ABSTRACT: The Book of Daniel itself claims to have been written in the 6th century B.C. but critical scholars believe that it was written in the second century B.C. This article shows that the Fall of Rome proves Daniel to be true prophecy, for Daniel correctly predicted HOW the Roman Empire would break apart in many kingdoms in the fifth century A.D.
The Book of Daniel claims to have been written in the 6th century before Christ as a prediction of future events. Critical scholars, however, do not believe that Daniel is true prophecy. They argue that Daniel describes past history in the form of prophecy. However, that would mean that Daniel is a fraud. The purpose of the current article is to support the view that Daniel is true prophecy by showing that it correctly predicted HOW the Western Roman Empire would fall in the fifth century after Christ.
THE FALL OF ROME PREDICTED
Consider HOW Daniel predicted the Fall of Rome would occur:
The vision of Daniel 2 presents the Roman Empire as the iron legs of an image of a man, followed by “feet partly of iron and partly of clay.” The feet “will be a divided kingdom.”
Daniel 7 depicts the Roman Empire as a fourth beast that will be “dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong.” “It devoured and crushed and trampled down.” Eleven horns grow out of it. These are eleven “kingdoms” are equivalent to the “divided kingdom” in Daniel 2.
These prophecies predict that:
- The Roman Empire will be very cruel;
- It will be subdivided into many kingdoms; and
- These kingdoms would be a continuation of the Roman Empire.
The purpose of the current article is to show that historians confirm these three facts.
FOUNDING PRINCIPLES OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
The vast Roman Empire was a unity of many different nations; enforced by violence. The emperors and Roman aristocrats became very wealthy by looting other nations.
DECLINE AND FALL OF ROME
It is possible to identify major milestones or events in the decline of the Roman Empire, but it is more important to identify the underlying trends.
The first major trend was the immigration of Germanic tribes into the Empire throughout the 4th and 5th centuries. The immigrants did not intend to destroy the Roman Empire or to replace it with something new, but to become part of it and to enjoy the benefits offered to citizens of the Roman Empire. They sought permission to settle in Roman territory, and Imperial Authorities also granted such permission. However, severe conditions were set for them which made them second-class citizens.
The second major trend was that many ‘barbarians’ were recruited into the Imperial Forces. To make things worse, the ‘barbarians’ eventually controlled the Roman military machinery. Some of them became top generals. Since the real power of the Empire always was its army, the top general in the Roman Army often became the emperor. For ‘barbarians’ to become top generals, therefore, meant that ‘barbarians’ effectively became the real rulers of the Western Empire, even though they were not allowed to become emperors. The consequence was that the emperors in the West Roman Empire in the 5th century became mere figureheads.
‘CATASTROPHIC’ FIFTH-CENTURY EVENTS
‘Barbarians’ sacked Rome in 410 and again in 455. They deposed of the last Western Emperor in 476. These major events did NOT CAUSE the Empire to fall or decline. These events should rather be seen as indications of how weak the Empire has become by then. These ‘catastrophes’ subdivided the Empire into separate political entities. But, what really happened?
Firstly, it was not foreign armies that sacked Rome in 410 and 455, or that deposed the last Roman Emperor in 476: It was the Gothic component of the Roman Army that revolted.
Secondly, it was the severe conditions under which the ‘barbarians’ were allowed to reside in the Empire that triggered these ‘catastrophes’.
Thirdly, the Goths did not aim to replace the Roman Empire with something new. Their demand was to be treated as equal citizens; as part of the Empire.
Fourthly, the Empire approved the ‘Barbarian’ Rule. After Odoacer conquered Italy in 476, the Eastern Emperor Zeno granted Odoacer the title of patrician, effectively recognizing his rule as King of Italy in the name of the Eastern Empire. A few years later, Zeno appointed the Ostrogoth Theodoric the Great to be king of Italy.
