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COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus: God’s Blessing or Satan’s Curse?

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Abstract

One of the biggest questions we can ever ask as Christians is who is behind a catastrophic world event like COVID-19, is it a judgment of God or an attack of Satan? This essay attempts to give a definitive answer to this question whilst dismissing the contrary position that invokes the concept of God's permissive action rather than His causative responsibility for worldwide events that see indiscriminate death.
COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus: God’s Blessing or Satan’s
Curse?
This is entirely the position of the author and is not endorsed by any ministries
or individuals mentioned within it.
The central thesis of this essay, expressed in the words I wrote to the most senior
prophet I know (who has international recognition), is expressed in these words, “It is
time to evict this virus rather than celebrate it as some kind of global reset” to which
their reply was “Yes and amen.” Hopefully, you can now read the rest of the essay in
good conscience. These words were actually written from me to them in
congratulation to them for a five minute video presentation as a Passover message1
in which they had used the eviction motif, but, combined with some messages I have
watched from Jennifer LeClaire, Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis, it was
sufficient for me to be emboldened to write this without being concerned I am
rebellious and partnering with the satanic2.
My point of departure that motivates this essay is that the multitude and diversity
of prophetic voices with their incommensurate positions, conflicting “words” and the
massive vacillation within the church of how to respond to COVID-19, is indicative of
the failure to resolve the most basic question of all:
1. “Is this a grand Satanic move that should be resisted by every believer in
every way possible with all of the resources at our disposal
1 https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=537607370292333
2 As far as the spiritual merits of the case I argue, I will leave it to those with the gift of the
discernment of spirits as to whether I am in rebellion or my own “Word of Faith” prejudice has simply
blinded me to the new and better wine.
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2. “Is this a grand reset of God, where He has stripped away everything that
matters to us and that we should somehow reposition ourselves for a new
normal…”
3. “Is this both
Giving a definitive, clear and well-argued answer to this question I believe is
imperative and possible and this is what this essay is about.
The reason why this has presented itself before me in such a way it has provoked
me to write about it, was that recently, during a mentoring session for a prophetic
training course, the presenter made the statement (or something very like it), “All of
us prophesy according to our worldview. You will never prophesy contrary to what
you believe about eschatology”. As you can gather from their response, the question
was with reference to a basic eschatological perspective and how it informs what we
can bring to the prophetic table:
a. If you believe that Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 is one of the plagues of the
Book of Revelation, you are getting very excited and Jesus is about to return -
it is trivial to find this position in the Christian blogosphere and social media3.
b. If you believe that many things remain undone and Jesus’ return is not
imminent then you require a different explanation.
However, on accepting (b), just because you require a different explanation does not
mean that there are still not varieties of possible explanations to answer that
question, implying that we are answering the more fundamental question in different
3 Though we will intersect occasionally with this position during this essay, I do not engage
extensively with it for I believe it to be fundamentally mistaken and if you are prophetic I refer you to
Bill Hamon, Prophetic Scriptures Yet to Be Fulfilled: During the 3rd and Final Reformation, Kindle Ed.
(Destiny Image: 2011) for the full rebuttal of that position. I do offer a brief dismissal of it here
https://medium.com/@mmacneill123/is-covid-19-a-sign-of-jesuss-imminent-return-and-the-rapture-of-
the-church-63efd36e24e7 and an extensive, academic one as part of a dissertation
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325807525_Dominion_Theology_-
_Its_origin_development_and_place_in_Christian_thinking , especially chapter 2 that focusses on
eschatological views.
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and contradictory ways. It is not that this diversity of opinion is a bad thing in itself,
for I, with the great neo-Calvinist Abraham Kuyper, want to recognise pluralism of
religious and spiritual opinion as a good thing4,5. We must also recognise that the
discussion for those of us humble enough to embrace the diversity within the
viewpoints might also help us to come to a more robust and correct position
ourselves. Kuyper identified diversity as a true attribute of something being alive, it
reflects the freedom and liberty granted to the believer6 and we should, in one sense,
welcome the current discussion and divergence of views amongst us as prophets if
for no other reason than it showcases our total failure to arrive at a coherent position
about it. For Kuyper, his important qualification to pluralism was that it is only if that
opinion remains orthodox, which for the Calvinist is always within the revealed Law
of God in his covenants. Similarly, I believe if we can answer our basic question
deciding the responsibility for this event, we can come to a coherent and unified
position about it. Thus, the presenter’s answer was an accurate but incomplete and
partial response to a probing question from the student who also happened to be
from a different nation whose prophets had generated multiple and incommensurate
answers which implied they had answered in different ways, consciously or
unconsciously, that most basic and fundamental question. By properly giving an
answer to the more basic question, we can remove the confusion and give a
4 See for example, Kuyper, A., ‘Uniformity: The Curse of Modern Life’ and ‘Calvinism: Source and
Stronghold of Our Constitutional Liberties’ in Abraham Kuyper – A Centennial Reader, Ed. James D.
Bratt (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids: 1998)
5 For Kuyper, this contrasted with the papal top-down approach to dogma in which the Pope issues
bulls that settles a matter of dispute for he is the authoritative Pontifex Maximus. As Ulf Eckman
(worthy of recognition for establishing one of the great churches of the Earth in Sweden), as a recent
convert from Protestantism states, the Pope has received the answer from God directly and carries
God’s authority. Thus, in the case of you being an anxious Catholic reader, you can perhaps wait for
the next papal bull on Coronavirus (or similar) and skip the reading this essay. Modern, shallow
Protestants can do a similar thing and wait for their favourite magazine to do a feature article (they are
already appearing) and take a position from their favourite Christian publication and/or senior prophet.
Unfortunately, if you are a thinking Protestant, you might have to endure the reading of this essay.
6 Exposited in book length by Martyn Lloyd Jones, D., Liberty and Conscience – Romans 14: 1-17
(Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh: 2015)
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definitive answer to the student’s question and our dilemma as to whether this is God
or Satan.
