The prophet Daniel records several visions describing four beasts or kingdoms that would rise to power. The first three kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece followed each other, with each successive kingdom conquering the previous one.
With that as precedent, history tells us that the kingdom that immediately followed and conquered Greece was Rome. The Roman Empire exhibited at least some of the characteristics that Daniel described. But the Roman Empire was only the start in the life of the fourth beast. Daniel tells us that ten kings, or kingdoms, shall come “out of this kingdom”. The Roman empire divided and history reveals that some of those kingdoms continued to exhibit some of the characteristics that Daniel described. The Scriptures go on the tell us that three of those ten kingdoms will be subdued in order to form the eleventh horn kingdom.
The eleventh horn kingdom will have great influence to shape what is in today’s terminology the New World Order in which Antichrist will have a key role. Jesus said that Jerusalem would be “trodden down of the Gentiles” during the second half of the 70th week of years. This is the same period of time when Antichrist will be given power “over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations”. By this point in time, Antichrist will become very powerful. Perhaps the best way to refer to the fourth kingdom, or beast, at that point in time is the “Gentile powers”.
So the fourth kingdom, or beast, has a long active life of about 2000 years – from the time of the Roman empire until the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The First Three Kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece (605 – 146 BC)
The First Kingdom of Babylon (605 – 539 BC)
God revealed to Daniel that the first kingdom (Daniel 7:4) is Babylon which starts under King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:38).
The Second Kingdom of Medo-Persia (539 – 332 BC)
The angel, Gabriel, revealed to Daniel that the second kingdom (Daniel 7:5) is Medo-Persia (Daniel 8:20). This map shows the extent of the Persian Empire at its peak around 500 BC.
The Third Kingdom of Greece (332 – 146 BC)
The angel, Gabriel revealed to Daniel that the third kingdom (Daniel 2:39, 7:6) is Greece (Daniel 8:21).
History records that the kingdom of Greece, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, sought to conquer the Persian empire. After a series of battles, Alexander the Great defeated the Persian armies, thus fulfilling the prophecy given to Daniel.
Several years later, in 323 BC, Alexander the Great suddenly died from a fever at the age of 33. He had no time to name a successor, so his vast kingdom was divided among his generals into four main kingdoms. The first was given to Seleucus (Asia), the second to Ptolemy (Egypt), the third to Lysimachus (Thrace), and the fourth to Antipater’s son Cassander (Macedonia, including Greece). These would be the four notable horns mentioned by Daniel. A map of the Greek Empire in 301 BC shows how it was divided after Alexander the Great’s death. It should be noted that Israel is under Ptolemy’s jurisdiction in the south. Thus, four kingdoms came out of the nation of Greece (Daniel 8:22).
There was much conflict between these four generals, especially between Seleucus in Asia (includes modern day Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) and Ptolemy in Egypt. Based on the road systems of the day, Israel is geographically just south of the northern kingdom, and occupies the top most portion of the southern kingdom. Thus Israel is caught in the middle. Armies from Asia would enter Israel from the north and armies from Egypt would enter Israel from the south. Thus, in the Bible, at any given time, the king of Asia is typically referred to as the king of north and the king of Egypt is typically referred to as the king of the south. Daniel records several of these conflicts that would occur over a long period of time. In the end times, some of these conflicts will involve Antichrist.
The Fourth Kingdom of Gentile Powers
The Fourth Kingdom Starts with the Roman Empire (146 BC)
Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. (Daniel 7:23)
After a series of wars, Rome destroyed Corinth in 146 BC and Greece became part of “their expanding empire“.
In the book of Daniel we are given many characteristics of the fourth beast. It is diverse from the three previous beasts which were the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo Persia, and Greece. It is dreadful, exceedingly strong, with brass nails, and iron teeth. Daniel was told that this fourth kingdom would “devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces”. The Roman Empire flourished and came to the height of its power around 150 AD. At that time about a quarter of the world’s population lived under Roman law. No army from without was able to conquer Rome until it had been weakened from within. This map shows the Roman Empire at its greatest extent.
As the beast matures, it will continue in this vein until it controls, or at least influences, the whole world.