The Western Roman Empire, therefore, did not come to an end in 476, when Odoacer deposed the last emperor. Deposing the emperor was simply a formality that aligned outward form to existing reality, for the ‘barbarians’ were already in control of the Western Empire since soon after the beginning of the fifth century. Roman power, practices, economy, and culture continued after Odoacer deposed the emperor. Even the Roman Church, whose bishops were appointed by and accountable to the emperor, was allowed to continue to function.
CONTINUATION OF WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE
After the ‘barbarians’ assumed control of the Western Roman Empire, there always remained a desire and pressure to reunite the empire:
In the fifth century, after the Western Roman Empire was divided into many fairly independent ‘nations’, the Roman Church played a cohesive role between the ‘barbarian’ nations and the Empire.
In the sixth century, to strengthen the Church in Rome, and to strengthen Roman control of the Western Empire through to church, Justinian I neutralized some of the Arian ‘barbarian’ nations. This resulted in the Byzantine Papacy; about two centuries during which the Eastern Roman Empire controlled the nations in the West through the church.
The Kingdom of the Franks (481–843), which at its greatest expanse covered much of the previous Western Roman Empire, actually was a continuation of the Roman Empire.
The civilization of Medieval Europe emerged from a SYNTHESIS between the Graeco-Roman world and the Germanic civilizations penetrating the Roman Empire.
In summary, over centuries, ‘barbarians’ migrated into the Empire and were absorbed into the Empire. Many of them were recruited into the Imperial Forces until they controlled the military machinery. From that point forward, the ‘barbarians’ were the real rulers of the Western Empire, but they were still treated as second-class citizens. In the fifth century, they rebelled against their Roman overlords and took by force what the Empire was not willing to award them voluntarily, namely permanent residency and equal rights.
The Western Roman Empire did not fall in the fifth century. The ‘barbarians’ did not replace the Roman Empire with a different political system. They did not drive the Graeco-Roman population or the Roman church out of their territories. Their purpose was to remain part of the Empire. What happened, in reality, was that the ‘barbarian’ immigrants wrestled control of the Empire from the original Graeco-Roman population.
The ‘barbarians’ simply contributed to an ongoing process of transforming Roman institutions. It was a complex cultural transformation of Rome, rather than the Fall of Rome.
PROVES DANIEL AS TRUE PROPHECY
This confirms Daniel’s prophecies:
Daniel predicted that the Roman Empire will be very cruel: The vast Roman Empire was a unity of many nations, held together by violence; by military force. “It devoured and crushed and trampled down.”
Daniel predicted that Rome will be subdivided into several kingdoms. It is amazing that Daniel could predict, a thousand years before it happened, that the fourth empire would not be conquered and replaced by another mighty empire, but would be subdivided.
Daniel predicted that these kingdoms would be a continuation of the Roman Empire: The substance of the Roman Empire continued in the kingdoms that arose from it; particularly in the form of The Evil Eleventh Horn.
– END OF SUMMARY –
IS DANIEL A FRAUD?
The Book of Daniel itself claims that it was written in the 6th century before Christ (e.g. Dan 2:4). It presents itself as a prediction of future events. For example, the book explicitly refers to “the kingdom of Greece” (Dan 9:20-21; cf. 11:2), which only became a ‘world empire’ in the fourth century BC (see Alexander the Great).
However, many, perhaps even most, theologians do not believe that God knows the future. Many accept that God knows everything, but argue that the future does not yet exist, and is therefore not knowable. The point is, if true prophecy does not exist, then Daniel is a fraud, for then it was written after the events it pretends to predict.
The article Daniel is not a Fraud presents much evidence from within Daniel (internal evidence) and from outside Daniel that argues against the view that Daniel is a fraud.
Correctly predicts the Fall of Rome
In the fifth century, the vast territory of the Western Roman Empire was divided into several independent ‘nations’, each controlled by a different ‘barbarian’ group, such as the Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, Burgundians, Alans and the Sueves, Lombard or Huns.
