Section XVII: The Days Of The Four Kingdoms

“There is a God in heaven that…maketh known…what shall be in the latter days…Thou, O king [Nebuchadnezzar], art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory…

    1. Thou art this head of gold.
    2. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee
    3. and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
    4. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron…they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men…

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” (Daniel 2:28-45)

The fourth kingdom isn’t a sole proprietor. All four kingdoms remain in existence and active, from their beginning to the present time until the last day. Each successive kingdom absorbs the previous kingdoms into an ever expanding territorial reach coinciding with an expanding world population.

A Brief History of World Wars

When we add the narrative into the timeline of world empires, we discover that that these are not isolated biblical entities of interest only to students of eschatology. These are the governments that continue to shape the world as we know it today.

And they all trace back to Babylon.

The land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers is called the Cradle of Civilization because it is the birthplace of the oldest civilization in the world. The Sumerian, which can be credibly traced back to the pre-flood world-wide civilization, became the Mother of All Civilizations. She brought forth the Adversary’s objective at Nimrod’s Tower of Babel – to bring all humanity back together under the rule of the gods, as it was before the Flood.

Concurrent with the timeline for Mesopotamia, excavations show ancient settlements in Greece dating  prior to 3,000 BC, i.e. before the Flood by identifiably unique cultures called the Minoans (2600-1500 BC), with rapid resettlement after the Flood by the Mycenaeans (1500-1150 BC) and the Cycladics. The famous Trojan War occurred ~1300 BC between city states of Troy in Asia Minor and Sparta in mainland Greece.

Take the words literally as well as abstractly.

Babylon…made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” (Revelation 14:8)

The gods worshipped by the nations that scattered from the Tower of Babel can all be traced back to Babylon, and every world empire seizes Babylon as a key objective of war.

  • 2000 BCE Babylon controls Fertile Crescent.
  • 1755 BCE Hammurabi rules the whole of Mesopotamia from Babylon.
  • 1595 BCE – 1155 BCE Kassite Dynasty of the Hittites in Asia Minor, modern day Turkey, sacks and rules over Babylon. Begin of Babylonian “dark ages.”
  • ~1300 A spin-off from the legendary accounts of the Trojan War is that Aeneas, a prince of Troy, second only to Hector in heroism, was a demigod, the son of Aphrodite. After the destruction of Troy on the western shore of Asia Minor, Aeneas traveled to the frontier of civilization where he founded the settlement that would become Rome.
  • 1220 BCE – 729 Babylon is under Assyrian control ruling from Ninevah.
  • 700’s BC – Homer’s epic poems are written down and circulated among Greek colonies on the Italian peninsula, appropriated in later years by Latins to buff up their hayseed latecomers image to respectable.
  • 753 BC – Rhea, daughter of a rustic king, was confined to the pagan equivalent of a nunnery by her uncle after he had deposed her father / his older brother, the king, to prevent the birth of a rival claimant to the throne. Nevertheless, the god Mars impregnated her, and she gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus. They became leaders of a band of warriors. After killing his brother, Romulus founded his own settlement, naming it Rome after himself. In what was a common practice at that time, he ensured the continuity of his tribe by the Rape, AKA Abduction, of the Sabine Women. This, like the similar incident triggering the Trojan War, led to a series of wars between neighboring city states.
  • 612 BCE Nineveh is sacked and burned by combined forces of Babylonians and Medes.
  • 605 BC  Nebuchadnezzar becomes king of Babylon.

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  • 509 BCoverthrow of the Roman kings and the early Roman Republic (509–264 BCE
  • 450’s BC – The Decem-viri, Latin for “ten men” primarily but not uniquely designating the landmark commission that resolved the two-hundred-year civil conflict between the patricians and the commoners. The party / fathers / rulers / leaders were wealthy by virtue / power of land ownership. They had developed into the aristocracy by monopolizing the priesthoods, which in those days was invariably integrated into politics. The plebeians – the commoners – were sharecroppers or small land holders, increasing numbers of whom had become enslaved, often for life, to pay off indebtedness to the landowners during years of hardship. The Decemviri prepared 10 tables of law based on the laws of Athens, which established the foundation for all subsequent Roman law. However, no real power was transferred to the plebs under an increasingly powerful aristocracy. Unlike their Greek counterparts, Rome was able to subjugate her rival city-states and united them under the single banner of the city of Rome…transforming Rome into a sophisticated and powerful fighting force….the Roman military machine which was able to conquer and subjugate…to expand to…the largest empire of the ancient world by, like Greece, working from its western boundary to the eastern-most territory.
  • 400’s BC – Greece is growing into maturity, creating the foundations of uniquely western civilization in all domains of culture, including philosophy, music, drama, rhetoric and even a new regime called democracy. It is not exaggerating to say that this period changed the history of the world…Herodotus, Father of History, compiles first extensive history from oral traditions, reflects Greece’s world-wide trading extent, focuses on Greek-Persian wars.
  • 331 BC Alexander the Great wins the last Greco-Persian war and incorporates Persia into Greece, rules from Babylon.

