On January 8th the Christian group Open Doors, which monitors the persecution of Christians around the world, released its 2014 World Watch List of the 50 countries where the persecution of Christians for religious reasons is most severe. This list can be viewed by visiting the website: www.worldwatchlist.usa.
For the12th consecutive year North Korea leads that list because of the enormous persecution of Christians and their families. As described on the above website: “The God-like worship of the rulers leaves no room for any other religion. Any reverence not concentrated on the Kim dynasty will be seen as dangerous and state-threatening.” Consequently, when Christians are discovered, both they and their families are sent to re-education and political labor camps where there is no chance of release.
Open Doors estimates that between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians suffer daily in North Korea’s prison camps.
The country of Somalia is on the second spot of that list because Christians face extreme persecution from the Islamic majority. When Christians or Christian converts from a Muslim background are discovered, they are faced with immediate execution.
The country of Syria has been put on the number 3 spot of the list because of the enormous amount of the persecutions and murders of Christians during the Syrian civil war.
There are 47 more countries on the list with many more stories of the atrocities being committed on Christians, mostly by fanatical members of other religions.
There is another website that has very informative articles on the persecution of Christians around the world. This website is: www.frontpagemag.com. They have many writers that bring different perspectives on how Christians are being persecuted in many different countries.
As I read the articles about the persecution of Christians I am reminded of the warning of Jesus in Matthew 24:9 (NASB) that ungodly men “will deliver you up to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name.”
As Christians bring the spiritual light of God’s messages about spiritual salvation through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross into some areas that are full of spiritual, intellectual; and moral darkness; sometimes the Devil and his spiritual forces of darkness use wicked men to persecute or kill God’s messengers in an attempt to destroy the light of God’s messages.
When I read about the many ways that Christians are murdered for maintaining their testimony of having Jesus as their personal Savior, it makes my heart and mind sad in one way; yet in another way I become reminded of the great reward they will receive when they are taken to Heaven.
The first Scriptural promise of this reward is found in Revelation 2:10, where Jesus promises: “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.”
The second Scriptural promise is found in Revelation 7:13-17, which describes how the Christians that were killed for their faith during the great tribulation were given white robes and placed before God’s throne where they will have Jesus as their shepherd.
When those promises of Christians receiving such a great reward for being faithful in maintaining their Christian testimony, (even while they are being murdered) are considered; then it makes what initially seems to be a great loss into a great victory as those faithful Christians are taken to Heaven and given a place around God’s throne to live with Jesus forever!