Prophecy is an event predicted to happen before its time, and the Bible is a prophetic book. The rise and fall of nations has always been of interest to mankind and the Bible is saturated with such predictions. We shall examine several passages that disclose the rise and fall of four great civilisations.
The prophet Daniel spoke of them and aided by history books, the accuracy of the Bible can be assessed. Examination of the books of Daniel and Revelation supports the theme of this article, the prophecy of the four great Kingdoms and finally the emergence of a fifth eternal Kingdom of our Lord on earth.
The second chapter of Daniel records that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon had a dream that troubled him. He could not sleep and commanded his magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and Chaldeans to come and tell him, the dream, since he could not recall it, nor understand its meaning. They protested and said that it was not possible, only the gods could do such a thing. This made the King so angry that he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon should be put to death.
The Dream Revealed
Now, Daniel being a wise man of Babylon, knew he was in trouble when he heard of the order. Along with his companions they prayed to God concerning the dream, that they would not perish along with the wise men of Babylon.
It was fortunate for Daniel that God answered his prayers. During the night in a vision the secret was revealed to him and he blessed the God of heaven. Daniel was now prepared to face the King and approached Arioch, the captain of the King's guard who hastened him before Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel then expounds the dream,
"As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass" (DANIEL 2:29).
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces... and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth" DANIEL 2:31-35.
Daniel then confirms its meaning,
"You, O King are this head of Gold, and after you will come an inferior Kingdom. Then a third which shall rule over the whole earth, followed by a fourth kingdom as strong as iron, its feet and toes, part clay and part iron. This kingdom will be divided, but maintain the strength of iron. The toes of the feet will be strong yet broken. For as you saw the clay and the iron mixed, so shall men intermingle themselves but will not cling to one another even as iron and clay will not."
"Yet the God of Heaven will set up a Kingdom, that will smash these kingdoms, and will stand forever. Like the stone that broke the image to pieces. God has made known to the King what will happen in the future, both dream and its meaning are certain" (DANIEL 2:38-45 AMP).
The King was impressed with Daniel's interpretation saying, "
The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret" (DANIEL 2:47). Then the King made Daniel a great man, even a ruler over the whole province of Babylon.
Great Kingdoms On Earth
This prophecy can be compared with history and we can plot the rise and fall of these Kingdoms by examining historical maps that identify them.
We know the first Kingdom was the Babylonian Kingdom which, from 604 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar reigned, lasted until 538 B.C. The second was the Medo-Persian kingdom which lasted until Alexander the Great, of Greece, dominated them in 330 B.C. The Greek provinces in turn came under the Roman yoke during the first century A.D.
The fourth Kingdom, however, was first described as legs of iron with feet and toes of clay and iron. The latter part of the Roman Empire conveys this. The Imperial Roman Empire was eventually crushed and then inhabited by invading tribes of people over a period of several centuries. Imperial Rome evolved into the Holy Roman Empire, and a mixture of tribes then established kingdoms within the Empire. This aptly describes the feet and toes of the image in the dream, men that mingled but did not mix, even as the iron did not mix with the clay.
This theme is again repeated in Chapter seven of Daniel, where the four Kingdoms are described as four great beasts coming up from the sea, each different to the other.
The first was like a lion with eagles wings, and another like a bear having three ribs in its mouth. Then a third like a leopard with four heads and four wings on its back, and the fourth, a strong and terrible beast with iron teeth and ten horns. A smaller horn emerged with eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
Daniel then describes a judgment throne and the destruction of the beast with the horn and boastful mouth. Following that comes one like the Son of Man, and to Him was given an everlasting kingdom (DANIEL 7:3-14). "
For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." (JOHN 6:26-27).
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion..." REVELATION 13:1-2.
The similarity with Daniel's vision completes the picture of the fourth beast. Let us now consider the meaning of this beast.
The beasts are four kings which rose out of the earth, but Daniel is more troubled by the vision of the fourth beast. He especially desires to know more about the boastful horn. He is told that the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth that will trample and destroy. The ten horns of this beast represent ten kings of the Empire. Another horn (King) shall arise, although differing from the others. He will speak great words against the Most High and clash with the saints of the Most High.
This description of the fourth beast parallels quite well with the description of the Roman kingdom. Roman history shows that, with the gradual erosion of Imperial Rome, came the emergence of these kingdom states constituting what became the Holy Roman Empire. Within these ten kingdom states rose the Papacy to dominate and influence the kings with great religious proclamations about its importance.
Furthermore, the location and role of this fourth beast is described in Revelation Chapter Seventeen. We are told the seven heads are seven mountains where a woman sits, and the ten horns are ten kings. The water where the beast and woman sit is nations and peoples. Finally we are told the woman is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.
We do not have to look far for a city that ruled over the kings of the Holy Roman Empire and sits on seven mountains - of course it is Rome.
Source: ‘Voice of Revival’