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  • 300’s BC – Greek culture spread throughout Mesopotamia.
  • 168 BC and onwards, the Romans absorbs Greek city-states and culture. The Greek language served as a lingua franca in the Roman Empire. The Romans read the classical philosophers and base their religion on the Olympian gods. Greece – which included Asia Minor – is a major crossroads of maritime trade between Mediterranean Rome and the eastern half of the empire. 
  • 146 BC The entire Greek peninsula falls to the imperialist Roman Republic.
  • 64 BC  Pompey incorporates Greek Syria from Anatolia to the Euphrates.
  • 45 BC Julius Caesar becomes dictator of Rome during widespread civil unrest and international war.
  • 33 BC Mark Antony occupies Persian territory.
  • 27 BC – the establishment of the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar claimed descent from the demi-god Aeneas.
  • 66 AD – The Roman Emperor Nero visited Greece and performed at the Ancient Olympic Games, despite the rules against non-Greek participation, and was honored with a victory in every contest, returning the favor by proclaiming the freedom of the Greeks, which changed their status from conquered peoples to citizens with rightsThe Pax Romana was the longest period of peace in Greek history.
  • 100’s AD – Following the apostolic evangelism of Greek Asia Minor, this region quickly became one of the most highly Christianized areas of the empire.
  • 166 AD Trajan incorporates Babylon into the Roman Empire.

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  • 300’s AD – Constantine relocates the primary seat of Roman government to the bridge between East and West, naming the new Roman capitol after himself.

So what about that two-legged feature?

Legs of iron: Rome and Constantinople

Feet and toes: first view of revived Rome

Actually, no.

The terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire were coined in modern times… contemporary Romans did not consider the Empire to have been split into two separate empires but viewed it as a single polity governed by two geographically separated imperial courts as an administrative expediency.

285 – First division into administrative jurisdictions under one Emperor

diocletianthetetrarchy285-305-e1506880088711.jpgRome’s federation was instituted first as the Tetrarchy, or Four Rulers, in AD 285 by Diocletian, the notorious persecutor of Christians, in response to the Crisis of the 3rd century. This was a fifty year period during which the Empire nearly collapsed from invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression. You know the Christians were expecting Christ’s return at any moment back then. And didn’t Constantine show up and save the day.

324 – Constantine the Great

roman-empire-300-adDuring the Crisis, a child was born, a son was given: and the government was put upon his shoulder: and his name was called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Prince of Peace, The Everlasting, Undeviating, Constant-ine. By the way, these are all characteristics of Apollo.

Constantine’s father raised himself to the rank of Augustus / god-endowed senior emperor. After his death, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against rival Emperors to become sole ruler of the Empire by 324 AD. This began a New World Order under the Roman Empire as Constantine

  • established dynastic succession,
  • strengthened the empire with many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms,
  • controlled inflation with a new gold coin which became the standard European currency for more than a thousand years,
  • chose to rule from Byzantium, which became known as the New Rome.

476 – The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

There is no direct heir to the Roman Empire...

Ostensibly Bible-believing conservative Christians believe that the Roman Empire ceased to exist.

In the prophetic eyes of God, the Roman Empire…fell from world dominion buta confederacy or union of leadership will arise out of a revival of the remains of the Roman Empire to step into the prophecy role that leads to fulfillment of the Last Days prophecies.  

The European Union has risen up from the remains of the Roman Empire so to lead the world into the Great Tribulation

However, biblical prophecy indicates a continuation of this fourth kingdom to the end of human rulers. If this can be believed – and it is certainly credible given the Bible’s track record on foretold history for the last 2,500 years – this fourth beast must have left a trail of his scat. It is simply our failure to recognize its essential features, despite changes in territory, incorporation of different cultures, even name changes, that leaves us unsuspecting victims of stalking and sudden destruction.

