We learned today that Angela Merkel will step down as leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union political party. Merkel would like to stay on as Germany’s chancellor, but this is not guaranteed. Germany right now is in uncharted territory politically. This is a dramatic and major development for Germany and ultimately for Europe. The following article was written by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in May 2016 and is highly relevant in light of today’s news from Germany.
Every reader should closely watch what is happening in Germany. That nation is going through some dramatic changes that are about to reshape the country and the whole of Europe. Yet most of the world is asleep to how serious these changes are.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has never been weaker. In a very short time, she has gone from being one of the most popular politicians in the world to being the target of a lot of anger from the German people.
“You are killing off Europe.” Those were German politician Edmund Stoiber’s words for Chancellor Merkel in early January. Stoiber is the former minister-president of the state of Bavaria. In his view, Merkel’s policy of welcoming hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa is destroying not just Germany, but all of Europe.
Stoiber’s bold comments are part of a shift under way in Germany that will soon usher in a new leader. It is not just Stoiber thinking this way—a lot of the German public agree. Now there is open talk that Merkel may lose her job.
This development will be of acute interest to longtime Trumpet readers. We have forecast the rise of a much stronger leader in Germany for many years. It appears we are about to see this ruler come into office.
When this happens, it will change the entire course of European history—and shake the nations!
A Stunning Election
On March 13, German voters had their first opportunity to give their opinion on Angela Merkel’s immigration policies. They handed her a record-breaking defeat. Merkel’s party lost votes in all three regional elections held on that date. In one state, her party finished behind the Green Party—the Greens’ first outright victory in a state election.
Chancellor Merkel’s unpopular pro-immigrant stance stimulated the dramatic rise of the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD). In Saxony-Anhalt, the AfD won 24 percent of the vote, coming in second. The Financial Times wrote that this was “the best regional result of any German populist right-wing party since 1945” (March 14).
The results of this election should wake the whole world up to what is happening in Germany! German discontent and anger is reaching new heights. That has serious implications for this powerful nation at the heart of Europe! (sidebar: “A ‘Tectonic Shift’ in German Politics”).
Not all Germans reject Merkel’s view of immigration. (The Green Party, which is even more migrant-friendly than she is, did well.) But Merkel is the leader of Germany’s largest conservative movement, and the election showed that the conservatives strongly disagree with the course she is charting for the nation.
“The Incredible Shrinking Merkel: Sunday’s Elections Could Be the Starting Pistol for Merkel’s Would-be Successors” was one of Breitbart’s headlines after the vote. “Sunday’s verdict was a clear warning from the electorate that Germans have lost patience with the chancellor’s deliberate approach to the crisis,” wrote Politico (March 13).
“For the first time, her own party critics can point to hard election results to argue that her policies are having a detrimental effect on them,” Politico continued. “With Merkel’s party already divided on the issue [of immigration], it’s only a matter of time before challengers emerge” (emphasis mine throughout).
“Powerful figures within the party may start to look for an alternative leader ahead of next year’s national elections,” wrote the Telegraph. “A defeat in state elections was the beginning of the end for Ms. Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schröder” (March 13).
The pressure on Merkel is strong. It looks doubtful she will last until 2017 and the next election, especially considering the headlines that roll out every day on the migrant crisis. In January and February, over 123,000 migrants landed in Greece, compared with only 4,600 in the same period last year. That’s an increase of nearly 2,600 percent! What will immigration be like this summer, as the weather warms up and the flood of migrants grows?
The press viewed the election results as a strong message to Angela Merkel to close the door on migrants. But it looks like Merkel has no intention of changing her position. In a news conference the day after the elections, she said, “Without a doubt, we have come a long way towards solving the refugee issue, but we still don’t have a sustainable solution. I am fully convinced that we need a European solution, and that this solution needs time.”
Looking for a “European solution” is very different from the solution the AfD is demanding: immediate closure of Germany’s borders. Frustration and anger among the German people is sure to become more intense!
But if Merkel falls, who would replace her? Many commentators say the lack of a clear successor is one of the biggest factors keeping Chancellor Merkel in power.
Who Is Next?
