Approximately two decades after the Maccabean revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes (the abomination of desolation), the fourth kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was about to overtake the Grecian Empire.
Recall, when Daniel stood before the king to reveal and interpret his dream, he said:
“The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king…
…But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter (end) days.” Daniel 2:27-28
The dream spoke of latter days inasmuch as it referenced the feet and toes of the image. The fourth kingdom originally consisted of two legs made of iron. The latter days speak of two feet and ten toes of iron mixed with clay.
Thus, while Nebuchadnezzar’s image consisted of four kingdoms beginning with Babylon, which was after Egypt and Assyria, the fourth in his dream was, therefore, the sixth Biblical kingdom. The fourth kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was the Roman Empire beginning in 146 BC which never totally ceased to be.
Therefore, the kingdom with legs of iron will reemerge in the ‘latter days’ with the focus being on its feet and toes of iron mixed with clay as the seventh and final world kingdom.
“Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided…the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile…they will not adhere to one another.” Daniel 2:41-43
It is interesting that the head of gold, i.e. Babylon, had the highest atomic weight of the four metals, and was a monarchy.
Next was Media-Persia with chest and arms of silver. The atomic weight of silver is less than that of gold. Also the kingdom was duel, i.e. Media and Persia.
Following Media-Persia was the Grecian empire of bronze (copper) with a lesser atomic weight than silver. Also the Grecian Empire was divided into four sectors after the death of Alexander.
The fourth and final kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had legs, feet, and toes of iron with a lesser atomic weight than copper. The feet and toes were iron mixed with clay indicating there would be division within the kingdom. The final form of the Roman Empire will consist of ten nations, i.e. the ten toes of the metal image.
Also, each kingdom became less malleable meaning that each succeeding kingdom had more ability to crush its predecessor.
Recall Nebuchadnezzar died in 553 BC and was succeeded by his son Belshazzar.
“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream…” Daniel 7:1
Daniel’s dream consisted of four beasts, each with different characteristics. The first three beasts were compared with existing living creatures, but the fourth beast was substantially different. It did not resemble any known animal or creature.
“After this (first three beasts) I saw in the night visions…a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.” Daniel 7:7
Thus, whereas Nebuchadnezzar saw the final beast having ten toes, Daniel envisioned the final kingdom having ten horns.
Daniel dreamed of the terror of the fourth beast; moreover, Daniel saw something that Nebuchadnezzar didn’t.
“I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them…And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.” Daniel 7:8
Daniel didn’t understand the significance of the fourth beast inasmuch as he saw among its ten horns a little horn appearing.
Then the angel explained Daniel’s dream.
“The fourth beast shall be a fourth (final) kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones…” Daniel 7:23-24
To be continued.