Is America and Britain Threatened by the Russians or the Germans in Bible Prophecy?
A Brief Critique of Steven Collins’ Thesis
By Eric V. Snow
“The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!” Steven Collins’ alternative view of end-time events, which sees a Russian-led Asiatic alliance as the threat to a united European/North American/British alliance, needs to be briefly critiqued.
The most interesting result of Mr. Collins’ revisionism is: “We’re the Beast”! That is, if the United States, Britain, Canada, and the German-led European Union (through NATO) stand united against Russia and the Asiatic hordes led by her, we’re the king of the North of Daniel 11:40-45. Furthermore, this means we’re Babylon the Great as well, and the False Prophet would hold just as much sway in the United States, Britain, and Canada as he would on the Continent.
The underlying mistake to Mr. Collins’ revisionism is the rejection of duality in prophecy. As the cases of the Virgin Birth in Isaiah 7:14-19 (cf. 8:3-4) and the Abomination of Desolation in Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11 (cf. Matt. 24:15) show, a prophecy can be dual without it explicitly saying so. There’s no requirement for a prophecy to say “in the latter days” for it to be applicable to eschatological concerns. The context of a prophecy, such as about Israel and Judah’s return to the Holy Land (such as Jer. 50:4-5, 19-20) has to be examined to see if its specific conditions were totally fulfilled in the past or not before being rejected as a candidate for end-time events. Mr. Collins is much too restrictive in his procedure by insisting that some formula like “in the latter days” must appear in a prophecy for it to apply to then. Duality, such as what happened to Joseph vis-à-vis his brothers (most of whose descendants, besides Judah’s, are or will be in the EU) being repeated (i.e., captivity followed by a revelation of actual identity), doesn’t have to be announced explicitly for it to become true. Hence, such prophecies as Hosea 5:1-15, 12:1-2, 8-14 concerning the wars between Assyria and the House of Israel need not be automatically dismissed from having future fulfillments.
The claim that Israel (and Judah) will be triumphant by the force of their own arms by God’s power against this Russian/Asiatic alliance runs into such a hard rock as Jeremiah 30:7-11. In this text, after the great tribulation of “Jacob’s trouble,” Israel has to be delivered from bondage and slavery after being punished by God. Similarly, it’s hard to see the regathering after Israel’s punishment for its sins as described in Eze. 39:23-29 to be fulfilled in the events of the Babylonian Captivity and the return of the exiles under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah or in the Diaspora caused by Rome’s crushing of the two Jewish revolts in Palestine (A.D. 66-73, 132-35) being reversed by the Zionist movement of the twentieth century.
Another major of mistake of Mr. Collins is to assume all the mistaken predictions of timing Mr. Armstrong and other WCG leaders have made down through the decades were the result of believing that a German-led European attack on the descendants of Joseph would occur. These, rather, were the results of desiring Jesus’ return, God’s government, and eternal life so intensely that errors of timing were made. During the Cold War years (c. 1945-91), the church could have proclaimed, “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!” But then we would have ended up with an equal amount of egg on our faces. To date, HWA’s old article (originally published in 1948), “Why Russia Will Not Attack America,” has proven completely correct. Indeed, with the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union’s breakup, Russia’s fall to economic ruin and demographic implosion, and the increasing political and economic unity of the European Union (as most dramatically shown through the introduction of the euro), it appears Mr. Collins is giving up on the church’s traditional view of the house of Israel’s main enemy just as current events make it more possible than ever! A good insight of Melvin Rhodes (the Lansing, Michigan UCG pastor) has been that the church’s teaching of prophecy has been right on the fundamental events that would occur, but that errors have been made concerning the specifics of timing (such as, obviously enough, 1972/75).
The church went on record during the Cold War as believing likely that that the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain would come down and Europe would become united. Somebody like me, born in 1966, and first becoming really politically aware in the early 1980s in high school, had the mentality that the Iron Curtain would still be standing when I died as an old man. Hence, the church here really was sticking out its neck, but it was vindicated. Some may find it of value to track down the Philadelphia Trumpet of February 2000 (“He Was RIGHT! Remember Five Decades of Accurate Forecasting by Herbert W. Armstrong”) in order to get “the rest of the story” many in the various COGs tend to forget these days.
Therefore, there are good reasons to reconsider Mr. Collins’ revisionist prophetic scenario that the houses of Israel and Judah will be united with a German-led Europe against Russian-led Asiatic hordes. It’s still better for the church to proclaim to our nations, spiritually practicing the principle found in the watchman’s duty of Ezekiel 33, “The Germans are coming, the Germans are coming!”