We continue our quest for the identities of the 7 Ruler Kings, which represent the geopolitical history of the world in that they circumnavigate the fate of the Hebrews.
Why are we pursuing this study? Importantly, it allows us to determine the times and the seasons. There can be no doubt: We are living in an interesting time … likely a sliver in duration … as some major prophetic events are at the very door. These will have an enormous impact upon the world … expressly so also America.
In Part 3, we noted that all of the Ruler Kings that Daniel saw in his visions have left significant legacies for the world today. We last discussed the connections of ancient Babylon with our current times. Readers will likely have been surprised.
Next, we consider Medo-Persia (depicted as a bear in Daniel 7). The most significant contribution of the Medes was the principle of tolerance. The figure of Cyrus has survived throughout history as the role model of an ideal ruler.
Though a conqueror, he was tolerant and magnanimous. In like fashion, Darius I and Xerxes I, and later Persian rulers, were considered to be liberal.
The attitude of tolerance is evident in the Bible’s account of Cyrus.
He was moved to fund the rebuilding of the Jewish temple (Ezra 1:2). He provided a grant for this humanitarian project, involving a different people with another religion (Ezra 3:7). Cyrus even returned some of the temple treasures that had been carted out of Jerusalem decades earlier.
What reigning powers in history ever considered offering recompense to those that they conquered? If that is the key characteristic symbolized by the Medo-Persian “bear,” then it certainly does apply to our time.
If it were not so, how could it have ever been possible for the Jews to again be restored to their own land in 1948, after almost two thousand years of dispersion? This is one of the greatest confirmations that the “bear” depicted in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 is indeed upon the scene today.
Most readers will agree that Greece has left a big stamp upon the world. It is shown as a leopard in Daniel. Greece is the source of much humanism.
Its ancient society placed a high value upon human reasoning and philosophy. That was certainly the case during New Testament times. Paul often debated Greek thinkers; notably, for example, at Mars Hill (Acts 17).
He later tells us that “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22). Here we see Apostle Paul confirming that the god of the Greeks was human logic (humanism). Paul also held “discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus” (Acts 19:9) for over two years. Tyrannus was a Greek teacher and sophist whose school was in Ephesus.
To the Greeks, the very fact that something might be incomprehensible could only be referred to the Unknown God. Paul showed them that all ways higher than man’s were attributable to God (Isaiah 55:9). This Hellenistic emphasis upon science and naturalism rules our society today.
There are other Greek cultural legacies that still mark our world. Democracy is the prevalent organizational form politically worldwide today (its origin found in ancient Greece). Democracy, assuredly a human system with many good facilities, still harbors the fatal flaw that will enable a spiritually blind world to willingly allow the Antichrist to come to power. And, of course, we cannot forget the Olympics, the highest celebration of human physical achievement.
Today we live in the Roman Head era. Its signs are all around us. Western society and culture can find much of its root in the early Roman Empire. From Roman law, civil organization, military techniques, and creditor philosophy, to many other influences, Western society today remains quintessentially Roman.
We need not spend much time documenting this phenomenon. Rome was a ferocious military beast two thousand years ago. The new Rome, both militarily and economically, is an even more ferocious beast, one that certainly is stamping much of the world under its feet (Daniel 7:7, 19).
How to Line Up the Ruler Kings
All of the Bible’s prophecies about the 7 Ruler kingdoms (individually or collectively) lead to the same ending scenario. In every case, these visions end up pointing to the same final kingdom. It is the messianic kingdom. Following all the beast (Gentile) kingdoms, it is shown to be eternal.
Daniel informs us that the time of the messianic kingdom comes after the feet and the toes. The stone cut out without hands dashes apart the statue (Daniel 2:34). After this, “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”
Furthermore, we know that the 4th beast of Daniel 7 (the 6th by Revelation’s count) is vanquished by God. After this arises His dominion, “[…] an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).
The same is revealed in the beast visions of Daniel 8, showing that these kingdoms are destroyed, “but not by human power” (Daniel 8:25). Revelation provides much rich detail on the eternal kingdom that follows the beast of Revelation 17.
Knowing this, a simple way of corroborating the identity and chronological order of all the Ruler Kings (whether mentioned in the Old or New Testament) is to simply count back from the messianic kingdom.
We know that the kingdom “that is” (Revelation 17:10) must be Roman. It must be as Apostle John explains. Rome was the world hegemon at the time of his prophecies. He tells us it is the 6th in the lineage of 7.
“Five have fallen … one more is to come, and that one but for a little while” (Revelation 17:10). We also know that Daniel’s 4th beast (Daniel 7) was Roman. This can be proven in a number of ways.
