Bible prophecy has become irrelevant in the eyes of many today. Man believes that he already holds the answers to the future through science and human intellect. For this reason many view the Bible as just a book of old tales drummed up by bored old men who called themselves prophets, teachers, and apostles. Is this the case? Is the Bible just a book of old stories? Or does the Bible accurately predict what will happen in your lifetime and your children’s future?
Past prophecies have repeatedly proven the inspiration of the Bible. Not one has ever failed. The surety of prophecy provides a sense of stability in an otherwise unstable world. Prophecy makes the Bible come alive; it makes a person step back and say, “Wow, what I just saw on the ten o’clock news is right here in the Book of Revelation!” How could men thousands of years ago precisely write about the events we see unfolding today?
How did they know that Persia would fall to Greece, or that Jerusalem and the Mideast were going to dominate our daily news? How did they know thousands of years before that men would journey to outer space? The prophet Obadiah tells us just that! “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith Yahweh,” 1:4.
Were ancient predictions just extremely good guesses from active imaginations, or were they inspired from a Creator above? Why do many leading archaeologists today use the Bible to find hidden, ancient ruins? The Bible is not just a book of stories; it is a book of knowledge about man by the Maker of man. It’s a user’s manual for the human race, past, present and future.
One prophecy that is especially fascinating in light of today’s events is the Beast and the Ten Toes prophecies foretold by Daniel and in Revelation by John of Patmos. These shadowy figures will play a central role in end-time events.
Let’s begin by first examining the evidence for the Beast, also known as the Man of Sin or the Antimessiah (i.e., Antichrist). As we’ll find, this man will possess extraordinary power that will shake the very core of civilization.
One of the first references to the Beast is Daniel 8:23-25. It reads, “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”
Verse 23 is one of the most overlooked but critical end-time prophecies in the Word. The reference to “they” is the four generals who ruled the divided empire of Alexander the Great. They were: (1) Seleucus, who controlled Syria and Babylon, (2) Lysimachus, who ruled Asia Minor, (3) Ptolemy, who governed Egypt, and (4) Cassander, who maintained control over Macedonia and Greece. Alexander’s empire and later these four kingdoms never included Rome or northern Europe. Rome was insignificant at the time and the lands west of Greece never attracted Alexander’s attention.
Why is this important? According to Daniel’s prophecy, the Antimessiah will arise from the territory ruled by Alexander and passed on to his Seleucid generals. Many claim that the Antimessiah is the papacy. While there is more than one problem with this view, the greatest difficulty is found here.
We also see that this prophecy is for the latter days when the “transgressors will come to the full.” The word “transgressors” is from the Hebrew pasha and means, “…to break away (from just authority), i.e. trespass, apostatize, quarrel:–offend, rebel, revolt, transgress(-ion, -or)” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). This word refers to the coming of the Antimessiah who will break away or revolt from Yahweh’s authority and cause unparalleled offense.
Daniel also prophesies that the Antimessiah will have great insight into dark sentences. In the Hebrew, the phrase “dark sentences” refers to a puzzle or riddle. He will receive astonishing insights from Satan, the father of lies. It’s important to remember that in the beginning Satan was full of wisdom (Ez. 28:12). It is never wise to underestimate the Adversary!
Through this unholy Beast-Satan alliance, this Man of Sin will deceive the entire world and in the process wreak worldwide chaos and mayhem. The word “wonderfully” comes from the Hebrew pala, a primitive root, meaning, “to separate or distinguish.” This individual will be the greatest adversary of Yahweh this world has ever seen!
While Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin mercilessly murdered millions of Jews and others, the persecution from this man will be even greater and without historical equal. He will be empowered by the Evil One himself and will possess an arsenal that will destroy millions, including some believers. According to Revelation chapter 6, some will die as a testimony to their faith.
In addition to persecution, Daniel prophesied that the “Beast” would cause “craft” to prosper. This word is derived from the Hebrewmirmah and means, “subtle deception.” While we learn from Revelation that he will maintain his power through war, he also achieves authority peacefully through deception and fraud.
