By Gerald Flurry
One of the most important effects of the global panic over covid-19 has been almost overlooked. Europe’s response to the pandemic is accelerating the fulfillment of one of the most crucial end-time prophecies of your Bible!
The coronavirus is hastening the arrival of the prophesied Holy Roman Empire.
This church-state union has ruled Europe for centuries. But previous inquisitions, religious wars, crusades and the Holocaust have been a mere foreshadow of what the Bible calls the “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21).
The Bible says 10 kings will rise in Europe in this end time, led by one overarching strongman. These kings will form the Holy Roman Empire.
The coronavirus pandemic is helping usher in these 10 kings!
We need to be thinking about these prophesied kings, who are rising now. As a result of the recent crisis, various European leaders have taken dictatorial measures. In several cases they have done so with direct approval from the Roman Catholic Church.
Many people have voiced fear that the recent crisis will destroy the European Union. But although it may look that way, Europe is in fact about to unite in a powerful way.
The Bible reveals that the EU is about to be pared down to a 10-nation superstate. This prophecy will be fulfilled very soon—I see biblical evidence of probably no more than two to four years, and perhaps even as soon as this year.
The Apostle John saw this final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire in vision depicted as a beast with seven heads and 10 horns. God revealed the symbolism to him. The seven heads are seven successive resurrections of this beast-like empire. Revelation 17:1-2 show this empire in an alliance with a church, symbolized by a woman. This is an exact prophecy of the Holy Roman Empire—a church-state alliance.
As we explain in our free booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?, six of these resurrections have come and gone through history, and the seventh is rising now!
The 10 horns of this beast are on the seventh head. The symbolism is explained: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (verses 12-13). This prophecy was written nearly 2,000 years ago, and these “ten kings” are rising in Europe today!
Verse 14 states that these kings would “make war with the Lamb”—Jesus Christ. So this is clearly a prophecy of events to occur right before Christ’s Second Coming.
In the first issues of the Plain Truth magazine, predecessor to the Trumpet, the late Herbert W. Armstrong warned of this resurrected empire. In the July 24, 1983, issue he wrote: “The very first issue of the Plain Truth magazine appeared February 1934—just 50 years ago lacking about six months. The article starting on the cover page warned of a coming sudden appearance of a resurrected ‘Holy Roman Empire’ in Europe—a union of 10 nations in Europe under one government, with one united military force. For 50 years I have been crying out to the world the Bible prophecies of this coming ‘United States of Europe’—a new united superpower perhaps more powerful than either the Soviet Union or the United States!”
Verse 10 says, “And there are seven kings [this is referring to the seven heads of the beast, or the seven historical resurrections of this empire]: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.” This prophecy describes a specific moment in time: It was when Mr. Armstrong was on the scene and first explaining these end-time biblical prophecies. That was first during the 1930s. At that time, the “one is”—Adolf Hitler—was leading the sixth resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. Today, the “other,” prophesied to continue a “short space,” is soon to arrive.
Other prophecies show that the “short space” this beast will hold power is not much longer than 3½ years—the duration of the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord.
For over 75 years we have been prophesying the arrival of this empire. Now you can see it coming to pass exactly as God recorded for us in the Bible. I have been a part of this work for decades. And it is amazing to me, almost overwhelming, how minutely these prophecies have been and are being fulfilled!
This coming empire will affect your life directly. Its arrival will shock every nation on Earth as no power has in modern times. This is the paramount prophecy of the end time.
God revealed many of these prophecies to Mr. Armstrong around the time of World War ii and in the decades thereafter. God has been warning this world all these years about the horrifying times ahead, and we need to understand why.
In 1984 Mr. Armstrong wrote that he could foresee a massive banking crisis being the trigger for European nations to suddenly coalesce into a superpower. Today, European countries are racking up debt at rates unprecedented in peace time—with many countries perilously close to financial collapse.
Italy has been the epicenter for the coronavirus in Europe. Its economy took a massive hit. “The economy has basically been stopped,” said Prof. Nicola Borri of Luiss University. “We are probably going to see massive defaults. Clearly, Italian banks will be badly hit” (New York Times, March 17). Spain and France are also suffering serious debt issues. Events in Italy give us insight into what could happen to all the economies of the European Union.
Here are some telling headlines from prominent news sources: “Coronavirus Could Break the EU” (Politico); “With Borders Going Up Around Europe, Coronavirus Is Devastating the EU’s Superstate Pretensions” (Telegraph); “Coronavirus Tests Europe’s Cohesion, Alliances and Even Democracy” (New York Times). EU nations are very divided. That division is preventing them from pooling their efforts to deal with the virus.
