PROPHESIED END TIMES PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

Persecution of Christians is on the rise in at least 18 countries, especially in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, due to growing jihadism and nationalism, according to a report released by a Catholic group (Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that examined human rights violations against Christians in 24 countries where it is particularly difficult to be a Christian.

Thank goodness God warned us that this would happen and the good news is that it indicates Jesus’ return to put things right is not too far in the future.

Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28

Hopefully, this information will help you pray for the persecuted church. These countries include Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Russia, North Korea, China, Vietnam, India and Qatar, according to the report titled “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2020-22.”

Around the world, more than 360 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution just for following Jesus — that’s one in seven believers worldwide, according to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List, which ranks the top 50 countries where Christians experience the worst persecution for their faith.

ACN said its report was presented in the Houses of Parliament in the U.K. this week with a keynote address by Nigeria’s Bishop Jude Arogundade, whose Diocese of Ondo was targeted by gunmen who killed more than 40 people at a packed Sunday service on Pentecost Sunday this year.

Bishop Arogundade said, “no one seems to pay attention to the genocide” taking place in swathes of Nigeria’s Middle Belt. “The world is silent as attacks on churches, their personnel, and institutions have become routine. How many corpses are required to get the world’s attention?” he was quoted as saying.

African countries saw a sharp rise in terrorist violence from non-state militants, with more than 7,600 Nigerian Christians reportedly murdered between January 2021 and June of this year, the Catholic group said in the report, adding that in May, a video was released showing 20 Nigerian Christians being executed by Islamist terror group Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province.

In Asia, “state-authoritarianism” was behind the worsening oppression, especially in North Korea, where religious beliefs and practices are routinely and systematically repressed, it said.

The report also noted that religious nationalism has triggered increasing violence against Christians in the region, with Hindu nationalist and Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist groups active in India and Sri Lanka, respectively.

The report noted that India witnessed 710 incidents of anti-Christian violence between January 2021 and the start of June, “driven in part by political extremism.” It cited an example of a mass rally in Chhattisgarh state last October, where members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party applauded as right-wing Hindu religious leader Swami Parmatmanand called for Christians to be killed.

In the Middle East, the report said, a migration crisis threatened the survival of some of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

In Syria, the Christian population declined from 10% to less than 2%, falling from 1.5 million just before the war began to around 300,000 today, ACN said, adding that while the rate of exodus is slower in Iraq, a community that numbered around 300,000 before the 2014 invasion by ISIS had halved to 150,000 by the spring of this year.

At this month’s G20 event centered on religions’ role in helping solve global problems, the Most Rev. Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil, warned that Christianity in Iraq was “on the very edge of extinction.”

During his remarks at the G20 Religion Forum in Bali, Indonesia, the archbishop stressed that “sectarian violence” was a significant problem in Iraq. This country suffered the rise of an Islamic State stronghold during the last decade in which thousands of Iraqi religious minorities were killed, enslaved, or forced to flee their homelands.

“Without an end to this sectarian violence, there is no future for religious pluralism in Iraq, or anywhere else in the Mideast for that matter,” he said. “The brutal logic of this is that there does eventually reach an end point where there are no minorities left to kill, and no minorities left to persecute.”

Warda added, “As I share with you this experience, I pray that you will find in our story a clear warning to you all.” He noted that after around 1,900 years of existing in the region, “we Christians of Iraq now find ourselves on the very edge of extinction.”

There is “a fundamental crisis of violence within Islam” that “can no longer be ignored,” he said, adding that it “continues to affect the entire Middle East, Africa, Asia and beyond.”

The report includes information from ACN and other local sources, provides firsthand testimony, compilations of incidents, case studies, and country analysis on the extent to which Christians are targeted around the world.

Open Doors USA’s 2022 World Watch List, which looked at incidents reported between Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, found at least 5,898 Christians were killed, 5,110 churches were attacked or closed, 6,175 Christians were arrested without trial, and 3,829 Christians were kidnapped. 2021 saw a 24% increase in Christians killed for their faith.

