Now we move on to the legs of iron portion of the prophecy: Rome. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that the fourth kingdom would be as strong as iron and would crush and shatter all that came before it. This is a good description of the Roman Empire.
There are debates as to the exact beginning of the Roman Empire. This is due to the fact that the rise of Rome seems to be almost accidental. Rome did not start out with a conscience plan to conquer other nations and begin its own empire; it actually started to expand through reactionary events. When it perceived a threat of any kind by an outside force, Rome would rally the troops and march into battle. In the middle of the second century BCE Rome squashed a threat from Macedonia and it became the first of the Greek provinces divided after Alexander’s death to come under the rule of the Roman Empire.
No two scholars can agree on what exactly caused the end of the Roman Empire, and that is probably because no one thing is to blame. Delete ‘Here is a list of’ Some of the theories given for its fall: an undisciplined army, civil wars, barbarian invasions, over extension, political infighting, laziness, etc. What matters to us is the fact that the Roman Empire had collapse add ‘d’ by the end of the fifth century CE and is no more.
This leads us to the feet part of the statue where iron is mixed with clay, or where nations are no longer ruled by one World Empire but are a mixture of strong and weak nations. Never again would a human world empire exist. That does not mean people have stopped trying. Napoleon tried to create a French Empire but failed, and Hitler tried to create a Third Reich that would last a thousand years, but he too failed.
People have even tried to unite countries through marriage. A One royal from a one country would marry a another royal from another country in an attempt to unify, but it always failed. As late as World War I we saw the failure of these intermarriage attempts in that the Russian, German and British monarchies were all related but were at war anyway. God told Daniel there would not be a human world empire after Rome and no matter how hard people have tried, this prophecy has held true.
The rock that pulverized the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream smashes first into the feet of the statue, signifying the establishment of Jesus’ kingdom will occur sometime after world empires have ceased to exist and the world is divided into different nations. It is fitting that God used a rock to signify his kingdom as the Bible has often referred to God as a Rock of Salvation (Deut. 32:15), an everlasting Rock (Is. 26:4), a Rock, a fortress and a deliverer (Ps. 18:2), a Rock and a Redeemer (Ps. 19:14), etc.
“’…Is there any God besides Me?
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none’ “ Is. 44: 8
This timeline of world history was so important that God repeated it three times and in each of them God added a little more detail. In Daniel Chapter 7, while Daniel was still living under the Babylonian Empire, God gave him a dream.