Jihadists launch deadly attack on Niger refugee camp, UN says

Issued on: Modified: 

 

Jihadists carried out a coordinated attack on a camp housing thousands of Malian refugees in western Niger, killing three civilians, abducting a guard and sabotaging the water supply, the United Nations said Monday.

Around 50 jihadists launched a “well-planned operation” against the Intikane refugee camp in the Tahoua region on Sunday afternoon, the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Niamey told AFP.

The three victims were the head of a refugee committee, the head of a refugee vigilance group, and a representative of a Tahoua nomadic group, the UNHCR said.

The town of Intikane is home to some 20,000 Malian refugees and 15,000 internally displaced Niger citizens — all of whom fled their villages due to jihadist violence — as well as the local population.

“The jihadists inflicted damage on the camp’s facilities, in particularly emptying the food supplies and destroying the system which supplies drinking water to the area within a radius of 40 kilometres (25 miles),” the UN agency said.

The UNHCR’s representative in Niger Alessandra Morelli condemned the attack.

“It is very serious, the terrorists have destroyed our space to live,” Morelli told AFP.

A security source told AFP that before the attack, the jihadists destroyed telephone relay antennas in the area.

Vulnerable to armed groups in neighboring countries

Niger is home to nearly 60,000 Malian refugees who fled their country’s north after it fell under the control of Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups in 2012, according to the UN.

A French-led military intervention pushed them out, but swathes of the West African country remain out of government control and awash with armed groups.

Niger’s long, porous borders make it vulnerable to the armed violence in neighbouring countries.

The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), carries out frequent attacks over Niger’s western borders, while the southeast faces regular assaults from Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram.

According to the UN, jihadist violence, which is often interwoven with ethnic conflict, claimed the lives of 4,000 people last year in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, three of the world’s poorest countries. (Click to Source)

(AFP)

 

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Franklin Graham: ‘Equality Act’ will lead to Christian persecution ‘as never before’

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham is speaking out against one of the LGBT lobby’s top congressional priorities, warning that the so-called Equality Act would have “catastrophic consequences” for both religious freedom and women’s rights if it became law.

The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include “sex,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” among expressly recognized “non-discrimination” categories in “public accommodations” (the definition of which would be dramatically expanded); and force employers of 15 or more people to recognize their claimed “gender identity,” forbid them from “discriminating” based on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” and mandate transgender “access” to sex-specific facilities.

In May, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted to pass the bill, which Graham warns could become law depending on the outcome of next year’s elections, WND reports.

“If the Senate majority changes or if enough Republican senators change their position, it would be up to the president to veto the bill. And if that office were to change hands in 2020, I have little doubt this would become the law of the land,” Graham wrote in the July-August issue of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association magazine Decision.

If that happens, he continued, Christian employers “would lose all protections to hire people who adhere to their biblical statements of faith. Christians will be persecuted for their sincerely held beliefs as never before. The clear teachings of the Bible on the sins of homosexuality and abortion will no doubt be considered ‘hate speech.’ It will be a nightmare from which this nation may never recover.”

Conservatives have long warned that the legislation’s true purpose is not to protect homosexual or gender-confused Americans from tangible harm, but to force other Americans such as photographers, florists, and bakers to participate in same-sex “weddings”; to force employers and businesses to accommodate cross-dressing, same-sex cohabitation, and sex-change treatments regardless of their own values or policies; and to force women and girls to sleep, shower, and use the bathroomalongside gender-confused males.

WND adds that in the same issue, the Graham association’s Jerry Pierce warned that the Equality Act “would make no exemptions for religious institutions and explicitly invalidates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” leading to the closure of adoption agencies that insist children be placed in homes with a mother and a father along with stripping “parents of their right to raise and educate their own children if their beliefs contradict government mandates.”

“Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, the Equality Act would impose sweeping new norms that negatively impact the unborn, health care, charitable services, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and parental rights,” five chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) declared in May.

