By Matt Ward
“For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves. Woe to the worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm be completely withered, his right eye totally blinded!” (Zechariah 11:16-17)
One of the things about reading history is that after a while all the pieces start to fit together. A point is reached where you begin to understand enough about large, complex events and when that happens their subsequent relationships to other things start to become obvious.
Adolf Hitler was much more than the modern perception of a frenzied madman. He was a charismatic politician who was brilliant at articulating the fears and desires of the German people. When people bring to mind Hitler today they picture a shouting, belligerent, aggressive and unhinged man as he was at the end of his life in 1945.
It is true that Hitler was scarcely rational at the end, but that is not the whole picture. Hitler was not a lunatic from start to finish. He did not hypnotize millions of Germans to do things against their best interests, many followed him willingly. A large number of the German elite – civilized and well educated people, followed Hitler because he was an extremely sophisticated, if thoroughly unscrupulous, man.
Hitler enjoyed genuine support. Many who met and worked with him talk of how he had an incredible and infectious charisma. Albert Speer, chief architect of the German Reich, described how when listening to Hitler he felt,
“…I was carried away on the wave of enthusiasm which, one could almost feel this physically, bore the speaker along from sentence to sentence…Hitler no longer seemed to be speaking to convince…he seemed to feel that he was expressing what the audience, now transformed into a single mass, expected from him.”
Fridolin von Spaun met Hitler during a dinner in the early 1930’s. As Hitler stared at Spaum he describes how he felt Hitler was, “…staring into his innermost self…” When Hitler stood behind him in conversation, touching the back of his chair he describes, “…a trembling from his fingers penetrated me. I actually felt it. But not a nervous trembling. Rather I felt this: this man, this body, is only the tool for implementing a big, all powerful will here on earth…”
This type of testimony is repeated over and over again from Hitler’s earliest year’s right through to his eventual acquisition of power. The German nation really rather liked him, and at the same time had completely failed to recognize that the most obvious manifestation of antichrist for over a thousand years was right there amongst them, in their midst.
Yet despite this, a truth of history is that no dictator ever comes to power through the strength of their own will alone. Even Adolf Hitler, despite his remarkable skills of oratory and charisma did not ascend to power in Germany because of his unique abilities and simply by the strength of his own will. Hitler rose to power, as every other dictator does in democracies they take over, through chaos.
Hitler exploited chaos to acquire power.
In 1928 the Nazi’s were going nowhere fast, with only 4 percent of the popular vote. Yet despite this, just four short years later, Hitler sat enthroned as the single most powerful man in Germany. By 1934 Hitler had become the Fuhrer of all Germany and this sophisticated, church going nation was put on an immovable path towards total war and eventual destruction.
So what changed the situation for Hitler? It was the 1929 the Stock Market Crash that brought chaos to Germany, and Hitler exploited it well. Dictatorships are often unexpected and arise, primarily, from chaos. Adolf Hitler and Germany provide us with one of the most dramatic and stark examples.
The lessons for our own time are ominous.
When Hitler rose to absolute power he was assuming control of an educated, culturally sophisticated and prosperous nation; the Germans were a people who genuinely believed they were safe from the threat of dictatorship or an authoritarian takeover.
Much like the people of Europe and America today.
All it took for Germany to fall under the yoke of totalitarianism was the hardship caused by a financial collapse. Germany at the turn of the twentieth century was widely believed to have one of the best education systems in the world. In part, it was this education system that many believed would inoculate them from the barbarism of dictatorship.
They were wrong.
Germany had kindergartens for all, a well-developed secondary school system and universities that were the envy of Europe and the world. Germany provided full scholarships for the poor with academic ability and real value was placed on a good education.
Yet this highly sophisticated and well educated nation turned quickly from sense to madness because chaos and the desperation it caused drove them into a madman’s open arms. Adolf Hitler, prodigiously gifted and charismatic, colossally immoral and driven exclusively by his lust for power and his demonic hatred for Jews, became their savior.
There is a time coming soon when another man, like Hitler, also with exceptional dark charisma, will step forward and enrapture the world. Like Hitler, he will enjoy immense success. He will be a man unique to human history. Other than Jesus Christ himself, this man will be the second most exceptional human being to have ever walked this earth.
I believe he is alive and well this very day.
He will be more successful than anybody before him in deceiving the entire world. Many will come to believe that he is actually worthy of worship. Scripture tells us that the worship of him will not be enforced either, but voluntary at first, as a reaction to the signs and wonders he will perform and the temporary peace he will bring to a war ravaged world. So dire will the world wide situation be at that point that the momentary peace he brings will mark him out as a man of exception, a man seemingly without equal.
