Copyright 1994 - 2020 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
April 8, 2020
Last Updated :
May 1, 2020
Christians Viewing Government-Mandated Pandemic Guidelines From The Wrong Perspective, Christians In Defensive Mode And Motivated By Fear And Paranoia, Not Everything Is An Attack Against Christianity, For The Common Good, Fighting Against Nonexistent Windmills, Is God Really Pleased With Christian Acts Of Defiance By Attending Church Now?, The Stay-At-Home Orders And Social Distancing Are Not Attacks On Christians, Health Guidelines Are Being Applied To All Private American Citizens, Exceptions: Fallen Sinful World, Guidelines Are To Mitigate And Contain Coronavirus Pandemic, Goal: Save Lives, Is Going To Church More Important Than Saving Lives?, South Korean Church And Iglesia Ni Cristo And Spread Of COVID-19, Congregating In Churches Now Is A Really Bad Idea, Love Thy Neighbour As Thyself, Prefer The Well-Being Of Others, Love Worketh No Ill To His Neighbour, Congregating In Churches Right Now Endangers Your Neighbor And Is Pure Selfishness, Parable Of Good Samaritan: Who Is My Neighbor?, Our Fellow Countrymen Are Our Neighbors Who Need Our Help To Stop The Pandemic, Situation Will Grow Worse If We Don't Cooperate, Hebrews 10:24-25: Fellowship Safely And Use Common Sense, Let Every Soul Be Subject Unto The Higher Powers, To Defy The Government Is To Defy God's Ordained Order Of Things, Live Peaceably With All Men, Defying Government Mandates Is Poor Example Of Our Faith, Acts 5:29: Only Resist When They Stop Us From Preaching Christ, Coronavirus Guidelines Don't Curtail Our Ability To Witness Or Fellowship, Guidelines Are A Temporary Practical Pragmatic Science-Based Response, God Tells His People To Stay Indoors Until Indignation Passes, Are You A Part Of The Problem Or A Part Of The Solution?
My friends, I mean no disrespect to anyone, and it is not my wish to offend anyone. However, once again I must say that it is my view that many of my Christian brethren are looking at the current government-mandated coronavirus pandemic health guidelines in the wrong way, from the wrong perspective, and with a considerable amount of unfounded suspicion, motivated by fear and paranoia. Allow me to explain why I say this.
Oft times -- and many of you will already know this -- it seems that when something happens that a Christian, or group of Christians, doesn't like or agree with, they automatically go into defensive mode. In other words, in a very predictable fashion, they rely upon the worn-out Christian argument, and claim that whatever is happening, is an attack against our Christian faith. Then, they decide to lead the charge against the alleged oppressors by rallying their forces, and arguing that it is our obligation to stand up for our faith, and to resist such godless tyranny. However, this is not always the case. Not everything is about tearing down Christianity. Now, there may come a time for such open defiance, but I do not believe that the time is now.
My friends, look. I have lived long enough, and seen enough, to know that this world has become a rather ungodly place; at least from the perspective of a Bible-believing Christian such as you and I happen to be. However, for any one of us to automatically assume that whenever some particular incident or development occurs which we don't like is a sneaky attempt to frustrate our faith, to put us into a box, to smother our candle, or to limit our freedom of religion, simply is not right. Sometimes, despite how distasteful certain things may be for one party or another, overall, they may still be for the common good of all concerned.
Sadly, the aforementioned scenario is exactly what some of you are doing right now. Due to your own fear and paranoia, you are distorting the picture regarding the purpose of the guidelines, and creating an alternative narrative, and an alternative truth which is NOT based in reality. Just like Don Quixote of old, you are seeing a threatening windmill where there really is no windmill. Even worse, apparently, some of you have convinced yourselves that your acts of defiance -- by holding and/or attending church services in contradiction to your government's pandemic guidelines -- are pleasing to God, and in fact a bold demonstration of your Christian faith. But is this really true? I am not so certain. So let's set the record straight, shall we?
