by Terry Laughlin | Dec 17, 2021 | Christmas
Recapturing the Heart of the True Saint Nicholas
Every year we see American culture feed the flesh and cling to the world view of celebrating Christmas, which is the surmise of misrepresenting a person’s good name. This is especially true of Saint Nicholas, who is referred to now by the modern-day name, Santa Claus. (St. Nicholas – The Man Behind Santa Claus; Saint Nicholas and the Origins of Santa Claus; December 17, 2018) It must be understood there are articles written about Saint Nicholas which indicate he was a true servant of the Lord. There are also articles which try to discredit the works God did through him.
According to some, Saint Nicholas exercised his Holy Spirit gift of giving to meet the needs of the poor. He exercised his Christ apportioned gift of preaching to boldly stand up against false teachings and to fulfill his part of the Great Commission. Just as Jesus was falsely attacked and hated by the world – Saint Nicholas has been falsely discredited and his name adulterated by a world view. The Bible says those in the world will hate Christians because of Jesus. (Matthew 10:22; 24:9)
This article is meant to reinstate the truths the real Saint Nicholas lived by and encourage you to follow his life as he strived to live for the Lord Jesus Christ. This article is not a complete exposition on the life of Saint Nicholas, nor am I (Bible Teacher, Terry Laughlin) ignoring the fact there are those who believe the information in this study is simply legendary elaborations.
I would propose to you: Let the life applications presented in this article enable you to overcome the world view of feeding the human flesh at Christmas time and become a true blessing by meeting the needs of the poor in a way that prepares you to enjoy eternal blessings from God.
The Points in This Article:
- The Simple Facts about Saint Nicolas
- Ordained Servant of the Lord
- His Exploits
- He Withstood the Cost
- Gave Secretly and Generously
- Miracles God Did Through Saint Nicholas
The Simple Facts
Very little is known about the historical Saint Nicholas and the earliest accounts of his life were written centuries after his death, with many being legendary elaborations. We do not have original writings of Saint Nicholas because he lived during turbulent times of the Roman history, a time when writings were often destroyed as well as written on papyrus and parchments which were not durable. In order for his writings to be kept for us to read, someone would have had to recopied them as time brought deterioration on the writings, of which they could not have been read clearly. This gives us a good explanation why we do not have any original writings of Saint Nicholas. (Wheeler 2010, page VIII)
The earliest mention of Saint Nicholas (Blacker, Burges & Ogden 2013 pp 249-250) tell us by the 6th century, his [life and work had a great influence on many]. Saint Nicholas was also called Nikolaos of Myra a Historic 4th century Christian saint born 270 AD in Patara, Turkey and died 343 AD in Myra, Turkey. (Who Is St. Nicholas St. Nicholas Center; St. Nicholas Orthodox America) According to Wikipedia and other known resources, “Saint Nicholas was an early Christian Bishop of the ancient city of Myra in Asia Minor during the time of the Roman Empire. He provided for the poor and sick of which he was in the habit of giving secretly and whom the modern-day Santa Claus arose to popularity.” (biography.com/people/st-nicolas; Wikipedia: Saint Nicholas; Who is St. Nicholas; St Nicholas; Facts About Saint Nicholas: listverse.com; Church Honors St. Nicholas Day December 06, 2021, Fox 21 Local News, Duluth, MN)
According to an article in The Orthodox Church in America (Founded in 1749 – Granted Autocephaly in 1970): “Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia is famed as a great saint pleasing unto God. He was born (as the fruit of prayer) in the city of Patara in the region of Lycia (on the south coast of the Asia Minor peninsula) and was the only son of [Christian] parents, Theophanes and Nonna, who had vowed to dedicate him to God.” Much like Samuel of the Bible for Hannah said, “I asked for him from the Lord (1 Samuel 1:20).” Hannah dedicated her son Samuel to God’s work (1 Samuel 1:22-28).
Eastern Emperor Theodosis II (ruled 401-450) ordered the building of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Myra, which thereby preserves an early mention of Saint Nicholas. (Wheeler 2010, p. ix) The Byzantine historian Procopius also mentions that Emperor Justinian I (ruled 527-565) renovated churches in Constantinople dedicated to Saint Nicholas. (Blacker, Burges & Ogden 2013 pp 249-250; Wheeler 2010. P. X)
St. Nicholas’ name occurs as “Nicholas of Myra of Lycia” on the tenth line of the list of attendees at the Council of Nicaea recorded by historian Theodore in the Historiae Ecclesiasticae Tripartitee Epitome, written between 510 and 515. (Wheeler 2010 p. ix; Blacker, Burges & Ogden 2013 pp. 249-250) The biography of Saint Nicholas of Sion mentions Nicholas of Myra. (Seal 2005, pp.14-15) In, The Life of Saint Nicholas of Sion holds information, stating he the author visited the tomb of Saint Nicholas of Myra to pay Saint Nicholas honor. (Seal 2005, pp.14-15; Wheeler 2010. P. X; Blacker, Burges & Ogden 2013 pp. 250)
There seems to be evidence there was a tomb that could be visited and there are highly respected theologians who have shared their research on the accounts and life of Saint Nicholas. Theologian Eustratius of Constantinople, in his treatise, De statu animarum postmortem (written c. 583), gave references dating back to the late fourth and early fifth centuries one of them being the “Life of Saint Nicholas,” all indicating Saint Nicholas was a real person and lived by truths we should be considering.
The earliest complete account of Nicholas’s life which has survived to the present time is Life of Saint Nicholas, written in the early ninth century by Michael the Archimandrite (814-842) nearly 500 years after Nicholas probable death. (Wheeler 2010, pp. xi) Catholic Historian D.L. Cann and medievalist Charles W. Jones both consider Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas as being the only account of Saint Nicholas which is likely to contain any historical truth. Despite its extremely late date, Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas is believed to have heavily relied on older written sources and oral tradition. (Introduction to Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas; Lendering 2006, p. Nicholas of Myra)
Like everyone who is or has enjoyed a great work with the Lord, their labors have been drawn into question, accusations made and been ridiculed by criticisms of which Saint Nicholas is no different. Everyone’s work will be examined by the Lord and will receive their reward according to their faithfulness. This includes Saint Nicholas, those who have written to enlighten us about him and those who feel they need to discredit his work to protect us from worldly fables. (1 Corinthians 3:15; 2 Peter 3:10)
Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox believers in God has revered Saint Nicholas as a great saint who walked with the Lord. Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Reformed churches have been named in honor of Saint Nicholas. (Patheos, on the Way, Phil Fox Rose, December 06, 2012; Wikipedia, St. Nickolas)
Both the Eastern and Western churches honor him. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Russia, Greece, Apulia, Sicily, and Lorraine. He is regarded as the special patron of children. His feast is December 6. (St. Nicholas Day Blessing – December 06 – Thomas G. Simmons)
Research has uncovered information which should move us to want to grasp the truths Saint Nicholas lived by, so we can truly honor what he stood for. The Bible tells us to “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:7)
Ordained Servant of the Lord
The Orthodox Church in America tells us all through Nicholas’s childhood, he studied the word of God, spending his days in the church and at night he prayed and read books. In doing so he equipped himself to be a vessel of the Holy Spirit. Bishop Nicholas of Patara rejoiced over the spiritual growth and righteous living of his nephew, he ordained him as a reader, then elevated [his nephew] to the priesthood, making him his assistant. Saint Nicholas taught the congregation the truth of God’s Word. In serving the Lord, Saint Nicholas of Myra was able to effectively, gently and accurately teach the truths of God, much like a Biblical Elder of the church of Jesus Christ. Saint Nicholas of Myra was constant at work, unceasing in prayer and walked in step with the Holy Spirit enabling him to be kind-hearted toward the Body of Christ and to people who were afflicted by sin and the devil. (Nicholas Chosen as Archbishop; Linda Funk; St. Nicholas Center)
Listen to these testimonials about Saint Nicholas being a Bishop:
1.) “The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, a model of meekness, and a teacher of temperance. Therefore, thou hast won the heights by humility, riches by poverty. Holy Father Nicholas, intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.” (Troparion – Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese)
2.) Thou was a faithful minister of God in Myra, O Saint Nicholas. For having fulfilled the Gospel of Christ, thou didst die for the people and save the innocent. Therefore, thou was sanctified as a great initiator of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese)
3.) On December 6, we celebrate St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the fourth-century archbishop of Myra in Lycia (on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey). None of his writings exist, but his examples of Christian generosity, virtue and love endure to this day. St. Nicholas is the living embodiment of the words “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20). (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese)
One of the accounts of Saint Nicholas exploits is the intervening for three innocent men who were convicted to die. (Wheeler 2010, p. 38) According Michael the Archimandrite, three innocent men were condemned to death by the governor, Eustathius. As they were about to be executed, Nicholas appeared, pushed the executioner’s sword to the ground, released them from their chains, and angrily chastised a juror who had accepted a bribe. (Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapter 31) Michael the Archimandrite also tells another story in which the consul Ablabius accepted a bribe to put three famous generals to death, in spite of their actual innocence. Saint Nicholas appeared to Constantine and Ablabius in dreams, informing Constantine of the truth and frightening Ablabius into releasing the generals, for fear of hell. (Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapter 33)
Withstood the Cost
“When the Roman emperor Diocletian took power, he instigated a horrific persecution of Christians. Nicholas was imprisoned and physically tortured (pinched with hot iron pliers) for refusing to deny Jesus as God. One account mentions the prisons were so full of church leaders there was no room for the actual criminals.
