Friday Morning Manna
March 20, 2020
Lessons If Learned from Covid-19 Crisis, Prepares for the Bigger Ones Coming, Preceding the Biggest One
“Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow observe the times of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord.”Jer. 8: 7
Jesus said to the Pharisees and Sadducees: “When it is evening you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red; and in the morning it will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening. Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.” Matt. 16: 2, 3, N.K.J.V. “It is written” reveals that the same undiscerning ignorance of the antitypical modern Pharisees and Sadducees is being revealed today.
Scrambling, cramming, creating on the fly and panicking are never good signs—whether at home, at school, in the nation and in the world. The Bible has one prophetic symbol to describe this situation, “Babylon” from babel, meaning confusion. This is part of the shaking and sifting of the church.
It is Testing time—not the Covid-19 test but God’s Test. Trees in the Bible Symbolize man
“When the testing time shall come, those who have made God’s word their rule of life shall be revealed. In summer there is no noticeable difference between evergreens and other trees; but when the blasts of winter come, the evergreens remain unchanged, while other trees are stripped of their foliage [remember Adam and Eve’s man-made fig-leaf coverings]. So the false-hearted professor
may not now be distinguished from the real Christian, but the time is just upon us [don’t’ you think we’ve entered that period of time already?] when the difference will be apparent. Let opposition arise, let bigotry and intolerance again bear sway, let persecution be kindled [these are the bigger crisis coming], and the half-hearted and hypocritical [antitypical Pharisees and Sadducees] will waver and yield their faith; but the true Christian will stand as a rock, his faith stronger, his hope, brighter, than in the days of prosperity. Says the psalmist, ‘Thy righteousness are my meditation.’ ‘Through Thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.’ Ps. 199: 99, 104. ‘Happy is the man that findeth wisdom.’ He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river [of life], and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful [anxious, fearful, worried] in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit [of righteousness and the 9 fruits of the Spirit].’ Prov. 3: 13; Jer. 17: 8.” – E.G. White, Great Controversy, 1911 ed., p. 602.
The devastating power of the element of surprise is in full display. There are vital lessons to be learned, as eyes need to open that have been closed, asleep while awake, as in “the lights are on but nobody’s home.” It’s a “reveal” as they say. Preparation is the thing. The degree of lack of preparedness is what is more frightening for most. But not for some.
The corona virus or COVID-19 current national and global pandemic—a potent mix of panic, paranoia, ignorance, inordinate fear, unanticipated and therefore unplanned and unpreprared for, resulting in lack of trust and confidence in the leaders and institutions that are supposed to be citadels and bulwarks of authority, power, stability and think-tanks– is not a Dracula-like monster result of an experiment gone wrong in the laboratory of a scatter-brained scientist. It is by design.
But not by what or whom most experts, from the religious to the scientific to the well-meaning media and all the other pundits within the spectrum are and will be saying (only after it broke out), and what they will continue their punditry on. Not by what the false prophets will be spinning their conspiracy theories on. But by the Satan, the devil—who never gets the blame! Let’s consider again a part from the Vol. 4 Spirit of Prophecy, 1884 edition (original Great Controversy), The Coming Conflict chapter XXXI, pp. 407-8, that I quoted in our earlier issues:
“Satan works through the elements also, to gather his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. [Example of Job cited]. It is God that shields His creatures, and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world has shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord does just what He has declared that He would do; He withdraws His blessings from the earth, and removes His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law, and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all who God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some [the “prosperity gospel” stuff] in order to further his designs, and he will bring trouble upon others, and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them.
“While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even NOW he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes and in a thousand forms, is Satan exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow [cf. Luke 21: 26]. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. “
“These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon the inhabitants of the world. The beasts of the field will groan, and the earth will languish [cf. Rom.8:22].
What is Satan’s real agenda and ultimate goal? – “Then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon the faithful few whom the Lord has sent to them with the message of warning and reproof. It will be declared that the nation [America] is offending God by the violation of the Sunday-sabbath, that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced, and that those who present the claim of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the nation, preventing its restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity.
Pivotal accusation repeated. – “Thus the accusation urged of old against the servant of God will be repeated, and upon grounds equally well established. [Apostate king Ahab’s accusation against Elijah the prophet cited, 1 Kings 18: 7, 8]. As the wrath of the people shall be excited by false charges, they will pursue a similar course towards God’s ambassadors very similar to that which apostate Israel pursued toward Elijah.” (end of quote).[Antitype: apostate Christianity against the faithful remnant represented by Elijah in the Old and John the Baptist in the New].
How quickly we forget and that’s one reason why we are so vulnerable. It seems so hard to learn from lessons of the past. And those who don’t learn from history condemn themselves to repeat it. Remember the “New World Order” panic created by wide-of-the-mark interpretations of prophecy by mainstream Christian writers and preachers in the early 1990s? How about the Y2K crisis panic in the year 2000; even intelligent and well-educated men as well as Bible expositors spanning the spectrum from ordained to zealous laymen, went to such lengths of frenzied and fanciful “preparations.” Some even died doing so. Deadly delusions!
