Main article: Key Players and Terms in Prophecy
The revival of the Old Roman Empire is a common theme in prophecy. It is described clearly twice in Daniel and twice in Revelation:
- Daniel 2 (the “feet of iron mixed with clay”)
- Daniel 7 (the “fourth beast” with “terrible iron teeth”)
- Revelation 13 (the “beast rising out of the sea” whose “seventh head” was wounded then healed).
- Revelation 17 (the beast that is “about to come out of the abyss”)
Basic Description. The revived Roman Empire will have the same form of government as the empire when John was writing (Rev. 17:10), namely, an imperial form. The seat of the empire will be a city of “seven mountains” (Rev. 17:9), beyond doubt identifying it with the city of Rome. It will be composed of 10 kingdoms or nations represented by 10 horns (Rev. 17:12).
Its leadership. A leader will emerge at the middle of Daniel’s 70th week (the “little horn”, Dan. 7:8) who will conquer three of the ten kingdoms. Then, the remaining kings will voluntarily “give their power and authority to the beast” (Rev. 17:13). It will rise “out of the abyss”, indicating that the transfer of power at the middle of the week is the direct activity of Satanic power. The confederacy of ten nations is called “the Beast” and also the leader is called “the Beast”. We can differentiate them by referring to one as the “Political Beast” and the other as the “Personal Beast”. Even before the Personal Beast takes control at the middle of the prophetic week, the empire will have some kind of political leader, called “the prince that shall come” in Daniel 9:27. He is also the “seventh king” (Rev. 17:10) who only continues for “a little while”, and then is killed or deposed at the middle of the week.
Political and Religious Aspects. At all times in its short existence, the empire will have religious and political aspects. In the first three and a half years, the “coming prince” will lead Rome from a political standpoint, but the False Church will lead it from a religious standpoint. This is pictured by the Great Harlot riding the Beast (Rev. 17).
Changes at the middle of the week. At the middle of the week, the woman (False Church) is cast off and destroyed by the ten nations. At the same time, the “seventh king”, the political head (coming prince), will be removed (Rev. 17:10), and the government will be damaged greatly, pictured by the “seventh head” receiving a “deadly wound”. However, the deadly wound will be almost instantly healed when the “eighth king” (Personal Beast) comes to power through the efforts of “the Dragon” (Satan). The Personal Beast will fill the political void. The religious void will be filled by “the False Prophet” (or, Antichrist) who will institute a new form of religion within the empire; involving an image or idol, and a mark (see Rev. 13), and worship directed to the Personal Beast (Dan. 11:36-39).
|Political Aspect||Religious Aspect|
|First 3 1/2 Years||The “Coming Prince” leads the confederated ten nations||The “Great Harlot” leads the empire in an idolatrous, materialistic, twisted version of Christianity apart from Christ.|
|Middle of Week||“Seventh king” removed, the “eighth king” takes over||The False Church destroyed by the ten horns, and Antichrist takes over.|
|Last 3 1/2 Years||Personal Beast reigns over empire as sole dictator.||The False Prophet enforces the idolatrous worship of the Personal Beast (the image, the mark, etc.)|
|End of the Week||Personal Beast cast into the Lake of Fire||False Prophet cast into the lake of fire|
The Last 3 1/2 years. The empire will launch a campaign to persecute those who do not worship the Personal Beast, and many of the faithful will be slain. God will pour out His judgments on the Beast’s empire, the first six seals in the first 3 1/2 years, then the seventh seal, the seven trumpets, and seven bowls in the last 3 1/2 years.
The fall of the Beast. At the end of the prophetic week, the eastern border of the empire (Israel) will be invaded by the King of the North and his Arab Confederacy who sweep down through the land into Egypt (Dan. 11:40). The empire will suffer a tremendous blow from this attack. The Beast will mount a counter attack, and sail across the Mediterranean with his navy (Num. 24:24) to interfere in an ancient struggle between the kings of the North and South (Dan. 11). Instead of meeting the King of the North, the Beast and his armies will be met by the King of kings and Lord of lords coming out of heaven with His armies (Rev. 19:11-21). At the battleground of Megiddo, the armies of Europe will be destroyed, and the Beast and False Prophet cast alive into the lake of fire. At the same time the angels will go forth over the empire and “reap” those who have refused the gospel of the kingdom. This is called the Harvest Judgment. The destruction of the Beast will be accomplished by Christ personally, like the great Stone of Daniel 2 which struck Nebuchadnezzar’s image on the feet. So ends the Revived Roman Empire.