This year of 2020 may be an interesting year. And it could be a very bad year. The same could be true for 2021.
The world has been poised for dramatic changes for some time. The world economy is fragile because of too much debt. It is not just the United States that is over-ridden by debt. Many other countries face the same problem. An economic crisis or collapse has been anticipated for many years because of it. Yet, nothing has triggered it yet.
Coronavirus could be a trigger.
We have heard of many threatening diseases in the last few decades - swine flu, bird flu, SARS, Ebola, etc. - but coronavirus seems more serious. It can be deadly, and it is easily spread from human to human. It has already spread worldwide and is in many countries including the United States. Both cases and deaths are increasing.
Companies are working on a vaccine, but it takes time, perhaps a year, for a vaccine to be developed and manufactured in quantity. Efforts are being made, with quarantine and treatment, to slow the spread of the disease, but these efforts only seem to slow the spread, not stop it. So there is a race between the spread of the disease and the development and manufacture of a vaccine that can give real protection against the disease and can stop its spread.
Much is still unknown about the disease, but it seems to be most deadly with the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. One article I read indicates it may kill about 1 in 50 of those who get the disease. But this figure may not be reliable and should only be taken as a rough estimate.
Fears of the disease and efforts to limit its spread can hurt the economy, which is already fragile because of debt. Already the stock market has been hit and gold prices are up.
Coronavirus can be the trigger for an economic crisis or collapse. The real cause is debt, but the disease can be the trigger that starts a collapse.
The disease has spread in China first and is hitting China hardest. This may hurt China's economy and limit its growth in world power, permitting Europe to become more dominant.
The disease can also be used as an excuse for those who want to create a cashless society. This is because of the possibility that the disease might be spread by handling money. A cashless society may be needed for the enforcement of the mark of the beast, that no one can buy or sell without the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17).
In a cashless society, all money transfers are done electronically or with checks, both of which require bank accounts. Governments can control banking and require anyone opening or holding a bank account to sign a bank agreement, and in that agreement can be statements of belief that the beast power wishes to enforce upon mankind - anything from Sunday observance to any doctrinal matter the beast wants to enforce. To hold a bank account, you have to sign the agreement. Without your agreement, no bank account. Without a bank account, if society is cashless, no money. No money or access to give or receive money, no buying or selling.
You could trade to survive, mowing a lawn for a meal for example, but not buy or sell.
The coronavirus can cause a lot of deaths. If 1 out of 50 die, mostly elderly, and if most people in the United States get the disease as it spreads out of control before a vaccine is developed, it could cause six million deaths here. Maybe it would not be that bad, but it is too soon to know. Worldwide the figure would be vastly greater. This could affect many families.
It can affect the coming presidential election. In one sense, it can affect President Trump's popularity if people feel he has not done enough to fight the disease. But it can also affect election turnout.
The election will be about 8 months from now, perhaps when the spread of the disease is at its peak. Some voters may stay home from the election, not wanting to be exposed to crowds of people. The elderly may be most vulnerable and likely to stay home, and the older generation is more conservative, more likely to vote for President Trump. This could hurt Trump's chances in the election. If liberals increase their power in the election, the results could have a serious effect on the Church's freedom to live peacefully and to do God's work.
It can have a dramatic effect on governments, business organizations, and churches. The elderly are often the leaders of society, and they are the most vulnerable to death from this disease. The popes (both of them, the active pope and the "retired" pope) are elderly. Presidents and some presidential candidates could be vulnerable. Many presidents, prime ministers, and top leaders in many nations are elderly. Supreme Court justices in the United States could be at risk.
In any national government in any country in the world, or in any business or religious organization, if top leaders become victims of this disease, they can be replaced by younger leaders with different ideas, agendas, and policies. That is why the coronavirus can be a world changer.
Even in the Church of God, in all its scattered groups, the leading ministers tend to be older. They also are vulnerable to this disease.
It may also affect how some Church of God members observe the Feast of Tabernacles.
How should we prepare?
Face masks, limiting contact, washing of hands, and taking vitamin C can help to protect us as individuals to some extent - maybe.
But we need to prepare for the world trials that may soon come upon us.
Perhaps, as events unfold, the coronaviris crisis will not be as bad as it seems it might be. Much is yet unknown. But the potential is there. And it could be worse than I described.
We all need to get closer to God.
The Church of God has taught for years that we should seek God through Bible study, prayer, meditation, and fasting.
We also need to examine ourselves to prepare for Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
This may be a good time to increase our efforts to draw closer to God, to pray for each other, to pray for our leaders, to pray for God's work.