The Grand Theme of Prophecy

In Genesis 3:15 we read of the great conflict of the ages initiated by God in the beginning. This is the seed of the serpent versus the seed of the woman. Whilst the seed of the woman was ultimately fulfilled in Christ, by extension it is also a term which applies to those who are “in Christ” (Gal 3:6-9,26; Heb 11:1-6,13; 1 John 1:1; 5:4). The seed of the serpent was fulfilled in faithless individuals who challenge God’s Word and who deny its truth (Gen 3:4; Luke 3:7; John 7:7; Rom 8:7). Throughout history the seed of the serpent has been the overwhelming major­ity. For the seed of the woman it has been a struggle for survival. When Cain murdered Abel he demon­strated the enmity between the two seeds (Gen 4:6-8;1 John 3:12-13). Serpent enmity has also been represented by many systems of rule through the ages. These are described as the Kingdom of Men (Dan 4:17,25,32; 5:21). In Genesis 10:8-10 and 11:1-6 the seed of the serpent is organised into a political system based on the thinking of the flesh.

Abraham, however, was called out of Babylon (Gen 12:1; Heb 11:8-16). The events of Genesis 12 are in direct contrast to the events of Genesis 10-11. Two religious centres had now emerged, Babel (Babylon) and Jerusalem (Zion). These were at enmity with each other. True worship was introduced in Genesis 14 when Melchizedec, king and priest of Salem (Jerusalem), brings bread and wine and blesses Abram. Here in the Promised Land is revealed the city of God, upon which Abraham’s hopes were centred. It was Jerusalem (Moriah) where Abraham took his beloved son, Isaac, for an offer­ing. Interestingly, the northern invasion described in Genesis 14 is a type of the future Russian invasion of Israel, the military power of latter-day Babylon.

The world is not content with God’s city. It strives for a city based on human strength and achievement. This is expressed in the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity at the tower of Babel (Gen 11:4-6). These are foundation principles of the Kingdom of Men. It is a spirit motivated by flesh – rebellion and revolution. It is demoniacal (Luke 8:30; James 3:15­ 16; Rev 16:13-14). Entire nations today are on the brink of collapse due to civil war, bankruptcy and revolution. Much of this uprising is caused by greed and corruption in high places. This has now spread to nations in the Middle East. So from this early time in Genesis there were two rival cities, Babylon and Zion. This conflict continues through Scripture, ending with the violent but scintillating climax in Revelation 16-19. Christ and the Saints will bring the final judgment on Babylon the Great in its mili­tary and religious forms. The end result will be the elevation of Zion, geographically (Isa 2; 35; 60-66; Zech 12-14) and spiritually (Rev 21).

Nebuchadnezzar’s Image: Daniel 2

This all comes to a climax in Daniel’s prophecy. The conflict is described as the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Men. The visions of Daniel 2 and 7 are presented like ‘brackets’ to this section, origi­nally written in Chaldean (Dan 2:4–7:28). Daniel 2 is the Kingdom of Men from man’s perspective – a metallic image, awesome in appearance. Daniel 7 is from God’s perspective – wild beasts. In Daniel 2 and 7 the seed of the serpent is organised into a political and religious system which is at enmity with the seed of the woman. The destruction of the image is described as “the chaff of the sum­mer threshingfloors,” using the symbology of other Scriptures describing Armageddon, a heap of sheaves in a valley for judgment (Mic 4:11-13; Joel 3:12-14; Rev 14:14-16; 16:16). The great saviour of the world is Christ, the stone power, “cut out of the mountain without hands” (Dan 2:45).

The vision of Daniel 2 is well known to us. However, careful read­ing reveals a number of important points of interpretation. The im­age not only provides an outline of world history, but what will exist “in the latter days” (2:28). The image exists as a whole when Christ returns. The four metals are broken in pieces “to­gether” (2:35). In some way there will be a combination of the four empires when Christ comes. This is consistent with Ezekiel 38 where Gog’s confederacy also comprises similar general territory.

