Friday, December 11, 2009

Holocaust Past & Future

There’s a very interesting story here: The man who smuggled himself into Auschwitz

Thanks to the Arminian Today blog for making me aware of it.

This week I’ve been watching a BBC TV interpretation of “The Diary of Anne Frank”. There’s a 50 minute documentary on the DVD that I still have to watch – not about the Frank family, but about another girl of a very similar age who met the same fate.

I have also ordered a copy of a Martin Gilbert book, a history of the holocaust. Today’s comfortable westerners have no way of comprehending the experiences so many millions of people had at the hands of Hitler.

Many of those people were perhaps little different from ourselves, enjoying comfortable and successful lives until the world around them changed and they were thrown into an unimaginably miserable situation that millions didn’t survive.

We can look back on those events with justifiable horror and wonder how they could have happened. We can feel thankful that such atrocities could never happen again on such a scale. But it would be a misplaced sentiment. Not only will those evils be committed again, they will be surpassed.

Jesus warned of a time to come when: “there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”

Can we afford to live in complacency? Note Jesus said that the time of distress would be unequalled both before and after. It will be the most horrific time in the history of mankind.

Around one third of the Jewish people were murdered through Hitler’s actions. What does that indicate about the future? Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24 indicates terrible times for both Christians and Jews. It clearly doesn’t seem very bright and it would be easy to sink into a state of pessimism. But this time of unequalled distress is not the end. We need to remain aware that God has the last word, and no matter what evils man may commit, God will bring a glorious end to them with the return of His Son, the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

That return, that will end the "time of distress", is the great hope that will sustain followers of Jesus throughout that time of suffering. A motivating hope that will encourage believers to remain faithful despite the intense hardship they experience throughout the persecution they face.

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