Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. For Germans in the 1940s, Adolf Hitler led a nation on the road to ruin. Hitler almost destroyed Europe. Millions were killed, leaving those that survived to ask the question, why? Why would God allow such a thing to happen? From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, it seems clear that no one can amass the kind of power Hitler amassed unless God allows it.
And you know, Dave, that's actually quite a scary thought. But of course, it's a biblical thought that no one rules except that God gives them permission to rule. And even though they may be in the hands of the devil, ultimately, the devil himself is still in the hands of God. And that's one of the lessons that we have to learn when we think about what is happening in history. I've written a book entitled Hitler's Cross, How the Cross Was Used to Promote the Nazi Agenda, very important book. And what I would like to do is to make sure that you have a copy of this book.
Now, at the end, I'm going to be giving you some of this information again, but you can go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. It has well been said that if we do not learn from history, we will repeat history. And that's why it's so important for us to listen to this series of messages. Think of it. The Holocaust could not have happened unless God gave permission for it to happen, could not have happened, except God gave permission. He signed off on it. He initialed the memo.
If you're struggling with that, just hang on for a few moments. But it can be no other way. No man can rule except it be given to him of God. And Pilate instigated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and said, yes, go ahead and crucify him.
And Jesus said that could never have happened unless it were granted to you by God. Now that your Bibles are open, turn to Revelation chapter 13 for just a moment. Revelation 13, this is an awesome passage because the Bible teaches another Hitler is coming.
And this Hitler will not be worse than the other one in terms of being more evil, but he will be more cruel because the technology that he will have is technology that Hitler did not have way back in the 30s and the 40s. This is Antichrist. I don't have time to read all eight verses that I would like to, but I'm going to pick it up right in the middle of the verse.
And his mouth was like the mouth of a lion. This is in the middle of verse two of the 13th chapter of Revelation. And the dragon, that is Satan, gave him, that is the beast, namely Antichrist, he gave him his power and his throne and great authority. The dragon, the devil, is giving to Antichrist his power and his authority. Notice it says, verse four, and they worshiped the dragon, that is Satan, because he gave his authority to the beast.
And they worshiped the beast saying, who is like the beast and who is able to wage war with him? Notice verse five, and there was given to him a mouth, speaking blasphemous words, and authority to act for 42 months was given to him. Four or five times in these verses it keeps saying it was given to him. Verse seven is breathtaking. And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
This is breathtaking in its scope. And all who dwell upon the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the lamb who has been slain. Wow. Think of the awesome authority that Antichrist is going to be given. There's a part of me that reads that and it recoils.
I say, oh God, how can this be? The only part that gives me hope is that it was given. And when it is taken away, Antichrist will fall and be humiliated and spend eternity in hell. That's the only thing that gives me comfort.
But here's my point. It is the dragon who gives to Antichrist such awesome authority that all the tribes of the earth and everyone will worship him and he will control them all with the most meticulous control system one could ever imagine as we will discuss in another message. But who is it that gives the dragon his authority?
Where did it come from? Thou couldest have no power at all against me unless it were given to thee from above. God. God. So ultimately even though Antichrist is in the devil's hands, one must recognize that even the devil is under the ultimate authority of God and God prescribes the limits of his power and prescribes the limits and the areas of his work and says this far and no further. That's why the Bible can predict it's going to last exactly 42 months.
It's because these things are not left up to chance. God rules. God rules. So let us be very clear in what we are saying. God rules in the affairs of men number one and secondly God delegates authority to angels, to demons, and to men. And now number three. God holds Satan and men and angels responsible.
Follow this carefully. He holds them responsible for the evil that he lets them do. He holds them responsible for the evil that he lets them do. Einstein many people believe to be the most brilliant man who ever lived and that may be true. He certainly would be among the most brilliant. He believed in God but he did not believe in a personal God. And the reason that Einstein did not believe in a personal God is the dilemma that he faced that we are talking about this morning.
It is this. Einstein says if God is the creator, if he is the preserver, if he is a personal God and the sustainer of the universe, when he hands out rewards and punishment in effect he is handing out rewards and punishment for himself because, follow this carefully, as creator he would be an accomplice in the evil. Now we aren't as brilliant as Einstein but all of us have struggled with that, have we not? Is not this the dilemma that keeps us awake at night if we are thinking clearly how can God be sovereign and rule and still hold men accountable? Well you know what the Bible teaches that God holds men and angels accountable because they have wills. They are not just simply puppets.
They do have wills and though he rules they have enough independence that he can hold them into account for what they do. If there is anything clear in scripture it is the responsibility of Satan and man. It is the responsibility that God puts upon them. Now notice my message this morning and its title. It does not say Hitler or God who was in charge.
