The word “providential ” means ” having divine foresight or intervention“. In other words, God speaks about something before it exits. Certain nations in the Bible are providential in that the prophets told us about them before they came into being.  

The Apostle John’s second vision gives us a full panoramic view of all eight providential nations God would raise up throughout history. 

Revelation 17:9–11 says, “The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven.” 

This may seem confusing upon first reading. However, we can put together a coherent and systematic time sequence of the eight providential nations that are being revealed to John. 



  1. 1)  Egypt 1900–1450 BC 
  2. 2)  Assyria 722–630 BC 
  3. 3)  Babylon 605–539 BC 
  4. 4)  Medo-Persia 539–334 BC 
  5. 5)  Greece 334–168 BC 


6) Rome 168 BC–AD 476 


  1. 7)  The Woman AD 1776–? 
  2. 8)  The Beast32—Ten Kings 


In looking at providential nations in Scripture, we can easily see six of the eight kings or empires described in Revelation 17:10. Each world empire is connected directly to Israel’s history. The first being Egypt, which fulfilled Abraham’s prophecy of 400 years of Jewish slavery (Gen. 15:13). The second is Assyria, which judged Israel for her idolatry .


God Israel  a vassal state of Assyria, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecies (Isa. 10:5–12). And so on. But why is it that every nation throughout history to which Scripture refers has a direct correlation with Israel? It is because when it comes to Bible prophecy, in God’s eyes, Israel is the geographical center of the earth. 

God weighs the value of other nations by how they treat Israel. In Genesis 12:3, God stated, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” He even stated concerning Israel, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” But how exactly has Israel blessed the world? 

Israel was the providential land that God promised to Abraham. Every Old Testament prophet came out of Israel. Israel was the providential land from which Jesus and the disciples came. Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, is where Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world. But Israel and Jerusalem are also the nation and city to which He will return and become King of Kings and Lord of Lords. “For salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22).” 

We are now waiting for the seventh and eighth kingdoms to appear. Remember what we wrote earlier in this chapter, “Whatever God purposes, He will bring to pass.”? Waiting is never easy, but God’s Word can assure us that these kingdoms will appear. 

The prophet Isaiah reminds us: 

The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (Isa. 14:24). 

What an incredible verse this is! We can rest in the fact that what- ever God determines, it will come to pass. He is a determined God. When He begins things, He finishes them. We can wait with peace and assurance because God is in control of the rise and the fall of nations. 

Jesus said to the seven churches in Revelation, “He that hath an ear, 

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let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 3:13). This expression is a personal challenge for each of us. Interestingly, Jesus said these words eight times in the gospels and eight times in the Book of Revelation.33 He’s saying, “Folks, it’s not enough that you have ears. They are not there to merely hold up your glasses. You need to hear My voice. You need to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.” 

One of God’s greatest commands through Moses began with, “Hear, O Israel (Deut. 6:4). This verse is a prayer that many Jewish people pray every morning and evening to remind themselves to listen for the voice of God. We, too, need to