Coronavirus – a few thoughts

Coronavirus! Here is, I hope, the last thing I’ll say on this matter.

People are uncovering, as they always do with any and every scary event, COVID-19 buried deeply in some mystical Hebrew code. For example, one guy finds COVID and the accidental death of KOBE – as in the late basketball player – predicted in the Hebrew Scriptures. But only in hindsight did he find this; that is, the Code Man couldn’t tell you what will happen in the next 24 hours, let alone next year.

By the way, the nature of the Hebrew language is that you can find ANY word buried in its “code”. Why, give me a few minutes and I could find my own name, or yours, or Tom Brady,’s, or Meghan Markle’s, and “prove” that the recent events of our lives were foretold in the mysterious text.

The way it works is, you count every X letters – 7 or 10 or 52, any number will do the job – and the Enigma Machinist will decipher its message. People make a big deal out of how this is now done with computers! But frankly speaking, all that means is you can churn out more junk, more efficiently.

A good rule is: If you can find any and every possible coded message hidden in a text, then the text conveys no hidden meaning that is worth talking about. In this article I used one and the same Bible Code methodology on the lyrics of a song from the 1960s and “proved” that Simon and Garfunkel predicted the presidency of Jimmy Carter! And foretold the events of his life after he would leave office!

coronavirus hero

Or just for fun – and it only took me 15 seconds – I will prove by a more conventional route that the Hebrew “predicted” COVID and its accompanying fever. Anyone who reads even a little Hebrew will remember that the equivalent of COVID – k-v-d/כבד – is a very common word in the Bible!

“For day and night your hand was heavy [“heavy”, from the Hebrew K-V-D = COVID!] upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”

So, I could say, Psalm 32:4 literally say, “you put COVID upon me”, making this an embedded prediction that COVID-19 was coming and that it would include long bouts of high fever!

hebrew covid
COVID, right in the Bible!

Let’s go over to the book of Revelation, where others have found a specific prediction of COVID-19. “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts [the word θήριον/therion] of the earth.” Rev 6:8

The supposed new discovery, is that therion does not mean a wild animal, but rather “bacteria” or (this month’s theory) a “virus.” And thus, oh most definitely, COVID-19 is found in Revelation 6! It is based on the popular but faulty idea that, “John did not know the word for helicopter, so he said ‘locust’; in the same way, he didn’t know the word for virus, so he said ‘wild beast’.”

As a matter of fact, this same abuse of Revelation 6 has been used by others to “reveal” that any and all other recent epidemics (SARS, H1N1, Ebola, Zika, etc.) were specifically predicted in that same verse. That is, they were predicted there until the disease blew over, and to no-one’s surprise, prophecy experts no longer found the prediction in the Greek text! Again, a good rule to follow is that, if Rev 6 can be forced to predict any and every disease, then it is not really predicting any particular one.

But that doesn’t really mattet, since, no, therion does not signify “virus”; for millennia it has been translated, correctly, eithe as (1) “an animal of any kind” or as (2) a “ferocious beast”, such as a lion. Here is an example in classical Greek:

“Let us, then say to the speaker who avers that it pays this man to be unjust, and that to do justice is not for his advantage, that he is affirming nothing else than that it profits him to feast and make strong the multifarious beast [therion] and the lion and all that pertains to the lion…” Plato, Republic 588e

It is this second definition that clearly is preferable in Revelation 6, since the threat of roaming ferocious animals is a common divine judgment in the Bible.

While we’re at it, of course, we don’t want to neglect Nostradamus, whose predictions are dusted off every time the pope sneezes. It only took me 5 minutes to prove that Nostradamus “foretold” the corona virus, in Century 9, Quatrain 55:

A horrible war, which is being prepared in the West
The following year the pestilence will come,
So very horrible that young nor old, nor animal (may survive):
Blood (plague?) fire Mercury, Mars, Jupiter in France.

I interpret this as follows, with links to my news sources:

A horrible war, for which Israel is preparing in 2019 over the West Bank
The following year, 2020, the pestilence will come,
So very horrible that people of all ages, especially the elderly, will not survive it and schools will be closed for the young, it will spread by animals.
It is a plague that infects the blood and causes “fiery” fever; it will cause a lockdown in France, some time after the conjunction of three planets.

Piece of cake, no?