The stone strikes the feet of the image which contains iron and clay, so the Roman iron continues through to the end and is the strongest element (2:34,41). The clay is an external element, “the seed of men” (2:43), in contrast to “the king’s seed”, that which is of kings (1:3; 9:1). The clay represents, in the first instance, barbarian hordes that invaded the Empire in the AD 400s, which were eventually absorbed into the Empire. This formed the basis for European society today – partly Catholic, partly democratic. For example, Germany’s ruling politi­cal party today is named the Christian Democrats.

The iron is also in the toes (2:41), the independ­ent European nations since the fall of the empire in AD 476. This is exactly what transpired histori­cally. Whilst the west fell to barbarian hordes, the Eastern Empire of Byzantium continued until the fall of Constantinople (the ‘Second Rome’) in 1453:

“Constantine eventually moved his throne east­ward to his lavish new capital, Constantinople. A sub-emperor remained in Rome for another century or so, but by now the power was shift­ing. It was the Christian church and its Roman bishop, the Pope, that would come to dominate the Western world. And as the Roman Empire sank into ashes, Jesus’ church would preserve a great deal of the splendid legacy of Rome – the language, law, literature, architecture, and engineering – for the rest of history” (National Geographic, July 1997).

The Roman iron also continued in the east through the Orthodox Church, its military headquarters in Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire. After the eventual fall of this capital to the Turks in 1453, Moscow inherited the mantle of the ‘Third Rome’. The marriage of Czar Ivan III to the niece of the Byzantine emperor was the first step on the way of Russia’s accession to the Byzantine heritage:

“As, when Rome fell, the Catholic Church survived, and ultimately found itself a new empire of the West, so, when Constantinople fell, the Orthodox Church continued its life, and found for itself a new empire of the East – the empire of Russia … and henceforth the Russian emperors became, in theory and very largely in fact, the successors of the old East Roman emperors, the heads of the Orthodox Church” (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

“Russia acquired not only its religion from Byzantium, but also its coat of arms: the double-headed eagle, which became a symbol of continuity” (National Interest Magazine, 27 June 2016).

The latter-day Roman Empire, therefore, includes the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches with their associated military might. This empire will incorporate latter-day descendants of Babylon, Greece and Persia. We should, therefore, look for a developing alliance between these nations, the Russian military power and the churches.

Gog’s Confederacy: Ezekiel 38

This chapter is also well known to us, so just a few im­portant points of interpretation will suffice. Many ar­ticles have consid­ered this chapter in detail from a his­torical perspective. Importantly, Ezekiel 38 is entirely con­sistent with Daniel 2 and 7. For exam­ple, a key part of Gog’s confederacy is Persia, known today as Iran. Persia historically takes in part of the ancient Babylonian empire. Also in the confederacy is Libya and Ethiopia (which includes modern day Sudan). These are both specifically men­tioned in Daniel 11:43 as being with the King of the North. Gomer is identified with the ancient Gauls of France. Togarmah identifies with Turkey, the terri­tory of the Eastern Roman Empire. A key description of Gog is that he is a “guard” or “protector” of these countries (38:7).

The term “Gog of the land of Magog” should simply be interpreted that Gog comes from the an­cient Scythian territory, which was between the River Danube and the River Don. There is extensive historical evidence to prove this. Magog stretched right across this region north of the Black Sea and includes parts of Russia and Central Europe. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches are dominant across this region. Gog is also described as coming from his “place” in “the north parts” (38:15). Moscow is directly north of Jerusalem. Historically Russia has been a persecutor of the Jews. This is one of the reasons for her judgment (Joel 3:2). Jeremiah emphasises that Jews return to Israel from the “land of the north” (Jer 3:12,18; 23:8; 31:8). A significant fulfilment of this was when over one million Jews returned to Israel from Russia and the former Soviet states in the 1990s.

