The Last Empire: (Daniel 2:31-45)
Everyone wants to know about the future and King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was no exception. The king had a dream concerning the future and of the end of the age. Now Daniel was a Jewish exile taken along with the other Jews into captivity in Babylon and he was known for his knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning and had the ability to interpret dreams, all of these attributes had been given to him by God. (Daniel 1:17)
Previously to having his dream the King had questioned Daniel and his three friends in every matter of wisdom and understanding and had found them to be ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in the whole kingdom. (Daniel 1:20) After King Nebuchadnezzar had his dream he called all of his wise men and magicians and astrologers into his court to tell him about the dream and what it meant but none of the magicians or wise men or the astrologers of Babylon had a clue as to what the king had dreamed nor could they give an interpretation. The king was so angry that he commanded all the wise men in Babylon to be killed. Of course this included Daniel and his friends who were living among the wise men with access to the king’s court.
Because of the providence of God He gave Daniel the courage and wisdom to speak to the officer in charge of putting the wise men to death and asked if he could see the king about this matter. Because God was in the situation Daniel was given permission to enter into the presence of the king. Daniel then asked King Nebuchadnezzar for time, so that he might interpret the dream for the king. (Daniel 2:14-16) As Daniel and his three companions in faith prayed to the LORD He showed Daniel the details of the dream and also gave him the interpretation. (Daniel 2:17-23)
Once again with courage and faith in God and armed with the wisdom of God Daniel was brought into the presence of the king and told the king that the wise men, the enchanters, the magicians and the diviners could not explain the mystery that the king had presented to them. He then told the king that God who lives in heaven was the one who reveals mysteries and had shown Daniel the future and consequently he proceeded to not only reveal the dream but also the interpretation of it. (Daniel 2:27-30)
The dream revealed (Vss. 31-35)
(Vss.31-35) “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”
The dream interpreted (Vss. 39-45)
(Vs.36) “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. Your Majesty, you 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 all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 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. This 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. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
Exposition (Daniel 2:39-45)
(Vss. 36-38) “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. Your Majesty, you 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 all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.”
First of all Daniel acknowledged the fact that God in His sovereign purposes had established King Nebuchadnezzar as the ruler over the empire of Babylon and related it to the king (2:20-22). Clearly the head of gold on the statue was the empire of Babylon and Daniel confirmed this, Babylon was a Middle-Eastern Empire. The head of gold corresponded to the first beast empire that Daniel was to see in a future vision described as a lion and this was the beast empire of Babylon. (7:4) The Babylonian Empire also appears in the Book of Revelation but with a prophetic application to the last days. (Revelation 13:2)
(Vs. 39a) “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours.”
Clearly the chest and arms of Bronze Historically was the Medo-Persian Empire. This and was the second beast empire which conquered the beast empire of Babylon and the Persian Empire that was described as a bear (7:5). This too was a Middle-Eastern Empire. It also re-surfaces in the Book of revelation but also with a prophetic application to the last days. (Revelation 13:2)
(Vs. 39 b) “Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.”
Clearly the belly and thighs of bronze was the Greco-Roman Empire. This was the third beast empire that Daniel described. The emphasis of this third kingdom is on the Middle-eastern part of Alexander the Great’s empire. In the Book of Daniel the word used for “Greece” or “Grecia” (KJV) is the word “Yavan” or “Ionia.” The geographical region or land of Ionia is modern day Turkey. Ionia was part of Alexander’s Middle-Eastern Empire. The focus on this third empire is on the Middle-East and not the west. Antiochus Epiphanes, the Seleucid Greek General came from Syria. He is a major type of the Antichrist in scripture. Prophetically the Antichrist will arise in the Middle- East and not from the west. So this third empire scripture reveals is a Middle-eastern empire even though it was part of the western Greek empire. This is the leopard (Daniel 7:6) This Empire also re-surfaces in the Book of Revelation with a prophetic application to the last days. (Revelation 13:2)
(Vs.40-43) “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.”
This description of the character of the fourth empire is that; “it will crush and break all the others.” This empire cannot assimilate or adopt any of the culture of the previous empires before it. Daniel describes this same empire in the fourth beast in Daniel chapter seven. The fourth beast is described as doing the very same things as the fourth empire does related to Nebuchadnezzars statue. This fourth beast empire was “terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.” (Daniel 7:7) Out of this fourth empire comes the Antichrist, a Middle-eastern potentate and dictator. (Daniel 7:8) This Middle-eastern potentate will rule over a kingdom that will engulf the whole Middle-East, sweep down into North Africa and spread into Europe with its tentacles reaching into many other nations. He will be both a Middle-Eastern as well as a European potentate but his roots will be Islamic, not European.
