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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, October 14 2021

Europe's prophesied rise to power

Bible prophecy indicates current trends in Europe are moving towards a modern-day revival of a government structure in many ways comparable to that of the Roman Empire.

by Scott Ashley & Gerhardt Marx

Daniel 2 records King Nebuchadnezzar dreaming of a gigantic image, with parts composed of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and iron mixed with clay. Daniel interpreted this dream, explaining the image represented a series of four empires that would rise to dominate much of the known world.

The image's head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian Empire and, from history we know the second, third and fourth kingdoms after Babylon were the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great and his successors, and the Roman Empire. All were the superpowers of their day.

Daniel described the fourth kingdom as iron, which would "break in pieces and crush all the others," and Rome did indeed crush all its competitors, building the greatest empire the world had ever seen till that time. But the feet and toes of the image, representing this fourth kingdom, were also described as "partly of potter's clay and partly of iron," meaning "the kingdom shall be divided...partly strong and partly fragile." It would be made up of people who "will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay" (Daniel 2:40-43).

Describing this time Daniel also prophesied that a rock struck "... the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them… (and then) became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth…. He adds that “...In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed...It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever..." (Daniel 2:34-45).

We know from many other prophecies that this is the Kingdom of God, which Jesus Christ will establish on earth at His return, and that the fourth empire, a modern-day re-emergence of the Roman Empire will still exist in some form at that time and be destroyed by Christ.

Revelation 13 also records a vision John saw of "a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns" which also represents this final geopolitical superpower, described as the seventh resurrection of the Roman empire. So great will be the dominance of this beast that it will have "authority over every tribe, people, language and nation" and "all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast" (Revelation 13:7-8).

"The dragon" or Satan the devil (Revelation 12:9) will be the unseen supernatural influence prophesied to "make war against the saints"— killing and persecuting the faithful servants of God (Revelation 13:2-7). Revelation 17 also describes it will be linked with a powerful false church called a "great harlot" (verse 1).

A study of history shows the fulfillment of these remarkable prophecies with six "kings" or leaders of revivals of the Roman Empire already having taken place:

  1. In less than a century after Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed, Justinian, ruling from Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), committed himself to restoring the empire in the West, serving as emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 527 to 565 BC.

  2. The second of these prophesied revivals of the Roman Empire occurred at the time of Charlemagne who was crowned by Pope Leo III in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in A.D. 800.

  3. Otto the Great, the emperor of a united German nation received the title of Roman emperor in A.D. 962 when he was crowned by Pope John XII. This marked the third of seven prophesied revivals or resurrections of the original Roman Empire.

  4. Rudolph I of the Habsburg family became "King of the Romans" in 1273—followed by successive Habsburg rulers with one being crowned by the pope—Charles V of the house of Habsburg in 1530. Charles V was determined to realize the age-old dream of a unified Europe, and represented the fourth prophesied revival of the Roman Empire (The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Micropaedia, Vol. 2, "Charles V").

  5. One of history's most famous figures, Napoleon Bonaparte, led the fifth prophesied attempt to resurrect the Roman Empire with the endorsement of the Roman church (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 11: The Age of Napoleon, 1975, pp. 242-243). In 1804 he crowned himself Emperor of France, and later that year was crowned Emperor Napoleon I by Pope Pius II at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

  6. The sixth resurrection of the Roman empire began during the 19th century when Otto von Bismarck united most German territories under the Prussian Hohenzollern dynasty. In 1871 Prussia's King William (or Wilhelm) was proclaimed Emperor of Germany. This was regarded as united Germany’s Second Reich, as centuries earlier Otto the Great had established the first great German empire, viewed as the First Reich.

    After the first World War (1914-1918) two new strongmen arose with dreams to unite Europe—Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany. Declaring the reappearance of the Roman Empire, Mussolini formed an alliance with Hitler, establishing the Rome-Berlin Axis, with both these men signing agreements with the Roman church that gave legitimacy to their fascist regimes.

    Adolf Hitler proudly proclaimed Germany's Third Reich, envisioning a German empire that would rival the Holy Roman Empire. Thus the continuation of the sixth of the seven imperial revivals foretold in Revelation 17 was perpetuated, and from 1939 until 1945 the Allied and Axis powers fought the Second World War, once more defeating the dream of a united Europe.

  7. In 1957 six Western European nations—West Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium—came together to create the European Economic Community through the Treaty of Rome. This European Union has now grown to become one of the world's largest economies with its own president and foreign minister. It is quickly developing global political power to match its economic clout, with military power sure to follow its expanding economic and political might.

A final, seventh revival of the Roman Empire is imminent, thus fulfilling the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation and leading to God's intervention in human affairs culminating in Christ's return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.