There are a number of people claiming that the accounts of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament are simply myths borrowed from pagan folklore, such as the stories of Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Attis, and Mithras. The claim is that these myths are essentially the same story as the New Testament’s narrative of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. As Dan Brown claims in The Da Vinci Code, “Nothing in Christianity is original.”
To discover the truth about the claim that the Gospel writers borrowed from mythology, it is important to (1) unearth the history behind the assertions, (2) examine the actual portrayals of the false gods being compared to Christ, (3) expose any logical fallacies being made, and (4) look at why the New Testament Gospels are trustworthy depictions of the true and historical Jesus Christ.
The claim that Jesus was a myth or an exaggeration originated in the writings of liberal German theologians in the nineteenth century. They essentially said that Jesus was nothing more than a copy of popular dying-and-rising fertility gods in various places—Tammuz in Mesopotamia, Adonis in Syria, Attis in Asia Minor, and Horus in Egypt. Of note is the fact that none of the books containing these theories were taken seriously by the academics of the day. The assertion that Jesus was a recycled Tammuz, for example, was investigated by contemporary scholars and determined to be completely baseless. It has only been recently that these assertions have been resurrected, primarily due to the rise of the Internet and the mass distribution of information from unaccountable sources.
This leads us to the next area of investigation—do the mythological gods of antiquity really mirror the person of Jesus Christ? As an example, the Zeitgeist movie makes these claims about the Egyptian god Horus:
• He was born on December 25 of a virgin: Isis Mary
• A star in the East proclaimed his arrival
• Three kings came to adore the newborn “savior”
• He became a child prodigy teacher at age 12
• At age 30 he was “baptized” and began a “ministry”
• Horus had twelve “disciples”
• Horus was betrayed
• He was crucified
• He was buried for three days
• He was resurrected after three days
However, when the actual writings about Horus are competently examined, this is what we find:
• Horus was born to Isis; there is no mention in history of her being called “Mary.” Moreover, “Mary” is our Anglicized form of her real name, Miryam or Miriam. “Mary” was not even used in the original texts of Scripture.
• Isis was not a virgin; she was the widow of Osiris and conceived Horus with Osiris.
• Horus was born during month of Khoiak (Oct/Nov), not December 25. Further, there is no mention in the Bible as to Christ’s actual birth date.
• There is no record of three kings visiting Horus at his birth. The Bible never states the actual number of magi that came to see Christ.
• Horus is not a “savior” in any way; he did not die for anyone.
• There are no accounts of Horus being a teacher at the age of 12.
• Horus was not “baptized.” The only account of Horus that involves water is one story where Horus is torn to pieces, with Isis requesting the crocodile god to fish him out of the water.
• Horus did not have a “ministry.”
• Horus did not have 12 disciples. According to the Horus accounts, Horus had four demigods that followed him, and there are some indications of 16 human followers and an unknown number of blacksmiths that went into battle with him.
• There is no account of Horus being betrayed by a friend.
• Horus did not die by crucifixion. There are various accounts of Horus’ death, but none of them involve crucifixion.
• There is no account of Horus being buried for three days.
• Horus was not resurrected. There is no account of Horus coming out of the grave with the body he went in with. Some accounts have Horus/Osiris being brought back to life by Isis and then becoming the lord of the underworld.
When compared side by side, Jesus and Horus bear little, if any, resemblance to one another.
Jesus is also compared to Mithras by those claiming that Jesus Christ is a myth. All the above descriptions of Horus are applied to Mithras (e.g., born of a virgin, being crucified, rising in three days, etc.). But what does the Mithras myth actually say?
• He was born out of a solid rock, not from any woman.
• He battled first with the sun and then with a primeval bull, thought to be the first act of creation. Mithras killed the bull, which then became the ground of life for the human race.
• Mithras’s birth was celebrated on December 25, along with winter solstice.
• There is no mention of his being a great teacher.
• There is no mention of Mithras having 12 disciples. The idea that Mithras had 12 disciples may have come from a mural in which Mithras is surrounded by the twelve signs of the zodiac.
• Mithras had no bodily resurrection. Rather, when Mithras completed his earthly mission, he was taken to paradise in a chariot, alive and well. The early Christian writer Tertullian did write about Mithraic cultists re-enacting resurrection scenes, but this occurred well after New Testament times, so if any copycatting was done, it was Mithraism copying Christianity.
