By Pastor Hal Mayer
(the above message can be downloaded by clicking the down arrow in the top right corner)
Thank you for joining me today as we look at one of the most devastating and deadly problems to arise in our modern world. The lethal Ebola virus is making its way around West African countries killing thousands. And the devastation so far may only be the very beginning as it spreads from village to village, from town to town, from city to city, and from country to country. It may well arrive in developed countries eventually like the United State, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea and other Asian countries.
But before beginning our study today, I want to say thank you for your support and prayers. They mean a lot to us at Keep the Faith. We are doing all we can to warn anyone who will listen that Jesus is coming soon, and that we must get ready, for all the things the Bible has predicted are truly coming to pass. Your eternal destiny depends on the choices you make now. Yes, Christ is the one who saves us, but it is your decision to obey Him and follow His counsel. Please, my friends make your calling and election sure.
As we begin, let us pray. Our Father in heaven, we realize that we are in a world that is doomed to chaos and destruction. We realize that we are facing some of the worst developments in history. Yet You have promised to sustain Your people. As we look at the prophecies of the Bible, we are reminded that they were given for our admonition. They were given so that Your people would be able to discern the meaning of the signs of the times. The prophecies of the Bible may be succinct, short, and without a lot of detail, but we know that they are certain to be fulfilled. They are designed to help us navigate the end times. Without them it would be impossible to know what to do, or how to prioritize, or understand the urgency of the times.
We pray that we might have Your Holy Spirit to teach us how to live, so that we are preserved to glorify Your name at a time when the people of this earth turn their backs on you and even curse you. Awaken in us a sense of Your presence in the midst of these terrible times. And as we study today, we pray that You will teach us of the wonderful things of God. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Friends, let us start with a promise today. Psalm 91 is a most reassuring chapter of scripture. Perhaps you memorized it at one time or another. If so, please refresh it in your memory. You are going to need it in the near future. Also, I would recommend that if you have never memorized these important verses, please take the time to do so. They are the most encouraging. They are the most sustaining, if you take them by sincere faith, believing that God means what He says.
Here are these wonderful verses for us to think about. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
Friends, do you think you can trust God completely for protection, even when death and destruction are all around you? Of course you can! God takes a personal interest in every one of His people who have surrendered their lives to Him. That means He takes a personal interest in you! Imagine that! The God of the universe takes a personal, one-on-one interest in you, my friend. No matter what your problems are; no matter what your difficulties might be; no matter what your crisis is, He is by your side and He is planning to sort out your issues so that He can make you His witness to the glory of His name. Mostly He is silent, but you can have confidence that He has everything under control. You can have peace in your heart because you trust in His loving and tender care.
Verse 3 says, “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”
What will he deliver you from, the snare of the fowler? Isn’t that interesting? Satan is the great fowler? He knows how to catch you and ensnare you, even before you are aware that he is around. And yes, God knows how to deliver the godly out of those kinds of temptations.
2 Peter 2:9. And listen to this one. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” That’s Revelation 3:10.
There is a great time of trouble coming upon the earth such as never was. Men’s hearts will be tried even to the breaking point. They will be devastated by the destruction of all their hopes and dreams, all their investments, all their riches. Men’s hearts will fail them for fear, the Bible says in Luke 21:26. We need to be kept from that “hour of temptation,” don’t we?
Look what is promised in verse four of the 91st Psalm to the faithful. “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
Oh friends, what an encouraging verse. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” John 8:32. You will not be weighed down with worry or concern for the future. You can rest confident in God’s love and care. You will be free from the burden of fear of what is going on around you. You will live above it all. Friends, these are not idle words. These are the actual promises of God to you, personally, and to all of God’s faithful people.
But that protection starts in your mind. It requires a mind that is used to thinking this way. So often, we look to the government to protect us, or the medical profession, or even our families or friends, the police, or some other entity. But friends, in the end, these will all fail you. You have to start getting used to thinking about how God will work, which will be very much out of the ordinary.
Listen to this statement about the last work on earth. It is from Testimonies to Ministers, page 300. “Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. Those who are accounted good workers will need to draw nigh to God; they will need the divine touch. They will need to drink more deeply and continuously at the fountain of living water, in order that they may discern God’s work at every point.”
