The prevailing winds of conventional beliefs prop up floundering hopes even when events disappoint and no amount of time or gruesome casualty count proves daunting to an idea that seems to be perfectly right and inherently logical. Such is the belief that the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy was obviously the Roman Empire. Almost no matter where one goes in the Christian world—and we are talking about a bustling social universe that is filled with nearly three billion people, who have every reason to disagree on many things, large or small—yet here, amazingly, there is a generally great likelihood that it will be agreed, as a matter of fact, that the Roman Empire, in Daniel 2, and 7, and Revelation 13, 17, 18, and 19 is what is intended from the pen of Daniel and the Apostle John.
How Christians understand the role of the Romans in eschatology may be up for debate: Some believe that role has already been fulfilled; others believe that role is being fulfilled through the guise of the Roman Catholic Church and Western and European politics, and others maintain that the Roman Empire will literally be resurrected to act out a sinister role in the very closing days of world history before the inauguration of the millennial reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.
No matter which way you slice it, the Romans, in the eyes of many Christians of no matter what stripe, play a pivotal role and hold a significant place to permit what many believe to be a necessary explanatory value to huge swaths of apocalyptic Scriptures. And this is exactly where the systemic crisis in exploration, investigation, interpretation, and teaching can be identified and isolated: In fact, the role of the Romans and their civilization, their capital, and their military, their religious imperatives colliding with the qualms of Christians; their judgment, and their demise have to be superimposed on Old and New Testament prophecies and the real culprits and the genuine keys to Bible riddles and enigmas go abegging, while Roman theories either remain static or else continually evolve and are assumed to be too obvious and common sense to even warrant a defense or a reinvestigation, let alone a revision or outright repudiation!
Skeptical, cynical, and cautious people (call them prudent, if you want), are always ready to ask themselves, Am I being told the truth? Is this Jesus message true? Can I trust it? Is there a God and if there is one will he actually respond to my needs? Will he really come back? Is the end really finally near?
Indeed, there are a variety of reasons and motives to want to believe the end is near: Life can be difficult; it can be challenging, on a personal, professional, and worldly level: Natural disasters, pandemics, wars, and food shortages riddle the calendar of human history. The cares of this world, the soaring costs of living, stressors in society, and fears about what the future may bring haunt our thinking and inhabit our worst dreams. These are some of the many reasons many would be eager and more than welcoming for the end to come.
It does not help that the salvation message is built around and intertwined with the broken wheel doctrine that we are in the last days and the Second Coming is looming on the horizon. But, realistically, something “imminent” can only be impending for so long before the legitimacy of it comes into serious question or only those who never think to ask or question ever see the other side of the story. Indeed, everything supports the systemic Roman monkey wrench: The commentaries, Google, Bible prophecy sermons, books, Bible study charts, hearsay, lore, rumor, you name it! Sermon notes jump from legitimate history into the wild goose chase of the Roman Empire with adroit ease, not even realizing all the pain and suffering of a century of Jewish chaos, strife, bloodshed, and upheaval is directly attributable to this Satanic and deadly belief!
How many have been jaded by the promises of the flippant message that “End is Near!!!” or how many have marched away from Christianity in a huff when they perceived it to be an elaborate fairy tale fit for the gullible, the uninformed, and the historically illiterate? Recently I was watching a Youtube video in order to better understand the meaning, controversies, and intricacies of the cleansing of the sanctuary foretold by Gabriel in Daniel 8. Surprisingly, the lecture told me a whole lot of things that were instantly useful and I could see that the Pastor was working hard to convey and build interest, trust, and acceptance to those who sat in his audience.
With skill and ease, he explained why the 2,300 mornings and evenings were not a prophecy about a six-year-long abomination of desolation but about evenings and mornings that basically amounted to half that time in years. I was genuinely surprised and stunned! Still, he moved on from the days of the Maccabee restoration of the Second Temple and talked briefly about the significance of Hanukkah.
Now he and I were on familiar territory when, all of a sudden, he switched his script and got on about the horrible Romans and how world events are just now shaping up for Jesus to come back. I was like, “What!?!” He built a foundation of understanding and trust and now he was off and running about the Romans and, yes, Jesus is coming back to save us from the Anti-Christ who is “probably alive right now, as we speak.”
