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The Statue Dream In The Book Of Daniel


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Dear Admin or Mod, please feel free to delete this or move it if it's not in the right place. I wasn't sure where to place it, or even if it's ok to post this. The situation is very trivial I guess, but I'd like to address it. Though I'm no longer a Christian, a few years ago when the kids were grown and left home, I started attending the Baptist church again with my dear husband as it was too lonesome to see him going by himself (he is very dear to me!). This is the same Baptist church we had joined when we were newlyweds, so many years ago, and had attended for many years, but when I lost my faith I stayed away for a long long time.

 

At any rate, they have a new pastor who during the past several sermons, taken from the old testament "book of Daniel", has taught that "we are in the last days" because the legs/feet/toes of the statue represent the Roman Empire, and the Roman Empire has never ceased to exist, still exists today, and there have been "no other empires since the Roman Empire."

 

He's trying to turn the whole thing into an anti-Catholic rant of course (these southern Baptists are absolutely terrified of Catholics it seems).

 

In reply to my email asking him what is his definition of the word "empire" and what does he mean that the Roman Empire "has never ceased to exist and still exists today" he just a few minutes ago sent this reply, and I wanted to ask you guys, what would be an effective refutation of his claims? Certainly even a poor self-educated student of history as myself knows the Roman Empire ceased to exist long ago and since that time there have been other emires. But I would appreciate some advice and feedback re what to say, how to phrase my argument.

 

Keep in mind, that when I started attending church again a few years ago, my sincere intent was to behave myself :D and to be docile, silent, sheeplike and just ignore the crap while soaking up whatever goodness was to be found.

 

But this Roman Empire stuff -- coming as it does on the heels of the Obama-is-the-antichrist stuff of last year -- is just too tempting, and I want to make a civilized, intelligent attempt to talk some sense into this man. He has much influence over the local flock, and if he can be steered toward a rational rethinking of dogma, there is hope that several people also will follow.

 

Ok so here is his reply to my email today:

"1)By empire, I mean the complete sphere of Roman rule. If I remember, a definition of empire refers to a territory ruled over by an emperor--in this case--all the land governed by the Romans. 2) The Roman people did not cease to exist just because their power was diminished. If you consider the image (Dan. 2), the Roman empire did not cease to exist--it continued on until the end of time and was smashed by the Rock. Notice that the feet and toes are connected to the legs. To the very end of time the Roman empire continues. Today, It continues through the Catholic Church and will rise once again in the last days. I personally believe the Pope will be the false prophet."

 

 

 

Note: edited by Pope to be more polite

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I guess this person does not think Indian, Chinese, Persian and Japanese empires ever existed. What about the Mongol empire? If Ghengis Khan had run over Europe like his armies did the whole of central Asia, we probably wouldn't be discussing this topic. If the Khans and the Japanese and Chinese didn't have emperors in every sense of that word, I will eat my hat. What about Emperor Ashoka in India? The pastor needs to open a history book and learn about the world.

 

But to Baptists, its Rome, Rome, Rome. Their limited, blind view of the world. They believe the notes in their Scofield Reference Bibles. How very ignorant.

 

Ignorance is not bliss. I understand you need to go to this place for your husband, but IMO, it would be best if you could limit your exposure to people who are willfully ignorant and don't want to see the truth.

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And to add to the list, Spanish, Russian and British. Empires in every sense of the word, larger and more powerful than Rome ever was.

 

I was taught something similar as a Baptist. I'm a little foggy on it now, but they say the iron portion of the statue represented Rome, the copper Persia and the gold Babylon (because we all know Babylon was the most powerful force possible, much like iron chariots being stronger than God). Yeah and they try to say that either the Roman-Catholic Church (See it has the word Roman in it!) is the continuation of this and will be reformed as some sort of European Union that the Antichrist heads.

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And to add to the list, Spanish, Russian and British. Empires in every sense of the word, larger and more powerful than Rome ever was.

 

I've always wondered why the End Times spouters ALWAYS ignore the British Empire in particular. They would always say, "there is one empire yet to arise."

 

I remember asking about this once...can't remember if I asked a pastor or it was a Bible study group...and someone said, "Well, the British Empire wasn't a REAL empire. Not like the Roman or Babylonian or Persian Empires."

 

HUH???

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And to add to the list, Spanish, Russian and British. Empires in every sense of the word, larger and more powerful than Rome ever was.

