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Fulfilling the Times of the Gentiles

Chapters 2 and 7 of Daniel refer to the same four gentile kingdoms but describe them quite differently (book excerpt)

From the Bible and history, Daniel’s Fourth Kingdom discusses each of the four [successive] gentile kingdoms [referred to in chapters 2 and 7 of the Book of Daniel. (The fulfillment of these “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24 NIV) points to the season of the return of Jesus Christ.)]. They [(the four kingdoms)] are described symbolically in Daniel 2 (NIV) as the head of gold (Babylon), the chest and arms of silver (Medo-Persia), the belly and thighs of bronze (Greece), and the legs of iron and feet and toes of iron and clay (Rome). Correspondingly, the same four kingdoms are further described symbolically in Daniel 7 (NIV) as four great beasts: a lion with wings of an eagle, two feet, and the mind of a human (Babylon); a bear that was higher on one side, with three ribs in its mouth (Medo-Persia); a leopard with four wings on its back, four heads, and power to rule (Greece); and a terrifying, frightening, and powerful fourth beast that will subjugate the whole earth, having large iron teeth, bronze claws, ten horns, and a little horn with eyes like a human and a boastful mouth (Rome).[1] . . . In Daniel 9:26 NIV, the Romans are described as “[t]he people of the ruler who will come” who destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in AD 70. As discussed [in my book], the coming Roman ruler is the Antichrist.

* * *

Daniel was especially intrigued by the fourth beast (Daniel 7:19–20 KJV). I am too. In response to his inquiries about it, Daniel was told that the fourth beast is a fourth kingdom (the Roman Empire, with legs of iron and feet and toes of iron and clay, Daniel 2:33, 40-43 KJV) that “will devour the whole earth, trampling it down, and crushing it” (Daniel 7:23 NIV). The same verse in the KJV says that the fourth beast “shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces” (Daniel 7:23 KJV). Interpreting Daniel 7:19 KJV, Darby teaches that “violence and cruelty [have] always marked the conduct of the fourth beast; it is Europe, at all events, in the west.”[2] Revealing the amazing accuracy of these (and other) Bible prophecies, [my] book traces the historical devolution of the Roman Empire (the fourth kingdom) from its first (well-known) phase as a unified, iron-strong kingdom in the ancient Mediterranean region through its second[,] present (and less chronicled) phase as a continuing, divided, weaker, amalgamated, globe-dominating beast . . . .

* * *

While chapters 2 and 7 of Daniel identify the same four kingdoms, Greidanus aptly observes that they are viewed from two different perspectives: (1) from a “human perspective” in Daniel 2, as “precious metals, ‘humane, majestic, but plagued with weakness . . .’ and gradually deteriorating”; and (2) from “God’s perspective” in Daniel 7, as increasingly awful beasts, “‘basically amoral, self-seeking, cruelly destructive, animal-like power-blocks.’”[3] In other words, impressive looking outwardly, corrupt and weak inwardly, and brutally destructive in conduct. As the beastly images in chapter 7 of Daniel indicate, God sees the political kingdoms of this world quite differently than [people] see them because God knows the true (unseen) character of a person, a nation of people, or a system of human government. “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV). Isaiah 11:3 (KJV) says of the Messiah: “He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes.”


[1]. Daniel 2:4 through the end of Daniel 7 was written in Aramaic, the most common language at the time, not in Hebrew. NIV Study Bible, New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 1418, footnote 2:4; Daniel L. Akin, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Daniel (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2017), 18.

[2]. [J. N.] Darby, Studies on The Book of Daniel: A Course of Lectures, [trans. from French, Third Edition (London: John B. Bateman, 1864, reprint),] 35, emphasis added.

[3]. [Sidney] Greidanus, Preaching Christ from Daniel [: Foundations for Expository Sermons (Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012),] 204, quoting Gooding, emphasis added.



