Lets get straight to it…the following article was shared by my wife on Facebook – http://misguidedchildren.com/foreign-affairs/2013/11/80-people-executed-in-north-korea – about 80 people who were executed in North Korea.
As you read the article it says the North Korean government was cracking down on people for watching “pornography” videos from South Korea and for possessing Bibles. As you read on you realize the “pornography” videos are not pornography, but Christian videos being labeled as porn by the North Korean government. In other words – they are killing Christians.
The article talked about how those who were caught were lined up and executed, riddled with machine gun fire and that thousands were forced to watch as a warning.
This country is like Nazi Germany. This country is like Nero’s Rome.
If you have read history you know that Nero would torture and kill Christians, sometimes for sport. He was known to use Christians as human torches to light up his gardens at night in 64 AD.
So how did the Christians at that time respond? And what was the result?
Many Christians such as the Apostle Peter were told to stop preaching, renounce Christ, and sacrifice to the pagan deities or be tortured and killed. Peter and the other Apostles refused, and thus Peter was crucified; but he did not believe he was worthy to be crucified in the manner of his Lord and asked to be crucified upside down as this painting illustrates:
Under Emperor Domitian (95 AD), the Apostle John was boiled alive in oil before hundreds of witnesses, and he did not die. This was considered a miracle by many. He was then sentenced to prison on the Island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation:
These are heroic figures in Church History, who have emboldened many to remain faithful and persevere in Christ. Because of people like these, their captors and persecutors sometimes felt convicted, which had the opposite effect that the law enforcement was looking for. In those situations many would come to Christ. But for every story of a person martyred for faith in Jesus, there have also been those who have fallen under the pressure and renounced faith (see “The Triumph of Christianity” by Rodney Stark, pp. 137-152).
One such story is of a little girl in China; her church was worshipping and law enforcement barged in and forced everyone to go out into the square. Beginning with the leadership they were forced to spit on a Bible and renounce their faith or be imprisoned or killed. One-by-one each of the adults spit, renounced Christ, and walked away. The little girl walked forward, picked up the Bible, wiped it off, and refused to renounce faith. She was shot by the police.
Another story in China is of two girls who were in prison for their faith; they were about to be executed. As the executioner approached them with a revolver in hand, the girls whispered to each other and one of them said:
“[Pastor] Before you shoot us, we wish to thank you heartily for what you have meant to us. You baptized us, you taught us the ways of eternal life, you gave us holy communion with the same hand in which you now hold the gun. You also taught us that Christians are sometimes weak and commit terrible sins, but they can be forgiven again. When you regret what you are about to do to us, do not despair like Judas, but repent like Peter. God bless you, and remember that our last thought was not one of indignation against your failure. Everyone passes through hours of darkness. May God reward you for the good you have done to us. We die with gratitude.”
They bowed again; the pastor’s heart was hardened and he shot the girls. Afterwards he was shot by the Communists (see “Jesus Freaks: dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs” pp. 109-110).
In the past few weeks we have been studying 1 Peter 2:11-3:17 – which teaches us to not respond to hostility in like kind, but to respond as Christ would respond. A big part of me hopes is that none of the Christians I know ever face what is written above. But what if we did?
There are real people in our world facing such horrible atrocities. Pray for them. Pray for their persecutors to think deeply about what they are doing and be brought to repentance. And may we, American Christians, be in prayer. May we be revived in our faith and no longer live an apathetic Christian life. May we be inspired to seek the Lord. May we be inspired to get on our knees, even right now as you read this, and pray. For this is when God moves. This is when God begins to sweep in our nation and cause revival and reformation.
Lord Jesus – Maranatha (1 Corinthians 4:5).