"While The Fiddler Played, The World Came To An End"
THE FEET OF A BEAR
(The Seven Heads and Ten Horns)
Having now stated that Daniel's fifth Gentile Kingdom is not a revived Roman Empire, let us now, therefore, investigate through the Scriptures what it actually is.
The Last Gentile Kingdom, from whence the Beast, the wicked Antichrist, will arise, has been described in Daniel 2:42 as having ten toes which are "partly of iron and partly of clay." It is an outgrowth, if not an integral part, of the fourth kingdom of Iron (Daniel 2:40). Here the ten toes are symbolized instead by ten horns. Why horns here and toes there? Simple.
In the Davis Dictionary of the Bible, "horn denotes political power, the image being drawn from bulls which push with their horns, and in prophetic language signifies a kingdom... or kings." Now toes are the appendages on a bare foot, and a barefoot or bare feet in Scripture are generally symbolic of shame. (Of course, the exception is where those feet are bringing forth the glad tidings of God, as in Isaiah 52:7) For instance, when David's son, Absalom, had caused him to abdicate his throne as King of Israel,
Similarly, the Lord commanded Isaiah the Prophet to walk:
Combining both elements, we arrive at the conclusion that the ten horns/toes are kingdoms which are in a rather primitive, peasant and humble condition; the very bottom, the least, of Nebuchadnezzar's top heavy statue, with a splendorous, richly endowed head of gold, and an impoverished base of crumbly clay. What then are these crumbly clay toes to which is added a portion of iron for strength? There is a sure guideline which is to my knowledge generally overlooked (at least I've never heard it taught anywhere), in interpreting the identity of the ten-toed Beast. Let's look at it.
The Beast, identified as having ten toes/horns, is symbolic of the Antichrist (1 John 2:18) or "another horn, a little one." (Daniel 7:8) The toes/horns are also referred to Scripturally as kings (kingdoms) from which he derives his "power and authority." (Rev. 17:13) The Beast who arises from the midst of these ten kingdoms is identified in Scripture as having "the feet of a bear." (Rev. 13:2) What does that mean? Simple, but elusive: The feet are the source of locomotion, and where they are planted the bear can be physically located.
Thus, if we can identify that place where the bear's feet are planted, then we know where to focus our attention to watch for the coming forth of the Antichrist/Beast. The question is, is there some kind of Scriptural designation for the place of the bear's feet? Unquestionably, yes.
The book of Daniel in the First Testament cannot be understood without a corresponding understanding of the book of Revelation in the New Testament and vice versa. One might call these two Jewish prophets, Daniel of the Old, and John, of the New, collaborators in the most graphic of all end-time revelations, writing 700 years apart, yet with knowledge which was inter- faced by God. It was clever of God to do this so that an inter-connection could be shown between both the First and the Second Covenants. (Jeremiah 31:31)
God has through the prophets Daniel and John given us several amazingly clear points of reference, two of which we have already uncovered: One, that the toes represent "impoverished kingdoms;" and two, that because they have the feet of a bear, they would come forth out of the bear's territory. Where is that?
This bear is God's symbol for the second Gentile Kingdom as seen in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. There are two additional parallel but disparate symbols in the book of Daniel to describe this same Kingdom. In Daniel 2:32, the "chest and arms of silver," and in 8:3, "a ram which had two horns."
In Daniel 8:20, the second Gentile Kingdom's identity is revealed as the joint domain of "the Kings of Media and Persia." Students of the Bible and of history know that Persia ultimately rose up and conquered Media. Darius the Mede, the uncle of the Persian, Cyrus, was responsible for organizing the Persian Empire (The Bear Empire) into districts known as satrapies.
In researching the subject of these satrapies of the Persian Empire, I made an amazing discovery. Ten of the original eleven republics of the Russian Commonwealth (the CIS), either in whole or in part, were located in the land area of the old Persian Empire. They therefore have feet "like the feet of a bear." Is it any wonder that the Bear was used as a symbol for the now deceased Soviet Union (before it became the CIS)?