Gog is “Prince of Rosh” (38:2,3; 39:1), which is translated as a proper noun in many versions, including the NKJV, NASB, RV and Rotherham. Even if not taken as a proper noun, the word is very significant, as it means “head”. The first time the word is used in the singular is in Genesis 3:15, translated as “head” of the serpent. Ezekiel 38 describes Gog as the head of this confederacy, which Daniel and Revelation presents as the lat­ter-day manifesta­tion of the serpent power. As Sisera’s “head” (Rosh) was crushed by Jael in Judges 5:26, so too, Gog, the head of the serpent, will be destroyed by Christ and the Saints. Wounding the “head (Rosh) of the wicked” is used in Habakkuk 3:13,14 to describe these events.

The Fourth Beast and its Little Horn: Daniel 7

Daniel 7 is very helpful in explaining what is stated only briefly in Daniel 2. The fourth beast is destroyed when Christ comes (7:9-11). There is no fifth beast. This confirms that there are only four kingdoms in the image dream. It also confirms that the Roman Empire is the prominent military power in the earth when Christ comes. We can therefore expect a wider re-establishment of the Roman Empire across East and West just prior to Armageddon. The legs, feet and toes are therefore all part of the fourth kingdom. The ten horns represent nations arising out of a fractured Roman Empire (Dan 7:24). This is exactly what transpired historically. The horns are European nations, a further development of the fourth empire.

Then, another little horn (7:8) arose after the ten horns and among them. This is very specific. It describes, exactly, Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire which arose in Central Europe in AD 800. The little horn is the most prominent feature of the fourth beast. The eyes and mouth represent the Papacy. The blasphemy of this little horn is emphasised repeatedly (7:8,11,20,25). It was a political, military and religious power. It is also in existence at the time the Kingdom is set up (7:21-22). It will be the saints who take away the little horn’s dominion (7:26-27).

We see today a re-uniting of European nations and the rising prominence of the Pope. We can expect to see a continued strengthening alliance between the papacy and European political leaders. Also expect a continued centralising of power as in the days of Charlemagne.

The fourth Beast also has “nails of brass” (7:19). Brass in the image dream represents Greece (as it does in Daniel 4:15). This emphasises the Greek culture of the Roman Empire. This is why it is often described as the Greco-Roman Empire. The Eastern Orthodox Church today retains the religion and culture of Byzantium. It is most likely that Russia will occupy Greece sometime in the near future and that Greece will be a prominent part of the latter-day confed­eracy. Further details about Greece in the latter days are in Zechariah 9. Greece shares the same history, culture and religion as Russia and has already sought financial help from Russia due to its recent financial problems. The Greek Orthodox Church dreams of the day Russia conquers Constantinople on her behalf, the city it lost in 1453.

The Little Horn of the East: Daniel 8

Daniel 8 emphasises the influence Rome has on the Jews and the eastern part of the empire. Daniel 8 reveals the transfer of power from the second to the third empires, using new symbols of a goat and a ram. Following the pattern of Daniel 2 and 7, we would expect Daniel 8 to detail events in the fourth empire. That’s exactly what we do find. The Roman Empire is described as a “little horn” arising out of one portion of the Greek empire that becomes “exceeding great”. Details are then given about the destruction of the Jewish state and city of Jerusalem in AD 70 and also the “casting down of the truth to the ground” (Dan 8:9-12). Further details are given in Daniel 8:23-25, using the language of Deuteronomy 28:47-50 to describe Rome’s conquests. Daniel 8:25 says, “he shall cause craft to prosper,” meaning deceit or fraud. This language is used by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10. As the latter-day Roman military power, Russia will “by peace destroy many,” accomplished through clever intrigue and religious fraud. Consistent with Daniel 2 and 7, Rome is destroyed by Christ (“the Prince of Princes”) at the end.

