“There are events that catalyze the history.” These words were spoken by Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign-policy chief, at a high-level meeting in September. “Sometimes something happens that pushes the history, creates a breakthrough, and I think the Afghanistan events of this summer are one of these cases.”
I strongly agree with Mr. Borrell. We are beginning to see how America’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the collapse of American leadership it represented, is changing the world. That disaster fulfilled Bible prophecy and drove several other prophecies forward toward their consummation.
World events show that we are nearing the fulfillment of an astonishing biblical prophecy. It describes the rise of an end-time strongman in Europe—the very last human leader before Jesus Christ returns. I am certain we are about to see this man arise to hijack the European Union!
For Our Day Only
The longest single vision in the Bible is recorded in Daniel 10:10 through 12:4. God revealed the vision to Daniel during the third year of the reign of Cyrus the Great (Daniel 10:1)—around 535 b.c. This prophecy foretold events that were provably later fulfilled. Our free booklet History and Prophecy of the Middle East explains these events that happened millenniums ago. For example, Daniel 11 prophesied the rise and fall of Alexander the Great. Verse 4 prophesied that “his kingdom shall be broken, and … divided toward the four winds of heaven.” That is what happened in the late fourth century b.c. after Alexander’s untimely death, when his kingdom was split among his four top generals.
The prophecy then focuses on what eventually happened in two of the four divisions of his fallen empire: the northern and southern kingdoms. After the southern kingdom grew strong (verse 5), it eventually led to the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes in the northern kingdom, who took control unlawfully. This account is vividly explained in many history books. But it was prophecy before it became history! As the late Herbert W. Armstrong explained in The Proof of the Bible, fulfilled prophecy is the strongest proof that an Almighty God exists. This should build our faith in God and His prophecies.
Yet much of Daniel’s vision remains unfulfilled. Daniel clearly reveals that this vision is for “the latter days” (Daniel 10:14). Some of those events that occurred anciently also have an end-time fulfillment. Today we again have a “king of the north” and “king of the south.” Daniel’s detailed description about Antiochus Epiphanes points to a latter-day Antiochus who will rule over an end-time “king of the north.” This prophecy tells us exactly what will happen and how this modern strongman will come to power. The most astonishing parts of this prophecy are to come to pass in our day!
Antiochus was a king of the Seleucid Empire in the second century b.c. He controlled most of the Middle East. (Read our article “Who Was Antiochus Epiphanes?” to understand how evil this man was.) This ancient Antiochus conformed to many of the details recorded in Daniel, but he didn’t live to see the Messiah’s coming in all power and glory as this modern Antiochus will.
In fact, at the conclusion of this vision, when Daniel said he didn’t understand it, he was explicitly told, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end …. Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4, 9).
The book of Daniel is only for the end time! It has never even been understood prior to our day. Daniel 8:19 also talks about “the last end”—that is, the last end of the end time. As I explain in detail in my free booklet Daniel—Unsealed at Last!, that is the time we now live in!
God has now unsealed this book for our understanding, so the meaning of these prophecies can be clearly understood. God wants you to know exactly what is happening and what it means for you personally.
The “king of the north” today lies in Europe, and at the heart of Europe is Germany. This is the power we must watch closely. A related prophecy in Isaiah 10:5-7 refers to Assyria, the ancient name for Germany (for proof, read “Is Germany in Bible Prophecy?” at theTrumpet.com/17944). Various passages show that we must watch Germany to see this vision in Daniel unfold.
This prophecy has a lot of bad news; it may seem depressing, even discouraging. Daniel 12:1 says “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.” Christ called this time “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). That is suffering like has never been experienced on Earth! Yet read the entirety of Daniel 12:1: There God promises, “[A]t that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” God will protect His faithful people from all that suffering. He then details the resplendent reward awaiting those saints (verses 2-3). Other prophecies show that these events flow directly into the most glorious news in history: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
How wonderful that we see current events already bringing this astonishing prophecy toward its conclusion!
Events Hastening the Vision
In evacuating Afghanistan, America has virtually abandoned the Middle East. It will most certainly strengthen Iran, which is the chief sponsor of terrorism and allied with the Taliban and various other terrorist groups. Already we are seeing Iran’s rise in the leadership vacuum the United States left behind. And as I wrote in my cover story in our October 2021 Trumpet issue, America’s retreat was designed, on purpose, to be a debacle.
