By Nathan Jones
Did you know that right now nearly 200,000 people are suffering in the modern-day equivalent of Nazi concentration camps?
These horrific work camps can be found in North Korea. According to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights, North Korea is the worst offender of all the nations when it comes to their appalling human rights record, infringing on nearly all of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.1
CNN News reports that murder, torture, slavery, sexual violence, mass starvation and other abuses are common methods employed by this authoritarian government for the purpose of terrorizing their population into submission.2
A Totalitarian Regime
When the Korean Conflict unofficially ended in the early 1950s, dictator Kim Il-Sung declared himself "Eternal President" and closed his nation's borders in order to establish a totalitarian Communist government. This type of government controls every aspect of its people's lives.
So controlled are the North Korean people that they have no access to the Internet or media outside state sponsored propaganda, and the basic freedoms of movement and expression and the right to assembly are nonexistent. To protect the power of the regime, the people are starved in order to fund the massive military engine stationed along the United States-protected South Korean border.
Since Kim died, his son and grandson have continued the con job of pretending they are gods deserving of worship. Therefore, to be a Christian is a crime in North Korea, with the automatic sentence of hard labor in the work camps. Conditions are horrific for Christians living in one of these labor camps. Voice of the Martyrs, a persecution watch ministry, estimates that some 30,000 Christians suffer daily in these death camps for the "crime" of not worshiping their "Dear Leader."3
An Example of Ruthlessness
VOM tells a true day-in-the-life story of Christian persecution in a little village there called GokSan.4 A pastor and 26 of his underground church members were bound and taken before a screaming crowd of Communists. The guards demanded that the Christians "Deny Christ or die!" Not getting the answer they were looking for, the guards threatened to kill the children. The only response was a mother of a young girl who leaned down and whispered to her daughter, "Today, my Love, I will see you in Heaven."
The Communists proceeded to hang all of the children. When the sobbing parents still refused to deny Christ, the guards brought out a huge steamroller and crushed the remaining church members who were singing "More Love, O Christ, to Thee, More Love to Thee."
The Purpose of Government
Governments such as North Korea do not understand the purpose of government. United States Founding Father Thomas Paine, in his pamphlet, Common Sense (1776), wrote that security is "the true design and end of government." Another Founding Father, John Adams, in his book, Thoughts on Government (1776), believed the purpose of government was to be found "in the goal of happiness through virtue." Thomas Jefferson, in his writing titled, Political Economy (1816), declared "The most sacred of the duties of a government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens."
Security instead of enslavement, justice instead of corruption, virtue instead of vice, and the preservation of the happiness of its people rather than the cause of their suffering — those were the godly ideals these men founded a nation upon.
These ideals correspond to what the Bible says is the purpose of government — namely, to provide an atmosphere in which believers can live "a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity" (1 Timothy 2:2).
The Nature of Man
Are nations like North Korea merely bad apples, or do they demonstrate that government in and of itself is inherently evil? Because they were steeped in the Bible, our Founding Fathers thought very poorly of human government. Thomas Paine wrote that "government even in its best state is but a necessary evil, in its worst state an intolerable one."
The reason the Founding Fathers believed government was inherently evil was because they believed in the biblical teachings that mankind is inherently evil and in need of a Redeemer (Romans 3:23 and 10:10-18). In fact, the Bible says there is nothing more corrupt than the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9). The Bible therefore warns over and over not to trust in Man. One of the strongest of these warnings is found in Psalm 118:
8) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
9) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes [politicians].
As another Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton, confirmed: "Men are inherently evil, governed by greed and lust and love of power and a host of even less endearing passions."5 America's first President, George Washington, put it this way:
Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.6
The Necessity of Limitations
The authors of the United States Constitution knew that while government is a necessary evil, it remains prone to falling into villainy and corruption. Therefore, in their writings they wisely taught that government must be limited. Government must constantly be checked by the population so that it can only extract the least amount of taxes in order to perform the most limited of functions — providing security for its people.
A government that isn't constantly monitored will grow into a monster, one that in order to feed its endless thirst for power will consume its population's money and trample on their God-given inalienable rights. In other words, the Founding Fathers knew that government is composed of people, and people are inherently fallen and evil. And, the more corrupt and evil a government becomes, the greater the people will suffer. As the former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. David Allan Hubbard, once remarked:
When the lawless, vicious men are the government, where do the people go for help? They must feel like a little child who flees from a bully into the arms of his father, only to have his father hold him while the bully beats him.7
That's why I so long for the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ. The return of the King means a kingdom that will smash into pieces all fallen human government (Daniel 2:44). It will provide freedom and justice for the persecuted and peace and safety for its people. Christ's kingdom shall stand forever, never to be destroyed. Come, Lord Jesus, establish your Kingdom!
1) The Asahi Shimbun, "Horrors of North Korea: Oppression, corruption define life in hermit kingdom," March 18, 2014, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/koreanpeninsula/AJ201403180068.
2) M. Pearson, J. Hanna & M. Park, "Abundant evidence' of crimes against humanity in North Korea, panel says," February 18, 2014, CNN World, www.cnn.com/2014/02/17/world/asia/north-korea-un-report.
3) Voice of the Martyrs, "The frightening rise of Christian persecution: Christians around the world are being shot, burned, hanged, tortured and stuffed into metal shipping containers," 2014, www.persecution.com/public/restrictednations.aspx?country_ID=%3d3338.
5) R. J. Behn, "America's founding drama," 2014, The Lehrman Institute, www.lehrmaninstitute.org/history/founders-optimism.html.
7) D. A. Hubbard, Will We Ever Catch Up with the Bible? (Glendale, CA: Regal Books, 1977), page 75.