There are Christians in America old enough to remember all the prophecy teacher hype from decades past, and the incredible influence of a single book: The Late, Great Planet Earth.
As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. [Daniel 7:24]
The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. [Revelation 17:12]
The European Common Market, now known as the European Union, started in 1957. It was created by the Treaty of Rome and was known officially as the European Economic Community (EEC), and initially included six founding members: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.
The Union continued to add members. Denmark, Ireland, and the UK were officially added in 1973 which brought the total to nine members. By this time the prophecy teachers began getting all excited because it was their contention that the “ten kings” mentioned in the books of Daniel and Revelation were these exact countries minus one, and that the next country admitted to the Common Market would be the tenth, which would mean we were just about to the very end of days and the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
This also meant the Rapture was about to happen! Any day now! You better get right with God! You could be left behind! Run for your lives! (And while you’re at it please invite us all to speak at your churches and community centers and buy our books!)
Well, now that Armageddon was almost upon us way back in the early to mid 1970s, it became a very scary proposition for many uninformed and misinformed Christians. When would the next country be admitted to the Common Market in Europe and what country would that be? Prophecy was coming to pass right before our eyes! Reading the Bible was like reading the daily newspaper!
As it turned out, the magical tenth member country that tipped us over the edge applied for membership on June 12, 1975. It was Greece! How cool! Greece would be the one! The very country where so much early church activity took place! The cash registers in Christian book stores all over America were suddenly going into hyper drive and books were flying off the shelves. Non-authors became authors. Preachers had long since begun getting in on the act. They were scaring the hell out of the members with ongoing scythe-swinging sermonettes about the Last Days and the Tribulation and the Rapture. If you missed the Rapture you were going to suffer here and then go to hell! Don’t miss the Rapture! The ten kings! The ten kings! The ten kings!
I got saved in the midst of all this cacophony. Three years before that, however, in 1973, I bought a copy of Hal Lindsey’s The Late, Great Planet Earth. The book was incredibly popular, not only among Christians, but among many young people in general. It was a semi-hit on college campuses and had very wide national distribution, selling millions of copies. I was duly impressed and actually prayed the prayer of salvation listed at the end of the book but nothing substantial happened to me at that time, although the book did play a role in my salvation later on.
Young people of today probably don’t know this, but many post high school college-aged people back then were really bright and comparatively very well informed. You had to work very hard for your information and this made for serious study and a more adult-oriented intellectual attitude, though well-rounded and practical. This contrasts with today’s incessant biased sound bites and 1984-type “news” and disinformation. There was a lot of book-reading and study going on back then unrelated to school courses and required reading.
The times were continuing to be a-Changin’, as Bob Dylan sang several years before, and the times were really changing in American Christianity.
The prophecy guys took full advantage of all this and did their part to keep things buzzing with constant updates and scare tactics and ongoing rock solid “proof” that everything they taught was true.
In 1977 I had a conversation with a guy in my church. He was a nice guy but had a strange stubborn streak (while smiling) in that it seemed like he wanted to fight when someone questioned anything, especially about his beliefs. It was kind of funny because the guy was otherwise quite wimpy. I had been doing a lot of study by that time and had come to the conclusion that the prophecy guys were completely wrong about the European Common Market. Remember, Greece had only applied for membership in 1975. Until their application was accepted everyone was getting Rapture-ready because as soon as their membership was granted and Greece became the tenth member we would have the “ten kings” and all hell would break loose. Oh my! Run for your lives! Get right with God! Don’t miss the Rapture! And don’t forget to pay your tithes!
So I was having a conversation with this guy. He was anti-cool and a real nerd, and he knew it, and was insecure about it, and he didn’t like me too much. He was there before me so he had tenure. So I was careful to try to obey all the silly protocol. He was insistent that the Common Market countries represented the “ten kings.” In other words, he bought the full teaching of the prophecy boys, who pretty much all ran in lockstep. I was, apparently, the only one there who decided on trying to lift the veil and actually do the math instead of accepting everything as if fallen directly upon us from heaven. By the way, much of the stuff taught and believed in churches has not fallen directly from heaven. I learned that early on, though I remained very respectful, and continued to learn it as time went on.
So, in that light, I told the nerdy church guy that I didn’t believe the Common Market represented the “ten kings” of Daniel and Revelation. I said that Scripture clearly revealed (to the non-brainwashed) that there would be a move to a worldwide one-world government phenomena taking place and that the Common Market only involved Western Europe. Thus (I didn’t say this), the prophecy boys were wrong. He was not happy. He was doing everything he could to continue with his fake happy exterior though I knew there was a mini-volcano simmering underneath. The conversation did not last long. He rejected the very little I said right off the bat and had no interest in seeing a different point of view.
Of course, I was right. Maybe it was because I was still relatively new in church and had not become brainwashed yet (I never did, and it caused problems). Maybe it was because I was always reading the Word and doing research. Maybe it was because I had no monetary agenda. Greece continued to dangle above everybody’s heads awaiting membership when all hell would then break loose. The prophecy boys continued to make great hay about it in the meantime and their influence and money grew to astounding proportions. Everyone just seemed to accept that everything they said was right. They found a gold mine.
Greece finally did join the European Economic Community (the Common Market), but not until January 1, 1981. The Rapture didn’t happen. The Tribulation didn’t start. The ten member nations were not the “ten kings” though the prophecy teachers continued on with their silly spiel. The whole thing started blowing up in their faces when other countries began joining the Common Market. Spain and Portugal joined in 1986. That made twelve. Uh Oh.
In 1993 the current European Union absorbed the former EEC. Many other countries began to join up. Today, the EU membership list stands at 28 countries. The last time I checked there was nothing in the Bible about 28 kings.
The prophecy boys adjusted. As always, in order to stay with their timeline agenda and false predictions (and maintain their influence and keep the money coming in), they explained that they were not really wrong but that blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Christians who actually think have said all along that the same deception that happened in the first century was happening in our time as well, in that all the official organized Jewish religionists of that time, including the major denominations, WERE DEAD WRONG ABOUT THE MESSIAH.
They were also dead wrong about the times. They had completely missed the mark on prophetic events and had totally misinterpreted OT prophecy. Some, like the Qumran Covenanters (of Dead Sea Scroll fame, probably Essenes) got the timing kind of right but probably missed the Messiah. Almost every other group—Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Zealots—rejected their Messiah and the majority of Jews still reject Him to this day.
The only ones who got it right at all back then in the beginning were the disconnected nobodies in what was left of the nation of Israel—the Remnant—those with a yearning in their hearts for truth and spiritual reality. They would know love when they saw it and when they saw the Lord they saw love. When the Lord Jesus arrived these people knew almost immediately who He was. But all the money-grubbing, power-grabbing big boys missed Him completely. The Lord put it this way:
The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away. [Matthew 16:1-4] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.