The Return of Imperialism

The rapid decolonization of much of the world during the 20th century led many to believe that the age of imperialism was dead. Yet recent events in Europe foreshadow the return of the very power that originally gave imperialism its name.
From the July 2004 Trumpet Print Edition

There are those who accuse the United States of overt imperialism as America sacrifices military personnel, hardware and billions of dollars in efforts to maintain some sense of order in a greatly destabilized world. These critics are simply ignorant of the origins and meaning of the term imperial. This ignorance renders them blind to the most dangerous, rising imperial power of all time, a power that presently comprises a federation of 25 European nation states, literally on the verge of piecing together, possibly by October this year, the greatest global trading bloc in history. And it is doing it simply via colonization by treaty—literally colonizing many of the very nations that it enslaved within its oft-revived empire of the past!

In its present guise it is known as the European Union. Some would prefer that it be named the United States of Europe. Whatever the title, it remains what it has always been—the final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire!

Origins

Encyclopedia Britannica clearly and accurately states, “[I]n reality the conception of empire, like the term itself (Lat. imperium), is of Roman origin” (1964 version, vol. 8). Any scholarly study of the meaning, nature and history of imperialism leads us back to ancient Rome. Such a study will, if conducted objectively, eventually lead us to Rome’s origins, from where we can trace the historical tendencies of the nation whose capital remains the seven-hilled city of Rome—Italy.

The most worthy ethnologists and philologists trace the modern-day Italians clear back to ancient Babylon, seat of the first world-ruling empire, the old kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar.

The biblical account of this first true emperor states, “[T]he God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory” (Daniel 2:37). This empire was not of man’s conception. It was literally given by Almighty God to the Babylonian ruler King Nebuchadnezzar! In a sense, he received it by default, for it was originally God’s intention that His chosen nation, Israel, should establish a kingdom that would become the exemplar to the rest of the world of God’s own form of government founded upon His divine, immutable law (Deuteronomy 28:1, 9-10). That government inherently was then, and remains today, the only way to guarantee world peace (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Both the biblical and historical records reveal that Israel rejected its God and, in so doing, lost its right to be “set … on high above all nations of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:1). Thus God handed the kingdom to the Gentile King Nebuchadnezzar in 625 b.c. In terms of global civilization at that time, it was a world-ruling empire (Daniel 4:1, 22). This empire was also known as the Babylonian-Chaldean Empire, indicating that there were originally two peoples of separate ethnic origin involved in its development.

The Babylonian and Chaldean peoples both stemmed from the early post-Flood civilizations that arose from the region centered on the rich alluvial plains at the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. But the Babylonian and Chaldean racial distinctions seemed to blur under the sudden rise of Nebuchadnezzar’s empire, which extended to 538 b.c. What is most interesting to note is that “the language of these Chaldeans differed in no way from the ordinary Semitic Babylonian idiom which was practically identical with that of Assyria” (ibid., vol. 5).

Students of the origin of nations understand not only that the Babylonian peoples are progenitors of the modern-day Italians, but that the biblical Assyrians established the ancient roots of today’s Germanic peoples. This has particular bearing on our study of the current rise of imperialism in Europe when we compare the early proximity of these nations within the environs of ancient Babylon, their historical congruence in relation to the various resurrections of the Roman Empire throughout history, and their continuing connection from the very earliest beginnings of post-World War ii efforts to unite Europe into the greatest politico-religious military and trading bloc in the world. The thread of this continuing linkage of the Babylonian-Chaldean and Assyrian peoples and its impact on world history from the post-Flood settlements in Mesopotamia to the present dominance of their modern-day descendants on the religious and political scene in Europe and the Mediterranean is fascinating to consider.

In the days of King Nebuchadnezzar’s rule, God revealed to him in a vivid allegorical vision the whole future of Gentile imperial rule that would follow his kingdom clear on down to our day (Daniel 2:24-25). This vision focused on a great image in human form comprised of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay (verses 32-33). The dream revealed the future replacement of a string of subsequent Gentile empires by the re-establishment of God’s government on Earth under the rule of an eternal power, revealed elsewhere as Jesus Christ, ruling on a spiritual plane above the human level (verse 44). But just prior to that time of Christ’s Second Coming in real power (Revelation 19:11, 15-16), there was to be extant an extremely destructive, tyrannical empire (Daniel 2:40), which would be destroyed by Him at His coming (verse 45; Revelation 18:21).

Let us briefly follow this sequence of prophesied events through from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to this present moment in history. The vision is stark in the reality of its fulfillment.

