Since we started the Trumpet magazine in 1990, we have consistently predicted that a united Europe would ultimately become a global superpower. For over 50 years before that, Herbert W. Armstrong declared the same message in the Plain Truth newsmagazine, and on the World Tomorrow program on radio and television. Bible prophecy clearly shows that Europe will unite!
Current events are starting a chain reaction that is going to stir Europe into actions that will shock this world. The iron strength at the core of an imperial European Union is growing. As it has done repeatedly in history, once again it is going to smash its way to global dominance!
After World War ii, the grand vision of a united Europe started with the European Steel and Coal Community in 1951. Through several treaties since then, it has evolved into what it is now—a union of 25 European nations. Last year, it looked like this process reached a stalemate when France and the Netherlands rejected the draft European Constitution. Of course, there has always been division in Europe: Different interest groups have fought over each of the eight treaties that built this political beast from a trading community in 1951 into the empire we now call the European Union.
The whole world can see how much economic power the EU has. It is the greatest single economic and trade bloc on Earth. But its trade, business and financial strength isn’t matched right now by political or military strength. Europe doesn’t have a single powerful leader, or a unified foreign policy, to back up its drive for world power.
But that is now set to change—and change rapidly!
Emergencies Bring Church and State Together
Throughout Europe’s history, what has helped it to overcome its division has been a unity of purpose between church and state. Charlemagne showed how strong Europe could be when he formed a partnership between Germany and the Roman Catholic Church to create the Holy Roman Empire. That empire has risen up repeatedly since that time.
But this church-state union hasn’t always been a happy marriage. Usually the two have been drawn together because of a crisis—an emergency.
Charlemagne felt it his duty to defend the church. In a.d. 799, he came to the aid of the pope, who had been accused of wrongdoing and deposed by a band of conspirators. With the military backing of Charles and his Frankish troops, the pope was cleared of all wrongdoing and reinstated to his office. The following year, in Rome, while Charlemagne was kneeling in prayer during a Christmas celebration inside old St. Peter’s Church, the pope placed a crown upon his head, pronouncing him “the 73rd emperor of the Fourth World Empire.”
A century later, Otto the Great butted heads with Rome over his claim to the imperial crown, but in a.d. 961 Pope John xii called him to Rome asking for protection against an Italian tyrant. As payment, the pope crowned him emperor.
The investiture controversy between Germany and Rome in the 11th and 12th centuries ended in 1122 with a compromise between church and state that exists to this day. This allows for dual authority of church and state, giving the Church of Rome a spiritual authority independent of the secular, political power of the state. From then on, whenever the state needed to strengthen its authority over the people, it asked Rome for help. And whenever the Catholic Church needed help to fight off its enemies, it looked to the political and military strength of the German state. So the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation existed through subsequent history as a union of two separate authorities—one giving protection to the church, the other supplying the unifying glue of a state religion to bind together the separate nations and cultures within the empire.
Herbert W. Armstrong believed the same pattern would occur again in our time—that European nations would unite suddenly because of a crisis, and that the Roman Catholic Church would play a huge role in solving that emergency. In times of crisis, religion has a way of pulling people together!
Fall of the Dollar
What emergency might unify Europe again? Mr. Armstrong believed that crisis would be the fall of the dollar. The dollar’s collapse could trigger a world financial crisis and make the European currency an attractive alternative for investors around the world. What other currency comes close? If the euro became the world’s new reserve currency, Europe would be flooded with money and would dominate world markets.
Today the dollar is in real trouble. The chief economist at Morgan Stanley, Stephen Roach, predicted at a meeting in November 2004 with select investors that “America has no better than a 10 percent chance of avoiding economic ‘Armageddon’” (Boston Herald, Nov. 23, 2004). Roach predicted a 30 percent chance of a slump soon and a 60 percent chance that “we’ll muddle through for a while, and delay the eventual Armageddon.” That is a terrifying prophecy from a man of his economic stature!
Is anybody listening?
We can be sure that the dollar is going to collapse. The massively debt-burdened American economy simply can’t remain afloat much longer. Many investors are already pulling out of the sinking dollar and putting it into the rising euro. When this trend plays out, it will strongly empower and unify Europe.
Germany Restored to Health
To see Europe’s future, just look at its most powerful country. After a decade of economic difficulties, once again Germany is on the rise. Gerhard Schröder made some strong moves when he was chancellor, putting German troops in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Sudan, the Horn of Africa, the southern Caucasus and the Palestinian territories. Now the new chancellor, Angela Merkel, has taken German boldness in foreign policy to a new level, showing a stronger Germany than the Western world has seen in decades. And the German people love her.
