What does it mean when the top religious leader of 1.2 billion believers calls for the formation of a global political entity “with real teeth”?
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In his third encyclical—the second-highest level of teaching in the Catholic Church—Pope Benedict XVI wrote there is an “urgent need of a true world political authority” in the wake of the global economic crisis.
“Furthermore, such an authority would need to be universally recognized,” he added, “and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights.”
Titled “Charity in Truth,” the church document “was released a day before leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations [met] to coordinate efforts to deal with the global meltdown, signaling a clear Vatican bid to prod leaders for a financially responsible future and what it considers a more socially just society” (The Associated Press).
Why would the top religious leader of 1.2 billion professing Christians—whose position, vicar of Christ, meaning “in place of” Christ on Earth—call for “a true world political authority”—one with “real teeth”? And what if a worldwide governing entity did become reality: Would it bring success—or disaster?
Pope Benedict, in his encyclical, advocated “the responsibility to protect” poorer nations and give them an “effective voice in shared decision-making”—that is, a prominent seat at the table of international affairs.
The stated goal: “To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration.”
A tall order.
The United States used to be the shining knight all looked to for direction and assistance. But the domestic attacks of 9/11 revealed the face of a new nation: America the Vulnerable. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and news images of “American refugees,” revealed America the Impotent. And the current global economic meltdown, its bankruptcies, rising unemployment rate and increasing debt, reveals America the Ailing Financial Giant. Can it recover—or is its economic “cancer” terminal?
Its glory days now behind, the world’s lone superpower no longer shines as the heroic knight poised to rescue lesser nations.
The Vatican and other members of the international community seek another to take its place: Someone must save the “Zimbabwes” of the world—underdeveloped countries suffering runaway inflation, virtually nonexistent infrastructure, government-wide corruption and social injustice. Someone must disarm nations from caches of weapons of mass destruction. Someone must intervene in regions facing mass starvation, secure food and medicine, protect refugee camps against civil unrest, and break the chains of abject poverty. Someone must balance the scales of economic equity between the “haves” (largely the West) and the “have nots” (the Third World).
For now, Pope Benedict has called for “a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance”—but is that a viable solution?
Pope John Paul II, during a 1982 trip to Spain, urged Europeans to “Return to yourself. Be yourself. Discover your origins. Revive your roots. Revive those values which made your history glorious and made your presence beneficial among the other continents” (Zenit).
Twenty-three years later, his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, repeated the identical call for Europeans to return to their cultural roots.
During the past 500 years, Europe has played the leading role in shaping history.
The continent has produced matchless advances in diverse fields, such as science, business, education, agriculture, technology, art, architecture and music. Monumental historical developments—the Renaissance, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and two World Wars—began in Europe before impacting countries in other continents. The richest and most powerful nations in modern history have invariably been European or those founded by their descendants. In short, Europe has been the axis around which the world has largely revolved.
And yet at this time the continent is troubled, beset by problems of every kind: economic stagnation, terrorism, illegal immigration, low birthrates, widespread crime, culture clashes and difficulties with integration—to name just a few.
In the face of these issues, Europeans are becoming disenchanted with their leaders. In the recently concluded European Union parliamentary elections, citizens showed their displeasure by voting out several incumbents, and in some cases, voting in right-wing extremist groups. Many are unhappy with the state of affairs in Europe, and feel that their leaders are not addressing their concerns.
Both the current and previous pope identified Europe’s problems as spiritual, rather than physical. For well over 1,000 years, religion has played a major role in shaping the continent, and has historically proved to be the only glue capable of holding together diverse cultures and competing national agendas.
As problems multiply, Europeans are looking for direction—for leadership—for someone with a “map and compass” to lead them out of their troubles—to provide real solutions. At the same time, the Vatican is concerned about the state of world affairs, and has proposed a global political entity “with real teeth” to solve pressing problems. Both church and state are looking for a leader to address their concerns.
Will such a leader arise? If so, what impact will he have on Europe, and ultimately the world? Also, what role, if any, will religion play?
To determine the answers to these questions, one has to first understand the historic nature of the 1,500-year relationship between Europe and the Vatican.