A palpable wave of fear, dread, and anticipation no doubt flooded over this man’s congregation as he had to chide them not to be too happy-go-lucky about the bad events that he insisted are now getting ready to swiftly overtake the world. I was truly dismayed because I could easily remember sitting in an audience and hearing these same kinds of things more than 50 years ago. I couldn’t help but think about skeptics and cynics who might be sitting in his audience listening to what was obviously a very skillful and persuasive presentation. They will slowly trust and then what? Will their trust be rewarded by an event that is in all likelihood more than 18 centuries behind us?
No effort shall succeed and no one should try to change the thinking of the whole world (least of all, the Christian world). We are, however, going to offer and present what is, upon some reflection and musing, truly amazing surprises I think could be called “curved balls” which were thrown at the Jewish world and they could have not expected what was coming by any stretch of their imaginations.
Not So Obvious Things About the Mighty Romans
Admittedly, the four kingdom timetable, introduced and explained, in Daniel 2:1-44 seems to have every reason on earth to recommend to itself that the major world kingdoms, in a litany, would be Babylon, Medeo-Persia, Greece, and the Romans. On the face of the situation, this makes perfect sense and it seems to this writer that a level of humility ought to exist to grant this as a fair enough assumption.
In antiquity, even the Jewish people, keen to interpret their own Scriptures to the best of their ability, saw the Roman Empire as the fourth kingdom as a no-brainer. From there to Daniel 7 it is not a great leap or any wonder that the fourth kingdom there, too, would be designated as “the Roman Empire.” After all, what would be the likelihood that God would describe Babylon, Medeo-Persia, and Greece as wild beasts and then turn around and exclude the Romans who were famous for their discipline and brutal war capabilities fairly early on, even during the Republican period when Judas the Maccabee was still fresh off the battlefield with the Seleucids and put himself and his brand new country in league with the Romans in order that they could hold onto their gains and continue to enjoy the fruits of their hard-won military labors?1
The idea of the Romans as the fourth kingdom, therefore, ultimately finds its germination point in what seems to be a perfectly logical fallacy that springs from assumptions about the meaning and purpose of the four kingdoms listed in Daniel chapters 2 and 7. But they say, “the devil is in the details,” and here this is especially true because there is a mystery of iniquity in Bible prophecy that can almost be called a curve ball, of sorts.
But before we deal with curve balls let us take a look at the unexpected . . .
Things Nobody Expected Were
Embedded into the Prophecies
A good way to run into trouble with the Bible, especially when dealing with New Testament interpretations of Old Testament promises—is to ignore the fact that hidden meanings (of great consequence) are there. For example, Isaiah 7:4, 9:6-7, and chapter 53 (the virgin birth of our Lord, his Deity, and his sacrificial death for the sins of mankind) are perfect examples of texts which could be seen and read plainly enough for the elders, scribes, and Rabbis but NOBODY actually could think or imagine that the God of the universe was going to reduce himself to a fetus, be born, grow up, do good things, be ruthlessly betrayed by his trustee for thirty piddling pieces of silver, arrested in a garden, forsaken by his disciples, denied three times by his confidante, falsely accused by witnesses, tried illegally in the middle of the night by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, be blindfolded, mocked, slapped and spit on, sentenced to the death penalty for his confession that he was the Son of man seen coming on the clouds in Daniel 7:13; delivered to Pontius Pilate who immediately sent him to Herod Antipas (who hoped to see some sign from him). Before Antipas our Lord was again mocked and sent back to Pontius Pilate, questioned, found ‘not guilty,’ mocked and rejected by the mob who preferred Barabbas, delivered to be scourged, crowned with a piercing crown of thorns and then crucified between to malefactors—who knew it!?
