Friday, May 21, 2010

Move Over America

America has had a great run.  Until the turn of the 20th century, the Bible was the most commonly used textbook in America. Despite what our current President says, America IS the world's most Christian country.  No other nation on Earth is more recognizably Christian than America.  It wasn't moderate Muslims, violent Buddhist, or messianic Jews on the Mayflower. They were English Christians who wanted to separate (Separatists) from the Church of England. American was built on religious freedom, but the slab was unique to the God of the Bible.  The concentration of Christian values was so great, that after 233 years, American is STILL the most recognized Christian nation in the world.

Despite being 233 years old, America has only been a superpower since WWII. After the war, the British Empire was dissolved, leaving only two superpowers left in the world, America and the Soviet Union.  The Soviet Union lost the "Cold War" to the United States and dissolved itself in 1991.  By 1992, America was the single most powerful nation on the Earth.  America has starred or directed in every major world event, for the last 50 years.  To imagine a scenario where America isn't on the world stage is not only inconceivable, but disturbing. But we wouldn't be the first empire to rise and fall.  In fact, the prophet Daniel doesn't even give America a mention in his revelation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream.

King Nebuchadnezzar saw a statue with a unique construction. It's head was of fine gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and it's feet were part iron and clay. Daniel then told the King that each part represented four successive world empires that were to come.  Daniel starts by saying that King Nebuchadnezzar's empire was the head of gold.

You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them  into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. Daniel 2: 37-38

Daniel tells King Nebuchadnezzer, that the head of gold was his kingdom, the Babylonian empire. This empire lasted 70 years as the most powerful kingdom on earth.  In 536 B.C., the Babylonian empire, the "head of gold", came to an end when it fell to the Persians, the "chest and arms of silver".

But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; Daniel 2:39

The Persians fell to Alexander's Greek empire, the "belly and thighs of brass" in 336 B.C.  The Greek empire lasted for over 300 years until it gave way to the Roman Empire, the "legs of iron".

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 Daniel 2:40

Unlike the previous three, the fourth empire has no conqueror.  Also, the fourth kingdom is depicted TWICE.  It is first shown as being separated with two legs of iron.  Just as Daniel predicted, the Roman Empire had grown so large, it was divided into two, the Western Empire at Rome, and the Eastern Empire at Constantinople.  Two hundred years later, the "brittle" iron empire of Rome collapsed under its own stress.

But Wait.., There's More (in a Billy Mays voice) Daniel isn't done with the fourth kingdom.  Daniel continues with the re-emergence of the same Roman kingdom.  But this time, they've been given an extreme makeover.

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. Daniel 2:41-43

Unlike the previous kingdoms, the re-emergence of the fourth kingdom BEGINS divided.  The Bible predicts that the fourth kingdom rises again in the form of a ten-nation confederacy.  Daniel had another vision of four great beasts; a lion with eagle's wings, a bear, a winged leopard with four heads and;

a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. Daniel 7:4-7

History identifies these beasts as the same four Kingdoms in Nebuchadnezzar's image - Babylonian, Persia, Greek, and the Roman Empire.  Consider the accuracy of Daniels visions.  Daniel's third beast corresponds to the third kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar's image - the leopard with four heads and four wings. The wings symbolize the speed of which Alexander expanded the Greek empire.  In just 13 years he had conquered a majority of the known world.  The four heads symbolize the four divided kingdoms ruled by his four generals after Alexander's death.  The Angel Gabriel revealed this to Daniel in explaining another vision.

Daniel has a vision where he sees a very powerful two-horned ram. Suddenly a goat with a prominent horn came from the west, crossing the earth with great speed (sound familiar).  The goat tramples the ram and becomes very great, but at the height of his power his horn is broken and four horns grow in its place.  Gabriel interprets the dream as follows:

The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.  Daniel 8:20-22

Let's go back to the fourth kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar's image.  The fourth kingdom refers to the fourth beast in Daniel's vision.  The ten toes of the image represent the ten horns of the beast.  Daniel also gives a clue as to when this new kingdom will be in power.

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

These same kings are described in Revelation and will ultimately be destroyed by the FINAL kingdom represented in the image.

You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.  Daniel 2:34-35

And now we come full circle.  Daniel prophesied four great kingdoms before the one that ultimately destroys the renewed and divided Roman empire.  So we come  back to the question.  How can there be a powerful and prominent revised Roman empire with 10 kings if there still exists an American superpower?  I believe we are in the time between the third and fourth kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar's image.  The iron legged kingdom of ancient Rome is history.  However, 1600 years after its fall, the new Roman empire of the EU is ready to take the reigns.  But there is one problem, America still has them.

The EU isn't powerful enough to be in a position to be crushed, but thanks to America's slow descent, it will be soon.  There are only TEN nations that hold full status in both the European Union and the Western European Union, and that doesn't appear to be changing.  There are other states that participate, but there are only 10 kings calling the shots. The following quote suggest they don't need any more.

Following a decision taken on 14 June 2001, the Secretary-General stated during the 1352nd meeting of the Council of Western European Union on 28 June 2001 that, with regard to the period from 1 January 2002, the Member States deemed it unnecessary, in present and foreseeable circumstances, to make any formal change to the statuses of non-full members. source

America has been in the driver's seat for over 50 years.  What puts us in the back?  Are we still in the car?  No one really knows.  For now, I can't think of a more accurate description of the EU than 'partly strong, partly fragile.' It's members share everything but sovereignty.  They have no constitution, no a central government, and no king.  Well, not yet.