Edgar Reich held senior management positions at a Fortune 500 Company inCanada, Germany and Switzerland. He has led a $400 Million Company in Germany and was jointly responsible for a $900 Million European Company. Rev. Edgar Reich has been called by God and his Church to preach in Revival.
Rev. Edgar Reich is a Christian who has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior in April 2004. You can read more about his ministry here- http://www.revivalusacanada.org
Photo credit www.raymondibrahim.com by Raymond Ibrahim
A young woman was washing her clothes in a North Korea river. As she gathered her clothes, a little book fell from her clothes. It fell to the ground, and another person saw it, looked at the book and reported her. It was either a christian book, or it was a Bible. After being reported to the authorities, she was incarcerated. She was investigated, and her 60 year old father was also arrested. Several months later, and we believe there was also torture involved, there was a public show trial and 7 police officers were assembled with guns. The surrounding people were invited to come and see what would happen. Near by there were a public school and a high school. The children from those schools were asked to come and watch. And, as this young woman and her father stood before them, they were accused of the capital offense of treason. And the 7 police officers raised their rifles and shot both of them 3 times. Blood and brain matter scattered all over. (Photo credit m.facebook.com)
Please turn with me to the text for „Preparing Ourselves for Persecution”: Matthew 24:9-13
“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. 10 And then many will fall away[a] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Beloved, will your love grow cold when there’s opposition? Will your love grow cold when not everyone agrees with you? Will your love grow cold for the Lord when someone hurts you? Will your love grow cold, and will you then disbelieve the promises of God? God forbid!!! The disciples had asked the Lord Jesus Christ, in this passage, „What will be the sign of Your coming?” Such signs included persecution and the great tribulation. There are over 60 countries now, today, where the cross of Jesus Christ is no longer welcome. The United States of America is in the process of joining such countries.
I would like to cover 7 points about persecution.
- Persecution is certain
- The purposes of persecution. Why does God allow it?
- The privilege of persecution
- The promises of God during persecution
- The presence of Christ during persecution. Praise God you’re not alone. You’re never alone!
- Perseverance of the saints to the end, with patience, forgiveness, and love.
- Preparation for persecution
Photo credit www.routleylaw.com by Vanessa Routley
1. Persecution is certain, also in America and Canada
The message we read in Matthew foretells of a world wide persecution, where true christians are persecuted, perhaps tortured, and killed. And hated for the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus did not tell the disciples, His followers, in this passage: You will be exempted from such persecution. He does not even say you will be raptured so that you don’t have to face this, in this passage. He said, „You will even face the abomination of desolation, in Matthew 24:15. It refers to a coming world leader, it refers to antichrist. In America, we have these feelings that this can never happen here. „What are you talking about? God is love.” Of course God is love. He is such a loving God, and we will find out why it is even love to be persecuted.
In 2 Timothy 3:12 it says Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. You might say, „Well, I have not been persecuted yet. Praise God”. May I ask you, „May I ask you: Why not? Are you, perhaps, not living the Godly life that Scripture is speaking about?” After I got saved, I put my Bible on the side of my desk and the vice chairman walked in and said, „What is this? Are you out of your mind? You believe this kind of….” and I won’t tell you all of the words that were spoken. And the Holy Spirit said, „Be quiet. Say nothing”. And he went into a tirade against God, and the word of God, and myself. But, you know, the wonderful thing is that later on, when we asked to have a Bible study inside that corporation, he was the man that would approve or disapprove of us having christian fellowship inside that company. Do you know, the wonderful thing that happened is that God moved his heart, and we were able to have that fellowship.
