Europe & Russia in Bible Prophecy
Europe grows in power
The last two decades have seen remarkable changes in Europe. Formerly the scene of war and devastation, hopes are now high that the new Europe will mean an end to conflict. Why are we so interested in Europe? Because it is the Old World – from here, the New World was settled and the thinking of the various ethnic groups still affects us all. What happens in Europe affects the world.
The old Roman Empire was the most stable and ably administered government in European history. Its management and culture (with that of Greece) formed the backbone of western civilisation. Rome truly ruled the world, from Spain in the west to Mesopotamia in the east, when it reached its greatest extent under Emperor Trajan, ruthlessly crushing any opposition. There has not been another empire of the same extent to rival it.
God’s view of human government
When God’s people Israel were taken captive by the great empire of Babylon (600BC), He gave his prophet Daniel understanding of dreams and visions that outlined the struggle between God’s rule and human rule. Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, had a dream of a mighty warrior image, which worried him. The dream depicted the four great empires which would successively rule over the land of Israel and God’s people. Daniel 2:31-45 outlines the dream and gives the interpretation. We are only concerned at this point with the fourth stage, the Roman aspect. The might of Rome extended across Eurasia and became so unwieldly to manage that Emperor Constantine, in 324AD, decided to build a new imperial capital on the Bosphoros and called the city after himself, Constantinople. It was referred to quite frequently as “the New Rome”.
In Daniel chapter 2, the Western and Eastern sections of the Empire are clearly identified by the two legs of iron. The Bishop of Rome soon stepped into the power vacuum in the west. It was easy for him to get ideas above his station, because when Constantine moved east he presented the Bishop of Rome with the assets of the old Roman Empire (the Lateran Palace, and the throne of the Roman Caesars to name but a few). Before long, the Bishop was asserting his title over surrounding lands. When he had political trouble, he looked to a champion in the West to defend his interests, finding it initially in Pepin, and later Pepin’s son, Charlemagne. Charlemagne was so effective that the Pope crowned him Emperor of the West in the year 800AD. It was a clever move, because it also made the Pope ‘king-maker’, a role he was to defend vigorously.
God gave a vision to Daniel, which depicted God’s view of these successive kingdoms. He depicted them as wild animals (Daniel 7), and the fourth empire (Roman) as a rapacious, destructive beast, so terrible that it could not be clearly identified with any one animal. “I would know the truth of the fourth beast which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron and his nails of brass, which devoured, brake in pieces and stamped the residue with his feet”. (Daniel 7:19). Verse 20 then described a series of horns (representing the power of the animal) which arose from this beast, and a little horn which “made war with the saints and prevailed against them… He shall speak words against the most High … and think to change times and laws” (Verses 21,25) Daniel chapter 7 concentrates on this little horn, which becomes the main feature of the animal. This little horn is described as having “eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things”. (Verse 8)
This beast is referred to by the Lord Jesus Christ in the book of Revelation. Jesus told his disciples that, to understand his prophecies, it was necessary to read the book of Daniel (Matthew 24:15). Jesus clearly meant Daniel to be used as the basis for interpreting prophecy in Revelation.
When we read Revelation chapter 13, three beasts are mentioned. The latter two are really the same beast at different stages, and careful reading shows that all the characteristics of Daniel’s fourth beast are seen in the Beast of the sea, speaking great things (blasphemies) and persecuting God’s saints (Revelation 13:5-7).
Revelation 13:2 – The beast of the sea is given its power and authority by the dragon. Historically, the Emperors in Constantinople, over a series of years, gave increasing power to the Bishop (later Pope) in Rome.
Revelation 13:11 The beast of the earth is the next stage of the same beast. It occupied a large area of Europe, as the tribes of central and northern Europe were brought under the dominion of Charlemagne and the Pope. This was the Holy Roman Empire, and the two horns of the beast represented the power of both Emperor and Pope. Its horns have a lamb-like appearance, a religious veneer (Note Matthew 7:15), equating to the Holy Roman Empire and it caused all to worship the first beast (the Papacy), upon pain of death.
The first Emperor, Charlemagne, was French, but some 100 years later, the power base moved to Germany. The strength of the Empire waxed and waned over the years, but was more or less successively dominated by Pope and Emperor. The Pope remained the kingmaker, and he was not backward in punishing rulers who did not line up. The church held the reins of knowledge and education within its control, so that it was almost impossible for people to read and understand the Bible for themselves.
