An often asked question these days as I travel from place to place preaching the prophetic message is, does Europe really have a role in Biblical Prophecy?
A question I firmly believe deserves an answer in this enlightened, yet troubled age.
The following is an article which comes directly from the publicity machine of the European Union via the Internet.
The article is headed 'Seven key days in the making of Europe.'
The building of a united Europe is undoubtedly one of the greatest historical undertakings of the 20th century. It is a process grounded in the positive values with which our civilisation identifies - the preservation of peace, economic and social progress, respect for the person and the predominance of right over might - and, over the nearly fifty years for which the process has been under way, there have been some moments of crisis but also major successes. Six countries originally rallied to the concept of a united Europe, now there are fifteen, while more than ten others feel drawn towards that ideal and have applied to join the European Union.
The 20th century bears tragic scars left by the rise and then the collapse of the totalitarian ideologies. As the third millennium dawns, the movement towards a voluntary union among Europe's peoples is still only a collective venture inspired by an ideal, which looks beyond the conflicts of the past to a way of working together to shape the future. Today it is clearly the only credible answer to the hazards and opportunities posed by the increasing globalisation or the world economy.
Like all other histories, that of the European Union has had its high points, it's symbolic dates. Seven of them are worth remembering, as they made the Europe we live in today - and they are the keys to the continent, which will be ours tomorrow.
9 May 1950: Europe is born.
25 March 1957: The European Economic Community.
20 July 1963: Yaounde, the beginnings of an international role.
1 January 1973: the first enlargement of the European Community.
7-10 June 1979: the first direct elections to the European Parliament by universal suffrage.
17 February 1986: the signing of the single European Act.
1 November 1993: the European Union.
When the Treaty on European Union, signed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992, came into force on the 1 November 1993, it gave European integration a whole new dimension. The European Community, which was essentially economic in aspiration and content, was transformed into a European Union, which now stands on three pillars.
The Community pillar is run according to the traditional institutional procedures and governs the operations of the Commission, Parliament, the Council and the Court of Justice; basically, it involves managing the internal market and the common policies. The other two pillars involve the Member States in areas hitherto regarded as being matters over which the national governments alone had power: on the one hand, foreign and security policy and, on the other, home affairs, covering matters such as immigration and asylum policy, the police and justice. This is an important step forward in that the Member States regard it as being in the interest to co-operate more closely in these areas, thus affirming Europe's identity in the world and making sure their citizens are better protected against organised crime and drug trafficking.
What ordinary people will remember most about the Maastricht Treaty, however, is likely to be the decision which will have the biggest practical impact on their day-to-day lives, the decision to go for economic and monetary union. On January 1 1999, EMU will take in all countries, which satisfy, a certain number of economic criteria designed to guarantee sound financial management and to ensure that the single currency, the Euro, is stable in the years to come.
The final, logical stage in the completion of the international market, the introduction of the single currency, is a highly political step, given the personal repercussions for each and every citizen and the economic and social consequences it will have. One might even say that the Euro will come to be the most tangible symbol of the European Union. A currency like the Euro, strong and capable of competing with the great international reserve currencies, will be clear proof of the fact that we all belong to a continent which is uniting and asserting itself. End quote! (Pascal Fontaine, professor at the institut d'Etudes Politiques, Paris).
By the way, the announcement of an agreement on the name "Euro" was greeted in some quarters with an enthusiasm that bordered on religious heresy. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres raved: "As Peter was the rock on which the church was built. So The Euro is the rock on which the European Union will be built." End quote!
Evidently the formation and functioning of the European Union has now and forever a very prominent place in history, but then age-end federations are a significant indicator of the Saviour's return.
Like Martin Luther King before his death, many world leaders have had a dream.
Napoleon Bonaparte, Benito Mussolini, and Sir Winston Churchill, for different reasons and with differing motives, all shared the vision of a United States of Europe.
Can we, in this New Millennium see any sign of this dream being fulfilled, or was it simply that, a dream, what we called in our youth, a pipe dream!
