Daniel chapter 8;
Daniel’s second great vision. The vision of a ram, a goat, and a little horn
This chapter takes us on to the next expansion and elaboration of the prophecy. Although Babylon still exists, Babylon has been left out of the prophecy, and this is because Babylon has played its role and will soon be conquered by Medo-Persia. Daniel’s prophecy therefore takes us directly to the Medo-Persian Empire, not to Babylon as in chapter 2 and chapter 7.
Daniel first sees two beasts, a ram which is Medo-Persia, and a goat which is Greece. Daniel then sees that the goat changes character. The goat, Greece, is divided into four kingdoms, but it is still the same goat, and the same kingdom. We see this in the fact that the goat first had one large horn that was broken off and that four new horns appear instead of the one large horn on the same beast. As I said, there is no change that happens with the goat, there are no new kingdoms that appear instead of the goat, it just changes character. Daniel sees four notable horns appear on the goat and they turn towards the four winds of heaven, i.e. towards the four directions of heaven. It is out of one of the four winds (the four directions of heaven) that the little horn emerges. It is not from one of the four horns, for then there would be no new kingdom.
In contrast to chapters 2 and 7, where we see both phases of the Roman Empire, both the military-political and the religious-political phase, we see here in chapter 8 that the prophecy goes directly to the little horn. The little horn here in chapter 8 verse 9 is the same little horn we see in chapter 7 verse 8, where it has eyes like eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. In other words, the prophecy in chapter 8 skips the military-political phase and brings us directly into the religious-political phase, and now absolutely all the focus is on the little horn. And this is essential for how we are to understand the fourth kingdom.
As long as the iron kingdom in Daniel 2 is the Roman Empire and we see a change of the Roman Empire through the feet where the iron is mixed with clay, and as long as the dreadful and terrible, and exceedingly strong beast in Daniel 7 is the Roman Empire and we see the same change in this chapter when this beast changes and the little horn becomes visible, then the little horn that appears in Daniel chapter 8 must also represent the Roman Empire because the little horn corresponds to the mixture of iron and clay in chapter 2 and the little horn in chapter 7.
There are many who over the last 150 years have explained the little horn that appears in chapter 8 verse 9, where it says, out of one of them came forth a little horn that this little horn comes from one of the four horns in verse 8. This is wrong, very wrong, because the phrase out of one of them points back to the four winds of heaven in verse 8, not to four notable ones. We must accept that the book of Daniel is a harmonious and homogeneous book like the rest of the Bible, and the whole prophetic part of the book of Daniel deals with the same kingdoms in the same order.
Should it nevertheless be the case that the little horn comes out of one of the four horns in verse 8, which is the Greek kingdoms, it simply means that the little horn is not a new kingdom, but only a change of one of the four Greek kingdoms, and then it could be anyone of the many kings who ruled these kingdoms. What happens then is that the connection between chapters 2 and 7 on the one hand and chapter 8 on the other hand is destroyed in a dramatic way. We have then moved on to a dispensationalist interpretation, and we get the result that it is Antiochus IV Epiphanes who is the little horn, and the harmony in both the book of Daniel and the Bible is broken and everything falls apart as a house of cards.
This horn waxed great, and it magnified himself even to the Prince of the host. As in chapter 2 and chapter 7, it all ends with a judgment scene, but here we get new information; the prophecy puts it all into a time frame. We will find out when the judgement* will start!
The angel says that it will go two thousand three hundred days before the sanctuary will be cleansed. The end of this prophecy initiates the end time, and then the investigative judgment* also will begin. Then the angel Gabriel explains the vision to Daniel. But Daniel concludes the chapter by stating: And I Daniel fainted, and was sick [certain] days; afterward, I rose up and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood [it].
Daniel became sick from what he had seen, because he did not understand the scope of this vision.
* ´The investigative Judgment´ is a principle God himself has included in the Bible. We find it in several places, including in Genesis 11,5 where the Lord comes down to Babylon to examine what people are doing, and in Genesis 18,20-21 where the Lord examines the conditions in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Verse 1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, [even unto] me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. Verse 2 And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I [was] at Shushan [in] the palace, which [is] in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
We are in the third year of Belshazzar’s reign, or in the year 547 BC. when Daniel gets this vision. The difference between this vision and the previous one he had, and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is that we go into history together with the second beast.
