Theology and Politics from a Conservative, Biblical Perspective
In part two of this series, we spoke briefly about the coming one-world system of governance to be ruled over by ten kings. However, from the midst of those ten individuals rises another, the 11th, who subdues three of the original ten, leaving seven. The implication is that those three kings are removed from the picture, most likely through murder. This leaves the seven of the original ten and the one who rose among them but was not part of the original ten. This individual – the Antichrist – was originally the 11th, but after eliminating three of the ten kings, becomes the 8th. All of this is specifically referenced in both Revelation 17 and Daniel 7.
We also mentioned last time that in order to trace the development from past history to future history when these ten kings will actually take their predetermined positions as rulers of the world that will become a globally unified network and then divided into ten sections (most likely for easier control and to allow for more members of the Elite to rule, instead of just one individual). It seems clear enough that once the world becomes unified globally, then sectioned off into ten areas, this is when the Antichrist makes his move to become top man.
But where does all of this start? As we noted previously, even though the coming one-world government has roots all the way back to Genesis 11, Nimrod, and the Tower of Babel, it all begins in earnest in Daniel 2. This is where God chose to reveal what was previously hidden and starts the clock ticking for Israel. It is interesting that God chose to reveal the start of the first empire all the way to the global unification of the fourth and final empire in its revised or “resurrected” form (yet future), through Nebuchadnezzar. However, it makes sense if this is where God began tracking the 70 “weeks” that are revealed in Daniel 9.
We know that the main reason Jerusalem was sacked and Israelites either killed or taken out of Jerusalem and to Babylon was due to the fact that as a nation, they had failed to observe the seventh-year Sabbath of the land, allowing it to lie fallow. They did this for a total of 70 seventh-year Sabbaths. Interestingly enough, when the Israelites added up seven weeks of years, according to Leviticus 25:8-12, we learn that every 49 years (seven times seven), the Israelites were to celebrate the year of Jubilee.
8 “You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. 9 Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. 10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. 11 That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. You may eat the produce of the field.
I’ve emphasized most of the entire verse 8 because it provides the groundwork for understanding the 70 “weeks” of Daniel 9, which we will revisit in this series. Suffice it to say that since the Jews failed to keep the seven-year Sabbath for the land, they also failed to keep the year of Jubilee, according to the requirements of Scripture. This added up to big problems for Israel and this, along with their constant problems with idolatry (worshiping Baal and Ashtoreth especially), God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to overcome the nation of Israel and take surviving Jews (including Daniel and his immediate friends), captive to Babylon.
In a nutshell, this is why Nebuchadnezzar was given permission essentially to overcome Israel. God meant it as chastisement for their continued failures. Of course, Nebuchadnezzar simply wanted to enlarge his empire’s borders. This he had done after succeeding his father Nabopolassar, in approximately 605 BC. Nebuchadnezzar successfully attacked Judah and over the space of three individual deportations (over the space of roughly 11 years), Nebuchadnezzar removed valuables from the Jewish Temple as well as people from Jerusalem to Babylon.
According to Daniel 2:1, we are told that in Nebuchadnezzar’s second year of reigning he had a dream that troubled him. He could not make heads or tails out of it and of course, this was God’s plan so that God could use Daniel to provide the information for which Nebuchadnezzar sought. We learn in this same chapter that Nebuchadnezzar refused to tell anyone what the dream was as he wanted to avoid every possibility of being tricked by his wise men and counselors. Daniel asked to be given time to pray to God for the revelation and that was granted.
The mystery of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was revealed to Daniel (Daniel 2:19), and he went before the king giving glory to God as the One who provides the answers to mysteries beyond the scope of human endeavor and understanding. In his praise to God, Daniel reminds all of us that God is fully sovereign. We are told God sets up and removes kings, changes the times and seasons, and grants wisdom and understanding to those wise enough to seek Him in the first place (Daniel 2:21).
It is the revelation of the mystery of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that reveals to us the “times of the Gentiles” and the four main empires that will all have some control over Israel to some extent until the end of that period. The revelation of the empires is given in the form of a large statue made up of different metals. We learn that the first empire – the head of gold – represents Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian Empire. The second one to come after that is represented by the breast and arms of silver, the Medo-Persian Empire. Following that empire is the Grecian Empire represented by the statue’s belly and thighs of brass. Finally, the fourth empire represented by the legs of iron is the Roman Empire.