I got a call from a friend that said, „Come and street preach with us in New York”. I said I would pray about it. I am called for revival, I don’t really think I’m into street ministry. And as I prayed, the Holy Spirit said, „Yes, go”. I prayed a second time, „Lord, I heard You wrong. What am I supposed to do?” „Go!” For serious decisions I always pray 3 times, „What am I supposed to do Lord?” „Go!” I went with some brothers. They had fasted for 40 days. I had fasted 1 day. We went out onto the streets of New York. We went to Ground Zero. I was standing there and passing out tracts. You know, the New Yorkers are pretty hard, and as people were walking by me, they were cussing at me, quietly. And, for the rest of the day, there were many who cursed. I asked my fellow Christians, they said no, it didn’t happen to them. Satan knew there was pride in me. At the end of the day I said, „God, they don’t want you and they don’t want me. They think I-m out of my mind. They think I’m a terrorist. I’m moved around, I’m shouted at. The police moved me around. Lord, Lord, they don’t want me.” And then, on the weekend, the Holy Spirit convicted me and the Holy Spirit came and asked me, „Do you really love people?” And I said, „Well, yes of course, God, I love people”. „Well, what about the people that oppose you a little?” And so, God convicted me mightily on that weekend. And so, I prayed, and I said, „Now, Lord, break my heart, show me your love for people, that I might know, I might understand. And, on Tuesday of the following week, I was standing at Ground Zero at 4:30, with 20,000 people rushing towards me, and all of a sudden, the sound disappeared. I couldn’t hear the people. I couldn’t hear the noise from Ground Zero, and the people were starting to walk towards me in slow motion. I was looking, and I didn’t understand. And then, I saw on their faces, I saw their need for money. I saw their need for pleasure, I saw their need to get home. I saw them wanting to be in their pools, wanting to have their drinks. I saw them wanting to have their cars, their family, their friends. But, there was no need for God in their faces. Yet, God says, „I love them”. And, as I looked at them, I realized, I was looking at the walking dead, beloved. And my heart started to break and to weep. And then, all sound came back. The people were walking normally. And God, the Holy Spirit said in my heart, ” Their blood will I require from your hand. I love them. Why don’t you love them? You call yourself a christian?”. Jesus said, „Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and raise holy hands, but, why don’t you do as I say?”
Another time, I went out to the Staten Island Ferry, and the night before, I had a dream that I would be stabbed by a muslim, and I would be thrown over. I said, Lord, if the dream is from you, it’s alright. I’m gonna go. I’m gonna share the Good News on the Staten Island ferry.” Nothing happened that day. Satan tried to prevent me from going. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but, it’s all right.
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The Number 1 cause of persecution is witnessing with your mouth.
You say, „Well, I live my life.” Good. That’s great. That’s wonderful. Live it good. In John 17, Jesus prayed for them to be one, as He and the Father are one, and for those to be one, that will hear through their words. So, you’ve got to add some words, beloved. Let them know the truth. In one of the worst Iranian prisons, a leader of a Christian group was told, „If you stop witnessing, we will let you all go”. The Christian thought about it and answered, „How can we deny such great, great, great salvation? Did you know your salvation is great and incredible? We live in a country where salvation means virtually nothing. We push it aside. We don’t want to save people on the streets. Even we, as Christians, have been affected by humanism and secularism. We do not understand the greatness of God and what He has done. That divinity came to rescue humanity.
Beloved, a great, incredible God, the Son of God gave His life so that we might live. What a wonderful, wonderful truth that is. And so, much has gone wrong in our respective countries, in North America because we do not witness. Persecution has now started in the United States and Canada. Certain parts of the Bible are considered flammable. Laws have been changed to permit gross sin. Please listen to this: Committed Christians are now classified with terrorists in the United States of America. The official policy of Homeland Security and the FBI is that committed Christians are classified as a danger to this country. You are classified with terrorists in the United States. Now, we must pray for our leadership. But, I also must tell you president Obama appears to admit that he is a muslim. But, God has placed this man in charge of this country. So you pray for him. You don’t oppose him. You pray for him, that God might intercede. For in all of the prayers in the Book of Acts, in the Gospels, in the letter, all of the New Testament, there is not a single prayer against their leadership. So, as Christians, we will love unconditionally. We will do what the government says we must do. But, we will not do it if it’s against God’s word (the Bible). (18:50)