The fact is, when the barbarian Odoacer deposed the sitting Western Emperor Romulus Augustus Zeno he wiselybyzantine-empire-under-justinians-reign-690x460  restrained his ambitions to being crowned King of one state in the Empire. Like Herod, who had been King of Judea, “the Senate in Rome sent an embassy to the Eastern Emperor and bestowed upon him the Western imperial insignia. The message was clear: the West no longer required a separate Emperor, for “one monarch sufficed [to rule] the world”. In response, Zeno accepted his submission…  conferred upon Odoacer the title of Patrician and granted him legal authority to govern Italy in the name of Rome.” Odoacer settled so many Germanic tribes into Roman territories, granting them Roman citizenship, that he and his successors were henceforth called  the “King of the Germans.”

Now there’s a clue. juliusnepos2002

(Odoacer’s coins struck in the name of Emperor Zeno, testifying to the formal submission of Odoacer to Zeno.)

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From 527-565 Emperor Justinian in Constantinople devoted his reign to restoring Roman rule to all its old expanse, much of which had been seized by Germanic tribes fleeing the Hun invasion of their northern European homelands.  Justinian’s general, Belisarius, considered an equal with such military genii as Alexander, Julius Caesar and Napoleon, took northern Africa from the Vandals, reclaimed Italy from the Goths, and fought the Persians. The Code of Justinian systematized the confused accumulation of Roman laws and remained in force for a thousand years, becoming the foundation of all modern European and Neo-European (American, Canadian, Australian) legal systems. Believing that religious unity was indispensable to political unity, Justinian incorporated his version of Christianity into the Code, punishing heresy by death.

7th Century – Roman Empire Splits Into Legs – Christian West and Islamic East

Muhammad c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE), the founder of Islam, claimed to be God’s Messenger, the final prophet of God sent to restore orthodox monotheism previously preached by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.

Maybe Muhammad was a true believer, a Hebrew. We don’t know because, like Jesus, he didn’t leave any of his own writings behind. We can expect that his successors, like the Gnostics and other corrupt Christian leaders, distorted his message while writing the Koran to suit their power grabs. Certainly the immediate split into Shi’ite and Sunni sects supports this logic.

It is easy enough to see an Antichrist Roman Emperor in Pseudo-Christian rulers like Constantine who reshaped our Judeo-Christian heritage. We also need to recognize Antichrist Roman Emperor in the monotheistic Muslim rulers who recognize but overrule the authority of the Bible. 

Islam’s jihad, or holy war is all about becoming the god of this world’s overlord of the Fourth Kingdom.

The political status of Islam, and the role Muhammad had given it as a political as well as a religious force, was reinforced in the military conquests.

This is easy to see when we overlaying a map of the classical Roman Empire with the same territory during the Middle Ages. From the 600s onward, the “Eastern”, i.e. Islamic, Roman Empire stretched from the Black Sea to the Atlantic and waxed and waned from its home base of Asia Minor, Greece and Eastern Europe over Germany, France, Italy and Spain

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What! The Roman Empire can’t be Islamic!

Oh yes it can.

According to Daniel chapter 2 and Daniel 7:19-20, key identifiers of the fourth kingdom are that it

  • joins West with East,
  • is diverse from all kingdoms, polishing its autocratic rule by a veneer of Republican power-sharing bodies like senates and parliaments.
  • devours the whole earth – controls a great amount of the world 
  • treads down and break it in pieces  – whatever it can’t incorporate, it crushes and tears apart as a threat to its authoritarianism.
  • Last, but by no means least, imposes a new religious orthodoxy. There is no denying this fact, yet it seems to have escaped the attention of many ostensibly Bible-believing fundamentalist Christians.
    • 45 BC Julius Caesar becomes first emperor of Roman Empire, accepts all pagan religions, monotheistic Jews granted privilege of exemption from emperor worship.
    • 395 Emperor Theodosius establishes a paganized New Testament Christianity as Rome’s state religion, including transforming Jesus Christ’s identity into the pagan sun god and saints as the lesser gods. This exclude all Old Testament Jewish elements. Jews are reviled and persecuted as well as Gentile believers who maintain Jewish elements of faith and practice.
    • 610 Muhammed leads his pagan Arab people to return to the original faith of the prophets, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus with submission (Islam) to the will of God. This religious faith spreads like wildfire through the next centuries, taking over the Roman Eastern and African territories.
      • 636 AD – Islam’s era-marking Battle of Yarmouk. Islam’s first battles were against the Roman occupied Byzantine states of Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon.
      • 637 AD Battle of Qadasiya first milestone in conquering Iraq over the next dozen years. Within a few years the Muslims had also conquered parts of Egypt to the South and Asia Minor and Armenia to the North. 
      • In the 1500’s AD Babylon, Persia and the Levant were absorbed into the Turkish Ottoman Empire based in Asia Minor.

