Chapter 2: Germany’s Earliest Roots
Could the German Reich, the oldest political institution in Europe, which ruled the Continent as the Holy Roman Empire for a thousand years and almost gained control of the whole world in two wars in the 20th century—could a people with a role in human affairs that large be completely ignored in the Bible? That’s what some scholars would have you believe.
The Bible does not mention the word Germany, and for good reason: The Germans did not acquire that name until the Romans collectively labeled them Germani almost 2,000 years ago. In fact, the Germans refer to themselves as Deutsch, not German. They call their beloved country Deutschland. If we are to find the German people mentioned in the Bible, it must be under some name other than what the Romans labeled them.
In this chapter, we will prove from the Bible and other historical sources that modern-day Germany descended from the ancient Assyrians. Certainly, the Bible is the greatest historical source of all. In fact, it is the only complete historical source we have concerning the civilization of man. And once you prove who the ancient Assyrians are today, it will suddenly open your eyes to dozens and dozens of end-time Bible prophecies concerning those people.
One third of the Bible is prophecy, most of which is for our day. And you can be sure that Assyria is mentioned in numerous Bible prophecies.
But much of the Bible is also history. Bible history says much about the beginning and development of the nation of Assyria. Together, Bible history and prophecy outline the complete story of the German people from beginning to end.
The Assyrian Empire Begins
For those who scoff at the prospect of the German people moving from the upper regions of the Mesopotamia Valley into Central Europe, consider this undeniable fact: All of mankind, at one point or another, has descended from that very cradle of civilization—the Mesopotamia Valley! That is where civilization began after the flood waters receded in Noah’s day. “And the ark rested … upon the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4). Ararat is just north of the Mesopotamia Valley (the eastern part of modern-day Turkey).
As Noah’s family multiplied exceedingly, many migrated down from the mountains of Ararat to a plain in the land of Shinar, or Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). Genesis 10 gives a brief account of this occurrence, mainly listing the lineages of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. But God does draw special attention to Nimrod, grandson of Ham, the father of the black races. Nimrod means “he rebelled”—against God, that is. Nimrod established the kingdom of Babylon. Babylon means confusion, which is what happened when God confounded the people’s language at the tower of Babel. Reading these early accounts of civilization clearly reveals that God names things for what they are!
Aside from Nimrod, Genesis 10 also draws special attention to Asshur. “Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah” (verse 11). As the margin suggests, a better translation of this verse reveals that Asshur and Nimrod went out of the land of Shinar to build Nineveh and other cities. There is strong evidence to indicate that Asshur worked with Nimrod, probably in the military field, and helped to build Babel and Nineveh, as well as other cities.
Now notice verse 22: “The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.” Asshur was a son of Shem, the father of the white racial strain—those of fair skin and lighter hair. Notice that Arphaxad is listed in this verse as the third son of Shem. Now read Genesis 11:10: “These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood.” Neither of Shem’s first two sons, Elam or Asshur, are mentioned! That’s because they were rejected as the heirs of Shem’s inheritance. If they were working alongside Nimrod, you can see why Shem (and God) rejected them! Asshur parted with his father and became the progenitor of the Assyrian people.
Over 300 years later, Abraham, through whom God was to raise up His chosen nation Israel, was begotten of the line of Arphaxad, the third son of Shem.
It is significant that Asshur, father of the Assyrians, and Arphaxad, whose line Abraham descended from, both came from Shem. This means that while there may be some distinguishable physical differences between the Assyrians and Israelites, both peoples came from the fair-skinned, white racial strain of Shem. More on this later.
But first, let us consider this early beginning of the Assyrian people. We have already uncovered much, just from a few Bible verses. Notice what the historian Josephus recorded concerning Asshur: “Shem, the third son of Noah, had five sons …. Ashur lived at the city of Nieve; and named his subjects Assyrians, who became the most fortunate nation, beyond others” (Antiquities, i, vi, 4). Assyria quickly became the most prosperous, powerful nation of the day.
Abraham Defeats the Assyrians
By the time Abraham was growing up, Assyria was already a powerful world empire. God brought Abraham, along with his nephew Lot, into the land of Canaan and showered a multitude of wealth and prosperity on their people. It was only a matter of time before they were to be confronted by the mighty Assyrians.
