Germany’s history and connection to the Holy Roman Empire show how God has used the German people for His purposes to fulfill prophecy—and will again.
Though written thousands of years ago, much of Bible prophecy speaks to our time, and to world events happening before our very eyes. The Almighty God who declares “the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:10) inspired ancient prophets to write down major events that shape the future immediately ahead of us. In their words, we see the world conditions, national powers, international conflicts, and religious deceptions that will characterize the climax of this age, leading to the utter devastation of the world as we know it and to Jesus Christ’s triumphant return to inaugurate the Kingdom of God!
God has revealed these things in Scripture so that those who love and obey Him will understand the events occurring around them—empowering them to warn the world of what is to come and encouraging them as they see their redemption drawing near.
Yet the vast and detailed panorama of biblical prophecy is not only ignored by most who call themselves “Christian” in today’s society; even those who seek understanding often fail to find today’s nations mentioned within the Bible’s pages.
Of course, they see the name “Israel,” though they often think only of the modern Jewish state in the Middle East. But where are the military and economic powerhouses of our world? Where is the United States? Where are the nations of the British Commonwealth? What about Russia and China?
And where is Germany, the fourth largest economic power in the world and one of the leading nations of the European Union?
If the inspired words of Scripture explain the condition of our world and its nations in the last days, we should see those nations reflected in its pages! And we do see ancient names in end-time prophecies, such as Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria—and, of course, Israel. But while we see a few of those nations—such as Egypt—existing today, others, such as Assyria, seem to have faded into the past.
How can nations described in your Bible play powerful roles in end-time conflicts leading to Christ’s return if they are nowhere to be found today? And why should prophecy be trusted if it fails to recognize the powers that do exist today?
Failing to find modern nations in the pages of inspired prophecy, too many give up—meaning that they must ignore more than a quarter of their Bible, forgetting that the entirety of God’s word was inspired for our edification and instruction (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Too many, however, distort and reinterpret the inspired statements of the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation, and others in whatever ways strike their fancy or seem to fit the news of the day.
In either case, such readers make a terrible mistake—robbing them of vital understanding God intended to be revealed in our time and preventing them from gaining the peace of mind that comes from seeing the hand of the Almighty actively guiding the affairs of this world.
That terrible mistake is simple yet profound: ignoring the connection between ancient peoples and modern nations.
The peoples that populate today’s nations did not drop into their states, provinces, and countries from the Moon. Modern peoples have ancient histories—and understanding how to identify among today’s nations the ancient peoples mentioned in prophecy is an essential key to understanding the prophetic role those nations play in the events leading to Jesus Christ’s return!
Many see “Israel” in the Bible and are quick to think of the modern-day nation of Israel. While this nation does, indeed, correspond to a portion of the twelve ancient Hebrew tribes, those who assume that the “Israel” in Bible prophecy is only the modern nation of Israel are missing a crucial biblical and historical fact!
The Bible tells us that, after the death of Solomon, the ancient nation of Israel split into two nations: the southern nation of Judah, composed of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin—as well as a number of Levites—and the larger northern nation that retained the name Israel, composed of the remaining ten tribes (1 Kings 12:1–24). Secular historians do not dispute this. Over the course of their histories, these separated Hebrew nations occasionally went to war against each other (e.g., 2 Chronicles 13:1–20). King Ahaz of Judah even paid King Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria to protect him from the northern nation of Israel (2 Kings 16:7)! Bible prophecy describes Israel and Judah as two distinct nations that will be restored as one upon Christ’s return (Ezekiel 37:15–28). But until that time, they are separate!
The modern nation named Israel represents the descendants of the ancient nation of Judah. That is where the Jews get their name—from “Judah.”
Yet Israel in prophecy generally refers to the other nation, the northern ten tribes that went into captivity years before the southern nation of Judah did. And while the descendants of these ten “lost tribes” disappear from the clear view of history, God promised that He would remember them—and their identity would never be lost to Him!
Notice this prophecy given to Jacob before he died: “And Jacob called his sons and said, ‘Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days’” (Genesis 49:1).
The phrase “the last days” refers to the times just before the return of the Messiah. Jacob went on to describe the future time when his sons’ descendants would comprise full-fledged nations. One in particular would be a world superpower: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob” (Genesis 49:22–24).
In other words, Joseph’s descendants would not be lost and obscured among the nations. Rather, they would be a powerful people with military might in the years before Christ’s return.
Students of the Bible recognize today’s U.S., Great Britain, and other British-descended nations as Joseph’s descendants. To learn more about this remarkable prophecy and its fulfillment, request a free copy of The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy from the Regional Office nearest you, listed at the end of this booklet, or read it online at TomorrowsWorld.org. Understanding the identity of “Israel” in prophecy is a linchpin for comprehending how the last days will unfold and accurately understanding what is really happening in our world today!
Europe also has its role to play in the days leading up to Jesus’ return! That role is explored in depth in our free publication The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality? There, the prophecies of Daniel, Revelation, and more are unveiled to show how prophesied revivals of the ancient Roman Empire have historically arisen in Europe, how one final revival remains—the most powerful and dangerous of them all—and how the dynamics now seen in Europe continue to set the stage for the emergence of this world-shaking superpower. In this free resource, Europe’s connection to the revivals of ancient Rome, as well as its connection to Babylon and the religion represented by the prophetic harlot bearing the name of Babylon, are laid out for you to explore with your Bible in hand.
But understanding the future roles of the United States, Great Britain and the many British-descended nations, the modern nation called Israel, Europe, and the deceptive false religion manipulating events in the end time still leaves out a crucial piece of the prophetic puzzle. And no other modern nation more precisely fits the hole left by that missing piece than the modern nation of Germany! Like the U.S., Great Britain, and the modern nation known as Israel, Germany can be identified with an ancient nation, revealed in the pages of Scripture as playing a key role in end-time events.
In the pages that follow, we will explore the surprising connections between modern-day Germany and the ancient nation of Assyria. We will see that, far from being a tiny ethnic group with little influence on world affairs, Assyria is prophesied to play a dynamic and powerful part in end-time events. Students of Bible prophecy seeking to identify ancient Assyria among the modern nations of the world will see that Germany rises above the others as an unequalled candidate—a nation prepared by God Himself to accomplish His own purposes in history, as a people He calls “the work of My hands.”
To see the place of Germany in prophecy revealed, read on!
Search the Internet with the question “Who are the Assyrians?” and you’ll probably find some articles about people by that name who originated in the Middle East and today live in various places around the globe. Many take for granted that these scattered 4 or 5 million people must be all that remains of the once-mighty Assyrian Empire, the iron-fisted power that held so much of the ancient world under its sway.
Yet Assyria is prophesied to be a mighty force to contend with in the last days, right before Jesus Christ’s return. Your Bible describes a powerful, modern Assyria acting as a scourge to the modern nations of Israel and wielded like a weapon in the hands of God—one of the truly great superpowers vying for end-time domination of the world!
Do a few million scattered people really constitute the modern Assyria described by prophecy? How could they, if Assyria is prophesied to be a strong, intact, and militarily superior nation in the end time?
Much of Bible prophecy is dual, meaning that for such prophecies there was an initial, ancient fulfillment and there will be—or has been—a modern, end-time fulfillment. One example regards the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus foretold that the city would be destroyed, and He warned His disciples to flee when they saw the city surrounded by armies (Luke 21:20–21). But Jesus also intended the same prophecy to be understood as an end-time warning. The context of Matthew 24, which parallels Luke 21, clearly has an end-time application because Jesus speaks of a great tribulation “such as not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). This prophecy clearly had a first fulfillment when Jerusalem was sacked in 70 AD, but there will be another fulfillment at the end of the age, in the context of greater calamities.
Another example of dual fulfillment is the famous “abomination of desolation” mentioned in Daniel 11:31. Students of the Bible and history recognize that this passage was fulfilled in the days of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who sacrificed a pig on an altar built to Zeus in the temple at Jerusalem (Josephus, 1926, vol. 7, pp. 129–131, translated by Ralph Marcus). Though this fulfillment happened roughly two centuries before His ministry, Jesus plainly declares that there will also be a future fulfillment of that prophecy (Matthew 24:15).
Similarly, many of Isaiah’s prophecies are dual. Luke notes how Jesus read aloud from Isaiah 61:1–2 and told His audience that the words were “fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:17–21). Yet Christ did not quote the whole passage, which mentions the day of God’s vengeance—a day yet to come that will be followed by a larger, worldwide fulfillment of the healings and liberty of which He read.
