Benjamin Willis Newton 18071899

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Another prolific writer was Benjamin Willis Newton, a Brethren colleague of John Nelson Darby, whose books were reprinted several times between the 1850's and 1900's.72 Newton appears to have been something of a nineteenth century ancestor of Hal Lindsey, interpreting the contemporary European political scene in the light of prophecy.73 He saw, for example, great significance in the fact that one of the Rothschild's was allegedly negotiating with the Sultan for the construction of a railway from Constantinople to Baghdad. He believed this to be one of many signs of the impending merger of the revived Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire, a 'Roman world, from England to the Euphrates' centred on Rome.74 Writing in 1859, Newton comments at length on the theological significance of geo-political developments in Europe,

The interests of France, Great Britain and Austria are more and more felt to be identical as respects the aggression of Russia; and this feeling Spain, Italy and Greece, will soon thoroughly share...75

His colourful predictive map of the ten kingdoms making up this revived Roman Empire, published in 1863, comprised the then most influential countries surrounding the Mediterranean, namely, France, Spain, Northern Italy, the Neopolitan States, Austria, Turkey, Greece, Syria and Egypt, together with the British Isles.76 Allowing himself a degree of latitude with regard to the timing of these events, Newton asserted in 1879,

Whether it may be long and deadly; or whether the way of the Western Roman nations may be smoothed so as for the resuscitation of the East under their guardianship to be quietly and speedily effected, it is impossible for us to say.77

In the forward to 'Babylon: Its Future History and Doom with remarks on the Future of Egypt and Other Eastern Countries', (3rd Edition) published in 1890, Newton could still insist, 'On Israel, and on Western Europe chiefly will rest the responsibility of causing the revived Eastern Branch of the Roman World to be what it is to be.'78 Just as contemporary apocalyptic writers see the rise of New Age inter-faith religious unity as a sign of the coming Antichrist79, so Newton was predicting the same at the end of the 19th Century.

The result of the late war with Russia has been to bring the Turkish dominions into recognised political connection with Western Europe... The ancient outline of the Roman Empire will again appear... At bottom, Mohommedanism, what is it but a sect of Christianity? When the Papists, and the Greek church and Judaism, and Mohommedanism, and Anglicanism, shall re-echo this sentiment, and when it shall become governmentally adopted by the nations of the Roman world, we shall soon see the 'Ephah' and 'wickedness', its inmate, established in the land of Shinar.80

In America, following the frequent visits of John Nelson Darby from 1862 onwards, his dispensational views about the Church and Israel had a profound influence upon leading evangelicals like James Brookes, D. L. Moody, William E. Blackstone and C. I. Scofield, to the point where these millennial speculations came to be accepted as normative by the great majority of American evangelicals within the 20th Century.81

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