Report: “11 Christians Killed Every Day for Their Faith”

by Raymond Ibrahim

  • One of the most noteworthy trends concerns the “shocking reality of persecution against women…. In many places, they experience a ‘double persecution’ — one for being a Christian and one for being a woman.”
  • Another trend that should send an alarm is that, “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10” — meaning Christians there are now experiencing “extreme persecution.”

Last year, Christians were persecuted more than ever before in the modern era — and this year is expected to be worse: “4,136 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons,” according to Open Doors USA in its recently published World Watch List 2019 (WWL) of the top 50 nations where Christians are persecuted. “On average, that’s 11 Christians killed every day for their faith.” Additionally, “2,625 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned” in 2018, and “1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.”

Whereas 215 million Christians faced persecution in 2018, 245 million will suffer in 2019, according to Open Doors — a 14% increase, that represents 30 million more people abused for their faith. This means that “1 in 9 Christians experience high levels of persecution worldwide” (note: all quotations in this article are from the WWL 2019).

One of the most noteworthy trends concerns the “shocking reality of persecution against women.”

“In many places, they experience a ‘double persecution’ — one for being a Christian and one for being a woman. Even in the most restricted circumstances, gender-specific persecution is a key means of destroying the minority Christian community.”

Last year’s WWL provided more specific numbers: “At least six women every day are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage to a Muslim man under the threat of death for their Christian faith…”

Another trend, one that should send an alarm, is that, “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10” — meaning Christians there are now experiencing “extreme persecution”:

“Christians have been targeted by Hindu nationalist extremists more each year. Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, attacks have increased, and Hindu radicals believe they can attack Christians with no consequences. The view of the nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith — including Christianity — is viewed as non-Indian. Additionally, in some regions of the country, converts to Christianity from Hinduism experience extreme persecution, discrimination and violence.”

The most obvious trend remains unchanged:

“Islamic oppression continues to impact millions of Christians. In seven out of the top 10 World Watch List countries, the primary cause of persecution is Islamic oppression. This means, for millions of Christians — particularly those who grew up Muslim or were born into Muslim families — openly following Jesus can have painful consequences. They can be treated as second-class citizens, discriminated against for jobs or even violently attacked.”

Not only is that responsible for the persecution Christians face in seven of the ten worst nations; 38 of the 50 nations making the list are Muslim-majority.

Among the worst persecutors are those that rule according to Sharia. In Afghanistan (ranked #2), “Christianity is not permitted to exist” because it “is an Islamic state by constitution, which means government officials, ethnic group leaders, religious officials and citizens are hostile toward adherents of any other religion.” Similarly, in Somalia, (#3), “The Christian community is small and under constant threat of attack. Sharia law and Islam are enshrined in the country’s constitution, and the persecution of Christians almost always involves violence.” In Iran (#9), “society is governed by Islamic law, which means the rights and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted.”

While the forms persecution and actors behind them vary, many seem connected to Islam. For example, “Under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, Christians continue to live in daily fear they will be accused of blasphemy — which can carry a penalty of death.” In Libya (#4), Yemen (#8), Syria (#11), Iraq (#13) war has given rise to Islamic militancy and general lawlessness, both of which prey on Christian minorities.

In Muslim nations where Christians make up a minority, a significant quantity of churches might be needed to meet their numbers — the visibility of which may offend Muslim sensibilities. Thus in Egypt (#16), where Christians number at least 10% of the population (possibly even double that):

“Severe restrictions on building or securing places for worship prevent Christians from congregating, in addition to hostility and violence toward believers who do gather. In recent years, Islamic extremist groups have targeted Christians and churches in numerous violent and deadly acts of persecution.”

“The spread of radical Islam across sub-Saharan Africa” is another growing and troubling trend. For example,

“Nigeria’s score for violence [99.9%] has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by militant Fulani herdsmen. These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of believers during the reporting period, and villages and churches burned to the ground. Additionally, in parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens.”

Some WWL’s findings are surprising. Although Orthodox Christians are the majority of its population, the Russian Federation is #41, and the “source of persecution” is, again, “Islamic oppression”: “Christians in parts of Russia dominated by Islam report the highest level of persecution.”

Despite the role of religion, North Korea (#1) remains the worst nation, where “never-ending pressure and violence” is directed against Christians:

“The primary driver of persecution in North Korea is the state. For three generations, everything in the country has focused on idolizing the Kim family. Christians are seen as hostiles to be eradicated.”

