The Revived Roman Empire: Chapter 1

 

THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR A REVIVED ROMAN EMPIRE

 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron-for iron breaks and smashes everything-and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay (Daniel 2:40-43).

THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR A REVIVED ROMAN EMPIRE

The basis for the belief that there is a connection between the European Union and the biblical prophecies of a final end time a revived Roman Empire is based predominantly on Daniel 2. This passage of scripture outlines that there would be four world empires that would arise on the world scene from the time of Daniels vision until the second coming of Christ. Whilst there have been other world empires which have existed other than these four, the common denominator is that these would be four empires which would control and have power the nation of Israel.

Daniel confirmed in his interpretation that the first empire represented by the head of gold was in reference to Babylon which at that time was under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon would then be succeeded by the Medes and Persian (symbolized by arms and chest of silver) which in turn would be dominated by Greece (thighs of brass). Ultimately the fourth and final world empire would be the Roman Empire which succeeded Greece but this Roman Empire would have two periods of existence. Firstly, immediately following the decline of the Grecian Empire but then again in a time period preceding the second Coming of Christ since the later existence of a deteriorated Roman Empire is linked to the coming of Christ and the establishment of his kingdom on earth.

So it is important to lay the foundation by making reference to Dr. John Walvoord one of the great prophecy scholars of the 20th century who provides an exegesis of Daniel 2 which forms the basis of this report.

In the prophecies of Daniel, especially Daniel 2, prophetically four world empires are set forth. In the image of Daniel 2 the head of gold is related to Babylon by practically all expositors. Most expositors also recognize three other empires in the shoulders of silver (Medo-Persia), the lower part of the body of bronze (Grecian Empire), and the legs of iron (Roman Empire) and the feet part of iron and part of clay (fulfillment in a revival of a last days Roman Empire) The significance and recurring theme of ten is also found in The following scriptural passages (Dan 2:34-35, 40-45; 7:7-8, 19-24 ; Rev 13:1-2; 17:3, 7, 12-16) which demonstrate that a future ten-nation confederacy in the Middle East will form a large part in prophecy of the end time and be the forerunner of the ultimate world government.

The question of whether the ancient Roman Empire will be revived in the prophetic future at the end of the age is one of the intriguing interpretative problems of the Scriptures. In the twentieth century the question of the revival of Rome has taken on new prominence with the revival of the Middle East as a whole, the formation of the new State of Israel, the reformations of the Roman Catholic Church, and many other factors which again are directing attention to the Middle East. Accordingly, the revival of Rome becomes once again a live question.

The two legs of the image of Daniel 2, likewise, portray the eastern and western divisions of the Roman Empire. The unequal duration of the eastern empire, which continued long after the western empire had fallen apart, is not seen in Daniel’s prophecy because it occurs in the period of the present church age which does not seem to be in Daniel’s fore view. The unfulfilled aspects of the prophecies provide the clue for the future revival of Rome. Any other view has never achieved majority status among evangelicals at least because the prophecies taken literally lead to this conclusion.

If the large discussion available in evangelical literature supports the conclusion that the fourth empire of Daniel was Roman, the question remains whether its future revival will also be Roman, and whether the Scriptures specifically teach this. The ten-nation confederacy is anticipated in the feet-stage of the image, and although the toes are not said to be ten in number, this is the implication. More specific details are given in Daniel on the fourth beast of his vision in chapter 7. There in the latter stage of development the beast is declared to have ten horns. This is interpreted in Daniel 7:24 as “ten kings that shall arise.” Further light is cast on this in Revelation 13 where a beast is seen to come out of the sea having “ten horns.” The fact that the ten-horns stage of the kingdom was still prophetic when the book of Revelation was written clearly makes it either Roman or post-Roman in its historical fulfillment.

The ten-nation confederacy of the future anticipated in these prophecies would naturally be considered a revival of the Roman Empire if for no other reason than that it is portrayed as an integral part of the fourth empire. As far as Daniel and Revelation are concerned, there is no sharp break between the historic and the prophetic, and the present age in which the church is being called out from Jew and Gentile alike is not taken into consideration in Daniel’s fore view. Accordingly, the fourth empire of the past and the future confederacy are looked upon as if they are parts of the same empire. If the fourth empire is Roman, it would follow that the ten-nation confederacy will also be Roman in character, at least from the divine point of view.

A second argument in favor of the identification of the future empire as Roman would come from the geographic evidence that the center of the stage is the Middle East in the end of the age. It is here that the great final world war is fought according to Daniel 11:36-45, confirmed by the reference to Armageddon in Revelation 16:16, and other geographic indications such as the River Euphrates, the city of Jerusalem, and similar geographic factors. If the future activities relating to the ten-nation confederacy are in the Middle East, it would also support the concept that it is a revival of the ancient Roman Empire, at least geographically.

One of the most specific references, however, is found in the difficult prophecy of Daniel in which Israel’s history is unfolded as recorded in Daniel 9:24-27. One of the important factors in this prophecy is Daniel 9:26 where it is stated that after the Messiah or the Anointed One is cut off that “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Although there have been many destructions of Jerusalem, most commentators agree that the fulfillment of this prophecy was in A.D. 70 when the Roman General Titus surrounded the city of Jerusalem, slaughtered its inhabitants, and burned the beautiful temple whose construction had been completed only six years before. If this prince is the same as the little horn (Dan 7:8), who subdues three of the ten nations in the confederacy and assumes control, it would follow from this that the prince who will come, because of his relation to the people who destroyed the city in A.D. 70, will be a Roman prince. This view is far preferable to the interpretation of “the prince that shall come” as a reference to Christ.

Although this does not establish his racial background, and debate continues as to his particular nationality, politically he will be the final ruler of Roman power in the world until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, many expositors identify the prince that shall come as the ultimate world ruler mentioned in Revelation 13 and other passages.

That this is related to end-time events, and therefore either Roman or post-Roman, is confirmed by the reference in the Olivet Discourse where Christ cited the abomination of desolation, prophesied in Daniel 9:27, as being the sign of the beginning of the great tribulation. In the context, Christ relates this to Judea and again fixes the center of events as being in the Middle East. Accordingly, on the basis of the prophecy of Christ and the future anticipations of Revelation 13, the liberal contention that all of this was fulfilled in the second century B.C. becomes completely untenable. In making the prophecy of Matthew 24, Christ also confirms the prophetic accuracy of Daniel, and takes the prediction of the future abomination of desolation, which refers to the desecration of a future temple in Jerusalem, as a literal event of great significance to the people of Israel.

On the basis of the conclusion that the fourth empire of Daniel is Roman, that geographically the future ten-nation confederacy is in the area occupied in history by the Roman Empire, and the specific reference to the prince that shall come as being related to the Roman people, a conclusion can be drawn that there will be a revival of Rome politically, which will fulfill the unfulfilled aspect of the fourth empire, both in Daniel and in Revelation.