The Roman Empire Divided and Ten Kings Arise
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. (Daniel 7:24)
Kings and Kingdoms
Daniel states that the ten horns are ten kings. To be consistent in our interpretation of Scripture, the ten kings would each have a kingdom. Thus, the Roman empire would be divided into ten kingdoms with a king over each kingdom. Furthermore, according to Daniel 7, an eleventh horn will come out of these ten. That horn speaks great things and makes war against the saints. These are the same characteristics of the first beast mentioned in Revelation 13.
In the book of Revelation, the word “antichrist” is not used. Rather the word “beast” is used. Depending on the context of the passage, the word “beast” can either refer to a kingdom, or its king, which in this case, would be “antichrist”. Revelation 16:10 speaks of the beast and his kingdom. This beast is the antichrist in modern terms. So, the eleventh horn is Antichrist. Again, to be consistent, the eleventh horn would also have a kingdom. Thus, out of the Roman empire will come ten kings and kingdoms, and out of them will come the eleventh king (Antichrist) and his kingdom.
The Western Roman Empire Divided (476 AD)
Historians don’t agree on the number of kingdoms the Roman empire was divided into, and which nations. Scripture states that the fourth kingdom was divided into ten kingdoms, and so it must have been, despite what historians say. This is consistent with the breakup of the Greek empire. As mentioned earlier, Daniel 8:8 states that the Greek empire was divided into four kingdoms, but historians conclude anywhere from three to five.
The Roman empire did not fall with one event. Many factors contributed to the fall of the Roman empire over a long period of time. Consistent with Daniel’s vision of the statue’s two legs in Daniel 2, at one point the Roman Empire split into two sections – the east whose capital was Constantinople, and the West whose capital was Rome. The western empire ended in 476 AD when the Germanic mercenary Odoacer seized power. The eastern empire ended on May 29, 1453, when Mohammed II and his Ottoman armies destroyed Constantinople. When the eastern empire was defeated, it was not divided, but taken over by the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman Empire fell in the early 20th century.
John Gill offers three views of how the western Roman empire was divided into ten kingdoms as shown in this diagram. While there are differences in the ten divisions, all three agree upon the peoples who are in the countries of Great Britain (Saxons and Britons), Spain (Suevians, Vandals, and Alans), and France (Visigoths). These three countries have had a significant influence on world affairs throughout the centuries.
The Beast Continues to Devour the Whole Earth, Tread it Down, and Break it in Pieces (Daniel 7:23)
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, imperialism is defined as “a policy or practice by which a country increases its power by gaining control over other areas of the world”. Similarly, colonialism is defined as “control by one country over another area and its people”. Certainly, these objectives can be accomplished at least through military, political, and economic power. This is one of the general characteristics of the fourth beast that Daniel mentions in Daniel 7:23. It will continue this trend and intensify until Antichrist potentially rules over the entire world. The countries that came out of the Roman empire, especially Spain, France, England have a history of colonization and imperialism.
The French Colonial Empire started in the 1500s and lasted until around 1960.
The Spanish Empire spanned the 1500s through the 1800s. At its peak in the 1700s, it became the largest empire in the world.
The British Empire also began in the 1500s and reached it peak in the early 20th century. It has the distinction of being the largest empire in history which is why it is stated that “the sun never set on the English empire”.
Based on maps, it is interesting to note that at one time or another, almost all the countries of the world have come under the control of France, Spain, and England. Mostly only Russia, China, and Brazil have not.
The New Atlantis and The United States of America
The United States of America has had a greater impact on the world than any other nation in history. After studying the history that led to the founding of the United States of America it is clear that there was a Godly influence and an ungodly influence. Much like the parable of the wheat and tares that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13, there are those who sowed Godly seeds and others who sowed ungodly seeds into the establishment of the United States.
Godly – Establish a “City on the Hill” to Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ
People like the Puritans and the Pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution in Europe. They came to establish a “city on the hill” where they could freely worship God and raise up offspring to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Many of the American colleges were founded by Christians. As a result, American Christian missionaries went to “India, Burma, and Hawaii, then eventually by 1900 to the Middle East, Africa, and to China, Japan, and Korea in the Far East”. This helped to make the 19th century “the greatest century for missions”. They, and others like them, have had a profound influence that continues through today. Others, with a different motive, have had a more subtle influence in the beginning, but are having a more profound influence as time goes on.