Once he achieves power he will make war with those who oppose him and exalt himself above all mighty ones, including Yahweh, the Father and Creator of the universe. However, at the end of his reign, he will be broken or destroyed without hands by the Prince of Princes, i.e., Yahshua the Messiah. Paul writes that the brightness or manifestation of the Messiah’s coming will consume this demon-driven person, 2Thessalonians 2:8.
Another sign that is connected with the Antimessiah is a seven-year covenant that he will establish with many nations. Daniel 9:27reads, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
“Week” here represents the seven years of the Tribulation. During this time, he will confirm or pledge to a covenant, i.e., a league or agreement with many nations. In the middle of this covenant he will sever the earlier agreement and exalt himself as dictator.
This power grab starts the three-and-a-half years of the Great Tribulation, as also found in Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 12:14. When this occurs, he will cause the sacrifices and oblations to cease or end.
This action hints at a startling possibility that the Man of Sin may impose a Hebraic form of worship, or system of worship resembling the Old Testament. This could explain the great falling away mentioned by the Apostle Paul in 2Thessalonians 2:3: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed the son of perdition….”
After he removes the sacrifices he will pollute the temple through an abomination of desolation. Yahshua warned of this idolatrous act in Matthew 24:15, “When ye therefore shall see THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand). Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.”
The Jews interpret this abomination as the action of Antiochus Epiphanes IV, when he desecrated the holy place by erecting a statue of Jupiter there and sacrificing swine on the temple altar. While this was likely fulfilled once by Antiochus, from Yahshua’s prophecy it is clear that it will be fulfilled once more under the reign of the Antimessiah, showing that this prophecy is dual in scope. Many prophecies have two fulfillments, one anciently and another future one.
Speculation of what this “abomination” is varies greatly. Some claim that it might represent the statue that the false prophet gives life to, as we find later in Revelation 13. Whatever it is, the placement of this abomination in the holy place of the rebuilt temple will usher in three-and-a-half years of the Great Tribulation.
Power by Flatteries
Daniel 11 describes how this Man of Sin will come to power and what form of worship he may initiate.
“And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time,” vv. 21-24.
This ulta-slick con artist will come to power without conflict and deftly employ flattery. The word “flatteries” is from the Hebrewchalaqlaqqah and means, “something very smooth; i.e. a treacherous spot; figuratively, blandishment” (Strong’s). As we saw in chapter eight of this prophecy, he will come not by force, but by smooth speech. Undoubtedly, this man will profess peace, but his intent will be war.
Once he obtains his tyrannical position he will break the covenant he made with the nations (9:27). Let us reread verse 23, “And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully.” This man’s rulership will be built upon fraud and pretense.
Verse 24 suggests the Antimessiah’s geographic location. It says that he shall come from the “fattest places of the province.” The word “fattest” comes from the Hebrew mashman. The primitive root of this word is shaman and means, “to shine, i.e. (by analogy) be (causatively, make) oily or gross” (Strong’s). Shaman has been interpreted as a place that is rich in oil or petroleum, perhaps corresponding to the oil-rich Middle East.
Prophecy says the Antimessiah will become strong with collusion of only a few, referring possibly to the 10-toe nations of Daniel’s image. Significantly, the Islamic religion started with one man, Mohammed, and a few who followed him. This once fledgling faith today is second only to Christianity in numbers, and the fastest growing religion in the world. Once the Man of Sin achieves power, he will then collect and redistribute the wealth of this world to his adherents. The NIV reads, “He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers,” verse 24. After all this he will seek to destroy all who oppose him.
Starting in verse 36 of Daniel 11 we find: “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every el, and shall speak marvelous things against the El of els, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.”
This man will usurp complete control over the world and will disregard and blaspheme all other mighty ones, including Almighty Yahweh. This will occur in the Great Tribulation when he removes the oblations and sacrifices and will intend to change times and laws, as found in Daniel 7:25. At this time, he will also begin persecuting the saints, the remnant of Yahweh.
