This Week in the News

Overshadowed by the events involving Iran and, to a lesser extent, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and domestic U.S. politics, many did not take note of a decision of the EU, which Der Spiegel calls “the most important decision taken in Europe this year.” That decision could bring about the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of the year, giving European institutions greater powers, a more permanent EU President and foreign minister, and a strengthened role of the EU Parliament.

According to the Bible, the unification of Europe is a given. However, we are also to wait for the development of something like a core Europe within the EU–the emergence of 10 powerful European nations or groups of nations, which will then in turn transfer their powers to a charismatic political and military European leader–the final leader of the last revival of the ancient Roman Empire (referred to in biblical prophecy as “the beast,” “the king of the North” and “King Jareb of Assyria”). Based on some indications in the book of Daniel, it is possible that even if the Lisbon Treaty comes into effect, the first permanent president and/or foreign minister under that Treaty will not remain in office for long, but will be “supplanted” by a “vile” person “to whom they will not give the honor of royalty,” but who will be gaining authority “peaceably” and “by intrigue” (Daniel 11:21). Once in power, he might act “deceitfully” and “corrupt” those with “flattery” who act “wickedly against the covenant” (compare Daniel 11:23, 32).

Even though those above-quoted passages of the prophecy in Daniel 11 refer primarily to ancient Antiochus Epiphanes, it is possible that SOME OF THEM are of dual application. For example, Daniel speaks about the “abomination of desolation”–a statue of a pagan god erected in the temple at Jerusalem and invading armies in the Middle East, leading to the suppression of daily sacrifices. All of this was indeed caused and fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes in ancient times (Daniel 11:31). However, Christ said–and Daniel confirmed–that these events will be repeated just prior to His return (Matthew 24:15-22; Daniel 12:7, 11).

It is fascinating to read the character description of Antiochus Epiphanes and ponder about the possibility that it MIGHT also describe, to an extent, the character of the coming “beast” (Some commentaries even feel that the following excerpts don’t refer to Antiochus at all, but exclusively to the “beast”):

“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods [compare Revelation 13:5-6], and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished [compare Revelation 18:3, referring to the wrath of the fornication of the Babylonian system; compare also the following passages referring to the wrath of GOD, in Revelation 14:19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19; 19:15]… He shall regard neither the God [better: god or gods] of his fathers nor the desire of women [either being very licentious and not desirous of women in a lawful marriage, thereby disregarding what women may want; or perhaps indicating his desire for unnatural sexual preferences], nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things…” (Daniel 11:36-38).

Europe will MILITARILY intervene in the Middle East to attempt to bring peace to that region–perhaps after Israel will have received a mortal “wound” or a decisive defeat in a coming war (compare Hosea 5:13). The United States of America and Great Britain (referred to as “Ephraim” in Hosea 5)–already bogged down by economic turmoil, political isolation and their unsuccessful military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and perhaps soon North Korea–will not play any major role on the world scene at that time.

We need to be “on the watch,” carefully observing the events as they unfold in Europe and the Middle East.

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