One of my favorite small books about Winston Churchill is Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian. by John Lukacs. He saw Churchill as a visionary—a powerful word to describe him and what he accomplished before, during and after World War ii.
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish ….” That applies to us all individually, and it applies to families, to organizations, to God’s Church and to nations.
Churchill had outstanding vision. He could foresee problems with astounding clarity that no other politician or leader could.
As early as 1924, he was concerned that Germany was contemplating waging a war of revenge over World War i. He detected a vengeance smoldering in the soul of the entire population! Nobody else that I know of spoke about this; they could not see it.
Churchill mistrusted Adolf Hitler, a man his contemporaries overlooked and underestimated. In 1932, Churchill wrote that Hitler was “the moving impulse below the German government and may be more than that soon.” Though Hitler’s maneuvering at that time was veiled, Churchill suspected he could soon become chancellor. Recognizing the fever boiling in Germany, he feared the influence that man would exert, and what he would do if he came to power.
Hitler became chancellor in January 1933.
Within two years, Churchill assessed Hitler’s accomplishments. He wrote about how, in 1919, after Germany had lost the Great War, “one corporal, a former Austrian house-painter [Hitler], set out to regain all. In the 15 years that have followed this resolve he has succeeded in restoring Germany to the most powerful position in Europe, and not only has he restored the position of his country, but he has even, to a very large extent, reversed the results of the Great War. [Now] the vanquished are in process of becoming the victors, and the victors the vanquished. When Hitler began, Germany lay prostrate at the feet of the Allies. He may yet see the day when what is left of Europe will be prostrate at the feet of Germany. Whatever else may be thought about these exploits, they are certainly among the most remarkable in the whole history of the world.”
Churchill wrote those prophetic words in 1935—possibly even 1934! He truly understood what was happening in Germany, and nobody else did. Why? How could he see so much more than others saw? There is a reason his vision was so superior to theirs.
We need to grow in vision. We need to become visionaries like Churchill—and even beyond that!
We also need to recognize that Churchill did have a big flaw in his vision. I will show you what it was.
Foreseeing the ‘Slippery Slope’
It is easy to underestimate just how near the Allies came to losing World War ii. In 1940 the British had few weapons; they had abandoned many of them while evacuating Dunkirk as France fell. Had the Germans invaded Britain at that time, they could have conquered it.
Some in Churchill’s war cabinet wanted to see what terms Hitler would offer if they tried to negotiate peace. Many British were weary from the devastation of World War i and desperate to avoid another war. But the notion of negotiation alarmed Churchill deeply! He said that even a hint of willingness to explore that course would be a “slippery slope” that led to defeat—a signal to Hitler that Britain could be conquered. That was a powerful way to express it.
Many people disagreed with him. But, Lukacs wrote, “Churchill did not let go, and he had his way. That was the greatest turning point—a turning point, more than a milestone—in his career. It may have been the greatest turning point in the history of the Second World War. During the succeeding months Churchill and Britain defied Hitler’s Third Reich almost alone” (emphasis mine throughout).
Churchill had been alone within his war cabinet. But he prevailed and convinced the British to join him—then they were almost alone fighting Hitler’s war machine. Churchill was virtually the only man at that time standing in Hitler’s path. It is amazing what one man who will stand up and lead can do to change the course of history!
To take such a stand required bravery and resolve; those qualities sprang from Churchill’s vision. What would have happened had Britain surrendered to Hitler? What would have become of this world? Churchill plainly foresaw the disaster that would have followed.
In June 1940, just before Paris fell, French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud said that if Hitler won, “[i]t would be the Middle Ages again, but not illuminated by the mercy of Christ.” That was pretty good insight. But just a few days later, Churchill gave his “Finest Hour” speech, and he was far stronger: A Hitler victory would mean that “the whole world—including the United States, including all that we have known and care for—will sink into the abyss of a New Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”
Churchill saw far more than France’s premier did. His reference to “perverted science” pointed to the horrifying experiments Hitler’s scientists were performing on human beings. Churchill saw that and understood where the slippery slope would lead. Britain’s other leaders did not. And Hitler was far more evil than most people realized because he was often Satan-possessed, which the world doesn’t understand.
