[Note: It is commonly believed that there are no current nation-states or cultural and ethnic groupings that would represent the descendants of the ancient Commonwealth of Israel, with the exception of the current nation-state of Israel. Consequently, it this assumption—in part—that leads expositors to conclude that the four great beasts of Daniel’s vision symbolically represent the four successive empires that anciently dominated the region of Palestine.]
[Note: The kingdom of Judah was a vassal kingdom of Assyria, and we see some evidence of this in the fact that King Ahaz of Judah bought off the Assyrian advance by attempting to instigate the overthrow of Syria. Noting also that King Ahaz went to meet with Tiglath-pileser III after the fall of Damascus (II Kgs. 16:7-10).]
[Note: With the reign of the vassal King Nabonassar we have the beginning of an astronomical era in regard to Babylonian chronology (Nabonassar Era), which was adopted at some time by Hipparchus, by Berosus and by Ptolemy.]
[Note: Ptolemy is known for his Canon of Kings (sometimes called, Ptolemy’s Canon), which was a record of astronomical observations placed in conjunction with the reigns of kings who ruled from the time of Nabonassar to the reign of Alexander the Great.]
[Note: The first of a series of tablets collectively called the Babylonian Chronicle, composed and compiled in the Achaemenid period, records events beginning with the reign of Nabonassar. The Greek astronomer Claudius Ptolemy started an era with the first year of Nabonassar’s reign (Nabonassar Era), calculated to New Year’s Day in the Egyptian calendar (c. 747 BC, Julian calendar). The chronological reckoning began with Nabonassar because it was the earliest reign that included an astronomical observation known to the Babylonians.]
[Note: It cannot be chronologically confirmed that Nabonassar is the Baladan mentioned in II Kings 20:12, noting that Merodach-Baladan, the son of Baladan, was the Babylonian ruler who sent ambassadors to King Hezekiah of Judah.]
[Note: Nebuchadnezzar II was married to a Median princess for whom it is said he built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and it is thought that by this marriage the king of Babylon had gained an alliance with the Medes.]
[Note: Achaemenes is considered to be the ancestor of Cyrus the Great, and it was Cyrus who established the Achaemenid Empire that conquered Babylon proper in c. 539 BCE.]
[Note: Scripture does not support the conclusion that there were to be ten revivals of the Classical Roman Empire.
However, Scripture does indicate that there will be ten rulers initially associated with the fourth kingdom of Daniel’s vision, noting also that there will be another ruler who comes to power among the ten rulers because Daniel said: “I was considering the horns [that is all ten], and there was another horn [numbering to 11], a little one, coming up among them [that is among the 10], before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots” (Dan. 7:8).]
[Note: The belief in ten successive Romanized governments was founded on the assumption that Daniel’s “great beasts” represented the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, and this conclusion was then interpreted in the context of the day-for-a-year principle in determining the duration of some prophecies found in Scripture. An example of which may be observed in the works of Uriah Smith who composed a two-volume work in the 1800s, which was republished in the 1940s entitled: The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation.] [Author’s emphasis throughout.]
[Note: It can be historically confirmed that the Eastern Roman Empire was the successor to the Western Roman Empire after 476 BCE. Therefore the Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths were not revivals of the Classical Roman Empire. They were, however, part of the destructive waves that brought an end to Rome’s rule and influence in the region, noting also that in The History of the Byzantine Empire, Mother of Nations, by Enno Franzious, 1967, p. 55, we read that: “Odovacar slew Orestes… deposed little Romulus [Romulus Augustulus, the last supposed emperor of Rome], and sent him to live with relatives (476). They elected Odovacar king…. He remitted the imperial baubles of Romulus to the Eastern Emperor Zeno, whose suzerainty he acknowledged, requesting for himself recognition as Patrician in Italy.”]
[Note: Historically the Roman Empire continued uninterrupted with the Byzantine Empire, which was absolutely Roman, and Constantinople was indeed the seat of the Roman Empire before the fall of Western Rome (generally Italy). The political and economic move eastward by Constantine I assured the survival of the Roman Empire for several more centuries, and the Eastern Roman Emperor was the successor of the Classical Roman Empire, with Theodosius I being the last Roman Emperor to rule over an undivided empire. A conclusion that finds support in the landmark work: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon.]
[Note: Napoleon’s empire did not represent a revival of the Classical Roman Empire, but Napoleon did bring and an end to the Holy Roman Empire when he annexed the territory that became the Confederation of the Rhine.]
[Note: The Holy Roman Empire was not a revival of the Classical Roman Empire.]
[Note: It was the last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Francis II, who dissolved the empire as a result of political pressure from the French. Consequently, Napoleon was not a successor to the Holy Roman Empire.]
