Europe In Bible Prophecy
Dr. David R. Reagan
The most important prophetic development of the 20th Century was the regathering of the Jewish people to their historic homeland in the Middle East, resulting in the creation of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. The second most important development was the formation of a European confederation known as The European Union. Both of these momentous historical events point to the fact that we are living in the end times, right on the threshold of the Tribulation and the Lord's return.
The Council of the Union is the chief legislative body. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, and consists of 87 representatives appointed by the member states. Some decisions require a unanimous vote; most require a "qualified majority" of 62 votes. The voting is weighted in relation to the size of the countries.
The Parliament of the Union consists of 626 members who are directly elected for five year terms. The Parliament is a parliament in name only. It is primarily a public forum whose members sit in blocs organized according to political views rather than nationalities. It has been growing in power in recent years. The Parliament holds its committee meetings at a facility in Brussels. Its plenary sessions are conducted at its elaborate new headquarters in Strasbourg, France. Although it has recently gained some "co-decision" power, its influence is felt primarily through its discussions and resolutions.
The Commission of the Union is the agency responsible for implementing legislation. It is the executive branch. There are 20 Commissioners - two each from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain, and one from each of the other member states. They are appointed for five year terms. The Commission President is the chief executive officer of The European Union. Romano Prodi of Italy currently holds this position.
The Court of Justice has its headquarters in Luxembourg. There are 15 justices, one from each member state, appointed for terms of six years. Judgements of the Court in the field of EU law are binding on all members states, their national courts, their companies, and their private citizens. The decisions override those of national courts.
The Central Bank is located in Frankfurt, Germany and is responsible for monetary policy and the new Euro currency which was introduced in January 1999 and which will replace the member states national currencies in 2002.
Revenue for the Union in 2000 came to $93.2 billion. The largest source of income was the 1.27% of Gross National Income that each member state is required to pay. In 2000 this levy produced 47.8% of the Union's revenue. The next highest source (36.4%) came from a 1% VAT tax (value-added-tax) on goods and services. The rest of the income came from an assortment of agricultural levies and custom duties.
Emergence of a Super-State
The European Union is poised for a major expansion. In March 1998 the EU opened talks on full membership with six countries - Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia. In October 1999 the Commission proposed talks with another six - Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, and Slovakia. When these countries are added, nearly all the people of Europe will be joined in a single Union by free and democratic consent for the first time in history.
The movement for European unity which was launched in 1950 by Robert Schuman and Jean Monet (see the side bar on page 3) has gradually evolved into a super-state. An official publication of the Union states: "The EU system is inherently evolutionary. It was designed to allow for the gradual development of European unification and has not yet achieved its final form."1
The European Union now manifests three of the most important characteristics of a state. It has a unified economic system, an integrated political structure, and a shared vision for the future. Prophecy teacher Jimmy DeYoung points out that it even has a common language - namely, English.2 Although many languages are spoken by the member nations and their representatives, almost all know English because the Internet has made it the common trade language.
What the Union officially lacks is a military force. But it is in the making. A military staff has been assembled, with a commander-in-chief, and it currently has at its disposal 60,000 front line troops on standby, with 400 assault aircraft and up to 80 warships.3 The British government refers to it as a "Rapid Reaction Force." That is nothing but a euphemism for an army. It has been dubbed "Eurocorps" by the rest of Europe, and it is supposed to be ready for action in 2003. The British are downplaying this military arm of the Union because they want to continue their partnership with the United States in NATO. The French would like to see the Eurocorps replace NATO, as it probably will.
Relating the EU to Bible Prophecy
(Note: Kenneth Humphries is a Baptist pastor in Northern Ireland. He serves on the board of the Irish Baptist College and is chairman of the Prophetic Witness Movement International (Ireland). He can be contacted over the Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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?" The answer to this question is an emphatic, "Yes!" In fact, the role of a unified Europe in end time prophecy is much clearer in the Bible than the role of the world's only current super power - the United States. The book of Daniel establishes with certainty that a unified Europe will rise in the end times out of the ashes of the old Roman Empire.
