There are two major arguments used by those teaching that the Antichrist will be from Europe.
The first argument uses a wrong interpretation of Daniel 2:39-40. The interpretation is based on imaginary world history that only occurred in the minds of Roman historians who in fact, exaggerated, i.e. told a lie. Therefore this first argument is very flawed.
The second argument points to the European Union (EU) as fulfillment that the Roman Antichrist is coming. They point to it as proof when it is only mere coincidence. Yes, the Antichrist is to come up among ten nations that come out of an old empire. And yes the EU certainly has ten nations. But if you know real and documented history you would know that the popular “proof” is meaningless because Daniel 2:40 is misunderstood. Rome cannot be the iron leg empire – history shows us it is impossible. Well, with the Brexit we may have our first true crack in the supposed monolith known as “proof.”
The First Argument – A Bad Interpretation of Daniel 2:40
Hal Lindsey wrote an argument in his book The Late Great Planet Earth about Daniel 2:39-40 supposedly proving a Roman Antichrist. On page 90 of the 1970 printing of his book, he started with those two verses from the Amplified Bible:
“And after you shall arise another kingdom [the Medo-Persian], inferior to you, and still a third kingdom of bronze [Greece under Alexander the Great] which shall bear rule over all the earth. 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.”
What made quoting the Amplified so convenient is that the translators themselves put the names of empires which they thought were the right ones, in brackets as part of the text of the Bible. I didn’t add those brackets – the translators did.
Mr. Lindsey then wrote further on page 90,
“These kingdoms would conquer everything that was worth conquering on the known earth of that time.”
Of course this is the long-taught fable. Mr. Lindsey is not reporting the truth of history here, but merely repeating the myth repeated over centuries. Please see Appendix A to my book here – it shows how Daniel 2:40 became so badly misunderstood. It shows that for eighteen centuries Daniel 2:40 was misinterpreted because it was assumed Rome conquered all the other empires. To crush the other empires, like iron crushed the other metals, the iron empire must at least conquer all the other empires. Well, Rome never conquered Persia. Ever. And it was a lie told by historians (see this post) that is now a myth – fairy tale. And that is the first big flaw in the Roman Antichrist argument.
This is all written about in chapter 1 and Appendix A of Daniel Revisited. Richardson wrote about it also in his book Mideast Beast.
As far as this author is concerned, this first argument for Roman Antichrist theory using Daniel 2:40 is dead. Show me that Rome conquered Persia and I’ll reconsider. The problem is, you truly cannot.
The Second Argument – The “Fulfillment” by the European Union
That leaves the second argument. Believing in the popular, but false, interpretation of Daniel 2:40, many point to the European Union as proof that the Roman Antichrist is coming.
One prophecy teacher, Dr. Reagan, in arguing against the Muslim Antichrist theory proposed by Joel Richardson as false, wrote on his website an argument for the Roman Antichrist theory. Speaking against Richardson, and speaking of the “fulfillment” by the European Union, Dr. Reagan wrote:
“How, for example, does he [Richardson] explain the miraculous resurrection of the Roman Empire in the form of the European Union? It’s a development that prophecy experts have been telling us to watch for, and those alerts go back several hundred years. Is the revival of the Roman Empire just an accident of history? I think not. I believe that, just as the Bible prophesies, it is going to serve as the platform for the ascension of the Antichrist.”
Do you see the flaws in Dr. Reagan’s argument? First he writes, “the miraculous resurrection of the Roman Empire in the form of the European Union.” He assumes the European Union is in fact the revived Roman Empire because of his own incorrect interpretation of Daniel 2:40. Second, he says prophecy teachers have been saying to watch this development for “several hundred years.” Again see Appendix A. Yes, it has been several hundred years. And they’ve been wrong over those centuries. Third, he states that, “just as the Bible prophesies, it is going to serve as the platform for the ascension of the Antichrist.” Really? The Bible says that exactly? I believe he is again using Daniel 2:40’s bad interpretation to derive his position.
Back to Mr. Lindsey, he continues in his book on pp. 94-96, talking about why the EU is the likely setting up of the fulfillment of the coming Roman Antichrist. He begins by writing,
“We believe that the Common Market and the trend toward unification of Europe may well be the beginning of the ten-nation confederacy predicted by Daniel and the Book of Revelation.” (p. 94)
Mr. Lindsey goes on to show on pp. 95-96 several reasons why he believes this. The reasons include (1) Europe must go up against the industrial might of the USA (which declined starting right after 1970 when the book was written), (2) Europe must resist Communism (which went away twenty years later), and (3) a former president of the European Community said he believed the European Union will grow to ten members. Mr. Lindsey of course highlights this. (At the time, the union had only six members.)
In addition on page 93, Mr. Lindsey wrote that the ten nations will come “out of the cultural inheritance of the Ancient Roman Empire.”
