EASTER – PASSOVER 2020
THE CAPTIVITY OF CORONAVIRUS
© Carlos Padilla, Easter April 2020 – Passover Nisan 14th 5780
“Unclean, unclean!” the lepers cried in Jerusalem in times of Jesus. The unclean pestilence of leprosy would avoid for anyone to go near them, further more they were obliged to proclaim it. Obviously they could not participate in the Holidasy of Israel, even the Passover, they were rejected, but God never leaves anyone who loves Him. Jesus would touch the lepers with His hand and would heal them before the unbelievable look of the people. Today it would be unthinkable to proclaim for those infected with SARS-CoV-2, better known as Covid-19 for the year (exactly 100 years after the wrongly called “Spanish” flue 1919-2019), or coronavirus, though this is a generic name for a type of virus of which there are different varieties.
The captivity of this year 2020 obliges us to spend Easter or Passover at home, around the world, though we have Internet. We should also remember the captivity of the people of God, Israel in Babylon under Persian empire and without God, which was a punishment for leaving Him, for wanting to live aside of God. Today, the world also wants to live aside of God, to what I will call spiritual virus, a pestilence, a leprosy of the spirit that does not love God and that in fact it is prophesised in the Bible for the end of times called “Apostasy” the manifestation of the man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2). This end time also coincides with the end of the times of the gentiles, time in which the non Jews no longer dominate Jerusalem and the entire world has been evangelized. To this date Israel has spent a generation in his land 1948-2018=70 years, a generation according to the Bible and the world has been evangelized. Therefore, knowing this now we suffer captivity, a dry stop of our lives. A time to think after the world has left God again, and knowing that the Jews are in their land and that the Church has fulfilled, or almost, the Great Commission, anteroom, all of this of the return of Jesus Christ – Yahshua to judge the world and to take away His Church.
Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered the abandonment of all, disciples, family, people and religion. His previous ministry to the Passion had finished. All of a sudden a stop and His life changed and He was taken captive from the orchard of Gethsemane to be crucified. Easter 2020 has become captivity for humanity, and Christianity will not be able to celebrate it as usual. All at home locked by a pandemic, a pestilence (Matthew 24:7) a virus –according to the dictionary, virus comes from the Latin word for poison. But the Lord, after the brave suffering of his sacrifice for love for all those that love Him, raised and overcame death and the virus of sin for us, the spiritual pandemic of all times. Today we wait for the fulfilment of the prophecy that He foretold which is, His return at the end of time for His Church, His wife for eternity to the new earth without virus, without suffering.
For many, the Lord has spoken loud and clear in the midst of Covid-19, a coronavirus that may have or not been manipulated by man, and for many others the origin of this evil is the devil. The truth is that viruses are natural, unless they have been manipulated by man for use in war, bioterrorism, etc. Today we know throught modern science that every mutation deteriorates an organism debilitanting it until it desappears. One way or another, the world has changed and it has brought a stop, a dry stop to the way humanity and Christianity was living. All of a sudden our “almighty” system, the economy, the enjoyment of pleasures and the technology that some can enjoy has collapsed for some time that may be a warning to reflect and for repentance, to seek God. Also messages of hope appear from survivors of wars and the Holocaust of the Jews, as well as from the virus.
From Christianity, though some have lost the salt and are not light to the world, we continue to carry the message of the Good News of God in Christ, though God has put a expiring date (Revelation 1:7). Neither fruits of the Spirit are lacking for being held at home, for thanks to the Internet we can communicate, and if not we can do it through prayer. In this new situation we can continue to exhort the society enemy of God. But though we still proclaim the Word of God, we are still a bit lukewarm as prophesized in (Revelation 3:14-22) about the church of the end time called Laodicea, that to which Christ warns he will vomit it out of His mouth if it is not cold or hot and not lukewarm.
Covid-19, the pestilent pandemic is taking our elders, our fathers and mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers are dying, most had died already in life abandoned in elder homes to their luck because they are a burden that the egoist life does not want to “carry”, which breaches the Fifth Commandment, the one that contains a promise of blessing for those that keep it: Honour your father and your mother… (Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5). They are the wise of the world, but the world does not count on them due to the foolishness of humanity, but now they are also taken from us, and with them, wisdom.
Another relevant thing that coronavirus is causing is the obligation to keep close for a period of time of 40 days before Passover, Easter week of the Passion of the Christ, our Lord who died on the Cross for our sins to set us free from hell, through faith. Has obliged this year 2020 to keep that period that many Christians of different denominations call lent. Time then for reflexion and repentance, like the Jews do as well on the Feast of the Unleavened Bread before Pesach or Passover.