In the book of Daniel ch.2 v 44 we read.
"In the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed."
Could this be the foundation of many a world leaders dream, desiring to be the author and head of such a kingdom?
The Word of God has very powerfully prophesied that among the many signs of the last days, a spirit of unrest would be evident. Does it then surprise us, that from one end of the world to the other, especially in this last century, unrest and chaos have been the order of the day? This condition prevails in spite of Herculean efforts of the world’s best diplomats and statesmen.
Mr. Ramsey MacDonald, the then British Labour Prime Minister, as early as 1927, gave the Manchester Guardian his impressions of his tour in Italy, Greece, and Turkey:
"There is complete unsettlement of Europe. A sense of political insecurity is to be found in every country I visited. Nobody can say what tomorrow will bring forth. In policy, in forms of government, in everything that relates to the life of the State, it is not possible to make a reasonable forecast. Instead of the war making the world safe for democracy, it has in fact, delivered the most shattering blow democracy has received in recent times. There is a general disposition to trust in force and an impatience with the old forms of parliamentary government." End quote!
Mr. MacDonald’s discovery has been fully verified by the awful international conditions which prevailed during the second world war.
In such a climate, the dream of Adolf Hitler took shape, believing he might establish an empire or federation of power over which he or his Germany would rule as Emperor.
Now, you may well be asking, where did such a dream or idea come from in the first instant and why do so many aspire to such supremacy? Well, I believe it is thoroughly Biblical, it was God's idea in the first place, in fact it was God, in the book of Daniel who first brought such an idea to the light of day. By the way that hunger for such power is still around. Let me take a moment quickly to outline those federations or indeed as they have been called, powers to be reckoned with, who believe under the correct leadership they could rule our world today and who will make a very serious attempt at doing so.
And please remember these are distinct power blocs, which have emerged, in recent time and have indeed been foretold in Scripture. Now while they may not be the powers that will eventually be the final ones, nevertheless they are on the lines indicated by the Word of God. Now I believe most good Prophetic Students of Biblical Prophecy will agree that the map of Bible Prophecy can be sectioned into four, corresponding to the four points of the compass, with Israel as centre. By the way, Israel is still at the centre of world thinking today. Just as these four Gentile World Powers we will think of in a moment did not become World Powers until they had conquered Israel so the World Powers of today attach a very great importance to the conquering of Israel, if only they could take Israel as a prize what power and prestige and standing it would give them in world affairs. So Israel is still pivotal to World Domination, but fear not, God has other ideas for His earthly people praise His name.
Now, while I have no desire at all to be dogmatic, it must surely be of interest to the student of Scripture to see the similarities between what has been prophesied and what we have on the horizon at present.
Power No.1. Russia!
This Power is referred to in Scripture as the "King of the North" which is without doubt Russia. She with her satellites, from the Northern Bloc or the Communistic Bloc. By the way, don’t be fooled by the fact that this great Northern Bloc may at this moment appear to be wounded and Communism powerless. Don’t forget her symbol is the "Great Bear" and as we all know there is nothing as dangerous as a wounded bear.
Please recall your history of this great country.
From being a backward, illiterate land in those early years of the last century, she amazingly awoke from her slumber and developed into a force to be reckoned with in this world, bringing terror to millions of her enemies.
And please recall that the rise of Russia, with all its pageantry, literature and music came on the back of the illiterate peasantry to become one of the mightiest world powers of our time. Could such a thing happen again? Yes, without any doubt whatsoever!
Power No.2. The Arab World!
Egypt would dearly like to head up this group, so for many years she has endeavoured to lead the Arab World against God’s earthly people, Israel. The whole Arab World remember, is bound together by, although not all of the same religious persuasion, some kind of religious, to die for fervency. And of course, a mutual hatred of the Jews!
Although at this moment of time there seems to be a real movement by, at least some of the Arab World to talk of peace, let me say, it’s a very uneasy peace.