Yes, the prophecies are there, but again, who could actually wrap their brains around what, on the face of it seems absolutely and utterly preposterous? But now, after more than 19 centuries, who could guess (least of all the early Romans) that one-third of the world’s population is CHRISTIAN—after their ten efforts to stomp the mischievous and deadly “superstition” out!2
So there you have it! The logic and even the likelihood of who and what the fourth kingdom would turn out to be are met by mystery and the intervention of God and the strange, bizarre, and ironic reversal of roles must not and should not go unnoticed nor uncommented about in our decisions about the New Testament and what it really teaches, directly or by implication, about the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy.
A condemnation was coming and the first people of God, notoriously disobedient to the God of Israel even as he was bringing them out of the land of Egypt, kept up this contrariness even in the face of the most fantastic thing that could ever happen to a people: to be visited personally by their Creator whose feet was washed by their patriarch and matriarch.3
But they hated him, and why? The leaders and many nationalists hated Jesus’s guts for a variety of reasons. The first of these reasons was EXTREME DISLIKE because he said things they did not want to hear, claimed to be someone they believed he was not, or did things they believed violated their legalistic ideas about religion and conduct . . .
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their Law, They hated me without a cause”(John 15:18-25).
“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (Jno. 16:1-2).
The animous that was engendered and that was increasingly taking shape between Jesus and the leaders of the Jewish world during his earthly ministry was so great and overwhelming that, even when the soldiers came and reported to them what had happened on the first day of the week (that he had arisen and that a supernatural being had removed the stone from the face of the grave) THEY COULD CARE LESS!4
Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,
13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
14 And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.
15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. (Matt. 28:11-15)
And so, they paid them a large sum of money to lie about what they really saw and what really happened! And here is where the real germ of disbelief was planted and the generality of the citizenship of the Second Jewish Commonwealth was not going to be inclined to believe Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead when, in the first place, how common is it that someone who has been crucified and killed defies nature and gets up and walks away from his tomb alive and well? People would not tend to believe their goverment would lie about something as obvious as a crucified man could not have actually risen from the dead. And this is why a rational explanation (but a false one, nevertheless) was that the body was simply stolen to make it seem like this ‘deceiver’ Jesus really arose.
Now, it must not be forgotten that the majority of the first Christians were racially Jewish, Semitic, or else converts to Judaism who came originally from pagan and Godfearing backgrounds. Yet the majority of the civilization was either unwilling or unable to accept the Gospel due to its strangeness and the shadow cast over it by the leadership of Jesus’s enemies in the upper echelons of Jerusalem who either resented Jesus for flouting their traditions (the Pharisees and the Scribes, and Elders) or who staunchly held to their notions against spirits, angels, and the resurrection of the dead (the Sadducees). Jesus had other enemies, too: the radical Pharisees and Herodians who sought to trap him with questions about paying taxes to the Romans (Mark 12:13-17).
The dynamics of opposition and hatred against Jesus naturally play out in such a way that Gentiles would come into direct contact and end up accepting what the majority in Judæa and the Diaspora loathed . . .
But Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me” (Romans 10:20).
“But to Israel he says: “All day long I have stretched out My hands To a disobedient and contrary people” (Ro. 10:21).
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
The late Second Temple world was bent on denying the new day that was dawning upon it through the agency of none other than Jesus Christ—and this was going to mean tangible trouble—and that trouble was going to configure itself into a certain identifiable shape. But before we talk about what that shape looked like, let’s talk about the many curved balls the God of Israel hurled at his people, to their chagrin, and to their dismay.
God Threw Curved Balls at First Century Judæa
First, the New Testament goes so far as to both posit the utter distastefulness the Jews felt about any minutest suggestion that their famously beautiful Second Temple would or could be destroyed to directly insinuate that their own hands would cheerfully do it!5 6
The destruction of the Second Temple was a curved ball, but why? It must not be forgotten that the tabernacle/Temple, in one form or another, was a feature introduced into that civilization’s psyche even as they were at the foot of Mt. Sinai, during the forty years wilderness sojourn, maintained through the times of the Judges as well as the Kings. It was made more grand and real under Solomon and reiterated under Haggai, Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah. We are talking about fourteen centuries of almost continual care and concern about this and all nations, regardless, had their temples dedicated to their deities. Therefore, it is understandable that the Jews simply did not know how to think about sacerdotal theocracy or even theology without a Temple; they were flummoxed; they were bewildered; they were even furious at any suggestion that the Second Temple would or could cease to exist.
