Q. I’ve carried a strong interest in Bible Prophecy for a number of years now. I’ve noticed of late some slight diversion as to the identity of the fourth beast of Dan 7. The traditional view has been that it is the Roman Empire and that we will soon see an end time revival of that empire. Another more recent view has been that the fourth beast is the Islamic Empire that began with the Ottoman Empire and has continued to this day. I believe that those holding this view reconcile the Roman Empire as an extension of the Grecian empire (through the 4 divisions that came out of this empire). I believe that those holding this view also acknowledge the Roman Empire as being one of the 7 heads of the beast identified in Rev 13. This more recent view has also led several to strongly suggest that both the beast and Antichrist must come from the East and that the Antichrist will be an Assyrian.
Unfortunately, my understanding of world history is not very strong. Was wondering if you could offer any thoughts on this.
A. In my opinion, changing the identity of the 4th beast of Daniel 7 would contradict the symbolism of the statue in Daniel 2. And there is neither Biblical nor historical justification for making Rome an extension of Greece. It doesn’t fit. It’s good that people are beginning to understand that the anti-Christ could just as easily come from the eastern leg of the Roman Empire as the Western one, but trying to force fit the Ottoman Empire into the mix is unnecessary for that.
I’m also not impressed with the idea that since someone has claimed that the Roman 10th legion consisted of mercenaries of Assyrian origin that the anti-Christ has to be an Assyrian. The simple facts are that the Assyrian Empire had been assimilated into Rome through territorial conquest, and the 10th Legion was under the command of Titus Vespasian, son of the Roman Emperor, who was acting on Rome’s authority when he had the Temple destroyed in 68 or 69 AD, and it was Hadrian, another Roman Emperor who had the city destroyed nearly 70 years later. These two separate events serve as 2 witnesses that Daniel 9:26 was speaking of Rome concerning the the destruction of the city and the sanctuary.
Seven kings (kingdoms) are mentioned in Rev. 17: At the time of John’s writing 5 had fallen; Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. One was then in power, Rome, and one was yet to come. While a claim that the Ottoman Empire could be considered a partial revival of Rome’s eastern leg, the timing was wrong to fulfill John’s view of the 7th kingdom at the end of the age. Also the statue in Daniel 2 shows the end times revival of Rome to include both legs of the ancient kingdom.
Many new thoughts are coming into the open as the time grows short. This is the fulfillment of a prophecy in Daniel 12:4. But like all other opinions, these new ones have to be consistent with the whole counsel of God and cannot require a re-interpretation of either history or the Bible.