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Global Pandemic 2020: Hope in Christ in a World at War

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Who would have thought that the next Global war would not be fought with guns, tanks, and artillery? But here we are several months into the worst crisis our world has faced in my lifetime. Only this time the battle accoutrements are not swords but syringes, not gas masks but ventilators, not helmets but face masks, not iron shields but plexiglass barriers, not camo uniforms but scrubs and hazmat suits. The warriors are fearless heroes and soldiers on the front lines, yes, but they are doctors, nurses, CNA’s, EMT’s, RT’s, and the men in blue and red; all doing their best as they battle this pestilence while saving as many lives as they can. The battle rages, hundreds of thousands are casualties, and thousands more have fallen to the unseen enemy, Covid-19. May God’s protection keep them in this hour of trial.

This war is a different kind of war than those in our recent memories. It is not a war being fought in another land far away, where the deployed soldier can say my wife and children are at home safe in the homeland; no, in this war the homeland is as much under siege as the land far away. The hospital staff do not perform their work fearlessly knowing all is well at home, but they do it under the duress of knowing, the next casualty could be one of their own. May God have mercy and may God give them the strength and courage to stay in the fight looking for an end to this battle with this ruthless microscopic enemy. May men and women of God, rise up and pray.

The Bible foretold that this unseen enemy would be on the prowl in the final days before the Lord Jesus returns. Jesus did not have to mention that pestilence would be ravaging the earth before He returns at His Second Advent, but then what kind of loving God would He be if He did not warn us to expect this to occur before He calls His church to heaven? But like so much else in the Bible, His warnings largely fall on deaf ears accompanied by scoffing lips. For many years we have endured earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but the end has not yet come. We have endured, damaging floods and roaring storms, but the end has remained elusive. Wars, and rumors of war have come and gone—many still threaten—but the end has not yet encroached upon us. Locust swarms, wildfires, hurricanes, tsunamis, record shattering tornadic activity still flaunt their destruction; still, the end is not yet. CME’s, an ever-widening ozone layer, an erratic magnetic north running off course, near miss comets and meteors streak across the sky showing us their signs, but again, why has the end has not yet arrived?

Sadly, and without caution, we go on as if the “not yet” will never come. Many say, “There is no need to seek the Lord; His words will not come true in my lifetime.” So, we move on without a care, and when God does speak the deception we allow ourselves to be guided by so often speaks louder.

But rather than blow off God’s warnings in our day, maybe we should ask ourselves if there has ever been a day in the past when God gave warning, and humanity did not listen. The answer is yes, there was a day and a time. The results were not good for the humanity that then lived. When we read of it, we understand that in spite of the signs God gave then, the world refused to listen. Does that describe our generation as well? Yes, it does. Despite all the signs God is showing us today, the world still continues as if they are meaningless. We have not learned. The picture seen today emerges with stark similarity to that prior to the flood in Noah’s day; a day that Jesus told us would be similar to the days just prior to Him calling His church home to heaven. Jesus said, “But as the days of Noah were [past], so also will the coming of the Son of Man be [future], (Matt 24:37). So then, He gave us a baseline.

Noah was told to build an ark and warn the world of the judgment to come if they did not repent of their rebellion against the Creator and turn back to Him. In those ancient days, we are told He wasn’t just ignored; he was universally ignored. Save his wife, sons and daughters in-law, no one listened.

Then one day amidst the warning of this “crazed” ark building lunatic a raindrop fell. Then there were two, then three, and four … soon there was a deluge and the rain began to pour. The first week came and went and all the people knew was they were very wet. Then there was a second week, a third, and now a month of relentless, pounding rain; the earth churning in relentless turmoil as it emptied its bowels upward with fierce, gushing force and explosive fury. The sky ripped with lightning and cracked open in a cacophony of horrendous thunder. God was speaking—the earth was trembling, and fear gripped its talons firmly on those who had not yet succumbed to the judgment. Higher ground was the cry, “Yes! We must go to higher ground. We can overcome!” But internally the heart was saying, “Maybe the crazed lunatic was right. Oh, how we should have listened.” The more the rain came, and the more the earth gushed its bowels forth, and the higher Noah’s ark floated. The water could not penetrate the strong walls and buoyancy of the ark. Shouts of “Let’s get to the boat!” were surely heard. “Noah, do not pass us by!” But it was too late. God Himself had shut the door of the ark (Gen 7:16). The warning to turn back to God and repent had fallen on deaf ears and had been met with scoffing lips. Noah’s ark had set sail.

