I'm actually quite glad I finally got around to writing more about the Bible, but in today's post I'll sound like a conspiracy theorist. Because the truth is, all we can do right now is guess. There's nothing definitive, but here are a few theories for how 2020, for the most part, could potentially spell out the end of the world.
All Bible quotations here are from the Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
During my investigation, I chose to begin in Revelation 6. This is after the more Jesus-centered section, where He is revealed to be the Lamb who can open the scrolls. When each of the scrolls is opened, something happens. The first four, you guessed it, summon the Horsemen that Jesus sends with specific jobs.
In Rev. 6:1-2, the first Horseman is dispatched, which I assume is Conquest, for it says, "he went out as a conqueror to conquer." If historical events can be in line for this, it could be the European powers' conquests in Africa and the Americas. If not, then perhaps Hong Kong's issues– and Beijing's recent internationally applied law– could be counted by God as "conquest." Or perhaps the conqueror is waiting for the perfect moment to strike? Or, if you want to be really conspiracy-theorist, it's the Democrats "conquering" America and bending it to their will. I don't think that's happening to any extent to which it can be considered a conquest, though.
Revelation 6, verses 3 and 4, tell us that when the second seal is opened, a "fiery red" horse appears, and its rider is tasked to "take peace from the earth, so that people would slaugher one another." Since I went through this in June, the Black Lives Matter protests, and their coincidental riots, were fresh on my mind. I considered the riots as a possible candidate for this "war." Also, I don't know of a translation that uses the word "war" in these verses, so it doesn't actually have to be a war.
There are other conflicts around the world that are moreso considered wars than our riots. If you're willing to accept historical conflicts for this, there have been two World Wars since the European conquest of the Americas. In 2020, there are the Syrian civil wars, which attract international attention sometimes due to violations of the rules of war, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which might be a bit closer to home for God, with his "chosen people" involved.
The third Horseman, which could represent famine or some sort of shortage, is told in Revelation 6:6, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, but do not harm the oil and the wine." I'm not entirely sure what the selling price for wheat and barley was at the time this was written, however the words "but do not harm" hint that there was harm done to its antecedents. In other words, wheat and barley become more expensive, indicating they're perhaps harder to find, so there perhaps is a famine.
I can't think of many prominent examples of famine, but I'm sure there were many since World War I, including potentially World War II. We'll come back to World War II later. Due to the coronavirus, it's also possible this refers to the toilet-paper-and-everything-else shortage that occurred not just nationwide, but certainly worldwide.
In Rev. 6:7-8, John writes that there was a pale green horse, with its rider named Death. He was given authority to use whatever means he could, including the sword, famine, plague, and "the wild animals of the earth." This, I feel, is not terribly different from Conquest and War. Conquest often involves death, as does war.
Potential killers on this list include an obvious plague, the novel coronavirus, and its corresponding disease, COVID-19. The riots could be considered under this category as well.
The Fifth Seal
Revelation 6:9 says, "I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the word of God and the testimony they had given." This immediately brings up thoughts and memories of Christian martyrs. When Christianity was relatively new, there were many, such as Paul, who put their lives on the line for the advancement of the Gospel. There are many martyrs in places like China, even to this day. And I'm sure it's near impossible to get the Gospel into places like North Korea, too.
You can see there are quite a few possibilites that God may consider to be under these apocalyptic event categories. Remember that these are just guesses, and we don't know what is to come for us. God may have something in store that's SUPER OBVIOUS, if the year 2020 doesn't make you feel like you're living in the end-times. But that (another) looming threat of World War III, the coronavirus, and the riots occur in the same year (unrelated, but it's election year) is rather suspicious and leads me to brace for whatever God throws our way throughout the rest of the year.
Part 2 can be found here.