Second, that the Messiah could actually be God himself (Jno. 1:1-3, and 14; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:6-11) was a brazen and seemingly unacceptable curve ball that the Jews found difficult to stomach, even though Isaiah 7:4; 9:6 and Micah 5:1-2 furnished them clues in that direction. Efforts to repudiate and deny these claims make up a good part of the biography conflict between Jesus and his fellow Jews: John 8:37-59, John 10:22-39, and John 12:44-50.
Third, Jews and Israelites, each thought they were entitled to enter the kingdom of God because of their racial pedigree but were rudely awakened by what John the Baptist and Jesus had to say about that, “Many shall come from the east and west would sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, but the children of the kingdom would be cast into outer darkness where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28).7 They were not thrown out because they were Semites, but because they were either unwilling and unable to accept his person or receive his word.8
Fourth, Even the number of Semites who did become Christians was very few compared to the majority—Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved. (Ro. 9:27-28) Contrast the one hundred and forty-four thousand Semite Christians in the Church on the eve of the Destruction of Jerusalem with the number of Gentiles in the Church—which was a great multitude no man could number—and you can clearly see the imbalance, even though Jesus did all his mighty works within the territorial radius of first-century Judæa.9
Back in the 90s of the 20th century at a Sabbath service of a local Messianic congregation, the leader there said, in passing, that globally today there are over 800,000 Jewish people that belong to regular (not Messianic) Christian churches! In other words, after the fact of the end of the Jewish world, there are more Jewish people in the Christian church than in the first and second century when the environment in the Second Jewish Commonwealth made it extremely dangerous and even fatal to be a Christian for fear of Vehmic mob violence without so much as a proper trial!
Fifth, the termination and end of the Aaronic priesthood, because it was not instituted or guaranteed by an oath, was an extremely objectionable concept. The Christians were basically telling the Jewish people that because of Christ’s passion on the Cross of Calvary, the Temple and the animal sacrifices were no longer necessary!10 But when we look at one of the reasons why it would not persist (as spelled out in Heb. 7:21)—what a detail that was! However, Hebrews 6:16-20 argues for the superiority of the sacrifice of Jesus versus the blood of bulls and goats, which meant the Aaronic system had served its purpose and run its course. However, as could be expected, the Jewish people were not too happy to be told they were custodians of an inferior system!
Sixth, the idea that the Third Temple would not be built by men but by God himself was an unexpected, swift, and sure curve ball! More than that, the Third Temple would not even exist as a structure on earth or the Land of Israel but be “eternal in the heavens.” (Jno. 14:2-3; 2 Cor. 5:1-4; Heb. 11:10, 14-16; 13:14, and Rev. chapters 21 and 22)
Seventh, the kingdom of God would be taken away from the custody of the Aaronic priests and Pharisees and given to another nation:-
And in the days of these kings shall the God 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. (Dan. 2:44)
Now we have to reflect upon the above prophecy in the Tanakh and understand that no Jewish person or Israelite would have read that prophecy’s promise and thought, “Oh, nice! God is going to give the kingdom of God to someone else besides us.” Such an idea would have been totally incomprehensible to them! Furthermore, the same promise is somewhat reiterated in the seventh chapter of Daniel,
And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. (Dan. 7:27)
It was simply natural that any Jewish Bible student would read Daniel 2 and 7 and interpret it to mean simply a reiteration of God’s dealings with Judah and Israel on more or less the same terms he had dealt with them since their Exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Not so! This curved ball overlaps with points two and three and was simply unacceptable to Jewish categories of expectations or thinking in the late Second Jewish Commonwealth. This idea of a new people of God, is articulated in Matthew 21:31-43; Romans 4:14; 9:22-26 and Galatians 4:21-31. But this was a horrendous and upsetting possibility, and undeniably blasphemous in the eyes of unconvinced traditionalists in the late Second Jewish Commonwealth and we may say even today!
