Damascus Became a Ruinous Heap


Assyrian Besiegers

Isaiah 17:1-3

1The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. 2The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. 3And the fortress shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith Jehovah of hosts (ASV, 1901).

This prophecy of Damascus, Syria is titled a burden or in the Hebrew a “massa.” This is a heavy, heavy set of declarations on this city. At the time Isaiah wrote this oracle against Damascus the Northern ten tribes of Israel had allied with Syria called Aram in the Bible. Because Assyria had threatened the Southern Kingdom of Judah God spoke through Isaiah the prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah assuring them that Damascus would become a ruinous heap (Hebrew Mapala) and not a threat. This conquering and despoiling was done by Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, as explained in 2 Kings 16:9 it had been a very ancient city and now was in ruins. This city would be rebuilt and then destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian King described in Jeremiah 49:21. Therefore, this prophecy given to Isaiah was fulfilled in the two invasions of Damascus by Assyria and Babylon both of which destroyed the city and left it in ruins (Mapala).

It is important to see how the Northern kingdom of Israel aligned itself with Damascus. These are some references to what happened to Damascus primarily for Israel (northern 10 tribes) aligning itself with pagan Damascus.

  1. Damascus has become helpless (Jeremiah 49:24).
  2. The king of Assyria took Damascus and exiled its inhabitants (2 Kings 16:9).
  3. Ahaz copied the altar in Damascus (2 Kings 16:10).
  4. Ahaz sacrificed to the gods of Damascus (2 Chronicles 28:23).
  5. I will set fire to the wall of Damascus (Jeremiah 49:27).
  6. The spoil of Damascus and Samaria will be carried away to Assyria (Isaiah 8:4).
  7. Is not Samaria like Damascus? (Isaiah 10:9).
  8. The kingdom will disappear from Damascus (Isaiah 17:3).
  9. I will break the [gate] bar of Damascus (Amos 1:5).
  10. For three transgressions of Damascus and for four (Amos 1:3).
  11. The oracle of the word of the Lord will rest on Damascus (Zechariah 9:1)

From Isaiah 7:1–2. We see that Rezin, king of Aram, northeast of Israel, and Pekah king of Israel (752–732B.C.) had made an alliance. Rezin may have usurped the throne of Aram, and Pekah was a usurper. Rezin was Aram’s last king, and Pekah was Israel’s next-to-last king. After Jeroboam II (793–753) of Israel died, the Northern Kingdom became increasingly weak. Rezin convinced Pekah to join him in a war against the Southern Kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 15:37; 16:5). They threatened to replace Judah’s King Ahaz with a puppet king (Isaiah 7:6). The prospect of such formidable enemies as Aram and Israel caused the people of Judah to be afraid. The house of David (v. 2) refers to King Ahaz who was of that kingly line. Hearing of the Aram- Israel alliance Ahaz was terrified. Ephraim, Israel’s largest tribe, represented in a synecdoche the entire northern nation as is also the case in the Book of Hosea (Hosea 4:17; 5:3, 5, 9–14). This was in the year 734 b.c.Ahaz foolishly thought he could call on the Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III (745–727) to come to his aid and attack the Aram-Israel confederacy. What happened though was the king of Assyria took Damascus and exiled its inhabitants (2 Kings 16:9). Then in 722 B.C. He conquered the Northern Kingdom and took them back to Assyria and populated the Northern Kingdom with people from many different areas.

IL Kings 17:24

24And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Avva, and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof (ASV, 1901).

The inbreeding of these people with the remaining people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel produced the Samaritans which were hated by the Jewish people.

The Arab states and Damascus will all receive a final judgment at the start of the Messianic Kingdom. It is difficult to predict if there will be another invasion of Damascus before the final destination which is a result of their perpetual hatred of Israel as characterized as early as Numbers 20:14-21 and in summary form in Psalm 83:1-8. Some believe that the civil war which started in 2011 in Syria is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 17:1, but there is no biblical indication that this is accurate. It is outside sound hermeneutics to look to the news first in order to justify a prophecy in the Bible. We look to the Bible to see what God has said will happen then look to world events to see if they match up exactly as prophesied.