Let’s pick up the story in Genesis 14:1-2: “And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; That these made war ….” These four kings were allied as a gigantic Assyrian empire, as Josephus pointed out: “At this time, when the Assyrians had the dominion over Asia, the people of Sodom were in a flourishing condition … . [T]he Assyrians made war upon them; and, dividing their army into four parts, fought against them. Now every part of the army had its own commander … Amraphel, Arioch, Chodorlaomer and Tidal. These kings had laid waste all Syria, and overthrown the offspring of the giants” (Antiquities, i, ix, 1). Josephus confirmed that the four kings mentioned in Genesis 14 were in fact Assyrian.
Concerning Genesis 14:1, Lange’s Commentary says, “According to Ktesias and others, the Assyrians were the first to establish a world-dominion.”
The last king listed in Genesis 14:1 is Tidal, the “king of nations.” He ruled in the region of Asia Minor. The name Tidal comes from a Hebrew word which means “to fear, make afraid, dreadful and terrible.” For centuries, Assyria caused many nations great fear!
These four Assyrian generals came to make war with the kings in Canaan (verses 2‑4). The Assyrians routed the people of Canaan, including the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And in taking captives, they captured Abraham’s wealthy nephew, Lot (verses 11-12). “And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus” (verses 14-15). Josephus recorded that Abram and his men “marched hastily, and the fifth night fell upon the Assyrians, near Dan … and before they could arm themselves, he slew some as they were in their beds, before they could suspect any harm; and others, who were not yet gone to sleep, but were so drunk they could not fight, ran away” (Antiquities, i, x, 1).
Genesis 14:17 says that Abram also killed the four top leaders of the Assyrian empire, mentioned in verse 1. It was a complete rout. The power of Assyria was smashed in one night. The course of history was changed. Abraham and his descendants were able to continue living peacefully in the land of Canaan free from Assyrian aggression. And Egypt, without the Assyrian threat, grew into one of the leading nations in the ancient world. God wanted Egypt to dominate the Middle East, not Assyria. Egypt, though the people didn’t know it at the time, was preparing for the arrival of Joseph and the children of Israel.
For the next 1,200 years, the Bible says little about Assyria. But the Assyrians did not disappear. Their resurgence around 700 b.c., once again as a world power, proved to be yet another thorn in the Israelites’ side.
Virtually every historian draws attention to the war-like nature of the Assyrian people. James McCabe, author of History of the World, says the Assyrians were a “fierce, treacherous race, delighting in the dangers of the chase and in war. The Assyrian troops were notably among the most formidable of ancient warriors …. They never kept faith when it was to their interest to break treaties, and were regarded with suspicion by their neighbors in consequence of this characteristic …. In organization and equipment of their troops, and in their system of attack and defense and their method of reducing fortified places, the Assyrians manifested a superiority to the nations by which they were surrounded.”
Dr. Herman Hoeh, historian and author of Compendium of World History, wrote, “Ancient Assyria was the greatest war-making power in all history” (Plain Truth, January 1963).
James Hastings wrote, “The Assyrians of historic times were more robust, warlike, ‘fierce,’ than the mild industrial Babylonians. This may have been due to the influence of climate and incessant warfare; but it may indicate a different race …. The whole organization of the state was essentially military” (“Assyria and Babylonia,” Dictionary of the Bible).
Leonard Cottrell, in Anvil of Civilization, wrote: “In all the annals of human conquest, it is difficult to find any people more dedicated to bloodshed and slaughter than the Assyrians. Their ferocity and cruelty have few parallels save in modern times.” It’s interesting that Catrell can only compare their ferocity with those “in modern times.” Many would admit that in the 20th century the Germans were dedicated to much bloodshed.
After 800 b.c., Assyria was poised and ready to take the world by storm. Its resurgence would soon clash head-on with the powerful Israelites.
In his Compendium, Dr. Hoeh wrote, “In 745 a new dynasty sat upon the Assyrian throne in Nineveh. It commenced with Tiglath-pileser iii. This dynasty existed to the collapse of Assyria in 612” (Volume 1).
The Encyclopedia Britannica concurs with Dr. Hoeh’s synopsis: “Under Tiglath-pileser iii arose the second Assyrian empire, which differed from the first in its greater consolidation. For the first time in history the idea of centralization was introduced into politics …. The Assyrian forces became a standing army, which, by successive improvements and careful discipline, was molded into an irresistible fighting machine, and Assyrian policy was directed towards the definite object of reducing the whole civilized world into a single empire and thereby throwing its trade and wealth into Assyrian hands” (“Babylonia and Assyria,” 11th edition). By now, you should be noticing some definite similarities between ancient Assyria and the modern-day Germany that has thrust this world into two great wars, endeavoring to create one single empire. More on that later.
