Predicted World Changes up till God’s Kingdom
1. To what greatest change of all are our times leading?
“CHANGING TIMES”—those words describe what this generation has been passing through since that epoch-making year of 1914 C.E. As in the view piece of an old-fashioned kaleidoscope when it is turned, the patterns of things have changed. The changes have been to the liking—of how many of us? Not all of us are pleased. We find little pleasure in going contrary to our better inclinations so as to adjust to the unwanted changes. The time for the greatest change of all human experience is at hand! The time is a scheduled one, and fortunately the tremendous change taking place will be under control, for the lasting best interests of all lovers of stable good times.
2. To what forces, intent on change, is resistance still offered?
2 How can we be sure of this? Today we see mighty political forces that are gathering strength from year to year, bent on changing, as it were, the face of the world. They are convinced that the future of mankind rests within their hands. What we, the average people, would like to have does not concern these world-changing radical forces. A sizable number of people prefer the old way of doing things, of running things, with a large measure of personal choice allowed. Political forces that hold on to the long-practiced way of governing human affairs are still strong, and offer resistance, even though weakening resistance, to the growing forces that aim at uprooting and overturning the old styles of handling mankind’s interests.
3. How do the two big political groups treat each other?
3 Thus we have the two larger groups on the earthly scene today. The one group in favor of quick, roughshod revolutionary change is quite generally spoken of as the radical party. The other group, which keeps a strong tie with the past and its structures and forms, is quite fittingly called the conservative party. Oddly, we may find that government of a nation that was set up by a violent revolution becomes conservative after quite a length of time. It joins the ranks of the conservatives. It appears that a final showdown fight between the radicals and the conservatives is fast approaching. At present the two political groups are trying to get along with each other. Outwardly, they try to appear cordial to each other. But there are always reservations that are kept in their hearts when they make formal exchanges with each other. Fundamentally, at the bottom of things, they are different. They simply do not mix—no more so than tough iron mixes with a potter’s clay.—Daniel 2:43.
4. Before World War I what world situation was not expected?
4 This is a situation new to human history. It has especially taken form in our twentieth century. Before the world war of 1914-1918, the situation that obtains world wide today was certainly not expected, not predicted. Not even the politicians who consult clairvoyants and astrologers received any inkling of this back there before the first world war jarred their complacency. Human society so deeply divided politically as it is today, and has been since World War I, was not forevisioned indeed by shortsighted man. But are we aware that this political state of human affairs was prophetically illustrated more than 2,580 years ago, or about the year 605 before our Common Era?
5, 6. Back in 605 B.C.E. who could not foretell today’s situation?
5 That ancient date would take us back to the time when Babylon was the world power. In an expression of its world imperialism this Babylonian World Power had destroyed the world-renowned city of Jerusalem and its temple dedicated to the worship of the God of the Hebrews, Jehovah. So far in the distant past it would have been impossible for a clairvoyant, an astrologer or any other mere man to forecast the political state of affairs of our day.
6 That has to be admitted by us all!
7. Plotting the course of world government belongs to whom?
7 Well, then, what proof do we have that anybody in heaven or on earth forecast it? Almost unbelievable as it may seem, we do have such proof. It comes from the One who plotted the course of human government from Babylon’s day down till our day. The proof is there to show that the course of such world powers was plotted and that the course plotted for them down till now was followed in human history. All of this had to take into account changes in times and seasons for things of major importance, also the removal of one dynasty of world rulers in favor of a new set of world rulers, even of a different race. It took into account also the biggest change and transfer of world power that takes place in all human history, the change that is just ahead for this generation of mankind. Such an accurate plotting of the course of world government for mankind calls for someone superhuman, who knows from the beginning the grand finale. It calls for God, not the so-called “god of this system of things,” but the Almighty God, the All-wise God, man’s Creator.—2 Corinthians 4:4; Romans 11:33.
8, 9. (a) To whom was this outline of human history revealed? (b) What did he say in appreciation to his Source of information?
8 His plotting of the course or the outline of human history had to be revealed to someone on earth, for him to write it down and put it on record for all of us to consult. That someone was a young Hebrew named Daniel. If he had not been a worshiper of the Almighty, All-wise God, this revelation would never have been made to him. He got the import of the revelation made to him. That is why Daniel, in his book of prophecy, wrote down these words of grateful appreciation to the Divine Source of his information:
9 “Let the name of God become blessed from time indefinite even to time indefinite, for wisdom and mightiness—for they belong to him. And he is changing times and seasons, removing kings and setting up kings, giving wisdom to the wise ones and knowledge to those knowing discernment. He is revealing the deep things and the concealed things, knowing what is in the darkness; and with him the light does dwell. To you, O God of my forefathers, I am giving praise and commendation, because wisdom and mightiness you have given to me. And now you have made known to me what we requested of you, for you have made known to us the very matter of the king.”—Daniel 2:20-23.
