Bible passage: Daniel 2:32-33
Written: About 530 BC
In Daniel 2:32-33, there is a prophetic passage that symbolically identified the four great kingdoms that would rise up and control much of world, beginning in Daniel's lifetime. The passage uses symbolic imagery:
1. The head of gold, as Daniel explained, refers to the Babylonian Empire that ruled much of the world about 2600 years ago.
2. Daniel said that the head-of-gold empire would be followed by an empire symbolized by arms of silver. Christian scholars have often interpreted this to refer to the Medo-Persian Empire which later conquered the Babylonian Empire. The scholars say that the two arms refer to the two groups - the Medes and the Persians - who comprised the Medo-Persian Empire.
3. The third kingdom was symbolized by the statue's belly and thighs of brass. Some scholars believe that this is a reference to the Grecian Empire, which conquered the Medo-Persian Empire. The symbol of a belly and thighs of brass suggests that the kingdom was to start out as a united empire but end up as a divided empire. Under the leadership of Alexander the Great, the Grecian Empire was a united empire. But after Alexander's death, the empire was divided up.
4. The fourth symbol - that of iron legs and feet that were part iron and part clay - has often been suggested to be a reference to the Roman Empire, which later conquered the Grecian Empire.
These four kingdoms ruled over much of the world, and each of the four ruled over the land of Israel during times in which a significant number of Jews - and perhaps a majority of Jews - were living in their homeland. Before the collapse of the Roman Empire, Jerusalem was destroyed and hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced into exile. Even today, a majority of Jews live outside of Israel.
- Research and commentary is based on the book 100 Prophecies. © Ray Konig and AboutBibleProphecy.com.
Here is Daniel 2:32-33:
32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.
(New International Version translation)