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7.5 The Greek Empire

The Greek Empire
The Greek world empire was created in 336 B.C. by Alexander the Great. He succeeded in just 13 years to subjugate the entire earlier kingdom of the Medes and Persians, along with further territory. His empire consequently reached from India in the east to Egypt and Greece in the west.
After he suddenly died in 323 B.C., his kingdom was divided between his four generals in Egypt, Syria, the present-day Turkish part of Asia Minor and Greece/Macedonia. The Greek empire's culture and language continued, however, to dominate the world in a tangible way for about the next 300 years.

In the Bible, the Greek world empire is symbolized by a leopard with four heads and four wings. (Illustration 7.5) The wings symbolize the rapidity of his conquering, and the number four symbolizes that the leopard took over power and a cultural heritage from the four previous world empires. The leopard's four heads symbolize the four divided kingdoms which his generals ruled over after Alexander's death.
The heads also symbolize that the kingdoms are governed with royal power. In the sub-kingdom Syria, a very wicked ruler arose in time, named Antiochus Epiphanes. By his act of desecrating the temple in Jerusalem (during the years 175-165 B.C.) he became a significant forerunner to the coming Antichrist. Jesus himself made reference to this historical event when he spoke of the persecution of Christians and Jews in the end times. (Matt. 24:15-22, see also illustration 5.7)