Col 3:14-17 “…above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Already some of you have been vaccinated; some of you are waiting your turn; others are uncertain; some are against. What shall we do then, Brothers and Sisters? As we read, we must love God and one another; we must be thankful. We need the Word of God to be wisdom to us in Messiah in order to help us in our own lives, and to be of help to others. And all that we do, or do not, is to be done knowing that we stand before God.
I am not a doctor, nor a scientist, but a pastor and teacher. I am not against doctors or medicines, nor against science that subjects its methods and findings to the inspired Scriptures of the Bible in humility and the fear of YHVH. Just this week I have heard lectures in Israel by two scientists and another by a psychiatrist. I have conversations with other pastors. All of the responses in the first paragraph were expressed in these different settings. We are not putting Science against Faith, because both require knowledge, and both require faith. Truth is God’s; and we are to believe Him.
All of us have been hearing, reading, praying, thinking about the “cure” for the corona pandemic that has changed the world in one year. What a difference one year makes! Corona is a seriouis sickness that we cannot deny. Governments have exercised their authority and power over their populations and borders. It is a new situation for all, and not all that is being required of us will necessarily benefit us. Blessed are those whose hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ! There are good and serious questions and concerns without definitive answers. (Much like the recent U.S. elections, even if Trump lost.)
I will not tell any of you to get vaccinated; I will not tell any of you not to get vaccinated. Each of us has a relationship with God our Father and with His Son, and the Holy Spirit helps us in making decisions that are consequential to our lives personally, and to our lives socially. We can ask God for wisdom from Above, and not rely on the wisdom that is of this world. We can ask for information from experts and from mature persons; but we must each take responsibility for our own decisions, whether things work out well, or whether they do not.
There is the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. But that can be applied in different ways in different circumstances. Regarding the vaccine, the decision to take or not to take may be opposite, yet both be brotherly love. There is the commandment to submit to all lawful authority, which God has ordained. Yet, there are also times to refuse to submit when they demand of us to dishonor or to blaspheme God. Taking the mark of the beast is one such requirement that we must refuse! The current vaccination program in Israel and around the world is not that mark. That mark comes in connection with the revelation of the Antichrist, and we are not there yet.
Yet, it does seem evident that the Covid-19 pandemic is leading towards controls that will subjugate the world’s peoples under his rule. It is conditioning us to comply with many health and government regulations that put fear into people and separate the social well-being of a healthy and free society. We must remember that the devil wants to prevent believers from worshipping together the true God and Savior, and we need to be aware of his schemes to sow division within the churches.
For centuries, vaccinations have been a great source for good against very serious diseases. What makes the current vaccines extraordinary is that they are utilizing a new technology that has no history, nor has there been sufficient testing and time for following up its effectiveness and side effects.
There can be ungodly pride on both sides: the scientist and medical profession can say that we trust in man’s abilities; the believer (and not just those in Yeshua/Jesus) can say that we will not take the vaccine because we trust only in God. Either extreme will potentially bring division within not only a nation, but also within the Body of Christ and local expressions of that larger Body.
What are the hoped for benefits of taking the vaccine?
–they may protect from getting Covid-19
–they may protect others around you
–they will create an antibody (immune system) response in your body without having to experience the sickness
What are the potential normal side-effects of taking the vaccine?
–pain in the arm where you received the inoculation/shot
i.e., symptoms similar to the flu
And, there are abnormal side-effects, such as Bell’s Palsy, which might occur, according to the testing done with the vaccines.
It can take a few weeks after the two doses for the immune system to build up against the virus. For now, there is no proof of the effectiveness or the safety of the vaccine against the virus. It is not yet known if the advantages are greater than the risks of damage. It is still experimental!
Our confidence and hope must be in Jesus. Do not test God by presumptuous faith; and, do not fear. Cast all of your cares onto Him, for He cares for you. We cannot allow this issue to bring division within the congregation when there is still so much uncertainty and speculation, and insufficient verification. We must all allow freedom of conscience in this matter, and love one another as Jesus has loved us. There can not be a “green card” for participation in a local church service, in my view now. Let this be for a testimony to others that we are His disciples.