Great Greek Tragedy of the Revived Roman Empire
By Wilfred Hahn ((Eternal Value Review)
It is interesting to reflect on the significance of the fact that of all the countries in the European Union (E.U.) today, Greece could be the catalyst for the possible dissolution of a unified Europe. After all, back in 1981, Greece was the 10th nation to join the E.U. (then called the European Common Market (ECM)) which at the time drove prophecy observers into a tizzy. Understandably, many were absolutely sure that the 10-nation revival of the Roman Empire was at hand. As it turned out, only five years later both Portugal and Spain joined, pushing ECM membership to 12. Membership has since expanded to 27 nations.
There are additional interesting facts. The Greece of today, which includes ancient Macedonia and other city states of old, was the nexus of the first world power to come from the region we today call Europe. Alexander the Great, who was Macedonian, not only unified Greece, but also conquered the then-known world of his time. The previous world-ruling powers recorded in the Bible had all been from the Middle East, including Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Medo-Persia. Another European-based power followed — this being depicted as the sixth head on the beast shown in Revelation 12, 13 and 17 — which was the Roman-led era. All of these, six plus one more, are represented in the image of the beast with 7 heads described a number of times in Scripture (about which we will explain more shortly.)
But there is one even more interesting curiosity. All but one of the 7 world-ruling empires represented by the 7-headed beast were exposed to at least one official introduction to the God of the Hebrews. All but Greece.
For those not familiar with this beast, its seven heads (in this writer’s view) are represented by Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and the final 10-king (10-horned) revived global Roman Empire. These represent the sequential (and existing) gentile world reigns that oppress Israel. These are the kings (and nations) about which Daniel says, “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people” (Daniel 2:44).
The Nations Know God Rules
Let’s briefly recount the national encounters with the God of the Hebrews. Beginning with the first of the ancient powers in the story of Israel, Egypt surely encountered the superior power of this God, the Jehovah of the Hebrews. It was demonstrated to the Pharaoh in no uncertain terms through Moses who was dispatched to represent God to this mighty kingdom. Following the miraculous exodus of the Hebrews through the parted Red Sea, the entire world of that time feared the God of the Hebrews.
Assyria, in turn, was visited by the reluctant prophet Jonah. He visited Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrian empire, preaching a message of repentance. Hearing Jonah’s warnings from God, the king of Nineveh promptly declared “Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.” The entire nation repented … at least for a time.
Later, Daniel and his three colleagues (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) demonstrated the power of the one true God to Nebuchadnezzar more than once. God then dealt directly with Nebuchadnezzar through his 7-year ordeal in the wilderness. He finally recognized the one and only God, saying “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37).
The prophet Daniel also delivered a demonstration of the power of the God of the Hebrews to Darius, the ruler of Medo-Persia. God miraculously protected him in the lion’s den which was the punishment decreed by Darius. Seeing the evidence of the Hebrew’s God, Darius proclaimed to his entire empire: "For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth" (Daniel 6:26-27).
This last of the seven heads to receive a witness of God to date was the sixth, the Roman Empire. It was visited by Jesus Christ himself and his disciples who had many opportunities to testify of the Gospel before magistrates and Roman officials.
Yet, mysteriously, there is no account in the Bible of any of God’s prophets having delivered a proclamation of God to Greece … not one. All that we have are extra-biblical accounts involving Alexander the Great and the Seleucid kings that followed. The only record of contact with Alexander the Great is found in the writings of Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian. Apparently, Alexander visited Jerusalem following his conquest of Gaza.
We see that Greece is the only kingdom represented by one of the seven heads of the beast that was not visited by a prophet. Could it be that Greece will indeed yet be visited by a prophet in the future? We can only speculate. What we do know is that one more visitation by prophets will be made during the Antichrist’s rule. Two Witnesses will provide a demonstration of God’s power during the Tribulation period. That will occur during the time of the 8th king (possibly also the time of the 7th head which is comprised of the 10 kings).
But today, we are still living in the time of the 6th head. Could modern-day Europe yet play a significant role in the formation of the 7th head … the head with 10 horns?
Modern Day Grecian Financial Tremors
Ever since the first financial restructuring for Greece was arranged in 2010, Europe has been front-page news. In recent times, instabilities have escalated to the point where the survival of the Euro (the common currency of 17 member countries of the Eurozone) is being questioned. In fact, it is wondered whether the E.U. will even survive in its current form. It remains a valid question despite the occasional optimistic pronouncements of Europe’s leaders.
Many analysts are extremely pessimistic about the fate of Europe longer-term. They conclude that the current monetary and government budget arrangements of the individual E.U. member nations and that of the broader, supra-European institutions such as the European Central Bank (ECB) and lately the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) are incompatible and are sure to lead to financial disaster and break-up of the currency union as well as the European Union (comprised of 27 nations).