Meanwhile in the east, Constantinople fell in 1453 to the Muslims. This was the religious capital of the eastern Church, as well as the eastern section of the Roman Empire (equating to the second leg of Daniel’s image). Its collapse meant a huge shift in power. The legal succession of the Eastern Empire and the Orthodox Church went to Moscow, known as “the third Rome”. The last Emperor had no direct heirs, but his niece was taken into asylum by the Vatican and eventually invited to choose between two suitors. She chose to marry the rising leader in Russia (Ivan became the first Tsar), who had recently combined a number of tribal groups under his rule. With her, the bride took some of the regalia from the Emperor’s palace in Constantinople, including the beautiful ivory throne, displaying the symbol of the double headed eagle. In 1993, with the collapse of Communism, Russia reinstated the Tsarist emblem, thereby reforging the ancient links with Constantinople and the Roman Empire.
Germany flexes her muscles once more
A united Germany did not exist until 1871. Formerly, the Germanic area was organised in small separate states. By the mid 18th century, Prussia, in north on the shores of the Baltic, had developed into a great European power and 100 years later defeated Austria and Denmark to become the dominant German power. The German Empire was proclaimed in 1871 (commonly called The Reich). This Empire collapsed with the end of World War 1, and conditions were such economically and politically that Germany launched a further European war, by which means Hitler hoped to extend his Third Reich to dominate all of Europe.
At the end of World War II, much of Europe lay in ruins and the realisation grew that there was a need to create conditions to bring the warring nations into some system of peaceful cooperation. After three wars, all spearheaded by Germany, there was a resolve to not merely avoid war, but somehow “bind” Germany into the structure of Europe. Only by doing this, could Europe assert her strength and influence in the world again. The formation of the European Coal and Steel Community (1952) was the first move in this direction.
What would be the pattern of the new Europe? The ancient foundations provided the answer – the structure of the old Roman Empire, and the later Holy Roman Empire, provided the shadow for the phoenix to arise from the ashes of ruin. This is well recognised by historians.
“The Holy Roman Empire was founded on the achievements of Charlemagne and continued, at least as a title, for a thousand years until the days of Napoleon. The idea of a united Europe, governed as one community and completely devoted to the Christian (Catholic) faith, still lives on as an ideal. The European Common Market owes something to this traditional dream.”
Collins World History (1973)
The New Europe
The European Economic Community was formed when the Treaty of Rome was signed early in 1957 by the six member countries, and the ministers met with the Pope before the signing. Since then, the EEC has developed so that now there are a number of councils, and over all, the European Parliament. There are plans for full unity within ten years, and speculation about a President, a “modern Charlemagne”.
The memory of Charlemagne is kept alive with “the Charlemagne Prize”, and to mark its 50th anniversary, the award was presented to President Bill Clinton to honour his contribution to European unity. The award was made despite trans-Atlantic relations deteriorating in the face of the new European rapid reaction force (EU army), which threatened the existence of NATO. The award does something else; it gives legitimacy to the new Europe, and reminds people of the ancient attachment between government and religion, Emperor and Pope. It was not without consequence that the 1992 Treaty for European integration was signed just 25 km away, across the border in Maastricht.
The beast appears again in Revelation 17, ridden by a woman. This time, the beast is not a persecuting power – because its political power has gone. The Pope lost his political power in 1866 when he lost the Papal States in Italy, and finally in 1870, the forces of Garibaldi entered Rome to unify all Italy. The beast of Revelation 17 is a powerful influence, which in the terms of verse 2 “has made the inhabitants of the earth drunk with the wine of her illicit alliances”. And so the woman, who was once the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3), has entered the political arena and become noteworthy for advancing the cause of the church. The agreement of 1933 (Concordat) between Hitler and Vatican effectively disempowered the Catholic political party of Germany and enabled Hitler to come to office.
Germany is united
A remarkable event occurred in October 1989. The Berlin wall came down, torn apart by the hands of the people. The easing back of the heavy hand of communist Russia paved the way for German unification. A number of men had a hand in this process. Two months before, in August, Count (Dr) Otto van Hapsburg (the “pretender” to the title of Holy Roman Emperor), and a life long promoter of European unity, hosted a Pan Europa Union picnic at the Austrian-Hungarian border. This event precipitated the first crossings in defiance of the Soviet-backed border forces. The biographical comment is “He is widely regarded as a major influence in the fall of the Iron Curtain.”
