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God is the author of goodness
The word translated “pestilence,” in the Bible, is also often translated as “plague” or “disaster.” God created the world perfect (Genesis 1:31) but sin brought death (Romans 6:23). A pestilence is the result of sin. God blesses and also sends disaster and pestilence according to His wisdom (Isaiah 45:7; Habakkuk 3:5). He allows “evil,” whether moral or physical, that humans and angels may witness the result of a departure from the eternal principles of right (Daniel 4:17). In Scripture God is often represented as causing that which He does not prevent (2 Chronicles 18:18).
God’s covenant with Israel
The blessings of God to Israel were conditional, dependent upon their obedience to His just requirements. God promised protection from the evil one, if Israel remained faithful (Deuteronomy 28:1). Moses instructed the Israelites: “If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law … then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues—great and prolonged plagues—and serious and prolonged sicknesses. Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you” (Deuteronomy 28:58-60 also Leviticus 26:25; Amos 4:10; Numbers 14:12).
When Israel backslid, they lost God’s protection. And consequently, they reaped the curses. Pestilence was one of these curses (Deuteronomy 32:24; 1 Chronicles 21:12; Jeremiah 42:22. Ezekiel 7:14–15). Some of these specific pestilences took place with Korah’s rebellion in the wilderness (Numbers 16:49), with Israel’s lust after flesh foods (Numbers 11:33), with Israel’s immorality at Baal Peor (Numbers 25:9) and with David presumptuous census (2 Samuel 24:15).
God’s purpose of allowing pestilences was redemptive in nature. He wanted to bring Israel back to the path of righteousness. “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).
Jesus forewarned of pestilences that will plague the earth at the end of times (Luke 21:11; Matthew 24:7). For He will judge the nations for their iniquity. “Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her” (Revelation 18:8).
The nature of these “plagues” is given in Revelation 16:19; 17:16; 18:8, 21. Revelation 18 gives a a graphic but symbolic description of these “plagues.” The first five of the seven last plagues are poured out mainly on those who will join Babylon—the rulers and the inhabitants of earth (Revelation 17:1, 2, 8, 12). Therefore, God calls His faithful children who are in Babylon, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
Protection from pestilences
The Lord gave a message of comfort for all who pass through times of trouble, and especially for God’s commandment-keeping people, and for those who shall experience the time of trouble and the perils of the last days. He promised, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence” (Psalm 91:1-3).
God’s faithful children “will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday” (Psalm 91:5–6). They will not fear for by His strips they are healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).). Thus, they will never have to experience God’s judgments of pestilences because they will have His promised protection through trust in Christ and faithfulness to His commands (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
In His service,