A speech Merkel gave to the Munich Conference on Security Policy February 4 is a good example. She criticized Russia for using energy supplies as political leverage with former Soviet satellites. She questioned whether Europe needed to be tougher with China because of its human rights problems. She warned Hamas, the terrorist group that now controls the Palestinian government, that if it didn’t recognize Israel, it would be ostracized. She was very harsh in speaking out against Iran’s president. upi described the speech as having “a muscular tone rarely used by German leaders” (February 6, emphasis mine throughout).
Even before Merkel was “elected” as chancellor last fall, Stratfor likened some of her rhetoric to the “sentiments of a certain earlier German government”—referring to Adolf Hitler. (See my editorial in our January 2005 issue.)
Ironically, in her February 4 speech, when Merkel attacked Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for denying the Holocaust and saying Israel should be eliminated, she compared him to Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. In other words, someone needs to stop him now before the problem gets a lot worse!
Those are strong words coming from Germany.
Bible prophecy shows that the Germans are going to use more than just words against Iran.
Chancellor Merkel is alarmed about Iran getting nuclear weapons. A former German defense minister, who is a member of Merkel’s political party, said Germany needs nuclear weapons of its own in order to deter terrorist-sponsoring nations from developing nuclear programs.
Not long ago, whenever Germany wanted to make a strong move, it did so under the cloak of the European Union. That is beginning to change.
As Germany becomes bolder, it will become the single driving force behind European unity. That is already happening.
Germany as European Unifier
Economists are reporting an upswing in the German economy. The International Herald Tribune says it is “on the mend, with quickening growth, surging investor confidence, signs of a rebirth in consumer spending, and even a modest decline in unemployment” (January 17).
Why? Partly because of the new government, “which has helped lift the mood in this often pessimistic country.” Merkel “has gotten off to a sure-footed start, political analysts say, raising hopes that she can push through overdue economic changes” (ibid.).
Europe is already beginning to look to the success in Germany. “The European Central Bank is confident enough in the growth of Germany and Europe that it lifted interest rates last month [December] for the first time in five years …” (ibid.).
On January 25, Chancellor Merkel gave an impressive half-hour speech before an audience of European policymakers. She promised that when Germany takes over the EU presidency in the first half of 2007, it will fight the EU’s cumbersome red tape. She said that “obsolete EU legislation should be abolished and that future EU directives should carry an expiry date” (EUobserver.com, January 26).
Germany wants a more efficient, more streamlined Europe. And it might be able to bring that about—especially since its economy appears to be improving, and Europe’s political leaders are practically infatuated with the new German chancellor.
When strong, Germany has always been able to thrust its will on Europe—especially when working in tandem with the Vatican. So it can be deceptive if we see a crippled European Union. The real political, military and economic strength of Europe will be Germany—that is what we must watch!
In its January 16 forecast, Stratfor pointed to a “new trend” to watch in Europe: “traditional European power balances begin[ning] to reassert after a 60-year absence.” Of course, it is talking about Germany rising to the top.
From the end of World War ii to when Chancellor Schröder was in power, Germany was in a “geopolitical deep-freeze,” according to Stratfor. Even “everything Schröder did was couched in terms of the European interest (which meant mostly French interest). Europeanism was the only approved outlet for German nationalism.
“But now there has been a clean break.
“Angela Merkel is now in charge of Germany, and despite presiding over an unwieldy and uncomfortable coalition government … she already has emerged as the center-point of European affairs,” Stratfor wrote. Again, “Germany is returning to its traditional role as the core European power.”
What does this mean? Historically, as Stratfor states, it has been Germany’s strength or weakness that has dictated the geopolitical structure of Europe. “When Germany is weak … other powers are able to rise and assert their interests. But when Germany is strong, it dominates the heart of the Continent and relegates its neighbors to powerlessness—until such time as they ally to crush it” (ibid.).
This pattern has occurred at three major points in history—during three German “Reichs.” “Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire (the first iteration of what is now ‘Germany’) dominated Europe until it fell in Europe’s religious wars. Its death is what allowed Britain, France and Russia to rise as major powers. Imperial Germany played a similar dominating role from its rise in 1870 until its fall in World War i, when Weimar Germany’s weakness allowed a French and Russian renaissance. And of course Nazi Germany’s rise again put all eyes on Berlin, and its destruction led to the superpower standoff—and, eventually, to the rise of a ‘united’ Europe” (ibid.).
Stratfor predicts that “2006 will mark a new turning point as Germany begins to ascend for a fourth time”!
The Fourth Reich is rising before our eyes!
This will be key in bringing Europe together. But a Europe united under Germany will be a super-federalist state that serves Germany’s interests.
