Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Testimony: David Yonggi Cho encounters an Agathodemon

As a young preacher, Cho (Dr. David Yonggi Cho) had gone into a small Korean community to pioneer a church. Soon he discovered, as is common throughout much of Korea, a temple dedicated to the city's "guardian god" atop the highest local mountain. When the priests of the shrine learned that he was planning to start a missions outreach, they came to him infuriated, demanding that he leave the village. When he refused, they vowed to return and to put him, and any converts he won in the meantime, to death.
A few days later the priests were back, this time with a mob. The head priest, making sure the crowd was watching, called out, "Cho! Do you really believe that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that he can still work miracles?"
Cho replied, "Yes, I do."
"Then we have a challenge," the priest yelled. "Down in the village is a woman that has been bedridden for seven years. She and her child are dying now of disease. If Jesus can heal this woman in the next thirty days, we will go away and you can have your church. But if she is not healed, you must abandon your work or we will return and kill you and your followers."
Cho explained how in the United States most American's would never respond to such a dare, but that, in those days and in that culture, for him to have failed to do so would have been (in his opinion) to imply that his God was inferior to the temple deity, and would have closed the community's willingness to consider the Gospel message.
As a result, Cho accepted the contest and the following day traveled with his mother-in-law to the village where he found the dying woman. He suggested to the infirmed lady that if she would pray the sinners prayer and accept Jesus as her Savior, the Lord might choose to heal her. Instead, he found the woman to be very angry with any god (including Cho's God) who would have allowed her to suffer in the way that she had. After several unsuccessful visits to convince her otherwise, Cho decided that prayer alone would be his best alternative for her and her child.
Over the next few weeks he prayed earnestly for a miracle. He made regular visits to the village and sent messengers to report back any change. To his disappointment, the woman's condition only seemed to be worsening.
As the weeks passed and the deadline loomed, Cho grew very concerned. Finally, on the evening of the thirtieth day, he entered his prayer room and reminded God that, unless a miracle occurred, people from the temple of the guardian deity would arrive within hours to kill him and his followers. Cho said he prayed throughout that night and into the next morning "with the most passion ever."
Then, at 2:00 A.M., he experienced a powerful vision.
He thought he saw a shadow by the front door, and a strange sound spread along the wall.
Fixing his gaze on the opening, he felt primal fear roll over him, black and mindless.
His intuition screamed. Something dreadful was coming his way.
Another thump, and the front door to his home began slowly opening.
Gooseflesh crawled over his arms as "eerie oriental music" swept in through the entrance, barely discernable at first, then growing in intensity.
Against his better judgment, he turned his body toward the door.
He held his breath, looked harder, squinted.
The shadow slowed, became defined, an enormous silhouette of something alive creeping stealthily toward him.
Remaining very still, a moment past, then it emerged from the darkness, huge, snakelike, an Agathodemon from ancient times bearing the body of a serpent and the head of a man. Swaying to the melodious rhythm, the horrendous archfiend appeared wicked and menacing as it slank along the opening into the room where he was. It made eye contact with him and in heavy modulation that sounded as if each gurgling syllable started somewhere deep underground and passed through boiling magma on its way to his mouth, said, "Cho, if you don't leave this town, you are a dead man. I have been ruling this area all of these years, and who are you to come here and disturb my nest!?"
With that, the being lunged across the room lightning fast, landing on top of Cho, wrapping its body around him like prey, contracting its muscles to quickly constrict the air from his lungs. A baleful laughter, malignant and terrible, tittered from the monster's lips as from pebbled sockets its zenithal eyes glared mockingly down at him.
Grotesque and enraged, the thing opened its mouth wider, exposing a hideously forked tongue inside a nightmarish cavity lined with jagged molars and angled razor fangs. A phlegmy gurgle more dragon-like than reptilian disgorged a sulfurous stench that distilled through the room filling the air all around them.
A chill radiated through Cho as seconds passed and the undulating fiend's hide, crusty and wart covered, tightened around him like a garrote. He could feel his ribs bending toward the breaking point as the sheer force of the brutal creature's strength sent his own tongue curling to the roof of his mouth in pain. His body began reacting to the lack of blood flow, his hands and his feet started going numb, and his thoughts raced, Jesus! I'm dying.
But at that, something caught his attention. The creatures eyes had seemed to dart wildly about the very moment the name of Jesus passed through his mind. He thought it again, Jesus, and this time he was sure. The serpent had cringed and its grip had weakened at the very moment he had imagined that name!
With all the strength he could muster, Cho gasped for a breath of air and opened his mouth in a whisper, "Jesus."
The effect was immediate and dramatic. The sound of the name of Jesus discharged from his lips as tangibly as if a two-edged sword had been thrown into the heart of the being.
He spoke the name again, louder this time, and the demon jerked back, it's expression filling with terror, its grip unwinding from his waist.
Slipping from the coil, Cho quickly jumped to his feet and shouted, "JESUS... JESUS... JESUS!"
Now the creature reeled, first one way then the other, flailing about as if punch-drunk, wailing an otherworldly moan, then abruptly it fell to the floor. Before it could gather its strength and raise up to attack him again, Cho lifted his leg and crushed the human-like head beneath his foot. Studying it to make sure it wasn't moving, he picked the front part of the carcass up and dragged it toward the entry to toss it outside. As he moved toward the opening and pushed the seasoned door fully out of the way, he noticed what appeared to be a large crowd of villagers gathering in front of his home. Cautiously, he surveyed his surroundings, then lifted the Agathodemon's face above him and exclaimed, "This is the god that you have been serving all of these years, but now you must turn and serve the true and living God!"
Thereupon, Cho awoke to find the serpent-man visitation had been a compelling vision or dream. It was 4:00 A.M., time for early morning prayer at his tent church. With the memory of the threats made against him 30 days earlier still fresh in his mind, he rushed out the door and up the path to meet his tiny congregation. He knew the priests from the guardian temple would not be long in coming, and no sooner had he arrived when a Korean layman started shouting, "Pastor! Come quickly!" Glancing out the tent door, he saw over the hill in the rising dawn what appeared to be the entire city marching up the valley walls.
Cho's palms were sweating and his heart was racing as he stepped outside and watched the throng approach. Jesus, he thought, what should we do? Run? Hide? Then he noticed something curious. The people looked happy, as if they were rejoicing about something. A moment of silence past as he considered them, and he thought, It couldn't be! But, it was. Leading the crowd, with her baby in her arms, was the dying woman from the village. She ran up to him and said, "Oh Brother Cho, thank you so much for coming and praying for me last night. The Lord heard your prayer and I am healed!" Cho stared at her in amazement. "I did not come to your house and pray for you last night," he answered. "Oh yes," the woman insisted, "You came at two o'clock this morning and stood outside my window. You said loudly, 'Woman! Be healed in the name of Jesus Christ!' And I arose and found that I was healed, and my baby is healed!"
With that, Cho remembered that it had been at 2:00 A.M. when he had seen the vision and the Agathodemon had been destroyed.
With very few exceptions, the entire community converted to Christianity within 48 hours. Now matter what one thinks of Cho, today he pastors the largest evangelical church in the world with nearly a million members. It all started in a city delivered from demonic siege.