Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Story of Chosun, Part 9

It is the 14th century . In England, the Reformation of the church of Jesus Christ gets underway. In America, the native citizens still rule. And on the Korean peninsula there's trouble in the south. Its focal point is a little island that is now a honeymoon spot for Koreans. My wife and I visited it once. No love is wasted on Cheju-do (then, Quelpart Island) in the 1300's. Rebellion against Koryo/Mongolia is brewing.

Soon the Mongols overrun the area and the rebellion is quelled. But there is a rebellion that is nearly impossible to stop once it gets underway, namely the corruption that wastes away a people when its king is evil. North Korea to this day suffers from such a malaise.

Several kings in a row vie with each other for low debauchery levels. And rather than take personal interest in their people,they all want to stay in Peking, the center of power and wealth. Chosun suffers from neglect.

In 1329 the horrible excesses of the court defy description. In 1340 the next son is the same, some say even worse. The Emperor has him brought to Peking, from whence he is exiled, and dies. Then there is an 8-year-old king who dies at age 16. "Sin is a reproach to any people," says the Bible.

Then it is the Japanese. Again. From 1350-1400, Korea's neighbors behave much like the infamous Vikings.

In 1333 the last Mongol Emperor comes to throne. He too is licentious. His name is Tohan Timur. Finally in 1355, there is a rebellion against the old Mongol Dynasty. Chu Yuan-chang takes Nanking. The Mongols ask Koryo for aid against the rising Ming dynasty. Koryo is faithful to the end. For Koryo's sake, not just because of a great love for Mongols. And there is less and less loyalty as the Mongols fall.

Slowly the king of Koryo rises to the task of reorganizing the nation as the Mongols slip away into history and the new Ming Dynasty supplants them.

1359. The Japanese raids reach such alarming proportions that a wall must be built.And as they create the wall, yet another threat of trouble appears in the form of the "red head robbers", Hong du juk . They try to set up the Sung Dynasty again. They get to Pyongyang but then are driven out.

In 1360, the Japanese reach Kangwha island, the palace, the center of Koryo's heart. Quickly the Capital is moved to Seoul because it is farther inland, not within reach of Japanese raiders.

Next the Red-heads return, defeat the army, and take Song-bo. There are orgies. Horrible excesses, children are eaten...

But King Ta-jo captures their leader and the story goes that 100,000 people die in one night. Bodies are heaped up in Kaesong, the city in the news this very day as Kim Jong-il says all bets are off on his new cooperation with South Korea in that town..

Many myths grow up about this Ta-jo (as is true of the Kim dynasty heads of today)...

Yet another problem in Korea is pointed out by historian Hulbert, whom we have been following. He says the curse of Korean history is the constant lies given by one Korean man to another in authority, out of jealousy for a 3rd man. The one in authority believes and acts accordingly. Often good men are killed.

Mongolians. Japanese. Red-heads. Corrupt rulers. Liars. Problems within and without. Is there a solution for it all? We are asking that God's people pray that Jesus be allowed to take His place in the North as He has in the South. That should help quite a bit... But Christians are not only out to "change the world." Our job is to preach the Gospel. But even that cannot be done effectively, nationally, at this time. Lots of praying still to do!

Look for Bob Faulkner's home page on There you will find a combination of love for the Scriptures and a desire for North Korean believers to have their needs met. There are nearly 300 blogs , ovber 200 Bible teaching MP3's, lists of resources, NK picture albums, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together! Contact me any time at

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Would love to fellowship with believers who respond .

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