Is COVID-19 the judgment of God for the world? Does God still judge the nations in the New Testament by plagues, viruses, or diseases? This is a question that lingers in the minds of many Christians and pastors during perilous times. Is God judging the nations because they went too far in their sins when they legalized abortion, homosexuality, and same-sex marriages? Does God send these diseases to make people look up to heaven and come back to Him? Many pastors try to explain it with expressions like: “God did not send this disease per say, but He is somehow involved in how this disease will play in the world”, or “God is ultimately in control”, or “God is sovereign”, or “God allowed this to happen to teach us something” or “God has a mysterious plan through this”. However, the bottom line implication and assumption is the same: God sometimes judges the nations through plagues and that is in His sovereign will. Is that true in the New Testament? NO, IT IS NOT TRUE AT ALL. GOD DOES NOT JUDGE THE NATIONS ANYMORE THROUGH PLAGUES, especially after the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. God does not send plagues to force people to love Him. That would make Him a narcissistic self-centered person who seeks glory and adoration at any cost and He is not like that. The devil is like that. God never causes pandemics so that He would get glory from them. The devil causes all diseases, but God gets glory out of them when we, the Christians, rebuke and come against those diseases with healing in the name of Jesus. God does not create evil circumstances, neither He does evil to people so that later on, He can get glory out of it.
The only reason God has ever judged nations, especially in the Old Testament before Christ, was out of necessity, because of His justice and righteousness. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and because nobody had paid yet for the sins of the nations, God judged the sins of the nations through different punishments. However, when Jesus Christ died on the cross 2000 years ago, He was judged in full for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD past, present, and future. The only sin for which people are condemned in the New Testament era is the sin of not believing in Jesus Christ, the sin of not accepting the payment and judgment for their sins. However, the punishment and judgment for this sin is the second death, the lake of fire. The judgment for that sin is postponed until after the second coming of Jesus at the judgment from the Great White throne. The Bible says that Jesus, Himself, who had every right to judge and condemn the world because He was holy, He did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save the world:
John 3:17 (NKJV)
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Notice in the next verse who is condemned, those that do not believe in Him, and those are already condemned and judged and wait for their punishment at the end of times:
John 3:18 (NKJV)
18“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 (NKJV)
7…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
8in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
The above passage does not say anything about God punishing the world for sexual immorality, or crimes, or abortion, or any individual sins for that matter. However, He will punish the world for only ONE SIN: not accepting the gospel, the payment for their sins. So now that God judged all present sins of the world (including legalized abortions and same sex-marriages) in the death of Jesus Christ, He does not judge anymore the world for their sins through plagues or diseases. That would mean double judgment. To say that a certain calamity is the judgment of God for the world or for a certain nation because of their sins is an antichristic statement, because that means Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough to satisfy God’s wrath against sin.
Let’s take a look at a few more Bible passages regarding God’s judgment which I believe will put to rest once and for all the fact that God does not judge the nations for their sins from time to time through pandemics or calamities of all kinds, in the New Testament era, until the second coming of Jesus.
Luke 13:1–5 (NKJV)
1There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
3I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
4Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?
5I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
Notice in the passage above that when Jesus receives from these people those tragic reports (in this case a massacre and a building that has crumbled over some people), Jesus immediately perceives their thoughts and assumptions from their hearts concerning the reason why those things happened and immediately counteracts them. And they, like most people today, thought of the following: God allowed those people to be killed by Pilate because of their many sins. In the case of the collapse of the tower of Siloam, the same way God allowed that tragic thing to happen because of the multitude of their sins. Doesn’t this sound familiar? When the World Trade Center towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001, didn’t the whole world think that God was judging or punishing America for its sins? How does Jesus respond to both cases? “Do you have the impression that those people were more sinful than you and that God didn’t support them anymore?” Definitely not. If you do not repent (you see, now is the time of repentance), you will all perish the same way. When? At the great final judgment.
John 5:22 (NKJV)
22For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
I think this passage from John 5:22 is very clear: God, the Father does not judge anyone, neither now nor in the future. All judgment was given to His Son, Jesus Christ. But let’s see how the Son judges.
John 12:47–48 (NKJV)
47And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
48He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
Look at what this passage says that if anyone hears the words of Jesus and does not believe them, Jesus does not judge him. Why? Because Jesus did not come to judge the world now, but to save it. Who will judge the world and when? The word of Jesus will judge the world on the last day.
Romans 2:5 (NKJV)
5But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
Who is Paul addressing to in this passage above? To the most sinful people described in the preceding chapter, Romans 1:18-32, which included homosexuals and all manner of sinful things and injustice. They are not punished now in this age, but they are gathering a treasure of wrath for themselves for the day of wrath when the righteous judgment of God will be revealed, that is to say at the next judgment.
