Do you think the fourth kingdom or beast of Daniel 2:40 and 7:7 respresents Rome or a future Islamic empire?

Email Received:

Many scholars believe that the fourth beast kingdom of Daniel 2:40 and 7:77 is Rome. Unfortunately, Rome didn't fulfill Danielís prophecies of crushing all three of the previous empires; although it conquered Greece, Babylonia and Persia both remained under Parthian control during the Roman period. The fourth beast (and the seventh that remained a little while, and comes back as the eighth) matches up with the historical rise of Islam. What do you think?

Ted's Response:

Basically, Rome conquered Greece, which had conquered Medo-Persia, which had conquered Babylon. So in that sense, Rome dominated the other three empires. Also, there were successful Roman incursions and infiltrations into some Parthian territories.

Biblically speaking, though, what is most relevant are the main empires that have ruled or dominated Israel and Jerusalem:

The seven heads of the beast of Revelation 13:1 and of Revelation 17:7,9 were also 7 kings (17:10): five had fallen (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece), one was present in the time of John (Rome), and one had yet to come (Ottoman Empire). The eighth king (Revelation 17:11), who also is the eleventh horn (Daniel 7:8), will be the beast or Antichrist; presumably, his kingdom will be the final regime to control Israel before Yeshua returns to sit as the world's King in Jerusalem.

In Nebuchadnezzar's statue, Greece was the belly and thighs of bronze (Daniel 2:32). The "thighs" were the western (European and north African) and eastern (Middle Eastern) portions of the empire. I believe that Rome was represented by the iron legs of the statue (2:33), which also had a western section (one leg) and an eastern section (the other leg).

I feel that the fourth kingdom or beast (Daniel 2:40, 7:7), though, is not limited merely to the literal Roman Empire that has risen and fallen. Gabriel told Daniel that the people of the ruler (or prince) that will come would destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (Daniel 9:26). The Romans did this in 70 A.D. However, the "ruler who will come" (beast or Antichrist) also would be the one who, near the end of the age, will confirm a covenant for one week of years (9:27) with Daniel's people, Israel.

Therefore, it would seem that the Antichrist will have some connection with what historically was the Roman Empire. I suspect that he will emerge from the western "leg," while Gog = the Assyrian will emerge from the eastern leg (most of which was part of the Ottoman Empire).

Taken together, their combined end-time empires will be like iron that breaks and smashes everything (Daniel 2:40, 7:7), other than by language (Arabic) and fundamental religion (Islam and the Qur'an). Yet, this will be a mixed, divided kingdom that will not be united (2:41-43). What's more, it certainly is true that Islam is infiltrating, infecting, and having an increasing influence over Europe, from which I feel it is likely that the Antichrist will originate and "use" one faction of Islam to wield his great power over the masses.

If what I have suggested turns out to be correct, one possibility is that nations controlled or significantly influenced by Islam may unite under one leader (perhaps the Antichrist), thinking that he is the Mahdi. Then perhaps, with time, many Muslims in this conglomerate could revolt and subsequently embrace a rival leader who comes on the scene, believing that he, instead, is the Mahdi (see Do you think that the Islamic Mahdi will be the Antichrist and that he will fulfill Islamic prophecies?).

Another possibility is that two leaders may emerge concurrently, with the majority of Muslims within any given nation gravitating toward one or the other leader. Which way they go could depend upon their perception of a leader's fulfillment of Islamic prophecies, his particular interpretation of the Qur'an, his degree of radical fundamentalism, and/or the extent of his hatred and abhorrence of Israel. Time will tell whether or not any of this pans out.

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