Europe, NATO and the Antichrist
As I walked toward the Western Wall in Jerusalem recently, I saw a friend of mine, Rabbi Nachman Kahana. Rabbi Kahana is the man most responsible for making preparations for a future third Temple here. He asked an interesting question. “What are the Americans doing in Kosovo?”
I didn’t respond but instead asked him a question. “What do you think of the Kosovo situation?”
He thought for a moment, then replied, “Kosovo today, Jerusalem tomorrow.”
As the European Union (EU) continues to increase in strength, Christians around the world are wondering, Will the EU and NATO eventually evolve into the colossal instrument of world control that someday will rest in the hands of the Antichrist? Will these entities, in fact, become the powers that will descend on Jerusalem during the Great Tribulation and, as the Bible says, trample it under foot (Lk. 21:24; Rev. 11:2)?
As I write this, I am not in Israel but in a hotel in London. And as I gaze out on the shores of the Thames River, I am reminded that London is one of those major cities whose inhabitants make daily decisions that affect the world.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, forty-seven, has been a key player on the world scene since his landslide election to office in May 1997. As the youngest British prime minister in 200 years, Blair has been active in the Middle East quest for peace and is a mover and shaker on the European continent.
The European community is definitely on the rise; and all discerning eyes are fixed on it, NATO, and the connection these two may have to what seems to be the imminent arrival of the Antichrist.
Those of us who know Bible prophecy know that the prophetic scenario, revealed by God centuries ago through the ancient Jewish prophet Daniel, looks almost like today’s headlines. Daniel’s vision, found in Daniel 7, speaks to the issue of the Antichrist and the possible role the European community and NATO will play in these last days.
Daniel had a vision that spanned at least 2,500 years of world history. He saw the Gentile world powers from the Babylonian Empire of his day through the coming, revived Roman Empire. In his vision, four beasts rose from the “sea,” which is symbolic of the Gentile world. These beasts were (1) the winged lion— Babylonian Empire; (2) the bear on his side with three ribs in his mouth—Medo-Persian Empire; (3) the leopard with four wings and four heads—Grecian Empire; and (4) the beast unlike the rest, “dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly”— Roman Empire (Dan. 7:7). These represent the four Gentile world powers from Daniel’s time until the time of Christ’s return.
Daniel’s dream also revealed that the dreadful beast has ten horns, and a “little horn” will rise to power from among them. This “little horn” is the Antichrist. He will subdue three of the other horns to move into a position of absolute control.
With control of the other horns, the little horn, empowered by Satan, will position himself to take over the entire world as he makes his way to Jerusalem to set up his kingdom on this earth. This scenario will unfold exactly as prophesied by Daniel, with the aid of the political structure of this present-day world.
Bearing in mind God’s plan as revealed through Daniel’s vision, we can now focus on the role that the European Union and NATO seem to be playing in this end-times program. No one, of course, can proclaim absolutely that the EU and NATO are the organizations God will use to fulfill Daniel’s prophecy. But prophetic Scripture is like a spotlight. We can shine it on world events to help us understand where we are on God’s timetable of history and what is transpiring spiritually in this present world.
At least four ingredients are currently needed to solidify Europe into what the Bible teaches will be a future version of the old Roman Empire: a common language, a common economic system, a political structure, and a military operation. All four are now coming into their own in the European community. In fact, they become more solid every day.
The Internet has made English the common trade language not only in Europe but across the world. The Internet has, in fact, had the opposite effect of the ancient tower of Babel. At Babel, one language became many (Gen. 11:1–9). With the Internet, many languages have become one.
It is obvious that the role the Internet has played in international economics has positioned Europe to become a major player in the financial system that runs our everyday lives. Furthermore, on January 1, 1999, eleven European nations adopted the new Euro as its official currency, establishing a viable foundation for a solid European identity, an integration of capital markets, and the unification of the European community.
I have spoken to many Europeans in Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain, and Great Britain who believe the Euro is starting to firm up in the financial markets. So far, the strength of the American dollar has been the only slowing factor in the Euro’s advance to the common currency for all of the European Union.