“The Act’s unsound definitions of ‘sex’ and ’gender identity’ would erase women’s distinct, hard-won recognition in federal laws. Its sex-based nondiscrimination terms would end women’s shelters and many single-sex schools. It would close faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that honor children’s rights to a mother and father. The bill would even act as an abortion mandate,” the bishops added.

The Daily Caller reported last month that every 2020 Democrat presidential candidate averaging above 1% in the polls has endorsed the Equality Act, including former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren. (Click to Source)

 

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15,000 WHITE South African Farmers, Fearing for Their Lives, Are Fleeing to Russia

This is what happens when racial hostilities get out of hand.

Ending apartheid was not enough, now Black South Africans want payback.

If you are not aware of the dangers that White farmers now face in South Africa, read these articles (they will open in a new window so you can return when ready):

Neon Nettle is reporting that White farmers in South Africa are fleeing their homeland, fearing for their lives, and moving to Russia.

Latest: 15,000 WHITE South African Farmers, Fearing for Their Lives, Are Fleeing to Russia

A delegation of 30 families that have fled South Africa has arrived in Russia’s farm belt Stavropol Region, according to a report by Rossiya 1 TV.

The group says it has been forced to leave their farms and land behind after facing violent attacks and death threats at home.South Africa’s new President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to take back land from the countries White minority and give it to Black citizens.

With descendants of the White farmers having occupied the land for up to 400 years, the families have been left with no other option but to seek refuge in Russia where the government is welcoming them in.

A White farmer is murdered every 5 days in South Africa

RT reports: Up to 15,000 Boers, descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa, are planning to move to Russia amid rising violence stemming from government plans to expropriate their land, according to the delegation.

Read More…

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Is this coming to America someday?

If all of these “reparations” advocates have their way, it might.

They want to punish White Americans for what happened over 150 years ago.

RT.com reports on one of the first families to arrive in Russia:

The Schlebusch family from South Africa’s Bloemfontein is going to be among first 50 Boer families to settle in Russia’s southwest. Like many other Boers, they are seeking political asylum in Russia. They say they are facing violent attacks and death threats at home stemming from government plans to expropriate their land.

Earlier this month, farmer Adi Schlebusch visited Russia’s farmbelt Stavropol Region. Schlebusch, whose grandfather was murdered at his farm, told RT that the land in South Africa “was never taken by whites from blacks with violence or in an unjust manner.” He explained that when Boers moved to South Africa in the 19th century, they tried to act in a way that was fair, to negotiate officially and to avoid conflict.

More at RT…

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IOL (a South African site) reports that Putin and Russia are using this politically to heal their worldwide identity:

Kosyakovo, Russia – Leon du Toit slowly inhales the late summer breeze off fields belonging to a dairy farm not far from Moscow. “Smells just like home,” the 72-year-old South African said.

That’s just what one Russian political figure hopes to hear.

He is leading something of a charm offensive in South Africa with a very particular goal: hoping to lure white South Africans to move 8 000 miles away to rural Russia.

The selling points are abundant farmland, relative safety and a country that holds tight to traditional Christian values.

What is not said – but clearly understood – is how this fits neatly into the identity politics of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The West may view Putin largely as a strategic and military adversary. Yet inside Russia, much of his support grows from the idea of Russia as the caretaker for a white, Christian and old-style order – rejecting “so-called tolerance, genderless and infertile,” in Putin’s own words in 2013.

Such comments have helped elevate Putin’s stature among populists and nativist-driven political movements in the West. And, within Russia, they have boosted the efforts of political insiders such as Vladimir Poluboyarenko, a government liaison from the Stavropol region in southern Russia.

Poluboyarenko has taken the lead in organising trips to Russia for white South Africans considering making a move.

The effort intersects with many issues. There is Russia’s declining population and worries about the influence of Islam on Russia’s borders. Add to that the unease among some white South African farmers as the country debates possible land redistribution to redress racial imbalances during apartheid.

Poluboyarenko claims he funds the trips for the South Africans with his own savings, but such activity would almost certainly need the Kremlin’s blessing.

