Is Covid-19 God’s Punishment or Sign of End Times?
by Paulraj P
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There are three theories people believe in.
1. Political manipulation blaming a country.
2. Scientifically explained plagues which strike during different times through history, like Malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, cholera, smallpox , flu, HIV, SARS and now Covid-19, all invariably connected with different countries.
3. Divine intervention, Godâ€™s message to people, end times or Godâ€™s punishment on human race.
Christians the world over conduct online prayers, asking God for mercy and some even command or force God to their terms. I think we need to remember that our God is sovereign, all knowing, has control over all things and allows things happen according to His will, which we humans donâ€™t understand at times and we have no control over Godâ€™s will.
To prove Covid-19 is Godâ€™s punishment , Christians quote Bible verses like, Exodus 9:14 & 16, Exodus 12:13, Leviticus 26:21& 25, Numbers 16:49 , Numbers 25:9, Deuteronomy 28:22 and 2 Chronicles 7:13â€“14. Well, God warned the Israelites and allowed plagues at that point of time in history, as consequences of disobedience to Old Testament laws to bring them back to repentance and restoration. The Old Testament law was given to the nation of Israel. Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelites how to obey and please God (The Ten Commandments, for example). Some of the laws were to show the Israelites how to worship God and atone for sin (The sacrificial system, which doesnâ€™t apply to us now). Some of the laws were intended to make the Israelites distinct from other nations (The food and clothing rules, which donâ€™t apply to Christians now). When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament laws and we are under Christâ€™s new covenant. God allowed plagues in different times, in different ways. We need to see how God works considering the whole picture that the whole Bible gives. Romans 8:28 and Romans 11:36 reiterate that God will work all things together for the good of those who know and love Him and for those who are called according to his purpose.
To prove end times, Christians quote verses like Luke 21:11 that says, â€œThere will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.â€ Though Jesus foretold these signs, we canâ€™t speculate the time or year, because, such things are happening throughout history and no one knows Godâ€™s time. The Bible in Matthew 24:36-44, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, 2 Peter 3:10, and Revelation 3:3 reiterate that no one knows end times, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. If you see â€œList of epidemicsâ€ in Wikipedia, youâ€™ll know different types of plagues that struck the world before and after Christ and right from 165 AD through years and now in the year 2020, Covid-19. Through centuries, Christians kept on predicting Christâ€™s second coming and they failed in their â€˜propheciesâ€™ , the bottom line being, we just donâ€™t know. So, never speculate that plagues like Covid 19 are signs of end times or Godâ€™s punishment on human race.
In one of his podcasts, Tim Keller rightly pointed out how we misinterpret Psalm 91 especially the Verses 10 and11 which say, â€œno harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your waysâ€. Did you know, devil too cites Scriptures like this? When Jesus was tempted by the devil, he took Jesus to top of the temple and said, throw yourself down. "He will command his angels..", quoting the same verse Psalm 91:11, and this incident is described in Matthew 4:6 . We too misquote the Bible, saying, if we have God as shelter, pandemic will not affect us. It's a wrong understanding of God's sovereign will and purpose for allowing us go through difficulties. Keller quotes, Josephâ€™s example. Joseph was discarded. Thrown into pit. Went through Sufferings. Jailed. God uses the betrayal of Joseph by his brothers, to bring him to Egypt. He had a bigger prosperous plan for him.
Never force and command God to obey your instructions, the fact being Godâ€™s plan for our never ending eternal life, is more important than the very short period of time we live on earth, even if itâ€™s over 100 years which is insignificant in Godâ€™s sight while compared with our eternal life with God. So, letâ€™s not question Godâ€™s will. We think we will be prosperous all the time if God is with us. No. Plague and pandemic are not curses and never think itâ€™s from Satan. God is sovereign, all knowing, and allows ups and downs, health and sicknesses according to His will and never question God when you go through sufferings, which ultimately take us to Godâ€™s universal plan which is the best for us because God loves us. So whenever you pray during a pandemic, just say a simple prayer and ask God to answer according to His will only and then accept Godâ€™s will. God always answers prayers because the Bible says so, but according to His will only, which is the best for us ultimately, even if Godâ€™s answer to our prayer is delayed and some times, not as per our wishes and desires, which may not be the best and right ones in Godâ€™s eyes. Un-answered prayers are prayers answered according to Godâ€™s will. When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, He said, â€œYet not as I will, but as you willâ€. So tell God everything and donâ€™t forget to praise and thank Him for answering your prayer according to His will.
And never quote scattered verses literally like, if two or three agree on anything, theyâ€™ll get it and another verse, saying, the prayer of a righteous person has great power, and also quoting yet another verse in the story of Jonah, where itâ€™s mentioned, God repented. Well, did God sin? Theologians call such sentences as â€œanthropomorphicâ€ language. While studying the scriptures, before interpreting a verse, we must give due consideration to the context, cultural habits, historical and social background during Biblical times, applying common sense, using our knowledge of language and grammar and also understanding the poetic and figurative statements in the Scripture. Never take certain verses literally. Well, we pray because God commands us to pray, because it glorifies Him, and because it benefits us.
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