About 2,500 years ago, the Jewish prophet Daniel received a panoramic revelation from God that revealed the sweep of world history from his day up until a future time when Jesus Christ returns to establish His eternal kingdom. This revelation about the future came in the form of two dreams. One dream is recorded in the second chapter of Daniel, and it is a dream of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar which Daniel interpreted. The other dream is found in Daniel 7, and it is Daniel’s dream about the same things. These two visions point to a dramatic consolidation of world power during the End Times.
King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream focused on a colossal image, and he had no idea how to interpret it. The king summoned a council of magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and wise men to decipher the dream for him, but there was a catch: he didn’t tell them what the dream was about! To interpret the dream, Nebuchadnezzar’s advisers would have to perceive the dream itself supernaturally. Not surprisingly, Daniel, who had been hand-selected by God for this assignment, was the only counselor who could describe the vision and interpret its meaning.
The Interpretation of the Dream
This dream that Daniel interprets for Nebuchadnezzar is about the dominant kingdoms of the world throughout time. In fact, the word kingdom shows up nine times in these verses. These worldwide kingdoms seen in the dream follow one after the other. Daniel described five kingdoms through the imagery of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. For our purpose, we will look at the two kingdoms that represent Europe.
The Kingdom of Iron
According to Daniel 2:40, “And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.”
The legs of iron and the feet of iron and clay represent Rome. This conclusion cannot be proven by citing references in the Bible, but there is no way for it to be anything else because history proves Rome is the fourth kingdom. In the text, iron is used fourteen times, and the iron legions of Rome have been vaunted for centuries. Rome possessed superior iron-forging technology, and she ruled the Mediterranean world with an iron fist. Rome was iron.
Fifty years before Jesus was born, Rome took control of the world, and the Roman Empire maintained control until after His Resurrection. It was Roman rule that put Jesus on the cross. It was the imperialistic Romans who ruthlessly ruled during the days of the Early Church. They were always after Paul. They were always quelling the riots. They were always trying to keep the peace for Rome because of what was happening in the growth of the Church. Rome’s legions crushed all resistance with an iron heel.
The Kingdom of Iron and Clay
The final part of this beast is the most important for us right now. The Bible says its legs of iron extended down to feet which were partly iron and partly clay. Here is the description in Daniel 2:41-43:
Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
According to this prophecy, there will be a time in the future when the Roman Empire will divide into ten sections (ten toes). As we know from history, that has not yet happened, and Napoleon destroyed the last traces of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. At this point, there has never been a ten-fold edition of the Roman Empire, yet the Bible indicates there will be a renewed Roman kingdom on this earth when Jesus returns.
The Foundation of the Fulfillment
How could the Roman Empire be here when Jesus returns? When Daniel prophesied 2,500 years ago that the Roman Empire would be on this earth when Jesus returned, he meant it. He accurately predicted the first Roman Empire approximately five hundred years before its founding. Now, signs of a revived Roman Empire are emerging before our eyes.
Consider this timeline of European events:
1946: Winston Churchill powerfully declared the tragedy of Europe could only be solved if the issues of ancient nationalism and sovereignty gave way to a sense of European national grouping. He said the path to European peace and prosperity on the world stage was clear: “We must build a United States of Europe.”1
1948: At the Benelux Conference in Brussels, Belgium, a foundation was laid for a new organization known as the European Economic Community. Viewing unity as their only hope of survival in a post-world-war world, three nations attended the meeting—the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Belgium.
March 25, 1957: A treaty was signed on Capitoline Hill, one of the seven famous hills of Rome. Remarkably, the agreement was called the Treaty of Rome. It brought together Italy, France, and Germany. These nations joined the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Belgium in the European Economic Community.
1973: England, Ireland, and Denmark joined the European Economic Community.
1981: Greece joined the European Economic Community, which made it a ten-nation confederation. Prophecy buffs from all over the world thought this would usher in the Lord’s return. However, the prophecy does not say ten nations; it says ten kings, ten leaders, ten men, ten people of influence.
January 1, 1986: Spain and Portugal were added, and the European Economic Community officially adopted the goal of a politically unified Europe.
1989: The Berlin Wall was dismantled.
1991: The Soviet Union was dissolved.
December 31, 1992: The economic borders between the nations of the European Economic Community were removed.
1993: The European Union was formed. The European Economic Community joined the European Union and was renamed the European Community.
1995: Three more members were added to the European Union: Austria, Finland, and Sweden.
2002: 80 billion coins were produced for use in the twelve participating nations, introducing what we know as the Euro.
May 1, 2004: Cypress, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia all became members of the European Union. These expanded the population of the European Union to 450 million people, surpassing North America as the world’s largest economic zone.
2007: Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union.
2009: The European Community’s institutions were absorbed into the European Union and ceased to exist.
2013: Croatia joined the European Union.
Gradually yet steadily, the nations of Europe have come together. Rome is more integrated today than at any time since the days of Jesus. According to the prophecies of Daniel, this new Roman Empire represented by the feet and toes of Daniel’s beast and by the ten horns of the beast in Daniel 7 will have to be present when the end-time events begin to happen.
Daniel describes this future coalition as a mixture of iron and clay. Iron represents the strength of Rome, but the clay represents the will of the people. This coalition of European nations consolidates different backgrounds, different languages, and different traditions. It is like a mixture of iron and clay, which does not truly integrate. You cannot mix iron and clay. The two substances remain distinct, no matter how much they are manipulated. This mixture represents an outer structure that brings people together out of their own economic fears without unifying their underlying identity.
The Consolidation of World Power
This consolidation of world power is historic in its proportions. Since the time of the Roman Empire, there has been no world-governing nation or empire. No country has been able to achieve or attain world dominance. Napoleon tried. Hitler tried. Stalin tried. They all failed. However, there will be a short period of time in the future when the world will unify under one man.
Daniel’s dream in chapter 7 featured a beast representing the Roman Empire with ten horns and a beast representing ten kings yet to arise on the stage. The meaning of Daniel’s dream was directly given to him. Here is what Daniel learned, “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom’” (Daniel 7:23-24).
The Preparation for Antichrist
This consolidation is preparing the world for one supreme leader. Daniel 7:25 describes the coming leader as someone who will “speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” This ruler will emerge from the group of ten in Europe to control the European Union, and this man will become the world’s final dictator. The Bible calls him the Antichrist. The European Union’s formation is one of the conditional preludes to the coming of the Antichrist.
Jesus’ return is nearer than ever. We may not know the day or the hour, but we can recognize the season. And one thing we do know: It is a lot closer to us than it was when these words were written and when these prophecies were given. There has never been a time like this.
The Application for Today
Here is my question for you: Are you ready for His return? You do not want to meet this day unprepared. If you are not ready, how do you get ready? Here is a good word from Romans 13:11-12, “Awake out of sleep…. The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” In other words, do not be mesmerized by the culture in which you live, and do not be complacent. Today is the day of salvation! Now is the time! If you have never received Christ as your personal Savior, make that decision now. Before all these things come to maturity, the Lord will come back to this earth, and He is going to take everyone who has put their trust in Him home to heaven. The way you get ready for heaven in the future is by receiving Jesus Christ now.