1. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
2. “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
3. “And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, ‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.” Isaiah 4:1
4. Anything in Daniel, Matthew 24, or Revelation.
If you have followed me so far, you might be thinking to yourself, what do each of the four numbers have to do with each other or with anything. They seem rather random side by side. And yet I have seen variations of these types of things all over the internet in the last several weeks.
I want to warn you to avoid taking Scripture out of context. Each of these are an example of how Scripture is taken out of its original context and made to say something it doesn’t say. Or applied to our current day in a way in which it was never meant to apply.
Number 1 is my favorite out of context verse. It is the go-to verse for Christian graduation cards and yet has nothing to do with graduates or God’s plans for our welfare and future and no evil regarding a coronavirus. This was Jeremiah’s letter written to the exiles who were in Babylon and he was telling them to settle in. Plant gardens. Have sons and daughters. Does God know everything about us, and has He numbered our days? Yes. Does God look out for His people? Yes. But this verse is not about us.
Number 2 is always pulled out during times of national crisis. Yet in its context these are words from God to Solomon after he finished building and dedicating the temple. Words which were given to the people of Israel as a Theocracy not to 21stcentury America. Now does God hear our prayers as Christians when we pray to Him? Yes. And nations do rise and fall according to God’s will. And it is always good to remind people to pray. But this is not a promise to us that God will save America if Christians repent of sins.
Number 3 reflects some of the strangest out of context things I have seen in the last couple of weeks. Today is April first. April is the forth month and it is the first day so look at what Isaiah 4:1 says. It must apply to this coronavirus situation. This must mean that so many men are going to die that women will want to embrace polygamy. That sounds really silly but there have been many things like this where God’s word is treated like a rolling of the dice and that’s not good. It is a misuse of Scripture.
Number 4 also comes along with every calamity that happens. The coronavirus is not mentioned in Scripture. This is not the end of the world. This is not a sign of something about Jesus’ return. I have seen untold stories and comments regarding this. Among them: Vaccines will be implanted like computer chips. It must be the mark of the Beast. Or any of the stories about there being a slaughtered Passover lamb in Israel this year or talk of a rebuilt temple. As we studied in the book of Hebrews any animal sacrifice in Israel would not be any sign of anything Scriptural and would instead be an affront to God and another rejection of His Son who offered Himself as a sacrifice once for all.
I encourage you to go back and listen to our Sunday School lessons on the Olivet Discourse from Matthew 24 as a reminder that much of what we may have been taught about signs of the end are not really signs of the end but a prophecy regarding the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
(Since I wrote this there was a large earthquake in Idaho yesterday. No that is not a sign of the end from the Gospels.)
Here are the links:
I’m not sure that is the entire chapter, but you will get the idea of not projecting things as the end of the world when looking at Scripture in its context.
One other article I highly recommend is from Gary DeMar regarding a third temple being rebuilt:
Let us continue to be good students of Scripture by keeping the Bible in the context in which it is written. It has a lot to say about hope and faith and perseverance and it can give us great encouragement in difficult times. Let us not by our mis-handling of God’s Word give anyone an excuse to mock God or Christianity.