Damascus presently is not in ruin as when the Assyrians and Babylonians destroyed the city. Some might view this prophecy in Isaiah 17:1 as indicative of a type of prophetic fulfillment called the “double reference.” Hermeneutically those instances refer to a near and far term view of a prophecied event such as in Deuteronomy 18 where Moses predicts a prophet who would succeed him. Although Joshua fulfilled the near-term fulfillment, Acts 3:22-23 applies it to Jesus, hence, the near and far view fulfillment. There might be yet a future destruction of Damascus equally ruinous as the Assyrian and Babylonian destructions were, but so far it has not occurred. There is still no biblical reference to a far term reference to this despoiling of Damascus in our time as the Acts 3:22-23 passage refers to the far term fulfillment of Jesus as the object of Moses’ prediction of a prophet to succeed him. Many see the text of Psalm 83:1-8 as the fulfillment of the far term prophecy of Isaiah 17:1 but that is simply an imprecatory Psalm, not a prophecy of an event that will come to pass. Therefore there is no clear indication in the Bible that this will have a far term fulfillment.

God says that in the Messianic Kingdom He will bring peace between Israel and Damascus (Part of Assyria) through a conversion of their peoples to become believers and live with Israel in peace in the Messianic Kingdom.

Isaiah 19:23-25

23In 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 worship with the Assyrians. 24In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth; 25for that Jehovah of hosts hath blessed them, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance (ASV, 1901).

The Kings Highway Ancient International Trade Routes

Verse 23 describes a highway which connects Egypt, Israel and Assyria. In the Messianic Kingdom, when peace will be restored, all borders will be open, and this highway, a symbol of free trade trafficking, will be restored between these Middle Eastern states. The means by which this will occur is conversion (vv. 24–25). Not only will Egypt undergo a conversion experience, but so will the ancient area of Assyria. Assyria will become a blessing in the earth and will receive a blessing from God. The three former enemies will now be spiritually and economically unified. So peace during the Messianic Kingdom will come between Israel and Assyria (part of Syria) by means of conversion. When this happens, there will be economic, political, and religious unity, because they will all worship the same God.

Daniel E. Woodhead

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The Lord Judges the Nations


Ezekiel chapters 25-32 details Divine judgments against nations that have risen up many times against Israel as their adversaries. There are seven people groups singled out, and the text divides them in two groups. The first is a group of four that includes Ammon, Moab, Edom and the Philistines.  The second group is a group of three that includes Tyre, Zidon and Egypt.

Ammon, Moab, Edom and the Philistines are immediate neighbors to Israel. Their presence posed a constant spiritual as well as physical danger to Israel’s relationship to God and seemed to be a persistent frustration of the Divine plan for the Nation Israel. Most Bible teachers and commentators avoid specifying a time as to when these judgments will take place, but all accept that they have not yet occurred. When one sees the entire Bible as one long chronological story, the period of the timing of the judgment is brought into focus.

These eight chapters also seem to provide an answer to the psalmist Asaph’s imprecatory prayer in Psalm eighty-three asking the Lord to terrify them, to cause them to be confused, and to make them perish so that Israel’s adversaries will seek the name of the Lord Jehovah:

Psalm 83:1-8

1O God, keep not thou silence: Hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. 2For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult; And they that hate thee have lifted up the head. 3They take crafty counsel against thy people, And consult together against thy hidden ones.4They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. 5For they have consulted together with one consent; Against thee do they make a covenant: 6The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab, and the Hagarenes; 7Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre: 8Assyria also is joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot. Selah (ASV, 1901).

Some have written that this Psalm teaches that these nations will come against Israel before the Great Tribulation, and prior to the allied invasion described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. As we will see they already have come against Israel. But the case in point is that this Psalm does not describe an invasion of Israel by these nations, just a hatred of Israel.

