SHAPE OF THE FUTURE (2A)

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

2 – The Final Empire: Its Physical Geography

2-A. Dual Nature of the Empire
2-B. Economic Superpower: the New Beast
2-C. Who Are the Two Superpowers of the End?
2-D. Is Modern Europe the “Beast from the Earth”
2-E. Eighth Head
2-F. Who Are the “Ten Horns”

2-A. Dual Nature of the Empire

Now let’s get down to business with this study and consider first an unusual and outstanding feature  of the Antichrist kingdom: its dual nature.

In the course of outlining future history, the Daniel and Revelation books speak of a future “beast” who was to rule the world in its final days before the second coming of Christ. This Beast symbolizes a powerful empire and its ruler who is often referred to as “the Antichrist”. We can say further that,  instead of just one main superpower controlling everything, two powerful regimes operate together to comprise this final kingdom.  Following are some indications in the Scriptures that point towards this future historical reality:

  • Daniel 2 – In the vision of the “image”, there are two “feet”, symbolizing mankind’s last empire; and the feet are made out of two materials (“iron and clay”).
  • Revelation 13 – Another vision that pictures two “beasts” working together to build the End Time empire.
  • Revelation 17:11 – A more obscure reference here mentions the union of two (the 7th and 8th) ”heads” or “beasts”.

So, this dual End Time kingdom was predicted, it seems, in the Bible. And in this way it resembles the dual empires of the past: Rome was split into East and West Rome, and the Medo-Persian empire was the union of two nations, Media and Persia. The Bible actually portrays the dual feature of these empires in symbolic form in the Book of Daniel – as “arms of silver” and “legs of iron”.  These were components in an awesome-looking “image” that appeared in vision form to king Nebuchadnezzar and the prophet Daniel. (Daniel 2) This intriguing vision was an ingenious projection into the future – an easy-to-understand explanation that God used to illustrate for us in almost child-like terms the future panorama of man’s history and progression of empires that were to control Israel since the time of Babylon, the superpower that controlled Israel in Daniel’s day.

7 World Empires - Copy - Copy copy copy

The diagram above (adapted from a publication of The Family International) illustrates the different visions of empires seen by Daniel the prophet in chapters 2, 7, 8 of the Book of Daniel and similar visions seen by John the Apostle in chapters 13 and 17 of the Book of Revelation. Interestingly, the different visions interconnect with each other and at the same time reveal peculiar features of the empires that came, or will come, to invade the Mid East area, and to conquer the nation of Israel.

Now besides Rome and Medo-Persia, there was one more dual empire to come along symbolized in the two “feet”. This was to be the last empire, for as the vision unfolds, it is during the era of the “feet” that Christ (symbolized as “a stone”) will return. “You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth… the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.” (Daniel 2:34-35, 44)

So, according to this symbolic portrayal, the empire of the “feet” should come in the time of the End, and be a dual empire of some kind. Although the meaning of this End Time portion of the vision is becoming clearer in recent times, there is still much that remains a mystery. To clear up some of that mystery, it may help to look at how those parts of the “image” that symbolized ancient empires found their fulfillment in history.

In particular, it is generally understood – through the benefit of historical hindsight – that the “arms of silver” and “legs of iron” symbolized the dual geographical nature of the twin kingdoms of Media and Persia, and East and West Rome. (Daniel 2:32-33) So, if the same rule applies to the final empire of the “feet”, then we should expect the Antichrist empire will also be divided into two geographical areas.

 

Dual Empires of Medo-Persia and Rome

And very likely, these geographical areas would correspond to the dual feature we find in Revelation 13, which describes the rise of two “beasts” during the End Time era of our history. In ancient times, all the former ”beasts” (mentioned in the Book of Daniel) came out of certain land areas and political domains, from which they controlled the rest of the world of their day. So, to be consistent with that pattern, likely the two Beasts (also known as the Antichrist and False Prophet) should each possess a political-geographical domain from which they can control the world of modern times.

Getting back to the Book of Daniel, some years after his first vision of the “image”, Daniel had another corresponding vision in which he saw the same empires of man symbolized as “beasts” (“Daniel 7″ section in the “Seven World Empires” illustration above). This next vision (in Daniel 7) also ties in with John the Revelator’s vision of the two Endtime beasts (in Revelation 13). One outstanding feature about these visions is this: the dual empires of Medo-Persia and Rome each corresponded to one “beast only; each was a “beast” split into two parts. But in the End Time the situation is unique. For it seems that not only will there be two geographical territories (symbolized by the “feet”), but this dual empire will be presided over by two “beasts”. (More explanation about these unusual features of the End Time empire will be discussed further on.)

The main question now is, what two territories do the feet of the image symbolize? One territory, we can gather from Ezekiel 38 and 39, will base from the land of Russia. The passage there talks of a warlike figure called ”Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal” - all ancient names for places now in Russia – and he will come from his “place out of the far north” to invade the land of Israel “in the latter years”. (Ezekiel 38:2, 15-16. See “Ezekiel 38-39” post for more information on this subject.) So, in common with the previous sea-Beasts, this “Gog” figure has that one peculiar feature: he makes a conquest of the Jewish people when they are gathered together in the Mid East. Therefore, he should qualify as one of the “beasts” of the Bible – and particularly, the warlike sea-Beast of Revelation 13, the last one to come in earth’s history who is well known as the Antichrist.

So that takes care of one foot. But now what about the other foot? There is no mention in the Sacred Book about any other land area, one that would headquarter the other Beast. But before we delve into that question, let us first take a closer look at the Biblical description of this strange new Beast who came “up out of the earth” and was also known as the “false prophet”. (Revelation 13:11, 19:20, 20:10)

Continue on to 2B: Economic Superpower – The New Beast

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