Alliance News Feed – In the Land of the Rising Sun, a New Horizon
by Steve Town, the son of Alliance former international workers to Japan
On April 30, 2019, Akihito, Japan’s emperor for 30 years, formally announced his abdication. He is the first Japanese monarch to do so in two centuries. Historically, the Japanese people have believed their emperor is a god.
According to tradition, Emperor Jimmu (“Divine Warrior”), said to be the grandson of the sun goddess Amaterasu, ascended as the country’s first emperor in 660 BC. Crown Prince Naruhito, the eldest son of former Emperor Akihito, assumed the throne May 1, 2019. But he has yet to complete the enthronement ceremony, scheduled for October 22, 2019.
One of the keys to opening the door to Christianity in Japan is the person of the emperor, whose deification could be linked to the nation’s many spiritual strongholds. Likewise, there could be a correlation between the lifting of imperial deification and the freedom of the gospel. After all, it would be difficult to claim the emperor is a god if he can abdicate his position.
This event represents an unprecedented window of opportunity in the “Land of the Rising Sun.” By praying for and sharing Christ with the Japanese, believers can have a part in ushering in a spiritual awakening that the country hasn’t seen since Jesuit missionaries brought the gospel to Japan in the 16th century. According to World Book Encyclopedia, more than 300,000 Japanese embraced Christianity. But in 1626 Christianity was banned, Christians were heavily persecuted, and thousands were executed.
After Japan opened its doors to the West in the mid-1800s, the first Protestant missionaries arrived; The Alliance entered the country in the 1890s. But despite years of devoted service, today only 0.58 percent of Japanese claim to follow Jesus (source: the Joshuaproject.net).
To understand the country’s resistance to the gospel, we may need to look at the emperor’s enthronement ceremony.
Traditionally, the incoming Japanese emperor performs a secret ritual in which he contacts his dead ancestors, announces to them his ascendancy, and invites them to enter into him. The ceremony also unites the emperor with the sun goddess. He leaves the ritual possessing divine qualities.
God’s Time for Japan
I believe this is God’s time to reclaim Japan from centuries of spiritual oppression. He has clearly told us: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, [pastors and missionaries] too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ. . .” (Colossians 4: 2, 3).
It is time for us to unite and persevere in the spiritual battle over Japan—to come “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
Matthew 16:19 says: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” God gives us authority to bind the spirits that are invoked during the deification ceremony and to release His Spirit of truth, holiness, and redemption over Japan.
Pray specifically that the enthronement ceremony will not take place and for an overwhelming outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Japanese people. Let’s trust God to work in ways that far surpass the horizons of our imagination in this land of the Rising Son!
Source: Alliance News Feed – In the Land of the Rising Sun, a New Horizon