Let me draw your attention to a passage of Scripture in Daniel 2 where the prophet recorded a dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, who at the time was the king of Babylon, ruler of what was then the known world:
Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king . . . Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him, “I have found a man of the captives of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation.” The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?” Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to king Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be . . . You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and scatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.” (Daniel 2:1–2, 25–29, 31–42 NKJV)
In the text above, through divine knowledge, Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar what it was that the king had dreamed. Daniel then gave the king the interpretation of the dream. He also told Nebuchadnezzar that the dream foretells “the latter days” or end-times. Since the dream relates to the last days, and my premise in this section is that we are living in the last days, let’s see if we can make sense of it in light of recent world history and current events.
We will begin with the fact that Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he was the head of gold on this image. Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon; therefore, Babylon was the head. Daniel then told the king that the chest and arms of silver represents an empire that would rise up after his. History tells us that this was the Medo-Persian Empire. The belly and thighs of bronze were the Greek Empire, the third kingdom. The legs of iron were the Roman Empire with its feet and toes corresponding to its ten provinces. Now let’s visit Daniel 7, where he describes four beasts that rise up out of the sea:
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts. Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’ After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird, The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.” (Daniel 7:1–7 NKJV)
These four beasts that rise up out of the sea correspond to the four different metals comprising Nebuchadnezzar’s image. The lion with eagle’s wings was the ancient symbol of Babylon, the head of gold. The bear was the symbol of the Medo-Persian Empire represented by the chest and arms of silver—the Medes, believed by many to be the modern-day Kurds in northern Iraq, and the Persians, modern-day Iran. The leopard with four wings of a bird and four heads represented by the belly and thighs of brass describes Greece, the swiftness with which it conquered and spread throughout the Middle East under Alexander the Great, and its subsequent division into four kingdoms under his generals after his death. Alexander made Babylon his capital and died there. The beast with iron teeth and ten horns represented by the legs of iron and the feet and toes of iron mixed with clay on Nebuchadnezzar’s image is descriptive of Rome, its eventual split between east and west, and its ten provinces held together in a fragile unity.
In light of the fact that many prophecies in the Bible have a present and distant application (more than one fulfillment), is it possible these creatures could now allude to much more than just the original group of nations found in the geographical Middle East? If so, the following conjectures might be worth considering.
The first beast is a lion with eagle’s wings. Daniel watched as the wings were plucked off and the lion was made to stand upright. Could this now also refer to Great Britain and the United States during the American Revolution? It is interesting that before the US won its independence, Great Britain’s emblem (the lion) stood on all fours and had eagle’s wings on its back. After the revolution and since then, the lion stands on its hind legs and has no wings, given that they took off for the other side of the pond. Or could the fact that the lion was made to stand on its hind legs as the eagle’s wings were taken away have anything to do with the recent war in Iraq and America’s subsequent withdrawal as the US attempts to establish democracy in the region? Either way we choose to view the lion with eagle’s wings, the United States and Great Britain have been heavily involved in Iraq. The second beast is a bear standing on one side. Could this now also allude to Russia and its recent seeming instability and weakness? Or could the depiction of the bear described as raising itself on one side point to the fact that the Iranians are in power today and not the Kurds? The bear was told to “devour much flesh.” Communism has certainly done that, but the command to devour much flesh can also refer to the current spread of Islam and a future conflict between it and the rest of the world as Iran sees itself as heading up the Islamic front against the West. If that is the case, could the two arms of silver possibly describe the Sunni and Shiite Muslims of today? In either case, Russia and Iran are currently close allies. The third beast is a leopard with four wings and four heads. Could this now also refer to Germany, the swiftness with which it took over Europe and its subsequent division between the US, Russia, France, and England after WWII? The German-led European Union is tied at the hip with Greece, an EU member state that was prominent in the news a few years back over its bankrupt economy. The fourth beast is unlike all the others. Could it suggest the final world government? The beast with ten horns could very well describe the New World Order and its ten economic regions or kingdoms. Revelation 17 describes this last beast with ten horns as having seven heads, which could refer to the seven continents upon which these ten kingdoms sit or the seven seas over which they reside. It may also describe a confederacy or caliphate of ten Islamic nations yet to exert their power over the world. Some of those nations were once part of the Roman Empire. Except for the last beast, which has not yet completely materialized, all these powers are in existence today.
In both Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and in Daniel’s vision, the last beast is described as breaking in pieces all that went before it. The phrase “breaking in pieces” is related to the Hebrew word for “evil,” which is the word ra, the literal root meaning of which is to “break in pieces.” In the event that I have not yet made this point clear, allow me to reiterate that any way we look at it, the final world empire (the New World Order) will be an evil one.
THREE DIFFERENT VIEWS . . .