Indeed, many prophecies that speak of ancient Israel’s sins—and subsequent punishment and redemption—find some measure of fulfillment in ancient days, yet portend a current and future fulfillment in our time. Ezekiel, for example, gave many prophecies concerning punishment to come upon Israel and Judah for their sins (e.g., Ezekiel 22). Yet when Ezekiel wrote his prophecies, Israel, the northern nation, had already been in captivity for more than 100 years. Clearly, his warning was not for ancient Israel, but for modern Israel—the peoples of the U.S. and the British-descended nations.
And do the accusations recorded by the prophets apply to our modern peoples? For instance, Isaiah 10:1 proclaims, “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees.” Do the modern nations of Israel, including America and Britain, “decree unrighteous decrees” today? Are many in these countries, which at least nominally respected the moral standards of the “Judeo-Christian ethic” in times past, now abandoning Scripture-based standards and writing their own secular standards?
If so, how should we expect the God of Israel—later known as Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:1–4), who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8)—to react?
He promises that He will bring a “day of punishment” for those nations rebelling against Him, with “desolation which will come from afar” (Isaiah 10:3). And He identifies the nation He will use to inflict this punishment: “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation” (vv. 5–6).
As we will see in the next chapter, God used the nation of Assyria to punish His sinning and rebellious people in the past. And prophecy indicates that Assyria will again be God’s rod in the future, used against the modern-day nations of Israel who persist in following in their forefathers’ sinful footsteps!
God does not change (Malachi 3:6). As He responded to a sinful Israel in the past, He will respond to a sinful Israel in the present—and Assyria will again be His tool.
Moses recorded a sobering prophecy for the house of Israel, a prophecy that was first fulfilled in 721 BC: “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you” (Deuteronomy 28:47–48).
God describes the source of this “yoke of iron” as an invading force that is ruthless, powerful, and utterly overwhelming: “The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young” (vv. 49–50).
Assyria was that nation, the corrective rod of God’s anger. And, given God’s consistency, we should expect the prophesied Assyria to be the nation He will use in the future.
Yet if “Assyria” today consists of just a few million people scattered around the world—with no nation of their own, no government, and no military—how could God use end-time Assyria as a rod of correction against some of the most powerful nations in the modern world?
These passages of Scripture can only be fulfilled in our day if modern Assyria is a very powerful nation at the end of the age, capable of exerting its will in world affairs as it did in the ancient past. And many prophecies make it plain that this must be so. For example, consider Isaiah 27:12–13:
It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will thresh, from the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt; and you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel. So it shall be in that day: the great trumpet will be blown; they will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, and they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
This was never fulfilled in the past and remains a prophecy of the future! Though many Jews eventually returned to the Promised Land from their Babylonian captivity, the ancient Israelites of the other ten tribes never did return there from the land of Assyria. Either God’s prophecies are false, or this prophecy has a future fulfillment.
Those who believe the word of God is unerringly true (John 10:35) know the fulfillment of this passage is future, and Assyria must exist as a great, nation-conquering, captive-taking power in the end time!
Other passages also describe this time of future punishment and captivity—and the central role that Assyria will play. For example, Hosea 9:1–4 reveals that Israel will be punished for its spiritual harlotry with other gods, and that “Ephraim”—one of the northern ten tribes of Israel, not the Jews of Judah—will “return to Egypt, and shall eat unclean things in Assyria.”
With this we see another description of return from those lands of captivity—and with a fascinating and important detail added! “‘They shall walk after the Lord. He will roar like a lion. When He roars, then His sons shall come trembling from the west; they shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt, like a dove from the land of Assyria. And I will let them dwell in their houses,’ says the Lord” (Hosea 11:10–11).
Note “from the west.” Remember that when the peoples of Israel were taken captive in 721 BC, they were taken to the north and east of Jerusalem—not to its west. And the ancient empire of Assyria lay to the east. And, unlike the Jews of the southern kingdom, the captives of the nation of Israel never returned to their homeland after their captivity. So, what should we make of this prophecy that tells us of Israelites dwelling again in their houses, having come home from the west, not the east? It must be a prophecy of a future time when they will return home, coming eastward from the west, returning from the horrors of warfare and captivity.
Assyria must exist once again as a powerful nation in the last days, and it must exist west of the homeland of Israel, not in its ancient lands to the east.
Isaiah, too, tells of a future time when the Israelites will be brought back from captivity. Notice his plain statement that this prophecy describes a “second time”—clearly a future fulfillment of a prophesied second exodus.
It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea…. There will be a highway for the remnant of His people who will be left from Assyria, as it was for Israel in the day that he came up from the land of Egypt (Isaiah 11:11, 16).
The initial exodus from Egypt was massive—by some estimates hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of Israelites brought out of captivity. If Israel will be brought out of a future captivity in Assyria, then Assyria must be a massive and powerful nation in the end time in order to take them captive in the first place!
The modern-day peoples of Israel and Judah—America, Britain and the British-descended peoples, plus their Jewish “siblings” in the nation now called “Israel” in the Middle East—make up some of the most militarily powerful nations in the world. Any nation powerful enough to vanquish end-time Israel and take its people captive will have to be a mighty nation in its own right—indeed, a superpower. When the Bible speaks of “Assyria” in end-time prophecy, it simply cannot be talking about the powerless, nationless, Assyrian peoples of the Middle East.
So, where can we find the powerful Assyrian nation prophesied in Scripture?
Jerome, a leading figure of the Roman church in the fourth and early fifth centuries AD, is famous for translating the entire Bible into Latin. He is also known for his firsthand account of an attack on Rome by Germanic tribes:
Savage tribes in countless numbers have overrun all parts of Gaul. The whole country between the Alps and the Pyrenees, between the Rhine and the Ocean, has been laid waste by hordes of Quadi, Vandals, Sarmatians, Alans, Gepids, Herules, Saxons, Burgundians, Allemanni and—alas! for the commonweal!—even Pannonians. For “Assur also is joined with them” (The Fate of Rome, ca. 409 AD).
What should we make of Jerome’s enigmatic statement, “Assur also is joined with them”? He was quoting from Psalm 83:8. Let’s take a look at the verses leading up to that mention of Assyria:
Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You (Psalm 83:1–5).
This prophecy is of a group of nations forming an alliance to fight against God’s people, to cut them off from even being a nation. And truly, through much of Israel’s history, their enemies have attempted to wipe them off the face of the earth. But God has miraculously protected them, time and again. Who are the people the Bible predicts will fight against Israel? “The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot” (Psalm 83:6–8).
Many of the nations listed in verses 6–8 are connected to Arab nations that surround the modern nation of Israel in the Middle East today. Yet the invasion of Germanic tribes into Rome prompted Jerome to mention, narrowly, only the Assyria portion of this passage.
The connection between Assyria and Germany is real. Assyria cannot be a nationless people, scattered like a small amount of dust among the nations of the world in the end time. If Bible prophecy is true—and “let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4)—then Assyria must be a nation of power in the world today, prepared by God to serve His world-changing purposes in these last days. It must be a nation capable of fulfilling the prophesied showdown with the modern-day, nuclear-powered Israelite nations—the U.S., Great Britain, and the British-descended peoples.
Of all the nations and peoples of the earth, modern-day Germany best fits the characteristics and prophesied role of Assyria in the last days.
Read on to discover for yourself the connection between the ancient empire of Assyria and the growing powerhouse of Germany. When you learn the truth of that connection, the central role of Germany in the final events of this world—leading up to the return of Jesus Christ—becomes crystal clear!
To understand the modern identity of Assyria, we must understand its ancient roots and history. The ancient Assyrian Empire developed from the city-state of Asshur (also spelled Assur and Ashur), named for one of the sons of Shem, who was one of the sons of Noah (Genesis 10:1, 22). Eventually, “Asshur” was considered one of the chief gods of the Assyrian people (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1939, vol. 1, p. 292).
While the city was called by Asshur’s name, it was not long before a relative of the line of Ham took it by force. That was the man known as Nimrod. Assyria was called “the land of Nimrod,” as we read in Micah 5:6, and Genesis 10:8–9 reports that Nimrod was a “mighty hunter before the Lord”—with “before” carrying a connotation of “in the face of” or “in rebellion against.”
As a prominent figure from humanity’s ancient past, Nimrod has been remembered with many names: “Ninus was the first king of Assyria and built Niniveh, and called it by his own name. But Ninus is a name of Nimrod.... It is thus evinced beyond doubt that Nimrod, and not Ashur, son of Shem, founded Niniveh” (Algernon Herbert, Nimrod, a Discourse upon Certain Passages of History and Fable, vol. 1, p. 374).
Centuries later, God planted the ancient nation of Israel in the land of Caanan, after He brought the Israelites miraculously out of captivity in Egypt. They entered the land around 1400 BC and, 400 years later, grew into a powerful and prosperous nation, particularly under the reigns of David and Solomon, that eventually divided into two separate nations: Israel to the north and Judah to the south.