Still, Churchill saw enough to tell his full cabinet in 1940: “If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”
God had a hand in that, but this man had outstanding vision. Why was Churchill so different from others? How could he see beyond them?
Lukacs quoted Robert Rhodes James making this amazing statement: “Foresight in politics is rare”—is it ever!—“and it is usually a matter of fortune rather than genius.”
Lukacs concluded, “Perhaps; but, at any rate, Churchill’s foresights were historical rather than political.” That tells you a lot. His foresights were not like those of other politicians. Why? Because they were historical! Churchill was steeped in history. He knew how to study what happened in the past and project that into the future. He knew that if you do what you did in the past, you will get that same outcome nearly every time. He knew history, and he spent a lot of time thinking deeply about its relevance to the crises of his own day.
Even as the war neared its end, Churchill foresaw the Cold War and tried unsuccessfully to prevent it. Just months after World War ii—March 5, 1946—he gave his “Iron Curtain” speech, warning the West of the danger from Russia. He titled the last volume of his war memoirs Triumph and Tragedy—the “tragedy” being the West virtually gifting Eastern Europe to Russia, empowering the Communists and guaranteeing future conflict.
The media were practically unanimous in condemning this view. Churchill had just spent an entire decade warning them about the threat from Germany, and those warnings proved absolutely right! Still he was ridiculed for what he said about Russia in 1946. Then almost every bit of it came true.
On New Year’s Day in 1953—even before Stalin died—Churchill told his secretary, John Colville (Colville later recalled) “that if I lived my normal span I should assuredly see Eastern Europe free of communism.” “Counting Colville’s expectable threescore and ten,” Lukacs observed, “that would have been the 1980s—which was exactly what happened. Bismarck was reputed to have said that a statesman can look forward five years, at best. It is given to few statesmen in history to suggest the unexpected, decades ahead, so accurately and clearly. Yet such were the visionary powers of Winston Churchill.” Churchill correctly foresaw over three decades in advance!
Yet still the West learned almost nothing from Churchill’s experience and his warnings. How appalling that we still cannot believe that vision. In fact, our unbelief is even worse today. And God says, where there is no vision, people perish. Our nations’ destruction is coming, and we ought to know that.
Churchill’s great vision, however, had a serious flaw. Let’s look at what it is.
The Origin of Hitler’s Ideas
In 1948, composing his war memoirs, Churchill included a sketch of Hitler’s character. “There he said that the crystallization of Hitler’s view of the world occurred not before the First World War but in 1919; and not in Vienna but in Munich,” Lukacs wrote. Lukacs was saying this to Churchill’s credit—but he was misguided. “Yet Hitler in Mein Kampf had insisted—and most historians have accepted the thesis—that while his life took a turn in 1918–1919 in Munich, his political ideology had crystallized in Vienna about eight or nine years earlier. Well, about 50 years after 1948 a few historians (including myself, but especially the excellent Brigitte Hamann in Vienna) have been revising the Vienna thesis, fortified by evidence which includes Hitler’s conscious misstating the sequence of the evolution of his ideas.”
This is wrong. Hitler did not consciously misstate the development of his ideas: What he said was absolutely true. Churchill was wrong about where Hitler’s mindset crystallized, and there is a reason he got it wrong.
It has always puzzled me why Churchill did not understand where Hitler’s evil mindset actually originated. It did originate prior to World War i, around 1910, in Vienna. I will show you why this is crucial to understand.
Here is some information about the Munich incident Churchill pointed to. In 1918, as Germany surrendered at the close of World War i, Hitler was in Munich, recovering from his wounds. Robert G. L. Waite wrote in The Psychopathic God—Adolf Hitler, “Something clicked in the Pasewalk Hospital. It was there at the turn of the year 1918–1919 that Hitler resolved his identity problem and reached what he called ‘the most decisive decision of my life.’ For now, finally, he knew who he was and what he must do. He was the leader sent by destiny. He must answer the ‘voices’ that he said he heard—like Joan of Arc—distinctly calling him as he lay in his hospital bed. The voices told him to rescue his Motherland from the Jews who had violated her.”
