Friday, September 4, 2009

Living Epistles - Part Seven

Joseph Herrin (08-30-09)

The following testimonies are taken from the book The Heavenly Man, which is the story of the life of Brother Yun, a Chinese Christian and minister. The book relates many ways in which the Chinese Christians have suffered under the Communist government since 1949. It also contains accounts of tremendous miracles.

Brother Yun was born in the late 1950s. He became a Christian at the age of 16 when his father was miraculously healed of cancer. During that time it was forbidden for any Chinese to read anything other than Mao’s Little Red Book. There were severe penalties for having a Bible, yet at this young age Yun began to hunger greatly to read a Bible.

His mother, observing this great desire in her son, took him one day to visit an old man in another village who was formerly a pastor. She believed he might still have a Bible. Upon arriving there the man was afraid to show them his Bible for he had already spent more then twenty years in prison because of his faith. He told Yun that the Bible was a heavenly book, so he must pray that the God of heaven would give him one.

When Yun returned home he placed a large stone next to his bed. He used it to kneel upon while praying. Every night for 30 days he prayed and asked God to let him see a Bible. At the end of this time he had still not seen a Bible, so he returned alone to the old man’s house. He told him he had been praying as he instructed him, but he still did not have a Bible. He begged the man again to please let him see his Bible.

The old man could see he was very serious about wanting a Bible, so he told him that if he truly desired one that he should fast and pray and that God would hear him. For the next 100 days Brother Yun ate nothing in the morning or at noon, and took only a small bowl of rice for supper. He prayed every night that he might see a Bible. His parents began worrying about him because of his constant fasting and prayers. They thought he might be losing his mind.

After 100 days of fasting and prayer, Brother Yun had a vision. He describes it this way.

In the vision I was walking up a steep hill, trying to push a heavy cart in front of me. I was heading toward a village where I intended to beg for food for my family. I was struggling greatly, because in my vision I was hungry and weakened by constant fasting. The old cart was about to roll back and fall on me.

I then saw three men walking down the hill in the opposite direction. A kind old man, who had a very long beard, was pulling a large cart full of fresh bread. Two other men were walking on each side of the cart. When the old man saw me he felt great pity and showed me compassion. He asked, “Are you hungry?” I replied, “Yes, I have nothing to eat. I’m on my way to get food for my family.”

I wept because my family was extremely poor. Because of my father’s sickness we’d sold everything valuable to buy medicine. We had little to eat, and for years we had been forced to beg for food from friends and neighbors. When the old man asked me if I was hungry, I couldn’t help but cry. I’d never felt such genuine love and compassion from anyone before.

In the vision the old man took a red bag of bread from his trolley and asked his two servants to give it to me. He said, “You must eat it immediately.”

I opened the wrapping and saw there was a bun of fresh bread inside. When I put the bun in my mouth, it instantly turned into a Bible! Immediately, in my vision, I knelt down with my Bible and cried out to the Lord in thanksgiving, “Lord, your name is worthy to be praised! You didn’t despise my prayer. You allowed me to receive this Bible. I want to serve you the rest of my life.”

I woke up and started searching the house for the Bible. The rest of my family was asleep. The vision had been so real to me that when I realized it had only been a dream I was deeply anguished and I wept loudly. My parents rushed to my room to see what had happened. They thought I had gone crazy because of all my fasting and praying. I told them about my vision, but the more I shared, the crazier they thought I was! Mother said, “The day hasn’t dawned yet and no one has come to our house. The door is firmly locked.”

My father held me tightly. With tears in his eyes he cried to God, “Dear Lord, have mercy on my son. Please don’t let him lose his mind. Please give my son a Bible!”

My mother, father and I knelt down and wept together, arm in arm.

Suddenly I heard a faint knock at the door. A very gentle voice called my name. I rushed over and asked through the locked door, “Are you bringing the bread to me?” The gentle voice replied, “Yes, we have a feast of bread to give you.” I immediately recognized the voice as the same one I had heard in the vision.

I quickly opened the door and there standing before me were the same two servants I had seen in the vision. One man held a red bag in his hand. My heart raced as I opened the bag and held in my hands my very own Bible!

The two men quickly departed into the still darkness.

I clutched my new Bible to my heart and fell down on my knees outside the door. I thanked God again and again! I promised Jesus from that moment on I would devour the Word like a hungry child.

