There are remarkable connections between the prophecies of Daniel and the last book of the Bible (Revelation). These show a demonstrable, historical link between the successive world powers. But more than that, it points to a continuity of religious practices and ideas, as passed down over time. In [Ancient Babel mingles among the nations] you get a first glance. In this section of the timeline, we follow the trail of the world powers who have profoundly influenced world history with their spiritual legacy. To see the connections here, let's look at the prophecy in three steps.
1. The Dream of the Statue (Daniel 2).
2. The vision of the four beasts (Daniel 7).
3. The beast out of the sea (Revelation 13).
This is an illustration of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream (described in Daniel 2). In the background is a picture of ancient Babylon. This ancient mega-city is the starting point of the prophecy. In the statue itself this realm is represented with the golden head. Below that are other materials: the breast of silver, the hip of bronze and the legs of iron. The feet are made of an incoherent combination of iron and clay. In a spiritual sense, history will not be an upward movement, but more like a downward spiral.
So, the gold denotes the Babylonian Empire, which was still in full glory in the days of Daniel. Then follows the empire of the Medes and Persians. Daniel has partly experienced that period himself. The Bible gives specific names for this period. After that, it's all metaphors as in Daniel’s time (6th century BC) it was not yet known by name who would become the next powers. Now that we are further in history, we can fill in the details. The bronze of the hip indicates the Greek Empire. This will be confirmed in the second vision about the four animals. Finally, there is the strong Roman Empire, consisting of two legs, which breaks down into incoherent components (iron and clay).
What is particularly striking is that the statue, although made out of different materials, is once piece. The historical empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome have come and gone. You can go on a trip to see the archaeological remains. Yet Daniel's prophecy implies that they still exist in our day. The statue remains intact in its entirety until the very end. Only then is it razed to the ground at once, not by human hands, but by God himself. In the visual you see a (burning) stone falling on the right. Concerning this stone, the Bible says:
“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. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:34-35).
Only at the end does God remove the statue and establish His eternal kingdom.
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).
The idea here is that the spiritual legacy of the old empires continues through world history until the consummation and then it will be dealt with in one go. That makes it very interesting to consider.
The prophecy states that one day these old-world powers will have to make way for the everlasting kingdom of peace of the Messiah. The Babel project will collapse. The earth will first be desolate for a certain period [a desolate earth]. But after the final judgement everything will be renewed. On the [renewed earth] the Kingdom of Peace will become an everlasting reality.
Daniel receives a second vision with more information about the succeeding kingdoms. This vision refers to four remarkable creatures. Each one is linked to a certain type of material of the statue. The fact that there are only four animals makes it clear that the statue’s feet of iron and clay do not form an independent fifth kingdom. Those feet are the incoherent remnants of the Roman Empire. From the remnants of that fourth realm a new roman ruler will arise. It is presented as a 'horn' (traditionally a symbol of strength] that slowly but surely grows into the undisputed world leader at the end of times.
The story continues. Daniel's prophecy was given in the 6th century BC. Six hundred years later, the last book of the Bible would be written: Revelation. In that final book, a new prophetic beast appears on the scene. It is a beast that rises from the sea. If you look closely, you will see that there is something remarkable about this beast. It's a conglomerate of all four empires put together.
The beast from the sea contains the characteristics of the earlier realms, but also has the characteristics of the new 'horn' that arises out of the roman realm. Daniel explains that this horn will reign for a period of 3.5 prophetic years (which equals 1260 years, [1260 years – the Middle Ages]), and will boast against God and will persecute the saints. Exactly the same characteristics are attributed to the beast out of the sea. In short, in this terrifying beast all four realms come together, and the sequel story of the growing horn is told.
“The beast from the sea is the horn growing out of the Roman Empire, which contains the spiritual heritage of all the previous empires”.
Interestingly, new information is provided here on top of what Daniel has said about the horn. The beast receives a mortal wound. But the wound heals and then the whole world will follow it in wonder. Also, there is another great power (the beast from the earth) which will be instrumental in this development [see: a global pact]. The beast from the sea will demand recognition and worship through economic sanctions and this will become a matter of life and death.
Also, interesting to see is that the beast out of the sea is described in Revelation with two other metaphors: as the city of Babylon and as a harlot. Those are not characteristics to be proud of. The city of Babylon is the antitype of Jerusalem, the place where God dwells. The harlot is an antitype of the bride of Christ and symbolizes religious deception and idolatry. In other words, the superpower spoken of not only strives for political power, but also clearly has a religious and economical character. These intermingle to the point that the desired religion can be enforced through political and legal means. State-power and religion become one. Who or what is this prophecy referring to? Go to [1260 years of V-dominance] and [V-Power back on the world stage] to find out.
Babel represents religion outside the Creator. The main Babylonian ideas and practices that have set the tone are:
Do you want to dive deeper into the spiritual legacy of Babel?
God gives people more space than we would consider justified, especially in the case of evil doings. This is not out of indifference, but because He is working on a voluntary covenant of love. You can't force love. God's plan therefore contains the dynamics of love [see: the risk of love]. Freedom is so extremely important for the Creator that He even was willing to die to take the consequences our choices.
But there have been moments in history, such as preceding [the catastrophe of the global flood] of Noah, and at [the migration of all nations], that God draws a line. Towards the end of history this will happen once more. At the close of world history, it will be like the days of Noah, Jesus said (Matthew 24:37). People go their own way, plant, buy and built, until suddenly it's over due to a divine intervention. Paul adds to this:
“For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them…” (I Thessalonians 5:3).
The old Babylonian project will collapse. Find out more about the climax of history in [a global pact] and [the climax of an ancient conflict].
Even in our time, the tower of human boasting, money, political muscles, artificial intelligence, self-brewed spirituality, and ingenious technology, will not be finished. The Babylonian project, which by now is more than four thousand years old, will soon end abruptly. The Prince of Peace appears. He will rule out all self-righteous people, small and great, with a rod of iron. The statue of Babylon will be razed to the ground on [the great Day]. All lies and deceit will be exposed. What a prospect. That’s absolutely great news for everyone who is looking forward to God's true kingdom of peace!