SHAPE OF THE FUTURE (8)

1. Contents/Introduction
2. Dual Nature of the Empire
3. Spiritual and Physical Geography
4. Economic Superpower: the New Beast
5. Who are the Two Superpowers of the End?
6. Physical Geography: Which Two Territories?
7. Earth-Beast: False Prophet and Money Master
8. Iron-Clay Kingdom = Sea-Earth Beasts’ Empire
9. The Kingdom shall be Divided
10. Role of Technology

11. What the Future Holds
12. Summary

Appendix 1: Modern Religions, Cultures of Darkness
Appendix 2: How Iron Continues in Today’s World
Appendix 3: Background History, Clay-Earth Bloc
Appendix 4: Eighth Head

8: IRON-CLAY KINGDOM = SEA-EARTH BEASTS’ EMPIRE

To sum things up so far: Through these prophetic visions in the Books of Daniel and Revelation, God is presenting to His people a realistic picture of the beast-like kingdoms that have come and gone through history.

Not only that, He encourages our faith. We are astounded by His grand foresight, which reminds us that God truly is in control. We see how well John’s vision of the two End Time empires (in Revelation 13) pictured so far in advance the historical reality that is even now developing in our modern world; and of course, how well Daniel’s vision of the “image” (in Daniel 2) portrayed so simply the complex situation of our modern times (and of the near future).

These two visions (in Daniel 2 and Revelation 13) give us a basic outline of the dual nature of the final empire and how it will appear: physically, as a political alliance of two geographical territories, and spiritually, as the merger of the “religions” of demagoguery and materialism.

In addition to those two chapters, we have the Daniel 7 vision of Beasts. At this point it will help to draw attention to the unusual fact that no less than three times the “fourth beast” in Daniel 7 is said to be ”different from all the beasts that were before it” (7:7,19,23) So what is it that makes this Beast “different”?

The first clue appears in the Daniel 2 “image” in which a non-metal component appears in its feet: the “clay” mixed in with the metal of “iron”. The second clue appears in Revelation 13 where we see an unusual (“different”) Beast who comes on the scene, rising out of the “earth” instead of the “sea”, as did all the other Beasts of the past.

Finally, in Revelation 17 we are told that “the beast [referring to the Sea-Beast]. . . is himself also the eighth [referring to the Earth-Beast], and is of the seven” (17:11) If he is “of the seven [Sea-Beasts]”, then how is he “also the eighth”? This, it would appear, is a way of building on the Daniel-Revelation Books’ progression of Sea-Beasts and taking into account this new Earth-Beast who was introduced earlier in Revelation 13.

And it confirms once more what was said in Daniel 7 – about the final Beast being “different” from all other Beasts. For in addition to being a Sea-Beast, this “fourth beast” of Daniel 7 is also an Earth-Beast. (For more information about the mystery of the Eighth Head/Beast, see Appendix 4: “The Eighth Head”.)

This peculiar duality marks another way in which the End of the Age empire will differ from the empires of ancient times. Besides a dual physical geography, which was characteristic of Medo-Persia and Rome, the modern empire has also a dual cultural (or spiritual) geography.

And besides the presence of two empires, the End of the Age era will feature two rulers. Just as the golden head of the image was symbolic of a specific ruler (Nebuchadnezzar), so the iron and clay feet should also symbolize two specific rulers. (Daniel 2:38) In the Book of Revelation they are called Beasts, and one of them is named specifically as the False Prophet (19:20, 20:10), and the other one is known as the Antichrist.

And although there are two separate rulers (and empires), yet they manage to operate simultaneously as one. In ancient times it was simpler. In the Daniel 2 vision of the “image”, the dual geographic empires of Medo-Persia and Rome were each symbolized by only one metal material (represented by silver and iron respectively). That meant the same regime, or same type of regime, was ruling in each territory.

But the feet portion of the image is different: It is made up of two materials, not just one, meaning there are two types of regimes involved. And since the two materials are mixed, that suggests something a little more complex, namely, the kind of union of two Beasts we learn about in Revelation 13; it goes beyond just a union of two territories.

East and West Rome had a uniform iron-only type of government and religion (of Caesar worship); it was the same metal empire split into two parts. But in the “feet” there is this mixed-up iron-clay government and religion (military demagoguery mixed with merchant materialism) situated in a dual geographic empire.

This duality (two systems of government and religion) of the final empire is seen again in the Revelation 13 portrayal of two separate Beasts working together (rather than one Beast split into two geographical areas).

