By Terry James and Todd Strandberg
Stage setting for Bible prophecy yet future already moves forward at an electrifying pace. Even so, the end-time speedometer amazingly continues to accelerate, as is demonstrated by each hourly world news report. Developments involving the European Union are on the leading edge of Planet Earth’s race toward the seven-year peace treaty Bible prophecy foretells will set in motion the tribulation era.
A number of articles in the vast body of material within this website examines, in great detail, the biblically prophetic reasons Europe will one day almost certainly be the heart of the Antichrist beast-system of governmental, economic and religious control prophesied to engulf the world. It will also be at the heart of a false peace process that will initiate the tribulation, which will culminate at Armageddon. We, therefore, refer you to those background works by listing their titles at the end of this article. Here, we will take a look at the European Union’s development and growth in the twentieth century until the present. We will only make brief references to the prophecies, so far as where they are found in the Bible is concerned. This will be an examination of what is happening now in the development of that prophesied evil world government that Jesus Christ will destroy with His second coming to the earth.
Daniel, Chapter 2, presents the dream Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar had, which provides the basis for our understanding that history’s final system of government will try to establish total global dictatorship.
Daniel, the young Hebrew prophet, asked for and received permission to interpret the king’s dream of a gigantic metallic statue of a man. The prophet did so, after praying with friends to ask God for details of the dream and for the meanings of the dream. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that the statue’s head of gold represented the king’s kingdom. The chest and arms of silver represented the second kingdom. The belly and thighs of bronze represented the third world kingdom. The fourth world kingdom to come upon the earth would be, Daniel prophesied, symbolized by the two legs of iron. The final world kingdom would be shown as the statue’s feet made of iron mixed with clay.
History has proved, to the satisfaction of most Bible scholars who study prophecy in depth, that the first four world kingdoms prophesied through Nebuchadnezzar’s dream have come and gone. Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian kingdom was the first. The Medes and Persians comprised the second world empire. The Greek Empire under Alexander the Great was the third. The Roman Empire, which split into two, with capitals in Rome and Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), was the fourth great world kingdom.
One is left to come upon the scene–the final world governmental system represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s prophetic dream as the feet and toes made of iron mixed with clay. This final world kingdom, we believe, is far along in the process of coming together today in the form of the European Union (EU). The fifth world empire symbolized in the statue is prophesied to be an extension of the fourth kingdom. That is exactly what the EU is –an extension of the ancient Roman Empire. It is, we are convinced, the feet and toes of the man-image, the reviving of the unity that was once Europe in all its power and glory. Yet, despite the tremendous power the final form of the Roman Empire will have, the clay mixed with the iron seems to indicate it will have significant weaknesses.
Again, we must, for the sake of proper focus, mention the given prophecies that have been already fulfilled, only briefly. The first of those is the king’s dream of the tremendous metallic man-image, which the great prophet Daniel interpreted. The other prophecy most relevant to looking at the European Union as figuring into prophecy yet future is also found in the Book of Daniel:
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Dan. 9:26-27).
This all-encompassing prophecy foretells plainly that the final world ruler, Antichrist, will rise out of the Roman Empire. Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD under the leadership of Roman General Titus. The future Roman leader (“the prince that shall come”) is prophesied to be a dictator like no other in history.
This “prince that shall come” will come as a peacemaker, confirming a covenant of peace with Israel. He will, at the halfway point in the seven-year peace agreement, invade the Jews’ Temple and destroy their worship. Thus will begin the great tribulation, or “Jacob’s trouble,” the last three and one-half years of the seven years of Daniel’s seventieth week (the tribulation era).
Once again, we refer you to other articles within raptureready.com for more in-depth background. We must move forward now from the times in which the prophecies were given into the more recent past, the present, and the prophetic future in dealing with the matter of the European Union in prophecy.
The twentieth century began with Europe, the heart of what was the ancient Roman Empire, in decline. The upstart, America, was coming on strong as a world leader among nations. This circumstance, some historians propose, was a major factor in setting in motion movement toward World War I. Following that war, Europe was in chaos, but with great determination set about to put its house in order.
