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The headlines stated "Europe Is United Again"
May 2004 10 nations in eastern Europe and Mediterranean join bloc. Europe stood proudly reunited yesterday almost six decades after it was split in two by the Cold War, as 10 nations in eastern Europe and the Mediterranean took their places in the European Union. The once-communist states of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia officially joined the EU family. Mediterranean islands Cyprus and Malta joined them as well, rounding out what is indisputably the world’s biggest single economic bloc, and a fledgling political force, with a total population of 455 million, the EU now surpasses the United States as the world's biggest economy. Today's European Union has a president and a military (although member states can veto any commitment to military action). The EU parliament can make laws that supersede the laws of its member states. Its court has jurisdiction over EU citizens. It legislates and regulates on matters such as commerce, trade, education, and the environment. Its citizens have a common passport. And it has a uniform currency, the euro. Its the currency of 13 European Union countries: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland.
The European Union
The European Union by Columbia University Press
The European union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the European Community (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member nations) that are responsible for a common foreign and security policy and for cooperation on justice and home affairs. Twenty-five countries—Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany (originally West Germany), Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden—are full members of the organizations of the EU.
The EC, which is the core of the EU, originally referred to the group of Western European nations that belonged to each of three treaty organizations—the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). In 1967 these organizations were consolidated under a comprehensive governing body composed of representatives from the member nations and divided into four main branches—the European Commission (formerly the Commission of the European Communities), the Council of the European Union (formerly the Council of Ministers of the European Communities), the European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice.
Although the EU has no single seat of government, many of its most important offices are in Brussels, Belgium. The European Commission, which has executive and some legislative functions, is headquartered there, as is the Council of the European Union; it is also where the various committees of the European Parliament generally meet to prepare for the monthly sessions in Strasbourg, France. In addition to the four main branches of the EU's governing body, there are the Court of Auditors, which oversees EU expenditures; the Economic and Social Committee, a consultative body representing the interests of labor, employers, farmers, consumers, and other groups; and the European Council, a consultative but highly influential body composed primarily of the president of the Commission and the heads of government of the EU nations and their foreign ministers.
The history of the EU began shortly after World War II, when there developed in Europe a strong revulsion against national rivalries and parochial loyalties. While postwar recovery was stimulated by the Marshall Plan, the idea of a united Europe was held up as the basis for European strength and security and the best way of preventing another European war. In 1950 Robert Schuman, France's foreign minister, proposed that the coal and steel industries of France and West Germany be coordinated under a single supranational authority. France and West Germany were soon joined by four other countries—Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Italy—in forming (1952) the ECSC. The EEC (until the late 1980s it was known informally as the Common Market) and Euratom were established by the Treaty of Rome in 1958. The EEC, working on a large scale to promote the convergence of national economies into a single European economy, soon emerged as the most significant of the three treaty organizations.
The Brussels Treaty (1965) provided for the merger of the organizations into what came to be known as the EC and later the EU. Under Charles de Gaulle, France vetoed (1963) Britain's initial application for membership in the Common Market, five years after vetoing a British proposal that the Common Market be expanded into a transatlantic free-trade area. In the interim, Britain had engineered the formation (1959) of the European Free Trade Association. In 1973 the EC expanded, as Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark joined. Greece joined in 1981, and Spain and Portugal in 1986. With German reunification in 1990, the former East Germany also was absorbed into the Community.
The Single European Act (1987) amended the EC's treaties so as to strengthen the organization's ability to create a single internal market. The Treaty of European Union, signed in Maastricht, the Netherlands, in 1992 and ratified in 1993, provided for a central banking system, a common currency to replace the national currencies, a legal definition of the EU, and a framework for expanding the EU's political role, particularly in the area of foreign and security policy. The member countries completed their move toward a single market in 1993 and agreed to participate in a larger common market, the European Economic Area (est. 1994), with most of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) nations. In 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden, all former EFTA members, joined the EU, but Norway did not, having rejected membership for the second time in 1994.
A crisis within the EU was precipitated in 1996 when sales of British beef were banned because of “mad cow disease”. Britain retaliated by vowing to paralyze EU business until the ban was lifted, but that crisis eased when a British plan for eradicating the disease was approved. The ban was lifted in 1999, but French refusal to permit the sale of British beef resulted in new strains within the EU. In 1998, as a prelude to their 1999 adoption of the euro, 11 EU nations established the European Central Bank; the euro was introduced into circulation in 2002 by 12 EU nations.
