Tithe-paying, Bible-believing, Holy Spirit-filled Christians have a Psalm 91 “protection policy” against COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, according to New Zealand's popular multi-campus Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki.
Speaking to his congregation in Auckland on Sunday, Tamaki said God allows "epidemics, pestilence and famine" when people have departed from faith in Him. But for Bible-believing, born-again Christians who pay their tithes, God assures them protection from the virus in Psalm 91.
“This latest coronavirus is a little round thing like a tennis ball with little spikes. It has to get to the lungs this one. It’s what makes it so dangerous. Gets on the lungs and then begins to mutate the cells in your lungs and eats it away, OK. No problems. It’s a bit like the last one they had, it was the SARS, were all related to the respiratory system,” Tamaki explained in his sermon streamed on the church’s website.
"You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday,” he said, reading from Psalm 91. "We needn't fear it. There is a lot of hysteria that has been engendered by certain elements about this pandemic," he said.
Tamaki claimed that because viruses travel through the air controlled by “satanic spirits” that energized their spreading, only Christians covered by God can avoid being affected by the virus.
“The prince of the power of the air, Satan, has control of atmospheres, unless you’re a blood-bought born-again, Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, Holy Ghost-filled, tithe-paying believer. You are the only one that can walk through atmospheres and has a, literally a protection — the Psalm 91 protection policy around you,” Tamaki said. “I don’t care if you don’t believe it. It’s all right. I’m just giving you so you understand.
The Rev. Helen Jacobi, vicar at central Auckland's St Matthew-in-the-City, told the New Zealand Herald that Tamaki’s advice is "incredibly unsafe."
"People should be following public health advice. I think it is very dangerous and wrong for any public leader to contravene that. Certainly in the Anglican Church we have been sharing the message to follow public health advice, and we follow it in our own gatherings. It is also quite offensive, saying his followers are safe and no-one else, which is the absolute opposite of the Christian belief,” she said.
The vicar further challenged the use of Psalm 91 as Tamaki’s protection policy since it was used by "the devil" to tempt Jesus.
"It is very amusing he has chosen that psalm, given it was used by 'the devil' to test Jesus," Jacobi said.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said Tuesday that public health officials are now operating in "uncharted territory" in seeking to stem the coronavirus which had infected more than 90,000 people across 73 countries and territories as of Monday evening, CNN reported.
"We have never before seen a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission, but which can also be contained with the right measures," Ghebreyesus said.
While it hasn’t yet called the coronavirus a global pandemic, the WHO warned it could make that call in the near future.
To date, there have been 172 deaths reported outside mainland China, raising the global death toll from the virus, which has spread to every continent except Antarctica, to 3,115.
Epidemics of the virus in Iran, Italy and South Korea show no signs of slowing even as governments work to devise plans to combat the pathogen without causing widespread social disruption and economic upheaval, The New York Times reported Tuesday. There are also now more than 100 confirmed cases in 15 states and six deaths linked to the virus in the United States.
The Christian Post recently highlighted several ways Christians can make sense of the virus.