END TIMES PROPHECIES BEING FULFILLED IN OUR DAY

Article in The Weekend Australian (major Australian Newspaper) by Greg Sheridan Foreign Affairs Editor

Christianity and individual Christians are blamed for all Western sins, real and imagined. The West will not survive, as the west, if it abandons its belief in God. But while it’s true that Christianity shaped Western civilisation, Christianity comes from the east. The vast majority of Christians alive today are not in the West. Western chattering classes believe the West is uniquely evil, and that more traditional societies embody superior human wisdom and justice. The woke folk should apply these strictures to themselves. It’s only in the West that atheism is ascendant. Christianity is on fire in Africa and Asia. It is only the West, in its present cultural confusion and distress, that has wandered down this strange atheist cul-de-sac.

In Nigeria, Ondo State governor Rotimi Akeredolu (3rd L) called it a “vile and satanic attack”

On Sunday, June 5, in the little Catholic church of St Francis in the town of Owo, in southwest Nigeria, a crowd gathered for Sunday morning mass. This was the most offensive thing they could do in the eyes of some fellow Nigerians. Gunmen drove up and opened fire, killing 50 worshippers, and injuring many more. Ordinary Nigerian folks, men, women, and children, seeking peace with God and neighbour, just saying their prayers, all slaughtered. The global media is dominated by the West, and the Western media cannot bring itself to regard Christianity, as a sympathetic subject and therefore avoids awarding them victim status wherever it can. Christianity is the most persecuted religion on the planet.

Beijing continues to ratchet up active restrictions on Christians but it has not been successful. In 1949, when the communists took power, there were about 4 million Chinese Christians. Now it’s between 60 and 120 million. For the past decade, Beijing has intensified surveillance and pressure, shutting churches, making it illegal to sell Bibles in non-church bookshops, banning anyone under 18 from attending Christian worship, severely restricting believers’ careers, kidnapping, and imprisoning pastors and subjecting them to psychologically brutal re-education. In the Middle East, the Copts in Egypt, the Maronites in Lebanon, and Christians have been mostly chased out or killed. In many locations, Christian women are subject to sexual assault, forced marriage, and human trafficking.

Thank goodness Jesus told us that persecution/tribulation would be the lot of Christians in the “last days” before His return to earth first to rapture the Saints and then pour out His wrath upon an unrepentant people.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13

Source: The Weekend Australian

PROPHESIED “END TIMES” PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS ESCALATES

In Australia, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said biblical views on abortion and sexuality are, “appalling, intolerant, hatred, bigotry, and just wrong.”

Daniel Andrews, the Roman Catholic Premier of Victoria, has not only defied the God of the Bible, turned a deaf ear to the wider Christian population, but has specifically rejected the teachings of his own Church.

How quickly what we saw as foundational human rights such as freedom of speech, religion, and association are clearly eroding under the Andrews government, and other governments nationwide.

We should not be surprised as Jesus warned us that persecution/tribulation will escalate in the last days and that we will be hated by all nations for standing up for Jesus and His values.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:9-14

While this life is fraught with many trials and tribulations, the sufferings we experience are to be counted as incomparable with the glories to come. This anticipation for glory sustains us and brings forth one major reason why we persevere: we hope in the age to come rather than in this broken and fallen age.

Paul says, that in the same way, this hope for glorification sustains us, the Spirit sustains us, for He knows precisely how to intercede on our behalf before the Father.

Where words and utterances fail us in our prayers, the Spirit transforms them into prayers that match the will of God. The Spirit’s work of intercession on our behalf is part and parcel of our endurance; we endure not only for the hope of the age to come but specifically because part of the Spirit’s work is to bring about endurance in us.

Human suffering has a purpose that culminates in glory. To make that even clearer: the purpose of our trials and sufferings is to bring us to the final redemption, where we see God face to face, free from the pain, devastation, and destruction caused by the curse of sin, our adversary Satan, and death itself.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39

AUSTRALIA JETTISONING ITS CHRISTIAN ROOTS

Bob Katter MP addressing the media July 28th 2022

KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter, has used a media address in Canberra today to slam the continued persecution of Christianity, after learning the Senate Chief has proposed to ban morning prayers[i].

An enraged Mr Katter used the opportunity to hold up the Holy Bible and rattle off a plethora of recent examples of religious persecution in Australia. He showed solidarity and support to the seven Manly Sea Eagles players, who stood down to defend their religious beliefs, praising them for their conviction.