The old man in the dream represented God. He saw in this young Chinese Christian an intense hunger for some spiritual food to eat. He was therefore pleased to give him what he desperately longed for.

Brother Yun goes on to share how he found out the identity of the two men some time later. An evangelist in a town far away had a vision three months earlier in which he saw Yun, his house and village. In the vision the evangelist knew he was to give Yun a Bible he kept buried in a can in the ground. Although he had seen the vision clearly, he did not act on it until three months later when he spoke to the two men, told them of the vision, and asked them to deliver the Bible.

This account is remarkable for a number of reasons. As one contrasts the desire of this young Chinese boy to read a Bible, the apathy of “Christians” in Western nations who have ready access to the Scriptures is very apparent. Many Western believers have Bibles throughout their homes, but they will easily go a hundred days without ever picking one up and reading it. There is no hunger to read the divine message Yahweh has sent to His people. The Scriptures are treated as something common, and the attention shown to them reveals that the words of God are not treasured as they ought to be. The people of God are sated as they gorge themselves on things that appeal to the soul and the flesh. They spend their time before the television, listening to music, reading novels, and all manner of other foods that do not help them spiritually. All the while they lack a true hunger for the Word of God.

The attitude manifested by Brother Yun at this tender age should be the normal response of all who come to Christ and then discover that God has caused a book of tremendous spiritual wisdom and revelation to be written for the instruction of His people. It should be normal to find Christians of all ages pouring over the Scriptures to glean some insight into the Kingdom of God.

Brother Yun would later marry a Chinese woman who also came to Christ in her teen years. Deling relates how she would walk long distances, often in the dark and through dangerous areas, alone as a teenage girl in order to attend meetings of believers. Her hunger for fellowship and spiritual teaching was similar in this aspect to that of the man who would one day be her husband. She relates the following experience in her own words.

At the age of 18 I committed my life to Jesus Christ.

The very first night as a believer I was taken to my first house church meeting. The Public Security Bureau came and we all had to escape on foot through the darkness. This was my very first introduction to what it would be like following the Lord!...

Two other young women came to the Lord at the same time as me. We attended meetings together. These were in different parts of the district so we often had to walk more than an hour to get there. After the meetings I often had to walk home by myself. This was quite dangerous because it was so dark and there were evil men and wild dogs out late at night.

God worked a great miracle to protect and help me in those early days. Many nights as I walked home I could see a light about ten meters ahead of me on the path, as if someone was carrying a lamp, showing me the way I needed to take. In the pitch dark I often lost my way, but then I’d see the light, like a small star, showing me the way to get back on the right path. The light wasn’t constant; it just appeared whenever I was heading in the wrong direction.

Because of many experiences like this, my faith grew quickly.

Even as Communist China has their Public Security Bureau, America now has their Department of Homeland Security agency. The names of these government groups sound benevolent, but they are not. Detention camps were one of the first things to be established by the 111th Congress. These Federal Emergency Management Agency camps, which fall under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security, will one day soon be revealed to be used to inter all those who are viewed as enemies of the state.

It did not take long for the Chinese government to declare that Christians were enemies of the state once the Communists came to power and the Public Security Bureau was formed. Likewise, it will not be long before Christians in Western nations are declared to be enemies of the state for resisting the policies and beliefs of an increasingly authoritarian and anti-Christ regime. The Scriptures foretell of a day at the end of this age when men and women will not even be able to buy or sell without embracing the Beast system.

I am persuaded that it will not be long before those who are true disciples of Christ will need to rely upon God to guide and protect them even as the Chinese believers have done for many years. They will find that those agencies that bear names promising Security and Protection will actually prove to be the ones which seek to take from Christians these very things.

There are many remarkable manifestations of the power of God, and of the cost of following Christ, in the book The Heavenly Man. I want to share one more experience of Brother Yun, as I believe it has great application for those believers in America and Western nations in approaching days.

Many who read this blog are aware that the Lord directed me this past Spring to spend a couple months traveling across America, meeting with small groups of believers. Before leaving, the Spirit of Christ had used a sister in the Lord to prophesy that I would be sent out with the message of Acts 14:22, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

Today, as I was reading this book on the life of Brother Yun, I encountered this Scripture again. I believe the Spirit is testifying that the same types of experiences that Brother Yun and the Chinese Christians experienced are coming to America.

