Joseph Prince’s Teaching that Natural Disasters such as COVID-19 are only Caused by Satan & not God is a Lie (Subtitle: Is COVID-19 Caused by God or Satan?): Part 1 of 3 Parts – By Rev George Ong (Dated 27 Dec 2021)
(This article was also sent to Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, General Secretary, NCCS office, and for the attention of the Executive Committee Members.)
(Do not forget to click to read or browse Appendix 1 for “An Exhaustive list of Scriptures Regarding Pestilences & Plagues.” See below.)
Covid-19 has indeed exposed the bankruptcy of Joseph Prince’s Prosperity Gospel or Health & Wealth Doctrine. Instead of experiencing increased wealth, believers (including unbelievers) around the world have, on the whole, suffered financially. Businesses were closed. Workers were retrenched. Incomes have dropped.
Many have also suffered in their health. So far, a massive figure of about 280 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and about 5.4 million have died from it.
Assuming that just 1 percent of those who have been affected by COVID-19 are believers, which is a very conservative estimate, this means 2.8 million believers have contracted COVID-19 and 54,000 of them have died from the same disease. That’s a humongous number.
So what happens to Joseph Prince’s Health & Wealth Gospel doctrine and his guarantee that no virus can come near believers? It’s all a SCAM!
I have personally known of Christian friends and acquaintances (local and overseas) who contracted COVID-19 and some have even died from it. Is Joseph Prince going to accuse these believers for having no faith and that’s why they were afflicted with the disease and even died from it?
Let’s just assume that all my friends and acquaintances really have no faith. So does Joseph Prince dare to accuse the 2.8 million believers who have contracted COVID-19 and the 54,000 who have died from the same disease, for having no faith or not having enough revelation to be healed? This is preposterous!
Instead of repeating like a parrot that COVID-19 is from the devil, and no virus can come near you in many of his weekly sermons, why doesn’t Joseph Prince just go to Europe and America, where the recent strain of Omicron, has been spreading aggressively, and start a healing ministry there – where the action is? After all, Prince has been to Europe and America many times before. But why not now? Afraid that he himself could contract COVID-19? But why should he be afraid, as after all, isn’t he the one who kept saying bravely that no virus can come near you?
Well, Joseph Prince may counter argue ‘what about us going then?’ But why should we? The obvious reason is that we don’t teach the reckless way Prince does. While we believe in healing and that God still heals today, we never teach that God will and must heal believers from all diseases and that no virus can come near them. It is Prince who teaches all these extreme doctrines. Because of that, he has the responsibility and obligation to put his money where his mouth is and put his doctrine into action.
Joseph Prince may give the excuse that God can heal people in America and Europe from his prayers that are offered in Singapore. Then why does he need to go to both of these nations to preach many times before in the first place? Shouldn’t he have stayed back in Singapore to preach through the digital media to the Americans and Europeans and save his money and time from travelling to these two nations?
So why is Joseph Prince staying put in a relatively safe place like Singapore, constantly mouthing the usual tired lines that God will always protect believers from all diseases and that no virus will ever come near them, while the millions who are in need of his help, are suffering from the disease?
If Joseph Prince sincerely believed that God will always heal believers from all diseases, now is the best time for him to launch out in faith to showcase his healing ministry and go to where COVID-19 abounds and start healing people there.
If Joseph Prince’s Health & Wealth doctrine is true, he should be reporting the plenty of cases (not just a few weekly) that have been healed of COVID-19 through his ministry and those who have bounced back from their financial troubles to become very wealthy as Abraham was, in his weekly Sunday worship services.
Prince used to brag about his Prosperity Gospel doctrine in his sermons in a loud and brazen way. Nowadays, to avoid embarrassment, Prince hardly preaches on it the usual loud way he does before except for a cursory and token mention. Prince even dares to lie that he had never mention that believers will be very wealthy, which he did.
Please refer a previous article, “Joseph Prince Was Caught Lying Publicly” – By Rev George Ong (Dated 1 Dec 2021) by clicking here.
Prince was prepared to lie that he didn’t say believers will be very wealthy as he is now aware that that would be politically incorrect or even suicidal to say, knowing that many believers have suffered a drop in their income.
Let me now move on to the topic proper.