The whole continent of Africa is a nest of seething unrest. Strong outside influences are at work. Some years ago we all remember how Colonel Nasser, the then president of Egypt set himself up as a potential president of the United States of Africa! It just did not happen, and at that time it became evident that the Soviets had a major interest in that great continent, and even today, although wounded and somewhat weakened she is still strengthening her ties with Africa. Eventually, that continent will be somehow united by the Arab factor and I believe by Egypt leading the way. The Bible makes that clear and specifically names Libya and Ethiopia (Daniel 11 v 43).
Power No. 3. China and the Far East!
The Bible speaks of "The Kings of the East", and in Revelation 9 v16 we are told that an army of two million will advance on Israel from the East c/f Rev.16 v 12. In recent times the number of China’s army has been released, she has an estimated army of some two million. China also has been building a highway from her own land right through to the Middle East. This road is now at completion point, therefore the way is now open for China to come! Like Russia, she desperately desires to conquer Israel and continually aims at world domination. Already, several East African countries are dependant on China and therefore under her influence. The Chinese Bloc incorporates those she has conquered or annexed such as North Korea, Tibet and some other places..
As we are once again, all aware, China has awakened from a long slumber and wants to be taken seriously as a contender for world power, although she is trying to present a more public acceptable face, she is still the same untrustworthy enemy she has always been. All of these mentioned are the leaders and contenders for world dominance! Make absolutely no mistake about it.
Power No. 4. The United States of Europe! (Old Roman Empire)
Now, what do we know about this Power Bloc? Why is there so much focus on this power base just now?
Well, this is the Power Bloc known as the "The Old Roman Empire". Dr. S. Franklin Logsdon, writing about Europe, says: "The present statehood of Israel is a powerful indication of the ending of the age. The ecumenical movement is another.
Perhaps equal to either of these is the European Common Market with its many implications. Sir Winston Churchill coined the phrase, 'The United States of Europe'. At least, it is an economic community, a breaking down of national barriers, a getting together on certain common bases. The whole idea is to re-shape the face of Europe. This was attempted by Caesar, by Napoleon, and by Hitler, but their means to this end were not subtle or as workable as those proposed by the Common Market. They used ammunition; today's promoters use bread. And let it be said that the re-shaping of the face of Europe approximates the kingdom to arise out of the Old Roman Empire--the last Gentile power." End Quote!
This Power Bloc is known as the "United States of Europe" it is also known as "The Common Market" it is also known as "The European Economic Community" or E.E.C. for short.
The question is, can we find this Power Bloc in Scripture? Yes I believe we can and more than that, I believe this Power bloc is in the ascendancy, it is beginning to show its teeth.
If I had been talking to you about these things a few years ago you might well have questioned me and wondered about my sanity!
But what has happened in the latter part of the twentieth century?
The Berlin Wall has been brought down; the Iron Curtain has crumbled. What do the events that have taken place in Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungry, Poland, and East Germany mean?
Do these things preface the rise of another power such as the one I have been speaking, But more to the point can we trace any of these things in Scripture or are they really just the figment of some imaginative mind. Well, in the book of Daniel an amazing train of events open up before us that really beg our attention.
In this book of Daniel chapters 2 and 7, as well as in the book of Revelation chapter 13, what we call the European Sign is revealed. References are made to this great kingdom I have been speaking off which will have tremendous influence and impact on our whole world.
Let's investigate the wonderful Word of God and see if we can make some common sense from all that has been written. I trust you will open your Bible and follow as we look into this wonderful Word of Prophecy.
One unidentified European leader is quoted as saying, "The final aim is political union, and when this end is realised, a genius must be found to head it up."
Now, if you are reading with me you will find a very interesting statement in Daniel Chapter 2 v 28-29 and two phrases should stand out in bold print in our minds eye.