Are you getting a sense of the point I am making? That when John refers to the Beast with the "feet of a bear," he's dove-tailing his prophecy in Revelation 13:2 with Daniel 7:5 to announce the very place from whence the Little Horn-Beast-Antichrist will come on the scene, and it's not the European Community, which is called "the revived Roman Empire" by most theologians as we just discussed.
Parenthetically, I'd like to add that many hundreds of years after the Messiah's ascension, the Roman Empire split into the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. The Eastern Empire which was located to some minor extent in the land area of the old Persian Empire survived about a thousand years after the Western Roman Empire was conquered in 476 AD. The Eastern Roman Empire is also known as the Byzantine Empire which began around 957 AD and spread Christianity and Byzantine culture into Russia.
Starting around 989 AD, mass conversion of the Russian people by Byzantine missionaries followed with the establishment of an official Russian Church subordinate to the patriarch of Constantinople. Thus, there is a strong nexus between the Eastern (Byzantine) division of the Roman Empire and the Russian Orthodox church, the major church denomination in modern Russia and elsewhere in the nations of the CIS. Since the Roman Catholic Church had its roots in the Holy Roman Empire which was then divided into Western and Eastern divisions, the Russian Orthodox church which came out of the Eastern division is also largely an outgrowth of the Roman Catholic church.
Thus, the "ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom" (Dan. 7:24) do arise after all from the Holy Roman Empire, but from its Eastern division, the Byzantine Empire. The Scripture is thereby fulfilled, while at the same time excluding the EU; we could call it the revived Roman Empire-Eastern Division theory.
At the time of this writing, the CIS has twelve member nationalistic republics which are only weakly linked together. They are: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldava, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, Kirghizia, Kazakhstan and Georgia. Georgia joined under duress in 1993 to gain Russia's help in putting an end to a civil war in the breakaway Black Sea province of Abkhazia which threatened to topple the Shevardnadze government. Many in Georgia see Russia as a secret backer and instigator of this successful rebellion in the Abkhazia region. According to the research that I have done, only Belarus has no part of its territory located in the land area of the ancient Persian Empire.
But the July 7, 1995 Sun-Sentinel, a south Florida newspaper, in a world news report entitled "Belarus Halts Withdrawal," reported on some information which could conceivably clear up that inconsistency in the near future.
"Belarus has suspended the withdrawal of Russian strategic nuclear missiles from its territory, calling it unnecessary because the two former Soviet Republics might reunify, a newspaper reported on Thursday."
Whether this will happen only time will tell, but I believe that the CIS will ultimately consist of ten republics. How is this of importance to us today?
The gravity of present day events in the former Soviet Union mandates the blowing of the trumpet of warning. With the re-emergence of the old line Communists and the virulent Nationalists rising to power, with dangerous men like Vladimir Zhirinovsky mouthing violent and anti-Semitic rhetoric, it is without doubt time to begin watching for the Antichrist to start emerging from the shadows. Of course, he does not come into world prominence until half way through Daniel's 70th week (Daniel 9:27), but he will emerge into a role of local political leadership in Russia before that time.
Many Christians will not recognize this dangerous man when he surfaces because they'll be watching for him in the EU instead of the CIS; Europe instead of Russia. Do you see the danger of the revived Roman Empire teaching? These events will not take place in the EU in the future because they're beginning to bubble up right now in Russia.
But what's worse is the fact that many Christians will not recognize the two Beasts (False Prophet and Antichrist) simply because they've been taught that they will have already been "caught away" in the "rapture" before the Beasts appear on the world scene.
Therein lies the gravest danger of all; the pre-tribulation rapture theory which is a cleverly laid trap for God's people. Deception is the name of the Devil's game, and I'm sorry to say that his intrigues have not been wasted on vast numbers of Bible-believing Christians.
We will talk more about this later, but first let's take a closer look at these Persian satrapies that Darius organized, and see how the republics of the CIS sit on the same land area, in whole or in part; picture the ten Russian "toes of the feet" (Daniel 2:42) fitted onto the old Persian bear's feet (Daniel 7:5).
