Apr 5, 2008

Which Nation Is The World’s Superpower?

By Britt Gillette

If you ask a dozen random people which nation is the world’s greatest superpower, chances are almost every single person will give the same answer: the United States. But is this really true? And from where does this notion originate?

The idea of the United States as the world’s lone superpower comes from an acknowledgment of recent history, a history which witnessed the United States win two world wars, engineer a Cold War victory over the Soviet Union, and project its military power from one end of the earth to the next. By all means, the United States is a global power to be reckoned with, and for a brief moment, it was the preeminent world power – the world’s only superpower. But is the United States still the world’s undisputed superpower? I would argue that it’s not.

We’ll tackle the question of which nation is the world’s other superpower in due time, but first, let’s examine why the United States has so quickly squandered its exalted position.

Since the idea of the United States as the world’s lone superpower is predicated on its great military strength, we must ask the question ‘from where does this military strength come?’ The answer is clear. The military power of the United States is a function of its economic might. The most sophisticated military machine ever known is built on the back of the strongest economic engine the world has ever known. But that economic engine is starting to run out of steam, and most Americans seem oblivious to this reality.

In the decades since its triumphant victory in WWII, the United States has lost all financial discipline, growing fat and bloated on annual deficit spending. This poor stewardship threatens to hand the next generation a bankrupt and ruined nation. Better leadership could have avoided this dire situation, but at some point in the past, Americans and their leaders cast aside God’s principles in pursuit of their own desires. The inevitable result of this national shift in financial prudence has resulted in a nation saddled with an enormous burden of debt.

The bible teaches us to be mindful of our personal financial situation and to be accountable, lest we lose all we have gained:

“Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.” Proverbs 27:23-24 (NLT)

Most Americans have come to expect their nation to lead the world both militarily and economically. They’ve come to view this reality as a birthright, requiring no action on their part in order to retain what past generations have acquired. But as the aforementioned bible verse explains, “riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.” No implicit guarantee exists which grants the United States automatic and everlasting supremacy in world economic and military affairs. Such a position of high authority and responsibility must be earned, and the United States has failed in its responsibility for some time now.

For decades, the United States has failed to take responsibility for its growing national debt, borrowing money from foreigners in order to finance lavish government spending programs. Paul warned the world, both governments and individuals, against such a lifestyle:

“Owe nothing to anyone – except for your obligation to love one another.” Romans 13:8 (NLT)

Through years of financial irresponsibility, the United States has become the world’s largest debtor nation. And this fact may be its ultimate undoing.

The Falling Dollar

Anyone in touch with the world today knows that the dollar is losing value on an almost daily basis. The dollar has fallen relative to oil, gold, silver, and every other commodity on the planet. Although this fall won’t last forever, it’s a clear symptom of an ominous future for the dollar’s underlying value. Conventional wisdom and the media try to portray this fall as a rally in oil or a rally in commodity prices, while pointing to increased worldwide demand sparked by China and India. But the reality of the matter is that the dollar is in the midst of its own bear market. Simply put, fewer and fewer people want dollars. Why? Because nobody wants to get stuck with a bunch of unpaid debt, and people around the world are beginning to question whether the U.S. can ever pay off its massive debt.

The rest of the world is starting to take heed of the following biblical principle:

“Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.” Proverbs 22:26-27 (NLT)

Why should other nations be the guarantors of U.S. debt? If the day arrives when the United States can’t pay, where will that leave its creditors? More and more people are unwilling to risk such a scenario. And why should they? Why would anyone risk being stuck with falling dollars or worthless promises to pay?

This is the real reason for today’s falling dollar and high oil prices. High oil prices are really the result of inflation (in this case, a result of decreased demand for dollars), not increased demand for oil. The worldwide price of oil is up only because most of the world’s oil is traded in dollars (at least for now). But most alternative currencies have increased relative to the dollar over the course of the past several years. As a result, citizens of nations with stronger currencies are paying just as much, if not less, for oil now as they were five and ten years ago.