In a weekly Sunday sermon aired on YouTube on 5 September 2021, Joseph Prince said the following; please click to view excerpts in the one-minute video,
“I think the COVID-19, one thing good that has come out of it. I know there’s a lot of bad in it. And it’s not from God, it’s from the devil.”
“We are right now seeing those signs coming to pass. Never before in modern times, the time of this day that we live in where we have the advent of computers and all that, have there been such a global pandemic of such magnitude as the one we are living in. For sure, this is definitely one of the pestilences that Jesus talked about. Jesus mentioned about pestilence coming before He comes again. Now some people quote, if that’s happening that means the Lord is sending all these things to usher in the coming of Jesus. No, no, no, no. He’s telling us that these are the signs. He didn’t say that He send them. These are the signs, when all these things happen, it’s only the beginning, which means the devil knows his time is short. And that’s mentioned in the Book of Revelation (Rev 12:12b). The devil knows his time is short. And he’s angry. He knows Jesus is coming back. And he’s causing all these wars and rumours of wars and pestilences and plagues and earthquakes and diverse earthquakes. This is not the work of God. It’s the work of the devil.”
The key issue to be addressed in this article is, are natural disasters caused by God or Satan? Specifically, is God or Satan responsible for Covid-19 that is sweeping across the world over the last 2 years, that has infected a massive 280 million people and brought about 5.4 million deaths?
Against the backdrop and the seemingly unstoppable threat of COVID-19, now with the latest omicron variant making its aggressive rounds in many parts of the world, does the scripture offer any answers?
This is a tough and unpopular issue that many leaders of the church would want to avoid but, nevertheless, for the sake of the sheep, it needs to be addressed. I must warn you that this article contains tough truths that you and I must grapple with.
Yes, indeed, the scriptures have already given us the answer but not in the way that we humanly desire. The real issue is, are we prepared to accept the tough truth that is revealed in God’s word? If the scriptures reveal that God is the one responsible for these natural disasters, including Covid-19, then we must submit to its authority, even though it is humanly difficult to accept.
This is because in both the Old and New Testament scriptures, every pestilence, plague, earthquake and famine are sent by God, most directly and some indirectly. They either came directly from the hand of God or they were indirectly caused or allowed by Him.
Not one verse, and I say again, not one verse that I know in the entire scriptures about pestilences, plagues, earthquakes or famines is ascribed directly to Satan. Not one!
Yet, Joseph Prince has the recklessness to declare to the whole world that Satan is the only cause of all the earthquakes and pestilences, such as COVID-19 that is afflicting the world today, and that God isn’t involved at all.
If you want the detailed proof of my assertion that every pestilence and plague are sent by God, most directly and some indirectly, you ought to refer to Appendix 1: “An Exhaustive list of Scriptures Regarding Pestilences & Plagues.” Please click here to read.
(Note that while pestilences and plagues are covered in this article in Part 1, the other natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, famines, adverse weather, etc, will be covered in Part 2 and 3. If your questions are not answered in Part 1, they probably will in Part 2 and 3.)
(You should also read Part 2 and 3 of this topic which would be featured in the coming days on the same website. But they may or may not be featured consecutively.)
So, who causes COVID-19?
Joseph Prince teaches that it is Satan who is responsible for it.
Joseph Prince said,
“I think the COVID-19, one thing good that has come out of it. I know there’s a lot of bad in it. And it’s not from God, it’s from the devil.”
“These are the signs, when all these things happen, it’s only the beginning, which means the devil knows his time is short. And that’s mentioned in the Book of Revelation (Rev 12:12b). The devil knows his time is short. And he’s angry. He knows Jesus is coming back. And he’s causing all these wars and rumours of wars and pestilences and plagues and earthquakes and diverse earthquakes. This is not the work of God. It’s the work of the devil.”
But if you have read or at least browsed through Appendix 1 (see above if you have missed it), you would have been utterly convinced Joseph Prince is telling a lie because that’s not what the scripture teaches. The scripture lays out the stark fact that God is the direct or indirect cause of every pestilence, and presumably, including COVID-19.
To back up his argument that Satan is the cause of “pestilences and plagues and earthquakes” Joseph Prince quoted Revelation 12:12b, that since the devil knows his time is short, he is currently causing all these natural disasters to the world.
