January 2023 | The True Vine and The Soon Coming King

Going Viral Facing and Fighting Covid-19

Going Viral Facing and Fighting Covid-19

Dr. Kris A. Jackson

Corona virus, COVID-19, Wuhan flu, whatever you choose to call it, the current pandemic has altered life for nearly every person on the planet. To the student of  Bible prophecy, it is another piece of a greater eschatological puzzle that is taking shape before our eyes. Jesus foresaw epidemics – “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences…” (Luke 21:11)       We pray that this virus will weaken, cures will be found, populations will build sufficient antibodies, and we will all be back to former schedules quickly. But should this “pestilence” spread further or return in the fall with greater force, the Christian believer will have to dig into the Word and face it, without fearing it. A good promise to claim is Nahum 1:9 – “What do you conspire against the LORD? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time.” Let us pray that God will blunt this weapon and “make an utter end of it.”

I have drawn several conclusions, based on God’s word, regarding our battle with the corona virus. 

There is a battle going on for the Crown

“Corona” means crown. Coronation is the crowning of a king, and we know Satan has conspired against the King of kings since his fall. This is not a mere play on words. The COVID virus has silenced pulpits, closed churches, placed Science on the throne as king, relegated Scripture to ancient history, and squelched nearly every voice of dissent, whether logical or conspiratorial. People hang their heads when passing one another, no one dares even greet their neighbor for fear of passing germs. Even the strongest of economies are teetering on the brink of collapse. And most of our troubles have not been caused by the virus but rather our fearful and Draconian responses to it. 

This virus seems to have a deeply spiritual connection, but it is fueled in many ways by political powers. Even the untrained in spiritual matters can see a diabolical working in this disease. As it has transmigrated from animal to human and human to human, it has bridged from spiritual to carnal and from metaphysical to political. We are fighting against a spiritual onslaught, not just a medical emergency. 

The question is, who gets the crown? Paul said that Christ has been given a name that is above every name, which includes the name COVID-19. It too must bow.

They say, “Never let a crisis go to waste”

Corona speaks of a crown, but also a crisis. A “crisis” is any event or circumstance that brings us to a point of judgment or decision. A crisis time is a make-or-break time, whether the crisis is war, economic turmoil, a marriage crisis, or whatever. People come through crises, but they come through changed, either for good or bad. Political powers are obviously using this crisis to reach their own aims. Contrarywise, since Christians know that all things work together for God’s purposes, we look for positive changes to be seen after the virus has run its course.

The Church must make full use of this crisis hour. Millions are confused and in need of sound scriptural answers. Many are without hope, unable to cope with their losses. A vaccine may or may not be soon discovered, but the medicine of love has always calmed and cured no matter how dire the surrounding circum-

stances.This is our greatest window for revival. There is a wise and cautious way to reopen our churches and bible colleges once any remaining bans are lifted, but my view is that we should move into full-scale revival as soon as we have the chance, whether that means online, in church buildings, in homes or across the backyard fence. We are to gather “so much the more as we see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25), not “so much the less!” 

The panic can be worse than the pandemic

Another Last Days sign is panic, “…men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:26). The dog’s bark has been worse than its bite. Models have been way off their projections for the numbers of people who would likely be infected with COVID, as well as estimated mortalities. Franklin Roosevelt is known for his statement – “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” God has not given us a spirit of fear. Fear has torment. Demonically inspired fear has no place in a believer’s life. The Media foment fear and roil the masses. Personal fears are blown out of proportion when we dwell on all the negative things that might happen. The panic becomes worse than the pandemic, and widespread panic results in pandemonium. 

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it comes” (Proverbs 3:25). One day the economy was booming, next day we were socked with a pandemic. The sudden attack produced sudden fear. God didn’t change. People changed by turning their focus from the Lord to the news networks, the experts and the mounting statistics. Shut off the bad news, open the Bible’s Good News!

This battle is more spiritual than it is medical

This is an opinion, and a personal view, but it seems to me that this virus has personal will and aim. It has an ambition to cross national boundaries. Its goal is to invade, because viruses are by design invasive. It has targeted many nations but has set its bull’s-eye over the hub cities of the United States and Europe. It has infected and affected Jewish populations and brought a resurgence of evil anti-Semitism. It has clobbered European nations already struggling with economic recession. And it has shown its ugly head in church congregations, which has led to a crackdown on public worship.

If this pandemic seems to have personhood, will and aim then it is not merely viral or medical in origin, but spiritual. Yes, I believe there is a spirit behind it. I am writing to spiritual people who comprehend spiritual realities. If “corona” is battling for the crown, it must be counterattacked with spiritual weaponry. We are up against “this kind” – “this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21).So much hope has been placed in the discovery of a vaccine that vaccine has become an idol. Trillions of dollars are being thrown at the pandemic, but it is all pouring uselessly like water to the ground. The fight is spiritual.

If this is an airborne disease, let praises fill the air

Corona virus spreads easily because it is airborne. Doctors speak of the virus being aerosolized. Satan is “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). Our battle is against “spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Jesus was unmasked when He breathed on His disciples and bade them “receive the Holy Spirit.” I don’t mean to sound as though I do not take seriously the advice to wear a mask. If a precaution will help protect one’s neighbor, then we should be willing to do our part. 

