Daniel 2 sets the stage to identify the Antichrist.


This article series aims to identify the Antichrist, symbolized by the Book of Revelation as the Beast, and the Mark of the Beast.

The Book of Revelation symbolizes the Antichrist as a Beast coming up from the Sea (Rev 13:1-2). The Beast cannot be identified from Revelation alone. As a later article will show, Revelation’s Beast and the 11th horn in Daniel 7 both symbolize the Antichrist. Therefore, we are able to identify the Antichrist from Daniel’s prophecies.

The current article discusses the prophecy in Daniel 2, which provides a broad outline of the history of mankind that serves as the framework for interpreting Daniel’s other prophecies.

Daniel 2 does not mention the Antichrist but provides a broad outline of history from the time of Daniel until God’s eternal kingdom. Daniel’s later prophecies say less about that outline and much more about the Antichrist. Daniel 2, therefore, serves as the framework for interpreting Daniel’s later prophecies. 1The vision in Daniel 9 is an exception, for while the other prophecies in Daniel deal with all nations and all time, Daniel 9 deals only with the nation of Israel and the 490 years allocated to her. (See – Does Daniel 9 describe the same crisis?) The timeline in Daniel 9, therefore, cannot be aligned with the other prophecies in Daniel.


In Daniel 2, in a dream, God gave Nebuchadnezzar a vision of the statue of a man consisting of metal parts (Dan 2:32-33). It divides history into six ages: First, beginning with the Babylonian Empire (626-539 BC), four empires will rule one after the other. Then will follow a divided kingdom; a period of many kings ruling different kingdoms. In the sixth and final phase, the world will again be ruled by a single empire, but this time it will be God’s eternal kingdom, ruled by Jesus Christ. 

The First Four Kingdoms

The man of Daniel 2
The man of Daniel 2

1. Head of Gold – Daniel identifies this first kingdom with King Nebuchadnezzar but, since it will be followed by “another kingdom” (Dan 2:37-39), it symbolizes the entire Babylonian Empire. The Neo-Babylonian empire was founded by Nabopolassar in 626 BC, inherited by Nebuchadnezzar the Great in 605 BC, and ended when the Persians captured Babylon in 539 BC. The gold symbolizes the quality of that empire, perhaps something like the quality of rulership or human rights.

2. Breast and Arms of Silver – Another but inferior kingdom will follow after the Babylonian Empire (Dan 2:39).

3. Belly and Thighs of Bronze – “Another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth” (Dan 2:32, 39).

4. Legs of Iron – “A fourth kingdom as strong as iron … will crush and break all these in pieces” (Dan 2:40).

What are these kingdoms?

Daniel 2 explicitly identifies the first kingdom as the Babylonian Empire (Dan 2:37-38) but none of the others. Daniel 7, which describes the same four empires followed by the divided kingdom and the eternal kingdom also does not identify any empire by name. On the other hand, Daniel 8 uses two animals (a ram and a goat) to symbolize two of the empires and names them explicitly as “the kings of Media and Persia’ and “the kingdom of Greece” (Dan 8:20-21). One of the later articles in this series identifies the four kingdoms by comparing the animals in Daniel 7 and 8.

The Divided Kingdom

The statue’s iron legs are followed by its feet, partly of iron and partly of clay, symbolizing “a divided kingdom” (Dan 2:33, 41). In other words, during the first four empires, there will be a single supreme ruler but, during the “divided kingdom,” different kings will rule different parts of the known world. They will attempt to “combine with one another” through intermarriage but will not succeed (Dan 2:43).


Clay symbolizes weakness.

The divided kingdom is symbolized by feet of iron parts, symbolizing strength, and clay parts, symbolizing weakness.

Some propose that the clay represents a spiritual authority. But the prophecy says: “Some of the (divided) kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle” (Dan 2:42). Therefore, while the iron parts will be strong, as iron symbolizes “toughness” (Dan 2:41), and as the fourth (iron) kingdom will be as “strong as iron” (Dan 2:40), the brittle clay symbolizes weakness.

The ten toes

The ten toes of the statue emphasize that many kingdoms will exist during this phase.

When Daniel recited Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he said nothing about toes. He only mentioned the feet. But he referred to the toes when he explained the dream (Dan 2:33, 41-42). Daniel said that “the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery” (Dan 2:42). That seems to make the toes equivalent to the feet. 

Daniel 7 also predicts a series of four kingdoms (symbolized as four animals) followed by a divided kingdom (symbolized by ten horns growing out of the fourth animal). The feet and ten toes in Daniel 2 are parallel to the ten horns in Daniel 7. So, perhaps God reminded Daniel brought of the ten toes to emphasize that many kingdoms will exist at this time, similar to the ten horns in Daniel 7.

Fragments of the Fourth Empire

The kingdoms during the ‘divided kingdom’ are fragments of the fourth kingdom.

In both Daniel 2 and 7 there are indications of continuity between the fourth kingdom and the divided kingdom, meaning that the ten horns or toes continue the fourth kingdom, but in a fragmented form:

    • Daniel 2 symbolizes the fourth kingdom as iron, and iron continues in the feet.
    • Daniel 7 symbolizes the divided kingdom as horns growing out of the fourth animal.


Not a trace of them was found.

The stone that will destroy the statue is a supernatural event that will completely end the current world order. God promised to make all things new.

Then “a stone was cut out without hands” (Dan 2:34; cf. Dan 2:45), meaning supernaturally. Similarly, in Daniel 8, the evil horn “will be broken without human agency” (Dan 8:25).

It “struck the statue on its feet” (Dan 2:34), symbolizing the very last part of the kingdoms of this world.