Friends, if you drink deeply of the fountain of living water, God will use you to win souls. Don’t be afraid of that. It will be fantastic. I know from our experience at Highwood Health Retreat. I’ve seen God work. I’ve seen simple means do a lot of good. And I’ve seen people astonished by the light and then they pull back. But God doesn’t let them go. He keeps working.
Now listen to verse 5. “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day…” Imagine that! The Holy Spirit led the psalmist to prophesy that in the last days there would be terrorism and war. The terror could be more than terrorism, of course. Ebola is a great terror to the people of this world too. But it will not terrify you if you are in Christ. In Christ, my friends, there is no fear.
Verse 6 says. “Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” There it is… you will not be afraid of pestilence, even the most deadly pestilence. You don’t have to fear the Ebola virus. You don’t have to fear tuberculosis. You don’t have to fear any of the superbugs that are developing right now and that are resistant to every known antibiotic or anti-viral medication on the market today. You won’t fear them if you are in Christ.
Verses 7 & 8 say. “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”
Right now as the deadly Ebola virus makes its way around West Africa, we can see it all over the news. But it will not touch you if you are in Christ. In Christ, my friends, you have a sure defense, according to His will. Don’t you think it is time to get into the Most Holy place experience by faith in Christ? I do.
Now listen to this next part in verses 9 – 12. “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
That’s powerful! Mighty angels will be commissioned to tenderly care for you, even down to the smallest of things. Friends, if you make the Lord your God your confidence; if you live in Christ, the same God that was with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Daniel and his three friends, and so many other Bible heroes, no evil shall befall thee. Nothing will come upon you that is afflicting the people of the world. Nothing will come upon you that frightens the living daylights out of ungodly men and women. Oh, my friends. Our only hope is in Christ.
Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den. But was he afraid of the Lions? Did evil befall him? No. Evil befell those conniving Chaldeans, but not Daniel. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, but did evil befall them? No. They came out of it with an experience with Christ that you and I can only dream about.
Look what verses 13-16 say. “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.”
Do you know God’s name? That’s His character, you know. You cannot know God’s character unless you spend time with Him, unless you learn to trust Him for everything. You cannot really know something unless you experience it personally. You cannot know God’s character unless you are trying to imitate it. So, friends, start now. Start copying Christ’s character in every way. Always ask the question, what would Jesus do if He were in my shoes?
Notice that it says that Christ will be with you in trouble. It does not say that you won’t have trouble, only that He will be with you. He will deliver you from trouble. It does not say you will not go through trouble. But when you do go through it, you will be delivered. Trials and tribulations are not evil. They are good. It is all in how you look at them. They are designed to make you a better person. They are aiming to draw you closer to Christ so that you can learn to trust Him and make Him your habitation.
What a blessed Psalm is Psalm 91! This Psalm has been the comfort of many a soul who has sacrificed for Christ. It has been the consolation of countless thousands, yea perhaps even nameless millions who have experienced the sufferings of Christ.
Are you suffering? Are you disheartened, discouraged, and downtrodden? Christ is longing to minister to your broken and damaged heart. He loves to tenderly care for your needs. He earnestly desires to awaken your innermost longings for righteousness and purity. He is waiting for you today. Give yourself to Him. Let Him have His way in your life. Don’t fight. Don’t resist. Don’t turn from it. He will sustain you when you make Him your habitation.
Perhaps watching someone die from the Ebola virus is one of the most frightful and gut-wrenching things. The virus rapidly causes the shutdown of vital organs with pain and agony until the body can’t take it any longer. You can catch the virus by merely coming in contact with the body fluids of an infected person. It is so dangerous that anyone who makes contact with an Ebola sufferer is placed under strict surveillance and then quarantined if they show any signs or symptoms of the disease. Medical personnel who must help the poor sufferer must cover every inch of their skin to prevent infection of themselves. Moreover, in spite of official statements, Canadian Researchers have demonstrated that the most deadly strain of the Ebola virus can be spread through the air.
