Today as we prayed for India the Lord reminded me of what He had shown me when I read Whittaker’s book on Great Revivals, about the Armenian Revival. He had shown me then in the early 1992-3 sometime, that it would be like the Armenian revival again for the end times. So it is in this light that I share this and pray that you ALL will read it carefully more than once.
Revival Deliverance for Armenia
From Colin Whittaker’s book “ Great Revivals”
posted June 20th, 2006
Armenia – this “oldest Christian nation…is also the one which has suffered most for her faith,” write John and Elizabeth Sherrill (p.31). This small
Embattled country, which is now one of the Soviet republics, has been the scene of both revival and suffering in the twentieth century.
The Armenians endured savagery and persecution on a scale that provided Hitler with his blueprint for the extermination of the Jews. A revival at the beginning of the century, which centered on Tarsus ( the birthplace of the apostle Paul), prepared them for the holocaust to come. Their story is one of the most heartrending and must rank with any of the terrible periods of the suffering but triumphant Church.
One who shared in that revival was Rev. Sisag Manoogian, eventual president of the Armenian Evangelical Union. In his biography Out of the Ark, his daughter, Mrs. Rhonda Carswell wrote, “ The years 1900-1901 are remembered amongst the Armenians living in S.E Turkey as the years of the great religious revival. The revival appears to have started in the Aintab area and spread to all the Armenian areas along the south-east coast. The minister of the Tarsus Armenian Church was in Aintab at the time of the revival, and he returned home full of the Spirit and greatly changed by what he had witnessed.
Prayer became the dominant feature of his life, and he would pray without ceasing”
It was not long before the minister was seeing answers to his prayers. “Many were won to the Lord, including a number of prominent personalities,” wrote Mrs. Carswell. “ My father, too, was born again. He and three other young men from TARSUS went to Adana and testified there of the changes that had been worked by God in their lives, and it was not long before Adana and Tarsus were agog. The church was really alive. Services continued until midnight and the churches were unable to hold all who wanted to attend !
In the marketplace and wherever people gathered, conversation centered on ‘the revival’. Prayer, confession and testimony were the order of the day, and father looked back throughout his life to this period as a blessed time. Some of the young people converted at this time were amongst the roughest and crudest of the youth in town. They became true believers and a means of blessing not only to the church but also to the town.”
Many of those newly awakened souls were soon destined to die in one of the most terrible massacres of all time ( which would later inspire Hitler himself [Sherrill, p. 22]. British diplomat James Bryce estimated that out of four and a quarter million Armenians alive in 1914, less than two million were still living in 1918. His chronicle of the mass murders of Armenians by the Turks, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, was presented to Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, in 1916. In it Lord Bryce estimated that in 1915 alone, the Turks brutally and systematically slaughtered eight hundred thousand Armenians, among them a vast host of Christians.
Over many years the Turks had tried to exterminate the Armenians, who held the distinction of being the first country to officially embrace Christianity – back in the time of the Roman Empire. The Turkish Islam tradition and the Armenian Christian faith were long in conflict.
In 1915 Turkey found it’s excuse. During World War I, Turkey allied with Germany. While they were fighting the Russians on the Caucasian front, they captured a number of Armenians. ( This was not surprising because Russia had annexed part of the Turkish Armenia forty years earlier.) Immediately all Armenians living in Turkey were suspect. The order was given that all Armenians - judged guilty of plotting insurrection – were to be rounded up and either put to death or deported to the desert wastes in Syria and beyond. And so the massacre began.
Talking about those terrible times, an exiled pastor who miraculously endured them recalled the beginnings of persecution for him and his people:
[The Turks] headed toward our building. They were coming up the stairs. A few of the
stronger women in the room closed the door and stood against it, thinking in this way to prevent the entrance of the enemy. But before savage force they gave way, and now butchers and victims were face to face.
The leader of the mob cried, “Muhammed’ e salavat! Believe in Mohammed and deny your religion !”
No one answered.
I approached him and said, “Effendi, you see that they are all women and children. Have mercy on them and spare them. If you want booty you can take whatever we have. Have pity on us.”
Squinting horribly, he repeated his words in a terrifying voice “ Muhammed’ e salavat!”
Not one of us was willing to deny his beloved Savior and to betray Christianity to save his own life.
The leader repeated again: “ Muhammed’ e salavat !” and gave the order to massacre (Hartunian, pp. 13,14)
Murder, outrage, and torture were the key words in the authenticated report gathered by Lord Bryce: “ About one and a half million people in August 1915 were driven into the deserts of Mesopatamia. Routes through the desert and the waters of the River Euphrates were strewn with corpses. Many people have been beaten to death.”
Some of the incidents were devilish and horrible, babies became playthings for the guard to toss from one to another to catch on bayonet ends, or to hurl them over precipices. Guards taunted their captives. A Syrian pastor in Ourfa saw thousands of Armenian women and children on one of the “desert marches”. He said that nearly all were hungry, thirsty, and literally naked. Yet in spite of all their sufferings, some of them found pieces of charcoal and wrote on the rocks a few lines to encourage those following behind: “ As Jesus did not deny us, do not deny HIM. We have not denied Him. Follow us.”