No doubt, there exist very serious debt imbalances and economic sustainability issues within the current membership of the European monetary union. Indeed, the current situation is not sustainable nor are any of the solutions proposed to date. Economically-strong nations such as Germany and the Netherlands have generally been reliant upon their more profligate Eurozone member countries for export demand; these include Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and others which have been running trade deficits. This is only possible if nations with trade surpluses such as Germany are also willing to provide what amounts to vendor financing to these other buyers of their goods. After all, it only follows that for every borrower there must be a lender.
Incidentally, this is the same type of imbalance that has emerged between China (including other Asian export nations) and the United States. America is able to buy Chinese goods as long as China in turn buys U.S. bonds (debt) or facilitates the purchase of U.S. debt by other surplus nations. For a time, the anguished focus of financial markets is upon Europe. However, once the European crises have been (at least) temporarily quieted, the focus of the global financial community will again turn to the shaky finances of the U.S. and particular states (i.e. Wisconsin, California, etc.)
As it is, there is no shortage of other potential crisis hotspots in the world, including Japan, China and the perennial geopolitical eruptions in the Middle East. We can expect, though not precisely predict, that a state of rolling crises, rotating between different countries and regions of the world, will remain a sign of our times.
However, back to Europe; here, the deficit countries had continued to be net importers, thanks to the funding of the exporting nations in Europe. That this state of affairs could not last was never a surprise. In this type of system, the chasm between lenders and borrowers becomes so large that the debt in relation to the servicing capability of the debtor nation becomes unsupportable and the whole merry-go-round comes to a panicked stop. This, in short, explains the main structural impossibility that underlies the current Eurozone and is the cause of recent financial calamities.
But what next?
Some economic analysts are sure that the current “Common Europe” project is finished and unsalvageable and that the European Union is certain to break up. A few European politicians have made even darker speculations, suggesting that if Europe’s financial instabilities are not solved and the euro is abandoned, it will again lead to war. Since the main objective behind the European Union was peace, its break up is certain to be tragic. Said Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, “Nobody should take for granted another 50 years of peace and prosperity in Europe ... that's why I say: If the Euro fails, Europe fails.”
We could continue here with an economic and financial analysis and attempt to make some predictions of our own. Frankly, it is impossible to make any accurate forecasts about the possible detailed sequence of events ahead. However, Bible prophecy does allow us to draw several conclusions.
The Bible on Europe
Here is what we do know: The current 27-nation configuration of the European Union will not last. How can we be sure? Because there will only be 10 member nations in the final global power coalition according to the Bible.
Readers will be familiar with the “10 kings” (mentioned or pictured in at least 5 prophecies found in both the Old and New Testaments) that come together in the last days to form a world-ruling coalition. We have published a number of articles on this topic in the past. (As a primer, please read the 3-part article series entitled “Searching for the Last-day 10 Kings” published in this column from October to December 2006.) The 10 kings are depicted as 10 horns in Revelation 12, 13 and 17. "The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom […]” (Revelation 17:12).
They are also depicted as 10 toes on the statue described in Daniel 2 and again as 10 horns in Daniel 7. “The ten horns are ten kings” (Daniel 7:24). As such, we can know that the final configuration of the Revived Roman Empire will be a coalition of 10 nations and not 27.
Furthermore, we can be reasonably sure, based on statements in the Bible, that at least some of the member nations (if not all) of the final 10 kings will be from modern-day Europe. In previous articles, we outlined 13 Biblical clues and characteristics of the final identities and composition of the 10 kings. This analysis concluded that views such as all 10 kings coming from the Islamic Middle East, for example, are highly unlikely to be correct. It is also argued that at least some of the member-nations of this coalition will be from Europe. Is it possible that all 10 members could come from Europe?
What Can be Concluded from Recent Financial Crises?
In view of the above-mentioned perspectives, it only follows that a new group of 10 kings must yet form. The current 27-member union of the European Union must therefore give way to a new power coalition.
Can anything more be concluded from the crisis events in Europe regarding the final form of the future Revived Roman Empire revealed in the Bible? Frankly, no. That may seem surprising to readers given the near-unanimity amongst many Bible prophecy students on this matter. The view that all of the final members of the 10-nation coalition will come from modern-day Europe is virtually considered to be fact.
We cannot yet assign a 100% probability to this outcome. Yes indeed, it may very well occur that all 10 “kings” will come from Europe as it is a very plausible theory. But it remains exactly that — a theory. While the current and future extension of the ancient Roman Empire is indeed verified by Scripture, the identity of the 10 nations and their geographic location is not. Therefore, while this theory is not precluded, at the same time it cannot be proven nor deduced from Scripture as there are other possible outcomes.
Daniel 9:26B says the following: “The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” This confirms that the final Ruler (the Antichrist) will come from the Roman-type peoples.
Today, 47 nations are located (fully or at least partially) in the geographic area of the Roman Empire of approximately 2 millennia ago. Though some “people” of that ancient Roman Empire have since migrated to populate the New World, it would be reasonable to assume that at least some of the final 10 kings would come from today’s Europe. However, a number of the nation members of the group of ten could also come from the New World.
Many nations in the New World are Roman offshoots, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, Argentina, and many others. As history shows, many Roman-type peoples have founded new nations in other parts of the world.
