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CHAPTER TWO - Four Great Gentile Empires will subjugate Judah.
The four great Empires which were revealed to Daniel in several visions were given to him to show the Empires which would conquer, influence and subjugate Judah (from Daniel’s time forward in the course of World history); beginning with Babylon, followed by Media/Persia, then Greece, and finally Rome. Daniel chapter 7 gives a short “overview” of the 4 great empires and then concentrates the rest of its attention on the fourth and last Empire, ending with the restoration of Judah’s nationhood (Kingdom). Daniel’s chief concern in his writings, is for the sin of “his people” (Judah - the Jews) who were in exile, and also for the restoration of the temple from the existing “desolation of the holy mountain in Jerusalem” caused by the rise of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 606 B.C. (Dan 9:3-19). These four major Empires; out of the many Kingdoms, Rulers, and marauding Tribes that inhabited the area of the Middle East and Fertile Crescent during the same tumultuous period; were envisioned, and their details were recorded because of their future interaction with the Jews. This writer sees three main reasons for recording only four major Empires in Daniel’s writings. These three aspects of Daniel’s writings highlight and emphasise – 1) The age of dispersion for the Jews – (i.e., the Two Southern tribes - Judah & Benjamin and some Levites and other faithful people from the tribes of Israel.) Many of these people went into exile following the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 B.C. It also highlights the succession of Gentile power bases in the area from Babylon through Media/Persia and Greece until Rome in its final manifestation came to an end. 2) ...“particular persecutions” which would violate the Jewish people. These would be perpetrated by each “particular” Beast Empire in turn, (or combination of Beast Empires, as is the case with the yet to arise composite Beast Empire of Rev 13:1-2). 3) To give special emphasis to the 4 th Beast Roman Empire and its descendant nations during its prolonged and cruel oppression and persecution of the Jews in dispersion from 70 A.D onwards, until 1948. These three reasons should be looked at in more detail.
The age of dispersion for the Jews
Judah first went into exile when the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, (1 st Beast Empire described as a Lion) rose to power in the Middle East and subdued Assyria, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. He captured Jerusalem in 597 B.C. He later destroyed Solomon’s Temple in 586 B.C. and continued with subsequent deportations of Judah’s people to Babylon. Although Judah was restored after the Babylonian Empire was defeated by the Persians, (2nd Beast Empire described as a Bear); many Jews remained in dispersion. They suffered again under the Grecian (3 rd Beast Empire described as a Leopard) and its descendant Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes, especially during the consequences from the Jewish revolt led by the Maccabees family. This revolt finally caused the Romans to intervene and drive the Greek Armies out of the Holy Land. The number of Jews in dispersion were added to and subsequently aggravated by the burning of the second Temple and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. by the Romans – 4th Beast Empire - and the war which followed. The Jews forced dispersion into the World over many Centuries finally ended in 1948 when they were again restored as a Kingdom/Nation in their own homeland Israel.
The Little Horn of Daniel’s 4th Empire and the Kingdom of the Jews
When Daniel’s writings are carefully studied it can be seen that the historical record relating to each of the two Empires that grew a “little horn” is laid out like a family tree, starting with the principal Empire/Ruler, and descending through disintegration into internal divisions, (i.e., “horn stage”) and descendent rulers, until a “little horn” is reached. In Daniel Chapter 7 it is shown quite clearly that this particular “little horn” is a descendent ruler/Nation which comes to the forefront or pinnacle of power after the 4 th Empire has devolved into the “10 horn” stage of its history. From Chapter 7:7 onwards Daniel deals solely with the Roman 4 th Empire from 27 B.C. onwards, and covers the Jewish dispersion which followed the Temple’s destruction in 70 A.D. Rome then descends via the “10 horns” stage; to the final manifestation of Rome in the “little horn”; prior to the end of its tenure as an Empire. In Daniel Chapter 8 the second vision is given two years after the first, but this time the focus is on two of the principal Empires (Media/Persia and Greece). However in this vision they have taken on “different” animal characteristics, i.e. the “Ram” and the “He Goat”. These scriptures show quite clearly that this particular “little horn” comes out of one of the “four horns” stage of the 3rd Beast Empire, Greece, following the death of Alexander the Great, (the “He Goat”). This second “little horn” is historically recognizable as the “Seleucid” ruler Antiochus Epiphanes, who violated the Temple Sanctuary, in the time of the 2nd Temple (167 BC). These two separate “little horns” are totally dissimilar in respect to their origin, modus operandi, AntiSemitic intentions, end destiny and timing in history, and therefore have no relevance to one another, apart from the fact that they both persecuted the Jews, (Judah). To mix the details of these two visions and two separate Anti-Semitic “little horn” ruler/persecutors; “muddies the water”, and causes confusion in identifying who they are. They should be viewed as two totally separate and different visions, about two historically different and recognizable personages. However, we are fortunate that there is a great deal of information given in Daniel chapter 7 about the final “manifestation” of the 4 th Beast Empire, and its persecution of the Jews, which helps to identify who the descendant “little horn” of Daniel 7 might be.