Hitler did make a decisive statement at that time. Lying in bed, he heard voices telling him to save Germany. This shows that Hitler was Satan-possessed, and that Satan was directing him. Satan commanded him to save Germany. Of course, Hitler thought it was God.
But that incident was not where his worldview originated. Waite did not understand this the way he should have either. Hitler had a vision in his mind, and a spirit of revenge, long before that incident.
What really shaped Hitler’s mind was what he learned in Vienna, one of the capital cities of the Holy Roman Empire.
Churchill knew about the Holy Roman Empire, of course. So do the other historians who write about Hitler. But they don’t really understand it! Understanding the Holy Roman Empire is key to understanding not only how Satan worked through Hitler, but also how he is working right now!
‘In That Hour It Began’
That incident in 1918–1919 was not the first time Hitler had heard a voice. Before World War i even began, when he was only 17 years old, he and his friend August Kubizek heard a voice—and it was coming from Hitler. Kubizek wrote this about a cold midnight in 1906 after the two teenagers had watched a Wagner opera and walked up the Freinberg mountain in northern Austria:
“Adolf stood in front of me and now he gripped both my hands and held them tight. He had never made such a gesture before. I felt from the grasp of his hands how deeply moved he was. His eyes were feverish with excitement. The words did not come smoothly from his mouth as they usually did, but rather erupted, hoarse and raucous. From his voice I could tell even more how much this experience had shaken him.
“Gradually his speech loosened and the words flowed more freely. Never before and never again have I heard Adolf Hitler speak as he did in that hour, as we stood there alone under the stars, as though we were the only creatures in the world.
“I cannot repeat every word that my friend uttered. I was struck by something strange, which I had never noticed before, even when he had talked to me in moments of greatest excitement. It was as if a second ego spoke from within him, and moved him as much as it did me. It was not at all a case of a speaker being carried away by his own words. On the contrary, I rather felt as though he himself listened with astonishment and emotion to what burst forth from him with elementary force. I will not attempt to interpret this phenomenon, but it was a state of complete ecstasy and rapture. … Like floodwaters breaking their dykes, his words burst forth from him. He conjured up in grandiose, inspiring pictures his own future and that of his people.”
What Hitler said that night has been lost, but one thing was burned into Kubizek’s memory. “Adolf did not speak of becoming an artist or an architect. Now he saw himself, like Rienzi, as the messiah of his people. He spoke of a ‘mandate which, one day, he would receive from the people to lead them out of servitude to the heights of freedom. … He spoke of a special mission which one day would be entrusted to him.’”
In 1939, Kubizek saw Hitler again. Thirty-three years and a lot of history had passed. Hitler was now chancellor of Germany and plunging the world into World War ii. Kubizek assumed that night on the Freinberg would have faded in Hitler’s memory, but Hitler remembered it in detail. Later, at Wagner’s home, Hitler said this about that experience: “In that hour it began.”
Hitler saw himself as “the messiah of his people.” The Holy Roman Empire has used such rhetoric for centuries. One of the titles of the head of the Roman Catholic Church is “vicar of Christ,” which means “replacement of Christ.” Isn’t that making a man a messiah?
In Mein Kampf, published in 1925, between the wars, Hitler wrote, “Christ was the greatest early fighter in the battle against the world’s enemy, the Jews. The work that Christ started but could not finish, I, Adolf Hitler, will conclude.” In a speech in 1935, Hitler said, “We are not a movement. Rather, we are a religion. … Ours is a great mission. The mission was not given to us by a worldly superior but by God, who created our nation.”
Did Winston Churchill know anything about this religious dimension to Hitler’s fevered thinking? If he did, he didn’t discuss it that I know of.
Hitler said he was establishing a “thousand-year reich.” Why a thousand years? He was counterfeiting what God prophesies in Revelation 20 about the thousand-year reign of the real Messiah, Jesus Christ!