Over the next several hundred years, the northern house of Israel—sometimes called “Samaria” in Scripture, after the name of the new nation’s capital—fell into rampant idolatry and paganism. The Eternal sent prophets to warn them that their wholesale apostasy made their destruction inevitable. A summary of God’s hand in the rise and fall of His chosen nations—and how He uses one nation to correct another—is found in Isaiah 10, which we read earlier:
Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, who write misfortune, which they have prescribed to rob the needy of justice, and to take what is right from the poor of My people…. What will you do in the day of punishment, and in the desolation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your glory? Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners, and they shall fall among the slain (vv. 1–4).
Putting the pieces together, we can see that the “desolation which will come from afar” would come from the mighty war-making machine of the Assyrian empire. Isaiah began his prophetic ministry in the latter part of the eighth century BC. Around 732 BC, the ancient superpower of Assyria attacked Israel. 2 Kings 16:7 provides the account from the perspective of the kingdom of Judah’s king Ahaz, who “hired” the Assyrians to protect him from the Syrians and northern house of Israel: “So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, saying, ‘I am your servant and your son. Come up and save me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who rise up against me.’”
Tiglath-Pileser did indeed attack Syria and northern Israel, and the account is preserved in Assyrian annals discovered in 1849 at the site of ancient Nineveh. Approximately 30,000 cuneiform tablets were deciphered that provide a remarkable glimpse into the history of this ancient nation, told in their own words. Here is the Assyrian account of the first campaign against “Bet-Omri”—the “house of Omri,” an ancient name for the northern Kingdom of Israel, referring to King Omri, who ruled Israel in the ninth century BC and fathered an important dynasty:
Bet-Omri (Israel) all of whose cities I had added to my territories on my former campaigns, and had left out only the city of Samaria…. The whole of Naphtali I took for Assyria. I put my officials over them as governors. The land of Bet-Omri, all its people and their possessions I took away to Assyria (Werner Keller, The Bible as History, 1982, p. 261).
It was the beginning of the end. Isaiah had prophesied that the house of Israel would be punished for its sins—and, about a decade after his first campaign, the king of Assyria returned to overthrow Israel’s capital city of Samaria: “Now the king of Assyria went throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes” (2 Kings 17:5–6).
The Assyrian account parallels the Bible perfectly. Note what Assyria’s own king, Sargon II, recorded in the eighth century BC: “In the first year of my reign, I besieged and conquered Samaria…. I led away into captivity 27,290 people who lived there” (Keller, p. 263).
The inhabitants of northern Israel were taken out of their land, deported by Assyria, and moved to the regions beyond the Euphrates, north of Assyria, and to the “cities of the Medes.” We have already discussed what happened to the Israelites from there, which is covered in detail in our free booklet The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.
But Isaiah not only prophesied of Israel’s demise—he was also clear that Assyria was chosen by God Himself for the job:
Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, and against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, to seize the spoil, to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, nor does his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy, and cut off not a few nations (Isaiah 10:5–7).
God prophesied through Isaiah that He would use Assyria as the “rod of My anger” with which to punish His sinful people, Israel. But because of the “arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks” (Isaiah 10:12), Isaiah then prophesied that Assyria also would be defeated and humiliated. God will teach both Israel and Assyria a powerful lesson—that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4:17).
Not only did Isaiah prophesy warnings to Assyria, but so did the prophet Nahum, early in the seventh century BC.
The burden against Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite…. Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery. Its victim never departs. The noise of a whip and the noise of rattling wheels, of galloping horses, of clattering chariots!… The mistress of sorceries, who sells nations through her harlotries, and families through her sorceries (Nahum 1:1; 3:1–2, 4).
Nineveh, steeped in idolatrous practices inherited from Babylon, was an empire with a violent reputation. While God would use their violent tendencies and ambitions for His own purposes, He would not absolve them of their guilt. God punished Nineveh by bringing a coalition of Babylonians, Medes, and Scythians against the city—a punishment the prophet Nahum also foretold: “Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; your nobles rest in the dust. Your people are scattered on the mountains, and no one gathers them” (Nahum 3:18).
Nineveh was sacked and completely destroyed in 612 BC, so that the city was totally undistinguishable as the great city it had once been (James Breasted, The Conquest of Civilization, 1954, pp. 174–175). God’s word had been fulfilled—as it always is and always will be! Because of their arrogance and rebellion against God, He had judged both the house of Israel and the empire of Assyria. But did Nineveh’s destruction mean the end of the Assyrians?
Not at all. They, like the northern ten tribes of Israel, merely withdrew from plain view. Yet Bible prophecy demands that they still exist in the end time as a great nation on the earth. Just as the ten “lost” tribes of Israel must and do still exist—known to God among the peoples of the earth and being prepared for their date with prophetic punishment—so too must the Assyrians.
Clues to their identity among the modern nations of the world are available for those with eyes willing to see and hearts prepared to believe that God will fulfill His word. We explore those clues in the next chapter.
The mighty city of Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian empire and, at the time, one of the largest cities in the world, fell in 612 BC—overrun by a confederation of Babylonians, Scythians, Persians, and Medes. The city was completely destroyed, and its population all but vanished. So complete was the destruction that, years later, even those living in and near the ruins had no idea that a city named Nineveh had been there. Xenophon refers to the Assyrian capital in his famous work Anabasis by the name “Mespila,” supposing only that it had been an old stronghold of the Medes (book 3, chapter 4, sec. 10, Carleton L. Brownson, Ed.). It was as if the Assyrians and their great capital called Nineveh had just disappeared.
But had they?
People do not truly “disappear” if their presence is vital to God’s plan for the end time, and we have seen the Assyrians play a crucial role. The God of Heaven, who will bring all nations into their places for the fulfillment of His end-time prophecies, knows where the Assyrians are—and where He wants them to be in the last days. He describes Himself as sorting peoples like one who sifts grain through a sieve with such care and attention that “not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground” (Amos 9:9).
The Assyrians exist and are being prepared for their end-time role! But where? History gives us clues.
Before we look at what happened to Assyria after its fall, let’s consider what options the Assyrians had in the seventh century BC for travel outside their empire’s borders.
In ancient times, one of the easiest and most efficient means of transportation was by boat along navigable waterways, such as rivers, lakes, and seas. Such waterways facilitated migration and trade over long distances, and even a cursory look at a good map of Europe and the Middle East reveals navigable waterways leading almost all the way from ancient Assyria to Central and Western Europe.
Along the southern shore of the Black Sea we find a strategic peninsula anciently called Sinope, which commanded the east-west trade route leading to Europe. By the fifth century BC, traders from Sinope were a naval power in the Black Sea and inhabited a number of colonies on its coast. The city of Sinope was, by all accounts, a crucial and strategic locus of trade and exchange between Asia Minor and Europe for centuries—even millennia.
Though generally not considered part of Assyria proper, Sinope as an Assyrian colony is said to have served as a launching point for threads of Assyrian influence far beyond the empire’s borders: “The early foundations of Sinope are probably Assyrian. The extreme antiquity of that great power is constantly receiving fresh evidence…. It seems evident that… about 1100 BC the Assyrian power swept westward through Asia Minor to the Mediterranean” (David M. Robinson, “Ancient Sinope: First Part,” The American Journal of Philology, vol. 27, no. 2, p. 145). And from Sinope, Assyrians would have had access to the region all around the Black Sea and Eastern Europe—potentially establishing an early presence in and familiarity with areas that would become crucial in later migrations after the fall of their empire.
There is additional evidence of an early Assyrian presence at the edges of the European continent, beyond the realm normally associated with its empire.
Consider the famous battle of Troy on the very western tip of Asia Minor, adjacent to Greece at the southeastern corner of Europe. The battle of Troy was long considered a mere legend by modern readers, but most historians now see it as grounded in real events, as did the ancients.
The ancient Greek historian Diodorus, writing in the first century BC, noted that “Priam, who was king of the Troad and a vassal of the king of the Assyrians… sent an embassy to the king [of Assyria] requesting aid” (Diodorus of Sicily, 1933, vol. 1, p. 423, translated by Charles Henry Oldfather).
While not a part of their empire, Assyrian interest in the region of ancient Troy should be no surprise. Situated at a strategic point near the Bosporus connecting the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea, the area would have been a vital “sea gate” for commerce in the ancient world. Scholars have long recognized the importance of Black Sea navigation to Assyrian prosperity:
It was the mastery of the Black Sea route which was the great prize contended for by the Greek and the Asiatic from the siege of Troy until the day of Alexander. “The legend of the Argonauts proves the danger which attended an attempt to enter the Propontis [western entrance into the Black Sea] and leads to the inference that Troy must have been an outpost of the Assyrian-Phoenician combination” (“Reviews: The New Empire,” Political Science Quarterly, December 1903, vol. 18, no. 4, p. 690).