After the reign of persecution ended, Nicholas would still face a fierce testing of his faith—this time within the church. A preacher named Arius began promoting a heresy that Jesus was not God in the flesh. Arius even went so far as to set his false teaching to music by putting words to popular drinking songs. Constantine, the new leader of the Roman Empire, called together church leaders at Nicea to discuss Arius’ teachings and other issues dividing the church. This was called the Council of Nicea. According to legend, as Arius was making his presentation, he began singing one of his blasphemous songs about Jesus. Unwilling to see this man shame Christ, Nicholas stood up and punched Arius in the mouth. Those in attendance were shocked! Although they understood Nicholas’ need to stand up for Christ’s reputation, they did not believe they could allow such behavior since Christ taught us to love our enemies and live a life of peace. Therefore, Nicholas was no longer allowed to serve as bishop. But this action did not stop Nicholas from serving the sick and needy.” (The Voice of the Martyrs; St. Nicholas: The Real Story of the Man Who Became Santa Claus; December 08, 2014) (It’s noted he was later restored to his position.)
Gave Secretly and Generously
The modern-day presentation of Santa is a great contrast of the original life of the true St. Nicholas. The real Saint Nicholas knew the truths of what Jesus taught. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)
Saint Nicholas reputation evolved among the faithful early Christians as being a person who did secret giving, (The Patriot Post; William Federer, December 06, 2021; St Nicholas Center / Seal, Jeremy The Epic Journey from Saint to Santa Claus New York: Bloomsbury Publishers 2005 pp. 152, 153; Pathway for Families Ministries) which is in line with how Jesus taught Christians in regard to giving to the needy. He was often seen by others making his way through the night to leave money in shoes which were laid on the porch outside doorways or tossing money bags into open windows of people who were in need. (Catholic INSIGHT; Saint Nicholas’ Love for the Destitute and Needy Father Mario Attard, OFM, Cap – December 06, 2021)
Miracles God Did Through Saint Nicholas
Historians have written about the amazing miracles that have been enjoyed by many as Saint Nick prayed in faith to God, in Christ name.
Miracle 1.) Tells how during a terrible famine, a malicious butcher lured three little children into his house, where he killed them, placing their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them off as ham. Nicholas, visiting the region to care for the hungry, not only saw through the butcher’s horrific crime but also his prayer to Christ birthed forth the resurrections of the three children from the barrel. (The Many Miracles of St. Nicholas, Colton Kruse, December 19, 2019)
2.) According to another story, during a great famine that Myra experienced in 311–312, a ship was in the port at anchor, loaded with wheat for the Emperor in Constantinople. Nicholas invited the sailors to unload a part of the wheat to help in a time of need. The sailors at first disliked the request, because the wheat had to be weighed accurately and delivered to the Emperor. Only when Nicholas promised them that they would not suffer any loss for their consideration, the sailors agreed. When they arrived later in the capital, they made a surprising find: the weight of the load had not changed, although the wheat removed in Myra was enough for two full years of food and could even be used for sowing. (The Chestertown SPY, December 03, 2020, Beverly Hall Smith; The Story of Saint Nicholas)
3.) Making a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Christianity—the Holy Land. Desiring a serene time of preparation, Nicholas set sail on an Egyptian ship where the other pilgrims did not know who he was. The first night he dreamed a storm would put them all at peril. When he awoke in the morning, he warned the sailors that a severe storm was coming, but they need not fear, for “God will protect us.” Almost immediately the sky darkened, and strong winds roared round the ship. The wind and waves made it impossible to keep the ship under control. Even with lowered sails, the sailors feared for their very lives and begged Nicholas to pray for safety. One sailor climbed the main mast, tightening the ropes so the mast would not crash onto the deck. As he was coming back down, the sailor slipped, fell to the deck, and was killed. While Nicholas prayed, the storm did quiet, relieving the sailors. Their comfort, however, was dampened by grief over their comrade’s death. As Nicholas prayed over the dead sailor, he was revived, “as if he had only been asleep.” The man awakened without pain and the ship finished the journey to the Holy Land. Nicholas then embarked on his pilgrimage to the holy places, walking where Jesus had walked. (Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land)
4.) One night while staying with a family in Jerusalem, he wanted to pray at the only church remaining in Jerusalem at that time. It was the Church of the Room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion. As he approached the heavy locked doors, they swung open of their own accord, allowing him to enter the church. Nicholas fell to the ground in thanksgiving (8SA.NET: Nicholas Miracles and Other Stories)
5.) His most famous exploit: He gave money secretly to a poor family whose three daughters could have ended up being forced into prostitution or at the very least being accused of being prostitutes, making it impossible to find husbands. Saint Nicholas’ generosity kept the three daughters from a life of prostitution. (Claus of the North Pole, Curious and Unusual Tartans)
In Closing: A prayer written by Richard Roman grasp the heart of Saint Nicholas titled, Santa’s Prayer: “Dear Baby Jesus, please fill my bag this year, with all your love tonight. And help me find each tear, to make their burden light. Too many look to me at this time of the year. I pray that they will see why you came down here.”
Here are some ideas for you as you take time to pray through this Christmas season. 1.) As you pray, acknowledge the reason for the season, thank God for Jesus. 2.) Thank Jesus for leaving heaven and coming down here. 3.) Pray that God’s servants will be obedient to get the word out about the truths of Christmas 4.) Pray that God would send his holy Spirit to draw people to His Son. 5.) Pray that God will enable you to enjoy your family, His precious gift to you. 6.) Pray that God will have His hand, guidance and protection on all your families.
Let the life applications presented in this article move you to give to the poor in a Biblical way, motivate you to live for the Lord Jesus Christ and have expectations of God using you as He chooses. Make time to reinstate the heart of Saint Nicholas!
A great application for us as we desire to bless the people we love with a Christmas gift:
Selecting a Christmas Gift
It is that time of the year when people really start to get serious about selecting Christmas gifts. When purchasing Christmas gifts, one must first remember what is being celebrated. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The key thrust surrounding the first Christmas was proclamation. The angels proclaimed, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). After the shepherds heard the good news, they went into Bethlehem and found Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about the child; all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2: 16-18).
It has been over two thousand years since this historical event and there is just as much need today as there was then to proclaim the birth of Christ. The Christmas celebration is the perfect time to remind or tell people about God’s plan of redemption. After all, it is the time of year we have chosen to celebrate the birth of the Savior who came into the world to save people from their sins.
Before you can select the perfect Christmas gift, one that will proclaim the message of the birth of Christ, you must first understand who Jesus is and the purpose of His coming to earth. Jesus is God’s perfect gift to the world. He is fully God and fully man. “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). He is God in the flesh. The beloved John tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1: 1,2). “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14). Mark Lowry wrote about the incarnation wonderfully when he wrote these words, “Mary, did you know, that when you kissed your little baby, you kissed the face of God? Mary, did you know?”