We find a similar prophecy from the Apostle Paul in 2Thessalonians 2:4. It reads, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called Elohim, or that is worshiped; so that he as Elohim sitteth in the temple of Elohim, shewing himself that he is Elohim.” This evil individual will force all flesh to worship him as the only true elohim or deity. All those who fail to comply will be persecuted. This is why it is important that as believers we understand and watch as the prophetic trends unfold.
His Mideastern Heritage
In Daniel 11:37 we find an indication of this man’s genealogy: “Neither shall he regard the Elohim of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any eloah: for he shall magnify himself above all.” The phrase “Elohim of his fathers” occurs five additional times in Scripture (2Kings 21:22; 2Chron. 21:10; 28:25; 30:19; 33:12). In each of these examples, this phrase refers to Yahweh. If this passage follows the same trend, then the Antimessiah’s genealogy will be Hebraic.
Some have speculated that the Man of Sin will be half Israelite and half Arab. Because the Jews trace ancestry from the mother and the Arabs trace from the father, this interpretation is possible. This would not only satisfy this passage, but possibly provide an association that would unify the Middle East.
He shall not desire women, the prophecy says. This has been viewed many ways. Perhaps the most logical interpretation is that he will be celibate, as Yahshua the Messiah was during His Ministry. We also find once more that the Man of Sin will elevate himself above all mighty ones and cause the earth to worship him alone, except for one, as we’ll see next. In the end, his lust for power will be his undoing, as is common with those who desire such positions.
To achieve this goal, he will turn to a false mighty one. In verses 38-39 we find a description of this deity: “But in his estate shall he honour the eloah of forces: and an eloah whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange eloah, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.”
The word “eloah” is the singular of the Hebrew elohim and refers to a mighty one or deity. In this instance, it’s the mighty one of forces. “Forces” is from the Hebrew ma’owz and means, “a fortified place; figuratively, a defence:–force, fort(-ress), rock, strength(-en), (X most) strong (hold) (Strong’s). Explaining this deity has proven difficult for biblical scholars throughout history. One thing is for certain, however, it’s not the mighty one of his forefathers, a possible reference to Yahweh, the Elohim of the Hebrews. It is something vastly different and almost certainly connected with strength or with war.
Because this highly charismatic individual will exalt himself above all other mighty ones, it seems odd that he would worship any mighty one. According to the Companion Bible, while this man will exalt himself in public, he will worship this deity in private. This may explain the seeming contradiction.
We also find here that he will take land as he desires. It again says in verse 39, “…and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.” This may be a reference to the Ten Toes that will rule with the Antimessiah. As we’ll find later, these men will receive their power with the Antimessiah. This also corroborates that he will contain complete control and sovereignty over the earth.
The First Beast
Possibly the greatest prophecy regarding the Beast is found in Revelation. There we find detail that is missing in Daniel or other prophetic writings. Chapter 13 is dedicated to the Antimessiah and his False Prophet, which we will examine in due course.
Let’s begin in verse 1, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a Beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” The Beast rising from the sea here represents the Antimessiah. As we’ll see later, the sea represents nations and languages of this world. The heads and horns correspond to seven past and future kingdoms and ten kings, respectively. Both of these prophetic signs will be further described along with the Ten Toes.
For now, let’s continue with verse 2 as we begin to uncover the characteristics of the Beast and his global empire. “And the Beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
The leopard represents the third Beast in Daniel 7:6 or Alexander the Great and his kingdom, and refers to the swiftness of his conquest. By the age of 30 he controlled one of the largest empires known to man. His dominion stretched from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas. In like manner the Man of Sin will swiftly achieve global domination!
The bear is found in the second Beast of Daniel’s prophecy, representing the Persian Empire and refers to its strength. In the chronicles of history, Persia was the largest empire the earth had ever seen. It successfully conquered and overthrew the Median confederation and the ancient empire of Babylon. It was a kingdom of great power. Similarly, the Antimessiah will control this world with unparalleled strength.
The last image, the mouth of a lion, is also found in Daniel’s prophecy; however, this time it is associated with the first Beast, symbolizing Babylon. It was this same Babylon that conquered Assyria and later, Judah. As with its successors, this ancient empire was a formidable superpower. The lion here further expands upon the Antimessiah’s strength or boldness.
