As I’m preparing this forty-ninth monthly teaching letter, starting my fifth year of publication, from the news I notice queen-mother of England is dead. I’m fully persuaded Elizabeth II is the last pureblooded descendant of David left to sit on the throne while Philip Mountbatten is of questionable blood presenting prophecy problems. (Will develop in future lessons.)
In lessons #47 and #48 we inadvertently got onto the topic of the millennium while studying about Norse mythology. I quoted evidence from the Geneva Bible that the reformers didn’t subscribe to the idea that it should transpire after the Messiah’s second coming, but rather had already happened from 70 A.D. to approximately the middle of the 10 hundreds A.D. I am aware there are many in this message who are still embracing the “Futurists” and “Preterists” positions as opposed to the “Historical” perspective of prophecy. The Almighty has already announced His blueprints for the future by His prophets, and it’s going to unfold in His prescribed manner regardless of our personal opinions. Under these circumstances, we should study the origin of our persuasions. If we do, we might be surprised under what conditions these doctrines came into being. We should not go so far as to pronounce the “Preterists’”, “Futurists’” and “Idealists’” views as being entirely incorrect though. We must give them credit where credit is due. Therefore, in order to get a handle on prophecy, I feel it is necessary to take a short walk through Daniel and Revelation.
With this dissertation, we are going to go into areas where few have ever gone. As we start with Daniel, most of us will be somewhat in agreement, but as we progress, complicated problems will arise. Before we consider Revelation, it is imperative we first comprehend Daniel as they cannot be treated separately because Daniel is a foundation for Revelation. As we move along, you will understand why.
We will start with Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2:31-45. It seems that Nebuchadnezzar had a distressing dream for which his wise men, astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers had no answer. After their failure to make his dream known to him, the Almighty revealed it to Daniel along with its interpretation as follows:
“31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. 36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. 39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass which shall bear rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. 41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter’s clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
Basically, Daniel was revealing to Nebuchadnezzar that he represented the first of four kingdoms. Most Bible scholars today recognize these as: (1) Babylonian Empire, (2) Medo-Persian Empire, (3) The Grecian Empire, and, (4) The Roman Empire. Another school of thought proposes they are: (1) Babylon, (2) Media, (3) Persia, and (4) Greece. According to The Jerome Biblical Commentary, page 451, the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Greco-Seleucid, and the Roman were formerly commonly understood, but now “find few modern Catholic exegetes to support it.” In other words, originally Jerome held that Rome was Daniel’s fourth kingdom rather than Greece. If you have a Bible commentary claiming Greece as the fourth kingdom, it’s probably coming from the “modern” Catholic Church. If you have a Bible commentary making such an assertion, don’t discard it as it might have other pertinent information. Be especially careful with The Interpreter’s Bible, both the one and twelve volume editions. Another commentary which puts forth this claim is the Concise Bible Commentary by Rev. W. K. Lowther Clarke and makes this statement about the toes of Daniel’s interpretation on page 582: “... The toes are the natural complement of the feet and no stress is laid on them ...” If one tries to force Greece into Daniel’s fourth kingdom, as the modern Catholic exegetes do, the toes would be quite unimportant, but if applied to Rome, they become very significant.
! THE ALL IMPORTANT TOES !
We don’t really get into a lot of difficulty with Nebuchadnezzar’s image until we arrive at its toes. The reason the toes are important is because they represent the ten provinces of the Roman Empire. When we begin to realize this momentous fact, we can start to comprehend the accuracy of Daniel’s interpretation, and it doesn’t stop there. While Daniel does not mention ten individual toes, if the image depicts a normal man, it is implied. I’ve heard a lot of sermons preached on Nebuchadnezzar’s image, but I don’t ever remember anyone explaining the meaning of the toes! This is where it starts to get interesting!
Matthew Henry’s Commentary, volume 6, page 1160, speaks of the ten provinces of Rome in relation to Revelation 12:3, and likens them to the seven heads and ten crowns of the dragon: “... As having ten horns, divided into ten provinces, as the Roman empire was by Augustus Cæsar ...” I’m aware that horns are not toes. As we proceed we will encounter various combinations of seven and ten. While not fully agreeing with Henry and Clarke, presently our only objective is to establish the fact that Rome was indeed divided into ten provinces.