Thus, to begin our analysis, consider what Chuck Pierce, credited with the
only ‘before the event’7 prophetic word regarding COVID-19, says:
Several interpretations could be given over the situation of COVID-19 as havoc
occurs throughout the nations. Some would even say that this virus has stopped
any movement where revival can continue. I would say: "God has put
a pause until He sees who is willing to cross over with Him through His blood at
Passover." This Passover will become a dividing line for our future!”8 (emphasis
added)
Chuck is one of the prophetic generals and we should honour him for being accurate
in this matter. However, he also reveals the problem I want to examine here, it is this
phrase “several interpretations”. Now that he has been vindicated (after the cool
reception of his initial word), he has obviously been sought after and interviewed but
His subsequent words on this matter regarding this year9 and what is going to
happen were sufficiently ambiguous (or multivalent to be kinder) that whatever does
happen can be pushed into the hole that has been dug (for or by him). Chuck is not
alone here, there are all sorts of shades of prophetic opinion and nuancing of just
what is going to happen economically and politically between the US and China for
example, we are at a watershed moment etc, but very little precision. This is
important because, and this is my main qualification to the diversity paradigm, we
must recognise that not all our views are equally as valid as each other, not least
7 As I mention elsewhere, there are plenty of prophets attempting to “back-fix” their words to validate
their status and, of course, we have a vast outpouring of new words post the event which has created
this noise and confusion I am writing about here. The question asked by the student was regarding
the clear division between words that reflected the eschatology of the prophet (implying one or the
other of our positions 1-3) and what did the presenter (probably the most senior British prophetic
voice) think about it.
8 https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/80444-chuck-pierce-prophesies-massive-plague-like-
invasion-will-test-us-through-passover , accessed 09/04/2020
9 https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/cwn/2020/april/chuck-pierce-prophesied-last-year-about-the-
coming-plague-he-says-this-passover-will-be-a-true-passover?cid=EU_CBNNEWS-20200408-
PROD_DM45221&bid=939780116&inid=A1D42996-BAC2-49F9-8D2A-2340D7A82980 , accessed
09/04/2020
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because of their theological conclusions and their practical implications. It is
imperative, which was also recognised by the presenter, that “we are speaking with
one voice10. We still need to have the courage to argue a position about our faith if
we believe that what is being taught is not fully consistent with scripture or is even
fundamentally opposed to it (as Kuyper often did with exquisite brilliance). Some
theological positions are better than others; in the sense of being more faithful to the
letter and spirit of the biblical text, are the substantively correct interpretation (that
word again) of scripture and are able to give a coherent account of reality and to
inform our praxis.
It should be apparent from my extended introduction here that this question
has the potential to get complex rapidly being a confluence of so much theology and
philosophy, so I will be straightforward as to why I want to consider this question. My
current mentors in the prophetic, who have run an excellent series of courses in the
last two years for those of us worldwide who feel called into the prophetic office,
argue strongly and urgently for positions (2) and sometimes imply (3) if I am
understanding the mentoring call I was involved in and the sequence of meetings
that have been streamed daily for a general audience since the COVID-19 outbreak
locked us all inside. Their message is clear and unapologetic regarding the situation
the world finds itself in, “it is an outstanding display of God’s sovereignty” and we are
counselled to get into the timings and purposes of God at this time.
10 This, of course, begs the question as to why I did not speak up immediately when invited by the
presenter “is there anyone who wants to disagree, we need to hear from you”. Briefly, I did not
believe it was appropriate to at that point in that setting with no preparation where it is more likely to
be disruptive rather than helpful and I was more than happy to listen to the contrary view to my own
instinctive one. However, this essay does represent me “speaking up” in a non-trivial way and in what
I hope to be a useful contribution.
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However, I, without ill-will or prejudice11 will argue for position (1) in an equally
clear and unapologetic fashion because I do believe that to take position (2) or (3) is
such a basic confusion and has such serious consequences for our conception of
the character of God, that it needs to be challenged. Of course, it could be argued
that our high-level conceptions of God’s character are abstract, and it is the low-level
phenomenological outworking of our theology that matters. Our theology should not
get in the way of us as believers being able to work together and embrace our
diversity as in the case of George Whitfield and John Wesley who had radically
divergent views but could still preach the gospel together12. As a general pragmatic
principle, I am prepared to accept that, but Christians need to have a robust answer
to those who ask them difficult questions about God’s character and more pertinently
about where God in relation to this and similar events sits. This essay wants to
wrestle with those difficult questions for those who think it matters that we should
have as correct and full conception of God’s character as possible. If Jesus is the
Truth and Jesus draws all humanity to himself as he is lifted up13, it is Truth that
draws all humanity to God and so it is important we can present an accurate picture
of Jesus and thus God’s character to the world.
Of course, in some respects we are immediately getting right down to what we
think scripture is and how it dovetails with our prophetic and seer anointings. If we
believe scripture to be a public, eternal, objective statement of God’s law from which
we can derive a systematic theology and practical ethics, constraining the spirits
(thus the mouths) of the prophets within clear boundaries, we will approach it very
differently than if we consider it a deliberately ambiguous narrative that invites a
11 As scripture makes clear, it is not for me to judge “another man’s servant” (Rom 14:10) for they
stand before God on their own merits.
12 At least for a time but they eventually separated with Whitfield heading for the New World. Paul
and Barnabas could not resolve differences and also eventually separated.
13 John 12:32
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plurality of possible meanings and consequences. In such a view, we see scripture
primarily as a narrative text that is reinterpreted for each age according to what that
age needs, full of mysteries that can only be revealed by inspiration of the Spirit
within the prophets, for “the letter kills but the Spirit brings life14; and part of the
genius of God is that it is the timeless truth, but it is applied situationally and
creatively to a time or culture. On this latter view, it would even be an error to claim
semantic persistence and objective clarity, its beauty is its amorphous, opaque
subjectivity and its transrational revelatory route to knowledge. In other words,
expanding slightly on what the presenter accurately stated in the answer to the
student, we are really dealing with basic philosophical worldviews with differing
theological hermeneutics. A “worldview” is a set of presuppositions against which all
else is judged. We are identifying the cognitive presuppositions built into our
processing of the event that arrives for processing via our physical or spiritual15
senses. Other words that might be used are ethical framework, or very popular in
prophetic circles, “a paradigm”. When we talk about someone “looking through rose-
tinted glasses” we are also talking hermeneutics, it is what makes sense of an event
that otherwise remains ambiguous when considered in isolation.
I would conclude that the first position regarding scripture is really the
philosophical position of Reformed Theology that argued for a coherent, systematic
theology and the latter is a reflection of our contemporary, postmodern milieu where
we have subjectivised theology (“what do I think is right?”), relativised religious
experience (“this is what I have experienced and therefore it is equally as valid as
14 2Co 3:6
15 If we really do “prophesy according to our worldview” it does not matter whether that inspiration
originates from the spiritual, the soulful or the natural world, we still work it over in our minds and
understanding “as we prophesy in part” (1Co 13:9) the exception being when God takes over our
mouth and we say something totally beyond our understanding. In such cases, it can be completely
contrary to our worldview and we need another essay to discuss such cases.
