With the sudden wave of democracy currently flooding many of the authoritarian, dictatorial Middle East and North African nations, I believe that, using the Scriptures as our guide, we can start to expect a similar wave (yet in the opposite direction) to strike the democratic nations of Europe.
If you go back to the book of Daniel, written some 2500 years ago, I am quite convinced that God gave to King Nebuchadnezzar (a pagan king of a pagan kingdom) a dream that was to be a “prophetic picture” that stretches down from his time through the end of this age and introduces the “age to come”.
“However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.” (Dan 2:28)
Believe it or not, I believe you can expect a sudden wave of “iron fisted”, authoritarian rule to sweep through many democratic European nations. The exact opposite of the Arab Spring! Bankrupt Greece might be the first one, followed by Italy…
In King Nebuchadnezzar’s famous dream, there was a statue that was “a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance” (Dan 2:31) with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
I think God wanted to establish this dream with such significance that He moved upon Nebuchadnezzar to have all the wise men in Babylon put to death for not being able to tell the dream (which had never been asked of any one before!) and interpret the dream. Only Daniel, as he was awaiting capture and death, was able to correctly declare the dream and its interpretation.
The “head of gold” Daniel declared to be King Nebuchadnezzar himself – Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, from God’s perspective was golden! (2:38) It was complete, authoritarian control. Daniel himself had said this about the king:
“Because of the grandeur which [God] bestowed on him, all the peoples, nations and men of every language feared and trembled before him; whomever he wished he killed and whomever he wished he spared alive; and whomever he wished he elevated and whomever he wished he humbled. (5:19)
The book of Daniel goes on to show us that after the golden kingdom of Babylon came the silver, “inferior kingdom” of Medo-Persia. Other authors have come to the same conclusions:
Nebuchadnezzar was an absolute monarch, the succeeding empires progressively less so. They were larger and lasted longer than Babylon, but none held as much centralized power as Nebuchadnezzar did. (David Guzik)
To further support this point the Bible provides us with two stories of pending executions. First is the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego thrown into the fiery furnace by the King of Babylon. The three youths were thrown into the fiery furnace because they ignored King Nebuchadnezzar’s edict to worship his golden image. The “king of the known world” was so enraged that he ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual.
Fast-forward to the second scene of Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den by King Darius the Mede, who had been tricked and manipulated by his own subordinates to slay Daniel against his own will. This is why scripture declares this kingdom to be “inferior” and is depicted as silver in the statute – which by today’s standards is still an inferior metal to gold!
As you move down the statue from head to feet the metals became less and less valuable but more and more stronger for destruction. We find next Greece (bronze belly) which ruled by the strength of military might and then New Testament brings us up-to-date by showing that the Roman Caesars (legs of iron) have succeeded the Greek kings by the time of Christ. Secular history confirms what God showed to Daniel in giving him this interpretation.
“Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come…”
In the last book of the Bible we find the apostle John was given a similar revelation of the successive kingdoms that would rule on the earth in connection to Israel. In his usual cryptic style throughout the book of Revelation he writes about these kingdoms like this:
“Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction”. (Rev. 17: 10-11)
In Isaiah we are told that the first kingdom to rule Israel was Egypt, which lasted 400 years and that was followed by Assyria.
For thus says the Lord GOD, “My people went down at the first into Egypt to reside there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.” (Isa 52:4)
Daniel identifies for us the three kingdoms that would follow: Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece. The “one is” kingdom (of Rev. 17:10) can only be the Roman Empire which was ruling as “legs of iron” at the time of John’s writing.
The “other has not yet come” kingdom will be the revived Roman Empire that will come at the end of this age in the form of a 10 nation federation (remember the 10 toes of iron and clay from the statue). It is to be noted that the spread of those 10 nations (or kingdoms) at the end of this age will include an odd mixture of “iron and clay” and will stay in power until the return of Jesus:
In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. (Dan 2: 41-42)
This volatile mixture, this “divided kingdom” of iron-like strength and clay-like fragility, will remain until the Second Coming of Christ, when He comes as a Rock, “cut out without hands” (2:34) and crushes the statute on its feet, bringing all the kingdoms of men to an abrupt end! After that, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ will begin on this earth.
But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. (2:35)
In this prophetic picture, the next developing plot will be some of the clay-like nations of western European taking on the flavor of the iron-like rule of a dictatorship, as we have known for centuries in north Africa. Don’t be too surprised if a “Gaddafi-type” despot comes to rule a nation like Greece, Turkey or Italy.