It is very plausible that Europe could break apart into several sub-groups of countries. For example, one economic research firm holds the view that a group of northern nations headed by Germany will split off. They would have their own currency (dubbed the “neuro”). Southern European nations would also form their own group (these generally being the countries with deficits) as they desperately will want their own currency that they can then devalue (this currency being dubbed the “sudo”). Other groups could splinter off as well. While smaller groups could emerge, these still may not represent the final 10.
Crisis and Debt Play a Necessary Role in Geopolitical Shifts
As it was, crises had been considered a necessary part of the Europe project. After all, it is only during crisis that urgency generates the collective will-power to move further towards a unified Europe. As each step is taken closer to this outcome, there is an unpopular whittling down of the individual sovereign powers of each of the individual nations. For example, the southern European nations of Spain, Portugal, Greece (and perhaps soon Italy) are effectively already under the financial oversight of the northern European nations.
The realization that crisis must play a role in this process was always in the mind of the leaders behind the “Common Europe” movement. For example, Romano Prodi, EU Commission President, stated in December 2001, “I am sure the Euro will oblige us to introduce a new set of economic policy instruments. It is politically impossible to propose that now. But some day there will be a crisis and new instruments will be created.”
Readers may not realize that extreme wealth imbalances and high indebtedness are in fact prophesied as being endtime conditions (See James 5:1-6). Very definitely, such unequal distributions have occurred before throughout history in various places and times.
What is different today is that these phenomena are world-wide, applying to the entire global distribution of wealth. We can definitely see that debt-related issues are prime catalysts behind global geopolitical shifts.
The prophet Habakkuk (according to our interpretation) reveals that the final ruling structure of the world will in fact be an indebted one. “Will not your debtors suddenly arise? Will they not wake up and make you tremble? Then you will become their victim” (Habakkuk 2:7).
While the European project will eventually give way to the final 10-king power coalition, crises will most certainly to play a role in this evolution. The same has proven to be a catalyst for globalism overall. Anything is possible at this stage; it may very well occur that a smaller group of 10 nations will now emerge.
Thoughts to Ponder
Just what is the solution to Europe’s problems? The reality is that policy makers are out of ideas as to how to rectify the current situation. Recent meetings of the G20 and the IMF (International Monetary Foundation) have come up with empty pronouncements and lots of hand-wringing. Taking a Biblical world view, the spirit we clearly see spanning the globe today is that of the materialistic pagan. The supposed “happiness” that humanity has been collectively seeking through materialistic satiation has sadly been undermined by the very same unbridled pursuit.
The influences of human greed, lack of love (i.e. pure motivations behind economic actions), self-interest, and the pursuit of “false gods” have been the culprits. By mankind’s own choice, these forces are indelibly leading the world to the final last-day conditions that the Bible foretells.
This is a crucial point. We must not take the view that mankind is hostage to prophecy … that the prophecies of the Bible have condemned mankind to folly and disaster. This is not true. In these matters, Bible prophecy is only telling us the choices of mankind in advance which is a completely different perspective.
We are living in unprecedented times, in which the “raw emotions” of materialistic people and the desperate “strong arm tactics” of the world’s policymakers can lead to some very extreme and rapid outcomes. The possible outcomes range from a broad collapse of financial economies to the development of new, and perhaps sudden, power structures.
Without a doubt, as the Bible does tell us, a group of 10 nations will come together in the very last days and for a brief period of time they will rule the world. They usher in the rulership of the Antichrist. These kings “[…] for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast” (Revelation 17:12-13).
The appearance of the final 7th head of the beast is very near. For those people fixated on the appearance of the Antichrist or speculating about the advent of the Antichrist’s signing of a peace treaty with Israel (see Daniel 9:27), they are looking in the wrong direction. The 10 kings come first. Daniel tells us that “The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this [Roman] kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones […]” (Daniel 7:24).
To repeat, only “after” the appearance of the 10 kings will the 8th king (the Antichrist) arise. “[…] but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction” (Revelation 17:10-11).
We are today witnessing the birth pangs that will lead to the emergence of this last 10-king global power coalition.
Will the world miss these events? No. This is because it will not be a secret conspiratorial power arrangement or some type of vague association of nations that will be invisible to the world and the CNN news network. Why?
God never fulfills his prophecies in secret. He wants the world to know beyond a doubt that He alone is the one and only True God who foretells the future. Similarly, Jesus also warned that his Second Coming — this also being an essential fulfillment of prophecy and a great validation to the world of his Godhood — will also not occur in secret. He said: "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24: 26-27).
With little doubt, we can say that the world will soon see a miraculous emergence of a 10-king power structure. The world today is at the cusp of the transition from the reign of the 6th head — the Roman Era — to the 7th (second from last) 10-king global regime. The reign of this last 10-horned rulership — what we have in the past called the Global 10-king Power Coalition — will be very brief. The 10 kings will not emerge as a secret cabal run from a smoky back room or in a distant remote spot in the world. It will come into play with lightning.
The great crisis that we see today in Europe will very likely play a role in its eventual emergence