Greece and the future of the Eurozone
Plans to outline the future of Europe!
Friday, June 22, 2012
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After much concern from European leaders as to the future of Greece there is a renewed hope for stability in the Eurozone as Greece forms a new government and plans our started to outline the future of Europe. This is Matt Davies joining you for another "Bible in the News".
This week has been a week full of activity in Greece. On Wednesday the 20th of June Antonis Samaras of a political party called "New Democracy" was sworn in as Greece's new prime minister. His party narrowly won the elections which were held on Sunday, although a coalition has had to be made with two other parties to ensure that a government could be formed. He is the fourth prime minister in 8 months at a time when Greece has seen a great number of street demonstrations by Greeks angered by the job losses, pay cuts and reduced welfare resulting from the bailout the EU gave Greece back in May.
One of the things the new government of Greece is keen to do is keep it's place in Europe and stay with the currency of the Euro and it seems other European leaders also want to see this. The BBC reported that Greeks new prime minister has formally pledged to negotiate the EU's austerity measures and that his new government wishes to "revise the terms of the loan agreement without jeopardising the country's European course or its presence in the euro". The idea would be to allow Greeks economy time to grow enabling it to pay off it's debts over a longer period. The BBC, in the same article reported that France's Finance said after hearing the Greeks statement: "We know that it means that Greece will have to respect its commitments... but it also means that Europe has to be sensitive to the feelings of the Greek people, and take measures in order to help the country achieve growth. Efforts must be made, but at the same time we have to create conditions for hope. That's what the euro must be about.". The Belgian Finance minister has also been reported to of said "We need two answers: in the short term, the here and now answer for Greece, for Spain, they are all in need, but also in the longer term perspective, the building blocks that [EU Council President] Herman van Rompuy and also [Euro Group head] Mr Juncker will outline at the end of the month... The combination of these should give the market confidence." (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18530957 for full article).
So we will watch as the European leaders seek to maintain their aim to unify their member states. The long term goal of the EU leaders has been clear for a while though. They want to unify the nations of europe taking powers away from member "states" empowering a central government to rule. Back in February the euobserver website reported how that Jose Barroso, President of the European Commission, had told the Chinese public on his visit to China that the EU would become a fully-fledged "political union" after the financial crisis was over. He said "It is true that in many of our member states there have been student protests and strikes. This is normal in our open societies where people have a right to protest". He added that the crisis has prompted a new wave of integration, however, citing the fiscal treaty agreed in March by 25 EU countries. He went on to say: "I want to make this very clear to Chinese public opinion. Because I understand when you see the news you may be putting some questions. Is the European Union really going to progress? I say: 'Yes. No doubt about it' ... Precisely because of the problems in the euro area the conclusion has been to further integrate and to complete the monetary union with a fiscal union and, I believe, in the future toward a political union." (see for more details)
Back in 2007 Jose Borroso openly compared the European Union with the empires of old. He said:
"Sometimes I like to compare the European Union as a creation, to the organisation of empires - the empires - because we have the dimension of empires. But there is a great difference. The empires were usually made by force by a centre that was opposing a dictate, a will on the others and now we have what some authors call the first non-imperial empire. We have by dimension 27b countries that freely decided to work together to pool their sovereignties (if you want to use that concept of sovereignty) and work together to add value. I think it's a great construction and we should be proud of it, at least we in the commission are proud of our union."
(see this on video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Ralocq9uE&feature=player_embedded).
We can see then that the European leaders do have a long term plan and that is to continue to take away the independence, the sovereignty, of the nations of europe and to pool it into a central power so that they can become even more like an empire of old. Judging by the various statements that Greece's new government have made Greece may be on the edge of financial ruin but it's new government is keen to stay in Europe and to bring stability to it's citizens so it also can be part of this great union. European leaders also want to achieve this for Greece as well.
Greece and Europe in Bible Prophecy
So what would we expect to be the political scene in the countries of Europe just before Christ returns? In Daniel chapter 2 we have an amazing Bible prophecy known as "Nebuchadnezzar's dream" which outlines what would happen to the ancient territory and influence of the Babylonian Empire down through time.
The chapter records how that Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian King had been wondering what would happen to his Kingdom after his days (v29) and how that he was caused by God to have a dream. He was so startled by the dream that he immediately sought for an answer to its meaning when he awoke. After his counsellors and wise men could not relate the dream or interpretation to him, the record reveals how that Daniel, a faithful captive of Judah, had the dream and its interpretation revealed to him by God.
We read in verses 31-35 what the dream was:
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."
Then in verses 36-45 we read of the interpretation of the dream.
In verse 37 we are told that Nebuchadnezzar - as head of the Babylonian kingdom - was represented by the head of gold. In verse 39 we read that the silver represented another kingdom which would come after the Babylonians. This was the Medo-Persian kingdom which took over the Babylonian territory around BC 527. Also in verse 39 we read of a third kingdom which would control this territory - it was represented by the brass belly and thighs and this represents the brazen clad Greeks who took over the territory of the Medes and Persians under Alexander the great in BC336.
We are then told that the kingdom of the Greeks would be taken over by the iron legs - representing Rome - which took over the territory of the Grecian empire around BC28. Finally, and possibly most amazingly, Daniel is told that after this fourth empire there would be no fifth empire to take over the whole of the territory of the Kingdoms of men again but that the territories would be broken up into weak and strong nations - represented by feet which were part of iron and part of clay.