Israel Taken Into Assyrian Captivity
Let us continue with Assyria’s documented history within the upper Mesopotamian region. In 2 Kings 16, you will read of a war between Israel and the Jews. By this time, the children of Israel had divided into two nations, the northern 10 tribes keeping the name Israel, the southern tribes taking on the name Judah. Israel was allied with Aram (Syria). Judah solicited the help of Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria (2 Kings 16:7). In defense of the Jews, the Assyrians attacked Aram first and Israel later.
In his 14th year of rule, Shalmaneser iii, Assyrian king at Calah, besieged the land of Samaria, where the 10 tribes of Israel resided. The year was 721 b.c. Notice 2 Kings 17:5-6: “Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years [721-718]. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.”
Despite numerous warnings from their prophets, the people of Israel refused to turn from their rebellion against God. It was God who sent the Assyrians as the rod of His anger to take the Israelites into captivity (Isaiah 10:5). They were removed out of their land. “For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day” (2 Kings 17:22-23).
Josephus recorded that Shalmaneser “made an expedition against Samaria … besieged [it] three years and took it by force … and quite demolished the government of the Israelites, and transplanted all the people into Media and Persia” (Antiquities, ix, xiv, 1).
Religious scholar and author Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in The United States and Britain in Prophecy, “In the years 721-718 b.c., the house of Israel was conquered and its people were soon driven out of their own land—out of their homes and cities—and carried captives to Assyria, on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea! And then … lost from view!” At this point in Israel’s history, they were completely lost from view—known as the “lost 10 tribes” of Israel. But do you know why they became “lost” from the world’s view? Because scholars and historians also lost sight of the Assyrians! And during captivity, Israel went into Assyria, located anciently at the southern shores of the Black and Caspian seas. Our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy tracks the northwestern migration of the children of Israel into Western Europe, the Scandinavian peninsula, and the British Isles. Why this migration? Because the Assyrians took them in that direction when they migrated northwest into Central Europe!
As both peoples moved into Europe, the Israelites did not remain as slaves of the Assyrians. Instead, they separated into the regions listed above while the Assyrians mainly settled into Central Europe, where Germany and Austria are located today.
The Assyrian Migration
Before their migration, Periplus, who lived around 550 b.c., wrote, “The coast of the Black Sea … is called Assyria” (Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Sardinia, Judaea, Syria and Asia Minor, Volume 2). C. Leonard Woolley described what these people looked like in his book, The Sumerians: “In the Zagros hills and across the plain to the Tigris, there lived a … fair-haired … people akin to the Guti (Goths) who … remained in what was afterwards Assyria.” This description certainly matches those who descended from the line of Shem.
Here is what Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote: “When the ancient Greek writers wanted to distinguish the Assyrians from the Arameans or Syrians, the Greeks called the Assyrians ‘Leucosyri’—meaning ‘whites’ or ‘blonds,’ as distinct from the very brunette Syrians who still live in Mesopotamia” (Plain Truth, January 1963).
By the time of Christ, the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder recorded that the Assyrians were now dwelling north of the Black Sea (Natural History, iv, 12). By this time, they had moved north.
But they did not stop there, as Mr. Armstrong wrote in The United States and Britain in Prophecy: “The Assyrians—before 604 b.c.—left their land north of Babylon and migrated northwest—through the lands that are now Georgia, the Ukraine, Poland, and into the land that is called Germany today. Today the descendants of those Assyrians are known to us as the German people.”
Tracing Germany’s Roots
For centuries, the German people have dominated the heartland of Central Europe. Yet they are a people who know very little about their true origin—or at least refuse to know. (The Germans themselves are responsible for hiding much of this knowledge, just as many tried to hide their past at the end of the Hitler era.)
Just as the modern-day Israelites are one family of people from many different tribes, so too are the German people today. They number well over 100 million people worldwide—most of them residing in Germany and Austria.
Much was written about the early German tribes that poured into Europe during the first and second centuries a.d., thanks in large part to the Roman historian Tacitus, who lived at that time. Among the most significant of these early German tribes are the Chatti (ancestors of the modern Hessians), Treveri, Tungri, and the Alammanni, to name just a few. Chatti means “to break down by violence; to make afraid or terrify.” The ancestors of this German tribe, before migrating, lived mostly in Asia Minor, and were called the Assyrian Chatti.
Many of these early German tribes were in constant conflict with the Roman Empire, which is why the Romans collectively labeled them Germani, meaning “war men.” As Encyclopedia Britannica points out, “There is no evidence that [Germani] was ever used by the Germans themselves. According to Tacitus it was first applied to the Tungri, whereas Caesar records that four … tribes … were collectively known as Germani” (“Germany,” 11th edition).
