Old Testament Law and COVID 19

What a title! Academics from around the world will be tuning in. People obsessed with the end times will be looking for prophetic ties. People who regularly read my blog may be expecting a lighthearted look at life now and then. I hate to disappoint all of you but this post is none of the above. This post is actually a response to the fringe elements in the Christian community that for some reason believe that the actions being taken to save lives somehow contravene their God given freedom and constitute a full out rebellion so that we can save ourselves from these godless people who would ask us or even order us to stay at home.

Social distancing is in the Bible.

Don’t try to do a search for the words; you will not find them. Think instead about the concept. Think back to another highly infectious disease that was once prevalent. Although I am sure many governments had some type of law requiring distancing from those who had this disease, the first to introduce social distancing was God!

Those who had leprosy or similar skin diseases had to social distance.

“Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp… Leviticus 13:45-46 (NIV)

There is some disagreement on whether leprosy in the Bible is the same disease, a different disease or many skin diseases including what we know today as leprosy. It really doesn’t matter, this disease was something you didn’t want to get so to avoid it you needed to social distance from those who had it, hence the law handed down by God in Leviticus.

Throughout the giving of the law, unclean was the title given to an action or a person doing that action. This is not the place to debate the exact spiritual ramifications of unclean but I would point out that what was said to be unclean often had the potential of causing harm or unintended consequences if another person came into contact with the food, bodily fluid, person infected etc. It may not be that the person was in a sinful state but rather that the state could cause death, unwanted side effects or represented the curse mankind was under through sin. Sinful state or not, leprosy was infectious, social distancing was needed.

But this is different, only those who had leprosy social distanced.

I guess you got me there. What you say is true. Those with the disease were the ones separated from those who were healthy. Before you do your victory dance, you need to remember that everyone who was symptomatic, in other words everyone with a disease resembling leprosy was isolated. They had to socially distance until they were declared “clean” by the priest. It didn’t matter if they had it, it only mattered if they could have it. Get a spot that looked like leprosy, get away from people to stop the potential spread.

Leprosy had obvious symptoms. Those symptoms meant you were contagious. If you were contagious you had to stay away from people. COVID 19 we now know can be contagious in a pre or asymptomatic person. If you apply God’s Old Testament law to this disease, if you can pass it on you need to get away from people to stop the potential spread.

Social distancing was not a punishment but rather a precaution.

I would say that all those who are social distancing under the current guidelines of their state/provincial government, including me, feel like we are being punished but a feeling is not enough to start a rebellion over. Your rights are being curtailed to preserve the lives of those who cannot preserve their own lives. Older people, people with weakened immune systems and people with underlying medical problems need us to help. If you are having problems with this restriction of your freedom, with this request to give up your current lifestyle for someone so they will be saved then you need to give up your salvation. Jesus gave up His freedom and socially isolated Himself from His community (Heaven) so that you could be saved!

COVID 19 social distancing is not an unchristian, repressive action designed to take your religious freedoms away. Maybe your god needs a megachurch Sunday meeting, fully attended to feel good enough but my God is who He is because He is God and I am who I am because He gave up His freedom and died on a cross for me. I will give up my freedom to protect the lives of others because Jesus is my example.

14 comments

  1. Interesting. “am I willing to give up my constitutional rights for a while…”? Who says it will be “for a while”?
    I guess, if you want to give up your Canadian constitutional rights as a Canadian, that is your privilege. Faulting other citizens of other countries for not doing that seems to be out of bounds. Do we not have the wisdom of God as well as you?
    Did Paul give up his “constitutional rights” as a Roman citizen?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The right thing to do as a follower of Christ is what got Paul killed his actual constitutional or citizenship in Rome required him to keep silent about this roge group called the Way and their leader Jesus. His jailing and death would say he did not follow the rules of his citizenship/constitutional rights/limitations

      The comment about a Canadian commenting on the biblical/constitutional struggle in a country they do not live in is no different than an American making comment about communism being unbiblical, is that it of bounds to?

      I feel I made a good case for Christians giving up rights for a time to protect others as an act parallel to the Bible. I also supported your assertion (and Anthony’s) that there are those who would go too far and we must be careful – I am not sure how, by saying this, I earned myself dressing down for talking about your country. I am disappointed and shocked about the lack of discourse even when saw your point agreed with it but warned that doing the right thing for now should not be avoided because some people might take advantage of it.