 

Of course. After I finished my post I was thinking of many more empires. What about the Incas and Aztecs? There have been so many empires in recorded history.

 

This narrow refusal to see the facts, so typical of fundamentalism. Its the same as the evolution/creationism thing, and it just still gets to me.

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And to add to the list, Spanish, Russian and British. Empires in every sense of the word, larger and more powerful than Rome ever was.

 

I've always wondered why the End Times spouters ALWAYS ignore the British Empire in particular. They would always say, "there is one empire yet to arise."

 

I remember asking about this once...can't remember if I asked a pastor or it was a Bible study group...and someone said, "Well, the British Empire wasn't a REAL empire. Not like the Roman or Babylonian or Persian Empires."

 

HUH???

 

That's ridiculous, aside from fitting all common definitions of the word they actually called it the British Empire, Empress of India was one Victoria's titles and just loved saying the bloody word back then.

 

Deva said it, serious denial of facts and narrowing vision. Truth doesn't require this much work to see.

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According to Jack Van Impe, it's the "Revived Roman Empire" and it all started with Benelux in 1948...????

 

What also bothers me...Christian eschatologists are jumping on 2012 bandwagon and incorporating much of modern conspiracy theory into their collected worldview.

 

That is delusion for me, pure unadulterated delusion.

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What also bothers me...Christian eschatologists are jumping on 2012 bandwagon and incorporating much of modern conspiracy theory into their collected worldview.

 

Oh of course they are. They do it every time something like this comes along. Any opportunity to stand on their soapboxes and sell books, CD/tape sets, videos, etc. (that's what it's REALLY about - the money-making aspect).

 

It happened with Y2K, 9/11, the tsunami, The Davinci Code, etc.

 

Anything at all to spout their gaseous wastes and make a quick buck.

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This may be a little off track and I apologise. But I was thinking about this story of Nebachednezzer about a week ago and couldn't help but marvel how much like Neb, God is. "Worship me or I'll incinerate you". It's funny, Christians see this as a story of an evil bastard demanding worship and executing those that don't obey in a horrible way. Yet they can't see that their God is exactly the same.

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This may be a little off track and I apologise. But I was thinking about this story of Nebachednezzer about a week ago and couldn't help but marvel how much like Neb, God is. "Worship me or I'll incinerate you". It's funny, Christians see this as a story of an evil bastard demanding worship and executing those that don't obey in a horrible way. Yet they can't see that their God is exactly the same.

 

 

Excellent point!

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Truly appreciate all the feedback. Interesting stuff!

 

What is "the 2012 bandwagon"?

 

Ancient Mayan doomsday. A New Age group thing. Just Google "2012".

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Truly appreciate all the feedback. Interesting stuff!

 

What is "the 2012 bandwagon"?

 

What DevaLight said. It has been coming up more and more in conversations I have been having with people. It was cemented for me once I saw of the last shows by Jack Van Impe.

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Pope Flippant,

 

I think you should find a better preacher to go to. I have read the whole pope, or actually catholic church, antichrist propaganda and am not convinced of this, although it is interesting.

 

The prophecy is concerned with the land of Isreal, therefore the nations represented would be the babylonians, Persians, Greeks then finally the Romans who ruled during the Jesus period and essentially destroyed the state. I feel the best explanation of the feet would be that the it will be comprised at least, if not more, of the land that consisted of the roman empire that origanally conquered Isreal. My reasoning for this is because the feet are made of Iron, just as the legs were. I would expect there to be 10 rulers of this land mass which is represented by the ten toes and also the ten horns in Revalations. Although there have been many empires between then and now, there has not been an empire that controlled that land mass while the jews controlled Isreal. That is my interpretation of it anyway.

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What is "the 2012 bandwagon"?

They're probably referring to the end of the Mayan calendar. It ends in December in 2012 (IIRC), and according to legend it will be an apocalypse.

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This thread reminds me of the nutjob on another forum who I guess is a jewish christian of sorts, named Dani'El Ben Freeman. He claims to be a prophet and predicts that on or around June 4, 2009 San Francisco and L.A. will be rained down upon by heavenly fire....Right now he's in Israel joining the army to kick muslim ass. He's a dangerous and conceited, and probably where he belongs-in the insanity of the middle east.

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Although there have been many empires between then and now, there has not been an empire that controlled that land mass while the jews controlled Isreal. That is my interpretation of it anyway.

