Tower of Babel…….E U Building
Recent developments in Europe are vital pieces in the end-time prophetic puzzle. They can remind us of an ancient ruler whose attempt at empire-building was struck down by God Himself. Your Bible reveals what European unification portends for the future.
Profound changes are underway in Europe. National alignments frozen in place for decades have begun to thaw and shift. Powerful forces are once again rearranging the geopolitical landscape on this historic continent, yet many are too busy to notice. Fewer, still, understand why this is happening and where these dramatic events are heading! After all, why does it matter what happens in Europe?
Henry Kissinger, the former United States Secretary of State, observed that “the emergence of a united Europe is one of the most revolutionary events of our time” (Does America Need a Foreign Policy?, p. 47). Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has noted that “the move towards a bureaucratic European superstate… has huge implications for the world as a whole. Yet I am repeatedly struck on my travels outside Europe by just how little understanding there is of this” (Statecraft, p. 324). Richard Leone, president of the Century Foundation, has written that “we are living through an unusual era in terms of U.S. relations with the new Europe” and that the process of integrating European nations “is of awesome importance” (Rethinking Europe’s Future, Calleo, pp. xii–xiii).
But why is the current attempt to unify Europe so significant? Why has history suddenly gone into “fast forward?” What does the future hold? Surprisingly, no one—not even “authorities” on international relations—seems to know! David Calleo, Director of European Studies at Johns Hopkins University states that “given Europe’s roller coaster ride through the past century, no one can predict with much assurance what its fate will be… There are too many unpredictable elements” (ibid., p. 1).
Yet Calleo’s statement is not true! There are sources that explain the significance of what is happening in Europe, why it is occurring and where these events will ultimately lead. These sources have been forgotten or ignored by the “chattering classes”—today’s media and scholars. Dr. Kissinger candidly observes that modern journalists and political leaders tend to focus on the “crisis of the moment” because they are “the product of an educational system that puts little emphasis on history” (Kissinger, p. 30). He laments that since “the study of history and philosophy [religion], the disciplines most relevant to perfecting the art of statesmanship, are neglected everywhere.” Modern generations, Kissinger says, do not grasp how current events fit into the flow of history—people simply do not see or understand the “big picture” (ibid., pp. 30, 286).
Bible prophecies that reveal the future are ignored, and biblical accounts that provide vital perspectives on world events are dismissed. However, it is the height of folly to ignore this crucial biblical dimension at a time when dramatic events are transforming our modern world. The biblical account of the Tower of Babel is a case in point.
Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel is not just a fanciful story, nor is it simply mythical imagery. It is a carefully crafted account that holds important lessons for mankind. The construction of the Tower was related to a pivotal event that influenced the entire course of human history. The city and tower of Babel were part of a kingdom (the first time Scripture uses this word) founded by Nimrod, a great-grandson of Noah, in Babylonia and Assyria—which corresponds to modern-day Iraq. Nimrod established the first post-flood empire (Genesis 10:10). The Bible states that “he began to be a mighty one on the earth” and that “he was a mighty hunter before the Lord (vv. 8–9). This sounds innocent enough on the surface, yet the name Nimrod means “a hero” and “to rebel.” The phrase “mighty one” comes from the Hebrew word gibbor meaning “warrior, strong man or tyrant.” The Chaldee paraphrase of 1 Chronicles 1:10 reads: “Cush begat Nimrod, who began to prevail in wickedness, for he shed innocent blood, and rebelled against Jehovah” (The Companion Bible, Appendix 28). Secular sources indicate that Nimrod was a large, powerful man—an ambitious warrior who hunted men and assembled an empire by plunder, conquest, guile and tyranny (see The Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus, Bk. 1, ch. 4; also the Jerusalem Targum). Nimrod’s rebellion spawned the system of political and military rivalries and conflicts that have marked the course of human history.