Invasions and mass migrations during the Middle Ages caused massive redistribution of power, reflected in the rise and fall of claimants for legal succession of pieces of the Roman Empire. Don’t be misled by some of the labels on the maps. “‘Byzantine Empire’ is a term created by the Latins after the end of the Greek side of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to themselves as Romans and to their empire as the Roman Empire or Romania, which means ‘citizens of Rome.'”

The Roman Empire is famous for civil war by ambitious men clawing their bloody way to the heights of power. It therefore should be utterly expected to recur whenever opportunities presented. As when the Emperor in Constantinople, ruling an intact though disorganized Roman Empire, was focusing all his attention and resources fighting against an expansionist Islam power to the east.

And so in 800 the current King of the Germans, Charlemagne crowned himself Roman Emperor by proxy of the Pope at Rome. While, like Odoacer, he and his heirs did not deny the title to the ruler in Constantinople, unlike Odoacer, he did aspire to assume equal status to the Emperor of the East as their co-regents. This was a not uncommon practice when internal or external circumstances called for more leadership than one person could deliver. There was specific precedent during the Tetrarchy, or Four Rulers, in AD 285 by Diocletian, in response to the same desperate circumstances facing waves of Eastern invasions, plague and dire economic straits.

In 900, under the same dire circumstances,  Simeon I of Bulgaria fought his way to official Byzantine recognition as Caesar / Tsar of the Bulgarians without taking away from Constantinople’s status as Emperor. This title was used by Bulgarian heads of state until the monarchy was abolished in 1946.

In 962 Otto I was crowned, likewise, in German, a “Römisch-Deutscher Kaiser” of his western section of the Roman Empire.

In 1157 under the German Frederick I Barbarossa the word “Holy” was added to reflect Frederick’s ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy.  In 1512, following the fall from power of Byzantium’s Eastern Orthodox capitol, the name was officially changed to Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

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This reflects the jostling for power for one of the “co-regents” to become the “first among equals.”

Although we refer to Republican and Imperial periods of the Rome, Republican values were still paid lip service during Augustus’ reign and beyond. A semblance of democracy, although more of a façade, was reverentially upheld under Augustus and subsequent Emperors.

The Republic came to a practical end with Julius Caesar, but it was actually more a process of wearing away than an outright switch from patrician semi-democracy to wholesale monarchy. It seems that instability and war were suitable reasons or excuses for entering an authoritative political phase, but admitting to the end of the Republic was an idea that the people and senate would need getting used to.

Augustus’ solution was to create a system of government often referred to as the ‘principate’. He was Princeps, meaning ‘first citizen’ or ‘first among equals’, an idea that was in fact incongruous with the reality of the situation…

he consolidated the powers of the military and tribunal, became head of the state religion and gained the power of veto of the magistrates.

Primus inter pares is a Latin phrase meaning first among equals

After the fall of the Republic, Roman emperors initially referred to themselves only as princeps despite having power of life and death over their “fellow citizens”.

Various modern figures such as the chair of the United States Federal Reserve System, the prime minister of parliamentary countries…the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court…the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Communion and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople of the Eastern Orthodox Church fall under both senses: bearing higher status and various additional powers while remaining still merely equal to their peers.

There is always – always – the use of religion to empower politics.

Latin-speaking Rome began to claim superiority over Greek-speaking Constantinople, and disputes arose over church boundaries and control. In 1054, after six centuries in the making, the Great Schism occurred between the church of Constantinople and the Church of Rome, creating the Roman Catholic Church vs the Greek Orthodox Church.

In 1204 total alienation of the two church occurred during the Fourth Crusade when Christian knights on their way to save Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims were diverted to attack and capture Constantinople. Thousands of Orthodox Christians were murdered, churches and icons were desecrated, and undying hostility developed between Eastern and Western Christian Churches.

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