The King of the North: Daniel 11

Daniel 11 follows a similar structure. Medo-Persia and Greece are specifically mentioned in Daniel 11:2, followed by an extremely detailed prophecy from 11:5-30 about the northern and southern portions of the Greek kingdom. Following the earlier pattern, we expect Daniel 11 to progress into the Roman Empire and its final destruction at Christ’s return. That’s exactly what we find in Daniel 11:36-45. Similar language to Daniel 8 is used about the pride and arrogance of Rome and its subse­quent change of religion to Roman Catholicism in AD 312.

Depicted in the lan­guage of Daniel 11:36-39, is a precise description of the Eastern Emperors giv­ing honour to the Pope, ‘a foreign god’, in Rome. This is a system that continues until the end, when God’s indignation against Israel is accomplished (11:36). Similar language is used in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 to describe the Papacy arising out of corrupt first century Christianity. Consistent with Daniel, Paul sees this system being destroyed by Christ at his second coming (2 Thess 1:8; 2:8).

Daniel 11:40-45 tells of a latter-day re-emergence of the King of the North. Russia assumes this title when it takes control of the territory of the ancient Seleucid Empire across Syria, Iraq and Iran. She will then re­establish the military capital of the empire by taking Constantinople, prior to moving into Egypt. At that point, the King of the North and Little Horn of the Goat become one and the same power. The fourth beast will, at this time, “stamp the residue” of the other three empires with its brass clawed feet (Dan 7:19). Recent events make that scenario entirely realistic. Russia be­gan a military incursion into Syria in September, 2015.

Judgment on Great Babylon: Revelation 16-19

Revelation 12-13 describes the Roman Empire through its various phases in history, using the language of Daniel 7. In Revelation 16:13 the Roman Church begins her recovery before Armageddon. The papacy is described as the false prophet, as she is in Revelation 19:20. Chapter 16 is dramatic in its succinctness and simplicity. The dragon and the beast reappear before Armageddon, despite their earlier disappearance. The dragon is the Eastern Empire, with military head­quarters in Constantinople. The previous reference to this is in Revelation 13:4. “The Beast” is the Beast of the Earth – the Holy Roman Empire of Revelation 13:11-18; 16:1-10.

Also identified in Revelation 16 are the revolutions that bring about these events. This is particularly inter­esting. The final sign in Revelation 16 prior to Christ’s return is that a revolutionary frog-like spirit gathers the nations. Just like the plague of frogs in Exodus 8:5-15, the promise of freedom ends up being a delusion. This is exactly our world and the Middle East today.

A clear pattern also emerges relating to the serpent headquarters in Constantinople. The Roman military power was established there during the sixth seal in AD 312-325 (Rev 6:12-17). It was removed by Ottoman Turks during the sixth trumpet in AD 1453 (9:13-21). It will return to Constantinople when Russia oc­cupies Turkey prior to Armageddon in the sixth vial (16:12-16).

In Revelation 17 we witness the final phase of the European Beast, a United European super-state. Individual nations give up their sovereignty, handing it over to a centralised system of power and control. Control of this empire ultimately resides with the Papacy, the harlot woman who sits as a queen, drunk with the blood of the Saints. These prophecies will have their final fulfilment after Christ’s conquest of Jerusalem at Armageddon (Rev 16:16-21). We witness today an acceleration towards the final drama. This chapter uses all the language of Daniel 7 with extra details. After centuries of struggle to regain her power in Europe, it is ironic that she finally achieves this goal after Armageddon.

Christ and the Saints are victorious in Jerusalem and prepare to establish the Kingdom in the aftermath of Israel’s defeat and subsequent salvation. The tragic irony of this is that the Catholic Church believes this to be her finest hour. Just like Belshazzar’s drunken party in the face of imminent destruction, so too will European nations have confidence to make war with the Lamb (Rev 17:14; Psa 2). Revelation 19:11-21 provides an explanation of this final confrontation. The incredible reality for us is that we will meet brothers and sisters at the judgment seat who were put to death by Rome’s persecutions. These people clung to the words of the prophets, longing for the day when Zion’s King would be victorious and the saints take the kingdom. This should also be our whole desire and one which we hold onto dearly.