What’s Next on the Prophetic Timetable?
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!