Throughout the centuries since Rome fell, many political leaders have dreamed of resurrecting the Roman Empire. Napoleon Bonaparte, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and Winston Churchill, for different reasons and with differing motives, all shared the vision of a United States of Europe. But that vision had to await God's timing for its fulfillment. That timing came at the end of World War II.
Factors Contributing to Union
Most of Europe was completely devastated by the war. That devastation prompted various nations in Western Europe to put aside their age-old hatreds and jealousies in order to reach out to each other for mutual support and aid. The result was a series of economic unions which helped to spur the European economy.
The collapse of Communism throughout Eastern Europe in the late 1980's and the early 1990's removed the biggest remaining barrier to European union. Germany was reunited and all of Eastern Europe was liberated to seek its own destiny. That destiny has proved to be an expanding European union.
When the Treaty on European Union, signed in Maastricht (the Netherlands) on February 7, 1992, came into force on November 1, 1993, it gave European integration a whole new dimension. The European Community, which was essentially economic in aspiration and content, was transformed into a full-fledged political entity known as The European Union.
The European Attitude
The significance of this new political union in the European mind is well stated in an official publication of the European Union:
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 civilization identifies - the preservation of peace, economic and social progress, respect for the person, and the predominance of right over might . .
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 . . . clearly the only credible answer to the hazards and opportunities posed by the increasing globalization of the world economy.1
The foremost symbol of this new European confederation is the Euro, a common currency that all members of the European Union are supposed to start using in place of their national currencies on January 1, 2002. The announcement of an agreement on the Euro was greeted in some quarters with an enthusiasm that bordered on blasphemy. 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."2
The Biblical Significance
The biblical significance of these momentous developments in Europe has been widely recognized by students of Bible prophecy. For example, commenting on the signs of the times that point to the Lord's soon return, Dr. S. Franklin Logsdon wrote:
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 . . . it is an economic community, a breaking down of national barriers, a getting together on certain common bases. The whole idea is to reshape 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 reshaping of the face of Europe approximates the kingdom to arise out of the old Roman Empire - the last Gentile power.3
Those words were written in 1973, long before the European Economic Community had evolved into the much stronger and more significant European Union of 1993.
The question is, can we find this newly emerging power bloc in Scripture? Yes, I believe we can. Chapters 2 and 7 of Daniel is where the European sign is revealed. We are told that the prophecies given to Daniel in these chapters relate to "the latter days" (2:28), "to what would take place in the future" (2:29). Daniel's prophecies are based upon a dream which God gave to Nebuchadnezzar (2:31-35). Interpreting that dream, Daniel concluded that it revealed a succession of Gentile empires, beginning with the Babylonian Empire, followed by Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome (2:36-40).
The last Gentile world empire will be a confederation of nations (2:41-43) that will arise out of the old Roman Empire (7:7-8). And out of that confederation, the Antichrist will arise, using the revived Roman Empire as his base to conquer the world (7:8, 23-25). But this final Gentile empire will be short-lived, for it will be suddenly crushed by the return of the Messiah who will "set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed" (2:44).
The Practical Meaning
I believe that today, before our very eyes, we are witnessing the fulfillment of these ancient prophecies of Daniel. Europe has reunited into a revived Roman Empire that is expanding rapidly in size. As it grows, and as national identities are de-emphasized, it will most likely be divided into ten administrative areas, just as Daniel prophesied (2:42-44 and 7:7 - the ten toes of chapter 2 correspond to the ten horns of chapter 7).
What does all this mean for you and me? If what we are seeing on the European scene just now is indeed what God has prophesied - and I, for one, am without doubt it is so - then we are on the threshold of the Lord's return. Are you ready for such an event? If not, then do you know what to do? There is only one way to get ready and that is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved! If you are saved, then pray for the salvation of your family members and your friends and neighbors. And then witness Jesus to them. Don't let those you love and care about go to an awful Hell.
