In chapters 7-9, we learn the identities of those empires as:
The Roman Empire will exist for a time (as history has shown), but will later be revived in the last days, although in a somewhat weaker state. It is within this final empire that Antichrist (the "Little Horn" in Dan. 7:7-11, 20-26) will rise to power.
Ancient Roman Empire
That final empire is NOT a fifth empire, but is the final phase of the fourth empire (the Roman Empire) that Jesus will destroy at His coming (vss. 40-44). Hence, I refer to it as the "Revived Roman Empire". I have taught that today's European Union is that "Revived Roman Empire" or, at least the beginnings of it.
European Union (with the UK included)
There are many reasons to believe this, but here are just a few:
1. The EU is a giant conglomerate (empire) of European nations (28) that have united economically, socially, and most significantly, politically. Never in all of history (since the Roman Empire of old) have the nations of Europe been so united into one political unit. The definition of an "empire" is "
a group of nations
ruled over by an
emperor, empress, or other
powerful sovereign or government
In every respect, the European Union fits the definition of a European-based empire, just like the ancient Roman Empire identified in Dan. 2.
2. Today, the European Union is the largest and most powerful economic unit in the world.
It's economic strength even supersedes that of the United States. Such a great international power is the perfect starting point for the Antichrist to begin his expansion for worldwide control.
3. Daniel 7 teaches us that the Revived Roman Empire will be ruled by
"kings" (in today's terminology, they will probably be called "commissioners", "ministers", "senators", etc.) and it is in that group of ten men that the Antichrist will come to power by overthrowing three of them.
28 commissioners of the European Commission
Today, the highest ruling body of the European Union is the European Commission, made up of 28 commissioners, one for each of the 28 nations of the EU. It is headed by one of the 28 who is the Commission President.
In 2004, an attempt was made by the leaders of the EU to establish an EU Constitution, but it failed to get the required unanimous ratification from all the member nations. In that "constitution", it was stated that the number of commissioners representing the EU nations would be reduced to 15. In other words, no longer would a commissioner represent a single nation, but one of fifteen regions of the union.
Upon its failure to be ratified, the EU Constitution was replaced by the Treaty of Lisbon (TOL) which was passed in 2007. It is about 95% the same in content as the EU Constitution, but the proposal of just 15 commissioners was a problem. So, the TOL dropped the requirement and returned to the original formula of one commissioner from each EU nation.
The point is that the leaders of the European Union have a desire to eliminate nationalism within its ranks and one of the ways it wants to do this is by changing the representation into regions. Although this failed to be accomplished in the ratification of the EU Constitution, it has not been forgotten. Undoubtedly, it will be attempted again at some point in the future at which time it may be decided that there should be TEN commissioners. It is speculation to say that this will happen, but the actions of the EU leaders have definitely shown their desire to reduce the number of commissioners.
4. The national symbol of the European Union comes from a Greek mythological figure named Europa, from which Europe gets its name. The goddess Europa is most often depicted as a woman riding upon the back of a white bull. Today, the national symbol of "the woman riding the beast" is displayed throughout Europe (on its currency, as statues at EU buildings, etc.)
Greek 2 euro coin Europa statue at EU Parliament building
Interestingly, the image of "the woman riding the beast" is also a symbol of Revelation 17, even though the "beast" is not a bull. There, it represents the Antichrist and his kingdom being controlled by a last days, one-world religion (the woman). Is there a connection between the use of this symbol in the EU and the final empire of the Antichrist?
For these and other reasons that I don't have space here to explain, I see the European Union as what will eventually become the empire of the Antichrist. However, let it be clearly stated that only God knows the future! And only He knows precisely what, when, and how the empire of the Antichrist will be established. I just believe the EU fits the scriptural description of the Revived Roman Empire.
On June 23, the United Kingdom voted in a national referendum by 52% to withdraw its membership from the European Union. The unexpected outcome of this vote called the "Brexit" (British exit) was seen by many people as a serious weakening of the EU and from a Bible Prophecy perspective, did not seem to fit the expected scenario of an ever growing and powerful European Empire. So how do we reconcile this with our position on the "Revived Roman Empire" scenario?
God, from the beginning, has known the end.
