In 1948, as Europe was emerging from two devastating wars, they quickly found themselves faced with two urgent security threats: possible German re-armament, and the start of the Cold War. And so in response to immediate defense and economic needs, on March 17, 1948, The Brussels Treaty was signed, creating a common market consisting of Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK, commonly called ‘Bene-Lux’ – but it’s official name is the Western European Union, or WEU.
On May 7, 1948, Winston Churchill opened the first session of the European Congress at the Hague in the Netherlands, laying the course for the economic and political integration of Europe. Did he know that nearly 2600 years prior, the prophet Daniel laid out in detail the history of the world’s great empires before they ever existed, ending with the vision of a future unified and powerful Europe that would rise out of the ashes of the old Roman Empire, and be the final global power before Jesus returns to set up His kingdom? Here we are in May of 2008. The European Union is 60 years old this month.
On May 14, 1948, only one week after the birth of modern Europe, the most significant prophetic fulfillment of modern times came to pass, the re-birth of the nation of Israel. Nearly 2700 years ago, the prophet Isaiah posed this question: “Can a nation be born in a day?” In natural history, national sovereignty is usually accomplished through a prolonged time of military struggles and political maneuverings for independence. But Israel’s story is not one of natural history, but super-natural – and the answer to Isaiah’s question of course is a resounding “yes!”: The modern nation of Israel is 60 years old this month.
I find it more than a little interesting that the very month that Israel became a nation again, the seeds of a future European powerhouse were germinating on the world scene, running a parallel course as God works out His plan not only for Israel, but for the Gentile nations as well.
Out of this revived Roman federation will come the one they call the antichrist, who will demand to be worshiped as god before he leads the nations to judgment; Out of tiny Israel came the true Christ who will return to judge the nations, redeem Israel, and usher in His everlasting Kingdom.
It is exciting beyond measure to live in the days when we can actually see the players lining up and the stage being set for the greatest spiritual battle of all time. My hope is that as you see the big picture unfold and get excited about the things to come, we would all live according to the knowledge that time is short.
In Daniel Chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a large metallic image symbolizing 4 successive earthly kingdoms to come is one of the most vivid prophecies in the Bible. It had a head of gold, representing the kingdom of Babylon, chest and arms of silver representing the Medo-Persian empire, belly and thighs of brass, representing Greece, and finally the Roman Empire, represented by the two legs of iron. Each of these kingdoms did successively conquer the previous one, just as prophesied. There is much that could be said about the first three kingdoms even just from a historical perspective – but for our intents here, we will focus on those legs and feet.
Prophecy teachers generally agree that the legs signify a divided Roman kingdom. We know from history that the old Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western rule; the West being centered in Rome, dominating the kingdoms of Western Europe for centuries. Additionally, every single nation of our Western Hemisphere was settled by one of the nations of the Roman Empire during the Age of Exploration lead by Christopher Columbus and others. The British Empire had holdings on nearly every continent, creating the boundaries of such relatively new nations such as Iran and Iraq within the last 100 years.
Our western lifestyle today – from our republican form of government, to our military and court systems – has been brought to you by a conquering and colonizing Roman Empire that never really ceased to exist completely. While we may no longer have Caesars or Kaisers, today’s Holy Roman ruler is simply called ‘The Pope’, as billions of Catholics around the world have looked to Rome for eternal guidance for over 1500 years.
The Eastern leg of the Empire was centered in Constantinople, and out of this came the Eastern Orthodox church and the Byzantine Empire, stretching it’s influence into Russia, Persia, Greece, and the Balkans. Instead of the Western Caesars and Kaisers, in the East we find the Russian word for Caesar – “Czar”. Both legs of the Empire buckled at the dawn of the 20th century, the East with the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, wiping out the last of the Czars, and in the West, the fall of the monarchies. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, one of the last of the monarchs, was the match that lit WW1. With these events, the entire world order was turned upside-down, leading to a vast geo-political dismantling and re-configuration, out of which arose a new reformulated European powerhouse, and a Jewish Homeland, bringing us right back to 1948.