There is also circulating around China a supposed hundred-year-old “prediction” of a plague in China in 2020 – it only turned up this year (!) besides, it bears all the marks of being written a short time ago: “the best is to have stored up plenty of gold and food to live and share freely with those you love”. Like the writers of the ancient apocalypses (such as 1 Enoch, Apocalypse of Moses), writers even today write out their own agenda, then put it in the mouth of some past individual. That way they can pass it off as a genuine prediction, but use it as a vehicle for their own take on life.

People also read their own agenda into key world events. The one I heard yesterday was that the Coronavirus really isn’t a thing, but was a panic invented by the Evil Leftist Media and others to destroy the US or Donald Trump. (Note – this theory is not that the media make too much of Corona – and I agree that they probably do – ; it is a conspiracy theory that they are intentionally trying to bring us down). Another, that it was invented by China to destroy us. Or Bill Gates invented it. Jerry Falwell, Jr., never one to be troubled with level-headedness, suggested on Fox that the North Koreans, in cahoots with all of Trump’s domestic enemies, invented it to bring Trump down. As of a few days ago, he was refusing to cancel classes at his Liberty University, because the thing is a liberal invention; he has since backtracked. This all is an excellent example of how someone could actually look at a worldwide pandemic and conclude that the COVID-19 Key to Science and Scripture is whether you like Donald Trump or not.

Or people will exclaim: “Viruses don’t just spring into existence!” or “Who stands to gain from this pandemic?” or the uber-annoying “I’m not sayin’, I’m just askin’ questions!” One famous preacher, who a while back identified Zika as God’s judgment specifically on America, said he knew this because Obama was president at the time; but Corona is not, he has just announced, because Trump is president at this time. This system of interpretation seems logical to him, just plug in when an illness takes place, see who is in the White House (in the United States! because God doesn’t apparently keep up with politics in China, Italy, Spain, France, or care about dead Africans or Asians) and voila.

The rule of logic known as Occam’s Razor says that, all things being equal, one should prefer the simplest explanation of a thing, not the most complicated. The notions that COVID-19 either is a diabolical attack on Donald Trump or that Bill Gates invented it in order to make money on vaccines fall apart under the weight of multiplied assumptions; too many just-suppose-thats, cui-bonos?, there’s-no-other-possible-explantion-thans, this could-be-true-therefore-this-must-be-trues. The same sort of logic that sees ancient astronauts under every pile of rocks.


I suggest that all of the above are examples of panic and cultural-political agendizing, coupled with exegetical slippage, rather than anything like clearheadedness.

Related post: Bible Prophecies that are not actually found in the Bible

“Corona – A Few Thoughts,” by Gary S. Shogren, profesor de Nuevo Testamento, Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica




8 thoughts on “Coronavirus – a few thoughts

  1. Hi Gary, I love that second theory in the Ockham’s razor cartoon. What a hoot. I agree that “therion” means wild beast and not bacteria, but I have to confess that it was the Bible Codes (and the Shroud of Turin) that brought me to Christ. When I first learned of the Bible Codes, it caused me to take the Bible seriously for the first time since I was a child. I have a little history with codes, so I knew that if the Bible was really encoded then only God could have encoded it. Only God knows the future. I agree that the codes people discuss are largely nonsense, as your examples demonstrate, but I do think that nothing in God’s Word takes Him by surprise, and He is more than capable of encoding the Bible if He wants to.

    Now, another confession, I have used Bible Codes 2000 software to look for my own name (last name, first name, middle initial), in the Hebrew Tanach. I found it, and the software’s odds calculator listed the odds as 1 in 300. In that particular matrix, my sister’s name was to my right. The date of her death and the date of her last birthday branched off from her name and the three codes formed a broken triangle. The matrix is largely a family tree, (mother, father, grandparents, children, etc.) and there are very specific codes there that relate to my family and me. The word encode shares several letters with my name. The odds that all of those things are there by chance must be pretty staggering. I’m not a mathematician, though, so I have no idea what the odds are. I do know that my name (last and first) also occurs in just the Torah. It occurs three times and the odd’s calculator listed the odds of that as being less than one in a million. All of that was in Hebrew, and I only used the software’s resources. I didn’t use phonetic spelling for anything. I don’t know if the codes are real, and I do believe most of the things posted about them online are nonsense, but I’m not as skeptical about them as you are. However, all that matters is the plain text of the Bible. And, truth be told, I know Revelation is highly symbolic, but I do believe the symbols point to literal events.