In AD 324, the Roman Emperor Constantine, after seeing a vision, established “Christianity” as the official religion of the Roman Empire. (In reality, this was the great counterfeit version of the true Church; read David C. Pack’s book Where Is the True Church? – and Its Incredible History! to learn more.) Until that time, those who professed to be Christian lived under threat of persecution. Indeed, countless numbers were tortured, and even murdered.
Then, in 325, Constantine followed this up with the Council of Nicea, a gathering of religious leaders from all over the empire that convened to settle doctrinal disputes. Most accepted its decrees. Those who did not were forced to flee for their lives—especially when the Council of Laodicea, in 363, decreed Sunday to be the official day of Christian worship, replacing the seventh-day Sabbath.
The church at Rome had become a key player in European affairs. Within the next 300 years, a number of events occurred to strengthen its influence.
The unthinkable happened in 476: the mighty Roman Empire fell to Germanic invaders. This colossal event rocked both Europe and the Vatican.
After Rome fell, the papacy worked behind the scenes with other influential elements to eliminate the Germanic barbarians. In 554, Justinian restored the empire as the “Holy Roman Empire.” This would be significant for a number of reasons.
Adding the word “Holy” indicated that those involved believed this government entity was the kingdom of God on Earth. This was the first time the Vatican was the most influential factor in selecting the emperor, as its support gave the civil leader legitimacy in the eyes of the people. From this time onward, the relationship of church and state would be the primary factor in European history, up to and including the 21st century. The emperor provided leadership, and ensured that the state carried out the church’s wishes. From then on, the Vatican became the major player in continental Europe.
Shortly after Justinian’s death in 565, the empire declined. Over the next 200 years, it would ebb and flow with successive rulers, but not return to its former glory.
During the 8th century, the powerful Germanic Frankish kingdom started to emerge in France and Germany, led by a line of kings known as the Merovingians, followed by the Carolingians—who, under Charles Martel (“the Hammer”), rescued Europe by defeating the invading Saracens in a momentous victory at Tours in France. By this, the Vatican recognized the Franks as the defenders of Christianity.
After the Frankish leader Pepin died in 768, his son Charles (six-foot, four-inches tall) ascended to the throne. He undertook 53 military campaigns against 12 nations during the next several years, uniting all of the countries in Western Europe. After a desperate plea for help from Pope Adrian I, Charles defeated the Lombards and in the process united Italy. After several victorious campaigns and a generous donation of land to the church, Charles was hailed as defender and guardian of the Christian faith. The alliance between the church and the Franks was strengthened. Charles would later become known as Charlemagne (Karl der Grosse to Germans)—Charles the Great.
His defining moment came in the year 800, when Pope Leo III crowned him as “imperator Romanorum”—Emperor of the Romans. The crowning cemented the marriage between the church and state, and restored the Holy Roman Empire. It also showed that the crown was the pope’s to give and to take away. A future pope would later declare that “church and state are like soul and body and both must be united in order to live and function rightly.”
Europe fell into disarray after Charlemagne’s death, as foreign invaders continually threatened the continent. The church and various governments were occasionally at loggerheads. Disunity reigned. Weakness in the church proved to be tied to weakness in Europe, and vice versa. Both awaited a leader to point the way forward.
In 924, Otto the Great, son of a Saxon duke, came to power, approvingly elected by participants who raised their right hand and shouted, “Sieg und Heil!”—victory and salvation. The German Otto then went about successfully expanding his kingdom. As the continent drifted into another period of decline, Pope John XII in 961 asked Otto to restore order and defend the church. Otto subsequently swept into Italy and defeated all enemies. The grateful pontiff then crowned Otto “Holy Roman Emperor.” Once again, church and state moved in lock step. Otto’s kingdom was the beginning of what was subsequently called the “Holy Empire of the German Nation”—the First Reich.
The Holy Roman Empire and Germany were inextricably linked, with Germanic leaders assuming the mantle of kingship—the imperial crown, the symbol of European unity—sitting on their heads. Germany became the power center of Europe.
However, a struggle for power between church and state ensued throughout the Middle Ages; once again, Europe declined. In the 12th and 13th century, Europeans launched unsuccessful wars—the Crusades—to take Jerusalem from the Muslims.