Since the days of Abraham, there has been a long standing, adversarial relationship between the progeny of Isaac and Ishmael. God promised a covenant to Abraham along with a special child to receive the covenant that would come from his loins. It began in Genesis with the barren Sarah giving Abraham her Egyptian handmaid, Hagar, as a concubine to produce a child for him. That child was Ishmael. Sarah later had a child of her own, Isaac, and he would receive the covenant promise (Genesis 16:12). Isaac had twin sons, Jacob and Esau, and it was his son Jacob who received the covenant, and his twin brother Esau did not. In reaction to this, Esau married into the Ishmaelite family, thereby adding people to the group in conflict with Israel. This animosity has been obvious since the time of Abraham, and it was still there during the Exodus (Numbers 20:14-21), and into more modern history.

The nations listed in Psalm 83 are unified in their desire to annihilate Israel, and they do not want the name Israel to be remembered. The names used are the ancient biblical names, and have modern counterparts as shown in the comparison of the two maps below:

Maps from www.bible.ca/maps

In summary, here are the names from two different historical time periods:


Edom      –     Southern Jordan

Ishmaelites –   Father of the Arabs

Moab        –      Central Jordan

Hagarenes –    Egypt

Gebal     –      Lebanon

Ammon   –      Northern Jordan

Amalek    –     The Sinai Peninsula

Philistia   –      The Gaza Strip

Tyre         –     Lebanon

Assyria    –      Iraq and some of Syria

Current History Between Israel and these Nations

In the fall of 1947, the United Nations voted to give Israel sovereignty over the piece of land on the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel declared statehood on May 15, 1948. A coalition of five Arab armies from Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq immediately invaded Israel.

The stated purpose of this invasion was to “push the Jews into the sea”, in other words, genocide. Assam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, declared their intentions:

“This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades. What Hitler didn’t finish three years earlier, the Arabs would finish once and for all.”[1]

A Nazi collaborator, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, led the Arabs of the former British Mandate of Palestine (a post-World War I division of Israel). He was charged at the Nuremberg trials before escaping in 1946. Al-Husseini actively supported Hitler’s aim to exterminate the Jews in World War II. Israel prevailed over all the military efforts of these cited nations to destroy them. The Arab nations failed miserably to destroy Israel.

Following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, in the period leading up to June 1967, tensions increased dangerously. In reaction to the mobilization of Egyptian forces along the Israeli border in the Sinai Peninsula, Israel launched a series of preemptive airstrikes against Egyptian airfields. On May 15, 1967 Nasser ordered a blockade of the Strait of Tiran. This blockade cut off Israel’s southern access to the Red Sea and beyond. By May 31,1967 Egypt had moved 100,000 troops, one thousand tanks, and five hundred heavy guns into the Sinai. By June 4, Arab forces outnumbered Israel three to one as they poised on Israel’s borders. This was Israel’s Six Day War and it was fought on three fronts, against three countries, in three overlapping stages. In the south, Israel engaged and defeated the Egyptians. In the central region, Israel engaged and defeated the Jordanians. In the north, Israel engaged and defeated the Syrians. In each of these theaters, Israel gained significant territory that would serve as its own buffers in future years.

On the morning of June 5,1967, the Israeli Air Force destroyed almost the entire Egyptian Air Force (more than three hundred planes) in less than three hours.  Israel’s armored divisions, under the leadership of General Ariel Sharon, also launched a lightning attack on the same day.

After some initial resistance, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser ordered the evacuation of the Sinai. Israeli forces rushed westward in pursuit of the Egyptians, inflicted heavy losses, and conquered the Sinai. Nasser later acknowledged that eighty percent of Egypt’s Russian-supplied military equipment had been lost in the Sinai debacle. Finally, at 8:00 p.m. on June 8, Nasser accepted a cease-fire. On June 11, 1967 a ceasefire was signed. Arab casualties were far heavier than those of Israel with fewer than a thousand Israelis killed compared to over 20,000 from the Arab forces. More than eight hundred Egyptian tanks had been destroyed, and thousands of soldiers were taken as prisoners of war. Nasser later acknowledged that eighty percent of Egypt’s Russian-supplied military equipment had been lost in the Sinai debacle. Finally, at 8:00 p.m. on June 8, Nasser accepted a cease-fire.


