We live in a world of tragic irony. The Middle East crisis continues. Europe expands and unites into a latter-day Holy Roman Empire while a resurgent “Christian” Russia moves forward in its role within “greater Europe”. The Papacy is in its strongest position of power for over 200 years and rejoices at its “victory” over atheistic communism in Eastern Europe. The blueprint for a united Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals is revealed, fulfilling Pope John Paul’s plans to restore the empire of “Christendom” across the continent. Post-war Iraq descends into violence and anarchy—a power vacuum waiting to be filled.

Despite clear signs of the approaching Armageddon, the western world’s economies are booming, unemployment levels and interest rates are at their lowest levels in decades, and house prices soar. The resultant big spending culture of materialism goes out of control to the alarm of economists here in Australia. Personal debt is increasing to unprecedented levels. Yes, it is ironic. But it really is what we would expect at the time of the end. Christ says: “Behold I come as a thief!” (Rev 16:15) It is so easy for us to drift off to sleep while the signs are clearer and more dramatic than ever before. We will firstly consider the vain search for wealth and happiness by our world in this final phase of the Kingdom of Men.

Looking for Happiness in all the Wrong Places

A fascinating article with the above title recently considered over ten years of studies on “the search for happiness” by Harvard Professor Daniel Gilbert and others. The article begins:

“If Daniel Gilbert is right, then you are wrong to believe that a new car will make you as happy as you imagine. You are wrong to believe that a new kitchen will make you happy for as long as you imagine… We might believe that a new convertible will make life perfect. But it will almost certainly be less exciting than we anticipated; nor will it excite us for as long as predicted… Would a 20% pay rise or winning lottery result in a contented life? You may predict that it will, but almost surely it won’t. And a new plasma television? You may have high hopes, but the impact bias suggests that it will almost certainly be less cool, and in a shorter time than you imagine. Worse, Gilbert has noted that these mistakes of expectation can lead directly to mistakes in choosing what we think will give us pleasure. He calls this ‘miswanting’.”

(Good Weekend 6.12.03)

Tim Wilson, a psychologist involved in these studies perceives:

“We don’t realise how quickly we will adapt to a pleasurable event and make it the backdrop to our lives. When any event occurs to us, we make it ordinary. And through becoming ordinary, we lose our pleasure.”

The article continues:

“It is easy to overlook something new and crucial in what Wilson is saying. Not that we invariably lose interest in bright and shiny things over time—this is a long-known trait—but that we’re generally unable to recognise that we adapt to new circumstances and therefore fail to incorporate this fact into our decisions. So, yes, we will adapt to the convertible and the plasma TV, since we adapt to virtually everything. But Wilson and Gilbert and others have shown that we seem unable to predict that. Thus, when we find the pleasure derived from a thing diminishing, we move on to the next thing or event and almost certainly make another error of prediction, and then another, ad infinitum.”

An economist also involved in the studies then summarises the ramifications of all this:

“If you had a deep understanding of the impact bias and you acted on it, which is not always easy to do, you would tend to invest your resources in the things that make you happy. This might mean taking more time with friends instead of more time for making money.”

How incredible that these psychologists need to spend decades studying all these human traits when the answers are found in God’s Word. Sadly, whilst identifying the tragedy of modern human “experience” the article never refers to the Bible as a source of hope out of all this madness. The materialism of our world is another form of selfishness described in well known chapters such as Luke 17, 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Peter 3. The secret to true happiness lies in the giving of one’s life for others as Christ gave his life for his brethren. Proverbs 3:13 says: “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.”

War in Iraq

It is over one year since US forces first invaded Iraq. No WMDs have been found, causing embarrassment to the US and her allies. But what have been the ramifications of the war? In short, the war has:

  • deepened the involvement of the USA and Britain in the Middle East
  • set a dangerous future precedent in respect to Israel and their actual non-compliance with UN resolutions.
  • has accelerated the split between Europe and the US, and has provided incentive for further European integration. It has also provided the impetus for Europe to press ahead with her own military force which can act independently from the US.
    created a power vacuum in Iraq—a weak and unstable state, subject to violence and civil unrest, especially if US troops withdraw. The war has cost hundreds of billions of dollars and if the US economy goes bad, they will struggle to continue their occupation of Iraq.

Iraq is significant because it is part of the ancient “King of The North” territory of Daniel 11. It is also part of the territory covered by Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Dan 2). Micah 5 speaks of the day “when the Assyrian shall come into our land and when he shall tread in our palaces”. This is again the same territory. We would therefore expect Iraq to come under control of Russia and her European allies at the time of the end. The language of Ezekiel 38 also comes to mind—“be thou a guard unto them” (speaking of Gog’s allies). Will we soon see Russia in alliance with an expanding Europe take a “guardian” role in Iraq?