Mr. Stoiber, who was once a candidate for chancellor, had practically disappeared from German politics. He was being derided and criticized. Now suddenly he is making a comeback, and he’s speaking out for the Christian Social Union (csu), the conservative Bavarian party allied with Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union (cdu).
Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Stoiber’s comments on January 17: “The former minister-president has attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel because of her refugee policies and warns of disastrous consequences for Germany and the EU” (Trumpet translation).
Stoiber says Germany needs to close its borders. “Plan B must be to once again secure our borders and uphold the ruling law,” he said. “Today we have a lawless situation at the borders. We still do not know who is coming into our country” (ibid).
The Germans are restless. They want somebody to speak out! Because of bold comments like these, there is talk of Stoiber having a spectacular resurrection. Süddeutsche Zeitung said his resurrection has been “almost as spectacular as that of Lazarus” from the biblical account (January 18).
However, it is unlikely that Stoiber will become the end-time German leader the Trumpet has long been watching for. The more significant “resurrection” is that of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Germany’s former minister of defense.
Mr. Stoiber is apparently close friends with Guttenberg. Both men are members of the csu.
On February 26, after an extensive interview with Guttenberg, the Financial Times’ chief foreign affairs commentator, Gideon Rachman, wrote: “There was a time when Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was widely tipped to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor of Germany. … And then … in early 2011, his gilded career fell apart after it was revealed that he had plagiarized large parts of his doctoral thesis. … Shortly afterwards, he left for a career in business in the U.S. … Now, with Chancellor Merkel in deep political trouble over Germany’s refugee crisis, might this be a time for him to resurrect his political career? As political pundits run through the rather thin list of possible leaders in a post-Merkel era, some eyes have begun to stray over the Atlantic—to the baron across the water.”
Despite having his eye on him, Rachman speculated that Mr. Guttenberg may not become the very next leader: “Malcontents within Merkel’s own cdu-csu grouping see [making her the next UN secretary general] as a graceful way to ease the chancellor out—with the obvious replacement being Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister. But Schäuble is 73 years old and not in perfect health. He would probably just be an interim appointment, which might just open the door for a younger man ….”
This is an ideal time for somebody to come into power by using flatteries. Someone could undermine the ruling cdu-csu coalition. Doing this and getting everything in place for a new coalition could take several months. But the weakening of Chancellor Merkel presents a rare opportunity to begin that process.
Guttenberg’s Europe-Wide Focus
Stoiber’s proposed solution to the refugee crisis concerns only Germany, but Guttenberg is thinking more broadly—about all of Europe. Guttenberg is a brilliant man. He looks at the whole picture and wants to have one policy for all of Europe.
In an article cowritten with Xerion cio Daniel Arbess, Guttenberg said that to solve the refugee crisis in Europe, the source of the crisis—the Middle East—must be stabilized. And that stabilization must be accomplished with many nations working together: “A serious allied strategy will have to trace and counter jihad from every identified source, bypassing sectarian and national boundaries, and without regard to national borders or even historical alliances. … Establishing the peace will require an exceptional international collaboration …” (Center for Strategic and International Studies, February 12).
Who should take the lead in this “exceptional international collaboration”? Guttenberg says the best choice would be a country without much colonial history—in other words, not America: “While the United States, Russia and some of the former colonial powers in the region must of course play a critical role in the process, the conveners and agenda setters should include nations that are less burdened with the baggage of the last century’s colonialism and self-interest” (emphasis mine throughout).
Who fits this description? Guttenberg names two countries that are well fitted for a leadership role. He said, “Germany and China are relatively free of recent adverse experience in the Muslim world and maintain well-established relations with both Sunni and Shiite leaders.”
But for the solution he’s advocating to work, he said, “Germany will have to overcome its modern culture of leadership reticence outside of Europe.”
Guttenberg also recognizes that the real adversary is not the Islamic State (IS), but the broader problem of radical Islam. “IS is by no means a unique adversary; it’s only today’s manifestation of a multi-headed hydra: Decapitate IS, like al Qaeda, degrade or even destroy it, and expect to see another known, or as yet unknown, iteration step up to proclaim itself the leader of the supposed sharia caliphate increasingly impervious to physical and digital boundaries.”