According to a Pew Research Center report last year, fewer than 10 000 South Africans live in Russia. Last April, Russia scrapped tourist visa requirements for South Africans, meaning all planned visits by South African are reviewed in advance.

“I want them to know that Russia can be their mother country, too,” said Poluboyarenko, who assists the human rights ombudsman in the agricultural heartland of Stavropol.

Du Toit, a missionary preacher, is weighing the offer.

Read the rest at IOL.ca.za…

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Maybe it is politics driving Putin and Russia, but South African farmers must do what they have to do to protect their families and their futures. They have little choice.

This is an important lesson and maybe even a foreboding for America.

If the left gets their way, SOME White Americans may someday be moving too.

The lesson?

Don’t be intimidated and buy more guns and ammo.

That is the only thing keeping American citizens (black or white) safe.

If the 2nd Amendment falls then we may be scrambling to move to… who knows where?

I’m not thinking Russia would be my first choice.

I’d rather die free than flee to another pseudo-slave state. (Click to Source)

 

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Christian pastors are being arrested in the UK for preaching the word of God… while UK tyrants protect Islamic radicals

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(Natural News) Freedom of speech in the United Kingdom is under attack after a Christian preacher was arrested for sharing his faith in the public square.

According to reports, David Lynn, a non-denominational ministry leader from Canada, was forcibly removed from a train station in Barking after a lesbian woman accused him of calling her “perverse” and “sinful” during his message.

Lynn denies this allegation – and video footage from the event corroborates his defense – but that didn’t stop British police from arresting the preacher and detaining him for more than 20 hours.

Though he was eventually released without a charge filed, Lynn, who has been preaching from the Bible for 22 years, had to seek legal counsel from the Christian Legal Center, a U.K.-based organization that helps Christians all over the world handle legal cases such as this that involve accusations of “discrimination.”

As the head of Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries, which has congregations not only in the U.K. but also in the United States and Canada, Lynn had plenty of support on the tube platform that fateful day in which he was taken away in cuffs. He says he was only there to help people find a right relationship with Jesus Christ, which involves turning from sin.

“He preached about people searching for love in the wrong places, and that it is only through a right relationship with Christ that this deep need can be satisfied,” the Christian Legal Center reported.

“A crowd formed, and David frequently handed the microphone to onlookers to allow them to respond to his preaching. It was alleged that David called a homosexual lady in the crowd ‘perverse’ and ‘sinful,’ though he denies this and video footage captured of the preaching does not substantiate her complaint. Instead, it shows groups of supporters cheering, chanting ‘Jesus’ and supporting David throughout his preaching. The atmosphere was more like a carnival that [sic] a confrontation.”

U.K. authorities ban woman from country, dub her a “terrorist,” simply because she spoke out against Islam

What seems to have further bothered U.K. authorities is the fact that Lynn isn’t a Muslim, which seems to be the only religious faction in Great Britain that receives religious protection anymore. Christians like Lynn who openly share their faith are becoming increasingly marginalized and persecuted.

And it’s happening all over the U.K., as Christians like Lynn are continually being targeted for exercising their free speech rights. A Christian woman by the name of Lauren Southern was actually barred from entering the country after she was accused of violating Islam’s “Blasphemy” laws simply for speaking out against the religion.

The U.K. actually declared Southern to be a “terrorist” after she and some friends conducted a social experiment in which they handed out flyers that were critical of Islam. Southern’s attempted entry back into the country after being kicked out was denied, as authorities stated that allowing her presence would not be “conducive to the public good.”

Her flyer, which claimed to be a fictitious group known as “LGBT for Islam UK,” stated:

“Allah is Gay, Allah is Trans, Allah is Lesbian, Allah is Intersex, Allah is Feminist, Allah is Queer, Allah is All of Us.”

Like Lynn, Southern was immediately targeted and eventually forced out of the U.K. She later told Fox News that she believes the ordeal “could be marking the end of conservative speech in the U.K. or the beginning of an era of serious censorship.”