The Nazis’ chief architect, Albert Speer, described the colossal assembly hall where they would meet as a “secular cathedral.” He was very close to Hitler through World War ii and knew him better than anybody. Speer wrote, “It was basically a hall of worship. [W]ithout such cult significance the motivation for Hitler’s main structure would have been senseless and unintelligible.” In Speer’s view, Hitler’s religion and his Holy Roman Empire view was what brought sense and intelligibility to his actions!
Hitler said, “Above all, I have learned from the Jesuit order.” Hitler’s elite force was the Schutzstaffel, the SS. They dressed in black like the Catholic Jesuits, they had a sacred symbol, and they swore an oath to the führer strikingly reminiscent of the oath Jesuits swear to the pope. Waite wrote, “He ordered his SS officers to study the spiritual exercises of Ignacius of Loyola for training in the rigid discipline of the faith.” Hitler was trying to teach them faith—faith as part of the Holy Roman Empire.
Hitler was setting himself up as a religious figure, but he was so Satan-possessed that he killed millions! His doctors experimented on prisoners by cutting them apart in barbaric ways. He built extermination camps to mass murder the entire Jewish race!
Historians say anti-Semitism meant almost everything to Hitler. He hated the Jews, and he blamed the Jews for the Germans losing World War i. That spirit came from the mind of Satan. And which Jews does Satan hate most of all? He hates spiritual Jews, those who understand something more than a historical view of the world.
Ruling the Holy Roman Empire
Four years after 17-year-old Adolf Hitler had that experience on the Freinberg, he was in Vienna. He had moved there to become an artist, but fell into poverty and homelessness. “This was the time in which the greatest change I was ever to experience took place in me,” he later wrote in Mein Kampf. “From a feeble cosmopolite I had turned into a fanatical anti-Semite.” What really took place in Hitler’s mind in that city?
Much of the world looks upon the Jews as God’s chosen people. In Vienna, Hitler came to believe the Germans were God’s chosen people—that God had replaced the Jews with the Germans and the Holy Roman Empire. This is why the crown jewels of that empire meant so much to him. Hitler became fiercely loyal to those crown jewels, and logic tells us it happened while he was growing up in Vienna.
Hitler himself said that it was in those early years in Vienna that he “formed an image of the world, and a view of life, which became the foundation for my action. And I have had to change nothing.” This is where he formed his entire worldview. Speer was convinced Hitler’s intellectual development remained fixed from that point in Vienna in 1910.
He was determined to rule the Holy Roman Empire. As dictator Benito Mussolini built the Italian empire in the late 1930s, he literally called it the Holy Roman Empire. Hitler didn’t use that term, but he showed in many ways that he thought the same way. Satan was talking to him in his youth, preparing him for this role. Then his worldview developed in Vienna, the city that had been the political capital of the Holy Roman Empire as recently as 1806, and the location of that empire’s crown jewels!
Those crown jewels—the insignia of the First Reich, the imperial crown, the orb of empire, the spear of destiny, and the scepter of the imperial sword—had resided in Nuremberg from 1424 to 1796. In 1938, Hitler brought them back from Vienna to Nuremberg—where he would give his “inspired” speeches in a frenzy of emotion and madness at those torch-lit rallies. And he solemnly said they would remain there forever.
This came right from the mind of the devil! This was the origin of the sixth resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire!
Why did those objects mean so much to him? Well, the leaders of the Holy Roman Empire were his heroes! That’s part of his religion that few understand.
The orb of empire symbolizes the whole world—they sought to rule the world! And that is why they had the imperial sword! That sword shed rivers of blood, and the Germans know that! That is how they have conquered Europe and even beyond at times.
Over the centuries, the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire that it led rose, fell and then rose again to dominate Europe. Why did Churchill lack understanding on how Hitler was connected to that? He knew history. I can’t remember one time that he talked about the Holy Roman Empire—yet the Holy Roman Empire is exactly what he was facing in World War ii! And the throne of David (which, at that time, was held by the British royal family) was what he was protecting. The Bible proves that!
Why did Churchill make this critical mistake? He had ample opportunity to learn what the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church were all about. But he was a politician, and a politician normally thinks that if he mentions religion negatively, he will lose votes. So he avoided that.
