(Matthew 24:1-2) “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when His disciples came up to Him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” He asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
People always feel secure when there are structures in place that provide them with a sense of security and it is the same for many professing Christians and orthodox Jews who feel that they are secure if they are part of a system or organization and have a building in which to worship. This is a conspicuous mark of wider Christendom and Judaism. Religious ceremonies and icons and images for many Christians and orthodox Jews give them a sense of spiritual security. Somehow they cannot imagine a life without the religiously structured system. People in the world, in the Church and in Israel all need to have a system of security to lean upon.
The disciples were overawed with the splendour and grandeur of the Temple and its precincts and pointed this out to the Lord Jesus. Well, imagine the shock to the disciples when the Lord Jesus told them that the Temple was to be completely destroyed and levelled to its very foundations, nothing would be left standing. It must have been similar to a sudden and unexpected punch in the abdomen that drove the wind out of them. To the Jewish people in the time of the Lord Jesus the Temple was the most important structure around which all Jewish people lived their lives and felt secure because they had the Temple. Even though Israel as a nation, by and large, was spiritually backslidden, they still held on to their religious system, as spiritually corrupted as it was, as a kind of religious ‘security blanket’ as it were.
Whether one is unsaved in the world or part of Christendom or a part of Judaism, there is a tendency to look to a system or structure and to material things one can see and touch for a sense of security. The downside is that unless one trusts in God and looks to Him and to His Word alone for spiritual sustenance and security, then, when calamity comes, the religious structures and supports one has leaned on are removed and one is left feeling vulnerable and to a degree spiritually disorientated. For Christendom in mainline denominations the people somehow feel more spiritually secure if they are part of a structured religious system. We see this clearly in Sacramental orientated Christian Orthodox communities where buildings, religious traditions, religious relics, ceremonies, icons, candles and the sacraments of the bread and wine are visible reminders of their faith.
Right now in the Middle-East and in many European countries today there are increasing numbers of attacks on Christian communities, Bible believing Christians churches set on fire and especially persecution against Jews and the desecration of their synagogues. Now the world faces the Coronavirus epidemic and no nation has been spared this ‘Pandemic’ as they are calling it. It is a time when things are not like they used to be. Almost overnight things changed and may never be quite the same as they have been. People’s jobs are gone, mortgages unable to be paid, businesses are going to the wall and the economy of the western democracies taking a nosedive. People’s ‘idols’ are being closed down, disco’s, movie theatres, sports complexes, restaurants, retails businesses all closed. These very things the unsaved lean upon for a sense of a security blanket has been suddenly pulled out from under them.
Now God has allowed this Coronavirus to happen. Possibly it is one of the signs of the beginning of the ‘birth pains’ or ‘signs’ that the Lord Jesus spoke about that would come in the last days just before He comes back to establish His Millennial Messianic Kingdom on earth for 1,000 years. (Matthew 24:6-8) Now a caveat is “a warning,” or “putting one on notice to change their ways or else.” It also creates an opportunity to change ones’ direction to avoid an adverse penalty. In light of these things happening today let’s now consider three Caveats from the Coronavirus. Now a caveat is “a warning,” or “putting one on notice to change their ways or else.” It also creates an opportunity to change ones’ direction to avoid an adverse penalty. In light of these things happening today let’s now consider three Caveats from the Coronavirus.
Caveat No.1: The Coronavirus is a wake-up call from God to the world.
The Bible tells us that “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) He is seeking to grab the attention of the unsaved to consider what the real priority for them should be in this life and that satisfaction and security is not found in things or governments but in a restored relationship with their creator through faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation and for their future in this life and for the life to come in eternity. He knows that the judgement is coming and wants to save as many as He can if they will let Him before sudden destruction comes! The present Coronavirus crisis is a wake-up call to the unsaved world to seek God during this time before it is too late. Something even worse is coming and so the Bible says; “Now is the day of salvation, now is the accepted time, do not harden your hearts.” It is not a time to harden the heart towards the salvation only found in the Lord Jesus Christ but to repent and believe on Him who saves the soul! (John 14:6) (Acts 4:12)
Caveat No.2: The Coronavirus is a wake-up call from God to the Church.
