Germany is playing a pivotal role in Europe, but many do not realize that it will also play a pivotal role in end-time prophecy. Social and political conditions are pushing a resurgent Germany into an old and familiar role, which will bring dire consequences for America.
Most people reporting and reading the news sense that the world is becoming an increasingly dangerous place. Neither the United Nations, nor American projection of power, have prevented strife or resolved major problems facing mankind. Few today realize that momentous and totally unexpected events lurk just over the horizon. Even foreign policy experts who see potential danger ahead admit they have no clear idea what the future holds. However, Bible prophecies reveal, in striking detail, sobering events that are about to unfold on the world scene.
Earth-shaking changes are going to catapult Europe—and Germany—back to the center of the world stage. These sudden and surprising developments will have grave implications for America, Britain and peoples of northwest European descent. These events are developing according to a plan, and for reasons, that God outlined long ago in the Bible. This dramatic turn in world events is prophesied to precede Jesus Christ's return to Earth. You need to understand not only what is going to happen, but why. You cannot afford to ignore the direction in which world events are moving.
Social and political conditions in Europe today are beginning, in an ominous yet distinct way, to resemble conditions that existed just before the outbreak of two previous world wars. Both pre-war periods saw increasing social strife, ineffective attempts at problem solving by intellectuals and liberal politicians, and growing public dissatisfaction with leaders out of touch with the populace. Both periods saw the emergence of demagogues who appeared as champions of disgruntled and disillusioned masses, with grandiose plans and ideas. The years preceding World War I have been labeled a time of "nervous splendor," and the years before World War II a "troubled calm." During those unsettled times, many sought to escape by turning to frivolous entertainments, while others followed leaders who made utopian promises.
These same forces are reemerging today—especially in Europe, which is becoming increasingly concerned about crime, unemployment, political corruption and foreign immigration. Many in Western Europe feel threatened as foreigners surge over their borders seeking political asylum, jobs, health care and other benefits. Liberal politicians are seen as corrupt and inept (cf. Newsweek, April 19, 2002, pp. 12–16). Democratic processes appear cumbersome and ineffective. Religion is irrelevant to increasing numbers of people, and moral values are crumbling. Tolerance, appeasement and appeals to reason have not solved all of mankind's problems. Historian Richard Overy writes that "there is once again in Europe a cynical rejection of parliamentary politics, and growing distrust of politicians… Europe should be deeply worried by the rapid rise of the extreme Right"—whose candidates are again making inroads to political power (Evening Standard, June 15, 2002). An air of frustration and desire for change is emerging, just as before World War II.
The global conflict of 1914–1917 toppled opulent, out-of-touch regimes in Russia, Germany, Austro-Hungary and Turkey. Ineffective efforts of liberal democratic leaders fostered the rise of dictators and militarists in Germany, Italy and Japan, who propelled the world into World War II in 1939. Today, many wonder: will liberal, democratic, self-serving, elitist politicians be replaced by more authoritarian leaders? Will powers that led the world for several centuries—America, Britain and France—be forcibly challenged by new rivals on the world stage? Could America, the world's sole superpower, fall? Will Germany, for a third time in a century, move to dominate Europe and the world? Nobody seems to know, yet history offers important insights—and the Bible reveals vital answers!
But just what can we discover by looking at the past? Simply that we in our modern generation are so focused on living in the present that we forget that history tends to repeat itself. As a result, we see no reason to learn the lessons of history. Yet the German writer Peter Schneider cautions that "history does repeat itself, but only after a change of costume" (The German Comedy, p. 179). To avoid repeating mistakes of the past, we must be alert to old trends and tendencies that may resurface in somewhat different form.