“This Book for 5,000 years has been the heartland of religious belief, a concept that there is something bigger than me, but in sharp contrast, the persecutors believe that there is nothing bigger than themselves and their opinions,” Mr Katter said.

“For 5,000 years the persecution of the people who believe in this Book have been on public record. I will not go through the persecutions that go back to the dawn of time.  I’ll just mention one – just one.

“During WWII, six million people were murdered in cold blood, many in gas chambers, for no other reason than what they believed.  And remember, the Torah is based on the first five Books of the Hebrew Bible.

“This continued persecution is well and truly alive today. Just have a look at what’s happened to these seven boys from Manly. They have been persecuted for no other reason than they have moral conviction and whether you agree with their convictions, or not, is irrelevant.

“The conviction shown by these seven men is heroic and every decent member of society should admire them. Whether you agree with them or you don’t, they have stood up for what they believe in at great personal sacrifice and that is truly admirable.  

“This is what the people of self-righteous arrogance have done to them:  they have had their jobs taken off them, taken their family security off them, taken their incomes from them, they have put the house they live in in great jeopardy, their futures, their aspirations – all in jeopardy. 

“According to news reports[ii] today, these players have been confined to their houses; they have been locked up.  Apparently, they are doing this to protect the players, but do you know what they said to the First Australians when they rounded them up in chains and sent them to Palm Island? They said, “we are doing this to protect you.”

“To think that this is happening in Australia today is sickening. We Christians have no illusions that we are now under persecution.  

“First, they targeted the Hollingsworth and biggest church in Australia. He was torn to pieces. Having finished with the biggest church in Australia, they then started on the leader of the second biggest church in Australia. Tore him to pieces.  

“Then they turned to the Evangelicals. They started on Israel Falou. They took his whole life away from him and destroyed his career because he made a quote from this Book. He was punished for his quotation of this Book. Yet for 5,000 years people have based the foundation of entire societies on its teachings. More than half the world believes in this Book, or in parts of it.

“Is it an unreasonable thing to quote from a book that more than half the population is committed to?  In Australia it is!

“And now, we have been told today by some that we cannot say prayers in the Parliament. We can show allegiance to some lady in England, but we cannot say prayers.

“So, to my fellow Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, and people of other religious belief, I say this to you – Please will you circulate the names of those who persecute you. We must stop this cold-hearted persecution. They got Pell, they got Hollingworth, got Folau, they have got the Manly boys, so when will they start on you?!”

God is in control of all events in His world. This nation is setting itself up to come under God’s judgement. Perhaps we are already seeing His judgement with the floods and other calamities besetting this nation.

HOW TO COPE WITH PERSECUTION IN THE DAYS AHEAD

Josef Tson: What His Suffering for Christ in Communist Romania Taught Him, and Can Teach Us

This article by Randy Alcorn www. patheos.com July 21, 2022 is very applicable to the “end times ” persecution that is unfolding in our time.

I opened the Scriptures with Josef in 1988, with a group of theologians discussing eternal rewards. Twenty years later, writing my book If God Is Good, I remembered his stories and insights and called him again, in order to share his insights with others. Josef explained to me how the belief that God doesn’t want His people to suffer once corrupted the Romanian church. In the interests of self-preservation, he said, they failed to speak out against injustice, tyranny, and the idolatry of turning men into gods. He recalls joining the crowd on the streets and crying, “Glory to Stalin.”

God convicted Josef. As a pastor, he refused to glorify communist leaders and started to speak out boldly for Christ. Interrogators threatened him with death every day for six months. Finally he told them, “Your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying. My preaching will speak ten times louder after you kill me.”

Josef said, “During the time I was expecting to be crushed by the Romanian secret police interrogators, God became more real to me than ever before or after in my life. It is difficult to put into words the experience I had with God at that time. It was like a rapture into sweet and total communion with the Beloved. God’s test for me then became the pathway to a special knowledge of the reality of God.”

21 Coptic Christians beheaded by Isis in Tripoli, Libya

Finally, in 1981, the Romanian government exiled him. After facing much evil and nearly being martyred in Ceauşescu’s Romania, Josef told me, “This world, with all its evil, is God’s deliberately chosen environment for people to grow in their characters. The character and trustworthiness we form here, we take with us there, to Heaven. Romans and 1 Peter 3:19 make clear that suffering is a grace from God. It is a grace given us now to prepare us for living forever.”