“Do not panic” is a sound advice any time. If at all, it is a self-help—especially if you are the one panicking within and by saying these words out aloud to others it helps calm you down. That’s positive feedback. Well and good. But, all’s well that ends well. The fact that experts don’t really accurately know how and when—at this age of boasted advanced science and technology where they are already planning to create living quarters in space and on to the planets, and yet can’t even handle one viral pandemic on earth—this thing will end, means that even if the artificial panic-buying and all its ramifications somehow abates and the all-important “economy” rebounds in time for the next presidential election, how much farther will such “good” go, if nothing more than to serve that purpose? Not very far, for the next causes for panic are prophesied to increase in frequency and destructive magnitude. Because it is a “Thus saith the Lord” and “it is written,” all “shall come to pass.” So any more “peace-and-safety” sermons and assurances by the prosperity-gospel preachers and the “great swelling words” of bravado by politicians that “we will control and solve” all these calamities and catastrophes are nothing but that. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Crisis Reveals Character
The “thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character.” The parable-prophecy of the Ten Virgins has a triple application. (1) It was first fulfilled in “the midnight cry advent movement between the spring and autumn and was finished in the seventh month, 1844 (See 4 SOP 248-9; EW 42-3; cf. Matt. 25: 1-13; Luke 13: 27 (Jesus returns from this “wedding” that takes place in heaven during the pre-advent judgment) (2) it is now currently being fulfilled (3) its final and fullest application will be in the final loud cry of the fourth angel that will join the third angel’s message to give it closing power (as the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844) that will end with the close of mankind’s probation.
Note the following for the parable’s current application and on to its startling culmination following the chronology of the final events [itals supplied]:
“It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him, and the sleeping virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who had made preparation for the event. Both parties were taken unawares; but one was prepared for the emergency, and the other was found without preparation. SO NOW, a sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings the soul [the whole person] face to face with death, will show whether there is real faith in the promises of God. It will show whether the soul is sustained by grace. [But] the great final test comes at the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul’s need to be supplied [cf. Amos 8: 11, 12].
The ten virgins symbolize the Christian World. – “The ten virgins are watching in the evening of this earth’s history. All claim to be Christians. All have a call, a name, a lamp, and all profess to be doing God’s service. All apparently wait for Christ’s appearing. But five are unready. Five will be surprised, dismayed, and outside the banquet hall [to “marriage supper of the Lamb,” Rev. 19: 9, 17].
“At the final day, many will claim admission to Christ’s kingdom, saying, ‘We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence [participated in Communion and/or Lord’s Supper services], and Thou hast taught in our streets.’ ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have we cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works?’ But the answer is, ‘I tell you, I know you not whence you are; depart from Me.’ Luke 13: 26; Matt. 7: 22.
Here’s what took place prior. – “In this life they [the foolish virgins] have not entered into fellowship with Christ; therefore they know not the language of heaven, they are strangers to its joy. ‘What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him’? Even so the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God.’ 1 Cor. 2: 11.
“Saddest of words that ever fell on mortal ears are those words of doom, ‘I know you not.’ The fellowship of the Holy Spirit, which you have slighted, could alone make you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast. In that scene you will not participate. Its light would fall on blinded eyes, its melody upon deaf ears. Its love and joy could not awake the cord of gladness in the world-benumbed heart. You are shut out of Heaven by you own unfitness of its companionship.
“We cannot be ready to meet the Lord by waking when the cry is heard, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom!’ and then gather up our empty lamps to have them replenished. We cannot keep Christ [through the Holy Spirit] apart from our lives here, and yet be fitted [by the work of sanctification before one’s death, or at close of probation] for His companionship in Heaven.
“In the parable the wise virgins had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Their light burned with undimmed flame [of truth and righteousness] through the night of watching [as faithful “watchmen of the night”!]. It helped to swell the illumination for the Bridegroom’s honor. Shining out in the darkness, it helped to illuminate the way to the home of the bridegroom, to the marriage feast. . . . .
“The coming of Christ of the bridegroom was at midnight,the darkest hour. So the coming of Christ will take place in the darkest period of earth’s history. The days of Noah and Lot picture the condition of the world just before the coming of the Son of man. The Scriptures [It is Written] pointing forward to this time declare that Satan will work with all power and ‘with all deceivableness of unrighteousness’ (2 Thess. 2: 9, 10). His workings are plainly revealed by the rapidly increasing darkness, the multitudinous errors, heresies, and delusions of these last days. Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight, impenetrable as sackcloth of hair. To God’s people it will be a night of trial, a night of weeping, a night of persecution for the truth’s sake. But out of that night of darkness God’s light will shine.” (end quote from Christ’s Object Lessons)
(Continued next week Topic: “Dare to be a Daniel Now? How?”)