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Thread: Germany in Biblical Prophecy

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    Germany in Biblical Prophecy

    I've come across some very interesting articles published by the United Church of God. Please bear with me, read them and make your observations and personal opinions known on the matter. Thanx!
    Here they are:

    Germany's Rising Economic and Political Power
    Germany, not the United States, is the world's biggest single exporting nation. The German-dominated European Union is the world's biggest single market. Additionally, the German-based euro is increasingly the international currency of choice. Few realize how significant these economic factors are.
    by Melvin Rhodes
    A brief news item on the main evening news in early April left me stunned. It came halfway through the 30-minute program.

    The short news clip showed Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, giving a press conference at which he announced a willingness to enter peace talks with the Palestinians. Absolutely nothing was said and no attention was given to the woman standing next to him. That's what left me stunned!

    The lady was none other than the German chancellor and current president of the European Union, Angela Merkel.

    It was as if she did not exist.

    Given Germany's fairly recent history with the Jews, surely a visit by the head of the German government ranks a mention, showing at the very least that German-Israeli relations have come a long way since the Holocaust.

    But, putting aside history, Chancellor Merkel is one of the most important personages on the world stage. What was she doing in Israel and was she the one who brought the prime minister to the negotiating table? America has been Israel's main source of support for five decades. Only the United States has previously had the clout to lead Israeli leaders to peace talks. Does the European Union now have the same power?

    These are questions that, at the very least, should have been asked on that evening news broadcast. But they weren't. It's as if Europe doesn"t count and is of no relevance to the United States or the Mideast.

    But Germany, with a population about 27 percent of America's, has been the world's biggest exporting nation for four years now, accounting for 13 percent of the world's trade. With the German dominated euro slowly increasing in value against the American dollar, you would think that Germans would be having difficulty selling their goods internationally, but this is not the case. German products are among the best in the world and last a long time.

    Germans have no difficulty selling the items they produce, even when the price internationally has risen by 30 percent due to the rising value of their currency. "There's no better proof that our products are superior than to have an indirect price increase of 30 percent without losing any sales," said Alexander von Witzleben, the chief of Jenoptik, which makes lasers and sensors.

    "Von Witzleben notes that Germany now exports more to Russia and its former Soviet satellites than it does to the United States. It ships nearly as much to Britain as to America, and its total exports within Europe are five times greater than its shipments to the United States" (Mark Landler, "German Economy Booms as Exporters Extend Their Reach," International Herald Tribune, April 11, 2007).

    Contrast the United States, where American manufacturers are finding it increasingly difficult to sell their products, even with the competitive advantage of a fall in the dollar. Japanese car manufacturers are selling record numbers of autos in the United States at a time when American car companies should show a competitive advantage.

    The euro is another reason for Germany's increasing clout. The euro is now used by 13 European nations. Worldwide, cash transactions in euros are now greater in number than those in dollars. Europes market capitalization total is also now greater than that of the United States, for the first time since 1914, when World War I broke out and ended Europe's global supremacy.

    "Europe, of course, benefits from a resurgent Germany simply because of the country's size. It accounts for a fifth of the economic activity of the European Union, and its trade within Europe is booming" (ibid.).

    It should also be noted that "Germany's rise has set it apart from its European neighbors. While Italy struggles to regain its export groove and France waits for a presidential election that could reshape its political and economic landscape, Germany has doggedly molded itself into a globally competitive player" (ibid.).

    EU at 50

    For the first six months of this year, Germany has been presiding over the EU's rotating presidency. This gives the country and its leader much greater clout on the world stage.

    Germany was one of the six original signers of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, along with France, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Berlin hosted the anniversary celebrations in March and is using its influence to push through a revised European constitution that will create a federal European government. This will not only increase Europe's power and effectiveness, but also that of Germany, the dominant country of the 27-nation trading bloc.

    Little realized is that Germany is on track to achieving peacefully what it failed to do in the two world wars of the 20th century.

    "France created the European Union both to protect and assert itself in the geography of the Cold War—and in that it was wildly successful. But that geography no longer exists, and the union now not only has grown beyond Paris" grasp, but also has fallen under the influence of a power that until recently France controlled" (Peter Zeihan, "EU: A Golden Anniversary—and a Hard Reality for France," Stratfor: Geopolitical Intelligence Report, March 27, 2007). That power is Germany.

    France's domination of the European Union naturally followed from Germany's defeat at the end of World War II. Having been invaded by Germany three times in 70 years, France was determined that never again would the two countries go to war. This was the inspiration for the EU, formerly the European Common Market. As long as Europe was divided, France's lead continued. But the end of the Cold War changed everything.

    "The pond in which France swam enlarged, and the Soviet Union's imperial debris has since proven to be more than Paris can manage.

    "Yes, Germany remained critical in French thinking regarding Europe; but unlike the heady days of the 1960s and 1970s, when Paris largely determined the German position, reunified Germany began to inject its own preferences—very quietly—into European processes…During this time, Franco-German relations remained cordial, but the European project began to take a new (German) direction" (ibid.).

    Among other things, it was German meddling in the Balkans that "ultimately blossomed into the Yugoslav wars"; and "German diplomats took the lead in crafting the euro—a currency governed by the same conservative policies used in German, not French, monetary management."

    Germany was the most enthusiastic about EU expansion to the east, of which Berlin, at the center of Europe, could take maximum advantage. Eastward expansion "diluted France's political control of the organization," which has expanded from 15 to 27 countries since the fall of communism (ibid.).

