February 27 was a momentous day in world history. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the return of a strong, militaristic Germany. His speech in the Bundestag was greeted with a standing ovation—with support coming from most of Germany’s political parties!
Politico called Scholz’s measures “nothing less than the most dramatic political shift in modern German history.”
Andreas Kluth, former editor in chief of Handelsblatt, wrote: “If you had any sense of history and found yourself near the German Bundestag in Berlin on Sunday, you could have heard the sound of an explosion” (Bloomberg, February 27).
The whole Earth should be trembling at that explosion! Anyone who knows history should be deeply alarmed. But if you also know Bible prophecy—as every Trumpet reader should—you know this announcement is truly a calamitous explosion!
The moment Russia invaded Ukraine, if you know prophecy, you immediately looked to see how Germany would react. That very day, February 24, I sent an e-mail to readers of our daily Trumpet Brief that warned, “The most important nation to watch right now is Germany. How will it respond to [Vladimir] Putin’s war on Ukraine? This Ukraine war is going to speed up the rise of the prophesied German-led Holy Roman Empire!” It took mere days for that response to come.
Chancellor Scholz called a special session of parliament to announce a massive increase in Germany’s military budget. Right now they spend €53 billion (us$58.6 billion) a year on their military, and that’s a record high. Scholz announced that Germany would create a new €100 billion fund this year to rapidly improve the army’s equipment. He also announced that by 2024, Germany will spend at least 2 percent of its economic output on its military—up from its current 1.4 percent. By the time you factor in the growth of Germany’s economy, this will double its military spending from here on.
This will make Germany the biggest military spender in Europe, by far. Once this is in place, Germany will be spending more on its military than Russia!
These are radical steps. And Bible prophecy warns where they are leading!
For decades the Trumpet has warned you to watch for a major change in Germany. When Germany stopped cutting its military spending and started boosting it each year, we said this was an alarming change. When German think tanks and generals spoke out, saying Germany needed to become more robust militarily, we told you why this was concerning.
What happened in February, however, was not a slight boost to Germany’s military. It wasn’t just advice or recommendations. This is the real thing: German militarism is back! And what is even more stunning: Germany, and so much of the world, is cheering!
Mr. Scholz told the Bundestag that Germany was “living through a watershed era.” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has shocked the nation, and Germany needs to be able to stand up to “warmongers like Putin,” said Scholz. “That requires strength of our own.”
More remarkable than Scholz’s words is the fact that everyone agreed with him. He leads the left-wing Social Democrats, a political party traditionally skeptical of military spending. He governs in coalition with the even-further-left Green Party—yet they too are in agreement. His main opposition, the Christian Democrats, also supported the announcement.
In the debate that followed, “one speaker after another rose to find similarly clear and moving words,” wrote Kluth. “Let the world take note: Owing to Putin’s naked aggression, Germany has changed almost overnight” (op cit; emphasis mine throughout). For decades Germans have shied away from talking about the need for strength in this world. No longer.
As important as the boost in defense spending is, this change in rhetoric and attitude could be even bigger. For the first time since the end of World War ii, we could soon see an openly aggressive Germany. Germany has certainly been aggressive: Look how it led the world in breaking up Yugoslavia (request a free copy of my booklet Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans). But it has operated cautiously. Scholz’s speech marks the nation emerging from the shadows and becoming far more open.
Many in Germany are already urging bolder steps. Manfred Weber, chairman of the epp Group in European Parliament, wrote an article in Germany’s Welt on March 7 titled “Europe Needs Its Own Nuclear Umbrella” (Trumpet translation throughout). Germany already has access to American nuclear weapons, but it’s talking more about getting its own. Weber wrote: “We must create our own European missile defense shield ….”
“The basis of real European sovereignty is the ability for Europe to defend itself,” he wrote. “At some point this includes nuclear weapons.”
And beyond this militaristic transformation in Germany, Russia’s attack on Ukraine is prompting all of Europe to unite quickly!
“Vladimir Putin just achieved the impossible: genuine European unity,” wrote Politico. “From Sofia to Stockholm, Europe’s internal divisions over how to react to Putin’s aggression have melted away in recent days as the historic dimensions of the invasion—the greatest challenge to the West’s security architecture in decades—sank in” (February 27).
AP News produced an article titled “By Invading Ukraine, Putin Loses Allies in Eastern Europe.” It shows how all the strongmen in the region who were once friendly to Putin are now turning their backs on him.
