What is the Seventh And the eighth Empire?
Beyond the identification of the nations of Ezekiel 38, the Book of Revelation also confirms the notion that, indeed, the region of Turkey will head the future Antichrist’s empire. Let’s examine these passages: “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 has 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’s empire. But the seven heads stand for seven empires that have existed throughout history. All have foreshadowed the final empire to come. As usual, whenever the Bible gives a prophecy that my be difficult in its symbolism, the Bible clarifies the symbolism and explains the passage for us:
9And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
10And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
11And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. – (Revelation 17:9-11)
Now the seven heads are called seven mountains. The Bible often uses mountains as a symbol representing a kingdom of 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 empire of the Antichrist? First, we see that at the time that John wrote this passage, 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 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 John wrote the Book of Revelation, Rome “was”. It ruled the Middle East, North 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 one we need to identify, because according to the verse above, the eighth empire 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 waiting for the final eighth empire, then what was the seventh? What empire followed Rome?
The most common belief, however, held most universally by Bible teachers, is that the Antichrist’s empire will be a revived Roman Empire. There are, however, some glaring problems with this theory: First, 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 eighth empires? Neither Scripture nor history nor common sense supports this notion.
Second, 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 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 concept foreign to the Bible. Unless the empire rules over or directly affects Jerusalem, it is actually a bit irrelevant to the biblical mindset.
Third, 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 succession. If we look at each empire, we see that they all fulfill these characteristics: they ruled over Jerusalem and they defeated and 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 succeeded 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 and what exactly happen?
In AD 395, the Roman Empire was divided into two portions; the eastern and the western portions. The eastern portion became known as the Byzantine Empire. In AD 410 the western capitol 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 in AD 1453 to the Turks. The Turkish Ottoman Empire succeeded the Roman Empire and ruled over the entire Middle East, including Jerusalem, for nearly five hundred years. 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.