"Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours." Luke 4:5-7
The US, indeed, the entire world, is about to enter into its darkest period of human history ever and most people don't even realize it. What we are witnessing now is the collapse and reshaping of Western civilization. We are in its death throes as it were. The economic, political, financial, and military constructs we've been accustomed too for the last 70 years are changing in order to be shaped according to the confines of how Scripture describes them. Skeptics and secular authorities will scoff at that idea, but the Bible only continues to be fulfilled exactly how it says it will be. The Bible states that there will come about a system which will enable one man (the Antichrist) to gain control of it all.
It is easy to get tripped up in all the symbolism but follow my logic here. According to Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the multi-metallic colossus, there were five kingdoms represented kings and kingdoms. Daniel later sees these as beasts. When John is given the Revelation, instead of being different kinds of metals in a statue, he sees them as mountains and heads. But instead of five, he is told there were seven. These kingdoms are listed out as follows:
Seven Sequential Kingdoms spanning thousands of years
Revelation 12, 13, & 17 mentions seven mountains/heads with ten horns
1. Egypt: the 400 years of bondage and Exodus by the Israelites
a) Genesis 50:22-Exodus 14
2. Assyria: The conquering of the ten northern tribes by Tiglath-Pileser III, Shalmaneser V, Sargon II, and Sennacherib
a) 1 Chronicles 5:25; 2 Kings 15:29, 17:3, 18:11-12
b) Egypt and Assyria are not mentioned by name but are the most likely candidates as they pertain to Israel: Zechariah 10:10-11
Daniel 2, 7, & 8 Summarized by five kingdoms with ten toes
3.Babylon-Head of Gold (like a lion)
4. Medo-Persia-Chest and should of Silver (like a bear with three ribs in its mouth)
a) Darius: Daniel 5:31, 6:28
c) Artaxerxes: Nehemiah 2, 5, 13
5. Greece-Belly and thighs of brass (like a leopard)
a) Alexander, followed by four heads (i) Lysimachus (ii) Cassander (iii) Seleucus: Antiochus Epiphanes was a descendant-a type/model for the Antichrist and desecration of the Holy of Holies (iv) Ptolemy
6. Rome-Legs of iron (a dreadful and terrible beast with iron teeth) [different than the rest]
a) 10 horns, but one uproots three, leaving eight horns
b) The eighth is the Little Horn-has not yet come
7. The United States & EU???-Feet of Iron mixed with brittle clay (with the Ten Toes)
So with the above kingdoms representing the major Gentile powers which the Bible makes mention are (as they relate to Israel): Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The European Union represents the last and final attempt at uniting all of Europa under one banner. Europa being the revived Roman Empire via the European Union who has enthusiastically embraced both the Babel symbolism (many voices, one tongue), architecture, and mythology surrounding Europa itself (the woman riding the beast). (See here for picture) These represent the major players concerning Israel as the times of the Gentiles.
What we have seen over the past two thousand years is the legs of iron split (East and West Roman Empire-from 284AD onward) and the numerous yet unsuccessful attempts at trying to unify Europe again into a single empire. The Holy Roman Empire tried. Napoleon tried. Hitler tried. It wasn't until 1949 that we began to see this regional coalescence take place with the embryonic formation of an American and European defense force.
When considering the 'legs of iron' which were representative of the Roman Empire, the split between east and west divided Rome and Constantinople. Is it possible that the split today is still between east and west, but the west being the United States and the east being Europe? The United States essentially came out of Europe via the Vikings, the Spanish, the British, and the French. At our founding and pretty much through the next two centuries, we were a hybrid of European immigrants and ethnicities, united under a constitution founded upon British, Greek and Roman laws, with a Judeo-Christian underpinning providing the necessary ethics for a moral foundation. If we are the feet, the US would be the Iron and the EU the miry clay, which is pretty indicative of where we are today.
Taken as a whole, the EU has the largest economy in the world and the third largest population behind China and India. The United States has the second or third largest economy (depending on how you rank the EU), but with the world's greatest military. If combined, the United States and the EU could dominate the world very easily. This seems impossible in our day and age, but it wasn't that long ago that we were simply extensions of British, French, and Spanish colonialism.
The EU today realizes that they will never be a power-broker in the 21st century without the means to back that power up militarily. Numerous EU leaders have been pushing forward with an ambitious agenda of creating an EU Army. Article 42 of the Treaty on the European Union allows for the creation of a military force. The problem was that the United Kingdom would not go along with this. But with BREXIT pending, this freed up the EU to proceed as planned. But the idea of a separate EU Army alongside NATO is not sitting well with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who does not want there to be two separate forces, as EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker alluded too:
Stoltenberg told a press briefing in Belgium that he would welcome an increased investment by European nations in defense, but this should be channeled towards NATO, adding that "duplication would be inefficient." "It's important to avoid duplication and I urge Europe to make sure that everything they do is complementary to the NATO alliance," he said, Reuters reported.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) predates the official European Union by decades. When the Iron Curtain and the Soviet Union collapsed in the late eighties and early nineties, which temporarily ended the Cold War, the threat of war in Europe seemed impossible. NATO members got lax on contributing thus required the US to shoulder the bulk of the weight. It had recently come back into headlines when the new US President Trump publicly shamed NATO leadership into "paying for their fair share" of NATO or else the United States would reconsider the nature of the relationship. This got EU and NATO member's attention fairly quickly, considering the recent Russian incursions into Georgia, Ukraine and Crimea, not to mention the constant threats directed at Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
For the last 69 years, the Europeans (to their detriment) had become overly-dependent on the United States to be her protector should Russia decide to move west. This in effect gave President Trump some leverage by reminding them that our role in NATO could be reexamined and that they didn't have the means to protect themselves should Russia want more real estate. The result...an excerpt from press conference by President Donald Trump and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, April 12, 2017.