    Germany is the number one trading partner of all the new EU member nations and most of the older ones. Germany is also the international economic powerhouse. After the United States and Japan, it is the third biggest single economy. When its dominance of the EU is factored in, it could be said to be the world's number one economy. Certainly, the euro is rapidly replacing the American dollar as the international currency of choice, though most commodities remain priced in dollars.

    This brings us back to the Middle East and Chancellor Merkel's visit to Israel. "Germany, not France, is able to hold—indeed, demand—a robust discussion with any major power of the world on any topic" (ibid.). Also, a German refusal to cooperate can be problematic for the United States and Great Britain. Germany failed to support the two coalition partners in Iraq, and Germany refused to put economic pressure on Iran during the recent seizure of the 15 British sailors.

    Indeed, it is in the Middle East that European and American interests most differ. The EU's policies embrace the Palestinian cause much more than America's do. Though both have ties with Israel, America's are generally perceived as much stronger. Also, closer proximity to the Middle East and a greater dependence on Mideast oil means that European countries have a greater stake in seeing the area at peace.

    Added to these factors is concern over Europe's growing Muslim population and the increasing threat from domestic terrorism. The German chancellor announced early in April plans to boost state-controlled day-care facilities in the hope of boosting the German birthrate, one of the lowest in the world.

    Germany at center of European history

    Not only is Germany at the geographical center of Europe, it has also been at the political center. In the last 100 years, rapid growth in German economic, industrial and trading power was quickly followed by rising German militarism, which resulted in the two world wars.

    In fact, Germany recovered amazingly quickly from the devastation of the Great Depression. Early in 1933 its economy was in a collapsed state. Within six years, it had become the economic powerhouse of Europe, able to take on the military might of the British and French empires and later, the United States. It was far from a foregone conclusion that the Allies would win World War II.

    Germany seems set to once again become a major force in the world.

    The Bible prophesies a coming union of nations in Europe that will be the next global superpower. This final resurrection of the Roman Empire (remember, the EU was formed by the Treaty of Rome 50 years ago) will comprise 10 European nations or groups of nations.

    "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings [or leaders] who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast" (Revelation 17:12). The "beast" can mean this revived Roman Empire or its leader; the government will be a successor to the ancient Roman Empire pictured by a "beast" in Daniel 2 and 7.

    "These [10 leaders] are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast" (Revelation 17:13).

    We know that this is an end-time prophecy as the next verse, verse 14, prophesies that this combination of nations "will make war with the Lamb" (Jesus Christ) at His return.

    The push by Germany for the full unification of Europe could be a stepping-stone to this union of nations. The European Union is based on democratic principles, although many of its citizens are dissatisfied with the power and the pettiness of its bureaucrats.

    The Stratfor article concludes with the following two paragraphs. "There is a reason why Merkel's first summit in her current role as EU president focused on energy security. There is a reason why Germany is the only major eurozone economy that has not called for more political oversight of the European Central Bank (ECB). There is a reason why it was a German who negotiated and wrote the Maastricht Treaty on monetary union. There is a reason why ECB policymakers look first and foremost at German economic data. And there is a reason why the ECB is located in Frankfurt.

    "So, when thinking of evolutions in the European Union, consider the implications of having the word "euro" replaced with "deutsche mark." For all practical purposes, that is what the euro is."

    In other words, Germany is at the head of the European Union. Looking ahead, that means Germany will be in the leading role when the European nations achieve their full union and become the global superpower the Bible shows is on the way. WNP

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    Who Will Be the Next Superpower?
    Bible prophecy shows the United States will not be the world’s preeminent power indefinitely. A new superpower is rising to challenge the United States and the other English-speaking nations.
    by Melvin Rhodes
    For over 60 years, since the end of World War II, the United States has been the world's preeminent power. For four decades it had a rival, the Soviet Union. But since the fall of communism there has been only one global superpower. Nations have risen and fallen throughout history. The United States is no exception. Eventually, inevitably, America will lose its supremacy, just as the British lost theirs to the United States.

    Who will replace the United States as the world's global leader?

    The candidates

    There are plenty of candidates.

    Could it be China, which has the biggest population and one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world? Could it be India, with over 1 billion people and a booming economy? Or, perhaps, it's an alliance of Middle Eastern nations, increasingly the recipients of great wealth?

    The fact is that the United States has already lost its economic preeminence to a rival superpower in the making.

    "At the dawn of the twenty-first century, a geopolitical revolution of historic dimensions is under way across the Atlantic: the unification of Europe. Twenty-five nations have joined together—with another dozen or so on the waiting list—to build a common economy, government, and culture. Europe is a more integrated place today that at any time since the Roman Empire."

    So wrote T.R. Reid, former London bureau chief for the Washington Post, in the prologue to his 2004 book The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy.

    Continuing, Mr. Reid wrote: "The new United States of Europe—to use Winston Churchill's phrase—has more people, more wealth, and more trade than the United States of America. The New Europe cannot match American military strength (and doesn't want to, for that matter). But it has more votes in every international organization than the United States, and it gives away far more money in development aid. The result is global economic and political clout that makes the European Union exactly what its leaders want it to be: a second superpower that can stand on equal footing with the United States."