"In these latter days" and "And what shall come to pass." You see, with this amazing king called Nebuchadnezzar mentioned in the book of Daniel commences a period of time called in the Bible "The time of the Gentiles" Luke 21 v 24. That phrase of course is not to be confused with another mentioned in Romans 1 v 25 called "The fullness of the Gentiles". That phrase is a reference to the completion of the church of Jesus Christ through the salvation of lost souls. When Jesus came he said, "For the son of man is come to save that which was lost." Matt. 18 v 11. The Lord Jesus Christ is building his church by saving the lost, by taking a people through salvation out of this Gentile world.
Of course Jews are also being saved but God's primary task in this age is to take a people out of this Gentile world, a people for His name and one of these days when that wonderful work is complete it will be "The fullness of the Gentiles," and the Lord Jesus will come to the air and receive His church unto Himself.
Now, that briefly is the fullness of the Gentiles 1 Thess. 4 v 16. But what the Lord Jesus is speaking off in Luke 21 v 24 is what is known as the "Times of the Gentiles" which is what we have by way of prophetic truth in Daniel Chapter 2. This is an amazing look into the future from God's point of view and gives us a wonderful picture of what is yet to come, that is, as I quoted earlier from Daniel 2 v 28-29 we are being shown things that will definitely happen in the latter (or last) days.
Examine the development of this image!
The wise men felt suitably embarrassed when it was required of them to reveal both the dream and the interpretation. So eventually when Daniel had heard there was some upset in the king's palace he was troubled in his heart. On request, the captain of the kings guard brought Daniel before the king and in v 31 we hear Daniel rehearse before the king, not only the dream but the interpretation of that dream.
Daniel examines the measure of the image v 31.
The word "great" there refers to the measurement of this great image, this was something designed to create an impression on all who would look upon it, causing them indeed to want to bow down and worship it.
Daniel examines the majesty of the image v 32.
These metals shone majestically adding a sense of awe, instilling a sense of fear, the like of it had never been seen before.
Daniel examines the makeup of the image v 32-33.
The makeup of this image is absolutely amazing. It's so interesting to notice that it goes from shining gold to dull clay. Gold, silver, brass, iron and then clay feet, reminding us that there is great deterioration to be seen here. Not as many would predict for this life a getting better and better syndrome. There is a deterioration in the value of the metals, there is a deterioration in the weight, the image is top heavy resting on an absolutely worthless foundation. This is surely just the opposite to the teaching of evolution which says man is improving all the while. Evolution says man goes from the muddy slime to shining gold but God says man began in the image of God, the best beginning the human race could have had only to move down the scale to the muck and mire we are wallowing in today. Sure, we have made amazing advancements in the age in which we live.
We have been clever enough to send men and machine to the moon and yet it's not safe for our children to play in the local park or for us to walk in it. The mammals in the sea are safer these days than the baby in a mother's womb. That’s progress?
Daniel examines the malignancy of the image v 34-35.
It will have a terminal end. Our reading says, it will be the stone or rock that will be responsible for the terminal end to this great image. What that means is, one day the Lord Jesus will come to this Old World and will smash a final Gentile world that will arise just as the stone smashes the image here. How do I know that? Well listen as Daniel
Examine the definition of the Image!
What on earth can such an image mean? Well, in the very simplest of terms, the four metals represent four World Empires. The "head of fine gold" represents the Babylonian Empire of which this king Nebuchadnezzar, to whom Daniel was speaking is supreme ruler. Daniel chapter 2 v 38 "You art this head of gold."
This young servant of God called Daniel then told this king that the "breast and arms of silver" was a twin barrelled kingdom that would rise up after Babylon and take control of world affairs called Medo-Persia. Daniel chapter 2 v 39.
After which would come the "belly and thighs of brass" representing the Greek Empire, the Greek Empire would rise up and become the third Gentile World Empire. Finally Daniel explains the "legs of iron" representing the fourth Gentile World Empire known as the Roman Empire.
