H. The Coronavirus in America: A Christian Response



The virus pandemic brings about a continuation of a previous theme “God Speaks to America.” God does not just want us to turn to him for help, but to turn in repentance … repentance for the abominations of idol worship, infanticide, sexual immorality, and gay marriage. He expects Christians to pray hard and continually against these things.

God can, and does, speak through a disease

The claim is sometimes made that a disease like the coronavirus has nothing to do with God, because God only does good and never evil. But the Bible has numerous examples of God using a disease to give his people a message.

When King David sinned against the Lord by killing Uriah in order to take Uriah’s wife, the Bible says, “And the LORD afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick” (2 Samuel 12:15). The Lord was sending David a message that his sin against the Lord was very serious.

An example from the New Testament is the time when Herod delivered an oration and the people called out to him, “The voice of a god, and not of a man.” The Bible tells us that “Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last” (Acts 12:22-23). The Lord was sending Herod and the people who worshiped him a message that they were not to worship man in place of God.

Is God speaking to America through the coronavirus?

It falls to believers—us Christians—to answer this question. No one else is listening to God’s true voice. For the most part, no one else wants to hear God’s true voice. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis (4/27/2020) Time magazine published an issue titled “Finding Hope.” Over the course of 104 pages they printed their interviews with many people whom they considered important in America. There were examples of courage and human strength in the face of danger, but God was never mentioned. The only “religious” person interviewed was the Dalai Lama, a Buddhist.

God has put us Christians here for a purpose: to proclaim his truth when no one else will.

God gets our attention

Before God can speak to us he has to get our attention.

That’s easier said than done in America. We’re a society that goes at a frantic pace: work, sports, school, yoga class, soccer match, work, shopping, school, travel—then repeat in rapid succession. Sunday has become NFL football day for many. Some Christians go to church on Sunday morning and schedule Sunday afternoon for grocery shopping. The Sabbath, even for believers, has become a half day instead of a whole day.

One weekday afternoon during the coronavirus crisis I was walking in my neighborhood and noticed that people were walking their dogs in the middle of the street because there was no traffic. It was so calm that I said, “This feels peaceful, like a Sabbath day almost.” Then I was reminded of how the Lord dealt with his disobedient people in the Old Testament: He deported them to another country so the land could “enjoy its Sabbaths”—Sabbaths which the land never enjoyed while his people were frantically occupied seven days a week. The Lord warned Moses in advance that this would happen. He said, “But the land shall be left by them, and enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them; and they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they spurned my ordinances, and their soul abhorred my statutes” (Leviticus 26:43).

As a first step, the Lord has forced America to slow down, to cease its constant bedlam, so that his voice can be heard.

What God is saying

The second step, of course, is to hear what he is saying. I have been getting emails from Christian organizations saying, “Everybody please pray! Pray for an end to this crisis; pray for a cure to be found for this virus; pray that God will protect us.”

They have missed the point. As far as they are concerned, God has nothing to do with any disease outbreak. This virus can only come from Satan, they say, and so we need to call on God to defeat Satan. They forget that nothing happens apart from the permissive will of God.

Fasting and praying without listening to God’s voice was a mistake made by God’s people in the time of Jeremiah the prophet. God told Jeremiah: “Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and cereal offering, I will not accept them; but I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence” (Jeremiah 14:12). Fasting and praying were of no avail as long as the people remained stubborn and persisted in their disobedience to God. The people might cry out to God, but the pestilence would still come to them because of their steadfast refusal to obey God’s laws. God did not just want prayer; he wanted obedience.

America called to repentance

Any message from God will ultimately point to Christ, because in him is contained all God’s Truth. The Bible tells us that the first step in receiving Christ is repentance. John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ by calling for repentance. He told his people: “Bear fruit that befits repentance,” and then he warned: “Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:8, 10).

The question which must be asked next is: “Repent of what?” The temptation even among churches is to leave the answer to this question a little vague. The temptation for proud Americans is to say, “Aren’t we a pretty good bunch of people, after all? Isn’t America the greatest nation on earth? Aren’t we actually pacesetters in moral behavior?”

But from God’s point of view it’s: three strikes and you’re out.

God has always told his prophets what he told Isaiah: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). Christians today need to follow Isaiah’s example and declare to America its sins—America’s abominations.

An abomination is a human behavior which the Lord God Almighty regards as appallingly evil—you might even say evil beyond “ordinary” evils. Since America has encoded several abominations into its laws, it can be said that these truly are “American abominations.” We will proceed to declare America’s abominations below, listing them in more or less historical sequence.