THE JEWS SOUGHT TO SURVIVE AND PREVAIL BY
THE ONLY CATEGORY OF THINKING THAT THEY KNEW
ABOUT AND THIS REQUIRED THEM TO REBEL AND FIGHT
FOR THEIR IDEALS AND FOR FREEDOM
Eighth, very few have noticed or recognized that everything said about the Sea Beast in Daniel 7:7-27 came to explosive fruition in the Jewish nationalist and moderate efforts to either realize or else disavow and save the city from those dangers the leaders knew would cause the city to be no more—and this is in the Book of Revelation and spelled out in crystal clear terms in Josephus’s Wars of the Jews. Ambitions against the claims of the Christians, on one hand, and freedom from the rule and might of the Romans (or renegotiated terms of submission, in the case of the Jerusalem Aristocracy), on the other hand, conspired to drive the Jews into narrow and treacherous options they thought would secure them their ideological goals, so they HAD to fight; they HAD to destroy; they HAD to forcefully try to SEIZE and take what they thought belonged only to them:-
I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 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, and he shall subdue three kings.
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” (Dan. 7:21-26 cf. Rev. 13:1-19:21).
Why would the Jewish people resent and oppress, and persecute the Jewish Christians in the first place? In a word, Jesus was not God but was empowered by Beelzebub (they thought), he died a shameful death on a Roman cross justly (they believed); he did not rise from the dead on the third day morning, but his disciples came and stole the body (they were told by the rulers of Jerusalem). Naturally, anger, resentment, and violence inevitably spilled over, and, bingo! Jewish persecution against the nascent Church exploded into reality and intensified even as the civil war and revolt against the Romans took upon itself a definite and concrete shape.
The result of these animosities and the push and pull of what became a bitter internecine civil war ended up with the hopefuls refusing to repent and uttering blasphemies against God himself. (Rev. 9:20-21 cf. 13:6; 16:10-11, and 16:21) The result of all this anger, frustration, pain and disappointment is spelled out in black and white in Revelation 17:13-17.11
Revival of the Roman Empire or
the Spector of ‘Neo-Maccabees’
Beating the Romans in a Contest?
One of the reasons certain Christians surmise that the Roman Empire will be revived is a statement John made in Revelation 17:8, and 11 that talks about a beast that “was and is not and yet is.” This (many believe) is supposed to be interpreted as the Roman Empire. But is there a better fit? The beast that was but is not yet is turned out to be the reification of the bygone Hasmonean State put into motion on the eve of the Destruction of Jerusalem when the Romans were ambushed at Masada in A.D.66, and when Menahem came to Jerusalem with a train behind him as the new Messiah, they entered the city and boldly attacked and overcame the Romans at the Antonia.
When Cestius was called down from Syria to quell the violence he was unexpectedly driven down into the Beth Horon Pass and mauled to death on the 8th of Marcheshvan in A.D.66 that, in and of itself was a powerful symbolic signal that the Zealots were the “ Neo-Maccabees” and would surely win this war. Within a matter of about four weeks, the Jews were able to clear Jerusalem of all Romans to a man.
However, at that stage, the mystery fourth kingdom that everyone thought and taught was one certain thing that was revealed to be other than the Romans, and what it looked like and acted like was not very pretty at all!12
The next forty-two months became something out of a nightmare and the prophecies of what would be done found themselves being fulfilled by the very people who fancied themselves to be doing the greatest good for the cause of the freedom of Jerusalem and for the salvation of the people of Israel. The shape of their leadership, the number of their rulers, the crimes they committed, and the sinister steps that they took, all fell completely in line with what the Bible already said the fourth beast would do before having its dominion taken away and its body given to the burning flames—but this was surely not the fate of the Roman Empire! The Roman Empire only became the unsuspecting agent through which God secured that result against those eager to take the promised kingdom of God by force of arms and by occult and supernatural shenanigans.13
The First Great War Was a Devastating
Loss But All Hope Was Not Gone
After such a monumental failure one would think that the Jews would think twice about what to do next or else reflect on the implications of what really happened in the A.D.66-70 imbroglio—after all, 98,000 people from that war survived to be taken into captivity. And even more than that never set foot into the war arena, but stood on the sidelines and observed what played out. Now, as far as the Jews were concerned, hope for the near future was not forgone because, Ezekiel’s prophecies about the devastating destruction of the Gentiles, in Ezekiel chapters 38-39 basically GUARANTEED, that before all was said and done, Israel would be on top of the world and the undisputed victor.