What Daniel was saying here of course was prophetic; to us it's history. Daniel was taking a forward look into what was coming, we take a backward look to what has already happened and we know without a shadow of doubt, what Daniel said has proven correct and of course with these kingdoms began "the times of the Gentiles" Luke 21 v 24. The Babylonian Empire dates from approximately 605 BC to 540 BC. Daniel tells us Nebuchadnezzar was king ch.2 v 38. History records for us that this king married a woman who was a Median Princess named Amythia. He had built for her what we now know as the seventh wonder of the world, 'the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.' Herodotus the historian visited those amazing gardens some 100 years later and wrote that in all his life he had not seen more gold nor indeed imagined there could be so much gold, it was pure glitter from beginning to end. But then the prophet Isaiah reminds us, just as Daniel had said, this Empire of Babylon would come to an end Isaiah 14v 4. Step into this history in the making, Medo-Persia dating from approximately 539 BC to 331 BC Daniel 2 v 39 and Daniel 5 v 30-31. Chapter 5 of the book of Daniel reminds us that by this stage in history Belshazzar was now king in Babylon but because of his total disregard for God and flagrant flouting of the laws of God his days were numbered, so at a hot beat drunken party one evening God appeared to this evil king and made it very clear his time on earth was finished. In verse 30-31 we discover that Darius the Median king who represented the Medo-Persian kingdom took control. It's interesting, that the part of the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream referred to as the "breast and arms of silver" and which represented the Medo-Persian kingdom, were actually know for their extensive system of taxation and all taxes had to be paid in silver. Now, the Medo-Persian Empire stretches from Daniel chapter 5 right through to Daniel chapter 8 v 20.
At that point in Daniel chapter 8 v 21 we see the Empire represented by the "belly and arms of brass" called Greece which dates from around 332 BC. This amazing, nation was led by a man named Alexander the Great, who conquered the known world of his time. He actually died at Babylon in the prime of life, his vitality exhausted. It was he who wept because there was no more worlds to conquer. As we come in our travels through history and the Bible to the end of the Old Testament we discover that Medo-Persia is still in power and somewhere in that period known in Bible history as the four hundred silent years, Greece and Alexander the Great takes control of world affairs only to be toppled of his throne around 58 BC by the Roman Empire the 4th Gentile World Empire, so when our New Testament opens, it's Rome who are in control of world affairs, all as predicted by the prophet Daniel.
When we look into Daniel Chapter 2 v 40 and following this fourth Gentile World Empire, is one of amazing power and authority relentless in its advance, a power that would crush everything in its pathway. Remember it was those same Romans who put the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. It was those same Romans who ruled with such wickedness during the days of the early church. Yes, they were marked by an iron fist rule but we cannot help but notice they had clay feet. In time we find because of inward corruption and internal decay they begin to collapse in on themselves. They were the longest ruling of these four Gentile World Empires, ruling until 476 AD. It's also interesting to note that Daniel spent more time speaking about this fourth Empire than any of the other three. Now, two stages in this empire are clearly defined, first of all there were two legs, the Eastern and Western empires of Rome which passed into insignificance hundreds of years ago. God had said there would be four Gentile World Empires and no more and Rome is the fourth. I say again it's interesting to note, Rome was not defeated by another invading army, but simply disintegrated tearing herself apart.
But then we have the second stage of this great power bloc, the feet, "part of iron and part of clay" which reveal to us a coming time when there would be a revival of this Roman Empire, only now we are discovering this revived Roman Empire would emerge in ten parts or ten nations Daniel Chapter 2 v 40-44. That I believe is what we have on the world stage at this present period of time in what we know as the 'Common Market', 'United States of Europe' 'E.E.C.' This is exactly as God revealed things to Daniel. A revival of the old Roman Empire!
Examines of the destiny of the image!
Now, take a deep breath and look at that remarkable statement in v 44, "And in the days of these kings (ten of them?) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever."
Somewhere, a long way from this point in the unfolding of history the old Roman Empire will be revived but in quite a different format, a format in fact that we see today rising with great power and authority known as the Common Market! There were to be four Gentile World Powers and no more. When the fourth had run its course there would a prolonged period of time in history as revealed in Daniel Chapter 2 v 40-41, which would pass by and then these "feet and toes" part iron and part clay would appear as the final power bloc of this image and they would, as a very formidable force, be made up of different kings and kingdoms.