In defending his actions, Lynn told the media that his only goal is to bring the “life-changing message of Jesus Christ’s love and forgiveness to the world through evangelism.” He added that, while his arrest came as a shock, he’s grateful to those who continue to support him and who have helped him avoid being charged with crimes he didn’t commit. (Click to Source)

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Read AntiChrist.news for more coverage of attacks on Christians.

Sources for this article include:

ChristianJournal.net

ChristianJournal.net

NaturalNews.com

Hated by Everyone

Yeshua predicted that His disciples will be hated by everyone. When will this time of persecution come?

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Rabbi Yeshua warned His disciples that a time of strife would come during which family members might betray them. He said, “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name” (Luke 21:16-17). When will these things happen?

On the one hand, the Master spoke prophetically about the coming times of persecution His followers would face. The first-century Jewish believers sometimes suffered acute persecution from the religious establishment. Paul of Tarsus pursued, persecuted, arrested, and prosecuted them. Occasionally, believers suffered martyrdom by order of the Sanhedrin or the government of Herod Agrippa. In the decades after the destruction of the Temple, the Sanhedrin at Yavneh declared the believers heretical and forced them from the synagogue. Meanwhile, the Roman government began to arrest believers and, in many cases, execute them if they refused to renounce the name of Yeshua. Nero sent the believers of Rome into the arena, and the Romans declared Yeshua-faith to an illegal superstition, punishable by death. Just as Yeshua had predicted, His disciples found themselves hated by everyone for the sake of His name.

On the other hand, the Master spoke prophetically about the end of days—the last generation before the Messianic Era. Jewish tradition refers to the tribulations of those troubled days before the coming of Messiah as “the birth pains of Messiah.” The sages called the last generation before the coming of the Messiah “the footsteps of Messiah” or “the heels of Messiah.” In those days, lawlessness will increase:

And in this generation children will reproach their parents and their elders … Some of these will strive with others, the young against the old and the old against the young, the poor against the rich and the rich against the poor, the lowly against the great and the great against the lowly, and the beggar against the judge. They will strive concerning the Torah and the covenant because they have forgotten the commandments and covenant and festivals and months and Sabbaths … (Jubilees23:16-19)

Those who weather through the persecution for the sake of Messiah, however, will find salvation. “The one who endures to the end, he will be saved,” Yeshua said (Mark 13:13).

Jewish believers today understand what it means to be hated by everyone for the sake of the Master’s name. The Jewish disciple who confesses Yeshua and remains faithful to Torah may find himself or herself ejected by the Jewish community but also unwelcome in a Christian community so long as the new disciple continues to practice Judaism. It’s still possible to be hated by everyone for the sake of the Master. (Click to Source)

One in 12 Christians around the world is persecuted: 3,000 were killed last year and six women were raped every DAY, shocking report finds

 

  • The report by Open Doors USA says 215 million Christians live with persecution
  • It also identified 50 nations where following the religion can be most dangerous
  • North Korea topped the list , with Afghanistan not far behind 

One in 12 Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith and are the target of violent attacks including rape, a shocking report has found.

According to a study by Open Doors USA, an organization that studies Christian persecution, 215 million Christians live in areas with high levels of persecution worldwide.

The report also goes on to state that over 3,000 Christians were killed and nearly 800 churches were damaged in the last year.

‘The most significant findings were that Christian women are among the most violated in the world, in maybe a way that we haven’t seen before,’ David Curry, the president and CEO of Open Doors USA, told Fox News. ‘We need to raise the flag. These are tactics are being increasingly used by extremists.’

The study also identified 50 countries across the globe where following Christianity is most dangerous.

The report also stated that Islamic extremism is a driver of persecution in 35 of the 50 nations on the list.

North Korea, which is an officially atheist state where public worship is illegal, topped the list. Afghanistan, which lacks a strong central government and has a conservative Muslim population, wasn’t far behind.

North Korea’s nearly 300,000 Christians must practice their religion in private for fear of government persecution.

