6. An Ascendant European Union Seeks Global Primacy
Watch Europe! Revelation 13 describes the revival of a great military power. The symbolic language that the Apostle John used—about a fantastic beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns—depicts a recurring, evil political system which has greatly oppressed and heavily influenced the peoples in Western civilization, and through them, the entire world.
The seven heads represent seven distinct revivals of this evil empire over a long period of time. The ten horns represent the ten leaders (kings) of the constituent nations that will make up this ungodly federation that will, first of all, fight against God’s saints. “And it was granted to him [the leader of the ungodly empire] to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Revelation 13:7). These ten leaders will also fight against Christ Himself at His return! “And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:12–14).
This final seventh revival will be similar in form to today’s European Union—ten different nations or groups of nations will be represented by ten different kings or presidents. These ten heads of state “receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast” (v. 12). In other words, they will rule for a very short time along with the final “Hitler.”
That is shocking! The Bible is discussing a wholly evil empire that is yet to arise—not some political power way back in history somewhere. Life in the future will not be “kinder and gentler.” This final
system is just ahead of us, and the men and women in this oppressive government will literally fight Jesus Christ at His coming!
Right now we are living in an unstable transition time in world history. Momentous changes are afoot in Europe. More than 40 years ago, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson remarked, “Europe has been at peace since 1945. But it is a restless peace that’s shadowed by the threat of violence.” Now, with the Cold War behind us, and the Berlin Wall a fading memory, Europe is proceeding toward a unification that would have seemed improbable to most on that day in March 1957 when France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux nations signed the Treaty of Rome, establishing the European Economic Community.
Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, stated in the July/August 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs: “The goal of a Europe whole, free, and at peace is very close to completion. The United States welcomes a strong, united, and coherent Europe. There is no doubt that the European Union has been a superb anchor for the democratic God's creation of Ishtarn Europe after the Cold War.”
Yet a “strong, united and coherent” Europe represents an economic threat to the U.S. economy. As writer Carter Dougherty pointed out on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the European Central Bank, “Paris, Lisbon, Madrid, Rome and Berlin were each, at some point, the political and economic capital of an empire, containing the power of New York and Washington combined. And they all surrendered a piece of their sovereignty to a common currency.… the euro is the currency of 15 countries and 320 million people, and as gilt-edged an investment as can be found in the current tumultuous global economy” (“An Impossible Dream, the Euro Finds Its Way,” New York Times, June 3, 2008).
One of the major characteristics of this European federated union, described in the Bible as “Babylon the Great,” is its enormously attractive economic prosperity and wealth. Material goods will abound for those who cooperate and submit to “Babylon.” The Bible says this about the coming, wicked federated union, “For all the nations have drunk the fatal wine of her intense immorality. The rulers of earth have enjoyed themselves with her, and businessmen throughout the world have grown rich from all her luxurious living” (Revelation 18:3, The Living Bible).
Humanity will become seduced by one of the oldest of false gods—the golden calf of materialism and pleasure. Revelation 18:12–13 gives a partial listing of the commodities being traded in “Babylon.” At the end of verse 13 it lists, “…and bodies and souls of men.” The original Greek text is talking about not only living human beings being sold as slaves but also the dead corpses of men.
In Hitler’s Third Reich, human bodies were sold. Dental gold was picked out of the mouths of gas chamber victims for remelting into ingots. Skin was used for lampshades. Hair was used to stuff pillows and make fabric. Could this happen again? Perhaps you did not grow up during World War II as I did. This is exactly what happened in what was supposed to be the most educated, cultured nation on earth—Germany! That was the nation with the greatest number of people with master’s and doctor’s degrees, proportionately, of any peoples on the earth.
Do not think these things cannot happen again! God says these things will happen. There will be a revival of an evil empire in the same spirit as the pagan Roman Empire. It will hate God’s people and His word.
As of mid-2008, there were 27 nations associated with the European Union. Yet Scripture describes “ten” nations or groups of nations as comprising the final “Beast” power. So we can expect old national boundaries to shift, or some current EU members to quit. Since EU law requires all 27 nations to ratify certain important policy documents that would shift greater control away from individual nations and toward EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, the resistance of several key states has so far posed a problem for the most vigorous advocates of European unity. France, Great Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands have all at one time or another failed to ratify key EU unification proposals. This has led some EU advocates to call for a “two speed” Europe, with Germany and other key nations forming an “inner core” of EU members, with closer economic, military and political cooperation than other EU nations that retain misgivings.
We do need to understand the momentous times in which we live. A new world order is in the process of emerging. Will the present European Union transform itself into “Babylon the Great”? Watch! The Bible’s prophecies will be fulfilled before Christ returns—that is the whole point.
A crucial element that will be essential to the creation of “Babylon the Great” is yet missing from the picture. All of the awesome empires of the past were led by charismatic, dynamic leaders, such as Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charlemagne, Justinian, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Nebuchadnezzar.
The Bible does give us some information about this coming “great” leader who will assume political and military control of “Babylon the Great.” Notice the time setting of this prophecy: “And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purge them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time” (Daniel 11:35). The context of this prophecy is the end-time. Also, it is important to point out that the nature of many prophecies is dual. That is to say, there was one preliminary fulfillment of a prophecy in antiquity, and there is to be a yet future fulfillment of that scripture.
We learn in Daniel 11 that a powerful leader is yet to come on the world scene. This “king,” who will rise up in Europe, “shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god; shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods…” (Daniel 11:36).
Some Bible students assume this is talking about the great, end-time false prophet, who will be contemporaneous with the rising political-military leader. But there are to be two different individuals involved. Verse 36 is about the secular-power leader—the coming dictator—who will be a charming flatterer, cunning, egotistical and ruthless. This leader is destined to exalt himself above any other religious entity. He will be “full of himself.” “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done” (Daniel 11:36).
God uses vicious leaders like the coming “king of the North” to punish His hypocritical people, who say they worship Him and print His name on their money (the Americans), but do not do the things He commands. This future “Hitler” will execute God’s wrath, especially upon the peoples of America and the British countries, because as nations they have rejected God’s values and chosen sinful pleasures and conveniences.
“And you, son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel [whose descendants are now living in the U.S.A. and the British countries and other places]: ‘An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. Now the end has come upon you, and I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations. My eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity; but I will repay your ways, and your abominations shall be in your midst; then you shall know that I am the Lord!’
“Thus says the Lord God: ‘A disaster, a singular disaster; behold, it has come! An end has come, the end has come; it has dawned for you; behold, it has come! Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land; the time has come, a day of trouble is near, and not of rejoicing in the mountains. Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, and spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will repay you according to your ways, and your abominations will be in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord who strikes’” (Ezekiel 7:2–9).
This coming king of the North “shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above them all” (Daniel 11:37). This despicable political leader will cooperate with a false church system for a time, but he is not attracted to its religious teachings personally, and only wishes to use it to achieve power. He sees himself above it. In his enormous ego he tries to make a god out of himself.
“But in their place,” this coming Hitler type will “honor a god of fortresses,” or a god of munitions, as some translations have it; “and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things” (v. 38). This powerful individual will dedicate tremendous amounts of international resources to building up his military machine. And he will worship his power and that military machine. “He shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall make more wealthy, and shall appoint them as rulers over many, and shall distribute the land for a price” (Daniel 11:39, NRSV).
Here is this awesome power of a coming “Hitler,” and, as we explained, there will be exactly ten nations or groups of nations eventually in Europe having ten kings or rulers over them. They will give their power and strength to this coming dictator, this “Hitler,” for a short time just before Christ’s return. And as verse 40 shows, this European power-bloc will also fight against the Islamic power block to the south.