The visions given to Daniel document that there will only be four Gentile world kingdoms from his own time until the Kingdom of the Messiah. The four kingdoms that Daniel saw that were identified with four beasts have been unquestionably identified by reputable historians as Babylon, Medio-Persia, Greek, and the Roman. The Roman is the fourth beast described and last Gentile Kingdom on earth. At the end of the age this kingdom will be destroyed and the earth will be given to the people of God (Daniel 7).
There is no other worldwide Gentile kingdom in scripture between the time of the ancient Roman Empire and the time that the latter-day prince makes a seven-year covenant with Israel at the end of the Gentile age (Dan 9:27). Therefore, in God’s eyes we must still exist in the era of the Roman fourth beast that is recorded in the book of Daniel (Dan 2:40, 7).
Sean Osborne of Echatologytoday.blogspot.com gives a great history lesson on the four beasts of Daniel 7. He also agrees that the Roman Beast still exists today. Daniel 7: The Key Prophecy Concerning a Roman Antichrist.
The description in the book of Daniel seems to require a continuation of that fourth kingdom until the end of this Gentile age. The popular interpretation that the fourth beast ceased existing and that there will be a revival of this Roman fourth beast in the end times really is not supported by anything said in the Daniel prophecies.
It is far more likely that the fourth kingdom that Daniel saw in his vision has been with us since the time of the ancient Roman Empire.
Since all of this prophecy in Daniel was not fulfilled by the ancient Roman Empire, many Bible prophecy teachers have surmised that the Roman Empire ceased existing but will be revived again in the last days to fulfill the prophecies. That interpretation really does not match the visions given to Daniel.
It seems more likely that the kingdom described as the fourth beast of iron had some changes within it over the centuries but that fourth beast really never stopped being the controlling kingdom that is ruling over the world.
Daniel says this fourth kingdom shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces (Dan 7:23). Is that really describing only the ancient Roman Empire? The Roman Empire did not take over the whole earth. And what does breaking the whole world into pieces mean? Perhaps this means this fourth beast will eventually break the world into many vassal states that will submit to the rule of the fourth kingdom.
The 8th beast of Revelation 17:11 is when the Beast Antichrist takes over the seventh kingdom and then forces his own political and economic system on the world. The seventh kingdom in Revelation is the same kingdom as the fourth in Daniel. The difference in numbers is because Revelation includes the three Gentile world kingdoms prior to Daniel. Therefore, it should be clear that scripture is saying that the Antichrist comes out of the fourth beast in Daniel and the 7th in Revelation, and historical hindsight tells us the fourth beast is Roman.
Having said that, I am making the argument that the fourth Beast continues to exist since it first appeared as that Roman Empire. The Roman fourth beast kingdom never disappeared or fell like many are saying so that it needs revival. I think it exists through the centuries but few are identifying it as the beast that it has been over the centuries.
Many Bible prophecy teachers are waiting for the revived Roman Empire to rise again out of certain nations in Europe but maybe this fourth beast actually exists today in the form of the western new world order.
The fourth Roman kingdom really never fell, it just sort of lost its leadership at times but it was still found over different parts of Europe. After the Caesars in western Europe there were various kings and dynasties before and after Charlemagne was declared Emperor in 800 AD.
The Byzantine Empire in Eastern Europe was part of the Roman Empire and it lasted for an additional thousand years after the decline of the West. It fell to the Turks in 1453 AD. In Western Europe, in 962 AD, Otto I started using the name “The Holy Roman Empire” and that empire and name lasted for 844 years until Napoleon.
Maybe the rulers of West Europe before and after The Holy Roman Empire and the Eastern Byzantine Empire should be included within the fourth world kingdoms visions of Daniel chapters 2 & 7. I think that seems more logical than thinking that the fourth Roman kingdom of Iron ended with the last emperor in Rome in 476 AD only to be revived again before the Antichrist.
Those in the Eastern Europe still identified themselves with the Roman Empire for many centuries after the West declined. The fourth Beast of iron in Daniel’s vision was first led by Rome but it was much more than Rome and it continued.
During part of The Holy Roman Empire period, and afterward, we find the imperialistic conquests of the new-found lands by Western European nations.
After the Holy Roman Empire in Europe there were the Napoleon conquests and after those there were other wars for European dominance until World War II. Seems the fourth beast was doing much trampling and breaking nations in pieces and creating new nations from the ones trampled as the prophecy in Daniel chapter 7 suggests.
This ongoing picture of the fourth beast through history better fits Daniel’s vision of that dreadful and terrible beast with iron teeth (Da 7:7) than the ancient Roman Empire of history. The ruling elite of Europe have formed world orders to control the world since the ancient Roman Empire and they continue doing it today.
