Isaiah 26:20: “Hide yourselves for a little while”

Question: Dear Bible Students – praise the Lord… Our government arranged a lockdown from March 26, 2020.  The Bible verse in Isaiah 26:20 says, ”Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath is past.  For behold, the LORD is coming forth … to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity…”  Is the above verse a prophecy telling about the corona virus, which causes the people to suffer a lot?

Answer:  Thank you for your question. We think while it is possible that Isaiah 26:20 relates to the current pandemic, it is unlikely. We believe the verse relates more toward the broader message of taking refuge in the Lord and trusting upon him and his promises toward his people for deliverance (see Psalms 91:1-16). This is not to say we are promised literally to be insulated from ever being affected by what is happening around us.  Our Lord Jesus in this present time is preparing for the establishment of his Kingdom on earth. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Isaiah 26:20 reminds us of the similar situation when the Jews were in Egypt in bondage and God’s plan to release them. The last of the plagues was the death of the first born of Egypt. The Jews were instructed to put the blood of the Passover lambs on their doorposts and lintels and to go inside and not come out until the angel of death had passed over the land.  As God’s people, we are admonished to abide by God’s word, trust in him that “all things work for good to those that love God and for those that are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).  We know that come what may, he has a plan and that “all the nations of the earth will be blessed” by it eventually when fully implemented.  We are not to worry as we know the end will be wonderful and beautiful.

Jesus told us in Matthew 24 of things which must come to pass before the establishment of the Kingdom. Many understand that the last plagues referenced in Revelation are symbolic of judgments upon Christendom and the world in these last days of the Gospel age. They mirror the plagues described in Egypt. Many also see the plagues as possibly having a cumulative effect as well as a sequential effect and in essence compound with one another. We must keep in mind the true context. The COVID-19 is a new strain of flu virus that is likely to have been manipulated by man making it very infectious among humans and either accidently or purposefully released. Prior flu strains that have circulated among the population over the years have killed millions.  In 1918, a global flu pandemic killed hundreds of millions worldwide, and was of much greater magnitude than COVID-19. Being a new strain, there is no reasonable level of individual or comprehensive immunity developed within the population yet, so it seems very severe. Mankind is attempting to spread out the rate of infection over a longer time in order to avoid overwhelming our ability to treat those needing hospitalization. This is to avoid a 1918-like result.  As we develop vaccines and exposure becomes more widespread, COVID-19 will become part of our normal annual flu threat along with its normal mutations and adaptations. What we need is to reduce the number of people who need medical treatment for the disease and to keep the number manageable within our resources to treat them. What is important now is that we do our part to try to follow the guidance of those God has placed in positions of leadership, practice love for our fellow man and take the necessary precautions to protect one another. Most critical is to pray to God for his guidance and deliverance.