The truth of the matter is that the current pandemic health guidelines -- which includes stay-at-home orders and social distancing -- are NOT an attack on our Christian faith. Not by a long shot. To those of you who are defying said health guidelines, if you would take a minute to open your eyes, you would see that they are being applied to ALL private American citizens uniformly, regardless of a person's faith, or even their lack thereof. In fact, these, or similar guidelines, are now being implemented in many nations around the world. Is every person of faith -- regardless of what their faith is -- supposed to now exclaim, "Oh, this is just an attack on my faith! They are out to get me! I am going to defy these silly guidelines!"?
Yes, I already know that some of you are going to complain -- and justifiably so -- and say that some places of business -- such as the abortion clinics and liquor stores from what I've read -- are still allowed to remain open, while you are not permitted to attend church services. Look, as I said earlier, we all know that we live in a fallen, sinful world. So, yes, some things which are considered "essential businesses" in the eyes of the world, are most certainly not viewed the same in our eyes. But what can we do about it? Nothing, really. Regardless, my main point still holds true; and that is that over all, the government-mandated pandemic guidelines are for our common good and well-being.
The reality of the situation -- which I hope you can see -- is that the health guidelines and restrictions which are now in place are meant to mitigate and contain the coronavirus pandemic. This point has been made clear so many times by health officials. These guidelines are meant to SAVE LIVES. They are NOT a subtle plot or conspiracy to curtail American Christians' right to practice their faith. Anyone with an ounce of common sense should be able to see this. Do you?
Thus, in my opinion, to defy the health guidelines under the false assumption that you are pleasing God, is really just a foolish, selfish act. It is indirectly saying that going to a building to worship and fellowship with other Christians -- which could very well result in the coronavirus spreading to even more of the general population -- is more important than protecting the health and well-being of all Americans, or the citizens of whatever country a person happens to live in. Are you aware of the fact that in some nations -- such as South Korea -- the COVID-19 disease appears to have begun in, and then spread from Christian churches? This is established fact and not just fiction, my friends.
As I point out in my series entitled "Coronavirus: Just the Facts, Ma'am", the original infected individuals -- literally hundreds of people -- were all members of a secretive church called the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, which is viewed as a cult by many people in South Korea. Furthermore, here where I live, it has been revealed that five of our current confirmed cases of COVID-19 are directly linked to a Philippines-based church called Iglesia Ni Cristo. In fact, the epidemic began here when certain individuals returned from the Philippines just over three weeks ago. So the point is, my dear friends, that congregating for worship in church buildings is just a really bad idea right now, whether you agree with the health guidelines or not. You need to stop being so defiant and stay home!
As I explain in articles such as "The Royal Law: Thou Shalt Love", Jesus and the Apostles taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to prefer others over ourselves. This truth is made very plain in Bible verses such as those which are listed below. Please carefully consider them and take them to heart:
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:36-40, KJV
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
John 13:34-35, KJV
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you . . . These things I command you, that ye love one another."
John 15:12, 17, KJV
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;"
Romans 12:10, KJV
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
Romans 13:8-10, KJV
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Galatians 5:14, KJV
"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love . . . And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Ephesians 4:2, 32, KJV
"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:"
1 Thessalonians 3:12, KJV
"But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another."
1 Thessalonians 4:9, KJV
"Let brotherly love continue."
Hebrews 13:1, KJV
"If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"
James 2:8, KJV
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:"
1 Peter 1:22, KJV
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing."
1 Peter 3:8-9, KJV
"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."
1 Peter 4:8, KJV
"For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another . . . And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment."
1 John 3:11, 23, KJV
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."
1 John 4:7-8, 11-12, KJV
"And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another."
2 John 1:5, KJV
Now let's look very closely at some of the things which the previous group of verses tells us. If we were to summarize them, it would be this: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself . . . Owe no man any thing, but to love one another . . . in honour preferring one another . . . And be ye kind one to another . . . have fervent charity among yourselves . . . Love worketh no ill to his neighbour . . . for God is Love." So please tell me something. How can congregating in a church building in close quarters, or even in a church parking lot, where COVID-19 could quite possibly spread to other people, be considered an act of love, and loving our neighbor?