From Babylon to Babylon

Following Nebuchadnezzar’s death (the head of gold attached to the great image; see Daniel 2:38), leadership of the Babylonian-Chaldean Empire went to his son, Belshazzar. He soon rebelled against the government of God. The result was that the empire was rent from him by the Medo-Persians, the descendants of whom we recognize today as being resident in Iran. This empire was depicted by the great image’s “breast and his arms of silver” (Daniel 2:32).

Akin to the Babylonians, the Persians held those of the Israelite aristocracy in high regard for their intellect, knowledge, grasp of reality, administrative ability and the wisdom that stemmed from a knowledge of the true God (Daniel 1:3-4; 6:1-3). Thus the knowledge of the true God was perpetuated during this second world-ruling empire (Daniel 6:25-26). Both Nebuchadnezzar and the Persian emperor Darius drafted members of the Israelite royal households into their use as teachers of religion, high culture, governance, mathematics, astronomy and the sciences.

In 330 b.c., the Medo-Persian Empire was blitzkrieged by Alexander the Great. His Greco-Macedonian Empire, extensions of which were to continue to 31 b.c., was depicted by “his belly and his thighs of brass” in the prophetic vision received by Nebuchadnezzar. Keep in mind that this vision was interpreted by the Prophet Daniel over 270 years prior to Alexander coming on the scene!

The Greeks had a different approach to the Israelites than either the Babylonians or the Persians. It was during the time of the Greco-Macedonian Empire that many of the learned aristocracy of Judah and Israel relocated to Troy. The Greeks borrowed high culture from the Judeo-Israelites, paganized the accounts of the patriarchs and heroes in the ancient biblical record and emerged as the creators of a “golden age.” In fact, what the Greeks did was succeed in burying the identity of Israel, replacing the exploits of the patriarchs from Noah to Joseph with legends of pagan gods. Not only that, Alexander fell into the same trap into which the carnal vanity of both Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:1-7) and Darius (Daniel 6:7-9) had led them: He claimed and received recognition of his own divinity. In fact, this tendency of Gentile rulers dates back to old Nimrod, who, following the Flood, was the first political and religious leader to claim divine authority (Genesis 10:8-9; before the Lord properly translated means in place of, or against, the Lord).

It was Alexander who lifted the vision of empire into an east-west configuration as his advances, taking him from the Adriatic to the foothills of the Himalayas, stretched the imperial dream into a merging of Europe and Asia under a single monarch. Thus, following the loss of his fragmented empire in 31 b.c. to them, the Romans gained Alexander’s legacy—a world-ruling vision joining east with west, fused together by a universal religion.

Thereafter, history has been dominated by the fulfillment of the “legs of iron” vision in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream—an imperial rule that “breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things,” its wake strewn with the archaeological proof of its tendency to “break in pieces and bruise” (Daniel 2:40). A more detailed account of the fulfillment of this prophecy is available in Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?, available free of charge at your request.

In that booklet, Mr. Armstrong reviews the history of this bruising Roman Empire, prophesied to continue down through the ages, undergoing, in all, 10 separate revivals. Nine of those revivals are now clearly historic. One remains prophetic, in process of forming as you read these words. It is revealed in biblical prophecy by the name of its originating source—none other than ancientBabylon! Yes! Believe it or not, that ancient system, which sought to establish universal rule within just one century after the Flood and the reestablishment of civilization, will again be extant at Jesus Christ’s future return to Earth! (Revelation 18:1-2).

Twin Foundations

King Solomon declared, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). So it is with that which we commonly term “empire.”

Following the collapse of the Greco-Macedonian Empire, imperial Rome reigned from 31 b.c. to its fall in a.d. 476. There followed three fragmented revivals under the Vandals (a.d. 429-533), the Heruli (475-493) and the Ostrogoths (493-554). In the year 554, Pope Justinian iii led an imperial restoration that was to begin six distinct resurrections of imperial Rome over the period of the empire’s continuing rise and fall from that year to 1945 (Revelation 17:10). A seventh is yet to come.

Throughout the middle ages, from 554 to the close of World War ii, history records that two primary factors defined that which men called “empire”: 1) the effort to rejoin the eastern and western legs of the old Roman Empire under a single imperial rule, and 2) the imposition of a universal religion. These are the twin foundations upon which six of the seven resurrections of the Holy Roman Empire were built: a political foundation backed up by military force and a spiritual foundation established by the imposition of a state religion. If we are really to understand that the efforts to unite Europe (which have in reality been underway since the closing stages of World War ii) are in fact the seventh—and final—resurrection of this ancient, bruising, iron-legged empire, then we must seek proof of the fulfillment of this traditional definition of empire. What has happened in Europe since 1945? To paraphrase King Solomon, the empire that has been, it is that which shall be!

