A reader posed these very good questions/comments on my website. I’ve decided to address them in a blog post because I‘m sure these are questions others have, as well.
The reader’s questions are emboldened and comments are in regular type. My responses are in orange.
The reader writes (edited):
What I’m still trying to sort out has nothing to do with thinking antichrist will arise from Rome, or the Vatican, or be an atheistic Western dictator. Prior to writing you, I was already convinced of an Islamofascist antichrist…
What’s puzzling me relates to whether the Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 visions are indeed the same. And even a question that Daniel 7 might possibly refer to 4 contemporaneous global powers during antichrist’s domination. May I offer a few questions for discussion?
As a presupposition to the upcoming questions, I’ll state that, without a doubt, the 4th beast of Daniel 7, and the 10-toed kingdom of Daniel 2, and the 8th head of the Revelation 17 beast all represent the final antichrist kingdom, located in regions surrounding Israel and/or allied with those regions. In short — the rapidly forming Caliphate is fulfilling these visions, I believe.
_Yes, it is.
Here are some ‘puzzlements’
1. Is the Daniel 2 statue really speaking of only FOUR kingdoms? And is Daniel 7 an exact parallel of the statue vision of Dan. 2?
I can’t help but see five historical eras, but at the same time I know that the Daniel 2 legs are referred to as the 4th kingdom, similarly to the way there is a 4th beast several chapters later in Daniel 7.
The five count seems to be: 1. head, 2. breast and arms, 3. belly and thighs, 4. legs, 5. feet and toes. Similarly, there are five elements specified (2:35): “iron, clay, brass, silver, gold.”
_Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 are, indeed, describing the same kingdoms. For whatever reason, God decided to repeat prophetic events to Daniel in different ways with different details. Perhaps so we can have this discussion today?
When we consider that the 7th Beast Kingdom will turn into the 8th, (meaning the Antichrist will step up to seize control of the 7th kingdom which will already be in existence [Dan 7:7-8, 7:23-24]), then it might be easiest to number them in this way:
1 – Egypt
2 – Assyria
3 – Babylon
4 – Medo-Persia
5 – Greece
6 – Rome
7/8 – The Antichrist’s Future Kingdom
So, it can be said that the statue in Daniel 2 does indeed include 4 or 5 kingdoms – the 4th and the 5th being the same, really – one arising from the other.
1 – Babylon
2 – Medo-Persia
3 – Greece
4/5 – The Antichrist’s Future Kingdom
If you’re stunned, then it’s probably because you’ve noticed I’ve left Rome out of the statue. There’s a very good biblical reason why (there are many, actually). The revived Islamic Caliphate (4) will be formed first (it’s being formed now, actually) and it will be overtaken by the coming Islamic Mahdi – the Antichrist (5).
As to whether Daniel 2 is an exact parallel of Daniel 7, yes, it is. There’s only one end-time kingdom of the Antichrist and both passages are prophecies of this kingdom and the kingdoms leading up to it.
2. If Dan. 2 and 7 chapters are the same kingdoms, then the legs, feet, and toes must all be one geographical-area kingdom? Is that what you are saying?
And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. [Revelation 13:2 NASB]
The Daniel 2 statue seems to give a complete chronology of world kingdoms from Babylon, to the antichrist kingdom, and Christ’s final kingdom (stone cut without hands, etc.) –and, if so, why is there a gap (if Rome is not in view in the statue, at all) of many centuries (i.e., from Greece, jumping to Islam and eventually the final antichrist kingdom? So many many warring centuries are skipped, if chapters 2 and 7 are identical (or so it seems to me).
_The Book of Daniel does not actually provide a complete chronology of Biblical World Kingdoms. It starts with Babylon because that was the kingdom in power at the time of Daniel’s writing. That’s where he lived and served. So, already it leaves out Egypt and Assyria.
Above I suggested that Rome is not prophesied about in the Book of Daniel at all. Here’s one of the reasons why I believe that:
Daniel prophesies about the break-up of the Greek Empire upon the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, after which, four of his generals rose to power and broke up his kingdom into four regions [Daniel 7:6, 8:8]. Then in Daniel 11, he highlights the exploits of two of these four kingdoms. Daniel names them the king of the north and the king of the south and, consequently, keeps our focus on the Middle East. When Daniel goes on later in the chapter to name the Antichrist as king of this north kingdom [11:36], he is giving us the geographic location of his future kingdom – the Middle East – specifically modern-day Turkey/Syria/Lebanon/Iran/Iraq, where this ancient north kingdom (the Seleucid Empire) once was.
