(12) - Daniel 2:39b; Summary: Graco-Macedonian Empire:
(A) - The Graco-Macedonian Empire, the third empire of Nebuchadnezzar's dream is represented by the "belly and thighs of brass." In Daniel 8:21 the Graco-Macedonian Empire is identified as a "rough goat" (a he-goat), which destroyed the "Ram," which represented the Medo-Persian Empire.(13) - Daniel 2:40, Summary: Roman Empire:
(B) - The rise of the Graco-Macedonian Empire was quite fascinating. The Persians never really conquered the Greeks, but they caused a lot of problems for the Greeks everytime they tried (they destroyed the countryside with their large armies, they drank the lakes dry and they ruined the vegation).
Athens, Sparta and Thebes were the most powerful city-states in and around 500 BC. Athens and Sparta fought the Peloponesian Wars between 431 - 404 BC. Sparta was eventually victorious. But before Thebes decided to confront Sparta, they decided to kidnap the Macedonian king, Philip II. They held him hostage so the Macedonian Kingdom would remain neutral.
(C) - The famous Thebian general who was in charge was Epaminondas. Epaminondas was the one who created the Phalanx (Phalanxes or Phalanges) infantry formation (Army National Guard units in the United States are taught a similar manuever for crowd and riot control). Philip II of Macedon was a young and intelligent king. When he saw the effectiveness of the Phalanx infantry formation he paid close attention and learned all he could. Philip saw the Thebians, with a smaller force defeat the Spartans, and he didn't think anyone could defeat the Spartans. But the Thebians did and Philip was impressed.
After the war (about three years later) Philip was released, and he went back home to Macedonia. When he returned home he began training his small army in the Phalanx infantry formation. Philip, being a genius actually refined it and improved it.
(D) - Philip was assasinated in 336 BC. His eighteen year old son Alexander took over the small Macedonian Kingdom. It wasn't very long before the genius of Alexander began to be revealed.
(E) - One of the first things Alexander did was finish what his father began. He conquered all of the other Greek city-states and placed them under his rule. He formed a new Greek language from all the various Greek dialects and came up with the "common" Greek language called "Koine." This is the language of the New Testament. He took soldiers from all of the Greek city-states for his army and taught them his new language as well as trained them in the military techniques of his father. For the first time in history all of Greece was united under one leader and one language. But Alexander had bigger ideas than that. He wanted to avenge the Persians for destroying Greece twice in their attempts to conquer them.
(F) - Within twelve years (335 - 323 BC) Alexander conquered the entire known world, and he established a commercial economy that went down to the time of Christ. He took all of the gold that the Persian kings were hording and placed it all in circulation. That alone gave the economy of the entire known world an enormous boost.
(G) - Alexander the Great died in Babylon of marsh fever in 323 BC. He was 33 years old. After he was dead one of his generals killed Alexander's son Olympus, and another general killed his wife, Roxanne.
Alexander the Great is the "belly of brass" in Daniel 2:39.
(H) - Again we see the inferiority of the metals of this image. Brass is an inferior metal to silver. The Graco-Macedonian Empire as a world empire with Alexander the Great as its head was of very short duration. After the death of Alexander his empire was divided among four of his generals.
(I) - The four separate kingdoms that came from Alexander's Empire are known as the Hellenistic Monarchies. The four Hellenistic Monarchies were:THRACE, under Lysimachus.(J) - In Daniel 2:32 we saw the "thighs of brass." These two thighs refer to the split in Alexander's Kingdom. There were two eastern empires, and two western empires. Syria and Egypt were the eastern empires and Thrace and Macedonia were the western empires.
MACEDONIA, under Cassander.
SYRIA, under Seleucus.
EGYPT, under Ptolemy.
(K) - Alexander had 17 generals in his army that became kings in the 50 years that followed his death. Some of these men ruled empires almost as large as Alexander's. But after 50 years of struggle and fighting only the four Hellenistic Monarchies survived.
The western monarchies of Thrace and Macedonia were taken over by Rome first. The eastern monarchies held out longer. By the time the Romans took over the eastern empires, koine Greek was the language of the east, while Latin was the language in the west. These two languages became equivalents 100 years before the New Testament was written.
(A) - The fourth kingdom represented by the metalic man in Nebuchadnezzar's dream is Rome.
By 200 BC the historical center of gravity had moved to Italy. While Greece was characterized by intellectual culture, Rome stood for law and government. While the Greeks were teaching their children philisophy and intellectual achievements, the Romans were training their children in self-discipline and warfare, and how to endure hardships.
(B) - This little city on the banks of the Tiber River was made up of three different races of people, and these races formed a very fine nation. The three races were:SABINES:These were three races of similar backgound (Indo-European), and posssed many things in common that made them great. Such things as:
LATINS:Self-discipline: vigorous and successful people always have self-discipline.With these and many other positive things the Romans became a great people who established a great empire.