As I am preparing this sermon, more than 2630 people have died from the terrible plague that is rapidly growing. So far the number of infections is over 5300, and many of those will die too. Moreover, these statistics are acknowledged to be under-reporting because of those who have not sought treatment even though they are sick. Global health officials say there are no signs of it slowing down. In the last days, we are told in prophecy, that there will be pestilences, and they will be devastating.
This deadly scourge is on the march. Foreign Policy magazine said that there is nothing anyone can do to stop the plague; not airport screenings, not experimental drugs, nothing can stop the relentless march of the lethal bug. No medical SWAT team can swoop in and save the world from the contagion. What is going on right now in West Africa is without a doubt, one of the most significant threats yet to attack the planet.
Hopes for containment were dashed with a “breathtaking act of negligence” that destroyed hope that the deadly epidemic could be quickly brought under control. Here is what happened. An adviser to the Liberian Finance Ministry was infected when he flew into Lagos. The people he contacted were quickly identified and quarantined, but one of them, a diplomat named Olu-Ibukun Koye escaped the quarantine.
“At the beginning of August, he secretly went to Port Harcourt, where he found a doctor willing to provide him with discreet treatment in a hotel. Koye survived and after he started feeling better a few days later, he returned to Lagos. By then, however, the doctor who had been treating him, Iyke Enemuo, had contracted the virus. The doctor continued providing treatment to patients at his private clinic and also celebrated the birth of his new child at home with friends and family. Eventually, he grew so sick he had to be taken to the hospital. He didn’t tell the staff that he had provided treatment to a patient with Ebola. He also allowed members of his church to place their hands on him during a healing ritual.
Enemuo died on August 22, but not before infecting his wife, his younger sister and an elderly patient at the hospital where he had been treated. The patient has also since died.”
This serious breach of medical ethics has exposed many to the disease and killed some who could have otherwise been treated and perhaps survived. But worse, if something like this happens again, it could spread the disease with unlimited consequences.
Ebola has been lurking in Africa for many years, waiting for an opportunity to take hold. And now it has gained a footing, even traction. Not only is it the largest outbreak ever, but it also seems “likely to surpass all two dozen previous known Ebola outbreaks combined.” And it will not be contained in West Africa except by some miraculous intervention. It is only a matter of time until someone brings it outside of the five nations that currently have the plague.
If the virus gains a footing in Lagos, the whole world will be in big trouble. Lagos has a population of 22 million people. It is one of the largest cities on the planet and much of it is slums, where the people live in filth and are exposed and vulnerable. It is a dangerous city in more ways than one. If Lagos is attacked by this lethal virus, the situation will transform itself into a worldwide crisis. That’s because of the chaos, size, density and mobility of the population.
Nigeria already has a lot going on. There is civil war, there is the Boko Haram terrorists, a countrywide doctor’s strike, all of which are a devil’s brew of conditions perfectly suited for the rapid spread of a disease so dangerous that it kills between 50 and 70 percent of those it infects, and has the potential to kill up to 90 percent in places where treatment is unavailable. Its impact would not stop at Nigeria’s borders.
Even the vaccines that are under development cannot be tested in time to be sure that they will actually work. Even for those that have received the vaccine and recovered from the disease cannot be certain that the vaccine had anything to do with their recovery at all. Not everybody infected dies, and scientists and medical professionals have no idea why. If a vaccine is used in West Africa, it will be without clinical trials and without certainty that it will work. And that could be deadly, particularly if someone who has the disease and gets the vaccine changes their behavior and acts as if they don’t have the disease. They could infect others thinking that they are immune.
The world is in for a long haul with this lethal scourge. There have been many reports of isolated cases in places like Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, etc. These have probably been the result of contact with the virus while traveling. Each isolated case creates new epicenters of concern, raises the specter of new centers of epidemic. It is only a matter of time before one of these isolated cases manages to get out into the population and spreads into new territory.
The epidemic quickly traversed Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, some of the most impoverished nations on earth. And now it has also spread to Nigeria and Senegal. And in a separate outbreak, there have been 40 deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo, out of 71 cases.
Approximately 150 health care workers have died as a result of working with Ebola cases. Up until now, these countries spent less than $100 per person on health care, whereas in developed countries, that much is spent per person on aspirin and ibuprofen every year.