“The attack on Ukraine marks the end of an epoch,” wrote Der Spiegel, Europe’s largest newsmagazine. “The European order, which brought the Continent three decades of relative security and stability following the end of the Cold War, is in the process of collapsing. A new, more dangerous era is beginning” (February 25).
Other European countries are following Germany’s lead. Even before Russia’s invasion, Poland was arming rapidly. In October 2021, it announced plans to double its number of soldiers and boost its military spending from 2 percent of its annual economy to 2.5 percent by 2024. Then on March 3, they sped up—promising to spend 3 percent of its annual economy on its military by next year. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said he wanted Poland to have “one of the strongest armies in nato.”
“Our fatherland needs such a Polish Army, especially now when the evil empire is trying to be reborn on our eastern border,” he added.
Denmark has announced plans to almost double its military spending in the next two years. Until now, Denmark has opted out of working with the European Union on defense and security matters. But after Russia’s invasion, it scheduled a June referendum on ending that opt out. Polls indicate voters strongly support ending this opt out, meaning Denmark could soon work with the EU to develop weapons and deploy troops.
Finland, Sweden, Italy and Spain are all developing plans to boost their military spending.
The French paper Libération wrote on March 19 that Russia’s invasion was another “opportunity for great community integration”—like many past crises. Thanks to the invasion “massive investments in defense … are at the top of the agenda of the heads of state and government.” In other words, Russia’s invasion is an “opportunity” for Europe to push toward becoming a military superpower!
The Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard gave some excellent insight, writing: “Some seem more interested in using this ‘beneficial crisis’ as a federalizing catalyst, a chance to force the pace towards EU fiscal and defense union, whether or not these architectural ambitions have any relevance to the slaughter before the world’s eyes” (March 10).
Bible Prophecy Lives!
Herbert W. Armstrong warned for decades that Germany would reemerge as a strong military power, leading a united Europe. “The Germans are coming back from the destruction of World War ii in breathtaking manner,” he wrote in 1956. “Germany is the economic and military heart of Europe. Probably Germany will lead and dominate the coming United States of Europe.”
Mr. Armstrong believed Russia would play a major role in the creation of this new military power. “Now one of the great things that is urging Europe on, and perhaps the greatest thing that will cause them to hurry and get together on this, is their fear of what’s going on in the Kremlin and the Soviet Union,” he said in November 1982. “And [Soviet leader Yuri] Andropov is frightening them, and that is going to rush them. They are losing confidence in the United States as having a military umbrella over them to protect them, and they want their own military force to protect themselves. That’s the way they feel over there. Now that is a chief incentive to unite them and that is taking place.”
Mr. Armstrong was reading Bible prophecy and watching for it to be fulfilled. He saw the way the Bible said this European power would come about. Some of the names have changed, but this European power is emerging exactly the way he forecast.
Because of these prophecies, every time Mr. Putin has taken a major step forward, I have told you to watch for Germany and Europe’s response.
Vladimir Putin first assumed office in 2000. But he took a big step toward authoritarianism in the December 2003 elections. “Russian elections have recently moved President Vladimir Putin much closer to becoming a dictator,” I wrote in January 2004. “This strikes intense fear in Europe. The Europeans still remember how violent Russia was in World War ii, and Russia is a close neighbor with massive piles of nuclear weapons” (theTrumpet.com/1049).
Now Putin is threatening to use those nuclear weapons!
“The Russian election is triggering a fear that will hasten the uniting of the European Union,” I continued in that article.
Then in 2008, Putin shocked the world by invading Georgia. In an article shortly afterward, I discussed Bible prophecies of that European empire, led by Germany, being made up of 10 kings. “Mr. Armstrong often taught that a political or economic crisis would spark these ‘ten kings’ to strongly unite very quickly. The fact that Russia has launched a war shows just how easily such a crisis could occur! Will the Georgia strike actually spark European unification? Will a crisis occur over Ukraine? That area is the breadbasket of Russia, and surely it is willing to wage war over that as well” (October 2008; theTrumpet.com/5453).
“Watch Europe to see how it responds to these dramatic developments in Asia,” that article said.
Then in 2014, Russia grabbed a chunk of Ukraine, invading Crimea and eastern parts of the country. “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 wrote soon after (May-June 2014; theTrumpet.com/11530).
