Europe: Where Iron and Clay Unite
Boiled down to its essentials, the financial and political pandemonium in Europe comes down to one thing: conflicting national interests.
The ongoing financial crisis seems to be exposing the futility of European unification. Despite more than half a century of systematic and often forced integration, the European continent remains a patchwork of diverse and oftentimes clashing races and religions, languages and cultures. Depending on which you count, Europe is comprised of more than 30 sovereign states, many with diverging political, geopolitical and economic interests.
Europe’s ongoing financial crisis is resurrecting this reality, and leading many analysts to dismiss the idea of lasting unification as a pipe dream. “I fully believe the EU is on the verge of a systemic collapse,” warns Graham Summers, chief market strategist at Phoenix Capital Research. “I would change the common phrase applied to the EU’s political/financial policies from ‘extend and pretend’ to ‘lie until you are about to die.’”
“From the most beleaguered members of the European Union to the relations between its strongest and most stable members, there is now profound disharmony,” wrote Stratfor ceo George Friedman following the Greek elections. “The more elections are held, the more the public will force their leaders in various directions.”
Drawing a contrast with the U.S. Civil War, Friedman asks, “Who will die for the European Union? And what will hold it together when its decisions are unpopular? The concept of extended integration can work, but not without the passion that moves a Greek or a German to protect his and his country’s interest. Without that, the glue that holds nations together is missing in the European Union. The greater the integration, the more this will reveal itself.”
Smart people are looking at Europe and drawing logical conclusions.
Fact is, the consensus among experts is nearly unanimous: European unification as a stable and long-term reality is impossible.
As regular readers know, the Trumpet teaches that a globally dominant German-led European superstate is right now being born. For some, these seemingly contradictory viewpoints on European integration can be confusing. Many brilliant analysts are studying reality and logically predicting further disunity. Meanwhile, the Trumpet is forecasting unity. Who’s right?
Truth is, reconciling these contradictory forecasts is simple when we understand one of the many specific biblical prophecies about end-time events in Europe.
This nugget of understanding is in Daniel 2, which is the central prophecy to understanding world history. In this chapter, Daniel recounts a dream that the Chaldean King Nebuchadnezzar had in the late sixth century b.c. In his dream, 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.
In verses 31-35, God reveals to the king, through the young Prophet Daniel, that these successive materials represent four successive empires. The head of gold represented the Babylonian/Chaldean Empire under Nebuchadnezzar. The chest of silver represented the Medo-Persian Empire. The belly of bronze represented Alexander the Great’s Greek Empire. The legs of iron picture the Roman Empire, which, as history books attest, had capitals in both Rome and Constantinople. Complementary prophecies in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17 show that this fourth empire, the Roman Empire, would exist and dominate in successive stages, or resurrections.
It is the last resurrection of the Roman Empire (or the “Holy” Roman Empire, as it is specifically described in Revelation 17) that the Trumpet forecasts is rising in Europe. It’s logical that this final resurrection of the Roman Empire would be represented by the feet of the Daniel 2 image. And how are the feet of the image described in Daniel 2:41-43? “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.”
What a powerfully apt description of Europe today!
Politically and economically, Europe is a continent of iron and clay. Some nations, like Germany, are strong and robust. Others, like clay compared to iron, are weak and fragile. And the European Union is a tepid mixture of both iron and clay—making it “partly strong” and “partly broken.”
But notice, the feet and toes of iron and clay are integrated—for a very brief moment in time!
The Trumpet forecasts the emergence of this short-lived and factitious, yet overwhelmingly powerful—possessing the “strength of iron”—European superstate!
Here is what Herbert 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 was not ignorant of the fundamental differences among Europe’s many countries, cultures and peoples. He understood geopolitics and international relations, and he recognized that European countries are “suspicious and envious of each other.” In this sense, he saw the current chaos besieging Europe decades ago. Neither Mr. Armstrong nor Gerald Flurry and the Trumpet have ever believed that Europe would coalesce into a long-term and stable power.
Rather, we have prophesied consistently that while Europe will unite, its existence as a superstate will be very brief! “[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).
Spectacular, isn’t it? This detailed prophecy—written more than 2,500 years ago—reconciles perfectly the seemingly contradictory viewpoints about Europe espoused by the Trumpet and many other analysts.
Consider too, this enlightening description of the “iron and clay” is not even the most amazing insight into world events furnished by God’s prophecy in Daniel 2. Verses 34-35 show King Nebuchadnezzar in his dream saw a giant stone fall from heaven and smash the image’s feet of iron and clay. After it was toppled and pulverized into dust-size pieces, the entire image—the gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay—was blown away by the wind like “chaff.”
What does this stone and this last chapter in the dream represent? Daniel explains 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.” You see, despite the light it sheds on world history and end-time events, the most important and inspiring part of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream actually revolves around the destruction of this image—and the subsequent establishment of God’s Kingdom in the place of these man-made empires!
God’s Kingdom actually emerges out of the destruction of this final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire!
If you’re interested in learning more about the Daniel 2 image, request and then study (especially Chapter Two) our free booklet Daniel Unlocks Revelation.