Medo-Persia and Greece in Bible Prophecy


The March/April 2023 issue of National Geographic History magazine contains an interesting feature article about Persian King Xerxes (reign 486–465 BC) entitled, “Triumph of Engineering: Canal of Xerxes,” by Antonio Penades.[1] It examines evidence confirming King Xerxes’ excavation of a 1.25-mile-long canal across a narrow portion of the Mount Athos Peninsula of Greece, in the Aegean Sea, to help facilitate his naval (and overland) invasion of ancient Greece in 480 BC. The colossal attack by King Xerxes, who succeeded his father, King Darius I (reign 522–486 BC), was ultimately unsuccessful in conquering the Greeks who had previously defeated the Persians at Marathon in 490 BC. Nevertheless, according to the article, the canal was an “engineering marvel” that reflected Persia’s “wealth, strength, and inventiveness.”[2]

This historical account is significant in Bible prophecy because Daniel 11:2 foretold King Xerxes’ reign over the Medo-Persian Empire decades before he ascended the throne following his father’s death in 486 BC. This remarkable prophecy, which also foretold King Xerxes’ wealth and his conflict with the Greeks, reads as follows:

Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece (Daniel 11:2 NIV).

Daniel received this revelation during the “third year” of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia (Daniel 10:1), which is said to be the year 537 BC.[3] Fulfilling this prophecy, the three kings of Persia who succeeded King Cyrus were “Cambyses (530–522 BC), Pseudo-Smerdis or Gaumata (522) and Darius I (522–486) [,]” with Xerxes I (486–465) being the “fourth,” the richest, and the invader of Greece in 480 BC.[4] The “vast wealth” of King Xerxes’ kingdom is also noted in the book of Esther 1:4 (NIV).

Equally amazing, Daniel 11:3–4 (NIV) foretold (about two centuries in advance) the rise and fall of Alexander, King of Greece (reign 336–323 BC), who defeated the Medo-Persian Empire (in 331 BC at Gaugamela), and the subsequent division of his empire into four divisions after his death (in 323 BC). This prophecy reads as follows:

Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others (Daniel 11:3–4 NIV).

In Daniel 8:20–21 (NIV), the kingdom of Greece, under King Alexander, was foretold as the conqueror of the Medo-Persian Empire.[5] After King Alexander’s death, the Greek Empire continued to exist in four main divisions as follows: “Macedon and Greece (under Antipater and Cassander), Thrace and Asia Minor (under Lysimachus), Syria (under Seleucus I), and the Holy Land and Egypt (under Ptolemy I . . .).”[6] In 31 BC, the last remnant of the Greek Empire, Ptolemaic-Egypt (under Queen Cleopatra allied with the forces of Mark Antony), was defeated at Actium, in western Greece, by Octavian of Rome.

Explore much more Bible prophecy and history related to the season of the return of Christ in my book, Daniel’s Fourth Kingdom: Fulfilling the Times of the Gentiles (WestBow Press, 2021). In particular, chapter 4 is a survey of the history and legacy of each of Daniel’s four gentile kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome), with examples of dominion that each one has exercised over Jerusalem. Among other points, my book establishes that like the fragmented Greek Empire continued to exist after the death of King Alexander in 323 BC, so too has the Roman Empire (Daniel’s fourth kingdom) continued to exist in a divided form in the West since its fall in AD 476.


[1] Antonio Penades, “Triumph of Engineering: Canal of Xerxes,” National Geographic History, March/April 2023, 20–33.

[2] Ibid., 22.

[3] NIV Study Bible, New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 1433, footnote 10:1.

[4] Ibid., 1434, footnote 11:2.

[5] Ibid., 1430, footnotes 8:3 and 8:5.

[6] Ibid., 1428, footnote 7:4–7.

Two historical phases of the Roman Empire (book excerpt)

The idea that the Roman Empire still exists today is not strange. Ample support exists for it in the Bible and world history. Two historical phases of the single Roman Empire are depicted in Daniel 2, the first phase of iron and the second phase of iron and clay.

Interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel foresaw four gentile kingdoms symbolized by “an enormous, dazzling statue” (Daniel 2:31 NIV) shaped like a human. He describes the fourth kingdom (which Bible prophecy scholars generally agree is the Roman Empire) in Daniel 2:33 and 40–43 (KJV). Then in Daniel 7:7–8 and 19 (KJV), he foresaw the same fourth kingdom as a fourth great beast. Daniel was given the meaning or interpretation concerning the fourth beast in Daniel 7:23–25 (KJV). Finally, the fourth kingdom or beast is described in Revelation 13:2 (KJV) as an amalgamation of the three preceding gentile kingdoms of Greece (leopard), Medo-Persia (bear), and Babylon (lion).[1]

The prophecies mentioned above indicate that the fourth kingdom (or Roman Empire) is a single kingdom that will exist in two different phases in history. First, it will be a united kingdom that is “strong as iron,” one that breaks into “pieces” all the “others” (Daniel 2:40 NIV); the “others” being remnants of territories formerly occupied by the three previous kingdoms of Greece, Medo-Persia, and Babylon.[2] This first phase is symbolized by the unity, strength, and brutality of “iron” (Daniel 2:33 KJV) that were typical of the Roman Empire during the early centuries of its rule in the ancient Mediterranean region. Writing around AD 400, St. Jerome confirms that “all nations” had (by his time) been conquered or subjugated by the Romans and that the three previous kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece “are all included in the one Empire of the Romans.”[3] Thus, by AD 400, the Roman Empire had subdued and absorbed the remnants of the three previous gentile kingdoms. (See Figure 8.) Iron represents the strength and authority of Roman monarchs (or crowns)[4] in the Roman West, which has continued (in combination with the clay of democracy) in the governments of at least ten Roman Western European successor kingdoms (all of which are former monarchies).

Next, Daniel foretells that a later, second phase of the Roman Empire will exist as a “divided,” weaker kingdom, ultimately comprised of ten separate nations with mixed governments and peoples, as symbolized by its feet and toes of iron and clay (Daniel 2:41–43 KJV); and that in its divided stage, the fourth kingdom will devour, trample, and crush (NIV)–or devour, break, stamp, and tread (KJV)–the “whole earth” (Daniel 7:7, 23 NIV and KJV), not just the Mediterranean area. Meadowcroft affirms that “the spirit of disharmony [or division] within [the iron and clay phase of] the [Roman] empire . . . is crucial” to the interpretation of Daniel 2.[5] History reveals a couple of things: (1) this division of the Roman Empire into “a number of separate States” occurred “[t]hroughout the Middle Ages . . . in western Europe”;[6] and (2) this second divided phase of the Roman Empire as a globe trampler began in . . ..

Thus, chapter 2 of Daniel describes two historical phases of a single continuing fourth kingdom or civilization, the Roman Empire, which has flowed through history like a long, wide and far-reaching river. The first phase of this metaphorical “river” was a broad, unbroken stream that conquered the Mediterranean world, while the second phase of the same river has (over centuries of time) put off at least ten distributaries during its expanding, [dominating and] continuing flow around the world. . ..

[1]. Bible commentators link the fourth kingdom (or beast) of Daniel 2 and 7 with the beast of Revelation 13:1–2 (KJV). KJV Study Bible, 2148, footnote 13:1-3; NIV Study Bible, 2165, footnote 13:1.

[2]. See Davidson, Daniel Revisited, 38 of 266 on Nook Color digital reader. Osbon affirms that “Rome was emphatically an iron kingdom. It literally and most emphatically ‘broke in pieces and bruised’ the kingdoms which had preceded it.” Osbon, Daniel Verified in History and Chronology, 52.

[3]. Jerome’s Commentary on the Book of Daniel, 70 of 170 on Nook Color digital reader.

[4]. Bishop, “Times of the Gentiles,” 108–09 of 440 on Nook Color digital reader. Gaebelein agrees that “iron represents the monarchical form of government.” Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel, 23 of 129 on Nook Color digital reader.

[5]. Meadowcroft, Aramaic Daniel and Greek Daniel, 194, emphasis added.

[6]. The Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1, emphasis added.

