Recently there has been a debate among prophecy teachers about the nature of the final world empire. Some say it is a Western union of nations – a “Revived Roman Empire,” while others suspect it will be an Eastern coalition – essentially an Islamic Caliphate.
In Daniel, chapter 2, the major world empires are depicted in a series of dreams and visions. Before this time Egypt and Assyria had already come and gone as world powers. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream about a giant statue. He asked his wise men to interpret the dream, but they could not. However, Daniel, a devout young Hebrew captive, was given the ability to declare the dream and its interpretation to the king.
The statue had a head of gold that represented the Babylonian Empire and King Nebuchadnezzar.
The chest and arms were silver, and stood for the next world empire, which would have two parts. This was fulfilled by the Medo-Persian Empire that eventually conquered Babylon.
A bronze waist and thighs stood for another powerful empire that would arise. This was a preview of Greece.
The legs were of iron, stronger than the other metals, and they symbolized Rome, the strongest of all empires, and the last world empire to reign over the known world.
The final aspect of the statue was the composition of the feet. They were partly of iron, and partly of clay. Then a rock fell from heaven, symbolizing the coming of Messiah to reign, and broke the feet, causing the whole statue to fall and break apart. The rock then grew into a great mountain, representing the coming righteous reign of Christ.
What would the iron and clay mean? It is a Revived Roman Empire–partly of the old iron of the ancient Roman Empire, and partly of clay, something weaker and brittle. It would include some of the old areas, but it would not be as strong and monolithic as the old Roman Empire. When the stone comes out of Heaven and lands on these feet they will break. The stone from Heaven represents the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of Kings. When he comes he will destroy the final evil empire and set up the Millennial Kingdom.
Today we have what might be called a United States of Europe. The first step toward the formation of a European superstate was the Benelux Agreement on June 8, 1948. This was a treaty between three very small countries, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Several years later, in 1957, in the city of Rome, and with a document called “The Treaty of Rome,” those three countries joined with three other countries, Italy, France, and Germany to form the EEC (European Economic Community), which was called the Common Market. In 1973 the United Kingdom or England came in along with Ireland and Denmark, making a total of nine nations. In 1981 Greece became the tenth member of the union.
Today this coalition has grown to 27 member nations in this European superstate, and it is now known as the European Union (EU)
Since 2008 there has been another alignment of countries around the Mediterranean Sea. It is called The Union for the Mediterranean. It includes EU member states and a number of North African and Middle East countries, making a total of 44 countries in the region. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi declined to join, calling it “another Roman empire.”
The EU represents 500,000,000 people, a larger population and larger total economy than the U.S. A new study about the economic crisis showed that Europe is now the richest region in the world.
However, In spite of all its promise for a bright future, Europe has one overwhelming problem. The Muslim population is exploding all over Europe while its traditional residents are declining in numbers. Europe is weak culturally, having lost its Christian conscience. And, as Christopher Caldwell warns in his book, Reflections on the revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West, “European culture is about to be extinguished by Islamic culture.” This could very well be the “clay” that is mixed with the Roman “iron” in the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision.
At this time there is a historical uprising in Islamic countries, presumably to break the yoke of their dictatorships which have left the people in poverty. The people want democracy, but the Iranian Revolution in 1979 is a grim reminder of what might happen instead. Thanks to the powerful influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, these countries are in danger of trading one despotic form of government for another one, with a return to radical Islamic control and Sharia law. If that does happen, these countries could then merge into a new Islamic Caliphate next to the European Union, which is already highly infiltrated by Muslim culture. If this should happen, there could even be a merger of the two empires into one overwhelming world power.
Much of this is discussed and documented in our book, Connecting the Dots: A Handbook of Bible Prophecy.