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what you experienced”) and are disposed to situational (as opposed to normative),
mystical, transrational ethical positions (claiming authority and insight from beyond
the rational about how we should live). The confidence of the Reformation as one
arm of the Renaissance (the Christian Enlightenment) was the presupposition of
“modern” philosophy16 that reason with the addition of the restoring grace of God
could assemble an accurate picture of reality17. As time passed, confidence in
reason was confined to the natural realm alone, it could tell us something about the
phenomena of the world but the not the world as it really is (or the supernatural
world)18. Reason then dismissed the supernatural world as unknowable and faith, if
a place was left for it was mystical and arational. Then reason defeated itself19 and
by the time of “postmodern” philosophy that has characterised philosophy since the
closing decades of the 20th century, any claim to certainty is considered as
presumptuous and arrogant; it is actually sceptical we can know anything in an
absolute sense and therefore promotes a “diversity” of possible answers as, at best,
“provisionally correct”. Our penchant for diversity in theological matters is really a
reflection of our infatuation with the postmodern worldview that “gave space to the
sacred” after we were shut out in the cold during the barren years of Darwinism, but
being just one of many ways to view the world also makes it difficult to argue for
16 “Modern” philosophy placed the theory of knowledge (how do I know) rather than metaphysical
questions (does God exist, do particulars and universals exist, what is the nature of nature, etc.) at the
heart of philosophy. Although Descartes (c.1620) is often thought of as the first modern philosopher,
Calvin shared this modern premise that knowledge of ourselves and God precedes metaphysical
speculation about the nature of reality. He is philosophically “modern” in that sense.
17 Where Christian and non-Christian modern philosophy differed was that Reformed Christians
recognised the cognitive degradation as the results of the fall. Reason was not un-aided as for the
non-Christians, but the operation of God’s common grace allows humanity to acquire knowledge of
the world both by the Christian and non-Christian.
18 This is the position associated with Immanuel Kant (c.1788) who defined the subsequent
programme of philosophy (and much theology) with reactions, both positive and negative, to his
philosophy. Only with the rise of scientific naturalism during the second half of the 20th century do we
finally see his influence wane.
19 Hume D., Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (Hafner, New York:1948 (1764)), p. 10
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Christianity as correct20. The position I am taking is very un-postmodern and
dogmatic in that it argues that scripture is normative for us rather than something we
interpret according to our situation; we can take it at face value and authoritative
without a scaffolding of elaborate hermeneutics that adapt it to our time21.
So, let me summarise the position that implies argument (2) as faithfully as I
can from these sources22 which I recommend you watch to get a feel that this is a
substantive and serious position, held by senior prophetic voices. This is necessarily
a compression of hours of material, but I hope it captures the salient points:
“We will really miss what and oppose what God is doing in this new wine time,
during the Passover celebrated with us all in our homes like they were in the
first Passover in Egypt, if we fail to embrace the reset. God is judging the
gods of Egypt which we have been worshipping in our comfort. As in Haggai
we have been about our own projects and ignoring His. God has put us in
this place, stripped us of all our idols and support structures and wants us to
embrace a new way of doing church. He is bored with our Laodicean
lukewarm character and has spat us out of His mouth. His goodness is
20 See https://planetmacneil.org/Documents/Content/PostModernChristian2007.htm for my first short
essay on this subject written as part of my BD.
21 This is not to deny the practice and usefulness of hermeneutics but an appeal to the hermeneutics
of the Reformation: sola scriptura (scripture alone), sola fide (by faith alone), sola gratia (by faith
alone), sola Christo (through Christ alone), sola Deo gloria (glory to God alone) and tota scriptura (the
whole of scripture). We might also reflect on Wesleyan prima scriptura (scripture first) which was a
modification where Sacred Tradition, Reason, and Experience are sources of Christian theology, but
are subordinate to Sacred Scripture. This is because Wesley wanted to emphasise that Christianity
was not just an acceptance of ideas, but someone should also be a Christian in their lifestyle.
22 https://7mu.com/blog/do-you-know-what-god-is-saying-prophetic-report-with-lance-wallnau-larry-
sparks/?inf_contact_key=33af93f318ca7680c8623f454dfbec3d842e902fbefb79ab9abae13bfcb46658;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EulfcMCHTZ0 . Both of these feature Lance Wallnau in
discussion, there is much to commend in both these interviews with which I wholeheartedly agree and
Larry Sparks in the first one, like me, makes the excellent observation there is no coherence from the
“prophetic” church as regarding what is going on but he does identify three basic positions with which
I interact in the main text. Mario Murillo is the second one is an all-out confrontation with the “seeker-
friendly” church culture and advocates the rediscovery of the primitive “worldview collisions” (severely
confrontational) approach to evangelism with which I could not be more in agreement with. Also
watch Glasgow Prophetic Centres’ ‘Power Hour’ series (especially episodes 1-5) on their You-Tube
channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLhuX7u3cX-i11cuSvzw89w. which states very clearly
the contrary position to what I argue here but which also provides a lot of sound guidance and wisdom
regarding what to do in the situation we find ourselves in.
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manifested in His severity, our human conception of goodness does not
capture this ferocious, passionate judgment of God23. We need to trust our
loving Father and into His hands commit our spirits during this time. Under no
circumstances should we resist our social situation we find ourselves in but
rather adapt to it. It is not helpful to ask the ‘why’ this happened but only how
are we going to respond positively to this now.”24
The position that implies argument (3):
This desires to preserve God’s basic character and reputation without
accepting this necessarily implies acceptance of argument (1). It wants to
maintain the position that “God is good and just all the time”25 but needs to
excuse Him from the consequences and collateral damage by reference to
His permissive, as opposed to causative, will. That is, exonerate Him from
direct responsibility for the economic collapse, mass misery and suffering of
actions that He allowed because He has a loving purpose for our reformation
in our suffering, viz. “the patience of Job”26. In one way or another, we have
brought this on ourselves.
So, let me begin my arguments for position 1 and I will then argue that taking
this position renders the other two position untenable. For me, the “plumb lines” of
scripture are many but I want to consider primarily John 10:10 and briefly visit Isaiah
54:15-17:
NET John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so
that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
NET Isaiah 54:15-17 15 If anyone dares to challenge you, it will not be my doing!
Whoever tries to challenge you will be defeated. 16Look, I create the craftsman,
who fans the coals into a fire and forges a weapon. I create the destroyer so he
23 This I believe is where we require the mitigation from position (3).
24 Contra my position as expressed here: https://medium.com/@mmacneill123/should-i-obey-my-
government-on-civil-disobedience-and-the-covid-19-novel-coronavirus-74c944588dec
25 Bill Johnson, God is Good: He’s Better Than You Think, Kindle Ed. (Destiny Image: 2016)
26 Jam 5:11
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might devastate. 17 No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed; you
will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. This is what the LORD will do for his
servants – I will vindicate them," says the LORD.