In our modern era, it is the inclusion of the Earth-Beast’s (the False Prophet’s) materialism that brings in an extra enticement to worship the other Beast from the Sea (the Antichrist). This is more than another form of emperor worship, as existed in the past; but integrated right in with that, the name of the Antichrist also brings access to the world’s buying and selling activities.

Mammon and emperor worship fuse together – a powerful combination that will captivate much of the world in these Last Days of dominance by the forces of Darkness.

What a remarkable glimpse into the future were these revelations from so long ago! And how remarkable too that we can now finally see it taking shape in our present historical reality.

Both the vision of the “image” in Daniel 2 and of the two “beasts” in Revelation 13 reveal the uniqueness of our modern world compared to that of ancient times (which is why the Daniel 7 revelation pictures the final Beast as being “different from all the others” – 7:19). For the Beast is actually two Beasts, and they each operate in both territories.

In today’s world, geographic/political expansion is not the only way to conquer, so it is possible for this to happen. The two superpowers (“beasts”) needn’t confine themselves too much to geographic borders, in other words. The less visible boundaries of media and economic imperialism (what we might call “spiritual geography”) have helped create this unusual state of affairs in our modern world.

In this way, the Antichrist’s influence, via media technology, can spread throughout the Eurasian empire, as well as some of the rest of the world. Likewise, the False Prophet’s domain extends everywhere. We know this is possible, simply by observing how in our modern world financial power can be used to crush the economies of distant nations; or in how credit card companies have extended their operations into every corner of the world.

So this concept of “spiritual geography” has taken on a new twist. Unlike the ancient empires, the spiritual geography of each modern empire – by means of modern technology – spreads far beyond the boundaries of their physical conquest. (More on this in Post 10: Role of Technology)

And even more unusual, their “spiritual geographies” mix; they merge together to create this peculiar “religion” that is an offshoot of (what this study has proposed) a partnership between European and Asian powers.

The land masses themselves, of course, cannot blend together. And the physical geography is therefore symbolized by the two separate feet of the “image”. But in the “spiritual geography” dimension, they do mix. And this unusual feature is expressed in various ways as,

1) “iron mixed with miry clay” in the feet of the Daniel 2 vision
2) the Sea and Earth Beasts working together in Revelation 13
3) “the beast [from the sea]. . . is himself also the eighth [the Beast from the Earth] in Revelation 17:11.” (See Appendix 4: Eighth Head.)

Mammon-worship combines with emperor-worship, and together they get a powerful grip on the world’s allegiance. Or, in modern terms, the world’s two main secular “religions” combine – Materialism (“mark of the beast” cashless society) and secular Demagoguery (Antichrist’s military rule). In ancient times, this might have been called the union of the gods of war and wealth, Mars and Mammon; today, we might call it the union of Militarism and Materialism.

In the following more technical explanation of how all this works, we can look again at the diagram of empires (first encountered in Post 2 about “Spiritual and Physical Geography”).7 World Empires - Copy - Copy copy copy

In the above picture the Daniel 2 Image section of it is linked with the Beasts of Daniel 7. The feet portion of the Image links with the Fourth Beast of Daniel 7, which symbolizes both the ancient Roman empire and the final empire.

About 50 years after the vision of the “image” in Daniel 2, Daniel received another vision: the same progression of empires, but symbolized in a different form – as “beasts from the sea.” (“Daniel 7” in the above illustration)

“And four great beasts came up from the sea. . . Those great beasts. . . are four kings, which shall arise.” (Daniel 7:3,17)

In these two chapters of Daniel 2 and 7, the Lord is portraying the same thing from different viewpoints. Thus, in the above diagram the metallic kingdoms in the Daniel 2 “image” are shown corresponding with the different beasts of Daniel 7.

Of peculiar interest is the “dreadful fourth beast”. (Daniel 7:7) It corresponds to the “fourth kingdom” of the Daniel 2 “image” (the portion of it that includes both the “iron legs” and “iron and clay feet”). This Beast (with its ten horns and embellished description) represents more than just ancient Rome. Like a double-image exposure in photography, it includes the End Time empire. (For more information on how there can be such a long historical gap between ancient Rome and the modern day, see Footnote.)

And this resembles how the “fourth kingdom” of the “image” in Daniel 2 was portrayed. Although the legs clearly symbolize ancient Rome, it is in the “feet” region of the “fourth kingdom” that the Stone comes to crush the “image” and establish God’s Kingdom on Earth.

