Daniel did not stop with the predictions of the rise of the Persian and Greek empires. He went on to describe one other significant power that would come after them. And it is this one last prophecy that turns out to be the most important of all for a full understanding of the last days. Just like the previous predictions, this one also came true with perfect accuracy.
Daniel continues in his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to say this:
“And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; and, as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
“And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
“And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly broken.
“And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not adhere one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”
During the course of history from Daniel’s time to the time of the end the prophet predicts that there will be only four significant powers which will control the world and affect Israel. The first three we have shown to be Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. The question to be answered now is, “What power best represents the fourth part of this image—the part characterized by the legs and feet of iron?” This power is described in much greater detail than any of the other empires which preceded it. Daniel seems to be keenly interested in every detail, almost as if he somehow knew that a proper description would be very important to those people who would live to experience the end of the age. He also says that this empire would be extremely powerful, just like the legs of iron which characterize the image. It would devour everything in its path and crush the world under the power of its conquering feet.
The Rise of Rome
In the history of the world after Greece, there is only one power which could possibly fulfill this description—the Roman Empire. Not only does the old Roman Empire fall into the necessary category of being a true “world power”, but it also fits nicely into the overall chronology of the prophecy, arising on the world scene fourth, after Babylon, Persia, and Greece. Although Daniel does not mention it by name in any of his prophecies as he did with the other empires, no other power could possibly represent this fourth iron empire as well as Rome…[more]