He will bring stability to this world for a time and he will give the real and tangible leadership it desperately craves.
“Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel” (Ezekiel 28:3).
Just like Hitler before him, he will bring answers and seemingly real solutions to the multitude of crises that are already besetting mankind. The world will love him for it. His power and his political, military and religious genius will be unrivalled.
We should be under no illusions about this man, he will a superman. He will be perceived as such by the masses and his actions in a volatile and chaotic world will very much back this up.
This man to come, this abomination, will possess extraordinary intelligence, more than Daniel, more intelligent even than King Solomon. He will use this great wisdom and understanding for the acquisition of his own power, wealth and glory,
“With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures” (Ezekiel 28:4).
His earthly power, for a time, will be complete. He will crush the nations of the earth to his own will, just as Hitler crushed Germany to his own dark ambitions. He will lead this world down the road of annihilation.
We must also understand something important about this man. Like Hitler before him, the sheer power he will have to influence people will be without precedent. The Dragon gives this man his seat of power and all of his authority, and it is substantial.
“…the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.…” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).
At this point in 2016, the stage would seem to be set, the audience is already seated and the cast members appear ready to make their entrance. All that is now required is for the curtain to rise so that matters can get underway.
But first must come the chaos and before the chaos must come a point of crisis. This world is rapidly approaching an event horizon in human history; a point of no return after which all things will be irrevocably different. Like Germany in the late 1920s, the lurch into dictatorship will not happen before real crisis and a subsequent collapse.
In 2016, the signs of this coming chaos are all around us, and they are burgeoning. In every direction one might choose to look, potential disaster is lurking. From North Korea conducting renewed nuclear tests, to Iran who are on the brink of a nuclear breakout themselves and who continue to threaten the existence of Israel.
From Russia, who have successfully invaded the Middle East, and who have brought their allies Iran and Turkey with them, to the South China Seas, where Chinese naval vessels have been put onto “war footing” for a potential confrontation with the “imperialist” U.S. navy patrolling international waters nearby.
From the Ukraine and the Baltics, where genuine fear of renewed Russian invasions persist, to the diminishment of NATO as a realistic check and balance on Russian ambitions and power.
From the proliferation of WMD’s and ISIS attacks, to Germany, Poland and Belgium, who have all in the last week warned their civilian populations to stock up on significant quantities of food and water in preparation for an undefined and prolonged “national emergency and disaster event.” What do they know that we do not?
From the ever present and bubbling Israeli-Palestinian issue, to a world-wide economy so undermined at this point that a systemic failure is guaranteed in the near future.
From Europe, which is being swamped by wave after wave of Syrian and Iraqi refugees that they cannot manage, let alone finically support, to the slow motion disintegration of the European Union, triggered by Brexit.
We have witnessed the destruction of the traditional world-wide balance of power, a key aim of Barack Obama’s Presidency, an impending crisis in international oil markets, the continuing debasement of the US dollar and the slow motion death of the petro-dollar. There is the growing crisis in Nigeria, in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is a President Hilary Clinton or a President Donald Trump, or neither. Who amongst us at this point would rule out the potential of an illegal power grab and possible third term for Barack Hussein Obama? He, after all, unlike Clinton is still healthy and there would appear no other likely Democratic candidates at this late stage should she be forced to withdraw…
There is an increase in natural disasters and an exponential rise in both the frequency and intensity of earthquakes and volcanic activity all over the earth. There are mass animal die offs being reported daily as well as wild weather from England to America to the Middle East. Creation itself groans under the weight of sin and is breaking down. Soon the earth will reel and stagger as a drunkard, so great is the weight of its rebellion, (Isaiah 24:20).
Wherever it comes from, whatever the spark, chaos is clearly coming. At this point I am convinced that it can only be the staying hand of the Holy Spirit Himself that prevents disaster from occurring right now. That staying hand of restraint, though, is clearly being lifted from this world, and evil is seeping into the vacuum that is left.
I believe it will likely be the Rapture of the Church itself that will accompany the final removal of this hand of restraint. Then the flood gates will be opened and the Man of Sin will be revealed. He also will be prodigiously gifted and charismatic, colossally immoral and driven exclusively by his lust for power and his demonic hatred for Jews, God and His Son, Jesus.
I have no doubt that somewhere this very day, this abomination of a man, whoever he is and wherever he finds himself, is watching, waiting and preparing for the curtain to rise.
Looking at the state of our world, I don’t think he will be waiting too much longer.