The purpose of the current article is to provide further evidence of the reliability of the Book of Daniel by showing that it correctly predicts HOW the Roman Empire will fall in the fifth century after Christ. Copies of the book of Daniel are available that have been dated undeniably to the second century BC. If Daniel correctly predicts events in the fifth century AD, then it is a true prophecy, and God does know the future.
DANIEL 2 – DIVIDED KINGDOM
The vision of Daniel 2:30-35 depicts the history of mankind using an image of a man, consisting of various metals:
Daniel explained the head of gold as the Babylonian empire (v38). The phrase “another kingdom” in verse 39 indicates that the head of gold does not refer to King Nebuchadnezzar himself, but to his entire empire.
The other parts of the man are identified in the article series on the Prophecies of Daniel as follows:
- The “breast and its arms of silver” represent Medo-Persia.
- Its “belly and its thighs of bronze” represent Greece.
- The “legs of iron” are the Roman Empire.
- The “feet partly of iron and partly of clay” is a historical period after the Roman Empire came to an end.
All these kingdoms are destroyed by the Return of Christ (Dan 2:34, 44-45).
The important point, for the current article, is the difference between what happened after these empires:
The first three empires are replaced by the next empire. For example, “After you there will arise another kingdom” (Dan 2:39-40).
But the fourth empire becomes divided. The iron of the legs continues into the feet, but the feet are a mixture of iron and clay. “It will be a divided kingdom” (Dan 2:41). “It will have in it the toughness of iron” (Dan 2:41). In other words, the nature of the Roman Empire will continue after the demise of that empire. See Daniel 2 for a more detailed discussion.
DANIEL 7 – ELEVEN HORNS
Daniel 7 elaborates on the prophecy of Daniel 2. It presents the same four empires, but now as beasts of prey. We focus on the fourth beast, which is the same as the fourth metal (iron) in Daniel 2. The fourth beast is not identified as any known animal but is described as “dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong” (Dan 7:7). “It had large iron teeth” (v7), which is the same metal as the fourth empire in Daniel 2. “It devoured and crushed and trampled down” (v7), which describes its cruel nature.
Eleven horns grow out of that fourth beast. These are eleven “kingdoms” (Dan 7:24) into which the Roman Empire subdivides. (See Daniel’s evil horn.) These eleven horns are equivalent to the “divided kingdom” in Daniel 2.
These prophecies contain at least the following predictions concerning the Roman Empire:
It will be very cruel. It “devoured and crushed and trampled down.”
Second, while the previous ‘world’ empires (Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece) were all replaced by another single large empire, but the Roman Empire will be subdivided into many empires.
Third, since the eleven horns grow out of the fourth beast, they are a continuation of that beast.
HISTORIANS CONFIRM THESE PRINCIPLES
Lately, I have been studying the development of the Trinity doctrine, from the very earliest church fathers, through the fourth, fifth, and later centuries. In the process, I read up on the Fall of Rome, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that historians confirm the three principles above. The purpose of the current article is to reflect on the Fall of Rome, as explained by historians. The goal is for the reader to understand that the Empire did not really fall but simply was transformed and continued to exist even into the Middle Ages.
For that purpose, much of the information in this article is a summary of Wikipedia’s articles about that period, particularly the articles about the Events and the Historiography of the Fall of Rome, but also a summary of many other Wikipedia articles. The Events article has an excellent animated map showing the growth and decline of the Roman Empire. The events described by the Wikipedia articles are summarized on this website by the article on the Decline and Fall of Rome.
FALL OF ROME
The vast Roman Empire was a unity of many different nations. These nations were not held together by culture or religion or economy. It was a unity that was enforced by violence.
Rome became prosperous, not through trade or manufacturing, but by looting other nations. The Roman Empire reached its peak in the 2nd century. There-after, when it no longer expanded, and therefore no longer was able to derive wealth from looting other nations, it started to decline. It slowly declined over many centuries.
It is possible to identify major events in its decline, but it is more important to identify the underlying trends.
