With the spread of the COVid-19 virus, there have been a number of conspiracy theories; some pointing to President Trump, others aimed at China, others are too far-fetched to mention. I don’t put much stock in them because they tend to distort the facts. However, of more concern to me are two emerging streams of interpretation within the Christian community related to the pandemic.
One is that this virus is a sure sign of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth. “Judgment is here. Jesus is coming. Get ready to suffer, get raptured-or not” (based on your eschatology). Scriptures are used as proof texts by those who are convincingly concerned. They call out the wickedness both inside and outside the church. The mantra of this group is DO NOT PRAY against God’s judgment. Repent and persevere.
The other group appears to be in direct contradiction. They believe that a great global revival is coming. This year stadium events were scheduled, believing for a billion-soul harvest – yes billion with a “B”. Using the authority given by Jesus in prayer, they have prayed against the virus, seeing it as a strategy of the enemy to thwart the work of God. Words about the virus being over by a certain date have made followers hopeful. To be fair, this group does not wink at sin. They are fully aware of the need to repent, and have called believers together to humble themselves before God, stressing holiness and righteousness.
Which is it: Wrath or Revival? I tend to agree with Dr. Michael Brown who says: this is NOT the end of the world. (visit https://www.youtube.com/user/AskDrBrownVideos) Describing what the end of the age looks like through the Scriptures, Dr. Brown brings clarity, if not correction to those in the first group. Whether they realize it or not, I believe the “wrath of God – now” people are using fear and condemnation as a means to “comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.” No doubt, some will turn from their sins and embrace the Gospel (which Paul describes as good news to those who are perishing.) Many will not.
For me, trying to figure out the “who, what or why” behind the virus is speculative at best. And whether a global awakening is on the horizon is ultimately in the hands of the Awakener. (Though we could sure use one) For now, I believe we should focus on our response to the virus.
- Observe the virus protection guidelines.
- Do a personal inventory. The call to repentance from both sides is warranted. American Christianity has slipped into easy-believism. It’s the Cross without a cost. We have been transformed by the values of our culture, rather than transforming our culture. We need to do an “about-face.” Repent for your own sins, and for the sins of our nation.
- Pray, pray, and pray more.
- Unite, so the world would believe…
This may be the end of doing things that were once deemed normal, but it is not the end of the world. The Kingdom of God is still at hand. The Apocalypse? Not yet,