May 14, 2012
Europe's Days of Iron and Clay
Things are not going very well for the European Union. In the past couple of weeks, there has been a series of elections in which anti-EU parties have achieved stunning victories over their pro-EU rivals.
In France, conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated by François Hollande. For a long time, Sarkozy and Germany's Angela Merkel were tag-team partners in keeping fellow EU members in line. Hollande has no intention of playing the role of EU enforcer. In fact, he will probably join sides with those seeking greater independence for France.
The biggest EU headache is now Greece. Voters have given two key opposition parties enough power to block any austerity measures tied to its financial bailout. The collapse of the bailout could mean the marriage between Greece and the euro zone is doomed. If Greece is kicked out of the club, the whole organization could unravel.
The next blow to EU unity may come when Ireland votes on a May 31 referendum that asks the public to approve an EU treaty that aims to control the nation's deficits and longer-term debts. A "no" vote would give the European Union's austerity plan another black eye and probably trigger an every-nation-for-itself panic.
There is a growing consensus that the European Union is doomed to fail. Even its staunchest supporters are having to face up to the reality that the treaty has major flaws. One of the most critical
component is the rule that requires each of the twenty-seven members to keep its annual deficit below 3 percent of GDP. So far, only five have been able to achieve this goal. Another key problem is the layers of bureaucracy that have built up around the EU. To accomplish any type of major change, there needs to be the approval of the legislature in Brussels and of all twenty-seven members.
One of the most overlooked prophecies in the Bible is the prediction that the alliance that will be the launching pad of the Antichrist will be very fragile in nature. Daniel said the second stage of the Roman Empire was to be the weakest of all the empires he saw in his visions, so we should expect to see an alliance frequented by problems.
"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, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 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 mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 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" (Daniel 2:41-44).
The vision given to King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2 showed all the great Gentile empires that would arise on the earth. Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold; Media-Persia was the breast and arms of silver; Greece was the belly of brass; and Rome was the legs of iron. The final government will be the feet of iron mixed with clay.
The interesting thing about the series of governments is that they progressively lose value as you go down the list. As the head of gold, Nebuchadnezzar had absolute power over his subjects. At the bottom was the Roman Empire, which was represented by iron. You had a ruler who was largely beholden to the Roman senate for his power base. The addition of clay to the iron tells that the second stage of the Roman Empire will be plagued by turmoil--and boy, has that been true.
I've been watching the EU evolve since I was a teenager. During the 1980s and 1990s, there were several times when its survival was in far greater doubt. The organization faced huge obstacles, but it has always managed to right itself and move forward. It will prevail over these current issues because the Bible predicts its role on the world stage is not yet over.
We may soon see Europe erupt into a financial and political crisis that will seem impossible to resolve. Because God is guiding world events, total chaos may be the sign that the tribulation hour is very near. Once the people of Europe reach the point of absolute despair, they will be ready for the most cunning and ruthless leaders of all time.
"For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled" (Revelation 17:17).
At Sodom’s Gate
My mind is impressed, as the day of Israel’s sixty-fourth birth into the modern era arrives, that God’s dealing with man seems about to make full circle. By that, I mean that the Book given to humanity that is his love letter and His manual for living life on this planet, given through His chosen nation, opens, in my spiritual mind, to the pages of the time of Lot and his life in Sodom.
It seems to me that we can sense, if we consider the headlines today, the angels of judgment at the gates of our own nation. Are they there, sent by the Lord of Heaven, after having entertained the efforts of God’s servants–like Abraham those thousands of years ago—to find, percentage-wise, ten righteous people who have a heart for the things of the Lord?
Israel is the prototype nation--i.e., all successive nations have had Israel to use as a template of how to act, not act, react, and conduct the affairs within the human conditions of their time in the spotlight of history. We are at just such a time of examination, in my estimation, of our own much blessed country.
It is striking to me that a first-time author has hit it big with a book that deals almost precisely with the premise of this commentary. The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn uses just such a template to dissect the Almighty’s dealings with Israel as juxtaposed against the recent history of America.
This isn’t a review of that book, so I won’t say a great deal about it. Suffice it to say that I find the relevant points of similarities between the two nations quite remarkable, as presented by the author. I recall my own opening remarks in a book written not long after the attacks on the U.S. of September 11, 2001, as I reflect on what Mr. Cahn has written.
Television screens across America and the world repeatedly flashed videotape of the huge passenger jet crashing full-throttle into the enormous building. Dazed people watched in awestruck disbelief while trapped victims leaped from the building’s top floors, some holding hands with others when they jumped. The massive twin towers disintegrated and crumbled to flaming rubble.
It was the most heinous terrorist attack ever recorded. Almost immediately, angry, frightened people began demanding answers to the insanity now forever etched in their memories.
Many churches were filled the Sunday following the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. There was an instinctive sense that those murderous acts of terrorism were somehow foreordained. That the carnage now known as “Ground Zero” and the uncertain future is, in some troubling way, linked by prophetic destiny. (Prophecy at Ground Zero: From Today’s Middle East Madness to the Second Coming of Christ.)
The author of The Harbinger reaches much of the same sorts of conclusions as did the authors who collaborated with me in our book, released in 2002. He gets much more specific about Ground Zero in Lower East Manhattan than did we, providing some really chilling similarities between things written in prophecy about Israel and their fulfillment, and what has happened in America since that fateful 9/11 date. He does a credible job of postulating–with strong scriptural backing—on how the U.S. judgment looks to have begun taking place in earnest at the time the towers fell on September 11, 2001.
The bottom line is that events just this past week bring home in an almost eerie way that the angels of judgment must be at the very gates of our own nation. We have long recounted the many signals of impending prophetic fulfillment. The nation Israel is at the center of hatred in the U.N.; the reviving Roman Empire is rearranging daily into prophetic configuration; the "Roadmap to Peace" plan is being pushed to make Israel conform to the wishes of the international community; the world is moving swiftly toward one world–especially toward global economy that threatens to bring the dollar down and install some sort of electronic funds transfer system.
As if that weren’t enough evidence of where we stand on God’s prophetic timeline, there is Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the whole Islamic world coming together in a way that indicates the Gog-Magog prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39 is shaping for soon fulfillment. China represents a growing hegemonic threat not only in all of Asia, but in the whole world, economically speaking.
And now, astonishingly, the first sitting president of the United States in history, on the heels of his vice president first doing so, puts America directly at the gates of Sodom with his declaration that marriage should be made legal as between a man and a man and a woman and a woman. That is, it would indeed be astonishing—except that the U.S. citizenry have been desensitized by years of news and entertainment media inculcation, putting forward the idea that there is no difference between heterosexual and homosexual relationships. So, where at one time–no more than a decade ago—an incumbent president proposing such a thing would have sealed his own defeat, we now have no way of knowing if it will adversely affect his election chances.
Again, we hear the words of Jesus echo in forewarning of when He will next catastrophically intervene into earth’s history:
“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).