~Originally published in CharismaNews, April 14, 2015
Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, The New York Times best-selling author of The Harbinger andThe Mystery of the Shemitah, addressed the United Nations on Friday about the worsening persecution of Christians in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
Cahn, the senior rabbi at the Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, New Jersey, was invited along with other Jewish and Christian leaders, businessmen and high-ranking military officials, to speak at the conference entitled, “The Persecution of Christians Globally: A Threat to International Peace and Security.”
Here is the text of Cahn’s speech:
The Cries of the Messiah
It is April, 2015. Seventy years ago, this spring, the concentration camps of the Third Reich were liberated. In their liberation, the allies forced the nearby townsfolk to walk through the camps to face the unimaginable depths of horror that Nazism had led to.
But for most of those who lived in those towns by the camps and, for that matter, throughout Germany, it was not unexpected. It was well-known that the Jews were being hunted down and taken in cattle cars to concentration camps where horror and likely death awaited them. They knew it, but did nothing to stop it. They themselves weren’t in danger. Why should they have risked their comfort, their safety, their well-being for those who were?
But when they walked through those camps in the spring of 1945 they were forced to not only to confront the evil of Hitler and the evil of Nazism—but the evil of their own. For in the end, it was their guilt that was the critical and decisive factor. Without their silent complicity, without their sin of omission and self-interest, the mass murder of six million Jewish men, women and children, could never have taken place.
In 1964, in the city in which this gathering has convened, a young woman named Kitty Genovese was approaching her apartment door when she was attacked by a man wielding a knife. The young woman was brutalized over the course of approximately one half-hour. At least 12 people heard her screams or saw parts of the attack during those 30 minutes. But the majority did nothing to help her.
Some weren’t sure what the screams outside their closed windows were. But they never bothered to find out. It was cold outside and they were comfortable inside the warmth of their apartments. One neighbor, who actually saw the attack pondered whether he should even bother to ask another neighbor to call the police. His explanation, “I didn’t want to get involved.” As a result of the bystanders of this city, the life of Kitty Genovese was violently snuffed outside her apartment door.
And now as we meet in the city of the bystanders of that crime, another crime is taking place outside our closed windows. Seventy years after the bystanders of Nazi Germany walked through the death camps of the holocaust, another stream of victims are being led to their deaths.
Again it involves a satanic evil of hatred, violence, and sadistic cruelty. And again it involves an innocent people marked for destruction—the followers of Jesus, known throughout the world as “Christians,” those who are taught, when struck, to turn the other cheek, when cursed, to bless, and when persecuted, to forgive those who oppress them. These constitute, by far, the most persecuted religious group on earth, oppressed, afflicted, hunted down and killed—men, women and children—the sacrificial lambs of the modern world.
We meet in the world’s most revered gathering place of nations. And as kings, leaders, ambassadors and delegates convene here to discuss international issues, within the borders of over 60 of those nations, Christians are being persecuted by their own governments or by those in whose midst they live—from North Korea, to Iran, to Afghanistan, to Syria, Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Vietnam and Indonesia, and many, many more. In North Korea, Christians are imprisoned, sent to labor camps, tortured, and killed, for the crime of owning a Bible. In Nigeria entire Christian village populations have been massacred. In Orissa India, 70,000 Christians have been forced to flee their homes. In Syria, 80,000 Christians have been quote ‘cleansed’ from their homes.” In Indonesia, Muslims have put 10,000 Christians to death.
And now, after almost 2,000 years, some of the most ancient Christian communities, from the Copts of Egypt, to the Nestorians and Assyrian believers of Syria, to the Chaldean and Assyrian believers of Iraq are in danger of extermination, genocide. As the evil of Isis and its allies sweeps across the Middle East, an ancient civilization is being annihilated, its people perishing, crucified, decapitated and buried alive in their ancestral soil. The Vicar of Baghdad recounted this year how Isis ordered four Christian children to renounce Jesus and follow Mohammed. “No,” they said, “We love Yeshua … He has always been with us.” These were the last words the children ever spoke on this earth as Isis beheaded them.
We hear the accounts of the early Christians being led into Roman arenas to be torn apart by wild beasts. And we ponder how savage and barbaric those days were. We wonder what we would have done had we been there. If we had lived in those days and could have saved the lives of the innocent, would we have saved them?
But the truth is we do live in those days. More Christians have been persecuted, brutalized and killed in the modern age, than in any other. Every year, tens of thousands of Christians are dehumanized, tortured or killed, and over 100 million Christians live under the darkness of persecution. It is the modern age that holds the most savage and barbaric of days. And what are we doing as Christians are being led away to be devoured?
This very body, the United Nations, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which declares that everyone has the right to “manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”
In the World Summit Outcome Document of September 2005, paragraph 139, the United Nations declared that the international community has the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. So the question must be asked, ‘Where are all the resolutions?’ “Where are all the troops?’ ‘Where are all the actions taken to protect the most persecuted people on earth?’ ‘And where’s the universal outcry?’ It’s a strange and immoral silence, the same strange and immoral silence that allowed 6 million Jews to be delivered to their deaths.