However, there has been no settled peaceful relationship between them. After a third war in 1973, the Arab nations turned to terrorism (known as the Intifada), to attrition, and to “trying” Israel in the world press as a means of combat. God has obviously caused the Israelis to regain their land after being out of it since 586 B.C., for is a total of 2,533 years. As described, He has allowed them to prevail in several large-scale wars in which the nations in Psalm 83 state a desire to exterminate the Jews, but always lose militarily.


More Still to Come

These prophecies in Ezekiel chapters 25-32 and in Psalm 83 seem to indicate a Divine, permanent, and severe judgment against those nations.  Other Scriptures indicate a restoration of a relationship of varying sorts between these nations and Israel (Ezekiel 35:6-9; Isaiah 19:18-22; 23-25; Jeremiah 49:28-33; 34-39 etc.). Since there has not been a restoration of relationship between these nations and Israel as of 2018, it is necessary to consider when this might occur on the long chronological timeline of human history as laid out in the Bible.

These judgments have had a partial fulfillment, a past fulfilment, and the complete fulfilment is yet to come. The prophetic Word shows that the nations who have sinned against Jehovah and His people will be judged in “a coming day”, when Israel will be restored and be blest in the Millennial Kingdom. This is evident when we read the future promises to His covenant people Israel in Ezekiel 28:24–26 and 29:21. These unfulfilled promises concerning Israel’s restoration and spiritual prosperity make it clear that these judgments will be end time events, also known as the “latter”, or “last days”.

Only the Biblically illiterate fail to see that we are presently in the “last days.” The “last days” began with World War I. In the Olivet Discourse, Christ used the Jewish idiomatic phrase “nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom” to mean a conflict in the total region under discussion. In the Olivet Discourse He was discussing the events pertaining to the entire world surrounding His Second Coming. Matthew records our Lord’s words with respect to the beginning of the end, or as the Bible states the beginning of the “latter days”:

Matthew 24:7-8

 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places, 8All these [are] the beginning of sorrows (KJV).

According to all three synoptic Gospel writers, the sign of the end of the age is said to be when “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”. This act will be coupled with famines and earth quakes in various places, and Jesus clearly stated that this would be the beginning of travail (“sorrows”). The term “travail” beans “birth pang”. It refers to the series of birth pangs that a woman undergoes before giving birth to a baby. The Jewish prophets also pictured the “last days” as a series of birth pangs before the birth of the Messianic Age, also known as the Millennial Kingdom. The beginning of travail, the first birth pang, and the sign that the end of the age has begun is when “nation rises against, nation and kingdom against kingdom”.

It is important to find out just exactly where and how this idiom is used in the Bible. It is used in at least two passages, and here the second group of three nations located geographically further away from Israel becomes important.  The nation of Egypt, is the subject of this next section from Isaiah. The first passage of “nations against nations” idiom use is about the land of Egypt, and points to a conflict all over the land of Egypt as the nation is involved in a civil war:

Isaiah 19:1-4

1Behold, Jehovah rideth upon a swift cloud, and cometh unto Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall tremble at his presence; and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. 2And I will stir up the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. 3And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst of it; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek unto the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. 4And I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts (ASV, 1901, underlining added).

A second passage using an idiom very similar to the previous section is found here:

II Chronicles 15:1-7:

1And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 2and he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: Jehovah is with you, while ye are with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. 3Now for a long season Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law: 4but when in their distress they turned unto Jehovah, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. 5And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in; but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the lands. 6And they were broken in pieces, nation against nation, and city against city; for God did vex them with all adversity. 7But be ye strong and let not your hands be slack; for your work shall be rewarded (ASV, 1901, underlining added).

In this passage the idiom states that the conflict encompasses the entire Middle East. In the Olivet Discourse it is the whole world that is in view. This is clear from Matthew 24: 14; 21; 30 and 31. So, this idiom refers to a worldwide conflict, and this worldwide conflict is the first birth pang, signifying that the end of the age, and that the “last days” have begun.