10, 11. When told his dream, what did Nebuchadnezzar say of God?
10 When the prophet Daniel revealed to the forgetful ruler of Babylon the forgotten “matter of the king,” this highest politician of the time, Nebuchadnezzar, was honest enough to admit that only the Most High God could make such a revelation concerning the then dark and concealed future. In deep respect he said to Daniel:
11 “Truly the God of you men is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a Revealer of secrets, because you were able to reveal this secret.”—Daniel 2:47.
12. How do politicians of today differ from Nebuchadnezzar?
12 What political ruler today, after reading Daniel’s account of the revealed secret and then comparing this with the course of world government till now, would make such an acknowledgment concerning the God of Daniel and of his three Hebrew companions? In vain we look for such an honest, self-humbling political ruler who shows that he is letting the secret revealed to Daniel guide his own course of action. Therefore the worldwide change that is to be brought about shortly by the Divine Changer of times and seasons will come upon them all with crushing force.
13. To whom did Nebuchadnezzar appeal about his forgotten dream?
13 What was it that convinced the prophet Daniel as well as the leading politician of the day, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, that the One who could give such a preview of thousands of years of human history and thus be “declaring the end from the beginning” had to be God Almighty? (Isaiah 46:10, Authorized Version) It was the humanly impossible requirements that stood in the way of such a revelation. In the second year of his reign as the conqueror of Jerusalem with its temple of Jehovah’s worship, he had a dream. On awakening from sleep, he could not remember it. He was deeply agitated over the matter, because the forgotten dream seemed to convey a message of supreme importance to him. He put his astrologers and magic-practicing priests to an abnormal test by demanding that they should, not only interpret the dream, but, first of all, recall it to the king’s mind. Because they called such a demand wholly unreasonable, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to be put to death as being frauds in their prophetical profession. But that he was mentally unbalanced in making such a decision even the most prominent psychologist of today may agree.
14. How did Daniel get the needed lifesaving information?
14 The dire emergency now existing affected the prophet Daniel, because he was considered foremost among the wise men of Babylon. He asked the king’s bodyguard officer why he had come to kill him and his three Hebrew companions, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. On being informed, Daniel asked for just a day’s extension of the time of execution of Babylon’s wise men. He had confidence that nothing was impossible for his God, Jehovah. The combined prayers of Daniel and his three Hebrew companions did not prove to be directed to a false, mythical god. Both Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its world-important meaning were revealed to Daniel in a prophetic “night vision” sent by his God Jehovah. (Daniel 2:19) After blessing the Doer of humanly impossible things and giving credit to Him, Daniel asked Arioch the chief of King Nebuchadnezzar’s bodyguard to present him to the perplexed emperor of the Babylonian Empire.
15, 16. This forced a test of whom, and to whom did Daniel give credit?
15 The lives of Daniel and of his three Hebrew companions were at stake. If he did not recall to the emperor’s mind the forgotten dream and then, on this basis, give a satisfying explanation, they would have to be executed with all of Babylon’s wise men. This forced a test, not of a man, but of the real God of the universe, for Babylon’s astrologers and magic-practicing priests had already failed. In what Daniel now disclosed to the ruler of the Babylonian World Power, he became outstandingly a witness of Jehovah, one of Jehovah’s pre-Christian witnesses. (Isaiah 43:10-12; 44:8) As an excellent example for all modern-day witnesses of Jehovah, Daniel took no credit to himself for what he was now about to disclose to the world’s most prominent politician, but gave the glory to the real “God in the heavens” by saying:
16 “The secret that the king himself is asking, the wise men, the conjurers, the magic-practicing priests and the astrologers themselves are unable to show to the king. However, there exists a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what is to occur in the final part of the days. Your dream and the visions of your head upon your bed—this it is.”—Daniel 2:27, 28.
