In Daniel 2:41-42, we see that an endtime “power coalition” of 10 kings is portrayed as 10 toes. In this chapter we read the account of Nebuchadnezzar’s famous vision, in which he saw a tall statue made of various materials, from a head of gold down to 10 toes of iron and clay. This vision outlined the future kingdoms and power structures of the Gentiles, right to the time of the return of Jesus Christ, when He establishes his millennial reign upon earth.
As already pointed out in Part I, these 10 kings are shown at least four other times in the Bible—Daniel 7, Revelation 12, 13 and 17. This group is referenced as 10 horns, 10 toes or 10 kings, exactly 10 times. Crucially, this endtime power coalition is a significant prophecy—most certainly for those earth dwellers that will not be raptured away—for at least one other reason. The Bible expressly indicates that these 10 kings must appear before the Antichrist is revealed (Daniel 7:24). These kings would be the equivalent to 10 male leaders of sovereign nations today.
This endtime 10-king power coalition may even be prefigured in Genesis. This would not be surprising. It’s often said that the entire Bible is enfolded in the book of Genesis, and that the whole Bible is Genesis unfolded. As the Bible is divinely written by the same Spirit, the beginning must surely align with the end.
Just as endtime globalization can be seen foreshadowed in Genesis (the story of Joseph, for example), an outline for the 10 kings can be found in Genesis 14. This chapter tells the story aboutLot’s household being looted and carried away by a northern coalition of four kings. These “[…] kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom” (Genesis 14:11-12).
An unusually large number of kings, kingdoms and alliances are mentioned in this chapter, making for some interesting alignments with other prophecies concerning the last-day power jockeying of 10 kings and the Antichrist. For example, exactly 10 kings are named in this chapter.
Significance of 10 Toes
Let’s return to Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of 10 toes, as it contains a very important clue. Studying this picture, it would be reasonable to conclude that the world is already very near a last world power structure comprised of 10 kings. But, here we discover an ill-fitting fact. Were Nebuchadnezzar’s vision to apply to our day, the feet would be seen to be quite lopsided and deformed. Why? They would have only one big toe. In fact, this toe would have looked grossly oversized relative to both feet.
Every indication that the Bible gives us about the final last day 10-king power coalition is that they are roughly proportionate in size. First, in Daniel 2 these kings are shown as a normal set of 10 toes (verses 41-42), and in Daniel 7, Revelation 12, 13 and 17 they are shown as 10 horns. In the “horn” imagery, the 10 are compared in size only once, and this to an emerging 11th horn, a small one that then uproots three of the existing horns (Daniel 7:8).
As such, we are led to recognize that the final 10 kings will not be small in size (relative to other nations of the world), and that some will assuredly be bigger or more powerful than others, just as the big toe is normally bigger than the smallest of the toes. But in the recent era, there has only been one big toe—a hugely outsized one at that—that does not yet fit into the shoe.
Walter Russell Meade points out in a recent book1, that the Anglo Saxon countries of Britain andAmerica have been on top of the world for several centuries (though sometimes fighting each other). We recognize here that the world has really only had one “big toe” these past three hundred years or so, and a hugely disproportionate toe at that.
For the time being, the US is still the most powerful nation in the world. It represents a very big toe … so big, in fact, that it still can render any other coalition of 10 kings ineffective. As such, we recognize that a resizing of the relative powers of 10 major nations must yet happen before the prophesied time of the 10 kings will occur.
Will America fit into the shoe or not at all? Recent global financial events and America’s rapid economic fall make this a timely question. Are we now seeing these necessary changes beginning to unfold … the big toe stubbed?
Resizing Needed to Fit Into the Endtime Shoe
Since Bible prophecy clearly outlines that there will be a 10-nation power coalition, not a foot with one big toe, we can conclude that this big toe must then become comparatively smaller. While the British Empire has been removed from the pinnacle of power for more than half a century, its younger cousin, the US, now undoubtedly also faces a relative decline. By whatever means—the Rapture, self-inflicted, deserved or divinely willed — this has to happen if the Bible is to be proved correct. In fact, viewed against the pace of past human history, it must be said that this shift with respect to Americais happening extremely suddenly (even without a Rapture).