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) called the raging outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” The outbreak is accelerating from 500 new cases per week to 700 so far with no signs of slowing. It is also believed by many experts that the number of cases is substantially understated because families are reluctant to report the disease.
“In the three hardest hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in the Ebola-specific treatment centers,” said Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general. “Today, there is not one single bed available for the treatment of an Ebola patient in the entire country of Liberia.” Many hospitals have closed due to lack of staff, or because of fears that the disease would spread among patients and health workers. In other words, there has been an almost total breakdown of the medical system in these countries.
Even though the WHO said the disease could persist for six months to a year, the fact is, no one really knows whether it can be stopped at all. The grim forecast means that thousands more will probably die. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said, “This is the largest, most severe, most complex outbreak in the nearly four decades history of this disease… Our collective health security depends on support for containment in these countries.”
“It’s like fighting a forest fire,” Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the U.S. Congress recently. “Leave behind one burning ember, one case undetected, and the epidemic could re-ignite.” Another report from Frank Glover, a medical missionary and president of SHIELD, a U.S. based NGO in Africa, said that before the epidemic outbreak, there were fewer than 200 doctors serving the needs of 4 million people. After the outbreak, that number is fewer than 50. There has been a complete collapse of all non-Ebola health care. When the panic began among health workers, officials had to do all they could to persuade them to come to work. Doctors are concerned that people will die from all manner of unrelated health care needs, like dysentery, malaria, accidents, mostly from neglect as scarce resources are diverted to the treatment of Ebola. And Ken Isaacs, a vice-president of Samaritan’s Purse told Congress that the disease is “uncontained and out of control in West Africa.”
The threat is so serious that the World Health Organization said that thousands of health care workers are needed to contain and control the disease. Past outbreaks were contained in a matter of a few weeks or months. But this one is different. The WHO has also “launched a $100 million Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Response Plan.”
And, at the request of Liberia, the nation with the most cases, the United States has sent 3,000 troops to assist coordination of the response in West Africa. France set up a military hospital in Guinea, the heart of the outbreak, to treat cases.
In the meantime, border blockades have essentially ended trade to the countries affected. This has had a devastating effect on the economy and may well mean that food supplies will diminish and shortages may become acute. Already, food prices in some places have increased by more than 150%. Furthermore, the surprise attack of the disease has shredded the medical front lines and has deeply disturbed the social fabric of the fragile countries it has assailed. And as the virus spreads, assuming it will, the needs and problems will grow exponentially.
A three-day lockdown in the entire country of Sierra Leone, kept all 6 million people in doors for three days while health workers went from door to door delivering bars of soap and instructions on how to avoid the disease. But it also had another purpose. They used this process as cover to hunt down anyone who is showing symptoms of the disease and was unable or reluctant to seek treatment.
Other measures were implemented in various ways to try to contain the deadly virus included the banning of all football matches, because in large crowds the chance of transmission increases significantly. Schools were closed, shops and malls closed, whole communities were put in quarantine, curfews were announced, shore passes for sailors were cancelled, health screening of travelers was implemented, and awareness campaigns were carried out. Airlines cancelled flights into and out of the affected nations. A state of emergency was declared in Sierra Leone and Liberia, which involved the “suspensions of certain rights and privileges.” Friends, that’s marshal law. It’s medical marshal law. Governments are using military force, or marshal law, to impose quarantine. Soldiers and police guard houses in quarantine to prevent anyone from leaving that has had contact with an infected patient. Often families are reluctant to report cases, perhaps for fear of putting them in the hospital or treatment centers, which are very dangerous places to be. So, those infected with Ebola are being hunted down like fugitives.
The U.S. government sent at least 3000 troops to West Africa, mainly to Liberia, to strengthen the marshal law, by assisting with logistics, quarantines and to hunt down those who have avoided hospitals. It is the hospitals that are the death traps. Would it not make sense to avoid them, particularly in Africa?
While hospitals in developed countries have reasonably well-developed isolation procedures, there is no guarantee that someone with Ebola, who walks into an emergency room not knowing what he/she has, will not infect nurses, doctors, and other patients before anyone knows what their diagnosis is.
