In March, Russia invaded Ukraine and took over Crimea, a republic situated on the Black Sea that is of huge strategic importance to Russia.
The move shocked the world. Most of all, it shocked Europe.
In a stroke, Russian President Vladimir Putin redrew Ukraine’s borders. Just days after Putin accepted the applause of the world at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, mysterious “gunmen” carrying no flags or national markings began taking over government buildings in the Crimean Peninsula. Before the West realized exactly what was happening, Russia had captured Crimea without firing a shot.
Note the amount of fear Russia’s attack generated. A March 14 Associated Press article said this: “Broken promises of help from the West. A tragic history of Russian invasion that goes back centuries. A painful awareness that conflicts in this volatile region are contagious. These are the factors that make nations across Eastern Europe watch events in Ukraine—and tremble” (emphasis mine throughout).
On March 16, Crimea held a referendum—under the watchful eye of unmarked gunmen—on whether to join Russia. Moscow claims that 96.8 percent voted in favor of union with Russia.
Thus, Russia succeeded in swallowing another nation’s sovereign territory—and the world did almost nothing.
This terrifies Eastern Europeans. It is the kind of action that many assumed had ended forever once the Soviet Union fell.
That AP report continued: “From leaders to ordinary people, there is a palpable sense of fear that Russia, seemingly able to thumb its nose at Western powers at will, may seek more opportunities for incursions in its former imperial backyard. The question many people are asking is: Who’s next?”
Ukrainians and Eastern Europeans have lived through brutal occupation. Their countries were pulverized during World War ii. They know what Russia can and will do—and they fear it in a way that is hard for us in the West to even imagine.
How This Is Fulfilling Prophecy
We have been prophesying for around 70 years that Eastern Europe would become a vital part of a new European superpower—a resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. This prophecy is directly related to the Crimean crisis! The fear you see in Europe because of events in Crimea is going to cause 10 leaders in Europe to unite in a sudden and dramatic way—and in precise accordance with the Bible’s description of that European empire!
In our February edition, I wrote about Ezekiel 38:2, which talks about the prince of Russia and the trouble he will cause in this end time (“Is Vladimir Putin the Prophesied ‘Prince of Rosh’?”). The way that prophecy is coming to pass is having a fierce impact on Europeans far more than on any other people in the world.
That scripture talks about Gog, Meshech and Tubal—all prophetic names for Russia—along with Magog, which includes China. Translated correctly, that verse also talks about a “‘prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal”—a ruler of Russia. Who could that be? No politician could fill that role better than Vladimir Putin, and I don’t believe there is time for any other man of such stature to rise on the world scene. (Again, if you haven’t yet done so, read that article, which goes into this subject in much greater detail.)
That prophesied “prince of Rosh” is a powerful man, and he is having a forceful effect on Europe. The reaction within Europe to this crisis is something you need to watch, because it is shaping and molding the future composition of the Holy Roman Empire! It is making European leaders move urgently to tie together this Holy Roman Empire that we have been prophesying about for so many years.
No Trust in America
Eastern Europe’s history gives those people good reason to fear. They suffered terribly under evil men like Hitler and Stalin. And they have been abandoned repeatedly by the West. Britain and France shamefully betrayed Czechoslovakia in the lead-up to World War ii, effectively turning it over to Hitler.
After they gained their freedom from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europeans trusted in America. Some of those nations became members of nato. Then, they watched as Russia began to get aggressive again. They hoped to receive support from America, defending them from that aggression. But now they see America’s will is broken!
Eastern Europe put its hope in America’s missile shield. This was an opportunity for America to demonstrate its commitment to the region and to prove that if push came to shove, Eastern Europe could trust Washington to stand up to Russia. But America stopped that plan to appease the mighty Russian bear. That kind of weakness is now being exploited to the hilt!
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski used to be a great supporter of America, making Poland a firm and loyal ally. “Before 2011, Sikorski and other leading Polish politicians were frank about their belief that the European Union is merely an economic pact and that only their alliance with the U.S. could guarantee geopolitical security,” political scientist Michal Kuz wrote. “This was the view of other cee [Central and Eastern European] states as well” (National Review Online, Aug. 8, 2012).
