John Ecob 

IN DANIEL’S PROPHECY chapters 2  and 7 we have an outline of history from the time of the Babylonian  Empire right down to the end of the age and the eternal kingdom of  Jesus Christ. 

Background to the Prophecy 

Daniel was taken captive to Babylon in the first Babylonian invasion of  Judah in 606 BC. Nebuchadnezzar selected many bright intelligent  Jews who were “well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science” and took them to Babylon.  It was a “brain drain” that enabled  Nebuchadnezzar to take advantage of higher learning from conquered countries. 

Daniel and his three friends were not only intellectuals with the best education but they were also Godly.  They were in touch with the God of  heaven and God gave them special  “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams” (Dan.1:17). 

So when Nebuchadnezzar had his dream of a great image with a head of gold, shoulders of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet,  part iron and part clay, he wanted to  know what it all meant. Especially when in his dream, he saw a stone come down from heaven and smite  the image on the feet destroying the entire image; that stone then “filled the whole earth” (Dan.2:35). 

In answer to prayer God revealed the dream and the meaning of the dream to Daniel so that he was able to tell  Nebuchadnezzar both the dream and its interpretation. 

The interpretation of the dream was  clear. The head of Gold represented  Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian  kingdom. “Thou art this head of  gold!” (Dan.2:38). 

The shoulders of silver represented  the Persian Empire that would  succeed Babylon. 

The belly and thighs of brass  represented a third kingdom that  would bear rule over “all the earth”.  The Grecian Empire would succeed  the Persian Empire. Greece was  a part of Europe and was never  conquered by Persia. 

The legs of iron and feet of iron and  clay represented a fourth kingdom  on earth, Rome, that would finally  have ten kings represented by the  ten toes of the image and in the days  of these ten kings the stone from  heaven would crush the image and  become a mountain (kingdom) that  filled the entire earth. 

There can be absolutely no doubt that  each part of this image represents  a sequential stage of human  government from Nebuchadnezzar  right down to the time when Christ  will come from heaven to smite the  kingdom of Antichrist and establish  the kingdom of God on earth. 

Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar,  “Thou art the head of gold. And  after thee shall arise another kingdom…and another third kingdom of brass…and the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron”  (Dan.2:38-41). 

Finally in the days when 10 kings  rule, represented by the ten toes of  the image, the stone from heaven  will destroy the entire image and  set up the kingdom of God on earth.  This stone is Jesus Christ who is the  “Rock of Ages” and the smiting stone  (Matt.21:44). 

The Parallel Prophecy in Ch.7 

In chapter 7 of Daniel’s prophecy the  same outline of Gentile world history  is given in the figure of four beasts. Daniel saw in his dream four beasts  coming up from the sea one after  another. First a Lion with eagle’s  wings, then a bear with three ribs in  its mouth, then a leopard with four  wings and finally a terrible beast  that combined all the features of the  three beasts before it. This fourth  beast is described in Revelation  chapter 13 in reverse order like a  leopard, a bear, and a lion; obviously  the accumulation of all that went  before it. 

These four beasts aptly describe  the four stages of Gentile world  dominion from the time of the first  attempt at global government to  the final global government that will  exist when Christ returns to establish  the kingdom of God on earth. 

Jesus described the dispersion of  Israel that took place in AD70 when  the Jews were scattered out of the  land and said that 

“Jerusalem shall be trodden  down of the Gentiles, UNTIL the  times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”  (Luke21:24). 

Daniel’s prophecies in chapters  2 and 7 describe this “times of the  Gentiles”. It is the time of Gentile  occupation of Jerusalem that began  when Nebuchadnezzar first came  in 606BC and will conclude when  Christ returns to reign from the  throne of David in Jerusalem. 

Strangely some who claim to  be Bible teachers interpret this  dream differently and instead of  seeing each part of the image as  a sequential stage of history from  Nebuchadnezzar to Christ, they  teach that the four stages represent  four kingdoms that will exist in the  last days just before Jesus returns.  One of these teachers suggests  that the four kingdoms represented  are Britain/USA, Russia, Germany  (EU) and China. The strange  interpretation is based on the fact  that Britain has used the symbol of a  lion and America an eagle therefore  they claim a lion with eagles wings  must be UK and USA! 

Next, since we often speak of the  Russian bear, they say the second  beast must be Russia. 

Thirdly, since Germany manufactures  the leopard tanks she must be the  third beast likened to a leopard.  When they come to the fourth beast  they have difficulty finding a symbol  because the symbol for China is the  dragon. Nevertheless they opt for  China as the fourth beast!  

It is reasoned that since the whole  image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream  is destroyed by the smiting stone  therefore the four beasts must also  be existing when Christ returns. 

They conveniently ignore the fact  that Daniel stated the first kingdom was Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon; that  his kingdom would be followed by  another; then another, and finally a  fourth kingdom! Nothing could be  clearer. The kingdoms are sequential  and are the kingdoms that occupied  Jerusalem after the throne of David  ceased (Ezek.21:25-27). They ignore  the fact that the final stage of the image  prophecy is ten toes and the fourth  beast has ten horns representing ten  kings which we learn from the New  Testament give power to Antichrist  during the Tribulation (Rev.17:13). 

The four beasts represent the “times  of the Gentiles” that will continue till  Christ reigns. Even today Jerusalem is  “trodden down of the Gentiles”. Most  nations still refuse to establish their  embassies in Jerusalem and the Old  City is divided into Jewish, Muslim,  Christian and Armenian Quarters. The  fact is that the final fourth kingdom  is an accumulation of all the Gentile  powers that preceeded it. The symbol  in Rev.13 indicates it and the period  of Gentile occupation of Jerusalem  clearly confirms it. Nebuchanezzar’s  image therefore defines the “times of  the Gentiles” when Jerusalem would  be occupied by Gentiles and the throne  of David would cease to function. This  will continue till Christ returns and will  

“build again the tabernacle of David,  which is fallen down” (Acts15:16). 

It is worthy of note that the Babylonians  did not have unchallenged control  of the whole world. Babylon was  overthrown by the Persians. 

The Persians were overthrown by  the Greeks. They never conquered  Greece or Rome. 

The Greeks never occupied Rome and  were defeated by Scipio the Roman General, in the battle of Magnesia  in 190BC. After Alexander died  (323BC) the Grecian Empire divided  into four kingdoms represented by  four wings on the leopard, often at  war with each other. 

The Roman Empire covered the  greater part of the civilized world  but only when the final “little horn”;  Antichrist, comes to power will it  achieve Global Government. Finally  the accumulation of Gentile world  power will crumble before the Lord  Jesus Christ at His second coming. 

The fourth kingdom on earth will be  the first to achieve global control with  all the kings of the earth subservient  to it. (Joel 3:2; Zech.12:3,14:2;  Rev.16:14; 19:19; Isa.24:21). Antichrist  will bring “all nations” against  Jerusalem in the final battle of  Armageddon (Rev.16:14; Zech.14:2).  

Remember that Russia and Islam will  be destroyed in the land of Israel  during the first half of the Tribulation  (Ezek.39:2). At the same time that the  land of Russia is burned, the isles of  the Gentiles (USA and UK) will also be  burned (Ezek.39:6). The “kings of the  east” in Asia will be destroyed in the  Great Asian War (Rev.9:13-19) soon  after. This leaves the Revived Roman  Empire as the only super power to  control the world at the mid-point of  the Tribulation. So when Antichrist is  destroyed the entire world of Gentile  power, the accumulation of centuries  of development, will crumble before  the Lord Jesus Christ! 

Finally every knee shall bow and  every tongue shall confess that  Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of  God the Father!