A strong Assyrian presence in these regions around the periphery of Europe at the height of their empire would have greatly aided Assyrian migration into Europe after the fall of Nineveh.
After the Assyrian empire fell in the late 600s BC, many of its inhabitants were deported by their conquerors, causing them to mix and become obscured among other peoples.
Among the peoples that overran Nineveh were the Scythians, a powerful group of tribes that lived in the area north of the Caspian and Black Seas. Diodorus of Sicily, writing in the first century BC, notes that the conquering Scythians repatriated Assyrians along the southern shore of the Black Sea: “It was by these kings [of the Scythians] that many of the conquered peoples were removed to other homes, and two of these became very great colonies: the one was composed of Assyrians and was removed to the land between Paphlagonia and Pontus” (Diodorus of Sicily, vol. 2, p. 29, Oldfather).
A map of Paphlagonia and Pontus shows that many Assyrians were forcibly repatriated to areas not unfamiliar to them—Sinope and the southern coast of the Black Sea.
Remember that the Assyrians had exercised influence in and around the southern shore of the Black Sea before and possibly even founded the harbor city of Sinope. This is where they went after being defeated by the Scythians. German historian Max Duncker notes that another historian, thought at the time to be Scylax of Caryanda of the sixth century BC, also testifies to the Assyrians being located on the southern coast of the Black Sea after Nineveh’s fall: “A promontory running into the sea to the north of Sinope is called Syrias. The Greeks derived the people in this district from Syrus, a son of Apollo. Scylax of Caryanda names the coast of the Black Sea, from the Chalybians to Armene, westward of the promontory of Syrias, Assyria” (The History of Antiquity, 1877, vol. 1, p. 540).
Though modern scholars now believe the writings Duncker cites are not truly by Scylax of Caryanda, but by a later historian, they still remind us that ancient historians noted the presence of migrated Assyrians along the south of the Black Sea.
But the south, only?
If the Assyrians had a strong presence on the south side of the Black Sea, a presence in Scythia on the north side is no stretch of the imagination. A boat trip from Sinope to the northern coast is not difficult. As David Robinson points out, “Ancient navigators could cross the Pontus just at this point without losing sight of land for more than a few hours on ordinary days, and on very clear days without losing sight of it at all” (David M. Robinson, “Ancient Sinope: First Part,” The American Journal of Philology, 1906, vol. 27, no. 2, p. 136).
As there was quite a bit of maritime traffic north and south across this narrow part of the Black Sea, it would not be unexpected to find Assyrians living on both sides. And artifacts reflecting the Assyrian style—vases, horse trappings, weapons, and furniture—have been found in Scythian and south-Russian lands north of the Black Sea (Michael Ivanovitch Rostovtzeff, Iranians & Greeks in South Russia, 1922, pp. 50–52).
The evidence clearly suggests a strong Assyrian presence—after the fall of their empire—in the area around the Black Sea. And if the Assyrians were in the Black Sea region, they were on the very doorstep of Europe.
Look closely at the history and geography of the Black Sea region, and you will find additional paths into Europe available to migrating Assyrians after the fall of Nineveh. Consider the Hittite empire—an imperium that both rivaled the Assyrians’ and was closely related.
In the second millennium BC, the ancient civilization of the Hittites, sometimes called the Hatti, ruled across Asia Minor from central Anatolia, now present-day Turkey. Tablets of the Akkadian dynasty call this region “The Land of the Hatti,” or the Hittites (“Asia Minor,” WorldHistory.org, May 4, 2018). In fact, the land continued to be known by this name centuries after the Hittite empire was conquered—a testimony to its powerful presence and influence. Historian Will Durant has noted, “The Hittites were among the most powerful and civilized of the early Indo-European peoples…. We have seen how Rameses II was forced to make peace with them, and to acknowledge the Hittite king as his equal” (Our Oriental Heritage, 1954, p. 286).
The culture of the Hatti or Hittites flourished from 1400–1200 BC and had many ties with the Assyrian empire to the east. “The name Hittite is usually applied to all those tribes that occupied the territory from the Black Sea south to the borders of Palestine…. Some of them were allied in race to the Assyrians and Phoenicians and, like the Assyrians and Phoenicians, they borrowed most of their deities, their culture and their later writings from the Babylonians” (Roscoe Lewis Ashley, Early European Civilization, 1916, p. 50).
Those connections eventually became conflicts, and the Hittite empire had fallen ca. 1200 BC at the hands of Assyrian conquerors. Remaining Hittite outposts became city-states within the Assyrian empire, which, as scholar Joshua J. Mark notes at WorldHistory.org, “stamped the region with their own culture and values” (“The Hittites,” May 1, 2018).
The cultural and racial ties between the Hittites and the Assyrians were strong. Many historians and archaeologists have noted the striking similarities between these two peoples, even before their capital cities fell and they increasingly mingled and mixed across Asia Minor.
The most striking feature shared by both Assyrians and Hittites was a markedly higher level of militarism than their contemporaries, which aided them in creating and maintaining empires. The military tactics of both peoples stressed rapid troop movements and surprise, and each developed a reputation for advancing the technology of war, as in refining their use of chariots and cavalry.
Not only did the Assyrians exercise great influence over Asia Minor during the declining years of the Hittite empire; it was after the fall of Nineveh that the histories of the Hittites and Assyrians became forever linked. In fact, one of the prominent cities of Asia Minor was often called Ninus Vetus or Old Nineveh (Georges Perrot and Charles Chipiez, History of Art in Sardinia, Judea, Syria and Asia Minor, Part 2, 1890, p. 272).
The connection and mingling between the two peoples provide an important element for tracing the movement of Assyrians after the fall of their empire. Signs and clues concerning the presence of Hittites in the historical and archaeological record help us to find the paths taken by this mixed people after the fall of Nineveh.
In his 1891 work The Hittites: Their Inscriptions and Their History, historian John Campbell notes that Hittites are “among the oldest exiles from Asia Minor” who were driven out of Thrace, Macedonia, and eventually out of the southern states of Greece—that is, further away from Asia Minor and into Europe (p. 278). Campbell notes, too, additional routes taken by the Hittites, including through Scythia in southern Russia, north of the Black Sea, where we’ve already located Assyrian travelers. In fact, so many Hittites were migrating through the area of the Scythians that Campbell feels compelled to say, “The tribes to the north of the Black Sea which Herodotus calls Scythic were not all Hittite” (p. 280, emphasis ours)—again, a witness to the ancient presence of these peoples on the doorstep of Europe itself.
And once on the doorstep, why not walk through the door?
History suggests that these peoples, driven northward and westward by continual migratory pressure from conquerors, eventually did just that.
In his book Hittites: People of a Thousand Gods, Johannes Lehman explains a fascinating discovery of artifacts of a particular type of cultic practice—a god riding a bull—which traces a line from ancient Assyria all the way to central Europe:
Altanatolien by Theodor Bossert, a leading Hittitologist, contains a map showing all the sites that have yielded divine effigies standing or seated on a bull. They run in a straight line from Syria to Bogazkoy and from there along the Danube to the Rhine, with an offshoot veering left to Italy. This god mounted on a bull is the Hittite weather-god (1977, p. 81).
That northwesterly direction of that religious motif—from the Middle East into Asia Minor, then from the Black Sea into Europe and Germany—would correspond to the direction of travel into Europe of the Assyrian and Hittite peoples from the very regions many historians place them after the fall of Nineveh.
The mention of the Danube and the Rhine is noteworthy. Look at a map of Europe, particularly focusing on the southeastern corner, and you’ll find both the Black Sea—where historical evidence places Assyrians after the fall of Nineveh—and the mouth of the famous Danube River. You can trace the beautiful Danube River about 1,700 miles to the west and northwest all the way into the heart of central Europe.
In his classic work History of the Anglo-Saxons, nineteenth-century historian Sharon Turner notes that, indeed, waves of migration from eastern lands into Europe did take place, helping to form much of the population that would come to inhabit the Western region of the continent. After looking at the flow of distinct languages into Europe, Turner notes in book 1 of his work that “the most authentic facts that can now be gleaned from ancient history, and the most probable traditions that have been preserved in Europe, concur to prove, that it has been peopled by three great streams of population from the East, which have followed each other, at intervals so distinct, as to possess languages clearly separable from each other” (1852, p. 3).