Through these three Beasts we find the unrivaled strength and power that this man will possess in the years ahead of us.
We also see once more that the dragon gave him his power. The dragon corresponds to Satan the devil. Even though this man will control the world, it will not be by his own strength or intellect, but through the power of the Evil One. This is a point that must not go unnoticed. It will be this unholy relationship that will cause all the earth to worship the Beast.
“And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the Beast: and they worshiped the Beast, saying, Who is like unto the Beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against Yahweh, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:4-8).
Unlike Daniel’s description of the Antimessiah, here John of Patmos prophesies that he will be a man of war. Daniel’s prophecy speaks to his rise of power, while we find here the method by which he will maintain power. This fact again rules out the popular notion that the Man of Sin corresponds to the papacy. The pope is not a man of war, but a religious figure. Such an interpretation counters our Father’s prophetic Word.
In addition to being a man of war, we find that the Man of Sin will speak blasphemies against Yahweh for forty-two months. This number equates to three-and-a-half years, the time of the Great Tribulation. It will be during this time that he will be in complete control of the world with no opposition. Verse 7 refers to “all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
The Second Beast
Starting with verse eleven, we find another Beast similar to the first: “And I beheld another Beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exercises all the power of the first Beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first Beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the Beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the Beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”
This second Beast represents the false prophet in league with the Antimessiah. This man is depicted by two lamb’s horns, possibly indicating his attempt to counterfeit the Messiah. He also speaks like a dragon, symbolizing the demonic influence of Satan. He is able to exercise all the power of the first Beast. Like the Antimessiah, the false prophet will be able to show great signs and wonders, such that cannot be explained by human logic or reasoning.
Through these signs many will be deceived and led astray. It’s for this reason that Yahshua’s first warning in His Olivet prophecy was, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Our Savior knew that the greatest danger to His saints during this latter time was deception. Because of these miracles all the earth will follow the first Beast. The purpose of the false prophet is to mislead the world into following the Antimessiah.
This man’s miracles will be like nothing seen before. To the shock of many, Scripture indicates that he will make a statue live and thereby “deceive them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the Beast.” He will “say to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the Beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the Beast, that the image of the Beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the Beast should be killed,” vv. 14-15.
Some claim that this statue will resemble Nebuchadnezzar’s image in Daniel and be used for the same purpose. Others say that it will be similar to the statue of Zeus (or known as Jupiter in Rome) that Antiochus placed in the holy place. Whatever the parallel, we find again that this man will perform a mind-boggling miracle that will deceive millions.
This miraculous image will be the catalyst leading the masses to worship the first Beast; those who refuse will be killed. While we are unsure of the details, we know that some will pay the ultimate price for refusing to compromise their beliefs. A great deal is at stake, and we must not neglect the Messiah’s warning about deception.
What is the Mark of the Beast?
We find another sign in this passage. In addition to the image, all those who worship the Beast will receive a mark. “And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the Beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the Beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six,” vv. 16-18.
Like the image of the Beast, the meaning of his mark has been debated for centuries. Here’s what we know. The word “mark” derives from the Greek charagma and means, “a scratch or etching, i.e. stamp (as a badge of servitude), or scupltured figure (statue)” (Strong’s). Some believe that this mark corresponds to a barcode or some type of permanent mark, while others hold that it means a computer microchip. While the latter seems to fulfill this prophecy, the truth is we can only offer conjecture as to the nature of this mark. Perhaps the future will reveal another meaningful interpretation.
The purpose behind this mark is more important than what it is. Without this special identification, a person will not be able to buy or sell. If we’re ever told that we must receive a mark, whether it is a barcode, microchip, or something completely different, on our hand or forehead, we should proceed with extreme caution.
Imagine not being able to buy food for your family or being unable to purchase life-saving medication for your child. In this scenario, what would you do? Would you sacrifice your faith and agree to the mark to feed your children? This is a very real scenario that we may find ourselves up against in the near future. If this day comes upon us, how will we respond? In the Great Tribulation sacrifice will be required. In those times it is incumbent upon the elect to remain faithful without compromise!