It is interesting to note that going from Babylon to Rome, the empires decrease in character of authority and rule, but they increase in strength. Notice also on the right pictured in the chart, just to the right of the down arrow starting with purple and ending in white, that each empire is slightly different in make-up and also represented by a different animal.
Babylon was an absolute monarchy. Nebuchadnezzar had the first and final word and he as king was above the law completely. The Medo-Persian Empire, while a monarchy, did not allow the king to be above the law. He had to abide by the laws created and could not change them. By the time of the Grecian Empire, there were no kings per se, but simply a ruler, who ruled by force and gifts. The Roman Empire was a republic, that was essentially governed by a senate. However, eventually, Caesar became the ruling member and while the Roman Empire lasted for hundreds of years, it ultimately caved in under its own weight of corruption and mob rule.
These are the four main empires and what is interesting is that they all essentially took over the previous one and largely remained in the same geographic location in the world. Each successive empire expanded its borders as well, but incorporated the land area of the previous empire. I believe the final revised Roman Empire that resurrects itself in the future will also start and have its major impact in that same area of the world and will also control Israel.
There were also other empires in other parts of the world, but for the most part, those did not directly impact or control Israel. In the four empires just listed, they all incorporated and had control over Israel. Depending upon the benevolence of the ruler, Israel had greater or lesser freedoms from one empire to the next.
But again, the initial reason why God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to attack, gain the victory, and take into captivity those of Israel was because of Israel’s terrible track record where the Sabbaths and Jubilees were concerned as well as the constant problem of idolatry. Because the Israelites’ recklessly ignored God’s laws, there would be some form of God-sent retribution. It came with Nebuchadnezzar and remains to this day. Why? Because the “times of the Gentiles” is not yet over.
Daniel 5 tells us of the actual fall of Babylon, which occurred after Nebuchadnezzar had died and King Belshazzar made the mistake of having a huge party and using some of the vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Jewish Temple years before.
That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old (Daniel 5:30-31).
Darius is from the Mede portion of the Medo-Persian Empire, so Scripture proves its integrity by predicting something years before it actually took place. I’ve included a chronological order of the chapters of Daniel and please note that chapters 1 – 4 are chronological, but then chapters 7 and 8 come next on the timeline, followed by chapters 5 and 6, followed by chapters 7 – 12. If you take the time to read the book of Daniel, it would be helpful to read it in that order to understand what follows what.
By the way, Daniel 6 gives an excellent example of how Darius was unable to set the law he made aside and had to wait to let things play out. This chapter is of course dealing with Daniel in the lion’s den. Nebuchadnezzar would have had no difficulty setting the law aside because he was above the law in ruling his empire. Not so for the Medo-Persian Empire. As an aside, yesterday’s Persia is today’s Iran.
In Daniel 7, we learn of another dream that occurs and this time, Daniel himself has it. Here in chapter 7, King Belshazzar is still alive and king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar has died. What we learn in Daniel 7:1 – 8 is more about the original four empires, but this time they are represented as different beasts as included on the chart above.
The first three empires of Daniel 2 and 7. Note 3rd Empire – Grecian – breaks into four parts. Under one of those generals, Antiochus Epiphanes IV creates the abomination of desolation in 168 BC.
Daniel 8 deals more specifically with the ending of the Medo-Persian Empire (ram with two horns), and the beginnings of the Grecian Empire (male goat, v. 5). It also tells us about a “little horn” that comes into play after the male goat’s horn is “broken” into four parts. This of course, turned out historically to be the death of Alexander the Great and four generals who broke his empire into four parts. The little horn here in verse 9 is actually referring to Antiochus Epiphanes IV, who desecrated the Jewish Temple standing at the time causing the sacrifices to cease. This act became known as the “abomination of desolation” that Jesus refers to in His Olivet Discourse (cf. Matthew 24), when our Lord points to a future point indicating that this same type of act would occur again, but next time, it would be perpetrated by the Antichrist (see also 2 Thessalonians 2).
Daniel 8 makes reference to the number 2,300 days. Many conservative scholars believe this amounted to the time of persecution of the Jews suffered under Antiochus Epiphanes IV. Daniel 8:15-27 provides the interpretation of Daniel’s vision/dream by the angel Gabriel, whom Daniel referred to as having the appearance of a man (v. 15b).
We have not gotten to the part of Daniel that highlights the 70 “weeks” and how that all plays out, but we will. Remember, we are providing the biblical (and confirmed secular), history of these four main empires and how they eventually segue into the coming one-world system of governance that will still have authority over Israel under God’s design.
We’ll be back with more!