Abomination #1: idol worship

I recently heard an astronomer on TV explaining that the heavy elements, some of which occur in small (but necessary) amounts in the human body, have been created by the extreme pressures within exploding stars. This astronomer then said exuberantly, “So you see, you were created by stars!”

Ever since Darwin (and some would say, ever since Galileo) the scientific establishment has been pushing God out of his Biblical roles as Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Whether scientists are saying we were created by stars or that we evolved from apes, their thinking leads in the same direction: namely, materialistic cause-and-effect replaces divine intervention. God’s role in creation has become smaller and smaller until today it is virtually non-existent, according to prevailing scientific teaching. One prominent astronomer recently announced to a large gathering of fellow scientists that he didn’t see how anyone could be a scientist and still believe in God.

These things are being taught to our children in public schools. By American law they are required to be taught, and by law the Bible is not to be taught. The teaching of the Bible is condemned with the worst possible label: unscientific. If it is allowed that God might exist, he is portrayed as completely powerless and irrelevant in this teaching.

We need to realize that science has become a false idol, no different than the false idols of the Canaanites which the Old Testament prophets so roundly condemned. Modern science performs the functions of a religion. Namely, science explains our origins (big bang, evolution); science explains our destiny (we return to the elements to get recycled among the stars); science comes to our rescue when a new disease strikes by giving us the technology to develop antidotes; science gives us the means to see into the future when something like climate change occurs; and then science explains to us what we must do to survive the changes. So what do we need God for? Science has replaced God.

A Christian response to the idolatry of science

Numerous books have been written on this subject, presenting too much material to even summarize here; but there are some basic facts to bring to the fore. Christians need to remember that the brilliant astrophysicist with equations written all over his blackboard describing the effects of the big bang cannot tell you where the big bang came from. He takes it for granted that it arose from natural causes (no help from God), but he has no idea what those causes might be. In other words, he casually gives the universe credit for creating itself.

Christians need to remember that if you were to give an expert biologist all the organic chemicals he asked for, put him in a lab with all the instruments of modern technology, and challenge him to produce a living thing from those raw materials, he could not do it. In fact, he would not have a clue how to do it. The fact is that even though scientists cavalierly state that life somehow springs of its own volition from some primitive organic soup, they cannot define what life is in a scientific way, and they cannot define a scientific process by which life starts.

These scientists have made nature into a god. They attribute to nature miraculous powers and knowledge far beyond human power and knowledge, and they do obeisance to it. Their idol is nature, and they are engaged in false idol worship. As the apostle Paul said, they have “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

And they cling to this idolatry, because as the high priests of their religion, it allows them to claim power and prestige for themselves. The places of worship for these priests are our schools, especially our schools of “higher learning.” America has a law against the establishment of any state religion; but without anyone quite noticing it, we have established a state religion of science, and by law our schools must teach it.

Christians, we have to start noticing it, and we need to pray that our children will be protected from this false teaching. Christian parents need to take responsibility for teaching their children the truth about God, and for teaching them to give God the glory for his creation. And we need to pray that the blinders will be removed from the eyes of those working and teaching in the scientific world, so they may repent and turn from worshiping the creature rather than the Creator.

Abomination #2: infanticide

The Bible lists the practice of burning one’s children as an offering to a pagan god, or infanticide, as one of the ancient abominations before God’s eyes. King Ahaz, for example, is described as having “burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel” (2 Chronicles 28:3). Today we have as the modern equivalent of this the practice of abortion, which is in effect the offering of one’s children to the god of lust.

Christian prayers and actions against abortion seem to have been more unified and effective in recent years than those against the idolatry of science. The number of abortion centers in some states in America has been greatly reduced. The fight against abortion has been aided by the availability of sonograms, which show the human fetus as a living, moving, sentient being. This provides physical evidence which Christians can put before unbelievers to demonstrate the horror of killing a baby.

Christians should take heart from seeing the initial results of their prayers against this abomination, and realize that their prayers are having an effect. Nevertheless, abortion continues to be a “constitutional right” in the eyes of our courts, and our government continues to subsidize abortions (through grants to Planned Parenthood). We must continue to pray that our country as a whole will repent and turn away from the abomination of abortion.

Abomination #3: homosexuality and sexual immorality

Christian confusion

Satan has come up with a clever ploy; he has drawn the great American trump card of equality into discussions involving sexual morality. In America, the debate has successfully been turned from whether homosexuality is moral, to whether homosexuals should be granted marriage equality. Americans, including Christians, seem to have fallen for the sly switcheroo, and have forgotten that the Bible says bluntly that homosexuality is an abomination. God commanded his people: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). And in the New Testament, Paul gives his complete agreement with that statement, and says that homosexual behavior should not be permitted in the Christian church.