    In the year that Mr. Reid wrote his book, the EU added 10 new members to make the 25 he mentioned. At that moment in time, the EU surpassed the United States as the world's biggest single market. Less than four years later, with the falling value of the U.S. dollar and the rise in the value of the euro, in the midst of the credit crunch, the 15-nation euro zone overtook the United States.

    With the addition of Romania and Bulgaria, the EU now has 27 members, with others trying to qualify for membership. Even stricter rules apply to joining the 15-member euro zone—out of the 12 countries of the EU that do not presently use the euro, nine are in line to join, but their finances are not considered sound enough.

    In January 2009 the 27 will have one president over them, prior to the new American president taking office. He may not have as much military clout as his American counterpart, but through Europe's growing economic power, his international influence is likely to be just as great.

    Europe is on track to achieve its primary goal, explained in the closing paragraph of Mr. Reid's prologue: "…the leaders and the people of the EU are determined to change a world that had been dominated by Americans. Indeed, that goal has become a powerful motivator for the New Europe—to create a United States of Europe that is not the United States of America. One clear result of the unification of Europe is that the gap between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean is growing wider every day."

    This growing division was highlighted during President George W. Bush's April 2008 visit to Bucharest, Romania, for the NATO summit. The United States, which was accustomed to getting its own way in NATO, found the Europeans this time refusing to go along with American plans for expanding the military alliance.

    Washington supported Ukraine and Georgia's request for membership in the world's oldest military alliance, but Germany and France opposed their entry, fearing increased conflict with Russia. Mr. Bush suffered further embarrassment when, after announcing that Croatia, Albania and Macedonia were to be admitted as new members, Greece vetoed Macedonia's membership.

    The Europeans are increasingly flexing their muscles—often at American expense.

    While their goal is an "ever closer union," as agreed to in the 1957 Treaty of Rome that laid the basis for the present EU, they aren't likely to call themselves the United States of Europe. Their desire is for a distinctly separate identity from the United States—democratic, but with their own style, taking into account historical and geographical realities.

    For the fact is that the European Union is composed of nations that have spent much of the last 1,000 years concentrating on living and preserving their separate identities, often having to defend themselves to exist. Now they are voluntarily coming together, giving up aspects of their own sovereignty in order to accomplish the goal of that "ever closer union."

    Mr. Reid put it very well when he wrote that "Europe is a more integrated place today than at any time since the Roman Empire."

    Indeed, the latest attempt at unifying Europe is one of a number of revivals throughout history that tried to resurrect the Roman Empire. Previous attempts were by conquest. This time it's all voluntary, which means it's coming together more slowly but with far greater support and enthusiasm.

    In the past, the military of one power forcibly united the others; now economics is the driving force as Europe and its currency the euro achieve universal supremacy.

    Roman Empire prophesied

    In the Old Testament book of Daniel we read that God "removes kings and raises up kings" (Daniel 2:21). God is behind the rise and fall of nations.

    Daniel saw this for himself. Born in the kingdom of Judah, Daniel was taken captive as a teenager when the mighty Babylonian Empire conquered his nation. Here he spent the better part of 70 years.

    Just as Daniel saw the invasion and fall of his home country, he was to live to see the invasion and fall of Babylon. Persia conquered the conquerors in October 539 B.C.

    Daniel knew this was going to happen. God had used him to reveal the meaning of a dream King Nebuchadnezzar had. The dream and its interpretation are recorded in chapter 2 of the book of Daniel. In verse 39, Daniel explained that three other great gentile empires would succeed the Babylonian Empire. We see five verses later that these empires would culminate in the establishment of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

    Some years later, Daniel himself had a similar vision that gave him a deeper understanding of these prophesied events. In his vision, Daniel saw four great beasts (Daniel 7:3), four great gentile empires, "each different from the other."

    "The first was like a lion" (verse 4, Babylon); the "second, like a bear" (verse 5 Persia); the third, "like a leopard," depicted Alexander the Great and his Grecian Empire, which would have "four heads," the four generals who were to divide up his empire after his untimely death (verse 6).

    "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth…It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns" (verse 7). The successor to Greece was Rome, centuries after Daniel's vision.

    But notice the reference to "ten horns" in verse 7. In the following verse, verse 8, we read that "there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots."

    A horn is a symbol of aggressive strength, and it is associated with political authority and power. The 10 horns mentioned here, with three to be plucked out by the roots, lead in time to the establishment of the Kingdom of God, as verse 9 shows, "I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated."

    As the Kingdom of God has not yet been established on the earth, this is still future.

    If the Roman Empire is the last of the four beasts mentioned in Daniel chapters 2 and 7, and the Roman Empire immediately precedes the Kingdom of God, then clearly the 10 horns mentioned here are revivals of the Roman Empire down through history. The final resurrection of the Roman Empire is prophesied in the New Testament book of Revelation, a book dealing specifically with end-time events and the Day of the Lord.

    The European Union was founded by the Treaty of Rome. Its expressed intent is to form "an ever closer union." What began as an economic union developed into a monetary union. Now it is becoming a full political union. Out of it will come the nations that form the prophesied Beast power, the final revival of the Roman Empire that leads directly into the Kingdom of God.

    Revelation 13:3 shows that the entire world will be astounded when it sees the revived Roman Empire. "And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast." Its power and authority will affect the whole earth.