Clarke’s Commentary, volume 6, page 604, names the Roman provinces as follows: “1) The kingdom of the Huns; 2) The kingdom of the Ostrogoths; 3) The kingdom of the Visigoths; 4) The kingdom of the Franks; 5) The kingdom of the Vandals; 6) The kingdom of the Sueves and Alans; 7) The kingdom of the Burgundians; 8) The kingdom of the Heruli, Rugii, Scyrri, and other tribes which composed the Italian kingdom of Odoacer; 9) The kingdom of the Saxons; and 10) The kingdom of the Lombards ...” You will notice several German tribes mentioned among these. Undoubtedly, these Israelite tribes are the toes “partly strong” of iron.
In the book A History Of The Ancient World by Chester G. Starr, page 522, brief mention is made of the ten provinces: “... Partly to provide leaders for these courts the number of praetors was increased from 6 to 8, and each praetor thenceforth normally served 1 year in Rome and a second year as propraetor (commonly called ‘proconsul’) in a province; the other 2 of the 10 provinces were governed by the exconsuls. Besides Cisalpine Gaul, which was finally made into a province, the others at this date [time of Sulla] were Sicily, Sardinia-Corsica, the two Spains, Macedonia, Africa, Asia, Narbonensis Gaul, and Cilicia (Cyrene being not yet fully organized).”
In the 1980 Collier’s Encyclopedia, volume 20, page 187, under the topic “Rome, Ancient”, it addresses the period of Sulla saying: “... Both they and the consuls began more regularly to exercise their functions in Rome before being assigned to governorships in the ten provinces of that period ...” All of this evidence from these various sources should amply verify there were basically ten provinces in the Roman Empire. Further confirmation can be found in Edward Gibbon’s The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, volume 1, pages 241-249. While Gibbon says eleven, one of the eleven provinces never quite got organized. Gibbon says the following on page 241: “We may remark that when Augustus divided Italy into eleven regions the province of Istria was annexed to that seat of Roman sovereignty.” From pages 242 to 248, Gibbon lists the provinces as: “The Danube and Illyrian frontier; Rhætia; Noricum and Pannonia; Dalmatia; Mæsia and Dacia; Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece; Asia Minor; Syria, Phœnicia and Palestine; Egypt; Africa ...” We should thank the Almighty for this testimony for it gives us another witness that our Bible is true.
Now that we have established that the ten toes of Daniel’s interpretation of the image are the ten provinces of the Roman Empire, let’s consider what is meant by the “seven heads.” While Daniel doesn’t allude to this in his image interpretation, we need to consider this in passages where it might apply. Usually, when this subject is brought up, most will refer to the seven physical hills on which Rome sits. While this is true, there is a deeper symbolic meaning for these seven heads. Basically, they are the seven types of government under which Rome was ruled during its long history. This is pointed out by Adam Clarke’s Commentary, volume 6, page 603, as being: “1) The regal power; 2) The consulate; 3) The dictatorship; 4) The decemvirate; 5) The consular power of the military tribunes; 6) The triumvirate; and 7) The imperial government.”
It needs to be pointed out that Sulla or Augustus didn’t sit down one day and decide to divide Rome into ten divisions. As Rome conquered new areas, the newly subdued peoples became provinces. The first Roman province was established 241 B.C. For information concerning this, I will now quote from Rome: Its Rise And Fall by Philip Myers, page 154:
“... The First Roman Province and the Beginning of the Provincial System (241 B.C.). — For the twenty-three years that followed the close of the first struggle between Rome and Carthage, the two rivals strained every power and taxed every resource in preparation for a renewal of the contest.
“The Romans settled the affairs of Sicily, organizing all of it, save the lands in the eastern part belonging to Syracuse, as a province of the republic. This was the first territory beyond the limits of Italy that Rome had conquered, and the Sicilian the first of Roman provinces. But as the imperial city extended her conquests, her provincial possessions increased in number and size until they formed at last a perfect cordon about the Mediterranean. Each province was governed by a magistrate, at first one of the prætors, sent out from the capital. This officer exercised both civil and military authority. Each province also paid an annual tribute, or tax, to Rome, something that had never been exacted of the Italian allies.”
From this same book on page 155, we read of the second Roman province established in 227 B.C.: “Rome acquires Sardinia and Corsica; the Second Province (227 B.C.). — The first acquisition by the Romans of lands beyond the peninsula seems to have created in them an insatiable ambition for foreign conquests. They soon found a pretext for seizing the island of Sardinia, the most ancient, and, after Sicily, the most prized of the possessions of the Carthaginians ...”
This should give us some idea of the process of the formation of the provinces. It was a gradual process, and was in a continual state of flux. There were provinces under the republic; provinces under the empire; and some were known as public provinces. The number of provinces increased and decreased with the continual changes taking place in the political climate and military activities of Rome. On pages 313-314 of Rome: Its Rise And Fall by Myers, forty-four such annexations under both the republic and empire are listed. Later, under Sulla, Julius and Augustus, these forty-four entities were grouped into ten divisions called provinces. Isn’t it simply amazing how accurate Daniel’s prophecies were fulfilled? But this isn’t the end.