The United Kingdom has not adopted the Euro yet. But it is one of the significant members of the 15nation European Parliament, the representative assembly of the European Union. The other members are Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, and Sweden. The Parliament has 626 seats, with Germany holding the most at ninety-nine and the United Kingdom, Italy, and France holding the next highest number at eighty-seven each.
The European Parliament has grown steadily in power since the Single European Act of 1987. I’ve spoken to several members of the European Parliament over the years. On Easter Sunday last year, I was standing on the Mount of Olives when a young couple and their three children asked me for directions to a certain holy site.
The woman introduced herself as Eija-Ritta Korhola from Helsinki, Finland. She was in Israel on business as a representative of the European Parliament.
We spoke about the most recent elections to Parliament and discussed how much power this legislative body is accruing on the European continent. She was well qualified to speak about the elections since she had just been reelected to one of Finland’s sixteen seats and had been chosen to visit Israel to prepare a report for the Parliament.
With each passing day, Mrs. Korhola said, the Parliament is increasing in prestige and authority within the European Union. And I have seen evidence of this fact as I’ve traveled throughout Europe.
Recently in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I was told that a well-known Protestant minister holds seats in three different parliaments. He is a member of Stormont, the Northern Ireland House of Parliament; Westminster Houses of Parliament, the parliament for Great Britain; and the European Parliament.
His participation in all three is indicative of the power they each hold. As many other parliamentarians, he can see the handwriting on the wall and realizes that all of Europe is moving toward a unity that will give ultimate power to the European Parliament.
The final ingredient needed to solidify the European Union into a United States of Europe is a military operation. Though there are efforts to put together such a military arm, no viable structure is in place at this time. However, a military operation stationed on the European continent is filling the void. That military organization is known as NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
NATO was created in 1949 as an alliance of twelve independent nations, including the United States, that joined for their mutual defense. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, it now numbers nineteen nations. For its first fifty years, it served solely as a defensive unit until the recent conflict in the Balkans over Kosovo. Then its political leaders issued new orders to the military leaders of NATO to go on the offensive. With the military might of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the other seventeen members, NATO was able to bring Yugoslavia to its knees.
NATO’s action in Kosovo far surpassed the military action of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its leader at the time, President Slobodan Milosevic. In what was intended as a move to stop Milosevic from continuing to kill the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, NATO launched 10,484 air strikes from March 24 through June 10, 1999. The assaults reportedly killed thousands and contributed to about 780,000 people becoming refugees by the end of the conflict. And none of the areas that were embroiled in the conflict are members of NATO.
How, you might ask, could NATO’s action be construed as a precursor to fulfilled prophecy? On the surface, it may not appear so. But I’m not speaking solely of the military actions of NATO but of developments within the European Union as they relate to the unity of the European community. The combination of these two certainly set the stage for the coming Antichrist.
The European Union is coming together before our very eyes. Those of us who had the privilege of traveling through Europe last year can see it clearly. Through development of a common language, common economic system, political structure, and military operation, the political stage is being set for the prophetic to be fulfilled. Although I am not ready to state unequivocally that the European Union, as it is developing today, is the definitive fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy of the revived Roman Empire (2:40–44; 7:7–8, 23–25), I will say that it could well be the infrastructure.
God has a plan, but it is not always easy to see. How, for example, will the “little horn” (Dan. 7:8) subdue three of the ten horns so that he can come to power? Now, after the use of NATO in the Kosovo situation, it is a little easier to understand how such a situation will occur in the end-times.
A strong military with broad enough and sufficient enough political backing can accomplish almost anything. And in God’s plan, it will. “Kosovo today, Jerusalem tomorrow.” Unfortunately, these are prophetic words.
The Antichrist will come to power from a revived Roman Empire. He will use a military structure to subdue three of the “united” nations by force; and he will take dominion of the world. The potential for this prophetic scenario to occur is greater than it has ever been in the history of our world.
The coming of the Antichrist appears imminent because of the events we see taking place all around us. But let me remind you of something else too. The Rapture of the church will take place before the Antichrist appears. With the arrival of the Antichrist seemingly so close, how much closer, then, must the Rapture be?