 

And your "interpretation" is ridiculous. For awhile, the Jews under Rome were allowed their own courts and religion and the Romans generally left them alone, but after the second Jewish revolt Rome officially came down hard and destroyed what little freedom the Jews had. The Jews had never "controlled" Israel in any world empire which included that piece of land, they merely had some freedoms. Indeed, going all the way back in history "Israel" was only very rarely an independent state, what we know call Israel was often a vassal or a province of a larger empire. Go back and learn some history (and no, what preacher says doesn't count as history).

 

And I must point out, Rome never fell or died, Rome is on our hearts (Classics major gush). But really, Rome never died.

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Although there have been many empires between then and now, there has not been an empire that controlled that land mass while the jews controlled Isreal. That is my interpretation of it anyway.

 

And your "interpretation" is ridiculous. For awhile, the Jews under Rome were allowed their own courts and religion and the Romans generally left them alone, but after the second Jewish revolt Rome officially came down hard and destroyed what little freedom the Jews had. The Jews had never "controlled" Israel in any world empire which included that piece of land, they merely had some freedoms. Indeed, going all the way back in history "Israel" was only very rarely an independent state, what we know call Israel was often a vassal or a province of a larger empire. Go back and learn some history (and no, what preacher says doesn't count as history).

 

And I must point out, Rome never fell or died, Rome is on our hearts (Classics major gush). But really, Rome never died.

 

 

Good point Trike. Hasn't America has been called the modern Rome?

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Although there have been many empires between then and now, there has not been an empire that controlled that land mass while the jews controlled Isreal. That is my interpretation of it anyway.

 

And your "interpretation" is ridiculous. For awhile, the Jews under Rome were allowed their own courts and religion and the Romans generally left them alone, but after the second Jewish revolt Rome officially came down hard and destroyed what little freedom the Jews had. The Jews had never "controlled" Israel in any world empire which included that piece of land, they merely had some freedoms. Indeed, going all the way back in history "Israel" was only very rarely an independent state, what we know call Israel was often a vassal or a province of a larger empire. Go back and learn some history (and no, what preacher says doesn't count as history).

 

And I must point out, Rome never fell or died, Rome is on our hearts (Classics major gush). But really, Rome never died.

 

 

Good point Trike. Hasn't America has been called the modern Rome?

 

I haven't heard that specific claim but it is interesting that in almost every movie about Rome or depicting Rome, "Rome" is always a stand in for America/the west (represented by the U.S). It's sometimes a way to make a point about politics (Spartacus) or social mores (Gladiator) or merely to just hold a mirror to culture in a more subtle and entertaining way. And Rome survives most prominently in our political structures and the french part of our language and in the popular imagination.

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Let's look at this dream:

32 As for this image, its head was made of the best gold, its breast and its arms were of silver, its middle and its sides were of brass, 33 Its legs of iron, its feet were in part of iron and in part of potter's earth. 34 While you were looking at it, a stone was cut out, but not by hands, and it gave the image a blow on its feet, which were of iron and earth, and they were broken in bits. 35 Then the iron and the earth, the brass and the silver and the gold, were smashed together, and became like the dust on the floors where grain is crushed in summer; and the wind took them away so that no sign of them was to be seen: and the stone which gave the image a blow became a great mountain, covering all the earth. 36 This is the dream; and we will make clear to the king the sense of it.

Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold.

Cyrus II takes Babylon ending their empire. The Persian empire reigns.

Alexander the Great follows with his Macedonian army "ruling all over the earth" ending Persian rule.

 

40 And the fourth kingdom will be strong as iron: because, as all things are broken and overcome by iron, so it will have the power of crushing and smashing down all the earth. 41 And as you saw the feet and toes, part of potter's work and part of iron, there will be a division in the kingdom; but there will be some of the strength of iron in it, because you saw the iron mixed with the potter's earth. 42 And as the toes of the feet were in part of iron and in part of earth, so part of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will readily be broken.

After Alexander's death his short lived empire breaks apart and the Hellenistic period begins (give or take a few years). It consists of a number of empires (4/5 major ones with the Seleucids grabbing the lions share of Alexander's old empire).

 

44 And in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will put up a kingdom which will never come to destruction, and its power will never be given into the hands of another people, and all these kingdoms will be broken and overcome by it, but it will keep its place for ever. 45 Because you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that by it the iron and the brass and the earth and the silver and the gold were broken to bits, a great God has given the king knowledge of what is to take place in the future: the dream is fixed, and its sense is certain.

Many, not all, of the Hellenistic powers met their end in some way by Rome in the 1st century BCE or before.

