Recent years have seen an acceleration of many projects and pronouncements by the Vatican on socio-economic issues such as the environment (Climate Change) and information technology (Artificial Intelligence).
It should be instructive that along with the deep-rooted desire for spiritual supremacy with a Sunday Law, referencing Daniel 7 : 25 of the King James Version of the Holy Bible and #2188 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, there are on-going calls for religious denominations to sign a global pact and create a global change of mentality through education and to sign a declaration aims to counter division, hatred, and intolerance between people of different religions by promoting friendship between members of diverse faiths, obviously setting the groundwork for the one world religion under the papacy.
It is however inconceivable not to have ‘focus statements’ from the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists on these noteworthy and far-reaching happenings, especially now with the disquieting derivatives of COVID-19.
Pertinent derivatives from the ‘unprecedented and unknown’ COVID-19 pandemic include the ‘strange and awkward’ legal provisions for purportedly curtailing the spread of the corona-virus, as well as microchip applications for the purported cure of the virus.
Those derivatives pinch on civil and religious liberties, plunge humanity and the ecology in perils, and would produce astonishing rippling effects and also progress toward the implementation of unified global procedures.
Living activities, including worship to a supernatural being, would be centered on technological advancements and availability, with operations on the ‘enticing but entrapping’ internet. Immorality, apostasy and blasphemy would take prominence (Matt. 24: 12 & 2 Timothy 3: 1–7); but more significantly for Christians, the derivatives should point to the Mark of the Beast foretold in Rev. 13 & 14.
The spiritual dimensions and deductions regarding the pandemic are of no great concern to many individuals, including professed Christians, especially those who are weary on biblical prophecies.
The economy and survival are the issues of their attention; they are amused with the political games and diplomatic grumbles by the world’s institutional powers and are keenly anticipating solutions to the virus and its problems based on medical sciences and technological innovations.
However, contrary to what those individuals would also claim; the great recoveries from past upheavals such as disasters, pestilences, wars and recessions, as well as the crushing disappointments from past improper interpretations and predictions of doomsday, such as with the anxiety and uncertainty entering the year 2000 (Y2K episode), can give a false sense of understanding, complacency, security and hope on their position regarding such apocalyptic events.
It must be realised that although the scenario of the devastating 1918/1919 Spanish Flu may be similar to COVID-19, the transactions and processes of life after those pandemics cannot be so compared. Thus, anyone who is unmoved and downplays the derivatives, disclosures, signals and lessons that COVID-19 conveys, is spiritually lacking; this person or institution fails to discern the signs of the times (Matt. 24 & 16 : 3 – 4 & Luke 21), mocks the second coming of Christ (2 Peter 3), wishes that the world and its lust continue (1 Jn. 2: 15-17) and is serving God in vain (Isa. 29: 13 & Matt. 15: 8-9).
The General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists (SDAs), the premier administrative organ of the religious institution founded by Ellen G. White, has a ‘moral and fiduciary’ duty to reflect and uphold the biblical fundamentals and divine profession of the SDA body and to provide spiritual leadership, without compromise and cowardice.
In the most definite and direct manner, the SDA Head Church must shepherd its membership on the glowing and seducing initiatives and invitations of the papacy, in recognising that integral to the mission of the church is to highlight the danger of spiritual compromise.
Moreover, the members must be advised on the relevance of the unfolding of Present Truth and the fulfilling of Bible Prophecy and in particular on the climaxing of the spiritual warfare between good and evil, as the mysterious onslaught and massive disturbances of COVID-19 are being observed.
A previously internet-circulated article “Adventists be aware and safeguard against the spiritual pitfall of the epidemic!” seeks to draw attention to the element of satanic entrapment of online worshipping which permeates the religious spectrum.
An underlining and repeated theme of the President of the World SDA Church, Pastor Ted N. C. Wilson, on the dreaded pandemic, expresses that “We are to be anchors of stability and pillars of hope in these times of crisis as we point people to the strong foundation of Jesus Christ.”
