UPDATED – “A Biblical response to the Coronavirus” (COV19-ID)

 

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COVID-19: Distancing is no solution to a spiritual problem

By Herbert W. Titus and William J. Olson – March 29, 2020

As the great Titanic continued to sink in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, bringing certain death to the men remaining on board, some safety boat survivors remembered hearing the big ship’s string quartet playing the hymn Nearer My God to Thee. In that last dark hour, there was no one left to turn to.

The title words from that moving hymn were most fitting, as James, the half-brother of Jesus had already reassured the passengers: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  James 4:8 (NAS). This lesson, having been well taught and understood in 1912, remains equally true for all generations everywhere.  “For that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” Romans 1:19-20.

The current risk of infection and the risk of mortality and morbidity is tiny compared to being on a sinking ship, but on March 14, 2020, President Trump boldly called for focus on the spiritual, seeking God’s help in his message to the nation, and calling for a National Day of Prayer on the COVID-19 threat.  It was disappointing that President Trump made no call to national repentance for the sins of the nation, but that was likely a bridge too far for large segments of the people.  Indeed, in response to his call for prayer, the President received mocking from many, and there have been few references to an Almighty God since then.  Instead, the rest of his Administration’s efforts have been earthly — what we the American people, and our state and federal governments, can do in our own power.  Foremost among the concrete steps urged, if not enforced, upon the general public is to practice social distancing, that is, stay home and wash your hands.

But distancing is no solution to a spiritual problem.  And it certainly does not work for everyone.  Distancing does not protect persons who must work for a living in close proximity with others, who cannot risk losing a job, a car, or a house.  It is not on option for those who provide necessary assisted living for the elderly or infirm.  Nor is it available to first-responders, much less for those living and working inside our woefully over-populated prisons.  And, although long-distance learning alleviates the burden of supervision, teachers are not yet robots-in-waiting, eliminating all need of actual classrooms for human interchange.  At best, distancing modulates the behavior of those who enjoy the best of health, and those who would otherwise act presumptuously.  But on the other hand, isolation and loneliness is said to deplete the immune system and increase susceptibility to illness.

While there are no doubt benefits from the nation’s current distancing containment policy and practices, they fall short of attaining one necessary objective: the defeat of paralyzing and mind-clouding fear of falling prey of the influenza. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.  Fear produces a confused mind, rather than a sound, sober one.  Fear will cause us to pull up the covers and hide in bed.  Fear will result in accepting, even welcoming, sometimes demanding, assertions of government power which exceed constitutional limits.  The virus will pass, but fear of it could destroy the foundations of our constitutional republic.

Defeating fear is possible, but only if the American people draw near to God.  As Moses wrote:

And [God] said, “if you will give ear to the voice of the Lord, and do what is right in his sight, and give ear to his commandments, and keep all of His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I put on the Egyptians for I, the Lord, am your healer.”  Exodus 15:16.

Many would dismiss this Biblical admonition on the ground that it is limited to its specific context, applicable only to Israel and her people.  Ontologically, they are mistaken.  There is not one disease, not one people, not one nation outside the healing power of God.  As The Gospel of Matthew attests:

[J]esus healed all who were ill.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: HE, HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.  Matthew 8:16(b)-17.

Rather than focusing exclusively on running away one from another, distancing ourselves from friends and family in fear of COVID-19, we also ought to be running to Jesus, that “we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by his wounds [we] were healed.”  1 Peter 2:24.

We know from Daniel 2:17 that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men.”  But we must come to the Lord on His terms, not ours.  He has the power to remove temporal judgments from the people, but repeatedly in Scripture we see His precondition of repentance — a change of mind, and a change of behavior.  See 2 Peter 3.  There is no repentance inherent in simply asking God to remove the current “plague.”  Where are the calls from the Ministers of God to both believers and nonbelievers to repent?  If repentance is ignored, why should we expect a righteous God to end the plague?  How should we expect Him to respond to executive orders issued by some Governors to shut down all elective surgeries, except for the one procedure which is murderous?  To the Lord, we sound like the people who “cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.”  Revelation 16:11 (NIV). 

Not long after the nation saw God’s hand move as this nation was given its independence from a British Empire wielding the greatest military power on earth, our first President showed no reluctance to declare America’s utter dependence on our Creator God, as he entreated the Hebrew Congregations of Savanah, Georgia:

May the same wonder-working Deity, who long since delivering the Hebrews from their Egyptian Oppressors planted them in the promised land, whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent Nation, still continue to water them with the dews of Heaven and to make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah.

