Why do we need a vaccine – let alone an economically destructive lockdown – for a virus that has a 99% survival rate?
by James Smith
We’re living in strange times; very strange times. In little more than six months we’ve had our world turned completely upside down both economically and socially in ways that may well prove to be catastrophically irreversible.
Because of the unprecedented way in which governments all around the world have responded to a virus. The virus itself isn’t to blame for all the chaos and misery; it’s the way in which governments have responded to it.
Is the virus real?
Of course is it.
Can people die from it?
Of course they can. But the way in which governments have responded is unprecedented and disproportionate to the actual threat posed. Why do I say that when (at time of writing) 42,000 people have died in the UK, 200,000 in America, and 1 million worldwide?
Those numbers have to be understood in their proper context. So, here’s the context:
- The population of the UK is almost 68 million. 42,000 deaths in a population of that size is a fatality rate of 0.06%.
- In the UK, 65,000 people die from coronary heart disease every year.
- 165,000 people die from cancer every year.
- The population of America is 328 million. 200,000 deaths in a population of that size is a fatality rate of 0.06%. Exactly the same rate as the UK.
- In America, over 600,000 die from heart disease every year.
- A further 600,000 die from cancer every year.
The Center for Disease Control – the CDC – is part of the American government’s Department for Health and Human Services. It recently published an official report confirming the average age of death from those recorded to have Covid to be 78. In the UK, the average age is nearly 83, with over 97% of deaths occurring in the over 65s, with significant pre-existing medical conditions.
The CDC report confirms that of the 200,000 recorded deaths in America, 94% had an average of not one, not two, but 2.6 serious pre-existing underlying health conditions. What the CDC report makes very clear is that the vast majority of the recorded deaths in America died with Covid, not necessarily from it.
Does Covid kill?
Does it kill the young, fit and healthy, like the Spanish flu did that killed 50 million people?
No, it doesn’t. The facts are clear: when Covid kills, it kills the very old and very ill. But even then, death isn’t the inevitable outcome for the elderly who contract the disease. For example, for every seven people over the age of 90 who test positive for Covid, six survive. That’s an 85% survival rate in people over 90, yet the news media and government would have us believe that catching Covid is an inevitable death sentence. Based on the way it’s being reported (by government and media), is it any wonder why some people are wearing face masks while walking alone outdoors and driving their cars alone. It’s completely irrational, but it’s because we’re made to believe the Covid virus is everywhere, hovering in the air like some kind of mutated funnel web spider that’s somehow sprouted wings and is ready to pounce on anyone not wearing a face covering. A good example of what I mean was a news article about Covid that caught my attention on my Sky News app. Why? Because it had the following dramatic headline:
This is much, much worse than Ebola.
The headline was taken from part of a quote provided by Professor Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Was he really suggesting that Covid was much, much worse than Ebola? After all, Ebola has an average fatality rate of 50%, increasing to 90% in some previous outbreaks. The answer is an emphatic no, Professor Piot wasn’t suggesting that Covid was worse than Ebola. What he’d said had been completely used out of context to imply that Covid was more dangerous than Ebola, where in fact he very clearly said that Covid is more contagious. That’s a completely different thing, and it’s exactly this kind of dishonest and alarmist journalism that has continued to keep people in fear of their lives by intentionally taking things out of context to sensationalise them.
Covid is without doubt very contagious, but it’s not highly fatal for the vast majority who contract it. In fact, people under 50 are more likely to die in a road accident; people under 40 are more likely to be killed on a bicycle; people under 30 are more likely to be struck by lightning.
We’re told that 1 million people have died from Covid around the world. That figure is highly questionable because, as mentioned earlier, there is a huge difference between dying with Covid and dying from Covid, but the death count makes no distinction between them; if someone who had Covid subsequently died from another illness, their death is all-too often recorded as a Covid death. Nevertheless, let’s assume that all of those 1 million people died from Covid. That’s a terrible number, right? Off the chart? Unprecedented? Surely that’s why governments have reacted in an unprecedented way? Well, in context, that 1 million figure is neither off the chart nor unprecedented. Consider the following context:
- 1.5 million people died last year from TB.