That would have raised a false dichotomy. It says Hitler and God who was in charge. God's role was doing the delegating. Hitler's role was doing the destroying. But God says you Hitler and all the Nazis and all actually we're speaking not only historically here we're speaking for all of mankind you will be called into account for what you do.
Your independence is sufficient for judgment and so thirdly God holds Satan and men responsible for the evil that he lets them do. Number four history will end according to God's plan. It will end according to God's plan. I read a moment ago the scripture that says here in the book of Revelation that Antichrist is going to arise. You have Napoleon you have Hitler you have Antichrist who's going to come out of Europe and he will arise but it will end the way God predicts it to end. 42 months then destruction and you have all of those events that will take place and a vivid description later on in the book of Revelation regarding eternity and hell and a judgment. It will end the way God wants it to end. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 11 it says to the end that all the purposes of God might be accomplished for he works all things after the counsel of his own will.
Let me quote that again. He works all things after the counsel of his own will. Let me say at this point that there are three different ways that you can react to divine providence and I've met people who have reacted in all three different ways.
Sometimes the same person having reacted in all three ways. First of all there can be atheism. You can say to yourself the God that you're talking about today can't exist. There can be no God who could look down upon the Holocaust without intervening if you knew the suffering and I have met people who have gone through the Holocaust. We're talking about something that is a part of living history and sometimes in despair they say there can be no God.
No God. That's one possible reaction. It is an understandable reaction but it is a very hopeless and wrong reaction. I have a Jewish friend with whom I've discussed these things and we are good friends. We're neighbors actually and he does not believe in a personal God and I asked him whether or not this gave him some disquiet of spirit to recognize that people like Hitler and other Nazis would never have to give an account to God for what they did.
He agreed that that was troubling and well might that be troubling. There is something within us that cries up and says where is justice? The desire for justice is so great but if you are an atheist you have to believe that the desire you have in your breast will be unanswered because there is no tomorrow. Atheism very unsatisfying to the providence of God. There's a second response and that is anger. Anger. Whenever people say to you things like your God must be the devil, treat it with great sensitivity because there are a lot of hurting people in the world today who have experienced perhaps not Nazi Germany but the atrocities in their own life or here in the city of Chicago with its crime and with its random from our standpoint totally random violence and all of the things that take place.
Let us always remember that there are people hurting in the world. Some of you have been viciously abused and so it's easy to become angry and to say yes I believe that God exists but I don't want to have a thing to do with him. If he exists he is the devil. That is a very very understandable response but very fruitless and very wrong. Fruitless because actually you are hurting yourself. God can take your anger believe me and actually you're doing yourself harm because you are closing yourself off from another side of God's character his mercy and his grace whereby he can save you and deliver you and you know that there's nobody who has ever taken on God who has won nobody. God lets them win for a little time to display their foolishness but in the end they lose.
It is not possible to shoot down an aircraft carrier with a pea shooter. Don't bother taking on God. That's another response though. Atheism, anger. The other response can be awe. Absolutely overwhelmed to say God if you're the kind of God that can allow the Holocaust if you're the kind of God who looked down from heaven and saw the suffering and did not intervene oh God what kind of a God you must be I want to make sure that I flee to you for forgiveness because someday after death I will stand in your presence and I do not want to meet you unprepared. The Bible says that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God unprepared. I just can't believe the naivete of theological liberals.
They amuse me. Here are people who believe you know in the Old Testament God was a God of judgment. God was a God who seemed to be angry with sinners. In the New Testament Jesus presents a different God. Some liberals have said there are two gods. There's the God of the Old Testament.
There's the God of the New. Others have said well it represents an evolution in our understanding of God and so they say God you know would never have a hell prepared for those who do not respond to his son. That is unthinkable and I'm just saying to myself even if you don't believe the Bible open your eyes and look at the Holocaust. Look at the fact that God was willing to allow those atrocities in all of the different countries of the world the anguish the children that are being wounded and hurt and starvation. It is impossible for us to even grasp for a moment all the hurt on this planet.
Does not that make you stand in awe of God and say I had better prepare to meet him after death and the Bible says that Jesus Christ died that he might shield us from the wrath of God having absorbed it in his own person having received it in himself that he might say to all of us who are sinners and we all are you're forgiven and you stand before me as absolutely righteous. Now here's what I want to say today folks. No matter what your response is whether it is atheism whether it is anger or whether it is awe the purposes of God will be accomplished. You and I we may protest what God does but it is of no value.