The Roman Empire conquered the previous Greek (Macedonian) Empire and established an empire that was much larger than the Greek Empire. Still, there always were areas and peoples outside of the Roman Empire that it was not able or interested to conquer.
The first major trend was the migration of Germanic tribes from outside its borders into the Empire. Historians mention the year 376 and the Crossing of the River Rhine in 406 as decisive events, but throughout the 4th and 5th centuries, in what is known as the Migration Period, large numbers of ‘barbarians’ migrated into Roman territories. It was one of the first signs of weakness, for it means that the Empire became unable to repel invading ‘barbarians’.
What did the immigrants want?
Henri Pirenne published the “Pirenne Thesis” in the 1920s. This thesis remains influential to this day. It holds that the Germanic ‘barbarians’ migrated into the Empire not to destroy it or to replace it with something new, but to take part in its benefits, and thus they tried to preserve the Roman way of life.
They sought permission to settle in Roman territory, and Imperial authorities also granted such permission, on certain severe conditions. As early as 376, Emperor Valens allowed Goths to settle within the borders of the Empire.
Second Class Citizens
‘Barbarians’ were accepted into the Empire, but as second-class citizens; as cheap labor, or even as slaves. Alaric, for example, through his siege of Rome in 408, liberated 40,000 Gothic slaves in Rome. As another example, it was the foederati that revolted and deposed the last emperor in 476. Foederati were ‘barbarians’ whom the Roman Empire allowed to remain in the Empire in exchange for military assistance.
There always remained friction and even hatred between the original Graeco-Roman inhabitants of the Empire and the increasingly dominant ‘barbarian’ peoples. At times, the Graeco-Romans massacred the ‘barbarians’. For example:
In 400, the citizens of Constantinople massacred 7000 armed Goths and as many of their people and their families as they could catch.
In 408, the western Graeco-Roman population massacred tens of thousands of wives and children of Goths serving in the Roman military.
RECRUITED INTO THE ARMED FORCES
The second major trend was that many ‘barbarians’ were recruited into the Imperial Forces. For example, the great Roman General Stilicho urged Roman soldiers to allow their slaves to fight beside them. And, after he defeated the Gothic invaders, he drafted 12,000 prisoners from the defeated invaders into his service.
One may speculate about the reasons for this dangerous practice, for its armed forces were the basis for the Empire’s power. Perhaps the armed forces were insufficiently funded, and only second-class citizens, such as these ‘barbarians’, were willing to work for such low wages. Other historians estimate that the Graeco-Roman population in the Western Empire declined, and became too small for the size of the army required by the Empire. Therefore the Imperial Forces became dependent on the service of Goths.
Goths became Top Generals
A related trend was that the ‘barbarians’ eventually controlled the military machinery. They became generals and even top generals. For example:
Gainas was a Goth but was promoted to magister militum (literally, master of the military) in the Eastern Roman Empire. For a few months in 399, he was in control of Constantinople; the Eastern capital.
Stilicho’s mother was Roman but his father was a Vandal cavalry officer. Nevertheless, after Theodosius died in 395, Stilicho came to be the commander-in-chief of the Roman armies in the west. In a few years, he became the most powerful man in the Western Roman Empire.
Alaric also was a Goth but Theodosius appointed him as leader the army’s 20,000 Gothic troops. After Alaric became a threat to the eastern capital, the emperor appointed him as magister militum (master of the military).
Fifth Century Western Emperors were figureheads.
The real power of the Empire always was its army. As stated, the Empire was a unity of many different nations which was enforced by violence. Consequently, in the Roman system, the top generals often became emperors:
For example, both Constantine the Great and Theodosius, two key emperors in the fourth century, first earned their reputations as top generals.
As another example, in 475, Orestes, the Magister militum (master of the military) in the west, drove the emperor out of Italy and proclaimed his own young son Romulus as emperor.
For ‘barbarians’ to become to top generals, therefore, was a most significant development. It means that ‘barbarians’ have progressively become the real rulers of the Western Empire.
