Christian Apologetics Study

THE PROPHETIC WORLD EMPIRES

Jun
19

“This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.” (Revelation 17:10-11 NIV).

The Holy Scriptures reveal eight world empires before Messiah Yeshua returns to form His millennial Kingdom on planet Earth. These empires are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, the European Union, and the Revived Roman Empire. The Egyptian Empire is recorded in Genesis and Exodus. The Assyrian Empire is mentioned in First and Second Kings and First and Second Chronicles. The Babylonian Empire is recorded in Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The Media-Persian Empire is mentioned in Ezra, Esther, and Daniel. The Greek Empire is recorded in Daniel. The Roman Empire is mentioned in the Daniel and Revelation and throughout most of the New Testament Christian Scriptures. The European Union is mentioned symbolically in Daniel and Revelation. And the Revived Roman Empire is mentioned primarily in Zechariah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, and Revelation.

EGYPTIAN EMPIRE

Egypt has a long and rich history dating back many hundreds of years before Messiah Yeshua. Some of the most significant events in the Bible occurred in and around Egypt. We read that Abraham lived there during a famine (Genesis 12:10). Joseph was sold to Egyptians and his whole family joined him there after he became an Egyptian leader (Genesis 37-50). The Hebrews were enslaved there after Joseph died (Exodus 1:6-11). Moses was born and raised there (Exodus 2:1-10). God led the Hebrews out of Egypt to the Promised Land (Exodus 12:31-42). The prophet Jeremiah went there with a group of Israelites after Jerusalem was destroyed (Jeremiah 43:7). The Old Testament was translated into Greek in Alexandria, a city in Egypt. And Mary and Joseph fled there to protect the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:14).

The Egyptian empire began in northern Africa when King Menes unified Upper and Lower Egypt around 3100 BC.  The Egyptians had their own distinct culture because they lived in the Nile Valley. This region was isolated from many surrounding warlike nations. Egypt’s territory in northern Africa surrounds the Nile River, beginning at its delta in the north. In ancient times the country extended from the Mediterranean Sea to the first waterfall on the Nile at Aswan. Later, it expanded to include all of the Nile Valley to the fourth waterfall, and the regions east and west of the Nile.

The Egyptian Empire was grand and it was ruled by powerful kings and famous queens called pharaohs. The pharaohs had great wealth and they commanded much respect. Thutmose III (1450 BC) and Ramses II (1250 BC) were the warrior pharaohs of ancient Egypt.  The Egyptians were the source of much technology and mathematics that were advanced beyond their surround cultures. Imhotep (2600 BC) was the Albert Einstein of ancient Egypt because he became famous for his medical practice and he developed the technology for building the first great pyramids.  The great pyramid building era was from 2600 BC to 2500 BC. Literature, math, and technology prospered during the Middle Kingdom around 2050 BC to 1800 BC. However the great expansion of the nation and the domination of the surrounding areas happened during the Empire period, from 1550 to 1100 BC.

The ancient Egyptians had a successful civilization because they organized their country around a national leader.  This leadership allowed the country to use its resources to develop its land and educational system, military strength, and architecture. The Egyptian dynasties came to an end when Mark Anthony and Queen Cleopatra VII’s naval forces were defeated by the Romans at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC.

The principal prophecies of Scripture regarding Egypt are found in Isaiah 19, Jeremiah 43:8-13, Jeremiah 44:30; Jeremiah 46, Ezekiel 29-32, Obadiah 1:15-21, and Psalm 83. Some of these predictions have been fulfilled, while others will happen within the near future.

ASSYRIA EMPIRE

Assyria was the symbol of terror and tyranny in the Near East for over 300 years. The Assyrians were ruthless warriors who conquered city after city, nation after nation. They gobbled up territory quickly and finally ruling over all of Syria and Babylonia. They conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and took many Israelis captive. Years earlier, the prophet Jonah had told the people in the Assyrian capital city, Nineveh, to change their evil ways. However, they repented only for a short season. They continued their rebellion against God and they eventually suffered the consequences.

