The Old Testament prophet Daniel wrote about a dream which the king of Babylon dreamed. It gave an overview of how Babylon would be the first of successive superpowers which led to the Roman Empire. This then disintegrated into several disunited weak and strong nations, some of which constitute nations of modern Europe.
The grandeur of ancient Babylon can be seen from the re-creation of the Ishtar Gate, built in the 1930s with tiles from the site of ancient Babylon. It was dedicated to Ishtar, the goddess of love and war. It was built with glazed blue tiles with alternating rows of dragons and bulls. The dragons were a tribute to Marduk, the god of water, vegetation, judgement and magic. The bulls were dedicated to the rain god, Adad.
The prophet Daniel told the king of Babylon:
“After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule .... Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom.” Daniel 2 v 39 and 40 (NIV)
The first prediction Daniel made to the King of Babylon was:
“After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours”.. Daniel 2 v 39 (NIV)
The Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Medo-Persians.This empire was built up by Cyrus the Great and spanned three continents.
The ruins of the city of Persepolis which served as capital of the Persian Empire for several generations are in Iran. The city was built during the reign of Darius I.
The ruins of a number of colossal buildings exist on the site, all of which are constructed of dark-grey marble. Fifteen of their pillars still stand intact. Three more pillars have been re-erected since 1970. Although this empire was larger in area than the Babylonian Empire, it was inferior in that the king had to share the powers of government with others, whereas with the king of Babylon, his word alone was law throughout his empire.
The Greek Empire
The next part of Daniel’s prediction was: “a third kingdom…will rule Daniel 2 v 39 (NIV)
It was in 331 BC that the famous Greek general Alexander the Great defeated the Persian army. This defeat was the start of the Greek Empire.
The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, located on the Acropolis in Athens, reflects the culture and sophistication of the Greek Empire. The legacy of Greek influence has been substantial in many areas, such as language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science and the arts.
The Roman Empire
Daniel then went on to say: “Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom”. Daniel 2 v 40 (NIV)
It was around 150 BC that the Roman power began to eclipse the Greek Empire. Over succeeding years Roman influence grew as Greece declined. Due to the Roman Empire's vast area and long endurance, its influence upon the language, religion, architecture, philosophy, law and government of nations around the world has persisted to this day.
Hadrian’s Wall in England protected the northern border of the Roman Empire. Begun in AD 122, the wall is a stone or turf and timber fortification, 73.5 miles (117 km) long, built by the Romans across the width of what is now northern England, from Newcastle upon Tyne to Carlisle. It was the main northern defensive barrier for up to 10,000 Roman troops until they eventually withdrew from Britain around 410 AD.
Daniel then told the king that the fourth kingdom: “will be a divided kingdom” Daniel 2 v 41 (NIV)
We can see that Daniel was predicting that the fourth superpower would not be conquered by another, but would fall apart and become divided. It first of all split into the Eastern and Western Empires around 285 AD.
Daniel further predicted that "the people will be a mixture and will not remain united" Daniel 2 v 43 (NIV)
The divided Roman Empire disintegrated into a number of smaller powers after being invaded by several tribes.
The invasions from all sides caused conflict and division, which eventually resulted in the current divided nations some of which constitute modern Europe.
The prophet Daniel correctly predicted:
Four consecutive superpowers, starting with Babylon.
Successive empires would each overthrow the previous one
The fourth superpower, was not to be conquered by another.
The fourth superpower, Roman Empire would fragment and become divided.
How did Daniel know that there would be four successive superpowers – why not three or five?
How did he know that the fourth would not be followed by a fifth.
How did he know that the fourth superpower would fragment. It could have just declined in the same way that Egypt did.
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