Historians have observed that "the road to war [World War II]… was paved by patterns of state action that were centuries old" (Civilization Past & Present, Wallbank, et al., 6th ed., p. 854). Despite treaties negotiated to secure peace, and lip service paid to the League of Nations, "each state sought its own best interests in the complicated postwar [World War I] landscape" (ibid., p. 843). As a result, "to expect the twentieth-century states to be any different from their counterparts in earlier times is to assume a major change in political behavior that simply didn't take place" (ibid., pp. 841–842). The pattern of behavior that nations have exhibited over centuries is a guide to their future actions! That is why it is so important to understand the lessons of history.
At the conclusion of World War II, Winston Churchill wrote a six-volume history of the war, including events that led up to the start of hostilities. His purpose was "to lay the lessons of the past before the future" (The Gathering Storm, p. iv). He wrote: "It is my earnest hope that pondering upon the past may give guidance in days to come… [to] a new generation" (ibid., p. v). Churchill knew what he was talking about, because he had warned his own generation in 1934—five years before the outbreak of World War II—that "none of the lessons of the past has been learned, not one of them has been applied, and the situation is incomparably more dangerous" (ibid., p. 93). To understand the future of Germany, we must understand its historic position in Europe, and its intentions.
Because of its size and location, and the nature of its people, Germany's goals, intentions and actions have widespread implications for Europe and the world. Nearly 20 years ago, the Italian journalist Luigi Barzini wrote that "the future of Europe appears to depend today… as it did for many centuries, on the future of Germany… [and on] Germany's decisions" (The Europeans, pp. 69, 267). Barzini's observations were based on the fact that Germany "has become once again the richest, strongest, most efficient, orderly, productive, scientifically and technologically advanced, as well as the most populous nation of western Europe" (ibid., p. 69). The unification of Germany in 1989 concentrated 80 million Germans in the very heart of Europe. With the proposed enlargement of the European Union to the east (a traditional zone of German interest and influence), Germany will become the geographical center of an emerging European colossus that will challenge American supremacy.
Current events in Europe also reflect a trend described by Samuel Huntington, a Harvard University expert in international relations. Huntington writes that in the emerging world of global politics, "core states of the major civilizations are supplanting the two Cold War superpowers [the United States and Soviet Union] as poles of attraction and repulsion for other countries" (The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, p. 155). He defines a core state as "the most powerful and culturally central state" within a region, culture or civilization, and notes that France and Germany are core states in Europe (ibid., p. 135). Over the centuries, France and Germany have fought a seesaw battle to dominate Europe. Today, France's star is fading, while Germany's star is rising. Foreign policy analyst John Newhouse sees Germany as "the most important member of the EU," and beginning to call the shots in Europe (Europe Adrift, p. 301). While he concludes "as Germany goes, so goes Europe" (ibid., p. 301), he also cautions that "the new Germany… is about to become the problem… beneath the surface… some new tendency, or direction is slowly being formed… at some point it [Germany] will strive mightily to close the gap with the world's pace setters and may very well succeed" (ibid., p. 152). But what are Germany's intentions and where is it headed?
If we have eyes to see, it is not too difficult to discover the intentions of German leaders. In a sobering assessment of the past, military historian John Laffin documents how, for nearly 20 years before the outbreak of World War II, Hitler's "speeches and writings, his actions and gestures, made his intentions clear," yet world leaders in the 1930s failed to take this public evidence seriously (Hitler Warned Us, jacket). Hitler's Mein Kampf, published in 1925, outlined his goals to restore Germany to its rightful place as the foremost nation on earth, to eliminate Jews and other inferior races, to create more lebensraum—living space—for Germany, and to bring all Germanic people into a Greater German Reich. As Laffin points out, "these promises were warnings to us which, until it was too late, we chose to ignore" (ibid., p. 157). One lesson of history is that we need to listen carefully to what influential Germans are saying and doing, because their words and actions are right in front of us today!
