SHAPE OF THE FUTURE (9)

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

9. “THE KINGDOM SHALL BE DIVIDED

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. . . If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?” (Luke 11:17-18)

These Words of Jesus can apply to what Daniel noticed about the “iron and clay”“You saw iron mixed with the miry clay.” (Daniel 2:41,43a – RSV). Then he turns right around and says the opposite: “They will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.” (verse 43b)

So how can we understand this paradox? For starters, we may observe how the ruling societies of modern times have become partnerships between business community and military establishment – a type of government system that in ancient times had not come into full bloom.

Having this kind of economic-political infrastructure in place in every nation will make it easier for the Antichrist and False Prophet empires to unite and impose their new regime on the world. “Whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men.” (Daniel 2:43 – KJV) As they unite, these two political empires, one of “iron” and one of “clay”, become one empire that will dominate the world politically, economically, and religiously.

Their unity may be temporary however; the verse goes on to say, “they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.”  What this could mean is difficult to speculate on at the moment. But here is one possible interpretation: Because they occupy different domains of power, this helps to broaden their reach in the world (“mingle themselves with the seed of men”). Yet at the same time it would be easy to imagine that the militarists and the merchants will have conflicting goals and will be pulling in different directions.

This pattern of conflict reveals itself in the broad scope of history also… as we trace the rise of the “clay-earth” power bloc from ancient times to the modern day. In the pre-Roman era, the commercial empire of Phoenecia had become quite strong and independent. But unlike her modern counterpart, she did not succeed in truly mixing with the metal powers of her day, especially Babylon and Greece. As a result Phoenecia had to remain under subjection to those (metal) Beast empires. (For more background information, see Appendix 3: “Background History, Clay-Earth Bloc”)

During the last 500 years, the commercial forces have grown exceedingly strong, however. Laissez-faire capitalism has replaced the long time traditional economics of mercantilism. There came a new independence to the domain of commercialism. Nowadays, the business and commercial interests have learned how to forge unbreakable ties with the “iron” forces of government and military.

But the collaboration is a matter of expediency. The Antichrist and the False Prophet promote contrasting forces – militarism and materialism (corresponding to “iron” and “clay”). The two “beasts” are supposed to be on the same team; they have a mutual interest in bringing on the collapse of the American empire so they can take over the world. It will be expedient then for these two power blocs to suppress their differences and unite. And this seems to be what’s happening nowadays in the growing partnership between Russia and China.

In addition, their cooperation brings the advantage of enabling them to “mingle with the seed of men”, to better engage with and rule over the people of the world. But there comes a disadvantage also: “they will not adhere to one another.” (Daniel 2:43)

As in most worldly kingdoms, trust is not the unifying factor; their “co-operation” depends on mutual interest and expediency and often has to be enforced through coercion, blackmail, deception, and war. Democratic countries will support military dictatorships (despite their ideological differences) in order to further their own interests. (This was common, for example, among Latin American dictatorships that were being exploited by American conglomerates. In more recent times the same thing is happening in America’s alliance with Saudi Arabia.) It’s a forced unity, a marriage of convenience. 

This tension or animosity exists, not just between countries, but inside countries – between military and civilian leaders, the generals and the businessmen, who would each like to control the other. This kind of situation did not exist in the empires of ancient times. Then, the seat of power rested, for the most part, firmly with the political-military establishment. And it was a uniform, strong, metallic type of rule.

But now in this End of the Age era, the power equations have changed. Although Rome was very “strong” in the “legs” (Daniel 2:40), her modern descendants have had to put up with the addition of this new element of “clay”. The history of the “fourth kingdom” has seen the republican dictatorship that characterized ancient Rome transformed into a new type of republican government where civilian and business leaders are calling the shots, and the military is kept under their thumb to a large extent.

The ascendancy to supremacy of these new power-brokers has reached its peak in the Great Harlot empire (America?), as expressed in the angel’s observation: “your merchants were the great men of the earth.” (Revelation 18:23)

Not only in America, but worldwide, the “clay-earth” bloc has infiltrated the “iron-sea” bloc. So in the final empire, instead of being overwhelmed by a powerful military force (as ancient Phoenecia was), the modern commercial empire can work in conjunction with it.

“The kingdom shall be divided.” (Daniel 2:41) That is, the “fourth kingdom” of “iron”, as it moved on into modern times, has become “divided”; the political-military forces of the “iron kingdom” share power with the “clay kingdom” and its power of wealth and commercial activity.

”And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly broken.” (2:42-KJV)  The “fourth kingdom” of “iron” is still “partly strong.” (“Yet the strength of the iron shall be in it” – 2:41.) But because of the presence of the “clay”, the “fourth kingdom” is also “partly broken” (2:42). (See Footnote: Close Look at Daniel 2:42 for more information.)

