The question I asked myself today is if I really believe the Scriptures below concerning what Jesus and the New Testament say about the “second death”, what would I do differently today?
My answer was to seize the opportunities that present themselves to share the gospel with a fellow human being. And that is what I was able to do.
What would you do differently?
Revelation 20:14- “And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.”
Revelation 21:8 – “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murders and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Revelation 2:11 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches, He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.
Revelation 20:6 -“Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
Matthew 10:28 – Jesus says: “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
John 3:16 – Jesus says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. “
(“Perish” means to experience the second death.)
Romans 5: 8-10 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
(“the wrath of God” – the second death is the ultimate expression of His just wrath.)
Ephesians 2:7-9 – “…in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God…”
If you possess this “gift” of salvation, please find a way to share it with the hopeless and dying souls all around us that are unknowingly headed to a second death.
Be faithful to God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,
Following are testimonies from the Wa people of northern Myanmar concerning being animists and their conversion to evangelical Christianity. Reading on the internet about animists, some writers would lead you to believe that being an animist is a positive thing. The Christian Wa people would beg to differ as the following testimonies reveal:
“My name is Khuat, and I am a 53-year-old pastor. My parents were animists who offered sacrifices to the spirits every month, and our family was plunged into poverty and bondage to cruel demons. In 2001 I heard of God’s love and forgiveness, and I committed my life to Jesus. We smashed all our idols and the Lord blessed us in every way. I was eager to read the Bible, but for years I could not find even one for sale. Now you have brought many Bibles to us, and we are overwhelmed with joy. Thank you! You have done the greatest thing possible.
“My name is Nyi. Everyone in my family lived in fear of the spirits for generations. We did all we could to appease them, but in return we got death and suffering. My mother died when I was a baby, and my father died when I was 8. Then when I was 13 my brother died and there was no one to take care of me. I started using drugs, and at my lowest point a Christian told me about Jesus, and He changed my life! I even graduated from Bible school, and now I serve my Wa people, getting as many saved as I can. The Word of God you gave us is so precious!“
“My name is Moe, and I am 19 years old. My family were animists, so we served the spirits and had never heard about Jesus. My friend told me the Good News, and I went to church with her. The pastor gave me a Bible and I brought it home, but my father was the village shaman so he didn’t let me read the Bible. One day my mother fell ill, and my father spent all our money to try to make her well. He heard that Jesus could heal the sick, so he let her go to the church with me. She was healed that day, and now my whole family are Christians! Thank you for the wonderful Bibles you freely gave us.”
The anthropologist who say that these tribes should be left alone and not evangelized are deceived themselves by the powers of darkness and do not have the spiritual discernment to understand the great spiritual and physical deception that these people suffer under.
Lord Jesus understood it, that is why He said to go into all the earth and preach the gospel and set the captives (of the demons) free!
Has He set you free from the sins or idols that bind you up?
(The Bibles they refer to were printed and donated by the supporters of Asia Harvest.)
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in their hearts”(Ecclesiastes 3:9).
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being”(Acts 17:26-28).
“The Wa were headhunters. Just once a year, in the planting season, Wa tribesmen felt compelled by bloodthirsty spirits to plant human heads in their fields along with their seeds—just to ensure a good crop. Neighboring tribes always wanted to leave for vacation when the Wa were planting their crops, but unfortunately that was when they had to plant their crops too.
A benign influence, however, was at work within the folk religion of the Wa people. From time-to-time prophets of the true God, whom the Wa called Siyeh, arose to condemn headhunting and spirit-appeasement! One such prophet, Pu Chan, appeared during the 1880s. He persuaded several thousand Wa tribesmen to abandon headhunting and spirit worship on the grounds that the true God was about to send a long-awaited white brother with a copy of the lost book. If he came to the Wa territory and heard that the Wa were practicing evil things, he might think them unworthy of the true God’s book and turn away again! If that happened, Pu Chan warned, surely the Wa would never get another chance to have the lost book restored to them.
One morning Pu Chan saddled a pony. ‘Follow this pony,’ he said to some of his disciples. ‘Siyeh told me last night that the white brother has finally come near! Siyeh will cause this pony to lead you to him. While Pu Chan’s disciples gaped in astonishment, the pony started walking. Expecting the pony to stop at the nearest stream, they followed it.”
Two hundred miles away, an American missionary from Nebraska, William Young, had recently set up base in the town of Kengtung. One day Young went to the marketplace to preach among the people, and he noticed strangely garbed men gravitating toward him out of the throng in the market.
