If you love someone, you only want what’s best for them; love is manifested in your life as a result of your closeness to God, for He is all love. When God comes to live in us, He brings all of His virtues. If divine love glows within you, you will not try to flee suffering and adversity. You will think of only how to please your Beloved in that circumstance. Forget yourself and your own personal ambitions. Let your love for God increase; in doing so, you will learn to love the Creator more than the created.
To whom do you think St. Paul was speaking when he said, “We are fools for Jesus Christ’s sake, and you are wise in Christ”? It is to you and to me that he speaks, but not to the people who are free of all shame, who know of God but do not know him personally. Yes, it is to we who believe that we are working for our place with God, we who do not flee the folly of the cross, nor seek for ways to seem wise in the eyes of the world. He speaks to us who do not tremble at the sight of our weakness.
Where St. Paul finds himself weak, and we find ourselves strong, we should not deny that even with good intentions, we find that we are rather opposed to this great Apostle. This state should be alarming to us, so let us reflect deeply on it. And after we have thoroughly gone into it, let us see where we differ from the true servants of God.
Let us be imitators of Jesus Christ by first becoming imitators of St. Paul, who gives himself as a model after the first model. After having identified our complacency concerning worldliness, we should take hold of ourselves and demand conformity into the image of our model, stopping all the self-indulgences of our hopes, desires, and secret inner delights, and unleash our hate for our spiritual laziness.
Virtue is not a matter of words. We can never reach the kingdom of God through our words. The kingdom of God is found in the strength, courage, and self-control which we exert over ourselves. Every time we encounter the tides of the world pulling on us, tides that pull us into so many sins, so many times, and keep us from doing the good we must do, we must violently take hold of ourselves and forcefully demand of ourselves that we remain in communion with our model. When we must act to take self-control over some weakness within us, we must take hold of our minds with an unbending resolve so that we do not fool ourselves into believing that we have given up some little and unimportant thing.
As we take control of ourselves, we must kill the thing in the spirit after having killed it in the flesh, without believing that God owes us anything special for our have done our duty. We must not allow the idea that hours of prayer or reading the bible or isolation in retreat can make atonement for our sin willfully committed in weakness. All such thinking weakens our resolve to actively kill the sin within us right here and right now. We must stomp on the squealing sin right here and right now without hoping for either more comfort from God or anyone else, or that we should receive more honor or respect for our piousness, or better health to give us strength, or that others should witness our great piousness, not even the comfort of our closest friends. Finally, we should take hold of sufficient self-control to reach that degree of absolute indifference necessary to a Christian, whose only will is that of God his Creator; who turns over to him the success of all his affairs, although he does not stop working; who moves forwards with the boldness of heart, who takes pleasure in his or her relationship with God, and does not fear God’s examining him but instead hopes for God to help in identifying and correcting his sins. Such a child of God remains serene, seeing himself completely at God’s mercy regarding the punishment of his sins.
This is where I leave you, where I pray that you stay in the peace of God even though the troubles and confusions of our life in the world try to pull us away. O Great God, show us that something of the life of Jesus Christ may be seen in us? The more we fear to suffer as Christ suffered, the more we need to do so.
This article was a letter originally written by Francois Fenelon some 300 years ago as part of his collection of letters later published under the name of Christian Perfection and was edited by Mark Heaney. A copy of Christian Perfection that was translated from the French by Mildred Whitney Stillman can be read here and was the translation that I worked from. Christian Perfection was, to me, one of the most practical Christian writings I have ever read, and so I thought that I might edit the phrasing to make it easier for people to understand.
The BEAST man
He said: “I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. 20 The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.
23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. (NIV84)
Alexander the Great
This passage predicts the coming of Alexander the Great, who would come quickly and put an end to the Media/Persian empire. The passage goes on to say that at the height of his power, he would die, and his kingdom would go to four others that were not Alexander’s descendants. And then, out of one of those four would come the BEAST man. This is very interesting. The Antichrist is connected to the fourth kingdom, but the BEAST is not. And they are the same man. This is a definite Twilight Zone moment!