The New Unholy Roman Empire
(Note: Alan Franklin has been a journalist for 37 years. He currently serves as editor of a newspaper in southern England. Alan is a Bible prophecy teacher and expert on the cults. He can be contacted at email@example.com)
I have been a journalist since 1964, spending ten years as a chief reporter and the last 17 as the editor of a journal serving a quarter of a million readers in southeast England in the London area. As a Christian versed in prophecy I cannot help but see in the emerging European superstate the foundations of a one world government with a one world dictator at its head - the man whose Biblical names include "the Beast," "the man of sin" and "the Antichrist."
In fact, leaders in Europe are already calling for a strong leader, saying that committees do not work and they need more inspired leadership. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer repeated his call for a European government in July, 2000, and said the European single currency - the Euro- was "the first step to a federation." He added that he wanted a "powerful president."1
Fischer said his aim was "nothing less than a European parliament and a European government, which really do exercise legal and executive power," to operate under his powerful president. More sinisterly, he welcomed the progress made in removing the "sovereign rights" of nations which he defined as control of currency and control of internal and external security.
In summary, Fischer said, "Political union is the challenge for this generation."2
The Desire for a Superstate
I was invited to Brussels, where the European Parliament is situated, in my role as publisher of a business newspaper. I watched the vote taken as eleven countries abandoned their own currencies to form a united Eurozone with the euro replacing everything from the lira of Italy to the Irish pound. They were effectively voting for the abolition of the nation state, and it was astonishing to see with what little formality or protest countries like France and Germany gave up control of their financial and economic destiny to join in the project to create "a common European home," as the founding fathers of the European Union put it. No mention was made of the crippling cost to nations of scrapping their currencies.
After the vote I went to lunch with six MEPS - Members of the European Parliament - of different political parties. We talked about the future and I said that, as they now had one parliament and one currency, they were in many senses effectively one country. They could not really disagree, as the EU has all the trappings of a state, even its own embryonic army - the planned 60,000 rapid-reaction Eurocorps. So I asked: "Have any of you thought about the next step?" They asked me what I meant. So I explained that, with one currency and one parliament, the next big step was to have one leader or one fuhrer, (one Antichrist!). After all, it was Hitler who was the last leader who tried to unify Europe under one Government with one currency.
The Desire for a Superman
That many in Europe have been thinking on these lines for years is shown in a chilling quote from Paul-Henri Spaak, former Belgian Prime Minister and President of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe nearly 50 years ago. He said : "We do not want another committee. We have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass in which we are sinking. Send us such a man and, be he God or the devil, we will receive him."3
More recently Jack Lang, then president of the French National Assembly's foreign affairs committee, said that the EU "needs a single figure at the helm." Attacking the inertia in European foreign policy, he said Europe needed a strong central government with a single "personality" in control.4 Students of Bible prophecy will have little doubt who this "personality" will be.
A Global Vision
The present format of the EU cannot last, and it was never intended that it should. Right from the beginning, the founders had grand, globalist ambitions. Addressing the European Policy Centre in September, 2000, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt described the subterfuge adopted to set up the embryonic EU. "With the European Coal and Steel Community, the seeds were sown of the European Union of today. It was the initial impetus to the development of a community approach, step by step forging European integration by joining, and sometimes also by abolishing, national sovereignty into a joint approach."5
Turning to the next great leap forward, Verhofstadt said: "It is of the utmost importance to keep in mind a global vision of the ultimate goal of European unification." This is a good thing, he explained, because "the European Union as it is now could never be the ultimate goal." He said the pace of integration must never slacken lest, "in the worst case, countries will start to plead for the restoration of their former sovereignty."6 Notice that national sovereignty - independence - is referred to in the past tense.
Next came the real bombshell. The Belgian said that there must be values underpinning this vast undertaking - the largest coming together of countries in the history of the world. But whose values? His answer: "the values which resulted from the French Revolution."7 So, the values of the brave new Europe are to be those of the country which gave us the guillotine, the reign of terror and the time of blood washing through the streets of France!