Many experts will tell you that Europe is about to break apart. If these nations’ response to the coronavirus does not cause an immediate economic meltdown, the debt they are accumulating will still come due at some point. Some kind of financial crisis is inevitable. When it comes, watch what happens! A crisis like the current one is exactly what European leaders have longed for to forge a European superstate!
One of the EU’s founders, Jean Monnet, said, “Europe will be forged in crises and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises.” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said, “Crisis represents an opportunity. Europe always moved forward in times of crisis. Sometimes you need a little pressure for certain decisions to be taken.” The founders of the European project knew that creating the euro—a unified European currency—without all the other aspects of a unified government would provoke economic crisis. Yet they still deliberately proceeded with their plan, knowing that crisis would provide the pretext for transforming Europe into a superpower!
This has happened repeatedly throughout history with the other six heads of the Holy Roman Empire. In times of crisis, Europe has united under one overarching leader.
Mr. Armstrong consistently taught that the nations of Europe are going to cry out for political unity. That is what we see happening today. Europe is weak and divided. The coronavirus is only further weakening the Continent. Watch closely to see how it responds. The German people in particular cannot live with the current circumstances. The economic distress of several European nations makes them vulnerable—and gives economically strong Germany an opportunity to increase its domination of the Union. Leaders of Italy and other nations have accused Germany of protecting and advancing its own interests at the expense of other nations, but they also know that the European project will utterly fail without Germany’s leadership.
History shows that Germany is going to act! In the second half of 2020, Germany will hold the European Council presidency. What timing! In this crisis, when Europe is being forced to adapt, Germany is in a position to shape the EU’s future according to its own liking.
Yet the question remains: How will Europe come together?
Throughout Europe’s history, what has helped it to overcome its division has been a unity of purpose between church and state. Charlemagne showed how strong Europe could be when he formed a partnership between Germany and the Roman Catholic Church to create the Holy Roman Empire. That empire has risen up repeatedly since that time.
But this church-state union hasn’t always been a happy marriage. Usually the two have been drawn together because of a crisis—an emergency.
Herbert W. Armstrong believed the same pattern would occur again in our time—that European nations would unify suddenly because of a crisis, and that the Roman Catholic Church would play a huge role in solving that emergency. In times of crisis, religion has a way of pulling people together!
In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John prophesies of a woman who “sitteth upon many waters,” committing fornication with powerful world leaders (Revelation 17:1-2). This woman, which in Bible prophecy symbolizes a church (e.g. Isaiah 47; Ephesians 5:25; 2 Corinthians 11:2), has global influence, guiding a great beast, which represents a political power (Revelation 17:3).
The Bible also reveals that this church sits on “seven mountains” and has influence over “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (verses 9, 15). A mountain is a symbol of government in the Bible. The Catholic Church has combined with six governments of the Holy Roman Empire and will also join the seventh. Beyond that, a look at a topographic map shows that Rome, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, is literally situated on seven hills. This is a double proof of the Bible prophecies. And Europe is a continent that unites “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” The description in Revelation 17 of this empire can only refer to the Roman Catholic Church and its alliance with various European countries. (For more information about this empire, request our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.)
This prophecy shows that Europe in this end time will see the rise of various strongmen who ally themselves with the Roman Catholic Church. In the coronavirus crisis, this is happening.
Popular satisfaction with democracy is at an all-time low, Cambridge’s Department of Politics noted in January. Europeans increasingly believe democracy cannot solve their problems, and coronavirus has only intensified this belief. Nations are increasingly taking extreme measures to deal with the virus. More and more Europeans are looking for a strongman.
“Austria has massively restricted civil liberties due to coronavirus,” Zeit Online wrote. “This is understandable in this situation, but it is also dangerous” (March 16; Trumpet translation throughout). Considering Europe’s long, painful history of strong leaders restricting freedoms to realize their ambitions, it is extremely dangerous!
Austria was the first European country to go into coronavirus lockdown. For doing so, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz received much praise from the Roman Catholic Church, Europe’s oldest institution. “I am very grateful that the government is wise and is taking steps to create trust,” said the archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, in a zib 2 special. Catholic leaders backed each severe step Kurz took.
Kurz applauded the church for its support. “Especially in times of crisis,” he said, “the church offers people support and provides important help.”
Chancellor Kurz seeks regular counsel from the Catholic Church, which guides his politics. If you understand history, you will find this troubling. This is exactly what the Holy Roman Empire is: an authoritarian state-church combine.
French President Emmanuel Macron took similar drastic measures. He declared war on the coronavirus, mobilized the army, and made himself France’s commander in chief. He had rebellion against government orders forcibly put down. By doing so, he surged in popularity.