17. How did Jehovah magnify his power as “Revealer of secrets”?
17 If Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had been a mere idle, meaningless dream such as occurs to anybody, it would never have been recorded in Jehovah’s Word, the Bible. It was a purposeful dream sent by the Divine “Revealer of secrets,” but it would be meaningless if it could not be explained. And yet, the God Almighty of the heavens blotted out all memory of the dream in Nebuchadnezzar’s mind. Was not Jehovah defeating his purpose in doing this, in making the king’s memory a blank? Not at all. Rather, he was laying the basis for magnifying his own superhuman power. He was posing a problem that only a god, only the true God, could solve.
18. How was the king forced into proving that God is?
18 By his way of handling the matter of such world importance, Jehovah made it necessary for the testimony of divine power to be given to the earthly “king of kings” of that ancient day. The king was driven to use his absolute authority and ask for the recall of the dream and its interpretation. He asked for it, and he had to take it when it was miraculously given to him. Whether Nebuchadnezzar liked it or not, he got what he demanded. Thus, at the start of unopposed rulership by the Babylonian World Power, this topmost politician had proved to him that there is a God, that God is!—Daniel 2:1, 28.
THE DREAM OF WORLD-POWER CHANGES
19. What will Jehovah show politicians about claims to the earth?
19 There is an old saying: “Man proposes, but God disposes.” This is true with regard to world affairs. The Creator of heaven and earth is really concerned about world affairs upon our earth. He has an interest in what goes on here, because the earth on which we live is His, not the rightful domain of world communism or of capital-owning democracy. That His interests in the earth come foremost and will finally be claimed and cared for, Jehovah illustrated in the dream his prophet Daniel re-revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in the heyday of its power, when it was inclined to claim all the earth as subject to conquest by it. With the greatest of attention, the king listened to God’s Word and took it seriously, as Jehovah’s prophet Daniel went on to say:
20. What was the dream that Daniel recalled to the king?
20 “You, O king, happened to be beholding, and, look! a certain immense image. That image, which was large and the brightness of which was extraordinary, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was dreadful. As regards that image, its head was of good gold, its breasts and its arms were of silver, its belly and its thighs were of copper, its legs were of iron, its feet were partly of iron and partly of molded clay. You kept on looking until a stone was cut out not by hands, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and of molded clay and crushed them. At that time the iron, the molded clay, the copper, the silver and the gold were, all together, crushed and became like the chaff from the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away so that no trace at all was found of them. And as for the stone that struck the image, it became a large mountain and filled the whole earth.”—Daniel 2:31-35.
21. How did God thus show he knew “the end” from the “beginning”?
21 We can imagine how startled King Nebuchadnezzar was at this inspired description. It fitted exactly the dream as he had seen it! This large image that was of such dazzling brightness was one that inspired fear, dread, and was terrible for its impressiveness. How could he ever have forgotten it? But he did! If the dream of it were never recalled, the message that it was designed to convey would be forever lost. Being sent, evidently by divine power, to him who was then the world’s “king of kings,” it must have some timely message of worldwide consequence. Only God could have reproduced in a vision by night to Daniel what had completely vanished from Nebuchadnezzar’s mind. But could the same God explain the meaning of the forgotten dream? Surely the God who framed and sent the dream ought to know what he meant by it. He could tell what the humanlike image meant, from head to toe. By giving a complete dream, which revealed how the meaningful image was disposed of, he demonstrated that He knew and was “declaring the end from the beginning.” So ‘carry on,’ O Daniel!
22. Why are we more interested in the dream than the king was?
22 Merely disclosing the prophetic dream was not enough. The explaining of it as well was what would cause Daniel and all the other wise men of Babylon to be spared from death. Daniel had an explanation of the dream image, but would his interpretation satisfy King Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan ruler who had destroyed Jehovah’s temple at Jerusalem, as being right? Is it an interpretation that satisfies us today, as being not only reasonable and logical but also in harmony with all the rest of God’s revealed Word, the inspired Bible? We today, who are evidently living at the time of “the end” of the dream’s fulfillment ought to be more interested than Nebuchadnezzar, who was living at the time of the “beginning” of the dream’s coming true. He was not threatened with the worldwide smashup yet to take place. We are!
23. Whom did Daniel say the golden head of the image pictured? Why?
23 Arioch, the chief of Nebuchadnezzar’s bodyguard, may have relaxed his grip on his sword as Daniel went on to say to his military Commander in Chief: “This is the dream, and its interpretation we shall say before the king. You, O king, the king of kings, you to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the might, and the strength and the dignity, and into whose hand he has given, wherever the sons of mankind are dwelling, the beasts of the field and the winged creatures of the heavens, and whom he has made ruler over all of them, you yourself are the head of gold.”—Daniel 2:36-38.