Jesus’ key purpose for coming into this world is for the redemption of fallen man. The price He paid on the cross meets the need of all mankind, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3: 23, 24).
The perfect Christmas gift that will proclaim the gospel message meets two qualifications: 1.) It must represent the personality of the giver, and 2.) It meets the need of the recipient.
People in this world know the value of a thoughtful gift. When Pastor John Bisagno was working as chaplain to the Houston Oilers, the players gave him an autographed football which every player had signed inscribed with a Scripture from the Bible. Whenever he looks at the football, it reminds him of every player to whom he ministered the Word of God as chaplain.
Christians, among the gifts you give this year, give some that reflect the Christ who lives in you and expresses the need of the recipients to receive Christ as Savior and Lord.
Have a Joyous Christmas celebrating the Greatest Gift!
by Terry Laughlin | Oct 10, 2021 | Coronavirus Truths
A Biblical Look at God’s Chastisement on the Church and His Judgement on America
In this compilation of six Biblical teachings covering Coronavirus are truths to be lived out so we may once again enjoy God’s intervention, guidance and care as we face a pestilence of which many are calling a pandemic, which “could reach dangerous levels which may match that of MERS, which kills one in three infected people.” (Sky News, August 01, 2021)
The Biblical Teachings in this message have six powerful truths which could set our hearts a right with God. They are:
Amidst The Pestilence
Coronavirus, Our National Affliction
Coronavirus, What to Do Pt.1
Coronavirus, What to Do Pt.2
Coronavirus, What to Do Pt.3
In Good Conscience
All these teachings are featured on Sermon Central, all have five-star ratings and will equip you to teach others as to what we are facing and what needs to be done, so God may relent and intervene for His church and this nation.
Amidst The Pestilence
Resting In God’s Hand During Health Afflictions
The Bible is the foundational truth to rest upon during the affliction of a health crisis. The Word of God declares, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ You will not fear… …the pestilence that stalks in the darkness…” (Psalm 91: 1-6)
Let us first look at the most frightening word in this passage of Scripture. “Pestilence” (דֶּבֶר deḇer) means a dreaded disease, an epidemic or pandemic occurrence of sickness that has caused a lot of deaths. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 223). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
All through history, from Biblical times to this date, there have been diseases which have had its negative effects. Epidemics and pandemics will come and go until Christ returns. There will be diseases which will disrupt daily life and may lead to the destruction of many lives. What determines your peace and your eternal destination is the faith you live out before the God of heaven and earth, your personal relationship with Jesus Christ and your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit of Christ.
A Personal God Is Able
Finding peace amidst pestilence begins by understanding God is a personal Deity. The Old Testament gives us His personal names. Unlike today in ancient times a person’s name was more than just a likeable label. (Drane, J. W. (2000). Introducing the Old Testament (Completely rev. and updated., p. 252). Oxford: Lion Publishing plc.)
In the key text there are four descriptions of God which are worth grasping:
1.) Most High (Elyon): He cannot be compared to anyone, He is above all things, He owns and is ruler over everything.
2.) Almighty (Shaddai): Gives us the awareness of God being all-powerful, all-sufficient, a Sovereign ruler who is present all the time.
3.) Refuge (Yahweh): Reveals God’s nature in the highest and fullest sense, stressing His absolute faithfulness to fulfill His promises.
4.) Fortress (Elohim): Reveals to us God’s intensity in revealing His power, preservation and preparation. (Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). In Tyndale Bible dictionary (p. 542). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.)
God is the one to look to when living through an epidemic or pandemic. He rules over all, He is the only true God who is above all, having the power to control and guide the government in all the decisions needing to be made as well as implementing the plans which have been set in place. He is all-sufficient, able to provide everything needed to come up with a treatment, strengthen caregivers and those afflicted. He is able to give wisdom to the medical field, businesses affected, to all whose lives have been disrupted or displaced. He promises wisdom to all who ask. (James 1:5) He can prepare His church to minister to all who have needs while resting on all His promises. He does not just watch from heaven but is omnipresence, present even if the world cannot detect Him. (Anderson, K. (1996). Where to Find It in the Bible. Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.)
The Bible says “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3) Psalm 139:7-12 says, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about be night’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”
Unbelief and spiritual coldness cannot keep God from working in the midst of mankind. In the New Testament we read, “…they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet, He is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:27)
Dwelling In God’s Shelter
Our spiritual condition must be in good order if we wish to enjoy resting in God’s peace through epidemics and pandemics. Scripture says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High…” The child of God who has his mind on the Lord’s will, who considers how the Lord feels about his life (Philippians 1:27) and thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:16) is the one who enjoys God’s guidance, protection and enablement’s. (Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 2, p. 268). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
Christians who dwell in the shelter of the Lord is at home were God makes His will known, they return to the Lord when the world view and the lies of the devil intrigue’s them to live outside of God’s purposes. They acquaint themselves to the call God sets before them and they make it heartfelt-work over everything the Lord places them stewards over. Christians do not only have admittance but have residency, living under God’s provision and protection, resting and enjoying His refuge forever. (Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 876). Peabody: Hendrickson.)
Christians who trust in God live close to Him. (Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 709). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.)
The married couple who makes it their life style to be aware of each other’s desires and needs is the couple who enjoy oneness in what they do. They know how each other respond in life circumstances, there is an awareness of what each other is doing, producing a confidence in each other, especially during crisis. The marriage covenant is the comparison of our relationship with Jesus Christ, with the Body of Christ being the bride. (Revelation 19:7; 21:9) The closer a person gets to God, His Son and walks in obedience to the Holy Spirit, the more he will dwell with the Lord.
To “dwell (יָשַׁב yāšaḇ) means to sit, to inhabit, endure or stay. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 479). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.)
Many approach their relationship with the Lord like many approach their religion, maybe making it to a church service occasionally. We are not to make work, ministries, families and hobbies our dwelling place. When we approach our work, ministries, families and hobbies as being gifts from the Lord, through stewardship, then we seek to be in the Lord’s presence, dwell to have fellowship with Him so we can oversee those life blessing through His enablement. 2 Peter 1:3 says, His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promise, so that through them you participate in the divine nature… (2 Peter 1: 3-4)
Dwelling with the Lord enables us to enjoy God as our refuge (מַחְסֶה maḥseh), indicating a place of safety and protection. Christians can also know Him to be a fortress (מְצוּדָה meṣûḏāh) a strong hold. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 597). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) Holy Spirit illumination of knowing God as our refuge and fortress moves Christians to be loyal. Loyalty is the foundation to Christians seeing their callings through to a healthy completion.
Christians knowing God’s refuge and Him being their fortress, will not fear, like most people in this world do in epidemics and pandemics. The present pestilence does not cause them to fear – they do not panic, they pray for direction, for open doors of opportunities and His will be done. They rest in His goodness as they minister to those in need and they know their eternal home is sure, even if they should catch an infectious disease and pass on.
Are you seen as a child of God, in this pestilence, as one who trust the Lord, resting in His goodness and faithfulness? Or are you seen as one who is over-reacting, hording what others might need. Are you making ways to minister to those who are homebound or maybe afflicted? Are you reasonably obeying those in authority, whom God has placed in charge to get a hold on the present pestilence?
Praying God’s best for you.
- Trust in Christ as your personal Savior and Lord.
- Seek God for His guidance, protection and favor.
- Ask the Lord what He wants us to learn in this trial.
- Ask the Lord to bring this country to repentance.
- Ask God to give wisdom to our government.
- Ask God for a cure.
- Ask God to guide our medical research teams, give strength to all caregivers and protect them.
- Enable the afflicted to respond to treatment.
- Ask God to give you open doors of opportunity to minister to the sick.
Coronavirus, Our National Affliction
God’s Chastisement on an Unrepentant Nation
According to news releases, COVID-19 is on the rise with the government and medical field warning people to take caution, by wearing masks, avoid large crowds, stay home, do not have family Thanksgiving gatherings, etc. According to our government, Coronavirus is afflicting more people and killing thousands who have underling conditions. According to virusncov.com to date there have been 254,311 Coronavirus deaths thus far (November 18, 2020). As of November 05, 2020, according to Wikipedia the United States has had 9,607,336 cases with a 2.4% death rate. The year 2020 has been a year of breeding mistrust towards the news media, government and the medical field. In Deuteronomy chapter 28:20 one of the cruses promised to a nation who disobeys God is confusion. The Hebrew word for “confusion” (מְהוּמָה mehûmāh) can mean panic, disturbance, turmoil, trouble or vexation. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 576). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship; Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.; Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.; Weber, C. P. (1999). 486 הוּם. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 212). Chicago: Moody Press.)
