EUROPE’S RENEWED SELF-CONFIDENCE
On July 21, 2003, Der Spiegel Online published an article which reveals in clear terms Europe’s growing self-confidence — while America seems to observe this development as an uninvolved bystander. The article is titled, “The new unrestrainedness.” It continues, “Europe stretches its muscles — and the Americans are surprised.”
Der Spiegel Online reported that Europe encouraged Russia to, from now on, bill Europe in euros for its oil and gas — rather than, as it was done so far, in U.S. dollars. “This,” according to the magazine, “would be a triumph for Europe and a devastating blow for the U.S…. Should the euro replace the U.S. dollar in Europe’s economic dealings with Russia, that would not even impair the relationship between Washington and Brussels — as that relationship is already as bad as it could be. The Americans see themselves confronted with a European challenge which EXCEEDS BY FAR EUROPE’S PREVIOUS EMANCIPATION ATTEMPTS.”
Der Spiegel Online also explained that America’s supporters have become less vocal, while observing America’s “obvious inability to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Iraq.” The magazine also quoted President Bush as commenting about the European Union “as something on the move, while nobody knows for sure in what direction it is developing.”
The clincher was stated at the end of the article, as follows: “The EU chiefs decided unanimously to create a European military agency in 2004.” The magazine explained that the new agency’s main task will be to achieve more effective results, through cooperation and coordination between its 25 member states. Presently, 160 billion euros are spent for the defense (which is more than 50% of America’s defense budget). However, according to the article, Europe achieves only 10% of effectiveness in comparison with the American “war machinery,” due to lack of European coordination and cooperation. Although America “is without question the world leader militarily, the beginning European self-assertiveness in matters of security worries the U.S.”
WHAT MANY GERMANS THINK…
The following may be hard to comprehend for Americans living in the US: The German weekly “Die Zeit” reported on July 24, 2003, that 20 percent of Germans believe it to be possible that the U.S. government might have instigated or sponsored the terror attacks on September 11th. In addition, when focusing on Germans under 30 years of age, one-third believes this to be a possibility. 68% feel that not enough information about the attack was given in the media — while 78 percent of Germans under the age of 30 feel that the media had not reported the full truth behind the attacks. This means, according to Die Zeit, “only 27 percent of all Germans believe that they were told by the media the full truth about the terror attacks on September 11th.”
When describing the possible reasons for those feelings, Die Zeit pointed out that “conspiracy theories” are very attractive to people these days. It also speculated that “widespread disbelief about the reasons given by the United States for going to war in Iraq and suspicion about media coverage of the conflict had” contributed to the feelings of many Germans, according to Reuters.
EUROPE AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
In a recent address at Castel Gandolfo, pope John Paul II stated the following, according to Zenit of July 20, 2003:
“Over the last month INTENSE WORK HAS BEEN DONE on the redaction of the new European Constitution, the final version of which will be approved by the intergovernmental conference to be held next October. To this important task, which concerns all components of European society, the Church also feels the duty to make its own contribution. The Church recalls … that ‘Europe has been widely and profoundly permeated by Christianity’… It can be said that the Christian faith has shaped the culture of Europe constituting a whole with its history and… Christianity has become ‘the religion of the European peoples’… [T]he new Europe must be helped ‘to build herself by revitalizing her original Christian roots’… May Mary, Mother of Hope, watch over the Church in Europe…”
MORE NEWS ON IRAQ
USA Today stated on July 23, 2003, “Hopes that the killing of Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay by U.S. soldiers would calm a bloody insurgency were dimmed Wednesday after attacks claimed the lives of two American soldiers. A new tape aired by an Arab satellite TV broadcaster and purportedly made by Saddam on July 20, two days before Saddam’s sons perished in a four-hour gunbattle here, called on fighters loyal to him to persist in their uprising against the U.S.-led occupation force. In related news Wednesday, [it was] announced that another high-ranking regime member had been nabbed… The capture lowers the number of the 55 most-wanted still at large to 18 after the deaths of Uday and Qusay.”
The article continued to explain that the two deaths of the American soldiers on Wednesday “brought to 155 the number of American soldiers killed since the war began March 20, surpassing by eight the death toll in the 1991 Gulf War.”
JERUSALEM — WORLD CAPITOL?
The WorldNetDaily reported on July 23, 2003, that “Israeli opposition leader Shimon Peres, a former Israeli prime minister, is proposing Jerusalem be declared the capital of the world as a way of getting around competing Israeli and Arab claims to the city.
“According to his spokesman, Yoram Dori, the dovish leader of Israel’s opposition Labor Party suggested putting the important religious shrines in Jerusalem under United Nations stewardship. He said the holy sites in Jerusalem’s walled Old City could be declared a ‘world capital.'”
The article explained that the “world capital” idea appeared to be largely symbolic. It pointed out that the United Nations had “in the past taken a position on Jerusalem, one of the most intractable issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Under a 1947 General Assembly resolution partitioning British mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, the city was to be internationalized, belonging to neither side.
“During the 1948-49 war that followed Israel’s creation, Israel seized the western part of the city and Jordan the eastern side, including the walled Old City with its Christian, Jewish and Muslim holy sites. In the 1967 Mideast war, Israel recaptured east Jerusalem… along with the West Bank and Gaza.”
The article continued: “Among the ideas reportedly considered during those talks were divine sovereignty or no sovereignty over the chief point of contention in the city… a holy site known by Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as Haram as-Sharif, where the Al Aqsa Mosque was built on the site of the biblical Jewish Temples.”
The Bible predicts that Jerusalem WILL become a peaceful capital of the world — but only AFTER, not BEFORE Christ’s return. We read that Christ will rule from Jerusalem (compare Isaiah 2:1-3). Prior to that peaceful time of godly rulership, we will witness, however, fierce battles involving the city of Jerusalem (compare Zechariah 14:1-2). Some will seek to establish Jerusalem as the religious capital of this earth. Strong evidence of a yet future time when a powerful false religious leader will enter Jerusalem to further establish his dominance is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:4: “…who (“the man of sin”–verse 3) opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
This and other Scriptures indicate that the problems of the Holy Land and Jerusalem in particular will continue. In the see-saw diplomacy between Arab and Jewish interests, we may soon witness an urgent religious movement on the part of Jews worldwide to once again establish a temple in Jerusalem. The eventual consequences to this will be such hostility from the Moslem world that only the intervention of the then powerful European Union under Catholic religious leadership will be able to neutralize the situation and “preserve” Jerusalem–at least temporarily. We find, in Daniel 11:45, that the future political and military leader of the European Union will move his residence to Jerusalem. When all of this happens, we know that the return of Christ is very near.