    Other revivals of the Roman Empire have been attempted throughout history. This article begins a series that will examine each of those resurrections helping readers to understand the background to what has become the world's biggest single economic power with a currency to rival the U.S. dollar—the chief economic rival to American supremacy. The EU is not the Beast, but the Beast will likely come out of it as the final revival of the Roman Empire. WNP

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    What Is Germany's Destiny?
    For far too many German citizens, reunification in 1990 has meant 15 years of economic downturn, increasing unemployment and general deprivation. But encouraging signs of recovery are gradually beginning to emerge in the German economy. Prophetically speaking, what does reunification mean in the long run?
    by John Ross Schroeder
    The immediate results of reunification did not measure up to general expectations for both the former East and West Germany. As British columnist Bronwen Maddox stated, "Germany's decline from powerhouse to doubtful man of Europe has been much chronicled" (The Times, Aug. 23, 2005). The region that was East Germany has been plagued by high unemployment, and the wealthier western section of the country has grown somewhat weary of footing the bill for bringing the eastern section up to par economically.

    Nonetheless, Germany invested heavily in bringing the railways and communications systems up to par, and the long-term results appear set to pay off in what was East Germany. Recent German figures show that "unemployment is at long last starting to fall." In addition, "Germany's big companies have restructured and cut their bloated cost base" and "unit labour costs have fallen sharply relative to other countries. In the past five years, Germany . . . has won a new competitive edge over France, Italy, the Netherlands and even Britain" (The Economist, Aug. 20, 2005).

    The Economist is one of the most respected world affairs magazines. A special feature article in the Aug. 20 issue explains the progress already made in the German economy along with challenges and problems yet ahead (pp. 9, 62-64).

    Meanwhile, the German stock market is pulling in investors from many European nations. As The Sunday Times reported, "Foreign investors are pumping billions into Germany as hopes rise that the country is turning the corner." Further: "German companies have become more competitive and are starting to reinvest their profits in the economy, and the unemployment rate, while still stuck above 10 per cent, dropped for the fourth successive month in July" (Aug. 28).

    Germany has even regained the title of the biggest exporter of goods in Europe. Yet by now other nations have become so accustomed to hearing of its economic malaise that most have missed these emerging signs of revival. True, the number of Germans out of work still approaches 5 million and consumer confidence has not yet revived. Still, much better statistics will surely follow if the German government and industry stay the course and even improve on the necessary, but painful, corrective measures already taken.

    But there is more to the story than mere economics.

    "A German pope on German soil"

    In the waning years of the last century, few would have predicted there would be a German pope of the Catholic Church in 2005. Even though Germany, like much of the rest of Europe, is now very secular, do not underestimate the effects this could have on national optimism and patriotism. It could prove to be the proverbial "shot in the arm."

    Like John Paul II before him who visited his native Poland first, Benedict XVI recently journeyed to his native land for a youth congress in Cologne. Naturally, this was the first foreign visit for the new pontiff. Although most of the 400,000 young people who attended were from other European nations and elsewhere, not German citizens, the new pope's visit produced a certain level of euphoria in the land. Altogether, 1 million Catholics converged on Cologne to greet the new pope.

    Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his political opponent in the upcoming national elections in September, Angela Merkel, were on hand in Cologne to greet Pope Benedict XVI. In Angela Merkel's words, "It was great to meet a German pope on German soil."

    Overall, reunification has meant a much stronger Germany, fully capable of leading all of Europe. The enormous increase in land and population numbers is bound to have its long-term consequences, not to mention regaining the traditional capital city of Berlin, which has been undergoing a substantial program of rebuilding and renewal.

    The delayed effect could prove deceptive to some and surprising to many others when reunification really comes into its own, bearing full fruition. Progress is predicted to continue, regardless of who wins in the upcoming national elections.

    Reunification in history and prophecy

    A.J.P. Taylor was one of Britain's preeminent 20th-century historians in both the written and spoken word. Students could not get a seat at his lectures in Oxford unless they were on time. He studied and explored the subject of German unity and reunification both in detail and broad perspective.

    In viewing the European continent as a whole, Professor Taylor stated that "throughout modern times Europe has been composed of independent states, some of them considerable powers. One power has tended to predominate or at least to be stronger than the others" (Europe: Grandeur and Decline, p. 7, emphasis added throughout). Germany was this one power for much of the 20th century.

    Professor Taylor viewed Germany from the standpoint of a British citizen whose nation had gone to war with Berlin twice within a half century (1914 to 1918 and 1939 to 1945). That's 10 years of conflict with much economic deprivation and many lives lost on both sides.

    So he concluded: "What is wrong with Germany is that there is too much of it. There are too many Germans, and Germany is too strong, too well organised, too well equipped with industrial resources. This greater Germany is a very recent appearance, created overnight by Bismarck and completed only by Hitler" (ibid., p. 121).

    To Professor Taylor, "The German problem, past and present, is the problem of German unity." Writing in the mid '50s, well before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the reunification that soon followed, this British historian firmly stated: "There are now no forces within Germany to resist the full programme of German unification, and the present partition rests solely on the occupying armies."

    Again, writing from the point of view of a British citizen and historian by profession who had lived through two world wars with Britain and Germany on opposing sides, he minced no words in saying that "the harsh truth of German history is that the solution to the German question cannot be found within Germany. Partition cannot be maintained as a permanent policy [it wasn't], yet a united Germany will keep Europe in apprehension" (pp. 165-166).