“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. (NIV84)
Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. (NIV84)
The Scarlet Beast – Crowns on Heads
This beast that the Harlot (or prostitute) of Babylon is sitting on represents the fourth kingdom. In [Daniel 2:34, 41-43], this beast is the last of the enormous and dazzling statue, that is, the ten toes that are made of iron mixed with clay. The ten toes of the statue are the ten toes, each having a horn. In [Daniel 7:7-8], we see this same beast (kingdom). In Daniel chapter 8, we see the BEAST man and not the kingdom beast. We do see in [Daniel 8:23] some profile information concerning this BEAST man. It says that he is a stern-faced king and a master of intrigue. We can see more profile information concerning this BEAST man in [Daniel 11:21], where it says that he is a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. This is another similarity to Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler was a common man and not from the leadership class. He was a corporal in World War I, and so this contemptible stern-faced master of intrigue will also be a common man.
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. (NIV84)
I want you to take special note that we have the same fourth kingdom beast in this passage. It has seven heads with ten horns and is wearing seven crowns on its heads. I have written a separate series of articles about this Woman and the Dragon, and you can read it if you like. The point here is that at the time of this Scripture’s fulfillment, the crowns are on the heads and not on the horns.
And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. (NIV84)
The sea is a metaphorical description of humanity. This beast is the kingdom beast and has ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns. This kingdom has within it elements of the Babylonian, Media/Persian and Greek empires that proceeded it (lion, bear, and leopard.) And Satan is behind and powers this kingdom (dragon.) Take note that at the time of the fulfillment of [Revelation 13:1-2], the crowns are on the ten horns. This is important. The seven heads of this fourth beast (kingdom) are seven rulers that have ruled the Roman Empire. I don’t know why it mentions only seven of Rome’s rulers, but the Bible only considers seven of the emperors significant. This beast only had one head, as it were, at a time, so the seventh head is the ruler of the fourth kingdom at the time of the end. The ten horns, however, all rule at once. The idea is that animals can only have one head but can have multiple horns.
Crowns Now on Horns
So, now that the crowns are on the horns, we can understand that they are now ruling. Thus, the beast, as depicted in [Revelation 12], is earlier in time compared to the same beast shown in [Revelation 13]. They are the same beast but at different times.
If you are serious about understanding all this, you must be very familiar with [Revelation 17:1-18] the whole chapter. Please take the time to read the chapter many times and ponder what you read deeply until you see what it is saying.
Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. (NIV84)
Now we are looking at the BEAST man. This is confusing because it is talking about the beast-kingdom and the BEAST-man. It is like a family that three generations of Robert Parkers. (Robert Parker, Robert Parker Junior, and Robert Parker II) When someone in the family mentions something that Bob said, you must place the statement in context. The BEAST-man and the beast-kingdom are similar. I try to write about the BEAST-man with beast all in caps to help you.
Look at what this passage says about the BEAST. He once was, now is not (at the time of John’s receiving this) and will come up out of the Abyss (Hell) and then go to his destruction. Now, that is a statement!
The Kingdom Beast
“This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. (NIV84)
I hope that you, my dear reader, will open your heart and mind to wisdom so that you can see what this all means. Remember, what you must do is stick to precisely what is written, no more, or no less. This is some very unusual stuff.
When John was receiving this revelation, five of Rome’s rulers have fallen (died), and the sixth was currently ruling. But the seventh head (ruler) would eventually come but only for a short while. This is talking about the man that we call the Antichrist. The Antichrist is the seventh head of the seven-headed beast (kingdom), but then the passage above goes on the talk about the man that comes up out of the Abyss and calls him the eighth head of a seven-headed beast. He is not biologically part of the fourth beast, but as the Scripture says, he belongs to the fourth kingdom. Remember how we saw in Daniel chapter 8, that the BEAST comes from the third kingdom and not the fourth? Well, that is true, and yet he pops up out of Hell and becomes the BEAST-man. The saying, truth is stranger than fiction, is really the case here.
And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. 4 Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” (NIV84)
This is [Revelation 13] again. The head that “seems to have had a fatal wound,” is the seventh head of the seven-headed kingdom. What I see going on here is that this seventh head, the Antichrist, is in Jerusalem and he is assassinated (probably shot with a gun) and is understood to have died, but then the man from the third kingdom that has been there for many years, comes up out of the Abyss and the “Antichrist” rises from death but is now, in reality, the BEAST.
The Bible might seem like an indecipherable mystery, but it becomes easier when you understand the overall plan of God and the principal players of prophecy that each takes active roles in the plan of God.
