The world kingdoms in the Bible
The fourth kingdom
The ten horns / kings
The eleventh horn: the Antichrist – The first Antichrist
The second Antichrist
The Roman Empire is one of the historic world kingdoms which were prophesied in the
Bible long before they came into existence. We would like here to examine these prophecies of the
prophet Daniel (Dan 2 and Dan 7) in concrete detail.
The following analysis calls for a profound knowledge of scripture, but we would like it to be accessible to readers who are less familiar with the Bible as well, so the biblical texts we are concerned with will in most cases be quoted word for word. But before we get involved in the analysis of these prophecies of Daniel’s, it may help to give an overview in the form of the following table, which shows the historic world kingdoms in their biblical context. Here is the relevant text from Rev 17:
The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are
Rev 17,9 "Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 17,10 and they are seven kings; five have
fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 17,11
"The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to
destruction. 17,12 "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour 17,13 "These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. Rev 17,9-13;
Kingdom of Medo-Persia
(Kingdom of peace)
he has fallen
he has fallen
he has fallen
he has fallen
he has fallen
Lawless one | Beast (sea)
he will come
Great Tribulation | Day of the Lord
he was 7th
of fine gold
Dan 2:34-35. 44-45
wings of eagle
Son of Man
mouth of lion
feet of bear
alive into the
lake of fire
The biblical passage quoted earlier (Rev 17,9) mentions seven heads, which are also
seven hills (kingdoms) and seven kings. In the above table, these seven kingdoms that have been
prophesied have been allocated to the seven historic world kingdoms, and are shown in connection with
other biblical prophecies.
We also find these seven kingdoms as heads or kings in three prophecies from the Revelation of John:
And behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads
were seven diadems.
Rev 12,1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and
the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;
12,2 and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. 12,3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 12,4 And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. Rev 12,1-4;
And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up
out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads
were blasphemous names.
Rev 13,1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a
beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and
on his heads were blasphemous names. 13,2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet
were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and
his throne and great authority. 13,3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound
was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 13,4 they worshiped the dragon
because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the
beast, and who is able to wage war with him?" 13,5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant
words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty‒two months was given to him. 13,6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 13,7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 13,8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. Rev 13,1-8;
And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting
on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.
Rev 17,1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and
spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many
waters, 17,2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the
earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality." 17,3 And he carried me away in the Spirit
into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven
heads and ten horns. Rev 17,1-3;
In all these prophecies the seven heads or kings refer to the seven world kingdoms, as
they are represented in the table above. Whereas in Rev 12 and 17 Satan (the dragon / the beast in the
wilderness) is described in person, in Rev 13 it is the Antichrist, who has been raised by Satan from
the dead, in whom Satan manifests himself. With these seven heads we also have evidence that the
kingdoms of this world are ruled and directed by Satan.
(See also discourse 128: "The real extraterrestrials who rule our world")
The two prophecies which we would like to examine in detail here are chapters 2 and 7
from the Book of Daniel, likewise shown in the table above. In the interest of documentary completeness,
we include these texts in what follows. These two prophecies mention just four world kingdoms (Babylon,
Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome), but we learn here that the ten horns will arise from the fourth kingdom.
For a more detailed discussion, the reader can consult Discourse 93. – Here now is the prophecy in the
dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, and its interpretation by Daniel.
(See also discourse 93: "The First Four World Empires in Daniel.")
Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a statue.
Dan 2,31 "You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. 2,32 "The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 2,33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 2,34 "You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 2,35 "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Dan 2,31-35;
The interpretation of the dream.
Dan 2,36 "This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. 2,37 "You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 2,38 and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold. 2,39 "After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth. 2,40 "Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. Dan 2,36-40;
Most readers will of course be familiar with the interpretation of these prophecies – if
not, please read Discourse 98. For the present analysis, we must just keep in view what is stated in
Dan 2,40: "Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces".