It “crushed” “the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold … all at the same time” (Dan 2:34-35). Although the first four empires dominate one after the other, remnants continue to exist until the eternal kingdom is set up. Only then will they all be fully destroyed all at the same time and disappear without a trace (Dan 2:35). 2We see this also in the description of the Beast in Revelation. It inherits characteristics from all four of Daniel’s empires (Rev 13:2) but is only destroyed when Christ returns (Rev 19:20).

“Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold … became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found” (Dan 2:35). Nothing will remain of the current world order. God promised: “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5).

Eternal kingdom on Earth.

The stone symbolizes God’s eternal kingdom. It will be on this planet and will be ruled by Jesus Christ. Unlike the kingdoms of this world, God promised that it would never end.

The stone “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Dan 2:35). It is often thought that the stone symbolizes Jesus Christ, but it represents the eternal kingdom:

“The God of heaven will set up a kingdom … it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms” (Dan 2:44).

The stone is Christ only indirectly in that Daniel frequently uses the terms “king” and “kingdom” interchangeably, and because He will rule the eternal kingdom. For example:

      • The head of gold is identified as Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2:37) but “after” him “there will arise another kingdom” (Dan 2:39). So, Nebuchadnezzar represents the Babylonian empire.
      • The four beasts in Daniel 7 are explained as four “kings” (Dan 7:17) but the fourth is explained as “a fourth kingdom on the earth” (Dan 7:23).

This kingdom “will never be destroyed” (Dan 2:44). The parallel vision in Daniel 7 refers to it as the “everlasting kingdom” (Dan 7:27).

“The saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever” (Dan 7:18).

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev 11:15).

God will establish this kingdom on earth (Dan 2:35) and rule it through the Son of Man:

“The Ancient of Days” gave to “One like a Son of Man” “dominion, glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him” (Dan 7:13-14).


Some argue that the stone, which becomes a great mountain, describes the kingdom of God that Jesus brought in the first century. However, once the stone has crushed the statue, there will be no trace of sin. All will serve Christ. 

Some argue that the “kingdom” that God will set up (Dan 2:44) does not refer to a physical kingdom but to “the kingdom of God” that Jesus often mentioned and which refers to a spiritual reality that always exists. For example:

Jesus said: “If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt 12:18; cf Luke 17:20-21).

However, once the stone has crushed the statue:

“Not a trace … was found” of “the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold” (Dan 2:35; cf. Dan 2:44). However, remnants of these kingdoms still exist today.

All people will serve Jesus (Dan 2:35; Dan 7:14, 27). However, people still reject and curse Jesus today.

The Antichrist, symbolized in Daniel 7 by an evil 11th horn, will cease to exist (Dan 7:26). However, that evil horn most certainly still exists today. (See the articles later in this series.)

Furthermore, Daniel 12 interprets the stone crushing the statue as “the end of time” and “the end of the age” (Dan 12:4, 13). At that time, the dead in Christ will be raised to life (e.g., Dan 12:13). Therefore, since the dead will be resurrected when Christ returns (e.g., John 5:25), “the end” in Daniel 2 is Christ’s return.

In conclusion, the stone that becomes a great mountain describes God taking full control of the earth, including judging the dead and rewarding His bond-servants (Rev 11:18).


The following are some of the principles we can take from Daniel 2 and apply to Daniel’s other prophecies:


Daniel 2 describes the kingdoms as worldwide but this may be interpreted as relative to God’s people.

In the Old Testament, these kingdoms dominated the world of the Nation of Israel. The prophecies of the Book of Revelation also seem to describe the whole world but could be interpreted as describing the Christian world specifically. For example, when Revelation says that the whole world will worship the beast (Rev 13:4, 8), that might exclude the Muslim world.

Visions are Parallel.

The parallel visions in Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 12 describe the same events with different symbols.

For example, Daniel 2 and 7 both describe the kingdom that “will never be destroyed” (Dan 2:44; 7:14). This implies that the visions in the Book of Revelation are also parallel.

Mountains symbolize kingdoms.

The stone that struck the statue was cut out of a mountain (Dan 2:45) and itself “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Dan 2:35) (cf. Dan 2:34, 44). There are, therefore, two mountains in Daniel 2, both symbolizing kingdoms.

Daniel is True Prophecy.

Critical scholars view Daniel as fiction and even as fraud. However, this article series will show that God does know and determine the future.

In academic circles, which do not accept the possibility of miracles, such as knowledge of the future, Daniel was written after the ‘prophesied’ events that can be verified with history. Furthermore, critical scholars say that Daniel’s predictions that have not yet come true are pure fiction. See, for example, the Wikipedia article on Daniel 2. Specifically, critical scholars say that Daniel was composed during the second century BC.

However, the accuracy with which the Book of Daniel foretells the events after the second century BC, as will be shown by later articles in this series, gives great assurance that God is truly in control. Although we do not understand why all these things must happen, the events predicted in Daniel that have not yet been fulfilled, will certainly come true.

Several articles on this and other sites provide many proofs that Daniel is real prophecy. For example, Daniel 9 accurately predicts the coming of the Messiah in the first century; two centuries after the Critics say Daniel was written.


List of articles on the Antichrist in the Book of Daniel

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  • 1
    The vision in Daniel 9 is an exception, for while the other prophecies in Daniel deal with all nations and all time, Daniel 9 deals only with the nation of Israel and the 490 years allocated to her. (See – Does Daniel 9 describe the same crisis?) The timeline in Daniel 9, therefore, cannot be aligned with the other prophecies in Daniel.
  • 2
    We see this also in the description of the Beast in Revelation. It inherits characteristics from all four of Daniel’s empires (Rev 13:2) but is only destroyed when Christ returns (Rev 19:20).