Tomorrow’s World has explored the earliest portions of these waves of migrations into Europe in other works, detailing the origins of the Celts, Cimmerians, and Cymri, their connections to the broader people called the Scythians, and the Israelite migrations into Europe. Those early migrations correspond to the movement of Israelites after the defeat of the northern ten tribes of Israel—not the southern two tribes making up Judah—as explained in our free resource The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.
But, as Turner notes, there were multiple waves of migrations populating Europe with peoples from eastern lands, and those waves brought more than Israelites. Note his description of the second migratory wave:
The next stream of barbaric tribes, whose progress formed the second great influx of population into Europe, were the Scythian, German, and Gothic tribes. They also entered it out of Asia. It is of importance to recollect the fact of their primeval locality, because it corresponds with this circumstance, that Herodotus, besides the main Scythia, which he places in Europe, mentions also an Eastern or Asiatic Scythia, beyond the Caspian and Iaxartes (p. 82).
Turner then notes how this new wave pressed the first migrants—which would include the earliest Israelite migrants—further westward as the newcomers took up land in eastern and more central Europe. Later, a third group, consisting of Slavonians and Sarmatians came from the east and in turn put pressure on the Scythians and Goths. This pushed the Scythians and Goths farther west until they settled and remained in central Europe, with the third group remaining in eastern Europe. And that is basically where these peoples are to this day: Celtic on the west and north, Germanic in central, and Slavic in the eastern part of Europe.
Other historians have noted these waves as well, identifying the second wave as resulting in the Germanic people in central Europe, yet having their origins in the lands of the Middle East. Consider, for instance, A. H. Gifford’s 1899 work, Germany, Her People and Their Story. Gifford writes of a sea-captain named Pytheas, who sailed up the northwest coast of Europe during the time of Alexander the Great. There he found “Teutons of German birth and the Cimbrii of Celtic origin. They came originally, it is believed, from far-off Asia, one tribe after another, the fiercest driving the others farther and farther before them, until their advance was cut off by the broad Atlantic or the cold North Sea” (p. 10).
The Asiatic origin of the Germans in this second wave of migration—the same migration that brought the Scythians, who were connected to and likely infused with post-Nineveh Assyrian peoples—was also attested to by lexicographer William Smith, who wrote that “the Germans regarded themselves as indigenous in the country; but there can be no doubt that they were a branch of the great Indo-Germanic race, who, along with the Celts, migrated into Europe from the Caucasus and the countries around the Black and Caspian seas, at a period long anterior to historical records” (A Classical Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, Mythology and Geography, 1904, p. 281).
German historian Wolfgang Menzel also locates the origins of the Germans among these people, noting that the Scythians north of the Black Sea “were, if not all, at least partly Germans,” migrating into Europe soon after the Celts and often confused with them (Germany from the Earliest Period, translated by Mrs. George Horrocks, 1904, vol. 1, pp. 10–11). This is the very same people historian John Campbell identified with the Hittites.
We’ve seen that the Assyrians and Hittites migrated into the lands south and north of the Black Sea and to the lands of the peoples broadly identified as Scythians—the people who contributed to the conquering of Nineveh and the end of the Assyrian empire. We would expect the Assyrians to arrive in Europe with the second wave and, thus, to find themselves in central Europe, where archaeologists have indeed found the evidence of Assyrian and Hittite culture along the Danube and the Rhine. And the second wave of migration—in Gifford’s words, the German migration—provided Europe with the ancestors of the modern Germans (p. 11).
The wave that gave birth to the German peoples of Europe is the very same wave that would have borne post-empire Assyrians into Europe.
Of course, these populations involve a large mixing of peoples—distinct in their larger groups, but intermingled enough that pulling apart the threads of their exact origins is a challenge for even the most skilled historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists.
Yet a clear path—buried in the clues, comments, and observations of historians—does lead from the lands of Assyria and the fall of its ancient empire to the central regions of Europe. And the destinies of all peoples are governed and shaped by the God of Heaven, who will, in His time, ensure that all peoples and nations—including the Assyrians—are in place to fulfill His prophesied conclusion to this age of human history. God declares His ability and His plan to carefully sort the individuals of the earth so that not the smallest grain is lost (Amos 9:9).
God has prophesied of the still-future role of the Assyrians—a powerful end-time people—in the climactic events of human history. What we have seen in historical records should prompt us to ask: Is there a powerful nation in central Europe that seems to fit what we know of the nation and people of ancient Assyria and that could fulfill all we know of Assyria’s future role in the days just ahead?
Yes, there is: the modern-day powerhouse of Germany.
Of all the modern nations of the world, Germany stands out as the modern embodiment of the ancient Assyrian Empire, prepared by God to fulfill end-time prophecies! In addition to the ancient migrations that connect these nations, there is simply no other people in the world whose history, capacities, and talents make them a better candidate for the Assyrian mantle than the German people. Even now, considering the pivotal role it has historically played in events that have shaped the entire globe, Germany is a nation on the verge of rising to a position of worldwide leadership at a time when the U.S. is in relative decline.
Throughout history, the Germans have been unified at certain times and divided at others. Otto von Bismarck knit together as one 22 German-speaking states and three Hanseatic cities —separate, but all German. Today, Germans are facing questions about their nation’s identity, purpose, and destiny.
In 2015 and 2016, a surge of immigrants flooded into Europe in the wake of the Syrian civil war, and thousands of Syrian refugees poured across Germany’s borders, lured by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee-friendly policies. Not long after the crisis, which had stirred many Germans to ponder the question of what it means to “be German,” the science magazine Wissenschaft ran an article pointing out that Germany had long ago been a nation of immigrants:
We Germans in particular like to see ourselves as typical Central Europeans—as a people with long-standing cultural, but also genetic roots. This is one of the reasons why the refugees from the Middle East are considered “foreign” by many. But in reality, we are much closer to migrants than we think… because we also go back to a long series of migrants—and most of them came from the home of today’s refugees (“Why ‘the German roots’ do not exist,” May 18, 2017, translated from the original).
This is consistent with the post-empire migrations of Assyrians we have already explored.
The connections between the central European powerhouse of Germany and the ancient Assyrians may be surprising, but they are not imaginary. In addition to the timing of migrations, which would have brought Assyrians into Europe at the very same time they brought the people that became the Germans, there are other noteworthy connections between this modern nation and the ancient empire. Let’s look at just a few.
Consider, for example, the city of Trier, considered by many to be the oldest city in Germany. While it is widely considered today to be a Celt-founded city, eventually conquered and given central importance by the Romans, German legends going at least as far back as the eleventh century AD cite an Assyrian origin for the town, connecting it to the descendants of Ninus, or the biblical Nimrod (Hubertus Günther, “The Babylonian Origins of Trier,” The Quest for an Appropriate Past in Literature, Art and Architecture, 2018, pp. 586–616). Visitors to Trier can still read an affirmation of the town’s Assyrian origins in an inscription on a historic house in the town’s marketplace.
While the idea of an outpost or colony of Assyria—established far in advance of the eventual fall of Nineveh and the resultant mass migration of the Assyrians—might seem improbable to some, such oral traditions often have their roots in truth. And why such a connection persists between Germany’s oldest town and the ancient Assyrian people is a question worth asking—a question answered by the likely presence of Assyrians on the doorstep of Europe even before the destruction of their empire, as we’ve already seen.
After Adolf Hitler’s reign in Germany, many parallels to Assyria and Germany did not go unnoticed by observers and historians. Klaus Fischer, a professor of history and philosophy at Allan Hancock College, writes of that era:
Ingenious rituals were devised to break down individuality: marching columns, mass rallies… it was a gleam of sinister beauty the world had not seen since the days of the ancient Assyrians…. Most of these grandiose plans (colonizing Russia, annexing Crimea, etc.) were postponed by the exigencies of war, but they reflect the Assyrian nature of German policy toward conquered peoples (Nazi Germany: A New History, 1995, pp. 342, 496, emphasis ours).
A. Leo Oppenheim, a renowned historian at the University of Chicago, noted the ancient Assyrians’ extremely nationalistic tendencies, including “a strong sense of participating in a common and native way of life”—akin to the German idea of a volk or people (Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization, 1979, pp. 66).
Like the Assyrians, “the Germans have always had a reputation for being militarily tough, not just in the twentieth century, but throughout history” (Dan Carlin, The End Is Always Near, 2019, p. 72). Yet this capacity for militarism reached a terrifying climax under the Nazi regime, which transformed Germany into a thoroughly militarized society, capable of brutal efficiency and supporting rapid troop movements to catch enemies completely off guard with the force and speed of their attack—much like the Assyrians and Hittites of old. In fact, the Assyrians were noted for being “especially fond of war, which they waged against their enemies with fierceness and cruelty” and for deporting their conquered peoples by the tens of thousands (Roscoe Lewis Ashley, Early European Civilization, 1921, pp. 44–45)—a characterization hard to ignore when considering the history of World War II.