- The Principal Players of the End Times
- God and Jesus Christ
- Satan the Devil
- Fourth Kingdom
- False Prophet
- Harlot of Babylon
God and Jesus Christ
I don’t think I need to say much about God’s role in things. It’s pretty obvious. But Jesus Christ is another matter. Jesus is very subtle in how he is the same as God and how he is different. Jesus is entirely God, and all the fullness of God is revealed in Christ, but there is nonetheless some wiggle room here.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (NIV84)
You cannot fully comprehend the Son. Only God the Father knows him completely. But, and this is interesting, you can know the Father if Jesus reveals him to you.
Now I have said that God is a principal player in the end times scenario, but I mean more than the obvious. Your relationship with God and his relationship with you are through his Son, Jesus Christ, and Jesus is accessible to you through the Scriptures. I am talking about a hands-on personal relationship; Jesus Christ is the revelation of God, he is the physical embodiment of the invisible God, so how you interact with the Bible is how you interact with God Almighty. If you listen to God, as I imagine that you claim, then you will become a part of the Bible, and that Bible will become a part of you, and I am not talking about the words of the Bible, but rather the Spirit. When you read the Bible, you should be communing with God himself. You reverently open your heart and slowly let the words open themselves up to you as you receive them. In this way, the Bible, that is, Jesus Christ, that is, God becomes an active player in your life.
Satan the Devil
Satan has a more significant role in the world than you probably know, but not with your relationship with the Almighty.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV84)
The word in this passage, flee, is probably a little more emphatic than you think. If you resist the devil, then he will keep away from you like you have the plague or something else undesirable to him. He has no direct power over you, but you are in the world, and he has a significant effect on the goings-on of the world. Imagine living in Nazi Germany during the war. The whole world today is more under his influence than people probably realize.
Nebuchadnezzar-Type of Satan
Almost every world leader from the beginning of history until now is one of Satan’s surrogates.
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” (NIV84)
Pray about this Scripture and let its meaning come to you.
Belshazzar—Type of Satan
You can read the whole fifth chapter of Daniel and see that Belshazzar is also a type of Satan, or a surrogate of you like.
I believe that every major world leader is greatly influenced by Satan, but that doesn’t mean that he is responsible for all of the evil that is going on in the world. There is another invisible player that is probably just as guilty as Satan, and that is the Harlot of Babylon.
The Fourth Kingdom
Daniel’s fourth kingdom is also a significant player in the End Times scenario. The fourth kingdom will be the agency through which Satan affects the world.
As a point of interest, World War II was not a war of the good guys fighting the bad guys. It was a fight between Satan’s control of the world and the Harlot of Babylon’s control of the world. Adolf Hitler and his allied nations were fighting for world domination by Satan, and the fledgling union of countries that want to establish a world-wide economic order fought to keep their growing system in place.
Star Trek – Man’s Vision of Hope
Satan wants to control the whole world under the few men that he manages, and the human forces with great money also want to control the world. I see the vision of “Satan-less” human domination of the earth for the betterment of man depicted in the science-fiction show Star Trek and its derivatives. The Star Trek vision for the future seems very nice by and for humanity, but it forgets one thing. Sin will not allow it. Sin will destroy any and every system because of greed. Those rich folks that are controlling the economic system are almost entirely concerned only about themselves. God’s system is the only one that will work because God is the only one that is good enough and wise enough to direct life. God is the embodiment of Love, and Love wants what is best for all his children.
Harlot of Babylon
That name, the Harlot of Babylon, is from the King James Bible. The NIV calls this the Prostitute of Babylon, but that doesn’t have the poetic ring to it as the harlot does. So, I’ll stick to the harlot name.
I’ve heard a whole bunch of ideas concerning the identity of the harlot, mostly wacky. I have just explained above that the kingdoms of the world are mostly Satan’s, and that he does with them as he desires, so we can understand that the animals (beasts) that represent the various kingdoms are also representing Satan.
Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 This title was written on her forehead:
BABYLON THE GREAT
THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.
When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. (NIV84)
Now, at first glance, it looks like Satan is the bad guy here, but he is not. He is represented by the scarlet beast that has seven heads and ten horns, but this passage is not really about the kingdom beast; it’s about the female that is riding the kingdom beast. Please read my article, The Great Prostitute, for more information. For now, I want you to consider what she represents, that is, the business leaders and system that is controlling Satan’s fourth kingdom beast. Satan is trying to control the world, but this major force is preventing him.
Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. 16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.” (NIV84)
If Satan had control of the harlot, he wouldn’t hate her, and he wouldn’t bring her to ruin by burning her with fire. This harlot is a lot of things, but every one of them is human. In a way, we can see that there are three major players in the end time. God, Satan, and Mankind.
