For all of Europe’s current difficulties, Bible prophecy makes plain that the continent has a final, earth-shaking revival to come.
Many sense that a major change is underway in Europe—the fabled land that gave birth to Greek and Roman civilizations and the Reformation, and spread Western values that transformed the modern world. Though war has, for centuries, been a recurring theme in Europe, few expected the sparks that set the continent aflame in August of 1914 to spawn two world wars that would devastate the continent and leave millions dead and wounded around the globe.
Today, the continent is home to the European Union, a modern attempt to unite fractious nations under a supranational government. However, the great “European Experiment” is in trouble, and the often belligerent nations on the continent are once again drifting apart. Europe is fragmenting, old animosities are re-emerging, and some European leaders are pondering a new direction. Few understand the real significance of what is happening in Europe and where these developments are going to lead. However, events in Europe are moving toward the fulfillment of ancient Bible prophecies that describe a major turning point that will occur just before the return of Jesus Christ. That turning point will shock and surprise the world—even more than in 1914!
To understand the current troubles in Europe, we need to look to the past. The Romans united Europe by force of arms and brought peace and prosperity to much of the continent for centuries. The basis of that unity was the cult of the emperor, the fusion of politics and religion, the threat of internal civil war, and defense against external enemies. Caesar Augustus promoted “the idea of a divinely ordained empire with a divinely ordained emperor at the center” (The Dream of Rome, Johnson, p. 98). Although Roman Catholic popes appropriated Caesar’s pagan title of Pontifex Maximus (“Greatest Priest”), Europe today has no continent-wide religious rituals that support a political leader—no “religious glue” currently holds its peoples together—and the modern attempt to unite Europe on the basis of a common economic policy, a common currency (the euro) and the goal of preventing another war in Europe is proving inadequate.
While the common economic policy has greatly benefited Germany, it has impoverished countries in southern Europe—creating divisions and resentments among European nations. The invitation to foreign guest workers to meet labor shortages in Europe has turned into a massive flood of immigrants that threatens to overwhelm the national cultures of European countries, and this has spawned an anti-immigrant crisis and civil unrest. Some are mindful of the nations that descended upon the ancient Roman Empire and brought about its fall. Today, the threat of terrorist activities instigated by radical, unassimilated Muslim immigrants has generated fear all over Europe—and has inspired reminders that Islamic armies invaded Europe several times in the past. Some fear that history will repeat itself once again.
The current threat of social disruption and economic turmoil has unsettled Europeans and their leaders. The British vote to leave the European Union, as well as threats by recent American administrations to pivot away from Europe to Asia, and to pressure Europe (especially Germany) to pay for its defense, are pushing European leaders to rethink their future—apart from long-time British and American allies. As a result, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has called on the nations of Europe to pool their military resources and create a “European Army” (The Times, March 9, 2015) to defend Europe’s borders and values against foreign aggressors. Other sources report that “Germany has ambitions to run an EU army” and is “looking to position itself as the military leader of a coalition of EU countries which would no longer take orders from NATO” (RTUKNews, September 27, 2016). There are also concerns that American decisions to remove the military umbrella from Europe “could awaken the sleeping giant of German might” (The Washington Post, November 10, 2016). As one observer comments, “Throughout Europe we see increasing tensions within and between nations.” At the same time, Europe is facing a series of unprecedented problems.
German sociologist Ulrich Beck makes some profound comments about the potential consequences of tensions that are building on the continent. He notes that today we live with “the constant expectation of catastrophes” at the local, national and global level which affects how people and nations think and function (German Europe, p. 8). This expectation can unleash historical forces that “set the political landscape in motion” and the “existing order of things may legitimately be suspended in order to defend the common good” (pp. 26–27). He continues, “rhetoric of the imminent collapse of Europe may easily result in the birth of a political monster” as these “impending catastrophes throw up opportunities… that can be seized by a man—or indeed a woman—with a talent for power” (pp. 45–46). Professor Beck also notes that “the anticipation of a catastrophe can lead people to do things tomorrow that were absolutely inconceivable yesterday” (p. 82). Each of these analysts senses that Europe is approaching a major turning point.
But how do these current events relate to Bible prophecy?
Today, many assume that the Bible is only a collection of myths and stories that are no longer relevant to our modern world. However, the Bible contains nearly 2,000 specific prophecies that have come and are coming true. The Scriptures state that only God can accurately predict the future and bring it to pass (Isaiah 46:5, 8–11) and that God guides the course of history (Job 12:23; Daniel 2:21; 4:17). Around 600bc, the prophet Daniel recorded that just before the return of Jesus Christ, a power will emerge in Europe with links to the ancient Roman Empire (Daniel 2:31–44). Daniel described an image with legs of iron (the Roman Empire) and feet of iron and clay that is struck by a stone (the Kingdom of God). In Daniel 7:23, this end-time European power is referred to as a “beast” with iron teeth and ten horns. In Daniel 11:40–45, this European power is referred to as “the king of the North” who will be provoked into military action by a “king of the South” (an Arab-Muslim configuration) and will move into the Middle East. The Bible connects this king of the North with Assyria—modern Germany (see Isaiah 10:5–11; also, request our free resource, “Resurgent Germany: A Fourth Reich?”).
In Revelation 17:3–5, this same “beast” has seven heads and ten horns, and is ridden by a prominent religious organization described as the “mother of harlots.” The ten horns are ten kings (or leaders) who will surrender their sovereignty to a political leader in Europe for a short period of time, resulting in a superpower that, once again, combines political, military, and religious power as did Rome of old. However, this superpower will be conquered and destroyed by the returning Jesus Christ (Revelation 17:12–14). The dramatic rise and fall of the last revival of the Roman Empire in Europe will be a major turning point in history and will impact every nation in the world. Learn more details in our free booklet, The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality?