The Kingdom of Iron and Clay
The Bible provides many vantage points to help us understand the days in which we live, setting them against the context of human history and God’s prophetic timeline. One such vantage point is the events recorded in Daniel chapter 2 (dating back to the Neo-Babylonian Empire): God reveals in a single broad sweep the dominant empires that are to arise from the then-present reign of Nebuchadnezzar II until the final system of human rule. In the account, God has given Nebuchadnezzar a dream that troubles him greatly. The king either cannot or will not reveal what he dreamt yet demands to know its meaning. His advisors protest in fear, but Daniel, a young Jewish noble taken into captivity in Babylon, alerts his companions to pray earnestly to God, who answers their petition by revealing both the dream and its interpretation.
“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendour was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.”Daniel 2:31-33
Daniel goes on to detail what God has disclosed to him: that Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold, and that the subsequent sections of the statue represent empires to come, each essentially inferior to the one that precedes it. During the reign of the last kingdom – that of “iron and clay” – 10 kings would arise, represented by the image’s 10 toes. The Scripture makes clear that in the days of this final empire and these kings, God will establish His kingdom decisively over all earthly powers. This will happen through the return of the resurrected Jesus Christ, in person and in great authority, represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream by a stone “cut out of the mountain without hands” which strikes the statue of human empires on the feet and destroys it. The stone itself becomes “a great mountain” and fills “the whole earth”, signifying the completeness of the Lord’s reign.
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”Daniel 2:44
Scripture never speaks idly. In light of what God has chosen to reveal to humanity in advance, it is critical to take stock of where history now stands in terms of this broad progression of kingdoms. How close are we to the great and terrible events foretold of the end of the current age? Are we nearing the end of all dominion that is not subject to Christ?
It is thought that we are currently watching the formation of the last human government, represented by the feet and 10 toes of the image. This last-days kingdom brings together the strength of its historical roots in Roman power and influence (recalling the iron legs of the image), and the brittleness (clay) of humanity apart from God – an exaltation of the human will and creature above the Creator. Arising through a union of 10 “kings”, this is the kingdom that will witness the ascent of a dominant leader who establishes himself as earth’s ultimate ruler, known to Christians as the Antichrist (1 John 2:18). His kingdom will assert itself predominantly through an unholy marriage of political and economic power and humanistic religion, a kingdom in part strong and in part brittle – a kingdom divided, predestined for destruction (Mark 3:24).
“And as to that which you saw: the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay and part of iron; the kingdom shall be divided. But there shall be in it the strength of the iron, because you saw the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle.”Daniel 2:41-42
In another parallel with Roman rule, Daniel also records that “the people of the ruler who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:26). Jesus in Matthew 24:1–2 prophesied concerning the temple (the whole nation being under Roman dominion at the time), “Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Jesus’, and at one level Daniel’s words were fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by the Roman emperor Titus in 70 AD. But the events revealed to Daniel ultimately pertain to the end of the age (Daniel 12:9):
“And after sixty-two weeks Messiah [Jesus] shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people [Roman Empire] of the ruler who shall come [Antichrist] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end of it shall be with the flood, and ruins are determined, until the end shall be war.”Daniel 9:26
The final human kingdom represented by the two feet and 10 toes of iron and clay directly corresponds to Revelation chapter 13, where the same union is depicted by two beasts and 10 horns. The unmistakable conclusion is that we must expect in the last days a consolidation of political power in 10 earthly rulers, in the midst of whom an even more prominent leader will arise. He will establish himself in an exalted position, made possible by a universal religious influence that will entice the masses to allegiance.
From the Roman Empire to the European Union
The great European idea of a “fraternity of the peoples” has been unfolding in a long, complex process for the better part of two millennia. Drawing deeply on this history, the current leaders of Europe – comprising a common parliament, permanent president, and foreign affairs position – are leading the European community in ever-increasing levels of integration and centralized decision making. At the highest echelons, the spirit behind European unity is the ambition to revive the power and influence of an empire that first existed under the Roman state but was later gifted a more profound and enduring dimension via the Christendom of the “civilized” world. The seduction of this later Holy Roman Empire is that it conceived a coupling of temporal power with spiritual authority for the ultimate dominion.