Now, these verses have a context, and much can be said and has been said in their
exegesis and applicability. However, in an unambiguous and clear way, I believe
they express some very clear universal and eternal principles which should give us a
general orientation towards what we are experiencing in the world today and for us
not to get confused by obtuse and sophisticated prophetic inferences from extended
biblical passages freshly baptised with our new Western prophetic insights. As a
matter of exegetical clarity, I would immediately say that the context of John 10:10 is
as a summary statement of theological arguments that have gone on for chapters
and chapters and are illustrated further afterwards. It presents to us the clearest
distinction between the character and purposes of God and the character and
purposes of Satan in the whole of scripture.
John 10:10 is unambiguous in what is sets before us. The mood of the Greek
is subjunctive, and the construction is logically emphatic negative emphasising the
absolute contrast between Jesus, representing the person and character of God and
the thief, representing the person and character of Satan27 and the objects of their
purposes are ourselves. What does the Satan come to do to us? To steal, to kill and
to destroy. What does God come to do to us? To bring life and to have it
abundantly. So, freshly armed with this principle, let us apply it directly to what
confronts the world. Do we have stealing, killing and destroying in our world today
as the result of the pandemic we are experiencing?
27 I choose to follow the normal rule of English grammar which is to capitalise proper names. This
does not imply I am providing special honour to the person of Satan or granting him equivalent rank
with God.
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Well, our liberty has been stolen28 on the back of poor science29 by crooked
politicians behaving like Eastern European communist dictatorships did during
the height of the Cold War.
oOur rights to travel, trade freely with one another, to socialise and to
meet as church congregations have all been removed with a massive
and intrusive increase in police powers and the surveillance capabilities
granted to government agencies.
o342 pages of legislation that is unprecedented in peacetime was
“nodded through” the British parliament that overturns all kinds of
precedents that preserve our liberty and freedom.
oData that we believed was going to be private (our cell-phone data and
even our “Fitbits”) is now going to be made available so that “contact
tracking” can be done30. The privacy controls will be easily bypassed31
so that individuals and their location will be available to any agency.
There is plenty of killing going on, particularly of those with existing health
conditions.
oIt disproportionately affects the economically disadvantaged, the self-
employed, urban areas with high density, close proximity housing, the
elderly and those with special educational needs or care needs that are
likely to be institutionalised.
28 I write polemically about this here https://medium.com/@mmacneill123/coronavirus-duplicity-what-
the-politicians-and-experts-are-doing-behind-your-back-465937458640 and here
https://medium.com/@mmacneill123/corona-covid-19-hoax-much-more-than-meets-the-eye-
6e026019a5bf
29 The first major contra-study has been published in the premium medical peer reviewed journal
(‘the Lancet’), see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52180783 . Its conclusion was that there was
no justification for closing schools (and by implication most “social distancing” and stopping the
economy). It has been well-received by most experts, the notable exception being the professor who
provided the report to the government that was used to lock us up. However, even he has been forced
to admit that there could be “as much as a 2/3rds overlap” between people who would have died
anyway and people dying from COVID-19; if the original “research” had been subject to robust peer
review, we would probably have never got to lockdown.
30 See for example https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/04/apple-and-google-detail-
bold-and-ambitious-plan-to-track-covid-19-at-scale/
31 Consider, for example, data identifies subjects regularly travelling from infected area X to
uninfected area Y. How long will it be before a government agency requests identification of the
“anonymous” subject that is posing a risk to the general population?
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oHuman beings are social creatures and not all are online or will be able
to remain socially stable if they are limited to online communication.
The prize, however, must go to destroying.
oTens of millions have lost their livelihoods, work and businesses.
oEntire economies of nations have been stopped and massive
borrowing by their governments is going to concentrate an enormous
amount of power in a transnational financial elite32, probably for
decades to come33.
oBorrowing will create inflationary pressure destroying investments,
pensions and making it difficult for people to buy property.
oAbuse victims (both child and spousal) are trapped inside with their
abusers.
oPeople’s mental health and overall sense of well-being is being
compromised by unnatural and unnecessary34 incarceration.
So, I would hope, at least on a prima facie basis anyway, we should be able to
emphatically answer our basic question that the worldwide shutdown and pestilence
is the work of Satan in response to the progress of the Kingdom on Earth.
Why would I be asserting that there was a “progress of the Kingdom on Earth
when the very terms of position 2 and so much of the prophetic voices are in terms
of the “reset” being a symptom of God “spewing us out of his mouth” (Rev 3:16)?
This “prophetic” spiritual explanation is rather that our lack of Christian fidelity and
formulaic praxis with which He was totally bored caused this event to happen. Our
imperative is now to embrace the new normal rather than to reflect on why it
32 Howard-Brown, R., Williams, P.L., Killing the Planet – How a Financial Cartel Doomed Mankind
(Republic Book Publishers, Alexandria: 2019)
33 It may be the world economy never recovers and a new form of social organisation emerges where
we are provided with a minimal State subsidy that ensures equality by imposition (a Universal Basic
Income). This is already a serious policy proposal and many British labour unions have already
passed resolutions at national conferences backing such schemes that “liberate” workers from
bondage to work. British pressure group 38 Degrees which now has a national level voice, launched
a petition at the beginning of the crisis advocating this policy.
34 See for example: https://heated.medium.com/how-should-we-be-reacting-to-the-coronavirus-
pandemic-7b3189b1097b This was written by a senior medical figure with experience of handling
epidemics.
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happened for this is our new reality. However, among the more thoughtful prophets
there has still been the need to address this “why” question but to me, the quick
reference to a passage or two from Hosea and Haggai in answering the “why did this
happen” answers the question in an entirely inadequate way. It is not difficult to use
the narrative of scripture to construct a case that fits a scenario simply because the
scenarios within scripture cover most of human experience. Rather, it is a historical
cliché but if we do not learn the lessons of history, we are doomed to repeat them.