Ungodly – Establish a New Atlantis to Restore the Empire of the Golden Age
Some believe that those with an ungodly purpose can be traced back to the stories that the Greek philosopher Plato told from the Egyptians about Atlantis. Whether the story of Atlantis is true or not, there are those who seriously desire to build a New Atlantis in America. Consider the following brief summary.
In his book, “The Secret Destiny of America”, Manly P. Hall wrote: “One of the most ancient of man’s constructive ideals is the dream of a universal democracy and a cooperation of all nations in a commonwealth of States. The mechanism for the accomplishment of this ideal was set in motion in the ancient temples of Greece, Egypt, and India. So brilliant was the plan and so well was it administrated that it has survived to our time, and it will continue to function until the great work is accomplished.” He continues: “Plato’s political vision was for the restoration of the Empire of the Golden Age. The old ways of the gods must be restored, he was convinced, if human beings are to be preserved from the corruptions which they have brought upon themselves.” He summarizes by stating that “For more than three thousand years, secret societies have labored to create the background of knowledge necessary to the establishment of an enlightened democracy among the nations of the world.”
In 1627 Sir Francis Bacon picks up with the theme of Atlantis when he published “The New Atlantis” which described Bacon’s vision for a new ‘Golden Age’ of human discovery and knowledge. This became the vision for many new American settlers.
The secret societies that Hall refers to have had a significant influence on the United States, prior to its being established, and since then. Consider a couple more excerpts from Hall’s book, “The Secret Destiny of America”:
“Bacon’s secret society was set up in America before the middle of the 17th Century. Bacon himself had given up all hope of bringing his dream to fruition in his own country, and he concentrated his attention upon rooting it in the new world. He made sure that the American colonists were thoroughly indoctrinated with the principles of religious tolerance, political democracy, and social equality. Through carefully appointed representatives, the machinery of democracy was set up at least a hundred years before the period of the Revolutionary War.”
“Any account of secret societies in America would have to include tribute to the man who has been called the ‘First American Gentleman’–Benjamin Franklin.” “Franklin spoke for the Order of the Quest, and most of the men who worked with him in the early days of the American Revolution were also members. The plan was working out, the New Atlantis was coming into being, in accordance with the program laid down by Francis Bacon a hundred and fifty years earlier.”
The United States of America is Formed (1776 AD)
In light of the work of the plan of the secret societies over the centuries to re-establish a new “Golden Age”, it is interesting to note that in the 1700s England, Spain, and France all simultaneously controlled portions of the land that would become the United States of America.
Three Kingdoms Fall
England, Spain, and France were three of the kingdoms that formed as the Roman Empire broke up. Consider these prophecies from Daniel:
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. (Daniel 7:8)
And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. (Daniel 7:20)
So, in order for the US to become a nation, it had to subdue and uproot three of the ten kings that came out of the Roman empire. I do not know of any other nation that has done this. This was first brought to my attention in the article “The Hidden Treasures” by Doug Krieger which no longer appears to be available on the internet. The formation of this kingdom would pave the way for Antichrist and give Satan a beach-head from which to operate.
The USA Today
So, where does the United States stand today? While the Godly influence is still present, the impact of secret societies is increasingly evident. It was in the late 1800s that America’s Biblical world view drastically began to change. The strong influence that the church used to have on every aspect of society is waning and being replaced by a different value system and worship of other gods. Bacon’s vision of a “New Order of the Ages” is being fulfilled in the “New World Order” that President George H. W. Bush and many other world leaders have talked about.
The US “cannot escape, and indeed should welcome the task which history has imposed on us. This is the task of helping to shape a new world order in all its dimensions – spiritual, economic, political, social. (“the Mid-Century Challenge to US Foreign Policy”, Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund. Hope of the Wicked, p 10.)
For a more detailed analysis of how the events of the last few years are fulfilling end times prophecies, especially Daniel 7:23, please visit my other website: Understanding the Times and What To Do.