(Isaiah 31-33; Philippians 1)
One of the letters the Apostle Paul wrote while imprisoned in Rome was to the church at Philippi. Through his time in jail, Paul continued witnessing and evangelizing everyone with whom he came into contact. His message of Good News was so contagious that even his opponents turned from their evil ways to follow Christ. Paul recounts this in Philippians 1:12-13:
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.”
It didn’t matter who it was: imperial guard, the household of Caesar (Philippians 4:22), or anyone else; Paul preached the Gospel. He spoke of Christ crucified and the hope that all who believe in Him will be saved. How many of his captors turned from their wicked ways, became Christ-followers, and perhaps even joined Paul in prison?
His example has inspired many through the years. I think of Richard Wurmbrand languishing in Soviet prisons for fourteen years following World War 2, much of that time in solitary confinement. In the book Tortured for Christ that Wurmbrand wrote (https://secure.persecution.com/p-6900-tortured-for-christ-50th-anniversary-book.aspx), he recounted how he made a “deal” with the prison guards: they would torture him, and he would preach the Gospel. For his faithfulness, can you imagine the reaction of these men? Just as Paul writes, so does Wurmbrand, that some of his torturers, along with his fellow unbelieving prisoners, turned to the Lord.
The marvelous outcome of Paul’s boldness for the Lord was how it strengthened his fellow Christians, as he notes in the next verse, Philippians 1:14:
“And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
Paul’s witness became an example, not only to his jailers but to the Christians around him who heard about his unwavering faith and dedication in proclaiming Christ Jesus. This is why he can write in Philippians 1:27:
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ …”
In urging this virtue to fellow believers, Paul said in Philippians 1:28 that they should…
“… not [be] frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.”
In other words, regardless of what came their way, from whatever source, Paul’s brothers in Christ were not to fear. How many times does the Bible tell us this? You know the answer as well as I do. In one form or another, Scripture tells us to “fear not” 366 times, i.e., once for every day of the year plus Leap Year. Do you think this message might be important for believers?
How is it then that so many professing Christians have capitulated in fear to the possibility of becoming sick with COVID, and because of that, have taken the “vaccine” in the hopes of not catching this infection? It’s one thing to be unaware of the dangers of this unproven gene-altering drug. I get that. Some among us are dealing with the stresses and tribulations of life. They simply have no time to listen to the warnings and/or do the required research to learn how deadly these serums are.
However, there are those – I’m personally aware of some in this category – who heard the message that evil was afoot with these shots. Various people warned early on that the jabs were causing serious medical problems far worse than the disease supposedly necessitating the vaccines. In February of 2021, not long after the release of the vaccines, I warned through my Prophecy Updates that no one should take these drugs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WolyW1tbwIk).
In my own church, several people heard this message. Despite this, some of them chose to submit to the hype and the narrative that was being promoted from so many quarters. They took the shots knowing the dangers.
I submit that for that choice, they were not letting their manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. They gave in to fear. They decided they would rather trust in the medical establishment and Big Pharma than in God.
Consider true plagues in prior eras when people were dying horrible deaths literally in the midst of those around them. Who were the ones that ministered and cared for the sick before they died? By and large, it was the Christians. They cared less for their own lives than in serving the Lord and the “least of these.” Did they have a “vaccine” to protect them? Were hazmat suits available to keep the germs away to prevent their infection?
We who are unvaccinated have another choice today. There is significant evidence that those who received these so-called vaccines are actually transmitting both COVID and other afflictions to those around them. We truly have an epidemic of the vaccinated who pose a danger to other vaccinated individuals, as well as to those of us who are unvaxxed.
The question becomes: How do we – the unvaccinated – respond? Do we keep far from these individuals who may contaminate us? Or, do we trust that God will protect us and continue mingling and ministering?
If we are to be obedient to the Lord to occupy until He comes, the answer should be self-evident. Just as Paul and Richard Wurmbrand witnessed among those who could harm them, they remained faithful to God and fearless as to the consequences.
Should we do any less?
[Author Note: Briefly, I want to set the stage for you as to the nature of most of my articles in this season. Each year I read the Bible through completely at least once – that has been my practice since I came to the Lord in 2005. I remain astounded at what God has done in my life because of that discipline! Each day I read from both the Old and New Testaments. I choose a verse from one of those passages and write my commentary and reflection based on that. In the title of my article, you’ll see the verse I chose. In addition, you’ll see the reading for that day if you’d like to follow along with greater context.]
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and prolific author. His Whirlwind Series comprises three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time. These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has been given the Christian Redemptive Fiction award for three novels: The Tattooed Cat, Alien Revelation, and for his collaboration with Terry James in writing The Minion Protocols, the third book in James’ Second Coming Chronicles.
Earlier this year, Gary released a four-volume set of Awaken Bible Study Notes that comment verse-by-verse through Scripture from a Biblical prophetic lens. He is currently editing a sequel to Alien Revelation called Alien Zombie Plague, which he plans to release later in the fall of 2021. Recently, Gary wrote a novella for the new Kindle Vella platform. That story is called Tribulation Rising: Seal Judgments – The Coming Apocalypse. This seven-part short work can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099Z462WD.
Each day this year, Gary has been writing commentary and reflections based on his reading through the Bible in a year. The intent in all his writings is to bring a strong Christian witness to what people read. You can see all his books and blog articles and reach him at his website:www.GaryRitter.com or his Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390. You can also see his older video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube channel – look for the fish symbol, and more recently on Rumble on his Awaken Bible Prophecy channel: https://rumble.com/c/c-783217.