The Romans called them Germani because of their fierce, warring nature. “Not a single neighbor of the Germans,” wrote Emil Ludwig, “could ever trust the Germans to remain peaceable. No matter how happy their condition, their restless passion would urge them on to ever more extreme demands” (The Germans: Double History of a Nation, 1941).
These early tribes migrated into Central Europe, as historians verify. The Romans labeled all of them “war men.” But from where did they come? Smith’s Classical Dictionary answers: “There can be no doubt that they [the Assyrians] … migrated into Europe from the Caucasus and the countries around the Black and Caspian seas” (“Germania”).
Speaking of the Indo-Germanic tribes that were invading Europe while he was alive, the historian Jerome, who was born in a.d. 340, wrote, “For ‘Assur (the Assyrian) also is joined with them’”! (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, letter 123, section 16). Jerome was quoting from Psalm 83:8. Jerome wrote of this Assyrian migration because he lived while it was happening! He was an eyewitness to these events.
With many Germanic tribes flooding into Central Europe, the stage was set for the Assyrian empire of old to again rise to world dominance. All the Germanic people needed was dynamic leadership to establish unity; visionaries whom the people could rally around. For the next 1,500 years, the Germans found just that in the “Holy Roman Empire.”
Sidebar: Language of the Assyrians
Some have argued that the Assyrian people spoke a Semitic language, not Indo-Germanic, and therefore the Germans could not be the descendants of the ancient Assyrians.
Yet there is a passage in the Bible which clearly reveals how and why most of the ancient Assyrians acquired a new and different language.
In the days of Nimrod, a tower was constructed at Babel which was to be the capital city of a world-ruling dictatorship, under which God’s truth would have been completely stamped out. Concerning the rebellious people of Nimrod’s day, God said, “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Genesis 11:6).
To keep civilization from progressing to a point of self-destruction so soon, God had to “confound their language” (verse 7). This miraculous intervention by God was the origin of differing languages. This was when most of the Assyrians acquired the Indo-Germanic tongue and other related languages.
Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote, in his article “Germany in Prophecy!”, “European scholars have thoroughly studied the language of the land of Hatti—the ancestors of the Hessians. They found it to be an Indo-Germanic tongue—numerous words of which were akin to Old High German! … The language of the Hatti was the language of the West Assyrians. … Scholars admit that for centuries the language of the people who inhabited Assyria was not merely Semitic” (Plain Truth, January 1963).
Sidebar: Ancient City of Trier
On the banks of the Mosel River in western Germany, just 6 miles from the Luxembourg border, is the ancient German city of Trier. The Romans claim to be the founders of this ancient city. But German tradition, and even the name of the city, suggests otherwise.
“On das Rotes Haus (the Red House) beside the Steipe, there is a text in Latin boasting that Trier, or Treves, is older than Rome, 1,300 years older in fact. That is when Trebeta, son of Semiramis, is said to have founded the town.” That’s what it says in the opening paragraph of the Trier Colorphoto Guide to the Town.
Josef K.L. Bihl writes in his German textbook, In Deutschen Landen, “Trier was founded by Trebeta, a son of the famous Assyrian King Ninus.” Ninus, according to Roman, Greek and Persian records, was the first ruler who began the systematic conquest of the ancient world after the death of Nimrod.
Semiramis was married to Nimrod, the founder of Babylon (Genesis 10:8-10). Verse 11 says that Asshur and his descendants went out of Babylon and constructed the Assyrian capital—Nineveh. But as the margin correctly indicates, it was Nimrod who led Asshur out of Babylon and who actually supervised the construction project in Nineveh. Early on, the Bible indicates a close alliance between Nimrod and Asshur.
There is an obvious reason why the German city of Trier traces its origins back to Trebeta, the son of Nimrod’s successor, Ninus, as well as the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh. It’s because modern-day Germany is mostly made up of Assyrian people!
Sidebar: The Ancient Tribe of Chatti
The name Chatti, or Hatti as it sometimes reads, in Hebrew means to break down by violence or confusion; to abolish, make afraid, scare or terrify. Chatti is a derivative of the Hebrew word for Hittite, Chittiy—mentioned numerous times in the Bible. The Canaanite Hittites—a fierce people who continually clashed with the Israelites in biblical accounts—were known by this name. They were descendants of Ham—those of a darker-colored skin.