May we Americans, individually and collectively, draw near to God in this time of crisis, “for He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6. (Click to Source)

 

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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Isaiah 53:10 – The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition – March 31, 2020

Isaiah 53

Who has believed our report? And to whom was the arm of יהוה (Yahweh) revealed?
For He grew up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or splendour that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should desire Him – despised and rejected by men, a man of pains and knowing sickness. And as one from whom the face is hidden, being despised, and we did not consider Him.
Truly, He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains. Yet we reckoned Him smitten·, stricken by Elohim, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our crookednesses. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
We all, like sheep, went astray, each one of us has turned to his own way. And יהוה (Yahweh) has laid on Him the crookedness of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, but He did not open His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment. And as for His generation, who considered that He shall be cut off from the land of the living? For the transgression of My people He was stricken.
And He was appointed a burial-site with the wrong, and with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was deceit in His mouth.a Footnote: a 1Pe 2:22.
But יהוה (Yahweh) was pleased to crush Him, He laid sickness on Him, that when He made Himself an offering for guilt, He would see a seed, He would prolong His days and the pleasure of יהוה (Yahweh) prosper in His hand.
He would see the result of the suffering of His life and be satisfied. Through His knowledge My righteous Servant makes many righteous, and He bears their crookednesses.
Therefore I give Him a portion among the great, and He divides the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His being unto death, and He was counted with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition

 

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Psalm 91 – The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research

Yeshua – Jesus the Messiah protects those who Trust and Obey Him, even from Deadly Plagues such as Coronavirus – COVID 19.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, Who abides under the shadow of the Almighty,
He is saying of יהוה (Yahweh) , “My refuge and my stronghold, My Elohim, in whom I trust!”
For He delivers you from the snare of a trapper, From the destructive pestilence.
He covers you with His feathers, And under His wings you take refuge; His truth is a shield and armour.
You are not afraid of the dread by night, Of the arrow that flies by day,
Of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Of destruction that ravages at midday.
A thousand fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it does not come near you.
Only with your eyes you look on, And see the reward of the wrong ones.
Because you have made יהוה (Yahweh) – My refuge, the Most High – your dwelling place,
No evil befalls you, And a plague does not come near your tent;
For He commands His messengers concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.
They bear you up in their hands, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You tread upon lion and cobra, Young lion and serpent you trample under foot.
“Because he cleaves to Me in love, Therefore I deliver him; I set him on high, Because he has known My Name.
“When he calls on Me, I answer him; I am with him in distress; I deliver him and esteem him.
“With long life I satisfy him, And show him My deliverance.”

The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition

 

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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Isaiah 53:6 – The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition – March 28, 2020

Isaiah 53

Who has believed our report? And to whom was the arm of יהוה (Yahweh) revealed?
For He grew up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or splendour that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should desire Him – despised and rejected by men, a man of pains and knowing sickness. And as one from whom the face is hidden, being despised, and we did not consider Him.
Truly, He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains. Yet we reckoned Him smitten·, stricken by Elohim, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our crookednesses. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
We all, like sheep, went astray, each one of us has turned to his own way. And יהוה (Yahweh) has laid on Him the crookedness of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, but He did not open His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment. And as for His generation, who considered that He shall be cut off from the land of the living? For the transgression of My people He was stricken.
And He was appointed a burial-site with the wrong, and with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was deceit in His mouth.a Footnote: a 1Pe 2:22.
But יהוה (Yahweh) was pleased to crush Him, He laid sickness on Him, that when He made Himself an offering for guilt, He would see a seed, He would prolong His days and the pleasure of יהוה (Yahweh) prosper in His hand.
He would see the result of the suffering of His life and be satisfied. Through His knowledge My righteous Servant makes many righteous, and He bears their crookednesses.
Therefore I give Him a portion among the great, and He divides the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His being unto death, and He was counted with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition

 

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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Hebrews 4:15 – The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition – March 26, 2020

Hebrews 4

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering into His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
For indeed the Good News was brought to us as well as to them, but the word which they heard did not profit them, not having been mixed with belief in those who heard it.
For we who have believed do enter into that rest, as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest…” Psa 95:11 And yet His works have come into being from the foundation of the world.
For somewhere He has said thus about the seventh day, “And Elohim rested on the seventh day from all His works,” Gen 2:2. and in this again, “If they shall enter into My rest…” Psa 95:11.
Since then it remains for some to enter into it, and those who formerly received the Good News did not enter in because of disobedience,
He again defines a certain day, “Today,” saying through Dawiḏ so much later, as it has been said, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” Psa 95:7-8.
For if Yehoshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.
So there remains a Sabbath-keepinga for the people of Elohim. Footnote: a The Greek word is sabattismos, which means Sabbath-keeping.
For the one, having entered into His rest, has himself also rested from his works, as Elohim rested from His own.
Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.
For the Word of Elohim is living, and working, and sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting through even to the dividing of being and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all are naked and laid bare before the eyes of Him with whom is our account.
Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, יהושע (Yahshua, Jesus) the Son of Elohim, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a High Priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was tried in all respects as we are, apart from sin.
Therefore, let us come boldly to the throne of favour, in order to receive compassion, and find favour for timely help.

