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Germany and Russia have a long of history of conflict over the territories of Eastern Europe—as recently as World Wars I and II, and as far back as the Seven Years War (1756–1763). During World War II, Adolf Hitler betrayed an agreement to divide Eastern European territory with the Soviet Union, and instead launched an invasion against Moscow itself, creating the most devastating front of World War II—which led to the slaughter of millions before Germany’s eventual defeat.
A ruined post-war Germany was split into two states: democratic West Germany and communist East Germany. The ensuing conflict between these nations’ supporters—NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) to the west, and the Soviet Union to the east—became known as the Cold War, as the United States took on the role of protector of the Western world against the expansionist Soviet ambitions.
With the Cold War ending and the Soviet Union falling apart between 1989 and 1991, Russia’s influence lessened, and a united Germany has become the political and economic leader of Europe, strongly supporting the European Union (EU) and forming closer economic and political ties with EU member nations.
Today, western parts of Ukraine tend to look westward seeking EU ties, while eastern Ukraine tends to look to Russia for support. Russia’s decision to invade Crimea is largely due to its desire to prevent EU and NATO influence from reaching their doorstep.
The situation is complicated by Germany’s present need to purchase much of its gas and oil from Russia—one reason why German response to this crisis has so far been very measured (Reuters.com). Germany does not support Russian incursions into neighboring countries—especially those that could be future German allies—but wants avoid another Cold War. However, if the U.S. does not act decisively, this would create a power vacuum into which Germany could insert itself in order to stop Russia from gaining greater influence in Eastern Europe.
Students of Bible prophecy know to look to Germany and Central Europe for the rise of a future world power (Revelation 13:1–10). This “Beast” will have one strong leader who is given authority over ten nations or groups of nations (Revelation 17:12–13; Daniel 2:41–43). As the United States declines because of its sins, nations in Europe, Asia and Africa consolidate into three major end-time factions: the king of the North (the Beast-led Europe); the king of the South (an Arab-led confederation); and the kings of the East (an Asian coalition of nations, including Russia). Their interactions are largely recorded in the books of Daniel and Revelation, where their names are relative to their geographic position in relation to Jerusalem.
Although the North and the East will maintain peace for a time, the Bible reveals that after the North invades the South, the East will feel pressured to act (Daniel 11:40–44). A massive confrontation between Europe and Asia will include armies of incredible size and destruction that will make World War II pale in comparison (Revelation 9:13–18). While Germany might seek peace with Russia for now, Bible prophecy reveals that there will be a final confrontation between Europe and Asia immediately before Christ’s return.
Very few today recognize that a growing number and severity of regional conflicts will eventually lead to the destruction of a third of mankind (Revelation 9:18). Christians should be sobered by the events in the Ukraine, but also encouraged by Christ’s words: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).
To learn more about this troubled region, watch our telecast, “Will Russia Attack Israel?” and read our informative article, “What’s Ahead for Russia?”
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