“And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these.”Daniel 2:40
In Part One of this series, I established that all four kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream would occupy the same general land mass — or “ara” [אֲרַע] — see Daniel 2:39. The historical empires of Babylon, Persia, and Greece [Javan] were subsequent kingdoms that dominated the same territories in the Middle East and parts of Northern Africa. The geographical context provides the key to understanding the fourth and final kingdom that will emerge in the latter days.
By discovering the Middle Eastern context of the fourth kingdom, we can eliminate any chance for a “revived” Roman Empire as a valid candidate for the end-times kingdom of Antichrist. You can read here to get a more in-depth explanation as to why I reject the Roman Empire as the legs of iron in Daniel 2.
Furthermore, I established that the fourth and final kingdom — the legs and feet of iron mixed with clay — represents the end-times kingdom of the Beast [Antichrist]. This iron kingdom will be shattered by a “stone” not cut by human hands — meaning that this “stone” will originate from the God of heaven [Daniel 2:44]. Immediately after the “stone” from heaven destroys the fourth kingdom, God will establish His everlasting kingdom — his holy mountain — that will fill the whole earth.
When I take all of these things into consideration, there is only one legitimate candidate for the fourth kingdom of the last days. The legs of iron mixed with clay will be the Iron Kingdom of a revived Islamic Empire. While the European Union is weakening and disintegrating, Islam remains the fastest growing religious ideology in the world and remains a formidable force in the Middle East and around the world.
Let’s consider some more details that support Islam as the iron legs and feet mixed with clay.
Islam is Brutal but Fragile
Daniel 2 provides an interesting detail about this fourth and final kingdom in the last days. On the one hand it will be strong like iron, shattering and crushing everyone it conquers. From its inception, Islam has thrived in military conquest, using terrorism, oppression, and total domination of its enemies. The brutal tactics of Islam are well documented in both Muslim and secular sources. Islam is a merciless ideology that either kills or subjugates all conquered peoples and forces them to completely conform to the oppressive measures of shariah law.
As powerful as the Roman Empire became at its zenith, it never was characterized by annihilating other civilizations but rather allowed most conquered peoples to retain their cultural and religious identity. Not so in Islam. It is fiercely dominant and forces everyone to comply with sharia law and bow at the feet of Allah.
On the other hand, however, Islam is surprisingly fragile in and of itself and historically has been characterized by inner turmoil, religious factions, and political instability. Daniel speaks to this instability by saying that the fourth kingdom, although strong as iron, will at the same time be a “brittle” and “divided” kingdom — symbolized by the iron mixed with clay.
“And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle.”Daniel 2:41-42
It is interesting that almost every closed Islamic system quickly disintegrates into civil unrest and conflict. Peace and harmony are not common qualities found in Islamic society. This, of course, should come as no surprise since the Bible predicted the future plight of the descendants of Ishmael, who are predominately Muslim today.
And the angel of the LORD said to her,
“Behold, you are pregnantGenesis 16:11-12
and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
because the LORD has listened to your affliction.
He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
his hand against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
Furthermore, Islam is especially fragile when one considers the perpetual schism between the Sunni and Shia branches of the Muslim faith. Although the Shia only represent 15-20% of Islam worldwide — mostly in Iran (Persia) — they retain significant influence and also represent a very extreme apocalyptic — almost fatalistic — ideology.
If the Antichrist — the Beast — is to emerge out of Islam, then one of his first objectives will be to somehow unify the Islamic world and bring the fragile factions of both Shia and Sunni together — perhaps through intermarriage [see Daniel 2:43]. Our study of Daniel 8 and 11 will provide more details about how this may happen, but for now, I would like to conclude by making mention of the ten toes in the metal image.
Ten Toes Represent Ten Kings
We discover that the ten toes in Daniel 2 are ten kings who will make an attempt at unification but ultimately will not hold together [Daniel 2:43-44]. This prophecy says that it will be in the “days of those kings” that the God of heaven will establish His kingdom that will never be destroyed.
The question is … what kings? Does the Bible provide any more support for a 10-king coalition brought together under the authority of the Antichrist in the last day?
Yes it does. Both Daniel and the book of Revelation further develop this important detail. I will leave you with some critical passages that are connected to the ten toes in Daniel 2.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.”
Thus he said:
“As for the fourth beast,there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,Daniel 7:7, 23-24
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.”
“And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.”Revelation 13:1-2
“And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”Revelation 17:12-14