(See also discourse 98: "The fifth kingdom in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar: America?")
As a second text, here now is the prophecy in Dan 7, from the dream which Daniel himself
has some time later:
And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.
Dan 7,1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream
and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following
summary of it. 7,2 Daniel said, "I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of
heaven were stirring up the great sea.
7,3 "And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. 7,4 "The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. 7,5 "And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ’ Arise, devour much meat!’ 7,6 "After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, 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.
7,7 "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. Dan 7, 1- 7;
The court sat, And the books were opened.
Dan 7,8 "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts. 7,9 "I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. 7,10 "A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened.
7,11 "Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the
horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the
burning fire. 7,12 "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. 7,13 "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 7,14 "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. Dan 7,8-14;
The interpretation of the dream.
Dan 7,15 "As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the
visions in my mind kept alarming me. 7,16 "I approached one of those who were standing by and began
asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these
things: 7,17 ‘ These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the
earth. 7,18 ‘ But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.
7,19 "Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet, 7,20 and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates. 7,21 "I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 7,22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.
7,23 "Thus he said: ‘ The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. 7,24 ‘ As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 7,25 ‘ He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 7,26 ‘ But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 7,27 ‘ Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ Dan 7,15-27;
Both in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and in the dream of Daniel, the first three world
kingdoms can be clearly identified. The first kingdom is that of the Chaldeans (Babylonians), with
Nebuchadnezzar II himself as king. The second kingdom is the Medo-Persian kingdom, with Darius III as
king. And the third kingdom is the Greek empire of Alexander the Great. The fourth kingdom would
accordingly be the Roman Empire along with its rulers.
To verify this, let us now concentrate on this fourth kingdom – but first of all, let us see what WIKIPEDIA has to say about it.
(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from
The doctrine of four kingdoms comes from the Book of Daniel in the Bible. It is
based in particular on Dan 2 EU and 7 EU. In the first Daniel interprets a dream of the Babylonian
king Nebuchadnezzar II about the future, in the second he has a vision himself, the meaning of
which is revealed to him. (…)
In later times, and into the Middle Ages, there were various attempts to associate these kingdoms, prophesied in pre-Christian times, with concrete historical empires. Based on the biblical texts the first kingdom could be identified, with very little doubt, as the Babylonian kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. The subsequent kingdoms are generally thought to be the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, the empire of Alexander and the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire also fits this interpretation as the fourth kingdom, because the fourth kingdom is supposed to be a divided kingdom. And indeed this was what happened to the Roman Empire, which was ruled by two emperors from 395 AD onward, and finally fell apart into the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. (…)
The doctrine of four kingdoms is linked to the medieval theory of translatio imperii (transfer of empire). This saw the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire as being the direct successors of the Roman Empire of the past.
The above statements from WIKIPEDIA well illustrate the problem which biblical
commentators have had with these prophecies for centuries. On the one hand, the interpretation of the
fourth kingdom as the Roman Empire is self‒evident, and no one would reasonably dispute it. But on the other, the subsequent statements in these prophecies indicate that the time frame of this world kingdom represents the time when the Antichrist is to be expected (Dan 2:41-42; 7:7-8).
And here it is not difficult to recognize this centuries-old contradiction, when it comes to interpreting these passages. The Roman Empire is way back in the past, whereas the Antichrist – thank the Lord – has not revealed himself yet. In order to establish a connection between our own times and the Roman Empire, we could (especially in European linguistic regions) point, even today, to lasting traces of the Roman Empire in our society. We find expressions of it in the judicial system, for example, which still recalls Roman legal principles both in its fundamentals and in its attitudes (lex, codex, jurisdiction etc.) and likewise in the military sphere (general, captain, corporal etc.).