 

There are a couple problems with this vision. The vision at first states that the last empire (the "stone") turns into a great mountain that covers the whole earth after the "dust" of the others blow away never to be seen. Rome never does this. It never manages to conquer Parthia (which included the Persian empire). So Parthia is "dust" of Persia (and Babylon for that matter since Babylon the city is never Roman but Alexander possessed it and supposedly died there).

 

Later the vision simply says the last empire will keep its place forever. If this is referring to the "church" then this would mean the church formed "in the days of those kings" because that's when the kingdom is created. Rome is created (well, it rose to a power) during that time but not any church. Besides if it is the church, and the Catholic church specifically, then how is it that its "power" has been handed to all sorts of people (ie. Protestants)?

 

It's plausible the author did mean Rome when this portion of the text was written/redacted (1st/2nd century BCE) but it has nothing to do with any church. The author was simply mistaken about the final extent that Rome was going to be able to reach. Just like when "Daniel" predicts the wrong end for Antiochus IV but misses because Antiochus had other plans that ended up getting him killed (otherwise "Daniel" would have likely nailed it).

 

mwc

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You guys are the greatest! :goodjob: I really appreciate the info and ideas.

 

Ok here's what I ended up with and emailed this to the pastor earlier this afternoon. I've probably got some of the details mixed up but hopefully most of it's valid (my brain is a sieve and struggles to comprehend/organize data, blahblahblah) ...

 

 

"By empire, I mean the complete shere of Roman rule. If I remember, a definition of empire refers to a territory ruled over by an emperor--in this case--all the land governed by the Romans.

2) The Roman people did not cease to exist just because their power was diminished. If you consider the image (Dan. 2), the Roman empire did not cease to exist--it continued on until the end of time and was smashed by the Rock. Notice that the feet and toes are connected to the legs. To the very end of time the Roman empire continues. Today, It continues through the Catholic Church and will rise once again in the last days. I personally believe the Pope will be the false prophet.."

 

 

Hi Pastor. As you probably expected, I'm going to have to disagree with you about the whole Empire thing :)

 

The term "empire" in the context of these historical matters refers to political+military control over several countries by either an emperor or empress, a single family, or a group of associates. The control was exerted by a combination of military might and political power.

The Roman Empire's military might as well as its political power came to an end a long time ago.

The Roman Empire replaced the Roman Republic (which had been in power for about five hundred years) in 30 B.C., when Augustus (Gaius Octavius Thurinus, a great-nephew of Julius Caesar) took control of the armies of the Roman Republic.

Officially, the Roman Empire was split into Western and Eastern on March 1st, 293, by Emperor Diocletian.

http://www.roman-emperors.org/dioclet.htm

 

The Western Empire's capital was Rome, Italy -- and the Eastern Empire's capital was Constantinople (modern day Istanbul, Turkey).

The Western Roman empire came to an end on September 4, A.D. 476 when Romulus Augustulus was deposed and forced into retirement by Odoacer (also known as Odavacar)

http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n2/peop...n2/odoacer.html

 

And the Eastern Roman Empire (also known as the Byzantine Empire) came to an end in the year 1453, when the Ottomans destroyed it and set up their own empire a.k.a. the Ottoman Empire. (The Ottoman Empire was destroyed during World War I and was replaced by the Turkish Republic.)

The whole thing is really fascinating and a lot more complicated than I knew!

Making things even more confusing is something called The Holy Roman Empire -- a loosely organized European political establishment that had nothing whatsoever to do with The Roman Empire -- what happened was, in the year 962 one of the Popes sanctioned a German king (either Charlemagne or Otto the First) and attempted to give the king political credibility by making it seem as though he was the legitimate heir to the Roman Emperors. They were just trying to bring some political stability to the area, which was basically a bunch of warring tribes.

A famous quote by Voltaire -- "The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.” :)

The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved during the Napoleonic Wars of the 1800's.

To summarize -- the Roman Empire is not still in existence today. In fact it hasn't existed for a long time. It split into two parts in the year 293 -- the Western empire ceased to exist in the year 476, and the Eastern empire ceased to exist in the year 1453.

So, I have to (respectfully) disagree with what you said about the Roman Empire still existing today.

Of course there are still Romans -- because there's still a city called Rome. But there's no Roman Empire anymore.