That the dictatorships of Mussolini and Adolf Hitler became the culmination of the sixth resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire is beyond question to the truth-seeking mind. The biblical and secular proofs provide more than ample evidence, as witnessed in the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, available on request at no charge from the publishers of this magazine. The fascist-Nazi empire joined west with east clear up to the Russian borders. Via a concordat established between Pope Pius xii and Hitler, the church remained overseer of the spiritual realm in the German Reich. The latter fact has been the subject of much revisionist history and of considerable effort to cover it up in recent times. Nevertheless, it remains a fact that can be proven via recourse to the writings of such as Georges Passelecq and Bernard Suchecky (The Hidden Encyclical of Pius xi), David I. Kertzer (Unholy War), John Loftus and Mark Aarons (Unholy Trinity) and Richard Steigmann-Gall (The Holy Reich).

What is not generally appreciated is the full extent to which efforts designed to engage the seventh and final resurrection of that old Babylonish empire began even before the close of the Second World War! To this end, such masterful exposés as Brian Connell’s Watcher on the Rhine, John Laughland’s The Tainted Source, Bernard Connelly’s The Rotten Heart of Europe, Martin A. Lee’s The Beast Awakens, Rodney Atkinson’s Europe’s Full Circle and Adrian Hilton’s The Principality and Power of Europe are among the many writings on the subject that offer ample proof.

Political Base

Babylon, from its modern repose in Rome, may well have provided the spiritual glue to bind the Roman Empire together since the demise of the Ostrogoths, but the lot of political rule, of the oversight of defense and security, of the Holy Roman Empire has largely fallen to another people.

Remember that, anciently, in addition to the Babylonians, the Assyrians historically lusted for world domination. In more recent history, it was the grand old Kaiser Wilhelm ii, German emperor, who publicly declared the Teutonic vision of politics as he engaged in World War i. Before he died in June 1941, the exiled, aging kaiser welcomed Hitler’s temporal victories by boasting, “The hand of God is creating a new world and working miracles. … We are becoming a U.S. of Europe under German leadership, a united European continent nobody ever hoped to see” (John C. G. Rohl, The Kaiser and His Court).

The kaiser was well aware that, under the guidance of Hitler’s chief economist, Dr. Walter Funk, a European confederation, or European Community, was proposed in 1940 by German economists seeking to institutionalize the Nazi conquests of World War ii. They argued for a Central European Union, a Common European Economic Area and fixed exchange rates. Again, in 1943, Germany’s Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop proposed the creation of such an entity with a structure rather similar to the modern EU, having a single currency, a central bank, a regional principle of administration and a federal labor policy all bound within economic and trading agreements—the single market!

So what’s new? Nothing really. All we are seeing today as the EU marches unsteadily yet very deliberately forward to become the most powerful federal economy in the world is a clear repetition of the circumstances of old German-influenced European history!

This very Germanic desire to harmonize Europe under Teutonic leadership goes back many centuries. As early as the 12th century, German merchants formed the foundations of what became known as the Hanseatic League. This was an alliance of trading cities that, during the Middle Ages and the early modern period, maintained a trade monopoly over most of northern Europe and the Baltic. Even to this day, several German cities still maintain the link to the old Hanseatic League, with the cities of Deventer, Kampen, Zutphen, Lübeck, Hamburg, Bremen, Rostock, Wismar, Stralsund, Greifswald and Anklam all still calling themselves Hanse cities. The desire for the comfort of such harmonization runs deep in German veins.

That the European Union has evolved over the years from the old European Coal and Steel Community, established by treaty in 1952, into a present-day replica of the very designs put forward by the likes of Funk and Ribbentrop for Hitler’s dream of a thousand-year Reich based in Europe, is not really the subject of educated debate. The facts have been there for all to see for well over a decade. Back in 1994, authors Norris McWhirter and Rodney Atkinson, in their masterful book Treason at Maastricht, summarized around a dozen direct comparisons between Hitler’s Europe and today’s Europe.

That was 10 years ago. In his later book, Fascist Europe Rising, published in 2001, Mr. Atkinson extended this list to encompass over 30 items of direct comparison between Hitler’s Third Reich aspirations and their latter fulfillment through the institutions of the European Union!

