In a June 23rd referendum, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (EU). The media labeled this British exit from the EU “Brexit.” The vote surprised some who study Bible prophecy. After all, many pointed to the EU as the revived Roman Empire of the end times. Now, after the UK’s vote, some have started to doubt that. But should they? Is Brexit a step backward for bible prophecy? Does it mean the EU isn’t the alliance foretold for the end times?
No. If it happens, the exit of such a large and powerful nation will weaken the EU. But it hasn’t happened yet. And while some say Brexit signals the end of the EU as the revived Roman Empire, I don’t think so. To me, it’s yet another reason to believe some form of the EU will become that empire. Why? Let’s look at what the Bible tells us about the Antichrist and the empire he will use to rule the world.
The Last Empire
The Bible says one last empire will rule Israel. It will be the last human empire on earth. Daniel says the Messiah will destroy it with His coming (Daniel 2:44). But before that happens, Daniel gives us details as to what this empire will look like. It will be a kingdom:
- Often nations (Daniel 2:41, Daniel 7:7);
- Ruling the entire world (Daniel 7:23);
- From among the ancient Roman Empire (Daniel 9:26-27);
- Made up of weak and strong nations (Daniel 2:42);
- Of nations trying to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other (Daniel 2:43);
- That fails to hold together or “gel,” just as iron and clay don’t stick together (Daniel 2:43);
- Divided (Daniel 2:41).
A Global Empire
As this article is written, no empire rules the world. And that includes a global empire of ten nations or ten kings. So the EU in its present form is not the global empire foreseen by Daniel. However, it is most likely an early stage of the Antichrist’s global empire. There are several reasons to believe this.
1) A Revived Roman Empire – The global empire foreseen by Daniel will be built on the ashes of the ancient Roman Empire. Why do I say this? First, the ruler of this global empire is the Antichrist. According to Daniel, the Antichrist will arise from the nation whose armies destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (Daniel 9:26). Those armies belonged to Rome. So the global empire’s ruler will come from Rome.
Second, when explaining Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel describes five empires that will rule Israel before Jesus returns – Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and a ten nation alliance (Daniel 2:36-45). He describes each successive kingdom, but he makes no distinction between the forth kingdom and the ten nation alliance (Daniel 2:40-43). In other words, the ten nation alliance will be a new form of the forth kingdom—Rome.
Later, Daniel has another vision. This time, he sees four beasts, each representing a world power (Daniel 7). We know the forth beast is Rome because it conquers the third beast, Greece (Daniel 7:6). But we also know it will come back. Why? Because it “will rule the whole earth” (Daniel 7:23), and it will be ruled by the Antichrist (Daniel 7:24-25). Rome neither ruled the whole earth nor was it ruled by the Antichrist. Also, this empire is yet again described as a ten nation alliance (Daniel 7:20), and the ancient Roman Empire never took the form of a ten nation alliance.
Today, the EU sits on the ashes of the ancient Roman Empire. Ancient Rome occupied nearly every part of the current EU member nations, including Italy – home to Rome itself.
2) An Alliance of Weak and Strong Nations – The global empire described by Daniel will be made up of weak and strong nations. Does this describe the EU? Yes. As of this writing, the EU contains the world’s 4th, 5th, and 6thlargest economies (Germany, the United Kingdom, and France). It also contains the world’s 103rd, 112th, and 136th largest economies (Estonia, Iceland, and Malta).
When it comes to military spending, the EU contains the world’s 4th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 18th largest militaries (the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain). Yet, it also contains the world’s 80th, 87th, 91st, and 93rd(Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia).
Alone, not a single EU nation is a world power. Together, they are the world’s greatest economic power. Combined, their military spending is second only to the United States. No doubt about it – the EU is a superpower. It’s a revived Roman Empire made up of weak and strong nations. And this is what the Bible says will exist just before Jesus returns.
3) A Divided Alliance, Loosely Held Together – The global empire described by Daniel will be divided (Daniel 2:41). It will struggle to hold itself together, just as iron and clay struggle to hold themselves together (Daniel 2:43). Do we see this type of alliance when we look at the EU? Absolutely!
Since its inception, the EU has been an odd collection of governments, economies, currencies, and militaries. From the Schuman Declaration in 1950 to the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007, the rise of the EU has been marked by a struggle to agree on important issues. These include arguments over a single currency (the United Kingdom and Denmark opted out), disagreements over how to handle debt crises (the Greek bailouts), and disputes over open borders (the Syrian refugee crisis). Each step along the way, the EU struggled to survive.
And Brexit? Brexit is only the latest example of the EU’s struggle to stay together, “just as iron and clay don’t hold together.” In the June vote, citizens of the UK voted to leave. Will they really leave? I don’t know. Is the UK’s exit mentioned in bible prophecy? No. Not directly. However, I believe Brexit serves as the latest example of the EU as a divided alliance (Daniel 2:41) – a union of weak and strong nations struggling to bond together (Daniel 2:43).
The word Brexit doesn’t appear in the Bible. However, the Bible does mention a revived Roman Empire in the last days (Daniel 2:40-43, Daniel 7:23-24). It will be an empire made up of weak and strong nations (Daniel 2:42). It will be divided against itself (Daniel 2:41), and the effort of these nations to come together and strengthen themselves will be volatile and unstable (Daniel 2:43).
Does this sound familiar? It should. Sounds a lot like the EU, doesn’t it? It’s the story of an empire born from a decades-long process marked by division, volatility, and instability. The UK vote to exit from the EU is just the latest event in a process that signals the rise of a global empire. It’s yet another sign Jesus is coming!
Britt Gillette is author of the free ebook Coming to Jesus: One Man’s Search for Truth and Life Purpose as well as Signs of the Second Coming: 11 Reasons Jesus Will Return in Our Lifetime. He’s also the founder of End Times Bible Prophecy.