They were not Wa, but were men from the neighboring Lahu tribe, who God chose to receive the Gospel first. The Lahu had also been waiting for a white man to come with a lost book that would reconnect them to the true God, whom they called Gwi’sha in their language. Richardson continues the story:
“They stared incredulously at the missionary’s white face, the interior of the book in his hand, and listened to his description of the laws of God contained in that book. Then, in an outburst of powerful emotion, the Lahu pleaded with Young to follow them up into the mountains. ‘We as a people have been waiting for you for centuries,’ they explained. ‘We even have meeting houses built in some of our villages in readiness for your coming.’
[Pu Chan above and William Young below. Our thanks to Marcus Young, the grandson of William, for providing these two precious photos.]
Some of the men showed him bracelets of coarse rope hanging like manacles from their wrists. ‘We have worn ropes like these since time immemorial. They symbolize our bondage to evil spirits. You alone, as the messenger of Gwi’sha, may cut these manacles from our wrists—but only after you have brought the lost book of Gwi’sha to our very hearths!’
Nearly speechless with awe, Young went with them. Tens of thousands of Lahu became Christians, and it was at that stage that Pu Chan saddled his pony (200 miles away in Wa territory) and told his Wa disciples to follow it to the missing book and the messenger of the True God. When the pony finally arrived at the home of William Young, the Wa asked him: ‘Have you brought the book of God?’ Young nodded. The men, overcome with emotion, fell at his feet and blurted out, ‘This pony is saddled especially for you. Our people are all waiting. Fetch the book! We must be on our way!”
Thousands of Wa heard the Gospel from both the Young family and the new Lahu Christians. They repented of their sins and gave their lives to Jesus Christ. Young’s son, Vincent, later translated the New Testament into Wa.
During much of the 20th century, many Wa people continued to outwardly follow Christ, but their faith generally slipped into dead formalism. A vibrant, life-giving revival was greatly needed among the Wa, lest the amazing breakthroughs of the past would go to waste.
One reason for the spiritual decline among the Wa was the problem with their Bible. Because of their widespread locations and multiple dialects, only a fraction of Wa were able to understand the dialect the Bible was available in.
Some years ago, a Wa Bible committee was set up to address this problem, and a new translation was launched in a common vernacular that many more Wa people could understand.
Asia Harvest has been greatly blessed to provide more than 80,000 new Wa Bibles, free of charge, through our Asian Bible Fund. There are many requests for more, and we invite you to prayerfully consider supporting this strategic endeavor.
“The Christian church with all its faults is the greatest serving institution on earth. It has many critics, but no rivals in the work of human redemption… No other institution has done anything like it—none whatever. The fact that the church has been able to survive the dead weight of a large proportion of its membership unconverted is a proof of its essential soundness and vitality. A minority of converted people keep its soul alive.”
E. Stanley Jones, Conversion: From Lane Corley blog – Church Planting, Mission Strategy and Life in SE Louisiana
“What a brutish master sin is, taking the joy from ones life, stealing money and health, giving promises of tomorrow’s pleasures, and finally leading one onto the rotten planking that overlies the mouth of the pit.”
Jim Elliot (October 8, 1927 – January 8, 1956), American missionary, who was one of five missionaries killed during an attempt to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador. (Berean Call)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
For more than 20 years we have supported Garo evangelists from northeast India through our Asian Workers’ Fund, as they have taken the Gospel to unreached people groups in their part of the world.
Often, Christians are unaware of the origins of many of the songs we love to sing. In this brief email we would like to share the little-known background of one famous song: “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”
In the hills of northeast India live the Garo tribe, who number more than one million people. For centuries they were feared as a primitive head-hunting tribe, but in the most recent Indian census, over 95 percent of the Garo declared themselves to be Christians. Here is one reason why…
In the late 1800s, many missionaries came to Assam in northeast India to spread the Gospel. They succeeded in converting a man named Nokseng, his wife, and his two children. Nokseng’s faith proved contagious, and many villagers began to accept Jesus.
The village chief, angry at the prospect of losing control, summoned all the villagers. He demanded Nokseng’s family to publicly renounce their faith or face execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Nokseng said: “I have decided to follow Jesus.”
Enraged at his refusal to deny Christ, the chief ordered his archers to shoot the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the ground, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife also.”
But Nokseng replied: “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.”
The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered Nokseng’s wife to be shot with arrows. In a moment she joined her children in death. Now the chief said for the last time: “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.” In the face of death, Nokseng did not waver, and made his final memorable statement:
“The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back.”
He was killed like the rest of his family, but a miracle took place. The chief was moved by Nokseng’s faith and he wondered, “Why would Nokseng and his family die for a Man who lived in a far-away land some 2,000 years ago? This God must have remarkable power, and I too want to taste that faith.”