Again, Joseph Prince has clearly gone out of context. You must have remembered the ‘countless’ times I have told you he is guilty of this same aberration. Joseph Prince never seems to learn.
First, the context of Revelation chapter 12, is really about the devil persecuting believers, and not about him causing natural disasters such as “pestilences and plagues and earthquakes.” What would actually happen in Revelation chapter 12 (please read it through yourself) is that the devil, knowing his time is short, would cause as much havoc to the people of God as possible, as by persecuting believers he is getting his revenge back at God Himself.
Second, if you know the Book of Revelation, all the plagues and earthquakes in Revelation are a result of God judgements. Satan is never recorded as the one who had directly caused a single one of them in Revelation.
This only indicates how poor Joseph Prince’s grasp of theology is; and the joke is, despite that, he can still be adored by the world as the super-grace teacher.
Why is Joseph Prince so confident that all the plagues and earthquakes are caused by Satan?
This is a result of his deliberate false teaching of John chapter 10. Joseph Prince has deceptively taught from John chapter 10, verse 10 that Satan has the power to cause all the calamities because he has the power to kill and destroy. Prince has foolishly based his entire doctrine about the destructive powers of Satan on one scripture:
“The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy” (Jn 10:10).
In ‘Destined To Reign’, Page 52, Joseph Prince wrote:
“The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came that you may have life, and have it more abundantly (Jn 10:10). Hallelujah!”
In ‘Destined To Reign’, Page 20, Joseph Prince wrote:
“The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He wants to see you broke and broken. He does not want to see you reigning in life.”
In ‘The Power of Right Believing’ Page 268, Joseph Prince wrote:
“Jesus said the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but He came so that you might have life and have it more abundantly (see John 10:10).”
But was that what Jesus said in John chapter 10, verse 10?
No, Jesus never said, “The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.”
Jesus also never said, “The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.”
But Jesus said, “The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy.”
Joseph Prince is clearly lying. He is putting words into the mouth of Jesus and he is rewriting scriptures by his own authority.
Joseph Prince argues that since Jesus said it is the devil
who comes to kill, steal and destroy (which Jesus didn’t), COVID-19, which destroys the lives of many people must have been the work of the devil.
But Jesus never said in John chapter 10, verse 10 that it was the devil or the enemy who steals, kills and destroys. In fact, both the words, ‘devil’ and ‘enemy’, are not even found in the said passage of John chapter 10, verses 1-10:
John 10:1-10 NIV
1 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. 7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
If one reads John 10:1-10 in context, especially John 10:1,6,8,10, it becomes clear that the thief in V1 & 10 and thieves in V8, are most likely referring to the Pharisees who are the false shepherds or religious teachers.
Jesus wasn’t talking about the devil at all. These thieves are the Pharisees, the false teachers, who preached the false doctrines of their own traditions instead of the word of God.
In fact, the context goes as far back to John chapter 9, when Jesus had a debate with the Pharisees over a blind man who was healed by Jesus. At the start of John chapter 10, Jesus was still talking to this same group of Pharisees. Jesus continued the debate from John chapter 9 into John Chapter 10 by strongly implying that the Pharisees are thieves and robbers.
The Pharisees rejected the works of Jesus in the healing of the blind man and the message of Jesus in John chapter 9. The Pharisees’ rejection of what Jesus came to do is tantamount to stealing, killing and destroying the destiny of anyone who followed them instead of Jesus in John chapter 10.
If you read the passage in context, Jesus was not talking about the devil, but about false teachers like the Pharisees, who come to, steal, kill and destroy in the sense that they rob people of eternal life by propagating their own traditions which contradicts God’s word, and deceiving them into believing it.
Note that Jesus does not speak of just a single thief or robber in John 10:1 (singular), which many have wrongly say it refers to Satan, but also of many thieves (plural) and robbers (plural) in John 10:8. We can’t have many devils, can we? The devil is only one singular person.
So who are these thieves? They are the Pharisees, the false teachers who preached their own traditions instead of the word of God; and they rejected and broke the commandments of God (Matt 15:1-6; Mk 7:8-9).