He also told me he believed that 95 percent of Christians pass the test of adver­sity, while 95 percent fail the test of prosperity.

In the West, with our conspicuous prosperity and ease, Christianity’s popularity continues to shrink. In Africa, Asia, and South America, with much greater adversity and suffering, it continues to grow.

Josef Tson believes, “The gospel will never be spread without someone suffering.” He said our first question in suffering should not be, “Why?” but, “God, what do you want to do in the world through my suffering?”

Josef continues, “God achieves great things in the world through the one who accepts His way of suffering and self-sacrifice. In the end, however, it turns out that the greatest things are achieved in the sufferer himself. The one who sacrificially expects to be a blessing for others discovers that, in the final analysis, he is the one who has harvested the greatest blessings.”

Suffering can help us know God and prepare us to trade a shallow life not worth keeping for a deeper life we’ll never lose.

When interrogators worked Josef into exhaustion for ten hours a day, one of his persecutors made a strange statement: “Pastor Tson, when I interrogate people I am used to feeling their hatred for me. But you do not hate me. It has become a delight for me to be with you.”

Jesus saw our suffering as an opportunity to share the gospel, do you?

Jesus said to them, nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you, they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance, you will gain your lives.Luke 21: 10-19

Josef viewed his suffering as God’s means to accomplish God’s purpose. He told of guards coming to Christ while beating Christian prisoners, then confessing their faith and being imprisoned and tortured themselves. As a result, the gospel his persecutors tried to dismiss touched them instead.

GOD WILL TURN GRIEF INTO JOY

Moffatt translates Romans 8:22,The entire creation sighs and throbs in pain.” There’s a radical difference between death pangs, which anticipate an ending and look backward, and birth pangs, which anticipate a beginning and look forward. The old, fallen, cursed Earth, convulsing and groaning in the final pains of childbearing, will birth a New Earth.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,Revelation 21:1

Prior to His return, Jesus tells us we will weep and lament as the world rejoices.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joySo also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” John 16:20

God doesn’t only promise to replace our grief with joy, but to turn it into joy.

During the time of the Antichrist, we will experience great tribulation but Jesus will cut the time short for believers and will rapture His Saints before the wrath of God is poured out on an unrepentant world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short. Matthew 24:21-22

DISTURBING BUT PROPHESIED STATISTICS

There has been an “unprecedented drop” in the number of Bible users in the United States since last year, according to a report released by the American Bible Society.

The estimated number of Scripture-engaged Americans dropped from 64 million in 2021 to 49 million in 2022. At the same time, the estimated number of Bible disengaged Americans rose from 100 million last year to 145 million this year.

Sadly, only thirty-three percent of baby boomers “strongly agreed” that Bible reading was important to a child’s character development,. Even less with Generation X at 28%, millennials at 19%, and Generation Z at 20%.

In his article “How the triumph of LGBTQ+ activism has negatively impacted the Church” in Christian Press Voices on June 20th, 2022, Michael Brown writes about the change in American culture from respecting the Church to instead condemning it in favor of promoting LGBT ideals. He notes there have been many reasons for this shift over the last 30 years, including Former President Obama’s endorsement of gay “marriage” in 2012 and the Supreme Court redefining marriage in 2015, but points out that true followers of Jesus still adhere to the Bible—which condemns homosexuality—and explains this has put believers at odds with today’s culture. In short, if gay is good, the Church is bad. This is another reason why many have left the Church, especially among the younger generation.

Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a major TV show that doesn’t have an LGBTQ+ character. Even cartoons and children’s shows feature LGBTQ+ characters and themes, while the number of gay or bi, or trans superheroes grows every year. Talk about a massive cultural shift. America has never seen anything like it before.

In the past, being pro-Christian and pro-natural marriage meant swimming with the tide. Today, it is the exact opposite.

And make no mistake about it: this is an intensely personal issue, not just a theoretical issue. After all, we’re talking about someone’s child. Or their best friend at school. Or their favorite media personality. “You’re telling me that they’re going to hell because of who they love? You’re telling me they can’t serve in your church? If so, I want nothing to do with your religion or your God.”

