That being said, I want to bring a series of teachings that will deal with Daniel, chapter 2, regarding the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and his dream of the image of gold, silver, bronze and iron, with feet and toes of iron and clay, tying this together with Daniel, chapters 7, 8, 11 and 12. Also, you and I will examine whether the coming Antichrist will come out of the Roman Empire or from somewhere else. This is the most important series of teachings regarding the end-times, Israel and the Middle East that I have ever brought.
Acknowledgment of Thanks:
(I want to thank Mark Davidson for his book Daniel Revisited, and Joel Richardson for his book The Middle East Beast, as they have brought clarity to questions I have had for some time pertaining to Daniel 7 and 8. I have used the information in their books throughout these teachings in order to put everything together. Although I do not quote either often, it is their revelation and information on the subject that has ignited my spirit and made these teachings possible. I will be forever grateful to both.
A Revived Roman Empire and Roman Antichrist?
Over the centuries it has been taught that the old Roman Empire will be revived and revised in the last days before Jesus Christ returns and out of it will come the Antichrist who will rule the world for a short period of time, causing those that will not receive the Mark of the Beast (666) to be deprived of buying and selling as well as the possibility of being killed. But is all of this true? In this series, we will break down each of these issues and address them to see if they will hold up in light of the truth of the Scriptures; or has God been saying something entirely different over the centuries -- something that has been kept secret until these last days but is now being revealed. You will not want to miss studying each of these teachings for they will open up a whole new world of understanding regarding biblical prophecy, end time events and especially what is taking place right now in the Middle East.
In this lesson you and I will see what Daniel 9:24-27 is really saying, grammatically and historically, since these are the Scriptures in which the teaching of a revived Roman Empire and Roman Antichrist are derived. So let's begin!
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people (the Jewish people) and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary (Temple); and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. KJV (emphasis mine)
Verse 24 speaks of 70 weeks. Each of these weeks represent 7 years for a total of 490 years. These years are broken down into three parts:
1. During the first 49 years of the 490 (the first 7 weeks), beginning in 457 BC, Jerusalem, its street and wall were rebuilt.
2. After another 434 years (62 weeks) Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, was crucified, making a total of 483 years (69 weeks),
which leaves one week, or 7 years, to complete the 70 weeks.
3. There has been a time gap between the first 69 weeks and the 70th week of Daniel which is yet to be fulfilled, as we will show as we progress.
Why the Delay of the 70th Week? Psalm 110
1. The gospel of salvation had to be taken to the Gentile nations. Matthew 28:19-20
2. The nation of Israel and the Jewish people had to be restored to their land after 2,000 years of exile. Romans 11; Ezekiel
36 and 37
(If the desecration and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD was the fulfillment the Abomination of Desolation and of the 70 weeks of Daniel, as the preterists teach, then, according to verse 27, where is the covenant that Titus was supposed to sign with the Jews and when was Titus destroyed? Neither happened! Titus never signed a peace agreement with Israel but rode back to Rome as a Victor. According to Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul, the Antichrist will appear in the last days before Jesus Christ returns to earth, will fight against Him, be defeated and be cast into the lake of fire with the false prophet. Revelation 19:19-20.)
In 70 AD the city of Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Roman army, led by General Titus. But was it really the Romans who committed the destruction? The entire premise of the teaching of a Revived Roman Empire and European Antichrist is based solely on Daniel 9:26:
"...and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;..."
Looking at this verse from a natural standpoint would tell us, according to history, that it was the Romans who committed the destruction and the future Antichrist would come from Europe. This is based on three things:
1. Rome was in control of the land of Israel.
2. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.
3. The writings of the early church fathers have said that the Roman Empire would be the last one before Jesus Christ returns.
In order to make sure this is true, we must examine what happened in 70 AD from two most important perspectives.
1. The real historical truth---what ancient history and modern scholarship tells us.
2. The grammatical understanding of what the Scripture says.
The Historical Truth
The Roman Empire began as a Republic. It was only after it began to expand into other countries that it became an empire. While still a Republic, it formed an army out of which came the Praetorian Guard; the elite force to guard the emperor and Roman generals. Initially, the Roman army was made up of Italians from Rome and the surrounding areas, but as the empire grew they began to recruit men out of the different provinces called "provincials". These formed the majority of the Roman army, to the point that before Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70 AD only about five percent of the soldiers in the Roman army were Italian. The rest were recruited from the Eastern Provinces and made up primarily of Arabs.