In order to promote the integration of peoples and foster unity within his empire, Nimrod initiated great building projects—the construction of fortified cities, and massive public buildings like the Tower of Babel. The earliest walled cities are found in this region. The biblical statement, “come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad” reveals that human vanity motivated Nimrod’s policies (Genesis 11:4). Building an impressive and powerful walled city with a huge tower enhanced the prestige of the builders. Forging an empire of many cities enabled Nimrod to dominate the surrounding region militarily, economically and politically. Both Scripture and secular sources suggest that Nimrod aspired to a world empire.
The rise of Nimrod’s empire was a crucial turning point in world history. Nimrod set a pattern of rebelling against God’s instructions, and empire building through vanity-motivated conquest, subjugation and control that has continued down through history. This is why God intervened and confused the languages at the Tower of Babel—which caused the construction process to cease! However, the pattern set by Nimrod at Babel does not end there. Babylon and Nineveh, as two of the most prominent cities in the ancient world, spread Nimrod’s ideas far and wide. In the Bible, Babylon becomes synonymous with every evil practice imaginable. Babylon and the land of Iraq both figure prominently in end time prophecies, so we clearly need to understand these important biblical accounts. But what does this have to do with Europe today?
The architects of the European Union recognize the parallel between the Tower of Babel and their efforts to “construct” a new Europe. The Council of Europe used a poster of the Tower of Babel to promote the construction of Europe. Tours through the EU Parliament chamber in Brussels hear an audiotape describing the multiple languages used by delegates as a “modern tower of Babel.” Opponents have called the EU the “Babel Express,” on the analogy of a runaway train characterized by “Eurospeak”—high-flown rhetoric and pork barrel politics. Amazingly, the significant parallels run much deeper.
The basic attitude that motivated the builders of the city and Tower of Babel was a desire for power and glory. That same motive is deeply embedded in the desire to construct a unified Europe. In the years following World War I, Europe lost its leading position in the world to the U. S. and the Soviet Union. Intellectual elites on the continent saw unification as the only way to reverse Europe’s decline. The current effort at European integration is an attempt to regain a leading role on the world stage. German Foreign minister Joschka Fischer has stated: “Europe will only be able to play its due role in global economic and political competition if we move forward courageously.” Margaret Thatcher has observed that Europe’s “ambitions to assert itself are unmatched. But… its attempts to play a role on the world stage have been universally embarrassing” (Thatcher, p. 342). The plans to create a European army are deeply motivated by politics—to give Europe a sense of identity—and not merely military considerations.
Just as Nimrod organized great building projects to unite the peoples of his empire, the construction of Europe involves many projects under way at the same time: the creation of a common currency, a central bank, common laws, a continental judicial system and police force, a European army, a common foreign policy and a constitution. A major goal is the elimination of individual states by pooling (surrendering) national sovereignty to supranational European institutions. The builders believe that the only way to guarantee peace and prevent future wars in Europe is to eliminate the nation state, by creating a European super-state. European technocrats view small nations as an outmoded form of organization, incompatible with our globalized world. Anyone who does not recognize this inevitability, they say, is out of touch with reality and stands in the way of progress.
But just how valid are these lofty notions? Is the unification of Europe the only hope of the future? Does the record of history support this ambitious undertaking? Will the great experiment to construct an enlarged and unified Europe succeed in bringing peace to a divided continent, or will it falter unexpectedly—like the Tower of Babel?
A Darker Side
Builders of the new Europe seek to restore the unity of the Roman Empire. The empire of Charlemagne, and the medieval “Holy Roman Empire” are also cited as models of continental unity. Yet these empires were not exactly models of peace, harmony or unity. The “Christianity” adopted by the Roman Empire was mixed with paganism, as doctrinal controversies divided both church and empire. Charlemagne expanded his “Christian” empire through military conquests, and conversions often came at the point of a sword. Medieval “Christendom” saw bitter rivalries between popes and emperors who waged wars against each other in the heart of Europe. Napoleon also attempted to unify Europe under the crown of the “Holy Roman Emperor.” His goal was to redraw the map of Europe, establish a common legal system and bring peace to a troubled continent, by the force of French arms. Less than a century later, Hitler set out on a similar path using German military force.