Historically Rome did not crush and devour its victims and trample on whatever was left by destroying former cultures. Rome adopted and absorbed much of the culture, economics, governance, structure, military strategies and deities of the Greek empire. Rome was also known as the Greco-Roman World. When you look at the belly and thighs of the statue it focuses on the reproductive organs. In other words Greek culture gave birth to Roman culture. The Romans had the same ‘gods’ as the Greeks, the Persians and the Babylonians had but simply changed their names.
Added to this if you combine the empires of Babylon, Persia and Greece (the eastern leg of the empire) on a map you will see that that it does not match the geographical boundaries of the Roman Empire. There was a Middle-eastern leg of it but the main empire was located in the west. Rome from its inception was not a divided Kingdom until November of 284 A.D. when Diocletian, a forceful Roman general, seized power and declared himself the new emperor. One of his earliest orders was to split the Roman Empire in two.
According to the text in Daniel chapter two this fourth empire is a composite of all of the three empires of Babylon, Persia and Greece and by extension the Greco-Roman World combined in the one empire. The last Bastian of the Ancient Roman Empire called the Byzantine Empire with its capital at Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. In other words the fourth empire historically would have to be the empire of Islam. From its inception Islam was a divided kingdom. The ‘iron and the clay’ could not adhere to each other. It had ‘a brittle’ element to it.
After Mohammad died there was an Islamic civil war and the Shiite and Sunni divide emerged. When Muslims are not fighting a common enemy they are fighting with each other. This is the empire represented by the two legs of iron in Daniel chapter two and the fourth beast in Daniel chapter seven. When you look at Islam historically it cannot assimilate or blend into any other culture but by its very ideology as set out in the Koran must devour and destroy all that is not Islamic. Rome had infrastructure and often took what was beneficial to the empire from previous empires or from the culture of other nations. Islam does not do this.
While Rome did crush its enemies it did not do what Islam has been doing for centuries. When you look at the impact of Islam in the world today you have “crushing” “breaking” and “smashing” of everything that is not Islamic. This aspect makes it different from the other three empires which absorbed much of the culture of the previous empire before it. The character and culture and mystery religions of Nimrod’s Babylon filtered on down to the Egyptians and the Assyrians and then manifested in the Babylonian Empire. All of these main empires had two main deities but simply changed their names to adapt them to their respective cultures.
These two ‘deities’ were first represented by Nimrod and his wife and mother Semiramis. Today you have the crescent moon and star of Islam that represent the two main deities of the ancient world with their religious roots in the Babylon of Nimrod. The ancient Arabic moon-god was a god of war and is still with us today when we see the crossed swords of Islam pointing upwards denoting conquest by the sword. Islam is the ideology of the sword. Mohammad monotheized this pagan god and he became known as Allah. The ten toes represent ten kingdoms that will rule within the beast empire and give their allegiance to the Antichrist and the ideology of Islam. These are the ten horns or rulers who are given authority to rule along with the main beast empire of Islam (Revelation 17:12). Three of them will be plucked up by the roots by Antichrist. (Daniel 7:8)
This federation of ten Islamic kings with their kingdoms or ‘horns’ are also represented by the ten toes on Nebuchadnezzar’s statue which will be a mixture of Middle-Eastern and western nations dominated by Islam that form part of the revived Turkish Ottoman Islamic empire which will geographically reach into parts of Europe in the last days. As we see Islam spreading throughout the nations of the world we can see that through intermarriage that “they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.” (NKJV) In other words even though Muslim men marry non-Muslim wives they cannot change and the women must be subject to them and to Islam. This is one way Islam is infiltrating the western democracies, besides Muslims have lots of children and as the age comes to a close many of these little children now will grow up to become terrorists, suicide bombers and remorseless killers for Allah. However this last empire which is a composite of Babylon, Persian and Greece all rolled into one will be smashed to pieces at its very foundation by the Second Coming of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. And so Daniel continues…
(Vs.44) “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.”
