Ever since the European Union arose on the world stage, decades ago now, gradually increasing in power and strength, Futurist interpreters of prophecy have seen in the EU a fulfilment of the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation which speak of the “ten kings”, symbolised by “ten toes” and “ten horns”. They have correctly understood that these refer to ten European nations; but thereafter their interpretation descends into error, for they claim that these prophecies will be fulfilled by modern European states eventually giving their support to some future, political individual, whom they identify with the Antichrist. Futurism, by definition, assigns a future fulfilment to biblical prophecies. Certainly, many Futurists would say that the future is now here, and that we are living through the early stages of the fulfilment of the prophecies; but when I say that Futurism holds to a future Antichrist, a future tribulation, a future “united states of Europe”, I mean that Futurism scoffs at the notion that many biblical prophecies were in fact fulfilled in past centuries, or that some of them started to be fulfilled centuries ago and have continued to be fulfilled to the present day.
This is the Historicist understanding of Bible prophecy, and it was once almost universally held among Protestants; but in more recent times it came to be replaced by the Futurist theory. This is a great tragedy, for in claiming that virtually all Bible prophecy has to do with a brief period of time near the end of the world, and with the Christians alive at that time and no others, Futurism essentially denies that history has fulfilled prophecy throughout the centuries of this Gospel age; and furthermore, it means that for all previous generations of Christians, through two thousand years of Church history, the prophecies of Daniel, Revelation, and elsewhere were essentially useless. After all, why read and study things which will only supposedly be fulfilled during a short space of time in the future? Truly, the Jesuit creator of this theory (yes, a Jesuit priest foisted it upon the world!) has caused untold confusion within the ranks of Protestantism!
Let us then turn our attention to what Bible prophecy says about Europe. Certainly it has much to say – but not what Futurists would like to force it to say.
The EU Far Exceeds 10
Decades ago, as the countries joining the European Union crept towards the number ten, Futurist prophecy expositors grew increasingly excited. They saw the fulfilment of these prophecies as imminent! And sure enough, the day came when there were ten member states of the EU. Great jubilation in the Futurist camp! Prophecy being fulfilled before everyone’s eyes!
But wait… the number then climbed to eleven, then twelve, then thirteen, then fourteen. What was going on? As it steadily rose higher – and then still higher – various explanations were given, none of them satisfactory. And where does the number stand now? At 28! The EU is today much, much larger than the ten it was supposed to stay at, according to the theory.
But for those who were able to get past this irritating little fact and still see the EU as the sole fulfilment of the prophecies relating to the “ten kings”, they had other things to concern them. For example: what happens if the EU one day disintegrates? When the United Kingdom voted to exit the EU in 2016, this possibility became a very real one, and was openly expressed and discussed by the powers that be around the world.