The Antichrist/BEAST Man
For a more in-depth article on the Antichrist and the BEAST, please read my article.
The Antichrist and the BEAST, as is the False Prophet, are all Satan’s focal point ruler. Satan is imitating Jesus Christ in that he has his man, the BEAST, and the BEAST has his prophet. This is supposed to be like John the Baptist and Jesus, and the Two Witnesses and the second coming of Jesus.
The seventh trumpet announces two enormous things; the coming of Christ for his church(the Rapture) and the Day of the Lord judgment upon the world. A whole lot of things happen all at the same time, but one that relates to this topic is this:
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (NIV84)
This passage is fulfilled at the mid-point of the seven-year Tribulation. Notice that it says that the accuser of our brothers is hurled down, well the thing that was preventing his being cast down was the unholiness of the church, and at this time the world has been experiencing the first half of the Tribulation, and the life-threatening events that have been happening have testing and purifying the church, and right at the moment of the Rapture the holiness of the church brings Satan and his angels down, and the Lord comes and gathers up his body, as there is no longer a need to keep it on the earth.
It is very valuable to know the players in the end times because when a passage speaks, it is talking to one of the players and not to the others. Things spoken to the church do not apply to Israel and vice-versa. This is especially confusing when the Bible uses an ambiguous word like saints. Saints can mean the church, or it can mean Israel, but it rarely means both. Identifying the player is one of the most challenging objects of Bible reading. Proper identification of the Harlot or Great Prostitute is also essential. If you don’t know who is involved in the events, you will not be able to determine what his happening and, more importantly, why things are happening.
We saw previously in the blog titled The Times of the Gentiles that God has ordained that four successive kingdoms would rule the known biblical world before the Lord’s Second Coming. The first was the Babylonian Empire, then the Media/Persian Empire, then the Greek Empire followed by the ‘terrible beast, that is, the Roman Empire. By far the fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire is the most important prophetically speaking. I should probably have said that it is more important to us today as we are very close in time to the events that are recorded regarding the end-times and the end-times is played out at the end of the fourth kingdoms time.
The Invisible Age Hidden Within the Fourth Kingdom
The period in which the fourth kingdom exists has a mysterious two thousand year hole in it, that is, from the crucifixion of Jesus to the commencement of the ministries of the Two Witnesses of Revelation chapter eleven, it is as though the prophetic time clock has stopped. Very little of the Bible’s prophecies relate to this hidden time span. We looked more closely into this phenomenon in the blog titled The Hidden Age. Please review that blog if needed.
“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. (NIV)
The vision that Daniel had in the seventh chapter depicted each of the four kingdoms as an animal or as the Bible says, beast. These animals were a lion for the first kingdom, a bear and then a leopard for the Greek kingdom. The last empire was depicted with a ‘terrifying and frightening and very powerful’ animal or beast. The interesting thing here is that the Roman Empire is so vile in God’s sight that no animal in his creation can depict it accurately. It is sort of like Satan that takes the imaginary dragon to depict him. Notice that this animal has iron teeth. Iron is the metal that best describes the fourth kingdom. In Daniel chapter two we see the same four kingdoms each depicted by a different metal. The first was gold for the Babylonian Empire, then Silver for the Media/Persian Empire, Bronze for the Greek Empire and Iron for the fourth kingdom which later becomes iron mixed with clay. Daniel chapter two tells us that each kingdom is less noble and harder than its predecessor.
We can generalize this progression by saying that the empires of man, led by Satan, become less noble, that is, less Godlike over time and become ever more cruel ending with the events in the book of Revelation which show the fourth kingdom destroying pretty much the whole world in its attempt at total world domination.
Satan Controls the Kingdoms
We can further understand that these four kingdoms or empires are satanic entities.
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” (NIV)
We can see here the relationship between Satan and the four kingdoms. They belong to Satan. They are his and he can give them to anyone that he wishes. Seeing this and understanding this we can then understand that Satan is becoming less noble and crueler as time goes on. This is the effect of sin on anyone.
By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. 19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.’ ” (NIV)
The passages in [Ezekiel 28] from verse 11 through to the end of verse 19 are about Satan. We see this end here in verse 18. Satan is consumed by fire and reduced by ashes. Fire is symbolic of sin. Sin degrades and debases him. His kingdoms reflect him. The fourth kingdom is a reflection of what he has become because of sin. In [Ezekiel 28:12] we see, ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty’. Satan, when he was created, was the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, but sin was discovered in his heart because he became proud on account of his wisdom and beauty. Sin destroys everyone. Sin is like a fire that burns up wood.