The EU was rocked by charges of corruption and mismanagement in its executive body, the European Commission (EC), in 1999. In response the EC's executive commission including its president, Jacques Santer, resigned, and a new group of commissioners headed by Romano Prodi was soon installed. In actions taken later that year the EU agreed to absorb the functions of the Western European Union, a comparatively dormant European defense alliance, thus moving toward making the EU a military power with defensive and peacekeeping capabilities.
The installation in Feb., 2000, of a conservative Austrian government that included the right-wing Freedom party, whose leaders had made xenophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic pronouncements, led the other EU members to impose a number of sanctions on Austria that limited high-level contacts with the Austrian government. Enthusiasm for the sanctions soon waned, however, among smaller EU nations, and the issue threatened to divide the EU. A face-saving fact-finding commission recommended ending the sanctions, stating that the Austrian government had worked to protect human rights, and the sanctions were ended in September.
In 2003 the EU and ten non-EU European nations (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Cyprus, and Malta) signed treaties that resulted in the largest expansion of the EU the following year, increasing the its population by 20% and its land area by 23%. Most of the newer members are significantly poorer than the largely W European older members. The old and new member nations at first failed to agree on a constitution for the organization; the main stumbling block concerned voting, with Spain and Poland reluctant to give up a weighted system of voting scheduled for 2006 that would give them a disproportionate influence in the EU relative to their populations. In Oct., 2004, however, EU nations signed a constitution with a provision requiring a supermajority of nations to pass legislation. The constitution, which must be ratified by all members to come into effect, was rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands in 2005, leading EU leaders to pause in their push for its ratification. By mid-2006, however, 15 nations had nonetheless ratified the document.
Meanwhile, in 2003 the EU embarked, in minor ways, on its first official military missions when EU peacekeeping forces replaced the NATO force in Macedonia and were sent by the United Nations to Congo (Kinshasa); the following year the EU assumed responsibility for overseeing the peacekeepers in Bosnia. EU members also took steps toward developing a common defense strategy independent of NATO, and agreed in 2004 to admit Bulgaria and Romania in 2007. Josй Manuel Barroso succeeded Prodi as president of the European Commission late in 2004.
Is the E.U. the Revived Roman Empire?
By Jennifer Rast
Daniel chapters 2 and 7 reveal a strong connection between the formation of the European Union and end-times scripture. The possible fulfillment of this scripture began in 1950 when the Roman Empire began to show signs of being revived. In 1950 the European Coal and Steel Community was proposed as a means of achieving economic unification in Europe following the war. The hope was that this would strengthen economic trade in Europe. This unified effort led to the signing of the treaties of Rome in 1957, which established the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Council. That treaty was taken a step further with the signing of the Brussels Treaty in 1965. The Brussels Treaty began the process of rebuilding the old Roman Empire through reunification of European states under one political system, one economic system, and eventually under the protection of one military force. The treaty established a commission, council, parliament, and court for the union. The revived Roman Empire prophesied in the Bible was well on its way to becoming a reality.
More states were added to this growing union in 1973, 1981, and 1986, making up the 10 permanent member states of today’s European Union. In 2002, the Euro was introduced as the first step toward a unified single currency in Europe. Upon adopting the Euro, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres raved, “As Peter was the rock on which the church was built, so the Euro is the rock on which the European Union will be built.”
The EU today is made up of over 25 countries, however the ten nations of the Western European Alliance have a separate status as full members, while those nations who joined subsequent to the original 10 have only associate membership, or observer status. This 10 nation military wing of the EU may very well fulfill the prophecy of the beast with 10 horns from Daniel 7:7-8 and Revelations 13:1. On this beast’s back will ride the woman that symbolizes a global religious system that is to appear before Christ returns to set up His kingdom.
The purpose of the EU’s creation was and is, ultimately, to create a European super-state or “United States of Europe”, as some have suggested naming it, that would eventually rival the United States in influence and military might. In 1999, Javier Solana became the High Representative for the EU’s foreign and security policy, and through recommendation 666, he was given emergency powers over the military wing of the EU in 2000. All that currently remains to create a truly revived Roman Empire is the creation of a permanent executive branch of government and the full integration of the new Euro currency. With the introduction of the new EU constitution, the groundwork is being laid for just such an executive branch and economic system.
So how does this all relate to Bible prophecy? Let’s start with the book of Daniel. Daniel chapter 2 records that the ancient Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream concerning the Last Days. No Babylonian could interpret the dream; however, Daniel, a captive of Judah, was able to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2:25-30), as God had already revealed the dream to him (Daniel 2:19-23).
