Dec 17, 2018

Ebola is Back

One of the most fearful calamities to strike mankind is an infectious disease. During the Middle Ages, the Black Plague killed millions of people in Europe and Asia. Some cities lost half of their population from a single outbreak.

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 was the last great Pandemic. It infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans. It was fueled by close quarters and massive troop movements related to World War I; and strangely enough, the Spanish flu killed more people than the war it fed on.

The polio virus created much fear in the mid part of the 20th century. In 1952 alone, nearly 60,000 children were infected with the virus; thousands were paralyzed, and more than 3,000 died. The polio virus could cause permanent paralysis and even death, but it was very picky about its victims. In about 95% of all polio cases, the person has no symptoms at all. When Dr. Jonas Salk developed his vaccine in 1955, polio cases went into a rapid decline. By 1979, the virus had been completely eliminated across the US.

The virus that has institutes like the World Health Organization the most concerned is Ebola. This cagey virus will pop up in Africa, kill several people and then disappear. The West African Ebola epidemic of 2013 to 2016 was the most widespread epidemic of the Ebola virus disease in history. Ebola has up to a 70 percent fatality rate. Doctors that wore heavy protective gear still managed to become infected with the virus. We still don’t have any solid cure for Ebola.

We now have what has become the second-largest, second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. The outbreak was declared on Aug. 1 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A total of 471 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the country’s eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. There have been 273 deaths thus far, including 225 people who died from confirmed cases of Ebola. The other deaths are from probable cases of Ebola.

There is great concern now that the virus has spread to a major city, Butembo, a bustling city of almost a million people in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. There has been a “significant increase” in infections there over the past three weeks, with a total of 25 confirmed cases thus far, according to a recent bulletin from the country’s health ministry.

Another concern is how close Butembo is to neighboring nations. The city is in a region which shares borders with Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan. Butembo is on a major highway that leads to several large cities.

The warfare and ignorance in the region have at times stymied the response efforts. Health workers have had to battle misinformation and mistrust from the local community, partly due to many years of conflict in the region. There is a reluctance among some wary residents to seek care or perform safe burials. Many families will keep the infected bodies of relatives in their homes for spiritual reasons.

This is the 10th Ebola outbreak the world has seen since 1976, the year that scientists first identified the deadly virus near the eponymous Ebola River. It clearly has to be the one with the least amount of apprehension. This is how epidemics turn into pandemics. When the death toll goes from doubling from 500 to 1,000 to half a million to one million, it takes vastly greater resources to control the contagion.

The lack of concern about infectious diseases is a direct result of the moral state of the world. Ebola- carrying zombies could walk across the border, and the Trump-fixated liberal media wouldn’t notice. Because God has already determined to use plagues and pestilences to show His wrath upon a wicked world, the ultimate threat from these dangers is unavoidable. The next epidemic may not stop until we have a toll that fits the carnage described by prophecy.

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matthew 24:7).

“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will” (Revelation 11:6).

“I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God” (Revelation 15:1).


Stench in God’s Nostrils

Christmas season is in moribund transition, if I may use the term. By that I mean the changes taking place with regard to what Christmas is all about represents much more than simply a decline of culture. The change taking place is moving culture in this nation and the world in direction that will engender deadly consequences.

This world system is dying.

The thought first pierced my thinking while listening to a news program of some sort. The story was about how the leftist, politically correct machine is attacking Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Now, I know I’m right off the bat offending the Christmas purists who view any secular characterization in conjunction with the Christmas story as near blasphemy. But, I implore that we get past for the moment how the Advent of Christ has been paganized to whatsoever extent–thus to make the point I hope to make: that we can know how near we might be to the midnight of the age and the call of Christ to His Church.

To get back to the TV news story, the report informed how much of social media is making the story of Rudolph one of how evil American culture has stigmatized anyone who is different. The Millennial view for the most part seems to be that the story shows that group bullying is approved of, thus Christmas is just an American cultural invention to keep those not like the majority in a position of inferiority. The news program’s host said that those who hold such a view obviously haven’t read the whole Rudolph story. She said that it actually was a story of anti-bullying and anti-bigotry.

That, at least, was my take on the news report I heard. Many amongst the Millennial generation increasingly view many things about Christmas as a cultural/societal device to oppress the downtrodden.

Of course, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, gets totally lost in all of this politically correct machination. Satan’s obvious plot therefore seems to be working effectively, as do many of the other nefarious elements of his blueprint to move mankind farther from their Creator and their only means of redemption.
Several items of news of late punctuate how the grand deceiver is working through human minions to bring about the moribund transition through subverting the true Christmas message.

One such story involves a city ordinance of municipal government in Austin, Texas, that might force churches to hire LGBT people, including pastors. Gay and transsexual employees, including members of the clergy, will almost certainly soon be part of Austin churches if things proceed as they look now.
A second news story reports that Facebook censored a photo of Santa kneeling before a manger scene. The photo was covered up by the Facebook thought police.

Facebook censored an image of Santa Claus kneeling before the baby Jesus, deeming it “violent” or too “graphic.” There was never a reason I could find why they found the scene violent or too graphic. But there was answer to the effect that the scene might offend, although there was no explanation as to how it might offend.

Again, I don’t want to give the impression that I condone mixing Santa Claus with the manger scene–the secular with the truly important truth about the reason for the season. I can see where that might “offend” some in some way. I simply want to make the point of how the moribund transition is taking place incrementally. The Christmas story–that Jesus came to save the lost–is being used as a political tool and a psychological tool to move culture and society ever farther from man’s only hope of redemption. It is a deadly track down which the world is going.

And, it is a worldwide war, not just one confined to America, that is taking place in this regard.
Another report from Italy told of a ten-year-old school girl who fought to have the name of Jesus reinserted into a song that was part of her school’s Christmas celebration. The Lord’s name had been removed from the song because it would “offend.”

The charge in taking the name of Jesus out of the song was that it might offend non-Catholics. The real reason, according to the report, was that the name was taken out because they feared it would offend Muslims and cause violent reaction from that quarter.

These reports , I am aware, are not earth-shattering in comparison to many, much more profound, things being reported around the world. But in God’s Holy Eyes, such treatment of His Son, who died for the sins of a world full of lost and eternally dying people, no doubt is among the most serious offenses.

Bible history is replete with God dealing with generations of people who deliberately flaunt their rebellion in His face. The book of Job reports the Lord’s displeasure and reaction to such rebellion: “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed” (Job 4:8-9).