Those who rely on the dollar to make their purchases are the ones who are truly realizing the effects of higher prices. Unfortunately, this situation could have been avoided had the United States made note of the following biblical proverb:

“Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 (NLT)

Many people continue to live under the false notion that the United States is a rich nation ruling over the poorer nations of the world. But reality paints a much different picture. The United States is really the world’s leading nation of borrowers. And after decades of spending more money than it has, the United States has become a servant nation.

The burden of U.S. debt is weighing down an entire nation, and a recent headline should give every American cause for concern. Here’s what it read:

U.S.’s Triple-A Credit Rating Under Threat

Every newspaper in America should have run this headline on its front page, yet the news went virtually unnoticed. The implications of such a scenario are utterly disastrous, for both the United States government and its citizens. If the United States loses its Triple-A credit rating, the financial destruction will be swift and relentless. In an instant, the United States as the world has known it will cease to exist. Its power and influence will be lost, and it will be a long time, if ever, before the U.S. can possibly regain its credibility and influence in the world.

Unfortunately, unless dramatic political change takes place, this day of reckoning will be unavoidable. The United States will experience financial ruin and will cease to be a powerful player on the world stage.

Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t.

More than 2,600 years ago, the prophet Daniel was given a vision in which he saw the rise of the final world power. The world empire foreseen by Daniel was one of enormous wealth and military might, and history clearly reveals the United States is not that power.

Daniel Foresaw Four World Empires

According to the bible, all other governments will give way to this final world empire, described as “the fourth beast” in Daniel Chapter 7. In this chapter, Daniel has a vision of four world empires, each represented by a beast. The fourth beast represents Rome:

“Then he said to me, ‘This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling everything in its path. Its ten horns are ten kings that will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. He will defy the Most High and wear down the holy people of the Most High.’” Daniel 7:23-25 (NLT)

The bible is clear. The United States can not retain its status as the world’s lone superpower indefinitely. The final world superpower – and only one will exist in the last days – will be Rome.

The Resurrection of the Roman Empire

The bible clearly points to a resurrected Roman Empire as the preeminent world power of the last days. In the Book of Revelation, an angel reveals to the apostle John the true meaning of his vision of a woman sitting on a scarlet beast with 7 heads and 10 horns:

“And now understand this: The seven heads of the beast represent seven hills of the city where this woman rules. They also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief. The scarlet beast that was alive and then died is the eighth king. He is like the other seven, and he, too, will go to his doom. His ten horns are ten kings who have not yet risen to power; they will be appointed to their kingdoms for one brief moment to reign with the beast. They will all agree to give their power and authority to him.” Revelation 17:9-13 (NLT)

Throughout history “seven hills” has often been erroneously interpreted as a reference to Rome, the city of seven hills. However, the original Greek is literally interpreted as “seven mountains.” From Daniel 2:35, we know that a mountain can represent a kingdom, and given the context of the verses, it is proper to interpret these seven mountains as seven kingdoms. The seven heads of the beast represent seven world empires, five of which were referenced earlier by the prophet Daniel. They are, in order of their rule, the following:

1) Egypt
2) Assyria
3) Babylonia
4) Medo-Persia
5) Greece
6) Rome
7) The Revived Roman Empire

As the passage explains, the 10 horns represent 10 kings who, as we learned earlier from Daniel, will grant their power and authority to this final kingdom – the revived Roman Empire. Daniel concurs with the vision of the 10 kings, the appearance of an eleventh king, and the defeat of 3 of the 10 kings:

“Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast, terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled what was left beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns. As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were wrenched out, roots and all, to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly.” Daniel 7:7-8 (NLT)

Furthermore, we learn earlier in the Book of Revelation that the final world empire will be the seventh successive world empire and will be formed by 10 kings:

“And now in my vision I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God.” Revelation 13:1 (NLT)

The world is hurriedly marching toward the day of the Roman Empire’s revival, and when Rome once again becomes the world’s superpower, it will receive its power from ten kings.

