As the end-time approaches, I have become increasingly interested in the study of prophecy; especially as it relates to “what’s next” on the prophetic calendar. In recent posts I have demonstrated that the next great event will be the descent of our Lord into the lower heavens to set up His tribunal over the earth. At that time, there will be a selective rapture of saints who have been “watching and waiting,” in accordance with our Lord’s admonitions to the seven Asian churches (Rev. 2 and 3). The rest of disciples will be left to “ripen” under the hot suns of tribulation. Those slain for their testimony will be raised as martyrs at the close of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 20: 4).
But anyone who studies prophecy will see that prior to the parousia (i.e., our Lord’s stationary presence in the lower heavens) there will also be great commotions among the nations of the world. Our Lord intimates as much (Luke 21: 25-26); and the book of Daniel confirms that great political changes must occur before Antichrist is revealed in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week.
In Daniel 2, the prophet mentions seven kingdoms; and not, as is often thought, four or five. Our analysis of the mechanics of the endtime governmental system will be confirmed by typology which looks backwards from Daniel; and the book of Revelation, which looks forwards, and whose prophecies are yet future to ourselves.
When interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel listed the various components of the great “colossus” in order, starting with the head of gold, which typified the Babylonian empire (Dan. 2: 37-38). This is followed by a description of the arms of silver (Medo-Persia), the belly and thighs of brass (the Graeco-Macedonian power), and the legs of iron (Rome). The feet of iron and clay are a subsequent power that constitute the final form of the Roman empire. Thus we have five kingdoms so far.
The sixth kingdom will be the reconstitution of all the previous world empires under the authority of Antichrist, who arises out of the fifth kingdom. For when the “stone cut out without hands” comes from heaven, the iron, clay, brass, silver, and gold are broken to pieces together (Dan. 2: 34-35). That means that the colossus will be standing when Christ comes the second time.
So here are the kingdoms in order:
1): Head of gold = Babylon
2): Breast and arms of silver = Medo-Persia
3): Belly and thighs of brass = Greece
4): Legs of iron = Rome
5): Feet of iron and clay = Revived Roman empire.
6): All components reunited = Antichrist’s universal kingdom.
7): Stone from heaven = The kingdom of Christ.
The typology of the Old Testament confirms our view. For Goliath, an acknowledged type of Antichrist, is stamped with the number 6. His height was six cubits and a span; his spear’s head weighed 600 shekels of iron (1 Samuel 17: 4, 7). When he stood on his feet and defied the God of Israel, all were put in fear (1 Sam. 17: 24). But Daniel, a type of Christ, went out to meet him, to take away the reproach of Israel. Instead of using Saul’s armor, however, David gathered smooth stones out of a brook, one of which, when slung from afar, smote the Philistine giant. It was not man’s weapons, however well crafted, that killed Goliath, but a “stone cut out without hands.”
The antitype of the battle between David and Goliath will occur in connection with the Great Tribulation, when Antichrist, comprising not only the leader of the fifth world empire, but the head of the sixth, stands upon his feet to defy the God of Israel. It is evident that this cannot take place until all the previous world empires are united. While Antichrist will arise out of the revived Roman empire, his power will climax in a universal kingdom that comprises all the components of Nebuchadnezzar’s colossus.
The teaching that there are only four empires preceding Christ’s kingdom, or at the most five, comes from an attempt to harmonize Daniel 2 with Daniel 7. But we see no contradictions in the two visions. In Daniel 7, the prophet describes the same progression of hostile world powers, except he only sees five. The sixth is an amalgamation of those contained in Daniel 7, and was not seen by Daniel himself, but by John when on the island of Patmos.
Comparing Daniel 2 with Daniel 7, it is easy to recognize that the first beast like unto a lion, represents Babylon (Dan. 7: 4). The second, like unto a bear, represents Medo-Persia (Dan. 7: 5). The third is a leopard, which stands for Greece (Dan. 7: 6). The fourth “dreadful and terrible” beast with iron teeth, is the Roman power (Dan. 7); the ten horns representing the empire in its final form. The little horn is prophetic of Antichrist, the leader of this revived Roman empire. Seen in this light, the fourth beast is actually an amalgamation of the fourth and fifth powers.
What John saw in Revelation 13: 1-5 was not the fourth beast of Daniel, but all of Daniel’s beasts combined, with the horns of the fourth beast intact. This is the sixth empire, which will arise during the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. For the beast is like unto a leopard (Greece), but it has feet like a bear (Medo Persia), and a mouth like a lion (Babylon), while the ten horns indicate the Roman power revived. It is a universal kingdom of Antichrist, which will challenge the Living God. And the beast will be cast alive into the lake of fire, along with his coadjutor the false prophet (Rev. 19: 20).
The “seven heads” seen in John’s vision indicate that Antichrist, as the little horn of the fourth beast, will enter into struggle with the remaining kingdoms not absorbed by the revived Roman empire. After the establishment of the fifth kingdom under Antichrist, there will be certain world powers that have yet to be subdued. The conquest and absorption of these powers will probably occur prior to the first half of the 70th week. Five of these world powers will fall before a sixth actually assumes dominion (Rev. 17: 10). The sixth will be displaced by Antichrist. Antichrist is the eighth, but is of the seven (Rev. 17: 11). He is the seventh head, who shall put down all opposition and head up all world government as the “eighth.” His incarnation as the eighth head fills up the last half of Daniel’s 70th week.
Thus, interpreting the visions of Daniel and John, we have:
1): First beast, like a lion = Babylon
2): Second beast, like a bear = Medo-Persia
3): Third Beast, like a leopard = Greece
4): Fourth beast = Rome
5): Ten horns on fourth beast = Revived Roman empire.
6): John’s composite beast = Antichrist’s universal kingdom.
In agreement with the vision of Daniel 2, John’s beast points us back to Goliath. For Antichrist is depicted as opening his mouth to blaspheme God (Rev. 13: 6) and those who tabernacle in heaven (that is, those saints who have been caught up to the throne as the “manchild” of Rev. 12: 5). With these facts in mind, it should be clear that John’s beast is in all respects parallel with Daniel’s colossus, and that both represent and illustrate that final form of Satanic and anti-Christian opposition to Jehovah Elohim, which will manifest itself before the coming of Jesus Christ with all His saints. At Christ’s coming, the seventh kingdom will be established.