January 30, 2012

The Bible and the EU

All the noise in the media has rendered many people utterly weary of the whole Euro-currency tragi-comedy that has been unfolding, laboriously, over about two years now.
First, it was Ireland; then it was... who? Portugal; perhaps, Spain? The pundits invented the term PIIGS as some kind of clever anagrammatic reference to the weaker of the European member states. Finally, after interminable weeks of 'will-they, won't-they,' the stronger economic partners, essentially Germany, bailed out the struggling Greece... with the installation of their designated technocrat as a new Prime Minister. Hardly had the new, unelected leader taken office when Italy got the same treatment, and the once-immovable Berlusconi suddenly resigned as if pulled by a vaudeville hook, stage left.

While the European Union situation may be mildly irritating to many onlookers (as to when these clowns will get their act together) you have to admit that it's been a true, 'roller-coaster' drama. To those who look beyond the surface, (read 'mainstream media') version of events, the whole chain of chaos is being deliberately orchestrated towards a predictable outcome. That outcome, desired by the global banking elite, is to force the hodge-podge of member nations into a closer fiscal and political union, creating a 'United States of Europe' under one, autocratic management structure.

So, the question must be on the minds of many-- will they succeed in this grand scheme to unite Europe under one government? To many observers, this goal must appear inevitable. After all, the manipulators have managed, time and again, to circumvent the democratic process, and to push through their constitution, regardless of popular opinion in the individual states. The latest financial chaos seems destined to result in a new 'order' on the European continent.

But-- is a 'united Europe' inevitable? Will the member nations coalesce into the desired monolith? The answer is NO! How do I know? Because it's written in the book! That book being the one so often maligned by modern scholars-- the Bible. This is a fairly straightforward lesson; so even if you're a neophyte or a skeptic, let's hold fire, please, and follow this 'exegesis' (technical term for analysis).

The future of Europe is described in a few pithy verses found in the second chapter of the book of Daniel. Even lapsed Christians often remember the story of the Hebrew prophet Daniel-- who was among a group of prisoners taken from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, about 600 years before the time of Jesus. The Babylonian emperor (Nabucco) had a dream (or vision) which so troubled him that he demanded his court magicians to first, tell him what he dreamed, then to interpret it! Of course, they couldn't possibly do this, so he decreed that they would all be executed. (See ch. 2, verses 4-12).

Daniel, the exiled Israelite, was told of the king's demand, went to see him, and obtained an extension of the deadline. That night, with his companions forming a prayer group, God gave Daniel both the king's dream and it's interpretation. Next day, Daniel went to Nebuchadnezzar and laid out the details, (ch. 2:19-29) which were an outline of 'what will take place in the future' (vs 29).

Here is how Daniel described the king's dream (from the New American Standard Bible):
[31] “You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. [32] The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, [33] its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. [34] You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. [35] Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

Next, Daniel gets right into revealing the dream's meaning. And, lest any reader assume that I am imposing my own interpretations on the text, I will include the headings inserted by the NASB editors, to demonstrate that these ideas are well known and widely accepted.

“The Interpretation—Babylon the First Kingdom [per NASB]”
[36] “This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. [37] You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; [38] and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.” [i.e. The gold head represents the Babylonian empire.]

“Medo-Persia and Greece
[39] After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.”

As silver is inferior to gold, the next empire was that of Medo-Persia, which did not achieve the glory of Bablyon. It was, notice, represented by 'two arms' of silver, the two branches of the Medes and the Persians who united for a while. After them came the Greek hegemony under Alexander, later under his four generals, who each ruled a section of the empire. (The Greeks were noted as artisans in bronze).

About the forth kingdom-- the legs and feet of the statue-- Daniel writes:
“Rome [per NASB]
[40] Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. [41] In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. [42] As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. [43] And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.”

That's it-- the last piece of the prophetic puzzle. Even centuries ago, Bible scholars realized that the legs of iron represented the iron rule of mighty Rome. And recall that the Roman empire did, in fact, split into Eastern and Western entities ('legs'), with capitals at Constantinople and Rome, respectively. Thus, it's not much of a leap to decode the feet and toes as representative of the various members of the present 'European Union' as it calls itself ever so hopefully. (Sure, some pundits abandoned this notion after the membership exceeded ten; but, they fail to understand that it's the toes AND feet, and the exact count is unimportant-- it's the concept that matters!)

Daniel's interpretation is startlingly specific in important details. He states that some (parts) of the kingdom will be strong and parts of it will be brittle. Are we not seeing that description unfold before our very eyes? While the German economy, and presumably that of France and Britain, are 'strong' in relative terms, the economies of the 'PIIGS' is notoriously 'brittle!' What a brilliant prediction!

The prophet of God goes on to specify that the disparate parts “will combine with one another in the seed of men,” referring to the practice among the European royalty to intermarry across national borders. (Even in our day, Queen Elizabeth married Phillip, of Greek nobility). How much more accurate can it get?

That same verse, (43) gives us the answer I proclaimed at the start of this essay: 'they will NOT adhere to one another...” Few prophecies in any cultural tradition are more clear and apparent than this classic phrase supplied in the book of Daniel. So clear is this chapter that it becomes the virtual key to unlocking most of the Bible's eschatological ('end-times') texts, including the book of Revelation.

(The essay/study on 'The Beast of Revelation- Revealed At Last' made use of this pivotal portion of scripture in interpreting chapters 13 and 17 of that enigmatic book.)

In conclusion, I feel confident that, notwithstanding the engineered chaos in the current European kerfuffle, the nations of Europe will NOT unite under a single, autocratic government. It's not my opinion; it's God's revelation recorded in a book that stands the test of time. You can bet the bank on it!

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