As a Christian, persecution is normal because when we give our lives to Jesus Christ almost instantly, persecution can start. Persecution of Christians is happening in North Korea most likely worse than anywhere else in the world. Did you know that the government in North Korea is more fearful of Christians than they are of nuclear weapons? If you become a Christian in North Korea, and you are found out, then it will affect generations in your family to serve in labor camps, including yourself. It has been reported that Christians are imprisoned, abused, sent to labor camps, starved and worse, murdered. It is terrible all that is taking place in this country against Christians.
As reported by the Christian Post, a new documentary film has exposed what Christians in North Korea face and where at least 25 million people have not even heard the name of Jesus! Olive Enos, with Heritage Foundation, said, “The situation in North Korea is absolutely dire.” Pointing out that credible reports are ranking North Korea as the worst place in the world for Christians. According to the 2014 Commission of Inquiry Report by the United Nations showing that any North Korean escaping to China but were repatriated were asked two questions. Did they have any contact with South Koreans, or did they interact with any Christian missionaries? If the answer was yes to either question, they had to endure consequences like torture and imprisonment.
Kenneth Bae author of Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea, says that “The Kim regime sees religion as potentially threatening to its leadership.” Kenneth is a Korean-American pastor and was held hostage in North Korea for two years because he was accused by the authorities that he was trying to overthrow the North Korean government. They also said that “if one person came back and started an orphanage and ten children became Christians, they will only multiply from there and present a threat to the nation.” “They said ‘we are not afraid of nuclear weapons … we are afraid of someone like you bringing religion into our country and use it against us, and then everybody will turn to God, and this will become God’s country, and we will fall,” said Kenneth. He was informed that he was probably the most dangerous American criminal they had ever had since the Korean War. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor and was then sent to a North Korean labor camp. He was ultimately released in 2014.
Pyongyang was once known as the “Jerusalem of the Far East” and had a strong Christian presence, he explained. But today, except for the faith of those few who have been forced underground, most North Koreans have never heard the name of Jesus. In all the hundreds of refugees that he has met, Bae recounted that he never met a single escapee who fled North Korea that had heard of Jesus. When Bae would talk about Jesus with North Koreans, they would ask him if Jesus lives in Korea or China. He continued, “North Korea is not a country where Christians are being persecuted; it is a country [where] Christianity has been eliminated, the total elimination taking place. And if you’re Christians, they’ll kill you; they’ll kill your parents.” The official creed of the North Korean regime is called Juche, which means “self-reliance.” When this philosophy was instituted in the 1960s they deliberately erased the name of Jesus from everything in culture; the reason they did this, Bae surmised, is because the Bible says in John 14 that Jesus is the Way, Truth, and the Life, that no one comes to the Father but through Him. Without Jesus, no one can find the truth, the way, or receive life, he said.
People in the short documentary, “Humanity Denied: Religious Freedom in North Korea,” speak about their experiences with North Korea even sharing tragedy that happened to them. One man says, “The North Korean people are in such a bad economic situation. They don’t have a good harvest, and there are people who starve to death. So, I said that we should send rice using the sea tide because there are people who are starving and hungry.” As has been reported the people that are imprisoned pick seeds out of animal waste as they have no food. It is tragic. So, they sent rice in plastic bottles to North Korea as they did this, they also decided to send the Bible with the rice. “Then we decided to send the Bible, North Korean people do not know about the Bible. Because they have not seen, and they have not heard, we started sending it.”
Another man shares that one out of every five families is connected to North Korean security! “It is like the CIA or FBI of the United States. And when there are three or more people gathered there is one spy there.”
One woman who tried to escape North Korea shares the difficulties she faced. “It became more difficult. I went through repatriation three times. During those times, I had been to prison and went through hardships.” She was repatriated in August of 2002 but left North Korea in October. She lived in China until she moved to South Korea in 2007. “At that time, I was three months pregnant. Yet the North Korean regime does not recognize as a citizen a child of mixed blood. So, they forced abortions on female North Korean defectors who got pregnant abroad, without exception. I underwent a forced abortion, and the surgery was without anesthesia. It’s by God’s grace that I am able to tell my story. The fact that the baby would not get a chance to see their mother but had to die in her body was very absurd. It broke my heart.” She says that after losing her baby, she came to know God’s heart.
We are so blessed in the United States, and we must remember to pray for our brothers and sisters all around the world who are facing persecution daily. We see a big assault coming against President Donald Trump as he is dealing with the dictators of the world! He has set up the state department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, and they are working to bring religious freedom all around the world. But where is the Church in all of this? When the Holocaust tragedy happened, that was the question that was asked too. We don’t want to see the same tragedy take place in North Korea. We must pray for our family in this country and for the prophecy to come to pass that revival is coming to North Korea!
Pastor John Kilpatrick, with Church of His Presence, shared an encouraging prophetic word in 2017 concerning North Korea. “My people have been desolated, and they have suffered greatly. I am going to cause the news of fresh visitation to spread quickly. Yes, God is visiting His people once again…I am going to begin to move mightily in closed nations and closed societies.”
Also, Hank Kunneman shares a prophetic word that God gave him in 2018, that the bamboo curtain is coming down. “What has been underground shall come above ground. That is why the enemy wants to bring a natural war over Korea to hinder and to preempt something, but God is trying to hold it back so that we can get to the harvest and get this bamboo curtain shredded and down and this domino to begin to fall off North Korea.”
Another North Korean woman shares about her journey in the documentary. “The first time I met God was when I came to China. It was a time of tremendous wandering for me. When I was in North Korea, I never heard of the word church. I did not know what church was about, and I had never heard the word Jesus Christ. In North Korea, I was brainwashed by the ideology of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. We all worshipped the idols of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, not God. We worshipped Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il as God.”
Kim Jong-un has now put himself as a god in North Korea with statues of himself throughout the country for people to worship. Even just saying the wrong word or touching something you shouldn’t is a cause for punishment. Otto Warmbier, an American, was arrested for tearing down a poster in North Korea and was eventually released but was sent home brain-damaged and died in the arms of his parents, a few days after returning to the United States.
Next, the woman continues and tells of the time she was imprisoned. “Whenever I was sent to a prison in North Korea, the first two questions they always ask during an interrogation are if one had contact with any South Koreans and the other is if one has been to a church…I went through such a hard time in there. I was thinking that I would be dead and that my life is ending like this.” She shares how she learned an important truth once she learned about the Bible. “When one follows the guidance of God and trusts in Him no matter what hardships they go through, they live in the protection of God, and they will be blessed.”
There are underground churches in North Korea not known by the regime and even the North Korean people. A man in the documentary says he saw how the North Koreans believe in Jesus and how the providence of God was affecting them. He had no idea of the underground church because living with faith risks their life! It is encouraging to see the faithfulness of believers continuing to serve God despite the risks.
We must pray for God’s Kingdom to come to North Korea and as prophesied that revival will come with Jesus’ name being glorified! What is your prayer for North Korea? We want to hear from you. Write to us at [email protected]. Greg and John shared in this segment.
Image courtesy of ERLC.com and Wikipedia
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