- Susa, or Shushan, was a town located approx. 230 km east of the river Tigris, in what is today the province of Khuzestan in Iran.
Verse 3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and behold, there stood before the river a ram which had [two] horns: and the [two] horns [were] high; but one [was] higher than the other, and the higher came up last. Verse 4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither [was there any] that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will and became great.
As in his first vision in chapter 7, Daniel sees some beasts fighting among themselves. The beasts in this vision have very clear similarities with the beasts in the first vision Daniel had. Admittedly we enter the history some later here than what we did in chapter 7, and the first beast in chapter 7 is, as mentioned, omitted, so we go directly to the second beast. If we look at what the bear, the second beast in chapter 7, looked like, it was higher on one of the sides because it was raised up on one side. Here we have a ram which has two horns, where one is longer than the other. This two beasts have the same bias, and so we see that it is the same kingdom we are talking about. What kingdom this ram and the bear in chapter 7 represent, we get to know a little further down in this chapter. We see here how this beast conquers the whole world. No one can stand against its power, not even the great and proud Babylon. But as we have seen in both chapter 2 and chapter 7, the story does not end with this beast, which is the second beast in the chronology of chapter 7, there will come two more kingdoms that will conquer the world.
Verse 5 And as I was considering, behold, a he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat [had] a notable horn between his eyes. Verse 6 And he came to the ram that had [two] horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. Verse 7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.
In the same way that world history unfolds in both chapter 2 and in chapter 7, so does history unfold here, and here too the third kingdom enters the stage, this time in the form of a goat with a notable horn. Very quickly, without touching the earth, this kingdom defeats the previous kingdom, as well as conquering new territories. This goat spent only 12 years conquering the entire known world, all the way into India.
Verse 8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
Shortly after the ram has been defeated by the goat, and the goat has conquered the whole world, the great horn is broken off, and four notables horns, which are slightly smaller than the great horn, appear. This means that the next kingdom first has one great and powerful leader, then this kingdom divides into four parts which eventually begin to fight among themselves. As there were similarities between the bear and the ram, there are also similarities between the subsequent beasts in chapter 7 and chapter 8. In chapter 7 it is a leopard with four wings, while here it is a goat with a horn that breaks off and forms four new horns. Which kingdoms the leopard and the goat represent, we also find further down.
In both chapter 2 and chapter 7 we are taken to the fourth beast, a beast that is impossible for Daniel to describe, it is so indescribable and horrible that it is not similar to, or comparable to any beast in the whole earth. We learn that this beast is a world empire, i.e. a military-political power, which gradually changes character, and we understand from chapter 7 that it will be a religious-political power. Here in chapter 8, the military-political phase of this beast is skipped, and we are thrown straight into the religious-political phase.
Verse 9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the glorious [land]. (American Standard Version 1901)
This is a difficult verse and it contains a lot of information. We are in the time after the fourth kingdom has taken power and is the world ruler. Therefore, we must first find out what is meant by the glorious land. The context here makes it very clear that the expression the glorious land is a picture of God’s people. That he, who is the little horn or pope in Daniel, should enter the glorious land, or God’s people, therefore means that false teachings from the fallen church will creep in even among God’s chosen in the end times.
The other thing that may be of interest is where the little horn is located geographically. Since it will grow large both to the south and to the east, we can assume that the geographical location of the little horn is in the north (and west). The ten horns that gave rise to the little horn are today’s Europe, and Europe is located north and west of Jerusalem, which it was natural for Daniel to set as a starting point for geographical names, (see Daniel 6,11).
Verse 10 And it waxed great, [even] to the host of heaven; and it cast down [some] of the host and of the stars to the ground and stamped upon them. Verse 11 Yea, he magnified [himself] even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily [sacrifice] was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. Verse 12 And a host was given [him] against the daily [sacrifice] by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised and prospered.
Here we see the emergence of this religious-political power, and how it exalts itself. The little horn has both a vertical movement and a horizontal movement. The vertical movement describes the religious part of the little horn, while the horizontal movement describes the political part of this horn, which is a religious-political power. That the horn grows to the south, east and to the glorious land (verse 9) must therefore be understood from the religious-political phase of the fourth beast. This power has no respect for God’s people, but uses its power and influence to oppress, and even kill God’s saints, the horizontal movement, and exalts itself to God as high as the Prince of hosts in verse 11, calling himself Vicarius Filii Dei and god on earth, the vertical movement. This power will do as it pleases and will remain as a world power in one form or another until Jesus’ second coming.
