In Daniel's vision, the bronze hip represents the Greek Empire. The swift four-headed panther points to the sequel. After Alexander's sudden death in Babylon, his empire was divided among four generals.
The Greeks are traditionally referred to as the cradle of Western philosophy. Famous individuals such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle left the legacies of their philosophical structures and methods. One of their forerunners, Protagoras, set the tone by claiming in the 5th century BC that man is the measure of all things. This, of course, was not entirely new. Already back in the garden of Eden man had taken himself as the standard. What was new is the strongly rational approach. The rational man places himself at the center, to grasp everything, eventually trying to acquire divine insight. This method of rationality, in which everything is absorbed in one's own perspective, has been the common thread throughout the Western world ever since.
This Greek type of rationality has distorted the interpretation of the Bible in several ways (see below). A great many centuries later, during the modernity of the 17th century, this Greek way of thinking received a new impulse. An important proponent was René Descartes, who by the way was educated at a Jesuit school. He has set the paradigm for the modern and postmodern western world in many respects https://historiek.net/rene-descartes-filosoof-moderne-wijsbegeerte/67820/.
The human mind, employed to gain absolute certainty and control, became the judge of all truth.
The divine status of the human mind has put strain on the relationship between God and humans. The Creator of heaven and earth does not always think and acts in line with our own questions, ideas, and agendas.
Independent thinking is a good thing, but it has certain limits. The Bible paints a two-sided picture on this topic. On the one hand, people are encouraged to use their own minds. There is plenty of room to ask, to doubt, to test. In the great commandment of love, we are urged to love with our full mind. But a deification of human ingenuity turns out to be a cause of much misery. During the French Revolution, rationality was elevated like a god in the Notre Dame, during the Feast of Reason. That is a gross overestimation. If you elevate your own insights to be the highest standard, it will lead to a dead end. The Bible book of Proverbs therefore contains this famous advice:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7).
The elevated status of human philosophy would push the need of God's revelation to the sidelines. Are we really dependent on God revealing himself? Can’t we figure it all out ourselves? Our reason seems to be self-sufficient. This same assumption already thrived back in the first century AD. Paul says to his Greek listeners in the city of Corinth:
“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
Apparently human wisdom, on its own, doesn't get you that far in knowing God.
The dominant role of human traditions and ideas, even if they are incompatible with the biblical record, would later permeate deeply into church history. In Rome, human traditions and ideas were – and are – considered to be more important than the testimony of the Creator of heaven and earth, as recorded in the collected work of God, the Bible. Even in our days, man considers himself to be the measure of all things.
Our mind is a beautiful instrument. God highly appreciates when people think for themselves. The question therefore is this: Can you fully appreciate the human mind while avoiding that it becomes the measure of all things? This question is answered in the book Dat had je niet gedacht. On this website under the tab ‘book’ you can find a short impression of the books content. The table of contents gives an impression of the content and structure of the book. In Part III, Chapter 3, the activity of the mind is explained. This is done on the basis of a simple mathematical model, of which 'the dialogical principle' (…=…) is the core. The book explains what it means to love with your mind and how this gives the golden mean between relativism and absolute certainty. Currently the book is available in Dutch only.
Perhaps the most profound consequence of Greek rationality is the emergence of dualism. This term denotes the separation of the spiritual world (the world of ideas and the soul) from material and tangible reality. They are two separate worlds (duo = two). Over time, a great deal of variation has arisen within Western philosophy, but the dualistic trend is a common thread. Why is it important to know about that? Because it has clouded our view of world history. An absolute separation of spirit and matter muddles our understanding of the following subjects.
The eternal human spirit, according to Greek philosophy, has entered a temporal body. Our body dies, but the spirit (or soul) continues to exist forever. That sounds familiar to many Christians. Unfortunately. The idea that we have an immortal soul from within ourselves is not at all consistent with the Bible. In fact, it is precisely in line with of the oldest lie (“…you shall certainly not die”, Genesis 3). God alone is immortal (I Timothy 6:16), no one else. We only live as long as God sustains us.
The idea that man naturally possesses an immortal soul has greatly distorted the Biblical teaching about hell. The idea that wicked people will be tormented forever in an unending fire has been promulgated for centuries with an appeal to the Bible. The tacit assumption is that humans exist forever since their souls are by definition eternal. The only question then is where you will spend eternity: in beautiful heaven or in terrible hell.
The specter of a perpetual punishment fostered a culture of fear during the Middle Ages. With this threat in hand, Rome gained boundless power over its people, who could only be saved through the sacraments of the Roman institution. The power to excommunicate literally frightened the hell out of people. The trade of indulgences, which by the way exists up till this day, has made them invaluably rich.
