Austria Reclaims Its Historic Role
In a recent interview with Spiegel magazine published October 21, Austrian Chancellor-elect Sebastian Kurz claimed: “Austria is a country that can function in Europe as a bridgehead between Eastern and Western Europe. This has always been good for our economy, and politically, I believe this to be our obligation” (Trumpet translation throughout).
For the last two years, East European countries have been drifting further from the West. Threatened by Russia, they feared to stand on their own as the European Union lacked a common response. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed that all East European countries be required to take their fair share of refugees, protests erupted. If the countries east of Germany can only rely on the EU for more regulations and more problems, the membership seemed anything but beneficial.
But there is hope for the countries that have felt vulnerable during Merkel’s reign. With the newly elected Sebastian Kurz in Austria and his strong stance against some of Merkel’s policies, Eastern Europe believes it has found a new friend who might bridge the gap between east and west. Kurz’s strong stance against the immigration crisis is particularly appealing.
The 31-year-old, soon-to-be Austrian chancellor presents himself as the solution to the refugee crisis. He promised to solve the crisis with drastic measures and his promises are backed by actions.
It was Kurz’s work as foreign minister that saved Germany from being overwhelmed during the refugee crisis. He takes credit for stopping the refugee flow through the Balkans in February 2016, which limited the influx of refugees into Germany. Merkel opposed Kurz’s action because she deemed his measures to be antihumanitarian. If Kurz hadn’t acted, fences might have never been set up in the Balkans and the refugee crisis would have taken a completely different turn.
Kurz has now set an even bigger goal: He sees himself as the intermediator between the so-called Visegrád nations (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) and the rest of Europe.
It has been mere weeks since Kurz was elected, and though no government is formed yet, his words are sure to lead to actions, just as they did when he was foreign minister.
Recognizing a possible alliance, recently elected Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has sought stronger unity with Austria, claiming that he and Kurz share the same views on the refugee crisis: “The Visegrád Group needs more allies; we need Austria and other countries in the Balkans, Slovenia, Croatia or maybe even others.” Together, they hope to overturn Merkel’s refugee policy.
Europe mutually benefits from an economic alliance as Kurz has brought out. But more than material benefits, Kurz sees it as his “obligation” to unite Eastern and Western Europe. This obligation comes among other things from Austria’s historic role in Charlemagne’s kingdom and as the capital of the “Holy” Roman Empire during the Habsburg dynasty.
Austria as we know it today was founded by Charlemagne shortly after he added Bavaria to his expanding kingdom in the late eighth century. With his annexation of Bavaria, the Frankish king opened his borders to another threat from the Avars, a fierce Slavic people, who lived in modern-day Austria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and some parts of Turkey. Faced with this threat, Charlemagne formed the Ostmark (East March), using Austria’s natural borders of the Alps as a defensive line against the Slavic people. The Ostmark formed the core of what would later become Austria.
In a.d. 796, Charlemagne used the eastern frontier to conquer the Avars. Thus another chapter in Charlemagne’s reign began: the Drang nach Osten, or “push toward the east.” From then on, it was Austria’s obligation to not only stop the Slavic people but bridge the gap to Eastern Europe.
Situated at the very center of Europe’s trade routes, Austria connected Eastern and Western Europe through trade routes along the Danube River and north and south through the Alpine passes. Dependence on Austria’s trade routes increased its influence and power in Europe. Austria from then on developed as a mediator between east and west.
Charlemagne’s founding work led later to the rise of the Habsburg dynasty that ruled Europe for centuries. Sebastian Kurz’s unifying works are being compared to that dynasty, which existed until the start of World War i. German newspaper Die Welt wrote the following on October 22 in “Habsburg Light? Sebastian Kurz’s New Austria”:
Austria’s presumed new Chancellor Kurz is likely to become a new power factor in the EU. He can make use of old partnerships in Eastern and Southeastern Europe—like a Habsburg imperial and royal imperial-strategist.
Based on Austria’s historic role and various prophecies in the Bible, the late Herbert W. Armstrong predicted that Austria would play a crucial role in uniting Eastern and Western Europe. But Austria did not act alone historically; it was motivated by its alliance with a great religious power: the Catholic Church (request our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy for more details). Just as the Catholic Church anciently was heavily involved in uniting Eastern and Western Europe, the Plain Truth, under Mr. Armstrong’s direction, wrote that the same would be true at the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire:
One of the biggest roles desired by the Vatican is that of mediator between East and West. … The Vatican, you can be sure, will continue to do its part in courting the Eastern European countries. Its Ostpolitik has been to bring them back into the “fold” for a long time. And that is certainly the path it must continue to travel.
Daniel 2 contains a long-range prophecy that forecasts the four major empires of the world that would exist from Daniel’s time until the return of Jesus Christ. The final world-ruling empire—the Roman Empire—would be resurrected 10 times, according to Daniel’s prophecy. This prophecy uses the image of a fearsome statue that stands on two legs: The legs picture two regions with two capitals. The Roman Empire was divided in precisely this way, with its western capital in Rome and its eastern capital in Constantinople. The final resurrection of that empire will also have two major parts—with five nations in the west and five in the east, as pictured by the statue’s 10 toes. Listen to “Germany and the Ten Kings” for a more detailed explanation.
Together the kingdoms in Eastern and Western Europe will unite as the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. Daniel 2 reveals this to be the last kingdom of man to rule this world before Jesus Christ returns and establishes the Kingdom of God. Watch for Austria to play its part in this coming unification.