Forty days later the rains ended, and the once beautiful earth was now a global sphere of water. Gravity still held her in check, that unseen force that mankind cannot fully explain. But soon after—one-hundred-fifty days later—the land began to appear again, but it was not the same as before. It was different now. The topography had changed. New mountain ranges and lands were forming as quickly as the waters could recede back into the earth’s core that housed them. And when all was said and done, a new “cleansed from sin” earth had appeared complete with new vegetation, landscapes and views of the horizon. Yes, the sun still arose in the east and slept in the west, but the sea of humanity which once existed in defiance of God was no longer around to enjoy it. Only eight souls had survived. That crazed lunatic Noah, and his wife along with his three sons and their wives. With these God-fearing souls God would cause humanity to be born-again. Animals, two of each in their kinds, would repopulate and the world would be given a second chance. But would they learn?

The apostle Peter wrote these wise words nearly 2000 years ago:

2 Peter 3:1–9 (NKJV)
1 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Among the many thing Peter is telling us, he highlights that some will not recognize when the Lord is speaking. They will scoff at his message forgetting that God has judged the world before and promises to judge it again. But he also highlights that God is merciful and patient. The reason the scoffers will be so bold to resist God’s warning in the final days of the church age is that nearly two-thousand years at a minimum have passed since Jesus spoke and was crucified. In that time, things seem to have never changed, so why should we believe God’s word now? “Hasn’t there been earthquakes, floods, bad storms, diseases in the past?” Yes, there has. But many are saying “Then what makes this current pandemic so different? Other pandemics have come and gone, and we have survived for another day.”

Maybe this will help. Jesus stated that all of the signs mentioned in the verses of Mark 13, Matt 24 and Luke 21, in His Olivet Discourse concerning the days before He returns, would happen throughout the church age (from the start of the church (Acts 2:1-4) through the current time). But the signs in the end would be more significant and of greater import because of one thing; the nation Israel would be regathered from the world back to its own land. That happened in 1948. This event was the first sign heralding the approach toward Jesus’ return. He stated of the final generation, “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place,” (Luke 21:32). This means there will be a final generation. Could it be ours?

What the unbelieving do not understand is the depth of God’s love and patience. God does not want to hastily bring judgment upon the world. Because of His patience, he has waited and waited for His message of hope to be dispersed throughout the world with the hope that mankind would hear and respond to Him for the salvation of their souls. He knows that judgment will come. It is decreed to be so, because sin cannot continue indefinitely to hurt and harm humanity. Sin against God and others must be judged. Also, God desires for Israel, the nation chosen above all others as His own, and the place He will one day rule from (Isaiah 2:2-4), to turn their belief toward Jesus as the Messiah (see Dan 9:24-27).

But the good news is that no one has to fall under God’s coming judgment. In Romans 8:1, the Apostle Paul wrote, “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Jesus said

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  (25)  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  (26)  "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:  (27)  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall,” (Matt 7:24-27).

He also plainly stated in John 5:24-25,  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.  (25)  Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.”

Maybe the global war that is currently being waged—the war that is bringing the world to a standstill—is not the last birth-pang Jesus spoke of. Maybe things will come back to a semblance of normal and life will go on. But this we know for sure, when birth-pangs persist, a baby will soon be born. And no other generation of the world has experienced all of the signs Jesus spoke of as happening simultaneously and with greater force than we are now witnessing.

Matt 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

2 Tim 4:8: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
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