2. The purposes of persecution. Why does God allow it?
Beloved, God loves mankind so very, very much. And, guess whom He has left as witnesses. Are you a witness? You’re supposed to be. Now, if God wants to convict those that do not yet believe, even persecutors, even those that are against Christians, whom might He use as a witness? Us. You and me. It is a testimony of our faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ. The purpose of it is new growth of others receiving salvation. Here is another story from North Korea:
A soldier was watching as a construction crew, also composed of soldiers, they demolished a building and they found a Bible in it. With the Bible, there was also a list of 25 names. As they followed up with this list of 25 names, they rounded up a pastor, 2 assistant pastors, 2 elders, and 20 Christians. They assembled them at the construction site, they brought in steam rollers. They told the leaders, „If you do not worship Kim Il–sung and Kim Jong-il, you will die. And beloved, that is also a picture of the antichrist in the future. That is what he will say, „If you don’t worship me, you will die”. But beloved, this „you will die”, is only in a temporal sense. It’s not for eternity. We do not put our faith in our circumstances. But, we put our faith in a loving, incredible God. And so, God permitted, as a testimony that some of these Christians should be killed. And 5 of them , the leaders, had to lie on the pavement, and then the steamrollers came and rolled over them. As their heads popped, and made a popping sound, many of the Christians fainted and fell to the ground. But, you know, there was new growth. There was new growth, because that soldier who watched, he became a Christian. The blood of the martyrs drenched the ground, but there was new growth. (SEE the actual NEWS ARTICLE on this story below the video)
Christian Bishop Polycarp (lived 69 – 155 A.D.), was a second century Christian of Smyrna. If you remember, Christ had talked to the church of Smyrna and had told them, „Do not fear any of those things that you are about to suffer”. This is Christ, speaking through the apostle John. ANd He’s saying, „Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested. And you will have tribulation 10 days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. Life, forevermore, and a great reward. It is not the temporal, but the eternal. It is not the ‘now’, but, the ‘forever’. And so, we need not worry because Christ is with us, Christ is for us, Christ is in us. He says, „I’ll never leave you, or forsake you, whatever you have to go through. And so, this Christian bishop, Polycarp, he died as a martyr. He was bound and burned at the stake, but the fire would not touch him, the fire wouldn’t burn him. So, finally, the went over and they stabbed him to death. In Smyrna, the execution of Christians became so great, that hundreds of them are martyred at the same time. Yet, when the people saw the martyrdom of the Christians, and how they behaved in their faith, others became saved. Praise God! And those who had not believed (and were saved) outnumbered those that were being martyred. You give your life, for someone else to have life. You can start that now. You can put the old flesh to death.
The second reason God allows persecution: It refines us and tests us. You see, when we are in prison, we no longer have time to sin. And, when you’re all alone, you look to ‘from where cometh my help’. My help comes from the world. And, you have time alone with Him, with nobody to disturb you. It also tests your faith: Are you true in the faith? When you ask yourself, „Am I true in the faith?” Two Russian soldiers came to a little church in the middle of winter in Russia. And inside the church were about 12 people worshipping God. The door burst open and they saw 2 soldiers standing there with submachine guns. They walked in and said, „Now you Christians, we’re going to kill you if you don’t leave.” They stood in the middle with their submachine guns. Slowly, 6 people got up and walked out of the church. One of the soldiers went and closed the door behind them. He returned into the auditorium and both soldiers lay down their weapons. They said to the remaining 6, „Beloved brothers and sisters, we both are Christians too. We wanted to worship with true Christians”. Are you a true Christian? Would you give your life for someone else, that he might live?
Thirdly, persecution helps us to witness. Acts 8:1-4, in verse 1 ‘they were all scattered’, In verse 4 it says, „Those who were scattered went everywhere, preaching the word.A very surprising outcome. They were scattered. Do you know what scattered means? You lose all of your stuff. You lose all of your possessions, your job, your familyall of your surrounding friends. You can no longer stay there. You must leave. Be gone. You don’t know what you’re gonna eat the next day. And here they start to witness about the greatness of God. Does God have to scatter us first, before we share the truth of this great salvation? Perhaps, because we’re so stubborn, and we’re so selfish. And we say, „Why should I do what others don’t do?” There is only 1% that have read the Bible, and there is 1% only who witness faithfully and regularly. Perhaps it’s more here, but I believe a large majority of you are not witnessing regularly. (29:50)
3. The privilege of persecution
It is a cause of rejoicing when we are persecutedGod gives us eternal blessings. He gives us great rewards in heaven. He gives us a crown for eternity and He makes us shine like the stars forever. The Christians in North Korea pray, „Our persecution and suffering are our joy and honor. We want to accept ridicule, scorn and disadvantages with joy in Jesus’ name. We want to wipe others’ tears away and comfort the suffering. We want to be ready to risk our lives because of our love for our neighbor, so that they also become Christians. We want to live our lives according to the standards set in God’s Word”.
4. The promises of God during persecution
- Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- Revelation 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful,even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
- Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
- Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for theLord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
- Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
- Matthew 6:25-26 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
- Luke 12:7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. I love you so much that I even count the hairs on your head. But, I also love the unbelieving and I might ask you to give your life, that others might live. (34:00)
5. The presence of Christ during persecution.
Pastor Wurmbrand spent 14 years in prison, and had 18 pieces of flesh cut out of him. He relates that during torture he forgot all. He could not remember Scripture, he could not remember sermons, he couldn’t remember anything. But, he said what he remembered was the presence of the indwelling Christ who comforted him. He said. „It was Christ, the Son of God, who got me through this time. He sustained me. He helped me through.” And in 2 Corinthians 12:9 „But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Matthew 28:20 „and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” And, nothing can separate you from His love, even if you’re experiencing great, great persecution.
