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7.0 Overview of the kingdoms of the world.

7.0.1 The rebellious spirit of the kingdoms of the world.

The first empire builder in the history of the world was Nimrod. He was a third generation descendent of Noah. His kingdom began in Babel where he unified people by building a city with the Tower of Babel. (Gen.10:8-12; 11:1-9)

By giving this history, the Bible intends to show:

The self-assertive activities of Babel were in reality a rebellion against God's original order of creation,- namely that we should live in fellowship with him, and in dependence upon him.

The same spirit of devil-inspired self-assertion and lust for power has since Babel been behind all subsequent world empires. For this reason, the Bible likens several main world empires to various sorts of wild beasts, since they have continued to swallow up new prey (conquer new territories).
But seldom has this devilish self-assertion been expressed more clearly than in our own time, as exemplified in the theme song of the workers' movement, representing hundreds of millions of people:
(Here we make do with citing only a part of the poem, written by Eugene Pottier.)

The International
Arise, ye starvelings, from your slumbers
Arise, ye criminals of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses, arise, arise
We'll change forthwith the old conditions
And spurn the dust to win the prize

No saviour from on high delivers
No trust have we in prince or peer
Our own right hands the chains must shiver....

Then comrades, come, rally,
and the last fight let us face
The Internationale
Unites the human race

7.0.2 God was forced to intervene

When God saw what people were building, he said, "If they can accomplish this when they have just begun to take advantage of their political and language unity, imagine what they will be able to do in the future! Nothing will be impossible for them."

Consequently, God divided the united evil by giving them different languages, so that they could no longer understand one another. As a result, they abandoned their common building and spread out over the earth. If the wicked had been able to continue unhindered, they would have even destroyed themselves.

Not until the end of our own age, after the rapture of the Bride, will wicked people almost destroy themselves. (Illustration 7.11)


7.0.3 The heritage of the kingdoms of the world

From the book of Daniel, chapters 2 and 7, we see that several more or less heathen world empires will dominate history, up until the time that Christ and his millennial kingdom takes over (the Messianic reign of peace).
Therefore, history likens the different world empires to wild beasts. In Revelation 17:9-11 it is further described that there are a succession of 7 (or 8, depending on how they are counted) of these world kingdoms. When one world kingdom falls, parts of its culture are taken up by the next world kingdom.

This is a simple example of how the prophecies in the book of Daniel and in Revelation complement each other, so that from a biblical perspective, they build up a framework of the history and future of humanity's redemption.

The 8th world empire, under the control of the Antichrist, will probably arise in our own time, just before the millennial kingdom takes over.
Because of its strong heritage from the Romans, it is also often depicted as a restoration of the old Roman empire (see below under 6b).

In the following, we will as appropriate, point out the dominant characteristics of each world kingdom, such as:


7.0.4 The kingdoms of the world in historical order

WORLD EMPIRE
symbol
Time period (circa) Famous ruler Persecution of Jews and/or Christians
1. Egyptian 3.300 - 1000 B.C..
(lasted 2300 yrs.)
Ramses The Jewish people had become completely enslaved before their liberation.
2. Assyrian 850 - 613 B.C.
(lasted 237 yrs.)
Shalmaneser the 5th. Israel's 10 tribes were led into captivity, and disappeared into the sea of humanity.
3. 3. Babylonian
Lion
612 - 539 B.C.
(lasted 73 yrs.)
Nebuchadnezzar The 2 tribes of Judah were carried off to a 70 year captivity in Babylon.
Medes-Persians
Bear
539 - 336 B.C.
(lasted 203 yrs.).
Cyrus
e.g. Sassani
Freed the Jews, who were then persecuted by the successor to his throne.
5. Greek
Leopard
336 - 65 B.C.
(lasted 271 yrs.)
Alexander the Great Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the temple in Jerusalem,
175 - 164 B.C.
6a. Roman
Terrible beast
65 B.C. - 476 A.D.
(lasted 541 yrs.)
Caesar
Nero
Jerusalem destroyed in 70 A.D.; Jews expelled;
Christians martyred
7. Nazi
Eagle
1933 - 1945 A.D.
(lasted only 12 yrs.)
Hitler Wanted to totally annihilate the Jews; actually killed 6 million Jews.
8. Wild Beast
alt. 6b
2XXX ?
(lasts 3 - 7 yrs?)
Antichrist Will persecute Christians and Jews.
9 alt. 8. Millennium
2YYY
lasts 1000 yrs.
Christ Will be a reign of peace

At the time Daniel received his visions regarding developments in the world, the first two world empires had already fallen. King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and Daniel's visions of the future stretch therefore from the third world empire to the 9th, which is the Millennium, covering a total of more than 2600 years. The prophecies of Revelation treat primarily the time from 6b forward, with the main emphasis on the dominion of the Beast, and the Millennium.

Modern day Europe can consequently be considered as an integrated mixture of cultures from all of these earlier world empires.

The Roman empire, which lasted over 500 years, and became the greatest of them all, has perhaps influenced Europe the most. For many generations it ruled from half of England in the north, to North Africa in the south, and from Spain in the west, to Persia in the east.


7.0.5 Further examples of God's overriding sovereignty

The kingdoms of the world can certainly develop and mold to a large extent their own politics, culture, etc. but overall it is also true that:

God uses the kingdoms of the world in such a way that they become a part of the outworking of the plan of salvation.

Thereafter, God will once-and-for-all expose the origin of evil and its terrible consequences under the reign of the Beast.

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