At a time when the persecution of Christians has reached "historic proportions," Rabbi Jonathan Cahn and other faith leaders will address the United Nations on Friday about what Cahn calls one of the "greatest crises in the modern age."
"The persecution of believers has increased to historic proportions," said Cahn, The New York Times best-selling author of The Harbinger and The Mystery of the Shemitah. "It is happening all around the world. It has become one of the greatest crises in the modern age.
"And yet very few are doing anything to stop it, to curtail it or even to protect the innocent. That's the purpose of the event at the United Nations—to make a plea to the nations to not sit idly by as innocent people, men, women and children are perishing."
At the event in New York City, ambassadors, Christian and Jewish leaders, businessmen and high-ranking military officials will speak out against the worsening Christian persecution in the Middle East and around the globe. The symposium is called "The Persecution of Christians Globally: A Threat to International Peace and Security."
Sponsored by the Global Strategic Alliance, the Eng Aja Eze Foundation and the National Israel Hispanic Coalition, some of the speakers include Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Family Research Council Executive Vice President Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin, Archbishop Bernadito C. Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the U.N., Charisma founding editor and publisher Steve Strang, and María Cristina Perceval, the new Permanent Representative of Argentina to the U.N.
"The fate of the regions' religious minorities is indeed of the greatest concern," according to a statement by the Eng Aja Eze Foundation, a New York based organization that focuses on rebuilding the social, economic and political fabric of societies following conflict. "The mass exodus of Christians who have been an integral part of the Middle Eastern mosaic for centuries is particularly troubling."
The historic event comes amid growing concerns regarding widespread crucifixions, beheadings, immolations, kidnappings and the torture of Christians in the Middle East by the Islamic State, or ISIS. In the last couple of years, thousands have died at the hands of ISIS—more than 24,000 in the first eight months of 2014 alone, according to a U.N. report.
The slaughter of Christians in the Middle East isn't just a recent phenomenon, though. A century ago, Middle Eastern Christians represented about 20 percent of the population. Now they represent about 4 percent. In Iraq before the Gulf War, there were about 1.4 million Christians. Today, there are only about 200,000 left.
"We are literally watching the genocide of Jesus' followers in the Middle East," Strang wrote in "The Strang Report."
On his blog this week, New York Times best-selling author Joel Rosenberg wrote the "persecution of Christians is worse than ever."
"We are living in a time of unprecedented persecution of Christians in the Middle East and around the world," Rosenberg wrote. "The Lord Jesus warned His disciples that they would be persecuted, and that persecution would intensify as the time of His return drew near. Today, we are seeing His prophecies come to pass as never before."
Kevin Jessip, president of the Global Strategic Alliance, a Wellington, Florida-based ministry that stands against anti-Semitism and the campaign to delegitimize the nation of Israel, said ISIS is seeking to abolish Israel and is a growing menace to Jews and Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East and throughout the world.
"The Islamic ideologies of ISIS is a danger that mirrors the Holocaust aggression of world domination (seen in World War II)," Jessip said. "ISIS has declared Christianity as its No. 1 enemy. I think Christian persecution is happening just as Jesus said it would. John 15 talks about persecution, and I would say the persecution we are witnessing today is known in the Bible as the antichrist spirit.
"I think what we are seeing here with Isalmic jihad going on around the world is really an attempt by the enemy, Satan himself, to unleash an antichrist spirit and create an Islamic caliphate worldwide, and their ultimate goal is to have worldwide Sharia law. We began to see this on American soil in Oklahoma when the lady was beheaded for not converting to the Muslim faith."
Cahn, whose books claim that the same nine harbingers of judgment that preceded the destruction of Israel 2,700 years ago are now manifesting in America and that a seven-year biblical cycle known as the Shemitah may bring economic calamity or war in the Middle East in the near future, says it's an honor, as a Jewish believer, "to speak out on behalf of persecuted believers across the world."
"One of the great influences on my life, recognized as one of the greatest believers of the age, and a personal friend, was Richard Wurmbrand," Cahn told Charisma. "Wurmbrand was a Jewish believer from Romania who stood up for the Lord in the time of Nazism and then Communism. He was imprisoned for his faith for 14 years.
"After emerging from prison, he started a ministry to help the persecuted believers of the world called Jesus to the Communist World and later Voice of the Martyrs. So the persecution of believers throughout the world has always been close to my heart. One of the first people of the age to ever help persecuted Christians was the apostle Paul. Paul was a Jewish believer. So as Jewish believers it is part of our heritage and calling to speak out on behalf of those who are persecuted."
Each year, 100 million Christians suffer persecution, imprisonment and even death for their sacred religious beliefs. According to The Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry dedicated to assisting the persecuted church worldwide, "more people have died for their faith in Christ in the last 100 years" than in the previous 19 centuries combined.
"Of the 60 million Christians who have been martyred since Christ's death, 26 million documented cases of martyrs occurred in the 20th century alone," Jessip said. "The statistics are that nearly 165,000 Christians are martyred every year. One Christian is martyred every three minutes. More than 250 million Christians in over 60 countries are currently living under the threat of persecution—and 60 percent of those are children."
The objective of the event is to highlight the persecution of Christians in the Middle East as a threat to international peace and security and the role that education can play in building bridges of peace between faiths.
The sponsors expect the event to lead to resolutions by the U.N. Security Council; General Assembly and the U.N. Human Rights Council regarding the protection of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East and an investigation into "Christianophobia" in the Middle East.
The event will heard around the world live through the U.N. television network at webtv.un.org.
"I'm being told that the General Assembly is going to convene a meeting April 20 to initiate a resolution against religious intolerance, against Christians and against minorities," Jessip said. "We are also looking to have an International Day of Prayer in solidarity for the plight of Christians. And we're looking to the president of the United States to appoint an envoy to begin taking action against persecution on a global scale."
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