Please understand that these are only brief notes of a message preached on this subject.
The ancient symbol of Europa riding the bull (the woman riding the beast) goes way back into ancient mythology. Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ it appeared on the coins of Syria, Thrace, Crete and Greece.
During the reign of Agustus (27 BC - 14 AD) it appeared on Roman coins. This Agustus is the Caesar who called for a census in Luke ch.2. Again it appears on coins during the reign of Tiberius (14-37 AD) who is mentioned in Luke 3:1 under whose reign Christ ministered and was crucified.
In recent years Europa riding the bull has again appeared on the coins of Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Gibraltar, Germany and Finland as well as becoming the primary symbol of the European federal state. But now the latest advance is that the face of Europa will appear on all Euro bank notes as of May 2013.
When John wrote Revelation 17 this symbol was fresh and obvious in the minds of all. Please notice a few things we are told about the ten horns on the scarlet beast.
17:3, 7, “…a scarlet coloured beast…having seven heads and ten horns…”
v12, “…the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings…”
v12, “…have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” (v10, this beast a king who will reign a short time).
v13, “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”
v14, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them:”
A beast with ten horns:- This is also mentioned in Daniel (7:7-8, 19-21, 23-24), “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first…” (v24)
In ch.2 Daniel interprets a dream through a vision from God which is a statue representing four kingdoms; in ch.7 he has a dream which gives four different beasts to represent these four kingdoms. What is revealed in chapter 2 is expounded in greater detail in chapter 7. It is a revelation concerning for kingdoms stretching from Daniel's days until the physical return of Christ to earth. Both chapters emphasis the 4th kingdom – both give more detail concerning the 4th – in both the 4th kingdom is described as iron – and in both it comes to an end with the appearance of God’s everlasting kingdom. Let's look at these four kingdoms in order to understand what the forth kingdom is.
Dan.2:36-38; (7:4); “Thou art this head of gold.” -- There can be no doubt as to who the first kingdom and king is. In ch.7:17 we read that the four beasts are four kings but in v23 we are told that they are four kingdoms. The king is the symbol of empire—empire is embodied or represented by its king.
Nebuchadnezzar was the first king to conquer Jerusalem and take the people captive — 586 BC. [Each of these kingdoms rule over this region]. Daniel was taken captive at this time by Nebuchadnezzar as a very young man and taken to Babylon.
“The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings.” – Symbol of Babylon. Lion & Eagle - Jer. 4:7; 49:22
Dan.5:28 “…Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” This immediately and Biblically reveals which kingdom was to replace Babylonia.
Babylon was taken in 539 BC by Cyrus the Great—he is mentioned 24 times in the Bible. Writing almost 150 years earlier Isaiah the prophet speaks of him (44:28), that he will give the command to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, (45:1), and that God would subdue nations before him.
Cyrus was nephew of Darius the Mede and married his daughter. After Cyrus's capture of Babylon Darius the Mede reigned as the first king in Babylon over the Chaldeans. Throughout Daniel the Medes and Persians are revealed as one kingdom by name (5:28; 6:8, 12, 15; 8:20).
“And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh” (7:5). The three ribs are the three kingdoms conquered by Persia: i) Lydia in 546, ii) Babylon in 539, iii) Egypt in 525. These three nations formed a joint alliance against Medo-Persia.
Dan.11:1, during the reign of Darius the Mede it was revealed to Daniel concerning the future history of this kingdom and the rise of the next. “Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia" (v2). —after Darius stood up three other Persian Kings followed his reign, i) Cyrus, ii) Cambyses, iii) Darius I, iv) Xerxes I (Artaxerxes)—in 480 BC Xerxes led a great army against the Greeks in which Athens was burnt.
Dan.11:3-4, “…And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.”
In ch.8 Daniel has a vision which explains the change from the Medo-Persian Empire to the Grecian Empire. “I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him” 8:4 — “The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia” (8:20) — “…an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.”—The "he goat" then kills the "ram"—v21-22, “And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.” Alexander was the first king of the Grecian Empire.
2:39, “…and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.”—The third empire ends with the thighs indicating its rule over east and west—ch.7:6, “After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl, the beast had also four heads;”
In 8 years from Macedonia down into Africa and east into India Alexander moved with great speed—but did not crush the people. He conquered more than 11,000 miles of territory, from Greece to India. Alexander died on June 13, 323 B.C. still a young man.
Four Heads – after the sudden death of Alexander the Grecian Empire was devided into four between his four generals (Dan. 8:21-22). i) Egypt and Palestine ruled by Ptolemy, ii) North Syria ruled by Seleucus, iii) Macedonia and Thrace ruled by Cassander, iv) Asia Minor ruled by Lysimachus.
More is written about the fourth kingdom than the previous three put together. Three verses for three kingdoms then 21 verses for the fourth.
Dan.2:40-41, “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.”
In 63 BC Rome besieged Jerusalem and took it over. Augustus Caesar reigned from 27BC – 14 AD as the first emperor. Lk.2:1, “… there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” Rome reached its height by 117 AD.
Two legs – these two legs represent the division of the Roman Empire into East and West which began politically in the 3rd century and was finalised at the end of the 4th. Religiously it divided into East and West in the 11th century—In Rev.17 John was in awe that riding on the back of this mighty Roman Empire was a little lady. She manages to master this great beast—as we saw in Pt.1 this is without doubt the Roman Catholic Church. It is during her reign and only just before her destruction that the ten horns will appear.
The last stage of this Roman Empire just before Christ returns is revealed by the feet and the toes. We are told that this final stage of the kingdom was “divided” (2:41). It will not easily bind together. Two materials—iron and clay.
Dan.7:7-8, “…and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn…”
Pt.3—The Little Horn