- 5 million die every year from cancer.
- 7 million die every year from heart disease.
The number of deaths from all these serious illnesses (with fatality rates far greater than Covid) are expected to rise significantly over the next year or so as a direct result of Covid restrictions preventing both diagnosis and treatment. That’s absolutely insane when the global fatality rate from Covid is 0.01%.
Of all the causes of death in the UK, Covid ranked 19th in September (up slightly from 24th in the previous month), and yet the National Health Service has been replaced by a National Covid Service where treatments for more serious illnesses are being sacrificed on the altar of Covid.
There are now so few Covid deaths that the narrative has been changed to counting ‘cases’ instead of deaths. What they mean by ‘cases’ is positive test results, and we’ve all watched recent news conferences where government officials have told us further lockdown measures are necessary because the number of ‘cases’ now is more than it was in March. That’s true, but not because the virus is now more rampant than it was in March, but because 20 times more people are now being tested than were in March; over 250,000 tests are done every day in the UK; more than France and Spain combined. Of course the number of positive tests have increased, because more people are being tested, but the question is: how many of those who test positive are actually ill?
The test itself is known to be unreliable. It provides a high number of false positives, detects old fragments of the virus several months old, and detects levels of the virus so low that transmission to other people is impossible. There are a number of peer reviewed studies published by experts suggesting that only around 10% of positive test results are reliable, yet ‘case’ numbers are being used to scare us into submissively accepting more and more restrictions on our civil liberties and freedoms. We’ve had our rights replaced with privileges that are arbitrarily controlled by government officials in a way never seen before in free and democratic societies; all in the name of ‘Public Health’.
The number of ‘cases’ is irrelevant. What matters is how many of those ‘cases’ are admitted to hospital, because we were told the whole reason for the lockdown was to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed by hospital admissions.
It was never overwhelmed. Five emergency Nightingale hospitals were built at great speed and huge expense (£220 million) in order to expand the capacity of the NHS by almost 10,000 beds nationwide, but such high demand for intensive care never materialised. The new 4,000 bed Nightingale unit situated in the refurbished Excel Centre in London’s Docklands treated just 51 patients before being mothballed in May. Nightingale units in Birmingham and Harrogate didn’t treat a single patient, while the facility in Manchester just had a handful of admissions. The current number of ‘cases’ don’t tell us how many people are even ill with symptoms, let alone admitted to hospital. The fact is that hospital admissions are within seasonal norms. They’re rising, because they rise this time of year, every year when respiratory conditions increase. Take London for example, which has a population of 9.5 million and the new 4,000 bed Nightingale unit in addition to its regular Intensive Care capacity. There are on average 40 Covid related hospital admissions per day. There are currently less than 400 Covid patients in hospital, with only 77 on ventilation, but if you watched the news, or government updates, you would be forgiven for thinking there were thousands and that the Nightingale unit is needed to absorb the pressure. Nothing could be further from the truth; the truth is that more people are currently dying from seasonal flu and pneumonia than Covid.
As I write this article (in the middle of October) there are just 45 Covid patients in hospital in the whole county of Essex, and only one in intensive care, and yet Essex Council is calling for a two week ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown!
Earlier this week I read another intentionally alarmist news article reporting that hospitals in the Greater Manchester region were running low on beds to treat Covid, thus implying they were straining under the weight of a huge influx of Covid patients. The truth is however very different, because while some of the Intensive Care units in the region are running at between 80% to 85% capacity, this is entirely normal for this time of year due to seasonal rise in respiratory conditions.