Dennoch dürfte das nicht genügen, um eine Fortdauer des Römischen Reiches bis in unsere heutige Zeit – Still, this is hardly enough to demonstrate the continuance of the Roman Empire into our own times, and further into the future. And on the other hand, we also have statements about this fourth kingdom in Dan 7, 23 "which will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it" which are quite inconceivable as realities, above all in our time of pacification on all levels.
So it is not surprising that we find numerous interpretations of this crux – none of which, however, is able adequately to explain this "temporal hiatus" of almost two thousand years. And this now forms our starting point for a completely new approach to a solution.
If we look at our world today, we find that kingdoms no longer exist. Of course there are countries that do have a royal family, like Great Britain, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Norway and so on and so forth.
But these are all constitutional or parliamentary monarchies, where the royal families only exercise a ceremonial function. Political power is in the hands of the government and the parliament, as all of these countries are democracies. In Europe we now only find democracies (along with a few pseudo-democracies). And this development is not just restricted to Europe. If we look at the world, the forms of government we find, in the great majority of cases, are democracies; non‒democracies are quite rare.
And here it is an interesting fact that democracy had its "cradle" in Ancient Greece: under Pericles, Athens experienced a long democratic period of peace (449-431 BC). But when the Greek city states revolted against the dominion of Athens with the help of Sparta and brought it to a close, that was the end of democracy for Athens.
A less well known fact is that Ancient Rome too had leanings towards democracy. Around 500 BC the Roman nobility overthrew their king. He was replaced by two consuls, each elected for one year, and a parliament or a legislative assembly consisting of 300 members (the senate). This was a quite different kind of political style from that practiced by the rulers of the three previous world kingdoms.
In the way it dealt with its conquered enemies, too, Rome showed itself to be quite different from its predecessors. Whereas the Babylonians, Persians and Greeks had conquered and plundered other peoples and imposed tribute on them, Rome often allowed defeated nations to retain their independence. So it even happened that kingdoms voluntarily subjected themselves to Roman rule, because in this way they could count on protection and support. So much, then, for democracy in the ancient Roman Empire.
And now let us fast forward to the present, and ask ourselves the question, whether that doesn’t somehow seem familiar? Above all here, in the European Union, we find a very similar situation. Why did these European states actually accede to the Union? Wasn’t it because our politicians expected this to yield protection and support (including financial support)? And why do more nations keep on wanting to join the European Union?
We can see then that this democratic policy of peaceful absorption of peoples and countries, as an alternative to war, proved effective back in the past, and is still being practiced today. Even if Augustus later introduced imperial rule to the Roman Empire, and the senate and the assembly were reduced to mere supernumeraries, it was still Rome that invented this policy of peaceful assimilation.
So the question now suggests itself whether this long sought after "transformation" of the fourth kingdom, of the Roman Empire, might not in fact be this political institution of democracy, which has come to dominate the world. If this is the right interpretation, we could finally place these developments in time and so define a temporal horizon for these prophecies. Let us just think about Dan 7,23: "The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms; it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it."
Isn’t it just this political institution of democracy that is "devouring" all the countries of the world? At least in the developed world, a state without democracy would be unthinkable. And any non-democracy gets "trodden down and crushed". Let us just think of the French Revolution, the Hapsburg empire, the Soviet Union, Tito’s Yugoslavia, East Germany … All of them non-democracies, which have been dissolved, or "crushed".
Or let’s just take a look at the more recent past. Starting with the "Arab spring", with Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, going on to embrace Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and the central African nations: all these are non‒democracies, from which people have fled. And now in our own time, take Mexico, where there are 40 murders every day and criminals rule, so that people are fleeing to the USA and President Trump wants to erect a wall to keep them out.
Or take Venezuela, with its corrupt President, where people are fleeing to neighboring South American countries – so that soldiers are already being stationed on the borders, to check this movement of refugees. All these have been or are pseudo‒democracies or non‒democracies. And they get "crushed", like when a tank drives over a football: in one case the air is expelled, in the other people flee from their countries.
