And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. (Daniel 7:24)
Kings and Kingdoms
Daniel states that the ten horns are ten kings. To be consistent in our interpretation of Scripture, the ten kings would each have a kingdom. Thus, the Roman empire would be divided into ten kingdoms with a king over each kingdom. Furthermore, according to Daniel 7, an eleventh horn will come out of these ten. That horn speaks great things and makes war against the saints. These are the same characteristics of the first beast mentioned in Revelation 13.
In the book of Revelation, the word “antichrist” is not used. Rather the word “beast” is used. Depending on the context of the passage, the word “beast” can either refer to a kingdom, or its king, which in this case, would be “antichrist”. Revelation 16:10 speaks of the beast and his kingdom. This beast is the antichrist in modern terms. So, the eleventh horn is Antichrist. Again, to be consistent, the eleventh horn would also have a kingdom. Thus, out of the Roman empire will come ten kings and kingdoms, and out of them will come the eleventh king (Antichrist) and his kingdom.
The Roman Empire Divided
Historians don’t agree on the number of kingdoms the Roman empire was divided into, and which nations. Scripture states that the fourth kingdom was divided into ten kingdoms, and so it must have been, despite what historians say. This is consistent with the breakup of the Greek empire. As mentioned earlier, Daniel 8:8 states that the Greek empire was divided into four kingdoms, but historians conclude anywhere from three to five.
The Roman empire did not fall with one event. Many factors contributed to the fall of the Roman empire over a long period of time. Consistent with Daniel’s vision of the statue’s two legs in Daniel 2, at one point the Roman Empire split into two sections – the east whose capital was Constantinople, and the West whose capital was Rome. The western empire ended in 476 AD when the Germanic mercenary Odoacer seized power. The eastern empire ended on May 29, 1453, when Mohammed II and his Ottoman armies destroyed Constantinople. When the eastern empire was defeated, it was not divided, but taken over by the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman Empire fell in the early 20th century.
John Gill offers three views of how the western Roman empire was divided into ten kingdoms as shown in this diagram. While there are differences in the ten divisions, all three agree upon the peoples who are in the countries of Great Britain (Saxons and Britons), Spain (Suevians, Vandals, and Alans), and France (Visigoths). These three countries have had a significant influence on world affairs throughout the centuries.
The Beast Continues to Devour the Whole Earth, Tread it Down, and Break it in Pieces (Daniel 7:23)
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, imperialism is defined as “a policy or practice by which a country increases its power by gaining control over other areas of the world”. Similarly, colonialism is defined as “control by one country over another area and its people”. Certainly, these objectives can be accomplished at least through military, political, and economic power. This is one of the general characteristics of the fourth beast that Daniel mentions in Daniel 7:23. It will continue this trend and intensify until Antichrist potentially rules over the entire world. The countries that came out of the Roman empire, especially Spain, France, England have a history of colonization and imperialism.
The French Colonial Empire started in the 1500s and lasted until around 1960.
The Spanish Empire spanned the 1500s through the 1800s. At its peak in the 1700s, it became the largest empire in the world.
The British Empire also began in the 1500s and reached it peak in the early 20th century. It has the distinction of being the largest empire in history which is why it is stated that “the sun never set on the English empire”.
Based on maps, it is interesting to note that at one time or another, almost all the countries of the world have come under the control of France, Spain, and England. Mostly only Russia, China, and Brazil have not.