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Brother Yun Goes to Prison

Apr 01, 2007

Brother Yun could not return home without being arrested. So he continued to travel and preach the Gospel to villages, staying one step ahead of the Chinese police. As he took a bus north toward Wuyang County, he saw many posters with his picture upon them, informing everyone that this was a dangerous criminal, a counter-revolutionary. There was even a reward being offered to the one who might help capture him.

"Many people at the station had seen my picture and we overheard them discussing it. One man said, 'The person who helps catch this fugitive will receive a great reward from the government'."

"My wife and I had an unspoken joy inside because we knew the Lord was our refuge. We felt so honoured to be wanted criminals as we walked hand-in-hand together for Jesus. It's a great honour to be humiliated for the name of the Lord." (The Heavenly Man, p. 79)

A meeting was arranged at a certain village, and after the meeting, brother Zhen prophesied: "Within three days there are people among you who will be bound and beaten for Me. Some will even lay down their lives for Me." (p. 81).

The three days of meetings ended at midnight, Dec. 17, 1983. In leaving the meeting place, at the edge of the village they were confronted by men carrying flashlights. Most of the Christians were able to escape into the darkness, but Brother Yun was hit by an electric baton and was thrown backwards to the ground by the shock. As he was kicked repeatedly, he heard the familiar voice of Jesus say, "I know." Yun was greatly encouraged.

The officers shouted at him, "What is your name? Where are you from? How many workers do you have? Where are they? Speak now! Tell me the truth! If you lie, I'll skin you alive!" But Yun could not betray his fellow believers. Even so, he had to raise the alarm so that they would not inadvertently walk onto the scene and be arrested.

"I shouted in a loud voice, "I am a heavenly man! I live in Gospel village! People call me Morning Star! My father's name is Abundant Blessing! My mother's name is Faith, Hope, Love!" . . .

"From that day to now, completely unknown to me at the time, I was given the nickname, 'the heavenly man,' by believers in China. As you can see, I didn't ask for this name, for I'm just a weak human vessel, but this is how I came to be known by this nickname." (p. 83)

Yun was taken to prison and put in a cell with Brother Zhen and ten other men.

"The next morning the guards took me out from the cell and practiced martial arts on my body. They kicked and punched me to the ground and ordered several other prisoners to stamp on my chest and private parts. Blood gushed from my mouth. I was dizzy and in great pain. I was sure I was going to die." (p. 89, 90)

It took five weeks for the police to identify Yun. He was identified on January 25, 1984 and taken back to Nanyang County. As they drove on the bumpy roads, his handcuffs cut into his wrists, and blood was splattered on the walls of the van. He was in such pain that he could hardly breathe and was nearly unconscious for loss of blood. In the midst of the pain, he cried out to the Lord, "Jesus, I can no longer endure. Why are you allowing me to be tortured like this? Please receive my spirit now."

"The guards traveling in the back of the van switched on an electric baton when they heard me praying and jolted me with shocks. The pain was too severe for me, and I felt my heart and my brain were going to literally explode from my body.

"Again, I cried to the Lord, 'God, have mercy on me. Please receive my spirit now.

"The word of the Lord came to me clearly, 'The reason you suffer is so that you can partake in the fellowship of my suffering. Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.'

"In my proud heart I'd been thinking that I was important to the church, that they needed me to lead them. Now, I vividly understood that he is God and I am but a feeble man. I realized that God didn't need me at all, and that if he ever chose to use me again it would be nothing more than a great privilege." (p. 92)

As I read those words, my thoughts went back to the year 1990 when I came to the same conclusion through my own trials. My trials were nothing to be compared with Yun's, of course, but the lessons were the same. In fact, only after coming to that same conclusion did God bring me back into the ministry after being out of it for nearly 10 years. One way or the other, God must bring us to that place where we no longer see ourselves as indispensable to God. The paradox in this, of course, is that in the sight of God and in His plan, each one of us IS indispensable in another sense.

At his trial, Yun was told that if he cooperated, admitted guilt, confessed his "crimes," and gave them the names of his co-conspirators, they would have mercy on him and give him a lenient sentence. He asked for time to contemplate this, in order to recover from the beatings and regain his senses. They allowed this, and he was taken back to his cell. There he began to fast and pray.

When extra food was passed around (because it was the Chinese New Year), he gave it to the other prisoners. On January 29, 1984 he was brought again before the judge, who demanded an answer. Again, he put them off on the grounds that it was the New Year's celebration and he did not want to spoil it for them. He continued to fast.

This was not just a food fast, but also of water. In all, he continued this supernatural fast for 74 days, eating nothing and drinking nothing until April 7, as witnessed by the entire prison and its officials. On the 40th day of his fast, he had a prophetic dream in which he saw he would be tortured the next morning. Everything came to pass as he had been forewarned. But they did not get the desired information out of him.

On April 6 the prison sent for Yun's wife and mother to come and persuade him to eat. Then they took Yun out for a final "therapy" session. When he regained consciousness from the beatings and electric batons, he found himself in the arms of his mother. His wife did not recognize him, for even his ears had shriveled to the size of raisins. But his mother identified him by a birthmark. Suddenly he said, "I'm hungry." They quickly went to the store to get some crackers and grape juice, and he broke his fast by taking communion with his wife and mother.

The guards suddenly realized what was happening, and they quickly threw the women out.

Meanwhile, in another village, a wealthy unbeliever had a believing wife, Sister Zhi. But their son suffered from a terminal illness that no doctor was able to treat. Finally, he asked some believers to pray for his son. They did, and the son was healed. The majority of the village was converted. Yun writes on page 140,

"Zhi's husband had a cousin who worked as an armed guard in the prison. He was one of the guards who had used electric batons to torture me and throw me into the human waste.

"This newly converted brother went to his cousin and said, 'Yun is my relative (he meant, relative in the Lord). The Jesus Yun believes in is the true and living God. Take good care of him and treat him well!'

"The guard felt ashamed for what he'd done to me. The fact that I'd fasted for 74 days without food or water was well known throughout the whole prison and also among every officer in the local Public Security Bureau.

"From that time on things got easier for me in prison. The persecution stopped and I was even promoted to be the cell leader."

The gospel continued to spread in the prison through Brother Yun's faithful witness. Many hardened criminals came to know Christ, and the Church continued to be strengthened.

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Category: Commentary

Dr. Stephen Jones

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