The daily sacrifice in Daniel 8 and verses 11, 12 and 13, and in Daniel 11,31; 12,11, is translated from the Hebrew word tamid which is used both as an adverb and an adjective, and is linked to many concepts such as: permanent work (Ezekiel 39,14), permanent maintenance (2 Samuel 9,7-14), persistent sorrow (Psalm 38,17), persistent hope (Psalm 71,14), persistent provocation (Isaiah 65,3).
In a religious context such as in the temple: the shewbreads Hebrew læhæm hatamid which directly translated means the bread that will always lie there (Numbers 4,7), the lamp that will always or constantly burn (Exodus 27,20), A fire shall ever be burning on the altar (Leviticus 6,6), The burnt offering to be offered daily – a continual burnt offering (Numbers 28,3), The incense to be offered every morning and at even – A continual burnt offering (Exodus 30,7-8).
The word tamid in itself does not mean daily, but persistent, regular, continuous and continuity, and occurs 103 times in the Old Testament. Of the 103 occurrences of tamid, only six to six times have been translated daily, Numbers 4,16; Daniel 8,11.12.13; 11,31; 12,11. In Talmud, when the word tamid is used independently as here, the word always and without exception points to the daily sacrifice.
There are many interpretations of what tamid is, but there are three interpretations that have received greater support than the others. These says that tamid refers to…
1) … the daily sacrifice in the temple in Jerusalem.
2) … paganism (Daniel 11,31; 12,11; Matthew 24,15; Mark 13:,4) (the destructive abomination).
3) … Jesus’ high priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, and that the continual sacrifice (tamid) war taken away corresponds to the vicarious system of the papacy imposed on church members at the expense of the mediating ministry of Jesus Christ.
It is relatively clear that it is the third alternative that harmonizes with history.
Verse 13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain [saint] which spake, How long [shall be] the vision [concerning] the daily [sacrifice], and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? Verse 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
Here we see two saints talking together, and we can assume that one of them, the one who asks how long shall be the vision … … is the angel Gabriel (see verse 16). The other respondent may, as we see in verse 16, be Jesus. Regardless, the voice tells Daniel that the oppression of God’s people, in all its forms, will last for a long, long time, and this is what is important in this connection, not who says what. The two thousand three hundred days are the longest time prophecy, and when this time which is called prophetic time ends, we enter the end time.
When we come to the end time, it is said that God will cleanse the sanctuary for sins that have made the heavenly temple unclean, and the angel who gives the prophecy to Daniel also gives a time perspective on how long it will take before the cleansing will begin. At the end of the two thousand three hundred days, God will raise up a people who will not be trampled down by pagan teachings, and who will honour God and Jesus where they are, in the most holly in the heavenly temple, where Jesus now cleanses the sanctuary of all uncleanness.
Verse 15 And it came to pass, when I, [even] I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. Verse 16 And I heard a man’s voice between [the banks of] Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this [man] to understand the vision. Verse 17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end [shall be] the vision. Verse 18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me and set me upright. Verse 19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end [shall be]. Verse 20 The ram which thou sawest having [two] horns [are] the kings of Media and Persia. Verse 21 And the rough goat [is] the king of Grecia: and the great horn that [is] between his eyes [is] the first king. Verse 22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.
The angel Gabriel does not say that this vision applies explicitly to the end time, because the end time in this sense is not the day of Jesus’ return, but the term is used in a broader sense of the end time, and applies from the end of prophetic time, which coincides with the time when Jesus entered the most holy in the heavenly temple, and until his second coming.
In Old Testament times, the temple was cleansed once a year, on the day in Hebrew called Yom Kippur, or the great day of atonement. It was only on this day, Yom Kippur, that the high priest was allowed to enter the most holy place to cleanse the sanctuary from all the uncleanness that had defiled the sanctuary through the people’s sin offering made throughout the year. This was a picture of the ministry that Jesus was to begin when the prophetic time was over, and the end time was to begin.