Note that the examples above (Gainas, Stilicho and Alaric) are all from the few years after Theodosius’ death. It is perhaps true to say that the ‘barbarians’ were in control of the Western Empire as from Theodosius’ death.
The consequence was that the emperors in the West Roman Empire in the 5th century became mere figureheads: The military power came to reside in the hands of ‘barbarians’, but they were not allowed to become emperor.
When Odoacer—a Germanic chieftain—deposed the last emperor in Italy (Romulus Augustus) in 476), he chose neither to assume the title of Emperor himself nor to select a puppet emperor. This confirms that the position of Emperor in the West no more had any value.
MAJOR EVENTS OF THE FIFTH CENTURY
‘Barbarians’ sacked Rome in 410 and again in 455. They deposed of the last Western Emperor in 476. These major events did NOT CAUSE the Empire to fall or recline. They should rather be seen as indications of how weak the Empire has become by then.
Under Theodosius, the entire Roman Empire—east and west—was still controlled by a single emperor. He died in 395. Fifteen years later, Rome was sacked. The decisive events of THOSE 15 YEARS WERE A TURNING POINT in the history of the Roman Empire. But the causes of these events have existed for much longer.
A separate article discusses the causes of the Fall of Rome. These must include Theodosius’ decree that his two underage sons would rule the Empire after his death. These boys were not capable of keeping the nations of the vast empire united, which was a very difficult task.
The major events of the fifth century divided the Empire up into separate political entities. The question is, what really happened? Did the ‘barbarians’ replace the Roman system, or did they remain part of the Roman system? Did they seek to control the Empire or did they merely want to have equal rights with the Graeco-Roman population?
Not Foreign Armies
Firstly, it was not foreign armies that sacked Rome in 410 and 455, or that deposed the last Roman Emperor in 476: It was a part of the Roman Army that rebelled. It was, namely, the Goths in the Roman army that rebelled.
To become equal citizens
What triggered these decisive events?
It was after the massacre of tens of thousands of wives and children of Goths serving in the Roman military that the Gothic soldiers defected to Alaric, and they sacked Rome in 410.
It was the foederati, under Odoacer’s leadership, that deposed the last Western Roman Emperor in 476 because they were no longer willing to suffer the harsh conditions set for them to remain in Italy.
Furthermore, what motivated the Goths? The following are indications that the Goth rose up—not to make an end of the Roman system, but to be treated as equals with the Graeco-Roman population:
In 399, the Ostrogoths in the Eastern Empire demanded to be allowed to settle within the boundaries of the Empire.
The Visigoths laid siege to Rome in the years 408 to 410 to secure rights to settle within Roman territory.
Our second conclusion is therefore that the Goths did not aim to replace the Roman Empire with something new but to be treated as equal citizens with the Graeco-Roman population, as part of the Empire.
The Empire approved the ‘Barbarian’ Rule.
It has been traditional to refer to the year 476, when Odoacer—a ‘barbarian’ soldier and statesman—deposed the last western emperor, conquered Italy, and proclaimed himself ruler of Italy, as the Fall of Rome. However, the following indicates that this is not an appropriate view of history:
After Odoacer conquered Italy, the Eastern Emperor Zeno granted Odoacer the title of patrician, effectively recognizing his rule as King of Italy in the name of the Eastern Empire.
Odoacer issued coins with both his image and that of the Eastern Emperor Zeno.
In 484 Zeno appointed the Ostrogoth Theodoric the Great to be king of Italy. Zeno, thereby, turned one troublesome, nominal vassal against another. Theodoric invaded Italy in 489 and by August 490 had captured almost the entire peninsula.
Peter Brown concluded that the Ostrogothic rulers of Italy considered themselves upholders of the Roman tradition.
