The Numerical Elephant in the Room
By Sam Nadler
When we think of the threat of a pandemic, it’s all about the numbers. At this point, about one million people (that we know of) have contracted Covid-19, and over 50,000 (that we know of) have died in 3 months, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. And the global number may possibly reach 1,000,000 deaths before it’s all over. It’s an awful tragedy.
But numerically speaking, ordinarily, there are about 58 million deaths per year, or about 159,000 deaths per day. Per day. About 100,000 or so, per day, are age related.
Within that daily global death rate, every day, almost 3,700 people are killed globally in traffic accidents, or 1,350,500 people per year.
Also, within that daily death rate, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people per year, globally. That’s about 1600 to 3500 per day during the 6 month flu season. This season, CDC estimates that, as of mid-March, between 29,000 and 59,000 have died, due to influenza illnesses in the US.
Within the daily death rate, WHO states that Ischaemic heart disease and stroke account for a combined 15.2 million deaths in 2016, or 41,643 per day and are the world’s biggest killers. But that’s not true. For the global death rate does not include worldwide abortions, which are about 45,625,000 a year or 125,000 per day. Per day. In the US, there are over 3,000 abortions per day. Per day.
If Covid-19 kills a million people, it is an awful tragedy, but just one more awful tragedy. The fact is, people die. That’s the real threat that people fear, death. Covid-19 is just the most recent expression of the pandemic of death, and it is death itself that truly frightens humanity. People fear death. And it’s the fear of death that manifests itself in every other phobia and dread that people have. But why do people fear death?
People fear death, first, because of the cause of death, and then, secondly, because of the consequence of death.
First, the cause of death is sin. Before death entered the human equation, God had warned Adam about the consequences of disobedience, “the day you eat of it, you will die” (Genesis 2:16). And so, the New Covenant teaches “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Sin causes death; illnesses, etc are just the symptoms of sin, the real cause of death is sin. And since all people sin, when they sin, it’s the death knell in their soul –which people try to drown out with every distraction and substitute for God they can find. But to no avail, for created in God’s image, we each have “eternity in our hearts” (Ecc 3:11), which makes death such a dread for the human soul. So, people understandably fear death.
But it’s not just the sinful cause of death that causes fear, there’s also the great fear of death’s awful consequences.
The consequence of death is divine judgment. Because of “the day of judgment” …”fear involves punishment” (1 John 4:17-18), and so people fear death’s consequences – punishing judgment for their sins. Yeshua emphasized that the details we try to ignore and take for granted because of sin’s ordinariness, will become dreadful chickens that come to roost: “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).
“But,” some may vainly hope, “isn’t physical death the judgment and punishment?” No, regrettably, no. For the Scriptures are clear, “There is appointed unto people once to die, then comes the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). One’s physical death is just a doorway to their eternal judgment for their sins. This is why there is such a fear of death throughout humanity, for death is certain and so is divine judgment.
But there is hope for humanity. For God, being rich in mercy, because of His eternal love by which He loves us, threw us a life preserver, and only one life preserver –Yeshua the Messiah who died for our sins, who took our judgment upon Himself. So that by our simple faith in Yeshua and what He did for us –and by no works of our own–we are saved, forgiven, and fully accepted into God’s family as His children! For every believer in Yeshua “has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). For all believers in Messiah, the fear of death is no more! That fear which has kept humanity in bondage is over –for Yeshua came to set the captives free! We have new life, and so, “to live is Messiah and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Gain? GAIN! For when we physically die, we go immediately into the presence of the Living God, for believers “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Believers are fearless and panic free because we will be “confident in the day of judgment” (1 John 4:17) and His perfect love casts out all fear. But we’re not cavalier or foolish and we still take precautions –we wash our hands, we lock our doors, and we drive carefully. We are not fearful, but confident in the Lord. And as such, we are God’s living light bulbs in the world’s darkness of dread. We have Good News, great news and glorious news to share with all with ears to hear –Messiah has come, and there’s new life in Yeshua! Believe on Yeshua and be delivered from “the domain of darkness and be transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son! Have faith, not fear!