We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching
the Bible and understanding our time in
the light of Bible prophecy
Persecution and deception
An estimated 3000 people every day are coming to the knowledge of Jesus Christ in
China, according to Voice of the Martyrs. This is despite persecution with police
breaking up worship services and arresting participants, confiscating Bibles and
demolishing church buildings. China’s human rights record is one of the worst in
the world. Its system of ‘re-education through labour’ detains hundreds of thousands
each year in work camps without even a court hearing. China’s ‘strike hard’ policy,
presented as a crackdown on criminals, is hardest on Christians, putting more believers
in prison or under detention than in any other country. In the face of this persecution,
China’s house church movement, which comprises approximately 90% of China’s Christians,
stands on its commitment to preach the gospel no matter what the cost.
The military government in Burma has ordered Christians to be wiped out according
to a leaked memo which opens with the line ‘There shall be no home where the Christian
religion in practised.’ This follows widespread reports of religious persecution
with churches burnt to the ground, attempts to force Christians to convert to the
state religion, Buddhism, and their children being barred from school. An estimated
27,000 members of the predominantly Christian Keren tribe have been driven from their
homes in eastern Burma. 300 Buddhist monks were allegedly sent by the regime to forcibly
convert members of the Chin ethnic group which is mainly Christian.
Iraqi Christians by the tens of thousands have fled north out of Sunni and Shiite
strongholds toward the Valley of Nineveh, a few miles from Erbil. A 14 year old boy
was crucified for sharing his faith with Muslims and women have had acid thrown in
their faces for going to church. There have been calls for safe havens to be set
up for Christians in Iraq, many of whom are part of ancient communities which have
lived in the region since the days of the early church. Strangely the BBC which reports
on any minor infringement of Muslim human rights is totally silent on this issue.
When Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, the leader of the ‘Growing in Grace International
Ministry’ appears before his followers, they chant, ‘Lord! Lord! Lord!’ A man introducing
him at a meeting in Florida announces ‘It’s Jesus Christ himself! Let’s welcome Jesus
Christ man!’ De Jesus Miranda claims to have woken to a vision of two men who announced
the arrival of the Lord and in his words ‘came to me and integrated to me.’ Since
then he has claimed to be a re-incarnation of the Apostle Paul, the Antichrist and
now Jesus Christ in person. He preaches a message that under a new covenant with
God there is no sin and no Satan and all people are predestined to be saved. He has
more than 300 congregations from Argentina to Australia and claims to reach millions
through a 24-hour TV channel. Members of his cult are expected to tithe which helps
to underwrite his lavish life style with diamond encrusted gold rings and fancy cars.
Disaffected members of the cult accuse him of brainwashing his followers.
The actor Tom Cruise has been hailed by followers of the ‘Church of Scientology’
as a Christ like figure who will spread the word of the religion. A source close
to the actor was quoted as saying ‘Just like Christ he has been criticised for his
views. But future generations will realise that he was right, just like Jesus.’ Scientology
was founded by L Ron Hubbard who claimed that extra terrestrial beings were sent
to planet Earth by intergalactic ruler Xenu who then blew up the aliens with hydrogen
bombs in a volcano.
Hundreds of gunmen and supporters of the Soldiers of Heaven, an apocalyptic Muslim
cult, were reported dead after a battle with US and Iraqi soldiers outside Najaf,
Iraq, a holy city to Shiite Muslims. The cult’s leader was killed in the fighting.
He claimed to be the Mahdi, a messiah like figure who will right injustices in the
world according to Shiite Muslim belief. Iraqi authorities claim they were planning
to kill thousands of pilgrims gathered in Najaf to commemorate Ashura, which marks
the death of Mohammed’s grandson in 680. The Iranian leader, Ahmedinejad, has fuelled
speculation about the imminent arrival of the Mahdi. An official Iranian news service
is predicting the Last Judgement will occur on 20th March this year.
In the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) Jesus said that at the end of the age there
would be persecution of Christians and false christs and false prophets leading many
astray. One of the extraordinary things about our time is the patently absurd things
people are prepared to believe while rejecting out of hand the clear and reasonable
claims of the Gospel.