Isn’t it amazing how so much of our world has changed so dramatically, almost overnight? How the new normal has suddenly replaced the old normal? How everything is in a state of flux? All this makes us realize how some predicted scenarios that seemed outlandish yesterday don’t seem that farfetched today.
As a kid, I remember watching the sci-fi classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” As described on Wikipedia, “The film's storyline involves a humanoid alien visitor named Klaatu that comes to Earth, accompanied by a powerful eight-foot tall robot, Gort, to deliver an important message that will affect the entire human race.”
Yes, those were the names, and this was the plot. Yet, “In 1995, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’.” (As I understand it, the 2008 remake did not have the appeal of the original.)
Klaatu has an interplanetary message for earth, which has developed weapons of mass destruction: “Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer.”
And to underscore this message, the aliens freeze life on planet earth for a day. Everything comes to a standstill.
Obviously, we are not at that point today. (I don’t mean with aliens like Klaatu and Gort; I mean with a total standstill.) But there is no denying that we are living in unprecedented times, with leaders in America and Israel discouraging gatherings of more than 10 people, and almost everything else is on hold.
Pastor and evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne had this to say about the crisis. Whether or not you agree with his larger, conspiratorial perspective, what he writes is striking:
“I talked about what is coming, more than ten years. The people in our church are ready for this. Therefore, nothing of what is happening now is a surprise to me. Every god of America has fallen – sports have fallen, Hollywood has fallen, television shows canceled. Even the god of some mega churches fell, these churches are empty today. I have warned for years that churches will disappear in one night.”
He continues, “I hold in my hands the Rockefeller organization document, which was published in 2010. Here is the script that we met today. What is happening now is not an accident; everything was planned. Bill Gates talked about the pandemic four years ago. The document is called ‘Scenario for Future Technology and International Development,’ 53 pages. It says here that the result of this scenario will be: ‘20 percent of the world's population will be infected. People’s mobility will be blocked, airports will be closed. Sports events will be canceled, shops closed, theaters closed, churches astounded. A pandemic will produce shortages, including disinfectants and toilet paper. If people refuse the vaccine, they will not be allowed to travel. Political assemblies will be illegal, public protests will be banned. Martial law will be introduced and the new global control system will come into effect. People around the world will be open to sharing their security rights.’”
And then this: “What is written in the book of Revelation is printed. Globalists lead us to a single government, a single monetary system and the coming of antichrist. And I believe that God raised Trump to suspend it.”
Again, whether or not you accept Howard-Browne’s larger concerns about the emergence of a one-world government as a result of the pandemic, it’s easy to see how something like this could happen. In fact, it’s far easier to imagine something like this now than it was one month ago. Everything has shifted on a dime.
From distant reports of a virus in Wuhan to no sports events. To schools closing. Restaurants closing. Thousands of flights being cancelled. Nations closing their borders. Public gatherings prohibited. Weddings postponed. Massive crashes in the stock markets. Hundreds of millions of people wondering how they are going to be able to pay their bills. On and on and it goes. And, to repeat, it happened virtually overnight.
There are several things we can learn from this.
First, nothing is guaranteed in this world. Not our next breath. Not the future of a nation. Everything can be shaken. One day we’re thinking about what sports event to watch. The next day we’re wondering about how to feed our families. Or how to care for our elderly sick.
Second, God can suddenly get the attention of the world. People who never thought of praying will start to pray. Carnal concerns will be replaced by eternal issues. Life and death questions will be asked.
Third, it does not take much to change the international order, with one nation rising and another collapsing. The balance of power could shift. Economic trends could be reversed.
Fourth, we can more easily envision the day when the world will have to choose between the true Christ and the Antichrist. Between God’s order and the world’s order. Between Spirit and flesh. Really now, if the coronavirus could bring about such rapid change around the world, what of a much more serious crisis?
Personally, I expect life to go “back to normal” in the not too distant future. (This is not a prophecy; it is my personal opinion.)
But I do believe we need to do some serious reflecting in the midst of the crisis – and learn some serious lessons.
“Normal life” may return for America and the nations. But God’s people should give careful thought to their ways, being determined more than ever to live lives that make sense in the light of eternity.
Like Klaatu and Gort in the sci-fi classic, the Lord is getting our attention.