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
APPENDIX 3: Background History, Clay-Earth Bloc
An unusual feature about the “clay-earth” power dynamic is the fact that it works closely with the other “iron-sea” power dynamic. They are not totally separate empires, but on some level they do cooperate: “you saw iron mixed with the miry clay.” (Daniel 2:41,43 – RSV) To understand what it is about the separate empires that enables them to “mix”, it might help to trace the development of the “clay-earth” power through history.
Starting back in ancient Egypt, we find the patriarch Joseph who had become the wise man and prophet for the Pharaoh. Besides playing the role of prophet, Joseph also became chief administrator with full command over ancient Egypt’s economy: during the seven years of plenty, Joseph collected a great stockpile of wealth (Egypt’s grain). Then, during the seven years of famine, he was able to control and monitor the distribution of it. And this brought him (and Pharaoh) enormous power – of a benevolent sort – in the land of Egypt. (Genesis 41)
Joseph, of course, was a true prophet, but in some ways the role he played in ancient Egypt – as both wise man and economic administrator – resembled the role that the False Prophet will play on behalf of the Antichrist during the End of the Age era. The Earth-Beast empire will operate in a behind-the-scenes fashion, more hidden than the ostentatious military-political empires of history; but it will be powerful, just as Joseph was.
Like Joseph, the False Prophet will control and monitor the distribution of wealth during the upcoming years of scarcity. It will come as the result probably of China’s efforts to bring the Eurasian continent into economic union through its Belt and Road Initiative; it may also require the trigger of some kind of international emergency (war, economic crash, food shortage, who knows?). Through their wealth distribution system of the “mark” and “number”, the False Prophet and Antichrist will accrue to themselves enormous power. But unlike Joseph and Pharaoh, they do it for the wrong cause.
Like Joseph, the False Prophet cannot carry out his plan without the patronage and authority of his “Pharaoh”, the Antichrist. The Mark-Number buying and selling system manifests this: even though the whole thing is engineered by the False Prophet, he is still obliged to promote his new system under the name of the other Beast, the Antichrist. (Revelation 13:16-17)
In turn, the Antichrist will find himself in dire need of the False Prophet; he provides brains, money, administration, and spiritual expertise – vital factors needed in order for his political rise in the world to succeed.
Going on with our history of the “clay-earth” bloc, in the ancient Mediterranean and Mid East world, merchants did carry out much trade with other Mediterranean nations, and even with Britain, the Far East, and India. Nevertheless, the merchant class, and their power in government, was limited and scattered compared to the power of the emperors and their military juggernauts. It was usual for empires to be held together by strong military-political administrations (metal-type empires).
The economic system in those days was a version of mercantilism: ◊ Trading ventures were carried on under the watchful eye of the government. Nowadays, the tables have turned. Big business does what it wants, while government policies and programs are carried on under its watchful eye.
◊ Mercantilism versus Laissez-faire Economics:
Mercantilist economics dominated the European world of the 1500’s to the late 1700’s. In this system a nation’s government strictly regulated economic affairs to enrich its treasury, especially by ensuring that exports exceeded imports. The system was based very much on the gold standard.
In the 1770’s a man named Adam Smith started promoting his laissez-faire economic theory. This philosophy brought forward the idea of an open competitive market free of government interference. If workers could pursue their private economic interest in relative freedom, then (in theory) they would be more productive, and the overall economy would function more efficiently.
Basically, it was a “hands off” policy toward business. The principles promoted in this philosophy were a useful step of progress in an expanding world where more flexibility and free enterprise were needed to stimulate growth.
However, as often happens, the new policy was soon misused and played into the hands of the unscrupulous and greedy. Laissez-faire economics, without enough government intervention, soon became the ploy of the capitalist money-makers who, without any restraint on their activities, began to monopolize what had once come under government control; they grew fabulously wealthy while poverty and misery continued, even becoming worse than before in many societies.
Although most ancient empires (the “metal” ones in the “image” vision) reached supremacy under the leadership of a strong king and his armies, at least one empire was based more on its power of wealth. That was Phoenecia, which could be likened to a “clay” regime, the one who dominated commercial trading in the ancient Mediterranean world.
Although powerful, Phoenecia was not able to hold out against the attacks of the stronger metal-type powers of her day, Babylon and Greece; and she never conquered the land of Israel. And this historical reality is reflected in the “image” vision by the absence of any “clay”-type material in those parts of it that represent ancient times.
For most of their history, the Phoenecians were actually held under tribute and dominated by the Mediterranean empires that came and went. (Perhaps we could compare this to the situation in modern times with the eastern commercial hub of Hong Kong and its subservient relationship with Britain and China.) When Phoenecia finally did reach supremacy in the Mediterranean world, Israel was a fully independent and powerful nation under her kings, Solomon and David.
Although the Phoenecian empire grew quite strong, it never entered into the category of a “beast” empire – those who not only dominated the Mid East area but also conquered the nation of Israel. Not until we get to the final historical era of the “feet” does the “clay” power finally enter as a component of the “image”.
