It is a “reasonable probability” that terrorists will use biological weapons to create a pandemic that would kill tens of millions, according to Bill Gates. The scenario the billionaire philanthropist described is disturbingly similar to plagues prophesied to occur in the end-of-days, and terrorists have already made attempts to bring it on.
“Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year,” Gates announced in his address to the Munich Security Conference.
“And they say there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10-15 years.”
While “natural epidemics can be extremely large,” he warned, “intentionally caused epidemics, bioterrorism, would be the largest of all.”
Gates’ assessment brings to mind images of a global epidemic of horrible suffering similar to the last chapter in Zechariah, which states that a plague of sickness will reappear in the end-of-days as divine judgement.
And this shall be the plague wherewith Hashem will smite all the peoples that have warred against Yerushalayim: their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet and their eyes shall consume away in their sockets and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. Zechariah 14:12
As horrifying as it is, Gates’ warning and the Biblical prophecy are both too realistic to ignore. Though most highly contagious and deadly diseases have been eradicated by Western medicine, experts fear that terrorists could acquire strains of these diseases, such as smallpox, that are maintained by government laboratories for research.
Government labs were believed to be the source of anthrax attacks in 2001 in the US and Chile. The disease was spread via letters laced with the deadly virus concurrently delivered to news media offices and the U.S Congress. Five people died of the disease.
Peter Salama, executive director of the World Health Organization, echoed Gates’ fears, stating that his organization, which is the rampart against this threat, is unprepared.
“It’s not if, but when these events are going to occur again,” Salama said. “We need to ramp up our preparedness.”
Such a pandemic would closely resemble the plagues of Egypt, which are predicted in Jewish literature to reappear before the Messiah.
For I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am Hashem. Exodus 12:12
The end-of-days plague is referred to in Kabbalistic literature as part of the “birth pangs of Messiah” (chevlei Moshiach in Hebrew).
It is written in Midrash Tanchuma, homiletic teachings collected around the fifth century, that “just as God struck the Egyptians with 10 plagues, so too He will strike the enemies of the Jewish people at the time of the Redemption.”
This concept was explained by Rabbi Bahya ben Asher, a 13th century Spanish commentator, who wrote, “In Egypt, God used only part of His strength. When the final redemption comes, God will show much, much more of His power.”
Gates stressed that this threat of bio-terrorism could not be underestimated.
“With nuclear weapons, you’d think you would probably stop after killing 100 million,” he said. “Smallpox won’t stop. Because the population is naïve, and there are no real preparations. That, if it got out and spread, would be a larger number.”