“The drive for “European Unity”.. has deep historical origins. Indeed they do stretch back to the dissolution of the Roman Empire.”Economists – European Unity, The history of an idea
The achievements of the Roman Empire that laid the foundation for European civilization were built in part on the legacy of the Greeks. The name Europe itself derives from Europa, a virgin princess of Greek mythology depicted riding a beast. Europa was carried off and seduced (raped, by some accounts) by Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, disguised as a bull. The Romans identified the same god as Jupiter, with the ancient epithet of Lucetius, the “Light-Bringer”. For centuries, the idea of “divine” destiny combined with the historical might and reach of imperial Rome has led Europeans on a drive to greater integration and centralized control. At best it is characterized as a bid to revive the golden age of Pax Romana in terms of peace, prosperity and unity.
Although Christianity was present and spread throughout the Roman Empire and former Greek world from the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it wasn’t until Constantine and the Byzantine Empire in the fourth century that it became the Roman state religion. This cemented Christianity’s place in European history by providing a canon of values for Europe’s final form. During the Middle Ages, Europe was commonly defined by the range and influence of Christianity. To partake in civilized Europe, a community establishing itself as separate from pagan ideas and peoples, was to become Christian – in “universal” Roman church terms – so that “European” became virtually synonymous with “Christian”. The organizational structures of the institutional church served as a hierarchy of power in which two overlapping communities developed, the Christian and the political, which were often at odds with each other.
“Despite the successes of popes, the final victory belonged to the secular power. However, both sides, regardless of their political and doctrinal differences, based their actions on the principles of Christian universalism.”Genesis of the United Europe
Many popes and secular rulers nevertheless strove together for the idea of a res publica Christiana, or Christian commonwealth, recognizing the prerequisite of participation in the Christian community for the continued integration and expansion of Europe (and the advancement of their own interests within its sphere). Between the 5th and 10th centuries, most of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe was Christianized. The resultant unifying effect on its diverse peoples created a distinct sense of separation between “Christian Europe” and pagan “barbarians”.
“One of the main motives behind Christianisation were political calculations – many feudal rulers of some, often very weak, states were not able to safeguard their interests on their own, and therefore it was natural for them to accept the supremacy of the Pope and the Emperor.”Genesis of the United Europe
In 795, several centuries after the eclipse of the Western Roman Empire, Leo III succeeded Adrian I as pope in Rome, and the Frankish king Charlemagne dominated in Western Europe. Leo’s predecessor had attempted to maintain a degree of independence in the increasing estrangement between the Eastern Roman Empire, which was continuing with its centre in Constantinople, and the West, by balancing the Byzantine emperor against Charlemagne. Leo, however, made a move that would have far-reaching consequences. The new pope immediately conferred special recognition on Charlemagne. In the short term this met with opposition in Rome, and in 799 Leo found himself fleeing for protection to Germany, where he met and conferred with Charlemagne. The following year, Charlemagne was in Rome “to restore the state of the church, which was greatly disturbed”. On Christmas Day, 800, the pope made the unprecedented move of crowning Charlemagne Emperor of the Romans, laying the foundation for a strategic intercourse between the sacred and profane that would characterize 1,000 years of a Holy Roman Empire in Europe. Emperors would be deemed by Europe’s Catholic monarchs as first among equals, with an emperor’s legitimacy and authority resting on the concept of translatio imperii: that he held “supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome”.
“To sum up, we could say that the European integration of today is a continuation of the processes and phenomena reaching very deep, to the very beginnings of civilisation on the Old Continent.”Genesis of the United Europe
The Holy Roman European Empire
Charlemagne, who is credited as the godfather of a united Europe, oversaw administrations that became the basis for current nation states, and his ecclesiastical and cultural reforms forged a path forward that is still deeply ingrained in the ethos of the European Union today.