Now this "world kingdom" of democracy is actually quite different from the foregoing historic world kingdoms. Whereas in the case of the Roman Empire we could refer the iron teeth to its iron military equipment and the strength of its armies, when it comes to democracy it is the absolute lack of any alternative in the present day.
We still have today some states that are non‒democracies, for instance North Korea (dictatorship), Saudi Arabia (absolute monarchy), China (pseudo‒democracy), and there are some other countries that are ruled by oligarchs, war‒lords or tribal chieftains. But in the last resort, they too will have no alternative. This prophecy is going to be fulfilled: democracy will "devour" all the countries of the world.
So to conclude this part of the analysis, let us just check the facts.
In the prophecies in the Book of Daniel, this kingdom has the following properties: (taking Dan 2 first):
Dan 2,40 "Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron;
inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush
and break all these in pieces.
Here the emphasis comes at the end of the sentence: "will crush and break all these in pieces". Of course this statement refers, first and foremost, to the Roman Empire. "All these" stands for the three previous world kingdoms, which expanded in a martial way, by means of war.
In the subsequent period, however, this fourth kingdom also stands for the world kingdom of democracy. And democracy spreads on a mental level, in the heads of the people. The "strength" of democracy is the majority vote of the electorate, resulting in power in the parliaments. And in this way democracy is going to "crush and break in pieces" all those countries which were formerly part of these three historic world kingdoms as well. – And now let us look at Dan 7:
Dan 7,223 "Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.’"
And in this text too it is stated: "it will devour, crush and break in pieces all countries". So here it is not a matter of a limited geographical area of the world. It concerns all the countries of this earth.
This new suggested solution for the interpretation of the fourth world kingdom in Dan 2,40 ff and Dan 7,23 ff seems at first glance peculiar, because the prophecy speaks of a "kingdom"; and democracy is by definition not a kingdom. But that, of course, is why we find it stated, with reference to this kingdom, that "it will be different from all other kingdoms".
And when we look at the text, we can see that so far this interpretation ticks all the boxes for these prophecies:
o The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms
The world kingdom of democracy is indeed in every respect different from the other three (or four) historic world kingdoms. It does not make war or invade countries. Its ruler, its sovereign, is not a king or an emperor, but the people. Its boundaries are worldwide, and its citizens are the whole of humanity.
o it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.
Democracy has "crushed and broken in pieces" all other kingdoms (the Habsburg empire, the Soviet Union, Tito’s Yugoslavia, all European kingdoms). And what is more, democracy is really a "world kingdom". Because if all the democracies of this world had been assimilated into the Habsburg empire or the Soviet Union, say, then of course that too would have been a world kingdom.
But now we have some statements in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar which relate to the
fourth kingdom, and which at first glance seem to put an end to this attempt at interpretation.
In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’ s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom.
Dan 2,41 "In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’ s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 2,42 "As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 2,43 "And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery. Dan 2,41-43;
So it is going to be a divided kingdom. The conventional interpretation takes this as
indicating the division of the Roman Empire. But how can a democracy – or a global democracy, for that matter – be "divided"? And yet this question is only difficult to resolve if we limit ourselves to the well trodden paths.
We are no longer concerned here with confrontations between individual states, with wars involving victors and vanquished. That is the old, "martial" interpretation. In the new interpretation, the "mental" one so to speak, power lies in the heads of the people. It is a matter of politics, of democratic politics. The world kingdom of democracy is a political world kingdom! And for that reason, this "division" must also be of a political (or party political) nature.
Now in a democracy we have many political parties, but the separation here only goes in two directions: "some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle". And since we are then told in the following verse (Dan 2,43) that this division extends to individual human beings, even to married couples, who may have children together but evidently remain irreconcilable in their opinions (their political opinions), we have some indication of a solution.