They tried to steal the sheep of the Lord Jesus through their false teaching. They proclaimed another way of salvation apart from Jesus and were “robbing” the people of the truth. They were robbing the people of the abundant life that Christ came to offer. They were stealing and killing their eternal destiny that Christ came to give.
Just as a thief tries to climb over the wall of the sheepcote, bypassing the gate, false teachers attempt to bypass Jesus. The Pharisees, who place human requirements on people for salvation because of their tradition, are false teachers who “steal” peoples’ ability to see the true way of salvation.
The result of such thievery of true doctrine to salvation is death and destruction to those who are deceived by them, as Jesus said, the thief’s purpose is to “kill and destroy.” Jesus is helping the sheep to see the Pharisees, who are the false shepherds and false religious teachers as thieves (Jn 10:1,8).
John 10:10 is indeed a contrast between Jesus who has come to give life and the Pharisees who bring death – through their stealing and killing:
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
The thief (the Pharisees) comes to kill and destroy, not literally or physically, but spiritually. False teachers, like thieves, killed people, spiritually because they stole from them the truth of salvation and eternal life, which would ultimately result in the people’s destruction – in hell.
Joseph Prince himself is indeed a modern Pharisee and a contemporary false teacher, who has come to steal, kill and destroy through his false teachings. By influencing people to his false broad road gospel as opposed to Jesus’ true narrow road gospel, he has stolen from many of their right understanding of true doctrine and the true gospel. What is worse is that Joseph Prince comes to kill and destroy – that with the acceptance of his false grace teachings, they will be led to the eternal lake of fire.
Just imagine – if Joseph Prince can even get his exegesis of John 10:10 wrong (that the thief refers to the devil), how can he be regarded by the millions to be an excellent teacher of God’s word?
I am repeating my accusation that I had made in many other articles – that Joseph Prince is a serial hypocrite. He has been repeating like a parrot so many times that we must interpret a text in its context, but, time and again, he is the culprit, who commits the same error that he cautions others from doing. He has over and over again, interpreted a text out of its context – this time by attributing the thief to the devil when Satan is not even mentioned in the context of John 10:1-10.
We need to ask ourselves – who is the one who can kill and destroy? God is the one, not Satan:
Genesis 2:16-17 NIV
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Genesis 6:13 NCV
12 When God saw that everyone on the earth did only evil, 13 he said to Noah, “Because people have made the earth full of violence, I will destroy all of them from the earth.
Deuteronomy 32:39 ESV
39 “‘See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.”
Deuteronomy 32:39 NCV
39 “Now you will see that I am the one God! There is no god but me. I send life and death; I can hurt, and I can heal. No one can escape from me.”
1 Samuel 2:6-7 ESV
6 “The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.”
1 Samuel 2:6-7 NCV
6 “The Lord sends death, and he brings to life. He sends people to the grave, and he raises them to life again. 7 The Lord makes some people poor, and others he makes rich. He makes some people humble, and others he makes great.”
Ezekiel 18:4 NIV
4 For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child – both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.
“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy…”
1 Corinthians 3:17
“If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person…”
1 Corinthians 11:29-30
“For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep”
Luke 12:5 NASB
“But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him”
Matthew 10:28 NIV
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”
In all the above passages, God is portrayed as the one who has come not only to save but He is also able to kill and destroy.
The Lord Jesus Himself is also portrayed as one who can kill and destroy:
Revelation 1:18 NIV
18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
Revelation 2:22-23 NIV
“So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds”
Many of these children, whom Jesus warned He will strike them dead, belong to the Church of Thyatira, who have been deceived and crossed over to the camp of the false Prophetess Jezebel. Notice that Jesus takes upon Himself the task of killing if He needs to – “striking her children dead”.
Mind you – all the above passages that I have quoted are not just in the Old Testament, but also in the New, lest Joseph Prince comes to deceive you again by telling you that the Old Testament God kills, but the New Testament God doesn’t.
I don’t remember anywhere in the scriptures where Satan directly kills and destroys people on his own power. The closest we get is that God might destroy a person by allowing the devil to destroy him, but the point is that the destruction occurs because of God’s judgement:
1 Corinthians 5:5 NIV
“Hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.”
