Zika: New Plague of the End Times

by Hal Lindsey


As he taught about the end times, Jesus said, “There will be… plagues and famines.” (Luke 21:11 NASB)


Today, an untold number of pathogenic catastrophes hang over all our heads.  On the 2015 Prophetic Year in Review, I said, “If you want to read apocalyptic literature, turn to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, or the World Health Organization.  Scientists in those places are all abuzz about ‘superbugs’ — strains of bacteria that are immune to modern antibiotics.”


I didn’t mention cancer.  In ancient times, it seems to have been relatively rare.  In the journal, Nature Reviews, two Egyptologists, Rosalie David and Michael R. Zimmerman, wrote, “A striking rarity of malignancies in ancient physical remains might indicate that cancer was rare in antiquity.”


Since 1973 when the United States began tracking cancer rates, the incidence of it has risen an average of about 1.1% per year.  Despite fewer smokers, and a better understanding of the kinds of foods we should be eating, the numbers just keep going up. 


HIV/AIDS is still considered a pandemic and persists in plaguing the earth.  New strains of flu continue to threaten the world’s population.  Tuberculosis now kills 1.5 million people a year.  On The Hal Lindsey Report, I’ve spoken at length about MRSA, the “Superbug” that one expert said, “Has the ability to plunge us straight back to the Dark Ages.”  And then, of course, there’s Ebola.  No longer making headlines, it still wreaks havoc in some regions of the world, while remaining a threat to everyone on the planet.


It’s been almost a hundred years since the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918 that killed somewhere between 3 and 5% of the world’s population.  Because there are so many more of us now, living so much closer together, and with quick, easy movement between nations and continents, we can only guess at the damage such a pandemic would do today.


Recently, something new burst onto the world’s consciousness — the Zika virus.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Zika a “public health emergency.”  Usually transmitted by mosquitoes, we just learned of a case in Texas that was transmitted sexually. 


Symptoms include fever, skin rashes, pink eye, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.  But health officials say these symptoms are almost always mild and only last for 2-7 days.


So what’s the big deal?  WHO says, “Recently in Brazil, local health authorities have observed an increase in Zika virus infections in the general public as well as an increase in babies born with microcephaly in northeast Brazil.  Agencies investigating the Zika outbreaks are finding an increasing body of evidence about the link between Zika virus and microcephaly.”


According to the Mayo Clinic, “Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in which an infant's head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age and sex.…  Microcephaly usually is the result of the brain developing abnormally in the womb or not growing as it should after birth.”


The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains, “In general, life expectancy for individuals with microcephaly is reduced and the prognosis for normal brain function is poor.”


In areas where the Zika virus is prominent, pregnant women are living in terror.  There is no known cure, and no vaccination.  The best we can do for now, is to help women avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.


Ironically, the best weapon against Zika was outlawed in the United States in 1972 — DDT.  It is the best known pesticide in history.  The scientist who discovered the chemical’s ability to destroy insects, Paul Hermann Müller, received a Nobel Prize in 1948 for his discovery.  But it is not good for a pesticide to become famous.
The book, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, called DDT a killer of birds and a cancer causing agent in people.  Carson was a good writer, and made a strong appeal to emotions and fear.  But her science was faulty.  Many trace the modern environmental movement to her work.  It led to the outlawing of DDT, and caused millions of people around the world to die prematurely.


Mosquitoes carry a variety of diseases.  Malaria is the most deadly.  By using DDT, several African countries had reduced the instances of malaria to near zero by 1967.  After the U.S. outlawed DDT, it threatened to withhold foreign aid to third world countries that didn’t also outlaw it.  The mosquito population again exploded, as did the instances of malaria.  Depending on whose statistics you listen to, malaria today afflicts up to half a billion people a year.  It kills about 2.7 million of them.


Now we have a new killer, again spread by mosquitoes.  How bad will it get?  Will it quickly blow over, or will it become the perfect storm epidemiologists have long feared? 


More than 45 years ago, in The Late Great Planet Earth, I warned of an increase in disease as we approach the end of the age.  That wasn’t an opinion, but something clearly taught in scripture — mostly by Jesus.  Isn’t it amazing that He knew so perfectly the signs of our age 2000 years in advance?
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