But even that was pre-9/11. Events subsequent to that watershed date in 2001 have only served to accelerate the advance of the imperial aims of those shady characters who have, over the decades since the closing stages of World War ii, dedicated their political, corporatist, bureaucratic and religious zeal to the revival of a unified imperial Europe. Their dream has always been of a federal Europe stretching from the Barents to the Mediterranean Sea, from the North Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains, under the same old league between Rome and Berlin as has instigated such union in the past.

In May this year, that dream, in terms of its geographic totality, was largely fulfilled when 10 eastern and southern European nations joined the existing 15 western EU members to form the present expanded 25-nation European combine.

But something is missing. Something vital that has always been a component of the Roman Empire in its previous six resurrections is presently missing from this embryonic seventh. What’s missing is most crucial to binding the union of these 25 previously sovereign nation-states together into a single powerful federation. What’s missing is crucial to the proof of this expanded European Union actually being the seventh and final resurrection of the old Holy Roman Empire.

The Missing Link

When the chief architect of the controversial draft European Union constitution, Valerie Giscard d’Estaing, declares that he favors the term United States of Europe to describe the newly expanded European federation of 25 nation states, the phrase rings readily in the ears of those who hanker for a revival of old imperial Rome with its Germanic protector by its side!

European Commission head Romano Prodi has made the intentions of the EU quite clear in respect to the subsuming of national sovereignty to the will of this federating union of nation-states. Under the banner headline “Prodi Lays Foundations for ‘United States of Europe,’” London’s Telegraph quoted Stefano Zamagni, a close associate of Prodi in his days as an instructor of economics in Bologna, as saying, “[Prodi] wants commissioners to respond to him, not to national governments, he wants a coherent public line and he wants his tenure to help accelerate the move to a United States of Europe” (July 11, 1999; emphasis mine throughout). But, if national sovereignty and with it national identity are to be lost, as they truly are under membership of the European Union, where, pray tell, will the member nations gain a sense of real identity with this European monolith?

Once again it is crucial to remember that, by definition, empire, in its traditional sense, means the joining of east and west under a single imperial rule and the imposition of a universal religion!

Since the unification of Germany, subsequent to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the united German nation has striven to regain identity as one people, one nation. The relocation of the seat of government from Bonn, capital of West Germany under the old east-west division, to Berlin, historic capital of the German Reich, was hugely symbolic in this effort to regain a harmonized identity of the German people. The rebuilding of the old Reichstag, the redevelopment of Potsdamer Platz, the dusting off and replacement of old war heroes’ statues on their plinths in public places (previously removed by the Allies following World War ii), have all been part of a deliberate effort to revive a sense of German heritage. This desire for a renewed sense of identity is reflected in regular exhibitions and celebrations that hearken back to the days of imperial Teutonic greatness, the days of dominance of the old Holy Roman Empire, of Charlemagne and, in particular, the days of the Hohenzollern and Habsburg dynasties, that embraced the European continent for centuries.

Speaking of old Vienna, seat of high culture in Europe, European businessman, author and media celebrity Alain Minc observes, “Behind the resurgence of the Viennese myth … lies a nostalgia for the cultural Europe … a sacred territory marked out by Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Trieste, Venice. … [T]he slow reappropriation of its identity by the center does open the door slightly to a cultural renaissance” (The Great European Illusion).

It is to this nostalgia that Pope John Paul ii has played in his oft-repeated calls for the nation-states of Europe to “return to your roots!” Crucial to the perpetual revival of this old Roman Empire since the time of Justinian’s imperial restoration has been the church of Rome.

“The Roman Empire staggers, sprawls, is thrust off the stage, and reappears, and—if we may carry the image one step further—it is the church of Rome which plays the part of the magician and keeps this corpse alive.” None other than famous author and historian H.G. Wells penned those words in his popular text The Outline of History. Wells knew the history of imperial Rome. He knew that in both the political and the religious sense, Rome sought world domination. “Ideas of worldly rule by the church were already prevalent in the fourth century. The church was to be … the divinely led ruling power over a great league of terrestrial states. In later years these ideas developed into a definite political theory and philosophy” (ibid.).

It is simply mother Rome’s mission: global rule! Even the name attached to its religion gives the game away—the Roman Catholic religion. Catholic means universal! That’s Rome’s vision: to convert the world to its universal ways! It has not changed since the days of ancient Babylon! Politically correct, pluralistic, modern, liberal Western society holds that such a view is archaic. Tell that to a Muslim! Tell that to al Qaeda! They know that Rome is on another crusade!

