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.