The Great War, renamed World War I after World War II began, ended 100 years ago today with the signing of an armistice between Germany and the Allied Powers. This senseless war started over an assassin linked to a Serbian terrorist group killing the heir to Austria-Hungary’s throne, and his wife too, on June 28, 1914. The Austrians then demanded Serbia allow Austrian officials on Serbian land to investigate the incident. When Serbia refused, Austria-Hungary, with Germany’s encouragement, declared war. Great Britain, France and Russia backed Serbia, while Germany backed Austria-Hungary. More nations were later dragged into what became the world’s deadliest war, the aftermath of which led to the even deadlier World War II. And the aftermath of World War II set the stage for the events foretold in the Bible’s book of Revelation by giving us the United Nations and putting Israel back on the map.
The Germans were blamed for World War I and punished by having to pay reparations to the Allied Powers, surrender some of their military equipment, leave the territories they gained during the war and allow their own territory along the Rhine River to be occupied by the Allies. These demands gave rise to the Nazi Party and its determination to restore Germany’s strength. In 1933 the party’s leader, Adolf Hitler, became Germany’s chancellor and quickly gained popularity with his promise to avenge the nation’s defeat in World War I. He began invading European territories and his invasion of Poland in 1939 is what started World War II by prompting the British and French to declare war on Germany. Like the First World War, other nations joined the ones involved since the beginning. By its end the world was introduced to nuclear weapons and the destruction they cause by splitting atoms.
Assuming you’ve played with bar magnets, you know like-forces repel each other. And if you know the protons in an atom’s nucleus all have a positive charge, take into account that the more of them there are, the more repulsion there will be between these like-forces. Now think of the enormous stress on the nuclear energy holding them together. That’s why splitting an atom with a high number of protons, such as uranium, releases an incredible burst of power. Knowing the Nazis had this information, German-born Jew Albert Einstein appealed to President Roosevelt to develop the atom bomb, fearing the Germans might do it first. A couple atom bombs being dropped on Japan is what it took to end World War II. Japan was the last remaining power fighting on the side of the Axis Powers, named for Italy’s Mussolini and Germany’s Hitler arrogantly suggesting their nation’s capitals, Rome and Berlin, formed the axis that all of Europe revolved around. The world saw that their confidence was unwarranted when their nations were defeated before Japan, which didn’t give up until being hit with weapons that caused enough destruction to scare Einstein and many others into calling for world government and global disarmament.
The Allied Powers probably would have been defeated had it not been for two foolish decisions made by the Axis Powers. One was Japan bringing America into the war by bombing Pearl Harbor; the other was Hitler causing the Soviet Union to join the Allied Powers by breaking the Nonaggression Pact he made with Stalin in 1939. It stated they wouldn’t go to war against each other, and part of the agreement was they would conquer and divide Poland between themselves. Two years later Hitler broke his promise by invading the Soviet Union. Someone once told me that because Hitler was trying to annihilate the Jews, God put it in his heart to doom himself by turning on Stalin, who had been his most powerful ally. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but Scripture does say something like that will happen during the Tribulation when God puts it in the hearts of evil forces to turn on each other to fulfill His will (Rev. 17:16, 17).
Hitler did have some key characteristics that will be seen in the Antichrist. He craved world domination, hated Jews and wanted to behead his enemies. In 1930 he alluded to the executions of the French Revolution when saying, “If our movement is victorious there will be a revolutionary tribunal which will punish the crimes of 1918 [Germany’s surrender in World War I]. Then decapitated heads will roll in the sand.” Hitler was defeated before he could have his way, but the Antichrist will succeed in beheading many of his enemies before he is also defeated. Looking into the future, the apostle John “saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the Beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands” (Rev. 20:4). Unlike Hitler, the Antichrist will at first seem peaceful. But then he will betray the Jews after arranging for them to sacrifice on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount where the Arabs currently won’t allow it (Dan. 9:27). All clues indicate he will be the head of the U.N., the same organization responsible for putting Israel back on the map in 1948, and then the next year restoring peace between Jews and the Arabs who declared war on them. The U.N. has been trusted to intervene in Israel’s affairs ever since.
With the horror of the Holocaust revealed after Hitler’s defeat, world sympathy for Jews was at a high and it helped in making Israel a state again. That sympathy is virtually gone now, and during the Last World War there will be another attempt to annihilate the Jews when “all nations [will go] against Jerusalem to battle” (Zech. 14:2). The reason for this battle couldn’t have been understood thousands of years ago when it was foretold, but it’s no longer a mystery. We see the international community’s condemnation of Israel, which is surrounded by Muslim countries that despise its existence and don’t want Jews in Jerusalem. “And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” (Zech. 14:12) Now to quote from a book called Hiroshima by John Hersey, who described the effects of the atom bomb on some of that city’s inhabitants: “. . . and their faces were wholly burned, their eyesockets were hollow, the fluid from their eyes had run down their cheeks.” Could the plague on the nations that fight against Jerusalem be brought about by nuclear weapons?
Many righteous people will die with the wicked not long before Jerusalem’s invasion (only to await resurrection for eternal life). For some it will be by execution for not pledging allegiance to the Antichrist (Rev. 20:4). It’s debated whether or not all these martyrs were saved prior to the Tribulation. No one’s salvation depends on the answer to that, and since anyone could die at any time, people should be more concerned about their present relationship with God. Unfortunately some are under the impression that they can disobey God up until the Tribulation and be saved right at the end. It’s a notion that has been popularized by the Left Behind series, later to be made into a video series. Assuming you’re still alive at the time and still haven’t been saved, neither will you be saved then, “because [you] received not the love of the truth, that [you] might be saved. And for this cause God shall send [you] strong delusion, that [you] should believe a lie” (II Thes. 2:10, 11). That will be God’s judgment on you for rejecting the truth in exchange for the pleasures of sin (II Thes. 2:12). Only people who’ve never heard the Gospel message before then will have the opportunity to be saved. World events suggest the end is fast approaching and it’s never too soon to get right with God.
Copyright © 2018