Then, in 1453, the unthinkable happened: Constantinople, the capital of the eastern Roman Empire (known as Byzantine Empire), fell to the Muslim Turks. A shaky Europe was once more ripe for a strong leader to lead it out of the morass.
In the 1500s, an influential Germanic family, the Habsburgs, came to prominence, having amassed large swaths of land across Europe. Pope Clement at Bologna, Italy, crowned one of its own, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1530, making him “the defender of the faith.” (This was technically the last time a pope crowned someone emperor.) Charles went on to become the greatest Habsburg emperor. Indeed, some historians even considered him to be the greatest emperor to wear the imperial crown since Charlemagne.
The Habsburgs, by a series of marriages, were so interconnected with Spanish, Dutch and other European royalty, Charles V’s empire stretched from Europe to South America. Through his efforts, the Hapsburgs controlled a vast global empire—the first in modern times. Charles declared, “In my realm, the sun never sets.” Charles’ goal was a united Europe under one religion (this idea remains in play today, with the move toward a united Europe and religious ecumenicism). With the Habsburg Empire, many dreamt of a Christian European empire, but with his death, again decline set in.
The 17th and 18th centuries would see the Roman church struggle against threats to its power: the rise of Protestantism, the decline of the Spanish and Portuguese empires, conflict between France and Germany, and the emergence of the Ottoman Turks and protestant Britain as formidable powers. During these difficult times, the church once again awaited a leader to champion its cause.
A star suddenly emerged in the late 18th century. Napoleon Bonaparte, a young, brash, but brilliant military leader from Corsica burst onto the scene. By age 26, he was already commanding the French army in Italy, and had seized power in France by age 30. Short in stature, but long on ambition, this keen student of Roman history dreamt of a resurrected Roman Empire, with himself as emperor—which he declared himself in 1804 after he snatched the imperial crown from the pope’s hand and crowned himself during the royal ceremony. With this, he set about unifying Europe.
Napoleon saw some initial successes (most notably, the defeat of Prussia in 1806). However, one disastrous campaign after another led to his defeat and downfall, first in Russia and then against the British in the Belgian town of Waterloo. With Napoleon’s defeat, 1,260 years of the Holy Roman Empire came to an end—from Justinian in 554 to Napoleon’s downfall in 1814. The church again lost a champion.
A period of rebuilding in Europe ensued. Giuseppe Garibaldi reunited Italy in 1870, and Otto von Bismarck reunited Germany in the following year, which brought about the Second Reich.
Bismarck forged an alliance between Germany and Italy, rekindling ties going back to the days of Charlemagne and Otto the Great.
In later years of the German-Italian axis, Benito Mussolini tried to revive the Holy Roman Empire, reconciling a longstanding rift between church and state, even entering into a concordat (agreement) with the Vatican. But the dictator’s reign was short-lived, ending in abysmal failure with his hanging in 1945. Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler, with visions of glory, set about establishing the Third Reich; that too ended in failure.
Though it had suffered in the hands of fascist dictators, the dream of European unity lived on. After World War II, the European Economic Community was established to improve trade between European countries. This later morphed into the European Union (EU), as the continent moved toward political unification, a drive that continues to this very day.
But there are many problems to overcome, problems that require strong leadership.
Surveying the world scene, the Vatican is troubled by what it sees. In his book Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam,” then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (today’s Pope Benedict XVI) described Europe as having denied its religious and moral foundation. He lamented a continent overtaken by secularism and materialism, a Europe that had slipped into immorality, cultural confusion and irreligiousness. A Europe in danger of being overrun by outside forces.
Pope Benedict has lamented the weakening of European churches, telling a gathering of Italian priests “there’s no longer evidence for a need of God, much less Christ. The so-called traditional churches look like they are dying” (USA Today).
According to the Center for the Study on Global Christianity, every major religion in Western Europe is declining—except Islam. Thirty-eight percent of people in 12 major European countries say they never or rarely attend church. France’s 60 percent non-attendance rate is the highest. In some areas of France, Sweden and the Netherlands, attendance is less than 10 percent (USA Today). The Europe of today represents a danger not only to itself, but also to the church’s very existence.