Patient zero, as it turns out, was a two-year old boy in Guinea who died in December of 2013. “A week later, it killed the boy’s mother, then his 3-year-old sister, then his grandmother. All had fever, vomiting and diarrhea, but no one knew what had sickened them…
“Two mourners at the grandmother’s funeral took the virus home to their village. A health worker carried it to still another, where he died, as did his doctor. They both infected relatives from other towns. By the time Ebola was recognized, in March of 2014, dozens of people had died in eight Guinean communities, and suspected cases were popping up in Liberia and Sierra Leone — three of the world’s poorest countries, recovering from years of political dysfunction and civil war.”
The disease spread to Sierra Leone when 12 people who attended a funeral in Guinea carried the disease back to their country.
By mid-August of 2014, the WHO had declared it an international public health emergency and Doctors without Borders reported that the situation in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city was “catastrophic” and “deteriorating daily.”
The deadly virus first established itself along the Ebola River in Congo in 1976 according to official sources. Since then it has been very low on the radar because of its rarity.
Somehow the deadly version traveled from Congo to neighboring nations probably through animals and spread to humans who handled the animal carcasses often used as “bushmeat.” Dogs also eat carcasses of infected animals and could easily spread it to humans, though the dogs themselves tend to remain asymptomatic. Further, the WHO says that the infection gets into humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs and other bodily fluids from a number of species including chimpanzees, gorillas and forest antelope. Also, fruit bats and pigs are reservoirs for the disease.
Now, the Ebola virus is center-stage. By mid-September more than 5300 cases had been reported, with more than 2300 of them dead. And the WHO “warned the number of new cases in Liberia was increasing exponentially, and would increase by ‘many thousands’ by the end of September.”
The outbreaks could destabilize governments in the region. Panic and disruption have worsened the chaos in the afflicted nations, and future outbreaks, which are inevitable, could cause worse chaos and tougher challenges. Previous outbreaks occurred in remote regions and were confined to localized areas. The most people to have died from the worst of those outbreaks was during the very first outbreak ever in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976 (known as Zaire back then). The death toll then was a mere 280. But the current outbreak occurred in a border region in Guinea right near where Sierra Leone and Liberia converge with its borders. In this area there are improved roads and people travel a lot. The virus was on the move even before health officials realized it had erupted.
Further complicating the problem is that Ebola, until now, was unknown in West Africa. Health workers were unprepared for it. They did not have the training to recognize it, nor did they have the equipment to protect themselves. Many hospitals in the area do not have running water and gloves, let alone body suits. They infected other patients in the hospitals. Funeral practices often involve touching the corpses, which are highly contagious, thus spreading the disease even further.
It is very difficult to contain this virus because of its multiple locations in several different countries. And the disease is not following its usual linear patterns, but is “hopping” from one place to another “all over the West African epidemic region.” The high death rate is alarming beyond words. And it even sometimes infects those who are well protected and trained to the strictest quarantine procedures.
Two American health workers that contracted the disease and have recovered said that their team of workers were following “to the letter all of the protocols for safety that were developed by the CDC and WHO,” including a full body coverall, several layers of gloves, and face protection including goggles. One of the two, a physician, had worked with patients, but the other was working to help workers get in and out of their protective gear, while wearing protective gear herself. In an interview she said, “At this time we have not been able to confirm 100 percent the method of contagion. We are working closely with CDC and WHO to investigate. It is just an incredibly contagious disease.”
The lack of adequate equipment and sanitary practices has exacerbated the spread of the disease. Making matters worse, denial and rumors in some areas have created suspicion of the government. Demonstrators have sometimes threatened health workers in clinics designed for treating the sick. Sometimes the military has had to get involved to control protests.