More examples can be given of Krishna, Attis, Dionysus, and other mythological gods, but the result is the same. In the end, the historical Jesus portrayed in the Bible is unique. The alleged similarities of Jesus’ story to pagan myths are greatly exaggerated. Further, while tales of Horus, Mithras, and others pre-date Christianity, there is very little historical record of the pre-Christian beliefs of those religions. The vast majority of the earliest writings of these religions date from the third and fourth centuries A.D. To assume that the pre-Christian beliefs of these religions (of which there is no record) were identical to their post-Christian beliefs is naive. It is more logical to attribute any similarities between these religions and Christianity to the religions’ copying Christian teaching about Jesus.
This leads us to the next area to examine: the logical fallacies committed by those claiming that Christianity borrowed from pagan mystery religions. We’ll consider two fallacies in particular: the fallacy of the false cause and the terminological fallacy.
If one thing precedes another, some conclude that the first thing must have caused the second. This is the fallacy of the false cause. A rooster may crow before the sunrise every morning, but that does not mean the rooster causes the sun to rise. Even if pre-Christian accounts of mythological gods closely resembled Christ (and they do not), it does not mean they caused the Gospel writers to invent a false Jesus. Making such a claim is akin to saying the TV series Star Trek caused the NASA Space Shuttle program.
The terminological fallacy occurs when words are redefined to prove a point. For example, the Zeitgeist movie says that Horus “began his ministry,” but the word ministry is being redefined. Horus had no actual “ministry”—nothing like that of Christ’s ministry. Those claiming a link between Mithras and Jesus talk about the “baptism” that initiated prospects into the Mithras cult, but what was it actually? Mithraic priests would place initiates into a pit, suspend a bull over the pit, and slit the bull’s stomach, covering the initiates in blood and gore. Such a practice bears no resemblance whatsoever to Christian baptism—a person going under water (symbolizing the death of Christ) and then coming back out of the water (symbolizing Christ’s resurrection). But advocates of a mythological Jesus deceptively use the same term, “baptism,” to describe both rites in hopes of linking the two.
This brings us to the subject of the truthfulness of the New Testament. No other work of antiquity has more evidence to its historical veracity than the New Testament. The New Testament has more writers (nine), better writers, and earlier writers than any other document from that era. Further, history testifies that these writers went to their deaths claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead. While some may die for a lie they think is true, no person dies for a lie he knows to be false. Think about it—if someone was about to crucify you upside down, as happened to the apostle Peter, and all you had to do to save your life was renounce a lie you had knowingly told, what would you do?
In addition, history has shown that it takes at least two generations to pass before myth can enter a historical account. That’s because, as long as there are eyewitnesses to an event, errors can be refuted and mythical embellishments can be exposed. All the Gospels of the New Testament were written during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses, with some of Paul’s Epistles being written as early as A.D. 50. Paul directly appeals to contemporary eyewitnesses to verify his testimony (1 Corinthians 15:6).
The New Testament attests to the fact that, in the first century, Jesus was not mistaken for any other god. When Paul preached in Athens, the elite thinkers of that city said, “‘He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,’—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, ‘May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean’” (Acts 17:18–20, NASB). Clearly, if Paul were simply rehashing stories of other gods, the Athenians would not have referred to his doctrine as a “new” and “strange” teaching. If dying-and-rising gods were plentiful in the first century, why, when the apostle Paul preached Jesus rising from the dead, did the Epicureans and Stoics not remark, “Ah, just like Horus and Mithras”?
In conclusion, the claim that Jesus is a copy of mythological gods originated with authors whose works have been discounted by academia, contain logical fallacies, and cannot compare to the New Testament Gospels, which have withstood nearly 2,000 years of intense scrutiny. The alleged parallels between Jesus and other gods disappear when the original myths are examined. The Jesus-is-a-myth theory relies on selective descriptions, redefined words, and false assumptions.
Jesus Christ is unique in history, with His voice rising above all false gods’ as He asks the question that ultimately determines a person’s eternal destiny: “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15).
Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
The Greek word translated “meek” is praeis and refers to mildness, gentleness of spirit, or humility. Other forms of this Greek word are used elsewhere in the New Testament, including James 1:21 and James 3:13 . It is also describe as reining in a stallion, an idea of a horse being controlled by a bit and bridle. The horse is choosing to submit to authority. That is meekness. It is power under restraint.