Every generation has strived to adapt the NATO Alliance to meet the challenges of their times -- and on my visit to Brussels this spring -- I look very much forward to -- we will work together to do the same. We must not be trapped by the tired thinking that so many have, but apply new solutions to face new circumstances. And that's all throughout the world. We're not here to stand on ceremony but to develop real strategies to achieve safety, security and peace. We're here to protect the freedom and prosperity of our citizens and to give them the future they so richly deserve....And I did ask about all the money that hasn't been paid over the years, will that money be coming back. We'll be talking about that, right? We want to talk about that, too.
In reality, the United States is NATO. The only reason that NATO isn't already the European Army is that the US provides around 75% of its funding, military expertise, and power. The US still has forces stationed in Europe and others who rotate through there on a routine basis, but recent global requirements have spread US forces pretty thin. Still, since 9/11, the US enacted the NATO Article #5 for the first and only time ever, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on them all.
Will Trump follow through on his threats to abandon (or renegotiate) NATO if other members don't step up financially? It seems very unlikely the US would abandon NATO, because without US manpower, resources, and expertise, NATO becomes a hollow shell of an organization and makes the EU very vulnerable. If the EU collapses, it will likely drag the US down (economically) as well. The US and EU are too interlinked and intertwined to allow that to happen.
Many bible scholars and teachers believe that the Antichrist will come out of the revived Roman Empire. I believe that as well, but I think my understanding has matured somewhat on this. Whereas in the past I thought NATO would simply morph into the EU Army, but even then it still would not be near as powerful as the US currently is. Building a first-rate military takes time, and a lot of money, both of which the EU currently does not have. So that leaves two options:
- The EU converts NATO into the EU Army (without the US) which requires decades for building, training, and equipping forces
- The US remains covenanted with the EU and remains its military backbone which is currently the case
We know that even if we added the entire 28 members of the EU together, they still do not have the power to dominate the planet. The EU is almost entirely dependent upon the United States to make NATO (its only real form of a military) function. We know that according to Scripture, the leader of this final human kingdom is the Antichrist, and somehow, he gains control over our military power. He will receive power from the Dragon (Satan) who has the ability to give kingship and kingdoms to whomever he will, albeit temporarily.
Satan's attempts to control the world until now have been hindered by God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ and His decisive victory at the Cross. (1 Cor. 2:7-8) Furthermore, as extensions of Christ, the Church (the body) has been present in the world since then empowered and indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit's presence through the Church is currently keeping Satan at bay. Once the Church is removed at the Rapture, then the Antichrist will be revealed, which is why I think the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is the perfect crisis the world will use to unite into these kingdoms. (2 Thess. 2:3-8)
People always want to know what role the US plays in the Tribulation? Well, just imagine the United States unconstrained by a Constitution that is steeped in a Judeo-Christian worldview. Imagine the terrible and destructive power the United States could wield if it were run by a vicious tyrants like Stalin or Hitler. Even those two couldn't hold a candle to this man, Antichrist. It has taken the US decades to perfect our form of warfare and expertise. Think about all the technology, the information and data collecting systems, the weapons of mass destruction, and military capabilities we currently possess...but in the wrong hands.
It is likely that the Rapture itself will collapse the United States leadership from within, and that this man is set up to restore some semblance of normalcy, law and order back to the US. He could be from Europe, or he could be European (or from somewhere within the old Roman Empire). He along with other ten leaders set up "regional commands", but he is able to subdue three of them simply because he possesses the best and greatest military technology. (Rev. 12:3, 13:1-2, 17:9-18) When this man Antichrist gets control, he then appoints ten kings (who do not have a kingdom at the time of John's writing) and they reign with the Antichrist for one hour. (Rev. 17:12-14) This tells me that for one man to gain control over everything quickly, he needs a lot of power. Currently, this kind of power only resides with the US and China and the Bible makes no mention of the Antichrist being Chinese.
"Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" Rev. 13:4
We also know that Israel and the US are two of the closest nations on earth (politically and militarily speaking), so it is likely that if anyone were to broker some arrangement, the US would be involved. How and when he does this, we simply don't know. But we do know that what seemed impossible even 30 years ago, is now possible. We see the world moving in a direction that the Bible states it will go and it is picking up momentum. Perhaps all the world needs is the right crisis to push it over the edge.