For 19 centuries Bible scholars have been anticipating a "Revived Roman
Empire." Many wonder where this strange expectation comes from. Is
this some kind of academic fantasy, or is there a real basis for this quaint
There are also some that suspect that the current expansion of the European
Union may be setting the stage for the emergence of that final world empire
which will initiate the final scenario climaxing with the Second Coming of
Christ. Will this emergent federation of states ultimately become the
domain of that coming world ruler that many call "the Antichrist"? Is he
The strategic geopolitical horizon of past half-century has been dominated by
two superpowers: the United States and the USSR. But it is becoming clear
that the two dominant powers of the next half-century apparently will be China
in the east and the "new Europe" in the west.
The United States has a population of approximately 270 million. The
new Europe is over 57% larger, with a combined population of 470 million.
If they succeed in establishing a common foreign policy, they will control the
As we watched the strange antics of France and Germany during the jockeying
of positions in preparations for the war with Iraq, the only way to appreciate
what was really going on required the insight that there were more urgent issues
at stake than just the Middle East: the power positioning for control of the EU
was the primary agenda.
The European Union presently has 15 members. By 2004, ten more will be
added. By 2007, two more will be added, with others getting in line.
These are shown in the following map [Click
Here]. Can you name them? (The answers will be included in the next
article.) But first things first: where does this expectation for a "Revived
Roman Empire" come from? What does the Bible indicate concerning the forthcoming
geopolitical horizon? How will it affect the Middle East? NATO? The role of the
United States? And how will the emergent changes impact each of us?
The Biblical Background
Generally, the Bible views history - both past and future - through the lens
of Israel. But there are a few exceptions. Daniel Chapter 2 and
Chapter 7 are distinctive in that they provide a Biblical glimpse of all of
world history from Daniel's time during the Babylonian Empire (600 B.C.) until
the final climax of human history when God Himself intervenes and establishes
His own kingdom upon the earth.
[It is interesting that the portion of the Book of Daniel which focuses on
Gentile dominion on the Planet Earth is contained between Chapters 2 through 7,
and that in these chapters the original language changes from Hebrew to Aramaic,
the Gentile language of that time.]
Nebuchadnezzar, an outstanding general and the son of King Nabopolassar,
inherited the kingdom upon his father's death. He had a troubling dream
one night, and in seeking its significance he decided to put the court advisors
(which he had inherited from his father) to the test. He insisted that
they describe the dream he had and then interpret it for him. Of course,
they could not. If he would tell them the dream, they would certainly have
given their interpretation. They had no way of knowing what he had
dreamt. So Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to be executed. (He knew how
to reduce excess head count in his organization!)
Daniel had been taken captive as a teenager to be trained at court, and was
in that job classification along with his three friends, so they, too, were
subject to the same execution order. Daniel petitioned his supervisor for
a chance at the challenge, and after a night of prayer, his appearance before
the throne of the king is one of the more dramatic episodes in Scripture.
Daniel not only described the dream precisely - confirming to the king that
Daniel's gift was genuine - and he then also provided the interpretation.
Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose
brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly
and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of
clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the
image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then
was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces
together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind
carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote
the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the
dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. -
Strange dream, eh?