This, however, was but another set-up where those who did not learn the first time get a second chance to learn the same painful and agonizing lesson twice: The Romans were not the fourth Kingdom and would not be defeated. And, furthermore, the ambition to obtain the kingdom of God through the same means and strategies the Hasmoneans were able to secure their liberty from the Seleucids WAS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ON THE SAME TERMS AT ALL. Everything the Jews did to try to mimic the modus operandi of the Hasmoneans failed and backfired to the point that, ultimately, a humiliating loss to the Romans loomed like an evil specter, even before the Second Great Revolt (A.K.A. the Bar Kokhba Rebellion or the Expeditio Judaica) was even over.14
In the end, Jewish ideologues and their civilization had made grave miscalculations and mistakes around assumptions about Bible prophecies, the Temple, atonement, the Messiah, the nature of the kingdom of God, and a whole litany of other crucial issues. Christianity, on the other hand, was the heir apparent who walked away from the catastrophe completely confirmed and intact and went on to almost immediately permeate the Roman Empire making it almost entirely Messianic—but in a fundamentally unexpected way than the people of the Second Jewish Commonwealth (or the Romans and even Christians themselves) would have never conceived in their wildest dreams!
However, the teachings that remain out of touch with what is actually happening in the biographical [Gospel] narratives and Acts, the epistles, and the Book of Revelation see, sadly and amazingly, the Church being terminated when, in fact, it is the world of the Second Temple and the synagogue that is coming to a close. And it, contrary to the story of the New Testament, sees the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood and all its trappings, to be instituted for a thousand years when, contrary to that, the actual millennium was a time of captivity, sedition, and great chaos in a continued struggle for the disillusioned Jews to right what they saw as wrongs, which they were unable, over the next seven decades to ultimately do.
To recap and underline the takeaways from this essay: The notion that the Roman Empire was the actual fourth kingdom that followed Seleucid sovereignty is completely and totally false. Jewish victory on the battlefields and at the negotiation table secured the Hasmonean State as that fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy and no other political entity in the Jewish salvation history timeline can take that title away from them or change that fact. In other words, the rise of the initially glorious but soon very ruinous Hasmonean State is the real story of the fourth kingdom; this is also the story of the New Testament and Christianity and why the people of the ancient Jewish State considered New Testament Christians to be not only traitors to the nation’s causes but also people with disgusting and loathsome ideas on just about everything the Jewish people held to be near and dear.
Next, Jesus’s promised Parousia could not just fail to happen and not also completely damage the sure word of prophecy! As we explained in this essay, so many unexpected curve balls were thrown at Judæa that, as a society and as a civilization, they completely misunderstood, misjudged, and misconstrued what Jesus of Nazareth actually stood for and rejected him out of hand, and by doing so guaranteed misery, destruction, and eternal damnation as an unavoidable consequence of their actions and choices. It was our Lord’s Second Coming that actually orchestrated the events so that they would fall into the grove of failure and make all Jewish efforts to see success turn completely sour.
And this is the real reason why Christianity was successful and why, in all its many guises, is really the promised kingdom of God that mankind is presently enjoying as a tree with now more than 45,000 flourishing branches—which is no mistake at all! Only a sick tree has one branch. Only a dying tree has no branches at all but is only a trunk. There is no “monopoly” and there is no “problem.” Jesus did what he said he would do—all of it and the kingdom of God is doing what God knew it would do: Grow uncontrollably.
The Romans were not, are not, and will never be the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy, because it is a false idea but a true lie, and the claims of Futurists are not now (for the very first time) about to be proved correct.
Whenever we die, the new Jerusalem will be seen as it is ALREADY established as the only Third Temple as the Bible does not ascribe the building of this edifice to the hands of mere men. Nor will the end of our lives reveal that the Lord failed to honor the Parousia he swore with ‘verilys’ would happen before that generation passed away. In other words, there will be no inkling that God repeatedly failed to fulfill his word or that he was right when he was apparently wrong. Let God be true and every man a liar, said Paul, so that what? So that HE may be justified in his sayings, and so that HE may overcome when HE is judged (Ro.3:4).