The Vatican’s worldview is much the same. It sees a world of secular humanism, of no absolute morals, a world devoid of leadership. In his encyclical “Charity in Truth,” the pope called for a world political authority to manage the global economy, disarm nations, guarantee the protection of the environment, and regulate migration. Such an authority would have the power to enforce compliance with its decisions. For the papacy to implement its wishes, it needs an alliance with a sympathetic civil leader.
Will it look once again to the historical precedent?
Europe presently faces several crises. On the economic front, the EU’s economy is forecasted to contract by four percent in 2009, worse than the 2.8 percent projected for the United States. And European bank losses from the present global financial crisis are projected to overtake those by U.S. banks (Wall Street Journal).
All of this has badly affected the European job market. Today, some 20 million EU citizens are unemployed, many permanently. Total employment in the continent is 63 percent, while it is 75 percent in the U.S. In Italy, France, and Germany, 38 percent, 58 percent and 81 percent of the people respectively believe that unemployment is the most urgent social problem (Heritage Foundation Lectures).
Immigration is another highly contentious issue. In Europe’s capitals and small cities live large enclaves of immigrants, a significant number of whom are Muslim, often from Africa. Significant percentages of populations in France, Belgium, Holland and other nations consist of immigrants. Often with starkly different cultures and religions, a large number have not assimilated into the dominant European cultures; this has caused friction between the incumbents and newcomers. The age-old contentions of racism and religious conflict, particularly between professing Christians and Islamic believers, have returned.
Low birthrates are another serious concern. The populations of major countries such as Italy, France and Germany are in danger of falling if their birthrate does not rise significantly. The lack of young workers is also putting tremendous pressure on social welfare programs and pensions, vital to Europe’s sustainability.
Meanwhile, moves toward unification have continually met roadblocks, with bickering between EU member-states and slow progress in ratifying the new constitution. Terrorism, defense, energy and the rise of extremist political parties are some of the many concerns requiring solutions. Yet many EU citizens feel, both publicly and privately, that their leaders are not addressing the problems. In this time of instability, they yearn for leadership.
Both Europe and the Vatican are looking for a leader to address their challenges. Will such a man emerge? While secular Europe says, “No,” Bible prophecy says, “Yes.”
As humanity draws closer to the end of man’s age of rule without God’s governing guidance, the Bible is most clear that a powerful strongman will arise. This man will have the personality and political influence to galvanize and unite Europe. He will lead a unification of 10 European nations, or groups of nations—a superpower that will challenge the United States, Russia and China for global dominance.
Endorsed by, and working with, a powerful religious leader, he will seem to have all the answers, ushering in a time of unmatched prosperity for Europe. This civil leader—working with the world’s top recognized and accepted religious leader—will bring together church and state, reviving the Holy Roman Empire one final time, with Germany at its lead. Europe will once again become the focus of the world, with cataclysmic implications for humanity.
To learn more about the details of prophecy, read our booklets Who or What Is the Beast of Revelation? and Revelation Explained at Last!.
The record of the past 6,000 years presents overwhelming proof of Scripture—“that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).
Why is this?
Love. Rather than turning to the Bible—the only true authority defining and instructing in all things good and right—people choose to create their own definition of this widely used word. They define love as something one “feels.”
The papal letter “Charity in Truth” (or rather, “Love in Truth” since charity is an Old English word for “love”) is no exception.
While the religious document does quote I John 4:8 (“God is love”), it goes no further in letting the Bible speak for itself. The encyclical speaks of pursuing social justice and helping, but notice what the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote: “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity [love], it profits me nothing” (I Cor. 13:3).
In other words, while giving to the poor and sacrificing one’s life are admirable, these do not automatically mean that a person is led by the love of God.
The next few verses then define God’s—not men’s—standard of love: “[Love] suffers long, and is kind; [love] envies not; [love] vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [Love] never fails” (vs. 4-8).
Scripture also states, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (I John 5:3). In other words, if you want the love of God in you, then obey God.
The latter half of the verse states, “and His commandments are not grievous.” Most of the world’s “Christian” leaders teach otherwise—that God’s Law was “done away” at Christ’s sacrifice—that “Jesus kept the Law for you.”