In addition to the Antimessiah and his False Prophet, we find another critical prophecy involving Ten Toes. These shadowy figures are found in Daniel, Revelation, and Psalms. The Ten Toes will play a pivotal role with the Man of Sin at the end of this age.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Revealing Dream
Before delving into this prophecy, it’s important that we first take a step back. In Daniel chapter 2, the prophet provides insight into Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, through Daniel’s ability to interpret dreams.
“Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is an Elah in heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that reveals secrets makes known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou might know the thoughts of thy heart,” vv. 27-30.
In Daniel’s explanation to King Nebuchadnezzar, he affirms that the interpretation of dreams is not through man’s knowledge, but through the inspiration of Almighty Yahweh. This is a key point, as it reveals the source of wisdom and understanding and the basis of biblical prophecy.
Starting in verse 31, Daniel recounts the king’s dream; “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth,” vv. 31-35.
The king had not told the dream to Daniel. Instead, Daniel provided the dream accurately as well as its interpretation. This further illustrates the miraculous work and the omniscience of Yahweh, our Father in heaven.
Many have wondered what this image represents. As is the case with many prophecies, our Father’s Word itself provides the interpretation. “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the Elah of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the Beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the Elah of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great Elah hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
Daniel says that the head of gold represents Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon. The second kingdom, which is represented by the arms of silver, symbolizes Medo-Persia. This second kingdom was inferior to the first. The Persian Empire was three times the size of its predecessor. How then was this kingdom inferior to Babylon? This may be referring to internal conflicts within the Persian Empire or possibly to the weakness of its leaders.
As depicted by the two arms, the Persian Empire was made up of two separate peoples, the Medes and the Persians. This is why scholars refer to this empire as “Medo-Persia.” Even though the Persians were able to absorb the Medes into their empire, they were unable to completely attain the same unity found in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar.
The third Beast, represented by the belly and thighs of brass, refers to Greece. This third Beast seems to symbolize both unity and division through the symbolic belly and two thighs. Under Alexander the Great, Greece had one ruler renowned for his resilient leadership. After his death, however, his kingdom was divided among his four generals and it never experienced the same strength and unity.
The Legs of Iron
The fourth Beast with its two legs of iron is one of the most well-known kingdoms in the history of mankind. It is the Roman Empire, which incredibly ruled much of the world for 500 years. The iron symbolizes the strength of this kingdom, while the legs represent the eastern (also known as the Byzantine) empire with its capital at Constantinople and the western division of the empire with its capital at Rome. The Byzantine Empire at its peak controlled parts of southeastern Europe, southwestern Asia, the northeast corner of Africa, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, eastern Libya and Turkey. Constantinople was established by Constantine, from whom the name is derived, as the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 CE and is now Istanbul, Turkey. This grand empire would exist for 1,000 years until its overthrow by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 CE.
While many prophetic interpretations focus exclusively on Rome, it is more likely that the metal man prophecy is associated with the Byzantine Empire. Interestingly, we find that the feet of this image are made of both iron and clay and specifically Ten Toes. What do these toes signify? Many who study end-time prophecy have proposed that they correspond to 10 historic kings of the Eastern Roman Empire; others tie them to members of the European Union (EU).
As we’ll find in Revelation, these kings will coexist at the end of the age. Regarding the EU, there are currently twenty-seven member states that constitute this international organization. Based on this fact alone, such an interpretation seems to also defy Scripture.
As we read from Daniel 2:41, the clay and iron symbolize both division and strength. They somewhat cohere but at the same time are divided, just as iron and clay do not adhere well. Strength comes through the iron, weakness is in the clay.
What group of people is strong and unified yet divided? One possibility is that these Ten Toes represent 10 Arab or Middle Eastern nations, including the descendants of Ishmael (it should be noted that the Iranian people are descendants of Persia and are not considered Arabic). They are unified through their religion but have difficulty uniting politically. Prophetically we find that Ishmael and his ancestry, the Arabs, would be fractured: “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Gen. 16:12).