(l) Russia: the southern portion of which extends down like a giant toe (the big toe on the foot) between the Black and the Caspian Seas into what was the Armina (Armenia) satrap and perhaps the northeast portion of the Katpatuka (Cappadocia) satrap.
(2) Ukraine: the southwestern portion which borders Moldava on the topside and the Black Sea on the bottom was, according to the latest research, in some measure considered by Darius as belonging to his Saka Paradraya (Scythians) satrap and possibly, a portion in the Skudra (Thrace-Macedonia) satrap. This group of Scythians was identified by the Persians as the Beyond-the-sea Scythians (the Black Sea).
(3) Belarus: this republic appears to be the only one in the CIS to have no portion of its territory located in the Persian empire. But as indicated if the republic reunifies with Russia, it will be a moot point.
(4) Moldava: It appears that the entire Moldavian republic lay within Darius' Saka Paradraya (Scythians) satrap. There is a strong possibility that Moldava will align itself with Romania; at the time of this writing the facts seem to imply that this might happen because about 65 percent of Moldava's population are ethnically Romanian and speak Romanian. It has been reported from time to time in the news that Moldava may choose to secede to Romania.
(5) Armenia: this republic lay within the Armina (Armenia) satrap.
(6) Azerbaijan: this republic also lay within the Armina satrap.
(7) Turkmenistan: this republic appears to have been located principally within the Parthava (Parthia) satrap. It may have poured over into two other bordering satrapies to the north and to the east.
(8) Tadzhikistan: thus republic lay within the Haraiva (Areia) satrap and possibly also that of Gandara.
(9) Uzbekistan: this republic lay within the satrap of Uvarazmish (Chorasmii).
(10) Kirghizia: this republic lay with the satrap of Saka Haumavarca (Scythians). This group of Scythians was identified by the Persians as the group located in Central Asia.
(11) Kazakhstan: this republic lay within the satrapies of Suguda (Sogdia) and Bakhfrish (Bactria).
(12) Georgia: this republic lay within the satrap of Katpatuka (Cappadocia).
It is, therefore, not so enigmatic after all that the Apostle John identifies the Beast as having "the feet of a bear" (Rev. 13:2). That prophecy pinpoints for us the exact location from which the latter day Beast will emerge. It is the same land area as the old Media-Persian Empire and it is presently occupied by the CIS, the former Soviet Empire, which will ultimately consist of 10 nations. On the other hand, the EU for the most part does not occupy this same land area. What could be clearer?
I will show you another interesting proof that the Apostle John was not referring to a revived Roman Empire.
At the time the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, during the rule of the Roman Empire, the ten kings were said by him to have "no kingdom as yet." But note that the kingdoms of Spain, Gaul (France), Germany, Great Britain, Greece and others of the present day EU did exist as nations before and then became conquered possessions of the Roman Empire, and do not, therefore, fit his description. They had already received their "kingdom" and "authority."
On the other hand, the Soviet republics did not exist; they were nomadic tribes from the North. They did not receive their identities as kingdoms (or sovereign states) until the Soviet Union consisting of 15 republics collapsed and fragmented into three independent states and 12 republics. Thus, they do fit John's description. Another prophetic fulfillment relating to the collapse of the Soviet Union was brought to mind by an article in The New York Times on December 26, 1991.
The momentous headline announced, "GORBACHEV RESIGNS AS LAST SOVIET LEADER; U.S. RECOGNIZES REPUBLICS' INDEPENDENCE. THE SOVIET STATE, BORN OF A DREAM DIES." The significant highlight from the article read as follows:
"The Soviet state, marked throughout its brief but tumultuous history by great achievement and terrible suffering, died today after a long and painful decline. It was 74 years old."