Assyria was an ancient empire located in southwestern Asia. It grew from a small region around Ashur to encompass an area stretching from Egypt to Anatolia. Assyria may have originated in the 2nd millennium BC, but it came to power gradually. Its greatest period began in the 9th century BC, when its conquests reached the Mediterranean Sea under Ashurnasirpal II (883 BC to 859 BC), and again 746 BC to 609 BC, during the Neo-Assyrian empire, when it conquered much of the Middle East. Its greatest rulers during the latter period were Tiglath-pileser III, Sargon II, Sennacherib, and Ashurbanipal. The kingdom was finally vanquished in 610BC by a coalition of Media and Babylonia.

The Bible describes the future destruction of Damascus in Isaiah 17:1. Assyria will be among the defeated armies described in Obadiah 1:15-21 and Psalm 83 war.  A few eschatology experts believe the Anti-Messiah (Antichrist) will originate from Assyria.

BABYLONIAN EMPIRE

The terms “Babylon” and “Babylonia” have different meanings in different contexts. Babylonia represents the ancient kingdoms that decorated southern Mesopotamia, especially in the seventh and sixth centuries BC. The capital city was Babylon. However, Babylonia has a larger meaning. It describes an entire region we now know today as southeast Iraq. The adjective “Babylonian” has an even looser meaning. It may refer to the land or its inhabitants, to the kingdom or its subjects, or to one of the main ancient languages of that area. The Babylonians were fierce warriors who eventually took God’s people captive. The Babylonians were also creative and intelligent people. The Bible features Babylonia as the arch-rival of God’s people and a feared and much-hated enemy.

The Babylonian Empire began in the ancient cultural region of the Tigris and Euphrates river system. The area was divided into Sumer and Akkad when the first Babylonian line of Amorite kings took power after 2000 BC. Largely because of the efforts of Hammurabi (1792 – 1750 BC), Babylonia gained regional hegemony but declined after his death; the Kassites from the east eventually assumed power (1595 BC) and established a dynasty that lasted some four centuries. After Elam conquered Babylonia (1157 BC), a series of wars established a new Babylonian dynasty whose outstanding member was Nebuchadnezzar I (1124–03 BC). Following his rule, a three-way struggle developed for control of Babylonia among Assyria, Aram, and Chaldea, where the Assyrians ruled the area most frequently (9th–7th century BC). In the 7th–6th century BC the Chaldean Nebuchadnezzar II (606–562 BC) instituted the last and greatest period of Babylonian supremacy, conquering Syria and Palestine and rebuilding Babylon, the capital city. It was conquered in 538 BC by the Persian Achaemenian dynasty under Cyrus II.

Babylon is portrayed as the head of gold (Daniel 2) and the winged lion (Daniel 7) in the prophetic Scriptures. Babylon (Iraq) will participate in the Obadiah 1:15-21 and Psalm 83 war against Israel. Babylon will be rebuilt and become the capital city of the Anti-Messiah’s revived Babylonian Empire. Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17 to 18) describes a worldwide religious, economic, and government system. This religion will be a fusion of Christianity and Islam, which is sometimes called CHRISLAM.

MEDIA-PERSIAN EMPIRE

Persia was the country lying just east of Mesopotamia. In ancient times, Persia was called by different names, like Fars or Pars, which came down to us as Persia. People continued to call it Persia until 1935, when it changed its name to Iran. The official modern language of Iran is Persian. In ancient times, Persia was a very powerful nation. They conquered many lands and controlled many different people, including the Israelites. However, most of the time, the Persians were very kind to the people they conquered. For instance, the Persians let the Israelites rebuild their temple and the walls around Jerusalem. The Persians were conquered by Alexander the Great.