Despite fierce nationalism among Europe’s nations, by 1954, the recovery was looked at as an economic miracle. Still, there was a major problem in ever achieving the much longed-for unity of purpose so many European thinkers elite coveted for the region. The nations had come together to fight in a common cause against Germany for the most part. However, each country continued to be completely independent from one another, and to maintain impenetrable economic trade-barrier walls. The situation made carrying on trade with other European nations difficult, if not impossible.
Powerful economic dynamics began to move Europe toward its prophetic destiny.
The old Roman Empire, which had fallen apart but was never destroyed, began reforming on May 9, 1950.
French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman contacted West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, proposing that the two nations merge their steel and coal production. They would act, the proposal went, as one in dealing internationally in those matters. The governments, however, would remain independent. There would be no joint, intergovernmental authority in the pact. Adenauer and the Germans agreed the same night of the proposal. Six nations, by May, 1952, had ratified the European Coal and Steel Community. The glue that would begin putting the Humpty Dumpty, old Roman Empire, together again had been applied.
Europe’s Coal and Steel Community experiment in economic reunification was successful. Other negotiations for further economic integration led to the signing of the Treaties of Rome in March, 1957. That established the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Commission (EURACOM).
Following another step toward reunification with agricultural integration in 1962, the stage was set for the Brussels Treaty of 1965, also called the Second Treaty of Rome.
All previous treaties were merged into a four-fold structure. The structure consisted of a commission, council, parliament, and court.
The United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark joined the other six members of the EEC in 1973. Greece was admitted in 1981, and Spain, then Portugal, joined in 1986.
The European Community (EC) approved the Treaty of Maastricht in December, 1991, the third foundational treaty of the drive toward European reunification.
It follows that a unified Europe needs a single currency, so the Maastricht Treaty established the European Monetary Union (EMU) in three stages. The stages took place in 1991, 1994, and 1997. The single European unit of currency, the euro, was created January 1, 2002.
Today, of course, many more nations have been accepted into the EU. Jack Kinsella, writing for The Omega Letter, Prophecy Update, 4/23/03, says: “The European Union consists of more than 25 European nations today, but there are only ten full members. The rest are associate members or have observer status. The ten nations of the Western European Alliance have a distinct and separate status from the remaining associates.”
Where the number of countries that will ultimately constitute the EU will end is anybody’s guess, but the figure that has long fascinated prophecy watchers is the number 10. This fascination stems in part from Daniel 7:7-8 and Revelation 13:1. Both passages describe a beast with ten horns. The prophets Daniel and John apparently saw the same beast in their visions, the beast symbolizing ten heads of ten kingdoms.
Further, a heavenly being tells John in Revelation, chapter 17, that the vision of (apparently) the same beast he saw in Revelation 13:1 and the woman riding upon its back symbolize a religious system riding (receiving its own authority to dominate) on the power and authority of a satanically empowered system headed by ten kings over ten kingdoms. These things are to occur during the future time just before Christ’s return to earth to set up His Kingdom.
It isn’t surprising, then, that the addition of 10 nations to the EU in 2003 sent some prophecy buffs into speculation orbit. Please don’t be one of them. As Jesus said in Matthew 24: 6, “…the end is not yet…”
That is not to say that we shouldn’t get excited over things of obvious prophetic significance we see occurring. An abundance of signals indeed makes the diligent student of God’s Word know that ours could well be the generation that will see fulfillment of all things prophesied for this earth age.
No prophecy seems more in view today than the foretelling about the beast that Daniel and John reported seeing in their visions. Nonetheless, we simply must proceed with caution in analyzing what we see happening. We must take care not to read into the events significance that isn’t there. Truly, the facts involving current events are astonishing enough! It’s not necessary for us to embellish.
The European Union is on the march as never before, despite its family feuding on occasion. For example, just before the recently concluded “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” we recall that France, Germany, and Belgium threatened EU nations that sided with the U.S. and the United Kingdom. These three promised serious consequences if any EU partner joined the coalition that vowed to remove Saddam’s dictator regime.