24. So, then, did the “image” begin with Babylon’s founder?
24 Nebuchadnezzar’s being told at the beginning of the explanation of the image that it involved him and really started with him should have heightened his interest in the interpretation of the whole dream. His being told that he was symbolized by a head made of the most precious metal then known could hardly do otherwise than please him and make him feel that due dignity was being accorded to him. The golden head fittingly represented an emperor, the “king of kings” whom the God of heaven had permitted to become the commanding world figure, the ruler of the Babylonian World Power. Thus the thing that was pictured by the image of four different metals did not begin with Nimrod the Cushite of the Hamitic race, who founded the original Babel or Babylon more than 1,500 years earlier.—Genesis 10:8-10; 1 Chronicles 1:10.
25. Did it start with the First World Power, or the second?
25 Also, the symbolic image did not begin with the Egyptian World Power, a Hamitic empire that was the First World Power taken note of in the Bible record. (Genesis 10:6, 13, 14; 12:11 through 13:1; Psalms 78:51; 105:23, 27; 106:21, 22) Further, the symbolic image did not begin with the Assyrian World Power, a Shemitic empire that became the Second World Power of Bible record. (Genesis 10:21, 22; 2:14; 25:18; 2 Kings 15:19-29) In 632 B.C.E. Nebuchadnezzar shared in overthrowing the Assyrian World Power and thereby set up the Neo-Babylonian Empire, which ranked as the Third World Power of Bible record.—Nahum 2:8 through 3:18; Zephaniah 2:13.
26. Why did the “image” apply from Jerusalem’s destruction on?
26 About twenty-five years later, after Emperor Nebuchadnezzar was used as Jehovah’s instrument to destroy unfaithful Jerusalem, the prophet Daniel’s words applied: “Into [your] hand he [the God of heaven] has given, wherever the sons of mankind are dwelling, the beasts of the field and the winged creatures of the heavens, and [you] he has made ruler over all of them.” (Daniel 2:38) This was the case, because, with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E., a typical kingdom of Jehovah God ceased to exist on earth.—1 Chronicles 29:23; 2 Chronicles 36:17-21.
27. Each metal of the “image” pictures what, politically?
27 Inasmuch as Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar, “You yourself are the head of gold,” the metallic image as a whole pictured a series of emperors or world rulers. Really, the “head of gold” pictured more than Nebuchadnezzar himself. It pictured the ruling dynasty that was established in him. Thus the golden head pictured, in full, Nebuchadnezzar himself, then his oldest son Evil-merodach, then Nabonidus the son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar, and finally Belshazzar the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. (2 Kings 25:27-30; Jeremiah 52:31-34; Daniel 5:10, 11, 18, 22) This dynasty stood as representative of the Babylonian World Power. Accordingly, the series of four metals in the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represents a series of world powers that have exercised world domination without interference from God’s kingdom (either the typical earthly kingdom or the antitypical heavenly kingdom). Daniel’s interpretation of the dream proves this point.
28, 29. Why was the next kingdom, inferior to Babylon, not named?
28 Pointing to the world domination that was to be exercised by the successors to the Babylonian World Power, Daniel went on with his interpretation, saying to Nebuchadnezzar, the “king of kings”: “And after you there will rise another kingdom inferior to you; and another kingdom, a third one, of copper, that will rule over the whole earth.”—Daniel 2:39.
29 Daniel did not name that kingdom, “inferior” to Nebuchadnezzar, that was to follow right after the Babylonian World Power. Naming it would have put the Babylonian World Power on guard against the future aspirant to world domination. But from the earlier prophecies of Isaiah (13:1-17; 21:2-9) Daniel could have known that the Medes, the allies of the Persians, would be involved in the toppling of Babylon from her high position of world power.
30. How could Daniel know about the overthrower of Babylon?
30 Daniel could also know from Isaiah 44:24 through 45:7 that Jehovah would use a man named Cyrus, who proved to be a Persian, to bring divine vengeance upon the Babylonian World Power for destroying Jerusalem and its temple of Jehovah’s worship. (Isaiah 46:11) As a student of Jeremiah’s prophecy also, Daniel knew that the Medes would be prominent in the final siege of Babylon and would have a part in overthrowing this persecutor of his people. (Jeremiah 51:28; Daniel 9:2) But Daniel did not then disclose this information to Nebuchadnezzar, who would not live to see that overthrow. Why should he be made to worry?