In these verses Gabriel begins to explain to Daniel what the visions he has had mean, and we are told that the two kingdoms that follow Babylon are Medo-Persia and Greece, and that the Greek kingdom will be divided into four after the death of the first king Alexander the great. Even now there is only a small explanation for these kingdoms, while we will see that for the fourth kingdom there will be a more comprehensive explanation. This shows that God wants us to turn our attention to the fourth kingdom so we can avoid being seduced by the dogma of this kingdom.
Verse 23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. Verse 24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. Verse 25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify [himself] in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. Verse 26 And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told [is] true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it [shall be] for many days. Verse 27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick [certain] days; afterward, I rose up and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood [it].
As we have already seen, the visions are more and more about the fourth kingdom and especially after it has changed character. When it is said that this kingdom should have great power, but not by its own power, it means that there is another power that stands behind this kingdom. We then return to one of the core points of the Bible, the conflict between good and evil, the conflict between Jesus Christ and Satan. It is Satan who gives power to all these beasts, but we see it most clearly when it comes to the fourth beast.
Most of what Daniel saw in his visions from his contemporary to the present day, apart from the parts that belong to the absolute end time and which have not yet been fulfilled, we can confirm with the help of history. Fortunately, God will one day crush this kingdom.
Three times the angel tells Daniel to seal the book. In addition to being mentioned here in verse 26, it is also mentioned twice in chapter 12. In verse 4 the angel tells Daniel to seal the book until the end time, and in verse 9 the angel says that the words should be closed up and sealed until the end. History can also confirm this through the fact that almost no one would even try to understand the book of Daniel until we had entered the transition period between prophetic time and end time. That Daniel marvels at what he has seen is not strange, but fortunately there is a God in heaven who wants to make his people aware of what the time ahead will bring them – no matter what age we live in. In verse 25 we also find a clue broken without hand which leads us back to chapter 2 and verses 34 and 45 and the stone that was cut out without hands.
We have now gone through three of the four great prophecies in the book of Daniel, and we see that they agree. They all tell the same story, and in short, there will be four kingdoms on earth, from the time of Daniel until the second coming of Christ that will have a devastating effect on God’s faithful people. They follow one another in turn and give no opening to other kingdoms in the part of the world that the book of Daniel is concerned about, and that is where God’s people lived in Daniel’s time, and where they live toward the end. After a certain event, God’s people will be spread to all parts of the world, but then we approach, as said, the transition between prophetic time and the end time.
When a kingdom is conquered by a new one, paganism and human traditions in the religious life will accumulate in the new kingdom. This happens every time. We find evidence for this in Revelation 13 where John sees the same kingdoms, only in reverse order. This also tells us that it is important that we use the contemporary principle when interpreting the prophecies. Daniel sees the story develop from his contemporary and towards the end time. John also sees the history from his contemporary, and when it comes to the four kingdoms that Daniel sees in this order, lion, bear, leopard and an indescribable beast, John sees them this way; first the beast with seven heads and ten horns (a indescribable beast) that was like a leopard, with feet like a bear and with a mouth like a lion.
We see that Daniel’s prophecies have a parallel in Revelation, and that these two books speak the same language. We also see that it is the fourth kingdom that receives most attention in the book of Daniel is given all the attention in the parts of Revelation that deal with the same subject. There are probably several reasons for this, but the main reason is that this kingdom will stand up against God and suppress his faithful remnant and do so through a long, long period of time which we eventually will return to later.
We have already put a label on the little horn. We call the little horn the fourth kingdom, and we say it is the Roman Empire. This kingdom changes character. It is first a military-political kingdom which changes into a religious-political one, (8,10; 8,11). We see most clearly that the fourth kingdom changes character in chapter 7. This kingdom shall also be different from the other kingdoms, (Dan 7,7; 7,19; 7,23; 7,24). In chapter 8, (almost) all the focus is on the changed fourth kingdom – the religious-political Rom. Chapter 2 tells about the feet and toes, which are part of, or an extension of the legs, that they are a mixture of iron and clay. This is the change described in chapter 2. In chapter 7 it is said that a new horn, a little one, appears among the ten horns on the head of the fourth kingdom.
