PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IN INDIA

“Christian persecution has skyrocketed in India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) took power in 2014,” said International Christian Concern (ICC) President Jeff King. “With the goal to set up India as a Hindu nation, they have passed laws and enforced policies targeting Christians. The [recent attacks] are the result of this overarching hostility toward followers of Christ. It has created an increasingly dangerous climate for Indian believers.”

India ranks as the 10th most risky nation in the world for believers, according to Open Doors USA’s 2022 World Watch List, which ranks countries where persecution is most prevalent.

“The persecution of Christians in India is intensifying as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of their presence and influence,” the World Watch List explained. “The driving force behind this is Hindutva, an ideology that disregards Indian Christians and other religious minorities as true Indians because they have allegiances that lie outside India, and asserts the country should be purified of their presence.” This is of course Satanically driven and I am reminded of the amazing account of Daniel and his experience with the Angel Gabriel. What an amazing message Gabriel gave to Daniel from many aspects, but it shows that Satan appoints demonic angels to be princes over his territories and no doubt Satan has his Prince of India.

O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you… Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me,.. and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.” Daniel 10:11-14

Satan did not want Daniel to receive that message from God and he had his demonic angel that he had set over Persia to try and stop Gabriel. Note Gabriel needed help from the Archangel Micnael which shows the power demonic angels still possess. Gabriel also mentions that on his return he will fight against not only the Demonic Prince of Persia but also the Demonic Prince of Greece.

But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. Daniel 10:20

Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” which helps us get a better understanding of what is playing out in India right now.

According to ICC, Christians in 20 villages in the Chhattisgarh state of India were attacked last week during church services.

Hindu nationalists used bamboo sticks to attack believers, looted their homes, and destroyed three churches. Several people were severely injured and hospitalized, while others fled to the jungle or nearby police stations, but authorities refused to help. 

“Small kids and women with their families were sitting in open places in biting cold, with no food or water, warming their hands with their breath,” one witness told ICC.

A church leader said, “These large-scale violent attacks bring back traumatic memories of the Kandhamal anti-Christian riots,” referring to August 2008 when radical Hindu nationalists killed 39 Christians and destroyed 3,906 homes. “These incidents have shocked the entire Christian community in the state, and the sad thing is that the people in authority did not bother to help,” the leader added. 

India ranks as the 10th most risky nation in the world for believers, according to Open Doors USA’s 2022 World Watch List, which ranks countries where persecution is most prevalent.

As my followers know this account of what is happening in India is prophesied to take place before Jesus returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom. Tribulation even great tribulation is what we can expect.

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

PERSECUTION IN IRAN AND ITS CONNECTION WITH THE CHRISTMAS STORY

Persecution is and has always been at the center of the Christmas story because Jesus came to rescue the lost and crush Satan’s head. This cosmic battle still rages on today. As Christians celebrate Christmas in Iran, they find comfort in the similarities between their story and the story of the birth of Christ.

We must first understand the connection between ancient Persia (Iran), the Wise men, and the birth of Jesus, and how persecution unites them all. Did you know that Iran has a historic significance all over the Bible? From Esther saving Israel to King Cyrus paying for the rebuilding of the Jewish temple, Iran has always played and will continue to play a major role in the biblical narrative. Let’s take the wise men for example. Did you know that the wise men were Persian? The Iranians were the first people to recognize and worship Jesus as Messiah. Let’s follow the Christmas story as it plays out so we can see how Iran is a major player in the Christmas narrative. 

A star shone in the East, where wise men from modern-day Iran felt compelled to follow the once-in-a-lifetime cosmic event passed down to them by Daniel the prophet of God. It must be remembered that Daniel was the chief prefect over all the wise men (Magi) of Persia (Iran). Daniel’s prophecies about the coming King of the Jews including the 70 Weeks prophecy would have been known by the Magi.

Then the king (King Nebuchadnezzar) gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.Daniel 2:48

When they reached Jerusalem, Herod demanded to know about this “king of the Jews.” So the Magi sensed what he was up to and made their way to Bethlehem, where they presented their gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus, the toddler (The greek word paidion). That night, they were warned in a dream to return to their country by another route because Herod was about to launch a campaign to massacre the innocents.