THE MATERIAL SUBSTANCE OF THE TOES
We are told these provinces (or toes) are part iron and part clay. If we could imagine an iron casting with streaks of vitrified clay mixed in with the iron, we might envision the meaning of what Daniel is saying. I am sure if the engine in our automobile were made up of such a casting, we wouldn’t get very far down the road. Daniel 2:43 is the answer to the mystery of the iron mixed with clay: “And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” The word for “men” in this case is #606 and means enawsh in Chaldee (same as #582 in Hebrew, enowsh; in other words, non-Adamite.). We see then, within the confines of the provinces of Rome, they had their own version of multiculturalism (race mixing). It didn’t work then, and it is still just as destructive today!
In the earlier periods of Rome interracial marriages were, as a rule, not legal. In Sheldon’s General History, page 157 (speaking of the incorporation of the Macedonians about 172 to 168 B.C.) it says this: “Laws are given them by the Romans, and they are divided into four districts, between which there is to be no intermarriage, no free trade in land.”
As time went on, and Rome came under hard financial times, she decided to offer citizenship to more peoples in order to gain additional taxpayers. In the book The Romans by R. H. Barrow, it says this on page 52:
“... Her near neighbours were incorporated as citizens into her body politic, to others she extended a limited citizenship which conferred rights of trade, together with enforcement of those rights at law, the freedom of intermarriage with Roman citizens ...”
In order to fathom Daniel’s prophecy, it is important to understand Roman history. If you are not familiar with Roman history, I would highly recommend you go to some used book stores and buy several old books on that subject. In order to understand Bible prophecy as a whole, you will also have to acquire books of history covering all periods of time. Whether or not you do this depends on how badly you want to comprehend all these things. It seems like it’s always someone who is not willing to research these things who is always voicing the loudest opinions! In order to grasp the toes of Daniel, it is necessary to have some knowledge of slave traffic during those years. I will now quote some passages concerning slavery during the Roman epoch.
From The Story Of Civilization: Part 3, “Caesar And Christ” by Will Durant we read the following: Page 22: “... In the sixth century B.C., when Rome began her career of conquest, war captives were sold in rising number to the aristocracy, the business classes, and even to plebeians; and the status of the slave sank.”
Page 112: “Every week slave dealers brought their human prey from Africa, Spain, Gaul, Germany, the Danube, Russia, Asia, and Greece to the ports of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It was not unusual for 10,000 slaves to be auctioned off at Delos in a single day. In 177 [B.C.], 40,000 Sardinians, in 167 [B.C.], 150,000 Epirotes, were captured by Roman armies and sold as slaves, in the latter case at approximately a dollar a head. In the city the lot of the slave was mitigated by humanizing contacts with his master and by hope of emancipation; but on the large farms no human relation interfered with exploitation ... The wages of the slave on the great estates were as much food and clothing as would enable him to toil from sunrise to sunset every day ...”
Page 81 speaks of the “ethnic changes” brought about by all this: “... Immigration, the absorption of conquered peoples, the influx, emancipation, and enfranchisement of slaves, were already beginning the ethnic changes that by Nero’s time would make Rome the New York of antiquity, half native and half everything.” [Today New York is more like 10% white and 90% everything else.]
I will now quote from the Cyclopædia Of Universal History by John Clark Ridpath, LL. D., volume 1, pages 752-753:
“One of the most marked results of the great conquests made by the generals and armies of the Republic was to fill Rome and all Italy with multitudes of slaves. The policy of selling into servitude not only the soldier population, but all the inhabitants of conquered countries was universally adopted. The slave-sale was looked for as a matter of course after every victory won by the Roman arms. Among the upper classes of society free labor was almost unknown. The vast landed estates of the nobles were cultivated by a servile race, driven mercilessly to their tasks, punished, whipped, starved, killed, with impunity. Nor was there any badge of nationality, color, or natural inferiority to distinguish the slaves from the other classes of population.”
From the book Rome: Its Rise And Fall by Myers we read this on page 523: “Slavery. — The number of slaves in the Roman state under the later republic and the earlier empire was very great, some estimates making it equal to the number of freemen. Some large proprietors owned as many as twenty thousand. The love of ostentation [pretentious display (or to keep up with the Jones family)] led to the multiplication of offices in the households of the wealthy, and the employment of a special slave for every different kind of work.”