If we take a look at political parties in the democracies of today, the spectrum extends from the far left to the far right. Attentive observers will however not have failed to notice the fact that in recent times all democracies, all over the world, are showing a concentration at the peripheral extremes. The political parties of the center – social democrats, those parties that are essentially conservative – are losing electoral support and so diminishing in importance, while the extremists on the right and left are becoming stronger.
If this interpretation is correct, we could expect to see the following developments in the years to come:
– general aggressiveness, lack of consideration – and so of course also extreme political views – will increase, the center of the political spectrum will gradually disappear;
– there will only remain two really big parties, and, as is commonly the case under democracy, the party with the majority (the "strong" part) is the one that rules,
– people will not trust one another any longer, they will lie, cheat and denounce one another on all sides,
– people’s opposed positions will collide with increasing violence, and the situation can be expected to escalate into civil wars.
Whether this polarization of the population – and so of politics – comes about through
the familiar left/right extreme ways of thinking (Germany: Green Party / AfD, FR: yellow west, GB: Brexit, Hungary, USA, Venezuela etc.), or whether here in some years, based on religious ideas (the coming Antichrist), the opposition between a religious politics (not a Christian one!) against a politics of irreligion gets the upper hand, remains uncertain. The Bible at all events gives us just general indications of developments of this kind in the history of humanity.
So we have, for example, our Lord’s statements in his discourse on the Last Days (e.g. Mt 24), with clear indications of wars on a global scale.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
Mt 24,6 "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 24,7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 24,8 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Mt 24. 6-8;
(See also table 17: "The Chronology of the End-Time Events.)”
And wars of this kind are mentioned by John as well in the Revelation, for instance in the judgments of the seals during the Great Tribulation:
I to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men
would slay one another.
Rev 6,3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature
saying, "Come." 6,4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the
earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. Rev 6, 3- 4;
Here again we can safely assume that it is not just a matter of scattered local wars,
because when peace is "taken from the earth" it must undoubtedly be something on a global scale. These two prophecies – this in Revelation, and the one in the Lord’s discourse on the Last Days, in Mt 24 above – have the same background, as we can see when we examine and compare the context of the two.
(See also discourse 05: "The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.)"
The above prophecy of the Lord’s in Mt 24 states, in the Elberfeld translation, that "nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom". Luther’s version, on the other hand, translates as follows: "One people will rise against another, and one kingdom against another" – so really giving the impression that all the peoples of the earth will be fighting each other, effectively a world war.
When we examine the original Greek text, however, it emerges that Luther here – as not infrequently in his translations – has been interpreting rather than translating. For in the translation from the Greek of the original text in Nestle‒Aland we find: "For people will arise against people and kingdom against kingdom" – quite similar to the Elberfeld translation.
And as we will see shortly, this can turn the meaning of the passage around completely. With his translation stating that "one people (or kingdom) will rise against another", Luther lays a false trail, which commentators have hardly noticed to the present day.
When we now look at the Lord’s statement in Mt 24,7 above, in the Elberfeld translation, and read that "nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom", experienced commentators will begin to feel a certain suspicion. There can be no doubt that this prophecy has worldwide implications. And yet – or for that very reason – the question suggests itself, Why did our Lord here formulate it as "nation against nation"uot; and "kingdom against kingdom"? Does it perhaps indicate that "nation against kingdom" and "kingdom against nation" are to be ruled out? And if that were to be the case, why then, in the case of worldwide wars, should this kind of constellation be impossible?
And here a supposition makes itself felt which has become increasingly concrete in recent years. If there are wars worldwide, in which people are slaughtering each other on all sides (see Rev 6,4 above), but at the same time it is a matter of wars of "nation against nation" and "kingdom against kingdom", it follows that this cannot be a world war in the traditional sense.
But if we assume that the Lord deliberately chose this formulation, precisely in order to exclude this interpretation of a world war, the only explanation remaining is that he was speaking of civil wars. Civil wars all over the world, in every country – in which every nation, every state, every kingdom will be fighting itself. And these, then, would be civil wars and nothing else.
