"The Most high divided to the nations their inheritance."

Deuteronomy 32:8


This booklet is compiled from an important paper written more than fifty years ago by the late Mr. Benjamin Wills Newton, and originally published in Occasional Papers on Scriptural Subjects, Part 3, which has been long out of print.

Some of the expected events have taken place, and others are on the eve of fulfillment.

The whole of the paper, of which this booklet is only a small part, is published separately under its original title of European Prospects.

The Final Division of the Roman Empire

Into Ten Kingdoms

THE present condition of Europe is causing deep anxiety to those who desire for it a continuance of tranquility! The arrangements of the Congress of Vienna at the close of the last great Continental war failed to satisfy, and have on various occasions been already set aside. France is peculiarly dissatisfied, and is desirous of altering the territorial distribution of Europe, Syria, and Western Asia.

England on the other hand, anxious chiefly for repose, is sensitively alive to every attempt to disturb the present balance of power, which she has so long laboured to preserve. It is well, therefore, that we should be reminded, on the sure authority of Scripture, that a time must surely come sooner or later when a territorial arrangement, very different from the present, will be effected in Turkey as well as in Central Europe. It is our duty both to believe and to declare this, if we examine the Word of God.

The part of Scripture on which the evidence of this mainly rests is the Book of Daniel. Many of the predictions of Daniel refer to events that are now long past, and in all such instances the truth of his prophecies has been abundantly attested by fulfillment. When, 600 years before Christ, the punishment of Jerusalem commenced at its capture by Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel prophesied that four successive Empires should arise from among the Gentiles; each holding a place of recognized supremacy in the earth during the time of their respective continuance, and each commissioned to hold Jerusalem in subjection. All this has been fulfilled. Prom childhood we are familiar with the names of Chaldęa, Persia, Greece and Rome. We know how they reigned supremely; we know how they trampled down Jerusalem.

The fourth—the Roman—is represented in Daniel 2 by a symbol, which, while it indicated unity, indicates likewise that this Empire would be found to exist in two distinct branches, viz., by the two iron legs of "the Image." From the very commencement of the Roman Empire, nothing could be more marked than the distinction between its Eastern and Western divisions. The Eastern, the Romans conquered from the Greeks. They found it full of a civilization and refinement that had no counterpart among themselves. Chaldęa, Egypt and Tyre had made it from the earliest ages the home of the world’s greatness; and afterwards, Greece, under Alexander and his successors, established throughout the East that intellectual pre-eminence for which her colonies in Asia Minor had already prepared the way. Greek institutions; Greek philosophy; the Greek language and Greek laws had rooted themselves in the East when Rome conquered it; and this moral dominance of Greece the Romans sought not to disturb. In the West, on the other band, Rome found all that she there subdued dark and barbarous—unreached by the light of civilization—except where Tyre or Carthage had planted a few colonies; and into these unformed regions she laboured to introduce Latin institutions; the Latin language; Latin laws. Nor has this distinction ever been obliterated. The division of the Empire under later Emperors the rivalry of the Greek and Latin Churches; and finally, the conquests of the Turks have all contributed, under God’s Providence, to perpetuate the distinction between the Greek (or Eastern) and the Latin (or Western) branches of the Roman Empire. The Eastern branch is now being revived, It is being roused from its sleep of ages; and, as it revives, we shall find the distinctions more and more strongly marked. Greek institutions and Greek energy, modified, as of old, by connection with Orientalism and Judaism (for the Jews, whilst yet unconverted, will return to Palestine), will give to the Eastern branch of the Roman Empire a character of distinctness too manifest to be ignored. Indeed, we already find the expression "Greek branch of the Roman Empire," after being disused for centuries, again adopted by writers of the day.

We also learn from Daniel that the final result of the various changes through which the Roman Empire has passed and is passing, in its Greek and Latin branches, will be the division of its territories into Ten Kingdoms; that those kingdoms, though distinct, will be federally united ; that they will be alike In political constitution, and will unitedly inherit that same supremacy of power which had been severally possessed by the Chaldęan, Persian and Greek Empires, and by the Roman Empire in the time of its unity.