Remember that the description of the most famous of all of Daniel's Beasts, the very last one, the "little horn" (Antichrist; Daniel 7:8) which Revelation describes as "a Beast rising up out of the sea," (Rev. 13:1) pertains to both a man and the empire over which he rules. The Times article continued,
"Conceived in utopian promise and born in the violent upheavals of the 'Great October Revolution of 1917,' the union heaved its last in the dreary darkness of late December 1991, stripped of ideology, dismembered, bankrupt and hungry but awe-inspiring even in its fall."
Thus, at that time the empire seemed "as if it had been mortally wounded." Only time will tell whether the wound really was mortal. If the empire will someday be restored, it would not have been a mortal wound at all. And what about the man who had been ruler over that empire? The article went on,
"The end of the Soviet Union came with the resignation of Mikhail S. Gorbachev to make way for a new Commonwealth of Independent States.' At 7:32 PM, shortly after the conclusion of his televised address, the red flag with hammer-and-sickle was lowered over the Kremlin and the white-blue-red Russian flag rose in its stead. Reactions to the death varied widely, according to Pravda, the former mouthpiece of the empire: 'Some joyfully exclaim, 'Finita la comedia!' Others, heaping ash on their heads, raise their hands to the sky in horror and ask, what will be?'"
After magnanimously saving President Gorbachev from the ill-fated coup attempt, Boris Yeltsin thereby became a public hero. He also thereby allowed Mr. Gorbachev to think that he had a friend in him. Yeltsin, who subsequently became president of the mighty Russian Republic, quietly turned the tables on Gorbachev, who was himself seeking to form his own confederation of republics, by forming a Commonwealth with the presidents of the two other most powerful republics, Belarus and the Ukraine. They wanted nothing to do with Gorbachev, the father of glastnost and perestroika who had made all of this right to self-determination possible. They totally rebuffed the former head of the USSR and left him as though he were a "dead man."
Dissolving the Union was necessary, for it released the republics from Central (Kremlin) authority and established the "kings" of sovereign "kingdoms." As of December 21, 1991, eleven republics signed onto the CIS, thereby declaring their sovereign statehood. Subsequently, the CIS did become a confederation of ten when Azerbaijan dropped out. Since then, the number has fluctuated slightly.
I began this chapter with Revelation 13:1, how John "saw a Beast rising up out of the sea, having... ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns;" in other words, ten sovereign and separate "kingdoms," with ten sovereign rulers. Thus, the Beast, a/k/a/ the "Antichrist," who comes from the territory of the CIS, will rise up and rule over and also derive his power base from these ten horns/crowns who in addition, as previously shown, are the ten toes of the Bear. When this happens, the Beast will finally have arrived and his feet will be "the feet of a bear" complete with "ten toes."
Now look at another related Scripture which confirms the Beast/ten horn power base.
There are interesting observations to make from these scriptures. At the time of the writing of the Book of Revelation, these kings had received no kingdom yet. We've already addressed that point. In addition, their authority was to be short-lived. The "hour" designation used by the prophet emphasizes the brevity of the period of time. In fact, we can measure it against the 70th Week of Daniel 9:27 in which we are told that this Beast will rule from the middle of the "one week" (a week Scripturally is a period of seven years - a day for a year - see Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6), a period of three-and-one-half years. Thus, the ten kings will receive their authority for a brief interval of time to rule with the Beast. Remember, however, that God Himself puts it into the hearts of these kings to give their power and authority to the Antichrist to accomplish His own purposes.
Many scholars believe that in the fundamental interpretation of Daniel 7:5, the three ribs represent a triple alliance of Lydia, Babylon and Egypt who were in opposition to the Bear, the Medo-Persian Empire. These three ribs were devoured by Cyrus the Great of Persia.
In a secondary prophetic application, the three ribs can also be seen as the three horns being plucked up by "the little horn," the latter day Beast/Antichrist; perhaps a resurrected Gorbachev; perhaps one of Mr. Gorbachev's former sidekicks. In the latter case, Mr. Gorbachev would be the non-bloodline political progenitor of the Antichrist, just as Alexander the Great of Daniel's third Gentile kingdom, the Greek Empire, was the non-bloodline, political progenitor of his four successor generals, represented by the "four heads" of Daniel 7:6. One of the descendants of those "four heads" was, as we discussed earlier, the Seleucid-Syrian General, Antiochus Epiphanes, the wicked prototype of the end-time Antichrist.