Yet, just as quickly as the U.S. and Great Britain, joined by a group of like-minded countries, swiftly dealt with Hussein and his henchmen, the EU, headed primarily by France and Germany, was back to business as usual.
It is more than interesting to note that these two, France and Germany, are the same two primarily instrumental in starting the drive toward unification with their Steel, Coal Community idea in 1950. It is likewise more than interesting that the French in particular now are declaring their commitment to good relations with the U.S. and the U.K. France offers its better-late-than-never largesse to, as they phrase it, “contribute” all it can to the establishment of a viable Iraqi government.
The European Union, according to some of its primary players, is undeniably joined at the hip –or somewhere—to the United Nations, so far as the whole Iraqi affair is concerned. It seems that they, together, consider themselves the true representatives of the “international community.” The coalition, i.e., the United States and Britain, did the liberating, but France’s Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, Germany’s Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder, and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, with nodding approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin, act as if their oversight of post-Saddam Iraq is a foregone conclusion. That anything less than their plans for the region will be illegitimate and unacceptable by nations of the region and around the world.
It is just that sort of arrogance that gave the Caesars of the ancient Roman Empire their lust and determination to try to conquer the world. Supreme arrogance will inspire Antichrist, “the prince that shall come” out of the revived Roman Empire, to take charge of the ten-horned beast-government and do his deadly worst to enslave the world.
If the EU’s arrogant posturing in the Iraq matter is somewhat of an indicator that we might be witnessing the forming of the beast-government of Daniel 7, Revelation 13, and Revelation 17-18, then things on the geopolitical horizon surely are irrefutable signs that we are bumping up against the very end of the age.
The two preeminent entities of Bible prophecy yet future are emerging and will shortly collide with each other. These prophetic entities are Israel and the people of “the prince that shall come” (Europe). Now that the conflict within the region where ancient Babylon once sat appears to be under control, all eyes, cameras, and microphones are turning –as they always do—back toward Israel and Jerusalem.
The European Union is presently at the forefront of calling for Israel and the Palestinians to come to the peace table. It will be just such a peace negotiation, according to Daniel 9:26-27, out of which will come the “covenant made with death and hell” (Isa. 28:15, 18). Antichrist, “the prince that shall come,” will personally guarantee that covenant. But the prophetic Word says that “…when they shall say peace and safety, then, sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape” (1 Thes. 5:3).
The Islamic world’s hatred for the Jews and the nation Israel is satanic at its core. No amount of negotiating for peace ever will change that. Israel’s neighbors want the Jewish state forever done away with –expunged from what they consider their land. The Arab leaders, all dictators to one degree or another, must keep the region in foment against Israel to assure their dictatorships stay in power.
“When the population [of Arab states] is demonstrating against Israel, they aren't demonstrating against their own repressive regimes. On the other hand, they've seen the price of defiance paid by Saddam Hussein.
In terms of Bible prophecy, this is significant on several levels. It is clear that the Islamic world will never accept the existence of Israel.
However, they are unlikely to directly challenge the US war machine that leveled Iraq in 21 days. The U.S. is pursuing, as part of the ‘Quartet’ of nations, a ‘Road Map to Peace’ which will, in essence, force a peace settlement between Israel and her neighbors.
The Quartet consists of the U.S. (Israel's only ally), the EU (Islam's most powerful ally) Russia, (Islam's most powerful patron) and the UN (Israel's most powerful enemy).
The Bible speaks to three of the four members of the Quartet. Daniel speaks of the ten kings who arise out of the ashes of the Roman Empire. Daniel says that out of this alliance will rise the antichrist, who will confirm a seven year peace deal between Israel and the many [Israel’s enemies all around].”
America’s part in pushing Israel toward the table of false peace is troubling. President George W. Bush, who in many other ways has proved himself to be a stalwart friend of Israel, has declared that that nation must bring to the table the idea that a Palestinian state will be created. That future state must, the U.S. as well as the EU and the others of the Quartet demand, be formed out of land of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). This, the usually fiercely combative and defensive-minded Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has amazingly agreed to consider.
