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The Nationality of the Antichrist

The Nationality of the Antichrist "Daniel 9:26 refers to [the antichrist] as the ruler of the people that will come, meaning that he will be of the royal lineage of the race that destroyed Jerusalem. Historically this was the Roman Empire; therefore he will be predominantly Roman."

("Revelation Unveiled" - By Tim LaHaye)

The antichrist will indeed arise out of the historic Roman Empire. It is possible that the antichrist may even have Roman blood. However, his nationality will probably not be European. Lahaye, and most other Bible scholars are quick to suggest that the antichrist will come out of Europe, based on this one passage in Daniel 9:26. Further study reveals this is not likely the case.

The historic Roman Empire became divided because it became too large to govern effectively:

Divided Roman Empire

The statue in Daniel depicts the divided empire with the two legs of iron (Daniel 2:33). Therefore, the "ruler" will come from a "people" from the Middle East nations (the east leg), or the European nations (the west leg). The western leg eventually fell, but the eastern leg continued as the Byzantine Empire for almost 1000 more years, with the kingdom centered in Turkey.

The Ottomans conquered the Byzantine Empire near the turn of the 14th century, and ruled until the 1920's. It is interesting to note, that Satan had his throne in the eastern leg, in Turkey (Revelation 2:13). The original seven churches in Revelation were also in Turkey (Revelation 1:11).

To complicate matters, the Roman army typically did not consist of Roman soldiers, but of people from the various regions, led by Roman Generals, called "legions" (source). This was necessary, because with the massive size of the empire, there were not enough Roman born soldiers to go around. In other words, the people who destroyed the temple were under the leadership of the Roman General Titus, but they were probably from the area near Israel. Therefore, based on Daniel 9:26 it is likely that the antichrist will come from the Middle East.

Revelation 13:2 depicts the beast as having parts of the previous beasts, who are the four kingdom or horns who had exiled the Jewish people from the southern kingdom of Judah (Zechariah 1:18-21). So it would make sense that the origin of the antichrist has something to do with all these kingdoms; much like Christ was born in Bethlehem, came out of Egypt and lived in Nazareth, being called a Nazarene. Interestingly, the modern-day nations that were once a part of all four kingdoms in Daniel 7:3-7 (lion=Babylon, bear=Medo-Persian, leopoard=Grecia, beast=Roman) are Israel, parts of Turkey, Armenia, parts of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. The latter four border Israel:

Empires in the Holy Lands
Maps by Wayne Blank @ "www.keyway.ca"

The Bible also refers to the antichrist as the "Assyrian" (Isaiah 10, 14 & Micah 5) and the "king of the north" (Daniel 11:40-45). Assyria was a kingdom centered in Mesopotamia, or Babylonia, which was north of Israel. The Assyrian empire ruled before the Babylonian empire and exiled the northern kingdom of Israel:

Assyrian Empire
Map Source: Wikipedia

This is purely speculation, but perhaps the antichrist's dominion will initially cover most of the ancient area of Assyria and be called "New Assyria," with "New Babylon" as its capital. This kingdom would likely emerge after the "Great Middle East" and "Gog and Magog" wars. (Click here for more on this scenario).

Let's not forget that the strongest foreshadow of the antichrist was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who was king of Assyria from 175-164BC. Antiochus defiled the Jewish temple in an "abomination of desolation," which Scripture shows will take place again during the middle of the 70th Week in Daniel 9:27, by the antichrist, who is also called the king of Assyria (Isaiah 10, 14 & Micah 5). It is also interesting to note, that the Assyrian Empire included most of modern-day Iraq. The Bible also indicates that the antichrist will rule from Babylon (Isaiah 14), where it will be the capital of the world during the Tribulation (Revelation 18).

Lahaye also suggests in his book that the antichrist could be of Jewish descent. In light of the prophecy from Jacob in Genesis 49:17, which says the tribe of Dan will be like a serpent in the last days, we should not rule it out. However, it is probable that the false prophet of the beast could fulfill this prophecy about Dan instead. This is because the false prophet will arise out of the land, a type of Israel (Revelation 13:11), and the antichrist will arise out of the sea, a type for the Gentile nations (Revelation 13:1).

To me, it makes sense that the antichrist will be of the bloodline of Abraham, but come from the line of Ishmael, a Gentile. God did not bless Ishmael, but cursed him to be a wild donkey of a man. As we know today, Ishmael's descendants are still cursed and being led by Satan against God's chosen people.

Before Babylon and Assyria, Egypt was the first nation to hold the people of Israel in exile and bondage. Pharaoh was a strong foreshadow of the antichrist, much like the kings of Babylon and Assyria were. Ishmael's mother Hagar was Egyptian. So, if the antichrist is from the line of Ishmael, he also has ties to Egypt. The Egyptian kingdom, like the other Gentile kingdoms, included Lebanon, Syria, and parts of Turkey and Jordan, but not as far as Armenia:

Egyptian Empire
Map Source: Wikipedia

If the antichrist is from a country included in all seven Gentile nations who exiled people of Israel, this would literally fulfill Revelation 13:1, where the beast will come from all seven heads or kingdoms:

    1. Egypt
    2. Assyria
    3. Babylon
    4. Medo-Persia
    5. Greece
    6. Roman Empire
    7. Revived Roman Empire

And then there was Esau. Why did God say that He hated Esau? I believe it was because he married two Canaanite women and a daughter of Ishmael (Genesis 28). Interestingly, Noah cursed Canaan back in Genesis 9:25 for the sin of his father Ham. Ham, Canaan, Ishmael, and Esau are then all tied together in disobedience to God, and have all been cursed. Satan has used their offspring, the Arab Muslims, as enemies and a continual stumbling block to God's chosen people, under the umbrella of Islam.

