The Taraba State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev Dr. Isaiah Jirapye, has denied speculations that the COVID 19 shutdown is a ploy by the devil to destroy the church. Rev Dr Jirapye said this while speaking with journalists in his Jalingo office recently.
While emphasizing that the closure of the church is not the handiwork of the devil, he urged Christians to be up and doing and not to neglect the instructions given by the government to curtail the pandemic.
“Historically it has been said that every turn of a century there’s always an outbreak or flu. In 1720 historians told us that there was this Spanish flu that killed thousands. In 1820 also there was another flu that came and affected many lives and in 1920 they said another one happened and now in 2020. Even in between the period of centuries till now there have been outbreaks, the recent Ebola that came and gone and other things that happened. It is said that this corona virus popularly known as Covid 19 has hit the world so bad that human relationships have gone down, world economies have collapsed, people are spending on preventive measures and nobody is allowed to go anywhere.
You can see that countries that have big airports flying thousands of planes every week is completely shut down, that is a huge loss in the economy. And Nigeria is not exempted, because Nigeria is part of the world. It has affected the church also in terms of fellowship and other wise because Christianity is all about fellowship, worshipping together, assisting each other and looking into the plights of each other and praying for each other. These things are not allowed even though some aspects are allowed, you can still pray for me and I can pray for you in our closets but coming together to encourage each other is hard. But we keep encouraging our members that it should not affect our relationships with God because spirituality is about your relationship with God”. He said.
DrJirapye further admonished Christians to desist from basing their attention on beliefs that are not factual. On another speculation by some believers that the pandemic is associated with the end time and 666, the clergy man said:
“You know scientists have told us that viruses are not created by God, they are manipulated by men, trying to test some things in the lives of humans and that developed into a virus and became an epidemic then a pandemic. And you know, based on these things, a lot of things have happened. This corona virus according to what people are saying is that, it came out of this 5G network that is been tested. And when you look at this 5G network critically, scientists say it is ten times faster and stronger than the 4G network and based on that, it is a preparatory ground for the new world order which will be governed by one government.
Now if everyone is controlled by the 5G network, it means everything about you is known. You can not 100 percent rule out that the speculations are lies, but because we have not seen the manifestation we cannot say that it is true or it’s a lie. What I have to say on this is that, no man and no scientific development is bigger than the God that created the heavens and earth. What I want to say is that people should hold on to their faith, study the word and believe, particularly on this Good Friday. We believe that Jesus came, died and was buried then he resurrected, people should focus on God because whatever God says comes to pass. Whatever He says comes to pass and whatever He doesn’t say will not happen” He stated.
Responding to some Christians complaints that the measures taken by Government in closing down of churches are drastic, considering that virus had not yet entered in the state, the chairman said it was a decision reached between the church and government.
“We had to sit and discuss with the government and reach an understanding. The government in her magnanimity said if we promise to maintain social distance and try to educate the people very well then you may go ahead but try to worship under a conducive atmosphere and keep to the rules and regulations.
“In the Bible, in the book of Ezekiel, God said to Ezekiel, if danger is ahead and I show you the sign you must blow the trumpet, if you don’t and anyone dies of the danger, I will seek their bloods on your hands. So I will be a stupid leader if I urge the government to act anyhow, it better to keep the people safe at home and after a while come back to worship than bring them together without counting the costs first.”
Rev Jirapye also made it clear that this self isolation and lock down is not a device of the government to stop believers from worshipping as some have speculated. It is for nothing but the safety of the citizens.
”My position is very strong on this, the government should keep doing her best and the church should also stand and do their part. We all should support the government on this because I don’t see as others see it that the devil is trying to use this to close the church. It is a statement of ignorance from my perspective. It is better for us to be alive because it is not everyone that contacts this disease that dies that is in good standing with God, so how do I account for those lives if I am a careless leader because as a shepherd, every life of the sheep is entrusted to you”. He said.
Report by Christiana Babayo