As difficult as it is for Christians identified by the Kim regime, there may be some eventual relief for them and those in other communist nations (such as China, #27): cults of personalities might last so long, but in the Arab and Muslim world, where, sadly, there seems to be little or no education to respect religious differences, the weight of the dominant religion continues to permeate all of society. (Click to Source)

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Recovery Room 7 is a community of people with similar backgrounds, where people from all walks of drug & alcohol recovery can meet together, share, socialize, interact, join in fun activities, share meals, pray and learn. It’s a place of joy and awakening to their true purpose in life. Jesus Christ is always present and ready to receive everyone in Recovery Room 7. We will be located in beautiful Northwest Montana. If you would like to donate to get Recovery Room 7 up and running, please go to our PayPal Donation Link here.

 

Why the Russia-Turkey-Iran Alliance Could Be More Disturbing Than You Think

Laura Lacey Johnson | Contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com | Thursday, April 5, 2018

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At a time when Russia faces widespread diplomatic fallout from the poisoned spy scandal and Turkey frustrates Western allies amid human rights concerns, these two rival nations are teaming up with Iran, a country that may soon restart its nuclear weapons program.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put aside previous tensions and attended a ground-breaking ceremony for a Russian-made nuclear power plant under construction on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

On Wednesday, the two met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss Syria’s future at a summit in the Turkish capital of Ankara.  According to reports, Russia, Turkey, and Iran are working together to create “de-escalation zones” to end the seven-year civil war in Syria.

While this news is significant to the international community, it may also be important from a Biblical perspective.

Why?

Some scholars say the alliance of Russia, Turkey, and Iran sounds strikingly similar to a coalition foretold by the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel.

The background

The prophet Ezekiel ministered to the Jews who were exiled from the Promised Land after Babylon invaded Judah. Toward the latter part of his book, Ezekiel predicts future events that many modern Bible scholars say have not come to pass yet.

Relevant to our conversation today is a prediction in Ezekiel 38-39 about a war in which a coalition of nations “devise an evil plan” against Israel (see Ezekiel 38:10).

What happens?

God defeats the enemies of Israel.  In fact, God’s word says the defeat will be so extensive that it will take seven months for the people of Israel to find and bury the remains of their enemies (Ezekiel 39:12).

According to commentator Chuck Swindoll, God will accomplish two sovereign purposes:

  • Israel will be secure and unafraid in its land.
  • God will display His holiness among the nations.

God says in Ezekiel 38:23:“In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Who is involved?

The Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy contains some obscure names as villains: Gog from the land of Magog, Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah.

If you’re like me, you want to know who these people or nations are. Therefore, let me recommend this article by author Joel C. Rosenberg as well as the research of author Mark Hitchcock in his book, “101 Answers to the Most Asked Questions About the End Times.”

According to Hitchcock and Rosenberg, here are the modern identities of the ancient people and cities referenced in Ezekiel 38-39:

Ancient Name: Modern Name:
Gog Russian leader
Magog Russia
Persia Iran
Ethiopia Sudan
Libya Libya and Algeria
Gomer and Beth-togarmah Turkey

 

Look back at the bolded names on the list.  Russia, Iran, and Turkey are now collaborating. Meanwhile, Libya and Algeria are already closely aligned with Russia and hostile to Israel, and Sudan is a radical Islamic Sunni state allied with Iran and Russia that is anti-Israel.

While there is no immediate or specific threat to Israel, the alliance of these nations is noteworthy.

Conclusion:

Is the alliance of Russia, Turkey, and Iran a precursor to the events prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39? Time will reveal the answer.

Meantime, what we do know is that God gives us prophecy to help us understand He has a sovereign plan for the future – a perspective that helps build our confidence in Him today. (Click to Source)

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Ezekiel 38 & 39: The Magog Invasion

More than 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel predicted that in the latter days (before the second coming) a large nation to the north of Israel, along with a number of allies, would invade Israel. This important prophecy is found in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39.