Writing on the MSNBC website on February 26, 2014, Jane Timm stated that “One-third of young people who left organized religion did so because of anti-gay teachings or treatment within their churches, according to a new study.” Yes, “A full 31% of young people (ages 18 to 33) who left organized religion said ‘negative teachings’ or ‘negative treatment of gay people was a ‘somewhat important or ‘very important’ factor in their departure, as surveyed by the Public Religion Research Institute.”

The problem for true followers of Jesus is that the Bible hasn’t changed, which means that God is still against homosexual practice and identity. And so, if we want to be in solidarity with the Lord, we will find ourselves at odds with the prevailing culture.

At the same time, we do not want to drive people away from the Lord by making opposition to LGBTQ+ activism our primary cause (as opposed to the Great Commission being our primary cause). Nor do we ever want to appear (or be) mean-spirited, judgmental, or hypocritical.

What, then, do we do?

First, we ask God to fill our hearts with His love for those who identify as LGBTQ+, then we seek to share that love with them, face to face.

Second, we make clear in our messages that all of us are fundamentally flawed, which is why all of us need a Redeemer.

Third, we make a distinction between an aggressive agenda and individual people.

Fourth, we hold to biblical standards regardless of public opinion (and regardless of how much these standards challenge our own lives).

Fifth, we give ourselves to prayer, also believing that those with anti-biblical values will continue to overplay their hand, further exposing the wrongness of their position.

Sixth, we share the testimonies of those who have been transformed through the Gospel, making clear that our message is filled with hope and life.

Seventh, we let the chips fall where they may. We need to remain determined to preach Jesus and live for Jesus no matter what, always remembering that this world is not our eternal home.

It is true, that, for many reasons, people are leaving the Church. It is also true that many others are meeting Jesus powerfully. That’s because, what the world so desperately needs, we have in the fullness of the Gospel. Let us not be ashamed to live it and proclaim it. Time is short, we are in the “end times“.

The following Scriptures are Jesus’ answers to his disciple’s questions on the”end times“. He tells them that believers will be hated and persecuted for their Biblical faith. But then Jesus raptures the church to heaven before God pours out His wrath upon the unrepentant. Next, Jesus returns to earth with the glorified Saints to defeat the Antichrist and his army at the battle of Armageddon. He will then rule and reign with the Saints on this earth for 1000 years.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-13

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.Revelation 24:30-31

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! ,,, Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10, 13-14

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, he judges and makes war… And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron.Revelation 19:14-15

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS ESCALATES IN NIGERIA

The blood is still there. It’s still spread all over the floor.”

Joel Veldkamp, head of international communications at persecution watchdog Christian Solidarity International (CSI), shared these chilling words while discussing the vile attack on a Nigerian church Sunday that left at least 50 dead.

A police officer stands guard inside the St. Francis Catholic Church, a day after an attack that targeted worshipers in Owo, Nigeria, Monday, June 6, 2022. The gunmen who killed 50 people at a Catholic church in southwestern Nigeria opened fire on worshippers both inside and outside the building in a coordinated attack before escaping the scene

“It was Pentecost Sunday in Nigeria, so the church was full of people,” Veldkamp said. “According to one report, the gunmen snuck in disguised as worshippers. And then other gunmen arrived on motorcycles from the outside and started shooting from the outside, and then the ones who were already inside the congregation started shooting as well.”

The assailants then reportedly placed bombs on the altar and around the church before detonating them.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, though some reports ponder whether radical Islamic terror groups could be culpable. The location of the attack — in a southwest region of Nigeria — is one of the factors that adds to the “distressing and disturbing” details, as that area is typically peaceful and unaffected by the terror that has gripped portions of northern Nigeria.

“There are a lot of fears that this is going to open up a new chapter in anti-Christian terrorism in Nigeria,” Veldkamp said.

Renewed critique emerged last month after a Muslim mob reportedly fatally stoned Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a 25-year-old Christian college student of Shehu Shagari College of Education was beaten and burned to death in Sokoto Nigeria, Friday, May 13, 2022, by fellow Muslim students after she was accused of making a blasphemous social media post.

END TIMES PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS INTENSIFIES

Christians in India fear that persecution of their communities will intensify after the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won elections in four states, which will be seen as an overwhelming endorsement of the party’s anti-minority stance.