But COVID has taken possession of the atmosphere in a matter of just a few months. The future of most airlines is now in jeopardy. Children can’t visit playgrounds for fear of catching the disease. When it does attack, it attacks with a pneumonia that hardens the lining of the lungs.Tricia and I have decided to resist the enemy by using our lungs to shout the praises of God. The breath of the Spirit is the best ventilator. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6)!

There  is  a  hedge of  protection around God’s people

Are we guaranteed protection from harm if we claim Psalm 91? I wish I could say yes with 100% conviction, but there have been many God-fearing men and women of God who have been infected with the virus and some who have been promoted to Glory while standing on the promises. None of us can explain all the ways of God or even the ways of faith. Yet we choose to claim God’s promises and stand in faith on what is written in His word. “No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling” (Psalm 91:10). Though ten-thousand fall at my right hand, still I will trust the promise. It is the only foundation that remains.

We marked the upper and side posts of our front door with scarlet red ribbons during Passover week this year. Not because we believed our action would serve as a lucky rabbit’s foot to shoo away the plague, or because we are in any way superstitious. We made a choice to come into covenant with the same God who protected and delivered the Hebrews from a deadly plague. We have had no fears since making that contract with our God. Just as the plague touched one home in Egypt but passed over those marked by the Paschal Lamb’s blood, so we choose to walk in faith, not fear, and count on Christ our Passover to shield His mighty hand over our home, and all who enter here.

Believers are to  think  insulation, not isolation

Good citizens do their part to stop the spread of epidemics, which means social-distancing and obeying stay-at-home orders. But there is no way in free societies that we can survive perpetual lockdown. A time of isolation has been accepted but masses of people are demanding that the restrictions be eased, and governments will eventually have to yield to the demands of the demos, the people. “Pandemic” means “pan”, across the “demos”, the people.

We must use sense and good judgment. Sane believers do not play with snakes even though Mark records that they shall “take up serpents.” It would be the height of ignorance to deliberately expose oneself to such danger. The same is true with exposure to an epidemic. So, isolation is sane policy, but we can’t stay locked indoors. We should think insulation, not isolation.We are “hid” with Christ in God. As pestilence spread among the Israelite camp, Moses commanded the High Priest Aaron to run into the plague, not run away from it – “[Aaron] ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed” (Numbers 16:47,48). The Church has not been called to go into hiding when situations demand the emergence of a man of God. David ran to meet Goliath face-to-face!

I know of only one remedy for the malady

Again, science may or may not discover a vaccine. There is still no vaccine for SARS, another strain of corona virus that broke out in 2003. We certainly hope for a cure but placing all hope in a speedy scientific breakthrough is impractical. When surrounded by Assyrian armies, Hezekiah rallied the people to have faith in God, not man – “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah” (2 Chronicles 32:8). Prayer is a proven antidote (2 Chronicles 7:143).

We  need  to start  a  contagion of our own

I chose the theme “Going Viral” because that is our best way of confronting this crisis. If  COVID has gone viral, so must the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need a Pentecostal pandemic. Believers in Christ should be the most courageous, outrageous and contagious people on the planet. Acts 1:8 is a pandemic. The early church spread the gospel from Jerusalem to Samaria to the ends of the Roman world. “Viral” is an internet word. It speaks of a social media post gaining vast popularity and spreading from device to device by the multiplied thousands. 

Do you realize that once lockdown began and ministries began live streaming their services and messages, millions of people stumbled upon the gospel who would have otherwise never been reached? We must reopen our churches and begin assembling for worship and fellowship once again, but just as there is a new normal politically because of the corona virus, there must also be a new super-normal for the Body of Christ. We may or may not be permitted to reopen our churches, but no one can stop us from reopening our mouths in witness of Christ.Take prayer-walks through your village or city. Continue to hold small group home meetings. No national boundary has kept COVID back and no denominational wall or national boundary can withstand the Gospel of Christ. But we cannot fulfill our calling seated in isolation. 

When is enough, enough?

Good stewardship is a part of good citizenship because we are stewards one of another and should do our part to slow and ultimately abolish this pandemic. Nevertheless, we are called to proclaim Christ. When the authorities threatened the apostles with incarceration for preaching the gospel, Peter replied – “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).We hear of people being “shamed” for not following World Health Organization guidelines. The disciples rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41). Do we expect to pass our lives without persecution? “There is a time to keep silence and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). 

I am choosing to continue to walk through whatever door the Lord opens, and conversely, to reopen every door the enemy has closed. Many will be displeased. Many will call me selfish. It is one thing to wear a mask, quite another to raise it three inches and wear a blindfold. Listen to sound medical advice but be wise enough to discern political undertones. Trust that, like Job, God has placed a hedge of protection around you. Don’t confuse foolishness with faith. Pray, pray and pray so more. Lay hands on the sick, knowing that the Master was not afraid to touch a leper. Think insulation, not isolation. Then after you have been faithful to what you know is right, cast your cares on Him. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego believed that God would deliver them from the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, then added, “but if not” they would not bow to his threats (Daniel 3:18). If it means a furnace of fire, the Fourth Man will be there with us. “But if not”, well, His grace will be sufficient.    

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