Look at the period surrounding World War i as an example. Germany goaded Austria and Hungary into increasing their demands on Serbia so much that the Serbs couldn’t possibly meet them. And that led to war. This was another attempt by Germany to resurrect the Holy Roman Empire. That thinking has been there since the time of Justinian! Many historians recognize this.
More recently, Germany put Serbia in a bad situation again when it first stimulated, then acknowledged, the separation of Croatia and Slovenia from the Yugoslav Federation in 1991. This move was quickly supported by the Vatican. So Roman Catholic Croatia and Slovenia have become colonies of the EU. (This history is explained in our free booklet The Rising Beast.)
The way America’s leaders work with Europe today, it is clear they are monstrously ignorant of this history.
Germany has a history of being dangerous when you least expect it. Germany started a war with France in 1870 and conquered it. Germany used the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand as an excuse to go to war—when almost nobody expected a war. Germany’s aggression in taking over neighboring countries in 1939 led to the greatest war known to man. You never know what Germany is plotting. It is prone to get into wars!
Many nations have been conquered by Germany. It often happened because the soon-to-be victims and their allies refused to face reality—like they do today! The Bible says our peoples and their leaders are like watchdogs that won’t bark (Isaiah 56:10).
Isaiah 10:7 describes Germany by saying it is “in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few”! You can read a thorough explanation of this prophecy and many more like it in our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.
This prophecy of Germany’s future aggression may seem unbelievable. Who would think Germany would lead Europe in starting another world war? Most people would dismiss the idea, especially looking at Europe’s comparatively weak military today.
In December 2004, when EU peacekeeping troops officially took over operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Xinhua News Agency reported: “Although the EU has done a lot in enhancing its independent military role and capabilities, EU leaders have come to realize that Europe has lagged far behind the United States in armaments, intervention capabilities and abilities to cope with crisis. … Though the EU has a force of over 2 million troops, merely 2 to 3 percent of them can be employed to undertake a peacekeeping task as in Kosovo. Observers say that as things now stand in the EU countries, there is still a long way to go for the bloc to build an efficient independent defense and military intervention system to make the EU a ‘genuine tiger.’”
But don’t forget Germany’s history of rapid military build-up. Stratfor referred to the rise of Prussian power under Otto von Bismarck leading to the Franco-German War: “This was Europe’s first taste of just how fast Germany could change: In 1865, Germany effectively did not exist. Within six years, it not only existed but was capable of dealing decisive defeat to the Continental superpower of the time” (March 9, 2005).
After being shattered in World War i, Germany built the military force to plunge the Continent into war just 20 years later.
Germany certainly has a history of being able to “come from nowhere” and surprise the rest of the world!
Despite Europe’s current weakness, prophecy shows that Europe’s military is about to become a formidable power, symbolized by “great iron teeth” in the biblical book of Daniel. A major world crisis would produce those teeth almost immediately.
A prophecy in Daniel 11 shows that the EU will come to possess a powerful military. It shows that a “king of the south” (radical Islam, led by Iran) will “push” at the “king of the north,” or this final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. Here is yet another catalyst, another emergency, that will cause Europe to unite! If you understand what Iran is doing today, you can see that this “push” has already begun—and Europe is already waking up to the fact that it will have to act!
Daniel says that when this “push” gets strongest, a united Europe will respond in blitzkrieg fashion, smashing the radical Islamic power! In this German-led strike, “many countries shall be overthrown” (see Daniel 11:40-42).
Compare that prophecy with Europe’s failure in dealing with the Iranian nuclear crisis so far. European leaders keep wanting more talks, which is just a senseless game that only buys Iran more time to build nuclear weapons! Sanctions won’t work, because too many countries need Iran’s oil. Without that oil, the price for oil would soar, causing a worse crisis economically.
Iran has a lot of power and thinks it can “push” at Europe all it wants.
How much longer can this go on? Germany and Europe are not going to put up with Tehran’s bullying forever. Daniel says the Holy Roman Empire will come against Iran in the historic Germanic way: “like a whirlwind”! (verse 40).
That time is coming soon.
The Good News of a United Europe
Crises are developing that could lead to this “emergency” that will cause Europe to look to a newly strengthened Germany and end up bringing church and state together—from the weakening of the U.S. economy to danger brewing in the Middle East.
And even though a united Europe and the rise of the Fourth Reich spell doom for “many countries,” these gloomy events all lead to magnificent news!
Daniel 7:9 reads, “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.”
This awesome and intricate description follows on the heels of the last resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire, described in verse 8. (Our free booklet Daniel Unlocks Revelation explains this prophecy in detail.)
This fiery God is about to return and conquer the final Roman beast—which is rising powerfully on the world scene even as I write! It is dreadful and terrible, and Christ is about to return and destroy it forever!
Get ready for the return of Jesus Christ. That greatest event ever to occur in the universe is almost here!