Open letter to pastors and ministers of the Most High
And they shall know that I am the Lord, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them. Ezekiel 6:10
Beloved pastors and ministers of the One True God, fellow servants in the labor of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven. Peace and Grace to all.
We are living in a time of reflection, and of change; the common pandemic situation that the whole world is experiencing, and the almost generalized instructions of all the governments of the world to stay at home, as a security measure to counteract the proliferation of the virus, makes us understand that behind this situation there is a teaching for everyone, mainly for those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus.
I have found it convenient to write on the subject of the coronavirus, on this occasion, with a pastor’s vision, to understand what God is demanding of us at this time, and so that by our action, rather than by our prayers, the Lord will conclude this time of teaching and training, and we will move on to the next.
The pastoral task is not only to know how to prepare a good sermon, and then preach it to a congregation; the pastoral task is to know how to give answers to people about what is happening, and how God is intervening in the midst of the situation.
The pastor stands between God and the people; he/she is God’s representative before the people, and his/her word is decisive in helping the people learn to know God. Already in one of his epistles the apostle Paul had established that we are ambassadors of the Kingdom, so no one should see as an arrogance to say that a pastor represents God before the people.
And it is perhaps because of this definition that many pastors sweat when someone asks them about a current issue, we know that people are expecting a different answer than, —because it is the Will of God, or the also quite well known answer, —it is an attack from the enemy. So, the pastoral task to which we have been called by the Grace of our Almighty God, and by Jesus, the Prince of Peace, demands that we know how to respond about the coronavirus situation.
Did God warn about the coming of the coronavirus? And if He did, how and when did He do it? What did it come for? What do I explain to the congregation about this bad self as a pastor?
Surely more than one has faced similar questions to the above, and if he has not yet faced them, the time will come when if he does not have an answer, another without necessarily a ministry will want to pose some risky explanation to the situation.
Did God warn about the coming of the coronavirus? From the teaching left by the answer Jesus gave Peter, we understand that God is not obliged to warn us about the decisions He makes, however, in His Grace and Mercy, He chooses to give advance notice of what is to come. The prophet Amos declares that God will do nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets. So, yes, God warned properly and timely; but, if it is the case of a congregation that does not have duly certified prophetic ministries, even so, God warned about the coronavirus in due time.
How did He do it? He did it by the only means He Himself established to declare His Will: the Scriptures. The apostle Paul clearly states in his epistle to the Corinthians that the situations and events described in the Scriptures are for our admonition. So, the ten plagues on Egypt are not just a historical fact, they are God’s warning about the coronavirus, and the warning about any other plague or pandemic He decides to send; the apostle Peter declares that God’s judgments begin first with the house of God, and the prophet Ezekiel also clearly states that plagues, pestilences and pandemics, whatever name we want to use, are part of the “judgments” God uses to visit the inhabitants of the earth.
For thus saith the Lord God; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? Ezekiel 14:21
Therefore, yes, God warned, but unfortunately no one saw it, and worse, no one understood it as coming from God as soon as it arrived. It is not valid to try to argue that to know that the Bible warned us about the coronavirus we need to see the name “coronavirus” in the biblical text; the biblical principle states that if it occurred once, it will repeat itself cyclically with equal or greater intensity. If it occurred in Egypt, it will be repeated again in the history of the nations.
Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. Ecclesiastes 1:10
That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. Ecclesiastes 3:15
Why was it not understood as such? Is it a matter of biblical interpretation? No, it is not a matter of biblical interpretation, it is a matter of many pastors responding to a doctrine that has been established very strongly within the church, it is a human doctrine, in fact, that comes from a philosophical-religious approach.
The pastoral work has admitted as valid the approach that states that good comes from God and evil comes from Satan. As we have already explained, this approach comes from a philosophical-religious knowledge, and is the reason why many pastors see the coronavirus as a satanic attack, which must be rebuked. Hand in hand with this approach walks another of similar magnitude, that God wants our welfare and therefore surrounds us with blessings. In these days of quarantine and social isolation, many people of faith have fallen into depression, and others cannot concentrate on seeking God, because they were not prepared to face scarcity and confinement. Job’s response to his wife makes us understand that God is Sovereign, and He determines the most suitable ways to instruct us in Justice, even when His ways seem to us to be unjust and capricious.