Anglo-Americans, in particular, remain blind to this reality. Yet it’s as real as its history going clear back to Nimrod and his original efforts for universal dominion (Genesis 10:8-9; 11:1-4). Truly the religion of old Babylon has never died. To the contrary, it has survived from time immemorial to conduct its mission of global spiritual hegemony, in close harmony with a powerful military force that has traditionally viewed itself as the church’s protector, the descendants of ancient Assyria.

The Unifying Force

Europe’s political union is almost complete. The future ratification of a constitution creating a single political, economic and military federation of Europe may serve to consolidate this foundation. Yet paradoxically, it is recognition of the singular unifying force that has historically bound the Holy Roman Empire together in the past that became the major sticking point preventing the signing of this document as was originally intended over six months ago. It simply boiled down to one holy row over whether or not to heed the demands of Rome to recognize its religion as foundational to the unification process.

What Europe presently lacks is a cultural identity. The concept of identity relies principally on memory. Thus, in order to bind its multifarious mix of diverse races, cultures and mismatched economies together into a harmonized whole, Europe will unquestionably be forced to look to that which has historically provided the singular source of common heritage—Europe’s traditional religion!

The accession of the additional 10 nations to membership of the EU was crucial to this end. They are significantly Catholic countries. The power of the Vatican over their populace and politicians is most significant. Prior to their accession to the EU, various referenda were held within these nations to test public support for EU membership. The Vatican directed the parish priests in advising their congregations how to vote. This was an early sign of future submission to Rome that the entire EU will soon be forced to recognize.

Further, as British political commentator Adrian Hilton observed, “The Roman Church is founded on a political dogma claiming that the pope is ‘supreme ruler of the world’; superior to all kings, prime ministers and presidents. These spiritual and temporal claims … [permit] the pope … to issue clear directives to Catholic politicians on how they should vote. Since their obedience is considered ‘moral duty,’ [they] devolve everything to the overwhelmingly Catholic European Council of Ministers, Commission and Parliament, and the ultimate Caesar is the pope” (Spectator, Aug. 30, 2003).

So you see, it doesn’t matter, in effect, whether or not the EU members ratify the constitution. The spiritual and temporal power is already in place and in play to ensure Rome’s will shall be subscribed to within all the EU’s primary governing administrative and legislative institutions.

Thus it is that the directive of the 19th-century Pope Leo xiii, who held the same vision as today’s Pope John Paul ii of a united European continent under Roman rule, has been impeccably carried out by the movers and shakers responsible for the present 25-nation European combine. “[I]t is the duty of all Catholics … to make use of popular institutions … for the advancement of truth and righteousness; … to endeavor to bring back all civil society to the pattern and form of Christianity which we have described. … [T]he means adopted must suit places and times widely differing from one another. Nevertheless, above all things, unity of aim must be preserved, and similarity must be sought after in all plans of action” (Immortale Dei, Nov. 1, 1885).

Europe has a cultural heritage. It is vested in the city of Rome, within the portals of the Vatican, overseer to the state religion of the past six revivals of the Roman Empire in its guise as “Holy Roman.”

This is what the EU presently lacks, which its old imperial revivals all possessed: a spirit that would give it a cultural identity spawning a missionary zeal to go about its prophesied business of, yet one more time, crusading under the banner of the old cross of Babylon! The renewal of this spirit is simply inevitable, otherwise the whole European Union will come crashing down like a house of cards with nothing to bind it together.

But crash it won’t, not until it has lived for a very brief time—yet with sufficient time to once again wreak its prophesied havoc, to “break in pieces and bruise” to the point of mass slavery (Revelation 18:13) and even extermination of almost entire national populations! (Daniel 11:38-44).

Your Bible tells of the source of the spirit that drives this final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire to its destructive ends (Revelation 13:2; compare Revelation 12:9). The leaders of the nations comprising this presently divisive Union are prophesied to become of one mind (Revelation 17:13). That mind is seated in the universal religious system of ancient Babylon (verse 5). It has a devastating, crusading history (verse 6 and Revelation 13:7). Of its future impact on society at large, this world desperately needs to be warned!

Time is short. The closing minutes in this last hour of man’s civilization tick away. The old bruising empire is almost fully resurrected. You need to act now to become fully informed of the grave danger that this poses to world order. Do all you can to prepare yourself for the climactic world events that lie just ahead.

For more on the history and prophecy of this rising world power, request a free copy of our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.