Western Rome—EU and the Papacy

The recent terrorist bombings in Spain changed the tilt and balance of Europe within days. Suddenly the pro-US government was gone. The strongly Roman Catholic country is back within the European alliance as we would expect in the latter days:

“Spain rejoins Paris-Berlin alliance—Spain’s new Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, wasted no time in shaking up Europe’s political landscape yesterday, putting Madrid back into the Franco-German camp and urging a swift adoption of the stalled European constitution. (He) reaffirmed his pre-election commitment to withdraw Spain’s 1300 troops from Iraq, branding the US-led occupation a ‘disaster’… Mr Zapatero, a 43-year-old lawyer, said he wanted to ‘redeem’ Spain as an enthusiast for European integration. ‘I want Europe to see us again as pro-European. My feeling is that the election result has caused surprise but a lot of satisfaction in Europe,’ he said. ‘My government from day one will try to recover magnificent relations with France, with Germany and with all the countries of the EU.’ Spain’s new outlook should facilitate a swift adoption of the European constitution which was blocked last December, mainly by Mr Aznar with some help from Poland. ‘I think we can reach an agreement which will maintain a reasonable balance of power for an enlarged Europe,’ Mr Zapatero said. Ireland, the holder of the EU presidency, is expected to try to relaunch the historic constitution before midyear.” (The Australian 17.3.04)

The British weekly magazine Spectator (30.8.03) ran an article by Adrian Hilton entitled “Render unto the Pope—the EU is a means of undoing the Reformation and extending Vatican sovereignty over Britain.” Adrian Hilton is the author of The Principality and Power of Europe. Part of this amazing Spectator article is reproduced here:

“The Roman Church is founded on a political dogma claiming that the Pope is ‘supreme ruler of the world’; superior to all kings, prime ministers and presidents. These spiritual and temporal claims remain very much fundamental dogmas of Catholic teaching, permitting the Pope, through Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to issue clear directives to Catholic politicians on how they should vote. Since their obedience is considered a ‘moral duty’, they should devolve everything to the overwhelmingly Catholic European Council of Ministers, Commission and Parliament, and the ultimate Caesar is the Pope.

The Catholic Church is achieving this through its political wings—the Christian Democrat and Christian Socialist parties—with the EU’s ‘Founding Fathers’ now reaping the ultimate reward: sainthood. The Pope has beatified Alcide De Gasperi, Robert Schumann and Konrad Adenauer for founding the Union ‘on Roman Catholic principles’. A supporter of the canonisation said it shows that Europe ‘was built upon a rock’, adding, ‘I think that the European Union is a design not only of human beings but of God.’ The very act of bestowing saint-hoods on politicians is purposely designed to inculcate that European unification is God’s will, and that those who lead it govern by divine right.

During the 1975 referendum campaign, Shirley Williams (a Roman Catholic MP) unambiguously associated the vision of Europe with Rome’s goal of assuming political and religious authority over the lives of all Europeans. She observed, ‘We will be joined to Europe, in which the Catholic religion will be the dominant faith and in which the application of the Catholic Social Doctrine will be a major factor in everyday political and economic life.’

The Roman principle of divide and rule is resurrected in the ‘Europe of the Regions’ strategy, which encourages each ‘region’ of Europe to look directly to Brussels for policy and funding, bypassing national parliaments in the process. This is a recreation of a medieval Europe of small, ineffectual states which can be easily dominated…. There is much debate about whether the EU is a democracy, a theocracy, an oligarchy or a collective dictatorship, but at root it is none of these. It is an amphictyony—a confederation of states established around a religious centre.”

In May, the EU plans to admit ten new members to the Union, bringing the total number of countries to 25. Daniel’s fourth beast gets stronger while an “inner core” of nations (the “Euro zone”) further strengthens their economic and monetary ties. Meanwhile, we read: “Pope to receive prestigious Charlemagne prize”—

“Pope John Paul II will be awarded an ‘extraordinary’ Charlemagne Prize in recognition for his service to European unity. The Charlemagne Prize, awarded annually since 1950 by donors in Aachen, Germany, is given for ‘distinguished service on behalf of European unification.’ The award to the Pope is an ‘extraordinary’ one, outside the regular schedule of annual prize announcements. Pat Cox, the president of the European parliament, will receive the ‘ordinary’ Charlemagne Prize for 2004. In announcing the award, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that the Pope was ‘honored’ to receive the award. The prize announcement noted that the Pontiff was being recognized for ‘his personal involvement, and that of the Holy See, in favor of the unity among the European people, based on values rooted in a shared human nature and promoted effectively by Christianity.’” (CWNews.com 23.01.04)

Here we have the award being given to both  political and religious heads of Europe. The Holy  Roman Empire had the pope and the emperor,  symbolised in Revelation 13:11–18 as a two-horned  “beast of the earth”. It had the appearance of a  lamb, but spoke like a (Roman) dragon—it was a  wolf in sheep’s clothing! So it is today.