First, we are told specifically that the first of the five kingdoms, represented by the image with the golden head (Daniel 2), was Nebuchadnezzar. If we count the number of world kingdoms that follow him (Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome), Rome is the 4th that he sees. We conclude that Daniel’s 4th kingdom is the same as John’s 6th.
In view of the prophecies of Daniel, it can be shown that he is referring to the same first four kingdoms in his visions. He identifies Babylon as being the first in this line. Daniel 7 (this prophecy being uttered before the Medo-Persians had conquered Babylon) specifically identifies four kingdoms that will rise from the earth (Daniel 7:17). Then, in chapter 8, it is revealed to him that two of the kingdoms (also providing details about some of the individual kings) would be Medo-Persia and Greece (mentioned by name).
Not much later, Daniel himself witnessed the fall of Babylon (Head #3) and then served Cyrus the Mede (a part of Head #4). Taking all observations together, there is no question that Babylon is followed by Medo-Persia (#4), then by Greece (#5). None of the Ruler Kings are shown to occur thereafter other than the 4th Beast Daniel saw. Again, this can only be Roman.
We can deduce that the five beasts and/or horns that Prophet Daniel sees are the very same Ruler Kings #3 to #7 that Apostle John sees. Daniel shares visions that look forward from his time, while John’s visions encompass past, present, and future. We observe that all five of these Ruler Kings can indeed be named.
The Identity of the First Two Heads
Now that we have all the foundations in place on the last five Ruler Kings, we can turn our attention to the two earliest ones. We have yet to provide proofs of the identities of RKs #1 and #2.
As it turns out, the identity of the first two RKs of the 7 heads has assuredly been the subject of much debate. Just what qualifying criteria should one use to identify a “major world rulership” in the geopolitical arena, to discover the identity of these seven major kingdoms in the Bible?
Earlier in the series, we had listed 7 criteria shared by the 7 RK. The first common characteristic of all of them is their persecution and oppression of the Hebrews.
Frankly, the Bible only offers three plausible candidates that were in power before Babylon in the Bible: Egypt, Assyria and the Philistines. However, only two meet all of the 7 traits common to the rest of the Ruler Kings; most expressly, oppressing Israel. (Another nation candidate mentioned often in the Bible is Tyre.)
Much of Scripture is preoccupied with the three nations of Egypt, Assyria and Philistia and their interactions with Israel. For example, the word Philistine (and its derivatives) is mentioned 276 times in the Bible; Egypt (and its derivatives) 793 times; and Assyria, 144 times.
But which two of these three nations qualify as the 1st and 2nd heads of the 7-headed beast shown in Revelation? Just what additional indications does Scripture provide? Consider the following statements:
- “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘At first my people went down to Egypt to live; lately, Assyria has oppressed them'” (Isaiah 52:4).
- “Therefore, this is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says: ‘My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did'” (Isaiah 10:24).
- “We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread” (Lamentations 5:6).
- “Israel is a scattered flock that lions have chased away. The first to devour them was the king of Assyria; the last to crush their bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon” (Jeremiah 50:17).
In these verses (and a number more that could be cited), we see Assyria and Egypt being jointly referenced as oppressors and persecutors of the Hebrews. The Philistines are not in this same company. Why? The Philistines, though they had been a frequent foe of Israel, were not in the same league as Egypt and Assyria at their apex. Wars with the Philistines were not much more than territorial skirmishes.
The Philistines never completely vanquished the Israelites nor controlled the Middle East. They were considered “sea peoples” and were never rulers of the then known world. Moreover, King David and his troops were at one time even mercenaries on behalf of Philistia, supposedly fighting against Judah.
In short, Philistia does not appear to qualify as one of the 7 heads.
Based on the weight of Scripture, we conclude that Egypt and Assyria, respectively, are the 1st and 2nd heads of the 7-headed beast. There are no other viable candidates in our view.
When the 10 Horns Arrive on the Timeline
In the next issue, we will turn our focus from the 7 Ruler Kings to the 10 horns (10K). They represent a coalition of 10 rulers (or nations) that is formed just before the start of the Tribulation period. Just what are the 10 kings destined to do? Will America be one of these ten nations?
Wilfred J. Hahn is a global economist/strategist. Formerly a top-ranked global analyst, research director for a major Wall Street investment bank, and head of Canada’s largest global investment operation, his writings focus on the endtime roles of money, economics and globalization. He has been quoted around the world and his writings reproduced in numerous other publications and languages. His 2002 book The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free accurately anticipated and prepared its readers for the Global Financial Crisis. A following book, Global Financial Apocalypse Prophesied: Preserving true riches in an age of deception and trouble, looks further into the prophetic future.
Contact Wilfred at: firstname.lastname@example.org