Future from Man’s Perspective
Deteriorating Power of the King
Strength of the Army
Increasing Size of the Territory
Increasing Duration of the Rule
|Babylon (605-539 B.C.)
of the King
Gold (19) – Economic Standard
|Medo-Persia (539-330 B.C.)
Power by Decree
Silver (11) – Economic
|Greece (330–63 B.C.)
Bronze (8.5) – Military Shields
|Rome (63 B.C.–A.D. 1453)
Iron (7.8) – Military’s Iron Rule
|Revived Roman Empire (?)
Mixed Iron & Clay (Brittle)
Ten Toes – Confederation
The boundaries of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian,
Grecian and Roman
empires increased in land mass in
proportion to their representation on the
shown on the following four maps.
The Dawn, Duration, Deterioration, Doom of Four
Having revealed the dream, Daniel turned to its
interpretation. The young prophet moved progressively from
the top of the image to the bottom, since the head
represented current history and the successive parts
portrayed later history, all in sequential order.
You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has
given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your
hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field
and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made
you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold (Daniel
Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, was
called “the god of gold.” Gold was used exclusively in the
city’s buildings, images and shrines. Herodotus, the Greek
historian who was at Babylon ninety years after the era of
Nebuchadnezzar, was astonished at the amount of gold
there. Even the walls and buildings were overlaid with
gold (see “Babel, Babylon,” ISBE). Being identified as the
head of gold should have registered with Nebuchadnezzar.
It took courage for Daniel to speak this way to
the king. He declared that it was the God of heaven, not
the Babylonian gods nor the king himself, who had made
Nebuchadnezzar the ruler of the world. Daniel made it
clear that the God of heaven is sovereign.
element in the interpretation of the dream is that God is
the bestower of dominion, power, might and glory. Gold,
being the most precious of the image’s metals, represents
King Nebuchadnezzar, who possessed those four things to a
greater degree than any other monarch did.
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities,
for there is no authority except that which God has
established. The authorities that exist have been
established by God (Romans 13:1).
is “the king of kings,” because like no other monarch
after him, he had absolute authority and unlimited power.
He was subject to neither men, nor their laws, and so he
Then Jesus came to them and
said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given
to me” (Matthew 28:18).
And you have been given
fullness in Christ, who is the Head over every power and
authority (Colossians 2:10).
To the only God our
Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through
Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for
evermore! Amen (Jude 25).
Then I heard a loud
voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the
power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his
Christ” (Revelation 12:10).
The Ancient Near East
regarded kings and their kingdoms as being synonymous with
each other. Hence, the head of gold represents Babylon as
well as Nebuchadnezzar. This dual concept is important to
remember when interpreting apocalyptic imagery in the
John McArthur, Jr. has observed that there
is a decreasing specific gravity of the image’s metals
(gold, 19; silver, 11; bronze, 8.5; iron 7.8) as well as
preciousness (The Rise and Fall of the World, 24). The
descending metals picture the deteriorating authority and
power of each successive empire’s ruler.
head signifies the absolute authority and power of
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of kings. The silver chest
signifies the kings of Medo-Persia who were limited by the
power of decree. Their rule sprang from the power of
nobles. The bronze belly and thighs signify the military
heads of the Greek empire, and its rulers were elected by
the popular vote of the military. The iron legs signify
the imperialistic power of Rome that occurred with
colonization—a commonwealth of nations.
of mixed iron and clay signify democratic rule—the rule of
the people is an inferior quality of government. Today all
races, religions, and rationalizations are clamoring for a
hearing, insisting upon their rights. The United States of
America has become a melting pot for the peoples of all
nations. There is no mistaking the present trend and the
end depicted by the image.
A democracy will
produce the Antichrist, consummating in the lawlessness
and wickedness of the satanic world system. Then the
smashing Rock will strike, becoming a mountain that fills
the whole earth with God’s kingdom. This event answers the
second petition of the Lord’s Prayer—“Your kingdom come!”
The dream, therefore, reveals the course of world
rule from autocratic (Babylon) to oligarchic (Medo-Persia)
to militaristic (Greece) to imperialistic (Ancient Rome)
to democratic (Revived Rome) to theocratic (God’s
The strength of Rome was not a moral or
religious strength, nor the strength of inner unity, but a
destructive strength that ruthlessly “smashes everything”
(2:40). With the notable exception of the clay and iron
feet, the metals become progressively harder.
feet of iron mixed with clay may be seen in the rider of
the four horses of Revelation 6:1-8 along with other
biblical prophecies. The Antichrist will rise to power by
peaceful means (economics and the power of the people)
before he unleashes his military on an unsuspecting world.