That view changed after the missile shield didn’t materialize. “After the U.S.’s decision to relocate the missile shield, the Atlanticist rhetoric that used to mark Sikorski’s speeches disappeared from them,” Kuz continued. “In response to U.S. fickleness, he and [Polish Prime Minister Donald] Tusk shifted Poland’s diplomatic tone.”
Sikorski himself was transformed from the region’s most prominent transatlanticist to its top lobbyist for European integration. He saw that only German leadership could transform the European economic alliance into something more meaningful and powerful. Sikorski’s most famous speech is probably his November 2011 call for Germany to “lead” Europe. “I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is,” he announced: “I fearGerman power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity.”
He made thatstatement long before Russia invaded Ukraine. How much greater would be his desire for a strong Germany today? How much more motivated will Poland and the rest of Central and Eastern Europe be?
This is probably the first Polish foreign minister ever to say that he “fears German power less than … German inactivity.”
Why should he fear German power?
World War ii began when Germany attacked Poland!
Germany has attacked Poland numerous times throughout history and caused that nation endless suffering. Much of that tribulation was caused by a German-led Holy Roman Empire—a church-state combine that has risen up repeatedly to devastate Europe and fill it with streams of blood.
Unless you have experienced such attacks and deeply understand that history, you can’t comprehend the Polish foreign minister’s fears and understand how dramatic is the impact of current events on Europe.
Despite all that knowledge of Germany, the Polish foreign minister wants Germany to have more power!
And, now, he fears Vladimir Putin and Russia even more!He has had to choose between twofears. This gives you some idea of how Europe fears Russia—and Eastern Europe fears Russia even more.
Europe’s dreadful fear of Vladimir Putin—its next-door neighbor—is going to help shape and form the Holy Roman Empire rather suddenly. I believe the eastern leg could be formed in months.
The terror that Europe has of Russia is magnified because it knows America lacks the will to help as it did in the past. America has a broken will, and Europe and the world know it! That too was prophesied to happen (Leviticus 26:19).
A Landmark Prophecy
Herbert W. Armstrong prophesied for years that a strong European power would emerge that would include nations from both east and west Europe. He said this while the Iron Curtain cut Europe in two and the Soviet Union looked invincible. How did he know?
For the answer, we have to look at a landmark prophecy in Daniel 2. Here God showed King Nebuchadnezzar a vision of a giant statue representing the powerful Gentile empires that would rule the world. The image’s head of gold was Nebuchadnezzar and his world-ruling empire. Following him came the Medo-Persian Empire, signified by the chest and arms of silver. Then came the belly of bronze, which was Alexander the Great and the Greco-Macedonian Empire. Finally emerged the mighty Roman Empire, symbolized by legs of iron.
History reveals the significance of the two legs, as the Roman Empire was divided, with its western capital in Rome and its eastern capital in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey, today). But the symbolism goes much further.
The Roman Empire fell in a.d. 476. But this prophecy claims to be for the “latter days” (Daniel 2:28). Other prophecies—especially in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17—reveal in detail what was to become of that empire: Ten successive governments would grow out of it, and the last seven of these would be united with a great false church. In this way the Roman Empire, symbolized by those two legs, would survive right up to the end time.
You can track the fulfillment of this prophecy through history. The centuries since have witnessed several leaders like Charlemagne, Napoleon and Hitler who, time after time, resurrected the Roman Empire from the ruins! Since Justinian restored it in a.d. 554, there have been six resurrections of what is called the Holy Roman Empire—the union of church and state. That leaves one more to occur before the return of Jesus Christ. That resurrection is now forming very fast. It could be fully formed this year or next.
Ten-Nation Superpower Prophesied
Notice: Though the Roman Empire is represented in Daniel 2 by legs of solid iron, the feet and toes are composed of iron and clay (verse 41; you can read more about that symbolism in our article on page 14). The 10 toes of that image represent 10 kings that are going to rule in this end time as part of this Holy Roman Empire (spoken of in Revelation 17:12).