This was not just a spiritual event, wicked men inspired and controlled by Satan
created and released it into the world with malicious intent because of godless socio-
political structures and they have an on-going ideological commitment to a socialist
new world order where every detail of our life down to our precise GPS location is
tracked and our transactions are all conducted electronically, enabling complete and
absolute control to be exercised in the name of social solidarity. If we meekly accept
our imprisonment and concentrate on what we consider the new spiritual dynamics
without comprehending our global historical context and our relationship to the
economic and political spheres, we will be prophetically navel-gazing whilst a social
and political revolution takes place that robs us of our freedom, permanently. This is
not to deny that we can do healthy self-examination and reform our spiritual lives
where we have got lazy during this time and to receive the ministry from those who
have their gifts of exhortation, prophetic wisdom and apostolic mission. It might even
be that an extended period of incarceration leads us to have great power and
anointing as the underground internet church as the Chinese have shown us over
the decades with their profound holiness and purity in suffering. However, as I have
written elsewhere35, an online life means a government can turn you offline very
35 https://medium.com/@mmacneill123/should-i-obey-my-government-on-civil-disobedience-and-the-
covid-19-novel-coronavirus-74c944588dec
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quickly and as the present experience of Chinese Christians also shows, with a slight
shift in the regime of toleration, the bulldozers can interrupt your morning meetings. I
believe we cannot accept the suspension of our basic liberties and meekly accept
any concept of “reset” that resets us to a previous era where we were not free to
meet. These freedoms were hard one by our Protestant forebears and we should
not be surrendering them to godless politicians.
At the very least, we should understand that for the first time in modern history
you had two leaders36 in Trump and Johnson who were not prepared to sign-up to an
internationalist, socialist and globalist agenda. Johnson was nearly taken out with
the disease (with some prophets even prophesying it as a means of humbling the
pride of the UK37) and Trump has had continual coup attempts since he came into
power. The mainstream media in his own country have been openly siding with
China’s vision of a new economic world order and refusing to report their direct
culpability and responsibility for the creation and propagation of the virus38. In
Trump, regardless of what you may think of his playboy past and penchant for the
uncouth tweet, you also have a leader that is prepared to allow God and Jesus
specifically into both his national conversation as President of the US and the
international conversation by advocating for persecuted Christians throughout the
world at the UN, withdrawing from Treaties that directly threatened Israel and the
36 There are others who have been emboldened to stand up once Trump baulked the internationalist
norm. Lance Wallnau calls them “sheep leaders”.
37 I personally witnessed this and will be most interested to hear their response to his recovery.
38 https://youtu.be/bpQFCcSI0pU This is not just a run of the mill conspiracy theorist video, this was
created by someone intimately familiar with China and the operation of the CCP (having lived and
worked there for 10 years) and who understands the flow of information around the Chinese internet.
It is a careful and impressive piece of investigative journalism that has been picked up by none of the
world’s major broadcasters. Interestingly though, in the last few days some mainstream media outlets
on both sides of the Atlantic are beginning to engage with the China aspect in a less partisan way,
rather than berating it as “conspiracy theory” or xenophobic propaganda, e.g.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-52321529 and
https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2020/april/lawmakers-call-for-action-against-chinas-communist-
regime-for-concealing-danger-of-coronavirus-crisis
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Jews, withdrawing from faulty climate accords that would limit the ability of poor
nations to industrialise and create wealth for their citizens, supported the rights of the
unborn, stripped away regulation, enforced an economic discipline on multinationals
preventing cheap labour and that allowed a higher rate of employment amongst
black and ethnic minorities so they could work rather than rely on government
subsidy and wanted to be remembered as “the President that prayed the most”. This
was a model of recovery for other nations and there was a satanic assault on it.
What does scripture instruct us about such men at this point:
1 Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions
and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in
authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and
dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who
desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
It tells us that by praying for such as these in authority we establish the social
conditions of tranquillity and quietness39 that enable the gospel to be preached and
all men to be saved. This is in complete opposition to celebrating the “lockdown” of
citizens as a love gift of God to us as an act of national correction and the toppling
our idols. The lockdown has been an act of international destruction. This is rather
eisegesis masquerading as prophetic insights and those who peddle such “wisdom”
that reinforces our passivity to social and political tyranny need rebuke40. The clear
text of scripture in 1Tim 2 asserts the contrary for our church age. It is similar to
some who will look at a major shopping mall as a Temple of Mammon41, others will
look at it as a place where wealth is generated and the poor can do business,
prosper and feed themselves. If I consider it a Temple of Mammon and a storm
blows the roof off and destroys the stock of businesses there, it is not difficult for me
39 The Greek is particularly vivid here.
40 During an online meeting I was involved in on the 17th April 2020, a prophet trained at Bethel (so
they must be right) used the term “a spirit of fear masquerading as wisdom”. I could not agree more.
41 I was in a car with a senior leader in 1996 who pointed out the window as we drove past the Metro
Centre in Newcastle Upon Tyne, when he pointed out the window declaring it a “Temple of Mammon”.
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to chain a few anti-greed scriptures together and declare God has demonstrated His
sovereignty and judged the wicked.
However, this is just an example of the worst kind of evangelical
fundamentalism and its prejudice with a fresh coat of prophetic paint, for the
probability is that a few weeks before my fictional disaster a Christian broadcaster
was interviewing the Christian entrepreneur who had outlets in the same mall and
was being congratulated for impacting the community in a positive way. We are
behaving as Dispensationalists who are demonstrating our greater ignorance of the
dominion mandate that was given to us in Genesis 1:26-28:
26 Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so
they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and
over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth." 27 God
created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male
and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful
and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the
birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground."
This should be enough to inform us that God does not go about destroying
businesses unless those businesses are working in opposition to His purposes.
Business, like every other aspect of culture, is to be redeemed and used for building
the kingdom. How many Kingdom businesses were decimated during this time by
the unnecessary and ungodly actions of the civil authorities?42 The need to redeem
culture generally was just beginning to get serious traction within the wider Christian
consciousness and this massive State intervention, furloughing of the workforce and
the open idolatry with respect to a state health service43, is a state socialist coup
42 President Trump to his credit is putting a large amount of pressure on State governors to reopen
the American economy. He recognises that 75% of Americans are employed by small businesses of
25 employees or less and they cannot survive an extended shutdown.
43 This is not to say we should not appreciate the genuine work of the committed individuals within
our medical profession. I worked for three years in the British NHS with committed professionals, but
the agency is unaffordable and dysfunctional (it has endured at least four major reorganisations since
the 1980s). It is impossible for it to do that which has been asked of it during any pandemic. The very
term in the UK of “national health service” suggests a government agency that will provide for and fix
your health, it was established as part of the British socialist utopia after the Second World War that
would “take care of you from the cradle to the grave”. Only God (and by implication, it should have
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energised by the satanic to neuter the wider cultural witness. At this point we should
be aggressively standing against this virus that has assaulted us and not indulging
our prophetic appetites for mystical intensions of God’s purposes.
