Previously we have looked at the Times of the Gentiles and the Hidden Age and if you haven’t read those blogs yet you might consider doing so now as they will provide the context in which the four kingdoms will be discussed.
During the times of the Gentiles, there will be a total of four kingdoms that rule over Jerusalem. That does not count those that existed during the hidden Church Age. The prophet Daniel gives us some of the most amazing prophecies in the Bible and he discusses these kingdoms in some detail.
After telling King Nebuchadnezzar that he was the king of the first kingdom Daniel said the following.
“After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 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. (NIV)
So, we clearly see that Daniel saw four kingdoms in King Nebuchadnezzar’s vision.
Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
4 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it.
5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’
6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
7 “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)
Again we see four kingdoms. The first is represented by a lion, the second by a bear, the third by a leopard and finally the fourth kingdom by a terrifying and frightening and very powerful beast. If you read Daniel chapter two in its entirety you will see that each of the four kingdoms is less noble and harder than its predecessor. The last kingdom (the fourth) is so ignoble that none of God’s animals can describe it. It is a terrible monster if you will.
In Daniel chapter eight we see the second kingdom represented by a goat and the third kingdom represented by a ram. We know that the first kingdom was the kingdom of Babylon and in Daniel chapter eight we see that the second kingdom was to be the kingdom of Media and Persia and the third kingdom the kingdom of Greece. The fourth kingdom is not mentioned in Daniel chapter eight. The identity of the fourth kingdom is never mentioned by name. We know historically that the fourth kingdom was the Roman Empire. This fourth kingdom is referenced in Daniel chapter nine.
“Seventy ‘sevens’ [490 years] are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
25 “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (NIV)
This prophecy is measured in seven-year periods much like we might measure a time span in decades today. The seven-year period was significant to the Jews of that day. The thing to note here is in verse 26. It refers to the ‘people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.’ We know, absolutely, that the people that destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary therein were the Romans, so we can understand that the fourth kingdom that was to come was the Roman Kingdom, or Empire.
An interesting thing to see here can be seen in Daniel chapters; two, seven, eight and nine; is that the fourth kingdom is in place at the Second Coming of the Lord. Each of the four kingdoms is a direct replacement of the previous kingdom but at the crucifixion of Jesus the clock sort of stops. From the time of the crucifixion/resurrection, there is a hidden period of time right up to seven years before the Second Coming of the Lord. This last seven-year period can be seen in Daniel nine above in verse 27. Most of the book of Revelation takes place during this last seven-year period. This hidden period is the Church Age.
Because the fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire, is the focus of the end times I believe that the man called the Antichrist/Beast will have his base in Europe, the base of the Roman Empire.