For India’s Christians, 2021 was the “most violent year” in the country’s history, according to the report by the UCF, which recorded at least 486 violent incidents of Christian persecution in the year. Uttar Pradesh state alone witnessed at least 102 incidents of violence against Christians in 2021.

Days before the announcement of the results, Hindu nationalists had warned some Christians that the community in the state might face “extermination,” The Telegraph reported.

“A Hindu leader has already threatened us that they are waiting for the election results and after that, they will exterminate Christians from Uttar Pradesh,” a local Christian, Emmanuel Singh, from the state’s Jodhikapur village, was quoted as saying. The intensity of these threats is hard to comprehend apart from them being demonically inspired.

Ten states in India, including Uttar Pradesh, have passed “anti-conversion” laws, which presume that Christians “force” or give financial benefits to Hindus to convert them to Christianity.

While some of these laws have been in place for decades in some states, no Christian has been convicted of “forcibly” converting anyone to Christianity. These laws, however, allow Hindu nationalist groups to make false charges against Christians and launch attacks on them under the pretext of the alleged forced conversion.

Open Doors USA, which monitors Christian persecution in over 60 countries, has also reported that persecution against Christians and other religious minorities has increased since the BJP took power at the federal level in 2014.

Hindu extremists have demolished and burned churches in India, disrupted worship gatherings, vandalized crosses in graveyards, and confiscated Bibles and other Christian literature. In addition, they have beaten and jailed many pastors, some of whom are martyred each year.

The UCF attributed the high incidence of Christian persecution to “impunity,” due to which “such mobs criminally threaten, physically assault people in prayer, before handing them over to the police on allegations of forcible conversions.”

“Often communal sloganeering is witnessed outside police stations, where the police stand as mute spectators,” the UCF report states.

“Hindu extremists believe that all Indians should be Hindus and that the country should be rid of Christianity and Islam,” an Open Doors fact sheet explains. “They use extensive violence to achieve this goal, particularly targeting Christians from a Hindu background. Christians are accused of following a ‘foreign faith’ and blamed for bad luck in their communities.”

SEISMIC SHIFT IN CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

Afghanistan is now the worst nation in the world for Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA, an organization that tracks global religious maltreatment. The shocking development is undoubtedly the “biggest seismic shift” in decades, as North Korea, the reclusive and oppressive East Asian country, was bumped from the top spot it had occupied for 20 years. “This year’s 2022 World Watch List, is the biggest seismic shift in over 20 years because Afghanistan is now the No. 1 country on the World Watch List, supplanting North Korea,” Open Doors USA CEO David Curry said. Afghanistan has long been embroiled in chaos, but the situation devolved further when the U.S. undertook a chaotic withdrawal last August, a retreat that carried with it serious consequences.

The education of young girls has changed dramatically

“Many people are aware of what’s happened since August in Afghanistan,” Curry said, citing the chaos and uncertainty. “It has emboldened Islamic extremists in other parts of the world. We believe it’s going to have a ripple effect.”  Christians in Afghanistan face intensifying persecution at the hands of the resurgent Taliban, with militants purportedly arresting and possibly seeking to kill believers. Christian women, in particular, are especially vulnerable and are seen as ideological enemies.

Looking at the diverse forms of persecution that exist, Curry noted that there is a “two-front war” against Christianity that can be observed on the “World Watch List.” On one side, there are the tribal-led government forces like the Taliban and on the other are centralized and tech-savvy governments like what is seen in China.

Curry explained why the Chinese government’s actions should be deeply concerning. “Their system and their technology is the greatest threat right now overall in the future of religious expression,” he said, likening the methodical restrictions to a “high tech noose around the neck of expression of faith.”

Curry said the Chinese government has hampered the efforts of almost every church, forcing houses of worship to break into groups and to shut down. Christians are at risk of losing jobs, having travel restricted, and “even worse.” “They have artificial intelligence. They monitor all the video, they monitor the online presence,” he said.

Fortunately, we know how the underground church at the time of Mao grew strong under intense persecution. Believers were totally dependent upon God and miracles abounded as testified by Chinese believers like Brother You in his book The Heavenly Man. As prophesied, persecution increases in these last days before Jesus returns, and those totally committed to God will walk in the power of the Holy Spirit with all the gifts of the Spirit being manifested in their ministry to others.