In the Sermon on the Mount , Jesus opens with a series of statements known as the Beatitudes . The third Beatitude is “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 ). Jesus’ words echo Psalm 37:11 , which says, “The meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” What does it mean that the meek are “blessed”?
First, we must understand what it means to be blessed. The Greek word translated “blessed” in this verse can also be translated “happy.” The idea is that a person will have joy if he or she is meek. The blessedness is from God’s perspective, not our own. It is a spiritual prosperity, not necessarily an earthly happiness.
Meekness is humility toward God and toward others. It is having the right or the power to do something but refraining for the benefit of someone else. Paul urged meekness when he told us “to live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:1–2 ).
Meekness models the humility of Jesus Christ. As Philippians 2:6–8 says, “[Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Being “in the very nature God,” Jesus had the right to do whatever He wanted, but, for our sake, He submitted to “death on a cross.” That is the ultimate in meekness.
Meekness was also demonstrated by godly leaders in the Old Testament.
Numbers 12:3 says that Moses “was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth” (ESV).
Believers are called to share the gospel message in gentleness and meekness as we submit ourselves to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual man/child of God must be under the influence of the Holy Spirit, in the same manner as a drunkard is under the influence of wine. When this is so, the Power of the Holy Spirit will constantly help us to effortlessly live the life of God.
First Peter 3:15 instructs, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” The KJV translates the word for “gentleness” here as “meekness.”
Someone who knows Christ as personal Savior will be growing in meekness. It may seem counterintuitive, but Jesus’ promise stands—a meek person will be happy or blessed. Living in humility and being willing to forego one’s rights for the benefit of someone else models the attitude of Jesus Christ. Meekness also helps us to more effectively share the gospel message with others. Striving for power and prestige is not the path to blessedness. Meekness is.
Meekness is not weakness. Sometimes we confuse the two. But the difference between a meek person and weak person is this: a weak person can’t do anything. A meek person, on the other hand, can do something but chooses not to. Our Lord displayed meekness at its best when He was arrested, He had all the war platinum under His regiment, but chose not to summon them because He pleased to do the will of the Father, and paid the ultimate price of redemption for man.
Although Jesus said, “Blessed [happy] are the meek,” we don’t celebrate meekness in our culture. Instead, we celebrate assertiveness. We celebrate getting things from other people, sometimes even taking advantage of other people.
How different this is from what the Bible teaches. The Bible celebrates meekness. The biblical worldview says last is first. Giving is receiving. Dying is living. Losing is finding. The least is the greatest. Meekness is strength. The idea is that we are living by God’s truth—not by what our culture says should make us happy.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
In this verse believers are commanded to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” This same command is echoed in other parts of Scripture as well. For example, in 1Thessalonians 5:20-21 we find Paul exhorting the Christians to not “despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
These two passages are just a few of the many that warn Christians to test the message that people or spirits proclaim. This is true in all situations but most importantly when a person or spirit is claiming to speak for God. Christians are to be discerning hearers and readers of all messages. The reason for the admonition to “test the spirits” or “test all things” is that there are “many false prophets” or “wolves in sheep’s clothing” that try to lead Christians astray. Sadly, there are many people who claim to speak for God who are presenting a false gospel that is powerless to save, but leading people to hellfire. Such errant teaching leaves people with a false hope of salvation and, in a way, inoculates them from the true message of Christ. People who are deceived into thinking everything is fine will be more resistant to the Truth.
2Corinthians 11:13-15 warns us that “such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even satan disguises itself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” So the reason for testing the spirits, and all religious teaching is to see if it is truly in conformity with God’s Word from God or if it is a lie from satan and his servants.
The test is to compare what is being taught and done with the clear teaching of the Bible. If you listen very well with your Spirit, you will know if what they are up to is the Truth or error from the pit of hell. The Bible alone is the Word of God which must be use as the yardstick to measure what men do or say, in other to know they are in line with The Truth. The Word alone is inspired and inerrant. Therefore, the way to test the spirits is to see if what is being taught or done are in line with the clear teaching of Scripture. In Acts. 17:10-11, the Berean Jews were commended because after they heard the teachings of Paul and Silas, they went to their different homes to “examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” The Bereans were called “noble” for doing so.
