Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Christian persecution

Warning: Many of the following images are quite graphic 

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
Matthew 24:9

All over the world Christians are being persecuted.  The videos above are news reports and testimonies of God' people who suffer for the name of Jesus in Hindu, Communist and Islamic countries which many if not most Christians all over the world are unaware of

A magazine that documents Christian persecution around the world. On the front cover is an Indonesian Christian who was hunted down by Islamic fanatics

Coins of Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) in the British Museum.  He was the first Roman Emperor who persecuted the Christians from A.D. 64, after the great fire in ancient Rome

There has never been a cause in history where more innocent blood has been spilt, than for the name of Jesus Christ.  Despite the blessings that come with being obedient to God when our lives come in harmony with the heavenly blueprint, Jesus never kept people ignorant of the sufferings that would also come their way when humbly following His word.  Whether it is internal or external, psychological or mental, He prophesied that the blessings would come ‘with persecutions’ (Mark 10:29, 30).  Jesus knew that His heavenly teachings would be in direct conflict with the self-glorifying, pompous, idolatrous philosophy of the pagan culture’ of the world that His followers would come into contact with and throughout the New Testament there are constant warnings and prophecies from Christ and the apostles of the persecution’ that would follow once they embraced and lived the gospel (Matt. 10:21, 22; Mark 13:12; Luke 21:18; John 16:2; I Cor. 4:11-14; II Tim. 3:11, 12; I Pet. 4:12; Rev. 2:10; 6:10; 11:2; 12:13; 13:7; 17:6).  From the beatings, imprisonment, death threats and first two martyrs, Stephen and James (Acts 5:49; 6:59, 60; 8:1; 12:1-3), persecution has not ceased and has continued right up into the 21st century.

John Foxe, whose documented work is a marvellous treasure to history

A copy of a volume of Foxe’ Book of Martyrs in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England

John Foxe (1517-1586) was a 16th century martyrologist and an English exile to the continent during the forty-five month bloody Papal purge of Protestants in England during the reign of Mary Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VIII and wife of Habsburg King, Philip II of Spain (between 4 February 1555 and 10 November 1558, 283 Protestant martyrs – 227 men and 56 women – were burned alive under Mary Tudor).  He chronicled the persecution of each of Christ’ apostles up until ‘the persecutions of the Christians by pagan fury, in the primitive ages of the church, during the space of three hundred years, until the time of Constantine the great’ (1) right up until his day.  He uses the works of Eusebius as his foundation and he quotes about 223 authentic documents from Episcopal registers, papal bulls, pontifical’s, eye witness accounts, reports of trials, decretals, extravagants and private manuscripts to compile his mega volume work titled Acts and Monuments of the Church.  It has been falsely charged as anti-Catholic propaganda by the Papacy and by pagan bigots, but it is an excellent and thought provoking work on the Christian faith and their persecutions and it proves and confirms why the blood of the martyrs is indeed the seed of the church.  Many Christian communities that have been blotted out of the pages of history and who have been totally neglected in modern Christian text books are preserved in the pages of John Foxe’ works.   
One of these groups was the Albigenses, who were ethnically cleansed from southern France on the order of successive self-proclaimed demigods, the popes.  From Pope Calixtus II, Innocent II, Alexander III and that most blood thirsty despot, Pope Innocent III and his partner in crime, Dominic, the man who started that dreaded Inquisition and who also founded the order of the mendicant black friars, the Dominicans, who were labelled Domini canes – ‘dogs of the Lord’, for their ferocity, these men passed edicts canons and councils to purge the Albigenses out of Europe and totally out of existence.  John Foxe chronicles their history and their persecution.

The Albigenses of Southern France being burned to death under the watch of Dominic

'The Albigenses were a people of the reformed religion, who inhabited the country of Albi.  They were condemned on account of their religion in the council of Lateran, by order of Pope Alexander III but they increased so rapidly, that many cities were inhabited exclusively by persons of their persuasion, and several eminent noblemen embraced their doctrines.  The beautiful city of Bezieres was reduced to a heap of ruins; and 60,000 persons of different ages and both sexes were murdered.’ (2)        

If you don’t dig deep into the pages of the past, it can be so easy to be misled and have a misconception of a people and make bad judgments when explaining the past.  Secular historians in the 1973 Encyclopaedia Britannica describe the Albigensian Church as if they were writing on behalf of the Papacy. It clearly shows that within a space of 300 years, a people’ legacy and history can be distorted and destroyed by biased pagan scholars.  Look what it says in this very small article:

