Recently, there have been a few prophecy-related speculations regarding the newly elected Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras. Some have tentatively asked: "Could he be the prophetic Man of Sin?"
Tsipras is charismatic, a radical leftist and a "self-described atheist." He is the youngest ever person elected to the office and his party fell just short of an outright majority win. According to Wiki:
"Tsipras was also the first to take a civil rather than a religious oath of office marking a rupture with Greek orthodox ceremonial culture. While reaffirming the good relations between his party and the Church, he explained Archbishop Ieronymos in a meeting, that as an atheist who didn't marry in a religious ceremony nor baptised his children, he could not take a religious oath of office."
Since taking office he's been playing off the European Union against Russia. Tsipras condemns the sanctions imposed on Russia, while also stating that Greece and Cyprus might act as an EU bridge to Russia.
He denies accepting money from Moscow and recognizes Greece's debt to the EU. Is he fishing for more financial support and hedging his bets? Or is he the long sought after leader who will ignite the Greek Empire's resurrection? Time will tell.
I won't go into reasons why people have suddenly focused on Tsipras as a possible candidate for the role traditionally taken by the Left Behind franchise's Nicolae Carpathia. Ever the eternal skeptic, I thought of Adolph Hitler, Mikhail Gorbachev and even Prince Charles. Then along came Javier Solana and King Abdullah. Some have speculated that these individuals were possible candidates for Nicolae's mantle.
Will the real Carpathia please stand up?
I've even wondered if Javier Solana might be miffed at losing his formerly strong front-runner Nicolae status. I suspect he was aware of the prophetic conjecture and probably enjoyed the notoriety.
Lest you think I'm simply poking fun at speculators, note that I once had a wary eye on Nicolas Sarkozy. It's fun to speculate, even for hard-core skeptics like me. I was impressed with the way Sarkozy decisively handled the Muslim Paris riots. In contrast to other leaders he showed rare backbone. And, heck, his first name was so close to Carpathia's.
But, kidding aside, Tsipras' atheism and decision to take a civil oath reminded me of the shift away from traditional Christianity and gradual migration to paganism. According to one 2014 article, some ninety-eight percent of Greeks self describe as Orthodox Christians. Yet it notes:
"...there’s a growing number of Greeks who oppose the Abrahamic religions - not in favor of Hinduism, Buddhism, or even atheism, but in favor of Zeus." (Emphasis mine)
Zeus' name often came up in my brief research into neo-paganism.
The article notes that "hundreds of thousands of Greeks from all walks of life openly worship the old Gods (sic)." These worshippers of Zeus comprise of academics, left & right wing nationals, new agers and environmentalists, and it is "growing at a phenomenal rate." It also observes that these people consider Greece to be "under Christian occupation" and desire a "return to the ancient traditions."
Others have observed a shift away from Christianity in Britain:
'Evidence continues to mount that Christianity in Britain - and even belief in God’s existence - is on its way toward minority status. In a recent YouGov poll of British young adults, only 25 percent unequivocally affirmed a belief in God, and 38 percent said they did not believe in God or any “greater spiritual power.”'
As in the Greek model there is a trending towards paganism. So much so that in 2013, the Church of England actually proposed creating a "pagan church" with "Christian content" in order to attract young unbelievers. 2013 census data suggested that pagans were the "seventh largest religious group in the United Kingdom." The number of pagans in the UK doubled between 2001 and 2011.
It may surprise that some atheists claim compatibility with paganism. It's called Humanistic Paganism. I guess anything but the One True God is preferable! According to HP:
"The majority [of pagans] are, in fact, theists - and the majority of those are polytheists, believers in many gods. But there are some Pagan pantheists out there, too, along with some monotheists, some agnostics and yes, even some atheists." (Emphasis mine)
The writer of a recent essay (Russia: The Age of Mythology with Nuclear Rockets) draws cultural parallels to Hitler's Germany and Putin's Russia. He notes that Hitler tried to revive the "pre-Christian Aryan mythology and lifestyle" known as the Third Reich. Now Putin is moving Russia back to the ages of ancient "Slavic mythology...with its hierarchy of gods, heroes and monsters."
As an aside, the author warns that Putin has been exchanging "regular friendly messages" with the North Korean wannabe "god." The article is worth a read.
According to Bible scholar F. F. Bruce, the biblical term abomination of desolation was a derogatory designation given by Jews to the installation of the cult of Olympian Zeus (a statue) in the Jerusalem temple by Antiochus IV. The title Epiphanes expressed Antiochus' belief that he was the earthly manifestation of Zeus.
Recall also that there was an altar dedicated to Zeus in Pergamon, Asia Minor. It gets a dishonorable mention in Revelation 2:12-13 where it is called Satan's throne. It was partially destroyed. But in 1930 a museum was opened in Berlin which displays a reconstruction using frieze fragments from the original.
I found it fascinating that one candidate for the presidency of the United States felt inclined to deliver a speech in Berlin in 2008. Why Berlin?
I'm not sure I know what you do with this information and speculation. Yet it is notable how readily the world embraced this same messianic newcomer without knowing anything about him.
Anyway, this got me to wondering: Will the rise in Islamic extremism become a further catalyst for a rise in nationalism and paganism in Europe? Are the old gods embedding themselves back into the European and Russian psyches in response to world pressures and the abandonment of Christianity?
Is Europe being prepared for another Zeus to worship - one who will save them from all their troubles? I wouldn't be surprised.
Given the world's fanatical preoccupation with Israel's affairs - how would a new earthly Zeusinteract with it? I believe Jesus and Paul left us some clues (Matt 24:15-21; 2 Thess 2:4).
And, unlike me, they weren't speculating.