Europe’s leaders were shocked by America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. The U.S. exposed its willingness to abandon our friends and allies. It proved, in fact, that we will not even help our own people! We snuck our military out and left at least hundreds of Americans behind. That is not how a superpower operates! What happened in Afghanistan has taken America off the world stage. We are not just withdrawing from Afghanistan; we are withdrawing from the world!
After witnessing what America did, European leaders know they cannot rely on the U.S. as an ally as they have since World War ii.
EU defense and foreign ministers, along with officials from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United Nations, met in Slovenia on September 2 to discuss the EU’s need for a combined military force. They are fearful now. Why? “It’s clear that the need for more European defense has never been … as evident as today after the events in Afghanistan,” Josep Borrell said before the meeting.
Europe doesn’t trust America’s protection anymore. “In my view, we do not need another such geopolitical event to grasp that the EU must strive for greater decision-making autonomy and greater capacity for action in the world,” European Council President Charles Michel said on September 1. This thinking is not new, but America’s withdrawal is giving Europe urgency to take action.
Europe is in a precarious state and is on the cusp of radical change. The Bible prophesies that 10 kings will arise within Europe and combine to form a single formidable empire—a modern-day resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire (read “Why the Trumpet Watches Europe’s Ongoing Unification Project”). Revelation 17 speaks of these “ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast” (verse 12). We must understand how the Afghanistan debacle is hastening that change. It is helping that alliance of 10 kings to coalesce and catalyze the formation of a biblically prophesied European empire!
Added to that, in September, the Biden administration made a deal strengthening the military alliance between America, the United Kingdom and Australia (aukus) (sidebar, page 4). The move was particularly provocative to China. Some said it intensified a cold war that is developing between these nations and China. Where does this leave Europe?
“Across Europe today, many strategists and analysts are talking about the need to construct a common European defense strategy, since it’s now on the outside looking in on the new Great Game of the 21st century between China and aukus,” wrote John Allen Jr. for Crux. European leaders are talking about positioning Europe “as a legitimate ‘third way’ between the poles of the new cold war” (September 18). The Anglo-Saxon “way” will be fading from the scene quickly if we don’t learn some lessons! And Europeans don’t even consider themselves part of the Anglo-Saxon alliance anymore.
With this unfolding cold war between the U.S. and China, Allen wrote, Europe is “either relegated to the sidelines or finding a new role for itself.”
In Leviticus 26:19, God warned that He would break the pride of America’s power if we don’t repent and change our ways. We still have power, but we lack the will to use it! And as a result, Europe is growing anxious over its own leadership vacuum.
There is a real recognition in Europe of their need for military unity. The trouble is, they lack the robust leadership needed to bring it about. Analysts say Europe is up for grabs.
It is no coincidence that at this moment, Germany is in acute political turmoil. As a result, all of Europe is leaderless. These crises are laying the foundation for the rise of a modern Antiochus.
Germany’s Political Opportunity
Allen wrote his article on September 18, before Germany’s national elections on September 26. Angela Merkel, the most respected leader in Europe, is about to be replaced—yet the election yielded no clear winner.
“The Germans Face Months of Uncertainty After Knife-edge Election,” the Times of London reported. The vote produced a deadlock! It could be some time—perhaps months—before Germany, the strongest nation in Europe, has a new government. And even then, the governing coalition is certain to be brittle and frail.
This is going to produce a magnificent opportunity for somebody to assume power through deceit and flatteries. We must closely follow German politics! Europe truly is up for grabs!
A modern-day Antiochus is prophesied to rise. He is going to hijack and gain control of what is going to quickly become a powerful Holy Roman Empire. He will usurp control from those who might have had more noble ideas about that empire.
The stark reality is, without such a man in charge, Europe will never become the superpower it wants to be! As much as they talk about building a unified military, the EU as currently constituted cannot rise to the intensifying challenges of a post-American world!
If Europe builds a mighty single army, who would command it? Italian political scientist Ernesto Galli della Loggia asked this crucial question in Corriere della Sera on September 22. Making war would require consensus among 27 EU member states! “Is it ever imaginable that 27 political leaders—expressions of electorates, traditions and interests enormously different among themselves—would decide to embark on a military action that could become violent and cost the lives of some of their own citizens, beyond creating unpredictably serious complications?” he asked.
No—that will never happen. Europe needs one strongman at the helm. And it is going to get one.
