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What We Can Learn From Historic Pandemics: The history, heartbreak and hope in past pandemics


Pandemics are not new and history reveals that many pandemics have intervened throughout history with consequences far worse than the one we are experiencing thus far with Covid 19. The COVID-19 pandemic is very mild in comparison to dozens that devastated the world in past centuries. 

The historic pandemic we will consider is known as the Justinian plague 541-542 AD. It is estimated that there were from 25,000,000 to 100,000,000 deaths from this plague in the Roman Empire alone.  The Roman Empire was already in a weakened state and on its final days as a world power. There had been several difficult years prior to the plague that had weakened the Roman Empire. Justinian seemed like the leader that was going to make the Roman Empire “great again”.  He was known as the Emperor who never slept.  He had a strong military background and a vision to return the Roman Empire to its former glory and was well on his way to doing it when the unexpected invisible virus enemy invaded and changed everything. It would at its peak kill from 5000-10,000 people per day in the city of Constantinople alone.  If it were not for the plague Justinian probably would have gone down in history as another great Caesar but the course of history was changed by a devastating pandemic and history remembered him by plague bearing his name.     


A pandemic always causes heartbreak, death, sorrow and loss. A pandemic has always had devastating economic consequences. Most families are affected by knowing or being related to someone they have lost. People who have died in pandemics don’t have the honourable respectable funerals that normal life would offer. Funerals and burial’s are usually done in quarantine style or not allowing funerals at all and therefore leaving heartbroken family members with no closure. Pandemics are known for their dark reign of fear, heartbreak and death. We can understand why all the restrictions and cautions in a pandemic by authorities.  There are never two pandemics exactly alike. 


We are looking to science and medicine to find hope in a vaccine and I am sure they will discover a vaccine in due time. We are fortunate to live in a very scientific advanced society that most in history did not.  We have achieved amazing cures for diseases through science in the last two centuries. It will be a great day when a vaccine is announced for the Covid 19 virus.    

However, I want to conclude with another hope that comes from a different source than science. It has been the book of hope through history and through historic pandemics. We have a book given to us by our forefathers that we have in a large part ignored in our generation.  One time in Canada this book was very important to most families, every community and churches.  This book offered hope in difficult times of crisis.  This book shares a way of life that maybe we can rediscover during these days of isolation and soul searching.  If we can discover the eternal cure for mankind it will deliver us on the other side of this crisis in much better condition than we were before.  The book is one of a kind, it is like no other book every written, it is the Bible. It is the manual for life, living and dying. It gives hope in a broken world of uncertainty, crisis and plagues.   

One answer you will find in its sacred pages is the last enemy to be destroyed is death 1 Corinthians 15:26. It is an amazing claim. Our Lord told a crowd waiting for him to help someone who had died, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. Then he said something more amazing “and who ever lives and believes in me shall never die, do you believe this?” Jn. 11:25-26” Do you see when life is uncertain God can give us assurance and hope if we will seek for it. The greatest thing I want going through a life and death disease is assurance over death. My friends there is some things promised to us on the other side if we will receive it. Christ died on Calvary and rose again three days later to prove that everything he claimed to be and everything he said while on earth was true. I encourage you to join us for our Live Stream services through this Covid isolation time by going to

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Wednesday January 12, 2022