At 6 o'clock in the morning, on April 9th, 1945, the German SS hanged a Christian pastor in the Flossenburg extermination camp. His execution took place even as Hitler's evil empire collapsed in defeat and utter ruin around that particular antichrist's ears. This death was not "the consequence of a judicial verdict"...thus it was murder.
Moments before the pastor was so callously slain, a doctor in the camp witnessed the condemned man "kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God". He was "most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain God heard his prayer".
The 39-year-old martyr left behind the outline for a book. In his rough jottings he said, "As a fresh start (the Church) should give away all her endowments to the poor and needy. The clergy should live solely on the free-will offerings of their congregations... Our own (Lutheran) Church will have to take a strong line with the blasphemies of hubris (arrogance), power-worship, envy and humbug (deception), for these are the roots of evil... I hope in this way (of writing) to do something for the sake of the Church of the future."
The pastor's name is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He is usually best known as a scholar and theologian. The essays which here follow, have been inspired by him, but as a prophet who died for his beliefs and convictions. I most especially focus attention upon his practical resistance and creative response to National Socialism's determined attempts to oppose, subvert and overthrow the Lord Jesus Christ's headship and leadership of His Church. This, Dietrich did by labouring with all of his spiritual, intellectual and physical strength to build 24/7 community within the Confessing Church (those who opposed Hitler and the Nazis), and especially amongst her pastors and ministry students. These saints lived "under sentence of death", and therefore searched with all of their might for "a quite new and binding form of Christian life", which could not be seduced nor conquered by evil.
Nazi Germany - with the Holocaust of God's beloved Jewish People, persecution of the Church and its vaunted Thousand-Year Reich - is a template for evil in these Last Days. Hitler was a partial appearance of "the lawless one" spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2. We ought to take keen note of his diabolical stratagems and devices, because immediately before the Parousia of Jesus, this "incarnation of wickedness" will appear fully, with "all satan's influence to aid him" as well as the "signs and wonders of falsehood".