A source from the Greater Manchester Critical Care Network (GMCCN) confirmed that the NHS usually says it’s ‘at capacity’ when they reach 85%, and they generally reach ‘capacity’ at this time of the year, every year. This is hardly surprising when, according to NHS records, there are only 257 Intensive Care beds in the Manchester region, but even if capacity is reached, they still have the extra 750 beds available at the currently unused local Nightingale unit, plus a share of the additional 8,000 beds put at the disposal of the NHS through a deal struck with the private sector, and the extra 33,000 beds that were freed up across NHS hospitals nationally as a result of prioritising treatment of Covid over other (often more serious) conditions. This includes the unconscionable government policy (based on socalled scientific advice) of freeing up hospital beds by turfing elderly patients out of hospital where they belonged and moving them to care homes. A report published in October 2020 by Amnesty International called ‘As if Expendable’ connects the 18,562 Covid deaths in UK care homes over a three month period directly with that government policy; so appalled is Amnesty International that it’s calling for a full independent enquiry. Had the government not taken that catastrophic action, and had instead a coherent strategy for protecting the elderly in care, the death toll could have been reduced by thousands.
We have to stop believing the lie that we’re on the brink of being overwhelmed by Covid admissions. We’re not, and never were even during the height of the (so-called) pandemic.
I outline all these facts and figures not to sound callous or to belittle any Covid death (and I appreciate these can seem callous when put in writing), but to provide a proper context to the numbers being used out of context by government officials (supported by sensationalist news reporting) to justify an unprecedented response. They claim this is an unprecedented threat that demands an unprecedented response, but it’s not, and the response from governments is disproportionate and strange (as is the lack of journalistic scrutiny of the government’s claims).
Why have governments reacted in such a disproportionate and self-destructive way, making the ‘cure’ demonstrably worse than the disease? They’ve crashed national economies and raised national debt to unprecedented levels which are almost impossible to recover from; they’ve imposed lockdowns and rapidly introduced new powers to restrict civil liberties and how we conduct ordinary life that six months ago would have been unthinkable in free and democratic societies, and caused misery and hardship to millions more people than have been affected by the virus itself.
In July this year, the western world was collectively horrified at how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had imposed new laws on Hong Kong that curtails civil and political freedoms, prohibits actions deemed to be critical of the CCP and rewards those who report on their fellow citizens, and yet the new laws rushed through British Parliament have succeeded in doing much the same with barely a flicker of concern by the vast majority of the UK population, let alone objection. The last few months have demonstrated how people in the west don’t actually value their freedom; what they really want is to feel like they’re being looked after in the face of danger, and are willing to give up their freedom in return for feeling like they’re being looked after. This is exactly how totalitarian regimes are able to rise to power, and the history books are full of examples that we should have taken more notice of.
The government says it’s “following the science”, as if there is just one sacred scientific truth on Covid that all scientists are unanimously in agreement over. There isn’t; far from it. For example, 37,000 (and rising) scientists and doctors have signed the Great Barrington Declaration expressing deep concern and professional objection to the government’s policies in dealing with Covid. Yet the government persists in following one narrow and demonstrably flawed view of the science, which is inexplicable in itself. How could government ignore all but one view on such a massive issue? This isn’t the first time a government has been guilty of doing that; political history is full of examples. Just consider the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Government ministers claimed they were following the evidence, but deliberately shut out any expert who pointed out the flaws in the alleged evidence, and the likely consequences of what they were doing.
They ploughed ahead with an invasion that found no weapons of mass destruction, left Iraq in economic and social ruins, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands, and led directly to the rise of a bloodthirsty Islamic death cult called Islamic State.
Proverbs 11:14 says: Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
The government has ignored the counsel of many eminent experts, and instead ploughed ahead with following just one narrow and hysterical interpretation of the science, based on flawed computer modelling. That makes no sense from a human perspective.
Professor Neil Ferguson, a mathematical epidemiologist, and his team at Imperial College London provided the computer modelling that has underpinned the catastrophic and unnecessary strategies devised by many governments around the world. The report he compiled stated:
In the most effective mitigation strategy examined, which leads to a single, relatively short epidemic (case isolation, household quarantine and social distancing of the elderly), the surge limits for both general ward and ICU (intensive care unit) beds would be exceeded by at least eight-fold under the more optimistic scenario for critical care requirements that we examined.
In addition, even if all patients were able to be treated, we predict there would still be in the order of 250,000 deaths in GB, and 1.1-1.2 million in the US.