‘ALBIGENSES, the name derived from the city of Albi, of a heretical sect in southern France in the 12th and 13th centuries, against which a crusade was launched.’ (3)

Though modern historians misrepresent the Albigenses, they did not die in vain, for the light of the gospel will always continue to shine right up to the Second Coming of Christ, even if the forces of darkness try to blot out that ‘city which is set on a hill’.
The horrific inquisition, which the Roman Catholic Church in the 21st century still justifies and which the Albigenses were the first to feel its wrath, had its strongest foothold in Spain, hence the term the Spanish Inquisition.  They set up the terrible Auto de Fe (Act of Faith) as an instrument to deter anyone from dissent from the Papacy and no one was spared, not even high-ranking priests or monks, who were labelled as heretics, if they had a copy of the Holy Scriptures in their possession.

‘In Spain alone it has been proved by the careful statistical investigations of Llorente, that between the years 1481 and 1808 over three hundred and forty-one thousand persons were condemned by this “Holy Office”, of whom 31,912 were burned alive, 17,000 burned in effigy, and nearly 300,000 tortured and condemned to severe penances.’ (4)

In Northern Italy, a bible-believing church was to experience the same horrors as the Albigenses in France.  They were known as the Israel of the Alps and were called the Waldenses, which means ‘people of the valley’.  They also experienced the wrath of the Inquisition and one of their descendants, the Rev. John Pons (1877-1944), who was born in those valleys documents the rich legacy, horrors, plights and victories his forefather’ experienced just to preserve and uphold the teachings of Christ and not to be subject to the yoke of the idolatrous, iniquitous Papal system.

Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of Britain and his Secretary of State, the poet John Milton raised funds and gave financial aid to the persecuted Waldenses in 1655 

In the 17th Century, English diplomat and mathematician Samuel Morland (1625-1695) was sent to Italy by Oliver Cromwell to investigate the Easter massacre of 1655 of the Waldenses and he documented their history which included their biblical doctrine and a record of their persecutions

Papal-controlled European armies constantly hounded the Waldensian Church for hundreds of years where innocent men, women and children were massacred.  No one was ever spared, only a few ever escaped 

Surrounded by a corrupt church, oppressed and persecuted for more than three centuries by the strong arm of the civil power, torture, massacred, driven from their homes, they still clung to their religion and remained true to their principles.  The origin of this people of martyrs, the origin of the oldest Protestant church in the world cannot be established with precision.  It is lost in antiquity for lack of documents.  From the year 1485 until the edict of emancipation, February 17, 1848, they were almost under constant persecutions, although the sword, the faggot and the stake had largely ceased to be used as instruments for the destruction after the year 1730.  For more than 200 years they were constantly subjected to fire and sword.  The public libraries of Dublin, Cambridge and Geneva are enriched with the many manuscripts written by the Waldensian preachers during the middle ages and carried there to save them from the destruction of persecution.’ (5)   

Rev John Pons was born in the Waldensian valleys in Northern Italy and was a descendant of that persecuted church

We will never have a true, complete and accurate record of the millions of Christ' faithful souls that have been slain for His name throughout the world, but even though their history is little known, 'the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, under the altar' (Rev. 6:9) whose 'names are written in heaven' (Luke 10:20) will arise out of their graves in the first their resurrection for their eternal destiny has been sealed.

But persecution didn't just cease in the 19th century.  It  still continues today and hasn't ceased since apostolic times.  Two of the best kept secrets of 20th century history is the little-known massacre of 1,200,000 Armenian Christians on orders by the Turkish Islamic Government during the First World War and the cold, horrific, barbaric, inhumane massacre of the Christian Serbs in the Satellite Catholic State of Croatia during the Second World War with complete approval of the Papal hierarchy in the Vatican.

The Armenian genocide is known as 'the crime of silence' and is one of the greatest untold stories of the 20th century.  This extermination programme by fanatical Muslims in the Turkish government (e.g. Grand Vizier Mehmed Talad) on a small Christian community where 2/3 of the Armenian community met an untimely death has only recently got attention unlike the Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany.  The Turkish government still denies that such a genocide took place on these innocent civilians within the then crumbling Ottoman Empire and this denial is one of the reasons the European Union (EU) has strong reservations and will not allow this fairly liberal Islamic country to become a member state of the countries of Europe.