Just like, there are still British people, but there's no British Empire anymore. The British Empire fizzled out during the 20th century. And, there are still descendants of the Mongols, but there's no Mongol Empire anymore. The Mongol Empire fractured and eventually dissolved in the 1300's, when the Ming Dynasty came into power.

Now, let's discuss what you say here about the Roman Catholic Church:

To the very end of time the Roman empire continues. Today, It continues through the Catholic Church and will rise once again in the last days. I personally believe the Pope will be the false prophet.

 

 

 

Ok, so we've already seen that the Roman empire did not continue -- the Roman Catholic Church continued of course, but these are two different things we're talking about.

The Empire was and is not the same thing as the Church. The Church is a powerful political entity in its own right, of course, but it's not the same thing as the Roman Empire and never was.

It just seems to me that the reason premillenial dispensationalists try to fit the Roman Catholic Church into "end times" theories is that they reject a literal translation and literal interpretation of Daniel and various other passages in the Bible, including stuff from the book of Revelation, as well as some comments by Paul and by Jesus himself.

Let's see. Ok, also you said during a recent Sunday evening sermon on something relating to the passage in Daniel, regarding the Empire theories -- you made the statement that the legs/toes/feet of the Daniel dream statue have to be the Roman Empire and that there have been "no other empires since the Roman Empire."

The facts of history contradict that theory.

We already mentioned the British Empire and the Mongol Empire. Here are some other empires that have existed since the Roman Empire (this is a partial list, and starts in the 400's A.D. since that's when the Western Roman Empire ceased to exist, and includes empires during and/or after 1453, when the Eastern Roman Empire ceased to exist).

Maya Empire

Ostrogoth Empire

Omayyid Empire

Viking Empire

Tang Dynasty

Chola Empire

Mixtec Empire

Ghana Empire

Songhai Empire

Soninke Empire

Yuan Dynasty

Aztec Empire

Inca Empire

Mughal Empire

Spanish Empire

Ming Dynasty

Portuguese Empire

Safavid Dynasty

Mali Empire

Tokugawa Shogunate

Manchu Empire

Austria-Hungary Empire

Napoleonic Empire

Soviet Empire (not the same thing as the Soviet Union)

 

 

Here's a different and probably better list) arranged alphabetically rather than chronologically:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_empires

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

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  • 2 weeks later...
You guys are the greatest! :goodjob: I really appreciate the info and ideas.

 

You forgot the United States Empire, The Third Reich AND the Bismark Empire of the late 1800s, The British Empire, The Christian Empire... how come only the bad guys are called empires?

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You guys are the greatest! :goodjob: I really appreciate the info and ideas.

 

You forgot the United States Empire, The Third Reich AND the Bismark Empire of the late 1800s, The British Empire, The Christian Empire... how come only the bad guys are called empires?

 

Oops, you didn't forget the British Empire... sorry. Nevermind.

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lol that's ok. And I forgot to post an update. The preacher didn't reply to the info :D In his sermon the following Sunday -- on the same chapter in the book of Daniel -- he didn't admit he had been wrong -- he just incorporated the new info, totally ignoring the stuff he had said in his previous sermons and instead of reaching the logical conclusions, he summed it all up by announcing:

1) the Western Roman Empire wasn't the real Roman Empire

2) the real Roman Empire was actually the Eastern Roman Empire

3) the real Roman Empire still exists because it's the same thing as the Roman Catholic Church

4) Therefore: the Pope is the false prophet and Obama is the antichrist and Rush Limbaugh is the voice of reason and sanity.

 

It all makes perfect sense :blink:

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1) the Western Roman Empire wasn't the real Roman Empire

Well, then tell him it was the "Real" Western Roman Empire.

 

2) the real Roman Empire was actually the Eastern Roman Empire

Or maybe it was the Real Eastern Roman Empire. :HaHa:

 

It's just word games, isn't it? What people call "real" is fluid and can be applied in so many ways. There's no "real" to anything when opinions are in the mix.

 

3) the real Roman Empire still exists because it's the same thing as the Roman Catholic Church

If Eastern and Western aren't the "real" this or that, then the RCC isn't the Real thing either. We could just as well say that the current RCC isn't the "Real" Roman Catholic Church. If the word "real" can be thrown by the Christians on whatever they like, hey, so can you. Btw, he probably isn't a pastor of a "Real Christian Church" anyway. ;)

 

4) Therefore: the Pope is the false prophet and Obama is the antichrist and Rush Limbaugh is the voice of reason and sanity.

:drink: The delusion runs deep in that pastor, doesn't it?

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