Even with national lockdown, Ferguson forecast intensive care capacity would be exceeded by at least eight-fold, and 250,000 deaths. Intensive care capacity was never exceeded and less than 20% of the predicted figure has died. He predicted over half a million deaths if lockdown wasn’t enforced.
The same computer model predicted Sweden would suffer 85,000 deaths if lockdown wasn’t enforced. As we all know very well, Sweden didn’t enforce lockdown, so how many have died?
Less than 6,000.
It would have been even less had they put in place better measures to protect the elderly, because 88% of those deaths occurred in the over 70s, with pre-existing conditions (a failing fully acknowledged by the man responsible for Sweden’s response, state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell). Based on Sweden’s population, that’s a fatality rate of 0.06%, which is exactly the same rate as America and the UK, but without irreparably crashing its economy, or fundamentally altering the relationship between government and its citizens.
This isn’t the first time Professor Ferguson and his team have been drastically overly pessimistic and badly wrong in their mathematical modelling. For example, Ferguson was previously instrumental in providing mathematical modelling that led to the cull of more than six million animals during the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001; a course of action that left rural Britain economically devastated.
Then, based on his computer simulation of how foot and mouth would spread, Ferguson and his Imperial colleagues concluded that, ‘Extensive culling is sadly the only option for controlling the current British epidemic’. However, Professor Thrusfield of Edinburgh University, an expert in animal diseases, concluded the model made incorrect assumptions about how foot and mouth disease was transmitted and, in a 2006 review, stated that Ferguson’s foot and mouth mathematical model was ‘not fit for purpose’, while in 2011 he said it was ‘severely flawed’. Professor Thrusfield is right. The simple fact is that the largescale slaughter of six million animals recommended by Professor Ferguson during the foot and mouth disease scare of 2001 turned out to be a completely unnecessary course of action based on hopelessly exaggerated estimates of infections created by his flawed mathematical modelling.
Professor Thrusfield told The Daily Telegraph the episode was ‘a cautionary tale’ about the limits of mathematical modelling, and he felt a sense of ‘déjà vu’ about the current situation. Based on Professor Ferguson’s mathematical modelling, the prescribed remedy for the foot and mouth outbreak turned out to be drastically more damaging to the farming industry than the outbreak itself ever was.
Report after report confirms there to be no scientific connection between lockdown measures and outcomes of Intensive Care admissions and deaths; no matter where you live in the world. Even the World Health Organisation has stated that lockdowns do more harm than good, yet that’s the policy government’s ploughing ahead with, forcing the fit and healthy to stop work and stay at home.
Who on earth benefits from these catastrophic decisions? And make no mistake, they are catastrophic, both socially, constitutionally and economically. The new laws rushed through Parliament to lockdown the country (without the appropriate scrutiny by weak and capitulating MPs) that give powers to restrict all aspects of our daily lives (including the ability and right to work) will remain on the statute books long after Covid has been assigned to the history books; laws that irrevocably change the relationship between government and the general public. I would encourage everyone to take careful note of what former Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord John Sumption, has to say on this matter; Lord Sumption is widely regarded as one of the greatest legal minds the UK has produced during the last century.
Economically speaking, such is the eye-watering level of debt we’ve been plunged into over the last six months by a government financing folly after folly, it wouldn’t be hyperbolic to describe the country’s condition as terminal. For the first time ever, the amount of national debt now exceeds £2 trillion (that’s a two followed by 12 zeros). The government’s furlough scheme has merely kicked the can of inevitable financial Armageddon down the road for perhaps a year or two, but beyond that, people are going to quickly realise that all the ‘free money’ handed out by the government to support those forced to stop work and stay at home, was a loan, not a gift, and will have to be repaid.
Too many people sadly don’t understand that government doesn’t have any money of its own; it doesn’t have a ‘magic money tree’ from which it grows an infinite source of ‘free money’ to be generous with. The only money government has to spend is what it raises through taxing the working population, and/or borrows on behalf of us all. The government has effectively maxed-out on the country’s credit card on our behalf with no realistic means of being able to repay it; it’s bankrupted the country, but the full impact will only start to be felt one, two and three years from now; 3,000 people every day are already losing their jobs because of the unprecedented measures, but this is just the beginning.
