Ken and I had talked many times about Bible prophecy, so when Ken’s old friend Dan had some questions Ken couldn’t answer, Ken arranged for the three of us to meet.
It turned out that Dan, who is a Buddhist, had picked up a Gideon’s Bible in a hotel room out of curiosity and came across a couple of mystifying passages in the Bible‘s final book, the book of Revelation.
Dan said he could see by world events that we were getting close to the end of the world. He had heard a little about the rise of the Antichrist and the coming one-world government, and wanted to know how that fit in with what he’d read. Specifically, he wanted to know what the “seven heads” and “ten horns” mentioned in Revelation chapters 13 and 17 meant.
So we read parts of those two chapters, and this is how I explained them to him:
“I [John the Apostle] stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea”–the sea of humanity–“having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name” (Revelation 13:1).
If you read the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel, which was written about 700 years earlier, you’ll again see this great beast in its other various forms. The beast represents various world empires.
In Revelation chapter 17, verses 9 and 10, we learn that the seven heads are seven kings or kingdoms. “Five have fallen”–when John wrote this in 90 A.D., five great empires centered in the Mideast, the empires of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece, had come and gone–“one is”–the Roman Empire was in power when John wrote this–“and the other”–the Antichrist’s final world empire–“has not yet come.” “And when he comes, he must continue a short time”–the Antichrist’s seven-year reign. So these seven heads are six previous world empires, plus the Antichrist’s empire that is rising now, but not yet in place.
“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour”–a very short time–“as kings with the beast” (Revelation 17:12). Because these ten kings or powers had “received no kingdom as yet” during John’s day, the time of the sixth head, the Roman Empire, it is obvious that these ten horns are all on the seventh and final head, the Antichrist. “These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast” (Revelation 17:13).
These ten powers who help put the Antichrist in power and cooperate with him are described in further detail in Daniel 2:34, 41-43 and Daniel 7:7-8, 20-24. In Daniel 7:7, the ten-horned Antichrist kingdom grows out of the Roman beast. This seems to indicate that these ten kings, nations, or powers of the Endtime Antichrist Empire will come from the remains of the ancient Roman Empire, which ruled much of modern-day Europe. If this interpretation is correct, the European Union (EU) could have quite an important role to play in the Endtime.
For the first time since Rome united Europe under its power, Europe is coming together. In fact, Romano Prodi of Italy, the President of the European Commission, declared to the EU’s economic and social committee in 1999: “For the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire we are uniting Europe, and not by force of arms but on the basis of shared ideals and agreed common rules.”1 For the first time since the Roman Empire, much of Europe now has adopted a common currency, the euro, and is also moving forward to unite politically and militarily.
As Europe has become more united, so has the rest of the world. It has not yet been a political uniting, but rather a technological one. Distances have dissolved with the growth of telecommunications; the widespread use of the Internet; and the ease, rapidity, and low cost of travel. With the linking of many economies, financial barriers have also broken down, so that what happens in one corner of the world has a great effect on other parts.
The Antichrist will have much of the world under his control, but it appears likely that Europe will be his primary stronghold and that the “ten horns” will be the European nations that will cooperate with him the most.
“But the good news,” I explained to Dan, “is that at the end of the Antichrist’s seven-year reign, Jesus Christ will return ‘on the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory’ to rescue all His saved children, put a stop to the Antichrist’s evil empire, and set up His own kingdom on earth, where there will be righteousness and peace and plenty for all (Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 14:14-16; 19:6-9, 11-21; 20:1-4). Your best preparation for these soon-coming events is to be on the side of the final victor, Jesus!”