[Note: We can define some interesting typological patterns—in some measure—respective to the “kings” associated with the visions given to Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel and the Apostle John. Noting that the early emperors of the Roman Empire appear to reflect some characteristics in regard to these visions. For we see that Jesus was a contemporary of the Roman Emperor Octavian, called Augustus, who by some accounts had himself proclaimed “god,” and it was Octavian who was the initiator of Pax Romana—the Roman Peace. His rule began after the Second Triumvirate, and after the death of Julius Caesar.
Therefore we have five successive emperors starting with Octavian (first emperor of the Classical Roman Empire), who was followed by Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius I and then Nero, and with the assisted suicide of Nero, we have the end of the Julio-Claudian Line. Then came an Interregnum after the five rulers of the Julio-Claudian Line, and in this short period of time we have three rival emperors—Galba, Otho, and Vitellius—each struggling to gain complete control of the empire while Vespasian and Titus were in the Middle East bringing a siege against Jerusalem.
However, none of these three rival emperors were able to gain complete control of the Roman Empire, and it was Vespasian’s forces who overthrew the last of these three rival emperors, and with Vespasian’s reign we have the beginning of the Flavian Line.
Then Titus, the son of Vespasian, became the tenth emperor of the Roman Empire, but his rule was short-lived, and so his brother Domitian assumed the throne as the eleventh emperor of Rome. It was Domitian who adopted the title: Dominus et Deus, “master and god,” and was made Censor for life, and according to some historians he was a persecutor of Christians.]
[Note: It could be accurately said that Rome did stamp the residue of the Commonwealth of Israel when Titus overthrew the city of Jerusalem.]
[Note: In regard to the first emperors of the Classical Roman Empire we can still find older encyclopedias that list the emperors in succession by two different lists—a short list and a long list—with the short list consisting of the five Julio-Claudian emperors, followed by the reigns of Vespasian, Titus and Domitian.]
[Note: Daniel’s vision of four “great beasts” gives us an interesting political configuration by revealing four political entities that appear to be composed of perhaps seven politically or territorially autonomous provinces, regions or nations, and among these entities we can account for groupings of rulers respective to these kingdoms.]
[Note: It may be considered that the future work of the Commonwealth of Israel will include diplomatic arbitration, for: “In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance” (Isa. 19:23-25).]
[Note: The relevant political nature of the coming kingdom of God sometimes receives little attention in the teachings of the various and numerous denominations that exist within Christianity.]
[Note: An alternative interpretation of Daniel’s vision concludes that the “little horn” represents a “religious leader,” and this conclusion is based on a comparison of the symbolic “little horn” with the symbolic “beast” in the Apostle John’s vision, noting that the beast in John’s vision came: “up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon” (Rev. 13:11).]
However, it should be considered that the context of Daniel’s vision leans to this individual being a political leader, and we should also consider that some world leaders have, and sometimes do, comingle political ideologies with religious ideologies to form a cohesive language that motivates peoples and nations to act on their behalf. Also some leaders acquire a sense of reverence in times of economic crisis and political upheaval, and so it would not be out of line for some future leaders to express a language that invokes an ancient political heritage—the culture of Greece and the glory of Rome. Which means that there is no reason to conclude that the “little horn” of Daniel’s vision should represent a religious leader—however such a leader may be defined—especially at a time when four distinct kingdoms have come to political influence in the world. And by the nature of the political agenda of these four kingdoms we can discern that this coming shift in world power will be in conflict with the promise given to Abraham.]
[Note: Jesus emphasized that an increasing political and spiritual deception, along with wars and rumors of wars, disease and famine, would move nations to become more politically and militarily aggressive before he would return (Mt. 24:4-8). Allowing us to consider then that the “beginning of sorrows” will certainly continue to impact the chronic issues of territorial disputes (land and sea), over population, distribution of natural resources, disparity in levels of education, food and water supplies, and the disproportionate accumulation of wealth among the nations and its peoples. Such problems place incalculably difficult issues before such organizations as the United Nations, the European Union, the World Trade Organization and those nation-states that customarily act as arbiters in world affairs, arbiters such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Russia.]
[Note: “The first ‘Arab Policy Paper’ provides Beijing’s official vision for China-Middle East relations,” (Website: The Diplomat, “Revealed: China’s Blueprint for Building Middle East Relations”).]
[Note: Nations such as China, India and Russia are playing increasingly greater roles as arbiters in world affairs, and it would not be unlikely to see Iran and Turkey—among others—emerge as future arbiters in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.]
[Note: “Developments in the Middle East over the past five years—the Arab Spring and its failure; the rise of the self-proclaimed Islamic State; civil wars in Syria and Yemen and state failure in Libya; the nuclear agreement with Iran; and the rupture with Turkey—have opened new opportunities but also created a number of challenges for Moscow’s foreign policy. The Kremlin has responded with a much more active approach to the region than since before the end of the Cold War” (Website: Carnegie Moscow Center, “Russia in the Middle East: Moscow’s Objectives, Priorities and Policy Drivers,” by Dimitri Trenin).]