The lesson of history is that all these attempts failed to bring lasting unity or peace to a war-torn continent. In fact, one reason for Europe’s blood-stained past is the recurring struggle to establish a single empire under one ruler and one religion. These are the real fruits of the system of conquest, dominion and control that Nimrod initiated at the Tower of Babel. This is a record that stretches back more than 4,000 years!
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the current attempt to unify Europe is the actual legacy of terms, plans and ideas employed in the construction of the new Europe. Although historians acknowledge that Nazis and Fascists promoted the goal and glories of a unified Europe, this subject receives little attention today. However, accessible historical documents reveal a similarity of plans, goals and terminology that is nothing short of astounding! The “new” Europe is being constructed according to blueprints created in Germany in the 1940s. As one scholar asks, “can it be that the noble conception of a United Europe is… contaminated by the ideas reflected in the documents [speeches and writings of prominent Nazis and Fascists] here assembled? The answer must be Yes” (Documents on the History of European Integration, Lipgens, p. 53). This scholar attempts to rationalize that the striking similarity “has nothing to do with any intellectual, still less moral affinity” (ibid.). Yet this is hardly believable, since the German blueprints to unify Europe were created by a “generation of German-speaking intellectuals [who] had backed the Nazi cause” (The Rebirth of the West, Duignan & Gann, p. 2).
When you read wartime documents detailing plans for the New Order in Europe, you have a strange feeling that you are reading today’s news. Even the terminology is the same! Mussolini proclaimed: “Europe may once again grasp the helm of world civilization if it can develop a modicum of political unity” (The Tainted Source, Laughland, p. 47). Hitler spoke of the need to eliminate “the clutter of small nations” in Europe and that “only the Germans can really organize Europe… thereafter the way to world domination is practically certain” (Lipgens, p. 10). In Nazis’ plans, Germany and Italy were to be the “hard core” of continental unity and “the axis of Europe, around which the rest of the continent would articulate itself” (ibid., p. 10). Today the hard core is France and Germany, and the axis of the new Europe runs between Paris and Berlin. In the Nazi vision, Europe was seen as a “huge building site” where a bright future was being assembled (ibid., p. 56). The talk today is still of building, and constructing the edifice of a new Europe. Pro-Nazi German scholars devised elaborate plans to redraw the map of Europe and create a European Economic Community with a common currency and a common agricultural policy (ibid., pp. 123–162). Nazi propaganda envisioned a Europe at peace, where conflicts would disappear. The same themes are heard today.
In 1940, Joseph Goebbels exulted: “We have the opportunity to reorganize Europe… the greatest historical drama that history has ever known is being played out at this moment” (ibid., pp. 73–74). He also warned that “no single European nation can… be allowed to stand in the way of the general process of organization” (ibid., p. 75). A Nazi official, using phrases evocative of ancient Babylon (see Genesis 11:3–4; Daniel 4:28–30) proclaimed that Berlin would become “the mightiest and most beautiful city in the world… Europe’s center of gravity… a magnet” at the heart of Europe (ibid., p. 98). In 1990, Joschka Fischer described “the unique opportunity to unite our continent,” and that a core Europe would be the center of gravity and act like a magnet in the heart of Europe. He spoke of creating a new order in Europe, and warned that nations not wanting to unite “cannot prevent others from doing so.”
In 1941, Hitler proclaimed that “the future [did] not belong to the ridiculous half-civilized America, but to the newly arisen Europe” (Lipgens, p. 89). Nazis leaders spoke of “Germany’s mission” to unite the peoples of Europe. In the 1950s, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer stated: “Germany has a divine mission to save Western Europe.” Helmut Kohl has asserted that “the future belongs to the Germans… when we build the house of Europe” (The Principality and Power of Europe, Hilton, p. 39). Nazis and Fascists used anti-American and anti-British slogans to promote their new Europe. Nazi leaders were notorious for not divulging their true aims for domination of Europe. The same is underway in Europe today. The Nazis repeatedly lied about their intentions. Investigative reporters have seen a similar pattern in the EU; one book about the EU was titled The Castle of Lies (Booker & North, 1997).