If, then, the whole Roman Empire—‘H oikoumenh, or Orbis Terrarum, as the Romans called it—is finally to be divided into Ten Kingdoms; we must, if we wish to mark the sphere in which these Kingdoms are to be developed, determine with as much precision as we may be able the territorial extent of the Empire. When it first assumed its full Imperial standing in succession to Greece, after Augustus Cęsar conquered Cleopatra, it attained its widest territorial development under Trajan.

The countries then included within its limits were, in Europe—England and Scotland (not Ireland), Spain and Portugal, France, Savoy, Belgium and parts of Holland, and Prussia etc., west of the Rhine. Switzerland, Italy, Greece, all the islands of the Mediterranean, Turkey, and Austria south of the Danube; including Bosnia, Servia and Bulgaria, and the ancient Dacia north of the Danube.

In Asia. The Turkish dominions—Assyria being the most easterly province, and the north of Arabia to Egypt the southern limit. This division, of course, includes Palestine and Asia Minor.

In Africa. Egypt and the whole northern coast—Sallé, a little outside the Straits of Gibraltar, being the most westerly city.

Such are the countries finally to be divided into Ten parts. England is at present little disposed to acquiesce in such a change as this. Rather than there should be any great dislocation of present territorial arrangements, she would prefer they should remain altogether unaltered. She hopes that the spread of Commerce and the pursuit of wealth will supersede the desire for mere territorial aggrandizement, and that the restlessness now visible in certain nations will thus gradually be stilled. It is certain, however, that present arrangements cannot ultimately stand; and although it may be true that the time for the final division into Ten Kingdoms is not yet come, for it will very nearly, if not quite, synchronize with the return of the Jews in unbelief to their own land, and their recognition as a nation there; yet, it is not improbable that we are approaching the period when the steps preparatory to that end are to be taken. At any rate, we are sure that until the Ten Kingdoms have been developed, the territorial mutations of "the Roman Empire" will not have attained their last phase. Change must follow upon change till then; and not only are we taught in Daniel that Ten Kingdoms are to divide the Roman world between them, but we further learn that a like form of political constitution will be found in them all; for each of the toes are of "iron and clay" mingled. And though we are not told that these will be found in exactly the same proportions in all, of this we may be sure, that that form of government which the iron and clay denote (popular or constitutional monarchy) will exist in each of the Ten Kingdoms. Accordingly since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 we have seen Constitutional principles, after many a struggle and many a check, making steady progress in most of these countries. In 1815 they were almost confined to England. The Continental Powers hated and withstood them; yet, notwithstanding all their efforts, these principles have not only received increased development in England, but have been adopted by Belgium, the Romano-German provinces; France; Portugal; Spain; Greece; and even by Italy and Austria! Who would have expected a few years ago to see Naples and Austria constitutionalized? No government hated Constitutionalism more than Austria; yet they have bowed to a necessity which they saw it was hopeless to resist; and we may with certainty affirm that constitutional principles of government will finally prevail in every country of the Roman world, and that, too, before the completion of the subdivision into Ten Kingdoms; for the feet of the Image, and not merely the toes, were formed of "iron and clay."

But again. The Ten Kingdoms when developed will, although distinct kingdoms, be nevertheless federally united, which is clearly indicated by the symbols in chapters 2 and 7. "Ten horns" (chp. 7) have no isolated action. They cannot move except concurrently and the same is true of the "ten toes" (chp. 2).

It is very evident, then, that that part of the earth within the Roman boundary has a peculiar destiny of its own. The Ten Kingdoms, which are to inherit the supreme power which Rome and the preceding Empires successively exercised, will, by the very fact of inheriting such power, be distinguished from all other countries in the earth. Moreover, not only will they have like political institutions, but a yet stronger distinctive characteristic, in the fact of being united in a federal bond and having finally a federal Head—The Antichrist! Therefore we may expect to see the line of its territorial demarcation become more and more distinct, as the time for the development of the Ten Kingdoms approaches. And if any Kingdom external to the Roman world (as e.g. Russia) has endeavored to absorb or bind up with itself any territory, as Bessarabia, belonging to the Roman world, we may expect to see such union dissolved. And if any kingdom within the Roman world has sought to force into political identification with itself any country external to the Roman world, it is probable that such attempted identification will be frustrated; if not by the absolute separation of the countries thus sought to be attached, yet by their legislative separation. This last question one would mention with a certain reserve. It affects the relation of England to Ireland, India and her Colonies; and the relation of Austria to most that she now possesses north of the Danube; and of France, Spain and Portugal, to such of their possessions as are beyond the Roman limits.

