Europe's Debt Crisis Spins out of Control
How will the Greek debt crisis affect European integration?
Friday, April 30, 2010
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European Union member state Greece is on the verge of going broke, so the European Union and the International Monetary Fund are putting together a bailout which is being stalled by Germany. Meanwhile the crisis is spreading and the cost of saving Greece from defaulting on its loans is ballooning. In fact, quoting from this weeks Economist, page 63: "Greece needs so much money that the only thing standing between the country and default is open-ended funding from the IMF and the rest of the euro area." The crisis is now potentially spreading to other EU countries; the poor state of finances in Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain are causing anxiety.
Welcome to the Bible in the News, this is David Billington with you. Well you may be wondering what all this has to do with the Bible. The answer is that Bible prophecy clearly shows that Europe and Russia will form a latter-day empire. European integration has been a fulfilment of Bible prophecy. The well known prophecy of Daniel chapter 2, shows quite precisely where this empire came from and how it will ultimately be destroyed. Daniel 2:28 informs us that the purpose of this prophecy was to show "what shall be in the latter days". The king of Babylon sees the image in a state of completion, with Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman parts. There are also clay parts in the feet of this complete image, clay being a symbol of mankind, of people, or as the prophecy says, "the seed of men". This clay "people power" doesn't mix well with the authoritarian rule of Rome. It is important to realize that these iron and clay kingdoms descend from the Roman Empire and must therefore be the European nations, that emerged on the ruins of the Roman Empire itself and that of the Holy Roman Empire. The complete image is destroyed by a stone cut out of the mountains without hands - a stone identified for us in the vision as the kingdom of God. We can be certain that this prophecy has not yet been accomplished as the kingdom of God or Israel has never completely decimated the kingdom of men - and certainly Israel has not become an empire itself and filled the whole earth!
It is worth noting that the image had two legs, one can be clearly seen to represent the Eastern Roman Empire, which was Greek in character - also called the Byzantine Empire; the other leg depicts the Western Roman Empire, which was Latin in character based in Rome. When the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks the seat of the empire moved north to Moscow.
This great image is "broken to pieces together" and therefore must stand together at one moment in time. This is what we see emerging in Europe today. By considering the prophecy of the great image side by side with other prophecies we can get a good idea of which nations will make up this giant latter-day empire and who its allies will be. We can see a Babylonian element in the religion that grips the European continent, described in the book of Revelation as Babylon the Great. Ezekiel 38 includes Iran as a prime ally of this empire, which is what we see developing today. We see an empire emerging with Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman and democratic elements. So it is that watchers of Bible Prophecy are interested in developments and changes in European integration. As Daniel 2 states the result when this image empire will meet its end - a result all true Bible believers long for: "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."
The problems with Greece are bringing forward some questions that really go to the heart of the issues surrounding European integration. Normally a nation like Greece would have their own currency, which at a time like this would be devalued. However the eurozone countries have largely given up their own currencies in favour of the Euro, where they are now stuck. Not only is Greece tied to the Euro, the Euro is tied to Greece. If Greece goes down it also affects the Euro and all the countries that use it. So the question is what will cost more, bailing out Greece or letting the country go under? Whatever is done it will affect taxpayers in all other European countries. The Economist points out that withholding aid would endanger the currency and rattle the banks, hardly what Europe needs as they climb out of a recession. The Economist also notes in an article on page 54: "For all the brave talk of solidarity among euro countries, taxpayers on their own cannot and will not pay to keep their neighbours afloat." As a result European taxpayers are asking questions like: Why should we have to pay to bail out a foreign country that has been fiscally irresponsible? Good question and welcome to the European common currency! Further, why should taxpayer's money bail out a country when they may have little control on how that money is used? Will the money be consumed by a corrupt government and used to line their own pockets? Will appropriate cut backs be implemented? Will other broke countries delay implementing tough financial decisions that may anger voters and rely on bailouts from EU central? These issues have caused Germany to balk at bailing out Greece, and are raising questions about sovereignty.
It is becoming apparent that the European currency cannot function without a government to manage it and the nations that use it. Nations that wish to be part of the currency may have to start giving up some sovereignty. This seems to be what the Economist is suggesting: "The economics starts with the politics. Europe will not stem this crisis unless its decision-making apparatus is overhauled and Germany radically changes its tune." Again: "...the euro zone should set up a single crisis-management committee, with the power to take decisions." Also on page 54: "Europe needed a co-ordinated economic policy and much stronger mechanisms of "solidarity". So who will control the currency and dictate the terms? Well, who is holding up the bailout package for Greece and who is absolutely needed in order for it to go ahead? That of course is Germany, the economic power house of Europe. Germany may just get their empire back again.
"And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast." Revelation 17:12-13.
Come back next week God willing, to bibleinthenews.com.
Printed: Friday, April 30, 2010
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