As a result, there’s no reason to consider Rome (Europe) as the location of the Antichrist’s Kingdom and so it leads me to believe that the two legs of the statue in Daniel 2 that come out of the Greek belly do not represent Rome, but are, indeed, these north and south kingdoms that Daniel goes to great lengths in chapter 11 to describe for us.
Please bear in mind, as far as I know, I am the only one who has ever suggested such a thing about the legs of the statue in Daniel 2, so I could be wrong. But, when faced with this biblical evidence, there’s no other logical conclusion I can come to and I hope my line of logic is at least evident even if you don’t agree. I would so dearly like to be able to share this with other authors and those who study God’s Word for feedback but have not had the opportunity.
3. If the legs, feet, toes all represent one beastly kingdom (including the warring factions of the Ptolemies and the Seleucids), is there not an inconsistency, or disconnect, with Revelation 17? In the latter, John is told of 5 fallen kingdoms, including one existing one (Rome), of another to come that will temporarily cease to exist, and the final 8th kingdom which is of the 7th (i.e., antichrist Caliphate consisting of the former 1924 disbanded Caliphate type of alliances).
_There is no inconsistency because the 7th turns into the 8th.
The two iron legs as eastern and western civilzations, for almost 2,000 years now, seem a natural continuation of the list of kingdoms from Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s day) onward.
_My theory above for an explanation of the two legs of Daniel’s statue is, indeed, in direct contradiction with the traditional view of a revived Roman Empire, but when we cease to read the Bible – a Middle-Eastern book – through Western eyes, with a Western mind-set, all of these seeming inconsistencies disappear and the idea of a European, atheistic Antichrist falls apart. There is nothing Western in Bible prophecy.
Just as God’s chosen people are the Jews, Satan’s chosen people are the Middle Eastern gentiles. Just as Jesus came through the Jews, the Antichrist will come through the Middle Eastern gentiles. This conflict has been highlighted throughout the Bible starting in the Book of Genesis and continues to this day.
- Consider that all of the action in the Bible has always taken place in the Middle East.
- Consider the conflict that is currently raging in the Middle East can be traced back through the lines of Sarah and Hagar to Genesis 3:15. The story of the conflict between Sarah and Hagar and their offspring illustrates this [Genesis 16, 21].
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” [Genesis 3:15 ESV]
- Consider there is an Islamic mosque on the Temple Mount, not a Catholic church. I don’t think there’s a single piece of extra-biblical evidence that highlights the reality of an Islamic Antichrist more than this amazing fact.
- Consider that all of the nations the Lord does battle with upon His return are listed by name in the Old Testament prophets, are currently located in the Middle East and are currently occupied by Islam.
Reader, I know you said above that you believe that the world is awaiting an Islamic Antichrist, but I’m listing all of these biblical reasons because this is an either-or thing to me. I think it’s inconsistent to come to the conclusion that this end-time kingdom will be located in the Middle East and ruled by a Middle-Eastern gentile and then try to fit Rome into the statue or other prophecies, especially with the evidence from Daniel 11.
I think the shift in the statue to two legs becomes a more global focus (i.e., east, west), as it relates to prophecy. Did not Christ enlarge the prophetic vision to a global one in Matthew 24, when He said:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in ALL THE WORLD unto ALL NATIONS; and then shall the end come.”
Also there is a global aspect to the court of the Gentiles, adjacent to the Temple, not being measured, for it is given to the nations until Christ’s coming.
_Christ says the intensity of the Tribulation will be “such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be [Matthew 24:21 ESV].” Considering that WW2 encompassed almost the entire world and millions of people were killed, that’s a stark statement! The influence of the Antichrist’s kingdom will, indeed, be global (we’re seeing that now with the increasing migration of Islam to every country in the world), but his 10-nation powerbase will be located in the Middle East.
4. Could Daniel possibly have been told that the four beasts of chapter 7 WERE ALL FUTURE, and thus a separate vision from the Daniel 2 statue? Here’s why I ask this:
Daniel 7:1 says that the prophet was given the vision during the reign of “Belshazzar king of Babylon.” Daniel wrote contemporaneously with the reign of Babylon. Yet the prophecy continues in Dan. 7:17, and seems to put all four beast in the future:
“These great beasts, which are four kings, which SHALL ARISE out of the earth.”