    1. Hi, good to hear from you!

      I took a look at the software you mention, and I think there are other packages on the market. I then looked at some probability analyses that people had written up about them. You said that the Bible Code 2000 software said that “the odd’s calculator listed the odds of that as being less than one in a million”; this is almost certainly fake math, using a metric that isn’t based on real probability. It’s like saying that, “the odds of Gary Shogren’s middle name being ‘Steven’ are one in a million!” Yes, I suppose, but the odds of it being ANY particular boy’s name – James or Philip or Fernando – are also one in a million. It’s a meaningless number.

      The “prediction” supposedly made by Michael Drosnin of Bible Codes fame, the 1992 assassination of Menachem Begin, was a fraud. The trick is, to make a whole lot of predictions, and then only after the fact, point to the successful one and remind everyone that you hit it on the nose. And hope that no-one discovers the 100 predictions that did not come to pass. This is the fallacy known as “Texas sharpshooting”, where a guy fires a lot of bullets into the side of a barn, walks over and circles them with chalk, then claims, “See, I hit every single target!”

      I ran an experiment a few months back, on New Year’s 2020, where I recorded on video my “predictions” for 2020. I will reveal my predictions on New Year’s 2021, and can guarantee you that, I was 100% accurate.

      If you have a book of enough length – Moby Dick is one that people will sometimes use with this sort of code – you can come up with the same results: your name, my name, Joe Biden’s name, etc. Biden will win the 2020 election, Trump will win, neither will win, it’ll all be in there: but no-one on today’s date could tell you which is valid!

      As for Bible Software, no worries! People come to faith through all sorts of ways, and I think God delights in getting us from A to B through roundabout routes. I knew a woman once who came to the gospel through the Jehovah’s Witnesses – whom she later left. That’s great, but it doesn’t prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses are legit. Someone has said: “There is one way to God [Christ]; but many wants to Christ.”

      Many blessings! Gary

      1. Hi Gary, thanks for replying. I wasn’t sure you would since this is so controversial. I understand your skepticism. Codes aren’t important to me — as they once were when I was first saved. As you said, you know a woman who became a Christian out of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I know people who have become Christians watching TBN, so God does whatever it takes to reach the lost! I wouldn’t compare codes to cults, though, and I don’t think your dismissal of the software’s odds calculator was quite fair. I once read the mathematical method of odds calculation used for codes, and it was quite a bit more complex than your example, but I really do understand your skepticism. There has been so much sensational nonsense, (Drosnin for example), that it’s easy to dismiss the idea of a Bible code; but there are things in the “codes” that are hard for me to dismiss as coincidence — such as my sister’s name next to mine, along with the dates of her death and her last birthday, and all of that surrounded by my family tree. That information is in a matrix that is about 1/2 to 2/3 of a page in size. I don’t think I’d find all of that in “Moby Dick”. If I had software for that, I’d give it a try for the purpose of comparison.

        1. Some Bible Code softwares in fact do use Moby Dick, Hebrew translation, as one of their text matrices, and people get similar results as they do out of the Bible. With respect, and I appreciate what you are saying, it’s a trick of math. But, Can you send me the findings of your name and your sister’s? And, what message do you think it was communicating? And what if it wasn’t your sister’s name, but one of 100 other people whom you know closely?

          The thing is, that it was you who fed the data into the calculator, that is, it didn’t say “This is your birthday,” right? That’s what makes me dismissive!

          As you may have read, I found that a Simon and Garfunkel song in the 1960s predicted the election of Jimmy Carter and the subsequent events of his life.

          There have been maybe 113 billion individuals in the world, would you say that all of them and their birthdays are contained in Bible codes?

          Thanks, Gary

  2. Thank you for your thoughts, Gary. I respect your ideas. May we all be clearheaded and trusting the Savior who has already won the victory with every evil. Trusting that our Lord will use this w=and every crisis for His own glory!Much love to you & Karen from Whitehall, PA, my new location at Fellowship Community, Lucy Kahle (still belong to and worshipping at Quakertown BFC when our church resumes public activities!)

  3. Good thoughts Gary. I can’t stand it when people fearmonger about this desise. I’v been hurt very bad by people saying it’s an “endtime plague” or “it’s way worse than the media is telling!”.

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