Josephus, the great Jewish historian, states that most of the Roman Legions used to attack Jerusalem were made up of "provincials" from Syria and Egypt. Also, Malchus, the Arabian king, sent 6,000 men, which combined with the six Roman legions, most of which were Arabs who hated the Jews (it seems nothing has changed over the centuries), made a total of sixty thousand men. The six legions that were used to attack Jerusalem were XII Fulminata from Asia Minor/Syria, X Fretensis from Syria, XV Appoinaris from Syria, V Macedonia from Judea, XVIII from Egypt, and III Gallica from Syria. See Flavius Josephus, The Complete Works of Josephus, The Wars of the Jews or The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, bk. 3, chap. 1, par.3.
Modern Roman scholar, Lawrence J.F. Keppie states: "(After AD 68) the legions...consist(ed) almost exclusively of provincials." Joel Richardson, The Middle East Beast, p. 94, par. 2. Professor Nigel Pollard, PhD, professor of Roman history at Oxford University, in his book Soldiers, Cities, and Civilians in Roman Syria, says that most of the soldiers that destroyed the Temple were Syrians, Arabs and Eastern peoples.
The Roman general Titus did not want the Temple destroyed due to the fact that it would stand as a symbol of the Jews being conquered by Rome. It was the Arab provincials in the Roman legions that set fire to the Temple and destroyed Jerusalem due to their excessive hatred of the Jewish people. When Titus heard the Temple was on fire, he tried to stop the Arab soldiers from destroying it, to no avail. These Arabs were the ancestors of todays Muslims.
There are more historical accounts, such as Publius Cornelius Tacitus, a historian and senator of the Roman Empire and modern scholar Sara Elise Phang, PhD, author of Roman Military Service: Ideologies of Discipline in the Late Republic and Early Principate verifying that it was the Arabs in the Roman army that destroyed the Temple, not the true Italian Romans.
The Grammatical Truth
In Daniel 9:26 it talks about "the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." The word people is the Hebrew word am. But what does the word am mean? Strong's Lexicon gives a list of meanings as "people, nation, persons, members of one's people, compatriots, country-men, kinsman, kindred." The Hebrew lexiconographer, Wilhelm Gesenius, says the primary meaning of am is a single race, tribe or family, kindred, or relatives. This puts the meaning of the word people in verse 26 in a totally different context as being from a certain bloodline and not a country. If the Scripture was talking about a kingdom or empire, it would have used mamlakah; or of a nation, it would have used the word goy but it used the word am, designating the ethnic identity which made up the majority of the Roman legions.
Example: The apostle Paul was a Roman citizen (mamlakah) but ethnically he was a Jew (am). In America, Great Britain, Australia and other nations, there are people from different ethnic backgrounds (am) but they are citizens (goy) of these countries. This gives us a greater understanding of what Daniel 9:26 is saying regarding those who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD.
Studying the historical and grammatical aspects of Daniel 9:26 has given us a greater understanding that the Antichrist will not be European but Muslim; the Islamic Mahdi. You will be able to clearly comprehend this in the upcoming lessons.
Where Did the Revived Roman Empire and European
Antichrist Teaching Come From?
In concluding this first lesson, you and I need to research history and see where the teaching of a Revived Roman Empire and Roman Antichrist began. I will use some quotes from Mark Davidson's book Daniel Revisited.
The Fourth Beast of Daniel 2:40: Supposition or Fact?
We will now see how this notion of Rome as the iron empire started as a supposition and, in the end, became canon. In this history, the first Christian commentary of Daniel 2:40 comes from Hippolytus, a bishop of Rome in about AD 200. He stated that the empire of iron had to be Rome. He wrote elsewhere that Christ would return in AD 500 and that Rome would be the world power up until that time...therefore, Hippolytus' position was a supposition...based on his own presumptions on one hand, and false historical evidence on the other.
The next commentary came from Jerome, the translator of the Bible into the Latin Vulgate. He wrote in AD 408 that the empire of iron was "clearly...the Romans." This was an assumption.
