Authors > Tony Asakpa > 2007
22nd Oct 2007 (Update 26th Oct 2007 CSW letter)
Modern Day Persecution & Gehenna fire
Reading through the BBC report below [after my 2 addendums] one wonders why all this happens, Orthodox betraying the "Unorthodox". But the answer is simple: "Ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake," (Luke 21:7) and again, "then shall many be offended and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another," (Matt 24:10) and again, "they shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." (John 16:2). This is Jesus speaking.
Those who walk in the light are reflectors. They reflect to those in darkness just how dark they really are.
"This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)
"Official State policy" is only an excuse. The real issue is being fudged.
"Good riddance!" they shall say, "The trouble makers are gone. They were soooo offensive!"
"They never liked to follow the rules we laid down. Now we shall have peace & quiet!"
Yet they do not know that it is because of them that there is "peace & quiet".
Gehenna awaits these persecuting ones --- "the Judge's courtroom decision" (mistranslated as "hell" - so many still think Jesus means hades - the departed dead realm); for they have judged themselves already. (Luke 12:4-5) Why do you think verse 6 (about the sparrows) then follows? One hint: this is connected to the Gehenna proclamation. Gehenna is an earthly or heavenly Judge's judgement that is remedial in purpose. Torture/torment (which the greek word Basanos has been translated as. It actually means touch-stone) is not the end-purpose of God's judgment, nor does He clear the guilty.
Our Father always sees all. So don't worry, "if the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you." John 15:18.
It is great news that our sister is now free.
23rd Oct 2007 Addendum
You will notice, when you search through the New Testament, that Gehenna (valley of Hinnom) is used in a corporate sense i.e. national judgement (Matt 10:28; Matt 23:33; Luke 12:5); and also in an individual sense i.e. "subject to the Judge's court" (Matt 5:22; Matt 5:29; Matt 18:9; Matt 23:15; Mark 9:43; James 3:6). This is the same Tophet (valley of Hinnom) in the Old Testament (Isa 30:33; Jer 7:32; Jer 19:6; Jer 19:11-15).
Matt 10:28 expands on Luke's gospel: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy [apollumi - bring to ruin, loss] both soul and body in Gehenna".
The Chief Priests saw this in John 11:48:
"If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation".
Their (priests) place was the soul of the nation of Israel, and their nation was the body.
But they still refused to turn away from their sins, so both soul and body was destroyed when the Roman empire was used as their Gehenna fire in AD 70.
This was the "wrath to come" that our Lord and the apostles spoke about for the nation of ancient Israel (Matt 3:7; 1 Thess 1:10; 1 Thess 2:16; Rev 6:17).
[The evidence points towards all the NT letters - Matthew to Revelation - being written pre-the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.]
The "wrath to come" was the punishment that was released for rejecting Jesus and persecuting his saints.
This was fulfilled in AD 70. But the cycle continues today (different levels of prophecy), as man has persisted in his own ways which are clearly ruining him. (You don't need to be a scientist to see that we are sick to the bone! Things are out of control. Education, laws, creating more prisons hasn't stopped the rot; for it is an internal one.)
The soul of the nation is what makes it tick.
How about our modern generation?
What is the soul of America? Of Nigeria? Of Great Britain? Of China?
Wealth, Military might, Fame etc... These all may characterise as souls for several nations today; that which they pride themselves in. The problem is not what makes the nation tick (as each one has unique gifts) but when things are done in contradistinction to God's nature as revealed in Christ Jesus.
How then might Gehenna fire strike at these things?
Time will tell if we do not turn away from that which is destroying us: "us"!
Yet still the judgement is not the end of the story.
24th Oct 2007 Addendum 2
Someone said that this is quite harsh of a loving God to do such a thing as judge by Gehenna fire. Doesn't He have more "peaceful" means? So I have to include another addendum to this.
Well then let's see:
He has placed within every man the ability to differentiate right from wrong. But we go against our conscience every single day. We are confronted with choices in every moment, in every hour; but what do we do? We pass over that which we know to be good (even the postmodernists know this); we harm ourselves, we harm our neighbors, we harm our family, we harm our children, we harm strangers. When will this end? Till man reaches a "Golden Age of Enlightenment"? Or is so technologically advanced?
No. Man is greedy. He wills always to enslave: at every opportunity, in every form. This is Man without God's rule.