There is also a tendency to minimize the seriousness of homosexual behavior because there is not always an obvious victim. Abortions have a clear victim: a helpless, innocent baby murdered in its mother’s womb. But homosexual activity does not always appear to victimize an innocent person. There is a temptation to say that sexual immorality is a personal matter between consenting adults and has no effect on anything or anyone else. Or we may add that it is also a personal matter between an individual and God, but it doesn’t affect the rest of us one way or the other. This uncertain attitude has weakened Christian prayers and Christian voices. We desperately need our prayers to be strong against the abomination of homosexuality.

And we need to know that indeed there is an innocent, visible victim of homosexual activity, and of sexual immorality in general.

An unexpected victim of sexual immorality

The Bible tells us that even when sexual immorality occurs in private between consenting adults, there is a victim: the land. The Lord said to the people of Israel, through Moses:But you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you …  lest the land vomit you out, when you defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you” (Leviticus 18:26, 28). And the Lord said later through the prophet Jeremiah:

“By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers
like an Arab in the wilderness.
You have polluted the land
with your vile harlotry.” (Jeremiah 3:2)

The land itself was polluted by the people’s sexual immorality; and today we are polluting our land—the land we love, the land of the free and home of the brave—with our sexual immorality. People concerned about modern climate change should take notice here: The Lord is not saying the land was polluted by fossil fuels; he is saying the land was polluted by sexual immorality. And then the Lord tells how the land suffered devastating climate change because of its moral pollution:

Therefore the showers have been withheld,
and the spring rain has not come;
yet you have a harlot’s brow,
you refuse to be ashamed.” (Jeremiah 3:3)

The new meaning of pride

That quote from Jeremiah tells us something else, as well. It gives us the new, revised meaning of the word pride.

You are probably aware that nowadays the LGBTQ community sponsors many so-called PRIDE events to promote their lifestyle in the public eye. But those events are not about pride, in the usual sense. They are about refusing to be ashamed, as Jeremiah puts it—refusing to accept the verdict of the Bible. Even more than that, they are calls to arms. They are rallies in which they can proclaim, “We remember what you Christians did to us, and now we are going to turn the tables on you. We are going to gather our forces to wipe all you Bible-believing Christians off the map!” Christians, we need to be aware of what they are doing: They are declaring war against anyone who dares proclaim God’s true word. And right now they have gained many strong allies in all segments of society, including within the church itself.

But God sees them, and God sees America’s openness and active consent to their lifestyle. And God’s word says the more we refuse to be ashamed of our sexual immorality, the more we are polluting the land. There will come a tipping point when the land will simply “vomit us out.”

The abomination spoken of by the prophet Daniel

The prophet Daniel has some words that bear on our present situation. Daniel 11:31 and 12:11 speaks of a time when “the abomination that makes desolate is set up” (set up in the place where God was to be worshiped, that is). In the Bible, “desolate” means childless. We know childlessness was not God’s intention for mankind, because when he created Adam and Eve he told them to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Satan, on the other hand, likes childlessness, because if children are never born then he doesn’t have to go to the trouble of killing them. Homosexuality, of course, stands in biological opposition to human reproduction. Homosexuality is an abomination that makes desolate, and we see it now established in places that bear God’s name, places that are supposed to be for worship of God.

I have in front of me a news clipping fairly typical of our times. It announces that Bishop Bonnie Perry is to be the first female and openly gay bishop of the Michigan diocese of the Episcopal Church. A photograph shows Bishop Perry standing in her church before the communion table with hands folded, smiling sweetly like a schoolgirl who has just won the spelling bee. What could be more innocent? the scene seems to suggest. So we are encouraged to let down our guard and go our way. Let them “do their thing” if they want; it can’t do us any harm.

But Jesus says otherwise. Jesus tells us that yes indeed we should take heed to Daniel’s prophecy. In the following statement he tells us that Daniel’s words are a stern warning to all:

“So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)

We are today seeing a desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place. Does Jesus say we can safely ignore it? No, Jesus says for us to flee because this is a sign of big trouble ahead. Jesus says for us to take warning because a terrible abomination—a deadly spiritual virus—has even infected his church, the body of Christ. And if his church is infected, where is there left to go?

Learning from the city of Sodom

Homosexual behavior is referred to as sodomy, named after the city of Sodom mentioned in the book of Genesis. The Bible tells us that God sent two angels, in the form of men, to investigate the reports he had heard of wickedness in the city of Sodom. When the angels arrived at Sodom, the men of the city surrounded the house where the angels were staying and demanded to “know them” (that is, rape them homosexually). But the angels struck the men of the city with blindness so they could not carry out their immoral intentions. Then the angels warned the one righteous family found in the city—the family of Lot—to run away and escape, because the Lord was going to destroy the city. They told Lot’s family: “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley; flee to the hills, lest you be consumed” (Genesis 19:17).