Eleven centuries later John Calvin, the great theologian...assumed Rome fulfilled the empire of iron legs in Daniel 2:40. He argued that Rome's conquest of the four successors of Alexander, who all made up the bronze part of the statue in Daniel 2, counted as the conquest and crushing of the three preceeding empires, i.e. Babylon the gold, Persia the silver, and Greece the bronze, when in fact it only covered the bronze.
In 1715, a century and a half after Calvin, Matthew Henry wrote in the great commentary that bears his name that Rome held "prevalency against all that contended against it." The assumption continued with Henry, for Rome did not prevail against Persia.
Forty years after Henry, the theologian John Gill strengthened the assumption. He featured in his text a list of peoples that Rome had conquered which actually included the Persians by name. This statement simply goes against historical fact. At this point, the long-lived idea that Rome as the iron legs fulfilled Daniel 2:40 was becoming such a strong assumption that a statement was made that history plainly does not back up.
By the time Barnes came along with his commentary in the 1860s, the assumption had become common knowledge. Edward Gibbon, the famed historian who in the 1770s authored The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, took the role of theologian when he wrote that iron Rome had conquered the other empires of gold, silver and bronze. Barnes then wrote in his commentary it is "scarcely necessary" to mention that the empire was Rome, whereupon he quoted Gibbon's aforementioned work. The assumption became "common knowledge" for it was now in a respected work of history.
A Century after Barnes, this common knowledge found its way into canon. The translators of the Amplified Bible in 1962 added "Rome" in brackets directly to the scriptural text, Daniel 2:40 was then translated as, "And the fourth kingdom (Rome) shall be strong as iron, since iron breaks to pieces and subdues all things; and like iron which crushes, it shall break and crush all these" (AMP). The meaning of the verse itself was changed at this point. In a side note, do not take this as an attack against the Amplified Bible. I believe that almost all translations, including the Amplified, provide us with a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I am simply following a history here.
Confirming this new canon, Hal Lindsey, the famous prophecy expert of the last four decades, and staunch supporter of the centuries-old Roman Antichrist theory, quoted this very verse from the Amplified translation to argue his position in his 1970 book The Late Great Planet Earth. The quote made his position more persuasive. Lindsey's book essentially provided the foundation for the popular prophetic theology of the day having been published just three years after Israel conquered all of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Quotes from Mark Davidson's book Daniel Revisited, pages 15-17, West Bow Press.
Therefore, in researching history regarding Rome and a Roman Antichrist, we find that it began with a supposition, progressed to an assumption, from there to common knowledge and finally to canon. All of this is false and has led the Church down a path of futility, looking to Europe to fulfill Daniel 2:40 instead of the Middle East and Islam. It is interesting that God has used the Church and its leaders down through the centuries to keep secret the truth of Daniel 2:40 until now, in these last days before Jesus Christ returns. Let me explain!
Seal Up the Vision
Twice, in the book of Daniel, he was told to "shut up" (KJV) or "seal" (NKJV) the visions he received from God. The first was in Daniel 8:26:
"And the vision of the evenings and the mornings which was told is true: therefore seal up the vision; for it refers to many days in the future."
In other words, Daniel's vision was to be kept secret until the end-times. The word seal or shut up is the Hebrew word catham which means to keep secret. Daniel 8:17 tells us the vision is for the time of the end.
"...Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end."
The second time the word seal is used is regarding Daniel 12:4:
"But you Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."
The words shut up in Daniel 12:4 is the same word used in Daniel 8:26, catham, which means to keep secret while seal in Daniel 12:4 does not mean keep secret but is the Hebrew word chatham which means to seal, as sealing a scroll. So God is saying to Daniel that people can read the book of Daniel and his visions of chapters 7 and 8 but not be able to understand them, or other parts of the book, until the end-times before Jesus Christ returns (see also Daniel 10:14). Then, in Daniel 12:9 it says, "And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." So there has been no way that the Church and its leaders could rightly understand Daniel's visions over the centuries until now and the development of Islam in the Middle East. Therefore, God has used the Church over the centuries as one of His tools to keep Daniels visions secret by propagating a Roman Empire and Antichrist. Today, the true meaning of the book of Daniel is being revealed of which I will deal with in more detail in our next lessons. Also, Rome never conquered Babylon, Persia or the Greek Empire, much less "crushed them" as required in Daniel 2:40.