But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. Job 2:10
If there is any teaching that the coronavirus leaves us, it is that it makes us understand the Sovereignty and Authority of God to operate in the midst of the times, and demands that we throw away the prejudiced argument that all evil comes to destroy us, an argument that has deformed sound doctrine into philosophical reflection.
Why has God sent the coronavirus? There are several conclusions to which God has led the pastorate in these days; we want to list them.
GOD IS GOD, AND NO ONE CAN TELL HIM WHY HE DOES THINGS THE WAY HE DOES.
Although we know it in theory, it is at times like these that we are tested on how convinced we are of what we believe. God is God, does He have the competence to act as He pleases? Or do we tell Him what to do?
God is God, and as it is well established in the book of Job, with him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding, and He does not need a counselor to explain about what happens in the human sphere, it is up to man to understand that in the work of God there is always a teaching involved. The teaching is clear in Job, when at the end of his trial he concluded: therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak:
God is God, and He glorifies Himself through man’s experiences, when man understands the teaching that the experiences leave him. We cannot get out of this situation of coronavirus as long as we emphasize Satan more than God in the midst of human activity; the teaching is clear in the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the faith community in Philippi: Now shall Christ also be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
God is God, and there is no God outside of Him. God gave, God took away, May the name of the Lord be blessed.
Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Isaiah 44:6
God is God over all the kingdoms of the earth. God has made us see that God is not only the God of those who congregate within a church, God is the God of all flesh, and that He decides on the course of every nation on earth.
that they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. Daniel 4:25
After the coronavirus some nations will become more powerful than before, and others will have been reduced to poverty. The same will happen to some people, the coronavirus will have opened doors for them to occupy another position, while others will have been closed. It is God’s intervention, no one can go against it, nor “decree” for things to change. God is not unfair for acting in this way, He is ordering all things for the final events before His coming.
GOD IS FORCING PASTORS TO CHANGE MINISTRY PARADIGMS
This time of quarantines and government prohibitions that have not allowed churches to worship in their physical facilities has taught us, first, that to worship God we do not need to meet in a physical facility intended for that purpose. This sounds strong, but the value of this teaching is that the pandemic situation has brought to light that many pastors have built up a feeling of relationship with God and spiritual growth among their parishioners based on frequent visits to the physical facilities, an absenteeism being interpreted as a spiritual decadence. This time of pandemic has made people understand that the relationship with God is a decision, and it does not depend on a place, but on the maturity that each one can develop in the knowledge of the Word.
Secondly, this pandemic situation has led many pastors to understand that to be a pastor you do not need to be behind a pulpit; the experience is urging pastors to understand that it is not a pastor who preaches from a pulpit, but rather one who can pastor from a digital platform. This teaching is vital for the survival of the ministry of many, because with this pandemic situation the precedent has already been set for governments to ban meetings in churches.
It will happen in the next few years that many governments will see the need to prohibit and/or restrict religious meetings, and this pandemic situation is warning about this; those pastors who do not understand this and who do not move to develop their pastorate from a distance will not be able to subsist; debts will grow beyond income, and many will be forced to close their churches. Pastors must move their pastorate and work as a ministry, this will help them to transcend ministry and develop strategies so that their economic sustenance does not disappear.
The economic resources of a pastor should not depend on what is collected in a worship service. Biblically, the sustenance of a pastor depends on the support provided by the men and women God has raised up for that purpose. We read in the Gospel of Luke that the ministry of Jesus was supported by several women who contributed from their substance.
The pandemic will leave a trail of shortages in many households, and in many countries; if adjustments are not made, many pastoralists will be forced to seek secular work to supplement their income. Now is the time to make the change.
GOD IS REVEALING HIMSELF TO HIS MINISTERS AND REMOVING HUMAN PATTERNS OF INTERPRETATION FROM THEM.
To understand about this section, let us just think about how Jesus’ disciples felt on the very day of the crucifixion when they saw Jesus crucified along with two common thieves. A few days ago, a large group of His disciples came with Him from Galilee, celebrating His ascent to Jerusalem, for what they understood would be His coronation as King on the throne of David.