This will not go unchecked.
God revealed His will through Jesus Christ: "I want to rule you from within. Allow Me to do this and all will be well". This is the Kingdom of God that our Lord spoke of. Everything around us screams for this! Nature. The Stars. Our very selves.
Men wish to continue along the pathway of destruction. Our God is very patient and bears long with us. He is not willing for any to suffer this kind of loss, but when we get mixed up in the maze of life He always has a way out for us.
When He lifts His shield of protection off individuals, off families, off nations - It is all for a good purpose. It may look like devastation. It may make us angry. But sooner of later, whether one is removed from this body or lives on - we will come to know that there is NO BETTER WAY TO LIVE than a life submitted to our Creator.
Asylum for Eritrean gospel singer
BBC Report 22nd Oct 2007
An Eritrean Christian gospel singer who was tortured and detained without charge for two years in her homeland has been granted asylum in Denmark.
Helen Berhane was imprisoned inside a metal shipping container and beaten in an effort to make her recant her faith.
Freed in December 2006, she had taken refuge in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, before being granted asylum.
Ms Berhane uses a wheelchair because of severe injuries to her legs and feet sustained in prison beatings.
More than 90% of Eritreans belong to one of four recognised religions - Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran Churches and Islam.
Helen Berhane is a member of the unregistered Rema Church and had just released a cassette of gospel music when she was arrested in the Eritrean capital on 13 May 2004.
She was one of an estimated 2,000 members of illegal Evangelical church groups in Eritrea who have been arrested in recent years, according to the human rights group Amnesty International.
After an international campaign, she was released in December 2006 and fled with her sister to Sudan, fearing she could be killed to cover up what had happened to her at the Mai Serwa prison camp near Asmara.
Ms Berhane's daughter, Eva, who joined her in Khartoum, accompanied her to Copenhagen where the two were greeted by campaigners and well-wishers on Friday.
Dr Berhane Asmelash, Director of Release Eritrea said: "We are relieved that Helen and Eva are finally safe and would like to thank everyone who has supported them."
"We hope that Helen will now have the peace and space to recover her health and rebuild her life."
Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas, said: "We are thrilled that Helen has now finally found refuge for herself and her daughter after so many years of suffering."
"We cannot forget, however, that 2000 other Christians still languish in Eritrean detention centres simply for holding on to their faith," Mr Thomas said.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide Letter
26th Oct 2007
Unrestricted Ė Can be used in general mailing lists, press, church newsletters, and open meetings
This weekend, Eritrean gospel singer Helen Berhane and her daughter Eva arrived safely in Denmark. Helen has spent eleven months in Sudan applying for asylum after she managed to escape Eritrea one month following her release from prison in November 2006. She is finally free to live without fear of re-arrest or further persecution and with the prospect of rehabilitation.
32-year-old Helen Berhane is one of the most high-profile former prisoners from Eritrea, and her case was widely publicised around the world. She was a member of the un-authorised Rhema Pentecostal Church but was incarcerated in May 2004 after releasing an album of gospel music which became popular among young Eritrean Christians. Helen is reported to have been held for extensive periods of time in shipping containers and in underground cells at the Mai-Serwa military camp. She repeatedly refused to sign a paper recanting her faith and promising not to participate in church-related activities.
Thousands of Eritreans are fleeing their country each month. The Eritrean government has allegedly responded to this by publicly executing anyone found to be assisting in these escapes, including the man who facilitated Evaís escape. Sources report that after execution the manís body was placed in a sack and unceremoniously deposited in front of his parentís home.
We would like to thank you for praying and campaigning for Helen throughout her ordeal, and request that you continue to pray for her as she and her daughter adjust to their new life. Severe physical punishment has left Helen unable to walk without assistance and she will need much medical attention in the coming weeks and months. Please pray that she would have access to all the necessary medical care. She is also carrying the emotional, mental and spiritual scars of terrible hardship and pain Ė pray that the future would bring all the necessary components of complete healing.
Helenís 13-year-old daughter Eva is also in need of prayer. Although she is very well physically, the experiences of the last few years and the relocation to an entirely new country will not be easy for her. Pray that God would faithfully uphold her and sustain her through these trials.
Thank you for your support to Helen and the thousands of Eritrean Christians like her.
CSW Advocacy Team
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