31. How was Daniel privileged to introduce Babylon’s successor?
31 The prophet Daniel had the privilege to introduce, as it were, the “kingdom” or world power that was symbolized by the silver of the dream image. This was on that autumn night in 539 B.C.E. when Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, King Belshazzar, was holding a royal banquet with a thousand of his grandees inside the besieged city of Babylon. At the height of their feasting a miraculous hand wrote upon the wall the enigmatic words “Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin.” As a last recourse, terrified King Belshazzar had to summon Daniel to interpret this handwriting on the wall. In explaining the last word “Parsin,” which is the plural of the word “Peres,” Daniel said to Belshazzar: “PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.” That same night the besiegers gained entrance into Babylon, King Belshazzar was killed, and the Medo-Persian World Power was set up. As the Medes and the Persians were Aryans, world power now shifted from the Shemitic race to the Japhetic race.—Daniel 5:1-31; 6:12; Esther 1:19.
32. In what way was Medo-Persia “inferior” to Babylon?
32 As silver is inferior to gold, the Medo-Persian World Power was inferior to the Babylonian. In what way? In that it did not exalt itself so high as did the Babylonian Empire, which destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its temple for Jehovah’s worship. Thus the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, appeared to exalt himself above Jehovah God, whose name was called upon the city of Jerusalem where the kings of David’s royal line sat upon “Jehovah’s throne.” (1 Chronicles 29:23; Isaiah 14:4-14) Also, with that overthrow of Jehovah’s typical kingdom in the year 607 B.C.E., the period of 2,520 years known as “the times of the Gentiles” or “appointed times of the nations” took its start. (Luke 21:24, AV; NW) Instead of trying to “resemble the Most High,” King Cyrus the conqueror of Babylon recognized Jehovah’s Godship.
33. How did Cyrus harmonize his course with Isaiah’s prophecy?
33 In recognition of the expressed will of Jehovah, King Cyrus tried to harmonize his course of action with what Jehovah had prophesied concerning him in Isaiah, chapters 44, 45 forty-four and forty-five. So, in 537 B.C.E., he let a band of Israelite volunteers and their attendants leave their Babylonish prison and return to their homeland, to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and its holy temple. But the typical kingdom of Jehovah was not reestablished there, with a royal descendant of King David sitting on “Jehovah’s throne” at Jerusalem.—2 Chronicles 36:20-23; Ezra 1:1 through 2:2.
GRECIAN (MACEDONIAN) WORLD POWER
34. What did interpreter Daniel say of Medo-Persia’s successor?
34 Notwithstanding its considerations in a merciful way to Jehovah’s chosen people, the Persian World Power was not to last down till our twentieth century. Concerning the immediate successor to the Medo-Persian World Power, the prophet Daniel went on to say to Nebuchadnezzar: “And another kingdom, a third one, of copper, that will rule over the whole earth.”—Daniel 2:39.
35. When did Daniel learn the identity of Medo-Persia’s successor?
35 Those words would indicate that the “third,” copper-like, “kingdom” or world power would be more extensive than either the Medo-Persian or the Babylonian World Power. As copper is a semiprecious metal, inferior to silver, this upcoming world power would be inferior to the Medo-Persian World Power. In this respect it was not honored with any privilege like that of liberating Jehovah’s exiled people from their imprisonment in Babylon. In the days of Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, King Belshazzar, Daniel the interpreter of dreams learned just who would establish that copper-like “third” world power. It would be a Grecian conqueror. There is no evidence that Daniel disclosed this information concerning far future days to King Belshazzar.
36. How was Medo-Persia’s overthrow pictured to Daniel?
36 In explaining the prophetic dream that was sent to Daniel in which he saw a two-horned ram being overpowered by a one-horned hairy goat, Jehovah’s holy angel said: “The ram that you saw possessing the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. And the hairy he-goat stands for the king of Greece [or, Hellas]; and as for the great horn that was between its eyes, it stands for the first king. And that one having been broken, so that there were four that finally stood up instead of it, there are four kingdoms from his nation that will stand up, but not with his power.”—Daniel 8:20-22.
37. What exploits did the Grecian Empire’s “first king” perform?
37 Thus, more than two hundred years in advance, it was foretold that the “kingdom” that was symbolized by the copper belly and thighs of the dream image would be the Grecian World Power. Its “first king” proved to be the world conqueror, Alexander III of Macedonia, who set out to conquer the Persian Empire. In 334 B.C.E. he handed a decisive crushing defeat to the then Persian emperor and established the Grecian (Macedonian) World Power. In 332 B.C.E. Alexander the Great brought the province of Judea, including Jerusalem, under his control. Thereafter Egypt fell to him, and the city of Alexandria was founded there in order to memorialize his name. This new Egyptian seaport became very prosperous, and it came to have a sizable Jewish population.
