“Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you...For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestiliences, and earthquakes, in divers places...” — Matthew 24:3-7

Matthew is a well known chapter of the Bible about the last days. It is not the only one, there is also Mark 13 and Luke 21, but Matthew 24 is the chapter most referred to when discussing end times. Bible students are well aware of the signs leading to  the end of this world and we have certainly seen nations warring against each other in the generation now living. Famine has plagued this world for generations as well. Many of these signs have happened around us in this world, but the majority of us haven’t personally experienced them. We have certainly not only seen of and heard of earthquakes, but have well experienced them here in New Zealand, but they have been relatively localised as have the wars and famines.

But now there is change. Yes, we have seen and heard of pestilences localised in various parts of the world, but now just about everyone in the world is experiencing the effects of this current pestilence that has invaded all hemispheres of the planet. More than that, the effects have just about invaded every home with national and international shut-downs.

The future is unknown for most. Our government here in New Zealand have put restrictions on social interaction and have commented that what they face is unprecedented. If this is unprecedented, then it hasn’t happened before. Perhaps the government are more right than they realise. Mark 13:19 offers the answer to that statement. “For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.”

Never in earth’s history has been seen what is coming upon the world at the end of time. We have a taste of it now, but more and worse will come. The more we walk away from our Protestant values as a nation, the more we will not only see and hear about disasters of unparalleled proportions on the media, but will experience them.

Virus Takes It’s Toll

From the time of writing this newsletter until it is in the hands of you all as readers, much will have changed - yes, rapidly changed. While this pestilence makes headlines at present and we have government lock-downs, there can be many lessons learned out of this.

This disease is evil, it has evil effects on the whole world, potentially to everyone on the planet. This disease does not promote life, it destroys life. It can’t physically be seen, but many come into contact with it and contract it into their bodies. They are initially unaware that they even have it, until the symptoms start to show up. The results of it certainly can be seen, felt and experienced. If it is left to run on its own, not addressed and action taken to deal with it, it will take the life of the person.

There is another disease exactly like it — sin. Sin is evil, it has evil effects on the whole world, potentially to everyone on the planet — and that potential can become real, let’s  rephrase that  - it is very real and don’t we know it all too well. “There is none righteous, no not one.” — Romans 3:10

When Eve walked near the tree of knowledge of good and evil, she could not physically see sin. But as she lingered near the source of the ‘virus’ of sin, she contracted it into her mind, going on to affect her body as well. But as she partook of that ‘virus’, she was unaware of the danger she would have to face. In her infected and contagious state, she ran to her husband, got close to Adam and enticed him to be with her and her ‘virus’ jumped across to infect him.

The results of this contagious disease were certainly seen very soon after — seen, felt and experienced by our first parents. It has continued to infect many, many generations and if not addressed, ultimately this virus of sin will kill all its participants. Our world had to go into lock-down, forced isolation from the universe, to contain this ‘virus’ called sin.

At this point and time, to our understanding, this coronavirus has no antidote at all. It is running rampant and freely taking its toll on whoever happens to get in its path. There are people who are able to come through. If addressed with careful medical care and with the victim in previous good health with a strong immune system, it can be defeated and the person overcome and be freed from its deadly grip. On the other hand, those who do not have good health, no medical help and if their immunity is compromised, it can continue to do its invasive and nasty work and kill its host.

Sin does not promote life, it destroys life. It can’t physically be seen, but many come into contact with it and being so contagious, it infects their minds, going on to affect their bodies. Many are oblivious of its presence as the initial contact is often exhilarating and thrilling, but all too soon the symptoms start to show up. The results of it certainly can be seen, felt and experienced. If left to its own and not addressed, will ultimately result in death. “For the wages of sin is death.” — Romans 6:23

Coronavirus is novel — it hasn’t been around before, but is now showing its performance. But the disease of sin is different, it has been around for generations — thousands of years in fact. Sin has a forked tongue — silver lining on one side to lure its admirer, but very abrasive and poison on the other! But how slow we are to learn as human beings. So many generations follow the previous one and instead of learning from the experience of the parent’s generation, the younger ones seem to want to repeat the wrong and reap the harvest of — all to often — tragedy. We seem to want to learn from our own experience, then we in turn tell our children, but so many of them go and repeat what parents have advised against, and they go where angels fear to tread!

Be Cautious, Be Careful

With this pandemic that has hit us, it changed our world in just a few short days. It may come back to what we know as normal, but it also may not. We may have to get used to new norms! This virus is dangerous, it is taking people down, stronger and younger adults seem to be able to shake it off, but those with compromised immune or respiratory systems and the over 70 age bracket seems to be a target for this thing, even unto death!

It should not be taken lightly. Be constantly on your guard, take measures to prevent contracting it, minimise the risk. Keep your immune system strong, keep your hygiene up and be careful with your association with others.

So it is with the dreaded disease of sin. It also should not be taken lightly. Be constantly on your guard and take measures to prevent contracting it, minimise the risks. Keep your immunity against sin strong, keep your moral hygiene high, and be careful with your association with others.