 “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal….. And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 38:2-6, 16)


The leader of the invasion is identified as “Gog from the land of Magog” (Ezek. 38:2). The land of Magog was located near the Black and Caspian Seas north of the Caucasus Mountains, in the southern part of 20th-century Russia. The leader is also identified as being located in “ the north parts ” (Ezek. 38:15; 39:2). The Hebrew word translated “parts” means “extreme or uttermost parts.” Russia is the nation situated in the extreme or uttermost parts directly north of Israel. Any map would show that Russia is north of Israel. It is clear that Russia will be the leading nation of the invasion. So who are the other nations that will align themselves with Russia? The nations are identified in Ezekiel 38:5–6; “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.” The names they bore are from Ezekiel’s time, but the four countries (with their modern-day names) that will align themselves with Russia to invade Israel are:

  • Persia – Iran
  • Ethiopia – Sudan
  • Libya
  • Gomer – Turkey (may be modern-day Turkey)
It isn’t too surprising to find that all of them are Islamic nations! Today, we see those very nations coming together.
Not long ago, there was very little connection between Iran and Russia. Economic and military cooperation between Iran and Russia had never taken place. But around 1989, this started to change. Today, Iran and Russia are strong allies. The Russian-Iranian alliance is propping up the regime of Syrian dictator Assad. There are now 2,000 Iranian and Iranian-backed fighters in Syria. This is backed by Russian air power. Such an alliance has never existed, yet it was predicted in Scripture 3,000 years ago. 
 

Interestingly, the invasion mentioned in Ezekiel involves nations that are at least one country away from Israel’s borders, yet they attack with ground forces from Israel’s north. You’d expect that the attack would have to come from Syria, but Syria is not listed as one of the attackers. We can see why Syria is likely not listed because Syria is powerless, and controlled by Russia and Iran, who are calling all shots today. (See: Iran Is Taking Over Syria. Can Anyone Stop It?)

Syria is being used by Iran and Russia, just as we’d expect if Syria isn’t involved in the attack, and current events are confirming this! Recent news shows that Iran is setting up shop in Syria, and has been laying the groundwork for a highway from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea—in essence building a caliphate with clearly stated plans to destroy Israel! Within the past year alone, airstrikes by Israel against weapons convoys (gifts from Iran to Hezbollah), and an Iranian built missile factory near Syria. Hidden chemical weapons are very likely being stored in and around Syria. ISIS has been contained and the Syrian Civil War brought to a low simmer, Russian and Iranian attention seems to be turning southward toward the mountains of Israel. (See: Wake-Up Call: The Russia-Iran Axis Is an Existential Threat to Israel’s Security.)

Figuring out what would be the exact cause in dragging Russia into the middle-east had been difficult up until now. Today there are many possible ways this could happen. For example, in order to maintain their grip, Russia would instantly be pulled into major conflict if Israel preemptively striked or retaliated against Iran’s growing presence in Syria. It’s probable that the next war will be the cause (Ezek.38:4) that draws Russia, Iran and their allies directly into this regional conflict.

It may even be Russia’s need to control the area which could lead to greediness towards Israel’s recent massive oil and gas discoveries. (See: Huge oil discovery on Golan Heights (Globes, the Israeli financial newspaper) or Major Shale Find Could Guarantee Israel’s Oil Supply For Years (NASDAQ)) These and several other forms could serve as the factor that drags Russia into leading the attack.

As for the timing of the Ezekiel 38-39 war, it does seem to happen during the peaceful years Israel will have during the first part of the tribulation (see Ezekiel 38:11). But there are various opinions out there so I wouldn’t be dogmatic about it happening after the rapture. With Russia aligning with Iran it certainly is an exciting time to be a Christian!

When you stop and think about the impossibility of all these current events taking shape exactly as foretold in Scripture, you realize how close we may be to the rapture. All predicted in Scripture 3,000 years ago, what more Christian evidence do you need to know God exists? (Click to Source)

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References:

Drumbeats Of Ezekiel 38 – Israel Bombs Iranian Base In Syria

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Israel’s air force has bombed a military target thought to be an Iranian military base outside Damascus, Syria December 2. The hit was reported by Arab media outlets. An arms depot was destroyed in the strike, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Iran is a staunch ally of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and provided him with military and financial assistance during the long Syrian civil war.
Arabic media reported the target was an Iranian military base 9 miles south of Damascus and just 30 miles from the Israeli border that was revealed by the BBC three weeks ago. It is the first time reports have emerged of Iran establishing a permanent base in Syria.

