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)