_As one who hangs on every Word of God I can see that’s an understandable conclusion, but then we would be forced to add 4 more Biblical World Kingdoms into the mix and I don’t think the rest of Scripture allows for that. The identity of these four kingdoms lines up quite nicely with the rest of Scripture (with the exception of the traditional view that the 4th Kingdom is Rome, of course, which is the whole point).
5. Could Dan. 7 be an entirely separate vision from Daniel 2, and actually represent four kingdoms ALL CONTEMPORANEOUS WITH EACH OTHER? Here’s what sparks that inquiry: Daniel 7:12 asserts:
“…the REST of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.”
If the lion-winged eagle, bear, leopard represent the same ancient geographical areas and kingdoms subsumed by the antichrist kingdom, how is it that the 4th beast here in Dan. 7 is “slain…destroyed…given to the burning flame,” YET THE REST live longer?! “….their lives were prolonged for a season and time.”
_I believe the reason why it says their lives will be “prolonged for a season and a time” is because these kingdoms, these nations/people, will survive Armageddon and be present in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on the earth. I wrote about this somewhere, but, alas, I cannot locate it. Babylon is the only Biblical World Kingdom that God says He will completely destroy [Revelation 18]. And if you read Isaiah 19, you will notice that Egypt and Assyria are restored to repentance at the end, not destroyed.
And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the LORD and perform them. And the LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” [Isaiah 19:21-25 ESV]
Also, consider this verse from Zechariah:
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. [Zechariah 14:16 ESV]
6. Is it possible there is a more global perspective to the Dan. 7 vision, encompassing global powers at the time of antichrist (and, of course, including the 10 kings that give their authority to the antichrist, perhaps specifically mid-east?)?
Is it too far-fetched to see the lion-eage, with plucked wings as a Western power (Britain’s symbol is the lion; the U.S.A. came out of her, with our eagle symbol. And we’re certainly getting our wings plucked these days! Is it too far-fetched to see the Russian bear? The leopard (maybe China and/or the Asian powers aligning)? Then the 4th beast, paralleling the ten toes and the 7-headed/8th beast with ten horns in Revelation, as the antichrist system called Islam?
_Again, I would say that there’s nothing Western in Bible prophecy. When we begin reading prophecy with an ethnocentric view, problems abound and we get things like a revived Roman Empire with the Pope as Antichrist or that America is Mystery Babylon. Scripture denies all of these things.
7. Do other details of Dan. 7 over-power any view of those four beasts as modern-day symbols, since there are other striking details in the chapter that really do have historical accuracy in the history of ancient kingdoms, not modern ones? Four wings, e.g., certainly remind one of Greece and its divisions by four generals. I’ve never heard what the 3 ribs might specify — but Jon, you had an interesting observation about 1 belly and 2 thighs of the statue. And the beast becoming a man is truly reminiscent of Nebuchadnezzer’s ascent from madness.
_We are currently in the “gap” between Daniel 9:26 and 9:27. This may account for the absence of anything that has happened during this time in Bible prophecy. It leaves off with Rome as the Biblical kingdom in power and is actually picking up again now with the revival of the Islamic Caliphate [Daniel 11]. It would seem anything between then and now (besides the general moral decay of the world) has been curiously left out of Bible prophecy. Why? Not to sound trite, but only God knows.
This long discussion reflects such a myriad of prophetic mysteries! We lovers of Christ’s return are eager to ponder! I am (I think many longing students of prophecy are paddling this same boat:), experiencing what Daniel felt: Achingly wanting to understand, and being “…grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body…the visions…troubled me.”
More than I can say, thank you, Jon, for this P2ALM website, for your many labors, Holy Spirit insights, and gifted communication skills in helping us to ponder and seek God’s interpretation.
_Thank you for your questions. I don’t want to portray myself as having all the answers because I don’t. No one does. Really, I just want to get people to think about what it is they’re thinking about and I think we can all agree that these are increasingly worthy things to consider as history unfolds before our eyes [Daniel 12:4]. I’m glad that many of you find the information I provide spiritually useful. It’s highly encouraging and, as always, glory to God without whom I would have no ambition to research these things.