- “Thou, O king [Nebuchadnezzar], art a king of kings…Thou art this head of gold.
- for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
- And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all.
- And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee [silver],
- and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
- 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 [injury but not terminate].
- And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided…so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
- And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they [the iron] shall mingle themselves with the [clay] seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
- And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed
- it shall break in pieces AND consume [absorb into itself] all these [four] kingdoms… the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold;
- and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:37-45)
Daniel’s prophecy given almost 3,000 years ago has been validated by world history up through the fourth – Roman – empire.
Doesn’t it just make sense to take seriously his prophecy of the fate of this last empire?
The title king of kings, used even in the 20th century by the shahs of Iran, implies that the central authority exercised power through a pyramidal structure that was controlled at levels below the supreme authority by individuals who were themselves, in a certain sense, kings.
Having the title “God of this world” informs us that Satan himself is controlling the thoughts and intents of the heart at the highest levels of government. Satan doesn’t get elected out of office, he simply moves from one psychopath self-and- power-obsessed human being to another.
I have followed one thread through a maze of prophecy in Daniel 11 to highlight the continuity of one spirit – either God’s Holy Spirit or Satan’s Mystery of Iniquity:
- incarnating and empowering world leaders
- through heirs either genetic or adopted
- over time, geography and nationalities
- to our time in history.
Beginning with the Babylonian kingdom, where we find that Nebuchadnezzar switched teams, from an evil spirit to God’s Holy Spirit.
“The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?…and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws…And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation…At the same time my reason returned unto me…Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment:” (Daniel 4)
Nebuchadnezzar’s successor lost the kingdom. Not the Babylonian, mind you! God’s kingdom over the whole world.
“the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour…And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven…Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
- Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
- Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” (Daniel 5)
This is a key concept that applies not just to Israel’s failure to fulfill God’s purpose to be priest-kings, using his empowerment to represent him to all the peoples of the world to bring them into HIS kingdom of peace.
It is impossible to understand the future without following the profile most evidently documented in scripture. This pattern prevails from Israel’s downfall to Judah’s to the Babylonian to the Persian to the Greek and continues through Roman in all its iterations to our present time.
The final version of Daniel’s fourth empire is God’s political change agent which is destroyed when it fails to support God’s kingdom.
File that away as this study proceeds to identify that empire.
“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.” (Daniel 5:30)
For an in-depth review of the perspectives on “Darius the Mede” in relation to “Cyrus the Persian”, see Evidence Unseen.
“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer…I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; That saith to the deep [hold of, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers:
That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” (Isaiah 45)
“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his pople? his God [acknowledging that there are many of YHVH’s people who have turned to other gods] be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:2-3)
“.a mighty king shall stand up [Alexander the Great from Greece], that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will….his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven…even for others beside those…
- the king of the south...one of his [Alexander’s] princes…shall be strong…and have dominion.
Geographically, the south can only be Egypt, but Antiochus Epiphanes from the northern kingdom of Seleucus has to be mentioned somewhere in this prophecy. The connection is found in his thwarted attempt to conquer the king of the south.
In 175 BCE…Antiochus IV, ascended to the throne of Greco-Syria. As did many rulers, he appended the title Epiphanes (“God Manifest”) to his name…
he decided to pursue the conquest of Egypt, which no other Seleucid king had been able to accomplish…If Antiochus could conquer and annex Egypt, his kingdom’s size and power would be greatly increased and the Romans might be resisted…
to ultimately succeed in Egypt, he would need to disrupt the [rebellious] influence of the Jews within his own territories [at his back]…
Antiochus…outlawed Judaism. Among the now-forbidden practices were the rite of circumcision, the study of Torah, and the keeping of kashrut (Jewish dietary laws).
In the Jews’s Holy Temple, he placed a statue of Zeus — the god he believed was manifest in his own royal being — and sacrificed swine on the altar. He stripped the Temple of its sacred vessels, including the seven-branched golden menorah, and stole the silver and gold coin.
- And in the end of years
The “end of years” can only be the end of Daniel’s prophetic 70 weeks determined upon Israel, i.e. the decades coming up to the birth of Jesus the Christ.
- they shall join themselves together;
- for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north
“They” can only refer to both kings of the south and north, with the southern ruler being the famous Pharaoh Cleopatra VII from the Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty. She sought to strengthen her weakening hold on the family legacy by forging an alliance with the rising star Julius Caesar.
This marks the transition from the Greek to the Roman Empire.