Less than five years ago, though the seeds of America’s moral and economic decline had long been evident, the US was still seen as an invincible, world-dominating power in every sense. At the time, geopolitical analysts were still actively debating the question of whether the United States should really be considered an empire in the classical sense. Many analysts pooh-poohed any notion thatAmerica might be vulnerable, maintaining that the 21st century would belong to the US, as did the 20th. One may be too hasty in predicting America’s demise on the world scene, but it cannot be denied that trends of relative deterioration have indeed been very rapid in recent years.
Joseph Stiglitz, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, commented recently that in the space of the two terms of the recent Bush government, the nation’s government budget went from a surplus of $128 billion to a certain legacy of a $1 trillion deficit for the next president. Says Stiglitz, “The national debt has increased by 65%, by nearly $10 trillion to which the debts of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the nations’ largest mortgage providers) must be added. Meanwhile, we are saddled with the cost of two wars. The price tag for the one in Iraq alone will […] ultimately exceed $3 trillion.” 2
Mr. Stiglitz will likely prove too optimistic. Given the scale of financial and economic crises, total government debt in America may double again in the space of the next 3 to 5 years. In the next year alone, the US current account deficit (money that must be borrowed from the rest of the world) may soar to as much as 13% of the size of the economy, a level that seems unthinkable.
To be sure, economic and financial strength is only one measure of global power, though a most important one in this present Age of Global Capital. On these measures, other nations of the world are now superseding the US. For example, for the first time in perhaps a half-century, another nation—China—accounted for the most global economic growth in 2007. While America is now by far the world’s greatest debtor nation, it is Asia that now houses two-thirds of the world’s international financial reserves. While no trend is likely to be safely predictable, these are indeed new signs of the times.
Shared Globalism Going Forward
Now that the contagion of financial crisis has rocked the entire world, the calls for greater global coordination are becoming shrill. For example, said Miguel Angel Ordonez, Spain’s ECB (European Central Bank) Governor, “We’ve got to get together on both sides of the Atlantic. It is absolutely essential to co-ordinate everything, including monetary policy.” 3
According to a global financial analyst, “A global conference (along the lines of Bretton Woods) under a respected chairman (Paul Volcker is the obvious choice) must be convened. It would bring together all the major players including the vital creditor nations—China, Japan … etc.—to develop a framework for the major economic reforms (currency policies, fiscal disciplines and trade barriers) to work towards a resolution of the crisis.” 4
To that end, several world meeting forums have been planned. The heads of state for Britain andFrance organized support for their global plans at a special EU summit. G20 meetings have been scheduled, the first to take place in Washington, followed by a second one in Paris. Some geo-political analysts are encouraged by the spirit of “multipolarism” that is apparently galvanizing a new participative spirit for these meetings. (Multipolarism is a key and important concept discussed in Part I.)
Even China’s Premier, Wen Jiabao, is keenly aware of the direct connection his country has toAmerica’s recent financial troubles, saying, “If anything goes wrong in the US financial sector, we are anxious about the safety and security of Chinese capital.” 5
If anything, due to the catastrophic financial and currency collapses spanning the world, such nations as Iceland, Australia and others have realized that it is too costly and dangerous to have their own currency. Even Denmark and Sweden, two staunch hold-outs in adopting the euro, may be rethinking their position.
All in all, what appears as global disorder at present—a time of near fatal financial collapse—actually will act as a catalyst in the rapid metamorphosis to a 10-king global power coalition. There is a broad consensus now that a group of nations need to come together to find economic and financial solutions for the world. How many nations? Some argue that 20 is too many, and others that the G7 is not enough. Could a group of 10 emerge?
We can definitely draw several conclusions. First, whatever new global organization emerges, its powers will be shared more equally in the future. Multipolarism must eventually gain ground, according to Bible prophecy. The United States will eventually lose its outsized number of votes and vetoes in such organizations as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and others. The second conclusion we can safely draw is that we live in a time where an alignment of 10 kings could be on our very doorstep. There is yet one more sure conclusion—a future period of apparent prosperity around the globe, even if only fleeting.
One More Last Day Boom?
If the Lord tarries, it is likely that the world will yet see at least one more economic recovery. Viewed from the midst of the present financial wreckage, this seems so implausible … bordering on the ridiculous. But, in fact, a global economic boom could yet occur at some point in the future. Not to forget, it was only as little as 12 months ago, that the notion that the entire world would fall into the grips of a global credit panic was thought to be equally ridiculous. That’s not to say that America or other western nations might soon see economic recoveries. Likely not. But, as pointed out, Bible prophecy indicates that a time is yet ahead where the world will feel much more complacent than we see today.