Throughout his presidency and especially during the coronavirus crisis, Macron has also worked to improve ties with the Catholic Church and bring the Vatican more into Europe’s affairs. For a nation that has been moving in the opposite direction for generations, this is significant.
Emmanuel Macron was not born Catholic; he chose Roman Catholic baptism at age 12 and attended a Jesuit secondary school. As an adult, he is said to have turned increasingly secular. But in 2018 at the annual conference of the bishops of France, he promised to restore the “strained” link between church and state, and has since worked to fulfill his promise.
In a March 2019 letter to European citizens, Macron called for a conference for Europe that would “engage with citizens’ panels and hear academics, business and labor representatives, and religious and spiritual leaders” (emphasis mine throughout). In August, he received the new secretary general of the French Bishops’ Conference to discuss the reception of migrants and other subjects. Though he campaigned as a pro-immigration centrist, he is now pushing one of France’s most right-wing agendas. In November, he announced new immigration measures and has grown increasingly critical of Islamic ideology. In January he announced his plan to “Recapture the Republic,” a plan to fight growing Islamism in the country.
After a telephone conversation with Pope Francis, Macron met with representatives of religious and secular associations in France. “It was an opportunity to maintain dialogue between public authorities and religions during the population’s confinement in the covid-19 pandemic,” vaticannews.va/fr reported. The president of the Protestant Federation of France said: “For Emmanuel Macron, religious denominations bring social cohesion. Faced with this global health crisis, he is determined to call upon all resources, including spiritual resources.” So Macron seeks to use religion to unite his divided country.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is also growing more autocratic in this crisis. Hungary was only mildly affected by coronavirus, yet on March 30, Hungary’s parliament gave Orbán dictatorial powers. Now parliament is closed, elections are canceled, and anyone spreading “false” information can be imprisoned for five years. Democracy has been replaced by rule of decree.
The Guardian wrote that the new law gives Orbán “what amounts to one-man rule in an EU state.” Richard Palmer, assistant managing editor for theTrumpet.com, formulated it more clearly: “Coronavirus Brings the EU Its First Dictator.”
Orbán’s power grab may affect the whole Continent. “Hungary’s prime minister has abolished democracy,” Spiegel Online warned on April 3. “If the EU does not act, authoritarianism will spread in Europe.” But the EU did not act to punish Orbán—it did nothing. And what Spiegel warned of is exactly what the Bible says will happen: Authoritarianism will spread in Europe!
Is the acceptance of Orbán’s dictatorship in the EU a sign that the time has come for Europe’s 10 kings to emerge? It is almost certain that Hungary will be part of the coming 10-nation European superpower.
For decades following World War ii, Hungary was under Soviet rule. As our free booklet He Was Right explains, it was partly due to the Catholic Church’s influence that Hungary joined the European Union. Hungary has for centuries been ruled by the Habsburg dynasty. The religion, culture and ties to Rome outlasted its occupation by the Soviet Union.
The Plain Truth wrote in February 1972: “One of the biggest roles desired by the Vatican is that of mediator between East and West. … The Vatican, you can be sure, will continue to do its part in courting the Eastern European countries. Its Ostpolitik has been to bring them back into the ‘fold’ for a long time. And that is certainly the path it must continue to travel.”
This astonishing forecast is proving true! The Catholic Church has done its part to break Hungary’s strong ties to Russia, and there are indications it is enabling Orbán’s recent power grab.
Orbán has formed an alliance with the Catholic Church and with Calvinist churches in Hungary. He handed Hungary’s educational system back to the churches and cooperates with the Catholic Church in the Middle East, restoring churches and rebuilding Christian communities. In 2019, Orbán was listed in “Top 10 People” of the American Catholic magazine Inside the Vatican.
Orbán’s cooperation with the Catholic Church is most astonishing if you consider that he himself is Calvinist. He recognizes the power the Catholic Church has in his country and globally and seeks its alliance. This cooperation with Europe’s churches continued while Orbán pursued dictatorial powers.
European leaders are increasingly behaving like dictators and assuming dictatorial power. The people of Europe are being conditioned to accept more tyrannical leadership. Yet these rising strongmen are not yet united as the Bible says they will be. The Holy Roman Empire yet lacks its overarching leader.
The coronavirus is causing more and more people in Europe to talk about the need for a strongman. Zeit Online further wrote that “the longing for the proverbial strongman, who finally takes action, will grow stronger” (op cit). There is a lack of leadership to effectively deal with the virus and economic issues. People want that vacuum filled.