Daniel 2:25-30 says, “You, O king, your thoughts came while you were on your bed about what would happen in the future, and the Revealer of Secrets informed you what will be. As for me, it is not because I possess more wisdom than any other being that this secret was revealed to me, but rather to make the interpretation known to the king, so that you may know what has occupied your thoughts.”
Daniel recounted the dream to Nebuchadnezzar, and interpreted the king’s dream of a huge statue by explaining the 4 major components of the statue.
1. A head of Gold
2. Breast and arms of silver
3. Belly and thighs of bronze
4. Feet of iron and clay
Most Bible scholars interpret these 4 components to represent the 4 major empires that have existed in the world’s history. Daniel confirms that the first of these empires is Babylon, ruled by Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 2:37-38 “Thou, O king, art a king of kings; for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of Gold.”
Daniel goes on to identify the second and third empires that will emerge following the Babylonian empire.
Daniel 2:39 “And after you will arise another kingdom inferior to you, and [then] another, a third kingdom, of copper, which will rule the whole earth.”
History records the empires that followed Babylon were Medo-Persia and Greece. Daniel 5 tells us that Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, Belshazzar, was conquered by Persia. The second empire of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was established from modern-day Iran to Asia Minor (Turkey).
The third empire to arise (Daniel 2:39b) and rule the earth was Greece, whose reign began at the time of Alexander the Great. The fourth empire will be a revived model of this Roman Empire. Daniel did, after all, tell Nebuchadnezzar that his vision was about “what will be at the End of Days” (Daniel 2:28). The fourth empire is described as follows:
Daniel 2:40 “It will be strong, yet mixed. It will be a diverse empire (part of potters clay and part of iron, the kingdom will be divided), but will be strong (but there shall be in it of the strength of iron)
Prophecies elsewhere in the Bible also describe this fourth empire of the final days, and by studying these we can examine further any indications that would point to the European Union as the final world empire that will be ruled by the antichrist before Messiah returns.
DANIEL’S VISION OF 4 BEASTS
Following Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Daniel also had a vision of these 4 kingdoms, but this time they were represented by 4 beasts. (Daniel 7:1-24)
The first beast in Daniel 7:4 is described as being “like a lion, and it has eagles wings”. Interestingly, the emblem of the ancient Babylon was a lion with eagles wings.
The second beast is described in Daniel 7:5 – “Then behold! Another beast, a second one, similar to a bear; it was placed on one side, and there were three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and this is what they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’” The second beast in Daniel 7 is generally accepted as being Medo-Persia because Persia devoured much of the Middle East and Asia, and the Persian Empire had three capitals, Susa, Persepolis, and the conquered Babylon.
Of the third beast Daniel 7:6 says “After this I was watching and behold! Another beast, like a leopard, with four bird’s wings on its back; the beast had four heads, and it was given dominion”. This beast is symbolic of the empire of Greece left behind by Alexander the Great. When Alexander the Great died in 323 C.E., his empire was divided between and ruled by 4 of his generals.
The following verses describe the 4th beast, or kingdom of Daniel’s dream.
Daniel 7:7-8 “After this I was watching in night visions, and behold! A fourth beast, exceedingly terrifying, awesome and strong. It has immense iron teeth, and it was devouring and crumbling, and trampling its feet what remained. It was different from all the beasts that had preceded it, and it had ten horns. As I was contemplating the horns, behold! Another horn, a small one, came up among them, and three of the previous horns were uprooted before it. There were eyes like human eyes in this horn, and a mouth speaking haughty words”.
Daniel 7:23 “Thus he said, the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it to peaces.
In the first verse we see a fourth beast with 10 horns. The small horn, speaking haughty words, rises up and conquers three of them. This represents the antichrist that will come to power through the 4th kingdom. The 10 horns, 3 of which are subdued, are the 10 kings that make up the rulers of the 4th kingdom. From this kingdom and the reign of antichrist will come a global system of government that will rule over the earth prior to the coming of Christ to establish his Kingdom.
Daniel 7:24 “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise; and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.”
The three kings that are subdued will probably not approve of his rise to power or will object to his far-reaching powers.
In addition to creating an EU constitution, plans are being discussed for an EU presidency that will replace the current 6 month rotating presidency, creating a powerful international leader with great influence at the United Nations and on the global stage. The new president would be elected by government heads of EU members and would hold office for five years. Tony Blair believes this new president “will become the public face and driving force of Europe”. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has gone so far as to say that the Euro was the “first step to a federation”, and he went on to say that he wanted a powerful president of the EU as head of a European government with full legal and executive power. He welcomed the progress made in removing the “sovereign rights” of nations.