The following quotes are a number of eyewitness accounts of the cruelty these Armenians faced under the ethnic cleansing programme of the tyrannical Turkish government.

Dr. Armin T. Wegner (1866-1978), a German who became a member of the 'wartime sanitaton force' records the horrors that he saw.  He was one of the few Europeans to have personally witnessed the persecution of the Armenian people:
In the decrepit caravanserais, people lay apathetically among the heaps of dead and emaciated bodies, waiting for death: how long could they expect to eke out of a miserable existence with nothing to eat but grass and the few grains of corn they could find in the horses dung?  Yet all this is still only a fraction of what I saw with my own eyes or was related to me by friends and travellers, or by the outcasts themselves. (6)
A report by the consul of Erxurum, Scheuberger - Richter, on 28 July 1915:
The supporters of the latter (the harsh line of the Young Turk Committee) in fact make no bones about the fact that the ultimate objective of their actions against the Armenians is their total eradication of Turkey.  'After the war no Armenians will be left in Turkey', are the very words of a leading figure. (7)

Local enquiries made by a German on 22 April 1916:
Every day or almost every day for a month 300 to 500 victims were taken from the camp slain in a place about 10km outside Ras-al-Ain.  The corpses were thrown into the river names Djirdjib el Hamar on the largeKiepert map of Asia Minor (plate Nusaybin, D VI) which was very full at that time of the year. (8)

Half of the Armenian Christian population of men, women and children were massacred by the Turkish Islamic Government in 1915. The Turkish government still refuses to give an apology to the Armenian population

While the Armenian genocide has been getting a bit more attention and recognition in recent times, especially in human rights circles, another even more quiet genocide was taking place a couple of decades later in the 1940s, which was more bestial.  These crimes against humanity as modern terminology would phrase it, were committed against another innocent Christian community that was situated in a region out of the reach to most Western observers.  It was in Eastern Europe in the Balkans and the victims who were to experience the venom of Papal fanaticism, were the Orthodox Christian Serbs.
There are stacks and stacks of books and an equal amount of documentaries about World War II.  The Jews get plenty of airtime to tell of their ordeal and frightening experiences they faced while in Auschwitz, where they are constantly receiving compensation for their psychological scars during the Holocaust.  But libraries are absolutely scant with the experiences and testimonies of the Orthodox Serbs, a big chunk of history that has been totally written out, thanks to the skilful manoeuvring tactics of the Vatican, who have covertly silenced historians to record the Roman Catholic Church’ intimate role in setting up the Catholic Satellite State of Croatia.  Avro Manhattan (1914-1990), an Italian born, London-based investigative journalist, was the leading world-renowned authority and experts’ expert in the 20th century on Roman Catholicism and her role in international politics.  This fearless scholar who worked for the British Intelligence during World War II, spent his entire life writing about the Papacy (he also wrote short stories, essays and novels) where he intricately observed the craftiness of the Papacy and how she meddles in world conflicts causing unrest and deceitfully covers her tracks very well without being detected.  He also knew, through personal experience, the bully tactics Rome could impose on an individual, community or organisation who comes into conflict with her transnational aspirations.  Through personal interviews with eye-witnesses, victims, army generals and Serbian guerrillas, he compiled in a book, probably the greatest atrocity of modern times, which even he doubted, if he didn’t thoroughly investigate it.  

'Yugoslavia, by her mere existence, represented the greatest obstacle to the long range Catholic strategy... The Vatican laid down a three-fold policy: (a) The detachment of Catholic Croatia from the rule of Orthodox Serbia, (b) the setting up of Croatia as an independent Catholic state, and, last but not least (c) the possible creation of a Catholic Kingdom in the Balkans.  For such goals to be attained, one thing was necessary: the partial or total disintegration of Yugoslavia.
The Catholic Church attempted to erect a state in complete accord with all her tenets.  About 400 Orthodox priests were sent to concentration camps, while about 700 (one-quarter of the total number of Orthodox priests) were killed.  One-quarter of monasteries and churches were completely destroyed, about half of the total were damaged, and an unknown number were transformed into Catholic churches or Catholic halls.  The greatest losses, however, were inflicted among the humble members of the Orthodox Church.  In Pavelic's new Ustachi State, between April, 1941, and the spring of 1945, thanks to Ustachi units, Ustachi police, and concentration camps, at least 850,000 members of the Orthodox Church and citizens of Yugoslavia, including numerous Croats (30,000 Jews and 40,000 Gypsies) perished thus.  Hundreds of Catholic priests and Catholic friars contributed, either directly or indirectly, to this colossus massacre. (9)