Brother Yun, while still a young man, was led of the Lord to travel to a province to the West of where he lived. Before leaving to go to this province the local believers had a time of worship and prayer as they prepared to send them forth. Brother Yun shares the following:

Before we left for Shaanxi that evening we asked God to prepare the hearts of the people to receive His word. While praying, I suddenly saw a terrible vision that shook my soul. The others told me I startled them when I shouted out, “Hallelujah, Jesus’ blood has overcome you!”

Everyone stopped praying and asked me what the matter was. With sweat on my brow I told them, “I saw a terrible evil vision. A black, heinous creature came after me. It had a horrible twisted face. It pressed me down on the ground and sat on my stomach so I couldn’t get up. With one of its hands it grabbed my throat and started choking me. With its other hand it grabbed some steel pliers and tried to shut my mouth with them. I could hardly breathe. Then I saw a great strong angel fly towards me. With all my strength I poked my fingers into the eyes of the evil creature. It fell to the ground, and I was carried away to safety by the angel. I shouted, “Hallelujah! Jesus’ blood has overcome you!”

After telling what I’d seen, we prayed and shared the Lord’s Supper together. We committed ourselves to the care of the Lord...

Brother Yun then tells how he and two sisters in Christ traveled to this Western province to share the word of the Lord with the churches there. Brother Yun was empowered to speak the first day about the history of the cross throughout church history. On the second day, about one in the afternoon, he lost his voice. He then asked one of the sisters to speak while he went to a room to rest. He continues:

When I lay down I meditated on the message I had shared that morning.

Suddenly, I heard a loud noise. Several PSB officers kicked down the door to my room. They grabbed me and held me down on the bed. One officer lay on me, pinning me down with his weight. With one hand he held me by the throat. With his other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out his ID card. He shouted, “I come from the Public Security Bureau. Where do you come from?”

Immediately I remembered the vision I had seen of the dark monster.

Two other PSB officers took a rope and tightly bound my arms behind my back, as well as binding the rope around my chest, back, and waist. One of the officers noticed a red wooden cross attached to the wall...

They tore the cross from the wall and tied it to my back with the ropes. Then they started to kick me furiously. Blows rained down upon my arms, legs, chest and ribs...

For the first time I literally had the honor of literally bearing the cross of Christ on my body. They triumphantly marched me off, bloodied and bruised, to Shangnan township...

When the townspeople saw me bound with rope and that I was carrying a big red cross, a story began to circulate that “Jesus from Henan” had come. Many people crowded around to witness this remarkable sight.

As I was paraded through the streets, a police car drove slowly in front. Through a loudspeaker they proclaimed, “This man came from Henan to preach Jesus. He has seriously disrupted the peace. He has confused the people. Today the Public Security Bureau has captured him. We will punish him severely.”

I was made to kneel down in the dirt while the officers punched me in the chest and face and repeatedly kicked me from behind with their heavy boots. My face was covered with blood. The pain was unbearable and I nearly lost consciousness as I lay on the ground.

They lifted me up and made me stagger down another street. They were determined to make an example of me to as many people as possible.

I lifted my head up and caught glimpses of people in the crowd. Some pitied me and wept. When I saw this it really strengthened my faith. When I had the chance, I softly told one woman, “Please don’t feel sorry for me. You should weep for the lost souls of our nation.”

When the onlookers heard my voice they cried even more loudly. I was paraded through the streets for half a day. When night fell they took me into a big courtyard inside the police station.

They didn’t loosen my ropes, but they did take the wooden cross off my back. They locked me inside a large interrogation room. I noticed the door was made of iron and the windows had iron bars on them.

Some evil-faced officers came in. They questioned me with great gravity in their voices...

I felt that God wanted me to pretend I was crazy, like David had done in the Bible. I lay down on the ground and acted insane. I rolled my eyes back in their sockets and spat like a madman. I didn’t say a word. The PSB were frightened and were convinced I was crazy.

Many spectators had crowded outside the window and looked in.

One officer went to another room and made a telephone call to Henan, to try and find out who I was from the authorities there. The other interrogators went with him to hear what was said. They left me alone in the room and shut the door. I was still tightly bound by rope so they saw there was no chance I could escape. The onlookers also gave their attention to the telephone call, and crowded outside the window of that room to listen.