It is no wonder that the headlines and wars today center on the continual conflict between the Jews and the Muslims, with this spiritual battle going on. Muslim eschatology even has their own messiah, the Mahdi, with the return of Jesus as a prophet, which is strikingly similar to the antichrist and false prophet in the Bible. Is Satan trying to force the hand of God, or has he figured out from Scripture where the antichrist will originate from?

The Bible teaches that the antichrist will come as a peacemaker (Daniel 11:21-24, Revelation 6:1-2, Isaiah 28:15). Does it even seem plausible that a leader from the European Union would be able to make peace, with the difference in ideologies so strong in the region? I think it makes more sense that the antichrist will have a Muslim background.

In my mind, a Muslim would be more successful in being able to bring the people in the Middle East together for peace. However, I don't think that the antichrist will be a radical or fundamental Muslim, as God targets these groups in the "Gog and Magog War" in Ezekiel, which will likely take place near the beginning, or before the Tribulation begins.

God will judge Islam in the "Great Middle East" and "Gog and Magog" wars. Islam, fundamentally speaking, will cease-to-exist after the "Great Middle East War", as God says he will "reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth" in that war (Zephaniah 2:11). The Muslims that are left after these wars will likely be absorbed into the "Mystery Babylon" religion, if they do not come to accept Jesus as Savior.

Another point to keep in mind is that while one is born a Muslim, they might be lukewarm in their beliefs, much like a Christian of the Laodicean church (Revelation 3:14-22). In fact, the antichrist will not hold to the god of his father (Allah?), or any gods (Daniel 11:37-38), but that doesn't mean he won't hold on to Muslim traditions, or encourage his Muslim brethren to join the "Mystery Babylon" religion, to gain power through his push for peace.

Prophecy teachers have also traditionally held that the European Union will fulfill the prophecy in Revelation 17:9-11, which predicts the re-birth of the Roman Empire. This may come from the widely held belief that the antichrist will be European. I have no doubt that the European Union is a prototype of the revived Roman Empire, but I do not believe it fulfills this prophecy. That said, the emerging Mediterranean Union is a better fit for a revived Roman Empire. Consider the following maps:

Roman Empire vs. Mediterranean Union
Map Source: Wikipedia

What the Mediterranean Union has that the European Union lacks, is the northern Africa and Middle East countries that were part of the original Roman Empire. Not only is the Mediterranean Union more geographically similar to the Roman Empire, but it could also fulfill the prophecies in Daniel about the mixing of iron and clay (European and Arab seed?) and having 10 "toes," which are ten kingdoms:

Daniel 2:40-43 - And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.

Currently, the Mediterranean Union is more of a forum for strengthening relations between Europe and the Arabs, and not a real economic or political union. Interestingly, the Mediterranean Union framework is a "5+5" forum, a group of 10 leading nations; five from Europe and five from northern Africa (source). Time will tell if this framework becomes the 10 toes of the revived Roman Empire. The only country that is missing from the Mediterranean Union is Babylon. Of course Babylon will be the capital of the antichrist's kingdom. With Babylon included, the Mediterranean Union would truly become a revived Roman Empire, in the geographical sense.

The problem with the Mediterranean Union being one of the ten kingdoms of the revived Roman Empire is that we find two kingdoms - one north of Israel and one south of Israel - when the antichrist begins his conquests (Daniel 11). If the Mediterranean Union was one of the ten kingdoms then it would have one king over Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa, but we find in Scripture two different kings warring against each other, showing that the geographical area of the Mediterranean Union is split among at least two kingdoms when the antichrist begins his conquests.

In addition, we find in Revelation 13:1-2 that the revived Roman Empire includes parts of the earlier empires. Also, the revived Roman Empire is a global empire, not just a stand-alone regional empire, because the antichrist will rule over the whole world:

Revelation 13:7 - It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
Daniel 7:23 - "Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces.'"

In fact, a global policy organization called the Club of Rome supposedly constructed a plan to divide the world into ten regions as far back as 1973. (Click here for document). Since then, rumors have spread that the world's elite are working toward the goal of forming these regions in politic-economic unions much like the European Union prototype.

However, the case could be made that the revived Roman Empire may start out as an empire divided into ten kingdoms centered around the Mediterranean Sea and later encompass the other nations into a global empire, in which case the Mediterranean Union could be in view at the beginning of the Tribulation. Ultimately, it does not matter whether the revived Roman Empire is regional or global, as far as the antichrist's nationality is concerned. In any event, the original Roman Empire included more than European nations. Therefore, if the antichrist comes from all seven kingdoms or heads of the beast in Revelation 13:1 he will not come from Europe, but from the Middle East, because that is the only region ruled by all seven kingdoms.

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