The return of Germany as a leading world power will appear to bring solutions—but it will end in what the Bible describes as a time of trial “such as has not been seen since the beginning of the world”! What does the future of Germany have to do with prophecy?
“Keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” That terse summary of the purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization came from Lord Hastings Ismay, the first secretary-general of NATO, appointed shortly after World War II (“After 77 years in timeout, Germany is crucial to the fascist resistance,” WashingtonPost.com, April 8, 2022). Few today remember Lord Ismay, much less his historical comment, but it is now being revisited some 70 years later in the light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Following the end of the Cold War—generally considered December 26, 1991—the reason behind the NATO military alliance was severely tested. More than one United States president called for Germany and other European states to live up to their obligations of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense. Recent President Donald Trump went so far as to threaten pulling out of the alliance if they did not do so. After all, why do Americans always have to foot the bill? And why should America care more for Europe’s children than Europe itself does?
Vladimir Putin changed that virtually overnight. The alliance, which was losing its purpose and beset by squabbling, suddenly saw its member states set aside their differences to ensure that Russia stays out. America was no longer inching its way out of Europe’s defense arrangements. And the third part of Lord Ismay’s equation—keeping Germany down—has been lost in the shuffle.
Yet, how has Germany changed since WW2? After all, the nation has been one of the world’s most stable democracies for more than 70 years. It has a strong and well-ordered economy, has taken a leading role in “saving the world” from climate change, and has shunned military entanglements. Germany today is not the same country that twice invaded its neighbors and plunged the world into two twentieth-century wars. Germans are hardworking, fun-loving, and fiscally responsible.
So, what is the problem? After 70 years of good behavior, is Germany not reformed? Can it still not be trusted? Or is there something in the German DNA that needs to be considered? One can only wonder what Lord Ismay or Winston Churchill, who installed Ismay as NATO’s first secretary general, would think today. It is unlikely they would be as naïve as people from the post-war generations appear to be.
Perhaps this current generation may be forgiven for not understanding history. That subject was replaced decades ago by “social studies,” which has now morphed into a revisionist curriculum found in many of today’s schools. Cancel culture has canceled more than out-of-step persons—it is tearing down monuments, rewriting history, and leaving society adrift. Geopolitical lessons of the past are lost.
One must admire the transformation of Germany. From the ashes of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich and the rubble of its defeat in World War II, it has risen to become the fourth largest economy in the world. Only the U.S., China, and Japan are larger. Is it not interesting that Germany and Japan, two “losers” of the war, are third and fourth on the list of economic giants?
Who are these remarkable people located in the heart of Europe? Germany’s past has not always been dark. Tomorrow’s World writer Dr. Douglas Winnail wrote the following in his insightful article “A Fourth Reich?”:
Most scholars recognize that “Germany is one of the great cultural centers of Europe and that German achievements in architecture, music, literature and philosophy are among the landmarks of civilization” (The New Germans, Radice, p. xvi). The great composers—Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss—were Germans. Gutenberg printed the first book with moveable type, the Bible, in Mainz about 1456…. German philosophers and theologians have molded the intellectual climate of the West. In academic fields, “from agronomy to zoology, Germans have not only advanced, but practically defined the natural sciences” (Schoenbaum, p. 11). German-engineered products are synonymous with precision and quality around the world. The contribution of Germany to the development of Western civilization has been almost without parallel!
Yet, as with most major nations, Germany has a dark side. Tomorrow’s World has proclaimed for decades that Germany will rise to be an economic and military power that will, along with its allies, become a force to be reckoned with apart from the current NATO alliance.
How can we know? The answer is found in biblical prophecy—but if people are ignorant of history in general, they are even more so when it comes to what the Bible has to say about the past and the future.
At the heart of much of the Bible is the history of one man—Abraham—and his descendants. His was a life of faith, putting his trust in what God said was true—so much so that he was willing to offer up his miraculously born son, Isaac, when God told him to do so. God did not actually have him go through with it, but it remained an important prophecy-in-type of God the Father, who offered up His miraculously born Son, Jesus the Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins (see Genesis 22:1–19; John 3:16).