6. Perseverance of the saints to the end
1 Peter 4:12-13 „Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” Romans 8:18 „I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” It is not the temporal, it is the eternal. It is not the ‘now’, it is your future, beloved Christians. The glory of the future cannot be compared with what we might have to go through now.
7. Preparation for persecution
- (a) We must repent of all sin and fear. Some of you here are still afraid. And the reason you’re afraid is because you believe Satan, not God. He puts this fear into you. It is not God, and so, you must repent. You must cry out to God and say to Him, Lord, Lord, this fear is overcoming me, I reject it in Christ’s name. I will believe you, that you will sustain me in my hour of need. I believe that you will not tempt me beyond that which I’m able to bear. Praise God.
- (b) We must examine ourselves and see that we are in the faith. Beloved, if you’re not in the faith, you’re not able to withstand what is coming. So, if you are a nominal Christian, you should give your life to Christ. Repent of those ways, and do what the word of God says. So, examine yourself.
- (c) There should be evidenced a personal relationship with Jesus. Do you walk with Him, do you talk with Him? Does He tell you you’re His own? There ought to be a personal relationship between you and your Savior.
- (d) Practice forgiveness for those that hurt you. And you know there’s more hurt coming in the future, forgive everyone who has hurt you now. Forgive those in church that you cannot stand- someone who has a funny laugh, people in your family that get on your nerves, people at your job, at your office, at your school, at your university. Before you can love them, you need to forgive them.
- (e) Practice love through the Holy Spirit. Apply Matthew 5:44 „But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Love them after forgiving them. Bless them. Do good for them. You know what the evidence is, when you have forgiven? When you do something good for them, the person that hurt you. That’s the evidence.
- (f) Practice joy and humbleness. I wanna send all Christians to smile school. You’re so miserable. you’re so judgmental. You’re so sour. Why would I want to be a Christian like you? I don’t wanna be like you. But, give me a heavenly smile. Go to smile school with God. Ask for gladness, ask for joy to come back into your heart because you lost it. You see, when you fill up your life with the joys of this world,- football games, TV, internet, people out there, Broadway shows-. I know, when I fill up with the joys of this world, there’s no space left for the joys of the Lord. So talk in psalms and hymns. Fill up with the word of God.
- (g) Practice witnessing. You need the Holy Spirit, you need love from the Holy Spirit. Be ready. Write a short testimony, with a verse, a Scripture in it, because, even if your testimony fails, the verse built into your testimony can never fail. Praise God because the Word of God shall not return void.
- (h) Practice denying the flesh. Get along with less. Can you eat less? Can you get along without TV, without the internet? Can you do with less possessions? Would you lay down your life?
- (i) Practice living the cross. The top of the cross is prayer. The bottom of the cross is the Bible. One arm is for witnessing, the other arm is for fellowship. And to learn to love your fellow Christian in church, love people at the office, at school. If you don’t love them, if you judge them even before you love them, they will never listen to you. So, use that part of the cross to have fellowship. And then, in the center of it is my relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And, it is also my place of sacrifice and surrender, where I lay down before God. The flesh profits nothing, the Spirit is life. So, let God the Holy Spirit work through you and things will change.
VIDEO by sermonindex
This was published in the New York Sun Newspaper in 2005
Korean Reds Targeting Christians
WASHINGTON – A woman in her 20s executed by a firing squad after being caught with a Bible. Five Christian church leaders punished by being run over by a steamroller before a crowd of spectators who „cried, screamed out, or fainted when the skulls made a popping sound as they were crushed.”
These and other „horrifying” violations of human rights and religious freedom in North Korea are reported in a new study by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, titled „‘Thank You, Father Kim Il Sung’: Eyewitness Accounts of Severe Violations of Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion in North Korea.”
The report, released yesterday, comes as President Bush is touring Asia, calling for increased political freedom. In remarks prepared for delivery early this morning in Japan, the president called on Red China to extend more freedom to its population of 1.3 billion. In an advance text of the speech, President Bush also extolled Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province, as „a free and democratic Chinese society.” And the president noted North Korean human rights abuses while reassuring the Hermit Kingdom’s people.
„Satellite maps of North Korea show prison camps the size of whole cities,” Mr. Bush said. „We will not forget the people of North Korea.”
Yesterday on Capitol Hill the chairman of the Commission on International Religious Freedom, Michael Cromartie, and two members of Congress who helped establish the commission, Reps. Frank Wolf of Virginia and Chris Smith of New Jersey, called on Mr. Bush to include the specific findings of the North Korean report in his diplomatic discussions with Chinese and South Korean officials this week, and to urge leaders of both Asian nations to take a firmer stand against their communist neighbor.
