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COVID-19 Church lockdown & reopening guidelines:Signs of the Antichrist?



By Prophet Ade Ologbonyo


The term Antichrist can be found in the epistles of John (1 John 2:18,22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7).

He is the one who opposes Christ and thus God.


The antichrist is an eschatological (end times) person who will appear and deceive countless people when the time of Christ's return is very near.


Furthermore, the antichrist is associated with Satan and will be aided by demonic forces in his unholy movement against God and in his attempt to rule the nations of the world.


Most scholars agree that the antichrist will claim to be God, rule many nations and bring the world to the brink of destruction.


The outbreak of Corona virus otherwise known as COVID-19 in Wuhan, China and its spread across various nations including Nigeria tends to show that the coming of the Lord is near considering the reference points in the Bible.


Towards the end of March 2020, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced a total lockdown of churches, mosques, markets, schools, offices and other sectors, leaving only those it termed essential workers to operate.


Few months later, market places and some sectors were directed to reopen, leaving the places of worship under lock and key.


The auditoriums of most churches are empty and their gates are shut as they are forced to observe a government ban on large gatherings to halt the spread of corona virus.


Going by the effects of COVID-19 and its guidelines, there are some questions we need to ask ourselves.


Why is it that the various places of worship are still lockdown? or Does government have any ulterior motive against religious bodies or the body of Christ in particular?


If we talk about large gatherings as one of the sources where corona virus can be spread through person-to-person contact, then, why are most markets open without strict rules to avoid the spread of this scourge?


Which one has more population density?

The church or  crowded markets?


All these questions need to be answered.


Places of Worship

A place of worship is a specially designed structure or consecrated space where individuals or a group of people such as a congregation come to perform acts of devotion, veneration, or religious study.

Temples, churches, synagogues and mosques are examples of structures created for worship.

Under the Nigerian Constitution, there are laws and policies that protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally respects religious freedom.

But now, reverse seems to be the case especially since the corona virus pandemic outbreak, as our government has not demonstrated any disposition towards the protection of the citizens’ right to religious freedom.

Now that government has announced the re-opening of churches, we are glad.

While religious leaders welcome rules of re-opening such as the fumigation of church premises, placement of water base in front of the worship centres and temperature test for all participants, NCDC has also barred children, and people aged 60 and above from attending worship centres for the time being.

It is also said that public toilets and sales outlets in churches and mosques must be shut during services.

The centre (NCDC) has also said that during services, windows and doors must be opened to enable ventilation, while adequate provision should be made for soaps, running water and hand sanitisers at entry points.

But the introduction of levies, issuance of certificates to churches, monitoring hours of worship, call for concern.

It is disheartening to say that the places of worship where
those in the position of authority run to whenever there is problem in the country or when the nation is is in crises have now turned to places to be controlled by human law, thereby placing human laws above God's instructions.

The Church of God intercedes for the nation.

My position on the above is not only affecting worshippers in Nigeria, but in most other countries.


END TIME SIGNS?

These are troubling times, with occurrences & happenings seemingly targeted against the body of Christ across the globe.

For example, in Russia, President Vladimir Putin has banned any form of religion.

A new law was signed last week by President Putin stating that:

1) Foreign guests are not permitted to speak in churches unless they have a "work permit" from Russian authorities.

2) If a friend or relative from outside Russia wishes to share his/her faith in your home the guest will be fined and expelled from Russia.

3) Any discussion of God with non-believers is considered missionary activity and will be punishable.

4) Missionary activities will be permitted by special government permission.

Example: If one travelling on a train shares his faith without written permission, the offender will be taken into police custody for the duration of the journey and will be fined 50,000 rubles ($1,000).

Offenders from the age of 14-years-old will be subject to prosecution.

5) Religious activity is no longer permitted in private homes. Most churches in Russia meet in homes.

6) Every citizen is obligated to report religious activity of neighbors to the authorities. Failure to be an informant is punishable by law.

7) One may pray and read the Bible at home but not in the presence of a non-believing person. You will be breaking the law and be punished.

8) If the church has purchased property, it cannot be converted into a place of worship.

9) In church buildings, it is not permitted to invite people to turn to God. Worship services are permitted but making a non-believer a follower of Christ is against the law.

I forsee this kind of anti Christ law in Nigeria if the religious leaders accept all the levies, issuance of certificate and sending government agencies to monitor religious activities.


Back to Nigeria

The Federal Government few weeks back through the Secretary to Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced the reopening of mosques and churches two months after they were shut down in a bid to halt the spread of corona virus in the country.

This followed several calls from the various religious bodies and leaders for the reopening of the worship centers.

My concern was the clause placed before any church or mosque could be reopened.

Ahead of the announcement for reopening of religious centres in Lagos, from June 17 and 21, 2020, government issued a caveat that churches and mosques whose attendees fail on Sundays and Fridays to wear facemasks to services would be closed down.

The government has also prohibited parents from taking their infants to religious gatherings, warning that the flouting of this directive would attract sanctions against such parents.

It is also expected that worshippers would observe the standard two metres social distancing protocol from each other while seated in the church or mosque.

Are all these directives being observed in other places like markets, marriage ceremonies and burials?

Let’s take for an example, the burial of the former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu, Abba Kyari, at which there was no social distancing, neither was it observed during that of Late Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

Come to think of it, the current Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) who Nigerians believe understands law and practice aside from the fact that he is part of government did not keep to the COVID-19 policy.

It was learnt that Malami bought a multimillion naira mansion for his newly married son.

Guests flouted the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines during the recent lavished wedding ceremony.

The video has gone viral for attestation.

Despite breaking the law in these regards, even as the Nigeria Chief law officer, findings by Sahara Reporters showed that  the second leg of the wedding which held in Kano disregarded the NCDC guidelines.

In a video, guests of the Attorney General were seen dancing and communicating close to each other without wearing facemasks while spraying parcels of US dollars and Nigeria currency notes on the newly wedded couple.

We are in a country, where some people are above the law; where law makers and interpreters break the law with the confidence that nobody can query them.

Let us pray against such evil statutes.

🚩The devil is working very hard to occupy Christians with the things of this world so that the day will catch them unawares.

"IN MOST OTHER COUNTRIES WHERE CORONA VIRUS IS ACTIVE, SCHOOLS HAD BEEN REOPENED, BUT REVERSE IS THE CASE IN NIGERIA"
"LEGISLATORS  GET HUGE MONTHLY ALLOWANCES, BUY SUV CARS FOR THEMSELVES, BUT CANNOT FIGHT FOR FUTURE LEADERS, THEREBY WASTING THE DESTINY OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE".

Which way Nigeria? 

Where are we going? 

Proprietors and proprietress and their workers have been at home for four months fasting and praying.

Does government at all levels have consideration for them financially?

Let us turn to God in humility and pray for the forgiveness of our sins.

Government offices had been opened for more than two weeks and Corona virus respects the workers.

Lord have mercy on us!

🚩-----The write up the opinion view of Prophet Ade Ologbonyo, Planter, Christ Apostolic Church, Church of the Boanerges)

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