Interestingly, the Jewish rabbis have used the idiom “nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” in various texts outside of the Bible. One Jewish source known as the “Zohar Chadash” states:

“At that time wars shall be stirred up in the world. Nation shall be against nation and city against city; much distress shall be renewed against the enemies of the Israelites.” [2]

Another Jewish source known as the Bereshit Rabbah states:

“If you shall see the kingdoms rising against each other in turn, then give heed and note the footsteps of the Messiah (XLII:4)

The Rabbis clearly taught that a worldwide conflict would signal the coming of the Messiah. Jesus corrected this idea slightly, for He said that when the world war occurs, while it does not signal the coming of the Messiah, it will signal that the end of the age has begun. These “birth pangs” that He talked about are the same as the “footsteps” the rabbis talked about. “The footsteps of the Messiah” had to do with a series of events that led up to the coming of the Messiah.

World War I (1914-1918) was the fulfillment of this particular prophecy for that was the first time the entire world was at war. World War II was a continuation of World War I because it involved the same participants and was fought over the same issues. Both wars had a significant impact on Jewish history. World War I gave impetus to the growth of the Zionist movement, and World War II let to the re-establishment of the Jewish State.

Since World War I, history has entered the “last days” of the Church Age. However, the “last days” are an extended period of time. We do not know when the end of the “last days” will occur. The “last days” are a period that includes the consummation of the Church age and the Great Tribulation. The period of the “last days” up to the beginning of the Great Tribulation is unrevealed in Scripture. The Great Tribulation is seven years long. The sign that the end of the age has begun is the worldwide conflict fulfilled by World War I and World War II.

Therefore, our pinpointing the events of the judgment of the nations surrounding Israel seem to place themselves in the “last days”. Specifically, with the Great Tribulation still in the future, and the Arab nations continuing to be at odds with Israel, it is reasonable to place these judgments at the end of the Great Tribulation when all animosity toward Israel will end. It may also be at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom when Israel is at peace with all nations, and the Messiah is governing the world from His throne in Jerusalem. This state of the earth after the Great Tribulation is one where wickedness and sin has been defeated (Isaiah 13:9), and the animosity of the nations toward Israel will be over.

Daniel E. Woodhead

[1] Sachar, Howard M.  A History of Israel from the Rise of Zionism to Our Time: 2nd Edition. New York: A Borzoi Book, 1976. Reprint Alfred A. Knoff, Inc.,1996, 333.

[2] Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (2003). The footsteps of the Messiah Rev. ed.,Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries. pp. 626–627.

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The Final Stages of The Fourth Gentile World Empire


The Last Beast to Control Jerusalem and the One World Government


The Bronze Dragon by Hawkwood

The Bronze Dragon by Hawkwood

The Lord Jesus, the Messiah made reference to a group of Gentile world Empires who would control Jerusalem and the entire world starting in 586 B.C.He referred to these times of the Gentiles as ending at some point in time.  The Gentile control of Jerusalem and world government in general is going to end.  It’s not going to last forever.  It will end when He returns to set up His world wide government in Jerusalem at the Second Coming. Now the Lord said this in the Olivet Discourse:

 The Trampling of Jerusalem

Luke 21:24

And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (KJV).


Images were given to the prophet Daniel in chapters 2 and 7 of his book referencing these world empires. The descriptions which are written in the 7th chapter characterize four beasts coming out of the Great Sea. The first three have animal characteristics of a lion, bear and leopard. The fourth is a beast that has no animal like description and can be called nondescript. This beast is referred to as dreadful and terrible with iron teeth. It is breaking and devouring the residue of the other beasts. We now examine the various stages of this beast or final Gentile governmental structure.

Stages of The Fourth Beast

The 4th Empire – The Empire of Imperialism

Is this the Roman Empire?

We need to have a discussion regarding the characteristics of this empire. Many commonly hold that the “Fourth Empire” is the Roman Empire.  It is also common to infer that because the Roman Empire died that there must be a Revived Roman Empire still coming. We know from Daniel chapter two that the “Stone Made Without Hands” which will be the Lord’s Messianic Kingdom will destroy this empire.

The Scripture doesn’t teach any cessation of this Fourth Empire prior to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.  The Scripture teaches that the Empire, the Fourth Empire, continues until the Messianic Kingdom.  It doesn’t show a break.  In actuality, the Empire that the Bible is talking about is something more generic than Rome. It is an imperialistic form of government which the Romans founded.


Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts 1850

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts 1850



Imperialism is simply a policy where one government extends its influence or power through negotiations, diplomacy or military force.  Most of the Western powers are imperialistic governments.  There is nothing particularly wrong with being an imperialistic government. That’s the characteristic of the type of government instituted by the Romans.  It was Rome that brought imperialism into the world.

What the Romans would do  (and they did it much stronger than what we’re doing today) is to place their own people in a country that would control the conquered peoples government.  But, they would let that government run itself.  So the In the case of Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin were still active, but they had to report to Pontius Pilate.  The Romans limited the scope of the subjugated countries activities. For example the Israelites were forbidden to carry out capital punishment.  This is one of the reason Jesus had to be seen by Pilate. The Jews wanted to crucify Him but they needed the permission of the Romans. By in large, the Romans wanted peace. They wanted this Pax Romana which they claimed to be implementing within their empire.

That’s the form of government they implemented and the first stage of this was the Roman Empire, what the Bible calls the “Fourth Empire” – the Empire of Imperialism.

Both Daniel passages make it clear that the Fourth Gentile Empire begins with the end of the Third Empire (Greek) and continues until Messiah comes to set up His Kingdom.  There is no break or gap in the imperialist form of government on the earth from the initiation of the Roman Empire until Christ returns.  Nowhere in Scripture is this stated.  This Roman Empire, this Fourth Empire, This Empire of Imperialism will go through five successive stages.  We need to study those to see where history fits in this exposition.

Five Stages of the 4th Empire – The Empire of Imperialism

Age of Imperialism – United Stage

The United Stage-Rome is the first stage of the Imperialist Form of government. The first stage or the United Stage started about 63 B.C and lasted until A.D. 364.  Rome had a long history going back into the 700s B.C. Rome was founded, perhaps by Romulus and Remus. It suffices to say, the empire began under Julius Caesar started in about 63 B.C. and lasted until about A.D. 364.  That was the First Stage, or the United Stage, of the Fourth Empire.

Age of Imperialism – Two-Division Stage

The second stage or the Empire of Imperialism was the Two Division Stage. This stage was foreseen by the Daniel chapter two visions in the Legs of Iron but not in the Daniel chapter seven visions.  It began in A.D. 364 when Emperor Valentinian divided the Roman Empire into an east and west division. There was an earlier division in AD 285, which did not last long. The emperor Constantine in AD 312-314 reunited the empire for a short period.  However the AD 364 division was permanent.  The Western Headquarters were in Rome and the Eastern Headquarters in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul, Turkey).

The first split came in AD 285 when the emperor Diocletian decided that the Roman empire had become too large to be efficiently ruled by one man. So he initiated a split of the empire into Western and Eastern branches, keeping the eastern part for himself because it was richer in goods and trade. For the western territory he appointed Maximian, who was subject to Diocletian.

A civil war broke out across both parts of the empire in 306. In 314, Constantine was the victor and reunited the Empire under a single ruler. The Emperor Constantine efforts to reunite the empire were accomplished through the Battle of the Milvian Bridge against Maxentius. He reportedly had a vision where he saw a cross in the sky and the Latin inscription, “With this sign you will conquer.”  He embraced Christianity and his men became Christians as well. The capitol he established was in in Constantinople, which is modern day Istanbul, Turkey in the eastern part.

Battle of Milvian Bridge by Giulio Romano 1520-24

Battle of Milvian Bridge by Giulio Romano 1520-24


In 337 Constantine died and civil war erupted between his three sons, who divided the empire into three different parts. Valentinian emerged as victor and single leader in 364. He immediately divided the empire again, giving the eastern half to his brother Valens. Succession rebellions in the west eventually forced the Eastern emperor Theodosius I to quell the rebellions and become a single ruler of a unified Roman empire again. He decreed Christianity to be the state religion, which effectively brought on the Dark Ages as the Church merged with the state. He was however the last emperor to rule both East and West. After his death in 395, his two sons inherited the East and West respectively. This was the final and permanent division of the Roman Empire. The Western half wouldn’t last long, finally falling in 476 with the sack of Rome. The Eastern half would exist another 1000 years, becoming known as the Byzantine empire.

