Dying to live

Greece, it seems, has come to some arrangement over its dire financial state – at least, for the time being!  The situation is far from stable, however, and if we project even a few months forward, Europe’s (and the global) economy could easily tilt adversely for all of us.  Many prophets are saying that an economic crisis on a much more catastrophic scale than that of seven years ago is not only inevitable, but also imminent.  We need to be prepared.

The crisis precipitated by the collapse of Lehmann Brothers, seven years ago, did indeed affect us all, but thankfully we survived without major riots or bloodshed, and the recovery is mostly behind us.  Many people today, other than economists and financiers, are either unaware of another looming crisis, or they believe the economy is back on its feet, as our politicians would have us believe.  The situation in Greece does not seem to affect the ‘man in the street’ in the UK.  He is still planning the future as if everything will go on as usual for ever.

Although it would be nicer to believe the media hype, wisdom suggests we must be alert and prepared for a crisis in the near future.  As the Men of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32) in our generation, we can learn lessons from history which will help us understand our times.  As an example we’ll look at the economic situation in Germany which was used ingeniously by Hitler for his own ends.  He successfully deceived not only the German people but also the Church. 

Losing the First World War precipitated Germany’s economic collapse - a situation which Hitler cleverly exploited.  If a major economic crisis affected us, we would be wise to look out for those who right now are waiting surreptitiously in the wings, ready to exploit it.  As hyperinflation led to extortionate prices for basic necessities, anarchy inevitably erupted, particularly in the big cities. 

When lawlessness broke out in Germany, people were desperate for a strong leader who would put an end to the chaos, instigate a new currency and restore a stable economy.  This was the kind of crisis Hitler had been waiting for.  Inflation and unemployment were the diseases for which he had the cure!

Just before election time in 1933, Hitler struck!  He managed to gain enough of a majority in the election to amend the constitution empowering him personally to make new laws.  It’s easy with hindsight to wonder how Hitler gained absolute power in such a short time, but the Reich freely granted Hitler all the power he had.  If we were living with the same degree of austerity and financial bedlam as Germany was, how would we react?  Hitler was their saviour.   The Christians viewed Hitler as the answer to their prayers.  No doubt another ‘saviour’ will emerge when the next crisis occurs.  Will the Church be taken in as she was in Hitler’s day?  Will we personally be prepared to weather the storm practically when that day comes?

We know from our history books and from the handful of survivors, that as long as the economy remained strong (and Hitler successfully stabilised the economy) the German people didn’t care whether they had freedom of speech, freedom of travel or freedom of elections.  Bread on the table was more important.  The people forgave Hitler’s purges and ruthless massacres for the right to live.  National pride was restored, but personal rights were forfeit.  Countless Christian pastors swore allegiance to Hitler, their saviour.

The scriptures tell us that in the Last Days there will be a great falling away from the faith and much of the Church will be deceived (Matt 24:10-13, 1 Tim 4:1).  It’s easy to criticise the Church in Hitler’s Germany, but is the Church in this country strong enough and discerning enough to resist a saviour when one steps into the breach?  If we had been in Germany then, would we have seen Hitler as saviour, or as the Anti-Christ?  It’s sobering to think that such a satanically inspired leader could seduce so many of God’s people.  Hitler thus implemented his satanic plans with the endorsement of the people and most of the Church.  Will it be any different when the next ‘saviour’ appears?

If we believe there will be no further economic crises, and consider those who talk of such things as ‘gloom and doom’ pessimists, we must soberly reassess our situation.  We’ve seen what’s happened in Greece, Cyprus and Spain, for example, in recent years, and the UK is one of the highest debtors in Europe.  Hitler’s regime shows us that when the economy is in crisis, people will give away liberty and principle in order to survive – and even their Christian values.  Eternal ideals get overlooked for the sake of temporal survival. 

Understanding what happened in Germany when the economy collapsed should spur us to be alert to the dangers and prepared practically and spiritually to make the right choices when the time comes. 


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