Armenian orphans knelt in their orphanages and prayed that the faith of their mothers and sisters, snatched from them by Kurds & Turks to suffer the desert marches, might be strong till death. There were the inevitable rapes, after which many girls were impaled on swords. Djevet Bey, the governor of one province, earned the title of “The Blacksmith”. His favorite torture was to have horseshoes nailed to men’s feet, in attempts to get them to confess hiding or possessing arms.
Little wonder that a famous London preacher when learning of such atrocities in previous Turkish slaughters of the Armenians had been provoked to exclaim from his pulpit, “God damn the Sultan.” But the response of these Armenians was different. Rev. Manoogian published a tract in 1921, Armenian Experts in the Art of Dying. In it he wrote, “Instead of begging for mercy, they showed calm and dignity, instead of cursing, they prayed for forgiveness for their murderers. In their defenselessness they tried to defend the weaker ones; in their hunger they shared their last piece of bread with the poorest.”
Fortunately for the Christian church some of these amazing Armenian Christians have been spared to bless the world today. Their survival in many cases is directly linked to revival. Rev. Manoogian in a letter to his mother-in-law in 1916 wrote, “ The Lord rescued me from death on thirty different occasions.” Many of his escapes were as exciting and as fantastic as Paul’s from Damascus (see Acts 9:23-25).
Revivals produce Christians of a very special caliber. Another Armenian family that was spared to bless millions is the Shakarian family. They were Presbyterians who lived in the Armenian town of Kara Kala, situated on the rocky foothills of Mt. Ararat. In the 1850’s great outpourings of the Holy Spirit came upon hundreds of thousands of Russian Orthodox Christians. From time to time caravans of these revived Russians went down into Armenia to share the blessings of revival. But as respectable Presbyterians the Shakarian family found the Russians’ stories of miracles and healings and tongues too incredible for them. The Russians made much of the “anointing of the Holy Spirit.” When the Spirit of God came upon them they would raise their arms and dance with joy .
But eventually, after many years of arguing and resisting, Mr Shakarian was broken by an undeniable manifestation of God’s power; A secret known only by him was startlingly revealed by one of these Russian “prophets”. Completely broken, Mr. Shakarian knelt before one of the Russian leaders and in tears he said, “ Show me how I can receive the Spirit of God.” He knelt and an old Russian laid his hands on his head. Immediately Mr. Shakarian burst into joyous prayer in a language neither he nor anyone present could understand. The Russians called this kind of ecstatic utterance “tongues” and regarded it as a sign that the Holy Spirit was present with the speaker. Mrs. Shakarian likewise received the Spirit the same night in 1900 – years before the origins of today’s Pentecostal movement was ever heard of.
By a great miracle the Shakarian family and other Christian families from their area left before the massacres. Some of the Russian revivalists had settled in Kara Kala in the 1850’s, including the Klubniken family. Their son Efim, was only eleven but already mighty in prayer. One day the Spirit of God moved this boy to pray and fast for a week. As he sat in his small home God gave him a vision of charts and a message in beautiful handwriting. That was in 1855.
Although Efim was an ILLITERATE boy, he wrote in beautiful handwriting and drew pictures, maps, and charts. He foretold that peace would be taken from the earth and that Armenia would be overrun by the Turks and that the Armenian Christians would be massacred unless they went to a land across the ocean – to America.
Efim was past fifty years old when he prophesied again: “ THE TIME HAS COME…Destruction is coming.” Not all Armenians accepted that message.
Neither did they survive.
Sortly after the message, it began.
Orders for a general massacre were sent to the six Armenian provinces and from 1895-96, two hundred thousand were killed; one hundred thousand were made Moslems by force, and one hundred thousand women and girls were ravished and sent into harems. Armenia being devastated, there was no harvest, and a terrible famine followed. The peasants watched their homes sacked and burned. Thousands of villages were reduced to ashes. (Papajian, p. 28).
It did not end until 1923 [28 years]
Today, exiled Armenian families who obeyed this warning are being mightily used of God. Demos Shakarian especially ahs been used of God in revival blessing among businessmen across America and in many parts of the world. The Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International that he founded has been amazingly successful in winning businessmen for Christ.
Rev. Manoogian, when he thought his life was in danger in 1916, covenanted with God “ that if their baby son Peter lived ( then just 18 months old), he would work as a missionary among Moslems.” Peter Manoogian in due time became a missionary doctor working among Moslems in Lebanon, in the very areas where thousands of Armenians were killed in those terrible desert marches.
Sisag Manoogian wrote in 1922, “ The Armenians still have hope in the hopeless Turks. Our experts steadily look for a time in which Turkey shall be illumined with Turkish pastors and preachers of the gospel. Then the world shall understand that God, the Greatest Economist, has graciously used even the blood of Armenians as ‘ the seed of the church’ to accomplish what the Armenian life…failed to do.”