A Louisiana pastor has died a day after testing positive of coronavirus. Pastor Ronnie Hampton of New Vision Community Church died just days after telling followers not to be afraid of the virus and reassuring them "my faith has never wavered."
Pastor Hampton posted numerous social media messages in the days before his death, with one even sent from his hospital bed. In the videos he told his followers not to be afraid of the coronavirus.
In a Facebook Live broadcast just a week prior to his death, Pastor Hampton said, "This virus that is out now, look at what it's doing. It's shutting down everything, which means that the physical connection of Christians is being ripped apart."
He added, "We're not able to fellowship. We're not able to love each other. We're not able to greet each other with a handshake or a hug. We're not able to be in close proximity of each other."
"We're not able to break bread, sit down and eat with each other because Caesar is mandating how we conduct ourselves using the pretext of this virus to be able to conduct our lives and run our lives for us," he continued.
The pastor also spoke about various conspiracy theories surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, saying: ""Now, here's a theory. It was brought to my attention that this virus thing, people die from the flu more than they've died from this virus.
"In my opinion, death is death. I don't care what it's by. But I listened and they say well, it's something that's come up. And now everything is being shut down, borders are being closed, and they're gonna come up with a vaccine because they are keeping everybody away from each other just so that they can install martial law."
Pastor Hampton added, "They're gonna come up with a vaccine and in that vaccine everybody is gonna have to take it … and inside of that vaccine there's going to be some type of electronic computer device that's gonna put some type of chip in you and maybe even have some mood, mind-altering circumstances … and they're saying that the chip would be the mark of the beast."
The social media posts also spoke about theories that the coronavirus is a sign of the Last Days. However, the pastor told his followers not to be caught up in the "paranoia" surrounding the virus outbreak.
He said, "My theory is that we've been living in the last days ever since Jesus died on the cross and ascended in Heaven. What I'm saying is basically, keep your spiritual lives in order. Be truthful in your relationship with Jesus. Jesus is not meant for us to be in bondage. He is meant for us to be free and he said he that who the Son set free is free indeed."
He continued: "God didn't make no cowards. God didn't make people to be scared of any kind of circumstance that comes along that'll shake your very foundation, but He will allow you to be able to come to yourself about it just like He did with that prodigal son."
"Don't let no coronavirus steal your praise. Don't let no coronavirus steal your worship. Don't let coronavirus steal your spirit," said the pastor.
In a separate social media post from his hospital bed just three days before his death, Pastor Hampton told his followers that he had been suspected as having the coronavirus. He said, "I'm being treated. I'm in isolation, I'm being treated as a precaution to the coronavirus. And I just couldn't let it get me down."
He added, "I presented to the emergency room Friday afternoon because I had some abdominal pain and I had a chronic cough that caused me some abdominal pain that made me feel like my abdominal wall was being compromised. So I came here for that and they gave me X-rays and found out I had pneumonia in both my lungs."
"I want you to know that my faith has never wavered as far as God's intended purpose for me and for New Vision Community Church," he said.
He said. "I'm optimistic about the outcome of all of this. The paranoia that's based around all of this is so profound that when people hear coronavirus they can't do testing on anything else, they just figure you got it. ...
"I haven't tested positive for the coronavirus and if I do test positive, we do what we gotta do to take care of it."
At the conclusion of the video he said, "I want you to know that the Lord said not to let your heart be troubled. So I'm not trying to worry about this. I'm just gonna continue to be prayerful, be faithful, this may be His way of sitting me down so I can get a little rest.
"We're gonna be fine. We're gonna be all right. And I'm believing that. So I want you all to pray with me that the Lord uses this to be able to continue to spread His message about the Good News about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
A few days after that post, Pastor Hampton sadly succumbed to the coronavirus and passed away.