I imagine that for nations to qualify as the ten they must have (1) Latin in their language, (2) Roman law mixed in with their own code of laws, and (3) territory that lied within the Roman Empire. These could easily be assumed to be Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and the UK to start. On the fringe might be Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany. And these nations are all in the EU (or, were, in the UK’s case).
The History of the European Union
European nations began to unite in order to lower trade barriers starting in 1957. The European Economic Community (EEC) was founded consisted of France, Germany, Italy, and the three “Benelux” countries – Netherlands, Belgium and tiny Luxembourg. Six nations.
To put Lindsey’s writing into historical perspective, in 1970, Mr. Lindsey published The Late Great Planet Earth talking about this union as growing into the base for the Antichrist, all while basing this idea on the wrong interpretation of Daniel 2:40.
In 1973, the possible fulfillment looked like it was picking up steam: the UK, Ireland, and Denmark joined. Ireland and Denmark, though not ever part of the Roman Empire could be said to have had some influence from Rome. After all, Ireland was Roman Catholic. Now there were nine. At this point the EEC was being called the “Common Market.”
In 1981 Greece joined and now there were ten. At this point the fulfillment looked like it was happening. Imagine, ten nations!
But starting in 1986 with Spain and Portugal, membership peaked at 28 nations by 2013.
True, it wasn’t “10” it was “28”, but the ten could still probably reveal themselves in time. After all, the European Union looked like a really good fulfillment for a false interpretation of Daniel 2:40. So the European Union is no true fulfillment, but only an entity that arose coincidental to the popularity of the wrong meaning of Daniel 2:40.
Brexit: “Fulfillment” Shows The First Crack
This author has encountered so many that are so gung-ho on the Roman Antichrist theory they simply will not listen to an explanation of Daniel 2:40. If you are one of them I implore you to read Appendix A.
Many in the end time prophecy community will not bother to understand the simple flaws of their interpretation of Daniel 2:40 which really is the cornerstone for their whole theory. Maybe, then, they will listen and pay attention when they watch their supposed fulfillment start cracking and falling apart.
The United Kingdom was very much affected by the Roman Empire. The Romans were there for four centuries. English is riddled with Latin roots. English and American law started with Roman law. And, as Mr. Lindsey pointed out the revived Roman Empire’s influence must be worldwide; the UK and USA have had worldwide influence. The UK controlled an empire on which the sun, it was said, never set. English is now the worldwide language. The UK, therefore, is central in qualifying as part of the revived Roman Empire.
And now that influential country, the UK, has exited from the European Union. Of all (what was) 28 members of the EU, Germany, France and Britain, in that order, were the three nations that economically and fiscally upheld the EU. When the PIGS nations got into fiscal trouble it was those three nations that did most of the lending. And now one of the lenders is leaving. How will the French and Germans react? Do they like lending to the Greeks and Spaniards, and now without the Brits’ help?
There are only two paths forward for the EU. These two paths exist because of the nature of the EU. Because the EU only has a united monetary policy (the Euro and the central bank) but not a united fiscal policy (for example, Germany is responsible with its spending while Greece is not), the EU’s hand will be forced in the not-too-distant future. This excellent video, The European Debt Crisis Visualized, explains the situation (it is 12 minutes long – it says 19 minutes but it ends and restarts at 12 minutes for some reason). It will show you why these two paths exist and why they are really the only paths.
Because fiscal policies vary so much between members, the fear is that members will go broke borrowing from more responsible members. And if a member goes broke, the effects could ripple across the world economically. European governments will not allow that to happen. Therefore, the two paths to prevent a meltdown are: (1) EU breakup, and (2) a greater united authoritarian state, defining and enforcing a united and responsible fiscal policy. The UK left because its citizens felt that the EU regulations were becoming onerous. How might other nations’ citizens feel if additional fiscal policy was forced on the member nations? How might the Greeks react if they were told to work ten more years?
What the Brexit Signifies
Britain’s exit highlights the problem with the EU: it is not sustainable. Either the EU will break up to prevent a fiscal meltdown, of the EU must become more central and authoritarian to avoid the same. The EU is not the base of the coming Roman Antichrist. The EU is a compromise between sharing a currency among nations and members taking advantage of not needing fiscal responsibility. The EU has only been a coincidence giving supposed proof to a false interpretation of Scripture.
My guess is the members will choose for the EU to break apart. The Brexit has highlighted the reasons why the EU is not sustainable. More than that, the citizens of Britain have confirmed those reasons with their votes.
Therefore, this past week when we witnessed the Brexit, we also witnessed the first visible crack in the “proof” of fulfillment used by those supporting the Roman Antichrist theory.
In 1973 the visible “proof” that held a whole end time prophecy community captive, began. Questioning the interpretation of Daniel 2:40 could likely never enter anyone’s mind as long as “proof” was out and about. And now, after 43 years, that “proof” might finally start cracking, allowing people to go back to Scripture and real and documented history, and search for the truth.