Be honest with yourself. It isn't, is it? In fact, contrary to what the Apostle Paul writes above, you are working ill to your neighbor. You're doing some thing which may possibly endanger your neighbor's life and health. Clearly, you are NOT "preferring one another" as Paul writes in Romans. As I said, while you may THINK that you are pleasing God by doing this, your actions are in fact demonstrating pure selfishness and absolutely no concern for others. It is not God's love; it is love for yourself. It is you doing what you want to do, despite how it may negatively affect others around you, just like those cult members in South Korea.
Some of you will recall that in the Gospel of Luke, a certain self-righteous lawyer stood up and challenged Jesus, in order to trap the Lord in His words. After Jesus had quoted the two greatest commandments to that sly fox, exactly what did that man ask Jesus? You see, that lawyer apparently thought that he had found some kind of legal loophole around God's Law of Love. Thus, in his foolish arrogance he said "And who is my neighbor?", as if he didn't already know the answer. It was with that question that Jesus launched into the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Here is the story, as told in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke:
"And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."
Luke 10:25-37, KJV
Many of you will already be familiar with this Parable. The lesson which Jesus clearly teaches us all is that anyone who needs our help -- even if they happen to be a total stranger to us -- is our neighbor. As such, we should extend Christian love, compassion and mercy to such people when they require our assistance, and if it is within our means to do so. The Apostle James writes something very similar in the following verses:
"If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?"
James 2:15-16, KJV
Now, in this particular case, our neighbors happen to be all of the other citizens of our country who need and require our help and cooperation in mitigating and containing the scourge of the coronavirus pandemic. We all need to do our part by acting together, in cooperation with the government's health mandates. The fact of the matter is that if we don't -- and this has been stated many times by the health experts -- then this pandemic will last a lot longer than it needs to, because it will simply continue to spread, make people sick, and even kill many people. Why? Because some of us, perhaps in our own pride, were deceived into believing that we are pleasing God by continuing to attend church services, in defiance of the government's mandates. Now two verses which have been used by certain Christians to try to justify their position are the following:
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Hebrews 10:24-25, KJV
Obviously, I agree with the previous two verses. As I amply point out in other articles, we should all strive to engage in some form of fellowship with other Christians, if it is at all possible. How we each do that depends on our personal situation. However, where the problem lies is in the fact that some Christians cling to those two verses, while they ignore so many other verses in the Bible which add balance to our understanding. Yes, we should strive to fellowship; but we should NOT do it if it is going to potentially cause harm or ill to our neighbor, as we have already seen. That is exactly the kind of situation we find ourselves in right now with the COVID-19 pandemic. As I have long taught, we all need to learn to balance Scripture with Scripture. We also need to apply a little wisdom and common sense to our understanding of them as well. Sadly, common sense is one thing I see lacking in a lot of defiant Christians right now.
This leads right into my next point. The truth is that you are NOT just defying the mandates of your government. You are in fact defying God's mandates. As I have taught for quite a few years now, resisting your local government is in direct contradiction to the Scriptures -- such as Romans 13 -- which plainly inform us that we are supposed to live peaceably with all men, and to obey the higher powers, meaning governmental authorities. As you may know, Apostles such as Peter and Paul strongly advocated this position, exactly as Jesus did, as is made evident by verses such as the following:
"Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."
Matthew 5:25-26, KJV
"They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
Matthew 22:21, KJV
"And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him."
Mark 12:17, KJV
"And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."
Luke 20:25, KJV
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
Romans 12:18, KJV
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."
Romans 13:1-5, KJV
"These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men."
Titus 2:15-3:2, KJV
"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king."
1 Peter 2:11-17, KJV
Please notice what the Apostle Peter writes there. He says "For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." You see that? Not only is it God's Will that we obey the higher powers, but by so doing, we are being a good example of our faith, and simultaneously silencing "the ignorance of foolish men." In short, when you defy your government's mandate to remain in your home, and to practice social distancing, you are doing the exact opposite. You are NOT being a good example of your faith. You are NOT striving to "live peaceably with all men" as the Apostle Paul wrote. Quite to the contrary, you are in fact being very selfish, while thinking that your acts of rebellion are pleasing to the Lord. Can it be any plainer than that? Seriously, if you are guilty of doing this, wake up and desist in your defiance!