Herod: Rome’s appointed King of Judea (reign 37-4 BC)

National Geographic History is one of my favorite magazines. The November/December 2022 issue contains an interesting article about King Herod (reign 37–4 BC), whose tyrannical rule over Judea impacted the childhood of Jesus (as mentioned in Matthew 2).[1] Antipater, Herod’s father, “a wealthy Jewish noble who admired Roman culture and was friendly with Julius Caesar,” was appointed by Rome as ruler of Judea.[2] Herod initially served under his father as governor of Galilee and later, after his father’s death, was appointed by the Roman Senate as King of Judea.[3] While the National Geographic article focuses on Herod’s building projects – including Herodium, his “hilltop palace-fortress” built with slave labor near Bethlehem (where Herod’s mausoleum was discovered in 2007); and his expansion of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (which the Romans destroyed in AD 70, as specifically foretold by Jesus according to Matthew 24:1–2) – it also mentions Herod’s evil massacre of children in and around Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the child Jesus (see Matthew 2).[4]


In my book, Daniel’s Fourth Kingdom: Fulfilling the Times of the Gentiles (WestBow Press, 2021), I examine Herod’s political ascent within Roman government during the times leading up to the birth of Jesus. His reign over Jerusalem, on behalf of Rome, bridged the political transition period from the third (Greek) kingdom to the fourth and final (Roman) gentile kingdom foretold in Daniel 2 and 7. The following paragraphs about Herod are excerpts from my book:

* * *

The world into which Jesus was born and lived was anything but peaceful, despite the forced tranquility of the Pax Romana, or Roman peace, inaugurated by Caesar Augustus (reign 27 BC–AD 14) . . .. Indeed, the Bible records that Joseph and Mary, with infant Jesus, fled Bethlehem and journeyed into Egypt to escape King Herod’s . . . slaughter of [children] two years old and under (Matthew 2 KJV). Herod, an Idumean[5] and a ruthless murderer, was Rome’s appointed king of Judea from 37 to 4 BC.[6]

With the support of Mark [Antony], the Roman Senate appointed Herod “king of Judea” in 40 BC, although he did not take control until 37 BC; and Herod developed an “excellent” relationship with [Antony].[7] With help from Rome, Herod recaptured the city of Jerusalem from the Parthians in 37 BC.[8] After Lepidus was forced from contention in 36 BC, the armies of [Antony] and Octavian [(who later became Caesar Augustus)] battled for ultimate power over Rome.[9] Their bloody feud was decided in a naval contest in 31 BC at Actium, in western Greece, where Octavian defeated the combined forces of [Antony] and Egyptian Queen Cleopatra.[10] Thereby, in one battle, Octavian defeated his last Roman rival as well as the last remnant (Ptolemaic-Egypt) of the Greek Empire and became the undisputed leader of Rome.[11]

“Fearing for his life” due to his friendship with the defeated [Antony], Herod, a shrewd politician, “swore allegiance to Octavian,”[12] who made Herod king of Judea because he calculated that Herod would be equally loyal to Rome.[13] Josephus records in dramatic detail how Herod defended (to Octavian) his friendship with [Antony], whom he described as a “friend” and “benefactor,” as well as Octavian’s embrace and restoration of Herod.[14]

Jesus was born into this cruel political world, at the beginning of the [last and longest running of Daniel’s] four gentile kingdoms [, the Roman Empire]; or, in other words, at the beginning of the end of human self-rule in the earth. This fact may help explain the meaning of Hebrews 9:26 (NIV), which reads, in part, that Christ “appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

[1] See Cayetana H. Johnson, “Herodium: Herod’s Desert Palace,” National Geographic History, November/December 2022, 50–61, 52–53.

[2] Ibid., 53.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 50–61, 53.

[5] Idumea, located south of Judea and the Dead Sea, was the land of the Edomites, enemies of Israel. Charles Souvay, “Idumea,” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7 (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910), 12 Mar. 2021 The nation of the Edomites was known for “its pride, treachery, greed, and violence.” KJV Study Bible, 1559, footnote 1:3-5.

[6] NIV Study Bible, 1590, footnote 2:1, and see “House of Herod” chart on 1592.

[7] NIV Study Bible, 1590, footnote 2:1; Pinero, “Herod The Great,” National Geographic History, November/December 2016, 44. Also, see Mark A. Chancey, Greco-Roman Culture and the Galilee of Jesus (Cambridge, UK, et al: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 46.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Perry, Western Civilization, 99.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Pinero, “Herod The Great.”

[13] Ibid.

[14] The Works of Josephus, Vol. II., 522–24.



