The importance of Europe to the Jewish people was never of great interest until the momentous events portrayed by Daniel burst upon Judah’s political horizon. As Greek phalanxes and Roman legions began to trample through her borders, Israel was no longer confined to the intrigues of purely Middle Eastern affairs. She suddenly found herself cast in the role of an unwilling victim of European ambitions. As time marched on she continued to hold centre stage for centuries as cruel powers eagerly sought to include Jerusalem in their dominions.

Europe still has a significant part to play in the purpose of God and this article will examine six key prophecies that speak about this future role and discuss the trends that we, as watchmen, should be looking for in European developments.

Foundation Prophecies

Daniel 2

 This is a prophecy that finds its focus in the latter days, when we will expect to see the amalgamation of many countries into one threatening dominion, which will attempt to usurp the power of God in the earth (v28, 35). The Roman empire is the fourth kingdom mentioned and in summary we are told:

  • it will break in pieces “all these”, that is, the dominions of the preceding empires (v40)
  • it is a serpent power because it bruises nations (v40)
  • it is a pseudo-religious power because it attempts to emulate the kingdom of God by breaking other nations in pieces, just as God intends to do (v40,44)
  • an undisclosed part of the empire would fracture into ten divisive parts (v41–42)
  • the reason for the division was due to the introduction and mingling of an external element— clay, a substance which is defined as representing the seed of men (that is, rule by man for man, as opposed to rule by the divine right of kings—v43).
  • although divided, the empire would still retain the strength of Roman influence (v41)
  • when this division is in existence, God would intervene and establish His Kingdom (v44).

The constitution of this empire is so different from that of its predecessors. The toes represent but one aspect of its dominion, the divided section, and it is significant that the feet still retain a proportion of iron. Hence it was still predominantly Roman in character; but was soon to incorporate a new element within its borders—clay. This is highly unusual. The first three kingdoms were singular entities and though they were comprised of many conquered subjects, the overall strength and integrity of centralised government was not affected. Each empire was replaced by a totally distinct power, which in turn became the new empire.

What we have here though, is an empire which is not so much conquered and replaced, but accepts within its framework and borders foreign elements which change its appearance. It is still Roman, but its destiny is now influenced by ten voices rather than by one. It was to retain the strength of its language, law, monetary values, jurisprudence and religion, but lose the cohesion of a singular, centralised, absolute government.

Though western Europe absorbed wave after wave of barbarian incursions and the whole fabric of that portion of the empire fractured into ten separate dynasties, nevertheless the ten are very properly united in a single symbol. This is due to the singleness of their future policy (Rev 17:13), the similarity of their origin and the united way in which they are prepared to submit to the strength of the “iron” constitution.

Daniel 7

 What could not be explained in chapter 2 is now developed further in chapter 7. Once again the savagery of the fourth dominion is highlighted. This time we learn:

  • it devours with its great iron teeth and stamps the other three dominions with nails made of brass (v7,19)
  • it has ten horns which are equivalent to the ten toes of chapter 2
  • it develops an eleventh horn which arises in the same territory as the ten but consists of a joint administration of military and religious forces (v23–25)
  • this little horn power becomes a persecuting power (v25)
  • this power exists until it is destroyed by Christ (v21–22).

History testifies to the development of a ferocious power in Europe which answers to the description of this vision. It was known as the Holy Roman Empire and consisted of an unholy alliance between emperor and pope which lasted more or less from late 799 until 1805 when it was finally dismembered by Napoleon. It has not yet reappeared as demanded by the vision.

The inclusion of the brass nails into the fourth beast’s constitution is interesting. The ancient power of an undivided Roman empire must re-emerge and this time conquer the ancient territories of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian and Greek dominions (“the residue” of v19). How will it achieve this?

To appreciate the full picture both Daniel and Ezekiel must be brought together in absolute harmony. We were informed by Daniel that the element within the renewed Roman empire that will stamp the residue of beast territories is composed of brasen feet. This points to a particular part of the empire. Now brass was representative of a Greek constitution and this eastern part of the world became important to Rome in AD 312, when Constantine transferred his military headquarters to this region and founded Constantinople.

Hence what Daniel describes as a latter day phenomenon is a reunited Roman empire, which has a renewed military presence in the east, and it is this wing of the empire that will do the stamping. When we assimilate Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11 into this picture we find that it will be Gog who will take this part of the ancient empire and invade Israel on behalf of its European and Eastern allies. So both prophecies are complementary; Europe will be allied with Gog and it will be Gog who will surge forward in conquest on behalf of Daniel’s “dreadful and terrible” beast.

Ezekiel 38

 The affairs of western Europe are also described by Ezekiel. Daniel concentrates more on the internal relationships between member states within western Europe, whilst Ezekiel takes a step back and looks at Europe’s international policy towards its external allies and its hostility towards Israel.

