Practical Christianity

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The Prophets And The Coronavirus

“For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.

Amos 3:7 (ESV)

 Towards the end of 2019, the visible “Christian” space all over the world was inundated with countless prophecies, declarations, and revelations of what the coming year 2020 would be like.

In keeping with what has become an established yearly tradition, virtually every single prophet, pastor or apostle of various churches claimed to have received phenomenal revelations of the coming year from God which they ecstatically decreed to their followers at special end-of-the-year services.

They even christened the year with varying tags or themes all pointing in the same direction of an intensely positive outlook for the year – rest, recovery, blessing, abundance, prosperity, promotion, progress, divine favor, power, speed, wealth, success, victory, you name it. The entire spectrum of synonyms indicating an awesome year ahead were practically exhausted. Some even sprinkled in Bible verses to support their declarations.

Here are some actual Year 2020 prophetic declarations as collected by an online Forum;

  • 2020, The Year of Dominion
  • 2020 Our Year Of All Round Sufficiency
  • 2020, Our Year of Divine Breakthrough
  • 2020 – Divine Favour Everywhere
  • 2020, Our Season of all Round Testimony
  • 2020 Your Year Of Rest
  • 2020, The Year Of Perfection

I’m tempted to repost more (even all of them) here, but I’m sure you get the drift – God had revealed that 2020 was going to be the most wonderful year of our lives.

But then came 2020 with the outbreak of the novel Covid-19 disease in Wuhan, China, which exploded and spread to every inhabited continent. It was eventually declared a pandemic and global emergency by the WHO, which has led to about 2.6 million confirmed cases and nearly 200,000 deaths worldwide, completely overwhelming even some of the best healthcare systems in the world. It has also led to a near halt of most commercial activity, leading to rather severe economic losses, with more damage to come. The UN recently warned of the possible onset of global famines of ‘biblical proportions,’ reported by CNN and other international media houses. The impact of the virus has been top to bottom. Neither the world’s most advanced nor poorest economies have been spared. It’s been a bona fide, real-life, international horror movie which unfortunately has no end in sight at the time of writing.

The CoronaVirus & Our Beloved Prophets

What is the connection between this pandemic and our beloved prophets? At least one.

Just before the year began, they had made a big deal of reminding everyone of their special access to God as his anointed spokesmen. The airwaves were awash with advertising and invitations to all kinds of end-of-the-year or cross-over programmes where delicious prophecies such as the aforementioned, were liberally dished out to multitudes who attended both in person and online.

Yet for some reason, not one of them was led to so much as hint at the outbreak and the enormous, negative effects of historic proportions which would affect everyone on the planet, them and their followers inclusive. Just like the rest of us, they did not see it coming.

Did God forget to let them in on his plans?

The Sovereignty of God & the CoronaVirus

My last sentence is bound to offend many people to whom God has been falsely portrayed as a cute, cuddly teddy bear who could never allow or inflict any harm or pain on anyone, much less an excruciating and immensely costly global crisis like the one we’re currently grappling with.

But one of the Bible’s great themes is the Sovereignty of God over everything. This is taught directly and implied in far too many Bible chapters and verses, it is impossible to miss. Thankfully, one of the verses where this is stated in no unclear terms is verse 6 of the same Amos 3 – right before verse 7 which we’re focusing on in this article:

6 Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?

Disaster cannot come upon a city, much less the whole world unless God ordains it. It’s very simple. An additional reading for this would be verse 7 of Isaiah 45:

I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

It is God who makes times of well-being, as well as times of calamity. The world has invested considerable resources trying to ascertain the true origin of this disease. While many believe it may have been engineered in a lab and inadvertently (or deliberately) leaked to the human population in Wuhan and from there to the rest of the world, others believe it originated from animal sources. While either of these may be true, the Bible insists that all of this has happened, at the time that it did, in the way it did, to the extent that it has, ultimately because God ordained for it to be so. For a more wholesome treatment of the subject of divine sovereignty as it relates to the Coronavirus, please download John Piper’s free new book “Coronavirus and Christ”.

After the initial shock of the pandemic and the forced closure of entire States and Cities which has affected everyone from Churches to Bars, our dear prophets seem to have found their voice. After the break in transmission, God has again resumed speaking to them. As one would expect, he’s saying all the nice and smooth things: all will be well, this will all go away very ‘soon’ etc. Early in March, one of the more famous Prophets is said to have gone one step ahead to even specify March the 27th  as the day the pandemic would end and things return to normal. Well, as I write it’s almost the end of April and the crisis has only gone from bad to worse, no end in sight. In fact, in countries like Nigeria where the virus arrived much later than it did countries in Asia and the West, it seems to only be just getting started. As some people playfully observed, this prophet didn’t specify which year he was speaking of. Things could stay this way until March 27th, 2021.

What I find worrisome is that the followers of these prophets have carried on as if nothing happened. They have continued to eat off the palms of these blind shepherds. They readily lap up their latest prophecies and declarations of relief and return to normalcy (no time or dates specified). This is understandable, in the sense that we all want an end to the lockdowns and restrictions.

But why would anybody believe a prophet who did not see the CoronaVirus crisis coming in the first place?

A Blessing in Disguise

This pandemic has no doubt been a major scourge and monumental setback to the entire world. But there may be multiple upsides to this – blessings in disguise. One of them must be that it gave us the rare chance to verify whether our beloved prophets really do hear from God, or not.

7 “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.

One reason I love this verse from Amos 3 is that it is very difficult to misunderstand or misinterpret. It is a simple statement with two equally clear but powerful truths that I find particularly relevant to this present crisis as it relates to our apparently self-proclaimed prophets and the multitudes who seem unquestioningly loyal to them.

Amos 3:7 states that “…the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing it, and that, to his servants the prophets.” This is God’s MO. This is the way he operates. There is nothing he does or brings about, which he does not first inform his prophets about. Even in context (verse 6), this includes the unleashing of disaster.

A good biblical and historical example of this in practice would be Agabus’ prophecy of a great famine that was to come upon the whole world in the days of the early church, recorded in Acts 11:27-30. The Bible even indicates that this prophecy did come to pass in the days of the Emperor Claudius as can be verified by independent history. The prophecy related by Agabus was considered so trustworthy by the early church, that they immediately made plans to contribute and send funds to the brethren in Judea who were obviously vulnerable to the impending devastation. This helped the Judean brethren not just better cope with the harsh effects of the famine. It helped them survive it.

So, if this is the modus operandi of God – a God who does not change, how is it that in our case, our own prophets were completely in the dark? Did God act out of character?

Or could it be an indication that our favorite prophets are NOT what they claim to be? Could this crisis be a golden opportunity for all watchful people in their camps to realize they have been (mis)led by blind guides all along? Could it be that these highly venerated and widely celebrated charismatic leaders who have held the world spell-bound, are false prophets after all? Could they be illegitimate prophets who never were in the loop of God’s plans? Could it be?

As stated earlier, many of them have gone to town, prophesying sweet relief and a soon-to-come end to the crisis. I take it they’re just doing what they do – what prophets not really called by God do.

But surely it will be new depths of foolishness for anyone to believe and accept this from their prophet unless that prophet had predicted this crisis in clear enough terms before it started. That would mean he or she would have done so before 1st January 2020, never mind that the outbreak was in fact first reported in Wuhan in December 2019, at the time when they were all busy leading the 2020 ‘prophetic’ jamboree.

Let him who has ears, hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Peter Uka

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