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COVID-19 Seems To Prove Cessationism

Cessationsim is the idea that more tangible, visible, gifts of The Holy Spirit are no longer given to believers.  That, after the completion of scripture, they are only reserved, by God, as He sees fit to use.  The outbreak of COVID-19 seems to discredit just about all those who claim to have these such gifts.  We will look at two predominate gifts, The Gift of Prophesy and the Gift of Healing, in the season of COVID-19.

The Gift of Prophesy

The Greek word translated “prophesying” or “prophecy” in both passages properly means:  to “speak forth” or declare the divine will, to interpret the purposes of God, or to make known in any way the truth of God.  Predictive prophesy has been used in scripture on several occasions, most notably, all the prophecies about the coming messiah.

But false prophesying and false prophets exist too.  Ezekiel 13:1-7 tells us they "prophesy out of their own imagination" and "who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!.. Even though the Lord has not sentp them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words."  Brutal.

So, how can we know if someone is a true prophet of God or has the gift of prophesy?  

Numbers 12:6 makes it clear that God will prove him true and anything the prophet claims will be in perfect alignment with the nature and character of God and His will.  A true prophet does not validate himself, but will be validated by God.  If a prophet claims that they "decided" to become one, or was "appointed by man" to be one, they are false (1 Corinthians 12:11; John 5:31-33).  God alone decides who will speak for him and how (1 Samuel 19).  To validate them and their message, God empowered them to do miracles (Acts 14:3), BUT the miracles are not to be solely relied on but the consistency and unity of the message with God's nature, character, and will. 

A false prophet will be known by their contradictions to Holy Scripture (Revelation 2:20-21).  Which is why they HATE being questioned or tested.  But, this also reveals them as false too because we are commanded, by God, to "test everything, hold on to the good.  Avoid every kind of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) and "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1).  They WILL produce spiritual fruit, good or bad.  THEY will produce a fruit that is rotten and stinks of hypocrisy and contradictions.  A fruit of disunity with God's Word and will.  And we CAN see it if we look (Matthew 7:19-20).

Thirdly, if the "prophesy" fails, the prophet is false.  That means if the claim falls short in ANY WAY, its a lie, and the person is a liar (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).  Signs and Wonders do NOT prove a prophet to be of God, even false prophets will be able to do them (Revelation 13:13-14; Matthew 7:22-23).  We also look at the examples in scripture.  They are specific.  Very specific locations, persons, events, in such detail, they are undeniably true.  Like, the birth place of the messiah, Micah 5:2.  The virgin birth, Isaiah 7:14.  Jesus' return from Egypt to Nazareth as a child, Hosea 11:1.  He will be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver! (Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:12).

A prophesy will cut so deep that it will effect the spirit of the hearers.  We see all through scripture that true prophets were murdered because of the spiritual power of their words, from God.  Jesus even points this out in Matthew 23:37.  Jesus, himself, was murdered because his words are like a sword; and are divisive and offensive (Matthew 10:34-37).  And we can go on and on about the amazing details of these prophesies, HUNDREDS of years before the events.

So, in keeping these four simple, biblical truths of discernment in mind, let's look at validated true prophets.

True Prophets and prophesies.

Moses spoke forth God's warnings about plagues (Exodus 9:14; 11:1; Leviticus 26:25).  Deuteronomy 28:59 is brutal: "Then the Lord will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting."  Another predictive prophesy from Moses.  Ezekiel 14:21, Jeremiah 14:12, 19:8, 24:10, 49:17; 2 Chronicles 7:13, all predictive prophesy about plagues.  And there's more.

All the prophesies about Jesus, fulfilled (see cited verses above).

Isaiah prophesied in 700 BC that the Kingdom of Babylon will be overthrown and never recover (Isaiah 13:19).  This happened in 539 BC, and Babylon never recovered.  But, he didn't stop there.  He also revealed it would be reduced not nothing more than a swampland (Isaiah 14:23).  When archaeologists excavated Babylon during the 1800s, they discovered that some parts of the city could not be dug up because they were under a water table that had risen over the years.

Ezekiel prophesied in 587 BC that the city of Tyre will be sacked AND that it will be completely destroyed, dissembled, and thrown into the sea (Ezekiel 26:12).  Alexander The Great, did exactly that.  He took the rubble from Tyre's mainland ruins and tossed it - stones, timber and soil - into the sea, to build the land bridge so he could attacked in 333-332 BC.

By far, one of the greatest prophesies of all time; Daniel 9:25.  This gives the literal time frame from a certain point all the way to the appearance of The Messiah.  Beginning year of the prophesy is 444 BC.  Now, we must keep in mind that the Jewish prophetic year was composed of twelve 30 day months; that means the Jewish prophetic year had 360 days, not 365 days.  Daniel states 69 weeks of seven years each, and each year has 360 days, the equation is as follows: 69 x 7 x 360 = 173,880 days.  So, 173,880 days, or 476 years, from 444 BC brings us to... 33 AD... when Jesus publicly begins his ministry... Now THAT is a divine validation!

