John Muto Ono P'Lajur

The author; in deep thoughts about the sins of mankind which annoys God.

Text: Hebrew 4:12; “The Word of God is alive and active; sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart”.  

“And now Daniel, close the book and put a seal on it until the end of the world. Meanwhile many people will waste their efforts trying to understand what is happening”-Daniel 12:4.

Sunday, April 26, 2020, Biblical refection on COVID-19 Pandemic effects on humanity.

GULU-UGANDA: Sunday April 26, 2020 should ordinarily be a happy day for me because this is the date on which, six years ago, I joined the family of Christian Faithfull into that “tiniest prison cell in the whole wide world”; as described by one of the ‘Most Honorable” members of Uganda elites.This is holy matrimony (wedlock). The prison cell described is the wedding ring which you wear on your second small finger on the left hand which ties one to a single partner for life. Most people these days don’t go for wedlock because they fear being clung to a single sexual partner but prefer multiple sexual partners.

Saturday is also my lucky day because this is the day on which I came into this world on November 07, 1952. Although ordinarily, God should be resting on a Sabbath, yet He took time to be the midwife to my mother and delivered me safely. On this particular Saturday, I never slept even for a minute until day break. I listened to Acholi traditional Aguma (thumb piano) music throughout the night while doing some mind-mapping and strategizing on what permanent legacy and footprint I would leave behind when He finally calls me to join my ancestors.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, houses of worships are closed in Uganda and possibly in the whole world except in neighboring Tanzania where the President there has resisted pressure from his neighbors and other world leaders to close worship centers for fear of the spread of the pandemic. His argument is simple and straight forward; that the pandemic is ‘the work of the devil’ which can only be defeated by ‘prayer warriors’.

Because of the pandemic also, religious leaders in Uganda have resorted to using radios and television channels to preach the Gospel of Christ. This time round, even secular atheists, agnostic and non-believers, who have radios and television sets receive the ‘Good News’ of our Salvation being disseminated through those channels, unless of course, they choose/decide to switch off these radios and televisions channels when being streamed.

According to the Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda, Rt. Rev. Johnson Gakumba, this new way of communicating the ‘Word of God‘ is even better than preaching to a very small congregation in churches because, this time, many more people listen to him than before when he would only preach to less than one thousand people. This time his message goes worldwide through social media streaming platforms of those stations.     

At exactly six-fifteen local time (03.15 GMT), the alarm of my phone rang to remind me that it was time for my medication. I quickly switched on the lights and took my medicine. When I opened my radio after taking my daily dose of medicine, I tuned in to the popular Christian radio station, 101.4 Favor FM. I am addicted to radio.

The moderator was just introducing two people who had come to preach ‘The Word of God’ to early birds/listeners like me. On this particular radio station, every preacher at any particular given time allocated to him/her always has to have an interpreter. All broadcasts here are also streamed on-line. You can log in from anywhere in the world and listen to ‘The Word of God’.

The preacher chose his text from the Book of Daniel, Chapter 12; from the first verse through twelve, leaving only the last verse (13). The whole chapter talks about ‘The Time of the End’. However, verse thirty, which the preacher has left un-read to his listeners reads; “And you, Daniel, be faithful to the end. Then you will die, but you will rise to receive your reward at the end of time”.

The preacher on 101.4 Favor FM chose to concentrate only on verses nine through twelve. This is where the phrase “The Awful Horror” was mentioned for the second time in the bible. (Read also Daniel 9:29, Daniel 11:31, Mathew 24:15 and Mark 13:14). The “Awful Horror” is referring to a pagan image set up in the Jerusalem Temple by foreign conquerors.

Have you ever pondered why since the Temple which was built by King Solomon who is believed to have reigned in Jerusalem between 970-931 BC, the destruction of the States of the Jews ‘Israel and Judah” between 722 BC and 586 BC and the advent of Jesus Christ around 6 BC; the Middle East has never seen peace but wars?

The beginning of the preaching the ‘Good News’ to the gentiles (non-Jews) by apostle Paul around 40 AD; the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948, The Middle East has never seen nor experienced peace. Jesus predicted the destruction of that Temple, which was the pride of the Israelites.

Read the gospel of Saint Mathew chapter 23 from verse 37 through chapter 24 verses 1-2. Here, Jesus did not only cry over Jerusalem, but also predicted its destruction. That prophecy has come to past.

The fighting in the Middle East is basically the conflict of the descendants of the two sons of our Patriarch, Abraham. Ishmael, whose was the first born of Abraham to his slave girl Hagar and the promised son, Isaac, whose mother is Sarah-who was reported to be barren and could no longer have a baby. The sticky issue now is the battle for Jerusalem; who among the descendants of the two sons of Abraham should control Jerusalem city with each claiming to have their holy historical sites located in that old city.

Chapter eighteen of the book of Genesis speaks of God promising another son to Abraham, this time with his official wife Sarah. Verses twelve and eight quotes Sarah laughing off the good news: “Now that I am old and worn out, can I still enjoy sex? And besides, my husband is old too. The messenger (angel) asked her why she said: ‘Can I really have a baby?’  

If biblical records are anything to go by, between the call of Abraham in around 1800 BC to the birth of Jesus Christ, his ministry, eventual death and resurrection and the coming of Holy Spirit and the beginning of preaching “The Word of God” to the gentiles by Apostle Paul in 40 AD took nearly two thousand years also.

From the beginning of preaching the Gospel to non Jews by Apostle Paul in 40 AD is also nearing two thousand years.  We are now in 2020 AD. We still have about twenty years to that timeline of two thousand years. Since that time, “The Word of God” has reached every corner of the world and to every language. There is not a single continent where the Gospel of the “Good News” has not penetrated. Many believers across the globe now flock to Nigeria to get healing from the evangelist “TB Joshua”. No village In the whole world can say “I did not hear”, except if you are born deaf and has not learnt sign language.