WSo if our interpretation of the fourth kingdom in the prophecies of Dan 2 and 7 as the "world kingdom of democracy" is the correct one, of course it must also be possible to furnish an explanation for the following statements relating to the ten horns or kings (in Dan 2,42, ten "toes").
Dan 7,24 ‘ As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 7,25 ‘ He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 7,26 ‘ But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 7,27 ‘ Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ Dan 7,15-27;
Seeing that this text is concerned, from the second sentence on, to describe the
Antichrist, his appearance and future downfall, we must begin by focusing on the first sentence
(Dan 7,24), where it is stated: "As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise".
And here we must first fundamentally assert that these kings do not "arise" from one another in sequence, as some interpreters like to suppose, in order to explain the distance in time of two thousand years, from the Roman Empire to our own day. One of these ten kings is also often identified by these theorists as being the king of the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" (see above, under WIKIPEDIA: Translatio imperii).
No, these ten kings "rule" at the same time. This emerges from the statements in the following sentence (Dan 7,24): "Another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings". So if he is going to subdue three kings, these three kings must also be present, and present at the same time.
But let us consider the kings themselves. Seeing that the eleventh king – as he is described in Dan 7,24 ff – is quite clearly an individual, and seeing that he will subdue three of the ten kings, we can assume that both – both the eleventh king and the ten kings, that is – are individual persons. The actions ascribed to the eleventh king in Dan 7,25 ff can only be associated with a person, and if he subdues three kings, the kings too must be subdued as individual persons.
If our interpretation of the fourth world kingdom as worldwide democracy is correct, then these kings - including the eleventh king – are the political leaders of major democratic nations (e.g. the USA, Canada, Russia, China, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, India) or confederations of states (like the EU) – though of course it is quite conceivable that other national groupings could develop in future.
In most interpretations the eleventh king is identified as the Antichrist, and this has likewise been confirmed here at Immanuel.at. In addition, in view of an indication from our Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 5:43), it has been possible to identify him as a Jew: he will come to Israel as its "Messiah" and take his seat in the Temple – this is something that the Jews would only accept from a Jew. And from this we can now also conclude – in the present context – that he will later appear as the leader of Israel.
In Dan 7,24 he is described as follows: "Another will arise after them (the ten kings), and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings." This formulation is conspicuously similar to the description of the fourth beast in the previous verse (Dan 7,23): "Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it."
So we should assume here likewise that this eleventh king will not be comparable, either in his person or in his actions, with what has been understood in the past by a "king" or a head of state. And here the interpretation of the biblical Antichrist here at Immanuel.at is already one step ahead of the conventional exegesis.
Starting from the fact that conventional biblical interpretations always speak of just one single Antichrist, unprejudiced readers of the Bible may be astonished to discover that this one and only Antichrist suddenly dies twice, according to what the Bible tells us. As is demonstrated in the following biblical passages, where first of all Paul speaks of the Antichrist – the "lawless one", as he calls him – "whom the Lord will slay with the breath of his mouth".
The lawless one is destroyed by the Lord Jesus on his arrival to the rapture of
2The 2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now
restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.2,8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 2,9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 2,10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2,11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 2,12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2The 2,7-12;
As we can see from what has gone before in 2Thess 2:1-6, Paul is here explaining to the Thessalonians the Second Coming of the Lord for the Rapture of his own. And as we are then told above, in 2Thess 2,8, this is the occasion when the Lord Jesus will slay the Antichrist with the "breath of his mouth". On the other hand, however, John prophesies in Revelation that the Antichrist – there referred to as the "beast from the sea" – will have his activities terminated when he, along with the false prophet, is thrown into the lake of fire.
But we know from scripture that only condemned spiritual beings – resurrected humans who are condemned at the Last Judgment, fallen angels of Satan, and indeed Satan himself with his false prophet – can be thrown into the lake of fire. Human beings, on the other hand, can only be killed. And for this reason the second Antichrist must be a spiritual being, in other words a demon.
