Europe’s headache of Greece once again has come to the fore in the news over the last few weeks. Greece is in a major crisis financially. As world leaders scramble to find a solution we consider Greece as part of the Kingdom of men spoken of in Bible prophecy. This is Matt Davies joining you for another Bible in the News.
Greece - Europe’s ongoing nightmare
For the last week or so Greece has been in the news constantly. The question of how to save Greece has been debated for the last five years and is the EU’s ongoing nightmare.
It got its finances in a twist after the financial crisis of 2008. In 2009 Greece announced it had been understating its deficit figures for years. Suddenly Greece was shut out of borrowing markets. Since that time two bailouts have been given by the the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. These bailouts did not work. Greece has not used the money to climb out of debt. Its finances did not stabilise Its economy has shrunk Greece has a hole in its pocket and has been losing money fast. The money has again, recently began running out.
Knowing this to be the case citizens began withdrawing money from their bank accounts. The government added capital controls in late June which restricted withdrawals to €60 per day and has led to closed banks.
The Latest Bailout Deal
Last weekend Greek citizens voted against an offer of a new bailout deal by its EU creditors. Now, in a typical display of European democracy, the Greek Parliament voted to accept the EU bailout program - the very program its citizens voted against. At the time of writing this the bailout will still need final approval from the Eurozone finance ministers on Sunday and it is still unclear as to whether Greece will indeed be spared from going bust.
Failing to obtain a deal will leave the Greek state and the Greek banks staring bankruptcy in the face. Money would literally run out and imported goods would disappear. It would be extremely painful. It would also be forced to leave the Eurozone and EU or “Grexit” as it has become coined.
Greece and Europe in Bible Prophecy
The prophet Daniel was inspired by God to pen some of the most wonderful and profound prophecies in the Bible. These prophecies are amazing depictions of world powers down through time.
In Daniel 7 the prophet sees four great beasts which come out of the symbolic sea of the nations (see Revelation 17:15). He sees a lion in v4, a bear in v5, a leopard in v6 and then a beast in v7 that is simply called “a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible”.
We are told what these beasts represent in verse 17:
"These great beasts, which are four, are four kings (or Kingdoms), which shall arise out of the earth.”
These four beasts then are four kingdoms or empires which would appear in succession on the world stage - developing around the area of the Mediterranean or the “Great Sea” as mentioned in verse 2. History has proved this amazing prophecy to be accurate. Daniel was prophesying at the time of the mighty Babylonian Empire, the “lion" of the prophecy. This gave way to the power of the Medes and Persians, the “bear". This was then displaced by the Greek empire under Alexander The Great, "the leopard". Finally the power of Rome took over from the Greek empire answering to the "fourth beast".
The point here is that the Greek aspect is part of the story of the development of the fourth beast.
The fourth beast in Revelation
In the book of Revelation the disciple John was also given wonderful symbolic visions. In his inspired writings we get further details on this final beast system. We read in chapters 12 and 13 of different phases that this beast system goes through. Finally in chapter 17 we read of its final phase and its situation at the time just before Christ returns.
In Revelation 17 verse 8 we read of how the beast, in its final form, would actually have to be revived from obscurity. John sees a "beast that was, and is not, and yet is”. It had existed in Roman times, had eventually gone into obscurity but then at the time of the prophecy it revives.
We believe this final phase of the fourth beast answers to the powers of Europe today and there ever growing project of union. The leaders have openly admitted that they are striving to reunite the nations of Europe so as to unite together like the empires of old. It is unlikely that the current form of the EU is the final phase of their project. It would seem that ever more union will indeed be needed for the the aspects of the prophecy here to be completely adhered to but we can see things moving forward towards what we would expect from the prophecy and the principles of union are in the political air on the territory of Europe.
The ten horns
One of the details of the prophecy often pondered by Bible students is the ten horns which are upon the beast in its final phase. We are told in verses 12-14:
"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. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
The fact we are told there are ten horns might well be very significant. Currently there are 28 countries in the EU. With the many problems facing the Union it would indeed be fitting if somehow, through all the turmoil eventually 10 key powers appear. Or it might be that these ten horn powers appear after Christ has returned in resistance to him.
The terms "United States of Europe”, "European federation", "European state” are all terms which have been coined in recent times to describe hypothetical scenarios of further Unification in Europe and perhaps the formation of a higher tier of nations within the EU.
On July 6 Vox Media posted an article entitled "The case for a United States of Europe” in which it argued for further integration based on the example of the woes of Greece. The article is very interesting - here is a short snippet:
"There's a tension in the way the European Union is set up. It has a lot of the responsibilities of a state, such as managing migration and trade policy, and some of the institutions of one. But it doesn't have the power of one, and that tension is part of how the Greece debt crisis got so bad.
The vast majority of spending in Europe is done by individual countries rather than by the EU as an institution. There's a common EU policy on sales taxes, but those taxes are still collected by member states. There's a joint European defence policy and a European peacekeeping force, but no European military.”
Click here for full article
The timings of the prophecies
The time of the prophecy of Revelation 17 is the time when the kings of the earth give their power and strength to this beast either just before Christ returns or just after he has returned (v13 and v14). The prophecy tells us they will fight against him at that time.
This theme is also the focus of the prophecy of Daniel 7. Daniel, in vision, watches these various beasts come and go. In verse 9 he sees the thrones of the earth thrown down and one called “the ancient of days” establish his throne. When this occurs we read in verse 11 that the fourth beast is slain.
These prophecies indicate that when Christ returns the revived powers of the Roman Empire will resist his sovereignty and will therefore face the consequences - for Christ is "Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Rev 17:14). This removal of resistant powers when Christ has returned is a clear prophecy in many prophecies in the Bible, for example in Isaiah 60:12 about that time we read:
"For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” When the Lord Jesus Christ returns he will uphold God’s righteousness and sovereignty which will be established across the globe as the earth will enter a new era in the “Kingdom of God”.
In Daniel 7, at the time when the fourth beast system is removed we have a very curious detail revealed to us in verse 12:
"As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time."
This implies that the other beasts, the Greek Empire included, were not completely destroyed by the Fourth beast but only absorbed by it. This is a fact of history too. When one empire took over it adopted aspects of culture, law and territory that its predecessor had.
After the fall of the fourth beast power the subordinate powers will recover their independence and national identity. It would appear Greece will be one of these powers. This seems to imply that whether Greece leaves the EU now or not, it will, somehow be part of the united powers which resist Christ at the time of the end.
We can also see this in the parallel prophecy of Daniel 2 and the famous “Nebuchadnezzar’s image”. Its the same story as Daniel 7 but instead of animals representing the kingdom of men, instead we have metals. When the Christ-Stone power hits the image we are told that all of the metals (including the Greek bronze) are “broken in pieces together”. Greece then will be part of this resistant power of Christ, united with the other parts of the Kingdom of men.
We can therefore conclude that if “Grexit" happens, Greece will at some point be united again under the authority of the Fourth beast system. How this might happen will be interesting to watch. We know from prophecies like Ezekiel 38 that the northern power of Russia has a huge part to play in leading the nations in the latter days. Perhaps friendly Russia will have a part to play in Greece’s future. We shall have to wait and see.
Thy Kingdom Come
One thing is for sure, we are living in the latter days and soon the Lord Jesus Christ will be here. Are we prepared to meet him? Are we praying for "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven", as the Lord Jesus Christ instructed his followers to?
This has been Matt Davies joining you for another Bible in the news. Come back next week God Willing.