Even in the case of Job’s ten children who were killed by Satan, one needs to note that Satan couldn’t have done it without the permission of God (Job 1:12). Satan does not have the sovereign power to kill and destroy, even though that’s what he yearns to do. God is the one who kills and destroys. He did that to both King Herod, who was an unbeliever, and Ananias and Sapphira, who were believers – both of these are not in the Old Testament but the New.
Joseph Prince who teaches that Satan is the source of death and destruction by causing the COVID-19 and natural disasters is starkly ignorant of the Bible.
Well one passage that Joseph Prince may pull out to deceive you is Hebrews 2:14-15:
Hebrews 2:14-15 NIV
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
After one has read the passage, one could be deceived by Joseph Prince that the devil has the power of death over us.
But one, too, must note that when God warned Adam and Eve that if they disobey Him and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they will certainly die. They did. The point is, God not Satan, was the one to declare death to Adam and Eve. God, not the devil, holds the right to determine whether one lives or dies.
Let me quote ‘A Commentary on the Epistle to The Hebrews by Philip Edgeumbe Hughes, Page 214’, which will help us to see Hebrews 2:14-15 in the right perspective:
“In considering these questions it should be recognized that the power of death is held by the devil only in a secondary and not in an ultimate sense. Death is indeed the dark reality of his tyranny. But God is still supreme in his sovereignty: unfailingly, it is for him and by him that all things exist as we have already been reminded (v.10). Death is not a sphere that has broken loose from God’s command. On the contrary, Scripture, as Aquinas observes, clearly teaches that death, like all else, is under God’s control (cf Gen 2:17; Dt 32:29; 1 Ki 2:6; Mt 10:28; Lk 12:5; 1 Cor 15:25f; Rev 1:18); and the clinching proof of this is the conquest of death and Satan by the incarnate Son. Besides the devil is a creature – and, significantly within the present context, an angelic creature – finite and futile in his rebellion, and subject to judgment and destruction. There is no question or possibility of an insoluble dilemma involving a cosmic dualism of God and Satan, as though they were eternally opposed to each other as two equal and ultimate realities. The power of death wielded by the devil is not an absolute power; indeed, death is the sentence of God pronounced against man who sinfully has transferred his allegiance from his Creator to the creature (Gen 3:1ff; Ezek 18:4; Rom 3:23) and who is doing so has turned his back on God’s realm of life in favor of Satan’s realm of death. It is in this sense that the devil is said to hold the power of death. But the power which he presently wields is also the power by which he is destroyed (1 Jn 3:8; Rev 20:10). Death is the awful reality of divine judgment, not satanic victory. Creation and destruction – and salvation from destruction – belong properly and absolutely to God alone.”
So when the author of Hebrews in Hebrews 2:14 says Satan has the “power of death” it does not mean Satan has the power to determine who dies and who lives. The power that Satan wields over death probably refers to the power he possesses to cause us to fear death. But with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that has obtained eternal life for those who believe in Him, the devil has lost the power to enslave believers with the fear of death and even with death itself.
In the same way, Satan has no power to cause the COVID-19 and natural disasters to kill and destroy. Father God and the Lord Jesus possess the sole power to do it. God, not Satan, has the power over life and death.
So we must remember that all the pestilences and plagues (including COVID-19) in the scriptures were caused by God, either directly, or indirectly, to kill and destroy.
If you are still not convinced, with the evidence in the New Testament that I have produced, please see below for the Old Testament passages that prove my case that God is the sole person who has the authority to kill and destroy.
It would be an eye-opener and a sobering experience for you to go through these passages. We must get to know the real God and repent from our sentimental and soft view of God that Joseph Prince has poisoned the minds of many people to deceive them.
These passages (see below) are not to make us depressed but to soberly remind us that God is not only a God of mercy and grace to be loved (the half-truth that Joseph Prince constantly preaches), but He is also a God of wrath, who judges sin by killing and destroying people, and He is to be feared (the other half-truth that Joseph Prince either hides from us or preaches against).