To that end, let me tell you about a vision I had on October 29, 1991. I was shown a little man with eye glasses dressed in an ankle-length, Khaki great-coat, heavy gold epaulets on his shoulders, gold braid on his sleeves. He was obviously a commander-in-chief of some army; which one I did not know. He was also obviously very important. Directly after that vision, I had a second vision of a Nazi soldier. Thus, although I could not identify the nationality of the first man, I knew that he would be anti-Jewish and sinister. I immediately thought of the Antichrist because of his terrible hatred for the Jews (and also for the Christians).
Again on November 29, 1991, one month later, I saw that same commandant in vision. He had on the same long heavy, khaki great-coat, with gold braid and epaulets. But this time I recognized the coat as being that of a Soviet general; still no clue as to his identity.
Then on December 15, 1991, I awoke to hear the Lord singing to me, "Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier." I immediately knew that God had something to reveal to me today in The New York Times about the king (Antichrist) of the wild frontier (the vast, lawless, old Soviet Empire). And sure enough, there it was, page 14 of The Times International News, a picture of seven men. Directly in the middle of these men stood a little man, the little man I had seen twice in vision, only in this picture he was wearing civilian clothes. There could be no doubt about the fact that this was that same man; he was immediately to the right of Edward A. Shevardnadze. The caption under the picture identified the now familiar face as that belonging to Aleksandr N. Yakovlev, one of Mr. Gorbachev's top advisers.
Is this man "King of the wild frontier?" Maybe. Perhaps Gorbachev will be that king and Yakovlev his right hand man once again. Inasmuch as the Lord used the same word of knowledge to identify both men, "king of the wild frontier," it is not possible to know the interpretation at this time. Only time will tell. But I'm reporting to you the facts so that you can pray and watch.
Oh, by the way, again on December 17, 1991, two days later, on page eight of the Times, Mr. Yakovlev appeared in the lower of two pictures with Secretary of State, James Baker and Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Then again on December 27, 1991, an article appeared on page eight of the Times, and I quote a short portion of it,
"Aleksandr N. Yakovlev, a confidant of Mr. Gorbachev who had helped him form the restructuring plan known as perestroika, said: 'I am firmly convinced that Gorbachev wanted good for society and the people. I know this for sure. He wielded absolute power but began giving it up voluntarily.' He said Mr. Gorbachev was a man 'of compromise' and added that if he had lacked this quality 'intolerance would have reached an explosive force.'"
On March 22, 1994, in a New York Times article entitled, "Yeltsin, On Holiday, Is Trailed By Rumors of Failing Health," Mr. Yakovlev was quoted. He was identified as being chief of Russian broadcasting. And as recently as March 17, 1995, the World News Briefs in The New York Times, in an article entitled "Russian TV Chief Resigns in Protest," stated,
"The board chairman of Russia's state run television network submitted his resignation today, saying the huge troubled operation was crippled by greedy incompetents engrossed in political infighting.
"Aleksandr Yakovlev, the chairman, told the Itar-Tass news agency that many of the employees at the network, Ostankino, were unable 'to make programs worth watching." Their real interest, he said, is "dividing up Government funds and earning money on advertising.'
"President Boris N. Yeltsin ordered last year that 49 percent of Ostankino be sold. The reorganized network is to be known as Public Russian Television and directed by Mr. Yakovlev. He did not resign from Public Russian Television, meaning his departure from Ostankino could be merely symbolic. There is widespread speculation, however, that Mr. Yeltsin may delay or cancel the reorganization.
"Mr. Yakovlev, 71, is best known as the architect of former President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's economic, social and political reforms."