Of course, the cruelty of Nazi Germany did not stop at forced deportations, and the Holocaust, too, finds its match in ancient Assyria, as many historians have noted. From November 2018 to February 2019, the British Museum invited the world to look upon the “efficient brutality” of the Assyrian empire in its “I Am Ashurbanipal” exhibit. In his review for The Guardian of the ancient stone reliefs of Assyria on display in the exhibit, art critic Jonathan Jones’ opinion of what he saw was summarized in his title: “Some of the Most Appalling Images Ever Created.” Jones noted how the Assyrians carefully and proudly recorded and illustrated in vast stone reliefs their “efficient brutality.” After quoting only one example of Assyrian cruelty visited upon a surrendering people, recorded in the words of King Ashurbanipal himself, historian Arther Ferrill remarked, “This gruesome document is nearly as revolting as photographs of Nazi concentration camps, and it has few parallels in history” (The Origins of War: From the Stone Age to Alexander the Great, 1985, p. 69).
Behind the brutality was an advanced level of organization akin to the orderly and systematic nature associated with modern Germany. “Ashurbanipal had what it took to fight lions but it was his administrative abilities that made him a successful crusher and smiter of peoples,” Jonathan Jones states in his review for The Guardian. “This excellent organization… was the true originality of the Assyrian Empire. It was precociously modern in its organisational rigour. Ashurbanipal was not a romantic conqueror…. He was the CEO of a ruthless global enterprise.”
Again, the parallels cannot be escaped. “Just as Hannah Arendt argued that the Holocaust was perpetrated by characterless paper-pushers, not flamboyant sadists,” Jones observed, “so we find here that Assyrian atrocities—including the forced resettlement of thousands of Israelites—were not the product of random mayhem but diligent organisation.”
And even the most casual observer reviewing the symbols and icons of the ancient Assyrians and Hittites alongside the symbols associated with the Germanic peoples and empires of Europe, as well as the prominent symbols of Nazi Germany, will notice the similarities. The Assyrian god Assur is often depicted as a warrior in a sun disk bearing eagle’s wings—a disk sometimes bearing bolts of lightning (Exploring the Pattern and Ideogram of Swastika, Indian Institute of Technology, July 2016, p. 135). The Hittites used both the winged disc and swastika motifs in their engraved reliefs, bronze standards, and sun disks, as well as the double-headed eagle. Such imagery is strongly present in the cultures of Germany, Prussia, and Austria, and left its mark on the Holy Roman Empire, as well. The image of the Nazi eagle and swastika is burned into the mind and conscience of anyone familiar with the history of World War II. The Iron Cross, instituted as a military decoration in Prussia by King Frederick Wilhelm III and used by Imperial and Nazi Germany, is also seen hanging from the neck of the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad V in an engraved stela from the ninth century BC.
Let us not forget that Assyrian and Hittite religious cultic images of a god riding a bull have been found in artifacts along the Danube in southern Germany and along the Rhine in the Western portion of the nation. Some sort of connection is certain.
And what other great power in the world possesses such a collection of connections with the ancient Assyrians—in cultural characteristics, cultic symbolism, and migratory timing and placement? If Assyria is not just a small collection of scattered peoples but is, instead, a dynamic and militarily mighty nation capable of exerting its will on others and playing a key role in the end time—just as the Bible describes it—what other nation or people fits more closely than Germany?
The possibilities that Germany represents the modern incarnation of this end-time power become all the more enticing when we review the role the German people have played throughout history as the engine God has used to drive prophecy forward—in the form of the prophesied revivals of the Roman Empire.
We have seen that Isaiah prophesied of an end-time Assyrian “rod” (Isaiah 10:5) that God would use in the last days. When we consider how God has used the German people and historical German empires to drive prophetic events forward, it is hard to ignore the intimate interweaving of German history with that of the Holy Roman Empire—a political entity crucial to the fulfillment of the end-time beast of Revelation.
This prophesied “beast” is covered far more thoroughly in our free resource The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality? Here, let’s summarize what we need to know.
Both Daniel and the Apostle John, living centuries apart, were given visions of a series of “superpower” kingdoms that would reign through history until the return of Jesus Christ. Daniel was shown four kingdoms depicted as beasts. First, he saw a lion, representing the Babylonian Empire under which he was then living. Then he saw a bear, symbolizing the Medo-Persian Empire to follow, and then a leopard, representing the fast-moving Greco-Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great. The fourth beast, however, was unlike any natural animal—representing the Roman Empire that eventually followed Alexander’s.
Jesus’ disciple John, living in the time of the Roman Empire, added fascinating details, illustrating how Rome had absorbed characteristics of the empires that preceded it: “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion” (Revelation 13:1–2).
John was shown how this beast, the Roman Empire, would suffer many declines and many revivals over time, symbolized by the seven heads. He writes, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed” (Revelation 13:3).
What was this mortal wound? The Roman Empire nominally fell in 476 AD, but before this the Empire had already split into eastern and western halves. The western half fell, but the eastern half—ruled from Constantinople—did not collapse. So, what was the healing of the mortal wound?
Germanic tribes ruled Rome for several decades after 476 AD before the “Imperial Restoration” took place in 554 AD, aided by papal support given to Byzantine emperor Justinian. This reinforced an ongoing church-state alliance that would become a source of stability and unity in Europe in the centuries that followed. Just as Scripture uses beasts to symbolize nations, it often uses women to depict religious systems. In Revelation 17, John sees a harlot riding a beast, symbolizing a powerful false church wielding its influence over successive revivals of Rome. And, indeed, in the revivals of the Roman Empire that have followed the “Imperial Restoration,” religion has continued to play a role, often as part of an uncomfortable church-state alliance—exactly as John foresaw.
But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (Revelation 17:7–8).
As for the seven “heads” or governments that would be revived, we can indeed identify several prominent revivals of the Roman Empire that have already occurred over the centuries—and doing so reveals an important trend. While Justinian—the first emperor to revive the Roman Empire after its “mortal wound”—was indeed Roman, most of the subsequent kings with ambitions of reuniting the Roman Empire were Germanic. A powerful mixture of ideas, traditions, and opportunities appears to have come together in the lives of these empire-building individuals who have molded Germanic history.
That history and its connection to the Holy Roman Empire is worth reviewing, to see how God has used the German people for His purposes in moving prophecy forward—and how He will use them yet again.
Charlemagne—also known as Karl or Charles the Great—was a powerful warrior who united German lands in his attempt to reassemble the Roman Empire. In 768, he became king of the Franks, a Germanic tribe living in an area that today includes much of Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and western Germany. He was an ardent supporter of the Roman Catholic church, converting conquered peoples to that faith—so much so that he gained the favor of Pope Leo III (ca. 750–816) who crowned him Emperor of the Romans.
That same idea of uniting Europe under the banner of “Christendom” burned in the hearts of the earliest German emperors of the Roman Empire, such as Otto the Great. Seen by many historians as the first true Holy Roman Emperor, Otto attempted to unite Europe more than 150 years after Charlemagne, reviving what became known as the Holy Roman Empire. By the sixteenth century, that empire had become the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation—a name made official at the Diet of Cologne in 1512 and retained until 1806.
Along the way, other German leaders like Frederick Barbarossa (Frederick I of Hohenstaufen), proclaimed “master of the world” by the Byzantine Emperor, also played a significant role. Under these leaders, Germany became the most powerful kingdom in all of Europe. Around 1530 AD, Charles V—a Germanic king descended from the Hapsburg dynasty through his father—was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Clement VII.
In the early 1700s, Frederick William I of Prussia set Germany on its modern militaristic course. Following his Hohenzollern family ideology that land and military strength were keys to national power, he set out to build the strongest and best-trained army in Europe. By the time of his death, Prussia had become recognized as the most thoroughly militarized power in Europe—and one of the most self-sufficient and prosperous (“Frederick William I,” Britannica.com, August 10, 2022).
His son, Frederick the Great, then turned Prussia into the “drill-yard” of Europe and a world-class power. Frederick was a visionary administrator who established a centralized government and professional civil service to administer his expanding realm. As king, “he had no use for the forms of international law,” invading without declaring war, then creating a pretext for his desired adventures (John Laffin, Jackboot, 1989, p. 6).
For Frederick, war was serious business to be won as quickly and efficiently as possible. His favored tactics involved surprise, cunning, and audacity in attacking enemies of superior strength. He amazed his adversaries with his “capacity continually to recover and rise up afresh” (p. 18). Frederick began his reign as a humanitarian, only to be transformed into a ruthless hammer of the earth—emulating earlier German Fredericks.
