Saturday, July 05, 2008

Thirteen Kings?

Daniel had an amazing vision of a dreadful beast.

After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns (Daniel 7:7).
The angel explained to Daniel the nature of this beast.
He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it (Dan 7:23).
This beast represents a future empire that will be totally different from everything that has gone before. It will trample and crush most of the world.

The key to identifying this empire is the ten kings or governments that gave power to the terrible beast.
While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully (Daniel 7:8).
To understand this verse we must ask and important question. How many kings? I always assumed there were just ten kings in action, but a close examination shows that this is not correct. The book of Revelation gives an important clue.
The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast (Rev 17:12-13).
Two things are important. The ten kings or governments only hold power for a short time. They willingly gave their authority to the terrible beast.

Now look at what Daniel said.
The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings (Dan 7:24).
Daniel also noticed three kings. They are subdued by the emerging empire. This means that they were not part of the ten. The ten willingly handed over authority to the emerging empire. The three kings were unwilling and had to be subdued. The ten kings are on the head of the beast, because they share its nature. The three kings are not on the head of the beast because they opposed it.
Ten willing kings plus three unwilling kings means a total of 13 kings or governments.

The key to identifying the beast is to find a place where thirteen governments come into existence for a brief time. They surrender there authority to a single government, because they think it will be good. The new government is situated in a small territory in the middle of them. The new government begins with very limited powers but its power grows rapidly unit has total control over all thirteen governments. Three of these kings try to secede but a crushed and forced to remain.

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