[Note: The significance of the role of political “arbiter” cannot be overestimated because it can reflect the political status of any given nation, just as it can also be a barometer that indicates a change in a nation’s world influence as more nations acquire a nuclear capacity.]
[Note: The “saints” noted in Daniel’s prophecy refer to the broader application of the term that would direct us to the descendants—all twelve tribes—of the Commonwealth of Israel, but not to the exclusion of the church of God or the children of God.]
[Note: The “church” is not the kingdom of God on earth, and it is not ascribed to the church of God to overturn world governments, which means that the administration of God’s judgment upon the nations is given only to Jesus.]
[Note: “It is often said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union. This is only partially true. In fact, the Alliance’s creation was part of a broader effort to serve three purposes: deterring Soviet expansionism, forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent, and encouraging European political integration” (Website: North Atlantic Treaty Organization, “A Short History of NATO“).]
[Note: Current Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): Albania (2009), Belgium (1949), Bulgaria (2004), Canada (1949), Croatia (2009), Czech Republic (1999), Denmark (1949), Estonia (2004), France (1949), Germany (1955), Greece (1952), Hungary (1999), Iceland (1949), Italy (1949), Latvia (2004), Lithuania (2004), Luxembourg (1949), Netherlands (1949), Norway (1949), Poland (1999), Portugal (1949), Romania (2004), Slovakia (2004), Slovenia (2004), Spain (1982), Turkey (1952), United Kingdom (1949), United States (1949).]
[Note: The Russians see NATO’s enlargement as a credible threat to Russian national security, while the NATO countries see their actions as a natural defensive posture in response to Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine. Notably, NATO’s eastward advance into Eastern Europe is indeed an expression of the organizations concerns with the East as Russia’s growing military presence is perceived as a possible threat to the European Union.
Thus, the concept of “rumors of wars,” as addressed by Jesus, becomes a proverb for the nations.
Also, it could be said that NATO’s eastward expansion has created an East/West militarily strategic line that creates a north/south political divide between the European Union and European Russia.]
[Note: “Enlargement is the process whereby countries join the EU. Since it was founded in 1957, the EU has grown from 6 member countries to 28,” (Website: Europa, European Union Newsroom, “EU Enlargement—State of Play,”).]
[Note: “The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945. It is currently made up of 193 Member States. The mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.
Due to the powers vested in its Charter and its unique international character, the United Nations can take action on the issues confronting humanity in the 21st century, such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, gender equality, governance, food production, and more.
The UN also provides a forum for its members to express their views in the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and other bodies and committees. By enabling dialogue between its members, and by hosting negotiations, the Organization has become a mechanism for governments to find areas of agreement and solve problems together” (Website: United Nations, About the UN, “Overview“).]
[Note: “In the century between Waterloo (1815) and the outbreak of World War I (1914) no more than 2.5 million soldiers had fallen in battle. Civilian populations were for the most part untouched by war. Then 100 million lost their lives in two eruptions of violence spanning three decades from 1914 to 1945. Between September 1939 and August 1945, more than 50 million people were killed in war, and the toll of maimed and wounded was beyond conjecture. Great areas of Europe were devastated, and two ravaged cities in Japan gave augury of a new age in destructive power. When World War II ended with the American atomic explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it seemed that traditional statecraft had been discredited beyond recall. The hour called not for piecemeal diplomacy but for a new and grand design” (The New Diplomacy, International Affairs in the Modern Age, “The New International Era, The Curtain Goes Up,” by Abba Eban, Random House, 1983, p. 3).
[Note: “The American policy that has come closest to the generally accepted definition of a vital interest has been toward its allies in the Atlantic area. Although the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was usually justified in Wilsonian terms as an instrument of collective security and not as an alliance, it in fact represented the institution that most nearly harmonized America’s moral and geopolitical objectives (see chapter 16). Since its purpose was to prevent Soviet domination of Europe, it served the geopolitical purpose of keeping the power centers of Europe and Asia from falling under the rule of a hostile country, whatever the justification given on its behalf” (Diplomacy, “The New World Order Reconsidered,” by Henry Kissinger, Simon & Schuster, 1994, pp. 818-819). (andrewburdettewrites.com) (Continued in part three of this series.)
Books & Blogs
—The J Curve, A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall, by Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group, Simon & Schuster, 2006.
—Why Geography Matters, Three Challenges Facing America, Climate Change, The Rise of China, and Global Terrorism, by Harm de Blij, Oxford University Press, 2005.
–Website: Center for Strategic and International Studies, “The Politics of Food Security and the World Trade Organization,” by Islam A. Siddiqui. Ambassador Islam A. Siddiqui is senior adviser with the Global Food Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.)]