The history of Persia begins with the revolt from the Medes and the accession of Cyrus the Great, 558 BC. Cyrus defeated Crœsus, and added the Lydian empire to his dominions. This conquest was followed closely by the submission of the Greek settlements on the Asiatic coast, and by the reduction of Caria and Lycia. The empire was soon afterward extended greatly toward the northeast and east. In 538 BC, Babylon was attacked, and after a stout defense fell into the hands of Cyrus. This victory first brought the Persians into contact with the Jews. The conquerors found in Babylon an oppressed race, like themselves, abhorrers of idols, and professors of a religion where to a great extent they could sympathize. This ethnic population Cyrus determined to restore to their own country: which he did by the remarkable edict recorded in the first chapter of Ezra. He was slain in an expedition against the Massagetæ or the Derbices, after a reign of twenty-nine years.

Under his son and successor, Cambyses, the conquest of Egypt took place, 525 BC. This prince appears to be the Ahasuerus of Ezra 4:6 Gomates, Cambyses’ successor, reversed the policy of Cyrus with respect to the Jews, and forbade by an edict the further building of the temple. He reigned for seven months and he was succeeded by Darius, according to Ezra 4:17-22. Appealed to, in his second year, by the Jews, who wished to resume the construction of their temple, Darius not only granted them this privilege, but assisted the work by grants from his own revenues, whereby the Jews were able to complete the temple as early as his sixth year. Darius was succeeded by Xerxes, according to Ezra 6:1-15. A few scholars believe that Xerxes was probably the Ahasuerus of Esther. Artaxerxes, the son of Xerxes, reigned for forty years after his death and is beyond doubt the king of that name who stood in such a friendly relation toward Ezra, according to Ezra 7:11-28 and Nehemiah. Nehemiah 2:1-9 says he is the last of the Persian kings who had any special connection with the Jews, and the last but one mentioned in Scripture. His successors were Xerxes II, Sogdianus Darius Nothus, Artaxerxes Mnemon, Artaxerxes Ochus, and Darius Codomannus, who is probably the “Darius the Persian” of Nehemiah mentioned in Nehemiah 12:22.  These monarchs reigned from 424 BC to 330 BC. The collapse of the empire under the attack of Alexander the Great took place 330 BC.

Iran is portrayed as the chest and arms of silver (Daniel 2), as a massive bear (Daniel 7), and as a Ram (Daniel 8) in the prophetic Scriptures. A few eschatology experts believe that Iran will participate in the Gog and Magog War described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. Iran will be included in the final world Empire, according to prophetic Scriptures found in Daniel chapters 10 and 11 and Revelation chapters 13, 17, and 18.

GREECIAN EMPIRE

The Bible refers to Greece or the Greeks, but sometimes those references are not entirely clear. Within the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, the name Javan, who was the fourth son of Japheth, seems to fit the Greek description (Genesis 10:2; compare Ezekiel 27:13). The terms “Greece” and “Greeks” occur plainly in a few Old Testament verses, such as Daniel 8:21. The term “Greek” appears more often in the New Testament Christian Scriptures, where it is used in a number of different ways.

Classical Greece began to emerge (750 BC) as a collection of independent city-states, which included Sparta in the Peloponnese and Athens in Attica. The Spartans became famous for their military prowess in battle. Spartans were instructed by their commanders to never surrender in battle. Warfare was the profession for all the men of Sparta. King Leonidas became famous at the Battle of Thermopylea when he successfully delayed the Persian advance with his 300 Spartan warriors. Although Leonidas and his 300 Spartans died in battle, they inflicted massive casualties on the Persian Army.  Meanwhile, Athens became famous for its craftsmen, foreign traders, artists, poets, philosophers, teachers, actors, athletes, scientists, physicians, historians, religious teachers, and experts in military and naval affairs-all of whom made their contribution to the city’s glory. The great writers of the fifth and early fourth centuries BC included dramatists like Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, historians like Thucydides and Herodotus, and philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. It was a golden age of art, thought, literature, and architecture.

