We need to carefully watch what is happening right now between Germany and Russia.
United States President Donald Trump publicly rebuked German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 11 for Germany’s decision to buy a massive amount of gas from Russia. “I think it’s very sad,” he said, “when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.”
This oil and gas deal is in the form of a pipeline project called Nord Stream 2. This is a pair of parallel pipelines that will transport huge quantities of Russian natural gas under the Baltic Sea for almost 800 miles and into Germany. When it opens in 2019, it will double the capacity of the first Nord Stream project, which was completed in 2012.
For years, Germany has been criticized for the Nord Stream projects, but it pays no attention and presses ahead. This shows Germany is uninterested in relying on nato anymore. President Trump exposed this in public and criticized Merkel.
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia,” he later said, “because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not, and I think it’s a very bad thing for nato and I don’t think it should have happened.”
There are several reasons why this is an alarming development we need to closely watch.
When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was started back in 1949, its basic purpose was to protect disarmed Germany and other European countries from the Russian-led Soviet Union. To accomplish this, the treaty established “collective defense” for member nations: If an aggressor attacked one of them, it would have war with all of them.
Nord Stream 2 binds Russia and Germany together in a way that undermines NATO. In fact, though Russia and Germany will not say so, this pipeline project is clearly intended to wreck NATO.
Why would these nations want to do that? Well, it is easy to see why Russia would. Russian President Vladimir Putin views nato as a force that restricts Russia’s rise and slows down his quest to rebuild the old Soviet Empire. He has made no secret of his loathing for this U.S.-led organization. So his reason for wanting to unravel it is plain.
What is not as obvious is the fact that Germany also wants to eliminate NATO.
America spent billions raising Germany from the rubble of World War II and billions more keeping the peace in Europe. Germany would not be where it is today without the vast amount of help America supplied. President Trump mentioned this in his remarks on July 11: “[W]e’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries, and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia.”
Why would Germany be spurning that history? Many elite Germans feel their nation has now gotten all it can from the U.S. and they are ready to move on. Some powerful Germans today are thinking more and more about the Holy Roman Empire, and they want modern Germany to assume more power of its own in the spirit of that empire. They want to establish Europe as a mighty, German-led superpower.
These Germans know that nato is an obstacle to their goal. Back when NATO was first founded, its first secretary general, Hastings Ismay, explained its main purpose: “Keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” The notion of keeping “the Germans down” directly contradicts the imperialistic ambitions that are growing more intense among many elite Germans today.
Germany’s antipathy toward NATO is also clear in the fact that the country only spends about half the minimum amount the organization requires member states to spend toward defense. Why won’t Germany pay its full share when it has perhaps the strongest currency in the world? Partly because it doesn’t really believe in the alliance, and partly because the U.S. has let it get away with it. Now President Trump has called Germany out on its failure to meet that requirement, and I think rightfully so.
But Bible prophecies about the next resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire show that Germany will soon be spending substantially more on its military—and not within any kind of U.S.-led framework.
Revitalizing Russia’s Weak Economy
Can you imagine how much the new Nord Stream 2 agreement will expand Russia’s economy? At present, its economy is smaller than some individual states in America. But if billions upon billions of dollars pour into Russia for this gas, that will strengthen Putin’s power.
President Trump would like to see the Germans buy gas from America, which recently became a net exporter of natural gas. But instead, they will be buying it from Putin—the scourge of this world in many ways.
Remember that Putin’s internal campaigns have killed more than 150,000 Russians in Chechnya. Russia’s actions in the Middle East have let the brutal civilian-killing Syrian regime hold onto its power, and enabled Iran, the world’s number one terrorist-sponsoring nation, to keep pursuing nuclear weapons. Remember that Putin is flagrantly poisoning former agents of Russia on foreign soil. And with his KGB-style methods, he has transformed Russia’s media into a personal propaganda machine. Evidence suggests that as part of this drive, he has had more than 130 journalists murdered.
Modern Germany professes to care deeply about human rights. If it really did, would it build a tight relationship with somebody who acts as ruthlessly as Putin does?
President Trump said Germany will end up being “totally controlled” by Russia as a result of this gas pipeline deal. And Germany is taking a risk with a dangerous dictator. But this deal will boost more than just Russia’s power and leverage. It will also boost Germany’s. Germany has much to gain from this. And it will happen in a way that hurts many other nations!