When we see a news source talking about Europeans longing for a “strongman,” it really arrests our attention! We have been prophesying about this individual’s arrival for many years—and now, news sources are talking about it more publicly than ever. The greater the crises it experiences, the more its people will cry out for a strongman to guide them and deal with this problem. (Read more about this in our last Trumpet issue: “Will Coronavirus Wreck the EU?”)
Bible prophecy shows this strongman is coming! Here is how the Prophet Daniel describes this individual: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power, and he shall destroy wonderfully [mightily, it should read], and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people” (Daniel 8:23-24). This strongman will rule “not by his own power”—but by Satan’s power. He will have a mind change because the devil will get to him (Habakkuk 1:11) and use him as a tool to wreak tremendous destruction!
Daniel wrote that this man will “destroy the mighty and the holy people.” That is referring to the 95 percent of God’s own people who turned away from God in the end time. God will plunge His rebellious people into the Great Tribulation if they don’t repent before that time. Of all people, they should know what is happening and obey God, but they are not.
We all need to understand better why this is happening! Revelation 17:17 says that “God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will ….” While Satan is controlling this empire, God is using it all to bring people to repentance. He wants them to turn from the ways of this world and its evils and turn to Him!
Isaiah 10 tells us that this empire will most certainly be led by Assyria, which is biblically prophetic language for modern-day Germany. The Germans are a great people in many ways, but they have also started two world wars, and your Bible says they will be responsible for starting a third!
Germany has already risen to unmatched power within Europe. From the beginning of the European unification project, Germany has worked to dominate and even domineer. If it had really repented of its sins of World War ii, in which over 60 million people died, it would not be doing that today.
Britain left the European Union because it could see what was happening and would not submit to that. Bible prophecy also made clear that Britain would not be part of the EU, which is why we foretold its exit for decades.
In 1978, with Britain firmly entrenched in the European Economic Community, Mr. Armstrong continued to prophesy of a “soon-coming resurrected ‘Holy Roman Empire’—a sort of soon-coming ‘United States of Europe’—a union of 10 nations to rise up out of or following the Common Market of today.” In conclusion of the article he wrote: “Britain will not be in that empire soon to come.”
How accurate this forecast was!
In 1945, when Germany was still smoldering in ruins after World War ii, he said, “Europe, or Germany, is going to rise again, and so is the Holy Roman Empire.” The sixth resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire, led by Hitler, had just been defeated. But when all the world said Germany would never rise again, Mr. Armstrong prophesied it would—and would lead the most tyrannical and destructive resurrection by far!
In 1967, Mr. Armstrong said that once the population of Europe came together, you would see a superpower that would probably grow to become the greatest power on Earth. That power is forming now. Germany is the third-leading exporting nation in the world. It is an economic and political powerhouse. It has grown to a prominence that the Allies in World War ii pledged it would never have again. Even militarily, it has become extraordinarily powerful.
During the Cold War, the leading generals in Europe adamantly warned that rearming Germany to help fight off the Soviet Union was a calculated risk. But we decided to take that risk. The world is about to experience the terrifying results of rearming the German war machine.
When the Prophet Daniel saw visions of what this empire would do in the end time, he was so astonished that he fainted! (Daniel 8:27). Now, unless this world repents and heeds God’s warning, we are going to literally experience those events Daniel saw only in vision! We need to do some deep repenting, and quickly, because time is running out.
The coronavirus has created problems for Europe that have increased the pressure for unity. Right now, Europe is weak and divided—a condition that the German people, most of all, cannot live with. They are going to respond, you can be sure. People’s yearning for a “strongman, who finally takes action, will grow stronger.” And they will get their strongman. That man will hijack Europe and transform it into another iteration of the Holy Roman Empire, just as previous strongmen have done including Charlemagne, Otto the Great and Adolf Hitler.
The details of these prophecies we have been proclaiming for over 75 years are now coming to pass. You can see even the twigs on the tree beginning to sprout.
I hope you will repent and heed God’s message, so God can help you and protect you through the terrible times that are coming.
But even in all of this terrible news, there is good news. Daniel 8:25 reads, “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” This powerful strongman will act like he wants peace when he really wants war. But he will make the terrible mistake of fighting against Jesus Christ Himself! Is that logical? This illustrates how evil that empire is! But at His return, Jesus Christ will destroy this man and the armies of the Holy Roman Empire.
This world knows so little about God and His prophecies. They simply don’t understand what is written in the Bible. But you can. This is all explained in our booklets Daniel—Unsealed at Last! and He Was Right (all our literature is free).
People must start looking to God and His Word. That is the only way we can have peace in this world. True peace is coming shortly—in just a very few years! We can thank God for that!
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