Editor’s note: This is the second installment in a multi-part series on theories and prophecies about the Antichrist. If you haven’t already, we recommend starting with the Introduction before diving into this post, and links to the remainder of the posts are at the bottom of this article.
The Roman Antichrist thesis has two main interpretations that are the most widely-held beliefs, and are used as proof texts for the Roman Antichrist theory. I will address these one at a time.
First, let’s analyze the assertion that Antichrist is of Roman descent. Or maybe better stated: that Antichrist has Roman blood, or is from a Roman bloodline.
Roman Bloodline Theory
The best I can tell from my research, this theory is based on an interpretation of Daniel 9:26. So, let’s establish some context of Daniel 9 before we dive into the verse.
Daniel 9 starts as a prayer of lamentation from Daniel to the All Mighty. Daniel prays a very heartfelt prayer asking for forgiveness on behalf of all of Israel for the sins that led to the captivity—mainly that of Judah and Jerusalem—as it has become evident to Daniel (due to his own interpretation of Jeremiah’s prophecies) why the captivity has happened and the length of time for the captivity.
Toward the end of the chapter, the angel Gabriel comes to Daniel in response to his prayer, and to provide Daniel with a few prophecies of his own.
This chapter of Daniel is where the famous 70 Weeks prophecy comes from. The verse that we will analyze is part of the 70 weeks or 70 sevens prophecy.
Dan 9:26 – After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. (NIV)
So, the “scholars” have deducted from Daniel 9:26, that the people of Antichrist (his blood) would destroy the temple and Jerusalem—“the people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary”.
Many translations correctly translate “The Anointed One” as “Messiah”.
The key words here have to be “the people of the ruler”. The King James translates this as: “the people of the prince”. The term “the people” comes from Strong’s H6004 ‘am’, meaning “a people (as a congregated unit)”. Easy enough.
So the real key here is the word translated as “prince” or “ruler”. This has been translated from the Hebrew word ‘Nagid’, from Strong’s H5057: A commander (as occupying the front), civil, military or religious; generally (abstract plural), honorable themes: – captain, chief, excellent thing, (chief) governor, leader, noble, prince, (chief) ruler.
Of course, the army that destroyed Jerusalem and the sanctuary (the temple) was in fact, a Roman army. No argument about that. However, ask yourself, would it be logical for Rome to have sent soldiers all the way from the Italian peninsula to Judea to fight?
It should be noted: The Roman Empire (at this time) stretched all the way from Europe around modern day Turkey, down through the Middle East, and all the way into North Africa. Rome had legions of soldiers strategically placed as garrisons throughout the entirety of the empire.
History tells us that Rome did, in fact, send several legions to subdue Judea. However, these legions were not from the Italian peninsula. They were legions garrisoned in and around Judea. Makes sense, right?
Let’s take a closer look at these legions and their commander.
The Roman General Titus
The temple was destroyed in 70 AD, by the Roman General Titus. Titus led the Eastern army of the Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire—not the Western army.