Europe’s Civil War
Powerful forces are dividing and reshaping Europe. The Bible reveals that end-time Europe will experience forces that will transform it. Are we seeing those forces at work today?
Europe is at war. A war of ideas, that is.
Recently French President Emmanuel Macron told the European Parliament there is a “context of division and indeed doubt within Europe.” He said the continent is undergoing a type of “civil war.” On one side are those who want Europe to continue to integrate and focus on common liberal ideals to unify the continent. On the other side, there is a growing tide of right-wing nationalist sentiment, described by Mr. Macron as a “deadly tendency which might lead our continent into the abyss.”
The underlying principle of the present European Union is found in the preamble of the Treaty of Rome: “Determined to lay the foundations of an ever-closer union among the peoples of Europe.” It is this “ever-closer union” that many feel is being threatened by the nationalist movements gaining strength across Europe.
Consider these recent trends:
- April 2018: Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán won an overwhelming majority after campaigning on an urgent message of EU overreach. The New York Times summed up his platform this way: “The nation was at risk from an international cabal looking to undermine its sovereignty, and it would be overrun with migrants if he was not elected.”
- April 2018: The EU discussed withholding funding from countries “that violate the rule of law.” This was aimed at countries like Hungry and Poland that were seen as compromising principles central to the EU.
- March 2018: The members of the Visegrád Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) opposed migrant quotas set by the EU, instead pushing for an alternative vision of the EU founded on “Christian values.”
- March 2018: The EU considered removing Poland’s voting rights because of a new Holocaust law that imposed jail sentences of up to three years for saying Poland was complicit in Nazi German crimes.
- February 2018: Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán attacked the political elite in Brussels stating that “Christianity is Europe’s last hope.” The Daily Express reported he warned that the “European Union risks being ‘overrun’ by mass immigration and ‘Islamic expansion.’”
- December 2017: Austria became the only Western European state to be governed by a coalition government that includes a far-right anti-immigration and anti-EU party.
- September 2017: Germany’s far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) party won 94 of the 709 seats in the Bundestag, making it Germany’s third-strongest political party. Like other far-right parties across Europe, the AfD campaigned on an anti-immigration and anti-Islam platform.
One of the driving forces behind the rise of the divisions in Europe has been the 2015 migration crisis. Far-right parties decry the influx of Muslims into Europe and their lack of integration into Europe’s culture. At the heart of the divisions is the question, What does it mean to be a European?
The search for a European identity
The Bible reveals a revived Europe will unite into a superpower that will be vastly different from what the EU is today. What defines a European? A group of conservative intellectuals—including political scientists, historians, philosophers and lawyers—endeavored to answer the question in what is called “The Paris Statement.” The statement outlines a false Europe vs. a real Europe.
The authors identified false Europe as a Europe that disregards national borders and sovereignty, embraces multiculturalism and secularism, suppresses dissent, and rejects its Christian roots while trying to avoid offending Muslims.
True Europe, in contrast, is basically seen as the opposite of all those views. It embraces its Christian roots and identity. The authors believe the leaders of Europe today are in the grip of “illusions and self-deceptions about what Europe is and should be.” These conservatives see Christianity as an identifying mark for Europe and as the force to bring “cultural unity to Europe” as it did in the past.
Role of Christianity in Europe
These internal struggles are to be expected in the light of Bible prophecy. The Bible reveals a revived Europe will unite into a superpower that will be vastly different from what the EU is today. The final form will be a great religious-political union of 10 European nations (or groups of nations).
Just before Jesus Christ returns, two great leaders will arise on the world scene. There will be a European political leader, described as the “beast” (Revelation 13:1-8), and a false religious leader that will arise from Rome, described as the “false prophet” (Revelation 13:11-14; 17:1-9). These two men will work together to deceive the nations through economic domination and a counterfeit version of Christianity (Revelation 13:8; 16:13-14).
Continue to watch Europe and the forces and ideologies fighting for its heart.