The vision in Daniel 2 uses the statue of a man to symbolize the history from the time of Daniel to the return of Christ:
Its head of gold (2:32) is explained as king Nebuchadnezzar (2:38) and represents the Babylonian Empire.
The breast of silver (2:32) is “another kingdom inferior to” the Babylonian Empire (2:39), which will follow “after” the Babylonian Empire (2:39).
Its belly and thighs of bronze (2:32) are “another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth” (2:39).
Its legs of iron (2:33) are “a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces” (2:40).
The feet, partly of iron and partly of clay (2:33), are “a divided kingdom” (2:41). During each of the four successive kingdoms (2:37-40) there will be a supreme king over all nations. But during the “divided kingdom” there will no such supreme king. During that time, many kings will rule over many kingdoms. Verse 43 confirms this by explaining that these kings will “combine with one another” through intermarriage, but succeeding to unify them.
Then “a stone was cut out without hands” (2:34). “Without hands” is explained as “God of heaven will set up” (2:44). It means supernatural (Mar. 14:58; Col. 2:11). This stone completely destroys the image. “Not a trace of them was found” (2:35). “But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (2:35). This is explained as a “kingdom which will never be destroyed” (2:44). The parallel vision in Daniel 7 refers to the “everlasting kingdom” (7:27)—“the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come” (7:18). This eternal kingdom will be on earth (2:35).
Although the first four kingdoms dominate one after the other, each of them continues to exist until the eternal kingdom is set up. Only then do they all disappear without a trace (2:35).
The vision in Daniel 2 divides the history of the world into six successive epochs. The first is the Babylonian Empire and the last is the eternal kingdom:
1. Head of gold = Babylonian Empire (2:38)
2. Breast = Silver kingdom (2:39)
3. Belly and thighs = Bronze kingdom (2:39)
4. Legs = Iron kingdom (2:40)
5. Feet of iron and clay = Divided kingdom (2:41)
6. Great mountain = Eternal kingdom (2:44)
Articles in This Series
Daniel 2 divides world history into six successive ages.
The four beasts of Daniel 7 are four successive empires. The ten horns exist simultaneously; after the fourth empire. An eleventh horn becomes more powerful than the others, blasphemes God and persecutes His people.
The Three Alternative Interpretations of the evil eleventh horn are, (1) the Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes, (2) an end-time Antichrist, or (3) the Church.
Comparison of the animals in Daniel 7 and 8 identifies the fourth empire, from which the evil horn-king arises, is the Roman Empire.
Daniel correctly predicts HOW the Roman Empire will fall in the fifth century after Christ
In Daniel 8, the evil horn comes “Out of One of Them.” An analysis of the grammar concludes that the small horn comes out of one of the winds of the heavens; not out of one of the Greek horns.
The strong word links with Daniel 9 indicates that Daniel 11:22 describes the death of Jesus Christ. The abomination and the persecution of God’s people, in later verses, therefore, do not describe Antiochus IV.
Antiochus IV does not fit the profile. He did not start small, expand his territory, become greater than his predecessors, use deceit, principally oppose God, introduce a strange god, kill the prince of the covenant and he did not reign for a time, times and half a time.