JB Bury (see Odoacer) wrote that 476 stands out prominently as an important stage in the process of the division of the Empire into different parts, but that it is not more important than other similar events, such as:
- 418, when emperor Honorius settled the Goths in Aquitaine, and
- 435, when Valentinian ceded African lands to the Vandals (Bury 1923, p. 410).
The largely powerless but still influential Western Roman Senate continued to exist in the city of Rome under the rule of the Ostrogothic kingdom.
The Goths did not drive the Graeco-Roman people out from their territories. Not did they persecute the previous citizens: The two groups existed fairly peacefully on the areas conquered by the ‘barbarians’.
The Roman Empire did not Fall.
The Western Roman Empire, therefore, did not come to an end in 476, when Odoacer deposed the last emperor. Deposing the emperor was simply a formality that aligned outward form to existing reality, namely that the ‘barbarians’ were already in control of the Western Empire since the beginning of the fifth century. The ‘barbarians’ were no longer scared of the Eastern Roman Empire but still submitted to it. Roman power, practices, economy, culture, and religion continued after the emperor was deposed.
CHURCH IN ROME
There are at least two reasons why the ‘barbarians’ should have made an end to the Church in Rome.
Firstly, the Church was part of the State. The separation of Church and State is a modern concept. After Christianity was legalized in 313, the emperors became the real heads of the church and the church became part of the Roman Government. Bishops received their appointment and duties from the emperors and were accountable to the emperors.
Secondly, in those years, Christology was the main controversy in the church. The Church in Rome accepted Nicene Christology but the Goths were Arian Christians. In the fourth century, the emperors persecuted people with opposing Christological views.
Despite these factors, when the ‘barbarians’ took control of the Western Empire, they allowed the Nicene Church in Rome (the Papacy) to continue unhindered in their areas. One may ask why, but it is at least an indication that the ‘barbarians’ did not intend to destroy or replace the Roman system. Rather, they continued it, and the Church in Rome was part of the system which they continued.
ROMAN EMPIRE MORPHED INTO THE MIDDLE AGES
After the ‘barbarians’ assumed control of the Western Roman Empire, there always remained a desire and pressure to reunite the empire.
The Roman Church played a cohesive role.
In the fifth century, after the Western Roman Empire was divided into many fairly independent ‘nations’, the Roman Church played a cohesive role among the ‘barbarian’ nations. The Church was better organized than the ‘barbarian’ nations and the bishops continued to play a political role, even though they now had to depend on the Arian ‘barbarian’ nations for military protection.
In the sixth century, to strengthen the Church in Rome, Justinian I neutralized some of the Arian ‘barbarian’ nations. This resulting in the Byzantine Papacy; about two centuries during which the Church in Rome was both protected and controlled by the Eastern Roman Empire (also called the Byzantine Empire). To some extent, Roman control was re-established in this period, namely that the Byzantine Empire ruled the nations in the West through the church.
The Frankish Empire continued the Western Empire.
The Pirenne thesis was published in the 1920s. It remains influential to this day and has been supported by recent historians such as François Masai, Karl Ferdinand Werner, and Peter Brown. This thesis:
Regards the rise of the Kingdom of the Franks (481–843) as a continuation of the Roman Empire. (This empire was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe and the predecessor of the modern states of France and Germany. The greatest expansion of the Frankish empire was secured by the early 9th century. By this point dubbed as the Carolingian Empire.)
Validates the crowning of Charlemagne (AD 800), one of the main kings of the Franks, as the first Holy Roman Emperor as a successor of the Roman Emperors.
Morphed into the Middle Ages
The Pirenne thesis also concludes that the Roman world underwent a gradual (though often violent) series of transformations, morphing into the medieval world. In other words, the transformed Roman Empire continued right into the Middle Ages.
The French historian Lucien Musset argued that the civilization of Medieval Europe emerged from a SYNTHESIS between the Graeco-Roman world and the Germanic civilizations penetrating the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire did not fall or decline; it just TRANSFORMED. The same applies to the Germanic populations which invaded it.