The result of Abraham’s faith was that God made great and precious promises to him and to his descendants. These promises are being fulfilled even now.
Abraham’s grandson was Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Jacob had twelve sons who grew into tribes, each numbering in the tens of thousands and eventually into hundreds of millions. Even casual readers of the Bible know that Israel’s family ended up as slaves in Egypt and were brought out under God’s leadership through Moses. After wandering in the desert for 40 years, they took over a territory larger than what most people call “Israel” today.
Beyond this, many Bible students have heard disjointed stories of Samson, Ruth, David and Goliath, King Solomon, Queen Esther, and Daniel and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And, of course, they know about Jesus and some of His followers—Peter, John, “doubting Thomas,” and Paul. And who doesn’t know about Judas, betrayer of Jesus Christ? But few understand the continuity of Scripture and even the most basic history of these people—and this ignorance means they will not understand biblical prophecy and how it is unfolding today.
The twelve tribes of Israel were eventually divided into two separate nations: the house of Israel and the house of Judah. You can read about this in 1 Kings 12, and you would be wise to do so if you are not familiar with the historical account.
The rest of 1 and 2 Kings, along with most of 1 and 2 Chronicles, is devoted to the histories of these two separate nations, including wars between them. The house of Israel, made up of ten Israelite tribes, began on the wrong foot and stayed on the wrong foot. Because of their sins, they were overthrown between 740 and 720 BC and taken into captivity by the Assyrians, a highly organized warrior people.
About 130 years later, the house of Judah (the Jews) also went into captivity to a different nation south of the Assyrians. These two nations—the house of Israel and the house of Judah—were never again together, and they will not be reunited until the return of Christ. This is evident from history and from biblical prophecies.
For example, God told the prophet Ezekiel to “take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions’” (Ezekiel 37:16–17). He was then to join them together as the two nations are destined to become one nation again. But when?
Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore (Ezekiel 37:25–28).
King David of Israel had long been dead and in the grave when that was written. God’s sanctuary is not now “in their midst forevermore.” Jesus did not unite two nations during His time on earth, and history shows that this unification has not occurred to this day. This prophecy applies to the future. This means the house of Israel and the house of Judah are now in existence somewhere on earth, and still will be when the dead are resurrected at the return of Jesus Christ to set up His kingdom.
Why is this important? What relevance can it have regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine? How does Germany tie in with this? What does it have to do with you?
Most people do not understand biblical prophecy because they lack important keys that unlock prophecy. Those keys are the identity of modern nations in relation to the Bible. Most assume that every prophecy about Israel applies to the Jews, but how wrong that is!
It was through the Jews that the Messiah would come, but the birthright blessings described in the first five books of the Bible belong to the tribe of Joseph. Note a statement clarifying this point in 1 Chronicles 5:1–2:
Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel—he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright; yet Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came a ruler, although the birthright was Joseph’s.
By inspiration of God, the aged Israel adopted Joseph’s two sons—Ephraim and Manasseh—and passed his name on to them (Genesis 48:5–6, 15–16). They were the ones who received the birthright blessings of becoming a single great nation and a company (or commonwealth) of nations (Genesis 35:10–11; 48:18–19). The ten tribes known as the house of Israel, led by the birthright nations of Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh, were taken captive by the Assyrians. But who were the Assyrians—and what happened to them?
Dr. Douglas Winnail’s “Resurgent Germany: A Fourth Reich?” (available as a reprint article from the Regional Office nearest you) shows that modern-day Germany is descended from none other than ancient Assyria. And as God explained through His prophet Isaiah, He uses the Assyrians to punish disobedient Israel. Assyria is the rod in God’s hand.
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 [Israel], 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 (Isaiah 10:5–6).
Did the ancient Assyrians realize they were being used by God to chastise Israel? They did not—and neither will they understand God’s hand in the future. “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 10:7). Assyria took the idolatrous house of Israel into captivity around 720 BC, and twice in the twentieth century God used modern-day Assyria to punish and warn our nations to repent and turn to Him.
