The European Union
The European Union (EU) is slowly but surely forming into a second world economic and military superpower from the central nations of Europe - a number of sovereign European countries are joining together into one. The European Union flag is shown in the illustration.
Britain is today a (somewhat reluctant) member of the EU, but will almost certainly withdraw later in favor of an alliance with the United States and Canada. In a recent-years dispute between the European Union and Canada that nearly escalated into war after a Canadian Coast Guard ship opened fire on a Spanish ship in international waters off Newfoundland, Britain steadfastly sided with the Canadians until the matter was settled.
Simple arithmetic shows that the EU population and economic production will actually total more than that of the United States! Its new monetary unit, the Euro, will soon be the main rival for the mighty American dollar in worldwide commerce. The EU will possess a modern, nuclear-armed military from some of its members who already have that capacity.
Although the builders of the European Union are good and well-meaning people (the author has numerous relatives in Europe), they are almost certainly not fully aware of what they are ultimately creating, although most are aware of the history of the so-called "Holy Roman Empire." According to Bible Prophecy, the modern-day European Union will be the latest, and the last, revival of that empire before The Return Of Jesus Christ.
The Flow Of Prophecy
In the book of Daniel we read of a vision of a great statue as seen by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. The appearance of the statue was curious indeed: a head of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze (or brass), legs of iron, feet of a mixture of iron and baked clay (Daniel 2:31-35). What did it all mean?
The head of gold is easy to understand - the Bible narrative itself clearly states that it represents King Nebuchadnezzar's own Babylonian kingdom (see Ancient Empires - Babylon) that conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the original Temple (see Temples) and carried the Jews, including the prophet Daniel, off into captivity about 586 B.C.
What about the rest of it? This is not difficult, secular history does a very good job of laying it out before us.
After the Babylonian "head of gold" came the Persian empire (see Ancient Empires - Persia). The Persians under their various kings, including Cyrus who allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem, swept away the Babylonian empire. They are the "chest and arms of silver."
After about 2 centuries of dominance, the Persian empire was swallowed up by the Greeks under Alexander the Great (see Ancient Empires - Greece). Many consider Alexander to be the greatest (despite a reckless temperament) military commander of all time, taking vast areas from southern Europe, across the Middle East and deep into southern Asia, all while a relatively young man. He reportedly died in his early thirties after a night of partying. The Greeks became the "belly and thighs of bronze."
After the Greeks came the Romans, the "legs of iron" (see Ancient Empires - Rome). The Romans took the areas that the Greeks had, plus nearly all of the rest of Europe, including Britain. The Roman empire was of course dominant during the time of Jesus Christ.
History records that the Roman empire "fell" in the fifth century after Christ, but it actually came back alive as the so-called "Holy Roman Empire." It called itself "Roman" because it claimed succession to the ancient Roman empire, and "holy" because it held control over mainstream European Christianity. It was as much political as it was religious - the church was the state, which matches exactly what is coming in Revelation 13.
On February 2, 962, Pope John XII crowned Otto I as the Holy Roman Emperor. When Otto succeeded his father Heinrich (Henry) as German king in 936, the people raised their right hand to show approval and shouted "Sieg und heil" ("victory and salvation"). Most historians view 962 as the beginning of what would later officially be known as the Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanica ("the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation") - the First Reich. Other Reichs followed right up into the twentieth century.
The octagonal imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, made especially for the coronation of Otto, became the very symbol of European unity for centuries to come. In recent years, Otto von Habsburg (whose ancestors were some of the Holy Roman emperors, and whose oldest son, Karl, is the now the potential heir to that heritage) called attention to the possible role of that crown of the Holy Roman Empire in the new Europe - which will actually be an extremely powerful reawakening of the old Europe.
Fact Finder: How long will the great power of "the beast" last?