The transmission of the disease is often described as intense. There is a statistical number called the basic reproduction number that is a measure of the expected number of people who will become infected with a disease. If the number is less than 1, the infection will die out, and if the rate is greater than 1 the infection will continue to spread. The WHO estimates that the Ebola number is between 1.4 and 1.7, which means that each newly infected individual had subsequently infected 1.4 to 1.7 more. The time between initial infection and the infecting of others for the Ebola virus is short. The basic reproduction number coupled with a short transfer time for this epidemic is very serious. Estimates of people to be infected by the end of 2014, based on this number are between 77,000 and 277,000. Other estimates are lower, but they assume that there will be a lot of money and other resources thrown at the disease, and that there will be a significant international response.
In early September of 2014, Anthony Fauci, Director of the U.S. NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that “42 percent of the cases have occurred in the last month [August] and that the outbreak is ‘completely out of control.’ He further noted that the rate of infection is exponential: ‘The number of cases per unit time is dramatically increasing.’ On 8 September, the WHO warned that the number of new cases in Liberia was increasing exponentially, and would increase by ‘many thousands’ in the following 3 weeks.”
And in mid-September, a German Ebola expert, Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, said that he is losing hope that Sierra Leone and Liberia will get the help they need in time to stop the disease. “The right time to get this epidemic under control in these countries has been missed,” he said. That time was May and June. “Now it will be much more difficult.” He also said the virus will become endemic to that part of the world. Liberia has not taken the same quarantine measures as Sierra Leone.
Consequently, “Ebola-infected people are crisscrossing the capital in shared taxis, looking for a treatment place and returning home after finding none. This way the virus spreads.” If you touch a surface that is infected, you will likely get infected if you then touch your eye, or your mouth, or some other body orifice, or wound.
Schmidt-Chanasit’s statement was controversial, but it nevertheless expresses the dire situation, particularly in Liberia, where the government is completely overwhelmed. When a new Ebola treatment center is opened, it is overflowed with patients. They just can’t keep up with it, let alone get ahead of it.
The separate outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo began when a woman butchered a bush animal that her husband had killed. She sickened and died. A week later several health care workers and others who had come in contact with the woman, not knowing that she had the Ebola virus came down with the disease. Five of the health workers sickened and died also. The disease has spread from there.
Animals that are carriers of the virus, like fruit bats and monkeys, could also spread the disease to the nations surrounding the epidemic area like Cameroon, The Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Gabon, as well as other nations to the East because of their rather vulnerable poor populations living in squalid and unsanitary conditions. According to an Oxford University study, these nations may already have an animal reservoir of the virus. Most of these countries already have existing conditions that are conducive to the virus infecting humans. It may only be a matter of time.
Another potential that could dramatically increase the potency of the virus is if it mutates to a more deadly variety. U.S. President Barak Obama said it “represents a serious national security concern.”
Foreign Policy magazine, the published organ of the Council on Foreign Relations, published an article, which called for yet another globalist organization in the name of fighting dangerous diseases. It called for a new international epidemic response corps that can go straight to a hot zone when needed. Calling it a “medical NATO,” the organization would consist of a coalition of countries that would recruit specialty teams of doctors, nurses, and others to deal with international medical threats.
“The epidemic… is unlikely to spread to the United States in the short term, Obama said on… NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ But if the United States and other countries do not send needed equipment, public health workers and other supplies to the region, that situation could change and the virus could mutate to become more transmissible,” he said. “And then it could be a serious danger to the United States.”
Friends, it is the “perfect storm.” And that’s what Tom Frieden of the CDC said. And I quote: “It is inevitable someone will fly from West Africa to the United States with Ebola symptoms.” “We are experiencing here in the United States a perfect-storm health emergency.” Frieden also said the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. raised its emergency operations alert to level 1, the highest possible level.
Even though President Obama said the spread of the disease to the U.S. was unlikely, what happens if the disease went from being an epidemic to a pandemic? What if it did come to the United States, or Europe or other developed nations? What would it look like? Would there be marshal law? Would there be quarantines? Would there be mandatory vaccinations, travel restrictions, and closures of food stores, shopping malls; cancelling of major sporting events and other places where people gather and could infect each other? Would health care workers walk off the job for fear of being infected, like they have done in Africa? Would the hospitals, cities and government infrastructures be equipped to handle the challenges and the social upheaval? Would the panic and fear be any less than in Africa? Would people take matters into their own hands? Would that lead to another level of marshal law? All these things are already happening in Africa.