Chapter 8 goes straight to the little horn. It is clear in chapters 2 and 7 that there is no new kingdom that arises after the fourth kingdom, it is therefore only a question of an external and cosmetic´ change that has taken place. Inside, the fourth empire is still the Roman Empire. We have only just looked at the 2300 days. Later we will dive deeper into this prophecy for several reasons. First because this prophecy is part of what we have looked at, secondly because it is the longest time prophecy in the Bible no matter how we calculate this time.
Summary Daniel 2; 7 and 8.
When Judea and Jerusalem was conquered in the year 605 BC. God used a pagan king to punish his people, and calls Nebuchadnezzar the king of kings. By comparison, Jesus is called the King of kings (with a capital K). Nebuchadnezzar was the first in the book of Daniel to receive a revelation of what was to come in the future (chapter 2). He dreamed of a statue consisting of four different metals, a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron and feet partly of iron and partly of clay. We must consider this statue to be the main prophecy and it deals with the history of the people of God from 604 BC. and to the return of Jesus. All other prophecies that address this issue must relate to this prophecy, and not go beyond this framework.
It does not say that Nebuchadnezzar did not remember the dream, but it is certain that he did not understand the meaning of it. This is what Daniel helps him with, and Daniel explains that there are four great kingdoms, represented by the four metals, that will dominate the world from the time of Daniel until the return of Jesus and that they follow one another without interference from other kingdoms or nations. Later Daniel sees that these kingdoms will persecute and oppress God’s people. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that he is the head of gold, and since the king represents his kingdom, it means that Babylon is the kingdom of gold, (Daniel 2,38). After Babylon, there will be three kingdoms, and the last of these four kingdoms will be a dominant force until Jesus returns. We read in verse 44: And in the days of these kings, which are the toes of the feet and which are a continuation of the fourth kingdom, which is the kingdom of iron, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed … Later Daniel gets several visions of the future that deepen and explain Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Daniel 7 tells the same story, but uses other symbols, and provides additional information to the prophecy in Daniel 2. Daniel 8 skips Babylon, but otherwise the same is told in this chapter as in chapters 2 and 7, and thus chapter 8 complements these two the prophecies. In this chapter we get to know which the next two kingdoms are, Medo-Persia which is the silver kingdom and Greece which is the bronze kingdom.
What are the events that are of interest to us in these three chapters?
Daniel 2 tells about four kingdoms to come, of which the fourth kingdom is the strongest, verse 40, and that it will exist in one form or another until the second coming of Christ, verse 44. That is mainly what chapter 2 tells us – verse 4, a bear – verse 5, a leopard – verse 6, and a monster of a beast that Daniel cannot compare with any living animal, so terrible it is. On this beast there were ten horns, and eventually a small horn appears, verses 7 and 8, and it is this little horn that will last until Jesus’ return.
This chapter gives us some information about what this fourth animal and the little horn – should do, and its characteristics:
- Verse 7 dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly
- Verse 7 it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it
- Verse 7 it [was] diverse from all the beasts that [were] before it
- Verse 7 it had ten horns
- Verse 8 there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up
- Verse 8 in this horn [were] eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things
- Verse 11 the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame*
- Verse 19 diverse from all the others
- Verse 19 exceeding dreadful, whose teeth [were of] iron, and his nails [of] brass
- Verse 19 devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet
- Verse 20 that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look [was] more stout than his fellows
- Verse 21 the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them
- Verse 24 he shall subdue three kings
- Verse 25 he shall speak [great] words against the most High and shall wear out the saints of the most High
- Verse 25 and think to change times and laws,
- Verse 25 and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time
* In comparison, verse 12 says that the other beasts were deprived of their dominion. This shows that Babylon was conquered by Medo-Persia, Medo-Persia was conquered by Greece, Greece was conquered by the Roman Empire, but the Roman Empire is never conquered, it exists until the return of Jesus.
Daniel 8 continues to develop the prophecy and provides some more information. Now, as already mentioned, Babylon is left out, and we go straight to the second kingdom, which here is represented by a ram, verse 3, then follows a goat, verse 5, and then the prophecy goes straight to the little horn in verse 9 as we saw in chapter 7. Here, too, there are indications that the little horn will be present until the return of Jesus, verse 25.