Luke 2:14 (NKJV)
14“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
At the birth of Jesus, angels sang about the goodness of God and His goodwill towards people now in this age. Later, Jesus Himself speaks of His calling:
Luke 4:18–19 (NKJV)
18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Jesus came to bring good news, to deliver people, to heal them, and to announce the year of the Lord’s mercy. What is this acceptable year of the Lord? It is certainly not just a literal year, but a longer period of the Lord’s acceptance. Are we still in that year of the Lord’s acceptance? Of course. Jesus reiterates here the words of the prophet Isaiah from chapter 61 and deliberately stops at the year of mercy without mentioning the day of God’s vengeance, because that has not yet come:
Isaiah 61:1–2 (NKJV)
1“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God;
Further on, in the famous passage of John 3:16, which is still valid today, we can see the unlimited love of God and His desire for people today:
John 3:16 (NKJV)
16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
If I tell you I love you, but later I send you a virus to get your mind straight, does that make any sense?
2 Corinthians 5:19 (NKJV)
19that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
What a powerful verse! First of all, during this time God ignores the sins of men. This does not mean that they are overlooked without faith in Jesus Christ, but simply God does not care about the sins that are happening in the world today. He does not consider them and does not impute them to the world now. Secondly, He did not commit to us, the believers, the word of judgment, but the Word of reconciliation.
Matthew 28:19–20 (NKJV)
19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
This mandate to preach the gospel and to make disciples of all nations is still in effect until the end of the age. God does not hate the lost. Once, you and I were lost too. What age are we in? That of anger or that of the preaching of the gospel? Many people say that this virus will wake people up. Maybe. There are many things that wake people up, but that does not mean God has sent them or that He will use them to awaken someone. God did not send the prodigal son to live with the pigs, but living with the pigs woke him up. God did not do that to him, but he did it to himself. So many things that are happening in the world have the potential to wake you up, and make you think. But that does not mean that God has sent those things. Also, threat and fear are not the ones that bring people to repentance, but the goodness of God is:
Romans 2:4 (NKJV)
4Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
When Jesus sent the disciples into the world to preach the gospel, why didn’t say that He would send some viruses with them to scare people off and make them repent? If we take a look in the garden of Eden, we can see that God did not allow nor permit Adam to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But He allowed them and gave them permission to eat from all the other trees in the garden, including the tree of life.
1 John 3:8 (NKJV)
8He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
We can notice four things in 1 John 3:8 –
- There is a devil
- The devil has some works
- His works are worthy of destruction
- Jesus came to destroy those works
If it is God who sent the virus, then what else comes from the devil? Or is the devil gone in vacation on the beach?
John 10:10 (NKJV)
10The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
What is this virus doing? It is stealing our economy, killing people, destroying lives, businesses and families. These are not from God. We, the Church of Christ, have the authority to stand against this virus. But if we were polluted with wrong teaching, this theology paralyzes the church, puts us in a position of passivity and redefines faith into fate: “what will be, will be, God is in control.” God is not in control.
Viruses are part of the fallen nature of the world. God is not the author of plagues in the New Testament. The devil is always the one sending all plagues, diseases, and sicknesses. Any pandemic, virus, or bareness is a work of darkness. The Son of man was manifested in the world to destroy the works of darkness (1 John 3:8). Moreover, He gave Christians the same mandate to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils (Matthew 10:8; Luke 10:19). Christians are supposed to come against any pandemic and destroy it in the name of Jesus. When Jesus was on earth, God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went about doing good to people and healing all WHO WERE UNDER THE POWER OF THE DEVIL, because God was with Him (Acts 10:38). Now as Christ is, so are we, the Christians, in this world (1 John 4:17). During times of pandemics, we as Christians need to be 100% sure that no pandemic is the will of God for the world. Otherwise, we cannot have complete faith for healing while believing that God willed the disease. We should tell the world that THE DEVIL IS THE AUTHOR OF PANDEMICS, not God. God loves them so much and has already provided the solution through healing in the blood of Jesus Christ, even if they do not want to receive salvation of their sins. God would still heal anyone who comes to Him for healing, because He is love. Even the world is looking for cures to viruses, how much more God wants to heal people!!! During these times, we should rise up in faith, and be a living testimony of God’s power by casting out any fear, by repelling any virus from ourselves through the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and heal those who are affected by any virus. We, as Christians, also have the responsibility and authority to rebuke any virus globally in the name of Jesus, command a stop in its spreading, and curse it to die from its roots. We have a responsibility to reign in life in this world from the spiritual realm (Romans 5:17) and not allow the devil to do whatever he wants.
God neither teaches people through disease. To say that God uses sickness or disease to teach people something is to say that the sickness is the Holy Spirit, or that the Holy Spirit is the spirit of infirmity. Why? Because the Bible says in John 14:26 that when the Holy Spirit comes, He will teach us all things. The Holy Spirit will teach us everything, and not sickness or disease. God does not use helpers like sickness, but the Helper, the Holy Spirit.
John 14:26 (NKJV)
26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
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