‘In a nation where the ruling regime demands total control over the general public, anything that challenges the government’s power is seen as a threat, including religion,’ Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, told Fox News. ‘As a result, the North Korean government does everything in its power to squash the spread of Christianity.’ (Click to Source)

TOP TEN NATIONS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WORST CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

1. North Korea

2. Afghanistan

3. Somalia

4. Sudan

5. Pakistan

6. Eritrea

7. Libya

8. Iraq

9. Yemen

10. Iran

 

Persecution ‘Wake-Up Call’: 2017 May Be Worse for Christians

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A new warning has been issued about persecution of Christians around the world in 2017.

A ministry called Release International warns that violent attacks on Christians are expected to increase, based on the trends from 2016.

“2017 looks set to be a harsh year for many Christians, under authoritarian regimes and at the hands of militants,” says Paul Robinson, chief executive of Release. “Our Christian family will need our prayers and our practical support.”

The Center for Global Christianity reports that around 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2016.

Release says many of those deaths came in Islamic countries. The ministry says persecution of Christians has been increasing from Islamic militants, and from the governments in Islamic countries as well.

“Around the world Christians face an increasing array of violent persecutors. These include the brutal Islamic State in the Middle East, heavily armed militants in Nigeria and Hindu extremists in India,” warns Release Paul Robinson. (Click to Article)

Muslim Leader Miraculously Raised from the Dead and Converted

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A Muslim Imam was miraculously raised from the dead and converted to Christianity after having a vision of Jesus.

ChristianToday.com reports that Munaf Ali (name changed for security reasons) was an influential religious leader in the Middle East.

While he was walking home one day, he suddenly lost consciousness, fell to the ground, and was found dead by his family.

While his body remained lifeless, however, Munaf Ali had a vision of good and evil.

He shared that he saw demons coming to take his soul away. “Get lost, you cursed demons of Allah. You have no right to take my soul!” he shouted at them. One of the demons spoke to him, saying, “No. It’s our right to take your life. And you will be with us.”

It was then that Jesus appeared with a group of angels and drove the demons away.

Munaf Ali then heard Jesus talk to him:  “Listen, my son. First Adam disobeyed God and sinned against Him under Satan’s influence. I am the second Adam, the Word of God and the Messiah Jesus, Son of the Most High. I was born of the virgin Mary, as a sinless Son of Man to redeem Adam and all of his descendants including you from sin and death.”

Jesus continued, according to Munaf Ali’s vision: “I was crucified and died as a ransom for all your sins to make you a child of God and citizen of heaven. I was raised from the dead and opened the gates of heaven to bring you back to eternal glory. Have faith in me and be my witness. I give your life back, for I have the authority of giving life.” (Click to Article)

PART 4: PERSECUTION – Then, Now, And Coming

Let’s return for a moment to the hours just before our Lord Jesus went to the cross. 

He sat upon the Mount of Olives with His disciples while the group looked down at the Temple sitting atop Mount Moriah. One of His disciples wanted Him to look at the beauty of the great structure. It was a magnificent sight. They were having a time of fellowship, and it must have seemed that nothing bad could come of their circumstances.

Jesus, however, knew what He faced. More than that, He was concerned for His friends and disciples. He knew they had to get a grip on reality as they faced the satanic war that lay before them. Very soon they would see Him die in the cruelest method known to man at the time. They must be given truth upon which they could reflect during the uncertain days ahead. Although they wouldn’t understand for the moment, the prophecies Jesus gave that day in His Olivet Discourse would echo mightily through the centuries until the very end of the age.

“The Olivet Discourse forms Jesus’ last major discourse and His most prophetic sermon,” notes author and eschatologist Tim LaHaye. “While the message includes a prediction of the imminent fall of Jerusalem, it also looks to the distant future of the ‘times of the Gentiles’ (Luke 21:24), which will continue until the end of the Great Tribulation.”