Since the Congress of Vienna, few events of importance have occurred in Europe that have not tended to effect some one or other of these results. The result of the war with Russia was to bring the Greek or Eastern branch of "the Roman Empire" into recognized connexion with the Western. Russia, which is without the Roman boundary, was compelled to resign the greater part of Bessarabia, that being within the Roman boundary, just as Holland was at a previous period compelled to resign Belgium, which is within. In conformity with this principle, we may expect to see Prussia relinquish the provinces she holds west of the Rhine and to see Baden, Wurtemburg, and all those parts of Bavaria that fall within the Roman limits, separated from the control of German Federalism.

For an example of a case in which a country within the Roman world seeks to amalgamate with itself or to act in federal union with countries external to the Roman limit we may turn to Austria, whose chief territorial possessions, as well as the seat of her power south of the Danube, come within the Roman Empire. She has not only attempted to amalgamate with herself much that is external to the Roman boundary (as the greater part of Hungary is), but has also endeavored to act in federal union with Prussia and Northern Germany! It will not be denied that the attempt has signally failed, and we may expect that, sooner or later, Austria will recede further and further from the German Bond and unite herself more closely with England, France and other countries of the Roman world; and those countries which Austria is vainly seeking to amalgamate with herself will probably be either absolutely or legislatively separated from her. The relations of England to Ireland; and of England, France and Spain to their colonies or possessions without the Roman boundary, must be subjected to the same rule. England’s colonies are, for the most part, already legislatively separated. They are practically independent. Hanover, once connected with England. has, by the providence of God, become entirely separate, and moves altogether in another political sphere.

That the whole Roman world will be finally divided into Ten Kingdoms—those kingdoms being federally united—that they will all have a like political construction, and will unitedly inherit that supreme power in the earth which is the endowment of the empires represented by the symbolic Image, is not matter of opinion but of revealed certainty. Nor will it be doubted that, when the Ten Kingdoms are developed, five will be found in the Greek, or Eastern, and five in the Latin, or Western half of the Roman Empire—the symbol in Daniel 2 being five toes on each foot of "the Image."

Many have asked whether there be anything in Scripture that enables us to define with precision the respective territorial extent of each of the ten future kingdoms of the Roman world? To this we must reply in the negative. Daniel 8 does indeed enable us to say that Greece, Egypt, Syria and the districts immediately contiguous to Constantinople in Europe and Asia will form four of the five in the Eastern part, yet we are not able, even in this case, to fix with exact certainty their respective boundaries. Any enumeration, therefore, must be to a great extent conjectural. But we shall probably not very widely err if we suppose the final division of the Latin branch to be as follows: —

1.  Great Britain (the Roman Britannia and Caledonia).

2.  France, enlarged to the Rhine on the east, thus including part of Holland; all Belgium; Luxemburg and the Prussian province west of the Rhine; Savoy and Switzerland up to Lake Constance; and doubtless Algeria will continue annexed to France.

3.  Spain and Portugal (Hispania and Lusitania) united, with Morocco annexed, as Algeria to France.

4.  Northern and Central Italy, including Venetia and Rome. V. Austria without Venetia, and all she now holds north of the Danube and west of the Roman Vallum (viz., Bohemia, Moravia, Gallicia and the central parts of Hungary), but compensated by the acquisition of Baden, Wurtemburg and part of Bavaria east of the Rhine. Austria will, in all probability, possess the ancient Dacia (i.e. Moldavia, Wallachia, Bessarahia and the eastern skirt of Hungary); all Transylvania and such parts of the Turkish dominions in Europe as did not belong to the Greek branch.