In exchange for his support, Cleo produced a son for Julius Caesar. This had far more than emotional value. Cleopatra was the product of generational incest harboring and maximizing the traits / genes of the Egypt version of the same gods from whom the Julian clan proudly claimed descent. Like Helen of Troy, Cleo was a prize for any aspiring ruler grooming personal relationships with the gods through fathering a demi-god. Cleo bore Caesar his only begotten (i.e. legitimate, acknowledged) son in 47 BC, anticipating he would grow up to be his heir to sole ruler of all the Roman Empire.
Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC did not end Cleo’s plans. She succeeded in winning the support of Marc Antony, who, as Julius Caesar’s favorite general in the civil war, was Caesar’s most likely heir. Marc had considerable support in the Senate and the Army, and with Cleo’s substantial financial support from wealthy Egypt he would certainly make himself Caesar’s successor. Certainly the inexperienced 19 year old Octavian, nephew and legal heir to Caesar’s finances, was no rival. Marc used his political connections to declare Cleo’s son as Julius Caesar’s legitimate heir and King of Kings. Adding insult to injury, despite being married to Octavian’s sister and the illegality of Roman marriages to non-Romans, Marc contracted an Egyptian marriage with Cleo, even fathering three children with her.
The Mafia has nothing on classical Rome’s sense of vengeance. World war waged for the next ten years.
The Battle of Actium marked a seismic shift in the history of the Ancient Mediterranean. Ptolemaic Egypt, which could trace its origins to the famous conqueror, Alexander the Great, ceased to exist, becoming one of the Roman provinces. Rome, too, went through a significant change; a few years after Actium, Octavian, the victor of the battle, became the first Roman Emperor: Augustus…
From a biblical perspective, we can anticipate that the god of this world elected to incarnate as Octavian because Octavian made it more worth his while than Marc Antony.
the ships of Mark Antony and Cleopatra outnumbered Octavian’s fleet…[but]
Before the battle, Antony had to burn many of his warships since a deadly disease had decimated his crews.
Are you picking up the pattern? The leader of the 4th kingdom declares himself the savior of peace but brings in world war with accompanying disease and death.
Back in the Roman territory of Palestine, Herod, an Edomite who had converted to Judaism rose to power over the Jewish population, ruling for 32 years.
In complete accord with the gods’ strategy of degenerating God’s people through “the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16), otherwise known as civilization (see the post The Way of Cain)
Herod endowed his realm with massive fortresses and splendid cities,
- of which the two greatest were new, and largely pagan, foundations: the port of Caesarea Palaestinae on the coast between Joppa (Jaffa) and Haifa, which was afterward to become the capital of Roman Palestine…
- At Herodium Herod built a great palace…
- In Jerusalem he built the fortress of Antonia, portions of which may still be seen…
- and a magnificent palace (of which part survives in the citadel).
- His most grandiose creation was the Temple, which he wholly rebuilt. The great outer court, 35 acres (14 hectares) in extent, is still visible as Al-Ḥaram al-Sharīf.
- He also embellished foreign cities—Beirut, Damascus, Antioch, Rhodes—and many towns.
- Herod patronized the Olympic Games, whose president he became.
- In his own kingdom he could not give full rein to his love of magnificence, for fear of offending the Pharisees, the leading faction of Judaism, with whom he was always in conflict because they regarded him as a foreigner.
Herod undoubtedly saw himself…as the protector of Jewry outside of Palestine, whose Gentile hosts he did all in his power to conciliate.
This is a huge clue to the succeeding actor in this role during current events. As well as the following characterization.
there was a dark and cruel streak in Herod’s character…Herod murdered [his Jewish wife] Mariamne, her two sons, her brother, her grandfather, and her mother…Herod had [a total of ten] wives and had  children by six of them.
Not to mention all those innocent children when informed that one among them had been born the King of the Jews.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand…Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except…that man of sin be revealed,
- the son of perdition
- Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped
- he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God
- For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” (II Thessalonians 2:3-9 )
There would have been no question to the readers of Paul’s letter as it circulated throughout Roman territory that the “mystery of iniquity” was the current ruler of the fourth world empire who blatantly called himself Augustus Divi Filius / God, son of God, whether Nero Caesar in 54-68 AD or Domitian or the following holders of the title Augustus or Caesar.
And in the same light, the people in the first century AD who read John’s account would have filtered them through the Old Testament histories and analogies, and so should we as we read the following:
“There was given me [John] a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” (Revelation 11:1)
This is measuring the extent of dysfunctional apostasy in God’s people, especially his leadership.
Follow the pattern of the fall of Babylon, Persia, and Greece. Satan takes charge when God’s people in Jerusalem line up behind him, and God take charge when his people line up behind HIM.