But if the Law is not “grievous”—“burdensome, heavy in weight,” according to the meaning of the original Greek word—then what would be the point of doing away with it, or Christ keeping it for us in our stead?
The rest of the verse states, “For he that loves another has fulfilled the law,” and expounds upon this in verse 9: “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Obeying the first four of the Ten Commandments shows love and fear toward God; keeping the last six shows love and selfless, outgoing concern toward neighbor. This is why Paul wrote, “Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (vs. 10).
Anyone who speaks or writes about “the need for love” and “love is all you need”—but does not point love’s direct connection to obeying the Law of God—offers empty platitudes.
Now let’s focus on truth—again, not as men define it, but as the Bible defines it, of which Jesus Christ said in prayer to God, “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17).
Most students of Scripture focus primarily on the New Testament, and therefore are unaware of this Bible definition: “Your law is truth” (Psa. 119:142) and “all Your commandments are truth” (vs. 151). No wonder Paul wrote, centuries later, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12), adding two verses later, “For we know that the law is spiritual” (vs. 14).
Can God’s truth—His Law—be “grievous” and burdensome, as the vast majority of professing Christians have been deceived into believing?
Would God “do away” with His truth—that is, His Law and Word—which builds one’s faith (Rom. 10:17), sanctifies (sets apart as holy) and cleanses believers (Eph. 5:26), is a lamp that lights one’s path (Psa. 119:105) in the spiritual darkness of this “present evil world [age]” (Gal. 1:4), and is precious wisdom and understanding to all who keep it?
Nonetheless, God charges modern false religious leaders and teachers of violating His Law and profaning His holy things: “They have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (Ezek. 22:26).
How? By falsely teaching that the laws of God—His truth, which defines good and evil—is no longer in effect! Such “leaders” are truly the blind leading the blind!
Animals, powered by their brains, live for the moment, reacting to their surroundings through instinct. Human beings, through the power of their minds, possess the capacity to plan, formulate and make their dreams become reality.
Animals build dens and nests, and establish territories. Human beings build homes of one, two, three stories or more—farmhouses, townhouses, duplexes, apartment buildings, skyscrapers.
Animals can fly—if they already have the natural ability to do so. Human beings construct flying machines so they can glide through the air, fly across continents, orbit the earth—even rocket to the moon and back.
Yet despite his mastery over the physical—to even potentially walk on Mars—man flounders in handling the intangible. He does not know how to lead a happy, productive marriage or successfully rear children or establish everlasting peace (which is more than just the absence of war).
Why? Because his problems are spiritual in nature. God has given 6,000 years of self-rule—six millennia of attempting to achieve prosperity, happiness and success. Yet the record of history—of wars, broken marriages and families, civil injustice, religious confusion, failing education systems, and the like—speaks for itself.
Yet prophecy reveals that humanity will not learn from the past.
A “world political authority” will arise and assume a leading role on the global stage of politics, international trade and military presence. Today’s largely secularized Europe will see a new and unexpected interest in religion, due to the sudden appearance of a religious leader, who will sway the masses and use his influence to endorse a political leader. Most likely, European citizens will hear cries of “A New Europe!” and calls for attaining peace and prosperity. For a time, Europe will experience unprecedented wealth from international trade and commerce. The glory days of America’s economic empire will fade in memory.
Speculation? No, tomorrow’s news written in advance: Bible prophecy.
Read the following excerpt from our booklet Who or What Is the Beast of Revelation?, written by David C. Pack, under the subhead “The Bible Explains It”:
“There are many theories about the ‘two-horned beast.’ Some have thought it is a grouping of Protestant churches, and others think that it is the papacy linked to the United States. Most, however, claim not to know what it is, and speak little of it. Therefore, we must let the Bible explain its true meaning.
“Now let’s examine the passage that describes this other Revelation 13 beast: ‘And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast…and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed’ (vs. 11-15).
“Some important points emerge.
“This two-horned beast gives ‘power’ to the first beast of verses 1-5. Daniel 7:17, 23 revealed that ‘beast’ is a term for a civil government or kingdom, or the leader of the kingdom. Therefore, our first important conclusion is that this beast must be a government or kingdom. Second, is that it gives power to the Roman Empire system.
