Open Doors USA, a Christian ministry that works with persecuted Christians overseas, has reported that two Christians in North Korea were killed in separate incidents by North Korean authorities for their faith in Jesus Christ. The prophesied persecution of born again believers in Christ is full swing in many parts of the world and North Korea is again proving to be one of the most sinister examples.
The first Christian traveled over the North Korean border into China where he came in contact with Open Doors missionary and heard the Gospel. Upon being saved, he started Bible training in China and returned to North Korea. According to the report:
“He was very excited about his new faith and wanted to share the gospel with his family,” says an Open Doors worker. “He wanted to come back to China to study the Bible more so he could explain the Christian faith better to his family. It is heartbreaking that he was killed. I cannot stop thinking: ‘If only he had arrived a little later at the border river, the guard would not have seen and shot him. He could still be alive today.’” (source).
The second martyr also studied in China and received Bible training. After returning home in North Korea, the state authorities learned of his Christian faith. He was then arrested in and put into a labor camp, which are notorious for their harsh conditions.
“We just received an update that he was dead,” says the Open Doors worker. “He was terribly tortured because of his faith. He was also forced to do heavy labor while hardly receiving any food. Before his return to North Korea, he was baptized and willing to deal with the all the hardships he had to face. We never tell people to go back to North Korea, but he was happy to. We are devastated to hear about these murders. We know Christians die for their faith almost every day in North Korea, but it is still hard to deal with.”
Open Doors has confirmed both deaths through several sources, which cannot be mentioned for security reasons. (source).
North Korea has been Number 1 on Open Doors USA Persecution Watch List, that details and publicizes the most violent, oppressive anti-Christian governments worldwide. Once a thriving Christian area, known as the “Jerusalem of Asia”, North Korea’s Christian population was almost wiped out by the Soviet Union-backed Communist regime of Kim Il-Sung in the 1950s. Today, a country closed off from the rest of the world, the North Korean government retains a stranglehold of control on the lives of every citizen. The government controls and produces all television broadcasts and newspapers. It is illegal for a private citizen to have internet access and all media is designed to promote the government and the ruling Kim family, who are presented as literal gods to the populace for worship (a religious ideology known as “juche”). Any dissidence or disagreement with the government’s positions is a criminal act that is punishable by death. In this environment, professing the Christian faith or even attempting to share the Gospel can quickly lead to a prison sentence or execution.
In its description of North Korea, Open Doors writes:
“For the eleventh year running, this is the most difficult place on earth to be a Christian. One of the remaining Communist states, it is vehemently opposed to religion of any kind. Christians are classified as hostile and face arrest, detention, torture, even public execution. There is a system of labour camps including the renowned prison No. 15, which reportedly houses 6,000 Christians alone. But despite severe oppression, there is a growing underground church movement of an estimated 400,000 Christians.” (source).
God Strengthens His Children Through Persecution
The Apostle Paul, one of the great church planters and missionaries in the Bible, suffered persecutions in many of the countries he entered, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Although he was arrested, tortured and imprisoned for his faith, he was not discouraged:
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-11.
Like the North Koreans who risk their lives today, Paul understood that the urgent need to share the Gospel with the lost souls destined for hell, so that God could be glorified, when those same guilty sinners, confess their sins to The Lord and believe in Jesus Christ for forgiveness, was worth whatever his body had to suffer. The Christian life is following Jesus and that involves sacrifice and a willingness to give oneself so that Christ can live through us. This is how a Christian can have the faith to enter a hostile nation, knowing it could mean years in a labor camp, just to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ for salvation.
Pray for the Christians in North Korea, meeting and worshiping in underground churches. Pray that The Lord will increase their faith and protect them through their suffering at the hands of their government. And pray that more souls will be saved as the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world, continues to shine in the darkest reaches of the world. And if you are a born again Christian, pray for your own faith to have the boldness to share The Word of God wherever you may be.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” – Matthew 5:10-12.
Below is a short video on the persecution in North Korea and the victories being won in the name of Jesus Christ.