Temple Toppled

Jesus told His disciples that the beautiful Temple they were looking at would soon be completely wiped off Moriah; its destruction would be so complete that “there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2). (The Temple Jesus was referring to was the Second Temple; the first, built by Solomon, had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.)

Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the Second Temple came to pass some thirty-seven years later, when the soldiers under Roman General Titus not only toppled the Temple, but removed from the surface of Moriah every huge stone that had made up the building. Titus tried to stop the soldiers from destroying the structure, but Roman soldiers were often given the freedom to plunder any place they conquered, and they went into a frenzy. Going after precious stones and the gold and silver inlaid within the building, they set fires, causing the gold and silver to melt into the cracks and crevices between the stones. The greedy troops then tore the stones apart in order to retrieve every trace of the valuable metals.

Later, after the scavenger soldiers had picked the site clean, the Temple Mount was leveled and smoothed, then salt was poured on top of the soil so nothing would grow. This, too, fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. But this was just the beginning of Israel feeling the chastening hand of God. He was going to use the Romans to drive most of the Jews from the land.

The words of Christ about the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem would have been deeply troubling to the disciples.

“To the very end of His earthly ministry the apostles had been waiting for Jesus Christ to overthrow Roman rule in Palestine and to usher in the glorious Messianic kingdom,” notes author Arthur Kac. “When, therefore, instead of fulfilling their hopes the Lord Jesus began to speak of his approaching death and the coming destruction of Jerusalem the apostles became deeply distressed.”

“Run for Your Lives!”

In the same Olivet meeting with His disciples, Jesus forewarned that the people of the area would have to run for their lives (Matthew 24:16). There was coming, He prophesied, a time of great trouble in the land. Jesus said the people who lived in and around Jerusalem shouldn’t even take time to pack; they should just run for the hills of Judea when they heard of the Temple being attacked and the city being overrun.

The prophecy, of course, proved absolutely true. The Jewish population—and other people, too—were slaughtered if they stuck around once the looting and plunder started. Many soldiers for hire, along with the Roman forces, combined to massacre many. Hundreds upon hundreds were nailed and tied to crosses much like the one on which Jesus was crucified. The roads leading into and out of Jerusalem were lined with dead and dying people upon crosses.

The most infamous case of Rome crushing the Jewish rebellion is at Masada (Hebrew for “fortress”), which was the last Jewish stronghold in the Promised Land “located atop an isolated rock cliff at the western end of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea.” Several years following the destruction of the Temple, “after Judaea became a province of the Roman Empire…the last survivors of the Jewish revolt…chose death rather than slavery when the Roman besiegers broke through their defences.” The stand on the high plateau remains one of the greatest stories of courage in Jewish history.

The Jews’ attempts to take the heavy yoke of Rome from their necks ended with thousands fleeing the land to stay alive. Many others were taken as slaves. Most everyone who was Jewish, whether those who converted to Christianity, those who practiced Judaism, or those who professed no religious affiliation, were either murdered or scattered to other parts of the Middle East and other lands beyond. Around AD 135, Rome dispersed the Jews because it considered the militant uprising against Roman authority a mostly Jewish rebellion. Many of Israel ended up in Rome, where the church of the Lord Jesus Christ would grow into a mighty movement.

“The Jew living now in the various parts of the Roman Empire was painfully aware of the fact that he had no National Home,” states Kac. “And by this time the great bulk of the nation lived outside of Palestine. With the loss of the Jewish National Home in AD 70, the long exile actually began, and the Jews became wanderers over the face of the earth, a people without a country.”

God’s chosen people were chastened by God for rejecting their Messiah. They were chased across the world by the forces of Satan. But the Jews had produced the most important gift ever given anyone: the Savior of the world. The Lord of heaven had already kept His promise to make Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s descendants a blessing to all nations. He will yet make His chosen people the head of all nations as well.

While in Rome…

Meanwhile, Christianity was growing by leaps and bounds. The Jewish religious leaders had for many years persecuted Christians at every opportunity. The apostle Paul of Tarsus, a Christian-hating Jew before God changed his name from Saul, had been one of the worst of all persecutors of Christians.