A Continuous Historic Prophecy
So in effect what Nebuchadnezzars image depicts is a timeline, a continuous historic unfolding of events which have clearly come to pass as history demonstrates. These four ancient empires are the only ones to capture the whole territory of the ancient Babylonian empire which of course included the land of Israel. Each one has adopted aspects of the Babylonian culture and religious teachings. Daniel saw that there would only be four of these empires which would achieve this and then after that the territory would be broken up with some strong and some weak nations - as the case has been since the decline and fall of the Roman empire. It is clear that this is where we sit in the timeline and so what occurs next in the vision is of most importance to us.
We read how that a stone comes and hits the image on the feet in verses 34, 44 and 45. This stone brings about the destruction of the image, breaking it in peaces and grinding it down like chaff. This stone is the catalyst of a great mountain kingdom which will grow to fill the whole earth.
The stone in the Bible is clearly identified with the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 21:42-44 where Christ likens himself to this stone: "The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: ...and whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder”
The mountain is a reference to the Kingdom of God as we read in verse 44:
"And 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."
So how exciting it is then to see that this is something which will happen shortly in our days. The Lord Jesus Christ will return and establish the Kingdom of God, the restored Kingdom of Israel on the earth - upon the ruins of the Kingdoms of men.
Incidentally this clearly proves that God's purpose is with the earth and that His great purpose is to establish Christ as the future King of the world who will indeed sit on the literal throne of David ruling God's literal kingdom on the earth - as was prophesied of Him before his birth in Luke 1:32.
What is important to notice though is the detail of verses 35 and 45:
"Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." Daniel 2:35
"Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure." Daniel 2:45
These verses clearly indicate that although this vision is a timeline of events which would mean that one metal empire would supersede it's predecessor absorbing it's characteristics, these pages also indicate that at the time when Christ returns aspects of each and every empire would be represented because it says that they were all broken in pieces together.
For this reason, Bible students believe that for the stage to be set as depicted in the Bible, the territories of these ancient Kingdoms of men will all need to unite before Christ returns. When they do unite, the image will be standing again on the earth and be ready for the time when Christ will return. This is clearly what we are seeing the beginning of in the unification of the nations of Europe on the ancient territories of the empires of old.
This is also the impression that is obtained by studying other prophecies such as Ezekiel chapter 38 which describes a great confederacy of nations who will attack Israel in the same time period as the image is destroyed termed "the latter days". This term can be found in Daniel 2:28 and also Ezekiel 38:16. In Ezekiel 38 we get a picture of the nations who will be united together and these territories all marry to the combined territories of the ancient empires depicted in Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel chapter 2 showing that they will be united.
Also in Revelation 17 we read of a symbolic "beast" which the kings of the earth give their power and strength to just before Christ returns (v13). The beasts territory is the same as the territories of Daniel 2 as in Daniel and chapter 7 we read of further detail of those four empires we have already looked at in Daniel 2 but this time they are described as various "beasts" - each beast representing an empire and corresponding to the metals of Nebuchadnezzar's image. Daniels fourth beast continues until Christ returns as we read in v26 of Daniel 7 and this beast is therefore the same as the beast of Revelation 17 who also is around at the time Christ returns for we read that it "shall make war with the Lamb" (v14). Therefore we have another indication that the territories of the ancient empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome will all unite in the last days and be overcome by Jesus Christ who will return to establish Gods kingdom in their stead.
What does it all mean?
So what does all this mean in relation to Greece and the current Euro crisis? Well we cannot be sure of the exact twists and turns which may still be played out on the world stage before the powers unite as depicted in the scriptures, but clearly it would seem that Greece will have to be united with the rest of Europe for the image territories to be confederate together at the time of the end. Greece is after all represented by the belly and thighs of brass which will be broken with the rest of the metals.
Therefore this latest election - which is hoped to bring stability to Greece and the Eurozone does seem to indicate that however fragile the current relationship, the Greeks are an integral part of the uniting of the image powers and will stand with a untied Europe before Christ reveals himself from heaven.
However, watching world events in the light of Bible prophecy is sometimes like standing on the sea shore and watching the tide come in. Events seem to go backwards and forwards but we clearly see that things are moving in the way the Bible has prophesied that they would. A united territory on the Kingdoms of men, as the Bible depicts, is in sight and the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is at hand. It might be worth pointing out that the Bible does not say that Christ will return after that union has taken place. He may come before the world see's that union take full shape to raise the dead and conduct the judgment of all those who have known the true gospel. So let us be on our guard then to follow the call of that gospel as outlined in the Bible and let us seek to serve God. If we do not yet fully know or understand that gospel let us study our Bibles and ensure it is clear to us so that we might accept it and be baptised into the saving name of Jesus Christ. Let us continue to watch as world events unfold knowing that God is in control. That "there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known... what shall be in the latter days" and that because we know that those four empires sat on the territory of the Kingdoms of men and then that territory was divided as the Bible predicted, we can be certain that the stone will soon come and strike that image. We can be certain that soon "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:" 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8.
In the meantime, if Christ remains away, join us again next week, God willing, for another Bible in the news.
Printed: Friday, June 22, 2012
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