Testing the spirits means that one must know how to “examine the Scriptures.” Rather than accept every teaching and end up in hell, discerning Christians diligently study the Scriptures. It is said that to recognize or identify what is fake, you must first know how the original looks like. Then you know what the Bible says and therefore can “test all things and hold fast to what is true.” In order to do this, a Christian must “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Timothy 2:15). The Word of God is to be “a lamp” and “a light” to our path (Psalm 119:105). We must let its light shine on the teachings and doctrines of the day; the Bible alone is the standard by which all truth must be judged.
CULTS DO NOT HAVE TRUE FRUIT!
Anyone with false doctrine, like in the Cult circle, does not have true fruit. They cannot have good fruit because they are not abiding in Christ’s Word, but in other men’s words, such as, magical Books. They depend solely on their ‘seemingly good works,’ for, or to maintain what they do. They do not teach from the Bible, but their prophecies and revelations come forth in other men’s Books. If you go for such works in the name of seeking knowledge, or miracles, you have simply dined on satan’s table. Remember, from the beginning of this Book, we said, ‘We are in a time when magicians don’t parades themselves openly the way they used to be known anymore. They have perfected the art of deception to fits into the endtime program.
They do not have the identification telltale, as it used to be in the time of old, for example in Africa, they used to rub chalks on their faces, and do body arts decorations with shells, chalk, and cowries to look fearful on the street or in the marketplace. Everything is revolving in our present times. satanist, enchanters, necromancers, occultist dresses in designers’ three piece suits like you and I, they packaged themselves in an expensive shoes, with Giorgio Armani perfume and powerful eye glasses; carrying bigger Bibles, so that you will not recognize them. However, Our Lord Jesus Christ warned:
False prophets (not one, they are many in your community, and all around the world) will come in sheep clothing, with intention to deceive people, but by their fruits, you shall know them. Sheep clothing means: with correct evangelical doctrine, which we all read from the Bible, but inside of them, they are wolves. What do wolves do? Wolves are the enemies of sheep, they are mainly interested in eating sheep, and they chew up the flock, sheep is their diet.
When a man’s objective behind ministration of the gospel is mainly to exploit other believers for his own personal gain, he is a wolf; if all he wants to do, are to exploits you or your Christian faith for his personal enrichment, financial gain, honor, and fame for himself. However, he comes in a façade of sheep clothing, which is absolutely perfect, and correct evangelical doctrine. This is the point people get deceived, if you listen to his doctrine, you will think he is a sheep, but he is actually a wolf in the midst, because he is trying to exploit people for his personal gain.
Today the understanding of false prophets/teachers among believers is limited only to someone whose doctrine is wrong, if you go by that alone, you will be deceived thoroughly. The Lord said, ‘look for character’ by their fruits.
Some false prophets/teachers have, and operates in the ‘seemingly gifts of the spirit.’
BY THEIR FRUITS
To be able to discern these false prophets, do not look only by their doctrine or gift:
Do not look by their mind boggling prophetic ministry (1CORINTHIANS 13:1-2)
Do not look by their display of
Do not look by his spiritual
speaking in tongues gifts
Do not look by his working of
Do Not look by his teaching (eloquence) ability, the understanding, and, his verbal quoting of the scriptures, or by being a fire fire preacher.
Do Not look by his philanthropic work (1CORINTHIANS 13:3)
IT IS ONLY BY THEIR CHARACTERS, YOU WILL KNOW
Does he/she have Christ’s Spirit?
Does he/she have Christ’s humility?Does he/she has genuine love for other brethren?
Is he/she free from the love of money ?
Is there PURITY in his/her relationship with opposite sex?
(Adapted from “Deception of the Age Unmasked” by Evangelist Bisola Johnson)
Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a speech at the celebration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Jesus Christ is standing on trial still as it is written, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40
We Christians in the other part of the world should pray for Christians facing the heat of persecution in their nations.
End-Times Persecution Is Here: Russia Just Banned Evangelism and China Has Torn Down Thousands of Crosses
We always knew this was coming. For years, the horrifying persecution of Christians in the Middle East has made headlines all over the globe, but now we are seeing very disturbing examples of government-sanctioned persecution literally all over the planet.
As you will read, Russia just banned virtually all types of evangelism outside of a church or religious site. And China has been tearing down thousands of crosses and has been demolishing dozens of churches in a renewed crackdown on the growth of Christianity in that nation. Overall, there are 53 countries that now have laws that restrict the Christian faith according to one recent report. When are we going to wake up and realize what is happening?