    A little earlier Professor Taylor had made this stark controversial prediction: "A Germany free from foreign control will seek to restore the United Greater Germany which Hitler achieved in 1938; nor will democracy provide an automatic safeguard against a new German aggression" (p. 165).

    At least on the surface, the bare facts today do not bear out Professor Taylor's statements. Clearly, Germany today is a fully functioning democracy and currently represents no visible or foreseeable danger to any nation. Its outlook since World War II has been far more pacifist than aggressive, and some measures have been taken by the German government to compensate for what happened during that war and before.

    Germany's politicians today have no intention of posing any threat whatsoever to the world. That is the present reality. However, events do not always go as planned. In the political arena, events all too often get out of hand. Over such events a democratic government has little control. As a result of political and economic upheavals, it can be thrust out of power. Remember what happened to Germany's Weimar Republic in the early 1930s.

    Membership in a united Europe

    Many Western politicians (both in Germany and other nations) have long felt that membership in the European Union or its predecessors like the European Economic Community would restrain Germany from shedding its democratic rule and pursuing potential intentions of aggression. Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, perhaps the chief architect of reunification, believed this almost as an article of faith.

    Of course, the ultimate truth of the matter would depend on just how dominant in Europe Germany might eventually become in the long run. The most economically sound nation is bound to acquire a predominant position over other nations in a given area. Geography has placed Germany at the fulcrum of Europe (Mitteleuropa).

    Biblical prophecies in both the Old Testament book of Daniel and the New Testament book of Revelation indicate that the nations of central Europe will fulfill many national prophecies during the time of the end of this age.

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    Europe and the Church, Part 11: Germany's Dream of Conquest
    At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the country of Germany did not even exist. But a century later it had risen to seriously challenge the greatest European empires and forever change the history of the world.
    by Melvin Rhodes
    The year 1914 saw "the outbreak of war on a scale unknown and undreamed of in all history" (The Book of Knowledge, Vol. 7, 1954, p. 478).

    Less than one 14th of the world's population escaped the greatest conflict in history.

    Known as the Great War until, 25 years later, a second world war followed, the 1914-18 war saw the end of the old order. A world that had been dominated for four centuries by European empires witnessed the collapse of most of them. Only the British and French empires survived. These two powers were among the victors. But even they lost their empires in the aftermath of the second conflict that inevitably followed the first.

    The central power that was their adversary was Germany, a country that did not even exist at the end of the Napoleonic period a century earlier.

    At the Congress of Vienna, held after Napoleon was exiled to Elba, leaders of over 200 different sovereign European countries laid the foundation for a century of relative peace on the continent. This century coincided with the Pax Britannica, the century of British dominance that came about largely due to Britain's command of the seas. British dominions and colonies scattered the globe forming the "multitude of nations" that was promised to Joseph's son Ephraim in Genesis 48. It was also the period of American expansion westward as the United States fulfilled the birthright promise to Ephraim's brother Manasseh to become a great single nation (verse 19).

    The Congress of Vienna met in 1814. In the following year, Napoleon was to return from exile and once again embark upon his military adventures. His final defeat came in June 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo. The fifth attempt at reviving the Roman Empire had ended. It was to be a century before another power would rise, set on uniting Europe by conquest.

    Germany unites
    Before Napoleon, there were 360 German states. These were not states like the American states. The United States is a federal republic. The 360 German states each had their own sovereign: a king, duke or prince. Many of them owed nominal allegiance to the Holy Roman emperor. Napoleon abolished the empire in 1806. A few years later, the Congress of Vienna established a German Confederation (or Deutscher Bund) under the presidency of Austria. The number of sovereign German states was reduced from 360 to 39. German unity remained elusive, leaving Austria as the dominant German-speaking power.

    But Austrian ambitions were soon challenged by Prussia, the other powerful German nation. The Prussians, under King Frederick the Great (1740-86), had become a major rival to Austria for domination of the rest of Germany. In 1834 Prussia set up a German customs union called the Zollverein, effectively creating a free-trade area among all the German states. This also had the effect of undermining Austrian ambitions over the German lands. It was the first step on the road to German unification.

    A little over a thousand years earlier, Charlemagne had united the French and the Germans in one kingdom, the second revival of the Roman Empire. After Charlemagne, France and Germany gradually developed their own separate identities, but, as neighbors, their destinies were set to be entwined.

    In the aftermath of Napoleon, the French were to struggle through decades of political uncertainty. The dynasty overthrown in the Revolution of 1789 was restored to power in 1815, but remained unpopular and fell 15 years later. The new king, the duke of Orleans, was popular at first but was himself overthrown in 1848, when France's Second Republic was established.

    Three years later, a coup led to the restoration of the empire under Napoleon III. In turn, he was also overthrown in 1871. Ironically, in view of the long conflict with England during the time of Napoleon, the three monarchs who lost their thrones in 1830, 1848 and 1871 all went into exile across the Channel.

    Napoleon III had the misfortune to rule France when the German states united under Prussia, making Germany a formidable European power at the very center of the continent. Germany was to defeat France three times in 70 years. Some people lived to see German troops arrive in their country three times!

    It was Otto von Bismarck who successfully and skillfully united the German territories under the Prussian dynasty of the Hohenzollerns. Bismarck was popularly known as the Iron Chancellor following a speech he gave at the outset of his premiership. He said, "The great questions of our day cannot be solved by speeches and majority votes, but by blood and iron."

