Leaders and members of sects that cling to the British-Israelism of Herbert Armstrong are watching with glee as the global economic crisis deepens. The Philadelphia Trumpet writes,
The days surrounding Sept. 11, 2008, will go down in infamy. The speed at which so many of America’s most prestigious financial institutions collapsed should be etched into the minds of the American populace—because, whether or not people want to admit it, that disastrous, gut-wrenching, sobering week represented a drastic turning point in U.S. financial hegemony.
What remains is a gaping crater in the nation’s now-discredited economic core. […]
Back in 1984, Herbert W. Armstrong, editor in chief of the Plain Truth newsmagazine, wrote that a massive banking crisis in America could “suddenly result in triggering European nations to unite as a new world power larger than either the Soviet Union or the U.S.” (member and co-worker letter, July 22, 1984). That was 24 years ago, before the European Union took its present form, and before the euro monetary agreement even existed.
“That, in turn, could bring on the Great Tribulation suddenly,” Mr. Armstrong continued, using the biblical term for the time of unparalleled suffering that will conclude this age of man. “And that will lead quickly to the Second Coming of Christ, and the end of this world as we know it.”
Even now, a uniting Europe is fulfilling Bible prophecy, which says that for a time-just prior to Christ’s return-Europe will dominate global trade and finance. Watch as this prophecy unfolds before your eyes.
America’s spectacular banking collapse lurched the world toward this prophecy’s fulfillment. The global economy has a gaping void. Europe is about to fill it-and take its place in history.
This is talking about a German-led United Europe that will attack America with nuclear weapons, enslaving the remaining inhabitants and bringing humanity to the brink of extinction just before Jesus returns and sets up his nasty little kingdom. (And believe me: Armstrong’s vision of God’s kingdom is indeed a disgusting gulag.) Difficult to comprehend how anyone could believe that, but they do.
If one thinks this through for a moment, it becomes absurd for so many reasons.
To begin with, Europe is in economic crisis as well. If anyone is going to fill “the global economy[‘s …] gaping void”, my money would be on China. It already owns America, for all intents and purposes, and it’s making political inroads into Africa and Latin America, behaving in some ways like the America of the 1950’s. Europe is sinking under the threat of sharia law and a United Europe that’s anything but.
Still, for the sake of argument, let’s say that Europe does become some world-dominating superpower. According to Armstrongists, the next move would be an attack on America. But what for? If Europe is the world’s economic powerhouse, why would it attack a country (with an enormous nuclear arsenal) that’s already been marginalized? Besides, a United Europe would have to worry as much about China’s influence as America does now.
Still, for the sake of argument, let’s say that Europe does attack. America, scratching its head and thinking, “Wait — I thought Europe was an ally?!” (except for those Gallophobes who’ll be chanting, “See! We told you we couldn’t trust France!”), will retaliate. Tit for tat, nuke for nuke, and China and/or Russia will then take center stage.
In any scenario, the Chinese win.
No one with any real grasp of history or current events thinks any one of these scenarios is a genuine possibility, so why does this small group of people devote their lives to this fantasy? Simple: it made some degree of sense when Herbert Armstrong began suggesting it. After all, only two decades separated World War I from World War II, and in the 1950s and 1960s it might have made sense for Germany to give it one more go. Of course, anyone at that time with any understanding of the simple fact that World War II was really only a continuation of World War I; it was not the initiation of a series of wars.
Yet some claim it still makes sense. These same people have been saying Armstrong’s prophecies made sense even when his ten-nation European Union-to-come emerged with almost three times that many states; it made sense when an unpredicted (read: unprophesied) terrorist attack occurred seven years ago; and I’m sure it makes even more sense now that the whole world is sinking into recession, with Germany coming up with a bailout plan to rival America’s in spending scope.