An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 8 - Prophetic Truth - Page 174 of 304
origin of these powers may be the land surrounding the Mediterranean.  These
four beasts are said to be 'four kings', not four dynasties lasting centuries
but 'four kings' and, moreover, they 'shall arise'.  Now Nebuchadnezzar had
already risen.  Darius the Mede was already in existence and threatening
Babylon.  These four kings consequently cannot represent the gold, silver,
brass and iron of the image, and to import the words 'the fourth beast shall
be the fourth kingdom upon the earth' by mentally adding, 'counting from
Nebuchadnezzar', is to go contrary to the fact that these were yet future in
Daniel 7.  The descriptions given of these symbolic beasts are for the
guidance of those of the people of God who live in the day that they arise.
There are some things that Daniel knew which were to be sealed unto the time
of the end.  The identity of these kings is among such subjects.  No attempt
at specific interpretation is made by the angel, who simply says of these
four most peculiar beasts, that they are 'four kings which shall arise out of
the earth', and he passes without further comment to the glorious conclusion,
'But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the
kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever' (Dan. 7:17,18).
It is at the request of Daniel that further light is thrown upon the
fourth beast.  This, Daniel noted was 'diverse from all others', and although
he had been helped by the symbolic use of lion, eagle's wings, bear and
leopard, no such description is given of this fourth beast.  The kingdoms
represented by gold, silver, brass and iron in the image of Daniel 2
succeeded one another, whereas the rest of the beasts, that is the three
first mentioned in Daniel 7, lose their dominion, 'yet their lives were
prolonged for a season and time' (Dan. 7:12).  They cannot therefore be
successors.  The ten horns which the fourth beast had, represent 'ten kings
that shall arise', and in Revelation 17 this beast is seen supporting
Babylon, and the ten horns are said to represent 'ten kings, which have
received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the
beast' (Rev. 17:12).  If this beast of Revelation 17 is the same as that seen
by Daniel, then it is folly to attempt to discover these ten kings in past or
present history, for until the time of the end they will not have reigned as
kings.  They are evidently puppet kings at the disposal of the great Dictator
of the end.  Much more must be considered if the visions of Daniel 7 are to
be explained and their relation with the beasts of Revelation 13 and 17 made
clear, but that would take us far beyond our present quest.
We must return to the image and its feet of iron and clay.  While these
'ten kings' are not specifically mentioned, the ten toes of the image
indicate them, for the toes being connected with that part of the image which
was part of iron and part of clay (Dan. 2:42,43) are in mind when the prophet
continued 'And in the days of these kings', no kings being mentioned as such
in the context.  This final phase of the image is said to be partly strong
and partly broken, or 'brittle', as the margin indicates, the clay being
potter's clay which had been burned in the fire and had become so hardened
that, while vulnerable to a blow, would stand the weight of the figure above
it.  The degeneration which was symbolic of Israel's failure (Lam. 4:1,2) has
set in once again.  The Gentile is no better than the Jew, neither the one
nor the other can bear rule over the earth.  The total failure of all men
cries aloud for the coming of Christ, and this is the burden of all prophecy,
including the Millennium.  The prophet Daniel drew Nebuchadnezzar's attention
to one peculiar feature of the feet of the image:
'And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle
themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to
another, even as iron is not mixed with clay' (Dan. 2:43).