It’s tragically ironic that all these extreme measures were implemented in the name of ‘protecting the NHS at any cost’, when the actual cost of doing that has been the destruction of the economy that supports it. The NHS doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s supported by the tax revenues raised from the working population, and over the next few years we’re going to see those tax revenues plummet as the number of people out of work rises (who will need financial support from the government to survive without a job!). The decision to change to National Health Service to the National Covid Service could well sound the death knell for the health service as we know it.
The internet is awash with conspiracy theories from both Christian and non-Christian websites claiming to have the answer to why governments have reacted in such a disproportionate way. Terms like ‘globalist elites’, ‘global conspiracy’, ‘new world order’ and ‘one world government’, are all bandied about far too easily without much qualification. Nevertheless, there are without doubt powerful individuals and organisations who do disturbingly have an agenda to usher in some form of global governance, and are using the current crisis to call for what they describe as a ‘global reset’. For example:
- Klaus Schwab, Chairman of the Word Economic Forum, has stated that we need a ‘great reset of capitalism where all aspects of our societies and economies must be revamped’.
- The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said, ‘In the wake of the corona pandemic, one thing is certain: a new model of global governance is coming’.
- The United Nations also has an earth summit strategy called ‘Agenda 21’, which openly calls for ‘specific changes in the activities of all people and requires a profound reorientation of all humans unlike anything the world has ever experienced’.
- The World Health Organisation recently stated ‘the Covid-19 pandemic has given a new impetus to the need to accelerate efforts to respond to climate change. Finding the vaccine is not the final goal. It’s the reordering of society’
While there are some in positions of significant power who do have their own globalist agenda, the claim that all governments and leaders of industry are somehow ‘in on it’ goes far beyond any degree of credibility, when so many of the decisions being made are in fact counter-productive and damaging to maintaining their own position and power. So how do we explain such bizarre, disproportionate and self-destructive behaviour without concluding they’re all part of a man-made global conspiracy?
The answer is spiritual.
Such behaviour can only be explained in spiritual terms, not human.
In Ezekiel chapter 28, Ezekiel prophesies against the king of Tyre – a real pagan ruler – but then half way through changes from addressing the physical king to speaking directly to the spiritual force behind his throne; Ezekiel spoke against the real power behind the king’s rule and the person directing his plans and actions: the devil.
What’s going on at the moment is a spiritual battle. There are spiritual forces at work that we don’t see, but God tells us are at work in the affairs of humanity. Ezekiel 28 makes that clear, as does the apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter 6:12:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Men like Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock – to name just a few – aren’t consciously part of a sinister global conspiracy to usher in a new world order ruled by the antichrist; I wouldn’t even question the sincerity of their motives in the decisions they’re making, but 1 John 5:19 tells us clearly that the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. John wasn’t using hyperbole.
What governments are doing (and what globalist organisations like the World Economic Forum and United Nations are pushing for) is most certainly being driven by demonic forces who do have a sinister global conspiracy that the Bible has told us about in advance. But what the Bible also tells us is that everything they do is ultimately being used by God to fulfil His sovereign purposes.
The Bible is clear that God allows evil for the fulfilment of His purposes.
God allowed the rise of Babylon; He allowed the rise of Stalin and Hitler.
God is the God of human history, and our future is already history to God.
While I’m not going to speculate about exactly what God is doing in his eschatological plans by allowing these things to happen – there’s already too much of that on the internet – what we can say for certain is that as the current crisis is the single largest event to affect the whole world since the Second World War, God is very much at work in and through it and is using it for His ultimate purposes. He’s in control; none of this is taking Him by surprise. We need to remember that and be comforted by it. Government isn’t our security, God is.
God put in place three institutions for the good of humanity: the family, the church and Government. God instituted human government because He knew that not all of mankind will be saved, so government would be needed to restrain evil and evil doers in society, and protect the righteous. This is what Paul says in Romans chapter 13 when exhorting us to obey earthly government. Paul explains that God’s purpose for government is to be a terror to those who do evil and a protection for the righteous. Peter says the same thing. In 1 Peter 2 verse 14 Peter explains that government is God’s institution for the purpose of punishing evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. This is why we’re called to pray for our rulers, because God knows the decisions made by unregenerate rulers can and will be influenced by demonic forces.
