Another COVID Small Business Casualty: The American Christian Church
by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
All across the U.S. small businesses are failing because they closed down during the COVID-19 situation. In some sectors, such as the restaurant industry, it is estimated that more than 50% of these small businesses will never re-open.
Today I am going to write about one of the largest groups of small businesses that have also been hit hard by closing down during this “crisis” – the American Christian Church.
Warning About Reading this Article
This will not be one of the more popular articles I have written on the COVID-19 situation.
If you call yourself a “Christian,” you may find some things in this article offensive.
If you are not concerned about religion or spiritual issues at all, then this article is probably not for you either.
So you are forewarned. Proceed to read on if you like, but please understand that all of the articles posted here at Health Impact News are free of charge, and no one is requiring you to read them, or agree with them.
Therefore, if you feel the need to contact me and criticize or attack me, I will not respond, and those of you who have done so in the past already know that this is true.
My Previous Warnings over the Years
One of the subject areas of Health Impact News is the Created4Health section, and they feature the articles I have published over the years at Created4Health.org.
The most-read article on the Created4Health website is an article I wrote more than 20 years ago about my own personal testimony of God’s grace at work in my life, Peace with God. It documents how God miraculously saved me from an attempted suicide event at the age of 17, and then how my life was transformed about 2 years later during my spiritual “rebirth.”
On October 28, 2017, the 40th anniversary of the day I tried to commit suicide and was handed my life back to me by God, I wrote a follow-up to my testimony story titled:
Let me repeat some of the quotes from that article a few years ago:
When Jesus walked the earth over 2,000 years ago, he and his disciples were persecuted for preaching the truth, and exposing corruption and evil. Jesus gave up his life, willingly, as the perfect offering for ALL the sins of mankind, offering us a way to escape judgment and become part of God’s family.
But he made it clear just what kind of life a disciple of Jesus would entail:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)
The life of a disciple of Jesus Christ is a life of suffering, persecution, and shame. It is going against the crowd of popular culture, yes, even “religious” culture. It is a way that may ultimately lead to your death, because you expose the corruption and evil.
This way of following Christ is not currently the way of American Christianity. I would guess that most American Christians believe that persecution for one’s faith exists mostly in other countries, like what we saw (and still see) in China during the rise of the communist state.
To everyone in America reading this let me give you my advice after serving God as a disciple of Jesus for almost 40 years now. Change is coming. It is inevitable. If you are not suffering now, if your life is not falling apart now, just wait.
Look at everything you currently depend upon, everything you cherish, and be prepared to lose it. (Source.)
The Business of Church
American churches today are businesses, mostly non-profit small businesses. Hence, they are corporations setup just like other American businesses, requiring licenses and subject to the laws of the U.S. and their respective states.
It might surprise some people to learn that there really are no examples of churches in the Bible, even though pretty much all Christian churches claim to base their teachings on the Bible.
The Bible, of course, was not written in English. It is a collection of ancient writings thousands of years old. The Old Testament portion of the Bible was originally written mostly in Hebrew, and the New Testament version was written in Koine Greek, the common language of the people as opposed to Classical Greek which was used by the educated.
The English word “church” which in most English translations of the Bible is very common, actually is not a very good choice of words to translate the underlying Greek word, ekklesia.
A better translation would actually be “assembly,” or even “congregation.” If you read Acts chapter 19, for example, you will NOT see the word ekklesia translated “church” in verses 32, 39, and 41, where most English Bibles translate it “assembly.”
So how did the English word “church” become so popular in our English Bibles today?
We can thank King James I, who was both King of England in the 1600s, and also head of the “Church” of England. He was one of the first to translate the Bible into the English language, but he could not allow anything to distort the public’s view of the authoritative “Church of England” and his power over the masses.
William Tyndale is mostly known as the author of the first English translation of the Bible for the common people, and he incurred the king’s wrath by refusing to use the word “church” to translate ekklesia.
He hid from the king for years, but was eventually betrayed and burned at the stake for his “heresy.”
Such are the politics of the English translations of the Bible.
And while nobody is being executed today regarding their views of English translations of the Bible, to my knowledge, politics still remain. Most translations are copyrighted and the main market for these copyrighted editions are, you guessed it, church businesses and their leaders, “the clergy.”
