In today’s posting I want to call your attention to China. As most people are aware, China has long been communist and atheist. Because Christians haven’t worshiped the state there, they have been the target of persecution for many years. China fears Christians, or any group for that matter, that doesn’t put the regime first. Essentially, if people don’t say, “Hail Caesar,” they aren’t loyal subjects and are thus worthy of persecution and elimination.
A January 18, 2019 article in LifeSite News led with this headline:
“Chinese government to rewrite Bible to make it more Communist”
According to the article, China last year embarked on a 5-year plan to make Christianity more compatible with so-called authentic Chinese and socialist values. This is an effort to bring all religions into line with Communist ideology.
It reminds me of Nazi Germany in World War 2. During that time the government wanted all churches to fall in line with Nazi philosophy and declare it compatible with Christianity. Sadly, many churches with their high-ranking pastors and leaders agreed to this and experienced a great apostasy. It was from this situation that Dietrich Bonhoeffer became known for opposing this collaboration between church and state, and ultimately dying for his bold stand against it.
Following the Nazis, Communists came to power in Eastern Europe. There was a gathering of church leaders in Romania sponsored by the communist government, which convened a congress of all Christians in the capital parliament building. Over 4,000 priests, pastors, and ministers from all denominations attended. One after another these “men of God” declared that Christianity and Communism were fundamentally the same and could co-exist. Shamefully, this gathering became known as the Congress of the Cults.
Richard Wurmbrand, who years later founded Voice of the Martyrs, was in attendance and spoke to the congress. Because he was well-known, everyone hoped and expected him to praise Communism as the others had. Instead, he praised only Jesus Christ and said that the loyalty of the church should be to Him first, foremost, and only. As result, Wurmbrand ended up spending 14 years in prison for opposing the State, much of it in solitary confinement.
Back to the LifeSite news article: Here we have the Chinese government in its attempt to conflate Communism and Christianity; they want to make it “Chinese Christianity.” They plan to do this by re-translating the Bible and re-writing Biblical commentaries. They even plan to merge the Old Testament with Buddhist scripture and Confucian teachings.
If you’ve read the Book of Revelation, you’ll recall that it has a strong warning against this kind of Biblical corruption. The Apostle John in Revelation 22:18 says:
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.”
These are strong words, and the Chinese aren’t the only ones to not heed them. They’ve been ignored by various cults over the years, including Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and even the Roman Catholic Church. Yes, I lump Catholicism in with these other groups as a cult. Once you examine what the Church in Rome has done to corrupt the Scriptures, you won’t be able to do anything but agree. We’ll cover this another time to highlight how far from the truth of Bible the Vatican has gone.
A couple more items about China:
- According to the ministry, Back To Jerusalem, the Chinese government has hired 500 spies, mostly of college age, to infiltrate the Chinese house church movement. Pastors and others arrested from this effort are being held in so-called “black” detention facilities, i.e. secret prisons.
- From a recent VOM newsletter comes a report that at least 250 churches across China have been closed or demolished in the last two years. Most are unregistered house churches. However, even the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) churches have come under pressure with 140 of them closed in a single province in the last eight months. Henan province is reportedly the worst area with persecution. Government authorities have removed crosses, confiscated or destroyed property, and fined or arrested church leaders in over 4,000 churches there.
- Persecution is increasing in China as the State grows more concerned about the flourishing underground church movement that has resulted in 100M believers in the country.
Jesus said in John 15:18:
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
Jesus also said in John 16:33:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
What we see in China is only a small fraction of the tribulation, persecution, and suffering to come for those who come to Christ after the Rapture. In America, we’ve been greatly blessed and not experienced these things. Yet, those who do, say that they’ve grown through it to deeply identify with Jesus and His sufferings. Through these things, the church has grown immensely in these persecuted lands. Tertullian, an early Christian author, famously said: “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” This couldn’t be more true. Just look at the growth of the underground church in China that has flourished in difficult times.
One final note about China: Revelation 9:16 speaks of army of 200M coming across the Euphrates River from the East. The description could fit that of a massive Chinese army, or some kind of demonic army. This army is considered the 6th Trumpet plague and will kill many. If it pertains to China, this adds to the wrath that God is storing up for that nation, i.e. those who don’t bow their knee to Jesus.
In conclusion, we in the church in America may or may not taste of this persecution prior to the Rapture and the 7-Year Tribulation. Certainly, those who become Christian following the Rapture will experience much. Conditions are growing darker for Christians in America each day. It’s certainly possible we could soon see our neighbors, along with the State itself, coming against us in unheard of persecution prior to the day of our Blessed Hope. One thing we do know: for those who go through the Tribulation because of their unbelief, and for those who don’t choose Christ prior to that period, it will be the most horrific time ever to come into this world.
I urge you: make sure you’re walking with Jesus and following hard after Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then whatever comes our way, Jesus will see each of us through it.