This kingdom is the messianic Kingdom set up by God Himself, a kingdom which is here now spiritually speaking but as yet not a physical Kingdom that will rule over the nations in the age to come. The Kingdom of God is here within believers in the Body of the Messiah but will be fully realised after the Lord Jesus has returned, and has restored Israel fully and co-rules from Jerusalem with all of his redeemed saints. When He comes back He will crush every other kingdom and the main one that will be crushed is the fourth Empire of Islam. Daniel also tells us that these four kingdoms are all crushed together at the same time on God’s threshing floor and the wind of the Spirit will sweep them all away and the memory of the wicked will be no more. (Vs.35) Being crushed at the same time indicates they are all composites within the fourth kingdom and not individual kingdoms, but part and parcel of the one and the same empire. The Messiah’s Kingdom will never end but after a thousand years extend into eternity. (Revelation chapters 20-22)
(Vs.45) “This 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. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
The rock represents both the Messiah and His Messianic Kingdom, a Kingdom spiritually established at the cross and that will be physically and visibly established on earth after He has returned, destroyed the Antichrist, rescued Israel and has raptured and resurrected all the saints. After this the saints (believing Israelites/Jews and by extension and inclusion the faithful Church) will inherit the Kingdom on earth. (Daniel 7:18; 22, 26-27)
Today God is unsealing what has been sealed up for centuries and is showing us what will happen in the future which are the days in which we are now living in. This fourth beast empire with its horn (the Antichrist) historically and Biblically is the Empire of Islam. The whole Bible is a Middle-eastern Book and was written and intended to be read that way especially concerning Bible prophecy. Virtually all of the geographical regions and nations mentioned in Biblical prophecy are all Islamic today.
The Roman Empire simply does not fit the Biblical criteria of the fourth empire revealed in Daniel chapter two and in chapter seven. In the Book of Revelation chapter thirteen you have two beast empires mentioned. One comes up out of the ‘sea’. In Biblical prophecy the sea represents the nations (Luke 21:25) (Revelation 17:15) The Second beast comes up out of the land or the earth. It is a resurrected empire that gives its allegiance to the first beast. These two beast empires are in fact the one and the same empire resurrected after receiving a seemingly mortal wound, but the wound was healed. (Revelation 13:3-4)
It was the Turkish Ottoman Empire that toppled the Roman Empire. For 600 hundred years the Turkish Ottoman Empire ruled right throughout the Middle-east, parts of North Africa and into Europe as well. In 1924 the Turkish Ottoman Caliphate was abolished sometime after the defeat of the Ottoman Turks in WW1. The caliphate was disbanded but today it has been resurrected and the man from Turkey is the most likely contender to do this. The two legs of iron represent a divided kingdom from its inception and this was Islam. As for applying the two legs of the statue to Rome it does not fit as for 1500 years much of Rome was centred mostly in Western Europe.
The Roman Empire was birthed in 753 BC but did not split into two until November of 285 AD when the Roman Emperor Diocletian decided that the Roman Empire was too big to manage. He divided the Empire into two parts, the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Roman Empire. Finally, in 395 AD, the empire was split into two for good. In 330AD the founder of the Byzantine Empire and its first emperor, Constantine the Great, moved the capital of the Roman Empire to the city of Byzantium and renamed it Constantinople (Istanbul today in Turkey). Constantine the Great also legalized Christianity, which had previously been persecuted in the Roman Empire. The Byzantine Empire and lasted at least another 1,000 years after the western leg of Rome had fallen to the barbarians.
When you look at the empire of Islam today it is a nation that has infiltrated every level of society in virtually all of the western democracies especially within those European nations that historically were associated with Christianity. Like its eastern counterpart western Christendom is going to be faced with a dilemma. Will it be ruled by the cross or the crescent? Already through migration and the movement of refugees on mass into western democracies Islam is establishing a ‘Trojan Horse.’ It is not so much the enemy without that is a threat but the enemy within. When you look at the moral ethical and spiritual corruption within the Roman Empire and even after the time of Constantine you see the same sorts of things today in the western democracies and within wider Christendom.
Yes the beast empire of Islam is here and the west is in spiritual, social, economic, moral and ethical decline as was Rome before its destruction. God is still giving the western democracies one last chance to return to the God of the Bible and his laws and commandments and to exercise repentance towards God and to exercise faith towards the Lord Jesus for eternal salvation. (Acts 20:21) God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) But will the western democracies and western Christendom first repent? Seasons of refreshing from the presence of the LORD come only after repentance, not before it! (Acts 3:19-20)
Already the axe has been laid to the root and the great tall tree of democracy and freedom of speech and the democratic way of life is about to topple. At the end of days the only saving factor will be the return of our Lord Jesus who will sort everything out for the sake of His elect saints, being Israel and by extension and inclusion the faithful Church, and for the very survival of the planet! (Matthew 24:21-22) And so Daniel writes concerning this eternal Kingdom yet to come revealed to him by the LORD who said to his servant concerning this kingdom…
“While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”