This leads into the next problem with today’s American church businesses: The Church’s equivalent of a corporate CEO – The Pastor.
No Pastors in Scripture but One
The main way churches are being forced to close down during this crisis, for those that have not done so voluntarily, is usually by arresting the leader of the church, the pastor.
Again, it might surprise most people to learn that the title “pastor” is never used in the Bible to describe a leader among believers in Christ.
The Koine Greek word that is translated “pastor” in the Bible is poimen. The word occurs many places in the Bible, but the vast majority of the times it is NOT translated “pastor,” but “shepherd.”
So technically, every time you see the word “shepherd” in the Bible, you could also use the English word “pastor,” because they mean the same thing as they are translations of the same word.
Therefore, in places like the well-known Psalm 23, when you look at the Greek translation of that passage, you could say: “The Lord is my Pastor, I shall not want…..”
One of the key passages in the New Testament where this word is used several times, is in John chapter 10:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep.
So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:11-16 – emphasis added)
Again, you can replace the English word “shepherd” here with the English word “pastor” and it means the same thing:
“They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one pastor.”
Who is the “One Pastor”? Jesus Christ.
So why is “pastor” used sometimes instead of always using shepherd?
“Pastor” is mainly only used in one place, Ephesians 4:11:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
“Pastors” here could again be translated “shepherd,” and it is linked together with “teachers.”
There is nothing to suggest that the term “Pastor” was to be used as a title of an officer within the Body. That term was already being used for Jesus.
To hire a pastor to run a church business and lead the “church” like a corporation seems to contradict the teachings of Jesus himself, who condemned authority titles among his disciples.
The term “pastor” was not being used during his day, but a similar title of authority was, usually translated as “Rabbi,” so the principle is the same:
But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.
The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:8-12 – emphasis added)
If the members of these church businesses were to turn out in mass and defy State orders not to assemble, I seriously doubt that they could have gotten away with only arresting the pastor and keeping the church shut.
I cover the issue of “pastor” in much more depth here:
The Biblical Basis for Resistance
Almost the entire premise of the New Testament writings in the Bible are based on the premise of “resistance.”
Not armed physical resistance, as Jesus said when the soldiers came to arrest them and one of his disciples drew out his sword and lopped off someone’s ear:
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
But he did use the analogy of the “sword” figuratively in other places:
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
The way of Christ is a lonely, difficult path, and it requires going against the crowd, even when the crowd is part of your religion, or even part of your family.
Following Christ has to be so important to you, that you are willing to lose your life by resisting those who try to stop you.
Even in Jesus’ day, his own disciples sometimes got in the way and tried to prevent others from following Jesus.
Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.
Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
These two blind men had to resist those who were telling them to be quiet, and the result of their resistance and faith was that they were rewarded by Jesus and gained their sight.
The current Christian church business model is no more sustainable than other small businesses at this time, and its structure is not based on the Bible.
Throughout history the true believers in Christ were always a persecuted minority, and Christ himself said that “few” walk on the right path.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
So the next time you walk into a “Mega Church” or see one on TV with thousands of people in a very expensive complex, just remember that this is a business, and the number of actual disciples of Jesus in that place is probably very, very small.
And as we have seen recently, the government authorities can shut them down very easily.
The true body of Christ, however, is not a 501c3 non-profit church business. It is a living organism of believers not dependent on any business, and the CEO is Jesus who rules from Heaven and empowers his “employees” with supernatural power.
THIS organism is not so easily defeated, if they function together as a body.
Idolatry of 21st Century Medicine
Besides the inherent weaknesses of the American Church business model, they have other problems as well.
The Bible has much to teach about healing, and I have published dozens of articles on this topic over past 13 years or so. During this time I have exposed the short-comings of the modern medical system, a system that is either the third leading cause of death in the U.S., or the first cause of death, based on an analysis of their own data.
In short, to trust in the 21st Century medical system to take care of our health, is idolatrous for the believer in Christ.
The heart of idolatry is looking to sources outside of God for our basic needs and desires in life. The idol is an attempt to explain life apart from God, our Creator.
The typical things people have historically looked to idols to provide for them are: guidance, wealth, fertility, and health. God, the Creator of heaven and earth, presents himself to his people as the sole source of these things we need and desire.