I believe that based upon Daniel 7:5, 7-8, the "little horn," whether Gorbachev, Yakovlev or whoever, together with the revived Communist system, or some other kind of nationalistic, totalitarian-type government, will constitute the person and government of Scripture's final Beast. Though seemingly "mortally wounded" (Rev. 13:3), they will be resurrected to life and will subdue leaders of three republics of the CIS (Daniel 7:20, 24). The "little horn" will be crowned head of ten confederated republics in fulfillment of God's purpose, "to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the Beast." (Rev. 17:17) This will mark the restoration of a militaristic, expansionist, unified, strongly nationalistic, totalitarian Soviet Union (the Clay) under the leadership of a fierce demagogue, the Beast.
Just one more thing before moving on: We opened this chapter with Revelation 13:1. In referring back to it, you will see that this Beast rises up out of the sea. Let's define this word, "sea." Many believe that it refers to the Mediterranean Sea. Frankly, I believe that this is not an accurate assessment. To be objective, why not conclude that it could possibly mean the Red Sea, or the Sea of Galilee, or the Dead Sea, all of which are also referred to in the Bible. If the writer were referring to a particular sea, he might have been more specific, though not necessarily. Rather, I am of the opinion that he is using the word symbolically - poetically, as was the case in Pharaoh's dream, "Suddenly there came up out of the river seven cows, fine looking and fat;" (Gen. 41:2) simply poetry.
The New International Dictionary of the Bible (Zondervan), says it well: "The ancient Hebrews were not a sea people. The sea in the Bible becomes a symbol of restlessness, instability and sin." Translated into other words, the Beast would come out of a location or condition of restlessness, instability (politically, economically and physically), and sin; by implication, Gentile nations (as opposed to the "land" of Israel, not that Israel is without sin in these last days.).
Thus, the Beast would come out of sin-filled, politically restless and unstable lands; the location that we have named certainly fits that criteria. So then, he comes up out of the Gentile nations. What a picture; a Beast with seven heads and ten horns. We've clearly identified them both but let's take another look at the seven heads for a moment.
If possible, the best way to figure out the meaning of a symbol in scripture is to find a parallel scripture which will shed some interpretive light upon it. Thus, to further identify the Beast with the seven heads and ten horns in Revelation 13:1, let's look at Revelation 17:9, where John defines them for us:
Here, the "seven heads" are also referred to as "seven mountains." The New International Dictionary of the Bible says, "Mountains in scripture are symbolic of eternity (Genesis 49:26) and of strength and stability." Nations or kingdoms are not eternal, yet they are relatively stable, ongoing over great periods of time.
Thus, what the prophet is talking about are the seven nations which are controlled or ruled over by the Woman who is otherwise referred to as the "Mother of Harlots" (Rev. 17:5). These "seven heads/mountains" are the Group of Seven wealthy industrialized democracies, the G7: the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan; they are not the seven hills of Rome which is a popular erroneous teaching. Obviously, in Revelation 13:1, the "Mother of Harlots" has already given her authority over the seven heads to the Beast; we have already discussed that elsewhere in great detail.
A further proof of what I am saying can be seen in a parallel use of the word "heads" in Daniel 7:6. Here the prophet describes a leopard which we have already characterized as the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great. He continues, "The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it." These four "heads" represent the four kingdoms into which Alexander's Empire was divided after his premature death; four separate geographical regions: Thrace, Macedonia, Syria and Egypt. Each was ruled by another of Alexander's four leading generals. And thus, the Greek Empire extended almost 300 years from Alexander's death in 323 BC up to the time of the establishment of the Roman Empire in 27 BC.
The point is that these heads were kingdoms which were on-going over successive generations, indicating a particular quality that John wanted to capture in his use of the word "heads." It is clear, therefore, that he is speaking of kingdoms which are successive or continuing in nature and not physical mountains or hills. It is important that we realize that he is not talking about the seven hills of Rome because this would shift the location that the "Beast" comes from to Rome rather than Russia, but it has already been stated that he has "the feet of a bear."
There is another area of confusion that I would like to clear up here and it is this, that the "seven heads" of Revelation 17:9 are not the "seven kings" (kingdoms) of verse 10 but have entirely separate identities.