We may not think of World Wars 1 and 2 as birth pangs, but with these events I believe God’s last days timeclock, centered around Israel and today’s EU, began to count down the last of the last days, and taking us from those legs of iron to those feet and toes. I tell you all this so you can see God’s hand in the affairs of men, and get a fresh perspective on today’s headlines. Today’s newspaper is thrown in the trash; CNN will move on to the next story, but the real stories are tucked in between the pages of your Bible, and that is why every believer needs a working knowledge of Bible prophecy.
Let’s continue to build on this foundation:
Daniel then tells us that while the legs were solid iron, at the very bottom of this statue are 10 toes, made up of a mixture of iron and clay, so while it is still the Roman Empire, there is a change in its character.
Daniel 2:40-42 says that the kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle, generally thought to symbolize an inability to work together as a unit. Now, any builder will tell you that iron and clay do not mix, and anyone who would combine such diverse materials should not expect their creation to hold together, especially at the base. Iron is strong and unyielding; clay is moldable and pliable, and common, and weak. While there have been several interesting theories over the years as to what might be the significance or symbolism of the iron and the clay, bible teacher Ray Stedman, in his article, “The Last Act”, gives what I think is a very timely and well-thought out scenario considering today’s headlines. (See http://www.raystedman.org/daniel/0362.html for the entire article.)
He suggests that clay represents the common man, the voice of the people, perhaps people who get their view of life from CNN or the internet, and are often very moldable in their opinions, easily swayed by popular thought and political rhetoric. We understand this well in an election year. Clay could also could represent the type of grassroots, democratic movements we see a lot of today as different ethnic groups struggle to find an independent place among the nations. Perhaps the clay represents democracy, which really is a very weak form of government because while the masses can easily birth a political movement virtually overnight and vote for whomever they wish, they are also free, in a democracy, to empower a Hitler – because if they get to the point of simply being so easily molded, they will think what they are told to think. In fragile democracies, it’s a very short trip from anarchy, to monarchy, to dictatorship.
Iron, on the other hand, might be symbolized by an imperialistic attitude or form of big brother government that seeks to rule by brute force and strength. A goodexample is Nazi Germany – the people were collectively influenced, persuaded and incited under Hitler until the iron fist of dictatorship came down and nearly destroyed Germany, the Jewish people, and the very soul of Europe 60 years ago.
Political movements may be birthed on the internet, or in Tiananman Square, or in a monastery in the mountains of Tibet, but when it comes down to it, the will of the people will eventually hit a wall. Those with the power will eventually bring their will to bear. The iron will of big government, and the common clay of basic human rights never seem to adhere to one another. Daniel tells us that the kingdom of iron will be the most brutal of all.
Chapter 2 also tells us that the 10 toes of the image represent 10 kings who will rule this final empire. Back in the early ‘80s when I began to study these things, there were 10 nations in the EU and it was pretty exciting to see that in place. But then as more and more nations joined over time, a lot of prophecy students began to ask, will the 10 toes be 10 European nations, or some other configuration? There are 27 nations in the EU today.
But remember that original union that formed back in 1948 called the WEU? What you may not be aware of is that despite this alliance of 27 that is still growing, the WEU remains an elite group of 10 who are the only permanent members of the EU. Most of Europe’s military planning is in the hands of the WEU. Bottom line, according to Hal Lindsey: “there exists, at this point in human history, a 10-core nation European defense collective consisting of the richest and most powerful nations in Europe” (http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=41959)
Another 10-toed scenario:
Back in 1973, the Club of Rome outlined a plan to divide the world into 10 regional trade blocs, built on the EU economic model, which would simply create 10 borderless regions of the world around a vast consumer-based economy. This is very much a possibility in our multi-national corporate world, and with the makings of NAFTA in North America, and other trade blocs in the works such as a Mediterranean bloc, Asian bloc, African bloc, we keep an eye on that scenario as well.
With that much background, let’s look at the latest attempt at European unity: the Treaty of Lisbon.