In fact, most will tell you it is hard to trust the media and government in the handling and reporting of the present pandemic we are in. There seems to be some confusion (מְהוּמָה mehûmāh -vexation) on which test can be trusted to give accurate results and confusion (מְהוּמָה mehûmāh – vexation) on the passing away of people from COVID-19. Many are wondering, did they really pass away from COVID-19 or are they just being labeled as being a victim of Coronavirus and really dying of something else? There is confusion (מְהוּמָה mehûmāh – vexation) over where or how much funds are being distributed from government resources to battle this pestilence.
As we take a Biblical look at pestilence in the Bible, it must be understood that when someone is afflicted with a disease which has become a pandemic or epidemic, it is not because that person has sinned, they are by-standers of spiritual warfare. It is like this, during war a nation may at some time be bombed – where the bombs have exploded there are by-standers who receive injuries and some people die. This is what is referred to as collateral damage.
What we do know is that the Bible is clear, God holds authority and is Sovereign over any pestilence which may be afflicted upon a nation. Habakkuk tells us, “Before Him [referring to God] went pestilence…” (Habakkuk 3:5 ESV) When the Lord wants to deal with His enemies who refuse to repent or deal His disobedient people, He has struck with pestilence. – (Barker, K. L. (1999). Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (Vol. 20, p. 363). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers; Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Habakkuk (p. 52). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company; (cf. Exod 5:3; 9:15; Lev 26:25; Num 14:12; Deut 28:21; 2 Sam 24:15; Jer 14:12) as well as “pestilence” (rešep; Deut 32:24).
What is Biblical Pestilence
“Pestilence” (דֶּבֶר deḇer) is a dreaded disease. This word is a dreaded threat of the Lord against His people for disobedience and to a people of a nation which are His enemy. (Lev. 26:25; Num. 14:12; Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 223). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Habakkuk (p. 52). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
It is an epidemic or pandemic occurrence of sickness that causes widespread death, often with the associative meaning of judgement from God. (Ex 5:3; 9:3, 15; Lev 26:25; Nu 14:12; Dt 28:21; 2Sa 24:13, 15; 1Ki 8:37; 1Ch 21:12, 14; 2Ch 6:28; 7:13; 20:9; Ps 78:50; 91:3, 6; Jer 14:12; 21:6, 7, 9; 24:10; 27:8, 13; 28:8; 29:17, 18; 32:24, 36; 34:17; 38:2; 42:17, 22; 44:13; Eze 5:12, 17; 6:11, 12; 7:15; 12:16; 14:19, 21; 28:23; 33:27; 38:22; Hos 13:14; Am 4:10; Hab 3:5; Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) God sent pestilence to punish the Israelites for the ongoing idolatry and disobedience. (Deuteronomy 32:24; Jeremiah 42:22) Pestilence can incorporate any public chastisements. (Ezekiel 7:15 ESV)
Pestilence is a form of chastisement brought upon a people of God for neglect of her covenant obligations. (Leviticus 26:25; Deuteronomy 28:21) The warning of pestilence is a frequent occurrence whenever God is dealing with His people in regard to bringing a covenant lawsuit against them as well as a form of judgement on the enemies of God’s people (Psalm 78:50; Ezekiel 28:23; 38:22). (Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). In Tyndale Bible dictionary (p. 1015). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.)
The Bible records occasions when God brought pestilence on a nation:
First: In 2 Samuel 24:15 (ESV) and 1 Chronicles 21:14 (ESV) we read “So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from morning until the appointed time [which was three days]. And there died of the people from Dan to Beersheba 70,000 men.”
Second: In Leviticus 26:25 (ESV), under the preoccupy, Punishment for Disobedience we read, “I will send pestilence…”
Third: In Numbers 14 under the preoccupy, The People Rebel, the Israelites were coming against Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb. “The Lord said…, How long will these people treat Me with contempt. How long will they refuse to believe in Me… I will strike them will pestilence…” (Numbers 14:10-12 ESV)
Fourth: Jesus gives a list of sorrows which in the NIV Bible are under the preoccupy Signs of the End Times. Note: These are things to come before Jesus’ second coming. (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 122). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) The Lord said, “…Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences.” (Luke 21:10-11 ESV)
God has promised chastisements for an unrepentant people, rather they are the hard-hearted children of God or people living according to their fleshly desires, living by a world view or the lies of the devil. The greatest prophet of all time, Jesus Christ, told us of possible judgements which were proclaimed by the Old Testament prophets as well as the New Testament writers. (Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1899). Peabody: Hendrickson.; Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). In Tyndale Bible dictionary (p. 1015). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.)
Jesus says in Luke 21:10, pestilence would be a part of God’s chastisements until the very end. (Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Lk 21:9–11). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.) Jesus is teaching what can be called a prototype. Pestilences have happened in the past and they will happen in our modern times. (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 261). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)
In the New Testament, we read of Warnings from Israel’s History, “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” (1 Corinthians 10:6 NIV) “These things happened and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11)
Coronavirus today is a pestilence, a prototype of past national afflictions which can according to Jesus happen again in modern times as well, which will also be a judgement of God in the future. The beloved John, in the Book of Revelation 6:7-8 (ESV) we read, “When He [the Lamb of God, Jesus] opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, ‘Come!’ And I looked, an behold, a pale horse! The rider’s name is Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beast of the earth.”
The fourth living creature was like an eagle (Revelation 4:6-7) implying high soaring intelligence and judgement descending from on high…” (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 568). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.; Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Revelation (p. 186). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
It must be noted the Greek word for pestilence (Thánatos) in Revelation 6:8 is different than the Greek word Jesus used when He spoke of pestilence (loimós). In the New Bible Commentary (21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1435). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.) we are told the rider on the pale horse is named Death represents a special kind of death coming trough pestilence. Barclay tells us the Greek word for “pestilence” (Thánatos) in Revelation is used in a double since meaning both death and pestilence. (Barclay, W. (Ed.). (1976). The Revelation of John (Vol. 2, p. 9). Philadelphia: The Westminster John Knox Press.)
Recalling our minds to God’s instructions to learn from His dealings with Israel and Israel’s enemies, it is clear He is Sovereign over all pestilences in the past, now and in the future.
What to Do?
The Book of Psalms gives us a foundation to lay hold of as we hear of all the news about Coronavirus, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust a prince.” (Psalm 118:8-9) To take refuge (חָסָה – ḥāsâ) can mean to confide in. (Wiseman, D. J. (1999). 700 חָסָה. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 307). Chicago: Moody Press.)
Thus far, we have confided in God’s Word to grasp what pestilence is and it is God who holds Sovereignty over all pestilences. We are to seek God’s help and pray, “Open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in your law. …do not hide your commandments from me” (Psalm 119:18-19b) We need to confide in the counsel of God’s Word. The Bible says about king David, “But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people. (It says, “Heart-stricken” in the NIV). And David said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.’” (2 Samuel 24:10 ESV)
The Bible says “Before David got up the next morning, the word of the Lord had come to Gad the prophet, David’s seer. Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says…’”
We need modern day children of God, disciples of Jesus Christ, with Holy Spirit enlightenment of the whole counsel of God’s Word, to go and tell those in government and the church, “this is what the word of God says,” so the Lord will hear our prayers and heal or land. The Bible says, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
Coronavirus, What to Do Pt. 1
Biblical Restoration of the Church for the Last Days
As we enter into this teaching, if a child of God is afflicted with an illness or suffers the consequences of sinful choices made by the church or nation, does not mean that person is being punished, it is time for building faith and trust in the Lord. It is like this: When a bomb goes off there is always collateral damage – the innocent are hurt, they need to seek God’s help, comfort and direction. If a contractor does not follow the engineering plans in the construction of a building and the building collapses, the innocent are affected. They need to seek God, through Jesus Christ for comfort, help and guidance. The Bible says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:2-5)
The Greek word for trials (πειρασμός peirasmós) can refer to “a state of trial in which God brings His people through adversity and afflictions in order to encourage and improve their faith and confidence in Him.” (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.)