The Devolution of the 4th Empire
When the scriptures of Daniel 2 and 7 are interleaved in chronological order, relating to the visions of the 4th Beast Empire, a clear progressive devolution can be seen which correlates to the history of the geographical Roman Empire as follows A single “dreadful and terrible” Empire - (Dan. 7:7, 7:19) as strong as iron (2:40) - speaks of Imperial Rome in its ascendancy stage when it ruled Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. 27 B.C. until 476 A.D. Divided Kingdom – Diverse from the other Kingdoms (Dan.7:7) and with Iron Legs (2:33 and 2:41). From 476 A.D. onwards, Rome divided politically into East and West, and over a long period of time, the Empire disintegrated into individual Nations. (The Emperors continued in the East, ruling from Constantinople during the “Byzantine” period; and the Popes and German Kings ruled in the West, eventually becoming the “Holy Roman Empire”.) This culminated in the schism of 1056 A.D. between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Western Roman Catholic Church where “Spiritual rule” was established by the Popes. This is also the period of time 2
The Little Horn of Daniel’s 4th Empire and the Kingdom of the Jews when the Catholic Crusades took place. The 4th Crusade operating from Venice sacked Constantinople in 1204 A.D., weakening its defences. Constantinople subsequently fell to the Seljuk Turks in 1453 A.D. and Islam and the Ottoman Empire (14 th – 20th Century) became established in the Eastern portion of the old Roman Empire, and later also in Spain in the West. Feet and toes partly of iron and clay - partly strong and partly broken - (2:33 and 2:42-43); two types of sovereign Nations (strong and broken) intermingling but not adhering to one another, illustrates the dissolution into separate Western European Empires warring with one another, e.g. Britain, Spain, France, (15th to 17th Centuries), and the 10 Colonising Nations– (7:7b and 7:20a and 7:23) which devoured the whole earth, treading it down and breaking it into pieces – i.e., “New World” Colonies ruled by the European Empires, i.e. the “Strong”. The 1st World War followed, when European countries fought one another. This ended in 1918. The “10 horn” stage when contemporary European Nations signed the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and established the League of Nations. (7:7b 7:8a and 7:20a and 24a) The “little horn” Nation appears among the others, (7:8 7:20b and 24b) and plucks up and subdues three contemporary, (neighbouring) Nations. (7:8b-9a, 7:21 and 7:25), which resulted in the 2nd World War 1939 – 1945. The end of the 3rd Reich attempt to revive the Roman Empire. The dissolution of the Western European Colonial Empires from 1945 onwards into Nation states. The establishment of the Nation of Israel in 1948, when the Holy Land “Kingdom” was ceded to Israel by Britain. (7:14 and 7:27) Finally, all four old Empires (in Europe and the Middle East) are destroyed by God’s Stone Kingdom at the feet and toes stage – 2:34-35 and 2:43-44, (Armageddon) followed by the 2 nd Coming of Jesus Christ, when his Millennial Kingdom will rule over the previous 4 Beast Empires.
The scriptures in these two chapters show the changeable and diverse nature of the 4 th Beast Empire, as it progressed from a single “manifestation” of Empire; which then divided into East and West and thence into many different Colonizing nations and warring parts which conquered the World, breaking it into Colony sized “pieces”. Daniel 2:40-44 says “they shall mingle themselves...but they shall not cleave one to another.” During the ensuing Centuries there were many attempts to reunite the shattered pieces of the Roman Empire. These attempts at unification will be documented later. However, scripture states these “toe” Nations will remain divided, and have no close association with one another.
NOTE: From 1900 onwards; the era leading up to World War I and the aftermath of it which precipitated World War II, is when the “10 horned stage” of the 4 th Beast Roman Empire was reached; i.e. various European Nations which were previously part of the Roman Empire in both East and West had been established and obtained autonomy. Many other World wide Nations entered an “independence” era as they sought freedom from their European Colonial Masters. It is after this “10 horned stage” of th Beast was to arise. independent Nations that the “little horn” of the 4 The advent and demise of the “little horn” was to precipitate the “saints of the Most High” to possess the Kingdom. (Daniel 7)
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