Does the angels’ command sound familiar? It is exactly what Jesus has also told us to do: flee to the hills, lest we be consumed!

The Bible goes on to tell us that the fate of Sodom was total destruction. It says: “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomor′rah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground” (Genesis 19:24-25). Our modern, scientific minds may try to visualize that as meaning something like a small volcano springing up out of the ground and raining fire down on the cities. We are not inclined to believe that fire and brimstone actually came onto Sodom from heaven. But we will see in upcoming sections of this message that it is logical that the fire should come from heaven. This is because the evil of sodomy has repercussions in heaven as well as on earth. The wickedness of Sodom caused the pillars of heaven to shake, so that heaven itself had to react.

The United Methodist conference of 2019

In February of 2019 the United Methodist Church held a worldwide conference in St. Louis, where they voted on whether to recognize same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ clergy. The vote was 438-384 against such recognition. Obviously there were already many active church members who were openly homosexual or lesbian, and they wanted their church to take the next step in promoting the LGBTQ agenda.

What a very American solution to a problem: take a vote! “Some people have this point of view, and some people have the other point of view, so we’ll vote to make the majority happy.” But Christians need to remember that neither Satan nor God runs a democracy. They run king-doms, and we are all members of either the one kingdom or the other.

Way back when their church began admitting homosexual church members, those Methodists who knew the Bible (were there any?) should have run as fast as they could to get away. They should have fled to the hills, and not looked back. That is the response God has said we must make if we want to survive the times.

Abomination #4: gay marriage

The most recent abomination to be promoted to full legal status in America is “gay marriage”—men marrying men and women marrying women. It has been officially declared that this is the legal equivalent of a man and woman marrying each other.

This abomination is perhaps the most disturbing of them all. Christians may be heard to give a relatively mild argument against gay marriage by saying it is a violation of God’s plan for marriage. Here they are referring to the original plan given in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” They are correct in quoting this verse, but there is a deeper argument, as well. Marriage does not just define God’s plan for a man and woman; marriage defines the eternal relationship between Christ and his church.

Paul talks about this dual meaning of the marriage relationship in his letter to the Ephesians, where he says, “This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32). Paul probably did not have access to the Book of Revelation as we do, so today we can see how Paul’s observation was corroborated in the revelations given to the apostle John. Here is a portion of John’s vision of the days to come:

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.      (Revelation 19:6-8)

In this passage the Lamb is Jesus, and the Bride is Jesus’ church—his “saints.”

So God’s plan for human marriage is not arbitrary, but models a heavenly relationship binding Jesus’ followers to Jesus. When America declares God’s definition of marriage to be invalid, we are doing more than corrupting a human relationship; we are thumbing our noses at God’s sacred plan for Jesus and his church in heaven. We are not just attacking an earthly order; we are attacking a profound and sacred institution God has established in heaven. We are shaking not just the pillars of earth, but the pillars of heaven.

Christians must pray resolutely

Christians need to pray that America be free from the coronavirus, but that is just the beginning. The coronavirus is God’s sign to us that he wants our attention and that he has a message for us. We need to thank God that he sees us, that he knows us, and that he is taking action for our protection. We need to thank God for sending us a message warning us about our abominations, and we need to pray that America will respond to that message in genuine repentance.

Let us pray that these abominations which repel God away from us will be totally destroyed and eliminated from our country.

Let us pray that our children’s minds will be protected from these abominations so that they may be drawn closer to God, rather than drawn away from him.

Nothing new under the sun

The Preacher said: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Skeptics may dismiss the Bible as ancient mythology, but in fact the writers of 2,000 and 3,000 years ago were writing (under God’s guidance) about us. Idol worship, infanticide, sexual immorality (including what was referred to then as “male cult prostitutes”), were prevalent in ancient society, and they are now prevailing in modern American society, as well. Truly there is nothing new under the sun.

Can America turn from its abominations before the land that we love “vomits us out” in complete revulsion?

Too much negativity?

Critics may say this message talks too much about sin and not enough about love. But there is only one pathway to God’s love, and that is the pathway of repentance. We must come to him with a penitent heart, with a heart that truly desires to obey his commandments and serve him. We can’t fool God. If we say we repent, but in our heart plan to continue doing what we like, God knows, God sees, and our prayers will go unanswered. The path of repentance is the path we are pleading with all Americans to follow.