Is the European Dream Dead?
Europe’s grand postwar experiment with unification is dead.
At least that’s what a slew of analysts surveying Europe during its ongoing financial crisis believe. “Whatever happens in the short run,” noted Stratfor ceo George Friedman, “it is difficult to envision any further integration of European institutions. And it is very easy to see how the European Union will devolve from its ambitious vision into an alliance of convenience …” (May 25, emphasis mine throughout). Even many inside the ailing combine confess the EU is on the brink. In May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that if the euro fails, “then not only the currency fails … Europe will fail, and with it the idea of European unity.”
In many ways, this “moment of truth” was inevitable. The Continent, as anyone who has traveled it or read European history knows, is a patchwork of diverse and oftentimes conflicting races and religions, languages and cultures. For nearly six decades, Europhiles defied this reality and systematically—and to a certain extent successfully, at least politically, financially and institutionally—forged integration. But when the financial crisis erupted, reality hit and the dream of a stable, united Pax Europa died.
In spite of this entirely rational conclusion, the Trumpet teaches with unswerving persistence that a globally dominant German-led European superstate is right now being born. To some it sounds irrational and unfounded, but we firmly believe European unification is imminent!
Who is right—the host of seasoned analysts, or the Trumpet? By forecasting the imminent integration of Europe, is the Trumpet ignoring reality? As radical as these differing forecasts appear to be, can they possibly be reconciled?
A Perfect Analogy
The answers to these questions are revealed in one of the many specific biblical prophecies about end-time events in Europe. We find this nugget of understanding in Daniel 2, which is the central prophecy to understanding world history.
In this chapter, the young Jewish Prophet Daniel recounts a dream that the Chaldean King Nebuchadnezzar had in the late sixth century b.c. In his dream, King Nebuchadnezzar saw a magnificent statue comprised of four distinct parts: its head of gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly of brass, and its legs of iron (image, page 25).
In verses 31-35, God reveals to the king, through Daniel, that these successive materials represent four successive world-ruling empires. The head of gold represented the Babylonian/Chaldean Empire, which dominated in the sixth-seventh centuries b.c. The chest of silver represented the Medo-Persian Empire, which replaced the Babylonians as the dominant power in the fifth century. The belly of bronze represented Alexander the Great’s Greek Empire of the fourth century.
The legs of iron picture the Roman Empire that began in 31 b.c., and which, as history books attest, had capitals in both Rome and Constantinople. Prophecies in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17 complement this prophecy in Daniel 2, and plainly reveal that this fourth empire, the Roman Empire, would exist and dominate the world in successive stages, or resurrections. (For more information on this image, request our free booklet Daniel Unlocks Revelation.)
It is the last resurrection of the Roman Empire—or the “Holy” Roman Empire, as it is described in Revelation 17—that the Trumpet forecasts is emerging in Europe. The Daniel 2 image reveals the chronological succession of world powers, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian Empire, pictured by the head of gold, and concluding with the last resurrection of the Roman Empire, represented by the feet of the image.
So how, exactly, are the feet of the image described?
Read it in verses 41-43: “And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron …. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay … they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”
Mull that over for a moment: Isthere a more apt description of Europe today
Politically and economically, and even culturally, Europe is a continent of iron and clay. Some nations, like Germany, are strong and robust. Others are weak and fragile. The European Union is a mixture of both iron and clay—making it “partly strong” and “partly broken.”
But remember, the feet and toes of iron and clay are integrated—but only for a brief moment.
Based on this prophecy, the Trumpet forecasts the emergence of this short-lived and crumbly—yet overwhelmingly powerful, possessing the “strength of iron”—European superstate!
He Was Right!
Notice what the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in 1956 about this final resurrection of the Roman Empire: “It will possess greater military might by far than the Rome of old, but it will also inherit fatal weaknesses. Prophecy symbolizes this admixture of never-equaled military might and unprecedented weakness with the apt phrase, ‘iron mixed with miry clay.’ The European nations will unite militarily—but they are suspicious and envious of each other—they hate one another.”
You see, Mr. Armstrong (and the Trumpet today) was not ignorant of the rudimentary differences between many of Europe’s countries, cultures and peoples. He understood and consistently took into account geopolitics and international relations, which is partly why he concluded that the European states that comprised the last resurrection of the Roman Empire would be “suspicious and envious of each other.” In this sense, Mr. Armstrong, decades ago, anticipated and warned of the current tumult besieging Europe.
Neither Mr. Armstrong nor Gerald Flurry and the Trumpet have ever taught that Europe would coalesce into a long-term and stable power. Rather, we have prophesied consistently that while Europe will unite, its bonds will be weak and short-lived, like the bond between clay and iron.
“[T]he last, final, brief resurrection of the ‘Holy Roman Empire’ by 10 European groups or nations” is forming, Mr. Armstrong wrote. “[A]nd they shall last but a very short space, possibly no more than two to three and a half years” (Plain Truth, May 1979).
If you think on it a while, this truly is mind-staggering. This prophecy was written more than 2,500 years ago, yet it describes present-day Europe perfectly. Moreover, it reconciles the seemingly contradictory viewpoints about Europe espoused today by the Trumpet and other analysts.
Yet this prophecy has value far beyond merely being informative.
The Most Inspiring Detail
Verses 34-35 show that King Nebuchadnezzar in his dream saw a giant stone fall from heaven and smash the image’s feet of iron and clay. The image then toppled, with each part—the gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay—being pulverized into dust-size pieces, after which the entire structure was blown away by the wind like “chaff.” The entire image vanished. It was like it had never existed.
Of all the magnificent details in this vivid prophecy, the stone that strikes the feet of the image is by far the most significant and most inspiring detail of all. This stone is the focal point of this entire prophecy!
Daniel explains the stone in verse 44: “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.”
This hurtling stone, which is the fifth and final kingdom, is actually the Kingdom of God
Notice too, unlike all the deeply flawed, humanly devised and operated empires before it, God’s empire is not left to human beings to govern. This final empire is divinely governed, which means that in every way its quality—its leadership, its laws and culture, and the conduct of its citizens—is far superior to every human kingdom that came before it. (You can learn more about this kingdom by requesting a free copy of The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like.)
Finally, notice when this heavenly kingdom will be established on Earth. Daniel says that in “the days of these kings”—or at the time of the feet of iron and miry clay—God will establish this fifth and final world-ruling empire!
Talk about an inspiring message of clarity and hope! Keep watching Europe, and as you do, always remember: The more Europe takes on the features of clay and iron, the closer we are to the establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth.