Rule number one is “have no other gods before me.” Again and again throughout Scripture, idol-worship is followed by plague and general devastation. The plagues against the Egyptians are the most famous, but most often God strikes His own people with pestilence and plague as retribution for falling away and worshiping other gods. Old Testament history could be summed up as a repeating cycle of the chosen people falling away and God striking them with some calamity or another, after which they return, but only for a short time before they fall away again, and the cycle repeating itself.
It is important to remember that the justice God unleashes in the form of plague, or various other calamities, is not the end God desires. Rather, this is done to effect change in the people’s hearts, by which God draws them back to Himself, where they belong. Just as a good father disciplines his children when they err so as to instill in them right behavior, so God must at times discipline His own people.
As we are in the midst of a worldwide plague, it is fitting to ask the question, “is this from God?” Many Christians, however, are reluctant to do so, publicly, at least. That is unfortunate, for they miss the opportunities it provides. Seeking instead to sit comfortably with the world, they scoff at those who question a divine motive, as though the idea were superstitious and primitive. But we see how a divine-origin plague can grant the Christian the opportunity to step away from the world; such plagues provide a break by which the Christian who has become a little too complacent with the ways of the world can stand apart and bear witness to the awesome power of God, and His justice, which is really mercy to those who recognize His voice and heed His call to repentance.
It should be recognized that plagues are sent not only by the God of the Old Testament (as though He were different then). If we fall into idolatry, Scripture promises us that God will send plagues, famine, war, and the like, just as He has always done, for idolatry is no less offensive to Him now than it was in olden days. Revelation 22:18a: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book.”
And Deuteronomy 4:2–4: “You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you. You have seen for yourselves what the Lord did with regard to the Baal of Peor — how the Lord your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, while those of you who held fast to the Lord your God are all alive today.”
Do not commit idolatry, or I will strike you down is the message. That’s not a threat; that’s a promise.
There have been a number of visions given, and Marian apparitions attested to, throughout the history of the Church. One of the biggest was in the town of Fatima, Portugal. Our Lady appeared to three young shepherd children a few times, the last of which was on October 13, 1917, during which she performed the Miracle of the Sun, which was witnessed by as many as 100,000 people. As in all Marian apparitions, she urged the world to repent, turn from its wicked ways, and return to the Lord, or there would be consequences. Just a few months later, in 1918, the Spanish Flu ravaged the world, killing up to 100 million worldwide.
On October 13, 1973, Our Lady appeared to Sister Agnes Sasagawa in Akita, Japan. She warned her that if mankind did not repent, there would be disastrous consequences: “It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity.”
Note the connection of October 13 between Fatima and Akita, both of which, by the way, are apparitions thoroughly investigated by the Catholic Church, found to be authentic visitations of the Blessed Virgin.
On October 6, 2019, Sr. Sasagawa’s guardian angel appeared to her (who had also appeared in 1973), and told her (the world) to “put on ashes and pray.” Sr. Sasagawa said, “I feel the time is near” (referring to the time Our Lady had warned of in 1973). This message from the angel did not include a promise that by repentance the coming calamity could be averted.
October 6, 2019 also happens to be the first day of the Pan-Amazonian Synod at the Vatican. That synod brought pagans from the Amazon into the Vatican, and they brought with them their idol, Pachamama, which is essentially a Mother Earth figure. Pope Francis (author of the book Our Mother Earth) blessed the idol and was present at and participated in ceremonies honoring the idol, and it was later paraded into St. Peter’s Basilica. (A brave, righteous young Catholic man eventually threw some iterations of the idol into the Tiber.) Roughly 40 days from the beginning of this sacrilegious synod at the Vatican, a plague was unleashed upon the world, one that hit Italy particularly hard (during Lent, the time in the Church designated for repentance and sacrifice in preparation for Easter).
Please note how Fatima (October 1917 — followed by the Spanish Flu the following spring) is linked to Akita, and Akita is tied to the synod (October 2019 — followed by COVID-19 reaching the West in the spring).
The question remains: “did God strike the world with COVID-19?” I don’t know for certain, but signs point to it. The purpose of this article is not to prove that COVID-19 is a scourge sent by God in response to idol-worship in the Vatican (it would be presumptuous to declare to know the mind of God in such a way), but to suggest that pagan idolatry angers God today just as much as it did in the time of Moses, and that it is not childish, or superstitious, to look upon a plague of this magnitude and ask, “Is this from God?” We have to be careful not to assign divine justice to every calamity, like Katrina, and 9/11, but with a pestilence of this magnitude, I think the question is appropriate.
There also happens to be another plague upon the world right now: locusts.
Mainstream media across the board are describing the current plague of locusts as “of biblical proportions,” even using biblical imagery of the locusts “blotting out the sun,” straight out of Exodus. The COVID-19 pandemic and global shutdown is “unprecedented.” Church doors all over the world were closed on Easter Sunday for the first time since Constantine walked the earth. Is it so outrageous to think that God might be at work here, or are we just too shy to submit such a theory to our friends? Or maybe we’ve forgotten that God can act in this way. Perhaps we’ve become a little bit too comfortable in the world, and we’ve bought into the lie of a kinder, gentler God.
Perhaps this time is good for us (all tragedies considered), and maybe we need some time of prayer in the desert to stand apart. If this is of God, then, most likely, this message is for us. And if God sends a plague and the message still doesn’t get through…look out!
Jim Partlow converted from Protestantism in 2003 and, ten years later — after two years at St. Mary’s Seminary — discovered his true vocation, which is to serve the faithful explaining and defending the Catholic faith. Jim lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his beautiful wife and two lovely daughters, has a Bachelor of Music degree in theory/composition, and spends his days playing jazz piano and running his website, braincoffee.net. He can be found on Facebook (Brain Coffee) and Instagram (braincoffeemedia).