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For several decades, Christians have speculated on whether or not the European Union is the final world empire outlined in the Bible. The Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation point to a revived Roman Empire that will appear in the end times (Daniel 7:23; Revelation 17:10).
Since World War II, prophecy watchers have paid careful attention to the slow and steady unification of western Europe. Along the way, the effort has faced numerous roadblocks. These include squabbles over a single currency, trade protections, debt bailouts, and other issues. One of the latest is an effort to leave the Union.
In a June 2016 referendum, United Kingdom voters opted to leave the European Union. The media labeled the British exit vote "Brexit," for "British exit," and many quickly announced the death of the European Union, believing the vote would lead other nations to leave as well. But is this the most likely outcome? No. If anything, Brexit is just another indication bible prophecy students are correct when they compare the EU to Daniel's revived Roman Empire.
The Latest News on Brexit
Almost three years after the UK shocked the world by voting "yes" to leaving the EU, they still haven't left. For months, the British parliament has rejected Prime Minister Teresa May's Brexit package. Some anti-Brexit politicians believe they can indefinitely delay a deal to leave the European Union or engineer another referendum. If so, the United Kingdom might not ever escape the orb of the giant European super state. But even if they do, it doesn't mean the EU isn't the revived Roman Empire mentioned in the Bible.
While some people think Brexit is a step backward for bible prophecy, I think it's just the opposite. To me, Brexit is yet another reason to believe some form of the EU will become Daniel's prophesied final empire. Why? Because the EU's characteristics match those of the empire Daniel describes.
For instance, the Bible says this final world empire will be a kingdom:
• Of ten nations (Daniel 2:41, Daniel 7:7)
• From among the ancient Roman Empire (Daniel 9:26-27)
• Made up of weak and strong nations (Daniel 2:42)
• Of nations trying to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other (Daniel 2:43)
• That fails to hold together or "gel," just as iron and clay don't stick together (Daniel 2:43)
• Divided (Daniel 2:41)
A Global Empire
As I write this article, no empire rules the world. And that includes a global empire of ten nations or ten kings. So the EU in its present form is not the global empire foreseen by Daniel. However, this doesn't mean it won't become that empire. Most likely, it's an early stage of what will become the Antichrist's global empire. Why? Again, it fits every one of the characteristics outlined above. The Antichrist's empire will be:
1) A Revived Roman Empire - The global empire from Daniel's vision is built on the ashes of the ancient Roman Empire. Why do I say this? First, the ruler of this global empire is the Antichrist. According to Daniel, the Antichrist will arise from the nation whose armies destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (Daniel 9:26). That nation was Rome. So the global empire's ruler will come from Rome.
Second, when explaining Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Daniel described five empires that will rule Israel before Jesus returns. Those empires were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and a ten nation alliance (Daniel 2:36-45). He describes each successive kingdom, but he makes no distinction between the fourth kingdom and the ten nation alliance (Daniel 2:40-43). In other words, the ten nation alliance will be a new form of the fourth kingdom - Rome.
Later, Daniel has another vision. This time, he sees four beasts, each representing a world power that will conquer Israel (Daniel 7). We know the fourth beast is Rome because it conquers the third beast, Greece (Daniel 7:6). But we also know it will come back. Why? Because it "will rule the whole earth" (Daniel 7:23), and it will be ruled by the Antichrist (Daniel 7:24-25). Rome neither ruled the whole earth nor was it ruled by the Antichrist. Also, this empire is yet again described as a ten nation alliance (Daniel 7:20), and the ancient Roman Empire never took the form of a ten nation alliance.
Today, the EU sits on the ashes of the ancient Roman Empire. Ancient Rome occupied nearly every part of the current EU member nations, including Italy - home to Rome itself.
2) An Alliance of Weak and Strong Nations - The global empire Daniel described will be a group of weak and strong nations. Does this describe the EU? Yes. As I write this, the EU contains the world's 4th, 5th, and 6th largest economies (Germany, the United Kingdom, and France). It also contains the world's 98th, 102nd, and 124th largest economies (Estonia, Iceland, and Malta).
When it comes to military spending, the EU contains the world's 6th, 7th, 9th, and 12th largest militaries (France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy). Yet, it also contains the world's 80th, 87th, 91st, and 93rd (Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia).
Alone, not a single EU nation is a world power. Together, they are the world's greatest economic power. Combined, their military spending is second only to the United States. In fact, several European politicians have called for an EU army. Don't doubt it - the EU is a superpower. It's a revived Roman Empire made up of weak and strong nations. And this is what the Bible says will exist just before Jesus returns.
3) A Divided Alliance, Loosely Held Together - The global empire Daniel described will also be divided (Daniel 2:41). It will struggle to hold itself together, just as iron and clay struggle to hold themselves together (Daniel 2:43). Do we see this type of alliance when we look at the EU? Absolutely!
Since its inception, the EU has been an odd collection of politicians, governments, economies, currencies, and militaries. From the Schuman Declaration in 1950 to the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007, the rise of the EU has been marked by a struggle to agree on important issues.
These include arguments over a single currency (the United Kingdom and Denmark opted out), disagreements over how to handle debt crises (the Greek bailouts), and disputes over open borders (the Syrian refugee crisis). Each step along the way, the EU struggled to survive.
And this is where Brexit comes in. Critics point to Brexit as evidence the EU is not the coming global empire. But the exact opposite is true. Brexit is just the latest example of the EU's struggle to stay together, "just as iron and clay don't hold together." In the June 2016 referendum, citizens of the UK voted to leave. Almost three years later, they still haven't left.
Will they ever leave? I don't know. Does it matter? I don't think so. Because Brexit is a perfect example of why the EU is a "divided alliance" (Daniel 2:41). It's a union of weak and strong nations struggling to bond together (Daniel 2:43). This is exactly how the Bible described the final world empire.
A formal British exit from the European Union was scheduled to occur on March 29. After the British parliament failed to agree on an exit plan yet again, members voted to delay withdrawal until June 30. But it isn't that simple. Unless the EU agrees to an extension, the March 29 deadline will still apply.
This means the UK could leave the EU without an exit deal in place. Such a scenario could wreak havoc on the UK economy and, quite possibly, the world economy. Because of the threat of economic disaster, some politicians are calling for a new referendum or even a parliamentary vote to overturn the will of the people. If they get their way, Brexit could be cancelled altogether.
All this volatility makes it more likely the EU is an early phase of the alliance Daniel described. It's the mirror image of the revived Roman Empire the Bible says will appear in the last days (Daniel 2:40-43, Daniel 7:23-24). It's made up of weak and strong nations (Daniel 2:42). It's divided against itself (Daniel 2:41), and the effort of these nations to come together and strengthen themselves is volatile and unstable (Daniel 2:43).
These bible verses sound a lot like the EU, don't they? I sure think so. Brexit isn't the end of the EU. It's just the latest event pointing to the rise of Daniel's global empire. It's another sign Jesus is coming!