The Resurrection of One of the Heads of the Beast

The Book of Revelation also teaches us that the seventh head of the beast will seem wounded beyond recovery, but the wound will be healed. Since the heads represent world empires, this is a reference to the revival of the Roman Empire. The following verses make note of this recovery:

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery – but the fatal wound was healed! All the world marveled at this miracle and followed the beast in awe.” Revelation 13:3 (NLT)

“He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and those who belong in this world to worship the first beast, whose death-wound had been healed.” Revelation 13:12 (NLT)

“He ordered the people of the world to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life.” Revelation 13:14 (NLT)

Many commentators have applied this attribute to the human head of this global government, the Antichrist. They believe the Antichrist will be resurrected in a satanic attempt to counterfeit the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, this is an errant interpretation of scripture. The wounded head is the kingdom of the Antichrist, not the person himself.

The following verse reiterates this concept:

“Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief.” Revelation 17:10 (NLT)

The angel reveals to John that 5 of the kingdoms have fallen:

1) Egypt
2) Assyria
3) Babylonia
4) Medo-Persia
5) Greece

The sixth kingdom “now reigns”:

6) Rome (John’s vision occurred in the 1st Century, when Rome still ruled the known world)

And the seventh “is yet to come”:

7) The Revived Roman Empire

The Roman Nationality of the Antichrist

The concept of a revived Roman Empire in the last days is reinforced by an additional prophecy in the Book of Daniel. Although much debate surrounds his national identity, the Book of Daniel clearly states that the Antichrist will come from among the people whose armies destroy the Temple:

“A ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple.” Daniel 9:26 (NLT)

The City and the Temple referenced in this passage were destroyed in A.D. 70 by Titus and the Roman legions, but Titus was not the ruler referenced in this verse. Daniel 9:27 describes the ruler as one who will make a seven-year treaty with Israel in the last days, put an end to the sacrifices and offerings, and set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration. These are events that will be fulfilled in the life of the Antichrist. According to Daniel, the Antichrist will come from among the people who destroyed the Temple. Therefore, we can be certain that the Antichrist will come from among the Roman people, because the Roman legions destroyed the Temple.

Rome Will Be the Economic Power of the World

The bible also prophesies that Rome will be the undisputed economic power of the world:

“He required everyone – great and small, rich and poor, slave and free – to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.” Revelation 13:16-17 (NLT)

The economic influence of the final world empire will be so all-encompassing that no person will be able to buy or sell without its mark!


Bible prophecy is a certain indicator of future human events. Because God is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, omnipresent and omniscient – He can prophesy the world’s future with absolute certainty. According to God, Rome will be the world’s great superpower in the last days. The status of the United States is never mentioned.

In light of God’s Word, those who put their faith in the power of the United States, who put their faith in their own money, or the “almighty dollar” – those people would be wise to take heed of God’s Word so they don’t experience the same crisis the United States is now facing.

As the economic power and influence of the United States wanes, a new power is more than willing to fill its role. The European Union (EU) is the ultimate benefactor of the decline of the United States. Regardless of the world’s willingness to acknowledge it, or even recognize it, the European Union is now the center of world economic power.

The EU’s currency, the euro, is valued at more than fifty percent of U.S. dollar. And the dollar, once the reserve currency of preference for foreign nations, is quickly losing ground to the euro. Anxious to shore up their own financial stability, foreign nations are now hoarding euros instead of dollars, viewing the euro as a more stable and credible instrument of liquidity. In addition, the European Union boasts the world’s largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as the world’s greatest financial exchanges in terms of trading volume.

If military power is a function of economic might, as the United States illustrated in the latter part of the 20th Century, then it won’t be long before the European Union overtakes the United States as the world’s greatest military power. The revival of the Roman Empire is unfolding in full view of the entire world, yet many people refuse to acknowledge it.

Yet regardless of their acknowledgment, the bible clearly reveals that the final world empire will be a resurrected roman empire. This empire will rule the world for seven years before Jesus Christ returns to establish His everlasting and righteous kingdom.

Given what we know about the state of world affairs today, it’s clear that the return of Jesus Christ is very near, right at the door.

Are you ready for His Coming?