      I do believe that, although I do not want to give up my rights I will because Jesus did

      Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!
      Philippians 2:4‭-‬8 NET
      https://bible.com/bible/107/php.2.4-8.NET

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    2. love you brother – I really do – hope this has been an exchange of ideas not a wedge between brothers – if I have said anything hurtful that you feel was directed at you and your charactor it was not my intention please forgive me

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That was pretty good. You are the first one I’ve read who made that connection. You also made a good point about Jesus giving up His rights so that we could be saved. However, I am one of those who don’t trust everything the government tells us. No, I’m not suggesting aliens are real or that COVID-19 is a fake disease meant to hide the effects of 5G networks. All I’m saying is that if the Bereans searched the Scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was true, we Americans should search the Constitution on a regular basis. I firmly believe there are “false prophets” in our government who would love to use the opportunity of global crisis to do more than ask us to suspend our freedoms, but take them away under the guise of safety.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A false prophet works to stop people from discovering and embracing the freedom God gives not the constitutional freedoms man gives – I believe that Satan has “bewitch” America into looking at their constitution as a document inspired by God at a level almost equal to the Bible and their President, if he is a republican, a type of saviour – China, where there is no freedom has the fastest growing church, North America, where there is freedom, has one of the fastest declining churches – I want my freedom and the ease of being able to meet like both Canada and the USA guarantee in their constitutions, I don’t want to be like China but at the same time I am not sure that the fixation with human freedoms entrenched in a constitution has served us well
      I agree there are groups of people who will take advantage of this opportunity to cause permanent change that would remove our freedoms, this is not new, there always is, but as a church and followers of Christ it is time we stopped fighting for constitutional freedoms as if they are biblical and the most important priority for Christians and start fighting for freedom from sin, that is biblical and God’s most important priority.
      I know that this opinion is not popular but I believe that this is why America is in decline. While the Christian community fights to get the law of the land written on the hearts of man so that they will follow God, God wants to write His law on their hearts so that no matter what evil leads the country or oppresses the people true freedom is found in something eternal.
      I am not American so I am giving you an outsider’s perspective. I may be wrong but I have heard more about the right to own guns and meet in churches during this pandemic than people saying get on your knees and pray that God would stop this virus. In God We Trust?
      I write this knowing that many of my American followers will read it and be very upset. I have no desire to start a fight but as someone not raise with American values I see things differently and maybe clearer or more distorted because of the way I was raised, but definitely different.
      Love you brother, hope that we can disagree without drawing such a line in the sand that we can’t disagree without anger – that is what Satan wants the saints of the church to do, to hate and be a house divided…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you for this perspective. I am American, and I am also upset with the attitudes of some “Christians” who are fighting for their constitutional rights while ignoring the example set by Jesus. There is a pastor in our area who has insisted on holding church services in the church building. When he has been featured on the news defying the court order, he is not wearing a mask, and neither are most of the people filing into the building. The pastor was not expressing concern over the vulnerable, he was boasting about how God has healed him in the past. I’m thinking, “Well, that’s nice for you, but this isn’t about you.” (What was that verse about looking to the interests of others?) As I’ve seen in other situations with the American church, we need to GET OVER OURSELVES.
        It’s widely known now that in the case of a disease that can be contagious without symptoms, wearing a mask doesn’t protect the wearer as much as it protects the people around him/her. So wearing a mask is making a statement: “I care about you enough to inconvenience myself in order to protect you.”
        In my city there is a prohibition against large gatherings of people. This is NOT just aimed at churches, it applies to restaurants, sporting events, theaters, concerts, etc. On Easter some churches had drive-in services, and while people in the area reported (tattled on) them, a judge ruled in the churches’ favor, since they were all staying in their cars and observing the “social distancing rules.” Ironically, the only time they rolled down their windows was when a policeman insisted on handing them a citation with his ungloved hand. (“What’s wrong with this picture?”) So yes, some people want to step over the line and make a power grab, but we need to respond prayerfully, in a Christ-like manner. Our goal should be finding the right balance, and the bottom line question must always be, “How do I best represent Jesus?”
        By the way, where are you?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for your comments, I am glad to see other Americans also notice the problems that I see as an outsider – I am about 1 hour north of Toronto Ontario Canada in a place called Keswick

        Our churches have closed down and have gone on line – it is funny that the desire to meet in person has been rekindled because we can’t do that now – I feel like I have taken for granted the in person experience and now by not meeting in person for possibly 2-3 months I am so excited for the shutdown to end and to go back to church – I say this as a pastor whose job it is (and calling more importantly) to be at church!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually any stay at home order takes away your constitutional rights the question that must be asked is am I willing to give up my constitutional rights for a while to stop this pandemic? This is a separate from being careful about long term motives – I think the 2 have become so intertwined that people are digging their heels in on the “stay at home orders” as being unconstitutional instead of, as you say, being careful that this temporary suspension of the constitution is just that, temporary. If it is applied equitably to all groups regardless of their political, religious, and social economic leanings/situation and the duration is based on science not political motivation then it is a removal of constitutional rights on reasonable grounds for the protection of all people.

        Liked by 2 people

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