Here is the list of passages:
Gen 7:23 (About 2-10 billion killed in Noah’s flood – scholars have calculated that in the pre-flood world during Noah’s time, the world’s population could be between from as low as 2 billion to as high as 10 billion. Note that these are only educated guesses and rough estimates); Gen 19:24; Gen 19:26; Gen 38:7; Gen 38:10; Ex 12:29-30; Ex 14:26; Ex 17:13; Ex 32:27-28 (3,000 killed); Lev 10:1-3; Lev 24:10-23; Num 11:1; Num 14:36-38; Num 15:32-35; Num 16:35 (250 killed); Num 16:46-50 (14,700 killed); Num 21:6; Num 25:1-11 (24,000 killed); Num 31:1-35; Deut 2:14-16; Deut 2:21-22; Deut 2:32-34; Deut 3:6; Jos 6:21; Jos 7:10-26; Jos 8:1-25 (12,000 killed); Jos 10:10-11; Jos 10:26; Jos 10:28-42; Jos 11:8-12; Jos 11:20-21; Jud 1:4 (10,000 killed); Jud 1:8; Jud 1:23-25; Jud 3:28-29 (10,000 killed); Jud 3:31 (600 killed); Jud 4:15-16; Jud 7:22; Jud 9:23-27; Jud 12:4-7 (42,000 killed); Jud 14:19; Jud 15:14-15 (1,000 killed); Jud 16:27-30 (3,000 killed); Jud 20:35-37; Jud 21:10-14; 1 Sam 6:19; 1 Sam 7:10-11; 1 Sam 14:12-14; 1 Sam 14:20; 1 Sam 15:2-3; 1 Sam 23:2-5; 1 Sam 25:38; 2 Sam 5:19-25; 2 Sam 6:6-7; 2 Sam 8:13-14 (18,000 killed); 2 Sam 21:1-9; 1 Chron 21:14 (70,000 killed); 1 Kgs 15:29; 1 Kgs 16:11-12; 1 Kgs 16:18-19; 1 Kgs 18:22-40; 1 Kgs 20:28-29 (100,000 killed); 1 Kgs 20:35-36; 1 Kgs 20:42; 2 Kgs 1:10-12; 2 Kgs 1:16-17; 2 Kgs 2:23-24; 2 Kgs 3:18-25; 2 Kgs 9:33-37; 2 Kgs 10:6-11; 2 Kgs 10:17; 2 Kgs 7:25-26; 2 Kgs 19:35 (185,000 killed); 2 Chron 13:17-18 (500,000 killed); 2 Chron 13:20; 2 Chron 20:22-25; 2 Chron 21:14-19; 2 Chron 22:7-8; 2 Chron 24:20-25; 2 Chron 28:6 (120,000 killed); 2 Chron 36:16-17; Jer 28:15-16).
Don’t you believe the lie of Joseph Prince who would always pin down the cause of every plague (such as COVID-19), earthquake and hurricane on the devil.
Is the devil all that powerful?
By pinning the cause of every natural disaster and the recent COVID-19 that has infected about 280 million and killed about 5.4 million people on the devil, Joseph Prince is making the devil so powerful and God so powerless.
This is because God is so helpless that He can’t even stop the devil from infecting and mercilessly killing the millions with COVID-19.
Don’t ever give the devil more power than he actually possesses. Yes, Satan is much more powerful than us, but against the awesome power of God, the devil is just a flimsy and tiny ant.
Satan does not have the sovereign power to kill and destroy, unless God gives him the permission to. God, not Satan, has the sovereign power over life and death.
If Satan has no power to take even a single life, how could he suddenly have the power to kill about 5.4 million people in the COVID-19?
Over the past 2 years, the world has been afflicted with the COVID-19 virus. There is bewilderment and panic all round. What are we to make out of these tumultuous events?
Let me offer my take on the situation. I believe God is the one who has allowed it. He is trying to get the attention of the world. The world, which includes believers and unbelievers, think they can live their lives apart from Him. God’s message to the world is – don’t ever forget I am the Sovereign God.
But why does God allow COVID-19 to happen?
Well, the reason is God is pouring His wrath on a sinful and rebellious world. Romans 1:18 has revealed that God’s wrath is being displayed on the ungodly world all the time:
Romans 1:18 NIV
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
Paul didn’t say God’s wrath is going to be revealed or may be revealed. He says God’s wrath is being revealed against a godless and sinful world. So, should we be surprised at the righteous judgement of God on an ungodly world through natural disasters?
