Atono Tsukrü Kense
Kohima | February 16
Since the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in Nagaland on January 14, 2021, vaccine hesitancy remains persistent due to misinformation, rumours, misconceptions and conspiracy theories surrounding the vaccine.
To make matters worse, claimed “visions and prophecies” about the COVID-19 vaccine make state health department efforts more daunting and difficult. All of these conflicting views between religious beliefs and medical science have created confusion, especially among “gullible” people.
Previously, the vaccine was also labeled as “the mark of the beast”, resulting in vaccine hesitancy, which Church leaders dismissed as “baseless and biblically unacceptable”. Time and time again, medical professionals have assured that the vaccine is safe and effective against the coronavirus.
Recently, a video clip of “claimed prophecy” proclaimed during a crusade has been widely circulated on social media platforms, garnering both positive and negative feedback. Roughly translated, the speaker can be heard saying “many preach after being vaccinated but they will not enter the gates of heaven…even if they preach holding the Bible, they will be the first to go to hell. This is a clear vision from God for me.
“We play with God”
Condemning the prophecy (not the person), Reverend Dr Zelhou Keyho, general secretary of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), told the Morung Express: “We are playing with God and Christianity. It is wrong. I won’t judge other people’s spirituality, but we can’t play with God.
Stating that vaccination has nothing to do with salvation, he said “not all prophecy is true and not all is false”, adding that prophecy must be verified, questioned and its authenticity must be tested. researched through consultations.
“Innocent people are influenced and confused,” he observed, attributing this to the lack of discernment between truth and lies.
“It is very sad that these things come from institutions linked to the Church. We don’t condemn the person, but we condemn the prophecy,” Rev. Keyho said.
Declaring that these kinds of prophecies, visions, etc., are not the end but the beginning towards the end of time; he reminded Christians, “we must pray for a spirit/power of discernment. We must keep our faith and stand firm on the word of God.
Salvation, he repeated, “is based on the work, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and not on nothing. We should not make Christ’s work on the cross meaningless.
“Dangerous trends but nothing surprising”
The executive director of the Angami Baptist Church Council (ABCC), Reverend Dr Atsi Dolie, dismissed the prophecy as “absolutely insane”. I don’t know the right words to say, but this is absolutely not from God.
Affirming that salvation belongs only to God, he said: “I don’t think the grace that God has given through Christ can be taken away by a vaccine. In clear terms, I would like to condemn prophecy.
Attributing the false prophecies to lack of in-depth biblical knowledge, Reverend Dolie also explained that “people don’t question when someone claims to have heard something from God because it’s a very subjective experience.”
Describing this as “very dangerous trends but nothing surprising”, he advised “the point is that we have to test whether this is Scriptural”.
“We can’t stop people from saying things, even worse things will come, but what we can do on our side is if we know our Bible well, we can test and measure in the light of the scriptures. “, Reverend Dolie said.
“Any prophecy that is against the Bible is absolutely not from God. The Bible is the word of God, and God will never say anything that contradicts what he said in his word. The Bible is the best book to analyze all this. The reason I am so vocal and firm is that it does not come close to any of the teaching scriptures when we talk about salvation,” he commented.
“Vaccination is undisputed for all preventive aspects”
Infuriated by the misconceptions since the start of COVID vaccinations, State Immunization Officer (SIO) Dr. Ritu Thurr said that “medically speaking, vaccination is unchallenged for all preventative aspects.”
Reiterating that there is scientific evidence that the vaccine is the only tool that can prevent or mitigate COVID infection, he said “it’s not just the COVID vaccine but the routine vaccination for BCG, polio, etc. that the vaccine is the only tool for preventing infection, morbidity and mortality.”
Angered by the negative contributions from many quarters that have made the department’s efforts more difficult from the start, Dr. Thurr admitted that “vaccination is declining because of these factors. People, especially in rural areas, simply believe what they are told without any factual findings or evidence. We are very superficial by jumping right off into believing something without checking.
He informed that 86% of COVID-related deaths were among the unvaccinated while the rest had comorbid conditions.
“If there is a link between vaccination and salvation, I would be the first to go to hell because I was vaccinated,” they all pointed out.