At that moment, with everyone’s eyes off me, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “The God of Peter is your God.” I remembered how the angels had opened the prison gates for Peter to escape. “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 11:4.

The rope that bound my back suddenly snapped by itself! I didn’t tear the ropes off, but kept them loosely in place. I decided to try to escape, and if caught I would claim I was trying to go to the toilet. With my arms still positioned behind my back, I used my mouth to turn the door handle and I walked out of the room!

At that moment God gave me faith and courage. I reminded myself that the blood of Jesus Christ protected me. I walked through the middle of the onlookers in the courtyard. Nobody stopped me or said anything to me! It was as though God had blinded their eyes and they didn’t recognize who I was.

I walked through the courtyard to the toilet block in the northern part of the compound, about 30 feet away from the interrogation room. As quickly as I could, I pulled off the rope from around my body. My hands, arms and shoulders were still numb from being bound by rope for so long.

Because the front gates had been locked, the only way out of the compound was over an eight-foot-high cement wall. The wall had sharp glass embedded in the top. I stood there for a moment, stared at the wall and prayed, asking the Lord to heal my hands and my body.

I decided to try to leap over the wall. I saw no other choice. I was trapped and at any moment the officers would come and grab me. What happened next is impossible from a human perspective, yet God is my witness that what I am about to tell is the truth.

First, I pulled myself up onto the wall as high as I could manage. I looked over the top and saw the other side was a ten-feet-wide open septic tank.

As I hung grimly on the side of the wall, all of a sudden I felt as if somebody hoisted me up and threw me over! I jumped so far that I even cleared the septic tank! A Scripture came to mind, “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” II Samuel 22:30.

The God of Peter wonderfully helped me leap over the wall and escape. I believe the angel I had seen in my vision helped to lift me up.

Brother Yun then ran for hours until he arrived back at the place where he had been arrested earlier that day. The believers were still meeting, and they were in prayer for him. He wrote:

When they saw me they could scarcely believe their eyes! They were amazed that the Lord had rescued me from the hands of evil men. They changed my wet clothes, bathed my scars, and lovingly wiped the blood from my face and hands.

I encouraged the Shaanxi believers. I prayed for them and placed them in the merciful hands of God. I taught them, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22.

This is a remarkable experience. It is so rich with symbolism. When the PSB officers tied the cross to Brother Yun’s back the Father was signifying that here was one who was truly bearing in his body the cross of Christ. Truly the people in Shangnan township did see on their streets that day the “Jesus from Henan.” The church in the West has known very little of such sufferings in recent generations, but these things are coming swiftly. Many more will be given the great honor of suffering for the name of Christ.

Yahweh fulfilled the vision of Brother Yun. The beast that sought to silence him was the government agency, and in coming days there will be observed a similar beast seeking to silence saints in the West. Even at this very hour, America has a President who is being used of Satan to set in place all things necessary to bring about a great persecution of the saints of God.

America has a President who rides in an armored limousine that the Secret Service has nicknamed The Beast. The day the election results came out announcing that Barack Obama had been chosen by Americans to be their next President, the winning numbers in the Illinois Pick Three Lottery came up 6-6-6. (Illinois is Obama’s home state.)

Is God speaking to His people through these things? I am convinced that He is. There is a beast system rapidly being set in place that will lead to the persecution of Christians. This persecution is not far off. It is even now at the door. Yet in the midst of this persecution the people of God who walk faithfully with Him will be given a little help, even as Brother Yun was helped.

Daniel 11:32-34
And by smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. And those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder, for many days. Now when they fall they will be granted a little help...

The disciples of Christ are the people of the covenant, a covenant sealed in the blood of Christ. Satan is using men of smooth words to turn to godlessness those who act wickedly. Many will suffer in coming days, but let all who do so rejoice. Great is the reward of all who suffer for the name of Christ, and precious in the sight of God is the death of His holy ones.

The Spirit is testifying to God’s people that through many tribulations they must enter the kingdom of God. I encourage all God’s people to make haste to get themselves ready. Seek the Lord now while He may be found. Begin to place your trust in Him now, and follow Him with a whole heart.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

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