By Lucy Acebes | The BL


When the coronavirus epidemic swept through almost all the cities in mainland China and many countries around the world with unbelievable speed, a death toll on the rise day by day, it might raise the question, did it all come about accidentally or are there any reasons behind it.

A look back in history could provide us with some hints.

The history of the persecution of Christianity

According to historical records, the Roman Empire was struck with three epidemics, which were widely believed to have a close relationship with its history of persecuting Christians.

The plague occurred the first of three times during the reign of King Nero in 65, and then King Marcus Aurelius from 164 to 180, and the commander-in-chief Gaius Claudius from 250 to 270. During those periods, Christians suffered from the most brutal persecution.

According to Eyewitnesshistory, Nero was the first emperor to start the persecution of Christians by blaming them for the great fire of Rome in the summer of 64. He then ordered the arrest of its members, imposed harsh torture on them, and “put them to death in the most horrific manner for the amusement of the citizens of Rome.”

After that, an epidemic, believed to be severe malaria, broke out claiming the lives of 30,000 urban residents in just one autumn, noted Roman historian Suetonius.

During his reign starting in A.D. 161, King Antoninus Aurelius ordered that the heads and limbs of countless Christians be cut off and hung in the streets. To instigate the persecution, the Romans also slandered the Christians saying that they drank children’s blood.


“The Torches of Nero”, 1882 by Henryk Siemiradzki. According to Tacitus, Nero used Christians as human torches. (Public Domain/ United States public domain tag)

In 165, a disease erupted and was later known as “Antonine Plague” as it claimed the very life of King Aurelius. The pandemic lasted for nearly 20 years and affected the whole empire causing death to an estimated 5 million citizens, said BBC.

The Greek physician and writer Galen (129–c. 216 ), witnessed the outbreak and described its symptoms including “fever, diarrhea, vomiting, thirstiness, swollen throat, and coughing, and inflammation of the pharynx, along with dry or pustular eruptions of the skin.” His descriptions suggest that it was most likely smallpox.”

The third epidemic struck in 251, two years after Emperor Decius launched the attack of the Christians at an unprecedented level, as Bible Study Tools laid out. He issued an edict requiring public sacrifice to the gods and the emperor. Those refuting the order were subsequently put under arrest, imprisoned, tortured, and executed. Subsequently, numerous Christians, refusing to comply, were burned at the stake and thrown to beasts in arenas for amusement.


“The Plague in Rome”, 1869 by Jules Elie Delaunay: The angel of death striking a door during the plague of Rome. (Public Domain/United States public domain tag)

The plague lasted nearly 20 years until the ruling of Gaius Claudius and, at its height, reportedly killed as many as 5,000 people per day in Rome, noted The Atlantic. Decius also met a tragic end—killed in a war. Emperor Claudius, who furthered the persecution also died from the epidemic.


Christian heroes and martyrs (1895). (Public Domain)

Consequently, many scholars have speculated and even concluded that the three pandemics were a severe punishment by God for persecuting the Christians. The emperors who ordered the persecution of the Christians all got retribution and died of infection.

Consequently, many scholars have speculated and even concluded that the three pandemics were a severe punishment by God for persecuting the Christians. The emperors who ordered the persecution of the Christians all got retribution and died of infection.

Religious persecution by the CCP

Historically, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has brought so many bloody massacres to its innocent religious followers:

With the promotion of state atheism, anti-religious campaigns were carried out between 1950 and 1979, precipitating the closure of churches, temples, and mosques, the confiscation of religious texts, and the killing and abuse of religious adherents.

In July 1999, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party at the time, Jiang Zemin, launched a brutal campaign to eradicate the practice of Falun Gong under this slogan: “Destroy their reputations, ruin them economically, and destroy them physically,” according to Nobel Peace Prize nominee and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region David Kilgour.

During the last 20 years, a massive number of followers of this ancient Chinese traditional discipline have suffered arbitrary arrest, detention, brainwashing, rape, torture, death, and the horrendous practice of forced organ harvesting, according to human rights lawyer David Matas, also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for co-authoring with Kilgour the research report “Bloody Harvest.”


Falun Gong practitioner arrested by police in Tiananmen Square in 2001. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The most recent anti-religious campaign was coordinated by current General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping, who re-emphasized that members of the Communist Party of China must be “unyielding Marxist atheists” and also instituted a broad campaign to suppress all forms of dissent.”

Activists have claimed that at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are being held in detention centers in the Xinjiang region, reported The Daily Mail. The cache of leaked documents, as reported by the media, is proof that Chinese authorities are involved in a massive and systemic repression of Muslims and other minorities in western China.


Coronavirus. (Shutterstock)

The Wuhan crisis: Reminiscent of the collapse of the ancient Roman Empire

What happened during the outbreak of SARS and is recurring in Wuhan, China, today poignantly reminds us of the harsh crisis of the Roman Empire.

The SARS epidemic also originated in China and in eight months (November 2002 to July 2003) spread to 29 countries. It reportedly killed over 774 and sickened 8,098, said Business Insider. The mortality rate for SARS was 9.6%, yet, it is widely believed that the real severity of the disease outbreak was underreported by the Chinese regime.”

Seventeen years later, the novel coronavirus plague hit Wuhan and has placed all cities of China on lockdown.

On January 23, people in Wuhan uploaded videos showing many suddenly collapsing, whether it was in a hospital or by the side of the road. The situation was so terrifying, but all too soon the videos were removed. There were many similar cases in the Jingzhou sub-area, where a patient was pulled away from his home by armed medical staff immediately after being discovered. A resident from Wuhan’s Jingzhou subregion commented, “In our region, we also saw sick people fall to the ground the same way.”

A Weibo user said, “Where I was walking in the street, I saw a person suddenly collapse, the scene was very scary.”

The disease has spread all over China and to other parts of the world with unprecedented speed. And up to now, no effective medicine or vaccine has been discovered.


New type coronavirus 2019-nCoV pneumonia in Wuhan has been spreading into many cities in China. People wearing surgical mask sitting in subway in Shanghai. (Robert Wei/Shutterstock)

As of today, according to Worldometers, over 2,800 people have died from the disease and over 83,000 have been infected. The death rate has reached nearly 100 people per day. China’s medicare industry has been overwhelmed with nearly thousands workers confirmed to be infected with COVID19.

People might not be able to help exclamining, “Is history repeating itself?”

Is it punishment for or a warning for transgressions that have been committed?

No matter if one deliberately or unintentionally turns him/herself into an accomplice of evil, he/she still has to bear responsibility.

As an ancient saying goes, “Life and death are determined by Heaven.” So what will God rely on to determine the life and death of a being? It is based on cause and effect, virtue and karma of that individual. When a tribulation occurs, Nature is the fairest measure to determine whether a life is saved or not. In other words, people are responsible for their own words and actions.

The cover photo: “The Plague in Rome”, Engraving by Levasseur after J. Delaunay (Public Domain); Shutterstock; photo illustration by The BL