After Napoleon’s defeat of Prussia, the Prussian Army was reorganized, and the Hohenzollern militaristic tradition would soon come to permeate all of Germany. Gerhard von Scharnhorst, a brilliant theorist and organizer, established military academies, built a new type of army, and laid the groundwork for what became the great German General Staff (“Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst,” Britannica.com, June 24, 2022). This group of professional soldiers planned for war even in times of peace and prepared future generations of officers. Under Scharnhorst’s direction, the entire population of Prussia was indoctrinated into the ideology of war.
Scharnhorst’s most devoted pupil, Karl von Clausewitz, believed war was merely a continuation of politics by other means—a belief reflected in Bismarck’s famous statement, “It is not by means of speeches and majority resolutions that the great issues of the day will be decided… but by blood and iron.” It was this Prussian tradition—authoritarian, anti-democratic, militaristic, and expansionist—that paved the way for the rise of Imperial Germany, the Nazis, and the atrocities of the Third Reich.
Indeed, after the revival under Justinian, most attempts to revive the Roman Empire had distinctly German characteristics and were frequently led by Germanic leaders. Popes in the Middle Ages declared the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation the “Kingdom of God” on earth, and the German people felt the weight of bearing the Roman burden of unifying Europe and protecting “Christendom,” as if they possessed a special mission from God.
When Napoleon was defeated, so was the fifth revival of the Roman Empire. (See our free resource The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality? for details.) But that empire was not gone forever. By the end of the nineteenth century, a sixth revival was beginning to raise its head. It would rise in Germany and Italy and would culminate in two world wars—the costliest, deadliest wars yet to be seen in human history.
Hitler rose to power during the turmoil of a worldwide economic depression. But by 1945, after six years of total war, the entire nation of Germany lay prostrate in defeat, divided into East and West. Its dreams of world conquest were foiled, its economy was ravaged, and its cities were reduced to rubble. Though few eyewitnesses now remain to tell the story, an entire generation was devastated by six years of all-out war. In The World Since 1945: A History of International Relations, historians Wayne McWilliams and Harry Piotrowski paint a grim picture of the wreckage left by that massive conflict:
The carnage of World War II was so great as to be beyond comprehension. Much of Europe and East Asia was in ruins. Vast stretches of both continents were destroyed twice, first when they were conquered and again when they were liberated…. It is impossible to know the complete toll in human lives lost in this war, but some estimates run higher than 70 million people…. The suffering and sorrow, the anguish and desperation of the survivors of the war lingered long after the last bombs had fallen and the victory celebrations had ended. Never in history had so much of the human race been so uprooted. In Europe alone there were approximately 65 million refugees (2009, pp. 11–12).
The first several years after the war were desperate times for those who survived; many died, lacking adequate shelter and food.
The inferno of World War II left many cities gutted and vacant. Dresden, Hamburg, and Berlin in Germany… were virtually flattened…. When one considers the death, destruction, suffering, and social dislocation the war had brought, it becomes clear that World War II was much more than a series of heroic military campaigns and more than a set of war games to be played and replayed by nostalgic war buffs. It was human anguish and agony on an unprecedented scale (pp. 13–14).
Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy subjected the rest of Europe—and nations across the globe—to an agonizing six years of total war. And, while war ravaged the continent, German leader Adolf Hitler schemed to carry out another devastation—the enslavement, starvation, and murder of some six million people simply because they were Jewish. John Ardagh wrote in 1987 that “the sheer magnitude both of the Nazi crime and of the military defeat necessitated a radical break with the past and a total rethink of German values and society, in a way that had never happened after 1918. And, after their initial period of paralysed exhaustion and despair, the Germans found the will and the energy to respond to this challenge” (Germany and the Germans, pp. 8–9).
The Germans did indeed find that will and energy—and the decades since 1945 have been nothing short of miraculous.
Financially devastated after World War I and economically crippled after World War II, a divided Germany charted two separate courses as the Cold War began. East Germany found its place in the Warsaw Pact as a communist nation allied with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. West Germany received Western aid to rebuild and find its place within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, looking to the first-world capitalist nations for alliance and sustenance.
And rebuild it did. The extremely rapid economic recovery of post-war Germany in the 1950s is often called the Wirtschaftswunder, or “economic miracle.” Helped by currency reform that halted inflation, wisely planned and managed economic policy, billions of dollars of U.S. aid from the Marshall Plan, and a massive focus of human will and effort on increased production and profit, the German Wirtschaftswunder rapidly transformed the defeated West Germany into a global economic powerhouse.
As James Sheehan, professor of history at Stanford University, wrote for Britannica.com,
Much of Germany’s post-World War II success has been the result of the renowned industriousness and self-sacrifice of its people, about which novelist Günter Grass, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999, remarked, “To be a German is to make the impossible possible.” He added, more critically, “For in our country everything is geared to growth. We’re never satisfied. For us enough is never enough. We always want more. If it’s on paper, we convert it into reality. Even in our dreams we’re productive” (“Germany,” November 9,, 2022).
The reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 challenged this continued progress, as German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and other West German leaders had not fully grasped the economic and cultural divide that had grown between the East and the West during their decades of separation. East Germany needed financial aid, and its people often found themselves struggling to find a place in a vibrant but challenging capitalist economy.
But the reunification efforts persisted, to great success. Today, Germany’s economy is one of the world’s largest, strongest, and most stable. Its wages and standard of living are among the world’s highest. The militarism that drew the nation to World War I and World War II has, by most accounts, been replaced by a sincere desire for peaceful democracy that would have been unthinkable in the era of Bismarck and Hitler.
German leaders knew that a reunified Germany would be a force for the world to reckon with. At the time of reunification, Chancellor Kohl told the West German Parliament, “We realise that a united Germany will assume special importance within the political and economic structure of the Europe of tomorrow.” He continued with a more sober and even cautionary tone: “We have thus been aware from the outset that the unity of Germany will have a fundamental and, of course, an emotional effect on all our neighbours. Almost all of them suffered greatly under the violence of the Nazi regime and we must understand the questions which many of them ask themselves and us today” (Alan Watson, The Germans, 1992, p. xxi).
Kohl acknowledged that Germany had taken Europe—and the world—through the most devastating war in history, and he admitted that onlookers would understandably worry about its reunification and revitalization.
But the challenges of reunification were overcome—and Germany has, in many ways, been an engine of growth that has powered the European Union in a way no other nation could.
Just as Assyria and Israel clashed in the ancient past, Germany had in two twentieth-century wars faced off against the descendants of the northern tribes of Israel. Yet, amazingly, in a relative handful of years after their greatest clash, the ancient foes had become powerful allies, seeking together to maintain peace in the Western world through diplomacy and trade. And the German nation, after centuries of seeking to reforge the world through what Bismarck called a path of “blood and iron,” has come to be known for seeking peaceful diplomacy and resisting calls to conflict. Chastened by the shame of its Nazi past, Germany has for decades shied away from asserting itself militarily.
But, faced with a struggling Europe challenged by a strong and ambitious Russia to its east, just how passive will Germany remain? Dutch scholar René Cuperus has echoed widespread European concerns as to “how to tame German power and reconcile it with Europe as a whole” (“Should We Fear a More Powerful Germany?,” BrusselsReport.eu, September 7, 2021). Prominent German historian Andreas Rödder tackled the dilemma of Europe’s need for German leadership and its fears of German dominance in his 2018 book, Wer Hat Angst vor Deutschland? (Who’s Afraid of Germany?). Even in recent years, German assertiveness has led to charges of dangerous political bullying (“Poland Accuses Germany of Trying to Form ‘Fourth Reich,’” DW.com, December 24, 2021).
These questions and concerns are not unfounded. How far will Germany be willing to go to “rectify” perceived imbalances and inequities in Europe’s economic development and continental defense? Could Germany, in the twenty-first century, come to a point where frustrations boil over into aggressive actions? Is a Fourth Reich conceivable?
Many seasoned observers worry that the strengths a remarkably gifted Germany has displayed throughout history also carry the potential for horrific harm. Undeniably, viewed from the perspective of centuries, German history reveals a potential for great restraint as well as great militarism. Consider this analysis from the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University:
German politics is normally characterized by a cautious continuity, finely balanced and slow to adapt to changing circumstances. But it remains able to surprise. In the past week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his government have carried out a revolution in Germany’s foreign policy, discarding in a matter of days the outmoded assumptions of Berlin’s post-Cold War dreams…. Decades of German taboos and sensitivities dissolved amid applause from the mainstream parties and the pro-Ukrainian chants of upwards of half a million demonstrators throughout central Berlin (“Putin accidentally started a revolution in Germany,” Foreign Policy, February 27, 2022).