Late Antiquity – Period of Transition
Traditionally, historians spoke of the Fall of the Western Roman Empire as the marker of the end of the Ancient Era and the beginning of the European Middle Ages. Since historians have largely turned away from the idea that the Roman Empire fell, accepting instead Pirenne’s thesis of the CONTINUITY of the Roman Empire before and after the Germanic invasion, more recently they have defined a period which they call Late Antiquity. This is the period of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages, with the roots of MEDIEVAL culture contained in Roman culture. They see a gradual process of TRANSFORMATION, with no clear breaks, occurring over centuries.
Brown proposed that Late Antiquity stretches more or less from the 3rd to the 8th centuries.
In summary, what happened, over centuries, is that ‘barbarians’ migrated into the Empire. They were absorbed into the Empire and its culture and many were recruited into the Imperial Forces until, eventually, they controlled the military machinery, soon after Theodosius died in 395. From that point forward, the ‘barbarians’ were the real rulers of the Western Empire. They were still treated as second-class citizens; often without the assurance of permanent residency. But they continued to tolerate figurehead emperors for some centuries before they deposed the last emperor in 476. They successfully rebelled against their Roman overlords and took by force what the Empire was not willing to award them voluntarily, namely permanent residency. This was a gradual (though often violent) process of decline over centuries.
The ‘barbarians’ did not intend to replace the Roman Empire with different political or legal structures and they did not drive the Graeco-Roman population or the Roman church out of their territories. Their purpose was to remain part of the Empire. The nations into which the Roman Empire was divided, continued Roman culture and economy in most parts of the former Western provinces into the 6th century and beyond (Historiography).
The Western Roman Empire, therefore, did not fall. What really happened was that the ‘barbarian’ immigrants wrestled control of the Empire from the original Graeco-Roman population.
Observing the cultural and archaeological continuities between the Roman Empire and the post-Roman Germanic kingdoms, Fustel de Coulanges (1875–89) argued that the ‘barbarians’ simply contributed to an ongoing process of transforming Roman institutions. (Histoire des institutions politiques de l’ancienne France)
Bowersock (2001), similarly, described the process as a complex cultural transformation, rather than a fall. (Bowersock 2001, pp. 87–122)
CONFIRM DANIEL’S PROPHECIES
Daniel describes the fourth beast as “dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong.” “It devoured and crushed and trampled down” (Dan 7:7). The Roman Empire was a unity of many nations, held together by violence; by military force.
In Daniel 2, the fourth “iron”-empire goes over into the “divided kingdom” of the feet. In Daniel 7, eleven horns (kings – Dan 7:24) come out of the fourth empire. “Horns” in Daniel do not represent individual kings, but empires, each consisting of a series of kings (Dan 8:20-22). (For a detailed discussion, see the article series on the prophecies of Daniel, including Daniel 2, Daniel 7, and the Evil Horn.) The fourth empire in Daniel, therefore, subdivides into ten + one kingdoms. (The number “ten” should be understood as “many;” not as exactly ten (cf. Dan 1:20). The Roman Empire did divide into many different empires. The exact number varied continually. Since previous empires were conquered by a new empire, it remains amazing that Daniel could predict, centuries before it happened, that the fourth empire would not be conquered by another mighty empire, but that it would subdivide.
Since the eleven horns grow out of the fourth beast, they are a continuation of that beast. Historians confirm that the Roman Empire, in reality, did not fall or decline, but continued right into the Middle Ages. This was particularly in the form of The Evil Eleventh Horn. In Revelation that horn is the Sea Beast (Rev 13:1). It received a deadly wound (Rev 13:3), but in the end-time, an image to the beast will be made and come alive (Rev 13:14-15). In other words, the culture of the Roman Empire will be revived, and it will again devour and crush and trample down (Dan 7:7).
OTHER AVAILABLE ARTICLES
- Daniel, 2, 7, 8, and 11 – List of Articles
- Daniel 9 – List of articles
- All articles – List of all article series on this website