The world powers rise, only to fall. The
decreasing weight of the image supported by feet of mixed
clay and iron indicates the image is top-heavy and
destined to topple. The iron, the bronze, the clay, the
sliver and the gold are smashed to pieces when the Rock
strikes the image.
The four metals are
characteristic of each empire. Gold was the standard of
Babylon; silver the standard of Medo-Persian; the Greek
military was known for its bronze implements of war; and
iron was used by Rome’s military, which was known for its
iron-rule. Additionally, iron is able to crush gold,
silver and bronze because it is stronger. Ancient Rome did
just that through its military strength.
Nebuchadnezzar dreamed his dream, Media and Persia were
not a threat to Nebuchadnezzar; Greece was barely
anything, and Rome was merely a little village on the
banks of the Tiber. Yet, the details of Daniel’s
interpretation fit these empires like fingers in a glove.
So much so, liberal scholars deny the authenticity of
Each section of the image represents
proportionally the duration of four empires from the
shortest to the longest. First, the head is the shortest
duration: Babylon (605-539 B.C.); second, the chest:
Medo-Persia (539-330 B.C.); third, the belly and thighs:
Greece (330-63 B.C.); and fourth, the legs, which are the
longest: Rome (63 B.C. to A.D. 1453). In A.D. 455, the
Western Roman Empire fell to the Vandals, and in A.D.
1453, the Eastern Roman Empire fell to the Ottomans.
Likewise, the image from head to toes represents
proportionally the land area each empire ruled. Each
successive empire conquered and ruled more land mass and
more people than the empire preceding it.
arms of the image represent the twofold division of the
Medes and the Persians. The belly represents the Greek
Empire united under Alexander the Great. After his death,
the kingdom was divided among his four generals, but only
two of the divisions, Egypt and Syria (typified by two
thighs), played an important part in history. The two legs
typify the division of the Roman Empire in A.D. 364: The
Western Roman Empire (Mediterranean and Western Europe)
with Rome as its capital and the Eastern Roman Empire
(Western Asia) with Constantinople as its capital.
This last part of the image is the eschatological
portion. The legs are separated from the feet and toes in
Daniel’s interpretation. No hint is given as to the
duration of the intervening period, which also occurs
between the sixty-ninth and seventieth sevens of Daniel
9:26-27. The fourth empire would have two distinct stages
of existence: Ancient Roman Empire (iron legs) and Revived
Roman Empire (feet and toes of mixed iron and clay).
The toes are only mentioned by Daniel in his
interpretation (2:41-43). The toes represent the tenfold
division of the final form of the Roman Empire. Such a
division has never occurred in history. These toes are the
same as the ten horns (kings) of Revelation 17:12. Out of
this predicted ten-nation confederacy, the Antichrist will
arise and he will seek to rule the world prior to the
second coming of Christ.
The feet and toes of iron
and clay imply that the Revived Roman Empire will be weak
and vulnerable. This weakness will be due to its
composition of the firm and brittle. The original Roman
Empire was strong in that its government was solidly
organized, its armies well disciplined, and it policies
well defined as evidenced by the Pax Romana. The weakness
was not located in the iron legs (Ancient Rome), but in
the feet and toes (Revived Rome) according to verse 43:
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.
Solidarity will be brittle in the final stage of the Roman
Empire. The ten toes of mixed iron and clay represent the
ultimate in deterioration of the character of sovereignty.
A democracy of mixed nationalities and races, each with
their own agenda is naturally weak. At the top of the
image is the gold head, the only part that is identified
as a ruler and not as an empire. The more government
becomes decentralized; the more it becomes susceptible to
internal problems. The Revived Roman Empire will be
fragile because of the mixture of people.
has been no world empire since Rome. Napoleon tried to
rule the world, Hitler tried it, and neither of them could
do it. The Roman Empire simply faded away to await its
comeback. During the end times, religious and state powers
will join forces for the sake of world dominion.
He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his
behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the
first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed (Revelation
In our time, “the beast coming out of the
sea” (Revelation 13:1), might be starting to breathe in
the European Union. “Sea” most likely stands for the rise
of ten nations around the Mediterranean, which sets the
stage for man’s last effort to rule the world apart from
God. Hereafter, this confederation of nations is referred
to as “the Revived Roman Empire.”
Out of the
Revived Roman Empire will arise “the ruler who will come”
of Daniel 9:26, who is “the Wilful King” of 11:36-39, and
who is better known as “the Antichrist.” He will come on
the scene in Europe in order to pull together the
ten-nation coalition. Once the ten kings submit to the
Antichrist, it will not be very long until the final
In the time of those kings, the God
of heaven will establish His kingdom on earth. It will
never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people.
It will crush the remnants of the previous kingdoms and
put an end to them, but it will itself endure forever.
That is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a
mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the
iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to
pieces (Daniel 2:44-45).