A Biblical Prophecy
The pattern of the Catholic Church granting legitimacy to a rising European power is familiar to historians. It should be familiar to students of the Bible too. It describes a political power led by a church, a model that continually recurs in Europe’s history. For an in-depth study on this, request our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.
Herbert W. Armstrong described how this empire would function in modern times. The leaders of Europe, he wrote in 1980, “talk continually of POLITICAL union—which means, also, military. So far they have been unable to bring about full political union. This will be made possible by the ‘good offices’ of the Vatican, who alone can be the symbol of unity to which they can look” (The United States and Britain in Prophecy; request your free copy).
That is Europe today—unable to bring about full political union. Among its elites, the desire for union is stronger than ever, and they have tried just about every other option for unity and seen each of them fail.
The church may have to compromise to bring about this church-state entity. Mr. Armstrong wrote in 1978 that “liberals will object to this enforcement of the Catholic faith, if it is to enforce the traditional conservative doctrines” (Good News, Aug. 28, 1978). Mr. Armstrong was speculating about the outcome of a specific conclave, but it’s clear he considered this a possible outcome more generally.
“The conservative cardinals may give some ground,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, noting that the church “may emerge with a slightly changed Catholic doctrine” to facilitate the church’s leadership in Europe. However, he still believed that “traditional conservatism will probably carry the balance of power” within the church.
Just as in the past, this will not be a harmonious marriage or meeting of minds. Church and state will still have their own ambitions and will disagree on who is in charge. Their alliance will vault both of these entities into great power. But once that power is attained, the nations of this coming European superstate “shall hate” the Catholic Church (Revelation 17:16). They “shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”
“One of the most remarkable aspects of the Revelation 17 prophecy,” notes our book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy, “is that in addition to forecasting the unity” between church and state, “it says that there would also be tension and confrontation.”
The fact that Europe has moved away from the Catholic Church in recent decades is not a sign that the two can never cooperate. But it is a foreshadowing of their eventual fallout.
Europe has hosted the bloodiest empires the world has ever seen. Autocratic powers have repeatedly arisen, claiming the mantle of Rome and working with the Catholic Church to further their power.
The Bible says only one more of these destructive empires is to come, and it will only last “a short space” before it all falls apart (Revelation 17:10). Ultimately the history of Napoleon and of other “holy” Roman emperors shows that European powers have a strong incentive to work with the Catholic Church, but also that that power cannot last long.
That is the good news behind Europe’s migrant crisis. It is hastening the arrival of the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. With today’s modern technology, that empire will be able to inflict more destruction than ever before. But after a short span, that empire will be gone forever.
The Bible clearly prophesied of this repeated church-state empire. Details about this empire recorded in Revelation 13 and 17 and elsewhere have proven correct.
These same prophecies foretell what happens afterthis final empire is destroyed. Jesus Christ will return and set up His benevolent empire. It won’t be an empire that uses religion to dominate men. Instead it will use religion to finally bring peace to the world.