    Bismarck expanded Prussia's military in preparation for war with Austria. The Seven Weeks' War in the middle of 1866 saw the Austrian Habsburgs defeated, resulting in Prussian domination of Germany. Following Prussia's victory, the German states north of the Main River formed a confederation (the Norddeutscher Bund), with Berlin as the capital. Four large southern German states formed a separate confederation but were in alliance with Prussia.

    In defeat, Austria's ruling dynasty established a dual monarchy, which encompassed the empire of Austria and the kingdom of Hungary under one hereditary sovereign. The two nations were independent of each other under the Habsburgs.

    When a German prince was offered the vacant Spanish throne in 1870, France objected. Bismarck skillfully raised tensions between France and Germany, with France declaring war on July 19. The northern and the southern German states fought side by side against the French. The French were defeated at the Battle of Sedan on Sept. 1, 1870. Paris fell to the Prussians in January of the following year.

    During this war a strong desire grew in the north and the south for a fully united Germany. On Jan. 18, 1871, just 10 days before German troops entered Paris, King William I of Prussia was proclaimed emperor (kaiser) of Germany in the Hall of Mirrors at the French palace of Versailles. After a peace treaty in which France lost territory to Germany, German troops withdrew back to their own borders.

    In less than a century, dominance of Europe had passed from France, under the Bourbons and later Napoleon, to the Germans. The title of kaiser was derived from caesar. The kaisers of both Germany and Austria and the czar of Russia all followed in the traditions of imperial Rome. Bismarck became the reich chancellor of Germany's Second Reich, the successor to the First Reich abolished by Napoleon earlier in the century.

    In 1871 Bismarck was given the title prince. Having united Germany, he was also appointed imperial chancellor the same year. He had been prime minister of Prussia from 1862 and remained in that office until 1890. He served under all three kaisers of the Second Reich.

    World War I
    Under Bismarck, Germany continued to get stronger and stronger. When Kaiser Wilhelm II came to the German throne in 1888, he was jealous of his chancellor and dismissed him from office. Wilhelm had great ambitions for Germany, wanting to see his German empire become as great as the empire of his grandmother Queen Victoria (the kaiser's mother was the eldest daughter of the British monarch). It was rather late for Germany to acquire many overseas possessions, as most had been taken, but building up the greatest army in Europe gave it opportunities closer to home.

    War became inevitable and was finally triggered by a Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914. Within weeks Europe was at war. As most of the world was under European domination, the war was a world war. The United States entered the war in April 1917.

    No war in history has ever seen so many casualties. By the end of the four-year conflict, the German, Austrian, Russian and Ottoman emperors had all lost their thrones. The old order had ended, and the world had now entered a totally different phase. Whereas, prior to 1914, many ethnic groups were united under one empire, in the aftermath of war many ethnic groups sought independence, a universal trend that continues down to this day.

    It can also be said that, aside from minor conflicts in South America (one continent that was largely unaffected by World War I), every war in the world, wherever and whenever it has taken place, can be traced back to the war of 1914-18. Recent conflicts in the Persian Gulf, for example, owe their origin to the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Even the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a direct consequence of World War I.

    The kaiser's abdication and the creation of a German republic in November 1918 did not bring closure. The Second Reich had fallen, but the Paris peace treaty resulted in a great deal of resentment among the German peoples. Reparations left the country much poorer with punitive damages having to be paid. Economic problems in the aftermath of the war continued on and off through the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    By this time, many Germans had had enough of democracy and voted Adolf Hitler into power. Hitler restored Germany's economy and pride. His Third Reich was to last a thousand years. It collapsed in ruins after only 12!

    Perversions of the Millennium
    Hitler's planned thousand-year reich (empire) was intended to be the successor to the First Reich, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which lasted for a thousand years. Both were satanic perversions of the biblical Millennium, the prophesied period of rule by Jesus Christ, which will start at His second coming (Isaiah 9:6-7; Revelation 5:10; 20:6).

    The First Reich was a union of church and state where the church was supposedly the Kingdom of God on earth. The emperor was considered the temporal authority appointed by God. In reality, between them, the temporal and spiritual authorities kept the people in ignorance and bondage.

    Hitler's Third Reich was even worse. An estimated 20 million people died and 90 percent of Europe's heritage was destroyed by Hitler's military machine. The Jews were singled out in Hitler's "final solution," and 6 million died in concentration camps across Europe.

    Like the Holy Roman Empire before it, the Third Reich was a revival of the Roman Empire. Hitler's ally, Italy's Benito Mussolini, leader of the Fascist Party, proclaimed the revival of the Roman Empire in 1922, prior to Italian invasions of other countries in pursuit of a global empire.

    Their mad dream of universal conquest almost succeeded. Again, there was a spiritual element. The church was involved (which will be covered in the next installment), but, more importantly, Satan was behind this revival of the Roman Empire, as he was the other revivals. "The dragon [Satan] gave him his power, his throne, and great authority" (Revelation 13:2).

    The three great powers that presided over their defeat were the British (who were in the Second World War from September 1939 until its European end in May 1945), the Soviet Union (June 1941 until the end) and the United States (December 1941 to the end). At the end of six years of conflict, Britain was broke and was soon forced to begin dismantling its empire.

    With Germany's defeat and most of Europe in ruins, Europe's ascendancy was effectively over. The two great powers were now the United States and the Soviet Union. The latter, although partly in Europe, had always been out of the mainstream of European civilization. Under communism, the Soviet Union had cut itself off from the rest of Europe. At the end of World War II, Moscow had taken control of most of Eastern Europe, dividing the continent with what Winston Churchill described in 1946 as an "Iron Curtain."