BBC correspondent Damien McGuinness similarly wrote of Germany’s astonishing change of course prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:
Germany has just witnessed a truly historic day. Chancellor Olaf Scholz only came to power in December, but within 24 hours he has transformed modern Germany’s foreign policy.
During an emergency parliamentary session on Ukraine on Sunday, Chancellor Scholz announced an additional $113bn (£84bn) for the German army.
There was an audible ripple of shock in parliament. Some MPs clapped, some booed, others looked stunned….
Within a few days Vladimir Putin has managed to do what Nato allies have spent years trying to achieve: a massive increase of military spending in Germany.
This is arguably one of the biggest shifts ever seen in Germany’s post-war foreign policy (“Ukraine conflict: Putin’s war prompts dramatic German U-turn,” February 27, 2022).
Many writers have described this sobering phenomenon, captured succinctly by Italian journalist Luigi Barzini as “The Mutable Germans”—a chapter title of his 1983 book The Europeans. When Barzini visited Berlin in the early 1930s as a war correspondent, he saw a city that was the “artistic capital of Europe,” filled with “avant-garde art shows, trail-blazing films,” and “experiments of all kinds” (p. 75). Several years later, after the Nazis had come to power, Barzini saw a very different Berlin, crowded with “stiff men in spotless uniforms” alongside stylishly dressed women and robust families (pp. 77–78). Barzini commented, “I saw the strangely malleable country gradually given a new shape by the Nazis…. Frightening above all were the young, healthy, well-washed faces of the soldiers, their eyes shining with a fanatic faith as they marched by, singing martial songs” (pp. 79, 81).
This tendency toward militaristic transformation is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the German nation. German soldiers have marched out of Germany and across Europe numerous times in history. World War II began in 1939 when Adolf Hitler brazenly broke agreements with neighboring nations. Panzer tank units led the German blitzkrieg (lightning war). U-boats prowled the Atlantic in wolfpacks and newly developed V-1 and V-2 rockets rained death and destruction on England. Millions of Jews, Czechs, and Poles were deported to work as slave laborers in German factories and faced death in concentration camps.
None of this is to say that the people of Germany want a Fourth Reich—nor anything to do with the prophesied conflicts to come, in which their nation will play a central role.
Recall the “Woe to Assyria” passage from Isaiah 10. God reveals through Isaiah that God will use Assyria to express His indignation and to ravage the modern Israelite-descended nations. But he also says of Assyria that “he does not mean so, nor does his heart think so” (v. 7). Still, the nation’s ambitions will move it “to destroy, and cut off” several nations—the nations God has appointed for destruction and captivity before Christ’s return.
Part of this internal conflict can be attributed to the influence of demon-inspired future leaders. It is noteworthy that God inspired Daniel the prophet to describe human governments as beasts; all too often, under the influence of Satan the devil, human leaders behave like ravenous predators, manipulating the people they were appointed to serve and destroying out of selfishness and greed.
God revealed to Daniel an important truth about the malevolent influence of Satan—whom Paul would later describe as the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4)—and his demons. Once, while Daniel was praying and fasting, a powerful angel revealed to him an encouraging message (Daniel 10:12), but noted that he had been delayed by the opposition of the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” (Daniel 10:13)—an evil, demonic spirit influencing the leader of that empire. The book of Revelation also depicts demons influencing world leaders in the end-time (Revelation 16:13–14).
We saw earlier how cruel the Assyrians could be, but historians have noted that their savage brutality may have been due to their leaders. As historian Dan Carlin noted, “When one reads what they [the Assyrian kings] wrote about their feats, one feels as though the Assyrians didn’t have just one bad Hitler-esque ruler, but rather they were all like that. The artistic ‘court style’ of Assyria’s royal reliefs is genocidal” (The End Is Always Near, p. 73, emphasis in original).
Many thoughtful observers have noted the likelihood that Adolf Hitler was under demonic influence. In his 1978 work The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler, historian Robert G. L. Waite noted an unusual recollection from Hitler’s childhood friend August “Gustl” Kubizek. When Kubizek and Hitler were in their late teens, up late and out looking at the stars, Hitler suddenly began to stare intensely and unusually at his friend, his eyes “burning with passion” as he began speaking of himself in a Messiah-like manner, as someone who would one day be given a great commission to lead his people. Hitler’s manner in that moment startled Kubizek, who noted:
It was as if another being spoke out of his body and moved him as much as it did me. It wasn’t at all a case of a speaker being carried away by his own words. On the contrary; I rather felt as though he himself listened with astonishment and emotion to what burst forth from him with elementary force. I will not attempt to interpret this phenomenon, but it was a state of complete ecstasy and rapture (1993 edition, p. 178, emphasis ours).
Prophecy indicates that a charismatic and dangerous leader—the infamous beast of Revelation—will once again steer his nation at the forefront of the final revival of the Roman Empire in the heart of Europe. Mankind has not grown beyond the capacity for atrocity—or the capacity to be manipulated by leaders who see great evil as if it were great good. Quite the contrary: What has happened before can, and will, happen again.
By examining so many striking parallels between ancient Assyria and Germany, we can understand how Bible prophecies clearly show that Assyria, in the years immediately before Jesus Christ returns, will once again play a pivotal role in world affairs—and how Germany seems to stand unique in being ready to fulfill that role.
When the Medes, Babylonians, and Scythians conquered Assyria in 612 BC, the ancient Assyrian nation ceased to exist—but its peoples lived on. The record of history and the details of prophecy point to Germany as end-time Assyria—the rod of God’s anger in the last days. No other modern nation even comes close!
Germany’s return to power in the years since World War II is no accident. God prophesied more than 2,500 years ago that He would bring certain events to pass to accomplish His purpose, and when He purposes it, He will do it. “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10).
And Germany is once again the dominating force in an effort to unite the nations of Europe. Events now underway in Europe will lead to the long-prophesied ten-nation beast power that will again rise out of the ashes of the Roman Empire, as Revelation 17:8–14 explains.
The Bible demonstrates that Assyria will use religion to help forge a unified European power, much as was done under Charlemagne. This emerging configuration will become a global economic power and will use that power for political purposes. It will appear peaceful at first but will be transformed into a devouring, war-making beast, as we saw in an earlier chapter. Daniel describes this end-time kingdom as a strong and ferocious beast with “iron teeth,” which Christ will conquer and punish at His return. And the nation that leads all of this will be a nation that looks just like Germany today!
But this does not mean Germany will emerge victorious. Just as in ancient times, after God uses the nation to punish modern Israel in the end times, He will “punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks” (Isaiah 10:12).
God reigns supreme—and He will be glorified by all. He will not allow any nation or tribe to glorify itself instead of giving honor to Him as the Creator of all mankind. “Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up, or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!” (Isaiah 10:15).
God will punish modern Israel by the hand of modern Assyria. He will even allow modern Assyria to take our entire planet to the brink of nuclear Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). But then Jesus Christ will return to the Mount of Olives, fight against rebellious mankind, and gain control of planet Earth (Zechariah 14:3). He will humble the nations that fought against Him as He prepares the world for His prophesied reign.
But is that the end for Assyria? Will this proud and ancient nation be crushed out of existence?
God says no! In one of the Bible’s most remarkable prophecies, God foretells that bitter enemies will learn to work together. Ancient enemies that fought and killed one another will finally lay down their arms and labor side by side to rebuild society. Just as God used Assyria to tear, correct, and destroy, He will use Assyria as a tool in His hands to renew, reconstruct, and rebuild. The magnificent talents of the German people will be put to work in service to God and to fellow man: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians” (Isaiah 19:23).
How inspiring! Not long before this time of peace, the king of the North and the king of the South will have been locked in bitter warfare (Daniel 11:40–45). But under the direction of the returned Jesus Christ, reconciled enemies will serve with one another in service to God. What a remarkable transformation!
That’s not all. At that time, the reunified nation of Israel will also be side by side with Assyria. And what will the purpose of this reunion be? To join hands as model nations of a new way of life under the direction of Jesus Christ, living God’s way through the power of His Holy Spirit. Notice what Isaiah says: “In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance’” (Isaiah 19:24–25).
After six millennia of blood-stained human history, what a shock this will be to many—but what an inspiration! Scripture prophesies that God will use the outstanding strengths of the German people to enrich the world during the coming millennial rule of Jesus Christ. And as the German people turn their hearts to serve Him—through repentance, acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ, and obedience to His holy law—they will become a model nation of a people willing to serve God.
Finally, the world will see fulfillment of Isaiah’s inspiring ancient prophecy of the Millennium, and “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).