Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist. She has degrees in Psychology and Biblical studies
The curtain is torn
During biblical times, only the priest could go behind the curtain and do the rituals of atonement for the sins of the Israelites. Once Christ was crucified, the veil that separated the priest from the people was torn. Theologians have long said this indicated that the religious leader was no longer needed in that capacity because Christ atoned our sins once and for all. The people were free from the rituals of animal sacrifice and could go directly to the Lord for themselves. The Apostle Paul later outlined what we call today the fivefold ministry, but these gifts were never to take the place in between Christ and His church. He is clear that there is only one mediator between man and God, Jesu-the Christ-the Anointed One, and Him alone. (I Timothy 2:5) Once Constantine set the organized church in motion, around 323 AD, things began to gravitate towards looking to the gifts, specifically a pastor rather than going directly to Him through the Holy Spirit.
There are believers today who don't understand the purpose of the curtain being torn because of what they were being taught each week in church, but the Covid-19 pandemic should have opened eyes to the fact that the veil is rent. The majority of American churches have not had services in close to two months. Even so, no harm has come to the majority of His sheep. Someone might say that's because people are still tithing and following their pastors on Facebook live. The truth is not every Christian is doing that. I've talked to people who are praying, fasting, and reading His word in their secret closets and enjoying the new freedom they are experiencing. There are others, however, who have no clue the coronavirus is emphasizing that the curtain has been torn.
The caged bird
One of the saddest stories I’ve ever been told is about the bird who didn’t understand freedom. .The cage door was left open but the bird was so used to being locked up that he never took a chance to fly away. The same can be said of believers who remain in churches where they know the teaching is not right. When asked they give all kinds of excuses because they have been trained to live with clipped wings. This pandemic is showing us that we can make it without the weekly rituals many of us have become accustomed to but not everyone gets it. A lot of believers are stuck in their mindset, just like that bird continued to sit inside the cage. He was so used to being captive, that even when the door opened he refused to fly away to freedom.
As I have mentioned in other recent articles, there have been many pastors, and or Bishops who have died from coronavirus. This alone should open the eyes of His people that titles do not protect. In certain church circles, the titles and those who carry them are promoted more than salvation through Christ. His word says He will not share His glory and this is why I believe a lot of the leaders are falling. Some may have been exalting themselves, while others could have unwittingly allowed the people to exalt them to god-like status. The bottom line is that if the title and the one wearing it were all that with the Lord, then COVID-19 could not have touched them.
It is common for church members and other pastors to glorify the death of church leaders, saying they have done their job and are going for their reward. These same people however previously were saying that you must live at least until age 70. Once a pastor/Bishop dies, that is forgotten and there is a mass effort to prove to the people that the individual simply went with God. I personally don't believe tragedies are His way of showing that someone was walking closely with Him. Consider what the bible says.
Tragic death is not simply going with the Lord
In the Bible, whenever tragedy occurred it was because of God's wrath as it pertained to His chosen people. There were a few men, however, whose deaths were quite interesting and different from the common man. Enoch simply went away, no suffering and he did not die. (Genesis chapter 4) Elijah flew to heaven in a fiery chariot.(2 Kings 2) Aaron walked up the mountain with Moses and Eleazar and died once his priestly garments were placed on his son.(Numbers chapter 20) Moses went up the mountain and died and the Lord buried his body. None of these men suffered or had a disease. Because of these scriptures, I don't believe that Cancer, massive heart attacks, Covid-19, diabetes, and other debilitating illnesses or sudden traumatic death are the Lord calling anyone home. It is more likely that He simply allowed the situation to take place and did not intervene. This can be seen with the coronavirus.
Bebe Winans and his mother were diagnosed with this disease but they recovered, while other famous Christians did not. A 103-year-old woman said her faith ad the prayers of others led her to survive Covid-19, while younger people did not. He is sovereign and does what He chooses and it is as simple as that. Just because we love someone or believe they are important within church circles does not indicate where they truly are with Him. Sadly, the church has been taught in recent decades to put a good spin on everything and make it a win win, so this is what is done.It is my opinion that the Lord is speaking through this pandemic, especially regarding the increasing number of preachers who are dying from it. The cage door is open but you must go through. I believe He is calling us to see with His clear vision and not try to sugarcoat the message He is conveying during this troubling time. Open your spiritual eyes and see beyond the emotions you may have had for someone. We will never be on His page if we deal with every situation based on how we personally feel about those who pass away. He is speaking but the church as a whole is missing it because of human emotions.
The veil is no longer needed
The bible says that when Christ died there was an earthquake and the veil was rent fro top to bottom. This indicated that it was no longer needed. It is time for believers in Christ to mature and begin hearing Him for themselves. Whatever He speaks to you should then be confirmed by others. If He is showing you one thing, but your pastor is preaching the complete opposite, then someone is not hearing His voice. it is time to step beyond that veil and see with the eyes of His Holy Spirit. It is time to understand the day and hour we are living in. Don't be like the bird who sits in the cage with the door opened. Walk out that door and see that He is with you. Thank Him that the curtain is torn and you are not bound by priestly rituals.
Once this pandemic is over, we may find that we cannot go back to church as usual and if that is so you need to be prepared. he has set us free to worship Him in spirit and truth and not in a set location.(John chapter 4) Take your freedom and enjoy it. You can ask your heavenly Father anything you desire and if He chooses He will answer you. Always desire to be on His page and not simply go with answers that have been prepared by man. Step out into a new reality today by seeking Him with your whole heart outside of your usual manner of worship. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 03, 2020:
"This pandemic is showing us that we can make it without the weekly rituals many of us have become accustomed to but not everyone gets it." I appreciate you making it plain.