The European Union’s influence is growing at a phenomenal rate. Soon its economy will, it is predicted, eclipse that of the U.S. in almost every category. It is a beast just about to be released upon an unsuspecting world.
Its key leaders gave a preview of coming attractions when they blocked at every turn America’s attempts to get the nations of the UN to honor the resolution they had agreed to regarding the overthrow of Saddam’s regime. Understanding that Europe has shed its former robes of Christianity to accept its prophesied economic and governmental role within the end-time Babylonian system of world domination is essential to understanding its beast nature. Those key EU leaders, in their callous deception, were willing to see the pitiful people of Iraq continue to suffer horrendously under Saddam Hussein’s murder and torture rather than give up their oil deals and other profitable enterprises they enjoyed that were given them by the despotic Iraqi monsters. Same with the UN. It has come out that the food-for-oil program profited that organization tremendously, with billions of dollars paid the Kofi Annan-administered program.
Searches by our military forces have produced records of the economic collusion between Saddam’s government and the governments of Russia, France, Germany and others. It is highly considered that this might well be the reason the leaders of these nations so adamantly opposed Hussein’s being deposed. Perhaps they feared just such light of truth would be shed upon their dark dealings.
Out of this strange mixture of democracy and collusion with dictators, a man will emerge whom Bible prophecy says will be a genius at such underhanded dealings. That Scripture says: “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” (Dan. 8:23).
Antichrist will understand exactly how to get the most for himself and his world-order elitists who assist him in his drive to enslave the world.
The European Union grows rapidly toward its full power that will produce a leader of unprecedented authority. Bible prophecy foretells that seven out of ten “kings” will back a world leader, who will forcibly rip power from the other three and give it to himself. The great question of our time, prophetically speaking, might be: Is the European Union the prophesied governmental body that will eventuate in becoming the ten kingdoms that will provide Antichrist with his beastly power?
No one can say for certain, although some seem to have no problem making such declarations, as if they personally helped God give the prophets the prophecies. All we will say here is that with all other prophetic indicators seemingly in full view upon the immediate geopolitical horizon, another profound ingredient has just been added to the fascinating mix. If the EU is not the body that will evolve into that most evil of history’s empires, it must be that biblically prophesied empire’s twin.
The EU has now begun the process that will give it a leader like none other. This news item encapsulates the search for such a man:
Convention backs Blair's plan for EU presidency
“TONY BLAIR’s plans for a powerful new full-time president of Europe look set to become reality after the man charged with drafting a European Union constitution backed the project yesterday.
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the former French President who chairs the convention on Europe’s future, supported the EU’s biggest member states who argue that the Union needs a president if it is to punch its weight on the international stage…
… [d’Estaing] noted that two smaller states, Denmark and Sweden, had just swung behind the idea, which originated in London but was first publicly proposed by President Chirac of France. A new president would be elected by heads of government of EU members and would hold office for five years. The creation of such a post would help to settle the decades-old question posed by Henry Kissinger of whom to call in Europe in an emergency. It could also help to prevent a repetition of the bitter arguments that erupted over Iraq…
…Mr. Blair has been linked to the new post, which, conveniently, is likely to come into being in 2006, a year or so after the next general election. Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish Prime Minister, and José María Aznar, the Spanish Prime Minister, have also been suggested as prospective candidates…”. (http://www.truthtv.org/newstext.asp?newsid=1300)
The prophetic tide rolls toward an unsuspecting world. Breaking news, however, should not surprise Christians. We are told to watch for the nearness of Christ’s return in many places throughout the Bible. Additionally, this website contains a number of articles that warn the Christian to be watchful.
We believe that the fact that the European Union is in prophecy is self-evident because of today’s stunning headlines. The true importance of that, if the EU is in fact the forming of the beast-kingdom from which Antichrist will come upon the world scene, is that it means Jesus’ call to His Church (the Rapture) must be very near indeed!
Europe and the Prince That Shall Come -- by David Breese
Forewarning the Future Fuhrer -- by Daymond R. Duck
The Roman Empire's Greatest Caesar -- by Dave Breese
Europe In Bible Prophecy – David Reagan