The following year,Germany was reunited, and the West Germans took on the onerous task of bringing East Germany up to speed, politically, economically and ecologically. The closure of polluting factories brought massive unemployment, and the income tax rate increased to 56% to pay for the many reforms.
Today, travelling through Germany, one marvels at the clean image, the new roads, the refurbished and new buildings, the farms which are growing and burning crops until the land is cleansed. Berlin is being rebuilt as the new capital of reunited Germany, and the newly expanded and redesigned Reichstag is wryly referred to as “the fourth reich”.
And then the news commentators started to think – “hang on, since when has a united Germany been good for ANYONE!” Professor Simon Petermann of the Brussels Free University was reported (1992) as saying “Indisputably, Germany is going to occupy a totally dominant position in the years to come.” It’s simply the nature of the people – their Prussian background and desire for dominance. France is furious about it. In May 2000, her interior minister said “Germany is still dreaming of the German Holy Roman Empire. It has not yet healed from the historical accident of Nazism.”
In June, the German government was granted the formal status of first among equals in EU deliberations. In December 2000,Germany at the European Summit at Nice got what she was after, dominance in Europe (argued on the basis of her larger population). Chirac and Schroder had a row about it over dinner, but it was an accomplished fact.
Germany and Russia will work together
1989 was an amazing year – The wall came down, and then Gorbachev visited the Vatican. Once more, the Pope had been dabbling in politics. The Time magazine of February 24, 1992, had a leading article “How Reagan and the Pope conspired to assist Poland’s solidarity movement and hasten the demise of Communism”. The Pope promotes the unification of ALL of Europe, east and west, and this means healing the division between the two churches – Roman Catholic, and Orthodox.
The Prophecy in Daniel chapter 2, which clearly portrays the western and eastern divisions of the Roman empire, depicts a time in the future when the great image will be formed with all its constituent parts, and have the power to stand – to exist together. The key is that Daniel 2:35 says all the parts of the image will be ”broken in pieces together” preparatory to the arrival of the stone-power, which will “smite the image and become a great mountain and fill the whole earth”.
For the first time in history, Germany and Russia are not merely speaking to each other, but working together. Putin and Schroder have a personal friendship, and have holidayed together in the company of their wives. Putin has agreed to German business men going into Russia to assist with managing the economy. Russia will supply Germany with fuel and power, so that Schroder can keep his election promise and shut down the nuclear power plants within ten years. In early July 2001, the German Chancellor and Austrian President discussed the possibility of a strategic partnership between the European Union and Russia. Never before have Germany and Russia worked together.
New EU military force:
Now that Europe is nicely working together, they don’t need NATO, do they? In fact, it was announced with the advent of the Euro, that the new currency needed a military force to protect it. So they are developing one. It’s referred to as the European rapid reaction force, but nobody is in any doubt that it will do what any normal army will do. Early in 2001 it was announced that the military force would be operational by the year 2003, and the new General – a German – was appointed! Both America and Britain are aggrieved about the plans, and see it as a sidelining of NATO.
Russia regroups, ready to join Europe
Russia is clearly identified in Ezekiel chapter 38. In later translations, the word “chief” is used as the proper noun “Rosh”.
Ezekiel 38 :2 says “Set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog….” Magog is Germanic area, central Europe. “the prince of Rosh (Russia), Meshech (Moscow) and Tubal (Tobolski, Siberia)….”
Russia and Germany will work together. Other countries will be confederate with them, and form an alliance for a great military invasion into the Middle East. These countries are clearly named in Ezekiel 38:5,6 – they generally occupy the areas depicted by the four great empires in the Image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2). The time period of the invasion is clearly given – it must take place when the people of Israel have been regathered to their own land (Ezekiel 38:8). Verse 11 says “I will go up to the land of unwalled villages”. Unwalled villages are a unique characteristic to Israel. The returning Jews were settled on the basis of kibbutzim, rural villages. Verse 12 describes them as having wealth and dwelling in the middle of the land. Only in the last decade has Israel reached the stage of economic wealth, and is one of the trading successes of the world.
Israel regathered after 1,900 years
The regathering of Israel is a remarkable story. Forty years after the Lord’s death and resurrection, Jerusalem fell to Rome (AD70). The Lord Jesus clearly prophesied “for there shall be great distress in the land, and anger upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword and shall be led away captive into all nations and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”. (Luke 21:24)
Since that time, Jews have been without a homeland, and often persecuted and ill treated wherever they went. Then remarkably, they began to return (refer booklet on “Israel’s Revival” for full details). First there was the regathering (Ezekiel 37:21), then they achieved the status of nationhood in 1948 (Ezekiel 37:22). The next stage is the monarchy (Ezekiel 37:22), when Christ will return and occupy the ancient throne of his illustrious forbear, King David (Luke 1:32,33).