For example, this is a word from a senior British prophet that I believe
captures perfectly how we should be praying:
“to decree and declare that COVID-19 has no right to be in our house, in our
communities, in our city, region or nation…we can come together as an ekklesia
and pronounce an eviction order for COVID-19…
…1 John 4:18 is an eviction order signed by the love of God against fear.”44
Jennifer LeClaire, founder of the Awakening House of Prayer (AHOP) has taken a
similar, unapologetic, aggressive stance which you can get a watch here45. In
particular, she makes the following strong statements:
“[By closing our Churches] we give up our privileges and responsibilities to be salt
and light…We must be careful not to bow too far to authority [that is ungodly]46.”
The enemy engineered this virus to bring fear, and disruption to the nations and
economies around the world…Fear is unreasonable [but it sells media].”
“If we respond in fear, we dilute our authority in future battles.”
“You cannot bow to fear and Jesus at the same time.”
“Coronavirus is subject to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”
“Coronavirus is a demonic entity that is invading our cities.” (emphasis added)
been the church as it was in previous centuries) has the resources to undertake this task. The NHS
(in common with many health services around the world) is predominantly about treatment, not
prevention. In contrast, the strongest defence against most forms of sickness and in particular,
Coronaviruses (which are mild), is to be fit and healthy, see https://heated.medium.com/theres-an-
epidemic-that-s-a-bigger-threat-than-the-coronavirus-ce6e0697185b. This article was written by a
senior medical doctor with a background in epidemiology. My summary of his article is that we are
straining the infection fly whilst swallowing the sloppy lifestyle camel. Imagine if just a fraction of the
money spent on managing this pandemic has been spent on health education and a robust testing
infrastructure.
44 https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=537607370292333.
45 “Prophetic Perspective on the Coronavirus”, AHOP AM Service available at AHOP online,
https://ahop.online/. You will need to create an account but it is free to view.
46 This is a theme of my essay here, https://medium.com/@mmacneill123/should-i-obey-my-
government-on-civil-disobedience-and-the-covid-19-novel-coronavirus-74c944588dec
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Did you hear this, “demonic entity that is invading our cities”? This is so refreshingly
in line with John 10:10, it is a perfect expression of it. It is also relevant to consider
my second scripture at this point for it asserts that “it will not be my doing” (v.15)
when the destroyer manifests in our midst but our required attitude is to be that of
those who are confident in the Lord to deliver us from our enemies and to vindicate
our stand for the truth. There is no exclusion of trouble coming to us (much like
Psalm 91) but we do have the promise of deliverance if we take our governmental
position as believers and exercise faith in God through His Word.
There are no involved hermeneutics to justify our incarceration at God’s
bidding or as an act of His sovereignty, there are no elaborate and involved
inferences of passages from Haggai or Hosea, tales of the tumours of the Philistines
as an excuse for God’s worldwide cruelty (we consider these more below), but a call
to faith and a call to exercise authority to bring freedom and order back into our
society. Lance Wallnau makes this helpful statement that reinforces the need for
political awareness in our prophetic culture, “Anarchy is the only way that the world
will embrace Lucifer [as the solution]”. By this he means the failure of the church to
take a place of cultural authority will permit lawlessness. You cannot lock people up
for ever and take away their livelihoods without people getting very angry. You
certainly cannot afford for the government to pay everybody and not generate
wealth, that is when you get the runaway inflation and the breakdown of the world
economy which promotes a willingness to embrace a new world order advocated by
some false saviour.
However, I have based my entire argument so far on the theology inferred
from John 10:10 and we all know a single scripture, even allowing that I take the
whole book of John to be an expansion of John 10:10, might still be considered by
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my opponents to be insufficient to establish any truth. It is legitimate to assert that
theology is not built on any single book of scripture but on scripture as a whole. It is
also legitimate at times to argue from allegory and to infer patterns in God’s dealing
with Israel as to how He deals with us. It is indeed true that “Every scripture is
inspired by God and useful” (2 Tim 3:16) and so we should be able to draw from all
over the Hebrew scriptures (for these were the only scriptures Paul was referring to)
when making a biblical argument. Thus, in particular, we need to deal with the
problems of God’s “permissive” will (position (3)) that has repeatedly been used by
prophets in adding divine sanction to our current lockdown, economic collapse and
move to online social interaction.
So, let us consider the concept of God’s “permissive” will. It is oftentimes
expressed that there is disobedience to the will of God, a “permissive” will and a
perfect will of God. Disobedience and the perfect will of God seem self-explanatory
– Jonah was disobedient to God and Jesus was perfectly obedient to God, even to
crucifixion. Now, the permissive will of God must be position between these
extremes, but it cannot be the case that there is a continuum between these poles,
for we cannot add a 50% disobedience to the perfect will and end up in the centre of
the permissive. In such cases, we would have to say we started off in obedience
and became disobedient. These must be self-contained categories to be sensible.
Thus, when we talk about the “permissive will” of God we should mean
something less than the ideal but not in disobedience. There is still here the
retention of some positive sense about the category – the Israelites were warned
against a king47, but they chose Saul who eventually ceded to the House of David
and Solomon built a dynasty which was renowned throughout the known world. We
47 1 Sam 8:6 ff.
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see how God partnered with the nation to bring about His purposes using a structure
that was not His “perfect” will. He had explained to the Israelites that the structure
had a fundamental ungodly weakness (it was hierarchical with the power
concentrated at the top) and, sure enough, in the time of Rehoboam all the
magnificence of the Kingdom was destroyed and the nation never recovered other
than for the occasional revival. In this sense the permissive is that which is
functional provided there is obedience at every step and the special safeguards
which God specified are in place and honoured, e.g. the King had to meditate on the
Book of the Law. This would keep the structure “salted”. So, God has presented us
with His perfect Law, but we choose to diverge from it in our civil law because He
has given us the legal right to do so but not necessarily the moral authority in what
we have condoned48. However, there is still the sense that God is prepared to work
with the people and what they have chosen.
However, there is surely a negative conception of the term also. It is well
understood that the Israelites were subject to the covenant sanctions and discipline
of Deuteronomy 27-28. Sometimes the surrounding pagan nations oppressed and
persecuted the people, this is perceived as being done with God’s permission in that
God did nothing to prevent it and warned them of it. God was a shield for His people
but if His people were disobedient or unwilling, that shield was lifted to the degree
the chastisement of the Lord was ministered by whoever the Lord in His sovereignty
appointed. Thus, Hazael the Syrian (2Ki 8) executed judgment against the rebellion
of Israel and Judah. The greater the disobedience, the greater the chastisement, for
God is treating us as sons when He disciplines us, and if we escape merely through
48 David could not be tried for the adultery with Bathsheba because adultery was no longer illegal in
Israel, the community had changed their civil law. However, the moral law had not changed and
David was eventually rebuked by Nathan.