In this chapter, the fourth beast is explained as follows:
- Verse 9 a little horn waxed exceedingly great
- Verse 10 it waxed great even to the host of heaven
- Verse 11 he magnified [himself] even to the prince of the host
- Verse 11 by him the daily [sacrifice] was taken away
- Verse 11 the place of his sanctuary was cast down
- Verse 12 it cast down the truth to the ground
- Verse 12 and it practised, and prospered,
- Verse 23 a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences
- Verse 24 his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power
- Verse 24 he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise
- Verse 24 shall destroy the mighty and the holy people
- Verse 25 through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand
- Verse 25 he shall magnify [himself] in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many
- Verse 25 he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes
The ravages of the fourth kingdom with God’s people raise a timely question: Is there at all any hope at all for God’s faithful people?
In all these three chapters the prophecy is clear that the fourth kingdom will exist on earth in one form or another until the return of Jesus.
Daniel chapter 2 says: 34 … a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet [that were] of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces … 35 … and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. … 44 … And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever … 45 … Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold
Daniel chapter 7 says: 9 … the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit … 10 … A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened … 13 … [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him … 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.… 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
Daniel chapter 8 says: 25 … he shall be broken without hand.
There are many who want to divide both one or more of the kingdoms Daniel’s prophecies tell about. I think it is inconsistent and contrary to how Daniel himself presents these kingdoms.
If we start with the statue in chapter 2, the four metals appear as four sovereign kingdoms. The golden kingdom – Babylon, the silver kingdom – Medo-Persia, the brass kingdom – Greece, and the iron kingdom – the Roman Empire. We see from the prophecy that the golden kingdom is conquered by the silver kingdom, the silver kingdom by the brass kingdom and the brass kingdom by the iron kingdom. The Iron Empire, on the other hand, is not conquered by any new empire. However, we see that the fourth kingdom changes character in that the feet, which are part of the bones, are mixed with clay. The clay is not a new kingdom, but a picture of how the fourth kingdom is changing.
No one wants to divide the Babylonian Empire into several parts. It is one kingdom, neither more nor less.
When it comes to Medo-Persia, there are many who want to divide this into two kingdoms, and the reason for this is that they want to force the prophecy to fit into a predetermined view – dispensationalism. It’s like trying to squeeze a well-grown watermelon into a soda bottle without destroying neither the melon nor the bottle. It is impossible. Admittedly, the Medo-Persian Empire consisted of two nations, Media and Persia, and the only change that took place here, if we can call it a change at all, was that the internal power structure changed so that the Median partner was strongest under the first part of the empire, while the Persian partner was strongest towards the end. This is made clear in the prophecy by the bias of both the bear and the ram. The bear was raised, higher on one side of the body and the two horns that the ram had were of different lengths.
As for the Greek Empire, it was admittedly divided into four after the death of Alexander the Great, but it is still considered Greece in Daniel’s prophecies. The brass kingdom in chapter 2 is still the brass kingdom, the leopard in chapter 7 is still the leopard and the he goat in chapter 8 is still the he goat, even though the kingdom was divided after the death of Alexander the Great. About the divided Greek kingdom, there is some who points out the Syrian kingdom, which was one of the four Greek kingdoms after Alexander the Great, and makes this kingdom the fourth kingdom in the chronology of the book of Daniel, and they therefore manage to end the prophecy in the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
Several explanations have been given about the fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire, the kingdom which has received the most attention, and which is the most important kingdom to fully understand. One explanation is that the statue in Daniel 2 has two legs, which symbolize the Western Roman and the Eastern Roman Empire. This falls on its own unreasonableness as the Roman Empire was one undivided empire ever since it conquered the Greek empires, dating from 168 BC. until it was divided between the Aryan tribes over a period of 81 years from 395 to 476. The Roman Empire was thus not divided until the Roman Empire began to change from being a military-political power to becoming a religious-political power.
Others will divide the Roman Empire into both two and three parts. The two parts are explained as 1) the political Rome and 2) the religious Rome. The three parts are explained as a) the political Rome, b) the Catholic Church and c) the resurrected Catholic Church after 1929. If one is going to divide one or more of these four kingdoms, we will soon end up with 11 different independent kingdoms where the prophecy only talks about 4 kingdoms. This is inconsistent
The four kingdoms and their lifetimes are: Babylon 605 – 539 BC. Medo-Persia 539 – 331 BC Greece 331 – 168 BC and … Rome, the Roman Empire 168 BC. to the return of Jesus.