The Certain Return of Jesus Christ (book excerpt)


I say the [certain] return of Jesus Christ because the New Testament speaks with certainty about His return. Consider the following verses for example: . . . John 14:2–3 KJV; Acts 1:11 KJV; [and] Hebrews 9:28 KJV. . .. [I especially like Acts 1:11 KJV, which emphatically reads (in part): “. . . [T]his same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”] These scriptures promise the return of Jesus Christ. LaHaye, in his book How to Understand Bible Prophecy for Yourself, [1] writes that while there are “[o]ver 100 prophecies” concerning the first coming of Messiah, there are “eight times” as many prophecies about the second coming of Christ as there are concerning His first coming.[2]  According to the 2013 OmniPoll, “41% of all U.S. adults, 54% of Protestants and 77% of Evangelicals believe the world is now living in the biblical end times.”[3] More recently, according to the 2020 LifeWay Research survey of pastors, “97% agree that Christ will literally and personally return to earth again.”[4] These are just some of the many important reasons that make Bible prophecies concerning the season of the return of Christ such an exciting area of study. In this book, we will examine historical events that have fulfilled specific prophecies of Daniel (mainly in chapters 2 and 7) pertaining to the rule of four successive gentile empires in the earth, all pointing to the season of the certain return of Jesus Christ. The fulfillment of these prophecies reveals the remarkable accuracy of the Bible and encourages the faith, diligent witness, and service of believers.

When I consider how meticulously God fulfilled the many promises concerning the first coming of Jesus Christ, it gives me great confidence that He will also fulfill all of His promises concerning the second coming of Christ. . .. Moreover, God’s fulfilled prophecies about Jesus Christ assure me that His promises concerning my life are also true and reliable. Such promises include, but certainly are not limited to, the following:

  • life eternal and also life abundant here and now . . . (through faith in Jesus Christ)
  • the gifts and fruit of His indwelling Holy Spirit, including inward peace in this world of trouble
  • His supply of “all [my] need” (Philippians 4:19 KJV)
  • the “blessed hope” of Christ’s return (Titus 2:13 KJV)

These biblical promises (and many others) inspire and empower me to live a hopeful, purposeful life every day. In Christ, we have “hope to the end” (1 Peter 1:13 KJV).

[1]. Tim LaHaye, How to Understand Bible Prophecy for Yourself (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1990).

[2]. Ibid., 16.

[3]. “Shock Poll: Startling Numbers of Americans Believe World Now in the ‘End Times,’” Religion News Service, September 11, 2013,, emphasis added.

[4]. “Pastor views on the return of Jesus Christ, biblical prophecy, and end times,” LifeWay Research,

The mystery of lawlessness (book excerpt)


“For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7 NIV). Lawlessness is evil . . .. Lawlessness is the work of Satan, even as righteousness is the work of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22 KJV). Lawlessness will be personified in the Antichrist, even as righteousness is personified in Jesus Christ. Indeed, the Bible refers to the Antichrist as “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 NIV). Lawlessness is active in the world through the work of Satan, but evil has also been and is being restrained by the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the lives of believers (2 Thessalonians 2:7 KJV).[1] Jesus prayed that God would protect believers from the “evil” in this world (Matthew 6:13 KJV; John 17:15 KJV). As bad as evil is in the world today, it will become worse during the tribulation period. Imagine that. Indeed, Jesus says about the coming tribulation period: “[E]xcept those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22 KJV). At the pretribulation rapture of the church, the Holy Spirit will be “taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7 KJV), resulting in the unrestrained, evil reign of the Antichrist during the tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:8–10 KJV).[2]  [However, when He returns, Jesus Christ will “overthrow” and “destroy” the Antichrist “with the breath of his mouth and . . . the splendor of his [second] coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV).]

[1]. Thieme Jr., The Divine Outline of History, 73; KJV Study Bible, 2020, footnote 2:6–7.

[2]. KJV Study Bible, 2020, footnote 2:6–7.