Now, as far as I know, according to God's Word, the ONLY time we Christians are within our right to disobey governmental authorities, is when they try to prohibit us from preaching in the Name of Jesus Christ; which as some of you will know, is exactly what occurred in Acts chapter five. In that case, the enemies of the Gospel -- the religious elders of Israel -- were threatening the Apostles. In fact, they had already thrown them into prison for preaching in Jesus' Name. Below is the full story for your consideration:
"Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were FILLED WITH INDIGNATION, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, DID NOT WE STRAITLY COMMAND YOU THAT YE SHOULD NOT TEACH IN THIS NAME? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, WE OUGHT TO OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN."
Acts 5:17-29, KJV
My friends, please recognize that the current guidelines are NOT doing that. They are NOT trying to force us to abandon preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are they? Despite the current movement restrictions, you can still share God's Word with and fellowship with your immediate family, can't you? You can still log in to your favorite social networks and both preach the Gospel if you want to, and fellowship with other Christians to your heart's content, can't you? You can use your email client and social messaging apps, or video chat, or post on your website or blog, as well as do other things where you can fellowship and share God's Word. In fact, doing those things might even be more productive and fruitful than spending an hour or so in your church on the weekends.
So where exactly is the problem, pray tell? To reiterate, the current government-mandated health guidelines are just a TEMPORARY solution which is being applied to all citizens, regardless of their faith, until the present health crisis passes, whenever that it. These guidelines have absolutely nothing to do with an attempt to squash your faith; so you need to stop paying attention to all of the crazy conspiracy theories which just fill you with fear and paranoia. The pandemic guidelines are simply a practical and pragmatic science-based response to the plague which has now swept the world, and which as of the date of this writing, has already infected over 3,200,000 people, and taken over 234,000 lives. No one is out to get you. You got that?
It may interest some of you to know that the current mandate to TEMPORARILY shelter in place -- that is, to stay indoors during this pandemic -- is NOT something which has never been done. Are you aware of the fact that on certain occasions in the Bible, God required the very same thing of His people? He told them to remain in their homes, until His judgment and indignation had passed. For example, consider the following verses which are found in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah:
"Come, my people, ENTER THOU INTO THY CHAMBERS, AND SHUT THY DOORS ABOUT THEE: HIDE THYSELF AS IT WERE FOR A LITTLE MOMENT, UNTIL THE INDIGNATION BE OVERPAST. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain."
Isaiah 26:20-21, KJV
Well look at that! The Lord told them to go inside, to shut their doors, and to remain there until His indignation had passed. Again, let me emphasize here that this was merely a TEMPORARY situation. It was NOT meant to be permanent. So tell me. Is not the coronavirus pandemic also one of the Lord's judgments upon this wicked world, regardless of how and where it first started? That being the case, should we not likewise obey the government's mandate to stay at home, in agreement with the Scriptures to obey the higher powers?
Now, if in your stubbornness you are still not convinced of how important it is to remain indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, then consider that we find the Lord ordering the ancient Israelites to do the very same thing in the Book of Exodus during the final plague. In the following verses, God clearly tells the Israelites, via Moses, "and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.":
"And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it . . . For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt . . . And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; AND NONE OF YOU SHALL GO OUT AT THE DOOR OF HIS HOUSE UNTIL THE MORNING. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you . . . And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle."
Exodus 12:6-7, 12-13, 22-23, 29, KJV
So there it is again. Stay indoors until God's judgment has passed. Stay indoors because you love your neighbors. Stay indoors because you want to obey the higher powers based on God's Word. Stay indoors to keep yourself and others safe. Can it be any clearer than that? As I said earlier, you can still find fellowship in other ways, if you really want to.
The simple fact of the matter is that if you are someone who has shamefully engaged in this defiance, you need to realize that your foolish rebellion against these emergency pandemic guidelines will NOT help the current situation or slow down the virus. Quite to the contrary, it will simply aggravate and worsen the current situation, and that is NOT love. It is plain old selfishness. Is that really what any of us want? I think not. In short, you are either a part of the problem, or else you are a part of the solution. Which one are you, dear friend?
Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .