The Revived Roman Empire - Kingdom of the Antichrist?
David J. Nixon
From the Western Perspective
The Bible contains a great deal of history but it does something that not even the greatest secular history book can do: the Bible predicts with absolute accuracy the future of history. This claim has been substantiated hundreds of times over the centuries as prophecies made in the Bible have come true and their fulfilment been recorded as historical fact. One of my favourite examples is found in Isaiah 45 where the prophet not only predicts the name of the Medo-Persian King Cyrus who would defeat the city of Babylon almost 200 years later, but also gives us an insight into his cunning military strategy to infiltrate his men into the city and open the gates before the invading army by having them redirect the flow of the Euphrates River which flowed through the city so it was shallow enough to send troops along the riverbed and up into the city through the gates which were left open due to a large celebration going on in the king's palace, where God Himself showed up to prophesy their imminent deaths that night (Daniel 5).
One of the greatest prophets in scripture, ironically in the Hebrew canon is one of the minor prophets - I of course am speaking of Daniel. This is one of the most thrilling and incredible prophetic books that we have been gifted with in the Bible and it contains so much predictive concerning historical events. We are currently concerned with what it has to say concerning the Kingdom of the Antichrist, and we will get to why it is often referred to as the "Revived Roman Empire".
In Daniel 2 we read the story of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream which when interpreted by Daniel showed the progression of great Gentile empires which would rule over Israel until the Lord's Kingdom came to destroy the manmade systems of this world. The statue was comprised of 5 parts each composed of a different material:
- Babylon represented by the gold head
- Medo-Persia represented by the silver arms and chest
- Greece represented by the bronze thighs
- Rome by the iron legs (interestingly the two legs can be taken to depict the split of the Empire in 395AD
- Revived Roman Empire by the iron mixed with clay feet
The Lord's kingdom is then depicted as the stone cut out without hands which hits the iron mixed with clay feet of the statue causing the whole construct to collapse. We therefore have the basis that the final world empire that will be destroyed directly by the Lord's coming will be in someway connected with the former Roman Empire.
We then need to progress to a second vision that is directly perceived by Daniel this time in Daniel 7, where we have the same picture for the rest of human empires which will rule over Israel - interestingly this time since we are seeing God's perspective on these empires, rather than man's from Nebuchadnezzar's perspective, we see them depicted not as an object of respect but as wild beasts needing control. In this vision we see 4 beasts depicted which correspond with the previous ones. Now you may wonder about why there is a discrepancy between there being 5 parts of the statue, and only 4 beasts but it is because the final empire, the Revived Roman Empire, is depicted in the form of 10 horns on the fourth beast's head (which correspond with the 10 toes on the statue with the feet of iron mixed with clay). Let's just break it down again:
- A lion with the wings of an eagle: this is the Babylonian Empire which Jeremiah 4 prophesied would destroy Judah if it did not repent using these same images of the strength of a lion and swiftness of an eagle. (7:4)
- A bear raised up on one side with 3 ribs in its mouth: this is the Medo-Persian Empire, raised up on one side because the Persians were the superior people in the Empire. The 3 ribs likely refer to the 3 conquests of the Empire in taking over the spoils of Lydia, Babylon and Egypt. (7:5)
- A leopard with 4 wings on its back and 4 heads: this is the Grecian Empire initially under Alexander the Great which quickly conquered the known world shown by the wings but after his death at an untimely early age of 32 his empire was divided between his 4 generals – signified by the 4 heads (7:6) and which Daniel also later prophesied about (11:4)
- A terrifying beast with iron teeth and 10 horns: this is the Roman Empire, and the last of all the Beasts shown to Daniel. The iron teeth correspond to the iron legs that Nebuchadnezzar saw, and the 10 horns correspond with the 10 nations depicted as the iron mixed with clay toes of the statue (7:7). From these 10 horns arose another smaller one which spoke boasting words and which was judged directly by God through destruction and being cast into the burning river of fire that was before God’s throne (7:10-11)
It is this fourth and final and its ten horns that interest Daniel the most so that he enquires the meaning of it. The answer comes: "As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms and it shall devour the whole earth and trample it down, and break it to pieces. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times and half a time" (Daniel 7:23-25). The little horn which is different to the existing ten kings can be identified as the Antichrist given the correlation of this passage with Daniel 70 week prophecy which depict the Antichrist as reigning in the 7 years prior to Christ's return (Daniel 9:27), and John's visions in Revelation in which it is revealed to him that the Antichrist will wage war firstly against Israel and when thwarted by God's miraculous deliverance will turn against the Saints (Revelation 13:7). The little horn which is depicted as being thrown into the burning river of fire in (Daniel 7:10-11) also corresponds with the description of the outcome of the battle of Armageddon when the Antichrist is cast into the Lake of Fire at Christ's Second Coming (Revelation 19:20).
So we have the depiction of a final world empire that will come to be controlled by the Antichrist who will arise out of 10 kings, but will be less powerful and different from them initially. If we take Revelation 17 into the picture at this juncture and assume that the 7 headed beast is the same as the 7 headed beast out of the sea in Revelation 13 - an image of the Antichrist in Revelation - then we learn more about his rise into power. He will initially reign with the 10 kings (17:12) but he will overcome 3 of them at some point in his rise into power and will also be handed over by them their power (17:13). Antichrist will use his newfound power to turn on Israel and the Saints still on Earth (17:14) around the midpoint of the 70th week (Daniel 9:27) when he will seat himself in the Temple of God and declare himself to be god (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Given the clear connection between the earlier and still future revived Roman Empire we can expect to see some political and geographical grouping come together in Europe, likely spanning the territory formerly controlled by Rome, which included much of continental Europe and the southern Mediterranean bordering countries too. Since Rome divided into two separate empires some see the possibility of the Antichrist arising out of either an Eastern or a Western Empire, and this division today normally arises between those who see the possibility of an Islamic Antichrist and those who see a more future European Union secular Antichrist. Either way it does appear that it is indeed proper to refer to the final world empire of the Antichrist as the "Revived Roman Empire".
There also is another perspective on this.
Roman Empire: Just a Small Fraction of the Beast
From the Eastern Perpective
For the past few decades prophecy students and scholars have been pointing to a revived Roman empire to be the area dominated by the Antichrist. The idea was strongly popularized by Hal Lindsey's book entitled The Late Great Planet Earth in 1970 and is today being proclaimed by most popular prophecy teachers. A few prophecy teachers such as Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum disagree that the European Union as the revived Roman empire will be the kingdom of the Antichrist as widely taught. Fruchtenbaum argues that the 10 horns of the beast of Revelation 13 which represent 10 kings will be a ten division stage that will cover the whole world. Fructhenbaum writes:
''For some reason not given by the text, the One World Government will divide into ten kingdoms that will cover the whole world - not merely Europe. It has become common today to refer to the ten kingdoms as being in Europe only, especially the Former Common Market, now the European Union. But the text does not allow for this kind of interpretation. At the very best, the European Union might become one of the ten, but it could hardly become all of the ten.'' 
Although I agree with Fructenbaum that the European Union will not be all of the ten, I disagree with him that the 10 stage division of the kingdom of the Antichrist will cover the whole world. I believe the 10 stage division of the Antichrist's kingdom will be regional, not global and will only cover all the Middle East, not the whole world as explained in my article titled The 10 Kings of the Beast: They Come From The East.
The idea that the 10 kings of the beast will be 10 nations or 10 divisions within the European Union is based on Daniel 7. Most prophecy students have pointed to the fourth beast of Daniel 7 as the Roman empire since the first 3 beasts represented the Babylonian, Persian and Grecian empires which existed before Rome. This automatically made the beast of Revelation 13 the Roman empire in a revived form but this is not what the text in both Daniel and Revelation seems to be referring to.
I myself used to believe this because I was reading to many popular prophecy books until one day I decided to take a fresh look at Revelation 13 putting aside all traditional interpretation. In reading Revelation 13, I realized that the beast had physical traits of the first three beasts of Daniel 7 which represented 3 kingdoms or empires which most conservative scholars identify as:
First Beast - a lion with eagle's wings - Babylonian empire
Second Beast - a bear raised on its side - Medo-Persian empire
Third Beast - a leopard with four heads and wings - Grecian empire
Immediately after noticing that the beast of Revelation 13 was like a leopard, had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion I realized that the fourth beast that Daniel saw and could only describe as terrible and dreadful was the same beast John saw in Revelation 13 since in both chapters the beast had the same 10 horns. What Daniel and John saw was a combination of Babylonian, Persian and Grecian empires which would cover the entire Middle East region, not Europe. It is interesting to note that Babylon, Persia and Grecia are referred to in Daniel by their very names.
The angel who gave the revelation to Daniel told him about the Persian empire by mame and about the Grecian empire 200 years before it came on the scene. See Daniel 8:20-21 here and see Daniel 10:20 and 11:2 here. It appears that the fourth beast of Daniel 7 must be a combination of the first three beasts, not a reference to Rome. If God intended for the fourth beast of Daniel 7 to be a reference to Rome, then why is it that we do not find a single reference to Rome by name in Daniel as is the case with Persia and Grecia? Did God forget? I don't think so!