 

The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition

 

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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Matthew 5:16 – The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition – March 25, 2020

Matthew 5

But when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountain. And when He was seated His taught ones came to Him.
And having opened His mouth, He was teaching them, saying,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs is the reign of the heavens.
“Blessed are those who mourn, because they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, because they shall inherit the earth.a Psa 37:11. Footnote: a Psa 37:9, Psa 37:11, Psa 37:22, Psa 37:29, Psa 37:34.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,b because they shall be filled. Footnote: b Isa 55:1-2, Mat 4:4, Joh 6:48-51.
“Blessed are the compassionate, because they shall obtain compassion.
“Blessed are the clean in heart,c because they shall see Elohim. Footnote: c Psa 24:3-4.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, because they shall be called sons of Elohim.
“Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness’ sake,d because theirs is the reign of the heavens. Footnote: d 1Pe 3:14.
“Blessed are you when they reproach and persecute you, and falsely say every wicked word against you, for My sake.
“Rejoice and be glad, because your reward in the heavens is great. For in this way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt becomes tasteless, how shall it be seasoned? For it is no longer of any use but to be thrown out and to be trodden down by men.
“You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city to be hidden on a mountain.
“Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it shines to all those in the house.
“Let your light so shine before men, so that they see your good works and praise your Father who is in the heavens.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets.e I did not come to destroy but to complete. Footnote: e The Law and the Prophets is a term used for the pre-Messianic Scriptures.
“For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one yod or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done. f Footnote: f Luk 16:17.
“Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens.
“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, g you shall by no means enter into the reign of the heavens. Footnote: g See also Mat 23:28, Mat 15:3-9, Mar 7:7-13, Joh 7:19, Act 7:53, Rom 2:23-27, Gal 6:13.
“You heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ Exo 20:13, Deu 5:17. and whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.
“But I say to you that whoever is wroth with his brother without a cause shall be liable to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raka!’ shall be liable to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to fire of GĕHinnom.
“If, then, you bring your gift to the slaughter-place, and there remember that your brother holds whatever against you, leave your gift there before the slaughter-place, and go, first make peace with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
“Be well-minded with your opponent, promptly, while you are on the way with him, lest your opponent deliver you to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
“Truly, I say to you, you shall by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
“You heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ Exo 20:14, Deu 5:18.
“But I say to you that everyone looking at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
“And if your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is better for you that one of your members perish, than for your entire body to be thrown into GĕHinnom.
“And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away from you. For it is better for you that one of your members perish, than for your entire body to be thrown into GĕHinnom.
“And it has been said, ‘Whoever puts away his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ Deu 24:1.
“But I say to you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the matter of whoring, h makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a woman who has been put away commits adultery. Footnote: h See also Mat 19:9 and Deu 24:1.
“Again, you heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to יהוה (Yahweh).’ Lev 19:12, Num 30:2, Deu 23:21.
“But I say to you, do not swear [vainly]i at all, neither by the heaven, because it is Elohim’s throne; Footnote: iShem Toḇ texts include ‘vainly’= Hebrew: Shaw’. nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; Isa 66:1 nor by Yerushalayim, for it is the city of the great Sovereign; Psa 48:2. nor swear by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black.
“But let your word ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’ And what goes beyond these is from the wicked one.
“You heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’j Exo 21:24. Footnote: jThis was the principle for the judges to follow, while יהושע (Yahweh) speaks in the next verse of our personal conduct. but I say to you, do not resist the wicked. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
“And he who wishes to sue you and take away your inner garment, let him have your outer garment as well.
“And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
“Give to him who asks of you, and from him who wishes to borrow from you, do not turn away.
“You heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour Lev 19:18 and hate your enemy.’ k Footnote: kHate your enemy was “said,” not “written.”
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those cursing you, do good to those hating you, and pray for those insulting you and persecuting you, so that you become sons of your Father in the heavens. Because He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.l Footnote: l Luk 6:35, Act 14:16-17.
“For if you love those loving you, what reward have you? Are the tax collectors not doing the same too?
“And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Are the tax collectors not doing so too?
“Therefore, be perfect,m as your Father in the heavens is perfect. Footnote: m Gen 17:1, Psa 119:1, 1Jn 2:5, Heb 6:1.

The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition

 

Tree of Life Bible

 

24/7, 365 access to a board certified medical doctor, by phone or video. One low monthly cost of $12.95 for an individual plan or $19.95 for a family plan. No extras! No added consult fees! All inclusive! Visits are anytime, day or night and holidays. Cancel anytime. No one should ever be without this plan and everyone can afford it. This special pricing is for my readers here.

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