In a spontaneous confession, the chief declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Later, Nokseng’s words became a beloved song of the Garo Christians, and was later translated into English and sung around the world.
May the Lord Jesus bless you as together we serve the Church in Asia,
“My name is Ramesh, and I was born into a middle-class family. Despite having Christian parents, I always protested their faith and cursed them for leaving our ancestral religion. I was anti-Christ.
Whenever I saw a Christian, intense anger welled up in my heart. I beat many believers, threatened them, burned down their homes, dragged them out of the village, and spat on them. I even used to sit and wait for Christians on their way home from church so I could rob them.
Over time I led a gang of anti-Christian thugs, who did evil activities each day. Because of our violent acts, many persecuted believers moved away from our village.
No matter how much I mistreated the Christians, my parents continued to pray for my soul, asking God to humble me so I would accept Jesus Christ. One day I had to travel to Kathmandu, and on my way out the door my mother said she would pray for my safety. I angrily scolded her and told her to stop praying. On my way home, the bus I was riding in collided with a truck, and our vehicle plunged over a cliff. There were 43 passengers on the bus, and 42 died. I was the lone survivor.
I knew that God had spared my life thanks to my mother’s prayers, and I realized the power of Jesus Christ is real. When I returned home, I immediately thanked my mother and repented of my sins. I cried out to the Lord Jesus and submitted the rest of my life to serve Him.
Today, I minister among many of the believers I once persecuted. They forgave me and accepted me as a member of God’s family, and after I had learned more of the Bible, they asked me to become their pastor.
The Living God has greatly blessed me. My wife and I adopted a beautiful daughter, and we want to win as many souls as possible into the kingdom of heaven. We are now reaching out to several mountain tribes with the Good News of salvation.
Thank you for supporting me. No matter what hardships may occur in the future, I know that my second chance in life is a gift from God, and I owe everything to Him.” Source: Asia Harvest
Many believers have recently told us they are struggling, with Covid lockdowns and economic stress causing them to feel confused and fearful of the future. In this newsletter we want to share a remarkable testimony of how the Lord Jesus Christ spoke to a young missionary, Caleb Byerly, who comes from a small town in North Carolina. Through a series of incredible events, God used him to reach a previously unknown tribe, the Tinananon, who dwell deep in the mountains of the southern Philippines.
We hope you will be greatly encouraged, and God will remine you of His matchless power and grace. If He put together such a loving and detailed plan to reach this small tribe, He certainly has not forgotten you, your family or your community! Keep trusting the Lord and study His Word each day. He has everything under control!
After reading our brief summary, please scroll down and watch the links to two videos, which show Caleb personally telling the remarkable testimony.
In 2013, Caleb Byerly woke up from a vivid God-given dream and began to furiously write everything he saw in his journal.
In the dream, Caleb was looking out across a mountain and he saw a tribe he had never seen before. In the dream he asked who they were, and the people replied: “We are the Tinananon!” Then a chief walked toward him carrying a strange musical instrument. Caleb happens to make instruments, so he carefully studied the designs of the instrument he saw in the dream, which was unlike anything he had seen before. He said:
“It had 30 strings going all the way around the top of a golden bowl, from the outside, crisscrossing in the middle of the instrument. I suddenly got a full download of everything about this instrument, its dimensions, what material it was made of, and even how it was tuned and played. The tribal chief took two small sticks and began to play it, and the whole tribe rejoiced and worshipped the Living God. It was as if heaven and earth collided. After that I woke up from the dream.”
Caleb wrote down all the details he had seen, and the name of the Tinananon tribe. He then made detailed drawings of the bowl and its dimensions and materials. He then searched online for any reference to the Tinananon people but found nothing. They still do not feature on any mission or Bible translation lists of people groups.
As a professional instrument maker, he was intrigued by the idea of recreating the instrument he had seen in the dream, but the task proved too complicated. In frustration he put the whole thing aside and gave up on the dream.
About six months later, Caleb took a mission trip to the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. As he was traveling in the back of a jeepney (a kind of open van widely used in the Philippines), a man sitting opposite Caleb and couldn’t stop staring at him.
Caleb engaged the man in polite conversation, and discovered he was a Christian, and his name was Manigos. Caleb felt the Holy Spirit impress on his heart: “Ask him about the Tinananon tribe.”
After initially resisting, Caleb finally mustered the courage and asked the man, “Do you know the Tinananon?”
The man’s eyes immediately grew large and his mouth fell open. He leaned forward and said, “Hey, they are my tribe! I am a Tinananon! How do you know about my people?”
