Chapter 7: Daniel Unsealed The Fourth Beast Kingdom, Part 2
Mystery Babylon and the Stone Kingdom, part 18—The Kingdom of Iron
Both Bible prophecy and history are in agreement that the fourth kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was the Roman Empire. As we look at Daniel’s corresponding vision in chapter 7, verse 7, we notice that this was such an oddball-looking beast that Daniel could not identify it as any known animal.
Daniel 7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth:
We will pause there to note that the iron teeth provide the link to the dream in chapter two. This fourth beast here thus corresponds to the fourth kingdom—the kingdom of iron—in chapter two.
Daniel 7:7b …it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
Now just a parenthetical note here because I know that some of my listeners and readers have read Dr. Howard Rand’s wonderful book called Study in Daniel. We have carried that book for years. Learn more about it and order it here. However, as we discovered about Dr. James Strong, nobody’s perfect.
I have studied that book along with many others in these lecture preparations, and I am aware that Dr. Rand contends that correlating the beast visions of Daniel chapter 7 with the four empires of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 is a mistake.
I should clarify that Dr. Rand does not declare that there is no correlation or connection but he does say that Bible students should be on guard “against making the mistake of assuming that, because these beasts represent four ‘kings’ arising from the earth, they must therefore be the identical kingdoms the metals in the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represented.”
And later, he seems to base his case almost entirely on the word “kings” as opposed to the word “kingdom.” I find it to be a very weak and unpersuasive argument. I conclude that they are speaking of the very same entities in both chapters. Granted there is a difference between a king and a kingdom, but Dr. Rand is failing to allow for the very common figure of speech which has been used in languages from time immemorial; namely, that the king stands for the kingdom.
If you recall in Daniel chapter 2, that Daniel and the Chaldean magi were all under a death sentence when Daniel came before the king and told him his dream and the interpretation. Further, you recall that Daniel said (2:38) “You are the head of gold.” Clearly, it was a case of the king standing for the kingdom. When Nebuchadnezzar died, the Babylonian kingdom was still the head of gold as we will see in later blogs as we trace the influence of gold—literally and symbolically—down through the ages of history.
The king stands for the kingdom. Hitler stood for the Third Reich. Napoleon was the French Empire. There was also the French king, Louis XIV, who famously said, “L’etat; c’est moi.” Which is translated “I am the state.” So, despite my disagreement with Howard Rand on that point, anyone who is serious about studying the book of Daniel would do well to study Dr. Rand’s book.
Now that we have come to the fourth kingdom, let us make two general observations concerning the metallic imagery of these four. Number one: we notice that from Babylon to Rome, they are in decreasing order of monetary value. Gold, silver, brass (or bronze) and then iron.
But, number two, they are in increasing order of strength: gold is the softest metal and iron is the hardest. In fact, at the time of the Roman Empire, iron was the strongest metal known. The Persian armies had been clad in soft hats, sleeved tunics and trousers. They were defeated by Alexander’s Greek armies who were technologically superior in that they wore bronze armor. But by the time Rome came to dominate the scene, the Roman poets had already been singing of bronze armor as belonging to the old days. Iron was now the superior armament.
The Roman Empire was so strong militarily that Daniel cannot describe it as any known animal; rather it was dreadful and terrible. And we notice that, significantly, it was a beast with ten horns. This leads us to Revelation, chapter 12. By the time John was writing the book of Revelation, the first three empires were already history. That is why the imagery found in Revelation picks up with and correlates with the Daniel’s fourth beast empire. Therefore, we find in…
Revelation 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
So here we have a beast called a dragon which has ten horns. Keep that description in mind as we turn to the next chapter.
Revelation 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
We note that this verse (13:1) and the verse we just read (12:3) are slightly different from each other, but both include the idea that the beast has seven heads and ten horns. But while 12:3 has seven crowns on the seven heads, 13:1 has ten crowns on ten horns. This could mean that either we are mistaken in trying to correlate this with Daniel’s fourth beast because Daniel did not mention seven heads and crowns, only the ten horns.
Or it could simply mean that John—now living about 600 years after Daniel, and in the era of the fourth beast empire—was divinely given further details about the fourth beast, and that the two visions are indeed picturing the same prophetic entity—the Roman Empire. That, of course, is the position which I hold. But let’s go on a few pages further to…
Revelation 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns
Hmmm…Looks as though we have another element added to the picture now. We have the beast and we have the ten horns—which were the two primary elements of Daniel’s vision. Then we saw that John added the idea of seven heads and seven crowns, and now here he adds the image of a woman who is sitting on this monstrous beast.
The question for us as followers of Jesus Christ who want to understand His revelation to us is this: Do all these scattered verses speak of the same thing, the same entity? And the answer is yes and no. I’m going to leave you to ponder that, and we will pick up with more on this woman in the next blog.