If the Ebola virus came to America, or Australia or New Zealand, or Europe, the consequences would likely be more complex, stressing the economy perhaps, to the breaking point. Store shelves could easily be empty. City streets would be vacant. Business could come to a grinding halt. Church services and sporting events could be cancelled. Airlines could be grounded or may not have enough passengers to fly their planes. The police and the military would be all over the place with heavy weaponry, military grade equipment and authoritarian mandates. Civil liberties would be suspended. Friends, when these judgments shall fall upon the wicked cities of the West, we can expect this sort of scenario.
While we cannot answer all these questions with clear certainty, make no mistake about it, the logistics and procedures for these things are already in place. Is it any wonder that God has warned us to live away from the cities? They are traps in a number of different ways. To live in a large city would be a mistake. It is in the large cities where the chance of infection during such a pestilence is greatest. The cities are the places where restrictions, loss of rights and liberties, lockdown and quarantines would be the strongest. Militarized police would likely be everywhere. We have already seen them used in the Boston lockdown and the Ferguson, MO confrontations. Control of your movements would be powerful. If trucks cannot or if truckers refuse to bring food into cities, how soon do you think the stores would run out of food as desperate people would clean off the shelves in a hurry? If medicines were limited, how quickly would the hospitals be overwhelmed?
Friends, I don’t know about you, but I see that one thing is clear. The Bible tells us that there will be pestilences in the last days. I don’t think that Jesus words in Matthew 24 were just idle words, nor did they indicate that the pestilences at the end of time would be mild. Ebola kills more than 50% of those infected on average. That’s a very high percentage, and it shows us that it is a very lethal bug. Jesus was very serious, my friends. People who say that we don’t need prophecy, we just need Jesus, are preparing for disaster. Prophecy came from Jesus, for all scripture was written by the inspiration of God. And it is for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come. So, pay attention to Jesus’ words.
Friends, why does God permit such a lethal virus? Well, the fact is the issues in the Great Controversy demand that God permit Satan to manifest himself in all his malignity. That way the whole human race will be brought to the point where everyone can make an informed decision. That’s one reason.
Another reason is even more interesting. God wants to demonstrate His power to protect His people in the midst of pandemic. Think about that! It’s big. God is going to allow terrible scourges to fall upon the planet, but His people will be protected. “A thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come neigh thee.”
Do you think that this prophecy is true? Then you can expect to see thousands, even tens of thousands, die close at hand. You can expect to see them in agony and pain. You can expect to see them perish by famine and pestilence. The Ebola virus is only a foretaste of what is to come, my friends.
“Only with thine eyes, shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”
Not only will you see it on the news, but you will see it firsthand. Do you hear these things from most church pulpits? I’m afraid not. Most preachers will only tell you smooth things. They will tell you all about the sacrifice of Christ, and often at least some of what they say about it is false. But they avoid discussion of these prophetic things as if they are a plague in and of themselves. They don’t want their parishioners to think about what is coming upon the world. They really don’t want them to enquire “what must I do to be saved” and to escape that which is coming upon the world.
Friends, the Ebola pestilence is deadly, but it is not the worst thing that is to come upon the planet. There are more terrible scourges to yet take hold of this planet. We are still living before the close of probation. God’s mercy prevents a more universal impact of such lethal epidemics. Right now, God is giving Satan an opportunity to manifest his malice toward the human race that was made in the image of God. God limits Satan’s power and mixes these things with mercy. He uses them also in His own way to awaken souls to their danger and appeal to them to turn to Christ.
But a time is coming, just after the close of probation, when God will pour out His own judgments upon the earth. And these will be unmixed with mercy.
Listen to this statement from the book The Great Controversy, page 627-628. “When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (Revelation 14:9, 10), will be poured out. The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgments, which are to fall upon the world just before the final deliverance of God’s people… These plagues are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off. Yet they will be the most awful scourges that have ever been known to mortals. All the judgments upon men, prior to the close of probation, have been mingled with mercy. The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment, wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy.”