Another relevant thing that coronavirus is causing is the obligation of being secluded at home with our family. Marriages, the kids, in some cases the elder. Something unthinkable and many make jokes as they cannot stand it. That is the society to which we have consecrated our effort as a goal, that which does cannot stand their loved ones.
Another relevant thing that coronavirus is causing is the obligation to value and clap at 20:00 hours to the health personnel, the doctors, the police, and also added are the employees of first need, supermarkets, pharmacies, transport and the industry that builds and supplies first need goods, those who risk their lives by contagious so that the others may continue to “suffer” their confinement with their families, with Internet, light, heating and water, and the business people who decided to continue with their companies providing and maintain their employees. Now, in this confinement, many will remember the prisoners and the sick, like the Lord requested. But it is a disgrace to see the baseness of the human being when they treat the infected as lepers, which we have seen in every country that became infected. First everyone would separate from the Chinese, then from the Italian, then from us Spanish; soon all those will live with an unbearable psychosis for any other person that goes near them, and many may be carriers of the virus without knowing, and many others will be infected or dye and they will then be treated like lepers “unclean, unclean” the lepers were obliged to proclaim on the streets to avoid infecting others: (Law of the leprosy: Leviticus 13:45).
Another relevant thing that coronavirus is causing is the lack of pollution in the skies of large cities, water of rivers and lakes. Climate change has suffered a sudden stop. The damage we have caused the planet is being healed in a few months.
Now we are obliged to value the essential: Love to the family, health, basic food and those who watch for our lives to be safe and that we do not value, those whose work is badly paid and are not well treated like nurses and doctors, home employees, of supermarkets, social assistants, police and the army to whom all is demanded but are not provided of the tools.
Some will remain as rebels against God before this situation, but many are going to be humbled in the hardness of their hearts and will seek Him, others will blame Him as they always do, of all evil, and separate from Him like the world separated from God always, as we see in the continuous history of Israel and of the other nations in the Old Testament, but God became man and gave His life on the Cross, but also resurrected.
God talks in a clear way as we go through this challenge: we do not look after our elders, don’t look after our families, don’t look after society nor justice, and don’t look after our health nor of the planet. All this was given us by God, but humanity does not give thanks nor looks after; now all is taken away, as we do not appreciate it.
And what do the politicians and in those in power do? Most of them are only worried about one thing: Economy. If you are a refugee in Greece; Sorry! You are not called economy, there is no help. If you lose your job, your home, your business, or employees; sorry! You are not called economy, there is no help. If you live in a third world country; sorry! You are not called economy. For economy, the European Central Bank has offered 750 billion Euros that come from no wear. Spain has offered 200 billion that does not have. The US on their side has offered 2 trillion Dollars. But to eradicate hanger there is no money, for investigation of viruses, to cure illnesses in the third world, there is no money, for those who lose their homes or jobs, there is no money. This is the world for which we have fought and this is the result. Judge yourself.
Easter of coronavirus in captivity has changed the world. This is a before and after to the way we live. The norms of coexistence are going to change, and also the free movement of people. Governments will want to monitor everyone with the excuse of the virus, as they already do in China and other Asian countries. Some think of the Biblical prophecies and the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:18). There are talks of chip implanting, or digital certificates, only for those not infected with coronavirus, of eliminating cash doe to infection, etc. It may all be part of the end time. On the other hand the economical impact will affect the already fragile economy in a way without precedent which is not possible to value yet, some experts predict something worst than the great depression or the postwar period after WWII.
And before this panorama, what does the Church do? Many have organised to give food to the poor and with no shelter, or take food to vulnerable elders, others are in Italy or New York with hospital tents, others write sermons or preaching through Internet doe to the closing of churches or places of warship, being contactable to give hope and spiritual counselling or to go and help where governments permit.
To close we can compare this Easter with the captivity which Ezra and Nehemiah lived the captivity of Israel that I mentioned at the beginning, because they could not celebrate the Holidays of Israel while they were in Babylon, under the Persian Empire, when Cyrus was king who dictated an edict after the petition of Ezra after praying to God, who changed the heart of the king, which permitted each one of them to return to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem, the walls, and reestablish the Jewish religious life that worshiped the Lord. Let us have that desire of congregation and serving the Lord in the Church, this Easter, through our prayers in captivity.