Over the years, we’ve looked at the various treaties that have been passed to bring Europe into full economic unity. Through these treaties, they’ve worked through everything from border issues to how to label consumer products, to the more significant unity issues like a common currency, in this case, the “Euro”. The Treaty of Rome, Treaty of Maastricht, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty, each have progressively extended the power of the Union one layer of economic reform at a time. And then there was, 3 years ago this Spring, an EU constitution that was to have brought legal and political unity as well, but to the great disappointment of the architects of Europe, it was rejected by the people.
Now you would think rejecting a critical and binding document like a Constitution would have dealt a death blow to final integration, since a continent-wide constitution is not a just a mere technicality, but in reality it is the birth certificate for a new Empire, and to the student of the book of Daniel, the key to the fulfillment of some major prophecies. Here is where it gets interesting.
I can’t imagine that the ever-resourceful Eurocrats who feel called to make Europe a powerful global presence are going to let all their hard work in bringing things this far be for nothing. The blueprint for this grand plan was drawn up over 60 years ago, from an earthly perspective, much longer ago from a spiritual perspective – and going half-way makes no sense even from an economic perspective.
But it seems that the people are not on the same page as the policy-makers – so, what’s a Eurocrat to do? Put the brakes on? Get out that iron fist? Or just sell it harder? Plan B appears to be to simply take the rejected document and label it “new and improved” like a box of cookies – and then you can just bring that superstate in by the back door. And, we’ll give it name that makes people think it’s just another in a series of treaties signed in a trendy European city, and they will never know that we’re feeding them the same old constitution they rejected 3 years ago, only in easier to swallow caplet form.
And to make sure that those ungrateful clay-pot-constituents don’t get an opportunity to vote on it and derail us again, we will make it so that it is signed and approved by parliaments only. They call it the Treaty of Lisbon. I call it, “The Empire Strikes Back”.
In December of ‘07, 27 European ministers all signed the Lisbon Treaty. It has some very interesting features and – one potential glitch.
The Brussels Journal has an article called, “These Boots are Gonna Walk All Over You” (http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2773) and this article addresses the most significant aspects of this Treaty, and this is just a summary:
It establishes a legally new European Union in the constitutional form of a European state. By amending 2 existing treaties, the Treaty on European Union from 1992, and the Treaty of Rome from 1957 and tucking an identical constitution in between the lines, just like that, a couple of early treaties officially become the Union’s constitution.
It also means – and this is a key point – post-Lisbon Europe will be an entirely new political entity on the world scene. This EU effectively succeeds the European Community. Look at it this way: the current European Community is a union or community of individual nations – but the post-Lisbon EU would be a state which supercedes the authority of individual nations. For the first time ever, Federal EU law will be supreme, separate from and superior to its member states in the same way our federal law is separate from and superior to the state of Wisconsin.
It establishes a state that can now conduct itself as any other state in the international community. Before Lisbon, “Europe” is not a legal entity in the world, it is a con-federation. Example: “Africa” does not do business as a continent, but individual nation-states conduct international affairs. After Lisbon, Europe will have a diplomatic corps; a UN seat; a foreign minister; and it will be a federation.
European Citizenship. Since the EU has never been a legal state up until now, no individual could be a member of “it”. But Lisbon transforms the meaning of citizenship by giving 500 million inhabitants of the EU a citizenship that superior to their own national citizenship. In a way, this effectively ends the nation-state as it has been known in Europe. The Roman Empire invented the nation-state; Lisbon ends it. The new Union will also be able to force it’s citizens and member nations to go to war against their will.
And this new powerful State will be created on paper, virtually overnight, without one single shot being fired and simply through the will of some obviously very powerful leaders. An amazing chapter of world history is unfolding and the world is rolling over and going back to sleep. What strange and unique days.
