Pastor Kent Brandenburg writes the following concerning this Covid-19 crisis which I think is worth a read.
‘Many pastors and theologians have provided their counsel, take, admonition, or encouragement on this virus that is sickening and killing people all over the world. I’ve listened to at least four sermons on it, while going about working at home while sheltered-in-place, a terminology I never remember hearing until now. It’s come up in about every one of my sermons since we knew a pandemic had begun. In addition to the offerings of Thomas Ross in the way of a gospel tract, David Warner from our church wrote one (click on the link here). Those are very good and should be utilized, if people will touch them, considering the virus might survive on the surface of the tract for twenty-four hours.
Here are ten typical subjects right now, no offense to anyone. I’ve brought them up too. They are worth meditating upon.
- God is sovereign.
- Everyone’s going to die.
- God is gracious that this isn’t worse.
- God cares for us more than many sparrows.
- All things work together for good for them who love God.
- Sin is the cause of the virus at least as a byproduct.
- We all deserve worse than this outcome.
- We know not what shall be on the morrow.
- Except we repent, we shall all likewise perish.
- It is only by God’s faithfulness that we are not consumed.
Other related topics addressed are the following: Is livestreaming “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb 10:24-25), is it actual church or a service, at what point do we meet again anyway, or is this the state taking away religious freedom? Those are all interesting and appropriate. This post will take at least a little different tact than any of these above.
Is There A Prophetic Nature to the Virus?
Is the world so wicked that God is sending a shot across its bow to warn it of something much greater to come? Besides just the virus, are signs of the time in the air? The soon return of Christ has been mentioned to me far more often since this started, so it’s something I think about. The virus is not technically a “sign” of the coming of Jesus Christ, so why does it get the attention as that?
The book of Revelation uses the word “plague” and “plagues” several times, and the term plague is associated with apocalypse. The word “apocalypse” is a transliteration of the Greek word that is the title of the last book of the Bible, Revelation. “Apo” means “from,” and “calypse” means “cover.” It literally means “to uncover.” It is the revelation of Jesus Christ. “Apocalypse” has come to be understood in our culture as “the time when the world ends,” and you might add, “with plagues.” Covid-19 is a worldwide plague, which is killing people. The book of Revelation has multiple plagues that kill people.
More people were killed by World War 2, World War 1, the Spanish Flu, the American Civil War, and the Bubonic Plague, especially by percentage. The situation we’re in seems worse. Why? What is it? Through the history of the world, people were accustomed to early death or even the threat of it. Rows and rows of emaciated sick bodies on the verge of dying is intolerable. It seems humanity can stop this and if it can, then it must. It’s a society that will kill millions through abortion, a clandestine death, isolated from human perception. I’m not impressed by its sudden embrace of life. I read it as a selfish embrace, more in the nature of the self-serving.
Covid-19 kills. It doesn’t kill everyone, so the death rate is lower by far than other pandemics. However, we don’t know who it will kill. Some get it and are asymptomatic, another word I don’t think I used in my life before this last month. Since there is no cure, the asymptomatic can be spreading it and give it to someone who is susceptible and to whom it is deadly. The idea right now is that you touch a door knob or cardboard box, not wash your hands, and you might kill your grandparents. There is no antidote.
If something isn’t done, the disease and death rate overwhelms the healthcare industry, where the few sacrifice themselves for the many. More casualties of the few bring greater for the many. Some kind of never before experienced tipping point could occur and the terminology, “mass graves,” is used, and sometimes, “body bags.” Funerals become too risky to attend.
The virus brings apparent justifiable fear, enough fear to stop people from traveling, shopping, and working, all of what results in industry and economy. Industry and economy stops. The supply chain is disrupted. Economy brings people into contact that makes them sick.
Humanity has also become more accustomed to a higher standard of living. Something much lower seems apocalyptic. One could and should call this covetousness or greed. To get what they want, people live right up to the edge, leaving most people one month or less away from bankruptcy. That seems fine for the people, who have money in the bank, except that they are in the minority. Businesses can’t close, because home owners are so close to defaulting on their mortgage or renters so close to not paying the rent, which results in the landlord defaulting on his loan, that the whole system comes tumbling down, this in a matter of mere months. Can it start up again then? Maybe, but only if more money is printed and the federal government borrows the money to bail out more than half the country.
This isn’t over yet. People do not know what will happen. It might take a long time to sort out. The fear stops people from buying, which stops people from hiring, which results in less buying, less hiring, and massive unemployment, the collapse of the housing market, then the banks. I’m describing what could happen, and then the crime. Some are not going to put up with the lesser lifestyle. Some will become desperate and steal. Drug and alcohol use rise. Societies are not accustomed to what’s going to happen. They will turn to leaders that pander to their worst instincts. They will be encouraged by others like them. They have become accustomed to doing what is most expedient.
With due respect to those with the virus who are suffering and have suffered or know or love those who have died from it, this virus is a slap in the hand on a world that deserves destruction. It is not a real apocalypse. That is described in the book of Revelation. However, it is the sample platter. It is a sample like I haven’t, again, seen in my lifetime. People have the opportunity to repent. That is the big question right now. Will they? Will they listen? Is this enough? I don’t think it will still be enough. Yet, believers should use the possible opportunity. I say, possible, because a few perhaps will listen.
2 Chronicles 7:14 Again
2 Chronicles 7:14 doesn’t apply to the pandemic. Solomon had prayed for God to hear Israel’s prayers in the temple he led in building, if Israel found herself suffering through pestilence and famine and war, because of her disobedience. Could she come to the temple and pray out of repentance and have God hear her? The answer is, yes, if my people come and pray with a truly repentant heart, I’ll hear her prayers. That’s all based on God’s promises to Israel and in particular Solomon.
Our country can repent. That will help the country. Perhaps people would then have the discernment to make good decisions that would result in a virus not wreaking so much havoc on a nation. Maybe the disease is a message to the world. The world, and our nation, should take it as such. It should be the Luke 13:1-5 message from Jesus, to repent. Everyone needs to repent, because either from this virus or the debilitating depression that arises from it or something else, everyone is going to die and face God.
We should be preaching repentance, a message that churches haven’t been preaching, perhaps 80 percent or more. We should be praying biblical prayers. I won’t pray for the disease to end. I’ll trust God to do His will. I’ll pray for boldness and abounding love and knowledge and wisdom. I will pray what God says to pray for his people. I will pray for the governing leaders. I will keep serving and preaching in and through the church. I will not look for something sensational based on a false interpretation of the Old Testament.
As much as ever, people need the Word of God. This break from the regular rush should bring renewed Bible and prayer. It shouldn’t be planning parties and binging on entertainment. We should use this crisis as God would have us, to take advantage of the mercy and grace of God.’ https://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/