The Prophet Daniel 2,500 years ago had a vision of the four major empires that would dominate over the Holy Land up until the time Jesus Christ returned. The final form of the fourth empire of Rome would still contain some power, but be brittle in its structure and cohesion.
"As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay." — Daniel 2:42-43 (NIV)
The current torchbearer of the Roman Empire is the 27-nation bloc rising superpower based at Rue de la Loi in Brussels, Belgium — the European Union (EU). It is currently being tested by the world financial crisis, and true to prophecy, it is failing.
A Tuesday, October 7, 2008, Newsmax.com article titled European Union Tested by World Economic Crisis reports on how brittle the EU has been performing under the crisis:
"[The EU] hasn't taken sweeping joint action to deal with the global financial meltdown. Instead, it's essentially left member countries to go it alone with a patchwork of measures aimed at keeping banks afloat. Frustrated investors want to know why, and some have begun to question whether the EU — at its core, an economic union — will survive. Although the EU pledged to act as one to calm roiled markets, it hasn't done much beyond a move Tuesday to boost guarantees on savings accounts."
"By relinquishing key decisions to its members just as they're turning to EU headquarters for guidance at a time of crisis, the bloc could see decades of attempts to forge unity simply disintegrate."
"EU members have clashed repeatedly on deploying troops to Afghanistan or even whether to send 24 of their estimated 12,000 military helicopters to Darfur. They've bogged down completely on more thorny issues, such as how to respond to terrorism or recognize an independent Kosovo."
"EU leaders have forfeited 'a chance for Europe to find new leadership and credibility on the world stage,' Italy's II Sole 24 Ore financial daily said Tuesday. Instead, it warned, the leadership vacuum thrusts the entire bloc into 'a suicidal position."
"If the EU can't forge a common response to a collapse that transcends borders, involves multinational lenders and has pushed the euro currency down to its lowest level in a year, some wonder: What's the point of having an EU?"
The European Union's united military strength and formidable Euro currency makes the EU quite powerful. But, the lack of central leadership makes the EU unable to act in a crisis, and therefore brittle.
For the European Union to become a force to react to crisis, they will have to give emergency powers to a common leader who can effect change with power over its current 27 nations. The EU will indeed get that person at some point in the form of the man the Bible calls the Antichrist. Once he has stabilized the European Union, he can then assimilate the missing part of the old Roman Empire — the Middle East.