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What Is The Seventh And The Eight Empire?
Beyond the above identification of the nations of Ezekiel 38, the Book of Revelation also confirms the notion that indeed the region of Turkey will be the head of the future Antichrist Empire. Let’s examine these passages from the Book of Revelation:
There I saw… a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. Revelation 17:3
Here we see the final “Beast” empire of the Antichrist. The Beast is seen to have seven heads and ten horns. We already know from the Book of Daniel that the ten horns represent the ten nations or kings that will comprise the Antichrist Empire. But the seven heads are seven empires that have existed throughout history that all have been foreshadows of the final empire that is to come. As usual, whenever a prophecy is given in the Bible that may be difficult in its symbolism, the Bible clarifies the symbolism and explains the passage for us:
This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. Revelation 17:9-11
Now the seven heads are called seven mountains. The Bible often uses mountains as a symbol representing a kingdom or an empire. But most importantly this passage gives us insight into the fact that before Jesus returns, there will actually have been a total of eight “Beast” empires. The eighth empire will be ruled by the Antichrist. How can this passage help us gain insight into the identification of the final Antichrist Empire? First, we see that at the time that it was written to John, five of the empires had already fallen. This is seen in the phrase, “five have been.” These empires are generally accepted by Bible teachers as being the following:
The Egyptian Empire
The Assyrian Empire
The Babylonian Empire
The Persian Empire
The Greek Empire
After these five, the angel tells John that one empire “is.” At the time that John wrote the Book of Revelation, Rome “was.” It ruled the Middle East, Northern Africa and much of Europe. Thus the sixth empire was the Roman Empire. The next empire, of course, is the seventh, and then the eighth will be the empire of the Antichrist. So the seventh empire is the empire that we need to identify. Because according to the verse above, it is the eighth empire that will be a resurrection or a revived version of the seventh empire:
“The beast who once was, and is not, is an eighth king.”
Let me just paraphrase this portion for clarity:
“The seventh beast (empire) that existed, but then did not exist, will come back as an eighth empire.”
So if we are now waiting for the final eighth empire, then what was the seventh? What empire followed Rome?
Because of the harsh anti-Semitic nature of the German third Reich, some Bible teachers have speculated that Germany was the seventh empire and thus Germany will come back as the eighth. 11
The most common belief however, held almost universally by Bible teachers, is that the Antichrist Empire will be a revived Roman Empire. There are however some glaring problems with this theory: Firstly, Rome was the sixth empire. If Rome was the sixth, and will also be the last, then what happened to the seventh? This theory has a gaping hole. Is Rome the sixth, seventh and the eighth empires? Neither Scripture nor history nor common sense supports this. Secondly, every one of the previous six empires ruled the Middle East, including Jerusalem. This is very important. We must always remember that the Bible is thoroughly Jerusalem centric. It is not America centric, nor is it Western centric. In the biblical view of things, Jerusalem is the center of the earth. This point cannot be underscored enough. Any theory that revolves around a revived Roman Empire based in Europe - for instance on the European Common Market - is a foreign concept to the Bible. Unless the empire rules over or directly affects Jerusalem, it is actually a bit irrelevant to biblical mind-set.
And the third crucial point is that if we look at the first six empires, each succeeding empire either destroyed or absorbed the empire that preceded it. There is a very natural sucession. If we look at each empire, we see that they all fulfill these two characteristics: they ruled over Jerusalem and they defeated or absorbed their predecessor. The Egyptian Empire ruled all of Egypt and Israel as well. But the Assyrian Empire defeated the Egyptian Empire and likewise ruled over a vast portion of the Middle East, including Israel. After this, the Babylonian Empire defeated the Assyrian Empire and became even larger than its predecessor, again, ruling over Israel. Such is the pattern with each successive empire: The Medo/Persian Empire succeeded the Babylonian Empire only to be succeeded by the Greek Empire. The Greek Empire was in turn suceeded by the Roman Empire. Which leads us to the seventh empire. Who overcame the Roman Empire? In order to answer this question, we need to briefly review the fall of the Roman Empire. What exactly happened?
In 395 A.D., The Roman Empire was divided into two portions; the eastern and the western portions. The Eastern portion became known as the Byzantine Empire. In 410 A.D. the western capital city of Rome fell to invading Germanic tribes known as the Visigoths or Barbarians. The western/European half of the Empire including its capital had fallen but the Roman Empire nevertheless continued. How so? It simply shifted its capital and its throne from Rome to Constantinople – a thousand miles east. The western European portion of the Roman Empire fell but the Eastern Byzantine portion of the Roman Empire lived on for nearly another thousand years with Constantinople as its capital. The Roman Empire didn’t actually completely fall until the eastern portion of the Empire finally fell to the Turks in 1453 A.D. Likewise it was the Islamic Caliphate of Umar Ibn al-Khattab that took Jerusalem in 637. Thus we see that it was the various manifestations of Islamic Empire culminating with the Ottoman Empire that suceeded the Roman Empire and ruled over the entire Middle East, beginning with Jerusalem for over thirteen hundred years. 12 The Turkish Empire existed right up until 1909.
Thus we see that the only empire that fulfills the patterns necessary to be considered the seventh empire is the Turkish/Ottoman Empire. This of course corresponds perfectly with Ezekiel’s list of nations with such a heavy emphasis on Turkey.