Too many people are too lax about both these curses to humanity. With Eve, it was only a seemingly harmless and simple act. Why such severe consequences? It is because she minimised sin and did not see the hideous nature of it.

Don’t Take Sin Lightly

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” — Genesis 3:6

This is where it all started. Sadly we see the consequences we live in today.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered in the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” — Romans 5:22

Sin has its price, whether in the eyes of God, or in the eyes of man, sin has its price. “From Adam’s day to ours, there has been a succession of falls, each greater than the last, in every species of crime. God did not create a race of beings so devoid of health, beauty and moral power as now exists in the world. Disease of every kind has been fearfully increasing upon the race. This has not been by God’s especial providence, but directly contrary to His will. It has come by mans disregard of the very means which God has ordained to shield him from the terrible evils existing.” — Review & Herald, March 4, 1875

So on that note, here is some more counsel we could well take on board.

“Many...look upon sin as a little thing... Many take counsel of their own wishes and desires and follow their inclinations and finally conclude that sin is not so very offensive, not so terrible and dreadful in the sight of God. Sin that may appear little, that may be termed little by the blunted conscience, is so grievous a thing in the sight of God that nothing but the blood of God’s own Son could wash it away. This fact places the true estimate upon sin. God will never tarnish His glory to our ideas and views. We shall certainly have to come up to His. Just in proportion to the excellence of God is the heinous character of sin... Sin is the cause of all our woes. If we would have true peace and happiness of mind, sin must be removed.”— Our High Calling, p.81

 “Some regard sin as altogether so light a matter that they have no defense against its indulgence or its consequences... If you suppose for a moment that God will treat sin lightly, or make provisions or exemptions so that you can go on in committing sin, and the soul suffer no penalty from so doing, you are under a terrible delusion of Satan. Any willful violation of the righteous law of Jehovah exposes your soul to the full assaults of Satan... We have the example of Adam and Eve before us, and the result of their transgression should lead every soul of us to avoid sin, to abhor sin as the hateful thing it is, and to feel, in view of the sufferings which sin is sure to inflict, that it is better to suffer loss of all things than to depart from the least of God’s commandments.” — Our High Calling, p.94.

As can be seen in this short article with this coronavirus enveloping our whole planet at present, there is a strong parallel with sin which is also enveloping our whole planet at present. The governments of the world, putting whole nations into lock-down to curb the spread of this deadly disease are desperate to find a vaccine to this world-wide pandemic. But the problem is, there is presently no vaccine at all to curb this soul destroying scourge.

Out of all this, it has proven to be a great leveler of society. Rich or poor, influential or follower, young or mature, it doesn’t matter, the virus attaches to anybody and will settle in to its deadly mission - pollute and kill.

Sin is another current disease at present enveloping our whole world. Wow, wouldn’t it be something if all the governments were just as desperate to find a vaccine to this world-wide pandemic of sin that is sweeping all nations. Rich or poor, leaders or followers, young or mature, it doesn’t matter, the virus of sin attaches to anyone it can and will settle into its deadly mission - to pollute and kill.

But the sad problem is, there is no alarm or lock-down to try to restrain the spread of the deadly disease of sin. What makes this so ludicrous is that there is a vaccine, there is a remedy to this widespread problem of sin. It is so full and complete.  This beautiful remedy came from One who knows no failure; He got it right the first time. “As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour.” — Desire of Ages, p.210

But no government lock-downs on sin to eliminate it with police and military back up, and very little about the recommendation that Jesus is the ‘vaccine’ for it.

Covid 19 has its course, it is a pestilence. This was predicted some 2000 years ago by the Saviour Himself in Matthew 24:7. We should even in our day have expected this long ago, but here and now, we experience it first hand.

But the very next verse, Matthew 24:8 says, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” This will pass, but it is not the end. Expect they will come more often and more severe.

Please Explain!

As we conclude, there is one great dilemma that I cannot explain in all this alarm in our country at present. In the last week of March, the prime minister of New Zealand addressed the whole country in a news media release stating in her opening words, “You could kill people.” This comment was made on more than one occasion on nation wide media.

She was referring to anyone who may have the contagious coronavirus. The report went on to say the measures the government would take to those dissenters who refused to comply. They have made this lock-down time a ‘state of emergency’ to give power to the authorities to come down hard on anyone flouting the law, even up to six months imprisonment - because of the threat of infecting people causing their death.

But what I struggle to reconcile with, about a week before that, right when our country is battling with this pandemic, our prime minister, along with our parliament voted a law that passed by a majority that decriminalizes killing a baby right up until its birth date. It is now legal in our country to kill a child anywhere from conception up until its full maturity, ready to be delivered.

So we have a full state of emergency, full police and military alerts and severe penalties for possibly passing on a virus, yet a little life, completely innocent, can be snuffed out at the choice of a woman with no crime attached to it.

No police, no military aid, no government support, no media release to that killing - and no mothers arms, and no little blanket gets wrapped around that little lifeless form!

“As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour.”

All I can add to that is, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” — Revelation 22:20