It would appear in Daniel Chapter 2 v 40 and v 41 there is a gap or a parenthesis as is often true in Bible prophecy. Sometimes between one verse and another a Bible prophecy will leap hundreds of years. For example when the Lord Jesus was in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4 v 16-20) and reading from Isaiah chapter 61 He concludes His reading in the middle of the text, but said nothing at all about the rest of the verse. Why? Because there was a gap of centuries between the two statements. Now it's just the same here. Between Rome's first appearance as represented by the legs of iron in the book of Daniel and Rome's appearance as the ten toes of iron and clay as we believe we are seeing today, there has come the church age Colossians chapter 1v26. I believe the gap between the two verses in Daniel chapter2 v 40&41 has narrowed considerably and we are in fact seeing the prophesied revival of the Roman Empire.
Mussolini said, "I believe in the resurrection of the Roman Empire." And he tried often enough to bring it about, but his timing was way off. Churchill said, "I hope to live to see the United States of Europe." What we have in Daniel chapter 2 is, I am
convinced foreshadowed in the European Common Market. The European Common Market came into existence, when what was called the 'Treaty of Rome' was signed in 1957. The numbers of members have and will continue to change as the power bloc swings into full working order but that is not the important thing. The thing that is so important for us to grasp and hold firmly to is, at the end times there will be some kind of coalition, some kind of military, political and economic union of European powers that will display for all the world to see the revival of the old Roman Empire and with it that final Gentile World power prophesied in Daniel chapter 2. Is then this "United States of Europe" or "Common Market Community" that ten kingdom alliance headed by the antichrist still future? Yes! Why? Because in the past Rome has not reigned under ten or more heads of state. The Roman Empire was divided into several kingdoms, but no one could agree as to their actual number, and they were not so strong as to keep themselves from self destruction. Secondly, the divisions in the Roman Empire were spread over a time factor of centuries whereas the ten kingdoms represented by the toes exist at one and the same time and form a united confederation, nothing from the past answers that.
Thirdly, in Daniel chapter 2 v 45 we are told that the stone, which is Christ, would strike and destroy this great federation but nowhere in history can we find anything comparable.
Never in past history did the Lord Jesus Christ strike the nations with destructive force?
In fact the officers of this fourth empire crucified the Lord Jesus Christ on a Roman cross. This part of Daniel's prophecy is yet future but is being fulfilled before our very eyes. Notice, "And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth." Daniel chapter 2 v 35. When Jesus Christ returns, he is going to rule over this whole earth. The mountain which Daniel saw filling the universe is the Sovereign Rule and reign of King Jesus. Psalm 72 v 11 puts it like this, " Yea, all kings shall fall before Him, all nations shall serve Him." And Jesus shall reign where're the sun doeth his successive journeys run. In Daniel chapter 7 v 21-27 we read that the dictator of the Revived Roman Empire will prosper for a time period until it please the Lord to step into the situation, returning in power and great glory to set up his own kingdom, and reign with His saints a thousand years. Then, the Antichrist and his European kingdom will be destroyed. v 26-27 puts it this way, "But the judgement shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him."
Now I am not one for setting dates, it’s a dangerous practice! Yet we desperately need to understand, the next event in God's calendar is the Rapture of The church, then comes close on the heels of the Rapture the tribulation period of seven amazing, fearful years in which Antichrist will reign, Israel will be put in the melting pot and God will deal with His earthly people and with the nations who forget God. If what we are seeing on the world scene just now is indeed what God has prophesied, and I for one am without doubt it is so, then we are waiting for the soon return of the Lord for His Church. Are you ready for such an event? How can you be ready? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved! Pray that you family will be saved, your friends and neighbours need saved, the Lord Jesus is coming, don’t let those loved ones go to an awful hell.
Marantha! The Lord is coming. Even so come Lord Jesus!
Has Europe any place in Bible Prophecy? Absolutely!