In its subtle way, this “clay-earth” element is bringing the world into submission – through its wealth and commercial control. Although not a strong military power, it is capable of enforcing its rule – by instigating the other “iron-sea” element to fight wars advantageous to its interests. Yet “there shall be in it of the strength of the iron” – a not-so-subtle military strength that can pound a nation, or the world, into submission.

The “iron” forces are not entirely subservient to the forces of “clay”. As the passages in Revelation 17-18 outline, the “iron” Beast and his ten horns will turn the tables on the oppressive commercial power of our day: “these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.” (17:16)

So hopefully, this explains the paradoxical situation of why God pictured the “iron and clay” regimes as both “mixed” and “divided”. The two regimes abandon their rivalry and cooperate, just as the Antichrist and False Prophet beasts are seen to be cooperating in the Revelation 13 passage.

The world has been prepared already for this kind of forced partnership. Each country contains in itself the iron and clay government infrastructure; the military and the “merchants” exist in every country in uneasy partnership. And between countries, we can see this taking shape nowadays in the growing partnership of Russia and China. (See news excerpts in Footnote 3 of Post 5.)

In addition, some noteworthy developments have taken place between the European Union and Russia. Not long ago (2010-12) the two power blocs were talking in optimistic terms of cooperating, sharing resources, and trying to solve the world’s problems. (See news articles in Footnote 1 at the end of Post 5.) They looked like they were about to “mix”.

But then came the turmoil in Ukraine, and with no small amount of provocation from the U.S., their differences suddenly erupted. So at the moment they do not “adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.” Whatever the future may bring, it would not be surprising if the present clash of interests were to give way to a pragmatic rapprochement again between the EU (or some EU nations) and Russia.

But for now we can see, in the wranglings and conflict between the EU and Russia, an example of the prophetic message in Daniel 2:43b: “They will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.” China and Russia also, although they are getting along quite well these days, have had their share of conflict in decades past. Perhaps eventually, some kind of divisive conflict will lead to a breakdown in the internal unity of the final empire. But that is a little far in the future and difficult to speculate on right now. 

Continue to 10: Role of Technology

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Appendix: Close look at Daniel 2:42

“And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken” (KJV).

In the days of ancient Rome, the army was the dominating power in government, and so, in the Image vision Rome was given the symbolism of “iron” – a metal empire, similar to previous empires whose power base lay in their superior military capacities. The “clay” empire, whose power base lies in the economic, commercial realm, was thriving then as well – the trading empire of Phoenecia. But Phoenecia had to succumb to the military powers of her day and never became ruler over Israel (as did the other “metal”, military-based empires).

But in the Modern Age, most of the world has fallen under the jurisdiction of the trading, commercial forces. This is why Revelation 18:23 states that the “merchants” of the Harlot empire had become the “great men of the earth”. And the Harlot’s military forces have been used by these rich power-brokers to further their own ends.

But the Harlot empire is on the way out. The coming new world order will feature just what it says here in Daniel 2:42. There will be the “iron” empire (in the form or the Russian Federation) and the “clay” empire (in the form of the Chinese People’s Republic, and maybe some European nations). So, “the kingdom shall be divided” (2:41) – divided between its warlike, military branch and its economic-administration branch. The major difference from the way the Harlot operated: the “iron” and “clay” operate in tandem on an equal basis; the economic branch (the “merchants”) will not be lording it over the military – which means that the military will become a lot more effective.

Now, regarding the phrase “partly broken”, this probably is referring to the “clay” component in the feet and toes of the Image This wording gets across the idea that the “clay” component is not the warlike branch of the final empire. In ancient times any nation that did not take a warlike stance in the world would have been considered weak – “broken” (also translated as “brittle, fragile”). Although China is working hard to build up her military, her primary focus and activities will remain probably in the economic administration and development of the Eurasian land mass (and beyond). As explained in Post 4: Economic Superpower – the New Beast, “clay” symbolizes economic power. In this sense, China is very strong, but in the arena of war activities, it is her ally Russia who will take the lead. 

Because of the cooperation between “iron and clay”, the final empire will come as a “complete package” – conquest of territory, followed by efficient administration. This will enable the final empire to rule much of the world, to “mingle with the seed of men;” but what it means by the phrase “they will not adhere to one another” is difficult to tell right now. (2:43) Maybe it just means they stay as separate empires, or maybe at some point the two empires will not see eye to eye anymore, and there could be conflict of some kind. But on these points, for now, we can only speculate.

[RETURN]

Continue to 10: Role of Technology

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