Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Four Empires are Assyira-Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece-Macedon and Edom-Rome

I want to address a matter of Interpretation on the four world Empires of Daniel 2 and 7. It is popular for skeptics of The Bible (and also certain Preterists) to insist that the four empires were originally meant by the author to be Babylon, Media, Persia and Greece. Rather then the traditional Futurist view of Babylon, Medio-Persia, Greece and Rome.  This is absurd to me.

Daniel 5&6 (still part of the Aramaic Daniel) clearly defined Babylon as being succeeded by a dual Medio-Persian Empire "Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians." Which is also what Daniel 8 depicts, The Prophecy is given while Babylon still rules and depicts The Ram coming next "The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia." And then after that is the He-Goat which is Greece.

Media alone was an important local kingdom for a century or so, but it never conquered Israel or Egypt or Babylon. Using Scripture to Interpret Scripture only Greece can be the Third empire.

The Symbolism also only makes sense that way, The Leopard has four heads which clearly represent the same thing the four horns represent in Daniel 8. Leopards are also animals known for their speed, the Speed with which Alexander conquered his Empire is part of Daniel 8:5's emphasis as well "and touched not the ground" is an idiom of speed. This Greece as the fourth kingdom interpretation tends to require viewing the ten horns of the fourth beast as a succession of Kings, that completely ignores the interpretation the Angel gives.

The strongest Argument any of them make is "The Little Horn". They insist the little horn can't represent different things in 7 and 8 and therefore the fourth Beast of chapter 7 must be the same as the He-Goat of Chapter 8.

Daniel 2-7 are Aramaic Daniel and are focused on the World, Daniel 1 and 8-12 are Hebrew Daniel and are focused on Israel. The Little Horn is the only specific symbol used in both. Both are ultimately in their far finale ultimate fulfillment about "The Antichrist". But Daniel 8 is about how he relates to Israel, and in that context Antiochus Epiphanes is a good prototype of The Antichrist.

But Daniel 7 is about how he relates to The World, and in that context Antiochus Epiphanes is not a good prototype, from a secular historical perspective he's very insignificant, pathetic even. He is thought of as the beginning of the end of the Hellenistic era's greatness. Hebrew Daniel also acknowledges elsewhere in Chapter 11 that Epiphanes while foreshadowing the Antichrist's key Sin is overall not a successful enough leader to be him. 11:36 says of The Antichrist "And the king shall do according to his will;". This "do according to his will" phrase is used earlier of both Alexander The Great in verse 3 and Antiochus III Megas in verse 16.  But it's description of Epiphanes in verses 21-32 does not use this phrase. So this phrase helps refute any argument that verse 36 is still talking about Antiochus Epiphanes. As does the fact that this king is NOT the "King of The North" (Syria) but fights a war with him.

Daniel 7 is about The Antichrist's destiny to reunite the Roman Empire, and a near fulfillment for that could be Julius or Augustus Caesar who ended civil wars, or Vespasian-Titus who restored unity after the chaotic year of the Four Emperors, or Constantine who was reuniting Rome when he adopted Christianity, or Jusitnian who tried to reconquer the Western regions. Or latter attempts to create a sort of Revived Empire, like Charlemagne, the various Holy Roman Emperors, Napoleon (and maybe also Louise-Napoleon) or Mussolini/Hitler.

But also in Daniel 7 the Little Horn arises among the ten, unlike in Daniel 8 where he comes out of one of the four.  I believe that at least one layer of symbolism behind The Little Horn is it being the Seleucid Dynasty, but I view this connection as genealogical not geographical.

The annoying thing is that these Atheists and Preterists don't even need to do this to argue Daniel's prophecies were all done by the Hasomnean Revolt (That argument falls apart for many other reasons). During the Maccabees period it was already pretty clear Rome was the fourth Beast. Rome was an Empire long before it ceased to be a Republic, just like America is. Rome in the second century B.C. was very comparable to America in the 20th century A.D. including being Israel's top ally as documented in the books of Maccabees and Josephus.

Polybius who died in 118 B.C. wrote a book called The Rise of The Roman Empire. His starting premise was to document how in only 53 years, from 220 B.C.(around when the Second Punic War began) to 167 B.C. when Rome defeated Macedon's king Perseus, Rome became the master of the known world. Fulfilling a quasi Prophecy by Demetrius of Phalerum that the Macedonian Empire will someday be conquered just as quickly as it rose. That period ends earlier in the same year as Epiphanes' Abomination of Desolation.

Antiochus Epiphanes had also been a hostage in Rome, after Rome defeated his father. And according to the Secular histories about him, early in his reign he was a very Romanized leader.

He would frequently put off his royal robes, and, assuming a white toga, go round the market-place like a candidate, and, taking some by the hand and embracing others, would beg them to give him their vote, sometimes for the office of aedile and sometimes for that of tribune. Upon being elected, he would sit upon the ivory curule chair, as the Roman custom is, listening to the lawsuits tried there, and pronouncing judgement with great pains and display of interest. In consequence all respectable men were entirely puzzled about him, some looking upon him as a plain simple man and others as a madman. His conduct too was very similar as regards the presents he made.
Polybius 5-7l

But his relationship with Rome proved more complicated over time. You could almost view him as an analogy for how America keeps supporting Middle Eastern leaders who become our enemies latter, like the Ayatollah in Iran, or Saddam Hussein, or Bin Laden.

Daniel 11's history of the Hellenistic Kingdoms also alludes to it's inevitable conquest by a fourth empire. First in verse 4 after describing the division of Alexander's empire among his successors it goes on to say the Kingdom "shall be plucked up, even for others beside those." That is the summery, more details follow.

Verse 18 alludes to Antiochus III's failed war with Rome. Verse 30 refers to when Antiochus IV Epiphanes was thwarted by Rome on Cyprus. After verse 32 alludes to the Hasmonean revolt, verse 33 says they will inevitably be conquered and taken captive by some other Empire. One could argue the Willful King in verses 36-45 is a Roman conqueror.

Update: As of June 2015 I no longer view the Willful King as The Antichrist but as Augustus Caesar.

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