Schröder and Nord Stream
Gerhard Schröder, Chancellor Merkel’s predecessor, was a vocal advocate of the Nord Stream pipeline project. In 2005, just after he had been voted out of office but before he had officially left the post, Schröder hastily signed the Nord Stream agreement.
That is an ugly thing for a politician to do. He knew the people had already voted him out, yet he decided to set this project in motion. This indicates what is happening with this German-led European power: It is being hijacked by leaders who don’t always act in their people’s interests!
These leaders don’t like America and want to befriend Russia. Apparently they respect the authoritarian way Russia accomplishes its goals.
Just weeks after Schröder left office, Russia’s massive state-run gas company Gazprom nominated him to become chairman of the board of the consortium that is building the pipeline—and he accepted. So he was personally overseeing Nord Stream’s implementation.
More recently, Schröder became a senior executive of Nord Stream 2 and also chairman of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil firm. Aren’t these highly unusual jobs for a former German chancellor?
Schröder and Putin have forged a close friendship. Putin biographer Boris Reitschuster wrote that early in Putin’s presidency, the two men would speak with each other in German, and they became fast friends. In 2004, Schröder was broadly condemned for calling Putin a “flawless democrat.” In April 2014, Schröder came under fire again for celebrating his birthday in Russia with Putin just one month after Putin had annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told Germany’s Bild magazine in March that, at present, “Gerhard Schröder is the most important lobbyist for Putin worldwide” (emphasis mine throughout).
So Schröder is Putin’s friend, and he is playing a key role in the pipeline project. Think about that. The fact that these two are working so closely together strongly indicates that they agree on a plan to destroy NATO.
Many even in Germany are concerned about the pipeline. On July 11, Rick Noack wrote in the Washington Post that some Germans have been apprehensive of Schröder’s close camaraderie with Putin and his work with Nord Stream. “Schröder’s post-chancellorship business dealings have long raised suspicions among Germans over his political legacy,” he wrote, “but many are still willing to defend [Nord Stream 2,] his now most controversial project.” Germans are right to be suspicious of what this man is doing with Vladimir Putin!
Germany is head-and-shoulders above any other nation in Europe, and it is bullying many of these nations and peoples. For Germany, with all its power, to be forming this kind of relationship with Russia is deeply troubling!
This deal gives insight into the way Germany operates, and into Europe’s future. The European Union is going to be hijacked by some very elite people, particularly in Germany.
You need to closely watch how this situation develops. The history of Germany shows that when a powerful man takes control, the German people end up going along with him and unleashing terrible destruction on the world. That is the history of the Holy Roman Empire and we ought to be profoundly concerned about this!
Endorsing an Anti-Semitic Leader
Gerhard Schröder turned up at another significant event that is quite revealing. He was present on July 9 when Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was sworn in for his second tenure as president, with sweeping new powers.
People around the world are alarmed by the dictatorial powers Erdoğan has been taking on. Now, he can rule Turkey by decree! This dictator commands one of the world’s most powerful militaries with no checks on his power.
Erdoğan is not just an authoritarian; he is an anti-Semite. Years ago, when he was mayor of Istanbul, he famously said: “Today, the image of the Jews is no different from that of the Nazis.” His views haven’t changed. Last year, he blamed “the Jew” for Kurdistan’s independence referendum. In May, he called Israel a “terrorist state” that commits “genocide.”
The idea of anti-Semitism immediately conjures up memories of World War II when Hitler killed 6 million Jews and was determined to annihilate every Jew in Europe and the world! That was his satanic plan!
Why would Germany want to be officially represented at the inauguration of an anti-Semitic dictator by sending former Chancellor Schröder there to shake his hand? Incidentally, Russia was also represented at the ceremony, by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Schröder’s attendance at the ceremony gives us another chilling glimpse under the surface of Germany’s ruling class today.
Schröder and Mercosur
You can also recognize Germany’s effort to undermine America in the way that it is working in Latin America. This is a totally overlooked story that we have followed for many years, back to the time that Gerhard Schröder was German chancellor.
Early in Schröder’s chancellorship, from January to June 1999, Germany assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. One of his final accomplishments at the helm of the EU was to lead the first summit between the European Union and its trade partners in Latin America and the Caribbean. The summit took place in June 1999 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The BBC reported, “Speaking at the final news conference, the German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said the creation of a new trans-Atlantic partnership would be to everybody’s benefit and was not an aggressive measure directed against other regions” (June 29, 1999). However, the facts of this alliance showed otherwise, and the BBC itself could recognize it. The article said, “This was, after all, the first meeting of its kind between two regions strongly linked, both by history and by a common desire not to allow the United States to sustain or achieve a position of total global dominance.”
