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THE MINGLED KINGDOM

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I trust that you arefamiliar with the account of Nebuchadnezzar's dream as recorded in Daniel 2. If you are not, then you are most certainly familiar with the climax of the story as recorded in Daniel 3 - the deliverance of three Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Yet, the most revealing aspect of the story, at least as it relates to prophecy, is actually concealed within the dream that God delivered to a pagan Babylonian king. At the precise moment He had foreordained, God revealed both the details and the meaning of the king's prophetic dream to his servant Daniel for the benefit of His people then and now. You see, this was no ordinary dream, but one whose implications reached centuries into the future, culminating in the end of days.

The essence of the king's dream is this: Nebuchadnezzar saw a terrifying image of a man whose body was comprised of different metals, each metal distinguishing certain regions of the body. According to Daniel's interpretation, these metals symbolically described the primary Gentile nations who would persecute and, to varying degrees, influence the welfare of the nation of Israel. Starting with Babylon, likened to a head of gold, the body is described head to foot with the corresponding metal, each metal inferior in brilliance and presumably in value to the one before. In the end, the entire image was destroyed by a stone which struck at the feet of the image. This stone, representing the Messianic kingdom, covers the entire earth. The advent of this kingdom signifies the end for the kingdoms of men.

The part of the body I want to emphasize is the feet comprised of iron mingled with clay. These two feet collectively have ten toes, corresponding to the ten horns/ten kings on the beast that John saw (Rev. 13:1; 17:12). In fact, Daniel also identifies these ten toes as ten kings in Daniel 2:44. The point is, the feet and ten toes represents the kingdom of the anti-Messiah. Why? Because this is the last kingdom existent before the stone crushes all the kingdoms. Why is this kingdom depicted as feet? Could it be because the foot contains the heel, and the heel is used to crush the head of one's enemy? In this case, the kingdom of the beast intends to crush the head of the righteous ones, Israel. Furthermore, this last day kingdom of the beast is a mixed or mingled kingdom.

"Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever." - Dan. 2:41-44

Here is what Daniel discloses about the last-day kingdom of the beast. The prophet describes it as one containing all the ferocity and strength of the preceding kingdom - Rome - and yet, there exists an inherent weakness within this realm, likened to potter's clay. Four times during this discourse, Daniel emphasizes the mingled state of this kingdom and each time he defines that as being the source of its weakness. This is an interesting characteristic, and one that is unique to this final kingdom of man.

This mingled kingdom evidently contains all the elements of the prior kingdoms - Rome, Grecia, Persia, Egypt, Assyria and, yes, Babylon. It is also a kingdom that epitomizes who and what the beast is. Put simply, the beast is characterized by the serpent's goals and methods. His goal is to undermine and defile God's purposes by destroying the righteous seed. His methods have always included mingling lies with the truth - sowing tares among the wheat. I find it fascinating that Daniel specifically says this kingdom will "mingle with the seed of men" (Dan. 2:43).

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According to the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary, the mingling with the seed of men seems to allude to Genesis 6:2 and the days of Noah just before the Deluge. Considering that the Messiah likens the days of His Coming to that of the days of Noah (Mt. 24:37), it seems logical that Daniel would connect elements of this kingdom to the situation that defined the days just before God destroyed the earth with a flood.

Daniel gives us another critical clue as to the possible identity and nature of this final kingdom. We know it is a mingled kingdom having the strength of iron mixed with potter's clay. Still, the original text seems to hint at something more incredible. The word that is translated as "mingled" or "mixed" is m'arav. It stems from the root word arav or as we would say, "Arab." The ancient Jewish commentator Ibn Ezra (1089-1164) believed that the last kingdom would be an Islamic one. In part, his conclusion was based on Daniel's usage of the word arav to describe the feet with ten toes. In light of present circumstances, perhaps we should take note. This final kingdom may be beginning to form!

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