Churchill had historical perspective and insight—but clearly we need something more. To have real vision, we must also have prophetic insight!
Remember this crucial prophecy: “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space” (Revelation 17:10).
This verse is fixed at a moment in time, when “one is”—the sixth resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire was coming to power, led by Adolf Hitler. It was at that point that God began prophesying through Herbert W. Armstrong. Mr. Armstrong came with this message about the Holy Roman Empire. You have to study Mr. Armstrong to understand what “one is” and “the other.” That is critical. And while he was alive, “the other is not yet come.”
Hitler played the key role in that sixth resurrection. We understand this today even better than Mr. Armstrong did because more material is now available exposing that history.
This prophecy gives God’s view. But Churchill didn’t agree. He overlooked the Holy Roman Empire connection entirely and wrote that Hitler’s view of the world began in 1918–1919. It did not! That is a terrible mistake.
I know Churchill didn’t understand spiritually, but there were other historians who knew a lot more about the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire, and wrote about it far more than Winston Churchill. They chronicled the concordat Hitler signed with the Vatican. They exposed the ratlines where the church helped Nazi monsters escape after World War ii. That is documented history! But Satan has worked hard to bury it.
Churchill had historical foresight, as Lukacs said, but historical insight or perspective is not enough! He could have learned a lot more on the letter-of-the-law level. We have biblical foresight! Bible prophecy puts us head and shoulders above everybody else. And only we can really explain that Holy Roman Empire.
If Winston Churchill came today, would he be able to save the West? No, he would not.
The Holy Roman Empire has always been guided by the Catholic Church. That is history—and prophecy—that God’s true Church must proclaim to the world.
‘Warn Them From Me’
Ezekiel 33:1-6 prophesy of Churchill’s watchman warning. Then verse 7 describes a different watchman: “So thou, O son of man, I [God!] have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.”
The house of Israel needs a watchman from God. To get God’s view, does the watchman go to the history books? First he must go to the Bible and get the message from the mouth of God! What does God say, for example, about the Holy Roman Empire? Get grounded and established in that! That is real vision! Then we can consult the history books and the journalism. But when something is happening, we always go first to God. You want to learn what God says about it, and if it’s really significant in the world, you will generally find it in the Bible.
God’s Church has a Bible insight—biblical vision!
In His message to the Thyatira Church, Christ revealed that His people had a real problem with Jezebel, which symbolizes the Catholic Church (Revelation 2:18-20). They had some good attributes, but Christ had to correct them and warn them about this great false church.
Then He said that some of them “have not known the depths of Satan” (verse 24). That is a big problem! This world understands nothing about the depths of Satan. Even the Laodiceans, those who were in God’s Church and turned away from Him, began to water down the warning against the Holy Roman Empire before Mr. Armstrong died, then eradicated it after he was gone.
If you understand the Holy Roman Empire, however, you really understand Satan. Verse 26 says we must overcome—overcome the depths of Satan!
The Holy Roman Empire has never been able to unify European nations unless the Vatican did it for them. The Vatican does that in return for being able to guide the direction of the beast power. Satan uses this religious-political combination to wreak horrible devastation!
It is critical that we understand this. Satan’s number one political tool in this world for the last nearly 1,500 years has been the Holy Roman Empire! Yet almost nobody knows anything about it.
If Churchill had been seeking and had some faith in God, he might have said, I wonder if God would be sending out a message warning us about what’s coming. And had he looked around, he would have seen Mr. Armstrong right there, doing exactly that!
The One ‘Not Yet Come’ Is Come!
Adolf Hitler called his regime the “Third Reich.” In his view, the First Reich was the Catholic Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation founded by Charlemagne in a.d. 800. Charlemagne ruled over France, Germany and Austria. The Nazis considered the “reich” he started to have lasted a thousand years, all the way until 1806, when Holy Roman Emperor Francis ii abdicated from his capital city, Vienna.
Hitler well knew that history. He decided he would work from Austria, like the Habsburg dynasty, which ruled the empire from there for almost 400 years before 1806. He may have considered Vienna part of Germany because it was a big part of the power throughout the resurrections of that empire.