In 1965, Franz Joseph Strauss, a former German defense and finance minister, outlined his ideas for the future of Germany and Europe. It is informative to consider his projections in light of what is happening today—and how they reflect German intentions. In recent years, Germany has been the "leading apostle" for a United Europe. Strauss explained: "Germany needs Europe more than any country… it has seen in the European idea not only a way of compensating for the immediate past [starting two World Wars] but an honorable outlet for its formidable energies. In contributing to the formation of a European Federation, Germany herself would find a new identity" (The Grand Design, p. 9). Strauss saw that by creating a United States of Europe, "Europe could again fulfill the historical role which it began to lose at the end of the First World War… when we look back at the European continent of 1914, we need to remember it was the very fulcrum of the world… the summit of splendor on this earth" (ibid., pp. 40, 92). Strauss had a grand design for a peaceful Europe, but German leaders realize that the path to European unity is also a path to power and glory—a goal to which Germany has aspired for centuries! Strauss made other sobering comments. He stated that "the age of power politics is by no means ended… we must find a new starting point which changes the political face of the world… [and] grasp every opportunity as it arises" (ibid., pp. 12, 24).
This is how former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl approached the reunification of Germany: holding back, then moving when the time was right. The sudden union of the two Germanys surprised the world!
Strauss also stated that since Germany is the third largest economic power in the world, "the time must come when that economic power seeks political expression on the world scene" (ibid., p. 77). He openly stated that it would be "much easier for Germany to make a comeback as a member of an international family, as a member of a European Federation, than as a German Reich" and that "our European attitude was the only escape hatch we had" (ibid., p. 104).
Nowhere is the resurgence of Germany more apparent than in the vibrant, pulsating city of Berlin—the historic capital of Germany since the days of the Prussian emperors. This once-bombed-out city, purposefully divided by the victorious allies after World War II, has risen from the ashes and is becoming the most modern capital in Europe. The Reichstag has been redesigned and rebuilt. A gleaming new Chancellery sits on the banks of the Spee River, and impressive new parliament offices are nearing completion. Huge construction cranes dominate the skyline of Berlin, and its modern transportation system is the most extensive of any European city. This born-again capital, laid out on a grand scale, is a credit to German industriousness and vision. It also represents the challenge to create a capital that "reflects Germany's ambitions and aspirations" (Foreign Policy, Summer 1998, p. 145). Many wonder: where will these aspirations ultimately lead?
Bible prophecy and foreign policy experts both provide sobering assessments about Germany's future direction. Since the close of World War II, Germany has been content to work with France to build a European Union. However, this arrangement of convenience and necessity is changing. Germans are beginning to chafe at their financial contribution to the European treasury to modernize other nations in Europe. Germany is also tiring of having to appear smaller in order to make France appear greater. Younger Germans want to pursue policies more in Germany's interest, which is not surprising since Germany is the most populous and powerful nation in Europe.
Otto von Bismarck, the savvy Prussian statesman, years ago observed: "I have always found the word 'Europe' on the mouths of those politicians who wanted from other powers something they did not dare demand in their own name" (Statecraft, Thatcher, p. 325). Others have noted: "Germany has always pursued self-interested policies in the context of Europe" (The German Predicament, Markovits & Reich, p. 204). Former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski comments that "by redeeming itself through Europe, Germany is restoring its own greatness while gaining a mission that will not automatically mobilize European resentment and fears against Germany" (The Grand Chessboard, p. 63). However, he warns that if the drive to unite Europe falters, "Germany would probably become more assertive and explicit in the definition of its national interests" and attempt to reassert its historical role of "creating order in Europe" (ibid., pp. 73–74). Brzezinski foresees the possible reemergence of Mitteleuropa under the influence of Germany—as in the Middle Ages during the Holy Roman Empire. A policy paper released by Germany's ruling political parties reached essentially the same conclusion: "If European integration were not to progress, Germany might be called upon, or be tempted by its own security restraints, to try to effect the stabilization of eastern Europe on its own and in the traditional way" (CDU/CSU paper, Reflections on Europe, Sept. 1, 1994). Germany's traditional methods have had devastating effects on other nations. But what does this mean for the future?