A Catholic friar in Croatia forcefully converting Christian Orthodox Serbs to Catholicism during World War II

Fanatical Catholic Ustachis murdered Orthodox Christian Serbs in Croatia during WWII

Orthodox Christian Serbs murdered by Catholic Croats in the Vatican-US backed Yugoslav/Balkan wars in the early 1990s

As the 21st century was born, persecution of Christ’ faithful continues worldwide.  Anthony Browne, a European correspondent for ‘The Times’ of London, who describes himself as ‘a liberal democrat atheist’, researched, investigated and documents the unreported persecution of Christians, which gets no media attention.  Who knows what compelled this atheist to write about the sufferings of Christ’ flock, but whatever inspired him, he produces an excellent account of their persecution.  Here are some excerpts from the article he wrote in the London Spectator in 2005.

There are now more than 300 million Christians who are either threatened with violence or legally discriminated against simply because of their faith – more than any other religion.  From China, North Korea and Malaysia, through India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, they are subjected to legalised discrimination, violence, imprisonment, relocation and forced conversion.  When the war stopped, persecution by Islamists, held in check by Saddam, started.  The Islamists plan to ethnically cleanse Iraq of its nearly 2,000-year-old Assyrian and Armenian Christian communities is reaching fruition.  In the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, some 10,000 Christians have been killed in the last few years by Muslims trying to Islamify the Moluccas.

People demonstrating against persecution of Christians in Egypt

Christians murdered in Nigeria in March 2010 by very extreme Fulani Muslims

One of three teenage Christian schoolgirls beheaded on their way to school in Indonesia in October 2005 by Islamic militants.  Unlike other tragedies, it made its way to the BBC news website and the murderers have surprisingly been sentenced for this disgusting crime in 2007

In Pakistan a Christian man killed by Islamic fanatics [Note: Muslims in Pakistan kill way more of their own people than even the Christians].

Asia Bibi, a Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan (speaking against Mohammed). The accusations are apparently false and it has led to international attention

3 of Asia Bibi' children. The one in the centre holds a picture of their mother Asia Bibi 

Pakistani governor Salman Taseer killed by members of his own security for defending Asia Bibi 

In the Islamic republic of the last few years, dozens of Christians have been killed in bomb and gun attacks on churches and Christian schools.  In Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, religious tensions led to 44 churches being attacked in the first four months of 2004, with 140 churches being forced to close because of intimidation.
In China, which has about 70 million Christians, more than 100 'house churches' were closed down.  In North Korea, Christians are persecuted as anti-communist elements, and dissidents claim they are not just imprisoned but used in chemical warfare experiments.  I have spoken to dozens of former Muslims who have converted to Christianity in Britain, and who are shunned by their community, subjected to mob violence, forced out of town, threatened with death and even kidnapped.  The Barnabus Trust knows of 3,000 such Christians facing persecution in this country, but the police and the government do nothing.  The BBC, despite being mainly funded by Christians, is an organisation that promotes ridicule of the Bible, while banning criticism of the Koran. (10)

Christians are a minority in Iran and are unlawfully arrested and experience a lot of persecution. Muslims who convert to Christianity are met with the death penalty.

The above information would just be historical documents for archives, if it was not for Bible prophecy and Christ forewarning His faithful of the experiences’ they have to go through before they arrive on the sea of glass.  Although the many accounts, documentations and testimonies may be sad to read and some of the images quite disturbing to watch, persecution for Jesus’ sake will continue just prior to the Second Coming of Christ, but the resurrection morning will be the sweetest day for all those who have suffered for Him (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15; I Cor. 15:51-58; I Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 20:4, 5).  Let us pray we stay on the winning side until the Second Coming of Christ.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Revelation 14:12

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.
Psalm 116:15

Source: (1) Foxe’s Book of Martyr’s p.15; (2) Ibid pp. 136, 138; (3) Encyclopaedia Britannica, volume 1, p.529; (4) The Approaching End of the Age by H. Grattan Guinness p.199; (5) A History of the Waldenses by Rev. John Pons pp. 1, 2, 4; (6) A Crime of Silence p.66; (7) Ibid p.89; (8) Ibid p.80; (9) The Vatican’s Holocaust by Avro Manhattan pp. 2, 5, 9, 88; (10) The Spectator, 26 March, 2005 pp. 12, 13

Further research: and

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