This is the incident described in the nativity narrative of the Gospel of Matthew (2:16–18) in which Herod the Great, king of Judea, orders the execution of all male children, who were two years old and under. Jesus and His family knew what persecution tasted like from a very young age. Mary and Joseph were also awoken in the night by an angel and urged to flee in the cover of night to Egypt, where they escaped the wrath of Herod. 

Some can say believers from Iran go through similar trials to worship Christ as they face persecution daily from their government leaders. Just as Mary and Joseph went into hiding to escape being killed by Herod, members of the underground church left their homes to protect their families.

Like the wise men, believers have received dreams and visions of the “Man in White”, guiding them to a real and tangible relationship with the Messiah. Many have had “power encounters” with Jesus, just as Mary and Joseph had encounters with the angel. In this way, the Christmas story remains more relevant than ever to Christians who put their lives on the line for their faith. Despite the persecution, the Iranian church loves to celebrate Christmas together. It’s a time to gather and experience the peace Jesus brought, even in dangerous areas of the world. They truly understand the truth of this Scripture.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard-pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.Philippians 1:21

As we celebrate this Christmas holiday season, let us make sure we pray for our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters not only in Iran but all over the world particularly in Muslim countries.

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

10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR HOSTING A HOUSE CHURCH IN IRAN

The Revolutionary Court of Tehran has sentenced an Iranian-Armenian Christian man to 10 years in prison for establishing a house church, which the judge called “propaganda contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam,” according to reports.

Saba Kord Afshari is just 22 years old. In August 2019, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced her to 24 years in prison for opposing the compulsory hijab.

Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, headed by Judge Afshari, sentenced Anooshavan Avedian, 60, to 10 years of imprisonment, alongside two others who are members of his house church — Abbas Soori, 45, and Maryam Mohammadi, 46 — both of whom are converts to Christianity, Human Rights Activists News Agency reported.

Article 18, a U.K.-based organization that promotes religious freedom in Iran, reported that Soori and Mohammadi received a range of non-custodial punishments, including a fine of about $2,000 (500 million rials) and a 10-year ban from membership in social and political groups as well as a two-year exile outside Tehran. In addition, they must regularly report to the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence.

The three were convicted on the charge of “organizing and running an Evangelical ‘Zionist’ home church with the intention to act against national security” and “maintaining satellite dish and receivers.”

They were first arrested in August 2020 when about 30 intelligence agents raided a private gathering at Avedian’s home in Narmak are in northeastern Tehran, but their case came to light only recently.

The agents confiscated all the Bibles and communication devices with passwords.

In Tehran’s Evin Prison, the three were subjected to psychological torture during several intense interrogation sessions.

Judge Afshari pronounced Avedian guilty of “establishing and leading an illegal group with the aim of disrupting the security of the country through education and propaganda activities contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam, through the dissemination of false claims … as well as contact with foreign countries, or organisational guidance from abroad.”

The Christians’ defense was met with “disrespectful remarks toward their character, and insults to their faith,” according to Article 18, which also said that over the past decade, authorities in Iran have closed down nearly all churches that offered services in Persian, the national language, or insisted they teach only in the ethnic minority languages.

The Islamic Republic is ranked as the ninth-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List. 

“Converts from Islam to Christianity are most at risk of persecution, especially by the government and to a lesser extent by society and their own families,” it says.

“The government sees the growth of the church in Iran as an attempt by Western countries to undermine Islam and the Islamic regime of Iran. House groups made up of converts from Muslim backgrounds are often raided, and both their leaders and members have been arrested, prosecuted, and given long prison sentences for “crimes against national security.”

The Muslim religion is an antichrist religion and Biblical prophecy reveals the Antichrist (Little Horn) arises out of one of four Muslim nations when the revived Ottoman Empire is broken up (perhaps by the U.N. or Russia) into four nations.

Then the goat (revived Ottoman Empire) became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
Out of one of them came a little horn (Antichrist), which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host
Daniel 8:8-11

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS INTENSIFIES

March 6th, 2022 China (International Christian Concern) – A Christian woman in China, named Zhou Jinxia was detained for her repeated attempt to share the good news of Jesus Christ with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan.

Using placards filled with Gospel messages, Zhou regularly stands outside a gated area in Beijing where top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials reside. Last month, she did so to greet President Xi when he returned from the Winter Olympics, leading to her arrest for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Authorities ordered Zhou to return to her hometown of Dalian, where her beef with the government began.

