The American Pastors Network hosted End Times author William Koenig on its “Stand in the Gap” radio program last week, during which Koenig claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic is God’s judgment and message to the world to stop pressuring Israel to give up land as part of a peace deal. As Right Wing Watch reported, Koenig delivered a similar message on End Times pastor Jim Bakker’s television show on Apr. 8.
Koenig is author of “Eye to Eye: Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel,” which documents what he claims are 127 events that happened to the U.S. within 24 hours of American presidents applying pressure on Israel to “divide their covenant land.” Among the disasters he cites are Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terrorist attack, which Koenig said God did not produce but neither did he choose to stop.
APN’s Sam Rohrer said that the news covers the what and how of the coronavirus’ spread but that he wanted to explore the why. “Now, for the secular globalist, the coronavirus becomes an event to tie into some globalist agenda item like climate change or to blame it on capitalism and then seek greater totalitarian governmental control of life and living,” Rohrer said. But he said those who share his “biblical worldview” should have a different take on the crisis:
Yet from a biblical worldview perspective, we should ask, ‘Could this event and others be occurring as a result of God?’ And God speaking to the world and thereby truly answering, at least in part, the ‘why’ this is happening? Is it possible that the coronavirus and the unfolding economic damage that’s being done not only here in the United States but worldwide is the consequence of some major decision that God has clearly warned about and previously responded to, which can be demonstrated by other examples?
Rohrer said Koenig’s book makes clear that “every time a major world leader—most of them being American presidents but not limited there—but whenever they have attempted to divide the land of Israel as promised to Abraham, that that nation almost immediately received a spiritual and physical spanking as I’m going to call it, judgment [of] some type that primarily has occurred through hurricanes, tornadoes, or other things.”
Coming to the current crisis, Koenig connected the COVID-19 pandemic to the Jan. 28 introduction of the Trump administration’s peace plan, which he said “superimposes the covenant map of Genesis 15:18, which defines the boundary.” It may be true, he said, that Trump has been the most pro-Israel president in history, but the public presentation of that map invited divine judgment. Within 40 minutes of the map’s release, said Koenig, an earthquake shook the Miami financial district.
Koenig said that in late February, members of Trump’s team were in Israel to map out more specifically which parts of the West Bank—which Koenig called Judea and Samaria—would be ceded to Palestinian control, and the result was a disastrous week for the stock market. Noting that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had supported Trump’s plan, Koenig pointed out that Israel is shut down for Passover.
Rohrer’s co-host Dave Kistler wanted to know where the defiance of God’s moral law might fit in with the pandemic. Koenig replied that in addition to the judgment “against the nations” over efforts to divide Israel, the pandemic is also “a judgment, a plague that’s come against this world that is denying him, denying Jesus, and following false gods and false prophets, etc., etc.”
Rohrer summarized God’s messages this way: “Don’t divide Israel, don’t oppose Israel, and don’t disobey my plans for Israel or my moral law, because judgment will come.”
Rohrer also asked Koenig to comment on how the pandemic plays into God’s plans for the End Times. Koenig replied that biblical prophecy is unfolding before our eyes.
Many religious-right leaders share Koenig’s belief that any peace plan that involves Israel giving control of any land to a Palestinian state violates God’s will and invites divine wrath. And Jerusalem and Israel play a central role in many evangelicals’ End Times theology.
Last year, when a group of Trump-supporting conservative Christian leaders were invited to the White House for a briefing on the administration’s yet-to-be-released efforts to create a peace plan, Lance Wallnau posted a video urging his followers to pray against any land-for-peace deal and “pray that the president hears the evangelical voices.” Wallnau said, “Every time a president has taken something away form Israel, the judgment of God inevitably calls down.”
Another of Trump’s biggest evangelical boosters, Robert Jeffress, said in 2016 that “God will judge any nation that divides the land that God gave to Israel.” A decade earlier, televangelist Pat Robertson claimed that then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke and the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a decade earlier were divine punishment for “dividing God’s land.”