The fourth kingdom is Satan’s kingdom at the end of his existence; sort of, Satan will be put on ice, so to say, for a period of time then re-released, but that is for a later discussion.
The Terrible Monster – The Roman Empire
For now, remember that the animal that depicts the fourth kingdom is a terrible monster and that the metal that depicts it is iron and later iron mixed with clay. Notice too that the beast (animal) from Daniel chapter seven above has ten horns. Horns are symbolic of a kingly rule, that is, kingly power. Crowns also represent a kingly rule. We will see that the fourth kingdom will become a confederacy of ten hard and cruel base nations near the end of their reign. What we are seeing in the prophecies is that the fourth kingdom or empire, that is, the Roman Empire, at the end degenerates into a ten-nation confederacy.
“You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. (NIV)
We see the fourth kingdom in verse 33. It starts out iron legs, but in the end, it becomes feet of iron mixed with clay. This image represents the Gentile kingdoms over time. At the time of the end, Jesus (the Rock is not cut out by human hands) comes and strikes the image in the feet destroying the whole thing. When the Lord comes the fourth kingdom will be the ten toes of iron mixed with clay.
Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. (NIV)
The Enormous Red Dragon
Here the fourth kingdom beast is depicted as an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns. The thing that I would like you to note is that there are seven crowns on his seven heads. It is also interesting that the dragon symbolizes Satan, but having the seven heads and ten horns tells us that it also symbolizes the fourth kingdom. The four kingdoms are Satan’s entities. Now, look at this …
And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. (NIV)
Now we see the same beast but it now has ten crowns on its ten horns. This image is showing us how things will develop later in time. The first image in Revelation 12 shows the fourth kingdom before the end-times. The second shows the fourth kingdom at the time of the Second Coming of the Lord.
The Roman Empire Has Within it Elements of the Three Previous Kingdoms
Did you notice the animals that could be seen within the fourth kingdom beast? They are the same as we saw in Daniel chapter seven. There are elements today that have their origin in each of the four kingdoms.
We saw when examining the origin of the BEAST-man that the BEAST-man is the eighth head of this seven-headed beast, that is, there would be seven kings that would rule significantly over this fourth kingdom. The seventh head will be the man that we call the Antichrist. He will rule over the fourth kingdom for a short while and then be replaced by the BEAST-man that comes up out of Hell.
We should note that the fourth kingdom was, and is, centered in Europe. Europe will once again be the origin of a total whole world war of destruction. I mentioned in a previous post that Adolph Hitler was a very close likeness to the Antichrist/BEAST-man. Hitler being from Europe was not just a random thing. The two previous world wars were just previews of the coming attractions. Europe, that is, the Roman Empire, will be the focus of the end-times scenario.
The entire second Psalm is about the Second Coming of the Lord.
Jesus Will Dash the World to Pieces With the Iron Kingdom
You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” (NIV)
Notice that Jesus will rule them with an iron scepter. The scepter is symbolic of a king’s rule. It was usually ornamented gold. An iron scepter is symbolic of the fourth kingdom with which God will smite the nations of the earth because of their rebellion.
This brings up an important biblical concept. Nothing exists in the world that does not do so at God’s discretion.
“See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; … (NIV)
It might look like Satan is wreaking havoc on his own and God is striving to keep him down, but nothing could be further from the truth. God is allowing him to work havoc because people are listening to him and following him. The Almighty wants them to see just what such a decision brings. He wants man to see the effect of sin and abhor it.
The World will Love the Antichrist
The world will love the Antichrist as Germany loved Adolph Hitler before he destroyed their country. It will be exactly like that again. God wants people to listen to him and learn from past mistakes and humble themselves and obey him. Satan was brought down because of self-pride and the world today is running after pride like there is no tomorrow (as the saying goes), which ironically is exactly the truth.
Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.” (NIV)
The fourth kingdom in its final days is represented by the ten toes of iron mixed with clay. This phase of the kingdom is right at this moment forming in Europe. The European Union is not a tightly bonded union but it is made up out of very hard, that is, cruel and militarily potent nations. Today there are many speculations as to who the Antichrist may be. I have no idea just who he maybe today, but I do know that he will come from Europe and will appear to the world to be an ideal leader.
Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. (NIV)