Bearing in mind why God put in place human government, consider for a moment how successive governments in this country – and all around the world – have progressively introduced laws that have undermined and attacked the institution of the family; they’ve consciously legislated for sin, not righteousness. For example, in 1967, abortion was legalised. Since then, over nine million babies have been aborted in the UK. In the same year, homosexuality was legalised, which of course led directly to the introduction of gay marriage in 2013. In 1989, the Children’s Act was passed in Parliament, which opened the flood gates to subsequent legislation that’s undermined the authority of the parent and made the state the ultimate responsibility for children.
Isaiah 10:1 describes perfectly what’s been done:
Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, who write misfortune, which they have prescribed.
All the laws mentioned above are unrighteous and have directly attacked the Biblical definition of the family.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, consider how over the last six months this government – as well as governments around the world – have introduced laws that have directly attacked the other of the three institutions: the church. This government tried to make it illegal to open church for the first time in the nation’s history. Authorities tried to do the same all around the world, all in the name of ‘Public Health’. In California, abortion clinics, liquor stores and marijuana shops are all legally open for business, but church pastors are having to battle in court to stay open.
That’s a spiritual attack.
With the support of the Supreme Court, Californian authorities currently dictate that:
Places of worship must discontinue singing and chanting activities and limit indoor attendance to 25 percent of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.
Christians in California have likened State Governor Gavin Newsom to Pharaoh in Exodus to whom the Lord declared (through Moses), “Let My people go, so they may worship Me”, but Pharaoh would defiantly only allow it on his terms. God gets to set the terms of how we worship Him, not Gavin Newsom and the Californian Supreme Court.
Discontinue singing? What does God think about that? The answer is found in His Word, which says so much about singing praise to Him that it would be worthy of a whole article in itself, but needless to say it gives the ruling authorities of this world absolutely zero authority to legislate in this matter; we are to praise the Lord regardless. Here are just a few examples of what the Bible says:
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (Psalm 29:2).
Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day (Psalm 71:8).
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms (Psalm 95:1-2).
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods (Psalm 96:1-4).
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing (Psalm 100:2).
Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:1-6)
And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ (Luke 4:8).
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15).
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16).
…speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms (James 5:13).
And what about the ruling authorities placing restrictions on meeting? Hebrews 10:25 is a standing commandment from the Lord for all Christians to meet together in person that, as far as the writer of Hebrews was concerned, the ruling authorities of the first century had no right or power to supersede, or place conditions upon. What makes 21st century Christians assume today is any different? In fact, Hebrews 10:25 tells us to meet “so much the more as you see the Day approaching”, and while we don’t know exactly when the Lord is returning, we can say with certainty that we are now almost 2,000 9 years closer to “the Day” arriving than when the writer of Hebrews first penned that command. Surely that makes it more relevant to us, not less!
In this country, if it wasn’t for faithful men and women at an organisation called Christian Concern, who challenged the legality of the government’s forced closure of churches, we would still be under the impression that church is prohibited. It’s not. The government would very much prefer us not to meet, but has no legal authority to stop us. It would very much prefer us not to sing praise to the Lord, but has no legal authority to stop us. The government knew it had no legal authority to close churches, but misled us to make us think it had.
That’s a spiritual attack.
Democratically elected governors and governments of (supposedly) free societies have turned on its head the very reason why both Paul and Peter say God put them in place. They’re no longer being a terror to evil and a protection for the righteous. They’re attacking the other two institutions that God put in place for the benefit and wellbeing of mankind: the family and the church.
That’s a spiritual attack.
Who would have thought we would see during our lifetime ruling authorities try to prohibit going to church in large parts of America. Most churches in this country are still behaving like it’s prohibited, so remain closed. Surely we should ask ourselves how God feels about that.