38. How did it become possible to read the whole Bible in Greek?
38 Because of his conquests all the way over to the Indus River of India and down into Egypt, and his establishing military garrisons in the conquered lands, the common Greek spoken by the troops of Alexander the Great became the international language of the day. It served as the media for international communication, and in the third century B.C.E. the Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria, Egypt, began translating the inspired Hebrew Scriptures into the common Greek. This lead was followed by the inspired writers who produced the twenty-seven books of the Christian Scriptures, from Matthew to Revelation. In this way it became possible for the inspired Bible as a whole to be read universally by speakers and readers of the common Greek.
39. How did “four kingdoms” of Greek style arise as prophesied?
39 In the year 323 B.C.E., Alexander the Great, symbolized by the “great horn” of the hairy he-goat, died at Babylon, the onetime capital of the Babylonian Empire. In course of time his vast empire was divided up between four of his Grecian generals. This resulted in four Hellenic or Grecianized kingdoms. Judea and Jerusalem eventually became part of the kingdom begun by General Seleucus I Nicator. Of course, none of these four Hellenic kingdoms compared with the great empire of Alexander the Great. Marvelously, indeed, the prophecy was fulfilled that out of the “great horn” (Alexander the Great) there would come ‘four horns’ (four Hellenic kingdoms), but none of these four possessing the power and magnitude of Alexander’s empire. Nevertheless, these four minor kingdoms together maintained the domination of the Grecian World Power, symbolized by the copper part of the image.
THE IRONLIKE KINGDOM
40. How was the Roman World Power set up by 30 B.C.E.?
40 Time passed on into the first century before our Common Era. The time came for “the God of heaven,” Jehovah, to change times and seasons and to remove kings and to set up kings for the bringing in of a new world power. (Daniel 2:19, 21) Rome, Italy, was now the upcoming political power with which to reckon. In the year 63 B.C.E. Roman General Pompey captured Jerusalem and extended Roman control over Judea. In the year 30 B.C.E. a decisive defeat was administered to the last of the four Hellenic kingdoms, and Egypt became a Roman province. This marked the setting up of the Roman World Power in the five hundred and seventy-seventh year of the “times of the Gentiles” or “appointed times of the nations.” Jerusalem continued to be without a king of the royal line of David of the tribe of Judah. “Jehovah’s throne” was no longer standing at the Jewish capital Jerusalem.—1 Chronicles 29:23.
41. What did Daniel explain the fourth metal, iron, to be?
41 Here we see the fulfillment of what the prophet Daniel had told King Nebuchadnezzar when interpreting the forgotten dream of the image that was made up of four metals. In interpreting the meaning of the fourth metal, iron, of which the legs of the image were made, Daniel said: “And as for the fourth kingdom, it will prove to be strong like iron. Forasmuch as iron is crushing and grinding everything else, so, like iron that shatters, it will crush and shatter even all these.”—Daniel 2:40.
42. How did the Roman Empire show no respect for Kingdom preachers?
42 The Roman World Power crushed the Grecian World Power and swallowed up remnants of the preceding Medo-Persian and Babylonian World Powers. It showed no respect for the “kingdom of the heavens,” “the kingdom of God,” that was proclaimed by Jesus Christ and his first-century disciples. In the year 33 C.E. it desecrated the Jewish Passover Day by putting Jesus Christ to death on a torture stake outside the walls of Jerusalem. Further, in the year 64 C.E., after the burning of part of the city of Rome, it began persecuting the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, in this way trying to crush and shatter true Christianity.
43. When and why did the Roman Empire destroy Jerusalem?
43 In the year 70 C.E., in its effort to put down the revolt of the rebellious Jews, Rome found it necessary to crush and shatter Jerusalem, reducing it and its magnificent temple to ruins. The 97,000 unchristianized Jews that managed to survive that horrible destruction of their holy city were distributed as captive slaves to the widespread parts of the Roman Empire. This occurred in the six hundred and seventy-sixth year of the “times of the Gentiles,” and left 1,844 years yet to go to the end of the Gentile Times.
44, 45. What did the Gentiles’ trampling on Jerusalem really mean?
