“The Persecution of Christians Globally: A Threat to International Peace and Security

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~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.

Rabbi-Cahn

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.

 

 

Salvation! Salvation Has Come!

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I will give you thanks, for You answered me;
You have become my salvation.
The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;
The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless You.
The LORD is God, and He has made His light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks;
You are my God, and I will exalt You.
~Psalm 118: 21-28

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the King of Israel!”
~John 12:13

I Love Thee

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I saw Dad’s restlessness when I arrived for my night’s stay in the hospital. He had a look of fear and bewilderment in his eyes.  The look that always broke my heart.

After the nurses finished their rounds and things began to quiet down, I changed the channel on the TV to one of those meditative stations the hospitals make available. As the beautiful photography and soft instrumentals drew him in, he began to relax. He watched for over an hour. I’d look at him from time to time and he’d catch my eye… giggle a little… then cry.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved before,” he said. “I keep praying the same words over and over, ‘Forgive me, Lord…forgive me, Lord…forgive me, Lord.'”

Some might wonder at his confession, but I think I understood his meaning…

When we are weary, bone-tired, dazed, and confused, wondering if the dark night of the soul will ever end; then, suddenly, we catch a glimpse of His beauty — the wonder of His creation, the soothing sounds of His music — the truth of knowing He is in control hits us.

We are awestruck.

We turn. We refocus. We repent.

He is greater than all our fears.  We know He loves us…more.

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

People of the Day

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Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.  The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
~Romans 13:11-14

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.  While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.  For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of dayWe are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.  For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.  But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.  
~1 Thessalonians 5:1-8

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.  Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.
~2 Peter 3:8-15a

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will
~the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:42-44)

Open the Eyes of My Heart 

Admit the Shadow Side

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Rereading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning:

It remains a startling story to those who never understand that the men and women who are truly filled with light are those who have gazed deeply into the darkness of their imperfect existence…

The Good News means we can stop lying to ourselves.  The sweet sound of amazing grace saves us from the necessity of self-deception.  It keeps us from denying that though Christ was victorious, the battle with lust, greed, and pride still rages within us.

As a sinner who has been redeemed, I can acknowledge that I am often unloving, irritable, angry, and resentful to those closest to me.  When I go to church I can leave my white hat at home and admit I have failed.

God not only loves me as I am, but also knows me as I am.  Because of this I don’t need to apply spiritual cosmetics to make myself presentable to Him.  I can accept ownership of my poverty and powerlessness and neediness…

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark.  In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.

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“God blesses those who realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them…

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  

~Jesus (Matt 5:2; 11:28-30 MSG)

Good Enough for God?

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Are we good enough for God?

No.
We are not.

No one is good, but God. ~Jesus

A man is not justified by the works of the Law but by faith in Jesus Christ, alone.

We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping
but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ.
How do we know?
We tried it–and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen!
Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement,
we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God 
by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.  ~Galatians 2:16 (MSG)

No one will ever get it right.

No one will ever be “good enough” for God.

It’s impossible to please God without faith, and trying to “be good” is not faith.
It is trusting in self.

Believe me, please.  For, you see, I tried it.
For years and years and years which turned into decades upon decades.

I was even given the name “Goody-goody” throughout my school years. Yes, I thought I could keep myself saved through good works. It doesn’t matter if you believe your good works will save you before, or after, you come to know Christ. Either way, you’re still only trusting in self.

It wasn’t until my late forties that I realized I can do nothing to save me.
I either have faith in Christ, alone, or it’s all a sham.

And guess what?

On the other side of self-abuse, wretched sinfulness, and family-shattering betrayal…

Finally, I understood the GRACE of God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

He looked upon my sinfulness
And bestowed upon me His forgiveness.

I saw my sin,
And I knew He saw it.

Yet, I felt His grace.

His love.
His mercy.
His redemption.

I found it is only through Christ, my Lord, that I am able to stand before God, the Father.
Jesus took the punishment I well-deserved.  He endured the suffering for my sins — all of them — before I was even born. Yes, and even before the foundation of the earth, the Lamb of God was crucified for us all.

As a child I learned Jesus loved me.  But I was also taught I must keep myself “good” for Him. And if I didn’t, He would not accept me.  My standing before Him was based upon my good works, not His sacrifice, alone.

So…
Why all of the clarification now???

Because, I spent so many years teaching it wrong. And so many people heard me. Eventually, I did learn the right teaching, but without the experiential knowledge, it wasn’t completely understood within my soul. I kept being “good” for I knew it was wisdom to live well.

But, God…
He turned up the fire of trials in my life.
He tested my knowledge and let me go down a path that would solidify my faith.

It wasn’t pretty.
Seeing our own sinfulness is never pretty.
But, necessary.

And now I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW

I am the LORD’s and He is mine.
And nothing can separate me from His love.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dear LORD.

Please, hear me, it is still wise to live well, BUT, never ever believe your good works will save you, or keep you saved…

In Christ, alone, is our salvation.

For by GRACE you are saved
through FAITH,
and this is not from yourselves,
It is the gift of God.
~Ephesians 2:8