Anyone who knows his Bible should know better. The bleak view of hell, as a never-ending source of pain and sorrow, casts a sinister shadow over God's character, as it reflects throughout the whole Bible. God is certainly righteous and there will be a final and terrible judgment for those who reject Him. But He is not sadistic (see e.g. Exodus 34 : 5-9). If you want to investigate what the Bible teaches about hell and 2nd death, go to [a new beginning & the final judgement].
The separation of body and soul has resulted in a disdain for the ‘earthly life' at the expense of a focus on 'the hereafter'. The temporal, material world passes quickly, while the soul continues to exist. In addition, the realm of the soul and ideas seems pure, while the material world can stink, decay, and break down. This has led to the idea that the Christian faith revolves around the certainty that you will get to heaven. But God is the Creator of heaven and earth. It is no use to despise that earth, His beautiful and wondrous creation. Yes, the earth is subject to a curse, but even then, it is still fantastically beautiful. In the future, God is going to make a completely renewed version. Our future does not lie in a solely abstract sphere of ideas, but Gods people will stand with both feet on the ground [a renewed earth].
Dualism promotes a rift between morality and reality. In this sphere you can keep yourself busy for a long time with an imagined future (ideas), a future in which you want to do everything differently. However, morality in the Bible is not about what you are planning to do tomorrow, but about what you do today. According to the Bible there is no separation between what you think and what you do. These are intrinsically linked, always. It's not what you imagine doing that matters, but where you actually are, who you're looking at, how much money you spend on your products, what your agenda looks like and what's in your latest chat message. From these facts you can directly read what’s in your heart.
For God it is important what you do, and what you really think. Outward religion is worth nothing to Him. Undivided commitment, which shows in what you think, feel and do, is a sign of true love:
“Hear, O Israel; the LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
How does love for God manifest?
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
Loving God implies that what you think (your forehead) and what you do (your hand) agree with His ways and character. Not tomorrow, but today. Note that this sign of Gods law on the hand and forehead will have its counterfeit in the last days of history [see: the last conflict]. Who or what determines what you think and do?
As with the Babylonians and the Persians (and the Egyptians, who borrowed it from Babylon), mystery religions have played a major role in the Greek way of life. They copied it from the Persian Empire, though they changed some names. Gary Kah quotes prominent Freemason Albert Pike on this point.
“The present name of the Order, and its titles, and the names of the Degrees now in use, were not then known….But, by whatever name it was known in this or the other country, Masonry existed as it now exists, the same in spirit and heart….before even the first colonies emigrated into Southern India, Persia, Egypt, from the cradle of the human race (Ancient Babylon).” (Gary Kah, En Route to Global Occupation, pg. 95).
Later, the Greeks would pass it on to the Romans. But with the tremendous rise of the early church in the first centuries AD, these kinds of societies went underground.
“Within a few generations there were so many Christians in this region [the Mediterranean] that the high priests of the Mysteries of Greece, Rome, and Egypt began to lose their control. The teachings of Christ went head-to-head against the pantheistic beliefs and occult practices of the priests, exposing them for what they were.” (id. pg. 98-99).
In short, there are unbroken, historic lines from ancient Babylon, through Persia, Egypt, Greece, and later Rome all the way into the 21st century. In these groups the dubious legacy and vision from the time of ancient Babylon is kept alive. It is a source of inspiration for many organizations and world leaders, even today. There’s nothing new under the sun. To get a bit more insight in these things, try out this lecture from Dr. Walter Veith's Total Onslaught series:
Who really runs the world? | The secret behind secret societies.
And/or watch this episode from Truth matters: Are secret societies real and influencing global events today? Truth Matters Podcast.
Once there was a Greek ruler who went down in history as the greatest enemy of the Jewish people: Antiochus Epiphanes IV. In the course of church history this Greek Hitler has been referred to as the 'anti-Christian power' described in the Bible book of Daniel. To a certain degree this is understandable. However, itis not quite right.
The idea that Daniel's prophecy deals with the Greek dictator Antiochus Epiphanes IV originated in the Jesuit order (16th century). In theology this theory is called Preterism. According to Preterism, prophecy about an antichrist power refers to historical events. It's long gone. This idea has become particularly popular in liberal theology. Daniel couldn't really have predicted a future antichrist power, could he? According to the principles of liberal theology, foretelling the future is not rational. For this reason, liberal theologians date the prophecy in the Greek era.
But if you read the prophecy carefully, you can see for yourself that this wicked ruler, the power that would eventually persecute the saints, cannot possibly be an ancient Greek ruler. The little horn-power does not arise from the third (Greek) Empire, but from the fourth (Roman) Empire. Nor can it possibly be an individual, as the horn rises from the historical Roman era and will last until the end of time. Thirdly, the New Testament, hundreds of years later, still speaks of an ant-Christ power who is and will be active. Find out who this new antichrist power really is in [1260 years of V-dominance].