 The Two legs of Nebuchadnezzar vision


Image by TheDivineTv http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=AA3qHi-rwvI

Image by TheDivineTv http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=AA3qHi-rwvI

The Eastern Leg

When Constantinople fell, the political rulers, scribes, and scholars fled north into Russia and infiltrated the government there, where they set up an imperialist form of government.  The rulers called themselves Czars, which is Russian for “Caesar.” Later Russia began calling itself the Third Roman Empire.

They started calling the rulers up there, Czars.  The word “Czar” in Russian just means “Caesar”, the same exact Roman word.  “Czar” and “Caesar” –means the same exact thing. That was the Eastern Division.  Russia even started calling itself the “Third Roman Empire.”   We know what happened in Russia.  The balance of power shifted.  It moved from the Russian czars into the Communists and ultimately into the Soviet block of countries.   The power then shifted from there after the quiet revolution they had, which was called Glasnost (listen) coupled with Perestroika (restructuring) . The power shifted again  back to Russia and to the CIS, the Commonwealth of Industrial States.   So the power transfer shifted, but it stayed within Eastern Block from Constantinople up into Russia. 1

There are more power transfers going on right now.  The country of Russia is in great turmoil.  It hasn’t lost its power; it hasn’t lost its military prowess; it hasn’t lost its world status.  It’s still extremely strong. An autocrat is now running it by the name of Vladimir Putin. He was the former head of the Soviet KGB. But the power is starting to shift into the Islamic entities.  They’re starting to get a great deal of power in the Eastern Sphere.  There will continue to be uncertainty in the leadership of the eastern power block.  It is difficult to predict the incremental stages of the development of the power transfers.

The Western Leg

The Western Division of power remained in Rome from 364 until 476 when Rome fell.  Now Rome fell and where did that controlling power go?   The people that had power and want power and understand it and know how to get it, are not going to let it go.  It’s not just going to dissipate.  Somebody’s going to grab it.  From there it shifted to France, especially the power gained by Charlemagne in A.D. 800.  He called his domain the Holy Roman Empire of the Frankish Nation.  In 962 Otto I of Germany defeated the Franks and set up the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.  The leaders called themselves Kaiser, which is German for “Caesar.” Since then, especially after World War I, the western balance of power has been centered in the democratic nations of the west.  So the Two-Division Stage, which began in A. D. 364, continues to this day and there may be some shifting yet to come before the east-west balance becomes the third stage. The Two Division Stage we have now is ultimately going to evolve into the One World Government.

Coronation of Charles V The Holy Roman Empire by Cornelius I Schut Cir. 1600

Coronation of Charles V The Holy Roman Empire by Cornelius I Schut Cir. 1600

       Future Allied Invasion of Israel

There will be a time yet future where the Russian and also the Muslim nations encircling Israel will ally to invade Israel.  The text of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 states, that

God causes the Jews to win the battle.  The Jews do not suffer any casualties but the invading Russian and Muslim nations all lose their political power on the world stage. This causes the Divided Stage to end and that gives way to the One World Government Stage.


Chart by Cathy Bateson

Chart by Cathy Bateson

The Ten-Division Stage.

The Ten-Division Stage was seen in both Daniel 2 with the ten toes and in Daniel 7 with the ten horns. This stage is clearly stated to come out of the One World Government Stage.  The Bible is silent as to why and exactly how the division occurs.  These ten kingdoms will cover the entire earth and not be limited to some specific continent such as Europe.  They will begin sometime before the Great Tribulation and continue into the middle of the Tribulation.

Some view the United Nations as being a possible precursor. Perhaps that is the genesis for the divisions. The Bible just states that the ten divisions is going to cover the entire earth.  Some even consider the Club of Rome’s recommendation that the world be divided up into ten administrative districts to avoid economic collapse.  The Club of Rome is a global think tank and center of worldly innovation and initiative. It is a futurist organization, comprised mostly of liberals that take the view that there isn’t any pre-ordained plan for the earth.