In 2009, local authorities seized and demolished Zhou’s house in Dalian without her consent, later turning it into a city square. According to the group China Aid, Zhou and her family members have spent years seeking justice, only to be detained and lose their jobs.

Religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter explains that Zhou “took seriously [President] Xi’s statements he would fight corruption.” So after his 2013 inauguration, she repeatedly wrote to him about her unjust eviction. Because Xi never replied, Zhou “concluded that no solution to China’s problem would be possible unless [the president and his wife] would receive Jesus in their hearts.”

The Dalian native was sent back to Liaoning province by the police after her action in Beijing. She was subsequently detained. On Feb. 20, Zhou went to Zhongnanhai in Beijing, the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China and the State Council of China, holding up a sign asking Xi Jinping to believe in Jesus.

The police in charge arrested her before Dalian police brought her back to Dalian. She was criminally detained and charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” on February 21. Her family received the notice of her criminal detention from Dalian’s Public Security Bureau’s Xigang Branch on March 1.

According to China Aid, in recent years, Zhou has attempted to share the good news with her Chinese leader more than 50 times. As early as March 2015, Zhou was detained for ten days for her evangelism activities. In March 2016 and March 2018, she was detained again for the same charge.

Beginning October 2020, Zhou has resided in Fengtai district’s Xiaobailou village in Beijing. She actively shares the gospel and is involved in her church. On June 27, 2021, she was driven away by local leaders and police, while her amenities of daily life were confiscated. As someone whose house was forcibly demolished by the government, Zhou is not unfamiliar with the injustice in China.

We need to pray for Zhou Jinxia and the many like her in China and other countries where Christians are persecuted. Moreover, we should ask God to give us the courage to be like her in the face of intense persecution that we will see intensify across the globe in these prophesied “last days” before Jesus returns.

GOD CAN USE YOU JUST AS HE DID REHAN

A Pakistani teenager has reportedly led his entire tribe to embrace Jesus, a remarkable story shared this week by Mission News Network (MNN).

A 17-year-old going by the pseudonym “Rehan” for security reasons was working as a waiter when he met Safdar, a truck driver, and partner with a missions group called Foursquare Missions International (FMI).

Safdar gave Rehan an audio Bible after they met, and the teen listened. Then, he started meeting with Safdar to talk about God and the Bible. Soon, he became a Christian and was baptized, according to Missions Network News MNN.

Rehan soon shared the Gospel message with his family and community members. Considering the sweeping and intense persecution Christians face in Pakistan, these actions were dangerous and, without a doubt, courageous.

Pakistan (MNN) — In Pakistan, a 17-year-old boy led his entire tribe to follow Jesus.

At first, Rehan’s parents, who were receptive to the Gospel, were scared. But he reportedly forged on.

A man named Nehemiah, who works for FMI, explained that Rehan wasn’t dissuaded. He invited missionaries to minister to his tribe and share the Gospel – and the results were incredible.

Rehan’s 60-person tribe reportedly stopped participating in Muslim prayer and turned toward Jesus.

“One evening, he gathered all the tribe’s members under one big tent. First, Rehan showed a movie about Jesus,” Nehemiah told MNN. “Then, an FMI partner shared a 15-minute devotion about new hope in Christ. That day, a 17-year-old boy led his whole tribe to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now, the missions groups ask for prayer for this tribe and others in the region.

This story is especially remarkable, considering the hostile arena in which Rehan boldly shared the Gospel. As Open Doors USA’s “2022 World Watch List” notes, Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a Christian. The nation ranks eighth on the list, with Islamic oppression serving as the primary form of persecution.

“In Pakistan, Christians are considered second-class citizens and are discriminated against in every aspect of life,” Open Doors reported. “Church leaders can be arrested if they don’t abide by the authorities’ wishes. These arrests act as warnings to the Christian minority and intimidate them further.”

Regardless, God is at work as Rehan’s story demonstrates it just requires willing workers that God can use.

PREFER AWAKENING TO JESUS OVER FREEDOM

“I would rather see millions of [Iranians] come to Jesus than have freedom and democracy. If freedom was such a great thing for the Kingdom, then why is America and Europe in the state it is now?” —Leader in the Iranian underground church

This is why the West will see more persecution before Jesus returns. God wants more people to start living there life in the light of eternity not for a better life here.

Listen to this video and learn from Iranian Christians on how to live life.