“fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it” (Daniel 7:7)
We can track Lucifer’s dynasty through the major world empires to the last kingdom of the Roman Augustus Caesar inherited by those taking his family name, such as the Tsar of Russia and the Kaiser of Germany, as well as those who did not take the name of Caesar, but as rulers shared the adoptive lineage.
However, don’t get tunnel vision on Europe. 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.
“Thou, O king [Nebuchadnezzar], art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
- Thou art this head of gold.
- And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee,
- 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.
Each successive kingdom absorbs the previous kingdoms into an ever expanding territorial reach coinciding with an expanding world population, without eliminating the nations it incorporates under its rule.
“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.” (Daniel 2:28-45)
The historical record and current news support this reading that they are still “striving” for dominance amongst themselves as Iraq, Iran, Turkey/Ottoman Empire (original homeland of the Greeks and Alexander the Great’s primary goal for reclaiming as homeland), and the Europeans – including overseas territories of the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia.
When we match the biblical 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 Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon.
The land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers – Mesopotamia – 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, was a demigod, the son of Aphrodite / Venus. After the destruction of Troy, 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 impregnated by the god Mars and 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.
- 509 BC – overthrow 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 in Rome. The aristocrats were wealthy by virtue / power of land ownership which they had acquired 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.
- 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.
The founders of the Roman Republic, like the American founding fathers, placed checks and balances on the power of their leaders. The Romans, however, came up with a way to sidestep these checks and balances when strong leadership was needed, such as a time of crisis. The Senate could vote to grant absolute power to one man, called a dictator, for a temporary period…the dictatorship was limited to six months or even less if the crisis passed. If a dictator refused to step down, he could be forcibly removed.
The Roman dictator’s power was absolute. He could rule by decree. He could even order executions without a trial. For centuries, Roman dictators served when duty called and gave up power when their terms ended.
The Dictatorship of Julius Caesar
By 53 B.C., factions in the Senate had paralyzed the Roman government. The annual consul [senator] election degenerated into a contest of who could bribe the most voters. Street riots erupted. In a desperate move to restore order, the assembly elected General Gnaeus Pompey to serve as sole consul for a year. Informally, Pompey shared power with two other powerful generals—Julius Caesar and Marcus Crassus. Crassus was the general who had defeated Spartacus. And Caesar was the governor and military conqueror of Gaul / Europe. [By defending their borders with Rome, the indigenous tribes were preventing expansion of Rome’s territory into the continent. Exactly like George Washington rising to power by fighting the American Indians.] This military committee became known as the First Triumvirate.
In 49 B.C.E., Caesar did mass his legions at the border between Gaul and Italy. [Facing Italy, however.] Foes of Caesar spread the word that Caesar was about to invade Italy with his army….
The Senate demanded that Caesar give up his provincial command. Caesar answered by leading his army across the Rubicon River into Italy. This “crossing of the Rubicon” was an act of war, since a Roman general was forbidden to lead an army outside the province he governed. [Again, think George Washington and his allies rebelling against the British government and their allies in power in the American Colonies.] Pompey and most of the senators fled the country…
By 45 B.C., Caesar had defeated all the troops loyal to Pompey. The Senate acclaimed him “Liberator” [from the war HE created!] and made him dictator for 10 years… in February 44 B.C., Caesar was made dictator for life…he was assassinated only a few days later [by a government faction attempting to uphold the Constitution.]
Caesar’s death plunged Rome into 17 years of civil war. The warfare finally ended when Octavian, Caesar’s [nephew and] adopted son, became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. Although the forms of the Republic such as the Senate and the election of the consuls continued, the emperor held all power. Democracy in Rome was dead and dictatorship had won.
After any catastrophe or extended period of devastating war most people not only willingly, but eagerly give up their freedoms in favor of a sense of security. This access route to tyranny is built into any government modeled after the Roman republic. The Caesars’ rise to power is the modus operandi for all successive dictators hungry for more power but limited by the restrictions of a monarchical or democratic form of government.
- 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 rights. The 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.
- 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 that would be the two-legged feature of the fourth empire, right?
Legs of iron: Rome and Constantinople…
Feet and toes: first view of revived Rome
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
Rome’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
During 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 but…a 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 wisely 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.
(Odoacer’s coins struck in the name of Emperor Zeno, testifying to the formal submission of Odoacer to Zeno.)
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.