We put this development into context in our booklet He Was Right, which shows the accuracy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s forecasts of world news. Mr. Armstrong wrote quite a lot about Germany’s inroads into Latin America—even back to the days after World War II—and said that it would use this leverage to undermine America economically. “By developing this relationship, which it calls a ‘strategic alliance,’ Europe is directly challenging Washington’s bygone hopes of creating a Pan-American free-trade area,” we write in He Was Right. We also quote the May 1962 Plain Truth, which declared that “the United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce.” (You can read this chapter, “Europe’s Inroads Into Latin America,” here.)
The same spirit behind this trend is animating the Nord Stream projects between Germany and Russia.
In recent years, as gas reserves in the North Sea have declined, European nations have grown more and more dependent on Russia for their gas supplies.
Russia has taken advantage of this situation several times by “weaponizing” its energy, cutting gas supplies when it wants to pressure European states for political or economic reasons.
Before the Nord Stream pipeline, this was a somewhat dull weapon because if Russia wanted to cut gas to Ukraine, for example, it also had to cut shipments to nations downstream from Ukraine, which it may not have wanted to do.
Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 are key components of Putin’s plan to tighten his grip on nations in Eastern Europe that used to be part of the Soviet Empire. Since these pipelines travel directly from Russia to Germany, they enable Putin to shut off gas supplies to nations in Eastern Europe—Ukraine, Poland—and the Baltic nations while keeping supplies flowing to Germany.
This places a sharp edge on Putin’s energy weapon! To the former Soviet nations that he is determined to bring back under Russia’s power, he can say: Either obey Russia, or suffer cold winters with no gas to heat your homes.
This is why Eastern Europe tried to prevent Russia and Germany from building the first Nord Stream pipeline. They knew it would give Russia more leverage against them. But Moscow and Berlin built it anyway. Now this second phase will boost that leverage considerably!
What does Germany stand to gain? Well, once Russian gas flows through the Baltic Sea pipeline and into Germany, much of it can be shipped to France, the Netherlands, Belgium and other West European nations. This puts Germany in a position of power relative to Western Europe very similar to that of Russia with Eastern Europe!
Germany already domineers Europe. That is clear by the construction of the pipeline despite objections from other European countries. Now it will be in a position to dictate policy for the Continent even more powerfully.
This kind of German domineering is a big part of the reason Britain wanted out of the European Union! The late Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s prime minister from 1979 to 1990, warned in 1995 about Germany’s ambitions with the EU, saying: “You have not anchored Germany to Europe. You have anchored Europe to a newly dominant, unified Germany. In the end, my friends, you’ll find it will not work.” British economist Bernard Connolly called the EU a “cloak for German ambitions.” Thatcher and Connolly were exactly right! We see more evidence of German ambition all the time. The Nord Stream pipelines are just the latest example.
Watch Jerusalem, the Trumpet and our predecessor magazine the Plain Truth have been proclaiming for 80 years that Germany will spearhead a final, terribly violent resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. We now see the stage being set for that!
A Dark History of Cooperation
History shows that in between wars, Germany and Russia often work together. Most infamously, just before World War II, the two made a deal in which Adolf Hitler’s Germany basically said to Joseph Stalin’s Russia: Stay out of it, Russia, and we will take over Europe. Then the two of us can split up Poland and other countries between ourselves.
Around the time that deal was made, Stalin thought he and Hitler were close comrades who could trust each other. But after Hitler realized he wouldn’t be able to conquer Britain, he decided to break the deal and attack Russia. This shattered Stalin’s worldview! Stalin didn’t expect it. But if he had read what Hitler had written in Mein Kampf long before they made the deal, he would have known Hitler had plans to conquer Russia as well.
That infamous agreement, called the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, set the stage for the most devastating war mankind has ever suffered!
In 2008, Russia shocked the world by invading the former Soviet nation of Georgia and bringing two of its regions under Moscow’s control—where they remain to this day. Germany said little about that, and did nothing. I wrote at the time that Germany’s silence probably meant these two nations had worked out a modern “Molotov-Ribbentrop”-type deal.
In our November-December 2008 issue, I wrote: “[D]id you know that Germany and Russia have probably already dealt with their most urgent differences? … I believe that Germany’s leaders may have already agreed to a deal with Russia, a modern Hitler-Stalin pact where Germany and Russia divide countries and assets between themselves. This agreement would allow each to turn its sights on other targets. Any such deal that may have been struck between Germany and Russia is a precursor to war!”