The beast is thrown alive into the lake of fire after the Battle of Armageddon.
Rev 19,20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. Rev 19,20;
And here we might suppose that the "lawless one" and the "beast from the sea" are two different figures, and that Paul and John, in their accounts, are referring to two different events and speaking of two completely different persons – if it were not that when we compare the relevant passages, the following aspects in common can be recognized:
- Both come as agents of Satan, who gives them power and might and even
surrenders his throne to the beast (2Thess 2:9; Rev 13:2)
- They uplift themselves over all that is called God, and blaspheme God, his
name and those who dwell in heaven (2Thess 2:4; Rev 13:6)
- They claim to be God themselves, and allow people to worship them (2Thess
2:4; Rev 13:8).
So it is as good as certain that these two prophecies are speaking of one and the same person. Are we then up against a new riddle? On the face of it, yes – but when we take a closer look at the context of the two prophecies, the dilemma is easy to resolve. Based on our interpretations here at Immanuel.at, we also know that the Antichrist will indeed be incomparable in every respect.
He makes his first appearance as a person addicted to power (the "lawless one", 2Thess 2:3-4), and will be killed at the end of his period of dominion by the Son of God, when the latter comes for the Rapture of the congregation (see 2Thess 2,8 above). He will then be brought back to life by Satan (Rev 13:3) and after that will rule the world as a demon. Human beings will not notice that he is a demon. They will only see that he has been brought back to life, and will admire and worship both Satan, who has raised him to life, as God, and the Antichrist himself as the "Messiah" (Rev 13:4).
With that Satan has completed his plagiarism of the death and resurrection of the Son of God, and the whole of humanity will think – based on the biblical model – that now the "Christ" will rule in the name of God for a thousand years. But in fact it will be the Antichrist, acting in the name of Satan, who will deceive the world with his false miracles, and rule it just for a short time (Rev 17:12).
(See also discourse 93: "The First Antichrist, The Son of Destruction.")
In view of the indications supplied by Paul in 2Thess 2:1-3, by the Lord Jesus in Mt
24:29-31 and John in Rev 7:14, we know that the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture will only take
place after the Great Tribulation. The theory of a "Pre‒Rapture" can only be explained on the basis of a deficient knowledge of scripture. But as we are now able to conclude from Rev 7,14, where we are told "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation", that the events preceding should be seen retrospectively, along with the Lord’s statements about the Great Tribulation in Mt 24, we can find a parallelism in these events.
(See also discourse 05: "The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.)"
And taking this comparative analysis as a basis, we can now feel fairly confident about identifying the first, the human Antichrist with the "rider on the white horse" in Rev 6:1-2. This lawless one who is addicted to power will be killed by the Son of God on the latter’s Second Coming (Rev 6:12-17, Mt 24:29-31), and will then be brought back to life by Satan as a demon (Rev 13:3). He starts his dominion as the "beast from the sea" in Rev 13:1, and so as the second, the demonic Antichrist.
Now that we have identified the beginning of the Great Tribulation (the appearance of the first, human Antichrist) and its end (the appearance of the second, demonic Antichrist, and so the beginning of the Day of the Wrath of God), here now is a summary overview of the events of the Great Tribulation:
The first human Antichrist (the man of lawlessness, the rider on the white horse).