But instead of repenting, we have become far more sinful in our behaviors. Though God was merciful to the descendants of Israel and gave them victory twice in the twentieth century, both times it came at a terrible price. Nor does He let the axe that He wields off the hook—the descendants of Assyria, too, are sinners (Isaiah 10:15–19).
Biblical prophecy is often dual—there is a former fulfillment and a latter-day fulfillment. A careful reading of the above chapter shows that there will be a future fulfillment of its prophetic statements. The house of Israel will again go into captivity!
By invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has done what no American President has been able to do—transform Germany’s thinking about its need to rearm. What he has also done is keep America in the alliance for now. Together, America, Germany, and the other NATO nations will no doubt keep Russia out. But Germany will not be kept down.
The third element of Ismay’s formula will not survive this crisis, however. Germany is no longer down; in fact, it is the linchpin of the resistance to Putin, thrust into prominence by a convergence of factors: its wealth, its geography and its ingrained fear of its worst self (“After 77 years in timeout, Germany is crucial to the fascist resistance,” WashingtonPost.com, April 8, 2022).
National Public Radio reported on the sudden turnaround in German thinking:
The announcement came three days after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine last month, and only few German lawmakers had been briefed on what Chancellor Olaf Scholz was about to say: that Germany would infuse its beleaguered military with 100 billion euros, putting it on pace to be Europe’s strongest armed forces.
Scholz added that, from now on, Germany will invest more than 2% of its gross domestic product on its armed forces. According to data collected by NATO, Germany is expected to have spent 1.53% of GDP on defense last year.
Germany’s parliament erupted into a rare standing ovation, a roar that filled the main chamber of the Reichstag, a building whose destruction and rebirth were at the center of the horrors of the last world war. It was now again witness to what Germans labeled a Zeitenwende: a historic turning point (“With war on its doorstep, Germany plans a major military buildup,” NPR.org, March 22, 2022).
Armies are not built overnight, but consider this: Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933. Six years and seven months later, his armies invaded Poland. How long it will take to rebuild the German army is not certain and will depend on a number of factors, but The Times of Israel quotes Marcus Faber, a defense specialist and lawmaker for the liberal FDP party, as saying that “it will take ‘up to eight years’ to bring all of the army’s equipment up to modern standards” (“How Germany, shaken by Russia’s Ukraine invasion, plans to rebuild its military,” TimesOfIsrael.com, March 29, 2022).
There are a lot of uncertainties, but much is already in motion: “Germany has already announced it will replace its outdated Tornado fighter jets with a new fleet of American F-35 stealth fighters and Eurofighters, costing around 100 million euros ($110 million) each” (TimesOfIsrael.com). Rebuilding an army takes more than “throwing money” at it. Manpower, training, trucks, and aircraft to transport men and supplies are less glamorous than big-ticket weapons systems. And the Germans are not of a mindset to go on the offensive—only to defend their country.
Many of us here at Tomorrow’s World have followed geopolitical events from the perspective of biblical prophecy for decades. While it shocked the pundits and so-called experts, it was not a surprise for us when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989 and Germany reunited less than a year later. There will be many more shocks in the immediate months and years ahead for those who do not understand what the Bible reveals about the future of the world.
In ways just as surprising as those in which Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has transformed German thinking overnight, the U.S. will lose the pride of its power and will suffer natural and man-made disasters that will bring it down (Leviticus 26:14–20). The British-descended and American peoples are in for a shock, and it will be self-inflicted due to casting off all moral restraints (Hosea 4:2).
I understand that it may be hard to believe that America and the British-descended peoples will be attacked by European nations that are now their allies, but it will happen—and when it does, remember where you heard about it.
But let me end on a positive note found in Isaiah 19:24–25, where we read that, after the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord prophesied to take place in the not-too-distant future, “Israel [the Israelite-descended nations] 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.’”