While the present architects of Europe may not appreciate the link between their ideas and Nazi and Fascist plans of the war years, the statements of successive European leaders demonstrate that these Nazi-era ideas remain alive today! The silence of scholars and modern advocates of European unity regarding this obvious overlap is remarkable—and ominous. The Bible reveals that the real roots of grandiose schemes to dominate and control others by arms or contrived plans began with Nimrod at the Tower of Babel. With such an origin, the future should come as no surprise.
The unity of Europe is an old dream with a colorful but tainted past. It is also an intoxicating idea—and one with prophetic significance. Today many Europeans are mesmerized by this enticing vision, even though history “richly demonstrates the futility and danger of attempting to subjugate Europe’s states to a single centralizing power” (Calleo, p. 343). Yet Europe’s builders seem blind to the lessons of history, oblivious to prophecy and quick to dismiss the warnings of critics. This does not bode well for the future.
The European house is a fragile structure built on a shaky foundation of illusions, assumptions and misconceptions. The architects of Europe assume that unification, negotiation, consensus-building and declarations against hostilities will eliminate war from the continent. Yet “the most striking common feature” of these pacifist assumptions is “their almost total failure to influence the course of history” (The Question of Europe, Gowan, p. 99). The Bible states plainly that mankind does not know the way to peace (Isaiah 59:8). The popular mantra that democracies do not go to war with each other is another naпve assumption (Calleo, pp. 5, 357). The European democracies’ attempt to speak with one voice regarding policy toward Iraq produced serious divisions. While integration is hailed as the way to prosperity and full employment, unemployment in Europe has reached worrisome levels. The “affluence” provided by Europe’s welfare states is threatened, as aging populations are supported by fewer young workers.
Assertions that European unification is inevitable—even required by our globalized economy—are also met with skepticism by those who remember that German geopolitical theorists in the 1930s and 40s spoke of the “laws of lebensraum” and proclaimed that “the unification of Europe [is] an inevitable development in accordance with the iron laws of history” (Lipgens, pp. 95, 111). Dutch historian Peter Rietbergen notes that “if the past has anything to teach us, it is that ideas which are proclaimed to have absolute validity are always dangerous” (Europe: A Cultural History, xxiii).
While continental planners envision a United States of Europe, others see a “dangerous mirage” (Gowan, p. 84). The “bold” Franco-German attempt to forge closer ties is also viewed as “the great gamble” and a “project… very likely to fail” (ibid., p. 123). Margaret Thatcher labeled the attempt to unite Europe “a classic utopian project, a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a program whose inevitable destiny is failure… I predict… that such an unnecessary and irrational project… will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era” (Thatcher, pp. 359, 410). Even the pope has stated that attempts to build Europe on a secular foundation “would collapse within a decade” (The Economist, Aug. 24, 2002, p. 43). The Bible reveals that “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1).
Both history and the Bible indicate that there is nothing new or inevitable about the latest attempt to unite the nations of Europe. While scholars suggest that the “future is unknowable,” Bible prophecy reveals what lies ahead. The Scriptures describe a modern Babylon that will be part of an end-time military-economic system with global connections. This powerful, yet fragile configuration (iron and clay, cf. Daniel 2:40–43) will appear on the world scene just before the return of Jesus Christ. Externally, this system will be characterized by material wealth and power, but internally it will be wicked, corrupt and exploitive. It will be composed of ten leaders who surrender their sovereignty to a political ruler for a short period of three and one half years. However, like Nimrod’s Tower of Babel, this modern Babylonian system will experience a cataclysmic demise (Revelation 17–18). This final revival of grandiose schemes devised by men will be ended by God’s direct intervention, when Jesus Christ returns to establish the kingdom of God. Nearly 2,500 years ago, the prophet Daniel explained a dream to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, revealing that “in the days of these  kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed.” Daniel stated further that “the dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure” (Daniel 2:44–45). The acceleration of history we are witnessing today indicates that the end-time is fast approaching. Do you recognize what is coming? Will you be ready?