We must not repeat the mistake of the last century. Evil never stays put. The same darkness that destroyed 6 million Jewish lives would end up destroying over 60 million lives throughout the world. The evil that first warred against the Jewish people was a harbinger of what would soon overcome the earth.
In the days when coal miners were dying of black lung disease, an answer was found in the caged canary. The canary was brought deep into the mines. If it grew sick and died, it would be the sign and the alarm that the air inside the mine was toxic. What happened to the caged canary was a harbinger of danger.
The persecuted Christian is the caged canary of the modern world. The Christian is the first target of evil, and so the sign and the alarm of a toxic evil in the world and a growing danger. And if we don’t deal with that evil when it targets others on distant shores, we will surely deal with it when it targets us on our own shores.
No civilization can call itself moral if it fails to defend its most defenseless against that which seeks to devour them. No nation can call itself good if it sits back and does nothing of effect as the forces of evil murder the innocent. And no people can call themselves “Christian” if they watch passively on the sidelines as those who share the name of Messiah are oppressed and killed for their faith.
If our faith consists of how comfortable and prosperous God can make us in this world, as we deafen our ears to the cries of those who are in this world neither comfortable nor prosperous, our brothers and sisters imprisoned and tortured for their faith, how can we bear the name “Christian?” On the Day of Judgment we will be asked, “Why did you do nothing to save them?” And what will our answer be?
It is written in the book of Hebrews, “Remember those who are in chains as in chains with them.” So as we sit on our couches in front of our television sets in our air-conditioned homes, are we remembering our brothers who sit on the stone floors of prison camps as they suffer for their faith? They would say to us now, “Do not forget us in our suffering.” “Remember us.” “Remember us as our enemies come to take our lives.” “Do not forget that we once lived and that we once gave our lives for our faith and His namesake.”
We cannot forget them. We must remember them. And we must help them.
What would you do if in your neighborhood, a band of criminals had taken over the house next door and were holding your neighbors hostage? What if every day, they oppressed them, humiliated them, beat them, abused them, tortured them and began planning their deaths, father, mother and children?
What if through your windows at night you could hear their muted screams for help, but did nothing? You didn’t try to save them yourself. You didn’t tell your other neighbors and gather them together to help. You didn’t even bother to call the police. In the end, how would you be judged? The answer is unavoidable: You would be judged as guilty, as immoral; you would be judged as evil.
And what if they didn’t live next door, but down the block. What if they lived a town away, a nation away, or an ocean away? Would it make any difference? Does geography in any way alter or lessen the charge and requirement of morality? It does not. So if men, women and children, across the world are now being held captive, beaten, tortured and put in danger of death, and we know about it, if we hear their distant screams, but choose to do nothing, then how will we, in the end, be judged? We will be judged likewise as guilty and immoral. We will be judged as evil.
It is written that on the Day of Judgment, we will be either upheld or condemned by the good or bad we did or did not do to God, to Messiah. And when we ask Him, “When was it that did we do good to You?” Or “When was it that we sinned against You?” He will answer, “When you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.”
Therefore, if we refuse to get involved and help these, the least of His brothers, what are we doing? We are refusing to help the Messiah. If we turn a deaf ear to their cries, we are turning a deaf ear to the cries of the Messiah.
And on that day, He will say to us, “When my village was burned down in Nigeria, why did you do nothing to help Me? When I was imprisoned inside a labor camp in North Korea, why did you forgot Me? When Isis came to kill my family, why did you not help us? And when I was tortured, when I was beheaded, when I was buried alive, when I was crucified, why did you ignore my cries for your help? Why did you let Me perish? Now depart from me, for I never knew you.”
When that day comes, let it not be said of us that we heard the cries of God and did nothing to help Him. In the time it takes us to hold this session more people will be brutalized, more lives snuffed out. If it was your family about to be destroyed, if it was your life about to be taken, if it was your little child about to be beheaded, and others could have helped but chose not to, what would you think? Then let us do the only right and moral thing we can do. As it is written in the Scriptures: “Deliver those who are being delivered to death.”
Do not go down in the annals of history and in the judgment of God as the bystander who saw the evil but did nothing to stop it, who heard the screams of the Kitty Genoveses of this world but chose to let them die outside your door, who watched the cattle cars deliver the innocent to their deaths but chose to stay silent. Do not be guilty of another holocaust.
Open up your windows and hear their cries. Open up your doors and step outside your dwelling. Open up your heart and your life and do whatever you have to do to save them. Messiah is screaming! Messiah is being buried alive! Messiah is being beheaded. Messiah is being crucified … again! Save Him! Save the Messiah! Deliver those who are being delivered to death! For God’s sake … do the right thing! Thank you.