o The apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is
revealed, the son of destruction (2Thess 2:1-4)
o A white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown
was given conquering and to conquer. (Rev 6:2)
o And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week,
but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the
wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction,
one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate. (Dan 9:27)
The Great Tribulation
o For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has
not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. (Dan 12:1; Mt 24:21)
o These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation,
and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev 7:14)
o But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun
will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the
sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Mt 24:29)
o I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great
earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became
like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its
unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. (Rev 6:12-13)
o Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation
which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader
understand) (Mt 21:15)
o From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and
the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (Dan 12:11)
The Return of the Lord (the day of revelation of the Lord, the coming of the Lord)
o And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky,
and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on
the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. (Mt 24:30)
o For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a
shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will
rise first. (1Thess 4:16)
o Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay
with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
The Rapture (our gathering together to Him)
o And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and
they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the
other. (Mt 24:31)
o The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and
remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,
and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1Thess 4:16-17)
o Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of
our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him. (2Thess 2:1)
The second demonic Antichrist (the beast out of the sea, the little horn)
o Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten
horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous
names. (Rev 13:1)
o While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn,
a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots
before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering
great boasts. (Dan 7:8)
After the first Antichrist, as a human being, has been killed by the Son of God on his
Second Coming for the Rapture of the faithful, he will be raised again by Satan and will now bring to
fulfillment on earth Satan’s plagiarism of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This insight
comes originally from Barney Blankenship, an Evangelical American Jew, who has contributed an article to
Immanuel.at (Discourse 77: "Mystery, Babylon The Great.")
But he has also scrutinized the "beast from the sea" in the original Greek text, and in Discourse 86 ("The first and the second Antichrist") he analyses the number 666 on the basis of Strong’s numbers. He writes there:
Thus, it can be suggested that one of the reasons for counting (calculating) the number of the Beast is because it contains as a component of, constructed within it, the number of a man. Therefore, the ‘total calculated number 666’ of the Beast includes both the number of the Beast itself and the number of the man Antichrist – the two become one."
Barney Blankenship is of course referring here to Rev 13. If we know that the sea is the
domain of Satan, then a "beast" that comes "out of the sea" must necessarily be a demon. Its number, now, is 666, and as Barney writes, this means that it is also the number of a man – of the first, human Antichrist, that is. And since, as Luther has said, Satan is the "ape of God", because in his desire to be equal to God he keeps on imitating God, it is not difficult to recognize that what we see here is the devil’s plagiarism of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
This second, demonic Antichrist – the "beast from the sea" – is prophetically announced in Rev 13. As we have already said, people will not be aware that he is a demon. In the same way as our Lord Jesus Christ appeared as a human being after his resurrection, and acted to all intents and purposes like a human being, so neither will the resurrected Antichrist be recognizable as a being coming from a different dimension.
(See also excursus 07: "The spiritual body – immortal, invisible.")
The first spectacular action of the second Antichrist will be the killing of the two witnesses of God in Jerusalem. According to Rev 11:1-6, God will send two witnesses to earth, who will prophesy in Jerusalem. They will exhort the Israelites to convert to their God. For this service, God will give his two witnesses the gift of invincibility and power over nature. They will ward off all the attacks of their enemies for a period of 42 months. Only when the second, the demonic Antichrist appears, will he be able to overcome them (Rev 11:7-10).
(See also chapter 03: "The two witnesses.")
(See also chapter 01: "The Antichrist kills the two witnesses in Jerusalem.")
This demonic Antichrist will exercise great influence on earth on all peoples and nations (a political influence, perhaps a religious influence?), and will convince the masses with his deceiving miracles. But it seems that he doesn’t attain to absolute power, as at the end of his dominion, when he again wages war against the Son of God and engages in combat with the heavenly hosts, he is obliged to send out some kind of unclean spirits to the ten kings of the world (Rev 17:12-14) in order to induce them to fight on his side (Rev 16:13-14).
(See also chapter 07: "The Battle of Armageddon – The gathering for the battle.")
This battle of of Armageddon is then lost by the demonic Antichrist, who together with his false prophet is thrown by the Son of God into the lake of fire (Rev 19:20-21).
After this our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, takes up the dominion of this world in his Messianic kingdom of peace of a thousand years, before this heaven and this earth, after the General Resurrection and the Last Judgment, must give place to a new heaven and a new earth in God’s second creation (Rev 21:1-4).