The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: T

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Ten toes, identity

Rome's 10 Toes and the Gap

"Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron -- for iron breaks and smashes everything -- and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 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; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever" (Dan 2:40-44).
It has been argued that there must be a continuity between the iron Roman Empire and the ten toes, part of iron and part of clay. And that the theory that the ten toe kingdoms (and the ten horns, and the ten kings of Revelation) are 10 Arab nations do not provide such continuity. Implicit in this argument is the assumption that the ten Roman toes represent ten independent European nations that arise out of Roman territory in medieval times and beyond.

However, what sets Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome apart from all kingdoms in world history is that each successively ruled over Jerusalem and the Land of Promise. This leads one to think that the ten "Roman" toes must also participate in the "treading down" of Jerusalem, and this was never true of the European provinces listed by JT in Eureka.

So were there ten "toes" which did participate with the Roman power in the subjugation of Jerusalem? What follows are quotations from Josephus' "Wars of the Jews":

"So Vespasian sent his son Titus from Achaia... to Alexandria, to bring back with him from thence the fifth and tenth legions, while he himself, when he has passed over the Hellespont, came by land into Syria, where he gathered together the Roman forces, with a considerable number of auxiliaries from the kings of that region" (III, i, 3).
As the Roman legions, with their "considerable number of auxiliaries", were making their way into position for an attack on Jerusalem, Jewish rebels mounted an attack on Ashkelon (III, ii), which was repulsed.

"There was also a considerable number of auxiliaries got together, that came from the kings Antiochus [Syria] and Agrippa [Galilee], and Sohemus [Iturea], each of them contributing one thousand footmen, that were archers, and a thousand horsemen. Malchus also, the king of Arabia, sent a thousand horsemen, besides five thousand footmen, the greatest part of whom were archers; so that the whole army, including the auxiliaries sent by the kings, as well horsemen as footmen, when all were united together, amounted to sixty thousand, besides the servants, who, as they followed in vast numbers, so because they had been trained up in war and the rest, ought not to be distinguished from the fighting men" (III, iv, 2).
Then there were the Idumeans, who were particularly vilified by the Jews, because they at one time seemed to be fighting on Israel's side (IV, v).

So a brief survey of Josephus's "Wars of the Jews" yields at least six Roman "toes" assisting in trampling down Jerusalem: Syria (with other kings of that region), Ashkelon, Galilee, Iturea, Arabia, and Edom.

Further, Josephus also mentions that Jerusalem was situated in the center of ten other provinces in the whole of Judea, over which it reigned supreme (3:3:5). Some of these other provinces not listed above might well have provided "auxiliaries" to the Roman legions for the assault on Jerusalem, making a full total of ten.

So the continuity is this: Rome (with its Arab auxiliaries) trampling down Jerusalem in AD 70. Then a long "gap" while there are no appreciable numbers of Jews in the Land of Promise, until the Last Days... when the Jews return in large numbers to Palestine, forming an independent nation of Israel, and when out of the old Roman Empire there arise another ten or so Arab "toe kingdoms" to challenge Israel in the Land.

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