In Moscow just a few years after the Berlin Wall fell, and the people were very eager to hear about the Christian faith which had been brutally repressed under the Soviet regime for decades.
Sadly, Russia has now decided to revert back to the old Soviet ways. This new law, which Vladimir Putin wanted, represents almost a complete and total ban on sharing the gospel
.The law, which will come into force on July 20, will prohibit evangelism anywhere outside a church or religious site – including private homes and online – and those in breach of it will be fined . Only named members of religious organisations will be able to share their faith, and even informal witnessing between individuals is forbidden.
According to the New York Times , this ban also includes “preaching and praying” that is done outside the boundaries of “officially recognized” religious institutions.
In recent years, I have defended Russia in many of my articles. But there is no defending this.
This new law is the single worst thing that Russia has done since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and they should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
Meanwhile, government officials in China have launched a renewed crackdown on Christians as the underground church continues to grow like wildfire.
According to some reports, the government has torn down more than 2,000 crosses in Zhejiang Province alone in recent months.
More than two thousand crosses have now been forcefully removed from churches as part of a government campaign to regulate “excessive religious sites”.
The nation’s leadership launched the crusade to eradicate Christianity in the coastal province of Zhejiang almost two years ago.
Several members of the public have since been arrested for attempting to halt the government’s crude attempt to suppress the Christian faith.
But sometimes government officials don’t stop there and decide to tear down an entire church. In fact, since the beginning of this year, at least 49 churches have been destroyed in Zhejiang Province. Just recently , one group of believers defied the government and returned to their destroyed church to hold a worship service.
Christian worshipers gather to worship among the ruins of their demolished church, defying the Communist Chinese government anti-Christian drive. These congregants in China’ Wenzhou, Zhejiang province conducted a prayer service despite their church building demolished by the government officials.
Zhuyang Church, which was a government-sanctioned church, was routed as a part of an unprecedented church demolition drive. On May 20, the church was demolished by about 100 government officers took down the church building authorized despite the fact that it had the government authorization to operate.
The church member said that the only reason the official could provide for church’ demolition was that the church was “transforming the villages in the city.”
But even the churches that have been left standing in Zhejiang Province are also feeling the pain of the crackdown. According to China Aid, there is a new law that is forcing many churches “to turn over all of their tithes and donations to state authorities.”
The communist government of China’s Zhejiang Province is enforcing a new law that demands numerous churches to turn over all of their tithes and donations to state authorities.
According to a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to serving the persecuted Church in China, the officials of Pingyang County in Wenzhou are compelling members to give all of their churches’ income to state authorities.
“The government officials will interfere with church affairs, managing our donations and some large-scale projects,” a source told China Aid .
For so long, most Americans have considered the Chinese government to be our friend, but that is not true at all. The communist Chinese are a corrupt, wicked regime that has always been deeply anti-Christian. Anyone that believes otherwise has simply been deluded.
Meanwhile, the persecution of Christians continues to intensify in many parts of Africa. Just recently, a mother of seven children was “hacked to death ” by Islamic radicals in Nigeria for openly preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A Christian mother of seven was hacked to death by suspected Muslim radicals in Nigeria and her mutilated body was discovered in a pool of blood along with a Bible and megaphone she used to preach every morning.
According to local reports , 41-year-old Eunice Olawale, a pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of Nigeria and an evangelist, was murdered in the early morning hours on Saturday while she was out evangelizing near Nigeria’s capital of Abuja.
Olawale’s husband, Olawale Elisha, told local media that his wife had left their home around 5 a.m. Saturday morning to preach in the neighborhood but she never returned home.
Ever since the first century, Christians have been martyred for publicly preaching the gospel, and we were warned that this kind of terrible persecution was coming in the last days.
Of course Christians in the Middle East don’t exactly need to hear about “the coming persecution” because they have been living it for many years. Christians are being tortured, beheaded and crucified by radical terror groups such as ISIS, and in other areas of the Middle East, the persecution is being imposed on a national level by the government. For instance, just check out what is happening right now in Pakistan .
