Biblical Insights On The COVID-19 Crisis
Covid 19

Biblical Insights On The COVID-19 Crisis

by: Dr. Roberto Jose Livioco

COVID-19 has taken us all by storm. This infectious disease caused by a severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province. It has since spread like wildfire on a global scale plunging the whole world into an unprecedented nightmare. The only problem is, this isn’t a bad dream. We might as well snap out and wake up to our new norm. Unfortunately, this is for real! The spread of this Corona virus has resulted in a global pandemic that has triggered government-imposed lockdowns worldwide, requiring emergency protocols (such as putting on of face masks in public, social distancing and the prohibition of mass gatherings). Air, sea, and land travels have all been restricted (or suspended), schools temporary closed, office and business establishments placed on skeletal work-force, all in order to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 casualties. Here in the Philippines, the president has declared a Luzon-wide ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) from mid-March to the end of April, subject to daily re-evaluation. Military and police checkpoints have been set up in our once traffic-laden Metro-Manila streets and curfew has been levied upon the citizenry, confining us into our homes. To make matters worse, experts predict that the world is in the brink of another Great Depression, even worse than what took place in 1929-39, contributing much to the prevailing uncertainty and anxiety.   How do we make sense of all these? Who ever thought that these would be man’s plight at the turn of this decade? But wait! Are these – disease, depression and death – really new to this decade? Apparently not, and it does not take rocket science to realize this. The truth is, the reality of these began as a result of God’s curse on Creation due to the Fall of Man. It has continued as part of human experience since the beginning chapters of human history (Genesis 3). The apostle Paul explains the radical ramifications of this event to all of humanity. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Rom 5:12). Perhaps, our easy access to all forms of media has made us more aware of its intensity and frequency as a result of this pandemic. If you and I were merely a product of a series of random accidents brought about by spontaneous generation, then our current plight is just another accident. We might as well “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.” If all that we see is part of one whole being called God, then evil really does not exist. This pandemic is not a crisis. It is merely an illusion. However, King Solomon, with all his divinely endowed wisdom wrote under divine inspiration, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him” (Eccl 7:14). He is saying God is involved in human affairs – in times of plenty or want. And meaning in life may be found solely in Him. Here are some insights on what, we believe, God is doing in this “day of adversity” as we “consider.” First, we believe God is making His presence felt, a way to get our attention. This is important in a day when the very existence of God is often questioned or defiantly denied, academically and practically. Creation and our consciences are sufficient witnesses to His existence. But the prophet Amos declared, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” Amos 3:6. “Of course, not,” is the obvious answer to these rhetorical questions. Secondly, this implies that God is also displaying His sovereignty over His entire created order. He “who [alone] worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph 1:11) so that “even the wind and the sea obey Him” (Mark 4:41), He preserves and governs His creation so that His sovereign will and wise purposes stand behind everything. All of man’s imagined invincibility is dashed by the realization of his own mortality and need for accountability. Third, calamities are God’s gracious way of wooing us back to Himself. When divine providence smiles (or frowns) on us, it is God at work to convey that He alone is worthy of our absolute trust. And His intended purpose is bring us to Him, to make us realize that we need Him. Today’s global pandemic is no exception. This was God’s point to Israel through the prophet Amos (4:6-12). Again and again, God reminded them of the various calamities He sent them. And five times, He reiterated: “yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.” Sadly, His “wake up calls” have fallen on deaf ears. So, to the obstinate, the prophet proclaimed, “prepare to meet Thy God,” Amos 4:12.   Apparently, the current crisis is and will continue to be a game changer in many ways. The post-COVID-19 era will surely be quite different in the way we socialize, conduct and transact business, educate, just to name a few. But in the midst of all these drastic changes, God is accentuating the fact that the only thing that is constant in this earthly life is change. So, the only familiar ground we, as believers, have in the midst of all these uncertainties is His sure and unchangeable promises (Isa 40:8) which are rooted in His immutable character (Mal 3:6). “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines,” (Heb 13:8-9a). There is one more thing that needs mentioning. We are seeing God’s truth marching on despite (or maybe, because of) this pandemic. Jesus said, “scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Paul wrote to Timothy, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Tim 3:1). The increasing loss of our civil liberties, the gnawing control of human government, the rising tensions between global powers, the volcanic eruptions, the locust invasions in Africa, this pestilence brought about by COVID-19 and other illnesses, the dreaded market crash, the national identification system, the anticipated cashless society are all glimpses of what is still to come under the rule of a one-world leader. Yet, we already find traces of them everywhere. Which means, what we are witnessing today is just a walk in the park compared to the predicted apocalyptic scenarios of prophetic Scripture (particularly, the Book of Revelation). The worst is yet to come! Bible prophecy was not meant to scare us but to prepare us. Thankfully, Christ’s descent from heaven to catch His own to meet Him in the air shall occur before the Antichrist comes into the scene, 1 Thess 4:16-17; 5:9; 2 Thess 2:3-4. And wow! What a game changer that will be!   What should we do? God’s sovereignty does not nullify human responsibility. For as long as COVID-19 remains a threat, we need to exercise all the necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy. Frequent washing of hands, wearing of face masks in public, maintain social distancing are all in order. But more importantly, here’s to the unbeliever. The bad news is: all of us are sinners, totally and spiritually bankrupt to pay our debt to God. We deserve nothing but divine retribution. The good news is, salvation is available not by human achievement nor human merit. The Place of Refuge is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He died for our sins and was raised for our justification. At Calvary, He satisfied God’s outraged justice due to our sins. His substitutionary sacrifice is the only satisfactory payment before the Judge. His resurrection is vindication that all His claims of deity are true, that His sacrifice was the adequate atonement, and that His is the guarantee of our resurrection as well. Repent of your sins and put your trust in Christ alone. Otherwise, He said, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). This means permanent and eternal banishment from the God of love, 2 Thess 1:8-9. Spare yourself before it’s too late. To believers, this is no time to despair. God is in control. We are on the winning side. Live for and serve Him. Jesus said, “… when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). Furthermore, be a gospel witness. We owe it to Him Who died for our sins and rose for our justification. We do God a great dishonor and do humanity a great disservice if we don’t. Tell all of the blessed hope that is found exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ for “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). These are perilous but exciting days. The Prophet Amos said it plain and simple: “prepare to meet Thy God” (Amos 4:12).   Dr. Roberto-Jose Livioco Minister of the Gospel/Christian Apologist Foundation Baptist Church, Pastor Fundamental Bible Conference, Chairman International Partnership Ministries, Far East Regional Director      


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