Getting back to our series on the continents and countries of the world brings us north to the epicenter of much of our recent historical and even religious development. This may be one of the most challenging areas of the world to talk about en masse considering everything from English to Soviet to Germanic to Roman to Baltic to even Middle Eastern histories must be considered (and many, many more). Even with such a melting pot of pronounced and established cultures living so closely side by side, I believe there may be an overarching journey that the continent has traversed.
Europe didn’t receive much attention in world history until after the time of Christ (sure you could consider Greek or Viking history, but we’ll consider the discussion continent-wide for now). But in the last two thousand years, we’ve seen a lot of action. From empires to kingdoms to regimes to wars there’s been a lot of movement. The evolution of technology, innovation, intellect, academics, politics, and a host of other developments, Europe has made an undeniable contribution to our world.
There’s a chatter around the continent as of late that Europe has moved into a place of “post-Christianity.” (The United States is not far behind FYI.) Atheism is at an all time high and a predisposed disdain or indifference toward the things of God is palpable. I’m convinced that missions in Europe is one of the most challenging mission fields on the planet. God bless those of you who are seeing fruit through European missions, I have a deep level of respect for your investment and contribution.
land of the setting sun (the “West”), wide face, broad eye
As with “Africa,” Europe was a hard name to break down. There are a host of different interpretations and etymological breakdowns for the word. The most frequent I came across in my research, however, was “land of the setting sun.” When compared to Asia (known widely as the “East”) it was noted for its contrast. Europe was West; Asia was East. Simple.
And yet, not so simple. The prophetic angle to this takes some time to look into. The setting sun is a picture of closure, it’s the end of the day. Yet, it’s the beginning of night. If I were analyzing this as a personal name, I’d look at it through this lens: descriptive, redemptive and as a charge or responsibility.
The dark of night breeds its own temptations and reputations. Scripture talks often about the differences between light and dark and especially the cautions against the “night.” If “descriptive,” we should look at the current state of things: what darkness do we see. Darkness is much easier to expose and expel if you know where it is. I think about the Red Light districts in Amsterdam or the fact that Moldova is the 2nd highest exporter of human slaves of any country in the world and I see darkness. I’ll revisit this in a second.
Second, if names are redemptive, then they are given as hope. It’s a beacon for us to always know that where there are pitfalls there always remains a best hope in God’s eyes. To whatever depths the darkness has gone, there is always hope of the sunrise to come.
Third, there’s a responsibility tied up in prophetic names. If this is true, than Europe holds a responsibility, which I believe many have seen and taken on, to show the people of the world how to navigate through a night. Not all of Europe lives in darkness, there is a strong remnant and history and proclamation currently underway.
MAY THE LIGHT SHINE!
From your coasts to your mountains to your back alleys, may the light and truth of God shine forth! Show us the way Europe!
I wanted to look into some specific countries and see what their names held as well. Here are some names to consider:
Albania – land of understanding, land of eagles Andorra – to walk the forest
Austria – Eastern march Belarus – white Russia; free; pure
Belgium – to swell with anger; bright; dazzling Bulgaria – the land that is shaken, land of disorder, split off
Bosnia and Herzegovina – land of running water; land of the duke
Croatia – warriors with horn-clad armor, mountaineers Cyprus – copper
Czech Republic – land of the Czechs (a famous legend) Denmark – the boundary, forest
England – people of the narrow waters, people of the meadow Estonia – land to the east of the sea
Finland – land of the wanderers, people of the fen Germany – the People’s Land; neighbor, battle-cry
France – spear, free, land of foreigners Greece – to grow old
Great Britain – the land of many trees Hungary – alliance of the 10 tribes
Iceland – land of ice Ireland – the fertile ground Italy – bull
Kosovo – field of blackbird Latvia – boundary land Liechtenstein – light stone
Lithuania – unite, pour/spill, lake, seashore, a rainy place
Luxembourg – little castle Macedonia – the tall ones
Malta – the land of honey, a haven Moldova – dust, mud Monaco – single dwelling
Montenegro – black mountain, restoring, harvest Netherlands – low lands, hollow, wooded land
Norway – northern passage Poland – open field, man who plows virgin soil
Portugal – port, to heat, beautiful Romania – Roman realm
Russia – land of the rowers Scotland – land of the forest warriors (loose translation)
Spain – land of the rabbits Sweden – land of one’s own kin
Switzerland – land of the Swiss (to burn) Turkey – strong Wales – land of foreigners
Ukraine – marches and borderlands Vatican City – city on Vatican hill, prophesy
Join the group and leave a comment prophesying over the countries of Europe. God’s moving there friends. It can’t hurt for us to speak some life over places and people that have become so near and dear to some of our hearts. Speak it out.