Covid-19 is not 666, where are Christian theologians to educate the world?

By Japheth Ogila | May 13th 2020

On March 13, 2020, Kenya registered her first Covid-19 case after several days of speculations and cross-border checks. The government had insisted that it had activated disease control mechanisms and that the global pandemic would not penetrate Kenyan borders; and if it unfortunately did, then there were adequate preparations to deal with the cases.

Condid-19 being a new viral disease adding to the longer chain of similar pandemics generated anxiety and humour-mongering among the people.

From the linking of the pandemic to the roll-out of 5G network in the UK, to claims that scientists may have biologically engineered the bug in virology lab in Wuhan City, China, the rumours were emerging more than the responses they elicited.

In Nairobi, fear was spreading its tentacles in the estates as cases were being noted. Media houses, health institutions and the government had a lot on their plate. Besides ensuring that citizens were well educated about the spread, protection against the disease and its ramifications, they equally had to deal with manufactured theories.

On one evening just in mid-April, I came across something that left me baffled and sympathetic at the same time. I had my face mask on and a small shopping bag on my hand.

 I stopped by a car which had its trunk open with a variety of green fresh-looking vegetable neatly arranged. Next to it was a woman equally dressed to the satisfaction of the Health Ministry’s minimum standards of keeping the virus away. I was here to buy broccoli; it was a while since I had it.

After our verbal greetings, the prevalent discussions about Coronavirus popped up and she surprised me when she said that those who die of Covid-19 will not see the gates of heaven on the day of resurrection.

I was shocked by her words. We had our transaction but I ended up being in a dilemma. My mind told me to probe her more about her claims and the source of her information. However, the long chain of customers and the dusk to dawn curfew which was lingering, just minutes away, could not let me engage her.

I walked out of the scene in deep thought and asking several questions on what may have triggered her opinion. The basic facts about Coronavirus is that it is a virus whose origin is yet to be established. And, it has flu-like symptoms and mainly the elderly or people with existing conditions.

The 666 speculations

Now, how a virus that was first detected in China and spread to other parts the globe had such huge magnitude on Christian fundamental faith shocked me.

 Few days before the incident, a video showing an unknown man dressed in Muslim attire surfaced online. The man was trying to explain the religious implications of the coronavirus. According to him, Covid-19 pandemic was and is the biblically prophesied 666 number mentioned in Revelations 13: 18.

After connecting these two incidents, reality beamed on my mind that the Christian woman who sold me vegetable implied that the coronavirus is the Mark of the Beast mentioned in the bible in Revelations, whose number is identified as 666.

At this juncture, I empathized with her but was helpless because I could no longer engage her. I could not trace her in the streets of Nairobi to probe her and engage her in biblical discourse.

Aside from this was a similar postulation by a senior person in my church that the Covid-19 is the biblical mark of the beast. We challenged him to explain but his explanations were not meeting the biblical dictates.

Having mentioned the few instances of controversy theories, it feels like there is a huge educational gap to be filled by Christian theologians studying prophesy in explaining the plight of Covid-19 pandemic in biblical prophecy.

Personally, after having studied the bible and the book of Revelations, I am convinced beyond any shade of doubt that Covid-19 pandemic is not the biblical mark of the beast. First, the bible mentions disasters, pestilences, diseases and rumours of war that it prophesied would plaque the world towards the end of the second coming of Jesus.

In Mathew chapter 24, Jesus Christ was responding to a question which sought to unearth the signs of his second coming, to which he willingly gave out.

Mathew 24: 4-8 says “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.  You will hear of wars and rumours of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

Covid-19 pandemic falls within the confines of pestilences prophesied in the book of Mathew. It, however, fails to stand the test as to whether it is the biblical mark of the beast as has been alleged.

Demystifying the myth

First, to answer this puzzle, one needs to decode the biblical and prophetic meaning of the word “Beast” as used in the bible.

The definition is found in Revelation chapter 17. “The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction,” the Bible states in Revelation 17: 11, implying that the word “Beast” in biblical context refers to an earthly king. This could mean a president, head of a monarch, or any other renowned civil leader. This in sense means that the word is assigned human attribute.

When mentioning 666, the bible states in Revelation 13: 18 “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man, and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

When looking at the verse, the triple six number is assigned to a man, a human being, a living creature and not an abstract entity. This rules out any chance of the number being associated with something abstract like Covid-19 pandemic. Those who subscribe to this theory believe that the discouragement of cash transactions is restricting ‘buying and selling’-a decree linked to the beast associated with 666. But the bible is clearer that those who will have the number will not transact, not those who are sick.

The Christian theologians have a daunting but necessary task to fulfil as the world battles the bug. It is time to lead the flock in the right direction.  

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