At the time that the final troubles come upon the world, they will occur suddenly like a trap (Luke 21:34). In this verse we see that people will be more preoccupied with indulgence and the cares of this world, than great global crises. Moreover, Jesus told the disciples that the world will be generally unwares in the last days. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away” (Matthew 24:37-39). For all of these conditions to occur, a recovery, repair or reform of world financial systems and economies must first unfold.
Thoughts to Ponder
For the last three centuries, there has only been one big toe. But this cannot continue if prophecy is to be fulfilled. This change is very likely already underfoot. The recent economic and financial disasters of the past year (in fact, originating in the US) likely play a significant role in the geopolitical “birth pangs” and “earthquakes” of an emerging global power distribution that the Bible describes as taking form in the very last days. The rise of other nations such as China, India, Brazil, Russia and perhaps oil-exporting nations must be seen as part of this rebalancing process. Actually, the time of the 10 kings could unfold upon the world very suddenly.
It may already be here. Surely, the facts outlined to this point will not be received as being very hopeful. But that would be a wrong perception. It is never too late for a nation to repent. God said to Israel, “[…] if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Repentance is an option … provided that it is not past the point of return, where God refuses to listen. But we must not make the mistake of Jonah. He was upset with God when the citizens of Nineveh chose to heed his message of judgment. As a result, Nineveh’s demise was delayed for another 150 years or so.
Our Lord, for the most part, allows us the freedom to choose to follow His precepts and ways voluntarily. Yes, God foreknows what our choices will be, but that is not the same as predestinating our willful actions.
Yet, according to Bible prophecy, America must decline relative to the 10 kings in one way or another. But that is not to say that it is prophetically necessary for America to rush and accelerate the fulfillment of prophecy by collapsing into a toothless tiger. Prophecy in this case can be fulfilled in a number of ways. 10 other kings could become powerful enough to supersede the geopolitical position of the US, or at the other extreme, America be disastrously downsized … either becoming one of the 10 kings or not at all. Which will it be?
The jury is out. It is up to the nations’ leaders and citizens. However, to date, the signs are not hopeful. During America’s most recent presidential election, Christian candidates were openly ridiculed and topics such as the “end of days” were fodder for public scoffing. Greater shifts to immorality and rebelliousness may now lie ahead.
Most certainly, the world will rush together into new alliances, reforming its economic and financial policies in a coordinated fashion, something that is only possible in a multi-polar world. More than anything, the world and America are looking for financial and economic solutions. Any person who can deliver such policies will be thankfully accepted as a type of savior. Morality and godliness can wait. In this regard, America’s materialism can in large part be blamed upon the satanic distortions of so-called religious leaders that have infected the entire nation with prosperity gospel and utilitarianism.
And, very definitely, the world is looking for a champion savior right now. Shouts the title of a recent economic report, “China: Savior of the World!” 6 The cover of Forbes magazine recently blared the title, “Capitalism Will Save Us.” Wrote a prominent journalist recently, “We are saved. Amid the rubble of the world’s financial markets, we can catch sight of the foundations of a new international order. The big lesson of the crisis has been learnt: we cannot escape our mutual dependence.” 7 These comments betray that the world is looking for an economic savior, not the eternal One.
We look for our Savior elsewhere. Said the Apostle Paul to the Philippians: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21).
While the world stampedes into greater global interconnectedness and hyper-states of commercial idolatry in its quest for the security of grain and bread, it completely ignores the real bread. ”For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33). “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (John 6:51).
1. Walter Russell Mead, God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World (Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2007).
2. Joseph Stiglitz, “Reversal of Fortune,” www.vanityfair.com. Accessed October 23, 2008.
3. Source: Telegraph.co.uk, October 9, 2008.
4. Satyajit Das, “Only global action will end this,” Business Spectator, Oct 7, 2008.
5. Asia Times, October 9, 2008.
6. Global Economic Research, Economic Cycles, Oct. 31, 2008, Societe Generale.
7. Philip Stephens, “Globalisation and the new nationalism collide,” Financial Times, October 24, 2008.