God’s desire is that the Body of the Messiah (the Church) become more involved in the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, which includes the Second Coming of the Messiah to establish His kingdom on earth and to return to the spiritual priorities God has for them as His people. Denominational structures and mega-church meetings are being disabled because of the Coronavirus and believers forced to have home groups if there are no government restrictions stopping it of course. Many are using Zoom, however, it is not the same a face to face fellowship. This time of the Coronavirus creates the opportunity where believers can gather around the Word of God, pray together and share their meals with each other. (Acts 2:42)
Traditional ‘Church’ services in many places are non-existent. It is a time for the wider Body of the Messiah, “to wake up and to strengthen what remains.” (Revelation 3:2) We are to work for God while it is light because the night of the Great Trouble is coming when no one will be able to work for the kingdom of God in the way they are working now. The Lord Jesus said; “While it is daytime, we must do the works of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4). The Coronavirus is the harbinger of what is to come. Always remember that when the thick darkness came over Egypt that the Israelites had the lights on in their houses and in their hearts because they knew their ‘exodus’ out of Egypt was coming! (Exodus 10:23) It teaches us about the faithful remnant in the last days awaiting their ‘Exodus’ from the ‘Egypt’ of this world.
God is using the Coronavirus to make us realise as His people that we must no longer look for security in man-made religious structures and buildings but cultivate our personal relationship with the Triune God and to deepen our spiritual relationship with our fellow believers. As the apostle Paul wrote; “For our light and momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that is far beyond comparison. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) It is a time to fix our eyes upon the Lord Jesus and not on what is happening in this Coronavirus crisis, but to cry out to God that we might complete His will before the end comes and the end is rapidly approaching. In this time of Coronavirus it is time us to do some serious spiritual ‘stocktaking.’ The end of all things is at hand but not just yet.
Wars, rumours of wars, nation rising against nation, kingdom rising against kingdom, earthquakes in various places, famine, disease and widespread spiritual deception and apostasy are escalating in intensity and frequency are the beginning of the birth pains preceding the birth of the messianic kingdom on earth. (Matthew 24:3-13) The whole world is rushing headlong towards the climax of the ages which will see the return of our Lord Jesus the Messiah coming in the clouds of heaven in great power and glory. (Matthew 24:30)
Caveat No.3: The Coronavirus is a wake-up call from God to Israel.
We have just seen a treaty brokered between Israel and the United Arab Emirates with the hope that more Arab nations will join. Prime Minister Netanyahu sees this as a great move for peace in the Middle-East yet does not progress with establishing Jewish sovereignty over Samaria and Judea in the West bank as Israeli territory even though it is “on the books” as it were. Most of all in the Book of Genesis the West Bank is part of the whole land of Israel from the Wadi of Egypt to the Euphrates River that God gave to Abraham and to his descendants, the Jewish people, to be for them “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 15:18-19; 17:7-8).
However, there is still Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and Turkey that threaten Israel’s security who all have a militant agenda for Israel. They are not happy about the treaty brokered between Israel and the UAE states. There can be no lasting peace in the Middle-East until the prince of Peace returns. Israel as a nation by and large is still aliens and strangers to their own covenants of promise and relying upon the Egypt of this world for its security. Added to this, the religious orthodox Jews by and large are rejecting the Messiah and even persecuting Messianic congregations. Demonstrations are going on and the government divided and not really unified. Most non-religious Israelis are secular minded, hedonistic and involved in unbiblical and alternate lifestyles. The Coronavirus is also taking its toll on Israel and they, along with the nations of the world and an apostate Church, are under the judgement of God because of sin and rebellion. God does not show favouritism. (Romans 2:9-11)
Having said all of this the Messiah Himself, our Lord Jesus, is still grieving over Jerusalem for the lost sheep of Israel, grieving over a backslidden Church and grieving over a lost world. In all of this ‘lock-down scenario’ as I have been writing, I am asking myself right now, “am I grieving for the lost sheep of Israel, grieving for a backslidden Church and grieving for a world on the highway to hell?” May the Lord make it so for us all before He comes back!