“This [is] the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, [are] a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given [them] into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all–you [are] this head of gold. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, [that kingdom] will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And [as] the toes of the feet [were] partly of iron and partly of clay, [so] the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.” – Daniel 2:36-43
Daniel in his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream reveals the final four Gentile world empires. While other empires have existed, such as the Mongol empire, the Ming Dynasty, British Empire, they lack in the fact that they never controlled or had power over the nation of Israel during their existence. God gives a clear clue about interpretation of end time prophesies – it always includes something about Israel. The four empires represented are 1) the head of gold which is Babylon; 2) chest and arms of silver represent the Medo-Persian Empire; 3) belly and thighs of bronze represent the Greek empire under Alexander; and finally 4) the legs of iron and feet partly iron and partly clay represent the Roman Empire in its initial and final appearances (See note on flow chart page). The vision concluded with a stone that grows into a mountain and then strikes the image on the feet.
Of course, the final kingdom will be the Kingdom of God on earth that is described as a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Jesus gave many clues as to when this would happen. Perhaps the most startling is given in the Gospel of Luke –
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.“ – Luke 21:24
The Jews and Jerusalem are the sign posts that alert those who watch that the end is near. When Israel comes back as a nation and when Jerusalem is no longer under Gentile control marks the beginning of the final countdown. Jesus continues –
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” – Luke 21:25
I have witnessed the re-founding of the nation of Israel (1948) and the return of Jerusalem to Jewish control (1967) and we all have just witnessed the very rare occurrence of 5 Blood Red Moons occurring on the Feast days of Passover and Tabernacles with eclipses of the Sun on the Feast of Trumpets. The 5th of which occurred this year on the Feast of Purim.
But, we want to look at the final Gentile Empire of Rome. This empire began immediately following the decline of the Grecian empire and most historical scholars believe it ended around 476 AD. It was the empire in power when Christ first came and the Church was established. However, Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream clearly indicates it will yet exist at the time Christ comes again to set up His kingdom on earth. But, at the time of the end it has deteriorated into feet and toes of iron mixed with clay, partly strong and partly brittle.
This Roman Empire is pictured as being in two parts, as signified by the two legs, which represent the Western and Eastern divisions of the Roman Empire but, it also represents two time periods that have a time gap between them. The first leg occurs in the time of Christ’s first coming but the second will be just before the second coming of Christ.
This time gap is clearly revealed by Daniel in his 70 week revelation – 9:24-27.
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, [That] from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, [There shall be] seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it [shall be] with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.” – Daniel 9:24-27
This is an amazing prophesy as it predicts to the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem in His Triumphant Entry, riding on the back of a donkey’s colt, just as Zechariah had foretold (9:9).
We know historically that the city of Jerusalem and its Temple were destroyed by the Romans under the Roman general Titus in 70 AD. According to Daniel they are the people of the wicked prince who is to come and who will set up the abomination of desolation spoken of by Jesus (Matthew 24:15). This prince is none other than the Antichrist who makes a false 7-year treaty with Israel. He is the one Paul calls the man of sin who –
“opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:4
Another strong element of Daniel’s revelation is that the final Roman Empire will be associated with a 10 nation confederacy. This is anticipated by the 10 toes in the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s image and in the ten horns of Daniels beast of Daniel 7 and in Revelation 13.
In Daniel chapter 7, Daniel is given a vision of the same 4 empires, only seen from God’s perspective they look like beasts but, they represent the same empires seen by Nebuchadnezzar.
Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, [with] its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, [which] devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; and the ten horns that [were] on its head, and the other [horn] which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance [was] greater than his fellows. I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made [in favor] of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be a fourth 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], and shall subdue three kings. He shall speak [pompous] words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then [the saints] shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy [it] forever. – Daniel 7:19-26
In Daniel’s vision, the ten toes are likened to ten horns which we are told will be ten kings (rulers) who rule with the beast, or on his behalf. We are also told another horn will come forth from them that will pull up, replace, or combine three of them. I believe he will be the Antichrist. He will rule for only 3 ½ years.
The Apostle John is given much the same vision of the fourth beast in Revelation 13.
“Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like [the feet of] a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who [is] like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” – Revelation 13:1-8
We see again the theme of ten rulers who have authority with beast. To John is given the additional information that one of the beasts’ heads received a deadly wound but it revived causing the world to marvel. Many have speculated about what this means and I have no clear explanation. One plausible interpretation is as follows:
The heads represent empires Satan has attempted to use to control the world and Israel. They are 1) Egypt, 2) Assyria, 3) Babylon, 4) Medo-Persia, 5) Greece, and 6) Early Rome, and 7) Later Rome. Later Rome would be like a resurrection of the old Roman Empire which would represent the wounded head coming back to life. Daniel never mentions Egypt and Assyria because they were before his time.
As Dr. John Walvoord writes: “The ten-nation confederacy of the future anticipated in these prophesies would naturally be considered a revival of the Roman Empire if for no other reason than that it is portrayed as an integral part of the fourth empire. … If the fourth empire is Roman, it would follow that the ten-nation confederacy will also be Roman in character, at least from the divine point of view.”
In conclusion, from the Biblical view:
- The Gentile world will have four kingdoms that rule the world and the nation of Israel.
- The fourth kingdom will be Rome, which will divide into a western and eastern division and will appear in two times.
- The first time will be during the time of Christ’s first coming and the second time will be just prior to Christ’s second coming.
- This second revelation of Rome will bring forth a world ruler who will confirm a 7 year treaty with a restored Israel but, he will break it in 3 ½ years.
- This final Roman Empire will evolve from a 10 nation confederacy as described in Daniel 7:19-22.
- Out of this 10 nation confederacy will come the Antichrist who will be given authority to overcome the saints for 3 ½ years.
This final Roman Empire is already forming and is about to be revealed. The Antichrist is certainly coming and God has given us the signs to watch for. In my blog The Antichrist, I detail his charismatic nature and how he will deceive many.