No amount of wishful thinking, theorizing, sending money to Israel; buying goldmines to pay for red heifers and the costs of building a Third Temple, or haranguing the Knesset to push the State of Israel into a war is going to make prophecy rewind itself to get the result that insists on its own unbiblical themes and anti-Christian outcomes. Jesus did what he said he would do when he said he would do it and the door is shut and only he can open it. On the other hand, the door he opened for Christians no strongman, governmental authority, or religious principality, however powerful, can shut it, and such is the state of affairs for the new people of God both now and until the ages, of ages, world without end. (Eph. 3:21).
1 1 Macc. 8:1-30
2 See, e.g., The Romans and the Mischievous Religion of the Crucified God, Josh Provan.
3 Genesis 18:1-8, Abraham, Sarah, and presumably their servants lavished hospitality on God during his visit to discuss with Abraham what to do about Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the Plain.
4 We note, in defense of the testimony of the women who saw the angels and the soldiers who reported the same that the standard procedure in the Roman Empire was the death penalty in any case of dereliction of duty. Had the body of Jesus really been stolen ‘while they slept’ they would have been put to death without question (see what happened in Acts when an angel came in and let the Apostle Peter out of prison and the guards could not explain what happened to him, Acts 12:1-19). See, e.g., The Roman Guard| Evidence for the Resurrection.
5 Jesus, at his Sanhedrin trial, was confronted with accusations that he said the Second Temple would be destroyed. (Matt. 26:61-62)
6 So St. Stephen lost his life over a building they would trash, sully, and desecrate only three decades afterward! The irony of all this should not be lost on the reader!
7 John the Baptist was no less clear than Jesus that God could take stones and make them into his people, but without repentance, those who were the actual seed of Abraham would be cut down and thrown into the unquenchable fire - Matt. 3:3-12 cf. Rev. 20:12-15.
8 See Jno. 8:24.
9 Matt. 11:20-21 cf. Jno 15:24-25.
10 “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. ” Then said I,
“Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is
written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he,
“Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.”
He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Heb. 10:5-10)
11 Wars 4.9.11:573-12:577. See also Wars Book II, where the immediate construct of leadership for the war consists of ten generals, and Judæa is divided into seven regions for defense purposes. The leaders by name are, Joseph B. Gorion, Ananus the High Priest, Jesus B. Sapphias, Eleazar B. Ananus, Niger the Peraite, Joseph B. Simon, Manasseh, John the Essene, John B. Matthias, and  Josephus B. Matthias - Wars 2.20.3:562-568.
12 Once Jerusalem was securely under their power a mysterious wound (whose still undiscovered meaning somehow harks back to King Solomon) was inflicted upon the right hands or their foreheads and was implemented to signal allegiance to the defense of Jerusalem through mandatory conscription and to admission to strange rules of novel worship in the Second Temple; these included buying and selling (see, e.g. Rev. 13:18 cf. 1 Kings 10:14; 2 Chron. 9:13, and Matt. 21:12, cf. Wars 3.8.3:383).
13 2 Thess. 2:9-10 cf. Wars 6.5.2:286-287.
* In our triangulated chart above, clearly, a delayed Parousia won’t solve anything because in order to make it ‘work’ one has to deny what is obvious to the unsympathetic and the objective: One, clearly the terminus ad quem of the Parousia is the abomination of desolation of the Second Temple in the A.D.66-70 internecine sedition. The specifically designated generation also has to be denied and a different one is never assigned, Matthew 24:34 cf. Matthew 12:45. Two, the Romans end up actually destroying the abomination of desolation, and 243 years later, on 13 June A.D. 313, they legalized the Christians’ right to exist in the Roman Empire. Three, the New Testament never discusses, promises, or alludes to a Third Temple built by the hands of mankind, on the contrary, it always insists it is not made with hands but is an edifice whose builder and maker is God. (see, e.g., 2 Cor. 5:1; Heb. 9:11; 11:10, 16, and 13:14).