“It also appears like a ‘lamb,’ but speaks like a ‘dragon.’ This is critical to understand. Here is why. Christ is depicted in the Bible, in several places, as a lamb (John 1:29; Rev. 17:14). We have seen that the dragon is Satan. So this beast, then, appears to be religious, but is really of the devil. In other words, this is a satanic kingdom that appears on the surface to be the kingdom of God, and of Christ. Many scriptures reveal that Christ did not establish His kingdom at His first Coming. He carefully explained this to His disciples in Acts 1:6, John 14:1-3 and Luke 19:11-27. We have already seen verses in Daniel 7 describing when Christ and the saints smash the fourth beast as they are given rulership over earth.
“When Revelation 13:12 states that ‘he exercises all the power of the first beast before him [of verses 1 and 2], and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed,’ it was the Roman Empire to whom he was giving power. This occurred from the time of its healing in 554.
“For the full 1,260 years that the wound was healed, Roman emperors acknowledged the supreme authority of religion throughout the empire. This is one way it portrays itself as the kingdom of God on earth. Many encyclopedias state that the Holy Roman Empire was the ‘kingdom of God on earth.’ Actually, in 554, many felt that the kingdom of God had officially arrived.
“The second beast, however, has two horns. This is because it represents a two-fold combination of church and government. But since it is an actual kingdom, it does, in fact, have to be its own independent, sovereign state. Remember also, this two-horned beast possesses such awesome power that it inspires the world to worship the beast, whose deadly wound was healed. The power to bring fire down from heaven and to perform miracles will win vast numbers of people as worshippers of the beast.
“Verse 14 explains this: ‘And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast,’ with verse 13 stating, ‘he does great wonders.’
“Recognize these facts: The second beast is able to perform miracles. He does this ‘in the sight of’ the first beast—the Holy Roman Empire. These miracles are so extraordinary—so mesmerizing—that they allow him to deceive the whole earth! Finally, the beast is worshipped as a result.
“This future religious leader will lead the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire alongside a great civil leader. In II Thessalonians 2:3, this same religious leader is called the ‘man of sin.’ Revelation 19:20 refers to him as a ‘false prophet.’ This false prophet embodies all that counterfeit Christianity has represented through the centuries. In the near future, when the modern-day descendants of Israel are taken into captivity, many will see the bitter reality of its killing machine firsthand.
“This has been typical of this Babylonish church throughout the course of history. Millions have been put to death for not worshipping according to its false beliefs and practices. (Take time to read David C. Pack’s book America and Britain in Prophecy. It reveals the remarkable story of who ancient Israel is and where they are found today—and prophecies explaining what will soon happen to them.)
“Plainly, the ‘two-horned beast’ is the headquarters of the great false church that controls the first beast. The description we have just read is an unmistakable parallel with the ‘little horn’ of Daniel 7:8, 20-21, 24-25.”
This new “world political authority” will be the result of a convenient union between church and state. Those who fall in step—who willingly take the government’s “mark”—will receive the government’s “blessing.” But those who resist will receive persecution. Violently.
Under the guise of bringing security and prosperity to the masses, religious persecution, war and atrocities will rule the day. Humanity is entering a time foretold millennia ago when people will claim, “Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14; 8:11). The books of Revelation and Daniel, as well as numerous other passages, mention “the last days”—that is, the final days of man’s age.
Thankfully, a new and better age—the world to come!—will replace it.
After man’s dismal failure of trying to establish a “world political authority,” a world-ruling supergovernment will be established—one that will succeed! This ultimate government of governments—the kingdom of God—will bring true freedom, justice, lasting peace and prosperity for all.
A qualified leader has long ago been selected, Jesus Christ (Isa. 11:1-5). Of His soon-coming worldwide reign, Scripture states, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:6-7).
The days of human beings trying to direct their own steps through life—and of worldly religions, masquerading as being of God (II Cor. 11:13-15), attempting to rule people’s lives through civil government—will finally be over.
Only then will real peace, social justice and economic equity rule the day!