Finally, Lisbon creates the Office of European President. Now, they don’t have a name for the high official yet – but already behind the scenes those in power are in the process of narrowing down their choices of who will lead this new State. And lest you think that this process will resemble the American system of choosing a president, let me say it will be nothing like that. In fact, one EU official said it will be rather like choosing a Pope, in that it will be done behind closed doors, and the people will have nothing to say about who this individual is. Tony Blair recently announced that he would like to be a candidate for the position. Mr. Sarkozy of France said Blair disqualified himself by announcing his candidacy, and the one they choose will not be allowed something so distasteful as campaigning for himself. So we are talking here an elite and brokered position, one that will be held for anywhere from 2.5 years to 5 years according to the treaty.
Also, and this is very interesting: because Europe would now be an international power, they would now be legally able to sign treaties with other nations. Apparently, in order for a European leader to sign a treaty with Israel, and/or any number of nations, the Lisbon Treaty or something like it has to be in legally in place in order for that to be binding. The Bible indicates that such a treaty is coming and will signal the start of the tribulation period. Are we seeing in this Treaty another of the finer details of prophecy coming to light that only our generation could see?
One final comment in this article really caught my attention: Besides a supreme leader, the new Union will also continue to have heads of state/prime ministers that will still rule over the individual European nations. The article goes on to say that there is no precedent in the international community for a federal union, or even a continent, to have a supreme leader, while individual national heads/prime ministers/kings beneath him come and go. It would be similar to North America having a sovereign ruler, but Canada, the US, and Mexico each having their own prime minister. Now, some of you well-versed prophecy students may already know where I am going with this: The Bible says three times in Daniel 7 and four times in Revelation 17 that the final Gentile power will be governed by 10 kings, and out of those 10 will arise an 11th king over them. There may be no precedent for a king ruling over other kings in an empire, but the Bible clearly says it will take place. Imagine that.
Now, as I said earlier, there a kink in the hose of the Lisbon treaty, or so it would seem. It remains to be ratified by the individual parliaments, I can see that happening easily. But one nation, Ireland, has a legal precedent for demanding a national referendum where the Irish people get to decide if they accept it. If they vote NO, it will not come into force at all, anywhere, period. So far, the Irish seem to be in favor of the treaty, but there are some there who feel it is nothing more than a constitution for dictatorship. One article I read says that this treaty should be called, “Leviathan’s Birth Certificate”,(http://newcitizenship.blogspot.com/2007/12/leviathans-birth-certificate-treaty-of.html) named after a famous book from the 16th century that calls for a dominating Europe to rule the masses, also implying that creating a European superstate is something akin to creating a great earthly dragon-beast, which of course, is eerily prophetically dead on.
But even if Ireland votes “no” on June 12, I do not see Europe changing course or even blinking at such a setback. I can’t see Federal Europe going away, any more than I can see NAFTA being overturned because maybe Rhode Island doesn’t like it. It will take place, it is prophesied to take place.
I predict that the powers that be in Europe will put some not-so-subtle pressure on Ireland to vote ‘yes’. Europe is the only voluntary multinational democracy in human history. Nations are free to join, nations are free to leave. As deep as their economic integration is, options will become limited: vote yes, and a world market economy will stay open to them. Vote no, they risk global isolation. It’s that simple. So, we will watch this story; If it goes through, Lisbon takes effect January 1 of ‘09, with parliamentary elections one year from now. The world could change pretty radically in the next 12 months.
Inlooking at the Daniel 2 image, knowing what we know, it would seem that the majority of world history has passed and gone. Can anyone confidently say, “we’re on the edge of history” ? Yet, once you get to the toes, you run out of real estate real quick. And judging by today’s headlines, with so many signs of the times converging at once, it would seem that the kingdoms of this world don’t have a lot of time left. Daniel 2:44 says, in speaking of the final federation of kings, “in the days of these kings, the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Are we approaching the days of those kings?
As I said in my opening comments, the stage is being set for a great final spiritual battle between the god of this world and the one true living God. As we get closer to that Day, the world will enter a perilous season of transition as we move from the kingdoms and rule of man to the kingdom and rule of Jesus Christ. It’s the tough final stage, but it must take place, so keep your perspective, and keep your eyes on the Kingdom to come.