Back in 1987, I was hired as a flight crewmember for Lufthansa German Airlines on a three year contract. As the job required me to be based in Frankfurt, my wife and I found ourselves living in Germany, 42 years after Hitler’s war machine ground to a halt.
The three years living in Europe was a great experience and the job provided the opportunity to travel. When my schedule only allowed me to have one or two days off between trips, we would still visit some neighboring towns close to Frankfurt.
One such town we visited when both sets of parents came to visit on two separate occasions was the town of Dachau, located just outside Munich. Walking through the former concentration camp, I remember the uneasy feeling I had while strolling past the old foundations of where once the barracks stood that housed all the Jewish prisoners. The old wooden structures have long since rotted away and been removed, but they did rebuild some mockups on the first two foundation slabs in order to get an idea of what they looked like and one could walk through them to view the cramped living quarters.
I can remember thinking upon seeing the sign written in German above the main gate “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Working will set you free): what a cruel hoax, to offer a glimmer of hope for their release if they labored well, when no such hope existed in this dark place.
The walk past the rows and rows of the barrack foundations finally led to where the crematoriums were located. Another assault on the senses as you walked into these macabre structures and looked upon the ghoulish devices erected to exterminate a race. The whole Dachau experience for me was one of a pinball of emotions: bouncing from horror, to grief, to nausea and ultimately to incredulity – with the realization that human beings could exact such treatment on fellow human beings in such an offensive and diabolical manner.
Another point of interest for me to visit while on layovers in Amsterdam was the Anne Frank house. Entrance into the hideout was accomplished by means of passing through a swinging bookshelf that concealed the opening into the annex. Walking through the small living space, it is hard to fathom how two families survived in that building for close to two years. The annex is located just above a working place of business below, so the occupants could not walk around during the office hours for fear that the workers below would hear them and possibly expose them to the authorities.
The living conditions were deplorable: concealed away in a confined space, unable to venture outdoors and depending on an outside source for their provisions. Ultimately, they were found out by the Nazis, but it is not clear who turned them in. All except for Mr. Frank – Anne’s father – succumbed to the dreadful conditions of the camps. He survived and the infamous diary was published.
The Nazi reign of terror across Europe, the death camps, the Holocaust, Hitler’s Final Solution still make for a compelling story after all these years. There have been numerous books, movies and documentaries detailing the rise to power of one man from Austria and his quest for the rise of the Third Reich of Germany. It is hard to imagine how the devil could have influenced any other man as much as he did with Adolf Hitler, in the enemy’s desire to rid the world of the Jewish race.
The audio and visual depictions in the films of the Nazi reign of terror as they hunt down the Jews are bone chilling: a police whistle pierces the quiet of the night on discovery of a family fleeing; jack boots kicking in a door, marching up stairs to discover some in their hideout; a single Luger shot to the head out in the street on a person wearing a yellow star; the bark of a German Shepherd dog as it corners someone in a back alley; the sounds of heavy metal doors clanging shut on the boxcars that haul off another load to the camps; and the shrill of the steam whistle on the train as it begins to lumber down the tracks to the crematoriums.
While watching one such movie a couple of months back, it dawned on me that this will all happen again in the not too distant future – but on an even grander scale. After World War II concluded and the concentration camps were exposed for the entire outside world to see, the mantra became “Never Again”. Never again would a people be herded up, forced to live in ghettos, stripped of their basic human rights and ultimately sent off to the death camps. This kind of atrocity should never be allowed to be repeated.
But we’re told in the Scriptures that during the soon coming Tribulation period, that a person will arise (in Europe again) who will have ultimate control in the matters of all commerce:
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Revelation 13:16, 17
The antichrist and the false prophet will force all to take a mark upon them to identify whether or not that person has sworn loyalty to his system. Revelation 14:9 tells us that entry into this exclusive buying and selling club will require the candidate to worship the beast and his image. It will be this act that will reward the recipient into receiving the mark. Those who refuse to show up to fulfill this command, will instantly be outcasts and readily identifiable in their opposition to the antichrist. So, whereas the Jews were identified by a yellow star affixed to their clothing to mark them as outcasts in Hitler’s Europe, not having the beast’s mark on a person will label them as undesirables during the antichrists reign. And who knows…maybe the yellow star will be reinstituted again for the Jews to wear.
Those who refuse the mark will almost certainly be forced into going into hiding. Hitler’s final solution was predominately confined to northern and western Europe, but the beast and false prophet will have control throughout the world. In this day and age of computers, bar codes, scanners, transponders, satellites, and closed circuit tv cameras, it will be even more difficult to avoid the authorities.
The bible tells us that for those people who miss the Rapture and become Christians during the Tribulation will be martyred for their faith. Not only will the authorities be persecuting and hunting down the Jews as the Nazis did, but they will also be coming after the new Christians. And again, it will be worldwide. It will be a time of unfathomable terror.
To make matters worse, we are told in Revelation that somewhere near the midpoint of the Tribulation period, that there will be a war in Heaven and Satan will be forever banished from returning there. He will be furious in his desire to wipe out the Jews and anyone who swears allegiance to Jesus Christ and not his antichrist. He will then indwell the antichrist and this man will have access to the spirit realm also in his hunting down of Jews and Christians. Adolph Hitler certainly had to be demonically possessed in his desire to exterminate the Jews and had to have had help to carry out his plans. But the antichrist will have the chief devil residing in him and with the help of his demonic forces, it will be next to impossible to allude capture.
Jesus said concerning those days of wars, natural disasters, plagues, earthquakes and yes, the rise of the antichrist and his worldwide holocaust:
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Revelation 24:22
A very grim picture indeed of what lies just ahead. The bad news is: we are almost there…perhaps days away from the start of it all. The good news is: trusting in Jesus Christ right now will prevent one from having to enter into this dark hour. Accept God’s free gift of salvation:
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8,9
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” Acts 16:30, 31