Monday, June 14, 2010

Rising Authoritarianism

Besides the U.S. tax increase that is coming in 2011, another factor that could plunge the world into a second-dip recession is the debt crisis in Europe. Significant austerity measures have been proposed to qualify the most indebted nations for bail-outs. People in Greece rioted over cut-backs to their entitlements but many believe that these austerity measures are necessary because democracy itself is at stake.

It is interesting to note that both those in favor of the EU bail-out austerity measures and those opposed to them think that Europe is on the path to 1930s style dictatorship. There are many who think that since government spending is such a big part of the economy, the austerity measures themselves will trigger a second-dip recession. It is generally recognized that the Great Depression of the 1930s significantly contributed to the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco in Europe. A second dip recession could bring about the same economic environment that is conducive for military dictatorships to emerge.

Stratfor published an interesting analysis on how severe recessions can disrupt the balance of political, economic and military systems of countries. Stratfor believes that the economic problems in the United States will likely be managed by more political control of economic systems. The situation is different in Europe however where the legitimacy of the EU as a political entity is being questioned. They say that if the EU is de-legitimized, then we are really in uncharted territory. I don’t think it is uncharted at all; there is a pattern of military leaders stepping up in the face of economic and political turmoil.

The geopolitical changes that are developing in Europe are prophetically significant. Indeed, Europe is the Western leg of the Revived Roman Empire (Daniel 2). At the beginning of the Tribulation, about half of the world will follow the kings of the Revived Roman Empire which is emerging from the Western leg of the original Roman Empire. The other half of the world will follow the kings of the Revived Ottoman Empire which is emerging from the Eastern leg of the original Roman Empire.

During the 1930s many thought Hitler could have been the Antichrist. But the stage was not set then nearly as well as it is now with Israel being established in the land. Certainly Hitler foreshadowed the Antichrist. The pattern of severe economic distress causing a strong dictator to emerge is one that may well be among the dynamics that brings the Antichrist to power. If we are close to the end of the Age of Grace, it may come in conjunction with an economic depression.

There is no doubt that painful times are in the offing. But these birth pangs will not be nearly as bad as what will happen during the Tribulation. The storm is coming so now is not a good time to be without Christ in your life; as Jesus said…
“Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25, NKJ)

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