Such pestilences and plagues are an expression of God’s wrath and judgement on the people who have rejected His Son:
John 3:36 NIV
36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
We ought not to be surprised as the ungodly world is already under God’s wrath when they choose to reject His Son whom He has given to be sacrificed for the sins of the world (Rom 1:18 NASB; Jn 3:36 NASB).
God’s wrath through the pestilence of COVID-19 could also be triggered by the open defiance of many ungodly nations against His holy marriage laws over the last several years:
Romans 1:24-27 NIV
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
The church, for her complacency and lukewarmness, is not spared either, as judgement begins in the house of God (1 Pet 4:17).
Jesus Himself had prophesied that in the last days, there will not be less, but more of such pestilences, famines and earthquakes:
Luke 21:11 NIV
11 “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”
Matthew 24:7-8 NIV
7 “… there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.”
What Jesus is driving at is that these pestilences are but a picture of the coming wrath of God. God’s wrath on a world that has forsaken Him, will climax in the Book of Revelation at the close of history.
If God is the one who is responsible for pestilences such as COVID-19, how should we then pray?
We should not pray so much against Satan on this particular COVID-19 issue, as that would be tantamount to praying against God. But we should cry out for God’s mercy to avert more waves of His judgement. We should intercede for His healing on those who have been infected by COVID-19. We should pray that God would spare the lives of those who have been afflicted with the same disease.
But there is one more thing that we must not fail to do. We must repent:
Luke 13:1-5 NIV
1 “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Why is repentance so important?
This is because it is none other than the Lord Jesus, who taught it. Jesus warned that in the face of calamities and tragedies in Luke chapter 13, verses 1-5, our proper response is to repent. Every calamity such as COVID-19 is the Lord Jesus’ call and warning for people to repent. If we don’t repent, we will perish.
The crucial need of repentance hinges on the fact that not just unbelievers but believers too can meet their early deaths in COVID-19.
If believers, who are living in total disobedience to God with unrestrained sinning and unholy living, don’t repent, they too, like the unbelievers, will perish. But believers who are prepared to meet God never need to fear.
When God’s judgement fell upon the ungodly, through pestilences such as COVID-19, the adverse effects on believers cannot be avoided. And we have to face the fact that believers would also suffer when God judges the world through calamities.
Although the righteous Lot escaped with his life when God’s judgement fell upon Sodom (and Gomorrah), he lost everything in the destruction of the fire.
Although God’s judgement fell on the ungodly nation of Judah when He chased them out of the Promised Land, all the godly people, such as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego suffered the same fate too.
God out of His sovereignty have protected many believers from COVID-19. But one must also remember that the sovereign God, for His own divine purposes, have also chosen not to protect other believers as well.
God chose to protect the Apostle John from being killed. Yet, He didn’t protect the eleven other Apostles from being slaughtered and allowed them to be martyred for His glory.
In the same way, we ought to praise God for healing many believers from COVID-19 (the half-truth that Joseph Prince passionately preaches). But at the same time, we should also praise God for taking others home to be with Him in glory (the other half-truth that Joseph Prince fiercely preaches against).
And even if believers were to die from COVID-19, be comforted that they will never face the everlasting wrath of God that the unsaved would suffer.
The consoling fact is that believers who die of COVID-19, would be ushered into the eternal presence of God earlier than most people. The ‘worst’ (or the best, actually) that can happen to them is that it only rushes them to heaven early.
So is that so terrible? They get to see the Lord Jesus and Father God earlier than many believers do. Frankly, is this all that bad for believers?
From a heavenly and eternal perspective, it is the most glorious thing that could have happened. Believers, who have placed their faith and hope in Christ, will never lose, either way – even in death. This is not a copout argument but a liberating truth that while our bodies may die, our soul will live forever in the bosom of God.
Romans 8:38 is indeed a glorious verse of assurance – that even death (death from COVID-19) cannot separate us from the love of God. Again, this is not a copout but a liberating truth – knowing that because of the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, all the dead in Christ would one day be resurrected to live in the eternal presence of God forever and ever.
“If God had destroyed the world once by flood and will do it again by fire, nothing could stop Him from using natural disasters to judge the nations.” (George Ong)
Rev George Ong