The states of Europe give their power to the beast
The nations of Europe have been in a constant state of flux and war from time immemorial. Each group of people is fiercely independent and proud of their culture and heritage. Different groups are dominated by at least four major religions. How then could Europe ever think of being united, on a voluntary basis? It seemed impossible.
In the time of the Roman Empire,Europe was depicted as a woman riding a bull. It was a symbol that came from Greek mythology. Zeus transformed himself into a white bull, swam the Mediterranean and abducted a Phoenician princess and took her back toEurope. Her name was “Europa”. There are many mosaics, carvings and statues of this depiction, and today, a sculpture of Europa and Zeus (or Jupiter) is in the private salon of the President of the European Parliament in Brussels.
This is the symbol used by John – a symbol of Europe recognised by ALL in his day. For many long years, it had not been used, because Europe had been largely divided. Now, with Europe uniting, the ancient symbol has been resurrected to reinforce the link with the past.
Revelation 17 clearly tells us the manner in which Europe would be united. Once it was united by the conqueror, but today it is being united by agreement. The Lisbon Constitution was signed in December 2009.
Revelation 17:17 ”.. and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast…”
Revelation 17:13 “These have one mind and shall give their power and strength unto the beast”.
The states of Europe have voluntarily given up their sovereignties for the formation of this great system.
The powers of East and Western Europe will invade the Middle East.
In April 2001, with virtual civil war among the Israelis and Palestinians, Arafat toured the capitals of Europe and asked for help in solving the Middle East situation. Within a few months, EU representatives were visiting Israel. President Putin has also been involved in discussions over the Israeli/Palestinian situation (2001). In June 2001, the German Government forced the hand of Yassir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, to a truce with Israel after a heated exchange, in which they threatened to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, showing they are already exerting influence. In early July 2001, President Sharon (Israel) had the pressure put on him.
The new Superstate will be a power to reckon with. Already in March 2001, The European Court of Justice ruled that the European Union can lawfully suppress political criticism of its institutions and of leading figures, sweeping aside English Common Law and 50 years of European precedents on civil liberties. In the aftermath of September 11, the EU agreed to assist America in the fight against terrorism, if they could have a say in Middle Eastern affairs.
Revelation 17:13 tells us that the powers of Europe (represented as the horns on the beast) will ““make war with the Lamb and the Lamb shall overcome them”. This will be the third European invasion of the Middle East (following that of the Roman Empire and the Crusades). The Lamb is the Lord Jesus Christ who will set up his government in Mt Zion (or Jerusalem, Revelation 14:1), with the intention of reigning over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9). The Catholic powers of Europe will object to Christ’s rule and challenge him. The Church will claim that he is “anti-christ”. The Catholic Church and many Pentecostal churches today believe that Anti-christ is a future leader who will attempt to exercise world power from Jerusalem. The Catholic Church has always looked upon Jerusalem with covetous eyes and took possession of it during the Crusades.
Jerusalem to be the focus of contention
The Bible tells us that Jerusalem will be the point of confrontation with all nations. “I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people…. Though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:2,3). In March 2002, with escalating violence between the Israelis and Palestinians, the UN discussed the possibility of sending a “peace force” into the area – this is the sign that the attention of all nations is coming upon Israel andJerusalem.
When Jerusalem’s survival is threatened, then the “Lord shall go forth and fight against those nations..” (Zechariah 14:3,4) He will assume power – “the Lord shall be king over all the earth”. (Zechariah 14:9) and set up his government based on God’s laws. These laws will engender trust in an all-wise Sovereign Lord who will be both righteous and just, and so provide people with motivation and purpose (Psalm 72:24). Jerusalem will become the international centre of government (Isaiah 2:2-4) and worship (Zechariah 14:16). The Lord will brook no opposition (Zechariah 14:17-19).
Christ the King of the world
Christ will take over the governments of this world (Revelation 11:15), and exercise his rule “unto the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72:8) so that “all nations shall call him blessed” (Psalm 72:17) as they come to appreciate his wisdom and goodness. God is at present “calling out of the nations a people for His name” (Acts 15:14).
Will you answer His gracious invitation to come to know Him and prepare yourself for the new administration?