Following the symbol of the image, those 10 toes are divided, probably with exactly five on the eastern leg and five on the west. This suggests that five of the kings that come together to form this European superpower will come from Western Europe, and five from Eastern Europe.
In 1981, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “When this Holy Roman Empire does happen, it will happen suddenly. So quickly it will take your breath! And the whole world will gasp in awe and wonder when they see the things that are prophesied. For example, 10 nations in Europe—probably five of them in Western Europe and five in Eastern Europe—reviving, resurrecting, the so-called Holy Roman Empire of the Middle Ages.” Mr. Armstrong prophesied this for well over 50 years.
In April 1952, long before the Soviet Union broke up, the Good News magazine, with Mr. Armstrong as its editor in chief, wrote, “Russia may give East Germany back to the Germans and will be forced to relinquish her control over Hungary, Czechoslovakia and parts of Austria to complete the 10-nation union.”
Then, in a booklet first published in 1955, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “Some of the Balkan nations are going to tear away from behind the Iron Curtain. … Russia probably will lose still more of her Eastern European satellites.” He said virtually the same thing in 1956 and many other times. We document all of this history in our booklet He Was Right (request a copy, free of charge).
These prophecies of the retreat of the Soviet Union and dramatic change in Eastern Europe have already been fulfilled! Now, the eastern leg and even parts of the western leg of that empire are really beginning to develop.
The great proof of God’s existence is fulfilled prophecy. And there is so much prophecy being fulfilled now that man is without excuse!
A second major prophecy that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will bring about is the arrival of a strongman in Europe. A new leader is coming—a kind of Vladimir Putin. This is what Europe needs in order to bind together, to have the strength and unity of purpose needed to confront Russia.
Daniel 8:23 tells us that “in the latter time,” we should expect “a king of fierce countenance” to arise in Europe. “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people” (verse 24).
Europe’s new fear of Russia is going to play a major role in hastening the fulfillment of that prophecy!
Besides that strongman, the Catholic Church is also going to play a major role in uniting all those disparate European nations.
So much of what God prophesied through Mr. Armstrong has already been fulfilled. Watch closely for the final part of these prophecies to emerge! “Ten kings” are going to arise—and the 28 nations currently comprising the European Union are going to be pared down to 10. They are going to be led by a strong Putin-like dictator and unified by the Roman Catholic Church. At that point, they will present to the world a power even greater than that of Russia or the United States!
Consider the power the European Union already has today; look particularly at the clout Germany has. The Germans already lead Europe and call the shots economically—but they are about to begin to call the shots militarily for nine other kings.
Poland’s prime minister said: “The world stands on the brink of conflict.” That is true: The whole world stands on the brink of conflict! But how many people see that? The Europeans are beginning to see it because Russia is their neighbor. They see an intensifying need to withstand Russia—and because they know they won’t receive help from America, they will band together and combine their military might.
The growing necessity to protect themselves is going to drive European leaders to pare down the number of nations in their union and empower a strongman! That man will then use the clout and power of Europe to take on Vladimir Putin and what the Bible calls “the kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12).
Putin is helping to create a power that is going to be greater than his own! He doesn’t know that, because he doesn’t understand Bible prophecy. But he is going to know it. And the clash between these two powers will cause more suffering than the world has ever known!
What Happens in the End
These prophecies can seem dark and dire, but the Bible tells us that they all have a positive ending. Daniel 8:25 tells us that this European strongman will “stand up against the Prince of princes”—he will try to fight Christ Himself—“but he shall be broken without hand.” The Messiah will come and stop these disastrous wars and destroy that man. The 10-nation military superpower will be destroyed at the same time.
The prophecy in Daniel 2 concludes with the image being smashed by a stone from heaven and blowing away in the wind as dust—then the stone growing into a mountain that fills the Earth (verses 34-35). Daniel explains the meaning with this inspiring verse: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (verse 44). That is going to be the end of the Daniel 2 image and all the repressive human empires of this world. God is going to smash that image forever!
Is this a gloomy message? Well, it does describe a lot of suffering coming upon this world—the worst ever. But it is tied directly to the coming of the Messiah, when all suffering ends, and God brings peace, happiness and joy to the world! That is the best news you could ever hear!