Then in 2014, Putin struck again! Russia annexed the Crimea from Ukraine and asserted control over the eastern part of the country. Germany once again said little and did nothing! This was especially suspicious given the fact that just before the incursion, Ukraine had been on track to join the EU. You would think Germany would have been extremely angry at Russia! But not if it had previously agreed that Russia could have control of Ukraine, or part of it.
Could it be that Germany agreed to let Russia make those expansionist moves in exchange for Russia not interfering with Germany’s conquest of the Balkans back in the 1990s?
What else might these two have agreed to that they have not yet acted on?
The fact that Russia and Germany are charging ahead with Nord Stream 2 today despite objections from other European nations and the United States is even more reason to believe that these two may already have worked out a modern Molotov-Ribbentrop deal.
History shows that Germany and Russia are not actually partners. When they enter into peace deals and economic partnerships, it is a signal that either or both are preparing for some kind of imperialistic exploit.
This makes the Nord Stream 2 deal extremely concerning.
A Seething Pot
The biblical book of Jeremiah is full of prophecy that is focused on the end time. You can see this plainly in Jeremiah 30. Historically, Jeremiah gave his warning message directly to the nation of Judah only. Yet so many of the prophecies in his book are directed to Israel, which was already in captivity at the time. That is because these prophecies were aimed mainly at the modern descendants of Israel, which, we can prove to you, are America and Britain today.
Today these nations are deeply divided. Their peoples are divided among themselves, their leaders are splintered by bitter disagreement and political warfare—and these two former allies are even alienated from one another! Divided Britain! Divided America!
Don’t you think Russian and German leaders are going to exploit this division? They will do what they have almost always done throughout history when they have power over weak, divided enemies and take full advantage of the situation.
Jeremiah 1:13 records God showing the prophet a vision of “a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.” This symbolic language is describing modern Germany. Beneath the surface, that nation is full of simmering dissatisfaction with the current world order. Germans are angry at the U.S., and especially furious with President Trump. The imperialistic ambition that prompted Germany to start both world wars is alive and well. It is “seething”!
Verses 14-15 continue: “Then the Lord said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the Lord; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.”
America, Britain, the Jewish nation (biblical “Judah”) and others should be alarmed by what is happening in Europe. Cooperation between Germany and Russia is setting the scene for a huge “seething pot” to spill over onto these nations! This boiling cauldron will scald everybody in America and Britain! This is prophesied to be the worst suffering ever known to man! And it will occur by God’s hand because of His extreme wrath over the sins of these peoples.
Repeatedly God asked Jeremiah, “What do you see?” God is asking people today: What do you see? He doesn’t say, What do you read about this? Or, What do you hear about this? God says, What do you SEE about this boiling cauldron?
Do you really see what is happening in Europe? Do you see the stage being set for a world war like never before? Do you understand it?
God spells it out for us, and we can see events lining up with His prophecies. And anyone who sees it—and heeds the warning and obeys God—can be protected and lead a happy, stable and fulfilled life!
Great Cause for Hope
On the surface, this news about Germany and Russia may seem depressing. But if you view it through the lens of Bible prophecy, you clearly see that it is closely tied to the Messiah’s coming!
Do you really think men can solve all of these problems you see multiplying in this world today, many of which revolve around nuclear-armed nations?
Russia and America possess 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. France and Britain have nuclear bombs, too, and other nations of Europe have American nuclear bombs deployed on their territory. Germany could become a great nuclear power very rapidly if it wanted to—practically overnight!
There is no way mankind is going to solve these problems. As Isaiah 59:8 says, “the way of peace they know not.”
Men are going to continue in their futile attempts at forging peace. They will have to suffer until the Messiah comes. But His coming is tied to this German rising power and this Russian rising power. He says He will return before war has ended all human life! The rising military powers in Russia and Europe are a big part of what will make it necessary for the Messiah’s coming.
God wants us to respond to Him. He says He will help us in any way we need if we will just obey Him. “[W]hy will you die, O Israel?” God asks in Ezekiel 18:31. He doesn’t want any of us to have to suffer! He is eager to spare us from the coming cataclysmic violence and to bless us.
We need to understand these Bible prophecies. They are preparing the way for the Messiah. That means all the bad news is about to end. He is going to bring peace, joy and happiness to this world forever.