Is Germany in Bible Prophecy?

The history of the German people traces back to biblical origins—and their identity unlocks some of the Bible’s strongest prophecies.
From the January 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

Just who are the German peoples, and where did they come from? Their ancient progenitor can be determined by secular history, German records and the Bible.

For example, the oldest city in Germany is Trier. To this day, its inhabitants say it was founded around 2000 b.c. by the Assyrians.

Josef K. L. Bihl writes in In Deutschen Landen, “Trier was founded by Trebeta, a son of the famous Assyrian King Ninus. In fact, one finds … in Trier the inscription reading, ‘Trier existed for 1,300 years before Rome was rebuilt.’”

The Bayerische Chronik, the official history of Bavaria, written in the 1500s, is now relegated to pure myth. Yet it records that a portion of Asshur’s descendants settled in Europe from Mesopotamia around 2300 b.c.

How did that happen? Just before their capital, Nineveh, fell in 612 b.c., the Assyrians’ empire rapidly declined. Invading warriors from Central Asia forced the Assyrians to migrate north. First-century b.c. Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote in The Library of History that “many of the conquered peoples were removed to other homes, and two of these became very great colonies: The one was composed of Assyrians and was removed to the land between Paphlagonia and Pontus.” Paphlagonia and Pontus both border the southern shores of the Black Sea. The land between them was called Cappadocia by Herodotus. This Greek historian of the fifth century b.c. also confirmed the presence of the Assyrians in his work The Histories: “The Cappadocians are known to the Greeks by the name Syrians …. This people, whom the Greeks call Syrians, are called Assyrians by the barbarians.”

By the fifth century b.c., the Assyrians were so dominant in the Black Sea area that Greek geographers called the region Assyria: “The coast of the Euxine [the Black Sea] … was called Assyria by S[c]ylax, the author of Periplus” (History of Art in Sardinia, Judaea, Syria and Asia Minor, Vol. 2). In the same time frame, Herodotus recorded Assyrians from the Black Sea area fighting under Persian King Xerxes i against the Greeks (op cit).

Archaeology reveals that shortly after Xerxes’s disastrous campaign, a great migration of the Assyrian people from the Black Sea region occurred. With the Persian Empire weakening, the Assyrians moved from the Black Sea’s southern shores to its northern shores, a land called Scythia. Here they began to be called Scythians, eventually obscuring their true identity.

To Greek and Roman authors, the rugged steppes of Scythia were a land beyond the civilized world. They labeled all the many different peoples who migrated through this gigantic crossroads as Scythians.

“[T]wo major currently recognized racial types, Caucasoids and Mongoloids, are considered to have existed historically in geographical proximity on the steppe,” observes The Cambridge Ancient History (Vol. 3, Part 2). “Archaeologically, it is clear that the eighth- and seventh-century b.c. ‘Scythians’ were not the same as the fifth-century ‘Scythians.’ Both were mounted elite war-bands originating in the more easterly regions of the steppe, and the Greeks, quite naturally, called both groups by the same name.”

Archaeology shows five major phases of settlement in the area. These were caused by great population displacement resulting from the collapse of several empires and kingdoms in the Middle East.

When Herodotus wrote Histories, he would have known of how the Scythian population was in flux and re-forming. He wrote: “The Scythians say their nation is the youngest of all the nations.”

It is clear that the Germanic people comprised, at least in part, the Scythian migration at that time. We know this because Roman records show the Germanic people first began invading central and western Europe in the late second century b.c., soon after their move north.

Archaeology confirms these Scythians migrated all the way into Germany proper. “Nomads and fierce warriors, they lived in Central Asia … and their culture spread westward to southern Russia and Ukraine, and even into Germany …” (National Geographic, June 2003; emphasis added). The dislocation of such a large population took several hundred years, with the first Germanic tribes appearing in Roman records during the late second century b.c.

By the time these tribes emerged out of Scythia into Europe and began to encounter the Roman Empire, they were no longer called Scythians, but were referred to by their tribal names.

Roman historian Pliny the Elder wrote in the first century a.d. about the Germanic and other tribes that migrated through this crossroads: “The name ‘Scythian’ has extended, in every direction, even to the Sarmatæ and the Germans; but this ancient appellation is now only given to those who dwell beyond those nations and live unknown to nearly all the rest of the world” (The Natural History).

As the Greeks and Romans encountered different Scythian people due to trade and warfare, they gave them new names. During the second and first centuries b.c., Roman generals battled fierce tribes in Europe and called them by a name that means “war man”: Germani.

Before the 1900s, when German rationalism was introduced into academia and the biblical record and many German chronicles were rejected, scholars knew exactly where the Germanic people migrated from. “[T]here can be no doubt that they … migrated into Europe from the Caucasus and the countries around the Black and Caspian seas” (A Classical Dictionary of Biography, Mythology and Geography, “Germania”).

By traveling back in time through the works of ancient scholars and archaeological data, we can tell the full story of the German peoples’ migration from Mesopotamia—home of their patriarch Asshur, the father of the Assyrians—to their location today!

Read more details about the Assyrians’ transformation into modern Germany here.