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The United States Of Europe
by Wayne Blank
The European Union In Prophecy
In the prophetic book of Daniel (see Prophecy and By The Book) we read of a dream that an ancient Babylonian king had of a great statue which was very awesome and magnificent in appearance. The meaning of the dream was made known by God (Daniel 2:23) through the prophet Daniel. The statue represented the progress of humanity's worldly kingdoms from ancient times right to the future return of Jesus Christ.
What Did King Nebuchadnezzar See?
"You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it smote the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces; then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth." (Daniel 2:31-35 RSV)
God Interprets The Vision
"This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand He has given, wherever they dwell, the sons of men, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, making you rule over them all - you are the head of gold."
The Actual Flow Of History
The head of gold is easy to understand - the Bible narrative itself clearly states (Daniel 2:36-38) that it represents the Babylonian kingdom (see Ancient Empires - Babylon) under King Nebuchadnezzar, who conquered Jerusalem and carried the Jews, including the prophet Daniel himself, off into captivity (see Why Babylon?).
What about the rest of it? This is not difficult - the facts of history are very clear.
After the Babylonian "head of gold" came the Persian empire. The Persians under their various kings, including Cyrus who allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem, swept away the Babylonian empire in 536 B.C. They are the "chest and arms of silver" (see Ancient Empires - Persia).
After about 2 centuries of dominance, the Persian empire was swallowed up by the Greeks under Alexander the Great. Many consider Alexander to be the greatest military commander of all time, taking vast areas from southern Europe, across the Middle East and deep into southern Asia, all while a relatively young man. He reportedly died in his early thirties after a night of partying. The Greeks became the "belly and thighs of bronze" (see Ancient Empires - Greece).
After the Greeks came the Romans, the "legs of iron." The Romans took the areas that the Greeks had, plus nearly all of the rest of Europe, including Britain. The Roman empire was of course dominant during the time of the New Testament (see Ancient Empires - Rome). History records that the Roman empire "fell" in the fifth century after Christ, but Bible prophecy says that it would experience a number of revivals, which indeed it did as the so-called "Holy Roman Empire," and will one final time in the near future - this time known as the European Union.
The "Holy Roman Empire"
Europe has had a long and fascinating history. A very large part of all that has happened on the continent, over the many centuries, has been the result of the relationship between two very powerful and influential rulers. Sometimes they were steadfast allies, at other times they were bitter enemies, but together the Germanic kings in north-central Europe, and the Roman Catholic Popes at The Vatican in Rome (and elsewhere) eventually formed the "Holy Roman Empire."
The empire called itself "Roman" because it claimed succession to The Ancient Roman Empire, and "holy" because it held control over mainstream European Christianity. It was as much political as it was religious - the church was the state.
On February 2, 962, Pope John XII crowned Otto I as the Holy Roman Emperor. When Otto succeeded his father Heinrich (Henry) as German king in 936, the people raised their right hand to show approval and shouted "Sieg und heil" ("victory and salvation"). Most historians view 962 as the beginning of what would later officially be known as the Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanica ("the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation") - the First Reich.
The octagonal imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, made especially for the coronation of Otto, became the very symbol of European unity for centuries to come. In recent years, Otto von Hapsburg (whose ancestors were some of the Holy Roman emperors, and whose oldest son, Karl, is the now the potential heir to that heritage) called attention to the possible role of that crown of the Holy Roman Empire in the European Union - which will actually be an extremely powerful reawakening of the old Europe.
Popes and Emperors Always Together
Over the centuries, there has been a see-saw struggle between the German, or Austrian, Holy Roman emperor and the Pope as to who was the actual ruler of the empire. To summarize their respective claims of superiority:
Although the popes and emperors often were in competition for control, they were always allied. Their individual power was based upon, and greatly enhanced by, the other e.g. when Britain rejected the papacy during the time of King Henry VIII, it was "Europe" that sent the Spanish Armada against Britain for the pope.
Emperor is derived from the Latin word Imperator, who was a supreme "imperial" ruler over an "empire." Emperors were not merely the rulers of their own country, but also ruled over the rulers of other countries (a human "king of kings"), a political situation known as "imperialism." The kings of the ancient Roman empire were the first to be designated as emperors (see Ancient Empires - Rome).