The civilization reached its zenith after repelling the Persians at the beginning of the 5th century BC (Persian Wars) and began to decline after the civil strife of the Peloponnesian War at the century’s end. In 338 BC, the Greek city-states were taken over by Philip II of Macedon, and Greek culture was spread by Philip’s son Alexander the Great throughout his empire.  After Alexander’s death in Babylon around 323 BC, the Grecian Empire was divided among four of Alexander’s generals. Ptolemy was given Egypt and adjacent territories. To Seleucas was given Syria, Asia Minor, and the East. Lysimachus took control of Thrace and adjoining territories. Cassander ruled over Macedonia and Greece itself. Eventually Macedonia and Thrace were joined, resulting in the emergence of three strong kingdoms, Macedonia, Syria, and Egypt. Political rule was therefore divided until the Roman Empire arose to provide a new unifying political factor after the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC.

The Grecian Empire and Alexander the Greats military career is describe symbolically and prophetically in Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, and 11. The Grecian empire is portrayed as the belly and thighs of bronze (Daniel 2), as the swift moving Leopard (Daniel 7), and as the male goat (Daniel 8). Greece will be included in the future CHRISLAM political and religious system (Revelation 17 and 18).

ROMAN EMPIRE

Rome was a city in Italy founded in 753 BC on seven hills that were about fifteen miles from the mouth of the Tiber River. Rome was not mentioned in the Bible in the Old Testament. However, it was very important to the stories in the New Testament Christian Scriptures. There are nine obvious references to Rome in the New Testament (Acts 2:10, 18:2, 19:21, 23:11, 28:14, 16, Romans 1:7, 15; and 2 Timothy 1:17). The Apostle Paul also traveled there and wrote a letter to the Christians in Rome. Because of this, Rome is important to know about for people who study the Bible.

The Roman Empire was the ancient state that once ruled the Mediterranean world. It was centered on the city of Rome from the founding of the republic in 509 BC through the establishment of the empire in 27 BC to the final eclipse of the empire in the west in the 5th century AD. The republic’s government consisted of two consuls, the Senate, and magistrates, originally all patricians, and two popular plebeian assemblies: the military centurion assembly and the civilian tribal assembly. A written code, the Law of the Twelve Tables, became the basis of Roman private law. By the end of the 3rd century BC, Roman territory included all of Italy; by the late republican period it encompassed most of Western Europe, northern Africa, and the Near East, organized into provinces. After a period of civil war, Julius Caesar took power as dictator. Following his assassination, conflict among the triumvirs, Mark Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian, ultimately resulted in Octavian’s victory and his accession as Emperor Augustus. The imperial government combined aspects of the republic and a monarchy. In AD 395 the empire split into eastern and western regions, with the west under severe pressure from the barbarians. Rome was sacked in 410 by the Visigoths, and the western empire fell to German invaders in 476 AD; the east continued as the Byzantine Empire until 1453 AD when the Ottoman Turkish Empire under Mehmed II defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Constantinople.

The Roman Empire is described symbolically and prophetically in Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, and 11. The empire is portrayed as the two legs of Iron (Daniel 2) and as a powerful non-descripted beast (Daniel 7). Rome will be included in the future Chrislam political and religious system (Revelation 17 and 18).

EUROPEAN UNION

The European Union (EU) is mentioned in Revelation 17 as the nation that will continue for a short seasons before it becomes part of the Western leg of the Revive Roman Empire. The EU is an organization of European countries, formed in 1993 to oversee their economic and political integration. It was created by the Maastricht Treaty and ratified by all members of the European Community (EC), out of which the EU developed. The successful EC had made its members more receptive to greater integration and provided a framework for unified action by member countries in security and foreign policy and for cooperation in police and justice matters. In pursuit of its major goal to create a common monetary system, the EU established the euro, which replaced the national currencies of 12 of the 15 EU members in 2002. Originally confined to Western Europe, the EU enlarged to include several central and eastern European countries in the early 21st century. The EU’s principal institutions are the European Community, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Court of Justice, and the European Central Bank. The EU will eventually collapse and breakup and from this fall five nations will emerge from the ashes representing the five toes of the metallic man in Nebuchadnezzar’s prophetic dream (Daniel chapter 2).