    But Europe soon rose from defeat. The sixth revival of the Roman Empire—these attempts by the central European powers led by Germany to achieve world conquest—may have ended, but a new chapter was beginning, with a totally different approach to achieving the elusive unity of the ancient continent. WNP

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    Europe and the Church, Part 10: Napoleon's Dream of European Conquest
    More books have been written on Napoleon than almost any other world leader. His period of glory is still remembered in his capital city of Paris, where the Arc de Triomphe commemorates the First Empire and Les Invalides is his final resting place. But Napoleon's dream of European unity failed as did those of others before him.
    by Melvin Rhodes
    At the height of his power, he had 70 million subjects across the continent of Europe. "Not since the ancient Caesars had one man held so much power" (Napoleon, PBS).

    He was the emperor of France, but "not a drop of French blood flowed through his veins" (The Book of Knowledge, Vol. V, The Rise and Fall of Napoleon, 1955, p. 318). His wife, the empress, wasn't French either. But 25 years after he died in exile thousands of miles away from France, the French wanted his remains returned to Paris where he was finally laid to rest in a grand mausoleum, Les Invalides.

    Two centuries after his reign, Napoleon Bonaparte is remembered as one of the most significant men in history. More books have been written about him than almost any other historical figure.

    Born in August 1769 on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, Napoleon as a young man was very anti-French. His home island had been conquered by France only one year before his birth, and he held nothing but contempt for France and its people.

    However, his father was employed in French government service and adopted French manners and ways. Consequently, Napoleon was given a free military education in France. He was commissioned second lieutenant of artillery in 1785, just four years before the start of the French Revolution.

    On the outbreak of the revolution in July 1789, Napoleon returned to his native Corsica to attempt to organize revolution there. "Coming into conflict with the monarchist faction on the island, he was forced to escape to France, with the rest of his family, in 1793" (ibid).

    Napoleon came to prominence when he defended the republican government against a serious royalist uprising in Paris in October 1795. The government rewarded him by appointing him commander of the French army in Italy against the Austrians and their allies.

    Two days before his departure for Italy he married Josephine, widow of a French general who had been executed during the terror that followed the revolution. Josephine originally came from the French Caribbean island of Martinique.

    Military genius
    Italy brought out Napoleon's great military genius and stirred a deep ambition in him. In 1796 he defeated the Sardinians five times in 11 days, forcing a peace on them. He followed this with battles against the Austrians. "He defeated them at Lodi on May 10th, and his bravery was shown when he forced his way across the bridge at Lodi—an exploit that won from his troops the affectionate nickname of 'Little Corporal'" (ibid.).

    Following a number of victories over the Austrians, the Habsburgs sued for peace when Napoleon advanced to within 80 miles of the Austrian capital, Vienna.

    Next, Bonaparte persuaded the French government to let him invade Egypt, thereby striking a devastating blow against France's traditional enemy, Great Britain, by opening a route to India.

    Having taken control of Alexandria, Napoleon then fought the Battle of the Pyramids near Cairo, defeating the elite forces of the Ottoman Empire. The British hit back by sinking the French fleet, and Napoleon was stranded in Egypt, cut off from reinforcements.

    After further conflict in Palestine and Egypt, bad news from France reached him, and he secretly left, evading British frigates, and landed in France on Oct. 9, 1799. It wasn't until 1802 that the last French troops in Egypt were defeated by British forces.

    Napoleon's short period in Egypt left a lasting legacy throughout the Middle East, where many educated people still choose to speak French and embrace French culture. He also reorganized the legal and administrative systems, a prelude to what he would do later in France itself.

    Meanwhile Austria, Russia and England had formed an alliance against France, inflicting a number of serious defeats on French forces. By the time Napoleon arrived, coalition forces had suffered some setbacks.

    The main problem confronting him was instability in France itself. On Nov. 9 he joined a plot that overthrew the discredited government and replaced it with a government called the Consulate. Napoleon was the first of three consuls who held the real power. In 1802 he became first consul for life.

    "He had now grasped political power and become master of France. His old ambition was realized; but already new ones were forming. He had failed to build up an eastern empire, but now aspired to restore the western one of Charlemagne" (ibid., p. 319).

    Church-state connection
    With Rome and Charlemagne as his inspiration, Napoleon set about restoring the unity of Europe and beyond. He rapidly annexed Piedmont, Parma and the island of Elba and planned the partition of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire and the foundation of a colonial empire that was to include parts of America, India, Egypt and Australia. He entered into a concordat with the Roman Catholic Church, reestablishing relations that had been broken at the time of the revolution. The concordat gave the French leader the power to nominate bishops.

    Once again, the church of Rome was involved in the politics of Europe. The prophecy of Revelation 17:9 was once again proving true with "the woman" (the church) sitting on one of the "seven mountains" (seven great empires) that have been revivals of the Roman Empire.

    Justinian was the first revival in the sixth century. Charlemagne was the second, crowned by the pope in 800. Otto the Great and the Holy Roman Empire in the 10th century were the third, and Charles V in the 16th made four. Napoleon was the fifth revival, a thousand years after his role model Charlemagne, showing a continuation of the desire to fulfill the dream of European unity.

