This post is to inform readers about a horrific event in North Korea. It is a kind of event that was prophesied to occur in the latter days: persecution and martyrdom for those who believe Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind and the Son of God and that the Bible is his Holy Word (Matthew 24:9, Revelation 13:15).
The link reports that 80 people were publicly executed in North Korea, and that some were executed simply for having Bibles in their possession.
Just because these persecutions didn’t happen in our backyards in the western world does not mean that these prophecies about persecution and martyrdoms are not being fulfilled in many places around the world already. Moslems are killing Christians (I presume of any denomination) in Nigeria. Moslems are killing or persecuting Coptic Christians and burning their churches in Egypt. The entire Moslem world has become a dangerous place for any Christian to live. In a bizarre twist of events, a post I wrote not long ago noted that armed Christian militias in Syria were fighting in behalf of Syria’s President Assad because he was tolerant of Christians in Syria while the Islamic radicals (some openly aligned with Al Qaida) who seek to replace Assad would likely be brutal toward Christians of any denomination. The situation in Syria is bizarre beyond description: we see Christian militias fighting as allies with Hezbollah in support of Assad while the historically-Christian USA arms the Islamic radical rebels even though some of their factions are known to be aligned with Al Qaida and would likely make martyrs of Christians. There is a substantial Christian presence in Lebanon, and those Christians are all endangered by the events in Syria.
In comfortable America, Canada, and other western nations, we take for granted the right to have as many different versions of the Bible as we want on our library shelves. Fellow believers in Jesus Christ have just been brutally murdered in North Korea for simply having a Bible!
In the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ gave the Apostle John a detailed vision about events that would occur in the latter days. He begins his vision with his assessment of the status of his Christian believers in the latter days. A reading of Revelation 2-3 makes it very evident that Jesus Christ considers as his own people Christians who have radically different views on doctrines, organizational structures, etc. This prophecy accurately prophesies that Christianity would be divided into blocs of very different denominations in the latter days. However, it is vital that all Christians (whatever your denomination) realize that Jesus Christ still acknowledged all of them as his own followers!
The latter-day believers typified by the ancient church at Smyrna are a body of believers under great persecution and threatened with martyrdom as well as with poverty and hardships in life. This is the very real state of affairs for many Christians in nations where their faith is persecuted, and their condition quite accurately fulfills the prophecy about the believers in the “Smyrna” condition (Revelation 2:8-11). For a detailed examination of where modern Christian churches fit into Jesus Christ’s description of them in the latter days, I invite you to read my article, A New Look at the Seven Churches of Revelation. I think you may find it eye-opening.
Please pray for the safety and protection of Christians in locations around the world where they are in danger. Christians in some nations may have to relocate simply to survive. If you live in the USA or other western nations, give thanks to God that you enjoy religious protections for your faith and beliefs. Pray also that those protections will continue.