Yet there is a certain amount of continuity: the iron in the legs continues on into the feet. Likewise, the “dreadful” features of the “fourth beast”, found in ancient Rome, will also manifest, in an even more catastrophic way, in the final empire. (See Appendix 2: How Iron Continues in Today’s World.)

Even though both legs and feet of the image are called the “fourth kingdom”, this tail end of the “fourth kingdom” could have been called the “fifth kingdom”. That is, we can safely assume that the “feet” portion of the legs actually represents another empire, coming after the Roman empire.

This is that final era when the “iron” nature of government inherited long ago from Rome mixes with another substance – the “miry clay”. . . coming just before that climactic moment in history when the Stone hits the feet and ushers in the Millennial reign of Christ on Earth.

There are other clues pointing to the fact that this “fourth beast” in Daniel 7 includes the End of the Age empire. Perhaps the most obvious is the presence of the “ten horns”; they re-appear in Revelation 12, 13, and 17 where it is clear that the setting is the End of the Age period of history. (See “Ten Horns Coming into View?” post.)

At this point (Daniel’s time) in the ongoing revelation of the future, the distinction between the ancient and modern empires was rather vague and did not get clarified until about six centuries later.

When John the Apostle received his revelations, he saw a vision of two Beasts who were to arise at the Time of the End: a 10-horned “beast from the sea”, who is a sort of reproduction of the same 10-horned Beast in Daniel 7 (except it has 7 heads), and a new and very different two-horned “beast from the earth”. (Revelation 13:1,11)

Since the materials cum body parts in the image of Daniel 2 correspond to the various beasts in Daniel 7, then those materials/ body parts might also correspond with the beasts mentioned in Revelation 13 and 17. Thus, we could add the following entries to the above chart, zooming in to more precisely match the “iron and clay feet” with their corresponding “beasts” (of Revelation 13):

The “iron” in the “feet” matches with the 7-headed, 10-horned sea-Beast of Revelation 13:1-10.

The “clay” in the “feet” matches with the dragon-like earth-Beast of Revelation 13:11-18.

So what all this means is that within the “fourth beast/kingdom”, besides the iron-only empire of Rome, there are two more empires, coming at the End of the Age, to be accounted for; they are the simultaneous empires of the Antichrist and False Prophet. In Daniel 2 and 7 they are viewed as one “fourth kingdom/fourth beast”, and the full reality and distinctions don’t emerge until later – in the 13th and 17th chapter of the Revelation Book.

As we’ve learned, the feet by themselves symbolize the apparent geographical division (Europe/Asia) while the iron and clay mixture symbolizes the less tangible spiritual geography of the two empires. Because of the subtle intertwining of money, power, and media influence in the modern world, the geographical boundaries do not limit these more intangible domains from spreading into different regions of the world and, most importantly, from mixing together to form a new religion – symbolized in Daniel’s ancient vision as “iron mixed with miry clay”. (2:41,43-KJV)

The Revelation 13 passage also portrays the modern reality – but from a different angle: describing the activities of two different Beasts and how they work closely together to forge a single empire. This situation is coming about largely because the “clay-earth” power has grown stronger through the centuries – to the point where it has achieved supremacy in the modern world and become a Beast in its own right, as portrayed in Revelation 13:11-18. (See Appendix 3: Background History, Clay-Earth Bloc.)

And as the commercial forces have had to worm their way into the world’s courts of power to survive, so the military-political systems, in order to stay afloat, have been forced to compromise and cooperate with the powers of big business.  The symbolism of iron-clay reflects nicely the present historical landscape, with its mix of economic and military-political forces.

And this will be reflected in the religious realm also: there will be this mixing of Emperor worship and Mammon worship. In the economic-political domain, it appears the mixing has already happened on the micro level. Rome’s “iron” style of government exists in every nation, while the “clay” style of commercial rule by the ultra-rich “merchants” has also expanded throughout the world. And the two exist side by side now in almost every country.

And on the macro level we are starting to see it nowadays in the growing cooperation between Russia and China.

To summarize, the image has two types of materials: the various metals, and then finally the clay material. This symbolic representation shows that two styles of government have existed in the world – the military-political (metal), which has dominated for a long time, and the business-commercial (clay), a late bloomer, coming to full power only in recent history (in the feet of the Daniel 2 image).

(Incidentally, to understand why this study has chosen the militarism-materialism power blocs, instead of dictatorship-democracy or other models, to represent the iron-clay symbolism, a review of the Appendix in Post 4: “Economic Superpower: the New Beast” is helpful.

So isn’t it intriguing how the ancient revelations in the Daniel and Revelation Books had grasped these peculiar features of modern history so long before they would come to pass and become a reality that we are only now beginning to comprehend?