” The government of Pakistan has announced plans to force Islam on young people by making Quranic study compulsory for all school and college students , which is contrary to the country’s constitution and the Islamic precept that there should be no compulsion in religion. This is the latest escalation of the country’s bias against Christians, other minority faiths and non-believers,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“Pakistani Christians, including children, are at risk of kidnapping, forced marriage and forced religious conversion to Islam. Some are also victims of blasphemy charges, which carry the death penalty. There are regular violent assaults on Christian families, homes, shops and churches.
The persecution of the end times is here.
All over the planet, the Christian faith is under assault. In the Western world, we may not have to face much violent persecution just yet, but our faith is relentlessly mocked, ridiculed and demonized on television, in the movies and on the internet. Laws that are anti-Christian in tone and substance are regularly being passed, and many of our top politicians are not even pretending to be fair to us any longer.
Just like in much of the rest of the world, we are starting to discover that there is a great price to be paid for following Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 16, Jesus told us that if anyone would choose to follow Him, that individual should “deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Are you ready to take up your cross?
The persecution of Christians is only going to get worse in the years ahead, and in order to make it through what is coming, we need to be ready to give up everything for Him.
Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of End Of The American Dream . Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-terrorism law, but for the country’s many churches, the signature sparked a demand for prayer and fasting.The bill toughens punishment for acts deemed to be terrorism and for the organization of “mass unrest,” according to the Los Angeles Times . It would also introduce prison sentences of up to a year for those who fail to report such crimes.
Furthermore, the law entails:
Foreign guests are not permitted to speak in churches unless they have a “work permit” from Russian authorities
If a friend or relative from outside Russia wishes to share his/her faith in your home the guest will be fined and expelled from Russia.
Any discussion of God with non-believers is considered missionary activity and will be punishable.
Missionary activity will be permitted by special government permission. Example: If one traveling on a train shares his faith without written permission the offender will be taken into police custody for the duration of the journey and will be fined 50,000 rubles ($1,000).
Offenders from the age of 14-years-old will be subject to prosecution
Religious activity is no longer permitted in private homes. Most churches in Russia meet in homes.
Every citizen is obligated to report religious activity of neighbors to the authorities. Failure to be an informant is punishable by law.
One may pray and read the Bible at home but not in the presence of a non-believing person. You will be breaking the law and be punished.
If the church has purchased property it cannot be converted into a place of worship.
In church buildings, it is not permitted to invite people to turn to God. Worship services are permitted but making a non-believer a follower of Christ is against the law.
In response, thousands of churches across the country have come together to cry out to God.
“The church is appalled at the news of the new law. About 7,000 evangelical/protestant churches are in fasting and prayer at the moment over the news,” Haukka tells Charisma News via email.
Churches aren’t the only residents enraged by the law.
American refugee Edward Snowden tweeted: “#Putin has signed a repressive new law that violates not only human rights, but common sense. Dark day for #Russia.”
What’s more, critics are now declaring the Yarovaya laws, aka the “Big Brother,” laws, as a sign of the end times :
If these amendments come into force, prison sentences for certain non-violent “extremist” crimes will potentially be twice as long as, for example, murder committed in the heat of passion, which carries a maximum sentence of three years.
Despite receiving nearly unanimous support in parliament, the Yarovaya laws have triggered a flood of apocalyptic commentary. Many wonder why Russia’s already excessively harsh criminal laws are being made harsher.
The only official criticism of the legislation, however, has come from the Presidential Human Rights Council, which has highlighted ways in which the proposed amendments directly contradict the Constitution and existing laws. This criticism has been almost entirely ignored.
The Duma has already passed a number of laws that have harshened Russian law in the name of fighting terrorism and extremism. It criminalized “public calls for the violation of territorial integrity” and “rehabilitation of Nazism,” a direct affront to the freedom of speech. In 2013, it passed a law that allowed the state to confiscate property from individuals affiliated with terrorists, including their relatives.
The government has long used the “fight against terrorism and extremism” to justify repressive laws, no matter how obviously senseless they may be. As a result, Russia’s statutory framework can now be effectively used to target not only credible extremist threats, but also political opponents of the state. A large group of prominent Russian lawyers decried this problem in an open letter in 2013, saying that the “parliament’s legislative work has acquired a distinctly prohibitive and repressive character.”
In response, Haukka pleads with believers around the world to join with Russian churches in prayer and fasting.
“Russia is closing down in an awful way. The new law is in total conflict with the purpose and the task given to the church by the Lord. The law will send the church back into Soviet era Communist persecution,” he says.