According to record provided by Wikipedia on-line platform, there are only 2.3 billion Christians in the whole world, representing a mere 29 percent of the world population. These are the descendants of the “Promised Son”-Isaac, whose mother was that ‘barren woman; “Sarah”.

Close on this list is the ‘Islam faith’ whose followers are also referred to as ‘Muslims’. Their number is 1.9 billion faithful, representing 24 percent of the world population. These are the descendants of Abraham’s first born, ‘Ishmael’, who married an Egyptian woman.  Genesis 21:18 quotes God to have told his (Ishmael’s) mother, Hagar, as saying; “I will make a great nation out of his descendants”.

Hinduism faithful are 1.1 billion believers representing 14 percent of the world population. This is also the same as the number of the secular-atheists, agnostic or non-believers. The percentage is also 14 percent.

Add these together the number comes to 81 percent of the world population who have some kind of belief in one way or another, including atheists. 19 percent are sitting on the fence. There is no biblical record to tell why these 19 percent of the world are that way, but with modern technology, I believe they too will receive ‘The Good News’ in 2020.   

At creation, God created man in His own image and put man in the Garden of Eden, ‘to cultivate and guard it’. In Genesis chapter two; verse nine says: “He made all kinds of beautiful trees there and produce good fruit. In the middle of the garden stood ‘the tree that gives life” and ‘the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad’. This is knowledge of “everything”

Then God says in verse sixteen: “You may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree, if you do, you will die the same day”. Just imagine! Man chose ‘to know everything’ instead of ‘everlasting life’. What a blunder that the first man chose to listen to ‘Satan the Devil’ instead of listening to the voice and instruction of his Creator, choosing death instead of life!

Genesis chapter three verses twenty-two through verse twenty-four we read of God sending Adam and his wife Eve out of the Garden of Eden with clear instructions: “He must not be allowed to take fruit from the tree that gives life, eat it, and live forever”.

Instead of being fed by God freely without working to get food, man is now forced to ‘cultivate the soil from which he had been formed’. Then at the east side of Eden, God put ‘living creatures’ and a ‘flaming sword’ which turns in all directions. “This was to keep anyone from coming near the tree that gives life”

The first verse of the book of Prophet Daniel speaks of a time when ‘the great angel Michael who guards the people of God will appear; then there “will be a time of troubles, the worst since nations first came into existence”. The verse says only those “whose names are written in God’s book will be saved”.

“Many of those who have already died will live again: some will enjoy eternal life, and some will suffer eternal disgrace. The wise leaders will shine with all the brightness of the sky. And those who have taught many people to do what is right will shine like the stars forever”. This is found in verses two and three.

Verse four seems to be speaking directly to ‘the world experts’ on knowing everything and trying to solve every ‘Pandora Box’ released by God to teach/punish mankind for the evils they commit on God’s creation including causing suffering to fellow human being because of greed or excessive lust for wealth, power and pleasure.

“And now Daniel, close the book and put a seal on it until the end of the world. Meanwhile many people will waste their efforts trying to understand what is happening”. Verse four says. Verse six asks; “How long will it be until these amazing events come to an end?”

Verses nine and ten says ‘these words are to be kept secret and hidden until the end comes’ where ‘many people will be purified but those who are wicked will not understand but will go on being wicked, only those who are wise will understand’.

When humanity is faced with pandemic like the current COVID-19, we seem to turn to scientists instead of turning to God for solutions. Scientists have become our gods; we worship them instead of God our creator because they have ‘expert knowledge of everything’.  Yet in the book of Genesis God sent man away from the Garden of Eden because He didn’t want man to partake of the fruits of eternal life any more but chose to know what is good and what is bad.

 In the book of Revelation, chapter thirteen Apostle John spoke of two beasts who amazed the world. The first beast had seven heads, each of which was written a name which is ‘insulting to God’. The book also speaks of the dragon giving the beast its own power, his throne, and his vast authority. This beast was ‘permitted to have authority for forty-two months’. It began to curse God, his name and the place where He lives and was allowed to fight God’s people’.

The second beast ‘forced the earth to worship the first beast, performed great miracles, forced all the people, small and great,  rich and poor, slave and free, to have a mark placed on their right hands or on their foreheads.

“No one could buy or sell without having this mark, that is, the beast’s name or number that stands for the name. This calls for wisdom. Whoever is intelligent can work out the meaning of the number of the beast, because the number stands for a human name. Its number is 666”, verses seventeen and eighteen.

When my father passed on, on April 8, 1981, I was not on his deathbed side and therefore missed to hear his will to me, being the only son he had. I was over one hundred and forty kilometers away in the now Gulu City on state duty. I arrived home after two days and my first interest was to find out from his archives what he could have written down in his notebook.

I found only three things of interest. First is, he had written down my date of birth in his diary. Secondly, I found the medal he was awarded as a Second World War-‘The Burma Star’. The third was this bible verse: Hebrew 4:12; which reads:

”The Word of God is alive and active; sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all through to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart”-(Good News Bible).

The key words in the above verse are ‘alive’, ‘active’, ‘sharp’, ‘cut’, ‘meet’, ‘come together’ and the word ‘judge’.

The Gospel of Apostle John presents Jesus Christ as that ‘Word of God’ (John 1:1-3) who came into the world to shine as ‘light’ who should chase away ‘darkness’ from the world.   

God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent; so they say. When you are committing the sin of sexual immorality, God is there; when you kill (read abortion), God is watching you and when you worship idols (read science), God is annoyed with you and sends you warnings informs of pandemics such as COVID-19.

”The Word of God is alive and active; sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all through to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart”   

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