The Ten Kings Identified
The first passage providing evidence associating these toes to 10 Middle Eastern nations is Psalm 83:3-8. We read, “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot.”
According to some scholars and historians, this prophecy has never been fulfilled. For example, we find this acknowledgement from the HarperCollins Study Bible: “There is no particular historical moment with which such a grouping of nations against Israel can be associated.” The Wycliffe Bible Commentary agrees, “The occasion cannot be identified with certainty, because at no period in Israel’s history has such a confederation of nations existed.”
Interestingly, we find ten specific nations mentioned in this passage, which were all anciently located in the Middle East. According to author Walid Shoebat in his book, God’s War on Terror, these nations represent:
- Edom – Southern Jordan and Saudi Arabia
- Ishmaelites and Hagarenes – Arabs (Hagarenes, also identified as Egypt)
- Gebal – Lebanon
- Ammon – Northern Jordan
- Amalek – southwest of the Dead Sea (also indentified as the Sinai Peninsula)
- Philistines – Gaza
- Tyre – Lebanon
- Assur – Syria, Iraq, and Turkey
- Children of Lot – Jordan
From this passage we see that these ten will make a pact. According to The Pulpit Commentary, the phrase, “They are confederate against thee,” literally means that they “have entered into a covenant against thee.” Now keep in mind the purpose of this alliance. It is to remove Israel from being a nation. How often have we heard calls for Israel’s destruction from Arab and Middle Eastern leaders? Below is a partial list of the many calls for Israel’s obliteration from recent leaders.
- “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel” (Former PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat, 1993).
- “Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence” (Article 12 of the Fatah Constitution, 1998).
- “If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel” (Former Iranian President, Hashemi Rafsanani, 2001).
- “I declared that we will not recognize Israel which is an alien entity in the region. And we expect the demise of this cancer soon” (Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, Muhammad Mehdi Akef, 2005).
This same desire for Israel’s annihilation, as found in Psalm 83, is well documented and should not be a surprise to anyone—the hatred for Israel is undeniable. If they could eliminate Israel as a nation, they would!
Biblical prophecy almost exclusively centers on the Middle East. This is true for the Ten Toes prophecy of Daniel as well as for the prophecies of our Savior. For example, Yahshua in Matthew 24:15-16 stated, “When ye therefore shall see THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:”
Those specifically in “Judea” were to flee upon seeing the Abomination of Desolation. This image is connected to the Antimessiah and by association, the Ten Toes. To have a proper understanding of eschatology we must grasp this key point.
Sea, Seven Heads, and Mountains
Prophecy states that this despot will persecute the saints (Dan. 8:24), blaspheme Yahweh (Rev. 13:6), resist Yahshua’s coming and oppose all those who are called a mighty one (Dan. 11:36-37; 2Thess. 2:1-9).
According to Revelation 17:15, the image of a sea in Revelation 13 symbolizes “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Therefore, the sea here represents the Antimessiah’s vast empire, which will include people of different ethnic groups, nations and languages.
The seven heads represent seven past and future kingdoms from which this man’s empire will rise. This interpretation can be verified from Revelation 17:9-10: “…The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.”
The word “mountain” represents a kingdom. At the time of this prophecy, five of these kings or kingdoms were fallen. This may refer to Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. In reference to “and one is,” undoubtedly is Rome. This last kingdom likely comes from one of the previous ones. Based on the geography of the Grecian empire, from which the Antimessiah will arise (Dan. 8:23), and the many references to Babylon in Revelation (14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2), this last kingdom likely refers to Babylon, whose location was the modern country of Iraq.
Interpreting the Ten Horns
In addition to the seven heads, we also find ten horns. These ten horns correspond to the Ten Toes of Daniel. In Revelation 17:12-13we find the Bible’s interpretation: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the Beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast.”
These horns denote 10 kings that will rule with the Antimessiah. Notice that these kings have received no kingdom as of yet, but will with the Beast, i.e., the Antimessiah. From this prophecy it’s possible that the territory that these men will receive has not yet been established. We also see here the purpose and intent of these 10 kings. They will be united and will give their power and strength to the Antimessiah.