So, there lies the issue.  IF the gift of prophesy is fully functional, the same way it was in the biblical era:

Did anyone prophesy the coming COVID-19 pandemic?

Here we have a Pastor, Marlon Bolton, of Praise Experience Church of North Lauderdale in Florida, claiming to have prophesied it "weeks before Chinese authorities even identified the novel coronavirus strain." then stated, "We prophesied about the stock market crashing. We even prophesied about the shortage of food in this season. Very accurate."  BUT, his "prophesy" accompanied a call for donations and the heretical "Seed donations" idea.  He then said God showed him that seven plagues are "destined for our land.  If you give seed offerings, I believe you'll be covered for these plagues," There are other really wild heretical things he does too [1, 2].

So, how do we know this guy is a false prophet?  He's greedy (2 Corinthians 2:17, Titus 1:7, 1 Timothy 3:3) and demands money in exchange for "spiritual blessings" (1 Corinthians 3:5-7, 1 Corinthians 4:6-7, Acts 8:18-23).  And, his nonspecific simple "claim" has been exposed as false.  The stock market didn't crash, in fact, it is still higher than it was 5 years ago.  There isn't a shortage of food really, I can go into Walmart, today, right now, and buy food.  I may be limited to how much I can purchase at one time, but food is there for me to buy.  Then comes the "seven plagues that are destined for our land."  Time will tell how true this is but given all the evidence, his disunity with God's nature and character and poor accuracy reveals he is false when tested.

Then, you have the biggest heretic and fraud of our time, Kenneth Copeland.  Prophesying that the end of COVID-19 was a last week.  On April 2nd he stated: "It is finished. It is over. And the United States of America is healed and well again." [3]. Welp, that failed.  It is still spreading and people are still dying and today is April 11th.  But, he even gets more blasphemous.  He states: "In the name of Jesus, standing in the office of the prophet of God, I execute judgment on you COVID-19. I execute judgment on you, satan, you destroyer, you killer. You get out. I break your power. You get off this nation. I demand judgment on you. I demand. I demand."  That's a bold statement.  Let's test that against scripture.  "Yet Michael the archangel, when he was disputing with the Devil in a debate about Moses' body, did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Jude 1:9.  Hu, so this authority is reserved for The Lord.  James 4:12 says "There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy." and Psalm 50:6 "The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah"  And I'm guessing that ONE judge, isn't Kenneth.  He has ZERO authority to "execute judgment" on anything.  This narcissistic, self-idolatry, God's Word contradictions are the fruit of a false prophet.  Also, notice, he hates God's will and God's just judgements on the world through his creation, such as COVID-19.  So, he's a false prophet and heretic.

Here's the deal, Time Magazine [5] and some psychic named Sylvia Browne [4] seemed to have just as effectively predicted COVID-19 as all those who claim to be receiving prophesies from God.  That brings shame on the name of the Lord.  That belittles the majesty of our Holy God.  Why are there no truly deep and detailed prophecies like the ones in the Bible, about COVID-19?  Simple answer:

The Gift of Prophesy and Office of Prophet are NOT functioning.

Because if they were, they failed miserably, invalidating themselves anyway.  When you test these prophesies and the prophets against God's Word, they fail.  There is a reason why their prophesies can not rise above the level of a atheist psychic...

Okay, so the Gift of Prophesy and Office of Prophet are not functioning, as revealed by God's ordained will through COVID-19.  What about the Gift of Healing?  Why not just heal everyone sick?

The Gift of Healing


The spiritual gift of healing is the supernatural manifestation of the Spirit of God that miraculously brings healing and deliverance from disease and/or infirmity (Matthew 4:24; 15:30; Acts 5:15-16; 28:8-9).  So what did true divine healing look like in the Bible?

Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law sick with a serious high fever (Luke 38:39).  Jesus heals Leprosy (Luke 5:12-14, 17:11-19).  Jesus heals people who are paralyzed (Luke 5:17-26, 7:1-10).  Jesus heals the blind (Matthew 9:27-31; Mark 8:22-26; John 9:1-12; Luke 11:14-23, 18:35-43).  Jesus instantly transforms physical deformities (Luke 6:6-11, 13:10-17, 22:50-51; John 5:1-15).  Jesus literally raised people from the dead (Luke 7:11-17; 8:40-42, 49-56; John 11:1-45).