From the book The Romans by R. H. Barrow, page 73, we get the following: “... A great proportion was of foreign birth, for Rome atspan style=text-align: justify; text-indent: .5in; line-height: 105%span style=.”letter-spacing: 1.0pttracted men and women from all countries; and freed slaves swelled the populace. These freedmen were a growing class whose influence was increasing. There were also the slaves. Rome harboured all nationalities, and more were yet to come within the next century, but already by the time of Cicero there were very many — Greeks and Syrians and Egyptians and Jews and Germans and Africans. Of course, not all these had the citizenship ...”
In the course of time, Rome had its preachers of “the brotherhood of man” and that all men were equal. As a result, many slaves were emancipated, and in time became full citizens. One such case is spoken of in The Story Of Civilization: Part 3 “Caesar And Christ” by Will Durant, page 398. Then on page 221 it speaks of the general result:
“... Finally a great jurist of the third century, Ulpian, proclaimed what only a few philosophers had dared suggest — that ‘by the law of Nature all men are equal.’
“... As the sons of freedmen automatically became citizens, the emancipation of slaves and the fertility of aliens combined with the low birth rate of the native stocks to change the ethnic character of Rome ...” [underlining mine]
We find more on the slave reformation movement in Rome from The Encyclopedia Britannica, ninth edition, volume 22, page 142, under the topic of “slavery”:
“In the 2d century of the Christian era we find a marked change with the respect to the institution of slavery, both in the region of thought and in that of law. Already the principles of reason and humanity had been applied to the subject by Seneca who, whatever we may think of him as a man, deserves our gratitude for the just and liberal sentiments he expressed respecting the slaves, who, he says, should be treated as ‘humble friends’, and especially for his energetic reprobation of gladiatorial combats and of the brutality of the public who enjoyed those sanguinary shows. But it was in the 2d century, as we have said, that ‘the victory of moral ideas’ in this, as in other departments of life became ‘decisive ... Dio Chrysostom, the adviser of Trajan, is the first Greek writer who has pronounced the principle of slavery to be contrary to the law of nature’ ...”
While a considerable amount of the slave trade of Rome ended in race-mixing, many of the slaves were actually from the White lost tribes of Israel. As many of the Romans were of the Tribe of Benjamin, any mixing with the other Israelites, like the Germans or Greeks, wouldn’t have constituted a violation of Yahweh’s law of kind after kind.
THE TWO SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
Now that we have established the ten toes of Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, and that the slave trade of Rome brought on mixing with “the seed of men”, let’s return to the two schools of thought concerning the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. For this we will go to Halley’s Bible Handbook (1965), pages 341-342 under the topic “The Book Of Daniel”:
“The book itself represents Daniel as its author (7:1, 28; 8:2; 9:2; 10:1, 2; 12:4, 5). Its genuineness was sanctioned by Christ (Matthew 24:15). It was so accepted by the Jews and Early Christians. Porphyry, an infidel of the 3rd century A.D. propounded the theory that the book was a forgery of the period of the Maccabean revolt (168-164 B.C.). However, the traditional view that the book is a true historical document dating from the days of Daniel himself persisted unanimously among Christian and Jewish scholars, till the rise of modern criticism. And now the critics, in the name of ‘modern scholarship’, have revived the theory of Porphyry, and put it forth as a settled fact, that the book was written by an unknown author, who, living 400 years after the days of Daniel, assumed Daniel’s name, and palmed off on his own generation his own spurious work as the genuine work of a hero long dead ... We suspect that the real crux of the attempt to discredit the book of Daniel is the unwillingness of intellectual pride to accept the marvelous miracles and amazing prophecies recorded in the book.”
Continuing from this same book on page 342 under the title “The Dream-Image”: “... The four World Empires here predicted are generally understood to have been the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman. From the days of Daniel to the coming of Christ the world was ruled by these Four Empires, exactly as Daniel had predicted ... Critics who assign a Maccabean date to the book of Daniel, in order to explain it as referring to past events instead of being a prediction of the future, find it necessary to place all four empires prior to the date of composition, and so call the Persian Empire two Empires, Median and Persian, in order to make the Greek Empire the Fourth. But as a matter of fact there was not a Median Empire and a Persian Empire following the Fall of Babylon. To make it appear so is only an effort to distort the facts of history to substantiate a theory. Medes and Persians constituted One Empire under the rule of Persian kings. Darius the Mede was only a sub-king, ruling for a little while, under Cyrus the Persian ...”
