“And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear.”Isaiah 11:2-3
This will be my 12th and final installment under the “My Corona Journal.”
After the President announced this week that social distancing recommendations (not laws) will be in place until the end of April, I felt led to wrap up the COVID-19 theme and refocus my attention to prophetic and apologetic material.
Having said that, I would like to share some interesting news headlines that I believe speak to the bigger picture and underlying issues behind the COVID-19 outbreak. As I have said from the beginning, hindsight will disclose what all this was really about. The virus is real and can be fatal. I have never denied that, but the numbers still don’t add up.
Although COVID-19 seems to be spreading fast, we must keep this outbreak into perspective. As of today, March 30, the total number of cases in the WORLD was less than 800,000. Here in the U.S. we have topped 150,000 cases and just under 3,000 deaths.
That may sound like a lot, but when compared to the seasonal flu, which already has infected up to 60 million Americans and accounted for nearly 60,000 deaths in 2020 and the other recent outbreaks like the 2009 H1N1 virus, this coronavirus has not yet proven to be any more substantial than other viruses of its kind. I understand many healthcare officials say this virus is “different,” but the evidence does not support that yet. All I am saying I reserve the right to wait and see if that is true or not.
All of these illnesses and deaths are most horrific and could affect any of us. I would never wish this disease upon anyone, and my heart breaks for those who are suffering or who have lost family members to this dreaded virus.
But this entire global crisis, in my humble opinion, has little to do with COVID-19 and has everything to do with significant shift in our world. Whether that shift is ultimately good or bad, I’m not sure. But I am confident that life as we know it will never be the same after this is over.
Tampa Bay Area Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was arrested this week on misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency order. I don’t know anything about Pastor Browne or his doctrine, but I do know that this scenario perfectly represents the tension that has emerged between civil liberties and governmental control.
While most churches have temporarily elected to suspend services, other churches around the country have decided to keep their doors open to their congregants.
I see this issue from both sides. Many keep saying that we are loving our neighbors and being good citizens by respecting the recommendations by our government and healthcare officials. I agree. Many also point out that this is only temporary and necessary to slow down the virus. Time will tell. Our church — Christ Church in Memphis — has taken this position. As an elder, I am in full support of this position, even though I am personally struggling with the dynamics at work that have limited civil liberties while at the same time emboldening elected officials with more unilateral powers.
When governments begin mandating and criminalizing our First Amendment rights, we had better pay attention. For example many cities, like New York, have criminalized social distancing requirements by fining or arresting violators. Maybe this is only for a limited season, but there is no guarantee that governments won’t take advantage of these executive powers again in any given situation.
My guess is that the COVID-19 response has been a test to see just how far the American people would allow the government to go in restricting our basic constitutional rights and God-given freedoms. Now that they have seen what they can do in a “crisis” situation, I am interested to see what constitutes a crisis moving forward.
Headline #2 — Shut Down Recipe for Social Unrest
It only makes sense that as more jobs are lost, the more bills are unpaid, the more people are forced to live in close quarters, the more fear spreads … the more civil disorder we can expect.
As the article above pointed out, “unemployment, impoverishment, and despair are frightening outcomes in themselves. They’re also a recipe for social unrest that will afflict even those of us who weather both the pandemic and the accompanying economic storm.”
Headline #3 — Gun and Ammunition Sales Soaring across U.S.
American citizens have shown up in record numbers to prove how much they appreciate their 2nd Amendment rights. Apparently the COVID-19 outbreak has many American people contemplating the sobering reality of self-defense and potential martial law.
It is interesting that our forefathers and founders of this great nation considered this fundamental right so essential to all citizens. Notice the original language.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
The founders did not include this right in the constitution just for self-defense, however. Notice that the primary reason we are afforded this right is to secure a free State in the face of governmental tyranny.
No, we are not at that point, but we are fools to believe that corrupt government elites and self-serving career politicians aren’t chomping at the bit to take our guns away and then take our freedoms away. That has been the pattern historically in every totalitarian state, including Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and even the socialist Venezuela of our day.
We know Jesus warned us against the dangers of living by the sword [Matthew 26:52], but we also forget that Jesus was not a total pacifist. As a matter of fact, Jesus instructed his disciples to bear arms at one point, knowing that they soon would be facing persecution.
He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”Luke 22:36-38
Headline #4 — Internet Shut Down a Real Possibility during Crisis
There has been some chatter in certain circles about a potential internet shut down during the COVID-19 crisis. Only time will tell whether or not these suspicions are true.
We already know that the overwhelming number of people being forced to work online has caused some interference and slowing for most of the primary internet service providers. Many have already experienced this while trying to share bandwidth and data with an unprecedented number of users all at the same time.
But imagine if the entire internet temporarily was shut down in the U.S., especially in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak?
Can anyone say pandemonium?
Society would lose its ever-loving mind!
Is that even possible? Well when you consider that a record 21 countries cut off the Internet 122 times in 2019, it seems more likely than not that something like that could happen here.
Some believe that cyber-warfare could be the potential culprit with some type of cyber-security attack. Others have suggested scenarios where President Trump could use his executive powers to shut down the internet for security purposes. According to the Communications Act of 1934, which is still in effect though amended, the President has the authority to assume control of all communications in the country.
Section 706 of this law allows the president to shut down or take control of “any facility or station for wire communication” if he proclaims “that there exists a state or threat of war involving the United States.” With respect to wireless communications, suspending service is permitted not only in a “war or a threat of war,” but merely if there is a presidential proclamation of a “state of public peril” or simply a “disaster or other national emergency.” There is no requirement in the law for the president to provide any advance notice to Congress.Communications Act of 1934
So just in case things go dark over the next few weeks within the next few months, just remember … God is still on His throne. Jesus is still King of heaven and earth. And the Holy Spirit still dwells within everyone of God’s redeemed. Trust God and love your neighbor and share the gospel like your life depends on it.
So until next time …
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”2 Thessalonians 3:16