Monarchy is the “iron” in Daniel 2 (book excerpt)


We now further examine the meanings of the symbols of iron and clay located in the feet and toes of the human-shaped statue described in Daniel 2. Concerning the meaning of the “iron,” Bishop writes in 1886 that: “Iron is the character of Rome. The crown of Charlemagne was iron. The crown of Charles V. was [i]ron. Napoleon was crowned with iron. The crown of Germany is iron. The crown of Italy, worn by Humbert and handed down from the year 590, is iron. Iron represents hardness, severity. It is more perishable, more easily corroded, rusted, than brass or silver or gold; but in the form of steel, it . . . cuts through every other metal. Such has been Rome—inexorable, pushing everywhere a reign of arbitrary law.”[1] Thus, crowns symbolize Roman monarchs, including royal dynasties, who represent the iron of the empire. More specifically, Gaebelein writes in 1911: “The iron represents the monarchical form of government . . . but the clay stands for democratic rule, the rule by the people.”[2] Thus, the iron and clay mixture represents a weaker, divided form of the Roman Empire. As detailed in chapter 5 of this book, the iron of the Roman Empire has continued to exist through history in the governments of at least the following ten Western European successor nations of the fourth kingdom: . . ..[3]  . . . Each of these ten nations is a former iron-monarchy, which has also embraced democratic principles over time. Today, five of them . . . are constitutional monarchies, while the other five are multiparty republics.[4]

[1]. Bishop, “Times of the Gentiles,” in Prophetic Studies of the International Prophetic Conference, 108–09 of 440 on Nook Color digital reader, emphasis added.

[2]. A. C. Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel: A Key to the Visions and Prophecies of the Book of Daniel (New York: Our Hope Publications, 1911), 23 of 129 on Nook Color digital reader. Also writing about the meaning of the iron and clay, Lalonde (quoting Pentecost) says that the iron and clay represent “that which is weak and that which is strong, autocracy and democracy, the iron and the clay.” Lalonde, One World under Anti-Christ, 48.

[3]. My views and thoughts expressed herein are based on my personal study and research; they are not prophecies or predictions, nor are they dogmatic. I am not a prophet. Only God knows the exact ten kings, nations, entities, or divisions of the Roman Empire that will fulfill Daniel’s prophecies and only God knows the exact timings of the pretribulation rapture and of Jesus Christ’s second coming to earth as “the stone . . . cut out of the mountain without hands” (Daniel 2:44–45 KJV; Matthew 24:36 KJV; Acts 1:7 KJV).

[4]. DK World Atlas: The Atlas for the 21st Century (New York: D K Publishing, Inc., 1997), 208–214, under the subheading: “Countries of the World.”

Faith is expressed through love (book excerpt)


[T]he present darkness caused by evil [in the world] creates a great opportunity for the church (through the power of the Holy Spirit) to shine brightly for Christ, for we are told: “[L]et your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV); “Do not repay anyone evil for evil” (Romans 12:17 NIV); and “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21 NIV). The believer’s shining “light” (Matthew 5:16 KJV) should glorify God and not ourselves. Light is best seen in utter darkness. The greater the darkness, the more visible the light. Darkness disappears in the presence of light. The more that evil rises in the world, the more that believers, empowered daily by the Holy Spirit, should counter it with unselfish acts of God’s love for both believers and unbelievers. Only by crucifying the flesh and embracing the power of the Holy Spirit daily will believers be able to maintain the desire and ability to love others in this increasingly evil world. Unlike Jonah, the church should not retreat from sharing God’s love with a lost world. God’s love is the gospel (John 3:16 KJV). Faith expresses itself through love (Galatians 5:6 KJV [, NIV]). We do not have to agree with people’s beliefs, actions, or lifestyles to share the gospel (God’s love) with them. Jesus died for the lost. . .. Believers are commanded and empowered by the Holy Spirit to love God, ourselves, other believers, and even our enemies (see Matthew 22:37–39 KJV; John 13:35 KJV; Romans 12:9–21 KJV). In so doing, the church’s witness for Christ is made strongest and brightest in these last darkening days, a time when it is needed the most; and God is glorified.