Daniel 11:21 reads, “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” Anciently, men were naive and credulous, and Antiochus took advantage of them. He pretended to be someone he was not and obtained office through flatteries and deceit. This is a pattern we need to watch for in the modern “king of the north.” Moffatt says this “vile person” is “a despicable creature.” A “despicable creature” is going to take control.
How could this happen in the sophisticated nations of Europe?
Europeans are facing great crises, including economic instability, terrorism and illegal immigration, rising threats from Asia. In times of crisis, people are less concerned about democratic norms. They need strong leadership. That has to come from Germany, which dominates and even domineers Europe today. It is the powerhouse.
In the end, 10 kings will give their military might to one man, and will form a superpower that will shock the world! We believe there will be one supreme king over 10 kings. (There is a slight possibility that there could be just 10 kings total and that the leadership would come out of Germany.) But whether this prophesied ruler will hold a position in Germany or not, he will rule Germany and the rest of this European conglomerate.
Europe’s present leadership void creates an opening. Even though European states vote their leaders in, they could agree to have one man rule over all of them and give all of their military might (even France’s nuclear bombs) to that overarching power. Suddenly they would not only be a superpower but also a nuclear power with nuclear submarines!
During the U.S. elections in 2008 and 2012, it seemed the elections were up for grabs. What was the result? A man came to power who did terrible destruction to the nation. Tom Brokaw said when Barack Obama was elected president, they did not even vet him; they were off their guard. You know the devil exploited that! It is the way Satan operates.
As I have explained, that man too is an end-time type of Antiochus who wants to “blot out the name of Israel from under heaven” (2 Kings 14:27). Israel means America and Britain (explained in our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy). The Jewish state of Israel, biblical Judah, is also included in this specific prophecy (Hosea 5:5).
Soon a European leader will arise with the very same goal!
‘At the Time of the End’
What will this European Antiochus do when he comes to power? For insight, we can look both at history and at Bible prophecy. The ancient Antiochus clashed in various battles with the king of the south—Egypt at the time. Like Antiochus anciently, this end-time strongman will gain control of the whole Middle East. It will shock this world and change the course of history!
Daniel 11:40 again emphasizes the end-time setting and begins a prophecy of the final destruction of the king of the south: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”
As I explain in my booklet The King of the South, Iran is the king of radical Islam. Right now Iran is building the confidence to push at Germany! Unlike the U.S., Germany has strong intentions to stay involved in the region. But Iran will not like its plans and will seek to expel the Germans.
But the king of the north is going to destroy the king of the south! This connects directly to what we see in Afghanistan. The king of the north sees that it has to do something, and I think it is going to do it very quickly! Since the Taliban are allied with Iran, this prophecy shows that they are about to be destroyed! The Taliban’s victory will not last long!
The next verses reveal, and Psalm 83 concurs, that after Germany destroys Iran, it will target Israel. However, this modern-day Antiochus won’t present himself as an enemy at first. “He shall enter also into the glorious land …” (Daniel 11:41). This doesn’t indicate a forced entry or conquest of Jerusalem. The Jews will likely invite him in, presumably to help keep the peace there. So he will enter peaceably into the city, no doubt with his flatteries and his deceit and his lies.
But this will lead directly to shocking violence! It says clearly in Habakkuk 1:11, Isaiah 10:7 and other scriptures that this man will have a savage change of mind! He becomes possessed by the devil himself! Satan will get a grip on this man’s mind in a horrifying way! In his fierce hatred, Satan wants to blot out the name of Israel—he hates Israel with all his passion! That is what Antiochus intended to do, and the Bible reveals it will be the same today.
Under that malign influence, this strongman will lead this European empire to exercise cruelty such as this world has never seen. Disaster is coming for the Jerusalem area and Israel. The Jews will have nobody to help them. It is all going to end horrifically and suddenly!
Other prophecies show that the “many countries … overthrown” in Daniel 11:41 includes the other modern descendants of ancient Israel, primarily the British peoples and the United States! There is a ruthlessness revealed in this prophecy that history has never witnessed!
This is coming! This is a blistering warning from God. For many people watching world events, this will be an unexpected, sudden turn of events!
As Daniel’s prophecy unfolds, it includes a very telling detail: “And he shall plant the tabernacles [that would be his religion] of his palace [that would be for the king] between the seas [the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea] in the glorious holy mountain [Jerusalem] …” (Daniel 11:45).