44 Jesus Christ, in the course of foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under General Titus, the son of Emperor Vespasian, said: “And they [the Jews in the Roman province of Judea] will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:20-24) By those words Jesus Christ did not mean the trampling down of the mere site of the city by the non-Jewish or Gentile nations. Back there the city of Jerusalem stood for more than what Jerusalem of today, the capital of the Republic of Israel, with its democratically elected president and its Knesset, represents. Back there in Christ’s day, Jerusalem with its temple represented “the city of the great King,” Jehovah. (Matthew 5:35; 4:5) This onetime throne-city of Jehovah’s typical kingdom on earth was a symbol of God’s kingdom under the rule of his anointed king of the royal family of David.
45 And so the Messianic kingdom, to which the royal descendants of David held the title, is the thing that was to be trampled on by the Gentiles until the “appointed times of the nations” for this trampling to occur without God’s interference ended. The end of the Gentile Times is where our twentieth century comes into account!
ANOTHER WORLD POWER INCLUDED
46. Did Roman Emperor Constantine bring in God’s kingdom?
46 As we look back from our twentieth century, we ask: Is that “fourth kingdom” as pictured by the iron legs of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image fulfilled to completion in just the Roman Empire or World Power? The Bible itself indicates that this was not to be the case. How so? In the days of Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, the Roman Empire became “Christian,” but this was merely by imperial decree and in name only. This change of religious complexion did not create a new world power, a Christian world power; it did not bring the kingdom of God as preached by Jesus Christ. However, a new world power did come after the passage of many centuries—in a really political way. This was indicated in the last book of the Bible, in Revelation 17:9, 10.
47. What do the seven heads of the “wild beast” picture?
47 There, with reference to the religious harlot, Babylon the Great, as riding a wild beast with seven heads and ten horns, we read: “Here is where the intelligence that has wisdom comes in: The seven heads mean seven mountains, where the woman sits on top. And there are seven kings: five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet arrived, but when he does arrive he must remain a short while.” From this explanation of the symbols here found in the book of Revelation, the wild beast pictures a political system on earth. The seven heads of the wild beast represent headship over the political system, not headship of all seven at one time, but headship by one symbolic head after the other until the seventh and last head. Fittingly the seven heads represent “seven mountains,” that dominate the earth below. Quite nicely, also, the seven heads represent “seven kings,” for kings are the heads of State and exercise headship or domination. Like in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image, the kings stand for kingdoms or world powers.
48. Who were the five “kings” that fell previous to Rome?
48 As to the “seven kings,” the Christian apostle John wrote near the close of the first century C.E.: “Five have fallen, one is.” (Revelation 17:10) At the time that John wrote the Revelation he was held as a prisoner on the penal island of Patmos for being a Christian. (Revelation 1:1, 2, 9) So, when writing, “Five have fallen, one is,” John points to a sixth “king.” That one was in John’s day. So, then, which world power is it that John designates by the expression “one is”? No one else but the Roman World Power. Here it is ranked as the Sixth World Power according to Bible prophecy. Who, then, were the five “kings” that had fallen prior to the Roman World Power, one by one? First, the Egyptian World Power; second, the Assyrian World Power; third, the Babylonian World Power; fourth, the Medo-Persian World Power; and, fifth, the Grecian World Power.
49. At whose hands did the sixth “king” fall, and when?
49 However, the Sixth World Power was also to fall, for the angel said to the apostle John: “One is, the other has not yet arrived.” (Revelation 17:10) This signified that a seventh world power was yet to come, to correspond with the seventh head of the wild beast. In the apostle John’s day that ‘seventh head,’ or ‘seventh mountain,’ or ‘seventh king’ was a mystery. But centuries of world history since John’s day have unraveled the mystery. What, then, is the Seventh World Power of Bible prophecy? It came forth in the year 1763 C.E., in the form of the British Empire, the Britannia that ruled the seven seas.
50. How did the Anglo-American Dual World Power come to be?
50 Twelve years later, in 1775, the thirteen American colonies broke away from the British Empire, to set up the American Republic, the United States of America. In the process of time the English-speaking American Republic found it advisable to work together with the English-speaking British Empire, both in peacetime and in wartime, a thing that was emphasized during World Wars I and II. In actuality, then, there has been a British-American Dual World Power. So, for many years now since the American Revolution of 1775-1783 this Anglo-American political combination has been the Seventh World Power. It acts like a two-horned beast.—Revelation 13:11.