Now all that was done by Jesus.  But what did the Apostles, or those with the gift of healing do?    1 Corinthians 12:28 gives a progression of church maturity.  First, of course, the apostles, then prophets that speak fourth God's word because The Bible wasn't completed yet.  Then, the disciples of the Apostles, the teachers.  Miracles to validate the Apostles and prophets before the completion of scripture. Then, the gifts of healing, helping, church organizing and leading in all sorts or languages and cultures.  And then what?  That's it.  Everything is all set up, the church is made, Apostles are validated by God, and Holy Scripture written and complete.

So, the Apostles, the selected few, went around and healed the sick (Luke 9:2-6; Mark 6:13; Acts 4:30, 5:16, 19:11-12, 28:7-9) But not just the "sick," these dudes were raising the DEAD and instantly curing obvious physical deformities and undeniable physical conditions! (Matthew 10:8; Acts 3:1-10, 8:7, 9:36-41, 14:8-10, 20:9-12). 

It is important to first note that Matthew 10:1, Jesus only gives this "authority" to heal, to only his closest disciples.  1 Corinthians 12:9,30 also shows that gifts of healing were not given to everyone.  But do you notice something:  only the Apostles are described as doing all these healings, even stated in Acts 5:12: "by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders..."  And again, in Acts 8:18: "saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given."  Then, in the writings of the Disciples of the Apostles, such as Clement of Rome, Papias, and the authentic writings of Ignatius; they are not performing miraculous healings.  So, we can, in fact, conclude that the gift of healing was given only to a select few.  And after they passed away, we stop seeing people being raised from the dead and instant physical deformities and conditions being instantly healed.

With the spread of COVID-19, Where did all the charismatic pastors with the gift of healing go?

Why would they need to quarantine themselves?  The Apostles didn't.  They went TO the sick, not concerned about themselves becoming sick.  Why don't they, the modern healers, GO TO those who are sick with COVID-19 and heal them?

 A prominent Northern California mega-church, Bethel Church, whose members believe their prayers heal the sick and raise the dead is advising the faithful to wash their hands, urging those who feel sick to stay home, canceling missionary trips and advising its faith healers to stay away from local hospitals [7].  And this quote from the church says it all: “Though we believe in a God who actively heals today, students are not being encouraged to visit healthcare settings at this time, and moreover, are taught that even under normal circumstances, they must receive permission from both the facility and the individual before engaging in prayer,”  Why are they not being encouraged to heal those in need?  The Apostles WENT TO WHERE the sick were if the sick weren't brought to them.  And WHY would they need "permission" to engage in prayer?  Who is their master, Bethel Church, or God?

Even Bill Johnson has subtle contradictions in his own statement: “Many visit Redding weekly, hoping that God will touch them. I am happy to report that many leave well and whole,” Johnson wrote. But many others leave in the same condition in which they came. I refuse to blame God for this, as though He has a purpose in their disease. While Jesus did not heal everyone alive in His time, He did heal everyone who came to Him. His is the only standard worth following.”  But, these people come to Jesus, through Bill Johnson, in faith, to be healed!  He flat out admits that his gift of healing, fails.  Is The Holy Spirit a failure?  No!  Therefore, their "gift" is not of the Holy Spirit, if it can fail.  Then, he says this: “Healing happens, but it’s foolish to take unnecessary risks with your health and the health of others,"  Hu, I guess the Apostles were foolish...

Considering the predominate church that claims to have the gift of healing, Bethel Church in Redding California; you would think they would be healing their community.  Interestingly, As of April 9, 2020, there are a total of 19,472 positive cases and 541 deaths in California [9].  So... why aren't these 19,472 infected being healed and why aren't the 541 dead being raised back to life?   In their very own county, there are 24 confirmed cases [10].  18 people in isolation and 47 in quarantine, in their own region.  Can they not send just one of their elders with the gift of healing to go heal those people?  Apparently not.

Either their [Bethel Church] Holy Spirit is weaker than in the times of the Apostles, or it's not the same thing.  God' doesn't change, Holy Scripture is our guide and test; therefore, it's not The Holy Spirit they claim to be "gifted" by.  In fact, their own gifts seem to be powerless against a REAL TRUE health issue such as COVID-19.

Then we hear the excuse, "Well, there were things even the Apostles couldn't do" referring to Matthew 17:16.  But, Jesus didn't say they couldn't.  Jesus first rebuked them for the lack of faith, and then flat out tells the Apostles it was due to their lack of faith (Matthew 17:17, 20).  This sort of admission to justify why their gifts of healing fail is admitting they, themselves, don't have enough faith in their own gifts; laughable.

The amazing amount of disunity and contradiction to God's Word; and it become more clear the more you compare their actions and claims to Holy Scripture.  God's use of COVID-19 is a clear judgement on all these prophets and healers and their devoted followers.  This seemingly "bad" virus is actually exposing the false prophets and false teachers.  God is using it to shine light and expose evil deeds.  And for those who continue in their faith in the false teachings and teachers, this is a judgment on them (Romans 1).
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