We’re given a clue as to the identity of the little horn in Daniel 9:26 – “And after threescore and two weeks and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and end thereof shall be [as swept away] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
We know that the people who destroyed Jerusalem (the city) and the temple (the sanctuary) were the Romans. From this people shall come the “prince that is to come” or the Antichrist. We can expect then for the Antichrist to rise up from a fourth kingdom that will be the revived Roman Empire.
Daniel 7:25 says, “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”
The Antichrist will speak blasphemous words against God as he rules over the world, and there will be intense persecution of the tribulation saints. A time and times and the dividing of time refers to the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation (see Rev. 12:14; 135).
The EU is definitely becoming a world power of clay (diversity) and iron (power) with striking similarities to the fourth kingdom or fourth beast of Daniel’s prophecies. A world power of so many ethnic groups and representing so many states could easily become a very influential leader at the United Nations and the world. It’s possible that the U.N. is a beginning for this world government that will eventually be ruled by a revived Roman Empire and the Antichrist.
There are, however, other views on these prophesies that can be considered. Some think that the fourth kingdom is the revived Roman Empire (ten kings are the 10 nation military alliance of the EU) and the U.N. is the 4th beast (10 horns being the 10 bio-regions the UN has established for the globe). Only time will tell which is the case.
If the EU is the revived Roman Empire that will bring about the rise of Antichrist, then it is important to look at the religious symbolism of the EU. After all, riding on the beast’s back will be the harlot that represents a global pagan religious system that will unite the world and play a part in the persecution of the tribulation saints (Rev. 17).
The EU flag has a circle of 12 stars on a blue background. These stars were inspired by the halo of 12 stars appearing around the Madonna as depicted in Catholic pictures of her. Leon Marchal, former secretary general of the Council of Europe, confirmed that the stars are representative of “the woman of the Apocalypse”. He expounded, “it’s wonderful that we have gotten back to the introit of the new Mass of the Assumption. It’s the corona stellarum duodecim of the woman of the Apocalypse”. He is referencing the woman in Revelation 12 who appears with a crown of 12 stars. The Bible uses this symbolism to represent Israel, however the Catholic Church has always claimed that she represents the Virgin Mary, “the mother of God”. A leaflet titled “Building Europe Together” states that “The European flag is a shared flag, blue with 12 gold stars symbolizing completeness. The number will remain 12 no matter how many countries there are in the European Union.”
The anthem of the EU “Ode to Joy” also contains religious symbolism. “Ode to Joy” is the prelude to the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which has religious implications. EU publications state that the anthem really is an “ode to freedom, community, and peace”, however the lyrics, by Friedrich von Schiller, are actually about the entering of the shrine of a pagan goddess and the uniting of all men in brotherhood, by the power of magic.
Further evidence of a religious side to the European Union is a poster that was issued by the EU, showing the tower of Babel. The poster carried the slogan “Many tongues, one voice.” As if the celebration of the pagan tower that led God to confuse the languages of a defiant people (Genesis 11) isn’t enough, a crane in the background was shown rebuilding the tower. Now, once again, a rebellious people are rebuilding mystery Babylon. In a parliament building in Strasbourg, France, you will find an enormous replica of the unfinished tower of Babel that the secular press has named “Eurobabel”.
If that religious symbolism seems too obscure to be that significant, perhaps a snapshot of Revelation 17 will peak your interest in the religious symbolism of the EU. Revelation 17 depicts a great harlot riding on a beast. The beast in Revelation 17 represents the world government and the great harlot is a global religion that will ride in on its back. This harlot riding a beast was used when Britain issued a stamp to commemorate the first EU parliament election in 1979. It is now the official picture of the EU, and is painted on the dome of the parliament building in Brussels. It is also pictured on the same building that holds the “Eurobabel”.
The EU constitution has also raised the ire of protestant leaders by banning the mention of Christianity as part of Europe’s cultural heritage, while at the same time, including references to the civilizations of Greece and Rome, and the philosophical heritage of the Enlightenment. EU government representatives excused this revisionist view of history by claiming any mention of Christian values would upset the Muslim population of the EU.
As you can see, the stage is being set for the emergence of a global political system(the EU and the UN), a global economic system(the Euro and WTO), and a global religious system (the interfaith movement). The EU would seem to fulfill many of the prophesies of the fourth kingdom that is to come, from which will arise the Antichrist of the end-times.