His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Daniel 2,33
Everyone agrees that legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay in chapter 2 is an image of the Roman Empire. Here it is his feet part of iron and part of clay that indicate this kingdom changes. It is not a new metal or kingdom, because the iron is represented in the feet even though the iron is mixed with clay. In chapter 7 we find a beast which is dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly and it is also here agreed that this is an image of the Roman Empire. Here we learn that the Roman Empire will change, which is explained by first the ten horns that were already there when the fourth beast appeared, and with the little horn that emerges. We also learn that this beast – the Roman Empire – is totally different from the other three in these prophecies.
If we look at Babylon, this kingdom did not change, nor did Medo-Persia, at least not to any significant degree. The change that happened here, if we can call it a change at all, was that the internal power structure changed so that the Median partner was strongest in the first part while the Persian partner was strongest towards the end – in other words, only a cosmetic change . When we come to Greece we see a clear change. First we see Greece as a great empire, which after a short time is divided into the four Hellenistic kingdoms of Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus and Ptolemy. Common to the first three kingdoms, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece, was that they mixed state power with religion. They were secular powers that had an official religion.
When we come to the fourth kingdom, we see the greatest change. The first thing that happens to this empire is that it is divided into two, the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. Then the Western Roman Empire dissolve when it is divided between the ten Aryan tribes, and then the little horn emerges. Dan 8,8-9 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. 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 pleasant [land]. The fourth beast is initially a secular power that mixed state power with religion. After the external (physical) change, there follows an internal change. The secular power, which mixed its state power with religion, becomes a religious power that mixes its religious power with state power.
In all three chapters, the fourth beast will be here until Jesus’ return, which is explained in several ways. Daniel 2,34.44-45; 34 Thou sawest till that 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. 45 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; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream [is] certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
Daniel 7,9.22; 9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire. 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom..
Daniel 8,13-14.25; 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? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. 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.
When then the fourth metal, the iron kingdom in chapter 2 exists until the second coming of Christ, and when the little horn in chapter 7 exists until the second coming of Christ and when the king with a hard face in chapter 8 will exist until the second coming of Christ, this must mean that the Roman Empire is one kingdom, despite the fact that it changes character. Another important argument is the description of the transition between the different kingdoms, or maybe a lack of description. We see that the golden kingdom was replaced with the silver kingdom, the silver kingdom was replaced with the brass kingdom and the brass kingdom was replaced with the iron kingdom. None of these kingdoms or metals were mixed with anything else. The golden kingdom thus has its period, then it ceases to exist – period. So it is with the silver kingdom and so it is with the brass kingdom. These three kingdoms cease to exist because they are conquered by a new kingdom. The Iron Empire, on the other hand, is not conquered by a new empire. It is admittedly divided between the ten Aryan tribes, but Greece was also divided by four of Alexander the Great’s generals! Unlike the other metals that ceased to exist, the iron kingdom was mixed with clay. The Iron Kingdom thus continues to exist, and will exist until the second coming of Christ, albeit in a mixed and much more dangerous version.