Saul had held the robes of those who stoned to death the great hero of the Christian faith, Stephen. Saul had also gone into the homes of Christians and pulled them out so they could be imprisoned or murdered. This treatment, in the earliest time of the developing church, had been more the usual way of Jews treating Christians than the unusual.

When Saul saw Jesus in a blinding light on the road to Damascus, he was instantly converted to the Christian faith. Like Abraham, his name was changed to reflect the transformation of his life, and he became Paul, an evangelist for the gospel of Christ unlike any other who has ever lived. He then became the hunted and hated Christian whom the super-pious Jews wanted dead.

Over the hundred years following Paul’s death, the Jews were absorbed into the Roman Empire and given the right to be citizens. But when the Jews found themselves at the center of growing rebellion against their Roman masters, they were scattered throughout the developing medieval states and persecuted almost everywhere they went. Christians, too, were greatly persecuted. Most Christians were Jews who had been converted from Judaism during this time. Satan’s war-making in the Middle East and elsewhere appears to have been even more intense against Christian Jews than against the Jews in general. While in Rome, if Christians and Jews who held to Judaism didn’t repent and do as the Romans did, there was a mighty price to pay.

Christians Forced into Catacombs

Christianity continued to grow tremendously during the second, third, and fourth centuries and beyond. Jesus’ words, foretold to Peter and other disciples—“upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18b)—echoed across the barren wasteland of the Middle East and regions to which God’s children traveled.

Hundreds upon hundreds of Christians—including, many believe, Peter and Paul—died martyrs’ deaths under Roman Emperor Nero and the Caesars who followed. They faced gladiators, bears, and lions in the Roman arenas to entertain Caesar and his mocking friends. Many Christians were set on fire and used as torches to light the night skies for the various sporting events. It was the bloodiest time of Christ’s church. Thousands found shelter and safety in the catacombs, the underground tunnels that were Rome’s cemeteries. Drawings on the catacomb walls tell a story of an underground church in the most literal sense of the word.

Modern Martyrs for Christ

Today in Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, China, and many other places around the world, Christians are facing tortures and atrocities as terrifying as the horrors faced by the early Christians. The following reports offer a striking example:

  • Roadside Ambush in Nigeria Leaves Five Christians Dead and Four Wounded—On the evening of August 29, 2013, near Jos, Nigeria, Emmanuel Sunday was riding his motorcycle towards his village when the nineteen-year-old college student was stopped by an armed group of Islamic jihadists known as Boko Haram. The gunmen asked Emmanuel to identify his religion. He told them he was a Christian. As the young man looked ahead, he saw that the gunmen had detained a minibus and ordered a group of passengers who had also identified themselves as Christians to lie down on the roadside.

As darkness fell, the gunmen robbed the Christians, and as the jihadists began shooting their captives, Emmanuel escaped by running toward a nearby maize farm. He then continued to run for two hours before finally reaching his village.

Five Christians were killed in the attack, including two from Emmanuel’s village. Four were wounded, including a pregnant woman.

Boko Haram, whose name loosely translated means “Western education is sinful,” so far is contained within Nigeria. Its leader, Abubakr Shekau, clearly states the group’s mission: “Let the world know that we have been enjoined by Allah to kill the unbeliever.”

  • Seventy-two Civilians Killed in Mall Massacre in Kenya—Shortly after noon on Saturday, September 21, 2013, gunfire and grenade explosions erupted as Somalian Islamic militants known as al-Shabab launched a massacre at the packed Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, a mall frequented by expatriates and the rising middle class of Nairobi.

According to Joshua Hakim, a born-again Christian, the terrorists shouted for all Muslims to leave the mall. When Hakim realized that the attackers were targeting non-Muslims, he pulled out his identification card and covered his first name with his thumb. Seeing only his Arabic last name, the terrorists let Hakim go; however, the Indian man next to him was not so fortunate: He was shot when he couldn’t answer the question, “What is the name of Muhammad’s mother?” More than seventy-two civilians were killed and two hundred were wounded in the attack.