Some might argue that Chittim in Daniel 11:30 is a specific reference to Rome but the Strong's concordance defines the Hebrew word Kittiy as a general term for all islanders of the Mediterranean Sea generally referring to the island of Cyprus, not to Rome itself.
Read an excellent article by Dave Watchman titled: Daniel's Scope of Prophecy Does Not Include Rome!
Why is it that Rome is not even mentioned by name in the book of Revelation which was written when the Roman empire was the dominating power? Did God forget to mention Rome by name in Revelation even though it was referred to in the book of Acts and in the Epistles? Impossible! God is very much concerned with geography, otherwise he would not have mentioned all of Asia Minor, Israel, Jerusalem (Holy City), Babylon and the River Euphrates in the book of Revelation.
Some go as far as to suggest that John used Babylon as a code word for Rome because the author was so ''scared'' of that power but the fact of the matter is that Jesus himself told John to write everything that he saw (Revelation 1:11) and I don't think Jesus would be sacared to refer to Rome by name if this is what he really intended. Others say that the seven mountains of Revelation 17:9 are the seven hills of Rome. Mountains (oros in Greek) are not the same as hills (bounos in Greek) and Rome sits on hills, not mountains. Read a verse where Luke mentions both words here and check the Strong's Greek concordance here. Rome was never mentioned in Revelation. Period!
Although the Grecian empire came from Macedon in the West, it was first divided into four section as seen in the four heads of the leopard and in the four horns of the goat in Daniel 8 and later was reduced to two main divisions know as the Seleucid dynasty which dominated the areas of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and regions east of the Euphrates where Iran,Pakistan and Afghanistan are located and as the Ptolemaic dynasty which dominated the region of Egypt.
If anything, the Grecian empire should be associated with most of the Middle East, not with modern Greece. Then we have the Babylonian empire which dominated parts of the Middle East and the Persian empire which dominated the entire Middle East.
With all that being said, we do not seem to find much room for the Roman empire which dominated Europe for the most part according to maps. Many prophecy teachers say that Rome was never conquered after its fall in 476 AD. Most forget that after the fall of the Western Roman empire, the Eastern Roman empire lasted another 1000 years with Constantinople (modern Turkish city known as Istanbul) as its capital.
Contrary to the idea that the Roman empire was never conquered, The Ottoman empire conquered the Eastern Roman empire. The reason why I say this is because many will say that the seventh head of the beast in Revelation 17 is a revival of the Roman empire. The seven heads of the beast are referred to as seven mountains which represent seven kings or kingdoms which are:
1 - Egyptian Empire
2 - Assyria Empire
3 - Babylonian Empire
4 - Medo - Persian Empire
5 - Grecian Empire
6 - Roman Empire
7 - Ottoman Empire
Some believe that Egypt and Assyria are excluded from the seven heads of the beast since the leopard in Daniel 7 had 4 heads. For more info on this , I recommend reading the excellent article titled The Forgotten Parthian Empire by Joel Richardson.
Many prophecy students teach that the 7th empire according to Revelation 17:10 is a second phase of the Roman empire but the Ottoman empire conquered the Byzantine [Eastern] Roman empire and was the seventh head-kingdom of the beast. The Roman empire split in two section known as East and West. The Western Roman Empire lasted until 476 A.D.The Eastern Roman Empire lasted until about 1453 A.D, when it finally fell to the Islamic Caliphate of the Ottoman Turks. The seventh kingdom that would continue for a short space would be the Ottoman empire.
Since the beast in Revelation 13 was physically described as being like a leopard, having the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion, we conclude that the Middle East is the main geographic area of this beast. The Roman empire can only be represented by one of the heads of the beast which represent the seven kingdoms of biblical history, the Roman empire being the sixth kingdom. This points to the fact that the Roman empire is only a small fraction of the beast, not the beast in its entirety as commonly taught by most popular prophecy teachers.
Think with me for a moment. If the Roman empire is only represented by one of the heads of the beast which are seven and not by any body parts of the beast, how much of the geography ruled by the Roman empire would be included in the physical description of the beast as seen in Revelation 13?
Since the Roman empire as one of the seven heads of the beast is only a fraction of the physical attributes of the beast, only a small percentage of the geography of the Roman empire would be included in the kingdom of the beast and that would have to exclude Europe because if Rome as one of the heads is just a fraction of the beast, it must be within the confines of the geography that is represented by the body of the beast, namely the body of a leopard, the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion. This would be as follows:
The body of a leopard - Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties of the Grecian empire which included the regions of Turkey, Syria,Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Egypt. View map here
The feet of a bear - Persian empire which included the regions of Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan East of the Euphrates river, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt West of the Euphrates. View map here
The mouth of a lion - Babylonian empire which included the region of Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. View map here
The Eastern Roman empire also included some parts of Eastern Europe such as Bulgaria, Romania and Albania but I suppose these nations do not play any role since they have no influence in Middle East politics whatsoever. Since Rome as one of the heads of the beast is confined to the body of the beast, only the portions of the Roman empire that were within the confines of the Babylonian, Persian and Seleucid-Ptolemeic Grecian empires must be part of the kingdom of the beast. Some North African nations such as Libya and Sudan could also be included since they were part of the Roman, Grecian, Persian and Ottoman empires.