Isaiah 46:9 - Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
In most (if not all) of God's prophetic descriptions of events in the end times, He tells us WHAT is going to happen, but He seldom tells us all the stage-setting situations that will lead up to the complete fulfillment of that event. Without a doubt, He HAS KNOWN "from ancient times the things that are not yet done". And all that He has said He will do, HE WILL DO! All that He has said will happen, WILL HAPPEN! His Word NEVER fails!
The situations leading up the actual fulfillment of a prophesied event usually take many different turns. As they are happening, we should never be dismayed, thinking that the events are not leading up to the prophesied conclusion.
Sometimes people err by putting too much trust in the newspaper and not enough in the Bible. We refer to this as "Newspaper Exegesis", the method of establishing our beliefs about prophecy based on what the current news headlines are saying. Such exegetical method is the exact opposite of what we should do... We should stand on the truth of the Prophetic Word and watch in amazement as the news headlines eventually announce its fulfillment. The headlines don't always seem to be leading to the prophecy, but will always ultimately end up there.
A good example of this is the prophecy that God would gather the Jews back into their land and make them into a nation again (Isa. 11:11-12, Ezek. 36:24, 37:21-22, Amos 9:14-15). Prophetically speaking, this was an established fact. God's Word said clearly that it would happen. But in the years leading up to its fulfillment, did the news headlines seem to point in that direction?
Yes - In the late 1800's, the Zionist Movement got under way and the Jews began to move back to their homeland.
No - In the early 1900's, the early settlers met great resistance from the Arabs of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) who lived in the land.
Yes - In 1917, General Edmund Allenby took the city of Jerusalem from the Arabs, making it possible for more Jews to return.
No - In the 1920's and 30's, during the British Mandate years over Israel, they began to restrict the number of Jewish immigrants allowed in the land and to severely restrict the land purchases by Jews.
Yes - 1929-1939, the "Fifth Alliya" (massive immigration of the Jews to Israel) took place as some 250,000 Jewish immigrants fled the rising persecution of the Nazis.
No - 1941-1945, the Holocaust of WW2... some six million Jews are slaughtered by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime.
Yes - May 14, 1948, Israel declares herself a nation.
No - May 15, 1948, Israel is attacked by five Arab countries who have sworn to annihilate the Jews in Israel.
Yes - 1949, Armistice Agreements are signed by Israel and her Arab neighbors. Israel stands as an independent and sovereign nation. The prophecy is fulfilled!
May 14, 1948 - David Ben Gurion reads Israel's Declaration of Independence
1948 - Israelis celebrating their new national independence
Back and forth over the first half of the last century, the news headlines vacillated on whether the Jews would have their nation again until it finally happened just as God said it would. So never forget... When God says something is going to happen, IT ALWAYS HAPPENS!
That being said, here are some things to note about Brexit:
The UK was never fully integrated into the EU.
Even though the UK was considered an influential member of the EU (with its permanent member status in the Security Council in the UN), she has always had significant opposition within her own ranks to their ties with the EU. For example, they never adopted the official currency of the EU (the euro) as their national currency. Thus, their exit may not be as devastating to the EU as some pundits think.
The Brexit vote may actually STRENGTHEN the EU.
Although some people have stated that this could be the catalyst to a chain reaction of other nations leaving the EU and the eventual downfall of the whole union, it appears presently that no such response will happen. In fact, as shown in the article, "
Brexit causes resurgence in pro-EU leanings across continent"
the pro-EU parties of Europe made significant gains in the polls after the Brexit vote, while the "eurosceptic" parties lost support.
(see footnote 3)
Is the stage being set for the rise of Antichrist?
Thess. 2 says the "revealing" of Antichrist will happen AFTER the Church has been raptured during a time of chaos, confusion, and political upheaval. This worldwide disruption will be the perfect setting for Antichrist to rise to power as he promises to restore order and prosperity.
If the EU is already struggling for survival, it will only make for an even better opportunity for the "Man of Sin" to step on the stage of European politics as the "savior" they will be looking for.
HOW God will eventually establish the "Revived Roman Empire" is something that only He knows. But, it is well for us to remember... That that is written (in God's Word) WILL be done. And it is exciting to watch developments in the world that we KNOW will ultimately be used by God to accomplish His purpose.