In this chapter we learn that:

  • Gog is of the land of Magog (v2)—that is, there is some strong connection between the head of Russia and central Europe. (Note that no further information is given as to whether this connection is territorial, political, genealogical or economic)
  • Gomer is an ally of Gog (v6)—that is, France and western Europe are in alliance with Russia at the time of the end
  • Gomer logistically assists the invasion, whilst Magog is not mentioned (v6)
  • Magog is later destroyed by fire (39:6)
  • Britain and its western allies, together with the nations of the Arabian peninsula, oppose the invasion (v13).

Revelation 16:13–14

 Brother Thomas points out in Elpis Israel (pp375– 382) that the frog-like spirits seen emanating from the mouths of the dragon, beast and false prophet represent influences unleashed by the French Revolution and subsequently endorsed and exerted through the policy of three governments—those of Turkey, central Europe and the Vatican. The effect of this nationalistic and humanistic influence will have grave international repercussions, particularly in relation to “the kings of the earth” (Russia, Germany, the Middle East, etc) and “the kings of the habitable” (the powers of Europe within the boundaries of the old Roman empire). God Almighty will harness these unclean influences and use them to draw the nations into the conflict of Armageddon.

What is significant about the symbols of the beast, dragon and false prophet in Revelation 16:13 is that they all exist prior to Armageddon (v14). The dragon is a well known symbol of the eastern portion of the ancient Roman empire; the beast, on the other hand, is used to describe the territory and constitution of the Holy Roman Empire; whilst the false prophet is a singularly appropriate epithet summarising the evil of the Papacy.

All this agrees with the visions that Daniel witnessed. He expected to see the Holy Roman Empire reconstituted (ie a central European power allied with the Papacy), and the reuniting of the western (beast) and eastern (dragon) portions of the ancient Roman empire.

Revelation 17:12–14

This part of the Apocalypse introduces us to the epoch of European affairs when the ten horn powers openly resist the power of Christ and the saints. The united policy of the ten is to cede their authority once and for all to a central government styled “the beast”. This animal is described as possessing seven heads, or constitutional phases. The final phase is represented by an eighth head which is none other than that combined power of pope and emperor, the Holy Roman Empire.

We know from other parts of the prophetic page that this final uniting of western Europe in opposition to Christ will come after Gog has been defeated in the east. Just as the Pope turned his attention westwards after the emperor in the east was unable to assist him defeat his barbarian foes in the ninth century, so the Papacy will seek assistance from a united European parliament in a vain effort to stamp out this new Israelitish Messiah in the future.

Revelation 18

 This chapter describes in great detail the influential wealth, politics and doctrine of the Papal system just before it is exterminated by God. It is likened to an emporium, trading in the bodies and souls of men. It is represented by a city which has waxed rich through the abundance of its delicacies. It is symbolised by an immoral woman committing iniquity with the kings of the earth.

All this depicts a revival of Papal influence. It is not so much a description of blood-thirsty inquisitions; it is rather a picture of an all-pervasive wealth and opulence combined with arrogance and immorality. This evil will dominate the Catholic system in our days.

What We Can Expect to See from These Prophecies

 Having considered the main latter day features of these six prophecies, we are now in a better position to briefly sketch an outline of trends that we can expect to see:

1    The formation of a single western European entity (a second Holy Roman Empire), composed of different member states in alliance with a dominant “emperor-like” authority and Pope.

2    The re-emergence of the strength of Rome in its religious influence, wealth, politics and intrigue.

3    The eventual emergence of ten dominant western European countries dominated by Papal influence and trade (the strength of the iron).

4    A strengthening commitment to the will and rights of the people (the clay powers with frog-like policies) coming from Rome, central Europe and Turkey.

5    Increasing dominance of France (Gomer) and Germany (Magog) in the alliance of European powers.

6    A strengthening of ties between Gog, the land of Magog and Gomer.

7    An increasing isolation of Britain and its allies from European interests and directions.

Watch and Pray We have been commanded by our Lord to be alert to these signs. He said, “watch and pray always” (Luke 21:36). He didn’t just say “watch” as though all of these developments were of some intellectual curiosity. He spoke of the need to pray consistently that we may be “accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man”.

This is surely the role of the watchman: not only to look out and warn others, but to see the need for ourselves to respond to the danger as well. As brother Thomas so eloquently put it, “From these premises we may conclude that, as the Lord has also revealed what is to come to pass in these latter days, it is both our duty and privilege to make ourselves acquainted with it, that our faith may grow and be strengthened; that our affections be detached from the fleeting present, and set more firmly on things to come; that our minds be fortified against error; and that we may be prepared to meet the Lord as those who have kept their garments, and shall not be put to shame” (Elpis Israel, page 324).