How could we know this would be the outcome of these events? Let’s look more specifically at prophecy.
‘Tidings out of the East’
The main prophecy these events bring to mind is in Daniel 11. Verses 40-41 prophesy of a “king of the north”—a united Europe—that attacks the Middle East (our free booklet The King of the South explains). This power is going to dominate the Middle East and then the world!
The great powers of Asia, which are already coming together in many ways, will coalesce behind Russia and China. They will know they are next on the hit list of the world’s new number one superpower, Europe, which likes to attack without warning. So Russia and China will gather their armies on the borders of Europe. This move will make Europe intensely nervous! And how will it respond?
“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (verses 44-45).
This is where the rise of Europe and Russia is leading. It is building now even as I write!
“Tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him [united Europe].” These alarming “tidings” come from the northeast. Look on a world map and see who is located northeast of Europe: Russia and China, which are uniting even today.
As I wrote in 2004, “Europe’s becoming very nervous about the outcome of the Russian election gives us a flash of light into a terrifying Bible prophecy. It is building now—at this moment—to a spectacular fulfillment! All of these events in Russia and Europe are working out according to God’s master plan.” And in 2008, I wrote, “You can already see the fulfillment of this prophecy occurring in embryo today! Europe is deeply troubled by developments in Russia and China.”
Today, because of Russian aggression, Germany is dramatically changing course on its military, and all of Europe is shifting to wartime footing. But there are still more dramatic changes ahead!
A German Strongman
In 2014, I wrote: “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.”
This man is certain to come on the scene very soon!
All Europe clearly sees the need for a strongman. The Austrian paper Der Standard wrote on February 10: “The EU finally needs a leader who can deal with Putin and [Joe] Biden on an equal footing.”
In negotiations, France took the lead in talking with Russia. “As commendable as it is that French President Emmanuel Macron is standing in for the EU—it needs to change. The EU finally needs a face, a voice, a ‘head of the Union’ who will act at eye level with Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden. That can only happen if there is deep EU reform and further democratization—and if the direct election of a president of the EU comes. Plans for that have been around for a long time. It is time to implement it” (ibid).
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).
As I wrote in that 2014 article, “Europe’s new fear of Russia is going to play a major role in hastening the fulfillment of that prophecy!”
In addition to the prophesied strongman, the Catholic Church will also play a major role in uniting the disparate European nations.
So much of what God prophesied through Mr. Armstrong has already been fulfilled. Watch closely for the final fulfillment of these prophecies! “Ten kings” will arise. The 27 nations currently comprising the European Union will be pared down to 10. They will be led by a strong Putin-like dictator and unified by the Roman Catholic Church. At that point, they will emerge as a power even greater than Russia or the United States!
Consider the power the EU already has. Look particularly at Germany’s clout. The Germans already lead Europe and dominate economically. Soon they will begin calling the shots militarily for nine other European kings.
The growing necessity to protect themselves will drive European leaders to reduce 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 create a power that will prove greater than his own! And the clash between these two powers will cause more suffering than the world has ever known!
Most Americans are oblivious to these events. Yet those in America who are paying attention are cheering this dramatic shift in Germany! They are glad to see Germany finally standing up militarily. That demonstrates a dangerous ignorance of Bible prophecy.
In the days after the extra spending was announced, German Economic Minister Robert Habeck visited Washington. Spiegel Online wrote that Habeck was “welcomed with open arms” and “showered with goodwill” from America’s leaders. “At the German Embassy in Washington, diplomats could hardly believe the number of people who wanted to meet with Habeck: the secretaries for commerce and energy as well as security and energy advisers,” Spiegel Online wrote. “And then Habeck also rushed to Antony Blinken on Tuesday afternoon for an hourlong conversation. Habeck’s people hadn’t even asked to meet with the secretary of state—the request reportedly came from the U.S. side” (March 2).
But prophecy tells us that this European military power is going to turn against Britain, America and the Jewish state in the Middle East in an act of unparalleled treachery! God says He is raising up this nation to punish us!
These prophecies are dark, but the Bible shows they all have a positive ending. Daniel 8:25 tells us 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.
Daniel 2 contains another critical prophecy of this power. It 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 will 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!
The rise of a German-led European power is a towering sign that Christ’s return is close. The time of evil, human empires invading their neighbors is nearly over. God’s rule is about to begin!