Modern-day culture has changed dramatically since the theory of Darwinian evolution came on the scene and dominated academics in western culture, so that today the physical world is exalted above all other realities.
The spiritual world is either denied or ignored. Hence, creation of physical idols out of basic elements such as wood or metals is very uncommon, because current culture ignores the unseen world that could be represented by such physical manifestations.
What has replaced those idols, however, are beliefs in new ones.
The most common idol in western culture today, by far, is medicine – the new “magic.”
Modern day medicine has existed for a relatively short period of human history, and the creation of a body of licensed “physicians” can be traced back to the start of the vaccine movement in Europe in the 1800s, when health officials wanted more control over the population and what they perceived as threatening diseases like smallpox.
Today, medicine is seen as the solution to almost all of life’s problems. A pill or vaccine exists now for just about every ailment or problem in life, and for those problems that don’t have a medical solution yet, billions of dollars are spent on research to find one. The belief system currently in place is that physical science and medicine can solve all problems in life.
The people who control the medical system are trained and licensed and given great authority to control our lives. Currently they have the authority to take children away from their parents, to declare someone “insane” or mentally disturbed and have them committed to an institution, force people (especially children) to use their products via vaccinations, and make sweeping laws and regulations that affect the lives of everyone.
It is believed that life itself is dependent on medicine, and this belief system is used to justify the authority and power the medical system has in our culture.
To trust in this system as the source of our health is idolatrous. I am not saying to use it is idolatrous. There are probably some services or products that can be helpful in managing our health, if our trust is in God to heal us, and we have direct guidance from him to seek out a specific product or remedy.
But that should be far less than what it is today, where most people who call themselves believers put as much trust in doctors as they do in God, if not more.
It may surprise you to learn that there were words in Koine Greek that would be best translated “medicine” today, but are never translated as “medicine” in the New Testament portion of any English Bibles (that I am aware of).
The Greek word pharmakeia, from which we get such English words as “pharmacy” or “pharmaceutical,” is one such word. It should be translated “medicine” or “pharmaceutical.”
But instead, it is translated as something like “witchcraft,” or “sorcery” when used in the Bible. Some examples:
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 – pharmakeia is translated “witchcraft” here.)
The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Revelation 9:20-21 – pharmakeia is translated “magic arts” here.)
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8 – “those who practice magic arts” here is from one Greek word “pharmakos” – similar to pharmakeia which means “magician, sorcerer, or one who poisons with drugs”)
Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:15 – “those who practice magic arts” is one Greek word, “pharmakos,” as in the verse above.)
It is easy to see why the translators of the modern English Bible were hesitant to use the word “medicine” in these verses, as the word was obviously something very negative, and associated with idolatry, whereas our modern day culture considers the term positive.
I have written more extensively on the issue of medicine as idolatry here:
Who Are Doctors?
To fully understand and appreciate how “medicine” is referred to as idolatry in the Bible, we also need to understand how the word “doctor” or “physician” was used in the ancient biblical writings, because it is nothing like how we use the term today.
In general, the term is used negatively in the Bible.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.
She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, “Who touched me?’”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.“(Mark 5:24-34)
What the “doctors” could not do for 12 years while taking all of her money for their services and products, Jesus accomplished in a moment through the faith of the woman – free of charge.
When the old Testament King Asa was crippled in his feet and he went to the “physicians” instead of to the LORD, we may be tempted to think “What was so bad about that?” given modern day Christians’ acceptance and high regard of the current medical-pharmaceutical system.
But what was more than likely happening was that the King of Israel was running away from God and was seeking a pagan priest with his magic, spells, and potions instead of seeking the one true God of Israel through the Levitical priests:
In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians. (2 Chronicles 16:12)
This was considered idolatry, and something that God hated. Israel’s belief and service to the one true God was what separated them from all the other pagan nations around them at that time.
When we use the word “doctor” today in English, we automatically imagine someone in a white coat at a clinic or hospital who examines people and prescribes medicine or other medical procedures designed to deal with physical sicknesses.
We would not think of a “doctor” as someone who looks at spiritual issues in addition to physical issues, and tries to find remedies through invoking certain spirits, through incantations, spells, or magic.
We would not imagine someone working in a temple offering up sacrifices to “gods” as bearing the title “doctor.”