  • Suicide Bombers in Pakistan Kill Nearly Ninety after Sunday Services—After services on Sunday morning, September 22, 2013, about 550 worshippers were exiting the 130-year-old All Saints Church, a Protestant congregation in Peshawar, Pakistan, unaware of two Taliban suicide bombers in their midst. The explosion killed nearly ninety, many of them women and children; more than 120 people were injured, and the church was destroyed.

“I heard two explosions,” said one parishioner who survived. “People started to run. Human remains were strewn all over the church.” At the time of the interview, she was still searching for her sister.

It is sad to have to say that while many of us here in America often will not let ourselves be inconvenienced enough to read our Bibles or pray, thousands of Christians are still laying down their lives for the Lord Jesus. According to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, more than 200 million Christians are being persecuted worldwide; they are brutalized, sold as slaves, imprisoned, tortured, threatened, discriminated against, arrested, and killed—solely because they refuse to renounce or hide their faith in Jesus Christ.But the long history of persecution that continues into our time will soon enter one of its darkest, most vicious eras.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani: ‘I’m Alive Because of God’s Will and Your Prayers’

At a recent national conference in London, newly freed Iranian pastor expressed immense gratitude to his many supporters who prayed for his release during his three-year imprisonment, saying that he is alive today because of “what your prayers did for me.”

 

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“It is the opportunity for me to share about what the Lord did for me and to thank you because you supported me by your prayers, you supported my family in a very difficult time,” Nadarkhani, 35, told those in attendance at the persecution watchdog group Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s National Conference in London in early November.

“My prayer is I ask the Lord to bless you for what you did for me as a small member of the Body of Christ. Today my presence here is the will of God and the result of what your prayers did for me,” Nadarkhani added, according to a press release issued by CSW, which has maintained an active role in Nadarkhani’s release from prison.

Nadarkhani, a house pastor in Rasht, Iran, was released from prison on Sept. 8 after three years imprisonment for charges of apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims.

Although he initially faced the death penalty for his charges, Nadarkhani eventually had his apostasy charge removed, and was therefore freed.

Shortly after being released from jail, Nadarkhani issued a “Thank You Letter” to his supporters, saying:

“I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have supported me, openly or in complete secrecy. You are all very dear to my heart. May the Lord bless you and give you His perfect and sovereign Grace.”

Observers contend that Nadarkhani’s release depended highly on the amount of international pressure Iran received regarding his case.

Countries around the world, including Germany, the United States, and Brazil, openly condemned Iran’s imprisonment of the Christian minister due to his faith, arguing that the country was disregarding international human rights laws.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide said Nadarkhani’s speech at the organization’s national convention was an inspiring, faith-filled testimony of perseverance and love.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Pastor Nadarkhani to our conference and to hear his testimony of faith and perseverance, and of his love for God, for his family and for his nation,” CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a press release.

“His quiet courage, integrity and lack of recrimination cannot fail to have inspired anyone who heard him to deepen their own commitment to their faith,” Thomas added.

Nadarkhani reportedly spoke at four religious services at a local church in the small town of Brompton, near Medway, England, before returning to his wife and two sons in his hometown of Rasht.

Although Nadarkhani was successful in fighting the Iranian government’s practice of religious persecution, his lawyer, human rights defender Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, has been detained.

Dadkhah, one of the few human rights lawyers in Iran, was arrested in Oct. 2012 and sentenced to nine years in prison for allegedly acting against national security and spreading propaganda.

The American Center for Law and Justice, another pro-human rights organization that has closely monitored Nadarkhani’s case, urges all Christians to continue their fight for religious freedom in Iran.

“As the world awakened to the realities of religious persecution in Iran when the masses fought for Pastor Youcef’s freedom, we must now shift our attention to defend those who defend the persecuted,” Tiffany Barrans, International Legal Director for the ACLJ, previously told The Christian Post.

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