“40 And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. 41 And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.” (Daniel 2:40-43)
This chart illustrates the two stages of the revived Roman Empire, with its legs of iron stage, and its “feet and toes of iron and clay” stage.
Daniel 2:41 - A Divided Kingdom
Daniel makes clear that the final phase of the Roman Empire is a “divided kingdom.” No matter how divided the ancient Roman Empire may have been, the end-times Roman Empire is much more so by comparison. As a result, it becomes clear that the end-times Roman Empire struggles with disunity.
The European Union struggles with disunity. The first major example of this occurred from 2009-2013, with the European sovereign debt crisis. This threatened the very existence of the euro as a currency, opening up the possibility that the euro currency area could break up. (1) Compare this to the United States. Investors don’t usually sit around and worry if the “dollar-zone” is going to break up. But this in fact what they worry about with the euro, in times of crisis.
Another strong example of the EU’s disunity took place in 2016, where the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in its historic “Brexit” vote. (2)
Daniel 2:42 - Strong and Brittle
The Bible also says the revived Roman Empire will be “partly strong and partly brittle.” This is true of EU member countries, both militarily and economically. Some EU members have very strong militaries. Others have extremely small and weak militaries. (4,5) Furthermore, countries like the UK and Germany have very strong economies. This is in contrast to economies like Greece and Spain, which have high unemployment. (6-13)
Daniel 2:43 - Failed Ethnic Integration
Finally, the Bible says that the people in the revived Roman Empire will “mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together.” This quote from Time magazine illustrates the starkness of this situation. Due to its open borders, the EU has a very high rate of cross-border marriages between its member countries. However, the divorce rate for these is drastically higher than for regular EU marriages.
By easing the freedom of movement, the European Union has literally brought people together: an estimated 350,000 cross-border marriages take place every year, with Lithuanians finding love in London, and Spaniards tying the knot in Toulouse. But, just as member states inevitably enter into political and diplomatic scuffs, a number of international marriages break down every year: 40% of the E.U.'s cross-border couples divorce annually, accounting for 16% of all E.U. divorces. (14)
- "Investor Survey Shows 38% Chance of Eurozone Break-up in 12 Months." Times of Malta. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150304/business-news/Investor-survey-shows-38-chance-of-eurozone-break-up-in-12-months.558437.
- Wheeler, Alex Hunt & Brian. "Brexit: All You Need to Know about the UK Leaving the EU." BBC News. January 21, 2019. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887.
- Kratochvil, Petr. "Brexit Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures." Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=165944&picture=brexit.
- "List of Countries by Number of Military and Paramilitary Personnel." Wikipedia. August 28, 2018. Accessed October 22, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_military_and_paramilitary_personnel.
- "List of States with Nuclear Weapons." Wikipedia. October 09, 2018. Accessed October 22, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_with_nuclear_weapons.
- "Germany Unemployment Rate." Trading Economics. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://tradingeconomics.com/germany/unemployment-rate.
- "Germany Average Gross Monthly Earnings." Trading Economics. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://tradingeconomics.com/germany/wages.
- "Spain Unemployment Rate." Trading Economics. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://tradingeconomics.com/spain/unemployment-rate.
- "Spain Average Nominal Monthly Wage." Trading Economics. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://tradingeconomics.com/spain/wages.
- "France Unemployment Rate." Trading Economics. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://tradingeconomics.com/france/unemployment-rate.
- "France Average Nominal Monthly Wages." Trading Economics. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://tradingeconomics.com/france/wages.
- "Greece Unemployment Rate." Trading Economics. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://tradingeconomics.com/greece/unemployment-rate.
- "Greece Average Monthly Salary." Trading Economics. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://tradingeconomics.com/greece/wages.
- Brussels, Leo Cendrowicz /. "E.U. Moves to Make Cross-Border Divorce Easier." Time. June 26, 2010. Accessed October 22, 2018. http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1998992,00.html.
- Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”