Dozens of Bible prophecies focus on events that will occur just before Jesus Christ's return to Earth. These long-foretold events resemble what is developing today on the world scene. The Apostle Paul wrote that "in the last days perilous times will come" as people become self-centered, self-serving, increasingly uncivil and fixated on pursuing personal pleasure (2 Timothy 3:1–5). Jesus prophesied that His return—and the end of the age—would be preceded by a time of religious deception, social anarchy, wars, violence and ethnic strife (Matthew 24:3–14). The Apostle John foresaw the emergence of an end-time "Beast," to whom ten "kings" (i.e. nations or kingdoms) would yield their sovereignty (Revelation 13:1–10; 17:12–14). The prophet Daniel reveals that this militaristic, beast-like power is the final resurrection of a political system rooted in the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation (Daniel 7:19–27). To learn more about these vital prophecies, please request our free booklet, The Beast of Revelation.
Daniel's reference to the "king of the North," and John's comment that ten kings yield their sovereignty to this leader, indicate that this "king" represents either a core state or the leading nation in a union or federation of states (Daniel 11:40–43). The "king of the North" will sit at the helm of an Assyrian-dominated power, and may himself be an Assyrian (cf. Isaiah 7:18–20; 10:1–5; Hosea 11:5). This final revival of the Roman Empire is prophesied to attack and subjugate Israelite nations in the "latter days" because they have forgotten God and rejected His ways (see Jeremiah 30). God calls Assyria "the rod of My anger… I will send him against an ungodly nation" (Isaiah 10:5–6). God has used Assyria before to correct His chosen people, and Scripture indicates that this will happen again. God warns the backsliding nations of Israel: "I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you… because My people have forgotten Me" (Jeremiah 18:11, 15). Terrible calamities lie ahead for our grievously sinful nations, including a second captivity that will eclipse anything the world has ever seen (see Ezekiel 5–7; Isaiah 11:11–12). This drastic turn of events will come suddenly and unexpectedly (Isaiah 8:14; Jeremiah 6:26), as a direct punishment from God.
In Bible prophecies, God refers to modern nations by their ancient names. America, Britain and other nations of northwest European descent are referred to as Israelite nations, because they are descendents of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Modern Germany is referred to by its ancient name "Assyria." (For more detailed information about this topic, please request our free reprint article, A Fourth Reich?) Many prophecies about the "king of the North" have special relevance to modern Germany. The nation God brings against the sinful Israelite nations is known for its haughty, master-race philosophy (Isaiah 10:8). It speaks a foreign language (Jeremiah 5:15). It possesses powerful weaponry used with deadly precision (Jeremiah 6:22–23; Hosea 11:5–6). Assyria is also pictured as a "great eagle" that carries away the house of Israel (Ezekiel 17:1–16). The eagle has for centuries been the symbol of Germany.
Today Germany is an ally of America and Britain. Yet Bible prophecies indicate that Israelite allies—including Assyria—will suddenly turn into enemies (Ezekiel 23:5–24). God will use the Germans' remarkable aptitudes—including their military proficiency—to accomplish His purpose. Germany will be God's tool of correction because "when they are at war, they do the job, as they do it in peacetime, as thoroughly, efficiently, and expediently as possible, without looking left or right, like the obedient workmen they are" (Barzini, p. 94). Once this job is finished, God will have to punish the "arrogant heart of the king of Assyria" for boasting that he did this by his own strength and wisdom (Isaiah 10:12–13). Ultimately, the German-led European federation and the Israelite nations will have to learn the same lessons—that pride must give way to humility (Zechariah 10:10–11), and that obedience to the laws of God must replace disobedience. Once these lessons are learned, God will use the remarkable talents of the Germans to help rebuild shattered societies in the kingdom of God. God reveals that "in that day, Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land.… Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance" (Isaiah 19:24–25).