No, we would not imagine “doctors” like this today in the “modern” world. Since the days of “enlightenment” and since the time of Darwin and the new age of Darwinian-based biology, such practices have for the most part ceased to be a part of popular western culture.
When you see the English word “doctor” or “physician” in the biblical literature, however, this is just how the word was understood in those days. They were usually temple priests, seen as having experience with the spiritual world, in addition to experience with physical remedies.
They bore some resemblance to the doctors people pay to see today, in that they accepted money in exchange for “health” services or products.
But the types of services and products were vastly different in the ancient world. Dealing only with the physical realm and only physical health is a recent development in human history, particularly post Darwin and the theory of Darwinian biological evolution.
In the ancient world, if you went to see a doctor you would most likely be going to some temple where sacrifices were made to appease the spirits or gods that were causing the illness, and trying to get on the good side of the spirits or gods that supposedly had the power to heal you.
There were also physical remedies that were used in the physical realm. The Greeks, for example, were strong in empiricism and rationalism and used empirical examinations to find causes and effects to problems.
But they combined this with their belief system in their gods, especially Apollo who for a period of Greek history was considered the mediator of healing between men and Zeus, one of the highest Greek gods.
In the 5th Century B.C., Hippocrates, considered by many to the be the father of modern medicine, formed a kind of “physicians guild” to uphold a higher standard of ethics in the healing arts, and developed the “The Hippocratic Oath,” still widely referred to today thousands of years later.
Most medical schools still have some form of the original oath that they require their students to take, but probably all of them have left out the opening of the original:
“I swear by Apollo the physician, and Asclepius, and Hygieia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses as my witnesses, that, according to my ability and judgement, I will keep this Oath and this contract…”
When Paul and Barnabas conducted a healing in the name of Jesus in the Roman town of Lystra on one of their missionary excursions, for example, the people were so impressed with the healing that they concluded the Greek gods themselves, whom they associated with healing, had come down to visit them.
They called out the town doctor/priest to offer the appropriate sacrifices.
This was not some remote secluded tribal area, but a major metropolitan area in a very advanced western culture. They understood the spiritual realm, and they understood that healing was not only related to the physical realm.
In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking.
Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!”
At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”
Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.
The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. (Acts 14:8-13)
The One True Doctor and His Authority to Heal
The subject of “authority” and health is one that affects every living person on the planet today, especially now with the COVID-19 situation.
Here in the 21st Century, various government agencies regulate “health” and operate under laws and regulations as to just who has the authority to practice healing. This would include the World Health Organization (WHO) internationally, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.
“Health” of course is generally defined today as “practicing medicine,” and the authority given by government to “practice medicine” is tightly controlled through government licensing. Someone not licensed, or using unapproved products for healing, face arrest and imprisonment.
This has happened recently with some doctors in Michigan who were using non-pharmaceutical products to treat patients with COVID-like symptoms. One was arrested, and another one was forced to take down his blog where he was writing about his successful treatments.
A similar situation existed during the First Century. Jesus and his disciples did not follow the laws set forth by the government body of their day, and their system of healing was far superior.
As the following story recorded in the Bible’s book of Acts shows, healing people outside of the legal health authorities resulted in arrest:
They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.
So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.
“What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old. (Act 4:3-22)
Jesus’ Conflict with the Health Authorities
Jesus was the most revolutionary person to ever walk on earth. The claims he made in regard to himself were a direct threat to the Jewish authorities. The ruling class that had power over the people during his day was a group of highly educated religious leaders.
But Jesus was a common man, the son of a carpenter who had no formal religious training. Few seemed to know about his miraculous birth, or that his birthplace was Bethlehem, the city of David, and the place where the Messiah was to come from, according to Old Testament prophecies.
So when Jesus began his public ministry, he seemingly just appeared out of obscurity. He came from a town called Nazareth which was not considered a significant town. Jesus claimed that he was the Son of God and the fulfillment of prophecies regarding the Messiah, the Jewish King who was to come from the family of David and lead the Jewish people.
So how did this common man with no formal education and seemingly no royal heritage become so popular among the people that he very quickly became a threat to the ruling authorities?
It was primarily through his miracles, most of them miracles of healing. His miraculous life validated his teaching and claims as to who he was. Jesus taught with great authority, and he backed up what he taught by casting out demons and healing people, and in some cases even raising dead people back to life.
