfing the world. Perhaps COVID-19 will awaken many people to the need to humble themselves, to zealously turn away from the growing popularity of all kinds of wickedness, and to beg God for His mercy and forgiveness.
Since COVID-19 grabbed the world, many prayers have been prayed, pleading for God’s deliverance and healing. However, it’s not enough to ask God to make the pandemic “go away” if societies continue to sprint toward evil. Before asking for healing, we should ask God for humble and surrendered hearts, because COVID-19 and its variants, most likely, are not even the beginning of the “beginning of sorrows.”