The point must be made clear – just because an individual gets a current pestilence does not mean he/she are being punished or chastised; it is opportunity to grow our faith in the Lord.
When considering what to do in any pestilence (Coronavirus), along with seeing God turning our nation over to leadership making decisions which: 1.) Breaks God’s heart. 2.) Completely disregards His will, or 3.) Defiantly going against His laws, degrees and precepts. We need to become real children of God and ask the modern-day born-again theologians of God’s Word who are appointed by Christ (Ephesians 4:12) real heart-searching questions like: “What is God trying to tell us?” What do we need to do in order to enjoy God’s intervention, protection and blessings?
In order to get a Biblical foundation on why we need to ask, there is the heart of the people in Ezekiel’s day, when they saw God had given their prophet instructions to act indifferently toward his wife’s death. When they observed how Ezekiel was acting not the way a husband would normally respond. Their question to Ezekiel was, “will you not tell us what these things mean for us…” (Ezekiel 24:19)
Regarding nations the Psalmist writes, “Dose He who disciplines nations not punish….” (Psalm 94:10a) Regard the chastisements of God’s people for disobedience, Jesus spoke words to the beloved John while he was on the Island of Patmos, the epistles addressed sins and good things about seven different churches. It is interesting, this truth is spoken by Jesus to the seven churches, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelations 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:8, 13, 22) The warnings and exhortations of Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 have applications to us as a local church today. The churches then was to shine for God, like the modern-day Body of Christ is suppose today shine for God amid a world view blinded by Satan’s deceptions. (Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 2, p. 435). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.; Beasley-Murray, G. R. (1994). Revelation. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1426). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.; MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2355). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)
The churches written about by the beloved John gives a consecutive preview of the history of Christendom. Like the churches written about by John – is like the churches of today having some good truths the believers lived by, but are told by the Lord, churches have some sin issues that must be taken care of. (MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2355). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)
It is imperative, God hands out chastisements to the disobedient church of God and punishments to the ungodly. When God’s people are going through pestilence and being thrown under national leadership which disregards the Lord’s laws, decrees and precepts. It is a good time start getting a Biblical evaluation done.
God is always dealing with different heart issues of mankind through afflictions, punishments, trials, conflicts and consequences of wrong choices. Any born-again theologian interpreting the whole of Scripture using proper exegesis can tell you, God is chastising the church and punishing this nation for their sins. When pestilence is sent as a chastisement for the disobedience of God’s people and/or because national rulers refuse to surrender to God’s guidance, there is a Biblical solution to be lived out so we may enjoy God’s forgiveness and intervention.
Simply, Coronavirus is a prototype of what has happen in the past, what is now in presence time and what is to come in a later date. A “prototype (σκιάc, ᾶς) is a foreshadow of things to come. (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 592). New York: United Bible Societies.) Through the COVID 19 Pandemic, a real pestilence, Satan is laying a foundation for control of which people are surrendering to. Please Note: The church is not changing or stopping a prototype – but as we see things begin to evolve toward the end days, we can point people to the teaching of God’s Word and of Jesus Christ. Giving them an opportunity to consider a relationship with Jesus, fore He is the one to trust in as we see the last days approach.
What to Do?
The Book of Psalms gives us a foundation to lay hold of as we hear of all the news about Coronavirus, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust a prince.” (Psalm 118:8-9) The Hebrew word for to take refuge (חָסָה – ḥāsâ) can mean to confide in. (Wiseman, D. J. (1999). 700 חָסָה. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 307). Chicago: Moody Press.)
How do We Confide
First: We are to confided in God’s Word by seeking the Lord’s help and pray, “Open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in your law. …do not hide your commandments from me.” (Psalm 119:18-19b) We need modern day people of God who have Holy Spirit enlightenment of the whole counsel of God’s Word, to go and tell those in government and the church, “this is what the Word of God says about the issues of these days.”
Second: We seek God to reveal Jesus Christ to everyone and draw all to make a clear choice of Whom they may serve. Jesus said, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last days.” (John 6:44) Our deliverance, protection, and guidance lays at the foundation of wanting people to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. We need to rest in God’s peace over the choices this country and the churches make. John did and so did Joshua.
Joshua gave the people he was addressing the key option above all choices, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom will serve.” (Joshua 24:15) Twice after this verse Joshua mentions, “god’s” – referring to the gods their ancestors served and the gods of the land they were now living in. (Joshua 24:15) In Joshua 24:14 we read of Joshua saying, “Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the god’s your ancestors worshiped.”
The preoccupy in the NIV Bible of these Scriptures says, The Covenant Renewed. Never in America’s history as now does our founding father’s covenant needs to be renewed with the Lord. In Joshua’s message are key words which need to be examined.
The “Lord” (יְהוָֹה yehōwāh) a noun meaning God, (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 426). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) our Father who gave His one only Son so we may have eternal life, meaning to have life in Christ now in a relationship which is meaningful, peaceful and everlasting. Joshua calls on them and us to declare in a public and solemn manner, whether they would and we will be faithful and obedient to God, (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 157). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) the Father of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ
Other “gods:” “Joshua’s implication was the nation had never truly rid themselves of false worship, and he was urging the people in the strongest terms to do so now” (Howard, D. M., Jr. (1998). Joshua (Vol. 5, p. 435). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.) It must be understood, it is not what is set up to worship is the issue of false gods – false worship is the sin, not meeting the mark of true worship of God our Farther, to Jesus, His Son under the enabling of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.
In “faithfulness:” (אֱמֶת ʾemeṯ) meaning to walk in truth is to conduct oneself according to God’s Holy standards. To live reliably, dependably and in trustworthiness to the Lord “Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 74). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
Joshua was a servant to Moses and later replaced him. It is interesting that Joshua was one of the twelve spies sent out to explore Canaan (Numbers 13:16) In that Biblical account, 10 spies returned with a bad report, only Joshua and Caleb said they could take the land. According to the Bible the ten men who spread a bad report died by a “plague before the Lord. Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua and Caleb survived.” (Numbers 14:37-38) The Hebrew word plague (מַגֵּפָה maggēp̱āh) refers to a deadly pestilence. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 569). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.)
We need those who have the apportioned gifts of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16) to equip the Body of Christ with the written Word of God to address the issues of the day – exhorting our government to repent of their many sins and challenge the modern-day church be healed of the cancers of traditionalism, legalism, denominationalism and faddism. Applying the truths of this message lays down a solid foundation toward battling for the souls of mankind, maturing Christians, and enlightening to spiritual blind.
Coronavirus, What to Do Pt. 2
Restoring Our Heart Toward God’s Covenant
As we enter into this second message, if a child of God is afflicted with an illness or suffers the consequences of sinful choices made by the church or nation, does not mean that person is being punished, it is time for building faith and trust in the Lord. It is like this: When a bomb goes off there is always collateral damage. If a contractor does not follow the engineering plans in the construction of a building and the building collapses, the innocent are affected. They need to seek God, through Jesus Christ for comfort, help and guidance. When the church learns of an individual getting KVOID 19, the church is obligated to pray, mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15) and help them as the Lord makes the way.
God is always dealing with different heart issues of mankind through afflictions, punishments, trials, conflicts and consequences of wrong choices. Any born-again theologian interpreting the whole of Scripture using proper exegesis can tell you, God is chastising the church and punishing this nation for their sins. When pestilence is sent as a chastisement for the disobedience of God’s people and/or because national rulers refuse to surrender to God’s guidance, there are Biblical solutions to be lived out so we may enjoy God’s forgiveness and intervention.
Simply, Coronavirus is a prototype of what has happen in the past, what is now in presence time and what is to come in a later date. A “prototype (σκιάc, ᾶς) is a foreshadow of things to come. (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 592). New York: United Bible Societies.) Through the COVID 19 Pandemic, a real pestilence, Satan is laying a foundation for control of which people are surrendering to. Please note: The church is not changing or stopping a prototype – but as we see things begin to evolve toward the end days, we can point people to the teaching of God’s Word and to Jesus Christ. Giving them an opportunity to consider a relationship with Jesus, fore He is the one to trust in as we see the last days approach.
