The future of Europe
More power to the beast.
September 21, 2012 - Audio, 8.00 MIN
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As European leaders meet to discuss ways out of the debt crisis - the cry is for more - not less powers to be given to Europe. This is Matt Davies joining you for another Bible in the News.
Beasts in Bible prophecy
When considering the 'Bible in the news' we often point out how that in Bible prophecy beasts are used to symbolise world empires.
In the book of Daniel and chapter 7 we have recorded for us the history of the territory around the Mediterranean sea. Four beasts are recorded as coming out of the Mediterranean or "great sea" (v2). These relate to the world powers which affected that area from Babylonian times. The lion in v4 symbolises the Babylonian Empire, the bear in v5 symbolises the Medo-Persian Empire, the Leopard (v6) symbolises the Greek empire and then finally a great and terrible fourth beast appears in v7 which symbolises the Roman power. This final Roman power is eventually destroyed by God's saints, or called out ones, in verse 18.
When we turn to the book of Revelation we have more detail provided about this fourth beast. Recorded for us are various phases of the beast system down through time - from the early Roman empire right up until our day and beyond.
In chapter 17 we read of the details of how this beast system will be operating at the time just before Christ returns to gather and judge the saints, who will then go on to remove the beast system when it fights against Christ (v17).
The nations giving their powers to the beastOne of the most interesting details that we are given is about the individual national powers of Europe which are depicted in the symbology as "horns" that exist on the beast. In verse 13 we read of how these individual powers are said to "have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.".
If we were to look up the words "power" and "strength" in a Lexicon to find out what the sense of the Greek words for these is, we would find that the word power is "dynamis". Thayer's Lexicon relates this word to the power of an army or host. The word for "strength" is the Greek "exousia" which according to Thayer's Lexicon means "power of choice" or "liberty of doing as one pleases".
Therefore Bible students have long been looking for the nations of Europe to begin to start to pool their powers together - as this is the picture the Bible reveals will be depicted when Jesus Christ returns.
Signs of the TimesWe have seen many exciting signs of the times in this regard in recent years. The euro which was introduced in 1999 really helped to bind many of the nations of Europe together. The Lisbon Treaty which came into force in 2009 gave a lot of power to the European Parliament to make laws. However recently, amid the problems of the financial debt crisis, commentators have been wondering about the future of Europe. Will, the project collapse given that the members each find themselves in such a mess?
One man who is determined not to see the Euro project collapse is José Barroso, President of the European Commission. He gave his "State of the Union" address earlier this month on the 12th of September. He said “What I demand and what I present to you today is a Decisive Deal for Europe... This decisive deal requires the completion of a deep and genuine economic union, based on a political union... If we want economic and monetary union to succeed, we need to combine ambition and proper sequencing. We need to take concrete steps now, with a political union as a horizon.”
On the 17th of September a group of highly influential foreign ministers met in Warsaw to discuss the future of Europe. This group is known as "The Future of Europe Group". They too had similar ideas to Mr Barroso.
The New York Times reported on the meeting saying that "...11 foreign ministers, led by Guido Westerwelle of Germany, have called for a big increase in economic, political, diplomatic and even military integration within the European Union." (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/world/europe/9-foreign-ministers-call-for-greater-european-union-integration.html?_r=0)
Quoting from the report itself we read "In the long term, we should seek more majority decisions... joint representation in international organizations, where possible, and a European defence policy. For some members of the Group this could eventually involve a European army." (http://www.msz.gov.pl/files/docs/komunikaty/20120918RAPORT/report.pdf)
This then is a very interesting time to watch, as we see the nations of Europe pooling their sovereignty and powers together - precisely as the Bible said they would. The horns are indeed giving their strength and their power to the beast.
What does it mean to us?But what does this all mean to us as we watch these things occur around us? Well these events help us to clearly see that God is in control of human affairs and that His timetable is on track. The time is at hand when the Lord Jesus Christ will soon return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth which is the restored Kingdom of Israel.
In Matthew 6:33 Jesus encourages his followers to "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;". Therefore we need to seek out the gospel message and follow Christ in the time which remains. To quote another passage from Matthew 6:24 "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Whose side are we on? As we see the certainty of God's word in the world around us, with Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes, we are encouraged to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. The warning from the Bible is clear, in 2 Thessalonians 1:7 we read that:
"...the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"
Time is running out. The nations are being gathered - are we serving the Lord as we should be?
Join us again next week God willing for another Bible in the news.
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