This was a huge threat to the ruling party for a variety of reasons. The most obvious threat, of course, was that people were claiming that he was the Messiah, the rightful heir to the throne of David. So the ruling party looked for ways to discredit Jesus both in his actions and in his words.
Some of the ruling party were Sadducees, and did not believe in the resurrection of the body. So when Jesus raised people back to life (particularly Lazarus who was quite well-known in the capital city of Jerusalem), it was a direct attack on their teaching and authority.
The most prevalent threat against their authority, however, was probably the authority to heal and declare people “well” or “cured.” This authority was only given to the priests under the law written by Moses.
The threat that Jesus presented to the ruling Jews was just too much for them. People were going to Jesus for healing and believing that he was the Messiah. They were quickly losing their power and control over the people. So they arrested him and had him executed, and they thought their problems were over.
As the passage I quoted above from Acts shows, however, their problems were just beginning. The disciples of Jesus were claiming that Jesus had been risen from the dead and was still alive, assuming his position in the Kingdom of God as the true Messiah.
His authority to heal was passed on to his followers.
Peter and John healed a lame man right in the temple courts, in plain sight of thousands of people, and they were promptly arrested. They were “unschooled, ordinary men” and certainly did not have the education or authority to perform such healings, especially in the temple!
While the synagogues were the community centers for teaching, worship, and healing, the temple in the capital city of Jerusalem was the Jewish center of worship and teaching for the entire world. Worshipers made pilgrimages to the temple from throughout the entire Roman empire, and beyond.
The High Priest and the Sanhedrin council were the top legal authorities in the nation, and presided in the temple.
So when Peter and John healed this crippled man who had previously been a permanent fixture in the temple courts where he begged for a living, they were immediately arrested and locked up in jail for the evening.
The next day they appeared before all the ruling leaders, the Sanhedrin, the “Supreme Court” of their day.
When asked “by what power or what name” they had performed the healing, they replied:
Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.”
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (see above: Act 4:3-22)
This presented quite a dilemma for the rulers, as these men were not following the prescribed healthcare plan currently in place:
“What are we going to do with these men?” they asked.
“Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” (see above: Act 4:3-22)
However, Peter and John were now acting under the authority of Jesus, the rightful Messiah who had given them authority to heal under his healthcare plan. Their response:
But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old. (see above: Act 4:3-22)
This new healthcare system under the authority of Jesus and administered by his disciples, most of whom were common uneducated people, was becoming very popular. So it is not surprising to read in the book of Acts that many of the priests, the ones who were responsible for administering the healthcare plan under the Law of Moses, became believers in Jesus and started administering the new healthcare plan:
So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)
The authority of Jesus is still in place today, as is his healthcare plan. Just as there was during the days and times of Jesus’ earthly life and immediately afterward, there is a competing healthcare system in place today that denies the authority of Jesus, and would feel threatened if enough people started being healed through Christ’s healthcare plan.
To oppose the authority of today’s medical system and their approved cures is to risk punishment, imprisonment, and possibly even death.
The current healthcare system is not a “healthcare” system at all, but a “medical” system designed to bring great profit to the pharmaceutical companies and others who profit from treating sick people.
If enough people started exercising the authority of Jesus to see cures without having to pay for medical care, it would threaten their business, and opposition would be just as fierce as it was during the days of Jesus and the early disciples.
But will that ever happen?
If a mandated vaccine for COVID-19 is rolled out at the end of this year, or early next year, will believers in Christ resist?
I predict that Christians will be among the first in line to get the new vaccine, led by their pastors. For the most part they have not taken a stance against medical tyranny up until now, so what would change to cause them to start doing so now?
FEAR, The Tool of the Enemy or FAITH, The Power of God?
Fear is what is currently driving almost every action that is being taken to remove our freedoms and destroy our economy. This is most certainly NOT being caused by some new virus.
But a true disciple of Jesus does not fear! We are already willing to give up our lives to follow Jesus, so what more can they do to us?
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalms 118:6)
The opposite of fear is faith.
So choose today: Will you live a life of fear, or a life of faith in Jesus, and his authority to heal which has been passed down to us who are a part of his body?
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
(1 John 4:18)
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