Bible prophecy teacher Jimmy DeYoung of Chattanooga died last weekend at age 80 from COVID-19, as he was receiving treatment at CHI Memorial Hospital.
DeYoung worked in Israel and hosted the "Prophecy Today" radio program in which he analyzed news stories, typically American or from the Middle East, for potential Biblical implications. He also traveled as a Christian speaker and posted teachings and programs online.
DeYoung's daughter Jodi DeYoung told the Times Free Press her father loved the landscape and opportunities of radio, serving as a play-by-play announcer in Florida and on Air Force radio programs before dedicating himself to Christian ministry.
"Before he got involved in ministry, he was always involved in radio," Jodi DeYoung said. "Our ministry is very intricately involved in radio, video and podcasts. All he did was to get the word out about Christ's second coming. That was his motivation in life."
DeYoung studied at Tennessee Temple University and would later return to Chattanooga with his wife Judy after decades away living in other parts of the United States and in Israel. He founded the Prophecy Today ministry in Chattanooga and recorded more than 1,000 programs, according to his obituary.
"Prophecy Today is a ministry that is dedicated to educating the Christian community on the soon return of Jesus Christ and encouraging Christians to prepare for this event by sharing the gospel," DeYoung's obituary read.
DeYoung's death from the virus drew rebuke on social media and was picked up by the nation news outlet The Daily Beast in an article saying that in February, DeYoung's program hosted another prominent Christian faith leader who characterized the COVID-19 vaccines as a "major deception" and a "present from the devil." During the interview, DeYoung questioned whether the vaccine would become a form of "government control."
"My dad was not an anti-vaxxer," Jodi DeYoung said Wednesday. "He wasn't for. He wasn't against. He never told anyone what choices they should make."
The Bible teacher's Facebook page, which has around 15,000 followers, has been flooded with a mix of supportive comments for the family as well as attacks on DeYoung.
"We're just trying to keep the focus on the Lord," Jodi DeYoung said.
Many of those following DeYoung's ministry online offered their thanks for his teaching and guidance. A memorial service for DeYoung was held Friday at 3 p.m. at Red Bank Baptist Church. The event was open to the public and was also streamed on the church's website.
DeYoung, an Air Force veteran, was buried with military honors in the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
Contact Wyatt Massey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6249. Follow him on Twitter @news4mass.