◊ “[The Phoenecians] were not a military, but essentially a seafaring and commercial people, and were successively conquered by the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, to whom, because of their great wealth, they fulfilled all their obligations by the payment of tribute.” (from The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company)
Although the Phoenecian empire never achieved supremacy in the ancient world, one feature that does stand out is the fact that it lasted much longer than the other ancient empires. This seems to reveal something about the enduring and powerful nature of Materialism. It truly is a force (or “religion”) that has persisted and, like the Phoenecian empire, outlasted many of the temporary versions of emperor worship that have come and gone throughout history.
So how will the “clay-earth” power achieve supremacy in the world? As this modern power grows in strength through its acquisition of wealth, becoming a “beast” in its own right, it will team up with the other “beast” from the sea – not as under tribute, as ancient Phoenecia was, but as a full-fledged partner in cooperation with it.
From the Book of Ezekiel, chapters 38-39, we learn that Russia will conquer Israel and the Mideast, and thus it would appear that she will be the fulfillment of the prophetic description of the Sea-Beast (in Revelation 13), whose conquests will echo what the other Beasts of Daniel 7 (or metal kingdoms in the Daniel 2 vision of the image) had done in ancient times. (See Ezekiel 38-39 posts.)
That means that the other Earth-Beast, as a close ally, becomes a co-ruler over that same area of the world. And thus “clay-earth” finally enters into the “image” and “beast” visions of empires that have conquered Israel – in the End of the Age era.
Although they have had great influence in the military-political governments of the past, not until the Modern Age have the “merchants”, or commercial powers, ever enjoyed such extensive dominance in the world. Revelation 17 symbolizes these commercial powers as “the great harlot”, or “great whore” (KJV), whom the seven-headed “beast” has had to carry throughout history.(17:3)
This Great Harlot is pictured as having a corrupting influence in the world: “with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” (Revelation 17:2) In the empires of man this corrupting influence of the Great Harlot always seemed to show up in their declining years before they were eventually defeated by a new up-and-coming Beast empire. (See Appendix 2 in Fall of the Great Harlot series.)
But in this modern age the second Beast, the one “from the earth,” will not operate in the same way as the Great Harlot, sitting on and oppressing the Sea-Beast. Instead, the new commercial regime of the False Prophet will accompany and support the Antichrist’s rise to power. The Earth-Beast will use his wealth and other resources to catapult the “first beast” into authority and will help him rule the world of the future.(Revelation 13:11,12,1)
The Great Harlot, on the other hand, will oppose the rise of the new world order under the two new up-and-coming “beasts”. As a result of this, she will suffer catastrophic destruction and defeat, as outlined in Revelation 17-18. (But that is another subject, covered in the series of posts in Fall of the Great Harlot.)
So far, our look at modern history has helped us to understand how the Earth-Beast can symbolize an economic system or empire. But Scripture also symbolizes this Beast as a specific person. (Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10) To pinpoint who this might be is pretty much impossible now. But a look into recent history can offer some helpful context.
Who then were the major false prophets of our modern day? Three that come to mind are Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Joseph Goebbels. So what were their “achievements”?
Marx came up with an economic system to re-distribute wealth to the poor, a seemingly good idea; but the catch? It was based on the belief that human society could evolve into a utopian system without there being any need for the working of a Higher Power. Darwin came up with the idea that human beings evolved from apes and ultimately from non-living matter, which has led to the belief that we are not God’s special creation but merely the end by-product of natural forces; despite much contradictory evidence, evolution theory has led humankind to accept science, instead of God, as the ultimate source for understanding reality. Geobbels was an ardent propagandist for Adolph Hitler, an antichrist-type figure from the 1930’s and 40’s; Goebbels’ adept use of the media caused the demonization of certain groups of people (Jews, Gypsies, dedicated Christians) and helped to catapult Hitler into leadership of the Third Reich.
How then have their ideas and methods filtered down into the present day? Today we see Chinese society based loosely on Marxist economic philosophy and atheism. European society (and much of the rest of the world) has long been under the spell of Darwinian philosophy. And compared to the days of Hitler, we have now a vast system of media communication that can transmit the persona of a charismatic leader into every household of the world – not just vocally (as in Hitler Germany) but visually as well, and in living color.
So what might these false prophets of the recent past tell us about the False Prophet of the future? Perhaps he will combine the various aspects mentioned above: promote a new utopia with a new means of wealth distribution; indoctrinate the masses with a pseudo-scientific system of thought that denies the authority of a Higher Power; through media manipulation and propaganda, exalt human society (without God) and idealize its new leader into the status of a demagogue who will seem to embody the aspirations and solutions the world is hoping for, while demonizing those who refuse to worship him.
So it seems the groundwork is already laid. All that remains is to activate in full force what now exists in the worldviews and technology of modern society.