Imperator was originally used in Republican Rome (up to 27 B.C.) as a title for a conquering military leader, however it was adopted by the Roman monarchy, beginning with Octavian (who defeated Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.). Octavian is better known to Christians as Caesar Augustus - the Roman emperor who called that famous census that resulted in Jesus Christ being born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1). The term Caesar came to mean the same as emperor.
After the apparent "fall" of the Roman empire in 476 A.D. (it fell, but it didn't die - it was just wounded), the title of Imperator, or Emperor, was resurrected on Christmas Day in 800 A.D. when Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish/German ruler Charlemagne emperor of the western leg of the Roman empire. Two days earlier, Charlemagne had Leo restored to the papacy, after Leo had been deposed for adultery, perjury and simony, among other things. In effect, Charlemagne and Leo crowned each other.
The German title Kaiser is derived directly from the Roman title Caesar. Germans have played a major role in the history of Europe, and the cyclical "rise" and "fall" of the Roman empire. It was the Germanic warlord Odoacer that "wounded" the Roman political empire in 476; it was the Germanic Charlemagne that brought about the temporary revival of the title of emperor in 800; it was the German king Otto I who is regarded as the founder of the so-called "Holy Roman Empire" (which was actually officially called the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation") after Pope John XII crowned him in 962 (Otto's was the "First Reich," Otto von Bismarck's was the "Second Reich," and Adolf Hitler's was the "Third Reich"); and it was the German Roman Catholic priest Martin Luther that "wounded" the Roman church, and its version of Christianity, after 1517.
Although emperor has been used to designate other great political/military rulers in the world throughout history (e.g. in China, Japan, Ethiopia), the Roman and Germanic emperors are the ones that are directly referred to in Biblical prophecy, and of them, most particularly one end-time emperor is going to be the most wicked and powerful dictator of all time. The prophetic beast refers variously to either, or both, that emperor and his empire.
The thirteenth chapter of the book of Revelation is the account of two end-time world leaders, one a great political and military emperor, the other a great religious leader, who, while allied together, will conquer, or deceive into surrendering to them, most nations on earth. In the end, they will both be cast alive into the lake of fire by Jesus Christ when He returns.
The Satan-Empowered "Beast"
"And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth [see The Four Beasts]. And to it the dragon [see That Old Serpent] gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. Men worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?"
Persecution Of True Christians
"Also it was allowed to make war on the saints [see What Is A Saint?] and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain."
A Great Religious Leader Who Will Deceive The World
"Then I saw another beast [see The Great False Prophet] which rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It works great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men; and by the signs which it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast, it deceives those who dwell on earth, bidding them make an image for the beast which was wounded by the sword and yet lived; and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast should even speak, and to cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name."
The Fate Of The "Beast" And His "Great False Prophet"
"And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against Him who sits upon the horse [see The Return Of Jesus Christ] and against His army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. And the rest were slain by the sword of Him who sits upon the horse, the sword that issues from His mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh." (Revelation 19:19-21 RSV)
Fact Finder: Why won't Britain remain the European Union?
This Week's Bible Quiz
What food is the missing word? (Revised Standard Version)
1. "Then Jacob gave Esau b____ and pottage of lentils, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way" (Genesis 25:34 RSV)
2. "We remember the f___ we ate in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic" (Numbers 11:5 RSV)
3. "So she kept close to the maidens of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and w____ harvests; and she lived with her mother-in-law." (Ruth 2:23 RSV)
4. "abundant provisions of meal, cakes of f___, clusters of raisins, and wine and oil, oxen and sheep, for there was joy in Israel" (1 Chronicles 12:40 RSV)
5. "a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and h____" (Deuteronomy 8:8 RSV)
6. "Man shall not live by b____ alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4 RSV)
7. "They gave Him a piece of broiled f___, and He took it and ate before them" (Luke 24:42-43 RSV)
8. "And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the w____ into the sea" (Acts 27:38 RSV)
9. "And seeing a f___ tree by the wayside he went to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" (Matthew 21:19 RSV)
10. "Now John wore a garment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild h_____" (Matthew 3:4 RSV)
For the answers to this May 20 2003 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page