The Beasts of the Earth . . .
Vol: 27 Issue: 13 Saturday, December 13, 2003
Emergency rooms across the country are jammed with flu victims. In Seattle, there have been more people treated for the flu so far than it did for the entire flu season last year. School districts in Idaho had so many flu cases that they closed for days, and nursing homes report a spike in flu-related deaths. A Roman Catholic church in Gallup, N.M., stopped passing the chalice at Communion this week on a doctor’s advice.
At least two newspapers are comparing the current flu epidemic with the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that killed a half-million Americans and more than fifty million people world-wide. That pandemic infected one fifth of the world’s population and the final death toll after one year killed more people than all the deaths on all sides during the four years of World War One.
Stockpiles of this year’s vaccine are dwindling, and making matters worse, this year’s strain doesn’t match the vaccine, making the flu shots we have less effective.
According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, every year, the flu kills some 36,000 Americans, but the CDC says it is likely that the death toll this year will be much higher.
My wife and I didn’t get the flu shot this year. Instead, yesterday, we got the flu. I can say from personal experience that it is everything it is cracked up to be.
In its comparison between the current epidemic and the 1918 Spanish Flu, the Rocky Mountain News noted that famous novelist Katherine Ann Porter was a young reporter for that newspaper when she was infected by the Spanish Flu. Porter barely survived the disease, which killed her fiancee. Later, she wrote a short novel based on her experience. She titled it, intriguingly, “Pale Horse, Pale Rider.”
“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:8)
The current epidemic isn’t, of course, the pandemic foretold during the Tribulation. (Although it feels like it to me) We aren’t in the Tribulation, and this influenza outbreak is nowhere nearly as widespread or as deadly as the one that decimated the planet in 1918.
But it is a reminder that the rider on the pale horse won’t be deterred by modern medicine. The ‘pale’ horse of Revelation 6:8 is translated from the Greek word, ‘chloros’ which actually means a pale, greenish, sickly color. It says that power is given him over a fourth part of the earth. (The 1918 pandemic infected a fifth part of the earth)
His tools are the sword, hunger, and the ‘beasts of the earth’. The word translated ‘beasts’ is from the Greek root ‘therion’ which is used uniquely in this passage. In other passages, ‘beasts’ are translated from the Greek word ‘zoon’ which can be either a man or an animal, depending on the context. But the rider on the chloros horse kills with the ‘therion’ (beasts) of the earth. ‘Therion’ refers to a venomous living thing.
A virus is a living thing. And, as I can attest to personally, (as can many of you) this virus is as venomous as anything I’ve experienced in my lifetime.
I am also a bit light-headed and somewhat dizzy, so please forgive me if today’s OL isn’t up to the standard of excellence that you deserve. I pray God’s protection over each of you and your families this flu season.
And may God bless America.