In part one of “Coronavirus, What to Do” we learned: 1.) Why the Lord takes us trough trials. 2.) The type of heart we need in order to hear from God on what needs to be done. 3.) The necessity of having a spiritual heart with “…ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying.” (Revelations 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:8, 13, 22) 4.) What it means to really take refuge in the God of heaven and earth. 5.) Lastly, to serve God with all faithfulness by not serving the god’s which control the world view around us.
The next step to Biblical restoration of the true church is for Christians to understand and strive to live in their covenant obligations. During Biblical times there was what is known as the Bilateral Covenants. This placed obligations on both parties. The agreement was on one party fulfilling their obligations; If you will [the people of God]. Then [God] will whatever the promise is. (Hamme, J. T., & Laney, J. C. (2016). Covenant, Critical Issues. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.) Our covenant agreement is binding as we walk in obedience to fulfill our part. (Enns, P. P. (1989). The Moody handbook of theology (pp. 631–632). Chicago, IL: Moody Press.) God has never forsaken His part of any Biblical covenant agreement. He does withhold His blessing and/or brings chastisements as we break our part of the covenant. There is a conditional truth to our covenant which is lived out by our behavior. (Huey, F. B. (1993). Jeremiah, Lamentations (Vol. 16, p. 282). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
For example, in the ESV Bible is a preoccupy Circumcise Your Heart. The Bible says, “…what does the Lord your God require of you, but to draw near to the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and keep the commandments and statues of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good. Behold, to the Lord your God belongs heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-14)
We know it is important to have a heart of wanting to live by our covenant obligations because God’s Word speaks to us through Hosea, “As with Adam, they have broken the covenant; they were unfaithful to Me there.” (Hosea 6:7) The word “covenant” (בְּרִית beriyṯ) means to come to an alliance, be an ally and have an agreement between God and man. – (Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 165). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers; Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship. Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.)
There is a Greek word, (diathēkē) which accurately describes our present relationship with the Lord. Our covenant with God is offered to us because of His grace, it is who He is. It is as Philo said: “It is fitting for God to give and for a wise man to receive.” (Barclay, W. (Ed.). (1975). The letter to the Hebrews (p. 91). Philadelphia: The Westminster John Knox Press.) God’s exhortation found in Deuteronomy is a good truth for us, “Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord God.” (Deuteronomy 4:23) We are reminded, For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 4:24)
Now, Christians are under the New Covenant as soon as they receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, “…I [God] will put my law in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33) Under this New Covenant Jesus’ instructions for seeing our needs are met: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” That is the Christian’s part of the covenant – then comes the Lord’s fulfilment of the covenant “…and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) In Jesus’ acknowledgement of us being the children of God, our Lord says, “So everyone who acknowledges me before men… which is our part being under the covenant of having the blessings and protection of God’s hand along with eternal Salvation. Jesus fulfills His part of the covenant, “I will also acknowledge [them] before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32) The writer of the Book of Hebrews tells us, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of the new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance …to set them free from sins committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:15) Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
When Christians choose not to seek the whole counsel of God’s Word for direction and guidance, they break the covenant promises. As soon as those who are given the opportunity to govern a country, which was founded on a reverent fear of God, choose to endorse laws which break God’s heart. That government has set the people of that country up for possible chastisements, which can include pestilence.
Practical applications of renewing our heart covenant:
- Ask the Lord what is in our lives which make Him jealous.
- Do not take control when trials arise.
- Years ago, three county sand truck drivers were laid off. Two of them took control over their own circumstances. Finding the next available job, becoming bitter, abusing alcohol, drugs, punishing their spouses with their attitudes. Both unhappy and everyone around them, wishing they have never known them. One of them divorced with both them having drinking problems. – One waited on the Lord to open doors, thus, seeing God intervene by making away when there seemed to be no way. Knowing God’s faithfulness, enjoying Holy Spirit empowerment and finding Jesus’ directions.
- Have the heart of the psalmist who knew God’s covenant, “I keep your precept and testimonies, for all my ways are before you.” (Psalm 119:168)
- Seek the whole counsel of God’s Word in every situation of life and ministry to Jesus Christ, walk in step with the Holy Spirit of Christ in a reverent fear of God.
The difference between a contract and a Biblical covenant is: A contract is a transaction where a covenant is based off a relationship with God being the one Who offers it, with Jesus being the one Who secures it and the Holy Spirit being the person who enables us to live by it. Our covenant relationship with the Lord enables us know His power and live fully in His purposes for our lives.
The heart beat of our covenant with God is laid at the foundation of what Jesus did for us. Jesus said, “…This cup that is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.” (Luke 20:20) His dying for our sins, the shedding of His blood to cover our sins conveys to us a message of dying to the selfish flesh, not following the world view and certainly not listening to the lies of the devil. The Apostle Paul wrote so well, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) The Apostle Paul gives particle advice to live by so we can live out our covenant – being under the blood of Jesus Christ, who died not only for the redemption of our souls but to free us from daily sins which hold us in bondage. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
To have the mind of Christ in all things is the key to accomplishing God’s perfect will for us, to be holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16) To trust in prayer and the Word of God while addressing the world view are the weapons for demolishing strongholds which hold our government, family and friends in bondage.
The Great Commission holds a truth to live by as we want to be used of God and enjoy our purpose as a collective Body of Christ. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” As we obey our part of the Great Commission we can enjoy Jesus’ promise, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
John Wesley walked in a covenant agreement with the Lord, his prayer was: “I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you. Praised for you or criticized for you. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service. And now, O wonderful and holy God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, you are mine, and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it also be made in heaven.” (commonprayers.org/covenant-prayer-by-john-wesley) Note, this prayer was rewritten in modern-day English to help us grasp it.
Our part of enjoying God’s covenant agreement:
Return to your first love relationship with the Lord. Jesus said to the church in Ephesus, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Revelation 2:4-5) A Christian who no longer is excited or no longer is constantly mindful of the Lord’s feelings and heart is like that couple who has let their first love excitement grow cold in their marriage. Their marriage testimony hurts the blessings of a covenant marriage proclamation. So, it is with a church whom has grown cold to its covenant agreement the Lord has offered to her.
Pew warmers need to repent, confess their sins and believe in Jesus. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18) “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” (John 6:29) “Believe” (πιστεύω pisteúō) does not mean you believe Jesus existed or exist. Muslims believe in Jesus: He is considered a prophet in the religion of Islam according to the Koran. The Hindus believe in Jesus: He is a great guru for them. Historians believe in Jesus: He was a first century Jew who lived in Galilee. Even the devils believe in Jesus and they tremble! Pew warmers and false teachers need to take heed of the teachings of Christ, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”(Matthew 7:21-23)
“Believes” (πιστεύω pisteúō) means to have faith in the One Whom God had sent to pay the ultimate price for our sins and walk in obedience to His commands because we love Him. Jesus said. “If you love Me, you will keep what I command… “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (John 14:21)
The ultimate covenant agreement of Christ is here – If we obey and keep the commands our Lord gives, then we will be loved by Jesus and His Father Who is in heaven. Let Christ through the Holy Spirit renew in us the joy of our covenant agreement with God found in Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord! Having great knowledge of God’s Word and believing Jesus existed and understanding the facts of His life and ministry cannot save us. We must be living a life which expresses a belief in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ as being the new covenant by placing our lives in His hands, pledging ourselves to follow Him no matter what.