So, you see, there are worse things to come. You can read about the seven last plagues in Revelation 16. Maybe someday, I will prepare a message on this topic. But today I have a question for you. Are you in the secret place of the Most High? Are you living by God’s law and under His protection? Have you turned on Satan with enmity and put all sin out of your life and yielded to the control of Jesus? I hope so. You must be if you want to survive the coming plagues and pestilences.
Now listen to this final devastating paragraph from God’s messenger.
“In that day, multitudes will desire the shelter of God’s mercy which they have so long despised. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:11, 12
Friends, I don’t want to be left without the mercy of God, do you? The good news about Ebola is that if you are under the shadow of the almighty, it will not cause you to fear.
Not only has God given us spiritual instructions about how to avoid the deadly plagues that will attack the planet. But He has also mercifully given us practical physical things we can do when there is a pestilence. These instructions are as important as the spiritual ones. He has provided guidelines for survival. If you follow His counsel and His guidelines, you will much more likely survive, and if you are in His secret place, He will protect you.
So, what can you do in practical ways to minimize your chance of contracting Ebola should it come to your country? There are some extra precautions that you can take. First, personal hygiene is very important. Always wash your hands before touching your eyes, mouth or an open wound on your body or that of someone else. Also, it is a good idea to wash your hands after touching a contaminated surface, or a surface you are not sure is clean.
Secondly, build up your immune system now, so that if there should be the Ebola virus you have the best chance of fighting it off. Build up your immune system with immune boosters and also follow the eight laws of health. Get proper nutrition through a plant based diet. Eat lots of fresh food, like salads, fresh vegetables and fruits in their natural state as much as possible. Avoid all animal, fowl or fish products, as well as refined sugars, and minimize processed fats. Take daily exercise; at least 30-45 minutes of vigorous exercise like power walking outdoors in the fresh air, going up and down hills, if possible. Drink lots of water, perhaps 16 or more glasses a day. Get at least 20-30 minutes of daily sunshine for vitamin D, and if you are deficient in vitamin D, use a supplement. Vitamin D has anti-viral qualities. Avoid all caffeine, alcohol, and find out how you can minimize any drugs or prescription medications, as they all have side effects. Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
These are the basics. Beyond that, read up on natural plants and foods that has anti-viral qualities. Take lots of garlic in your meals, for instance. Drink lemon water daily. Blend up greens like Kale, stinging nettle, dandelion and a host of other greens as a smoothie and drink it each day. There are many other things you can do. Just do a little research online. You’ll find many relevant websites that can help you build up your body and your immune system.
Friends, we are living in an immuno-suppressant environment with GMOs, toxic chemicals everywhere including in the food we eat. But you have the blueprint for perfect health. You just need to use the tools that will save your life. This is not the first epidemic or pandemic to arise on the planet and it will probably not be the last. The medical world is obsessively focused on vaccines. But God has given natural things that can defeat these viruses. Educate yourself on these things. They may come in handy one day.
Also, in an outbreak, hospitals can become the death centers, unless they have very high-end isolation rooms, equipment and procedures. In Africa, it was the health workers, like nurses and doctors that caught the disease and spread it. Some of them got sick even when they were fully protected in body suits. Many who got sick have died. By the way, vaccines often have serious side effects.
Friends, Jesus said that the Ebola plague is only the beginning of sorrows. The seven last plagues are the climax of sorrows, aren’t they? There can be nothing worse than being under a plague without the mercy of God. So, as we close let me share with you a couple of key statements about the times in which we live.
“The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude. The agencies of evil are combining their forces, and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.” That’s Testimonies for the Church,
Vol. 9, p. 11.
“Transgression has almost reached its limit. Confusion fills the world, and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. We who know the truth should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.” That’s Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 28.
May God help you to be under His protection and the shadow of the Almighty. Let us pray. Our Father in heaven, thank You for revealing the prophecies of the future in Your holy scripture. They help us understand our times. May we be faithful to obey Your counsel and live by the Ten Commandments. May Jesus rule in our hearts and may His love shield and protect us from Ebola and every other lethal pestilence that is to come. Please fulfill Your promise to protect Your people from those things that will befall the wicked. May our relationship with Jesus be full, mature and complete. In Jesus’ name, amen.