Critics may scoff at this scenario, yet Bible prophecies about Israelite nations and their end-time antagonist—Assyria—are quite clear. Symbols of national identity help unlock Bible prophecies that make sense of trends developing in the world today, and reveal where world events are heading. This is why we are advised to study Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15), and watch world events (Mark 13:32–37), lest we be caught off guard when these events begin to occur just before the return of Jesus Christ. Only those who are alert and awake—who have repented and changed (Acts 2:38–40), and persevered in doing the work that Jesus commissioned—will escape this coming conflict of eagles (Revelation 3:8–13). Will this include you?
To understand the course of future events, it is instructive to examine how nations have acted in the past. On the morning of April 9, 1940, German troops suddenly invaded Norway, without provocation and without warning. Winston Churchill records that "surprise, ruthlessness, and precision were characteristics of the onslaught upon innocent and naked Norway" (The Gathering Storm, p. 591). He explains that "what stupefied the Norwegians more than the act of aggression itself was the national realization that a Great Power [Germany], for years professing its friendship, suddenly appeared a deadly enemy… the people of Norway were dazed to find that for years their German friends had been elaborating the most detailed plans for the invasion and subsequent enslaving of their country" (ibid., p. 606).
This spectacularly successful military operation was the result of efforts by meticulous German military planners to restore Germany to its "rightful position… at the summit of the world" (ibid., pp. 46, 55). Churchill comments that in contrast to America and Britain, "long before the war Germany was making plans for it… all the lessons of [World War I] were thoroughly and systematically studied. New principles of training and instructional courses of all kinds were introduced" (ibid., pp. 584, 45). Pilots and soldiers were trained outside Germany. U-boats and tanks were built in other countries, and German factories were designed for swift conversion to wartime production. Churchill notes that "every form of deception" was employed to baffle the Allied Commission established by the Treaty of Versailles to monitor German armaments (ibid., p. 49).
As a result of this secret German planning and military buildup, the Allied powers (who had been disarming) were confronted in the late 1930s "by a cataract of violent surprises" as they faced "the organized might and will-to-war of the most efficient race in Europe, longing to regain their national glory" (ibid., pp. 585, 189). Churchill records that "the superiority of the Germans in design, management, and energy were plain. They put into ruthless execution a carefully prepared plan of action" that surprised and outwitted Britain and her allies (ibid., pp. 648–649). Historians note that in the early days of World War II, "German strategy was a masterpiece" that involved striking quickly, in great force and exploiting every advantage (Civilization Past & Present, 6th ed., pp. 855–857). One lesson Hitler mentioned in Mein Kampf, but later forgot, was that "Germany must not repeat the mistake of fighting all her enemies at once. She must single out the most dangerous and attack him with all her forces" (The Gathering Storm, p. 57).
Germany once again aspires to a position on the world stage, and is making preparations for that role. Her military weaponry is among the best in the world. Her modernized army is considered the best in Europe. German pilots are being trained at several bases in America. Meanwhile, the armed forces of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been cut to the bone and are dependent upon the over-extended forces of America. History records that dark forces in Germany have exploited this situation before. Bible prophecies reveal that our allies will suddenly turn on us (Jeremiah 4:30; Ezekiel 23:5–10, 22–23). Modern observers saw how quickly East Germans shed decades of communist indoctrination, and they wonder whether West Germans, confronted with a crisis, might shed more than 50 years of democratic indoctrination and revert to more authoritarian ways based on self-interest and self aggrandizement (The German Question & Other German Questions, Schoenbaum & Pond, p. 148). They conclude that "most likely, old diseases will reappear [in Germany] in new, surprising strains not covered in any textbook" (ibid.). Historian Richard Overy comments that "history has the unhappy habit of springing surprises" (Evening Standard, May 15, 2002). Bible prophecies indicate this will happen. The next time Germany will undoubtedly strike first at the nation it perceives could be its most powerful adversary. A clash of eagles is coming. We need to be alert to the lessons of history and the warnings of Scripture!