However, his various messages are insufficient without him, via the instruments of the local Conferences and/or Missions, practically addressing the mental and welfare provisions of the general membership of the church, as well as assertively explaining whether or not the derivatives and drawbacks of COVID-19 are evidence of relevant Present Truth.
In fact, Pastor Wilson needs to assist the church by specifying the ‘last days’ global events, the sequence in occurrences of the crises of the last days events, or in the end of time, including the persecution and trials of God’s people, and how is it possible that, “we are living in the very end of time” but at the same time, as he declares, this pandemic crisis “is a precursor to the very end of time.”
To confuse, mislead or to make comfortable the brethren is tasteless. Focus statements of advice, admonition and guideline from the SDA global headquarters to its institutional organs and common membership are imperative in this gravely tense pandemic era.
Those statements must seek to address specific support systems, in terms of psychological and spiritual preparations to meet the drastic changes and trends to the new reality and normality.
The focus statements must seek to address the conflicting messages and debatable commentary on the pandemic, especially as regards scriptural Final Events and the Mark of the Beast.
There is need for focus statements to reconcile, unite, strengthen and revive the church-body, so that members do not fall victims to the forces of the devil (1Timothy 4: 1).
Focus statements are required to explain the extent of any engagement of the SDA denomination with the Pope on cooperation-talks, and particularly, the response and/or representation of the church to participate in the 2020 meetings in Rome and The Hague.
Jesus instructs “feed my sheep” (Jn. 21: 17, Acts 20: 28, 1 Peter 5: 1-4 & Jer. 3: 15). Indeed during this COVID-19 crisis, there should be no need or even no justification for ‘meaningless’ panic but instead, ‘wonderful’ peace must be an experience for the practising Christians (2 Timothy 1 : 7 & Psalms 46); it is a time to console each other in Jesus’ name (Jn. 16: 33 & 1 Thess. 5: 14-15).
Moreover; it should be clear that no one can thwart or disrupt God’s eternal power and predetermined plan (Jn. 14: 1-3, Acts 1: 6-11, 2 Timothy 1: 9 & Acts 17: 31).
Notwithstanding; profound seriousness and urgency must be displayed and encouraged, with the spiritual consciousness that Satan is escalating his deceptive strategies and poisonous tentacles knowing that his days will soon be expired (1 Peter 5: 8 & Rev. 12: 12- 17) but that God is not willing that anyone should perish (Jn. 3: 16, 2 Peter 3: 9 & 1 Timothy 2: 3-4).
In the apparent absence of sound shepherding with focus statements from the presidents and pastors, SDA’s congregational elders need to arise to the challenges and opportunities which are being presented by the pandemic and to “set thine house in order” (2 Kings 20 & Isa. 38).
The aspiration must be for godly righteousness as well as for financial independence of the local members, having special consideration for the vulnerable including the young people, the shut-ins, and new converts.
Preaching with great expectation and confidence that the COVID-19 crisis will soon end and that regular church-services will resume must also focus on promoting an earnest desire and decision to relinquish attitudes, behaviours and practices which are not in-keeping with God, but having a form of godliness (Matt. 7: 21 & 2 Timothy 3: 5).
The worsening religious secularism and social club with entertainment that church-services have degraded to, must cease; equally to must be the indifference, intolerance, injustice, incontinent and indecency (Eph. 4: 22-32 & Gal. 5: 13-26).
The SDA’s church-body must be spiritually cleansed if there ought to be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to aid in facing the crises of the last days, proclaiming God’s word and bringing lost souls to the saving grace of the Lord; each member taking responsibility for his own salvation (Phil. 2: 12-13).
COVID-19 brings spiritual revelations and should inspire spiritual healing with the aspiration for spiritual uplifting to a higher plane. Moreover; it tests the religious faith and stance of Adventist Christians and also should beckon the phenomenal Shaking / Sifting of the church. The true Remnant would be identified (Rev. 12: 17 & 1 Peter 2: 9). Appropriate for edification and warning are excerpts of Ellen White’s publications on Last Day Events.
“The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death.
The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church … One thing is certain: Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under Satan’s banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs contained in the Testimonies of God’s Spirit … Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan… ”.