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the fire (1 Co 3:15) because of our gross disobedience, we must submit to the father
of our spirits (Heb. 12:9-11), be reformed and live.
Similarly, perhaps the most extreme example of God’s “permission” in
scripture is the book of Job. Here God is liaising with the “Satan” figure. There is
great debate as to the identification of this figure within the sophisticated prophetic
church today but there need not be, the figure is intent on stealing, killing and
destroying, we can safely assume it is the Satan of John 10:1049. Here the
permission of God would extend to complete destruction of property, family,
industrial, political and social infrastructure around Job. If there was ever an answer
to Job, it would be the great speech of Yahweh from ch.38 onwards which would
seem to express the call to “trust” because you do not understand the true nature of
reality and what you have just experienced. You may think it is “bad” but that is
because you do not have the “God’s eye view” and do not appreciate “the Lord’s
purpose” (Jam 5:11). It was only when “Job prayed for his friends” (Job 42:10) that
he was restored. There are lots of neat little pericopes here that have provided the
basis for many a prophetic word for those of us digging the mystical treasures of Job.
Thus, as far we can correlate with what is happening today, it would be that
we are having a “Job” episode as a body of Christ for there is not only the
disciplining and chastisement elements of the milder view of the permissive will but
also the permission granted to Satan to kill, steal and destroy both the redeemed
and the unredeemed. It seems we are now in the position of Job to pray for our
friends, the “unredeemed” and our countries at this time, we shall be restored and
49 The debate seems to centre around the presence of the article before the Hebrew word for Satan.
This means there is an emphasis on the accusatory character rather than the personality and thus the
debate as to whether this is a “son of God” with a special investigative mission rather than the
personality Satan. Even if we granted that for the sake of argument, we still will have not proved that
this is not Satan acting as a satanizer. Additionally, the LXX (Septuagint) uses o` dia,boloj here
which means the Devil or Satan without ambiguity (in Greek the article before the name refers to the
person as a noted personality).
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end up with twice as much as before. If we want to square the circle of John 10:10
with the Book of Job and reinterpret the goodness of God as permitting the ruin of
the world this would seem to be our only way.
So, can there be a rejoinder to such a robust picture that has been painted for
us? There surely can be, the reliability of the allegory drawn from Job as a general
theological principle is questionable. Firstly, it is argued by many scholars that the
Prologue to Job (featuring the Satan figure) and Yahweh’s great speeches beyond
chapter 37 were not original50 because they are prose rather than the poetry of the
main part of the book. The insertion of the passages (as well as Elihu’s speech) was
for theological reasons and it helps structure the story to enable the rescue of God’s
questionable character and inactivity with respect to Job’s suffering. The condition of
this being inserted into the canon is circumstantially at least, because of the editing
of the story to bring it up to an acceptable standard. It might have been otherwise
relegated to an apocryphal work, derivative from the “righteous sufferer” narratives
that were found throughout the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia51. When you read
the historical books of the bible such as Samuel, Chronicles and Kings, we are
accompanied at all points with a theological commentary by the editors that asserts
the absolute sovereignty of God and His intimate involvement at every stage. There
was just no conception within this period of Judaism of events independent of the
causative will of God and this is what we see overlaid in Job. As one of my most
knowledgeable and orthodox teachers told me, do not build your doctrine solely on
50 See for example: Irwin, W.A. ‘Job’ in Dictionary of the Bible, 2nd Edition (T & T Clark, Edinburgh:
1967); Douglas, J.D., ‘Job’ in The New Bible Dictionary (IVP, Leicester: 1976). Both of these
dictionaries are high quality academic works and the articles were written by distinguished scholars.
Commentaries on Job are notoriously variable because of the challenges of the poetic form of the
text, the LXX translators really struggled with it and there were numerous revisions.
51 Two differing perspectives are found here https://www.ancient.eu/article/226/the-ludlul-bel-
nimeqi---not-merely-a-babylonian-jo/ and https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/3260156.pdf The former is a
light and easy read but you get a feel for the common themes; the latter is a heavy duty foundational
look at the seed-bed for much of the literature of which the Hebrew Bible religious tradition is a part.
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the poetry of the Bible, all scripture is God-breathed, truthfully stated but not all
scripture is logical truth or systematic theology and any inferences from poetic
literature must be assessed against systematic theology. We, unlike the spiritual
Jews of that period, do not believe all events originate in the causative will or even
the permissive will of God. We would find it morally abhorrent that God “permits”
rape or child-abuse simply because it happens and because He does not intervene
to stop it. We must be rigorous in our assessment of what we draw from the First
Covenant to our Second, New Covenant. In other words, we must make sure we are
looking at this event from the “right side of the Cross” and building our theology on
with reference to the Christian scriptures.
However, those of us who are Reformed would be shifting in our seats
uncomfortably with me messing with the seamless garment of scripture as this point
and in arguing about high-level philosophical presuppositions. In most things
Reformed, when life gets theologically difficult, we invoke “the Providence of God”
that picks up the problems like those above. Thus, the believer concerned only with
a low-level phenomenological52 investigation of scripture can indeed find great
suffering amongst the people of God, people were killed, just as Christ “learned
obedience through what he suffered and being perfected…became the source of
eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:8-9). We have Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Could this misery
and suffering not be the gateway to a great revival? Are we in the book of Haggai
and Hosea? Are we in the Passover of Egypt? We have a multitude of spiritual
pictures and lessons we might learn from and many prophets are currently
expounding on those themes. However, they are not doctrinal expositions but
52 Phenomenology is an investigation into events in the world without considering “why” those events
took place. For the phenomenologist, the “why” question is a question that just invites speculation,
cannot be answered and creates confusion, we need to be concerned with reality as it presents itself
to us.
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allegorical allusions useful for didactic purposes. For example, it may well be that
there follows a great revival in the period after this event but this is because the
revival was already here and it was Satan’s fear of what was happening in the
church throughout the Earth that created the need for a worldwide satanic move that
ministers fear to people to hinder its progress. Similarly, the $3 Trillion that fell
through our Haggairian bag with holes in it because we were too busy on our own
projects rather than God’s is surely a sobering thought for us all and the infidelity of
the bride of Hosea as a picture of the church today is surely profound; we can
meditate on it and if we draw lessons from it that lead us to greater personal and
corporate commitment, the scripture has proved useful. Yet, it could just as much be
a massive theft of Satan directed against the resurgent America both economically
and spiritually. Both scenarios fit the empirical circumstances and neither has any
merit above the other on doctrinal grounds, only on the worldview of the prophet as
illustrated by prophets in different movements embracing what they prefer. In
contrast, a doctrinal approach would expound that fear and the propagation of it has
been one of the most distinctive features of this episode. People are afraid of one
another, their environment and for their future. Fear is the spiritual force associated
with Satan and is the reciprocal of faith. As I mentioned previously Paul instructs us
to pray for conditions that allow all men to be saved and those conditions are peace
and tranquillity, not fear-filled chaos. That again, should be enough to clear up our
fuzzy thinking and get us praying and proclaiming accurately.
