Last night the Prime Minister placed the UK in lockdown to help abate the spread of coronavirus. You should be staying at home unless you must travel for essential work, food shopping, exercise (including dog-walking) or medical needs. Life has been paused, except for the men and women of the NHS and other key workers. The police are empowered to issue fines for public gatherings of more than two people, and the army is on standby.
But our bones are not dried up, and our hope is not lost, for we are not cut off completely (cf Ezek 37:11). Not only is our freedom in Christ, but our hope keeps us joyful, and Microsoft keeps us in touch (along with Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon).
Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live… (vv12-14).
There is no doubt that something has changed and something is changing. Normality has been dealt a severe blow, and our senses are shocked. It feels like we are living in a dystopian film, and soon we shall be summarily pursued, arrested, tortured and killed by forces of evil beyond our control. We are lost, bewildered and bereft. All Church services are banned: there will be no Good Friday services of meditation on the last words of Christ; and no joyous Easter Eucharist. The Prince of the power of the air is cackling that the gates of hell have finally prevailed.
So what is God saying?
Don’t read here for that: this is not a place which purports to impart “the mind of Christ” to those who seek anew or commune and feed here daily. Self-styled prophets abound, and they are telling you that coronavirus was prophesied in the Book of Revelation; that it is an “End Time biblical plague”:
And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth (Rev 6:7f).
False prophets do this sort of thing: it is a thin theology and thinner exegesis which excises a scripture from its context and proclaims it as the word of the Lord to all people at any particular time. And it is crass journalism and gratuitous fearmongering which proclaims the “End of freedom”, when we know that this crisis shall pass, as all crises do. There will be suffering and grieving and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but if you look a little closer and listen more intently, you will see kindness and hear words of comfort. There is love: there is a hope and a future, and they are glorious.
So don’t go on Facebook for prophetic words, and don’t seek truth from newspaper headlines. The Spirit of God is alive and well within you, and truth is to be found in the inspired word of God. The world can be healed: death is not the end. God breathes in a world of believers: we live, and we shall live.
And freedom will be restored.