The word “power” comes from the Greek dynamis, meaning, “might or force,” while the word “strength” is derived from the Greekexousia, and refers to “force, authority, or delegated influence.”
It’s interesting that the Greek word for “power” means “delegated authority,” and the text indicates that their power is provided by the Antimessiah. From this we discover that the Ten Toes of Daniel likely represent ten vassal kings of Arab or Middle Eastern descent, which will give their allegiance and support to the Man of Sin, who will likely also be of Middle Eastern descent.
These despots will enslave the world to the Antimessiah. Those who defy them will be put to death. We read in Revelation 20:4, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Yahshua, and for the word of Yahweh, and which had not worshipped the Beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Messiah a thousand years.”
Notice here that the saints will be beheaded for not worshiping the Beast and his image. While not exclusive to a specific ethnic group or religion, beheading is common among Islamic extremists. This is one more indication that the Man of Sin along with his ten toed confederacy will arise from the Middle East.
It’s remarkable how the Bible not only interprets the identity and purpose of the Ten Toes, but also how this prophecy follows current events. The actions of today’s Islamic terrorists are likely a shadow of what is to come in the future.
We find yet one more prophecy in Revelation 17:16 that involves the Ten Toes: “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the Beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” The kings of the earth will commit fornication and will burn the whore with fire.
From Revelation 18:3, some speculate that this whore represents America, “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
The word “fornication” here is from the Greek porneuo and means, “to act the harlot, i.e. (literally) indulge unlawful lust (of either sex), or (figuratively) practise idolatry” (Strong’s). As found here this word can denote idolatry, which is any worship that is not of Yahweh. This is likely the guilt spoken of by porneuo. It is possible that this “fornication” refers to America’s trend of evolving into a melting pot of diverse religions, including the promotion of secularism.
Possibly the greatest indication here of this referring to the United States is the statement, “…and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” America was once an industrial nation; however, in the last several decades its trend to import goods has sharply increased over the producing of goods. This greed has made the nations of this world rich, including China. According to the U.S.-China Business Council, in 2011 U.S. exports to China were 103.9 billion. However, U.S. imports from China were 399.9 billion, a 9.4% increase from the previous year.
The parallels between this mysterious “woman” and America are fascinating. If this is indeed the case, today’s animosity between the Ten Toes nations, representing ten Arab nations, and the United States may very well be a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The hostility toward America by today’s Middle Eastern nations is well known and documented, including the many anti-American demonstrations in 2012 in countries like Egypt and Libya, where Christopher Stevens, U.S. diplomat to Libya, and three other Americans were ruthlessly murdered. Regardless of the identity of this woman, we find that these ten kings will play a pivotal role in end-time prophecy.
Understanding end-time prophecy is one thing, but what are we to do with this knowledge? Are we to use it simply to impress our fellow believers, or is prophecy for a greater purpose? Our Father in heaven tells us that understanding of prophecy is for a reason.
In Hebrews 10:22-25 we read, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
As Yahshua’s return draws closer, we are to prepare our minds and hearts for Almighty Yahweh, our Father in heaven. This is the calling of all believers. We must mold our lives to the example of Yahshua the Messiah, our Savior and soon-coming King. This includes obeying His commandments.
He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments…He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him,” John 14:15, 21.
Further we read, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked,”1John 2:3-6.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city,” Revelation 22:14.
Yahweh in heaven is calling out a special people unto Him. Those who respond will receive treasures beyond anything this transitory life can offer. Yahshua in Matthew 6:19-21, stated, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Where is your treasure? Is it in material belongings, earthly goals, aimless hobbies, endless entertainment or in the Kingdom to come? Our Father promises incomparable peace, happiness, and fulfillment in the life to come. All we must do is respond, repent and live according to His instruction. Don’t ignore this call! It’s never too late to repent. Commit your life now to Him and experience unparalleled fulfillment in this life, and more importantly, in the life to come!