So, are we in a “shaking”? This is one of the most popular motifs within our
movement. However, in scripture, most of the time when a “shaking” of heaven and
earth is spoken of53, it is not to destroy His people but to rebuild and to restore them
53 Isa 13:13; Joel 3:16; Hag 2:21
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from otherwise unfavourable social conditions. It may well be accompanied with an
exhortation to repent but a clear distinction is always made in the justice of God
between the ungodly and the godly. Scripture tells us of plagues and pestilences
being loosed on the blasphemous, not indiscriminately on believers and not even
unbelievers as a whole. To speak of this episode as a “shaking” is to miscategorise
it for believers have been affected as much as non-believers. The “shaking” of
Haggai enriches the believers and reconstructs social relations, it does not
impoverish them. Additionally, where the great shaking events are depicted
negatively in scripture, they are followed with the words “but you did not come back
to me” or the lament “the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did
not repent” 54. If the aim was that of the shaking discipline to lead to repentance, it
failed every time and it failed because of the apostate condition of those to whom
God was declaring final judgment against, these were judgments that would
terminate in destruction. If we want to classify the entire economic system of the
world as “Babylon” ripe for judgment and somehow we must all “come out of her” we
should abandon our seven mountains theology all together and become thorough-
going Dispensationalists, at least we can then get out at the Rapture.
So, let me emphasise the exegetical principle that should qualify our use of
the Jewish scriptures, especially the prophetic writings, in drawing parallels with
today. It is perfectly permissible in our freedom and inspiration to exhort to a greater
depth of fidelity and worship but we must recognise these inspirations are
fundamentally allegorical, soundly didactic but they are not doctrinal. They are
eisegetical constructions which may be useful for teaching and rhetoric but need
explicating (or “testing”) against the clear statements of doctrine we have, especially
54 Hag 2:6; Rev 9:21 and often repeated from then on.
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in what we call the Christian scriptures55. Otherwise we end up with contradictory,
vague accounts of events and are busy repenting rather than seeing the signs of the
times. If, as Chuck believes, we shall see an all-out economic confrontation between
the US and China which may even spill over into a military stand-off56, the call to
personal reformation might seem rather trivial in light of our corporate responsibility
to go on the offensive. I favour the categorical statements of Christian scripture that
is the foundation of the dispensation of the ekklesia against elaborate prophetic
reinterpretations of temporal conditions.
This leads us logically on to the strongest refutation of this being a permissive
act of God, in that it requires a redefinition of the term “goodness of God”. I
mentioned when stating the “permissive case” that “goodness” must be redefined to
include the “severity” of God in that His goodness is judged by the intended result.
However, this is really accusing God of naked utilitarianism rather than evaluating
the moral nature of the act itself and makes any act at all justifiable if there was
some “good” end57. Scripture again is explicit on this point, “the kindness (or
goodness) of God leads you to repentance” (Rom 2:4) with kindness directly
contrasted with “severity” later in the same letter, “Behold then the kindness and
severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you
continue in His kindness;” (Rom 11:22). God’s kindness is not somehow to be
55 When the New Testament writers wrote, they did not consider their writings scripture. The one
exception is 2 Peter where the writer (there is legitimate scholarly debate whether the author was
actually Peter because the Greek is so different to 1 Peter; it was not unusual in the ancient world for
disciples to write in the name of their most important leader) describes Paul’s writings as “scripture”.
56 It has been reported by the BBC today that China has been accused of illegal nuclear tests.
57 Some might argue this is exactly what James was doing in Jam 5:11. However, the focus here is
Job’s internal attitude of patience leading to deliverance and a positive assertion of confidence that we
have as believers in the character of God. True, this is a challenging verse to interpret, but I refer you
to my previous discussion of Job earlier in the essay for the problematic nature of the text and the
dangers of inferring too much from it. Both the Christian and Jewish scriptures repeatedly reinforce a
non-utilitarian moral character of God, God is concerned with “truth in the inward parts”, i.e. truth as a
value in itself (Jesus was the Truth, the Way, the Life; justice and righteousness are the foundation of
His throne), rather than because of its utility.
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embedded in his “severity”. Severity, when associated exclusively with the concept
of judgment is of the apostate Israel and secondly the rebellious, carnal believer58. It
is targeted and specific, not general and indiscriminate.
So, in conclusion, my basic problem with giving God direct responsibility for
the crisis is that it a basic contradiction to our Christian scriptures. Secondly, when
we attempt to use the “permissive” will concept, we cannot avoid characterising the
episode if we look at it empirically as a Job like episode where permission really
becomes partnership with Satan and the greater purpose of God is being
orchestrated. This I declared unsafe because we are basing our theology on poetry
with textual and theological issues. In contrast, the shakings, judgment and plagues
of scripture were targeted and specific, often connected with extreme rebellion and
blasphemy. There is no contradiction in holding this position and the need for
suffering chastisement, rebuke and exhortation at the hands of apostles and
prophets, we can indeed check “we are in God’s program” and repent of our
ignorance of the signs of the times but we should recognise this attack was a
response to the progress of Kingdom thought rather than a rebuke because if the
lack of it. Thirdly, as a community, we seemed to have been particularly ignorant and
naïve with regard to the why of this episode. The activity of Satan in the domains of
human life and especially our media and political realms has been blatant and we
have responded with platitudes about “love for our enemies”, criticising leaders that
have sided with Christ because of our prejudice rather than discerning the spirit and
agreeing with those God has raised up. We need aggressive action both in the
prayer room and the socio-political and economic spheres. The prophetic
justifications seem to have ignored the socio-political dimension of the problem or
58 The Greek word avpotomi,a translated “severity” only occurs in Rom 11:22 and 2Co 13:10.
Other times the English word severity is used, it is with an entirely different sense of the word.
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treated it as an incidental rather than recognising that the episode was an attempted
global reconstruction of the social, economic and political relations between nations,
removed individual freedom, normalised intimate State control of nations and
individuals, and created a new level of global media manipulation and control. By
pushing us all online, it becomes very easy to turn us offline should the need arise.
Finally, as a last word, it is an affront to God’s character to suggest He had
any role in orchestrating this pandemic, wicked men inspired and controlled by Satan
created and released it with malicious intent. Our responsibility is indeed to serve
eviction notices at this time and to move to a new place of dominion.
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