In the report that the disciples walking towards the village of Emmaus present Jesus, in the Gospel of Luke, we read the frustration in all His disciples of having seen in the crucifixion the end of their messianic trust: we expected that He was the one who was to redeem Israel.
On the very day of His resurrection, Thomas was not with the rest of his companions, and as soon as they commented on the testimony of His resurrection, his interpretation of the fact showed more skepticism than one who had never heard of Jesus.
Although they had been warned about what would happen in Jerusalem, the disciples could not see the crucifixion as anything more than a waste of time and effort. Up to that point the disciples had developed a scheme of interpretation that was far from one based on spiritual understanding.
The same thing is happening in our time, the coronavirus pandemic is leading the pastoral to detach itself from many human schemes of biblical interpretation.
The pastoral has established as valid several doctrines that are not certified or supported by the Word, are human doctrines that were integrated as such by the founders of the councils, and established them as a foundation of faith for all those who joined them, whether parishioners or congregations; but when reviewed in the light of the Word they do not stand because they do not have the biblical or spiritual support. Many of these doctrines are based on religious philosophy, on moralistic doctrines, and on Catholic theology that have come and have been maintained within the gospel because of the historical heritage that the evangelical church has had due to its separation from Catholicism.
The change of platforms for proclaiming the Gospel, the limitations of mobility and the restriction of meetings is developing in many pastors to not depend on schedules, to not depend on people, to not depend on the liturgy of worship, elements that before the pandemic were determining to evaluate even the Presence of God in the place.
But we are just beginning, the coronavirus pandemic is alerting us to difficult times ahead. The pastorate must be prepared for the sudden changes, it is necessary that study strategies are developed, that prepare their congregations to move to the virtual without diminishing their responsibility to sustain the ministry; and above all, to maintain food for the most needy for at least a week, while supplies arrive at the markets.
God is warning us to prepare ourselves adequately to avoid an unforeseen situation paralyzing the communities. It is not about hoarding, it is about keeping provision for at least one week in reserve.
GOD DEMANDS TO BOW DOWN BEFORE HIM.
We cannot end this teaching without emphasizing how drastic this time is. In the book of Revelation we read that at the coming of Jesus to earth, He will rule the nations with a rod of iron, and although we are not yet in the time of Revelation, it is necessary for us to understand how rigorous this time has become, which has begun with the pandemic of the coronavirus.
The philosophical-religious doctrine that proclaims a God who is lenient with man and excessively tolerant of sin, is a doctrine that falls to the ground, and is undone because of the series of situations that we will live from now on.
What does God pretend to have sent the coronavirus? The coronavirus has not come just to punish the disobedience and sin of a people that pretends to know God; the coronavirus has been sent to make man understand who God is, and to enforce His Word.
The Word that is being demanded for this time is the Word that we find in the writings of the prophet Isaiah,
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Isaiah 45:23
And quoted also by the apostle Paul in his epistle to the Romans,
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. Romans 14:11
And also quoted in his epistle to the Philippians,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; Philippians 2:10
This Word demands that we bow down before the Lord, it is the key action for the pastors so that we can move on to the next step of Revelation. Do not see it as something absurd, it is an irrevocable and non-transferable demand; those who do not do so will begin to see ministerial complications.
The provision of life for Jacob and his ten sons, along with their respective families, depended upon the fulfillment of the dream God gave Joseph,
6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth…. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. Genesis 42:6-9
God has demanded that every knee should bow before Him, and this is a demand of Revelation. It is not a symbolic thing, it is a demand for obedience upon which God has laid the supernatural provision that He will deliver for His ministers from now on.
The biblical quotations are taken from the Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
Pastor Pedro Montoya
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 2nd. Corinthians 5:20
 Acts 1:7
 Amos 3:7
 2nd. Timothy 3:16
 1st. Corinthians 10:11
 1st. Peter 4:17
 Job 12:13
 Idem 42:1-6
 Philippians 1:20
 Job 1:21
 Luke 8:3
 Idem 24:21