Respect for Law: their system of law was based on objectivity, such as, innocent until proven guilty.
Respect for Authority: they vested their authority in a senate made-up of two groups: the Patricians and the Plebians.
A deemphasis for compulsary education: they had a mistrust of intellectualism and philosophy. Along with this they had a great distrust of the Greeks. They considered the Greeks a decadant people.
They had great emphasis on the military establishment.
(C) - Tradition sets the date of the founding of Rome as 753 BC by Romulus. Rome began as a republic and had a number of kings. But this kingdom went through many changes and problems in its first 500 years with a number of civil wars.
(D) - In about 300 BC the Romans found themselves in a middle of great empires. And between 264 - 146 BC there was a great period of struggle between them. Empires such as: Syria, Egypt, Macedonia and Carthage.
One by one the Romans eventually conquered and destroyed all the other empires, and by 146 BC Rome was the ruler of the world. But there was one major problem. Its administrative power had not hept pace with its military power. So they could conquer but they were unable to consolidate and organize what they had conquered. Therefore civil war resulted from this problem. From 146 - 49 BC the Roman Republic was engulfed in a great civil war. Almost 100 years of civil war. In order to retain some order and to stop the killing, the people submitted to military dictatorships. There were three of these:Marius and Sulla, from about 107 to 81 BC.(E) - The first military rulers, Marius and Sulla were not very successful. Both of them went out and killed as many of their opposition as they could, which kept the civil war going.
The First Triumvirate composed of Pompey the Great, Marcus Licinius Crassus and Julius Caesar, and ruled from 60 to 43 BC.
The Second Triumvirate composed of Gaius Octavius (Augustus), Marcus Lepidus and Mark Anthony, and ruled from 43 to 31 BC.
In 60 BC the First Triumvirate came to power: Pompey the Great, a general in the eastern part of the republic. Marcus Licinius Crassus, a mutimillionair from Rome, and Gaius Julius Caesar, a general in the western part of the republic. These men agreed to take a section of the republic and rule it. Pompey ruled in the east, Caesar ruled in the west, and Crassus ruled in Rome. This was quite successful until Crassus was killed on a military expedition against the Parthians (Persians), which opened up a leadership vacancy in Rome, which in turn led to another period of civil war between Pompey and Caesar. Caesar eventually conquered Pompey and gained complete control of the Roman Republic in 49 BC.
(F) - Julius Caesar was not only a military genius, but he was also an administrative genius. His administrative policy brought about one of the greatest periods in world history. Julius Caesar believed that authority must rest on something beside power. It must rest on good administration.
God always blesses establishment principles found in His Word whether a believer or unbeliever adopts them. And because of the divine principles adopted by the Romans, there developed a fantastic period of law and order, with respect for authority and many principles of freedom. With this form of government in place, it paved the way for the First Advent of Jesus Christ. Paul describes it in Galatians 4:4 as "the fulness of times," for Christ was born soon after the work of Julius Caesar was placed into operation.
Julius Caesar was the man who made it possible for a period in history to be so compatible with divine institutions that God used this period of time to bring His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world.
(G) - Rome is identifed with iron in Daniel chapter two. Iron is hard, iron can take a beating andc iron is not glamorous. This is nothing glamorous about the rise of Rome. The people were not glamorous people, but they were a self-disciplined people who recognized the authority of leadership and the privacy of the individual. They had a true concept of the dignity and the rights of man. The dignity and rights of man as taught today is blasphemous and is contrary to God and the teachings of the Word of God. The dignity and rights of man as practiced by the Romans was the recognition of individual privacy, the recognition of his legal rights as a citizen, and these rights were contingent upon the individual's recognition and respect for authority wherever it existed in the Roman Empire.
(H) - Julius Caesar was assasinated in 44 BC. At that time the Second Triumvirate came to power. The Second Triumvirate consisted of Julius Caesar's nephew Octavian, Marcus Lepidus, and a calvary officer named Mark Anthony. There was a civil war, which lasted for 13 years. When everything calmed down, Octavian survived and became the next ruler in 31 BC. He changed his name to Augustus Caesar and ruled until 14 BC. During his reign he brought more stability to the empire. Octavius (Augustus) Caesar did not have a son to succeed him, but he did have a step-son named Tiberius who became the next Caesar.
Tiberius reigned from 14 BC to 37 AD. He was very wise in many ways, and during his reign Jesus Christ came into the world born of a virgin, lived His perfect life of 33 years, died on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven. The Bible calls this the "fulness of times" in Galatians 4:4, which refers to the right time, the best time on the earth. And God chose the best time of human history to send His Son. A time that began with the governmental organization set up by Julius Caesar and continued through his nephew and his step-son.