The Eastern Roman empire fits perfectly in these geographic confines because the most prominent region of the Eastern Roman empire included Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, all the area that was within the confines of the Babylonian, Persian and Seleucid-Ptolemeic Grecian empires. View map here. This totally excludes most of the European continent from the kingdom of the beast leaving Western Europe which is the heart of the ancient Roman empire out of it.
If this view is correct, all those who are expecting Western Europe to be the area where the Antichrist will rule from will be very disappointed, after all, look at how much material such as books, videos, magazines and web sites are dedicated to proclaim that the European Union as the revived Roman empire is the kingdom of the beast. Most popular prophecy teachers today point to this direction.
You can read material written by prophecy scholars such as Thomas Ice, Arno Froese, Mark Hitchcock, Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impe, Dave Reagan and many others and you will find that they all point to the European Union as the kingdom of the beast. Please don't think I am criticizing these great men of God. All I am doing here is presenting what the biblical text says versus what the great majority of popular prophecy teachers say.
We know from the rest of the prophetic portion of the Bible that the very purpose of the beast of Revelation 13 will be to destroy the woman of Revelation 12, namely the nation of Israel. I do not want to sound like I am using current events to support my view, but what nations do we see trying to seek Israel's destruction today? Those which are within the confines of the first 3 empires of Daniel 7 as mentioned above, namely Islamic-Arab nations of the Middle East like Syria, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, etc or the nations of Western Europe such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, France etc?
It seems that only the nations that came out of the Eastern portion of the Roman empire such as Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, etc fit the bill as the ones that seek Israel's destruction, not the nations that came out of the Western Roman empire such as France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, etc.
Whenever Western Europe gets involved with the peace process in the Middle East, people go into a prophetic frenzy trying to find a reason to support the European centric end time paradigm. People all over the United States and Europe are asking whether French President Nicolas Sarkozy or the the Secretary General of the European Union, Javier Solana of Spain are the Antichrist.
If anything, these guys are pro-Israel and all they are trying to do when getting involved with the Arab-Israeli conflict is to appease the Arabs and protect Israel from suffering another military attack from her Arab neighbors. It seems that those who claim to study prophecy do not realize that the Antichrist carries names, titles and attributes which point to him as a Middle Eastern, not a European political figure.
Western Europe today is not looking for war but peace and yet many have been looking at this region of the world as the kingdom of the beast. There are those who say that some Israeli army will destroy and conquer all the Islamic-Arab world, that Israel will experience peace, joy, good fortune and later will enter into a covenant with some European guy. Let me ask this question:
If Israel destroys all the Islamic-Arab world, finds the so desired peace, rules most of the Middle East with no surrounding enemies threatening her, Why would Israel need to have a covenant confirmed by a European leader to allow the Jews to have access to the Temple Mount and rebuild a Temple there if the real enemy who controlled the Temple Mount had been previously dealt with? Why would Israel have to ask some European leader permission to control the Temple Mount if the Arabs who currently control the Temple Mount will soon be conquered and destroyed by the Israeli army and will leave the entire city of Jerusalem free to be under Israeli control?
If all this happens, Israel won't have to ask anybody permission to rule its own city and rebuild a Jewish Temple there. This sounds like a novel to me, yet this is what people in America are being led to believe by a book called Isralestine and by articles written by the same author.
The idea that the European Union as the revived Roman empire will be the kingdom of the beast seems to slowly be losing popularity. As seen in this short article, the biblical text appears to point to the Roman empire as just a small fraction of the physical description of the beast in Revelation 13. Rome is represented by one of the seven heads which is just a small fraction of the beast, not the beast in its entirety. The beast that looks like a leopard, has the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion points to Middle Eastern geography, not European. Today we see that the Middle East is rising to power and is becoming the greatest threat ever faced by the nation of Israel which is the center of biblical prophecy.The European Union instead of being the kingdom of the beast will probably be a confederacy of nations that will oppose the kingdom of the Antichrist as explained in our article titled:
European Union: Beast or Best Friend?
God bless you!
 Arnold Fructenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah, Revised Edition 2003,2004 page 36