You may wonder why I am going to this extensive effort to clear up the proper order of Daniel’s four predicted empires. If we don’t get these empires in their proper order, we will not be able to comprehend the rest of Daniel’s prophecies. Before we are finished with this subject, we will see that Daniel’s prophecies go far beyond what we are usually informed by an unwary clergy. For more on these four empires, I will now quote from The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, volume 2, pages 20-21 under the subtitle “Theology and interpretation”:
“The apocalyptic sections of the book have been widely discussed, partly because of the interpretation to be assigned to the four kingdoms of ch. 2, where critics have divided Medo-Persia into two separate empires, making the kingdoms Babylonia, Media, Persia, and Greece respectively. However, the history of the Median kingdom precludes such a division, so that the order of the empires would be Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. The identity of the fourth kingdom is important for later visions of Daniel ...”
In other words, if one cannot get the 2nd chapter of Daniel correct, one cannot understand the rest of his prophesies in the succeeding chapters. One of the arguments used to designate Greece as the fourth kingdom of the image is to inaccurately identify our Savior as the “stone ... cut out of the mountain without hands”, and they will cite 1 Corinthians 10:4 where Paul calls Yahshua a “Rock.” The proponents of this view theorize that because the Messiah was born during the Roman period Daniel’s prophecy must have culminated with Greece. This is a false premise, for the “stone ... cut out of the mountain without hands” represented the German Teutonic tribes which continued to attack and pillage Rome until she collapsed. By assuming this false premise, they come to a dead-end concerning Daniel’s prophecy, and there is much more to be considered. We haven’t, as yet, even elaborated the splitting of the two legs. There again, Greece, after Alexander’s death split into four divisions, not two. To show how impossible the view that Greece was the fourth kingdom is: Greece would have to have had ten provinces, and Yahshua would of necessity had to have destroyed the Grecian Empire during the lifetime of His First Advent.
THE CRUSHING OF THE TOES
There isn’t enough room remaining in this lesson to make a dent in this story. I will try to address it in greater detail in the next lesson. In order to get started with this phase of Daniel’s prophecy, I will quote an interesting incident from the book A Short History of Germany by Mary Platt Parmele, pages 11-16:
“... just such men as were the northern barbarians, who for five hundred years, terrorized Europe; men insensible to fear, terrible, fierce, but with fine instincts for civilization ... It is the Teutonic branch of the Aryan family with which we have to do now, between whom and their Keltic brothers there flowed the River Rhine ... Gigantic in stature, with long yellow, hair, eyes blue but fierce — what wonder that the people thought they were scarcely human, and fled affrighted, leaving them to enjoy the vineyards at their leisure ... At the time of this first invasion the German race was divided into tribes with no affinity for each other, who were indeed much of the time in fierce conflict among themselves. One of these tribes, called the Cherusci, occupied the southern part of what is now Hanover. Their chief, Hermann, had in his youth been taken to Rome as a hostage, and there had been educated ... Hermann was the first to dream of German unity. While the infant Christ was growing into boyhood in Palestine, this Hermann was studying Latin and history at Rome; and as he read he pondered. He found that the Romans had achieved such tremendous power by combination. If his people would unite and stand as one nation before the world, why might not they too become great? These Romans were pleasure-loving and vicious. His Germans in their rude homes were just and true. They did not laugh at vice; they were rough, but simple and sincere; love bound the father and mother and children together. The idea of German unity took possession of Hermann. He resolved to devote his life to the accomplishment, and to return to his country and try to inspire his race with a sense of common brotherhood, and a comprehensive patriotism ... Julius Caesar, the great Roman general, was governor of Gaul, and with one eye fixed on Britain and another on Germany, was steadily bringing Europe into subjection to Rome. The task of subduing the stubborn Teutons was given to Varus, a trusted general ... In the year 9 A.D., Varus had arrived with his great army in the heart of Germany. Little suspecting the plans and purposes surging in the young man’s brain, he leaned upon Hermann as his guide and counselor in a new and strange land ... Unsuspectingly he marched with his heavily-armed legions, as if for a holiday excursion, into the vastnesses of the Teutoberger Forest, into which Hermann led him ... When fairly entangled in the dense wood, surrounded by morasses and wet marshes instead of roads, suddenly there was a thundering war-cry, and barbarians swarmed down upon him from all sides. Hundreds who escaped the rain of arrows were lost in the morasses. It was not a question of victory, but of escape, for the entrapped and heavily-armed legions. Only a handful returned to tell the story, and Varus, unable to bear his disgrace, threw himself upon his sword ... The great Emperor Augustus clothed himself in mourning, let his beard and hair grow, and cried in bitterness of his soul, ‘Varus, Varus, give me back my legions!’”