The beast which will come at the end of this age is “one of the seven” which means he will come out of the Roman Empire, a small insignificant ruler at first but he will arise to try and take over complete control of Jerusalem, with the help of the 10 nation federation. There he will meet his end at the coming of the King! (Zech 14:1-4)
In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. (2:44)
Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!
• Syria’s embattled Bashar Assad security forces have killed thousands of protesters
• Yemen’s wounded Ali Abdullah Saleh clings to power in a state on the verge of civil war
• Tunisia’s president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia January 2011
• Egypt’s deposed Hosni Mubarak was talked into internal exile before being hauled into court
• Libyan’s ruler Muammar Gaddafi styled himself as Africa’s King of Kings ended up dragged through the streets
As each successive Arab dictator has been ousted, the violence unleashed to retain power and the violence needed to topple the regime has increased exponentially. That may serve as a sobering harbinger that the worst in yet to come in the Middle East. (Paul Koring — The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
To date over 15 countries have experienced a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests in what has come to be called the Arab Spring.
Interestingly enough, and what I want to highlight at this time, is that many of these countries fall within the boundaries of the old Roman Empire — which has a huge place of importance in the last days scenario. Father God will orchestrate End Time events so that the transition of the end of this age to the “age to come” will take place primarily within the boundaries of the Roman Empire, the same Empire that ruled during the death of His Son!
To look into the answer as to what is the prophetic significance of the Arab Spring one must turn back in time to the early days in the life of Daniel (ca. 580 BC). Daniel was just a youth when the King of Babylon, one King Nebuchadnezzar, approached the him about a troubling dream he had.
This dream is the cornerstone of all prophecies as it depicts the coming succession of Gentile rulers on what I call the “Prophetic Earth” until the return of the Lord Jesus in glory in the form of a large statue. This statue accurately prophesied the reign of Babylon (head of gold), Persia (silver), Greece (bronze) and Rome (legs of iron). This is a stunning prophecy as Greece is called by name as the world leader 250 years before Alexander the Great’s birth!
1. Babylon (604 – 539 BC)
2. Medo-Persia (539–330 BC)
3. Greece (330 – 146 BC)
4. Rome (146 BC – 456 AD)
These coming Kingdoms that would rule on the earth are depicted as metals and you can easily see that as you descend down the statue, from head to toe, the metals become more and more inferior — even the Olympics use this same standard! (Gold, Silver, Bronze) Finally you get to the feet and toes that are an unwielding mixed of iron and clay.
Gold represented absolute reign by a King. Silver represented reigning by council. (Remember that Darius was tricked into putting Daniel into the lion’s den by those he shared power with!) Bronze represented military might and power to the strongest. Iron represented absolute control albeit by an elected official — think “Caesars”. Clay represented government “by the people”. Think “he has feet of clay” as when someone reveals a flaw that makes him vulnerable or more human.
The Bible describes something as miry clay, mixed with iron. But iron and clay don’t mix! The prophecies describe ten-nations which will be unified together, but only for a short time… Nevertheless, there are as yet unfulfilled CORROBORATING prophecies which predict a cohesive combine of nations described as ten kings which will play a critical role in a tumultuous culmination of end time events. (Garner Ted Armstrong)
Clay in scripture is equal with people.
“O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8
A major slogan of the demonstrators in the Arab world has been “the people want to bring down the regime”. (Uriel Abulof, March 2011)
Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that the final stage of the statue would be a mixture of iron and clay in the feet and toes. Then he foretold of a Stone “cut without human hands” (Jesus Christ) that would come to the earth and destroy this statue — starting with the feet and toes – and set up an everlasting Kingdom! Therefore, at Jesus’ Second Coming, the feet and toes of clay (democracy) and iron (authoritarian) must be intact.
“You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them… In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” (Dan 2: 34, 44)
Daniel will cover this same ground again in Chs. 7-8 but there he describes the coming kingdoms’ military strength and uses the symbolism of beasts; lion, bear, leopard, etc. Here in the vision of the statue (Ch. 2) Daniel is describing the coming kingdoms on the earth as they influence and interact with Jerusalem and God’s chosen people, Israel.
Here is the point you cannot miss: the clay in the iron feet and toes is the addition of democracy into the Roman Empire nations. Where nations had been ruled by iron fisted leaders, the Bible predicts that clay of the people will intermingle and will not mix. This will set the stage for a strong leader to unite the Empire, starting with 10 nations.