Daniel then gives them the interpretation: the series of four metals
represent a series of empires. The head of gold represented
Nebuchadnezzar, and the kingdom of Babylon. But it would be followed by
another, and then another, and then a final one. In the days of the final
empire, God Himself would establish His own kingdom with the "stone cut without
hands," an allusion to the Messiah who would come to rule. (The consistency of
idioms throughout the Bible is, itself, remarkable. The "stone cut without
hands" is also" the stone which the builders rejected," the rock of offense,"
and always speaks of Christ.1)
Notice that there are four metals, with the fourth involving a fragile phase
lacking strength due to the inclusion of brittle potter's clay. More on
this later. This is where we get the expression, "the idol has clay
Later in his life, Daniel received a vision of four beasts, which are
recorded in Chapter 7. It turns out that while the idioms are quite different
from the dream in Chapter 2, the subject is the same: four empires are depicted
as summarized in the following diagram [Click
Here]. The details in the text are remarkable, and are also later employed
in the Book of Revelation.2
Babylon was conquered by Cyrus the Great who established the Persian
Empire. After about two centuries, the Persians were conquered by
Alexander the Great, whose exploits are further detailed in Daniel 8 and
11. The Greeks were, in turn, conquered by the Romans. But who
conquered the Romans? No one. In the fifth century A.D., the
western leg of the Roman Empire simply disintegrated into pieces. 3
(The eastern leg of the empire endured another 1000 years before falling to the
invasion of the Muslims.)
Most conservative scholars recognize that the fourth empire will have two
"phases": the fragments are destined to reassemble to form the final empire that
is so prominent in prophetic Scripture.
It is interesting that each of the "pieces" of the western leg had its "day
in the sun," but none of them achieved the dominance of the original: Germany
under Charlemagne and the subsequent "Holy Roman Empire." (As Voltaire observed,
"It was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire!") Even Hitler suggested
a bid for continuance by calling his regime, "The Third Empire." The emerging
reassembly of the fragments of the ancient Roman Empire would seem to have
profound implications for those who take their Bibles seriously. And
The Prince That Shall Come
The angel Gabriel visited Daniel and provided him the famed "Seventy Week"
prophecy that predicted, among other things, the precise timing of the Messiah
presenting Himself as a king to Jerusalem.
4 He would
then be executed and Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed. 5
Jesus gave four disciples a private briefing on His "Second Coming," and He
pointed to this very passage in Daniel as the key to end time prophecy. 6
This four-verse prophecy is unquestionably the most astonishing in the entire
Bible and deserves your diligent study. It not only establishes, with
amazing precision, the chronology and details of the Gospel narrative, but it
also lays out the framework for scenario of the Second Coming. But we will
focus only on one small detail for our purposes here.
In describing the destruction of the city and Temple, the text notes:
…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and
the sanctuary… 7
"The people" that destroyed the city and sanctuary were, of course, the
legions of the Roman Empire in 70 A.D. The Legions V, X, XII, and XV laid
siege to Jerusalem and destroyed it precisely as Gabriel (in Daniel 9) and Jesus
Furthermore, "the prince that shall come" is one of the labels for a coming
world leader that has over three dozen labels in the Bible, but is commonly
called "the Antichrist." Since it was his people that destroyed the city
and the sanctuary, we recognize the elliptical reference and infer that the
Antichrist is, thus, in some sense, identified with, or related to, the Roman
These are but a few of the reasons that Bible scholars have been looking for
a "revival" of the Roman Empire as prelude to the climax of God's program of
The New Europe
We will continue this series of articles exploring the background, current
activities, and apparent agenda of the drive toward a "United States of Europe,"
and the surprising implications on our near horizon. This emergent
confederation will impact the management of global resources, the struggles for
power - perhaps eclipsing or controlling the United Nations - and very likely
will prove to be more of a competitor than a partner.
How will all this impact strategic positioning militarily? How will
this impact the global control of strategic resources such as energy, and the
weapons of mass destruction?
What are the implications of the rising anti-Semitism in both the UN and the
EU in years ahead? What will be the implications of the rise of Islam in
the "new Europe"? What are the implications of the embracing of
Islam by the Vatican?
There are some harrowing challenges ahead for everyone involved. In
fact, a leader may emerge which will prove to be the very one which the Bible
describes as a dominant player in the climactic scenes of all human
history. He will be a peacemaker, leading to a "peace to end all peace,"
and the fabled Battle of Armageddon.
It is, indeed, an exciting time to "do our homework," and to make sure our
personal priorities are in sync with the times!
* * *
From our new briefing pack, Europa Rising -
The Empire Strikes Back.