 

“At half past midnight [2230 GMT Friday], the Israeli enemy fired several surface-to-surface missiles at a military position in Damascus province,” Syria’s state SANA news agency reported, according to The Times of Israel.
An account on the Telegram messaging app linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps reported that 12 Iranians were killed in the strike, according to Lebanon’s Al-Mustaqbal TV and the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network.
Israel repeatedly warned it will not allow Iran to develop a military presence in Syria. Iranian leaders have long threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” In June 2017, demonstrators set up a countdown clock to Israel’s destruction in the center of the capital Tehran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern warning in a video announcement on November 30, before the strike.
“Let me reiterate Israel’s policy: We will not allow a regime hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said. “We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria, as it seeks to do, for the express purpose of eradicating our state.”
Netanyahu is said to have conveyed a warning to Assad via a third party just days ago that Syria will be targeted if it allows Iran to develop a permanent military presence in Syria.
With all the events taking place in Syria right now, many people are asking, “What does the Bible have to say about Syria and the end times?
Chapter 17 in the Book of Isaiah paints a sobering picture. In it, the city of Damascus is a pile of rubble. The Bible says it will disappear from the face of the earth and become a heap of ruins (Isaiah 17:1).
At the same time, large parts of northern Israel will also lie in ruin (Isaiah 17:3). Now, before you say this prophecy was fulfilled during Old Testament times, keep this in mind… This passage says Damascus will cease to be a city (Isaiah 17:1).

 

It will be utterly and completely destroyed. Yet, Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on record. Its history goes back more than 5,000 years. At 2,600 years old, the Book of Isaiah itself is new compared to Damascus! This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
Current events in Syria are also setting the stage for the Gog of Magog War. More than 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel warned of a future time when a vast coalition of nations will attack Israel.
Ezekiel identifies these nations as “Magog, Rosh, Meschech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah” (Ezekiel 38:1-6). These nations have since come to be known as the Gog of Magog alliance.
Now, with the exception of Persia and Cush, I realize most people have never heard of these nations.
But keep in mind Ezekiel used the names of these nations as they were known in his day. Each one is a clearly identifiable nation today. So who are these nations in our day and time?
Below is a list. The Old Testament name is listed first, followed by its modern day equivalent:
Rosh = Russia
Magog = Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan
Persia = Iran
Cush = Sudan
Put = Libya
Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah = Turkey
Collectively, these nations have never attacked Israel. In fact, in the history of the world, such an alliance of nations has never existed.
But today we see it coming together right in front of us. Since 1989, Russia and Iran have gradually strengthened their diplomatic, military, and economic ties.

 

Yet, in the first 2,600 years after Ezekiel recorded his prophecies, the nations of Russia and Persia (Iran) had never been part of any alliance of any sort. Never. Cooperation between Russia and Iran, especially military cooperation, didn’t take place.
This led many people to claim Ezekiel’s prophecy was symbolic. Why? Because the idea of the Gog of Magog war seemed absurd. After all, at the dawn of the 20th Century, Russia was an orthodox Christian nation and Israel didn’t exist!
But those who believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible knew otherwise.  They knew all prophecy would come to pass. Because bible prophecy doesn’t come from mere humans. It’s God’s Word (2 Peter 1:19-21).
In the years since, the stage has been set for the literal fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39. A 1917 communist revolution transformed Russia from a Christian nation to an atheist nation.
In 1948, Israel once again became a nation. And earlier this year, Russia and Iran issued a joint statement vowing to respond with force to any aggressor.
And Turkey? For decades, people have wondered how Turkey could be a part of this alliance. After all, Turkey is a member of NATO.
And in late 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian jet when it strayed into Turkish airspace. Russia and Turkey seem to be at odds.
So how could Turkey be a part of this alliance? At first glance, it seems unlikely. But in the summer of 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan jailed thousands of political opponents. And now has Turkey voted to eliminate its parliamentary form of government and give expanded powers to Erdogan.
Ultimately, this could be what pushes Turkey into the Russian sphere of influence. Erdogan is an anti-Western, pro-Islamist leader, and he’s worked hard to strengthen Turkey’s ties with Russia.
In light of these developments, we can see the Gog of Magog alliance coming together for the first time in history.
For the first time since Israel re-emerged on the world scene in May 1948, the main players of the Ezekiel 38-39 alliance are all working together. Even more important, they all have military personnel on Israel’s northern border. The stage is set for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39. (Click to Source)