The inaugural “Emperor of the Romans” (by the endorsement of the people’s spiritual leader) continues to be commemorated and held in high regard in the 21st century. The Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs and other important organs of the European Commission are housed in the Charlemagne building in Brussels, Belgium. The euro – monetary unit and currency of the EU – was inspired by Charlemagne’s monetary reform, which standardized currency in silver coinage of prescribed weight, easing trade across the Western realm. He is celebrated by the Charlemagne Prize, a high-profile and coveted award for services to European unification. Recipients have included António Guterres (current UN secretary-general), Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis, and even the euro itself. His image appears on numerous commemorative coins. A Charlemagne column in The Economist is dedicated to “the ideas and events that shape Europe”. In fact, the ties of the modern European entity to the seed of the Holy Roman Empire are innumerable, because Charlemagne’s dual platform of political power and ecclesiastical sway over the people – a potent mix of the secular and “spiritual” – is the inspiration for the EU’s road map to unity.
“Its [Charlemagne Prize] aim was to give important stimulus towards the political, economic and spiritual unification of the continent and thus to promote European integration by the first political prize in the recently established Federal Republic of Germany.”Charlemagne Prize Academy Website – History
Not surprisingly, the official European flag is also unity themed. It consists of a circle of 12 golden stars on a blue background. Principal designer Arsène Heitz, a devout Catholic, astonishingly suggested inspiration directly from Revelation chapter 12: “a woman clothed with the sun … and a crown of twelve stars on her head” – an image that is often incorrectly portrayed in Roman Catholic art as Mary, the mother of Jesus. Though the woman is commonly referred to as the Woman of the Apocalypse, the symbolism was officially adopted by the Council of Europe for its flag in 1955. As one would anticipate, the Council’s Director of Information later denied knowledge of any religious connotations, but the flag remains yet another fascinating connection to biblical prophecy, woven into history.
Then there is Babel. In 1563, Flemish master Pieter Bruegel painted a depiction of Genesis chapter 11. Mankind, being still of “one language and one speech”, rebelled against God at a settlement in what would become Babylonia:
“And they said, Come, let us build us a city and a tower, and its top in the heavens. And let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole earth.”Genesis 11:4
Incredibly, Bruegel’s painting also became a source of inspiration for the EU. In 1992, a promotional poster was printed for the then Council of Europe showing a stylized version of the tower in Bruegel’s painting – back under construction in the modern day. The caption read, “Europe: Many Tongues, One Voice”, and the tower was even crowned with 11 golden stars in the form of inverted pentagrams – an unmistakable occult reference! The leaders of the pan-European project clearly aspired to join together what God had previously separated, in an ambitious act of defiance.
“Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”Genesis 11:9
In case there was any doubt, the principal building of the European Parliament, the Louise Weiss building in Strasbourg, France, bears a striking resemblance to the tower in Bruegel’s painting with its layered and tapering “still under construction” look. Officially the design drew inspiration from Roman amphitheatres, but it wasn’t long before the media coined it the Tower of EuroBabel. It seems that mankind has once again said in their hearts, “Let us make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:4), as the proponents of one Europe gather under the patronage of godfather Charlemagne to a reborn Holy Roman Empire, flying the flag of the “Woman of the Apocalypse”, flaunting the symbol of Europa carried by a beast, and rallying around a Tower of Babel.
The problem extends to the world because European Union accomplishments are being held up as a blueprint for further global integration in ways that amount to rebellion against the Creator. As it was in early Europe, today’s strategists will use global and regional issues such as war, climate change, and mass immigration to further break down national barriers and weaken sovereign states. These are potentially very divisive issues, but the propaganda for a new world order is even now so deeply pervasive – making horribly ironic references to preserving democracy – that it will have the opposite effect and drive further consolidation of power. Global economic uncertainty will drive a unification of monetary policy in the digital realm, and when this is mature, a worldwide political jurisdiction will follow.
“European intellectual and political elites, the aim of which was to mitigate these disintegrationist tendencies by creating new integration structures. Without doubt, this was a true paradox: in order to start integrating, the Europeans first had to become politically divided.”Genesis of the United Europe
A kingdom is emerging from the old roots of the Holy Roman Empire, whose influence is growing. When in Rome, do as the Romans do? Perhaps the powers that be in Europe should have listened instead to Cicero, who referred to history as Magistra Vitae – life’s teacher.