THE REVIVED ROMAN EMPIRE

The eighth and final world empire will rule over the entire globe. This final empire is sometimes referred to as the Revived Roman Empire. According to John’s classic apocalyptic vision found in the Book of Revelation, the “beast,” also called the Anti-Messiah (Antichrist), will rise out of the sea of nations having seven heads and 10 horns (Revelation 13:1). When we analyze John’s vision with Daniel’s vision (Daniel 7:16-24), we realize that some type of global system will exist in the beast’s kingdom. The beast will be the most powerful “horn,” and he will defeat the other nine nations and he will begin to persecute believers worldwide. The 10 nation confederacy is also seen in Daniel’s image of the statue in Daniel 2:36-44, where he pictures the final world government consisting of 10 entities represented by the 10 toes of the statue. Whoever the 10 leaders are and however they come to power, Scripture is clear that the beast will reduce their power to nothing more than figureheads and all 10 leaders will obey the Anti-Messiah.

This empire will be a confederation of 10 nations governing 10 regions of the ancient Roman Empire, which ruled the nations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.  This empire will include, but not be limited to, five powerful Western nations and five prominent Eastern nations. Western nations will originate from the EU, while the Eastern nations originate from a reestablished Islamic Caliphate system. The Anti-Messiah’s supreme government will rule over nine of these nations. The 10 nations will govern the entire planet Earth. This will be the first time that the entire world populations will be unified under a single government since the days of King Nimrod of Babylon (Genesis 11).  The final world empire will be an economic, religious, military, and technological superpower. Few people will be able to escape its global reach. Many believers will be killed for rejecting the mark of the Beast. The mark of the Beast will be associated with a global religious and economic system. A few eschatology experts believe this religion will be a fusion of Christianity, Islam, and new age paganism. The Anti-Messiah’s headquarters will probably be located in the region of Iraq, Assyria, and Iran.

SUMMARY

The prophets Daniel and John, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, provide prophecy students with very detailed information on the rise and fall major worldly empires until that glorious day when Messiah Yeshua return to reign in His millennial kingdom on Earth. According to the books of Daniel and Revelation, we read that eight major gentile empires will rule on Earth before the messianic kingdom. These empires will be the Egyptian Empire under Thutmose III, the Assyrian Empire under Ashurnasirpal II, the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar II, the Medo-Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great, the Macedonian Empire under Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire under Julius Caesar, the European Union, and the Revived Roman Empire.

Both Daniel and John say there will be a future revival of the Roman Empire in the area of Europe and the Middle East. This revived Roman Empire, the fourth beast of Daniel’s prophetic vision, is portrayed as

the 10 toes of the great image in the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylonia.  The final form of the Revived Roman Empire will include, but not be limited to, five nations from the West and five nations from the East. The Western five nations will probably include, but not be limited to, England, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.  The five Eastern nations will include, but not be limited to, Assyria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

ESCHATOLOGY SOURCES

The Islamic Anti-Christ; John Preacher; 2012. God’s War on Terror; Walid Shoebat; 2008. Prophecy Islam and the Bible DVD; Walid Shoebat; 2008. Unleashing the Beast; Perry Stone; 2010. Understanding the Times; Joel Richardson; 2008. The Book of Revelation DVD; Perry Stone; 2013. The Cosmic Conspiracy; Stan Deyo; 2010. Deciphering End-Time Prophetic Codes; Perry Stone; 2015. Easton Bible Dictionary. The Smith Bible Dictionary. The Holmon Bible Dictionary. The Enclopaedia Britannica. Ice, Thomas., and Demy, Timohty. “Fast Facts on Bible Prophecy.” Harvest House Publishers. 1997. Duck, Daymond R., and Richards, Larry Ph.D. “Gods Word for the Biblically-Inept Series”. Starburst Publishers. 2000. Prophecy Plus Ministries Daymond & Rachel Duck; Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg; The Next World War by Dr. Grant Jeffrey; and Isralestine by Bill Salus. Unlocking the Bible Code Program; Bible Code 2000 Plus Program. Bible Code Matrix by Eliot Elwar; Torah Code Matrix by Rabbi Galzerson. Revelation Road by Bill Salus; In Defense Of Israel by John Hagee; and Atomic Iran by Mike Evans

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