Yet there was another people, with much lighter skin, who were also known by this name, Chatti or Hatti: the Assyrians! Historians recognize that there were two distinct peoples which went by the name of Chatti, or Hittite, as it reads in the Bible.
James Hastings’s Dictionary of the Bible, written in 1899, refers to the northern “kings of the Hittites” mentioned in 1 Kings 10:29, and then comments, “Besides the northern Hittites, other Hittites, or ‘sons of Heth,’ are mentioned in the [Old Testament] as inhabiting the south of Palestine” (“Hittites,” Volume 2). These sons of Heth are the Canaanite Hittites of the line of Ham (see Genesis 10:15). Abraham asked these people for a burial place for Sarah in Genesis 23.
But what about these northern Hittites? Hastings refers to 1 Kings 10:29 where Solomon obtained war forces through trade with the “kings of the Hittites.” But these are not the same sons of Heth mentioned in Genesis 23. Notice the explanation for 1 Kings 10:29 in Lange’s Commentary: “The Hittites are not the same as those named in chapter 9:20, but were an independent tribe, probably in the neighborhood of Syria [biblical Assyria was just north of Syria], as 2 Kings 7:6 mentions them as in alliance with the Syrians.”
Dr. Herman Hoeh adds further insight about this verse in 1 Kings: “The Assyrian Hessians were called ‘kings of the Hittites’ because the Canaanite Hittites, driven out by Joshua, migrated into Asia Minor where the Assyrians dwelt” (Plain Truth, January 1969).
It was the Assyrians who labeled many of their own people in the western part of their empire as Hittites, or Chatti, as the Hebrew reads. Hastings confirms this: “The Assyrians … caused the name of ‘Hittite’ in the Assyrian period to be applied to all the nations west of the Euphrates.” He went on to say that Hittite proper names can be traced far to the west in Asia Minor.
Virtually all historical authorities recognize that there were two different peoples that took on the name Hittite, or Chatti. The Encyclopedia Britannica acknowledges this phenomenon: “The identification of the northern and southern Hittites, however, presents certain difficulties not yet fully explained; and it seems that we must assume Heth to have been the name of both a country … and of a tribal population not confined to that country” (“Hittites,” 11th edition). How clear! There was a nation of people, known as Hittites, sons of Heth, who were great warriors. But there was also a tribal population which acquired this name because they too were a fierce people that scared and terrified other nations, which is what Hittite means. These were known as the Assyrian Hittites.
Concerning the Canaanite Hittites, Dr. Hoeh suggests that after Alexander the Great conquered Asia, they too migrated northwest into Europe, “and then, across the Atlantic to North America where the colonists rediscovered them as the Chatti Indians of the Central Plains.”
But the Assyrian Chatti remained in Central Europe, as the Encyclopedia Britannica and any student of German history will plainly confirm. The Britannica describes the Chatti as “an ancient German tribe” which “frequently came into conflict with the Romans during the early years of the first century” (“Chatti”). Certainly these German Chatti, whom the Roman historian Tacitus also wrote about, could not be of the sons of Heth, for they were a dark-skinned people. The German Chatti were of the sons of Asshur, a fair-skinned people. And it is from this early tribe that the more modern German tribe, called the Hessians, received their name.
Notice again what the Encyclopedia Britannica says: “The earliest known inhabitants of the country [Germany] were the Chatti, who lived here during the first century a.d. …. ‘Alike both in race and language,’ says Walther Schultze, ‘the Chatti and the Hessi are identical’” (“Hesse”). Furthermore, the Old High German spelling of Hesse was Hatti!
Dr. Hoeh wrote in the above-mentioned Plain Truth article, “The land of the Hatti was the western part of the Assyrian Empire …. The ancient kings of Assyria called themselves Khatti-sars—meaning the ‘Kaisers of Hatti,’ or ‘Kings of Hatti.’ The chief people of Hatti regarded themselves as Assyrians …. The ancient capital of the land of Hatti was popularly known among the Romans as ‘Ninus Vetus—the old Nineveh.’”
For those honestly seeking the truth concerning the origin of the German people, proof is abundant! In fact, concerning some of the early Hittite monuments, Hastings says, “The Hittites seem to have had a special fancy for combining parts of different animals into strangely composite and sometimes grotesque forms” (“Hittites” op. cit). He then went on to say that they were responsible for bringing the two-headed eagle into Europe, which has long been a symbol of the German Empire!
There can be no doubt that one of the earliest German tribes, known as the Chatti, descended from the Assyrian Chatti who resided in Asia Minor.