The reason for giving this simplistic overview of Europe is to support my thesis that the Roman Empire not only stayed in existence in one form or another; it actually expanded to the new-found lands and much of the world. The fourth beast did not cease, it spread over much of the world and we are now in part of it. This same fourth beast will eventually take over the whole earth as Daniel indicates.
One of the hallmarks of the fourth beast from the start was rule by an elitist oligarchy that combined secular and clerical rule but gave the people some say through elected or appointed representatives. That remains the style of rule in most of the Western world today.
The mingling of cultures also may be a characteristic described by Daniel’s vision of the fourth beast. The ten toes in Daniels vision have compositions of iron and clay. This mingling of what cannot stick together continues in Europe and the new world until this day. All we need is the correct identification of those ten toes of iron and clay of Daniel Chapter 2. Maybe these toes are not nations at all like many have surmised; maybe they are ten world zones.
The fourth Roman beast kingdom did not cease to exist; it continues to expand even now. There are now over 100 nations that can be identified as being under the influence or control of the fourth beast world kingdom or order.
One of the mistakes that Bible prophecy teachers may have made was thinking that ten nations would soon arise out of Europe and fulfill the role of the ten toes in Daniel and the ten horns in Revelation. The text in Revelation indicates that the ten horns or leaders have no kingdom as yet, but they will receive their kingdoms for one hour with the Beast (Rev 17:12). That could mean that the areas that the ten kings would rule over were not even in existence at the time of the prophecy. They only exist in the time of the Beast Antichrist.
These probably are ten regional world zones and their leaders. They will give their power (support) to the Beast Antichrist when he arises as world leader. The Antichrist is likely to control all nations on earth through the leaders of ten regional zones.
So what is the point? Just this. The EU is now 27 nations and many more states want to join. Maybe we should not be looking for ten nations to morph out of the EU at all. Maybe the fourth kingdom is now a world order that includes the lands of the old Roman Empire but is not limited to European or ancient Roman Empire boundaries. In fact, this fourth beast may already control most of the world as the new world order of the Western elite.
Just about all people who dwell in the many nations in the America’s came from Europe and are continually being influenced by old Europe. European thinking has even expanded to the borders of Russia. About the only thing stopping the European influenced world order from taking over the world is the Oriental and the Muslim block of nations. They will have to be brought into submission under the fourth Roman beast kingdom.
That will probably be achieved through the next world war. Remember, there are only four beasts listed in Daniel until the Kingdom of God, and the fourth beast has done a lot trampling and breaking of the nations since the ancient Roman Empire.
If the Kings of the East are put under the rule of the fourth beast, and Islam is brought under control, there will be no reason left why the existing Western world order cannot prevail to rule the world and fully establish those ten world regional governments.
After this, the ten leaders of these ten world zones (the ten horns in Revelation) give their power to the Beast and the worldwide rule of the Antichrist becomes a reality. All in the world will have to submit to the Beast and his economic system to survive. That is where many of the elite of the Western world want to take us now.
By the way, regional world economic zones are under development. These world regional trading blocks and defense alliances are probably the very foundations for those ten world zones led by ten leaders. Keep in mind, that we already have world governance by the elite that will coordinate and enforce any agreements between these different regional zones.
The only thing needed to put national governments under zonal government control is to collapse national currencies. That collapse becomes inevitable because the present world economic system is nothing but a debt driven house of cards.
Sure, the original area of the Roman Empire is likely to be the zone that leads the world. And I believe the Antichrist will take power in the Western European world zone. Even so, the Antichrist changes the world order when he eliminates three of these zones. Then he appears to move his headquarters to Babylon and establishes a world-class city there that becomes the world government headquarters.
Revelation calls this Beast led Kingdom, Babylon the Great. It probably will be a counterfeit kingdom of god to replace the coming Kingdom of God that the coming two Jewish prophets taught was coming for 1260 days but the world rejected. Much of the world will embrace the Hitler like lies of a thousand-year reign led by “more evolved enlightened” people in the world.
Nevertheless, the Beast Kingdom of Revelation and the fourth kingdom that Daniel describes will be destroyed by the Rock that was made without hands. That Rock is Jesus Christ. He will destroy the Beast Kingdom at His coming.
I am saying this to tell you not to just look for some ten nation Beast to rise out of Europe. The fourth beast is very likely among us and the toes of iron and clay might already be evident but might still be called regional alliances or economic zones. Once the restrainer is removed, the little horn Beast Antichrist may first appear among the ten zones where you least expect him.
Anyway, if nothing else, my whole premise that In God’s eyes the Roman fourth beast still rules the world is pretty good food-for-thought and worth discussing. If you think I am now being dogmatic about this being the only possible interpretation of Daniel chapter 7 you have me confused with someone on TV.
A very good follow-up article was written by Sean Osborne of Eschatology Today. Revived Roman Empire: Correcting a Hermeneutical Error
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Don Koenig founded www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named "The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages". The World and Church and Bible Prophecy section of this website was started in 2007.