Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Dress-Rehearsing for the Apocalypse

Let’s get this straight right off the top: COVID vaccines are not the “mark of the beast”.

Admittedly, government strategies for implementing universal vaccination are similarly coercive. We are not quite yet at the stage where no one can buy or sell without the say-so of Pfizer or Moderna, but depending on where you live, restrictions imposed on the unvaccinated are becoming more than a little onerous. COVID vaccine passports are the hot button issue of the moment, notwithstanding mounting evidence that the science does not support across-the-board vaccination as a solution to the spread of the virus and its variants.*

So then, if the powers-that-be recognize vaccination will not solve the problem, why are the vaccinations still being pushed so frantically? Reasonable people are curious, to say the least, and less-reasonable people are speculating about a connection to end-times Bible prophecy.

Must I point out the obvious? Sure, why not.

The Right Hand or the Forehead

That mark, mentioned in several passages in Revelation, is explicitly said to be “on the right hand or the forehead”. Everybody I know who has been vaccinated has received an injection in the upper arm. Secondly, those who take the real mark of the beast will open themselves up to the judgment of God. They will drink “the wine of God’s wrath”. Why? Because the mark is the beast’s name and number. Taking it is an act of identification with him and submission to his rule, and every mention of the beast’s mark in Revelation is associated with worship.

The future may hold all kinds of interesting developments, but as of right now, COVID vaccination does not identify those vaccinated with any particular individual or entity. People are getting vaccinated for all sorts of reasons, the vast majority of which are pragmatic. To date, efforts by both Christians and media propagandists to introduce a moral component into the decision-making process have been strained and unconvincing.

So no, this is not that. It’s a dress rehearsal at best. Dress rehearsals should not be confused with Act One, let alone Act Three.

Logically-Indefensible Justifications

All the same, Christians debating being vaccinated have come up with some pretty logically-indefensible justifications for capitulating to the pressures from friends, family, media, government and employers.

For example, “I’m trusting the Lord to protect me from the virus, so I can trust him to protect me from the vaccine.” Now, I don’t doubt for a moment that the Lord can protect anyone from anything if he chooses to do so. But contracting the virus is completely out of our control, while taking the vaccine is a choice. The two things are apples and oranges. My experience is that most of the time the Lord does not protect me from the consequences of ill-advised things I do to myself deliberately.

Then there’s “I just want this thing to be over.” Me too, but since it has now been conceded that the existing vaccines do not protect from infection, transmission or the risk of severe outcomes, it is hard to see how this justification holds up, or how the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks and unpleasant side effects, which seem to increase with the number of jabs. Australia is currently locking down vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens alike, and the differences in privileges allowed the two groups are so trivial as to be not worth mentioning.

Or how about “Getting vaccinated is loving your neighbor”? Sure, assuming the current media narrative about the benefits of vaccination is accurate ... this time. In January 2021, an English barrister calculated that the rules intended to keep UK citizens safe had changed 64 times in 10 months. The truth is that nobody really knows what will work, but each new measure introduced to attempt to manage nature is trotted out in absolute certainty that “This time we’ve got it right.” So, yes, if it turns out universal vaccination really does control the virus or limit its effects significantly, we can argue that getting vaccinated is one way to love our neighbors. If it isn’t, well ... it isn’t. On the other hand, if the vaccines currently in use turn out to have serious negative long-term side effects for even a tiny percentage of the population, it can be argued that promoting them is quite the opposite of loving. Anyone who takes a position confidently on this issue is simply not paying enough attention. The truth is nobody knows what the “most loving” thing to do is.

Have you heard “Not getting vaccinated is a bad testimony” yet? I have. Of course, it’s only a bad testimony to people who are unreasoningly dogmatic about the benefits of universal vaccination. To others, a “wait and see” approach to vaccination may simply be perceived as discerning and responsible. Either way, it’s only an issue if you insist on talking about your vaccination status to everybody you meet, which some Christians haven’t yet realized is not only unnecessary but often counterproductive.

Taking a Position

Almost everyone who has taken a position on vaccination has their reasons. Some reasons are better than others, and we should be seeking out those. But until such time as we have solid factual grounds to believe that the vaccination status of our fellow believers is an incontestably moral issue, the right thing to do about vaccination falls into the apostolic category of “opinions”. We all remember what Paul said not to do about those, right?

Finally, as much as I dislike coercion and government overreach, vaccination is not the mark of the beast.

Not yet anyway.

* Though Israel is currently among the most-vaccinated nations on the planet, its Minister of Health apparently conceded the ineffectiveness of a universal vaccination strategy in a private conversation caught on a hot mic. Since he was speaking Hebrew at the time, I am depending on the following English translation, which may or may not be accurate: “There is no medical or epidemiological justification for the COVID passport, it is only intended to pressure the unvaccinated to vaccinate.” All links to the video of Nitzan Horowitz’s conversation with the Minister of the Interior come from the same original source, now censored by YouTube but archived from Twitter.

Mind you, this was not shocking news to many of us. Data from the Israeli government’s own website shows that over the period from July 4-31, the percentage of confirmed COVID cases among the fully vaccinated in Israel exceeded the percentage of the Israeli population who were fully vaccinated in every age group from 20 to 79. Those stats had been circulating for over a week by the time the Minister made his comment.

No comments :

Post a Comment