Bearing in mind just how accommodating most churches in this country have been to the government’s preference for remaining closed when government has absolutely no authority to impose it, I can’t help but wonder what these same churches will do if – and more likely when – it is made a criminal offence to open. For many years, millions of Christians all around the world have been forced to make that decision, and at significant risk. Consider Iran, for example, where practicing Christianity can very quickly lead to literally losing your head. Church meetings and the distribution of Christian literature are illegal in Iran. Do Iranian Christians obey their government and not attend church, or distribute Christian literature?
They knowingly and willingly break the law by meeting for church; such is the danger of meeting that they do so in a different location each week. In spite of the danger involved, Iran is the fastest growing Christian church in the world. And by the way, many churches in California that have resisted the authorities by opening, have seen their memberships increase two and threefold over recent months.
How do we feel about those Christians in California who are disobeying the authorities and the ruling of the Supreme Court?
Are we supportive, or disapproving?
More importantly, how does God feel about them?
Is there Biblical justification for believers disobeying the authorities?
Some would say absolutely not; that Paul and Peter are clear on this matter. Well, in response, consider the following:
- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego broke the law by refusing to bow to an idol; even when commanded personally by king Nebuchadnezzar.
- Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den for disobeying the law that no prayers should be made to anyone but the king.
- In fact, almost every Old Testament prophet disobeyed their rulers at some point.
- In the New Testament, Peter had no crisis of conscience about breaking the law by escaping from prison. Surely in light of what he declared in 1 Peter chapter 2, he should have stayed locked up, even when the opportunity of escape presented itself? But he didn’t. He did a runner!
- Consider even Jesus, who consistently and publicly criticised the Sanhedrin; going as far as openly mocking them and calling them a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 12:34).
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, His disciples were ordered by the authorities to stop preaching the Gospel. But in Acts chapter 4 we see Peter defiantly declaring:
Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Praise God they disobeyed the authorities, otherwise the Christian faith would have quickly died out after briefly being nothing more than a local and obscure Jewish sect. That wasn’t what God had planned for His Great Commission and Christians all over the world are the grateful beneficiaries of the early disciple’s disobedience to their ruling authorities.
I suspect we’re not too far away from being put in a position where we’re forced to make a similar choice; a choice already being made by thousands of Christians in California. Now is the time to start thinking and praying about that.
How should we prepare for what I believe is coming? First of all, those churches that remain closed must open. I appreciate that’s not always easy for fellowships that meet in a building they don’t own, but where they’re able to open, they must. The Christian community has by and large been far too accommodating and hasn’t taken seriously the command of Hebrews 10:25. Those churches that won’t open while it remains legal to do so, will never open once it becomes illegal.
The second thing is not to be surprised when real persecution comes. We in the west have lived relatively free of persecution for many years when compared to our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. I fear this privilege has made us complacent and ill-prepared for what lies ahead. God’s Word tells us to expect persecution. 1 Peter 4:12 says we aren’t to be surprised when it comes, or think that “some strange thing” is happening to us when it does (see also Acts 14:12; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 John 3:13), but many in the west will be surprised and ill-prepared.
The third thing is to love one another. Jesus said in John 13 verse 34:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
In addition to warning us that a sign of His return will be persecution, Jesus said another significant sign will be that “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). We need to make sure that our love for one another doesn’t grow cold, otherwise we may as well keep the church doors closed.
Please address comments on this piece and others in this paper to email@example.com. Comments sent via our website will be considered for publication unless marked ‘Not for publication’.
Ten years for celebrating Christmas
A Christian pastor and his wife were in hiding after being arrested and sentenced to prison for celebrating Christmas. The arresting officers said they were participating in an “unlawful and unauthorised gathering.” Iranian-Assyrian Christian Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz, 66, was sentenced to ten years in prison, and his wife Shamiram Issavi, 65, was sentenced to five years. They and two other Christians were arrested on on 26 December, 2014 when hosting a Christmas gathering.
After years of failed appeals hearings, Shamiram received a notice to report to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison to begin her five-year sentence. The ACLJ (American Centre for Law and Justice) said that the couple had reportedly fled Iran. While seeking shelter, they were vowing to continue to appeal their unjust sentencing.