Manigos explained that his tribe lives in a dangerous and remote mountainous region of Mindanao that people from the outside world rarely enter. Caleb invited Manigos to come to the place where he was staying, and he showed him his journal entry with the word Tinananon.
Manigos began shaking his head, and tears streamed down his face. He said, “Remember earlier on the bus when I kept staring at you? I knew I had seen you before, and now I know where. I also saw you in a dream!” He explained that he left the Tinananon area as a young man, and later met Jesus Christ while living in the large city of Davao. Some time later, God called him back to his tribe through a dream where he saw himself returning to evangelize his people–with Caleb!
Both men were filled with awe at the way God brought them together, and they worshipped and prayed together for several days. Manigos invited Caleb to visit his tribe, but he first had to return to the United States. While there, Caleb went into his workshop and cried out to God, asking Him to give him wisdom and insight so he could make the instrument. The Lord helped him, and when he put the strings on it for the first time he said: “I tuned it the way I heard it in the dream. I got the two little sticks and I started to play it. It was the same sound that I heard in the dream, and I was really excited.”
Caleb bought a plane ticket and left the next day for the Philippines, taking the instrument with him. Along with a friend, Caleb met Manigos and the three of them rode on one motorcycle into the mountains, heading for the Tinananon area. After many trials and dangers, they finally arrived at the edge of a Tinananon village, and Caleb again sensed the Holy Spirit prod him, “I want you to take the instrument to the chief.”
They asked how to find the chief’s house, and learned he lived another three and a half hours away, on the other side of the mountain. By the time they reached the chief’s house it was almost dark. Mud covered their clothing as they approached a small wooden hut and knocked on the door.
The chief opened the door and was shocked to see a white man. Caleb told him: “I have come here to give you a gift,” and he held the instrument in his outstretched arms, covered by a blanket.
When Chief Suhat took the blanket off he was speechless and kept asking, “Where did you get this instrument?”
“Well, I made it,” Caleb replied.
“No, no, I’m serious. Where did you get it from?” the chief repeated.
“Well, if you really want to know, last year I had a vivid dream, in which I heard the name of your tribe, the Tinananon, for the first time. I also saw this musical instrument, and I felt like my God showed me how to design it.
The chief shook his head in disbelief as he carefully examined the instrument, asking questions about it. He summoned other tribal leaders and they walked around it incredulously, pointing at it and saying the word: “Salimbaa.”
Finally, the chief motioned to them and said, “I need to show you something.” They walked down a small pathway to a structure called a Paluvaran, which means ‘house of prayer’ in their language.
This was the place where the Tinananon people worship, and it also served as a storehouse where pottery, metalwork, weaving, and other artefacts are retained as evidence that their tribe has been in existence for many centuries.
The chief said they had different musical instruments for each of their gods. They had a god of trees, a god of stones, and a god of the river. Caleb noticed that one spot was empty on the wall between the other instruments. The chief said that between 100 and 150 years ago there was a tribal war, and their most valuable musical instrument that worshiped the God of all gods had been taken away from them.
In response, the Tinananon people created a lament which they had sung ever since, which says: “The Salimbaa was taken away from us, but the God of all Gods is going to return it one day so we can worship Him.”
They excitedly said, ‘Today, you have returned the lost Salimbaa to us!’”
A gathering of tribal leaders was arranged, and when they saw the instrument and heard it being played they all cried out, “This is it! This is the Salimbaa!”
They told Caleb of a legend they had long held. In the last days, the God above all gods, who they call Manama, would come down from heaven, and would gather all righteous people to Himself. The leaders began praying to Manama, and they dedicated the instrument back to God.
Caleb with the Tinananon chief and the Salimbaa.
As a sign of special honor, the chief placed a headpiece on Caleb’s shoulder. “We now consider you a chief of the Tinananon tribe,” he said. “Whatever you believe God is calling us to do, we will follow you.”
Caleb was humbled by the gesture, but he had to leave the village after spending three days praying for the chief. He returned a few months later to find the chief had an encounter with the Lord Jesus, and he had given his life to serve the true God.
On the second visit, the chief asked if Caleb could help translate the Bible into their language. A team of translators met with all 50 chiefs and elders of the Tinananon people, and the process began.
Chief Suhat passed away in 2015, shortly after the translation began. Since then, four churches have been planted among the Tinananon, with Manigos being used by God to help his own people come to know the Lord.
Caleb adds, “It’s amazing how the chiefs have opened the door for the Gospel among their tribe. In 2019 we again visited the Tinananon and found that Manigos had led the small group of believers well, and now it has grown to hundreds of Christians!”