Democracy is the “clay” in Daniel 2 (book excerpt)

Hippolytus (AD 170–235), an early church theologian in Rome, understood Daniel’s prophecies about the clay component or element in the feet and toes of the fourth kingdom [consisting of iron and clay, Daniel 2:32–33, 40–43]. In the third century, even during a time when emperors ruled the Roman Empire with iron authority, he confidently wrote that “democracies are shown” in the ten toes [or latter stage] of the fourth kingdom.[1] Thus, Hippolytus, understanding Bible prophecy, interpreted the clay to mean democracy and believed that the Roman [Empire]’s iron rule would eventually transition into a mixture of iron and clay. His Commentary on Daniel is said to be the “oldest surviving Christian commentary on Scripture,” while Schmidt’s work in 2010 is said to be “the first complete English translation” of Hippolytus’s Commentary.[2]

Agreeing with Hippolytus, Gaebelein wrote in 1911 that the clay in the feet and toes of the fourth kingdom represents Roman democratic rule (where the people participate in their government) . . ..[3] Here, at the beginning of the twentieth century, on the brink of the clash between the great powers in World War I, Gaebelein, based on an understanding of Bible prophecy, foresaw democratic change coming to the old Roman world of Europe. He writes: “But what does the clay represent? Clay is of the earth. It stands for . . . democratic rule, the rule by the people. This is exactly what we behold in our day. There is a strong current towards democratic rule, the rule by the people, the exaltation of the people. . .[.] We see indications of this already, for the people are more or less dictating to kings; the kings are ruled over by the popular elements.”[4] Indeed, during the twentieth century, democracy “became the most common form of government.”[5] Such . . . spreading of democracy signals that we may currently be living in the latter stage (or feet and toes) of [Daniel’s fourth kingdom, the last of the four gentile kingdoms to exist in the earth before Jesus Christ returns].

[1]. Hippolytus of Rome: Commentary on Daniel, 57. West also noted Hippolytus’s interpretation in 1898. West, Daniel’s Great Prophecy, The Eastern Question, 63.

[2]. Hippolytus of Rome, 3.

[3]. Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel.

[4]. Ibid.

[5]. Adam Hart-Davis, et al., History: The Definitive Visual Guide from the Dawn of Civilization to the Present Day (New York: DK Publishing, 2010), 100.

Jefferson and Jesus


Interestingly and ironically, the Founding Father who was principally responsible for America’s First Amendment religious freedom also struggled with his own personal faith. That person was Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826).

Jefferson’s intellect was an obstacle to his faith. As a so-called “enlightened” thinker, he believed that human reason alone was the sole judge of spiritual truth. He put Christianity to “the test of rational analysis and concluded that its basic doctrines were simply unacceptable to an enlightened man living in the eighteenth century.”[1] Jefferson rationalized that a supreme being created and sustains (by natural laws) the universe, but did not accept the Genesis account of God’s Creation. He rejected the Bible as divine revelation, dismissed the supernatural as “‘falsehoods . . . unsusceptible of strict demonstration,’”[2] considered Jesus to be only “‘a man [with] a benevolent heart,’”[3] and was critical of established religious authorities.

Jefferson regarded religion as a strictly private matter that belonged to an individual’s freedom of thought and conscience; thus he opposed government interference with religion. Jefferson was more interested in human conduct in society than doctrines of theology. To him, the character of a man’s life was more important than the substance of his religious beliefs (implying that the two are unrelated). For example, he wrote: “‘[I]t does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.’”[4] Based on concepts of natural law and Greek philosophy, Jefferson believed that the keys to improving human behavior were education and self-discipline.

In the mid 1780s, James Madison and Jefferson led the opposition in Virginia against the excesses of the state-established church. The union of church and state in Virginia had resulted in the corruption of religious practices, including persecution of other faiths. Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty (1786) called for absolute religious freedom and the separation of church and state. Jefferson later played a leading role in the drafting and adoption (in 1791) of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, intending that it provide the same protection of religious liberty as the Virginia law.

In his old age, Jefferson confessed that he found in the teachings of Jesus “‘the purest system of morals ever before preached to man.’”[5] Apparently, however, that sentiment did not alter his rejection of New Testament theology (including the divinity of Jesus Christ) or deter him from owning human beings as slaves.

Ironically, Jefferson’s religious skepticism and unbelief helped to secure constitutional freedom of religion for Christians (and other faiths) in America. However, his intellectual struggle with the Gospel proves that the natural man cannot receive “the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV).

[1] Dickinson W. Adams, ed., Jefferson’s Extracts from the Gospels (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983), 5.

[2] Ibid., 5, quoting Randolph.

[3] Ibid., 7, quoting Jefferson.

[4] Ibid., 11, quoting Jefferson.

[5] Dumas Malone, Jefferson the Virginian (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1948), 109, quoting Jefferson.