51. Why did the legs of iron picture more than the Roman Empire?
51 The Seventh World Power “arrived” in Jehovah’s time for a change before the establishment of his own Messianic kingdom. Concerning the Seventh World Power, Revelation 17:10 says: “But when he does arrive he must remain a short while.” The American section of the Seventh World Power has just celebrated its two hundredth anniversary. This is relatively “a short while” in comparison with the duration of the Roman World Power for nearly eighteen hundred years. By now that “short while” should be about ended, according to Jehovah’s timetable. One thing is certain from the Bible prophecy: The Messianic kingdom of God was not booked to come until first that Seventh World Power had come on the worldly scene. (Revelation 17:11-14) In view of all of this, it becomes very plain that the iron legs of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image picture more than the Roman World Power. They picture also the political outgrowth from that Roman Empire, namely, the Anglo-American World Power, the Seventh World Power, which has proved to be the greatest world power of them all from a human standpoint. It too has been like iron, steel!
FEET PARTLY OF IRON AND PARTLY OF CLAY
52. What did Daniel say of the feet partly of iron and partly of clay?
52 Now to the final features of the prophetic dream that the king of Babylon dreamed but forgot. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to know what the climax of the dream meant, and so do we today. Thanks to Jehovah God, Daniel was inspired to explain matters further, saying: “And whereas you beheld the feet and the toes to be partly of molded clay of a potter and partly of iron, the kingdom itself will prove to be divided, but somewhat of the hardness of iron will prove to be in it, forasmuch as you beheld the iron mixed with moist clay. And as for the toes of the feet being partly of iron and partly of molded clay, the kingdom will partly prove to be strong and will partly prove to be fragile. Whereas you beheld iron mixed with moist clay, they will come to be mixed with the offspring of mankind; but they will not prove to be sticking together, this one to that one, just as iron is not mixing with molded clay.”—Daniel 2:41-43.
53. What state of political affairs do such feet picture? When?
53 In those prophetic words is given us the illustration of a divided kingdom. Since this is the way in which the symbolic image of successive world powers ends up, this state of divided world power is what should be the case today, in our own twentieth century. It is! For this valid reason we should be near to the passing away of this long-standing symbolic image of world power. When finally the symbolic image does pass away, what next? According to the “wise men” of this world, such a passing would be the worst thing that could happen. In their view, it would mean anarchy, chaos. So they try to keep the image standing.
54. What does Daniel indicate that the molded clay pictures?
54 The world scene is still under the shadow of the Seventh World Power, both sections of which are mightily armed with nuclear bombs and missiles to deliver them. So there still remains in the dominant system of rulership the strength of iron with its ability to crush and shatter. But this Anglo-American World Power, together with its allies, has another factor, a more modern factor, with which to contend. This factor was pictured by the moist molded clay in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image. What does it picture in the light of our modern day? Daniel’s explanation says for our illumination: “They will come to be mixed with the offspring of mankind; but they will not prove to be sticking together, this one to that one, just as iron is not mixing with molded clay.” Accordingly, the molded clay symbolizes “the offspring of mankind,” or, literally, ‘the seed of men.’—Daniel 2:43.
55. How has there been a mixing with the “offspring of mankind”?
55 Clay is quite a suitable symbol of the ‘seed of men,’ for Job 4:19 speaks of humans as “those dwelling in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust.” And the greatly afflicted man Job said to Jehovah God: “Remember, please, that out of clay you have made me and to dust you will make me return.” (Job 10:9) Despite the fragile nature of “clay” of which the “offspring of mankind” are made, the trend of human rulership in these last decades of its existence has been in which direction? No, not to God the Creator of the animated “clay,” but to the creatures of clay, to the common people, the “proletariat” as the ancient Romans called the lowest or poorest class of people who contributed nothing but offspring (prolēs) to the political State. The old traditional rulership has been obliged to listen more and more to the clamor of the common people for a share in governments over them.
56. Why is there no marriage between the iron and the clay?
56 However, there can be no marriage between the old aristocratic, authoritarian style of government and the common people who favor radical, thoroughgoing changes in government. No more so than there can be an amalgamation of iron with clay! The making of governments democratic by revolutions or otherwise has led on to radical proletarian forms of government. And these latter stand in an uncompromising opposition to the ironlike Seventh World Power, the Anglo-American Dual World Power. Till now the two forms of rulership have managed to live alongside each other, but there has been no real marriage between them. The radical, proletarian governments and blocs may appear to be very strong and seemingly outmaneuvering the Anglo-American World Power in strength. Yet they are just as fragile as human creatures of clay, who support radical governments. They cannot strengthen the symbolic image of world rulership to resist the next world change.