For over 100 years the world has been changing fast. Long gone is the time when much of the world’s map was coloured red, showing the vast extent of the British empire. In its place new, independent countries have been born. Empires no longer ‘rule the world’ in the way they did in the past.
But the process of ‘disintegration’ is common to countries as well as empires. Each decade seems to bring the birth of newly independent regions, formed from the breakup of larger countries.
So, whatever the outcome of the referendum today about Scottish independence, the process is not new. It started with the decline and fall of the Roman empire and still continues to this day.
No fifth world empire governing Israel
We read in the Bible that when the prophet Daniel was asked to interpret a dream seen by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, Daniel correctly predicted that there would be a succession of empires over the land of Israel. That is exactly what has happened!
Daniel was living in Babylon when God gave him the meaning of the king’s dream, who has seen a large statue made up of different, metal pieces. God showed Daniel that when the Babylonian empire declined it would replaced by three more empires. The first was the Medo-Persian empire, which in turn would be replaced by the Greek and then the Roman empires. Daniel was also shown that there would not be another similar world empire after Rome.
History confirms what Daniel told the king. Since the Roman empire collapsed the Arabs and Turks came close to having an empire, but the ambitions of Napoleon and Hitler were both quickly thwarted. Similarly, the British Empire never ruled over the land of Israel.
The struggle for independence
The final phase of Nebuchadnezzar’s image – the feet and toes part iron and part clay – suggests a collection of smaller kingdoms, some weak and others strong.
‘Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom…this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. ’