Charlemagne was such a bloodthirsty leader that his own close advisers were concerned about his brutality. Yet despite the devastation wrought in Europe by Charlemagne—followed by other Holy Roman emperors and finally Adolf Hitler—some modern German leaders have recently praised the heritage of Charlemagne.
Mr. Armstrong became friends with Otto von Habsburg, who was born as the last crown prince of Austria-Hungary before it was dissolved. Dr. Habsburg later became a member of European Parliament. He summed up the meaning of the crown this way: “We possess a European symbol which belongs to all nations of Europe equally. This is the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, which embodies the tradition of Charlemagne.”
Those who support the Holy Roman Empire say that it rules according to God’s holy will. They believe that God’s holy will comes from the Catholic Church combined with a European empire, the Holy Roman Empire.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is one of them. He is a staunch Catholic and has outspokenly said that his religion guides his politics. When he was foreign minister, he consulted his priest on how to deal with the migrant crisis, and he has been notoriously tough on migrants.
His religion guides his politics. I ask you, what does that mean in this world to world leaders? Practically nothing! But this is exactly what God meant when prophesying of the one that had “not yet come”!
The German city of Aachen awards a prize to those who advance the cause of European unification. Aachen is where Charlemagne ruled. One recipient was the late German President Roman Herzog. He said Charlemagne waded through a sea of blood to reach his goal of unifying Europe under Catholicism. That is true—yet they still call this award the Charlemagne Prize!
Another man on the scene today has emphasized Europe’s heritage, which is a Catholic heritage. He comes from a noble line himself, and one of his titles means “baron of the Holy Roman Empire.” His name is Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. He said in a 2017 campaign speech in Bavaria that Germans “better recall where we came from and what our history means.” He urged them to remember their history “with its dark and bright sides.” Yes—there certainly is a dark side to their history!
Habsburg, Herzog, Kurz and Guttenberg are talking about the Holy Roman Empire. They are talking about exactly what Mr. Armstrong and we have proclaimed for 75 years! He forewarned, and here it is, rising before our eyes.
Yet unless we tell the world what this means, nobody will know! This is a vision God gives us—a vision we all need, far beyond what any watchman chosen by the people will ever have!
The crown of the Holy Roman Empire and of the Austrian Empire dissolved in 1806, but the actual crown and crown jewels are still there. Hitler was very familiar with that crown, and it is what made him think God was using Germany instead of the Jews. It was all about this crown!
That is a false crown and an unholy empire. But God has a crown, a throne and a kingdom! He has established David’s throne forever! What a vision that is!
Daniel 8:23 prophesies, “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” This strong leader will unify Europe under Catholicism once again. He will be Satan-possessed at times and will conduct himself in many ways like Charlemagne and like Hitler. That imperial orb of the Holy Roman Empire symbolizes the Earth. He will try to rule the Earth! He will try to establish a thousand-year reich!
Verse 24 shows that this effort will be “not by his own power.” He will have a lot of Satan’s power, and through this seventh resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire, Satan will wreak destruction all over the Earth. Jesus Christ prophesied, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
But what does Daniel 8:25 say? Jesus Christ is going to return! This Holy Roman Empire and also all the kings of the east are going to fight against Him at Jerusalem. There, He will personally destroy them! That will fulfill Revelation 14:20, which says the blood will fill the Valley of Jehoshaphat in Jerusalem “even unto the horse bridles” for 200 miles!
God will finally put an end to Satan’s bloody Holy Roman Empire. And He will establish the true Kingdom of God for a thousand years! After that, He will resurrect those who have died in the Valley of Jehoshaphat and those who have been killed by the Holy Roman Empire throughout history and all who have ever lived without knowing the true God. Then He will give them an opportunity to believe and obey and submit to His true government.
Jesus Christ is going to rule from the throne of David! To rule from that throne with Him, we must do His Work. That includes warning the world about Satan and the Holy Roman Empire.
What a wonderful vision it is to add to Churchill’s historical vision. Let’s make sure we have Bible vision in our mind, so we can understand what is happening and proclaim God’s message to the world—the best news they will ever hear!