First, it was Daniel’s vision – such a clever, yet simple way for the Lord to illustrate the panorama of history, including the complex economic-political and religious situation of our modern times (“iron mixed with miry clay” in the “feet” – Daniel 2:41,43, KJV). Then later on, John the Apostle saw something similar from a different angle – two “beasts” from the “earth” and “sea” working closely together; and finally, he was given the angel’s explanation about a two-beasts-in-one arrangement: “The beast. . . is himself also the eighth and is of the seven”. (Revelation 13, 17:11) (See Appendix 4: Eighth Head.)

We might call it a double duality. If the interpretations in this study are correct, we can say that

1) just as there are two legs (representing Europe and Asia), so there are
2) two parts to the warlike Sea-Beast (European Russia and Siberia) and
3) two parts to the commercial Earth-Beast (EU and China)

A peculiar “double duality”: two territories occupied by two Beasts, each of whom resides in both territories. That picture may be over-simplified (or over-complicated), but hopefully, it gives at least the general outline.

Isn’t it remarkable that the historical reality, that seems to be taking shape nowadays, merely reflects the Biblical symbolism: the “double duality” features of the two iron-and-clay feet in the Daniel 2 image and the two Beasts of Revelation 13?

Some Food for Thought:
        This portrayal in Revelation 13 of the “beast from the sea” and the “beast from the earth” echoes a previous vision in chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation. It describes the “red horse” and “black horse” who are symbolic of spiritual forces – the powers of war and greed, Militarism and Materialism – that were to be unleashed upon the Earth in these last days at the opening of the “scroll [of the future]. . . sealed with seven seals”. (Revelation 5:1)
        For centuries since the Revelation Book was written, these forces did not seem to manifest themselves in any greater measure than before – that is, not until recently when technology has begun to cause their destructive power to multiply enormously. (Revelation 6:3-6, 5:1-2) (It appears that the restraining forces against “the mystery of lawlessness” are being removed in our modern day, as mentioned in 2Thessalonins 2:7.)
        The Revelation 13 chapter seems to portray these same spiritual forces from a more down-to-earth viewpoint, describing the actual military and economic strongholds from which these Horses/Beasts carry out their destructive influence in the earthly realm. And going even further with this, Daniel 2 also appears to symbolize, from another perspective, these spiritual forces of Militarism and Materialism – as “iron and clay”.
        So, that’s an interesting pattern in the Bible’s tapestry that the Lord seems to have woven into the Daniel and Revelation Books.

Continue to 9: “The Kingdom Shall Be Divided” 

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APPENDIX:

One may wonder, how can these visions in Daniel 2 and 7 be interpreted to include such a long historical gap between ancient times and the modern day? See Post 5 and Post 6 in the series When Is the Coming of Christ and the End of the Age? And here is a quote from Post 3A in the series Ancient Mideast Turmoil Telescopes into Modern Times:

        Like a rudder, this “prince of the covenant” phrase [in Daniel 11:22] redirects  the flow of the prophetic message. Or, we could say, like a marker or signpost it shows us where we are and where we’re headed. And so at this point the prophecy telescopes from the ancient Seleucid kingdom into the modern era (or near future).  This is not as unusual as one might think; this peculiar sort of catapulting from an ancient historical era to the modern era pops up in all the other revelations Daniel had about the distant future.
        For example, in the “70 weeks” prophecy there is a shift from ancient Roman times (in verse 26) straight into modern times (verse 27). There are similar shifts elsewhere: in chapter 2 about the vision of the “image”, the iron legs of Rome shift to the iron-clay feet of the End Time kingdom; in chapter 7, the “fourth beast” is symbolic of both ancient Rome and the modern Antichrist kingdom; in chapter 8  the revelation about the ancient Greek kingdom’s rise to power switches suddenly into the End Time; there the clue was the phrase “in the latter time of their kingdom”. (8:23)
        All these predictions in the Book of Daniel assume the existence of the Israeli nation. They were given to a Jewish prophet who was anticipating the coming of the Messiah and seeking God about the fate of his nation, which at the time looked rather bleak. So naturally, these predictions about the Second Coming are linked to the history and fate of the nation of Israel. But for almost 2,000 years there was no Israel (and no Second Coming either). So of course, there has to be a “jump” – from the ancient time to the distant future, a day when Israel would be restored as a nation (and a time when Earth is desperately in need of God’s intervention).
       
[RETURN]

Continue to 9: “The Kingdom Shall Be Divided”

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