"The Portman Papers," a quarterly newsletter keeping watch on developments in the superstate, says in its October 2000 edition: "Verhofstadt's values come from this. Eight years before the French Revolution began in 1789 with the Declaration of The Rights of Man, the General Council of Freemasonry at Wilhelmsbad, convened by Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Illuminati, drew up the blueprint. Its evil spirit was epitomized in Maximilian Robespierre, whose technique of terror anticipated Stalin's by 100 years."8
The French Reign of Terror claimed over a million victims. Inmates of prisons were slaughtered. Human heads were counted up like scores on cards. The terror was justified in the name of "democracy." Similarly the coming clampdown on free speech, religious freedom and free political parties by the "beast of Brussels" system is being justified by words like "anti-discrimination" and a "charter of rights."
What is emerging in Europe is a new Holy European Empire, an attempt to resurrect the old Holy Roman Empire that existed under the Pope. This is becoming increasingly blatant. The Vatican is playing a major role in the creation of the new European Empire, and Catholic social values - so-called "Christian Socialism" - are at its heart. The present Pope has repeatedly called for religious unity in Europe. This means a united, Catholic Europe, which was consecrated to Mary by the Vatican in 1309.
When I visited Strasbourg, the French city near the German border which, with Brussels, co-hosts the European Parliament, I was introduced to the head of the house of Habsburg, Otto von Habsburg, a man whose family dominated Europe for centuries. Full of charm and intelligence, he said that instead of war, a great new Europe could be built on peaceful cooperation. His ideas go far beyond this, however. In his book, The Social Order of Tomorrow, he writes:
Now we do possess a European symbol which belongs to all nations equally. This is the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, which embodies the tradition of Charlemagne, the ruler of a united occident . . . the Crown represents not merely the sovereignty of the monarch, but also the ties between authority and the people. True, it is the monarch who is crowned, but in this sacred act he appears as the representative of the whole people. It should therefore be considered whether the European head of state, as the protector of European law and justice, should not also become the guardian of a symbol which, more than any other, represents the sovereignty of the European community.9
Dr. Habsburg wants to see Europe have an elected head of state - a man elected for life. This influence of both Charlemagne and the Habsburgs hangs heavily over the new federal Europe. The crown of Charlemagne, the first person to attempt to revive the Roman Empire in 800 AD, is an inspiration to those who promote the breaking down of nation states, and a Charlemagne prize has been established for those who work hardest for European unity. One who did was ex-President Clinton, who in June 2000, was the first American president to receive the Charlemagne prize for his work in promoting European unity. He received the prize at the cathedral in Aachen, Germany, where the first Holy Roman Emperor lies buried. Clinton called for an enlargement of the EU to even take in Russia.
America and the EU
In a report in The Daily Telegraph, President Clinton said the European Union should have at least 30 member states, including all the nations of the Balkans, Turkey and possibly even Russia. He said that European peace and prosperity now depended on the EU setting its boundaries ever wider. The report stated that Mr. Clinton was determined to be viewed as "part of a family of statesmen associated with European integration."10 He held private talks with Helmut Kohl, the former German Chancellor, in Berlin.
Although Mr. Kohl has been discredited by a party funding scandal inside the Christian Democrat Union party, he is still regarded as the most important force behind European integration in the past 30 years. It is easy to see how these two suspect "statesmen" have much in common, but it is difficult to see how the establishment of a major, often anti-American power block in Europe could be in America's interests, and thus it is surprising that it has been American policy to push for greater unification of Europe.
Perhaps America's fine new President is the man to see the folly of this.
Religious Symbols of the European Union
The Bible teaches that the Revived Roman Empire of the end times will be a creation of Satan, and out of it will come his representative, the Antichrist. The fact that the formation of the European Union has major spiritual implications is reflected in the religious symbols that the Union has adopted in the form of its flag, its anthem, its architecture, and its basic logo.