Coronavirus, What to Do Pt. 3
The Church’s Litmus Test and Exhortations
God is always dealing with the different heart issues of sinful mankind through afflictions, punishments, trials, conflicts and consequences of wrong choices. Any born-again theologian interpreting the whole of Scripture using proper exegesis can tell you, God is chastising the church and punishing this nation for their sins. When pestilence is sent as a chastisement for the disobedience of God’s people and/or because national rulers refuse to surrender to God’s guidance, there are Biblical solutions to be lived out so we may enjoy God’s forgiveness and intervention. One of those solutions is to test ourselves to the whole counsel of God’s Word. Before judging our government and an apostate church we are to be examining ourselves to see we are living faithfully in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)
Coronavirus at this time has not left and according to Sky News, “The government’s scientific advisers have warned, ‘The emergence of new COVID variants with a similar death rate to MERS, which kills one in three infected people, is a realistic possibility.’” (August 01, 2021) Coronavirus is an ongoing threat and prototype (σκιάc, ᾶς) of a pestilence which is enabling the spirit of the Anti-Christ to prepare new generations to be easily controlled. The way the modern-day church is handling this affliction has encouraged Christian’s in their faith in the Lord. However, is causing God’ people to miss the heart-beat regarding His Holiness.
In our article Amidst the Pestilence, we learned how we can trust in the Lord, no matter what afflictions may come upon us. In Coronavirus, Our National Affliction we come to understand God is judging America and it is the church’s call to tell America of her need of repentance. The Biblical article In Good Conscience-During Coronavirus we learned how we must submit to our governmental authorities as long as it does not break God’s laws and heart. In Coronavirus, What to Do Pt.1 we grasped the need of a Biblical Restoration of the church for the last days. A Biblical truth long forgotten by Christians is rebirthed in our teaching, Coronavirus, What to Do Pt.2. In this Biblical teaching Coronavirus, What to Do Pt.3 the church is Biblically admonished to the high call set before her to live as one who has died to self and live by the influence to the Holy Spirit of Christ.
It is good for the church to remind us of God’s goodness and faithfulness during this present pestilence. But, to not remind the Church of Jesus Christ of her call to God’s holiness is not only short-sighted, it will prevent the Body of Christ of hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches. (Revelations 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:8, 13, 22) They will miss the opportunity to guide a lost blind generation in the midst of this present delusion as well as the one to come.
Expressing disappointment in the Republicans and pointing fingers toward the Democrats has not made any real changes in taking out this affliction which effects the innocent. A truth presented by Jesus will open our eyes to see clearly what needs to be repented of so His church may be fully equipped in pointing people to a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
Under the preoccupy I Am The True Vine Jesus exhortation is, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He may give it to you.” (John 15:16)
Truth’s worth realizing in this proclamation of Jesus are: 1.) A true church of Jesus Christ is not choosing the Lord’s disciples, the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is calling the sinners to the Lord. 2.) Christians are appointed (τίθημι títhēmi) by Jesus to bear fruit which only comes from abiding in Him every moment of our day. (Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.) Jesus is the person who has the claim on our minds, spiritual hearts and the lives we are called to live in Holiness. 3.) The type of fruit lived determines our joy in seeing God intervene in our lives, our children and our nation.
The writer of the Book of Galatians has a key evaluation of which the child of God would want to examine himself with. “…I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-26)
Notice Jesus said, “Those who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature…” meaning obedience to Jesus’ claim on their lives is expected by His friends. (John 15:14) “Crucified” (σταυρόω stauróō) metaphorically is to take no delight in anything that would break the Lord’s heart, which could lure us away from God’s truths or make us hard to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Just as one would deny himself anything which would harm him, the Christian denies himself anything which would feed his sinful nature.
Men who want to remain faithful to their wives, deny themselves the influence of men who are unfaithful. Women who want to honor their husbands do not feed themselves the influences of family and friends who dishonor their husbands. People who choose not to abuse alcohol or drugs do not allow themselves to be influenced by people who do. This a truth lived by all who want to please the Lord, no one would allow themselves to be influenced by any worldly influences, fleshly lures or lies of the devil, every thought is taken captive and made obedient to Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Every attack from the enemy of our soul is defeated by the whole counsel of God’s Word. Until God’s Word confirms it – that thought or desire is not to be fed. The Christian life is a constant battle not fought only on Sundays but every moment of the day. The enemy which dies in that battle is the one which is not fed. Feed your soul the meat of God’s Word, the worldview, the selfish-flesh and the lies of the devil will die.
Dr. Jim Burg once pointed out that life is hot water, the good or bad is brought out by the circumstances we face, and is determined by what is in the spiritual heart. You place a tea bag in hot water, what flavor is in that bag is drawn out.
Let the Holy Spirit examine your heart with these questions: What fruit is brought out in your life as you face trials, afflictions, temptations and successes? Is it the fruit of the flesh or the fruit of the Holy Spirit? The Bible says we are living epistles, letters known and read by everyone. (2 Corinthians 3:2) We are to “…show that we are letters from Christ Jesus, written by the Spirit of the living God on the human heart.” (2 Corinthians 3:3) All through Biblical history to now, Devine election is not about privilege but the purpose of our call by the Lord to produce fruit which come from only abiding in Christ.
In the midst of Coronavirus what does you letter say during the affliction, in ministering to the afflicted, and stabilizing a foundation for the next pestilences? Is the church corporately using this present prototype as a tool pointing people to Jesus Christ? While recognizing Coronavirus is a present treat are we pointing out that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are the ones to trust our souls to? While pointing out that the present laws being enacted are prototypes of the laws which will be brought about by the Anti-Christ, and are we informing people that a relationship with Jesus Christ is their only defense over the great delusion which is going to come to all of mankind.
Under the preoccupy, “Judging Others” our Lord said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement, you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?’ You hypocrites, first take the log out of you own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of you brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
The Greek word, “Judge” (krinō) can imply to analyze or evaluate. Even on those occasions were there is no other outcome than a negative conclusion, our purpose should be constructive and not retributive. (Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, p. 127). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.}
Applications are: If we want the government to hold to the right view of marriage, then we as Christians need to be cherishing our marriage covenant in every way God’s Word says, not adulterated by a world view or influenced by friends and family. Our duties to each other must be fulfilled joyfully or those who see us will say, “Why should I get married?” I always wonder when I see so many young people not embracing marriage – is it because we are not presenting the marriage covenant joyfully? Have we made the marriage covenant boring, undesirable and unpassionate?
If we want to the unchurched to embrace God’s Word then we do not hold the gift of prophecy in contempt. 1 Corinthians 14:1, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire, do not treat prophecies with contempt.” If reporters stood outside the churches of America and asked, “I have heard of this gift of prophecy, just what is this prophecy?” Would they get the right understanding and application of this New Testament gift which is a must for maturing the Body of Jesus Christ?
- The church which is unable to train the exegesis or hermeneutics of handling the Word of God, must use other means to draw a crowd. Turning the Holy House of God into a clubhouse is telling a blinded world view, the church is like all other worldly organizations.
The litmus for the church people today is – does our lives express a joyfulness to be taught the whole counsel of God’s Word as it pertains to the everyday circumstances we face, the trials which afflict our lives and spiritual heart, as well as the exercising of our Holy Spirit gifts.
Our national affliction, Coronavirus is God’s chastisement. Thus, we need leaders who have the heart of King David who was “conscience-stricken” after committing his sin which brought God’s chastisement against Israel. (2 Samuel 24:10) We as Christians need to stop asking God to bless our nation and petition Him to bring our leaders to repentance, so they will ask “what can we do to bless God.” David confessed, “I have sinned.” (2 Samuel 24:17) To many years our country has been governed by people who do not know the God they claim to serve or can care less about what His word says.
The true prophets in Biblical times were men of God who got their job done, they addressed the sins of the day. There are sins which place our nation in jeopardy of being afflicted and the modern – day eloquent speakers are failing the job which they are called to do.
What Needs Corrected?
First: The Church has cheapened to pulpit: Christians who have the New Testament gift of prophecy (προφητεύω prophēteúō) have been replaced with hirelings which are CEO’s who are effective in coming up with programs which intrigue many, but never equip people to walk in the holiness of God. Churches have gathered around themselves teachers who tell them what their itching ears want to hear. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20; 1 Corinthians 14:1, 31; 2 Timothy 4:3) There are many who hold places in the pulpit who do not know Christ, they only know about Him. The high road in ministry is “…our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
Second: Embrace Jesus’ Teaching on Repentance – The Bible says, “Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11) People like believing in a Jesus who is worshiped as a baby in a manger and remembered as a Savior who rose from the dead at Easter. What people are not embracing is the need of repentance.