Eastern Rome—Russia

It was not long ago that we could clearly define the  subjects of Russia, Europe and the Papacy. However  the boundaries are now starting to blur as the whole  of Europe comes together:

“Russia and Europe appear to be joining forces  to counter the US increasing global presence  by trying to create ‘Greater Europe’ that  would consist of the European Union and the  Commonwealth of Independent States. Russia  has changed the vector of the post-Soviet  region’s integration process from pro-Moscow  to pro-Europe. And having Russia as its most  important ally, Europe likely will encourage  post-Soviet states to unite and join the group—  in an attempt to create the world’s new power  centre.” (Stratfor 8.5.03)

The official EU-Russia website re-inforces  this strategy in a 36 page document to the heading  “The EU and Russia—Ever Closer Partners in a  Wider Europe.” The opening section begins:

“Under the terms of the Common Strategy,  the EU intends to work together with Russia  to meet the following principal objectives:  Consolidate democracy; Integrate Russia into a common European economic and social space;  Cooperate to strengthen stability and security in  Europe and beyond….”

The strategy continues to explain that it aims  for “the construction of a united Europe without  dividing lines”. Similarly a joint statement put out  by the Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, together  with European President Mr Prodi and Russia’s Mr  Putin stated:

“We, the leaders of the European Union  and Russian Federation, held intensive and  productive discussions in Rome on 6 November  2003. We agreed to reinforce the strategic  partnership between the EU and Russia, on  the basis of common values, with the aim of  consolidating stability, security and prosperity  on the European Continent. We reaffirmed our  shared vision of a united European continent.”  (quoted in Milestones 2003—G. Pearce, p68)

Much could be said about Mr Putin’s huge  victory in March 2004 in the Presidential poll. Putin  has been successful in turning Russia’s economy  around and in restoring Russia’s position of power.  More significantly, Putin is fiercely religious,  continually visiting churches with other European  leaders and kissing icons while meeting with the  Pope in Rome. He has enabled the Orthodox Church  to strengthen its power in Russia, establishing it  at the centre of Russian politics. One of Putin’s  strongest supporters is fascist LDP leader Vladimir  Zhirinovsky, whose party came equal second in  the parliamentary elections in December 2003.  Like Putin, Zhirinovsky is fiercely supportive of  expanding the power of the Russian Orthodox  Church:

“The parliamentary elections… have decisively  changed the face of Russian politics. The  new Duma will be dominated by pro-fascist  nationalist factions and by United Russia, a party  of ‘statists’ and bureaucrats who use nationalistic  slogans. Nationalism in Russia is always linked  with a desire to build (or rebuild) a ‘Great Russia’  with a powerful military that resembles the force  that terrified the West for decades. Nationalistic  ‘statist’ rhetoric has clearly helped win this  election.” (Moscow Times 9.1.2004)

The Approaching Earthquake

Jews fear new monster in Europe—Jewish  leaders challenged the EU yesterday to begin  a campaign to remove the ‘monster’ of anti-  Semitism from the continent for all time… The  call for action came against the background of an  increase in attacks on Jews and their property in  countries including France, Italy and Belgium.”  (The Weekend Australian 21.2.04) The President  of the European Jewish Congress said: “The  monster is here with us again and what most  concerns us is the indifference of our fellow  European citizens”. In the most recent report:  “Europe’s anti-Jew ‘cancer’ spreading—In  France, anti-Semitic assaults have risen sixfold  between 2001 and 2002… In Germany and  Belgium, the number… has almost doubled.”  (The Australian 2.4.04)

The real monster arising across the continent  is described by Daniel as the dreadful and terrible  fourth beast. In Revelation, it takes on many shapes  and forms over the centuries. Prior to Armageddon  (Rev 16:13–15) we read of Russia and Europe  working with the Papal False Prophet to gather the  whole world to the battle of Armageddon. Events  in the Middle East reveal a developing scenario  whereby Russia and Europe will “enforce Israel’s  compliance with UN resolutions over Jerusalem”  and solve “the Zionist experiment”—politically  correct language for a “holy war” and “final  solution”. At the time of writing the Middle  East was in a state of suspense following the  assassination of Hamas’ “spiritual leader” after an  Israeli gunship attack:

“Palestinians declare ‘war’—Hamas vowed  reprisals would be ‘like an earthquake that will  hit everywhere to destroy the Zionist presence.’”  (The Australian 23.3.04)

The eventual “great earthquake” of Armageddon  is approaching. It will involve “all nations” (Joel  3:1,2; Zech 14:1,2). For us living in peace and  prosperity in the western world—do we realise  that this could be just around the corner? Let us  respond to the love of Christ by giving our lives for  others, helping one another towards God’s glorious  Kingdom—while we still have opportunity.