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Chapter 4: The Babylonian Succession

Throughout the book of Judges, God put Israel into six distinct captivities. None of them involved displacement and deportation to a foreign land, which would have constituted a "yoke of iron" as described in the laws of tribulation (Deut. 28:48). They were, instead, put into what Jeremiah calls the yoke of wood (Jer. 28:13), where the people were put into tribute (taxed) by a foreign power.

The seventh captivity was an iron yoke. Israel's iron yoke was to be conquered by Assyria and deported to the southern rim of the Caspian Sea. A century later, Judah's iron yoke was to be conquered by Babylon and deported to the area of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It is with this seventh captivity--with particular focus upon Judah's captivity--that is of current interest.

The prophet Daniel was one of the young men of Judah taken in the first captivity to Babylon to be trained by the government for administrative service. During the beginning of his career, the Babylonian king had a dream. The story is recorded in Daniel 2. The king wanted someone to interpret the dream for him. There was only one problem: he could not remember the dream, and the wise men did not know it either.

God revealed the dream to Daniel, who then told it to the king and gave its explanation. Daniel 2:31-35 is the dream:

31 You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. 32 The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed all at the same time, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

The interpretation of the dream was that the head of gold was Babylon. The arms of silver, belly of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay were successive kingdoms that would arise after Babylon. In other words, King Nebuchadnezzar's dream prophesied of a succession of empires.

This Babylonian succession of empires was fulfilled in this way: Medo-Persia formed the two arms of silver; Greece was the belly of bronze; Rome was the legs of iron. As for the feet of iron and clay, the iron part was the religious-political power that assumed power after the fall of the Roman Empire--the Church of Rome.

These "feet" were made of a mixture of iron and clay because the Roman Church was not the sole empire that would control the old land of Judea (Palestine). Throughout the years, it was conquered by the Muslims in the 7th century, but control passed back and forth during the time of the Crusades. Thus, the iron represents the control of Rome, while the clay represents the times when it was controlled by Muslim forces.

In 1917 control over Palestine was passed to the British, after General Allenby took Jerusalem from the collapsing Ottoman Empire toward the end of World War One. This took place precisely at the end of Babylon's 2,520 years that covered full extent of the time of the Babylonian succession of empires. 2,520 = 360 x 7 and is known as "seven times" in prophecy.

In 1917 a new idea was introduced into the equation. The Balfour Declaration set forth the goal of the British government to allow Palestine to become a Jewish homeland, a place of refuge, where Jews could immigrate, purchase land, and live as citizens among the native Palestinian population in a new British colony.

Thirty years later, however, after another horrendous war, and after enduring Muslim violent hostility and Jewish terrorism in the 1940's under Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, the British pulled out and gave the question of its future into the hands of the United Nations, which had just been formed. On Nov. 29, 1947 they voted to partition the land into two nations: one Jewish, and one Palestinian.

The United Nations obviously did not resolve the issue, and so we have inherited the problem to this day. But getting back to our topic at hand, I want to show how this ties in with the concept of the Debt Note.

The only way to pay off this Debt Note that is owed to God is to give Him the fruits of His labor--the fruits of the Kingdom. God planted Israel in Canaan for the purpose of producing people who were in the image of God. In effect, He wanted to produce children who were like Him. It is what we know today as the "Sons of God."

This divine purpose did not begin with the Canaan plantation. It was expressed at the beginning in Genesis 1:27, "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them."

The only way anyone can actually step forward and pay the Debt Note is to become what God intended man to become from the beginning. This was the purpose of the coming of Jesus Christ, and it is why He is called the "Son of God." The book of Hebrews 1:3-5 says,

3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, “Thou art My Son; today I have begotten thee?” And again, “I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me?"

Israel as a whole was called and "chosen" to bring forth the Son—not only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, but also the manifested Sons of God (Rom. 8:19).

Subdividing this calling into its component parts (according to 1 Chron. 5:1, 2), Judah was given the genealogical calling to bring forth Jesus Christ, the King, and the Son of God. Joseph's son, Ephraim, was given the name "Israel" (Gen. 48:16) and its calling to bring forth the Sons of God. (Thus, "Joseph is a fruitful bough," in Gen. 49:22. The Hebrew word is BEN, "a branch, or a son.").

Judah did bring forth Jesus Christ, but His main rival, King Herod, attempted to kill Him shortly after His birth. Years later, the leaders rejected Him again and this time crucified Him. Yet this was necessary in order for true Israel to bring forth the Sons of God. As King of Judah, Jesus paid the law's Debt Note for the sin of the world (1 John 2:2), in order that He might bring forth the Sons of God as King of Israel.