The Antichrist Stage

The Antichrist Stage is going to follow the Ten Kingdom Stage.  He is going to rise to power.  We don’t know how he rises to power, we are not given that. But Daniel chapter seven describes him as the eleventh horn that plucks out three of the previous ten. So somehow he is going to eliminate three of the ten kings.   We don’t know how he is going to do that either, but he does.  The other seven submit to his authority.   Once this submission occurs, he has total control of the world’s last Gentile Empire, which has its headquarters in Babylon.  He signs an agreement of some sort with the nation Israel that starts the timing of the Tribulation. That’s the fifth and final stage of Gentile Imperialism and that’s what the Bible speaks about in the book of Revelation.

The Dynamics of Power

Power Image Unknown Artist

Power Image Unknown Artist



















We have now looked at the dynamics of the shifting of power in human relationships.  We saw how this power over the world shifts from person to person and empire to empire, while at all times, God remains in control. He effects His will in a minimum of two characteristics; His Creative (also known as causative) Will and His Permissive Will.  He either causes things to happen or he lets things happen.  Because of the sin that came into the world, He allows it to continue. The Savior has come into the world, but only those that believe on Him are going to have salvation, and then only those that pay attention to what He says are going to minimize the problems we see upon the earth.

We can define power in the following ways:

  1. It’s a force that has an effect on human behavior.  In some way it causes human behavior to make a change from the status quo to another status quo.
  1. It’s abstract. We can’t see power.  We can’t see power in the mechanical or electronic world.  But, you can see the effects of power.  The same thing is true with power in the social economic world.  You can’t see power.  You can see people who have stations in life that appear to have power – people with lots of money, people who have high ranking government jobs, and people in large corporations with high ranking positions.   They appear to have high-ranking power.   Then there are other people who appear to have power within those organizations that can affect the behavior of the decision maker and they have power too.
  1. It’s temporary.  Nobody keeps power forever – any kind of power.  Nobody keeps it.  It’s almost an illusion.  You’ve got it for a little while and it goes away.
  1. It has many spheres.  There are all kinds of different powers.  One form form is economic power.  The person that has a lot of money or is well supported can buy lots of armaments, can engineer wars, and build huge buildings.  They can make a positive or negative effect on the economy.  There is a lot of power in particular political situations.  Heads of state have a lot of political power, so do heads of corporations.  So, organizational power is one of the spheres of economic powers. Another one is military power.  He that controls the Army, throughout history, has had a lot of power to change things for his or her needs.
  1. It gets transmitted in various ways.  Power is transmitted in a variety of ways.  It is transmitted by means of war, by means of election, or by means of somebody giving it to somebody else.  It’s not always the apparent individual in an organization or geopolitical government that has the power.  They may be the one who sits just outside the office of the President.  The Secretary that controls access to the CEO in a large corporation, she or he has a tremendous amount of power or control over who gets access to the president.  The people that want to see the president know that. So power is abstract it’s temporary.  It’s comes in all kinds of forms, transmitted in a variety of ways

God is the supreme power and always-in complete control of everything. You see the chaos in the world, you see the wars going on, you see sin that’s abounded, and you see heresies and everything that’s happening.  We have to constantly remember that God is in complete control.  The Scriptures are true and faithful.

They won’t lead us astray.


Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.


Next Post in this series: The Dynamics of Empire Collapse.

1. Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Footsteps of the Messiah Ariel Ministries San Antonio, TX 1982 pg 34

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Biblical Chronology Part I

Biblical Chronology Part I


For the serious student of the Bible carefully reading it without any theological bias the natural chronology inherent in the Scriptures becomes obvious. For example the first book, Genesis begins with the creation account and the last book, Revelation ends with the establishment of the eternal order on the earth as it is now in Heaven.

The Hebrew Tenach also known as the Old Testament to the Christian has eleven chronological books advancing the narrative of God’s outworking plan for the earth. They are Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, Ezra and finally Nehemiah. The Jews organize the books differently than the Christian but they all appear in both traditions. All the other books of the Tenach are either expansions or digressions of and around the narrative chronology advanced within the primary eleven books.

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