This modern-day Holy Roman Empire is once again a church-state alliance—actually an empire guided by a religious power! We not only need to watch for the rise of a strongman to guide the empire, we need to watch for the rise of the Catholic Church’s influence over it.
Europe is politically and even culturally diversified. When Constantine the Great ruled the Roman Empire from a.d. 306 to 337, he found the glue needed to bind the empire together in the Roman Catholic Church. The resurrections of the Holy Roman Empire that followed always required the glue of religion. This will certainly be true of this final European empire, which is pictured in a prophecy in Daniel 2 as being a mixture of iron and miry clay, partly strong and partly broken (verses 41-42).
John Allen Jr. wrote another article, this on September 23, explaining how the success of Europe’s efforts to unify could well be determined by the Vatican and the strength of Catholic influence. He used the ambiguous term “Christian humanism” to describe the church’s effect, but he said this “was the foundation upon which the EU was originally constructed, and it remains the lone European cultural achievement strong enough to sustain anything other than economic prosperity.” He concluded, “The takeaway is that the next few months may be decisive in terms of whether Europe can develop a political infrastructure capable of undergirding Von der Leyen’s desire for enhanced military capacity. In that effort, the Catholic Church across Europe, and especially the Vatican, could play a decisive role.”
Biblical prophecy shows that is absolutely right: For Europe to come together, the Catholic Church must play a decisive role! Watch closely for this to happen!
‘Broken Without Hand’
Daniel 8:9-11 speak symbolically of “a little horn.” Most Bible commentaries will tell you that this too refers to Antiochus—but again, this ancient figure was only a type of an end-time Antiochus. This man “waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land”—and “magnified himself even to the prince of the host,” Jesus Christ! This man will have the gall to actually challenge Christ Himself!
For a short time, he will prosper in his evil (verse 12). This is why we warn about the rise of this man. “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 [he is empowered by the devil himself!]: and he shall destroy wonderfully [mightily, it should read], and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 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 …” (verses 23-25). What an exceedingly destructive regime this satanic man will rule!
But look where his rule ultimately leads! Verse 25 continues, “… he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes [Jesus Christ] ….” After conquering Jerusalem, this Antiochus and his supporters will do something even more shocking: At the Second Coming, they will actually wage war against Jesus Christ!
That is a war they are going to lose emphatically. As verse 25 concludes, “… but he [Antiochus] shall be broken without hand.” He will be broken—not by human beings, but by Jesus Christ and His spirit army!
Christ will destroy this power, and it will never rise again.
Daniel 2 describes the same outcome: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (verse 44). This is the end of the Holy Roman Empire—and all evil empires—forever!
What fabulous news! Christ is going to rule this world and bring it the peace and joy and happiness that it has always desired but never been able to achieve.
This is all going to happen in just a short time—because Antiochus is a sign that Christ’s return is imminent. His appearance on the world stage gives us a time element about when to expect the Second Coming!
A Spectacular Reward!
Now read the inspiring conclusion to that lengthy prophecy in the book of Daniel.
Daniel 12 begins by warning about “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time ….” This world has seen a lot of grievous trouble in its history, but the Tribulation ahead will be worse than any that ever came before! Imagine all these nations with nuclear power and other frightful weapons warring against one another! What untold suffering will befall us if man fails to repent of his sins!
Yet even in this verse, God says, “… and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” God is going to take care of His people. He will protect the people who publicize His warning message to the world!
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (verse 2). That first resurrection—to everlasting life—will also occur at the seventh trumpet. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “[T]he trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible” (1 Corinthians 15:52), and he goes on to say that “[d]eath is swallowed up in victory” (verse 54). This splendid victory awaits those who heed God’s message and give themselves to God!
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). If God’s saints turn people to righteousness, then they will be glorified and will shine forever and ever! What’s more, those who get this message out will be the Bride of Jesus Christ! (Revelation 19:7). They will sit on David’s throne with Jesus Christ and help Him rule the world and then the universe for all eternity!
The conclusion of this vision shows that God allows all the suffering because He wants to turn people to righteousness. We can never forget that supreme goal! And those who help God in achieving this goal will shine as the stars in heaven! Those are the people God describes at the very end of this longest single vision in the Bible. They are motivated, excited and thrilled, moved and stirred to turn many people to righteousness!