    On Dec. 2, 1804, following in Charlemagne's footsteps, Napoleon was crowned by the pope. The coronation took place in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Napoleon famously grabbed the crown from the pope and placed it on his own head, either from impatience or to make a point that the state was now over the papacy, reversing the respective roles of the Middle Ages.

    At war again
    The year before Napoleon's coronation, Great Britain declared war again, ending a one-year peace. Napoleon spent the years 1804 and 1805 planning an invasion of the British Isles that never took place. After suffering a serious naval defeat by the Royal Navy under Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, Napoleon knew that he could never again think of invading England. His future conquests would be confined to the continent of Europe.

    Several months before Trafalgar, the British, Russians and Austrians had formed an alliance against Napoleon. The French emperor did not wait for them to attack but marched his armies across France into Germany, rapidly conquering territory. He forced one Austrian army to surrender at Ulm, driving the Russians to the east.

    In December 1805 he routed the bigger Austrian-Russian forces at Austerlitz. This was one of his greatest victories, and Austria made peace with Napoleon before the month was out.

    After the Battle of Austerlitz, the British Prime Minister William Pitt exclaimed: "Roll up that map [of Europe]; it will not be wanted these ten years!" (ibid., p. 322).

    "And for almost that period Napoleon changed the map at his will. His stepson Eugene was made viceroy of Italy. His brother Louis received the kingdom of Holland, and another, Joseph, became king first of Naples and then of Spain. General Murat, who had married Napoleon's sister, succeeded to the vacant throne of Naples. The shadowy Holy Roman Empire, an anachronism for many centuries, was dissolved in 1806" (ibid., p. 322).

    A new alliance, formed in August 1806 between Britain, Prussia and Russia, led fairly quickly to the defeat of the Prussians and Napoleon's victorious entry into Berlin. Only Britain and Russia remained beyond his control. It wasn't until July 1809 that Napoleon was able to defeat the Russians.

    Czar Alexander I sought peace with Napoleon. When they met, his first words to the French leader were: "Sir, I hate the English as much as you do!" Napoleon's reply was: "Then we have made peace!" He took no territory from the czar, but did insist that he join the continental trade blockade of Great Britain.

    "At one time or another every state of continental Europe, except Turkey and Portugal, was forced into this commercial system. But all in vain" (ibid.).

    At the end of the year, having defeated Austria yet again and entered Vienna, Napoleon focused on his desire for an heir to ensure stability in France and the continuity of his empire. He divorced Josephine, who had been unable to bear him an heir, and married the Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, who gave him a son on March 20, 1811. The son was given the title "king of Rome."

    "Paris was the glittering capital, and Rome the second city" (ibid.).

    There had been no greater empire since the days of Rome—but it was not to last.

    Napoleon's big mistakes
    After repeated military successes, Napoleon made two major military blunders during this period as emperor.

    Seeing himself as a liberator, Napoleon invaded Spain, but instead aroused nationalist patriotic feelings that led to vicious guerrilla war. When the British came to the aid of the Spanish, the six-year Peninsular War followed (1808-1814). "Napoleon lost interest in this war, and left it to his marshals. For the rest of his career it drained away men and materials, and little by little the French forces were pushed back beyond the Pyrenees" (ibid.).

    The year 1812 marked the beginning of the end for Napoleon. Relations with Russia had deteriorated due to popular clamor for the czar to end the blockade against Great Britain. On June 22, Napoleon led an army of 610,000 men into Russia. Only 95,000 returned. Most of those who died were killed by the Russian winter.

    Napoleon was unable to force the retreating Russians into a major battle. When he arrived on the outskirts of Moscow, the Russians set fire to the city, reducing 90 percent of it to ashes. One month later, on Oct. 19, his disastrous retreat from Moscow began. Three days later, the French "suffered a sharp defeat at Malo Yaroslavetz. Panic set in and the retreat soon became a disorderly flight, in which Napoleon lost his army. The crossing of the River Beresina was especially disastrous" (ibid.).

    Napoleon's great military career was largely over. Although he had a few more minor victories, he also suffered great defeats as the various nations of Europe regrouped and formed an effective alliance against him. "Russians, Prussians, Austrians and Swedes closed on Napoleon, and in the four-day 'Battle of the Nations' at Leipzig (October 16-19, 1813) he was decisively defeated. He withdrew his remaining forces to France" (ibid.).

    On the first day of the new year, allied forces entered France. Battles ensued all over the country. Allied forces entered Paris on March 31 and Napoleon was forced to abdicate 11 days later. He was allowed to retain the title emperor, reigning over the small island of Elba. The French restored the Bourbon monarchy, which remained largely unpopular until its final overthrow in 1830.

    Napoleon wasn't finished, though. Many Frenchmen wanted his return. In March 1815 he slipped quietly away from Elba and landed in France. An army rallied to his support and for "One Hundred Days" he enjoyed the return of his former glory. He was finally defeated in Belgium at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. Exiled to the British island colony of St. Helena, 1,200 miles off the west coast of Africa, Napoleon died six years later.

    Napoleon's attempt at reviving the Roman Empire was not nearly as long-lasting as some of the other revivals. There would be a century of "Pax Britannica" before any further attempt would be made to unify Europe. WNP

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    There are quite a few more interesting articles related to this subject. If you care to read them, navigate to http://www.wnponline.org/wnp/wnp0908...y-conquest.htm
    or
    http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/

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