Mr. Cromartie told The New York Sun after the event that senior administration officials at the National Security Council had been provided with an advance copy of the report so that Mr. Bush could raise particular human rights abuses with his Chinese and South Korean interlocutors.
Mr. Cromartie said yesterday during the study’s unveiling on Capitol Hill that the report was unique in its depth and breadth, and in the quantity of first-hand accounts, since it is notoriously difficult to obtain reliable information from inside North Korea, owing to the country’s complete isolation under the Kim dictatorship.
Among the first-hand reports are eyewitness accounts of Christians’ being executed for the underground practice of their faith.
Photo credit creative.sulekha.com
The study recounts, for example, how in November 1996 in North Korea’s South Pyongan province, a unit of the North Korean army was tasked with widening a highway connecting Pyongyang to a nearby port city. While demolishing a vacant house, soldiers found in the basement, hidden between two bricks, a Bible and a list of 25 names. Among the list were individuals identified as a Christian pastor, two assistant pastors, two elders, and 20 parishioners who were identified by their occupations.
Hunted down at their workplaces by military police, the 25 Christians were rounded up and detained without any formal judicial procedure. Later that month, the parishioners and their clergy were brought to the road construction site, where spectators had been arranged in neat rows to observe the public execution of the pastor, assistant pastors, and elders. According to a report based on an eyewitness account, the five church leaders „were bound hand and foot and made to lie down in front of a steamroller,” accused of subversion and of being Kiddokyo, or Protestant Christian, spies.
The 20 parishioners were detained near their clergy, and watched, along with the assembled audience, as the five Christian leaders were told they could escape death if they denied their faith and pledged to serve only Kim Jong Il and his father, the first dictator of communist Korea, Kim Il Sung. According to the eyewitness, the clergy remained silent.
For their steadfast belief, the Christians were executed. According to the report, „Some of the fellow parishioners assembled to watch the execution cried, screamed out, or fainted when the skulls made a popping sound as they were crushed beneath the steamroller.”
Another account contained in the report says that on a summer day in North Korea in 1997, a young woman was washing clothes in a tributary of the Tumen River when she dropped a small Bible she had hidden amid the laundry. Spotted by a fellow washerwoman, the girl was reported to North Korean authorities on the suspicion that she was engaging in an exercise of thought or religion condemned by the state. The girl, believed to be in her 20s, and her father, estimated to be around 60, were arrested by local national security police and imprisoned for three months.
One morning, they were taken to a public market area, where, after a brief show trial, the father and daughter were condemned as traitors to the North Korean nation and its communist dictator, Kim Jong Il. The father and daughter were then tied to stakes a few meters from where they had been „tried,” and, before an assembly of schoolchildren, were riddled with bullets by seven policemen who fired three shots each into the pair. According to a report drawn from eyewitness accounts, „The force of the rifle shots, fired from fifteen meters away, caused blood and brain matter to be blown out of their heads.”
The study was compiled by the author of „Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea’s Prison Camps,” David Hawk, who was assisted by two South Korean researchers, Jae Chunwon and Philo Kim. Together they interviewed 40 re cent North Korean defectors to gain insight into the religious lives of average North Koreans.
From the interviews, according to Mr. Cromartie, the Commission had obtained a „horrifying picture” of the abuses suffered by Christians and other believers in North Korea.
All of the interviewees had fled to South Korea through China, which has become something of a „safety valve” for North Koreans fleeing religious persecution, Mr. Smith told the Sun yesterday. According to the study, China has received a flood of refugees fleeing the Kim dictatorship, and between 50,000 and 100,000 North Korean exiles remain in China, the commission reported.
China, however, considers dissident North Koreans „economic migrants” subject to repatriation, and the study presents a dismal account of those forced to return to North Korea. According to one defector who was grilled by North Korean border guards, the Kim regime fears that „Juche will be toppled by Christianity,” referring to the state ideology, and exercises brutal control over North Koreans who have been exposed to Chinese or South Korean Christian churches.
According to the study, in order to preserve the complete control Kim Jong Il exercises over his subjects’ minds, repatriated North Koreans are harshly interrogated to determine whether they will infect their countrymen with ideas and information obtained abroad, and Christian believers are often slapped with long prison sentences and hard labor, punishments sometimes passed on to their families and descendants.
The documented fear of Christianity is accompanied by an extensive account of the pervasiveness of the Kims’ cult of personality, and the title of the study, „Thank you, Father Kim Il-Sung,” refers to the phrase North Korean parents are required to first teach their children.
SOURCE – The New York Sun