The best thing we can do is to get on his team. No use opposing the awesome unbelievable God of history. His purposes will be accomplished. He works all things after the counsel of his own will.
Number five. We can rest. We can rest with confidence in the wisdom in the wisdom of God's ways. We can rest. Now I'm talking about believers. I'm talking about those who have made their peace with God through Jesus Christ.
We can not only know God but we can be assured that everything that comes to us has passed him. It does not come without approval. Is there somebody out to get you at the business where you work? Somebody who'd like to undercut you? Somebody who wants to undermine what you were doing to humiliate you?
Is there somebody like that and you have become angry and you have become perhaps even violent because you think how unfair this world is? My dear friend I want you to know that that person would have no power at all against you were it not given to them from above. God is watching. God is orchestrating. God is limiting. God is there.
Some of you perhaps because of ill health. Some tragedy that has come to you. You realize your mortality and you realize that you're in a situation where there appears to be no hope. I want you to know today that as someone who has believed in God's precious son that those things do not happen to you except that God has said yes to them.
Not yes in the sense that he delights in them but yes in the sense that he permits them that he might through those circumstances teach us things that we could never possibly learn and we become acquainted with the hidden purposes of God when we ourselves are confronted with a mystery. The great mystery of providence and it is the mystery of providence. Have you ever noticed how often in the examples that I gave you when Hitler referred to providence he called it fate because you see those who believe who follow Satan or follow themselves all that they have really is to cast themselves upon fate. Fate means that I cannot control the circumstances. Fate means that I simply cast myself upon events that are limited in their ability to work themselves out for my good and therefore I become helpless. Fate means that the outcome is uncertain because we're in touch with somebody and events that cannot keep their promises. How different that is, how very different that is from divine providence. Providence means that we believe in a God whose promises will be fulfilled. We believe in a God who is trustworthy. We believe that there is a divine end and that history is not merely random. History is moving toward a goal.
If you say what is that goal we don't have time to go into that this morning. A number of years ago I preached a series of messages entitled what is God up to where we try to explore God's ultimate intentions and purposes but we can't do that exhaustively. We have glimmers. God shows us what he is up to to a certain extent but at the end of the day we must rest our heads on the assurance that God knows best. His justice and his mercy will be displayed and we bow in humility before a God who is a God of greatness, a God of glory, a God of mercy, and a God of mystery. Hitler believed in fate. We believe in faith. Actually when he used the word fate he should have used the word doom.
He should have said I am doomed to lead. We my friend today are destined to inherit heaven forever. What a difference between faith in the devil, a being who is limited, and a faith in the great mighty God who rules the nations about whom the text of scripture says all the nations of the earth are but dust on the balance like waters in a bucket.
Who has counted the stars? Who has numbered them and yet he calls the hosts of them all by name and he keeps them there and the number of our hair is known to him and it is in his hands that we can lovingly entrust ourselves. You say does this mean we will not have tragedies?
Yes we might. Jesus entrusted himself to his father and Pilate said go ahead crucify him but there could be nothing against him unless it were given to him from above. Those of you who are bearing heavy burdens today why not cast them on a qualified God and leave them with him no matter what he takes us through he will walk with us through it and in this series of messages I'll give you examples of people who believed God even in the midst of Nazi Germany. Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God how unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out for who hath known the mind of the Lord or who hath been his counselor who hath borrowed from him that from him it may be borrowed again for of him and through him and to him are all things all glory and honor and all dominion both now and forever.
Amen. Yes my friend we have to always remember that God is God plenty of mystery but thankfully we also know him through Jesus Christ. Viktor Frankl said these words I'm convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Treblinka were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other in Berlin but rather at the desks and the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers. What he was saying is that what was taught in the universities set things up for the Nazi agenda.
There are so many lessons that we have to learn. I've written a book entitled Hitler's cross how the cross was used to promote the Nazi agenda and I wrote this book to help people to see the streams that fed Nazism the failures and the successes of the church and there were some successes and what we can learn in our own day. Now for a gift of any amount this resource can be yours. Here's what you can do go to rtwoffer.com that's rtwoffer.com or and I hope you have a pen that you can write this down call 1-888-218-9337.
Did I say that too quickly? Here it is again 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book entitled Hitler's cross how the cross was used to promote the Nazi agenda. You can write to us at running to win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614. Running to win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. It's tough running a race when your coach is loyal to your competitors. For Christians that's what happened in Nazi Germany. The church fell into line fast when Hitler rose to power. Next time the lessons we can learn from this sad capitulation and how to prevent it from happening again. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister. Running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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