The European Union's flag consists of 12 stars, inspired by the halo of 12 stars that appear around the Madonna in Catholic pictures of her. A former secretary general of the Council of Europe, Leon Marchal, affirmed that the stars are those of "the woman of the Apocalypse." Enthusiastically he explained, "It's wonderful that we have gotten back to the Introit of the new Mass of the Assumption. It's the corona stellarum duodecim (the crown of the twelve stars) of the woman of the Apocalypse."1 This is a reference to the woman in Revelation 12 who appears with a crown of 12 stars. Although this woman represents Israel, the Catholic Church has always claimed that she represents the virgin Mary, "the mother of God."
The EU, which now has 15 member countries, has confirmed that the number of stars will always stay at 12, which indicates that the stars do not represent countries. I quote from a leaflet, "Building Europe Together," which I was given on a visit to EU headquarters in Brussels: "The European flag (is) a shared flag, blue with 12 gold stars symbolizing completeness. The number will remain 12 no matter how many countries there are in the European Union."2
The same document, issued to commemorate "Europe Day, May 9," also touts Europe's new common anthem, "Ode To Joy," the prelude to the last movement of Beethoven's ninth symphony. The EU document states that although the anthem officially is the "Ode To Joy," it really is an "ode to freedom - to a sense of community and to peace between the 15 countries which have decided to unite and to others which will freely decide to join them."
In fact the "Ode To Joy" is not quite that innocent. The lyrics, by a man named Friedrich von Schiller, concern the entering of the shrine of a pagan goddess and the uniting of all men in brotherhood, by the power of magic.3
The Tower of Babel
An amazing poster was issued by the European Union, showing the Tower of Babel and carrying the slogan: "Many tongues, one voice." In case the point was lost, a crane in the background was shown rebuilding the tower. Above the Tower of Babel were shown the eurostars, but inverted, as in witchcraft, with the central points downwards.
The story of the rise and fall of Babylon told in Genesis chapter eleven should have been a warning to all men for all time. Nimrod and his followers tried to build a tower to reach the heavens, but it was the counterfeit building of a counterfeit religion.
Mystical Babylon is now being rebuilt in Europe, and those who would follow Nimrod have now succeeded in building a parliament building in Strasbourg, France, whose centerpiece is an enormous replica of the unfinished tower of Babel. Even the secular press could not miss the connection between the old and new towers of Babel. They labeled the new French structure "The Tower of Eurobabel." This monumental building, full of labyrinthine corridors, is used only one week in four, because the rest of the time the EU Parliament meets in committees in Brussels. Every three weeks the whole caboodle shuffles between the two sites in a fleet of 200 trucks, at enormous expense. An MEP I know was there on the day Eurobabel opened and reported total chaos in the £300 million structure, commenting: "If they can't run a building, should we trust them with a continent?"
Nigel Farage is a member of the European Parliament who belongs to the United Kingdom Independence Party, which is fighting to get Britain out of the superstate. He said in an article just after the opening day: "We realize we are not merely entering a building, but being allowed access to the temple of a bold new empire."4
The Woman Riding a Beast
Another demonic biblical symbol that is being used in conjunction with the European Union is the one from Revelation 17 where a "great harlot" is depicted riding a beast. For some strange and unknown reason this symbol is being used to represent the EU! For example, when Britain issued a stamp to commemorate the first European Parliament elections in 1979, the picture on the stamp depicted a woman riding a beast.
According to the Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley, a Northern Ireland Protestant minister and member of the European Parliament, the woman on a beast is now the official picture of the EU. He points out that the multi-million dollar new parliament building in Brussels, Belgium, contains a dome with a colossal painting, three times life size, of a woman riding a beast.
In Strasbourg, France, the rival parliamentary building (the one with the Tower of Babel) features a mural of a naked woman riding a beast. Likewise, the new Brussels headquarters of the Council of Europe contains a bronze statue of a woman riding a beast, and the beast is depicted riding on waves, just as in Revelation 17.
Scripture is being fulfilled before our eyes, for those with eyes to see.