Jesus gives us this powerful exhortation, “…I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3,5) The Bible says sin comes from a depraved mind, the results from not thinking it worthwhile to retain or seek the knowledge of God. (Romans 1:28) The Bible says “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19) John the Baptist has a message for us all, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
“Repentance” (μετάνοια metánoia) is a change of mind, leading away from evil to righteousness, from good to striving towards God’s best for us. (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 509). New York: United Bible Societies.) “Repentance” is a profound change of mind involving the change of direction of life from that of self-centeredness and/or sin-centeredness to God or Christ-centeredness. God’s forgiveness is available only to those who are repentant, for only they can receive it.” (The New International Dictionary of the Bible)
Third: Our country makes unrighteous laws. The Bible says “For the Lord is our judge and Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King…” (Isaiah 33:22) To often our law makers introduce laws which break the Lord’s heart and our judges have little to no concern how their decisions effect the Lord’s desire for righteous judgements.
Fourth: Our country embraces the slaughter of innocent blood. According to Mirage website, in 2019 America had 12,857 abortions, which evidently has the approval of most politicians, claiming woman’s right. God’s view of the unborn is clearly seen in the life of Jeremiah, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born, I consecrated you…’” (Jeremiah 1:5) God has ownership over all mankind, He created them, He has ordained them and promises too always be with them. It is up to each person to surrender to God’s perfect will for them. It is not for us to cheapen a person’s life saying they have no value, just because we cannot see nor respect them. Life in the womb or out is unique, a person’s life has purpose, having God’s ordained call upon their life. God will have the last word in regard to every human life. Americans need to embrace God’s value on human life!
Fifth: America has redefined marriage. Jesus gives us God’s heart on marriage, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So, they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:6-9) Jesus was quoting from the Biblical truth of the creation of man and woman. One of the common quotes for the redefining of marriage is “Marriage should be based on love rather than outdated standards from earlier time.” Men have failed the Lord in the fact most do not make it their goal in life to love their wife as Christ did the church. Women have failed to understand the joy of being a Biblical “helpmate.” Thus, the marriage covenant has been violated often and is always in constant attack from Satan. The Devil hates the greatest institution ever created by God.
Lastly, God’s Word is drawn into question: The Bible says, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire, do not treat prophecies with contempt.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20) The word, “contempt” (ἐξουθενέω exouthenéō) means “to make something or someone as of no account, to disregard…” (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament) In most secular news papers on the East and West coast, I have been told you could not get Christian teaching in them, even if you paid them. In an article published on July 01, 2011 in Answers Magazine, entitled, Many Christian Colleges Receive a Failing Grade, we read, “Let us be clear from the start. We love the idea of educating youth from a consistent, Bible-based worldview. But an ever-increasing number of Christian colleges no longer teach the authority of the Scriptures.”
Pastor Jack Willman, had an article reposted by Blog Post Promoter and on faithinthenews website. He writes, “The day may be coming when mentioning specific sins in the Bible will be seen as a hate crime in America. …Already, parts of the Bible have been and are still being removed from public square because some are ‘offended by it,’ so things like the Ten Commandments have been removed, even in conservative states, such as Oklahoma and Alabama. What is even more tragic is that some ministers, like Episcopalian Church, have actually ordained homosexual ministers, which is contrary to Biblical doctrine…. What has been noticed, it is growing more and more difficult to be able to preach the Word of God, in the streets.
Article written by Carol Kuruvilla, The Holy Bible Is Now One of The Most Challenged Books In America. On a child cartoon, the Word of God was mocked by a scene where the grand-father was putting his granddaughter to bed and was going to tell her a bed-time story. The grand daughter wanted to know is the story about people who believed the Bible was true. It was a mocking story about people who would believe the Bible.
“According to the American Library Association’s latest ‘State of America’s Libraries” report, The Holy Bible was ranked as the sixth most challenged book in America because of its ‘religious viewpoint.’”
The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has been collecting data about books that have either been challenged or banned from American schools or libraries since 1990. James LaRue, OIF’s director, told The Huffington Post that the Bible pops up regularly on the organization’s annual challenged books list, but that it has never before breached the top 10.
Our spiritual litmus test should have the results of Dr. Billy Graham – In Billy Graham’s early day in ministry – he struggled with trusting the Bible was true. In the beginning like all of us who had been touched by the Holy Spirit, we were excited about the Word of God. Billy Graham like most us over the years began to question God’s Word – As he read other’s material on the Bible – they began to draw questions that all the Bible wasn’t true. He even had a friend Chuck Templeton tell him that not everything in the Bible was true.
Once when at a conference Templeton mocked Mr. Graham saying, “Billy, you are fifty years out of date. People no longer accept the Bible as being inspired. Your language is out of date. You are going to have to learn a new jargon if you are going to be successful in ministry.” These words not only hurt Mr. Graham it shook his trust in God’s Word.
Thankfully, there was a lady, Henrietta Mears, the conference director. She was confident the truths in the Bible are God’s Holy Word. She encouraged Billy Graham to study the Word of God, which he did alone. Billy studied the Scriptures which taught about the authority of God’s Word, their inspiration. Then he went out into the forest, prayed “O God! There are many things in this book I do not understand. There are many problems with it for which I have no solution … I can’t answer some of the questions Chuck and others are raising.” As he prayed the Holy Spirit enabled Billy to pray, “Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word – by faith! I am going to allow my faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word.” (Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham, pp 135-139)
The church which desires to be used of God during these days of the Coronavirus pandemic must find herself abiding in Christ, producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in trials, facing temptations and in all circumstances of life. The church needs to strengthen herself by honoring the pulpit of God, replacing eloquent speakers and CEO’s with Christians who exercise the gift of New Testament prophecy (προφητεύω prophēteúō). The church must be seeking the Lord to bring our leaders to the heart of king David, “conscience-stricken” over their sins. The church needs to teach the whole counsel of God’s Word about true repentance, stop the sloppy-agape approach to building a church. The church is to call our country to repent over the slaughter of innocent blood and their redefining Marriage. Lastly, stop treating the proclaiming the true teachings of God’s Word with contempt making to look like it has no real value for Americans.
In Good Conscience – During Coronavirus
Doing What Is Right
This teaching is not meant to be a full exposition on what God is doing in this present pestilence and is only a short textual teaching of the truths found in Romans 13:1-5.
Many are confused with what to do with public gatherings and places of worship. Nothing more disappointing than hearing the people of God defiantly disobeying the government He has raised up for the day we live in. The Book of Romans 13:1-5 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. …do what is right and he will commend you. [The government] is God’s servant to do you good. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.”
The Biblically ignorant often put God to the test and mislabel it as faith, expecting God to show His hand upon them. The Biblically mature seek for the truth found in the whole of Scripture. The Bible says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that trough endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
It is a fact, Coronavirus is highly contagious. Doctors, nurses and health care givers have been afflicted with this disease while wearing protective masks and clothing. Medical personal are concerned, constantly wondering if they may pass COVID-19 to others. COVID-19 has been passed on through church services, social parties and traditional city observances.
Presently, the medical field is facing a disease which has spread rapidly around the world and they are corresponding with our governmental officials.
In our key text Romans 13:1-5, the writer through the Holy Spirit is giving the Devine sanction role of government and the Christian’s responsibility to those in authority. The child of God is to submit to the governing authorities.
As in the time of Christ, the Apostles, and today, most people in governmental control are none-believers. Just as it was with Christ it is for Christians today, there is no authority apart from that which God has established. He has delegated authority to those in charge of the public well-being.
When Pilate was speaking with Jesus, he said, “’Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.’” (John 19:10-11)
It is imperative for Christians to remember government is God’s way of maintaining the public good and directing the affairs of the state. Human government is a permanent institution for regulations of human affairs. This is God’s means of promoting law and order on earth. If laws are hard or against God’s moral law, then Christians are to make legitimate protest, not live in acts of disobedience for protection against lawlessness and disorder. (Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 2, pp. 221–223). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.; Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 243). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.; Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ro 13:1). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.)
Practical Application: Follow the guidelines set up by the medical and governmental authorities which are set before you now. Keep yourself updated and do not fall to the temptations of the sin of justification. Seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, be hungry to know God’s will for you and strive to be like Christ as He submitted to the governmental authorities of His day.