As respects the division of the Eastern branch, we are greatly assisted by Daniel 8, which tells us that the four kingdoms, formed by the partition of the dominions of Alexander the Great, will be found existent in "the latter time" (vv. 8, 22, 23). Two of them (Greece and Egypt) are already reconstituted, although in a partially developed form. Taking, therefore, the ancient partition as a general guide, four out of the five divisions of the Eastern branch would be:—

1.  Greece augmented by the Ionian Islands; Thessaly and all the ancient Macedonian possessions in Europe, excepting Thrace and some of the islands of the Archipelago.

2.  Thrace (Roumelia); its coast extending from the Island of Thasos to the Sea of Marmora; also a broad strip of territory extending from the Gulf of Satalia in the south, along the western coast of Asia Minor, by the Sea of Marmora and the northern coast of the Black Sea, as far as the River Parthene. Several chief islands on the coast such as Rhodes, Cos, Lamos and Lemnos, belong to this division.

3.  Egypt, together with the coast of Africa, as far as Tripoli; also Cœlo-Syria and the southern coast of Asia Minor, from the Gulf of Satalia to the Gulf of Scanderoon.

4.  Syria, with all the northeastern and central parts of Asia Minor; also Mesopotamia, Assyria, and every other part of Alexander’s dominions that fell under Roman rule, not included in the aforementioned divisions.

5.  The Neapolitan dominions (anciently Magna Gracia) and Sicily, with probably the opposite coast of Africa (Tripoli) appended.

As regards the rest of Europe that falls without the Roman boundary, its history is comparatively unimportant. It is not the subject of definite Scripture prophecy as the Roman nations are; it is not the inheritor of the power symbolized by "the Image." Judging, however, from present appearances, there seems strong reason to believe that the territorial form of the past would be to a great extent restored. The Jews also (this we know certainly from Scripture) will return in unbelief to Jerusalem, and reoccupy the Land and City of their fathers The generation that will gather around and worship the last great Head of Gentile power, Antichrist, would thus circumstantially, as well as morally, present a close resemblance to that which gathered against the Lord of Glory to reject and crucify Him.

To those who observe what is now passing around us, it must be very evident that, whilst the apparent giant strength of such countries as Russia and America is being weakened, the power of those of the Roman world, as France, Austria, Spain, Italy, Egypt, etc. is being increased and consolidated. A few years ago, many entertained the expectation that American Republicanism and Russian Despotism would ultimately divide the world between, them. The slightest knowledge, however, of Dan. ii. dispels these illusions. There can be little doubt that Asiatic, and probably Russian power, will continue to be formidable, and also probable that formidable power will continue to reside in America. But neither to America nor to Russia, nor to the hordes of Central Asia, is the supreme power, denoted by "the Image," given. It is given to the Roman nations till the great end comes. But not till the Ten Kingdoms are formed and federally united will the strength of the power to be exercised by them be appreciated.

In effecting theta territorial alterations, there may be a great European convulsion, in which England may be smitten for her evil; or there may be no great catastrophe; on the contrary, tranquillity and peace may for the present reign, and the changes possibly be effected gradually and quietly. The bright sunshine of prosperity may shine upon the nations, and "human progress" advance with proud and rejoicing steps. But there is such a thing as prosperity judicially sent to harden and to blind, after admonition has been rejected and warnings scorned. It was so with Pharaoh of old; and similar will be, we know, the exaltation of the. Ten Roman Kingdoms at the close. Great indeed will be their glory; mighty their strength but Armageddon will be their gathering-place (Rev.16:16), the Valley of Jehoshaphat their grave (Joel 3:13). There they will meet Him Who will come forth to tread the winepress of the fury of Almighty God (Rev. 19).

In conclusion. The only way of resisting Antichristianism or Antichrist, is by seeking under God’s blessing to instill into minds the pure principles of Scripture Truth. The believing people of God alone can act for Him, only they cannot act for Him apart from the close guidance of His holy word.

If "in the Evil day" the servant of Christ is to withstand "the methods of the devil," that which our great Captain has placed in our hands as the distinct weapon of our welfare is that sword of the Spirit—the Word of God. But we cannot use it unless we are duly instructed in it.


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