In verse 10, five of the "kings" (kingdoms) were already out of existence at the time that John was writing the Revelation; they are most probably the successive kingdoms of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia and Greece; the "one" that "is" (in existence at the time of John's writing), undoubtedly was Rome; and the "other" that "has not yet come" but will come and will only "continue a short time," is the biggest surprise of all: the United States of America, established as lately as 1776 with the Declaration of Independence and already in rapid decline at the time of this writing, a few short two hundred years later.
Daniel speaks of five of those kingdoms (Daniel 2:32-33) beginning with the interruption of the throne of David by Babylon and continuing with Persia, Greece and Rome and the last kingdom of Clay and Iron, an amalgamation of seven heads and ten horns. And then the kingdom of God comes and destroys all the preceding Gentile kingdoms which began with Babylon.
Strange that Daniel should say that the kingdom of God will crush those five previous kingdoms although all but the kingdom consisting of Clay and Iron have long since lost their physical dominion. He is obviously referring to something other than the physical aspect of those kingdoms; and we surmise that he is speaking of a spirit and an influence; a heathen spirit and demonic influence which has permeated all of the non-Davidic kingdoms beginning with Babylon.
So then, this is the same principle which we will apply by contrast to what the prophet John says in Revelation 17:10 where he refers to the "seven kings" and in Revelation 13:2, where he speaks of the beast who looked "like a leopard," the spirit of Greece, with feet "like the feet of a bear," the spirit of Persia, with "the mouth of a lion," the spirit of Babylon, "and the dragon (the Devil) gave him his power, his throne, and great authority." Also in Daniel 7:1-8 we see the identical technique which the writer of Revelation is using to identify a spirit lingering through successive kingdoms.
What both of the prophets are really saying is that the Devil gave authority to each of the successive heathen kingdoms which will be destroyed when God establishes His own kingdom in their place and stead. Israel alone had derived its authority from God Himself, but because of disobedience, it was withdrawn by Him. As we have already made clear, the interruption occurred when the line of Davidic kings was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar under the auspices of "the prince of the power of the air" in 587 BC. It is this demonically inspired and controlled system that is still in power in the world today but which will be destroyed with the restoration of God's kingdom to Israel upon the return of their Messiah. It is a "pecuniary centered" system which by no means has its focus on the God of the Hebrews.
And thus, those who think that they can establish the kingdom of God now on this earth by their good works are in error; the Devil's system over this earth cannot be broken until the Messiah Himself returns at the pre-arranged time to establish His own system, with His headquarters in Jerusalem; it has nothing to do, as the Hasidim maintain, with how much Torah Jews learn or how many good deeds they do; it has nothing to do with man's righteousness or his earning the Messiah. As a matter of fact, the Messiah's return will come at a time when the wickedness of man has reached unparalleled proportions on this earth. Furthermore, just prior to the Messiah's return, the Devil will make his last stand by establishing his own headquarters in Jerusalem through the alliance between the False Prophet from Rome, the Antichrist from Russia and the rider on the Pale Horse (Revelation 6:7-8), the fundamentalist Islamic militants.
Okay now, let's sum it all up. The seven kings of Revelation 17:10 are seven Gentile or heathen nations, all of which have been profoundly in opposition to God and to His Jewish people, except for the seventh, the United States, which for a season was profoundly behind them; but that is rapidly changing. This is so because the Prince of the Power of the Air (Ephesians 2:2), the Devil, has been father to those nations while God has always been Father to Israel.
These Gentile nations, through their arbiter, the United Nations, will be in opposition to God and His people to the very end of the age when Messiah will return to establish His kingdom in Jerusalem. Of course, the Messiah's body, the true Christian church, and God's Jewish children have through the U.S.'s 200 year history provided a plenum for His Spirit in the midst of an increasingly secular, anti-god United States, the seventh king who, "when he comes, he must continue a short time." (Revelation 17:10)
Ultimately he, the Seventh king (United States), transfers his power to Russia, who is "the Beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth." (Revelation 17:11)
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