In this world of shortsighted leaders, this is rare insight! Guttenberg’s ideas and brilliance are not going unnoticed. Things are looking up for him. He certainly has a lot of potential to make a comeback in German politics.
A highly unusual aspect of the revival of these two men is that they have attracted the attention of one of the most powerful men in the world: Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Stoiber, along with Horst Seehofer, the state premier of Bavaria, made a trip to Moscow on February 4 where they met with Putin. The trip was planned and arranged by Stoiber.
Ahead of the visit, Germany’s Deutsche Welle said this meeting was “not in Merkel’s interest.” I think that was an understatement. The article said: “Seehofer is Merkel’s most dangerous critic. For months he has been bombarding the chancellor with ultimatums. He finds the chancellor’s refugee policy to be utterly flawed, not just in the details, but fundamentally. He may be flying to meet Putin as the state premier of Bavaria, but he will be received in Moscow as a representative of one of Germany’s three governing parties” (February 3).
Seehofer is apparently planning another trip to meet with Putin soon, and reports say he is inviting Guttenberg to join him. You can imagine that Putin would think pretty highly of Guttenberg. Maybe he thinks Guttenberg could be the leader he needs to deal with in the future.
At the same time Putin is meeting with Bavarian leaders, he seems to be engaging in a propaganda campaign to smear Merkel’s leadership, especially the way she has embraced Muslim refugees. One purpose of this propaganda may be to weaken her power in hopes that one of the sons of Bavaria who is willing to make pacts with Russia can become Germany’s leader instead (sidebar: “The Hitler-Stalin Pact: Is History Repeating Itself?”).
Merkel’s Time Is Short
A famous question, usually attributed to Henry Kissinger, asks: “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?”
The comment was intended to show Europe’s failure to present a unified front on the world stage. For many years, this has been the nature of Europe: fractious and disunited.
Well, Kissinger might just have his answer sometime this year! Things are going to speed up quickly as Germany takes steps toward having strong leadership.
The refugee crisis and the turmoil within Germany’s two conservative parties, the csu and cdu, provide probably one of the greatest opportunities ever for a new leader to come into power “by flatteries.”
An important prophecy in your Bible says that in the end time, a strongman will rise up in Germany and obtain power, not by conventional methods, but “by flatteries”—or slipperiness (Daniel 11:21). It’s not going to be somebody who attacks his way in or beats up on the opposition the way Mr. Stoiber is doing. That is not the way this leader will win popularity among Germans. He will rise to power with flatteries and deceit! He will be very canny and shrewd, attractive to the German people.
To my knowledge, that fits what Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is doing. Many are urging him to return to German politics, but for the time being, he is coyly refusing. It looks like he’s using the old “playing hard to get” strategy.
Watch to see whether his countrymen push harder for him to return. There is a sense among some Germans that he would make a powerful leader. That is a critical issue.
The Bible makes clear that this man, whoever he is, is going to come under the influence of an evil spirit! Through this man, the devil is going to deceive and lie. Prophecy makes clear that this leader will be directing people not only in Germany, but in a mighty bloc of European nations! And then, he is going to wage war on a massive scale!
Daniel 8:24-25 explain: “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power”—he will have help from an evil spirit—“and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many ….” This is describing the terrible Great Tribulation that is foretold in dozens of biblical prophecies. That nightmare is just ahead of us!
This all points to some very dark times in the near future. But it also points to good news just beyond the dark times that totally eclipses that negativity!
Daniel 8:25 concludes: “[H]e shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand”—that is, Jesus Christ will supernaturally destroy the terrible empire this man commands!
Jesus Christ is about to return to Earth to bring an end to the mayhem. He says in Matthew 24:21-22 that if He didn’t return, no flesh would be saved alive! Mankind cannot stop the violence that is coming. But Christ is going to return—and He can and will stop it!
Only Jesus Christ can give humanity the peace, joy and happiness that has always eluded us. That is what these shifts in Germany, and the Russo-German cooperation now building, will ultimately lead to. These developments show that end-time Bible prophecies are rapidly being fulfilled!