Islam from a Biblical Perspective V
The Metallic Statue
The Metallic Statue
Daniel's primary focus and emphasis is the final conflict between the Antichrist, his followers, and the people of God who are ultimately delivered by the coming of the Messiah, referred to as "as son of man".
The four pillars of Roman end-time theory are:
1. Daniel 2 - Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a giant metallic statue
2. Daniel 7 - Daniel's vision of four beasts
3. Daniel 9:26 - "the people of the prince to come"
4. Revelation 17 - the city on seven hills Daniel 2 is Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a statue.
Daniel 2:31-35 - The first section, the head of gold, represents Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian Kingdom.
Daniel 2:36-38 - But the sections of the statue that follow represent three other kingdoms that would succeed Babylon, each possessing its former dominion. We will examine the evidence against the identification of the fourth empire of Daniel 2 as the Roman Empire. In contrast, the historical Islamic Caliphate does meet the scriptural criteria. The Islamic Caliphate is simply the historical Islamic government or empire, which began with the Rashidun Caliphate in 632 AD, shortly after the death of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and culminated in the Ottoman Empire, which officially came to an end in 1923.
The first problem with the Roman identification of the fourth kingdom is that the Roman Empire does not meet the specific criterion of Daniel 2:40. This verse speaks of the nature of the rise of the fourth kingdom. It says when it emerged, it would crush all three of the other kingdoms.
Later in Daniel 7, we see a similar description.
The three that would be trampled and crushed are Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. Clearly, the text says this fourth kingdom would "crush" or conquer all three. These three never coexisted, thus bringing up a great question of what does the text mean when it says the fourth empire would "crush" all of the others. The first meaning of the word crush refers simply to geography. The Roman Empire only conquered about one-third of the regions controlled by Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. About two-thirds were left entirely untouched by Rome. The text is clear; in order to fulfill Daniel 2:40, an empire would need to crush, not one, but all three and Rome doesn't fulfill the requirement. For example, the Roman Empire only conquered roughly one-fifth of the land holdings of the Medo-Persian Empire, whose capital cities of Ecbatana and Persepolis forever remained hundreds of miles out of the Roman Empire's reach.
What about conquering culturally and religiously? When the Roman Empire conquered a people, rather than destroying the culture, abolishing its religion, and imposing a new language, it generally tolerated these things while adding law, building roads and infrastructure, and creating order. In contrast, The Islamic Caliphate from its inception was an Arab-Islamic supremacist force that crushed and erased the cultures and religions of the peoples it conquered. Islam has rules and commandments that pertain to far more than just theology. It also dictates law, government, language, military, and even the sexual and hygienic practices of those under its authority. Where ever Islam has spread, the conquered culture is gradually erased, the symbols and pieces of evidence of that former culture destroyed. The religion of the subjugated peoples is most particularly targeted. This is Islam's heritage, the perfect fulfillment of Daniel 2:40. Islam is a crushing power, that "tramples the residue with its feet".
The second problem for the Roman identification of the fourth empire is the criterion of Daniel 2:34-35.
Daniel 2:34-35 - This time, instead of the rise of the fourth kingdom, these verses speak of its demise - the day of its destruction - and the return of the Messiah and His kingdom. The Messianic kingdom specifically destroys the kingdom of the Antichrist. Simply stated, if the Roman Empire were fully revived today to the point of its greatest extent, and Jesus returned and fully destroyed it, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece would not all be destroyed, "at the same time". On the other hand, if the Islamic Caliphate were fully revived today, and Jesus returned and conquered this empire, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece would be completely destroyed as well.
What about context? This passage's context is a dream that was specifically given to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Although the ultimate context and focus of all Biblical prophecy are Jerusalem and Israel, this passage was revealed in Babylon, to a Babylonian king, concerning kingdoms that would succeed him.
Therefore, the first four divisions of the statue in his dream are as follows:
1. Head of Gold - Babylonian Empire
2. Chest and arms of silver - Medo-Persian Empire
3. Belly and thighs of bronze - Grecian Empire
4. Legs of iron - Islamic Caliphate
When we compare maps of Medo-Persia and Greece to a map of the Roman Empire, it becomes quite clear that Rome's dominion was significantly farther west. The Roman Empire does not align itself to the context of the dream. For the overwhelming majority of its roughly 1,500 years of existence, the Roman Empire's boundaries were firmly set roughly five hundred miles west of Babylon.
The feet of iron mixed with clay? Although the overall emphasis of the prophecy is placed on "the fourth kingdom", the last empire before Jesus returns is technically not the legs of iron, but the feet of mixed iron and clay. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that the fourth empire will consist of two phases.
Head - fine gold
Breast and arms - silver
Belly and thighs - brass
Legs - iron
Feet - part iron and part clay
It is clear that there are not merely four, but rather five distinct sections of the statue. Thus, it is not a reach to say the two distinct phases of the statue would be the historical Islamic Caliphate (legs of iron) and a revived version of the Islamic Caliphate (feet mixed with iron and clay).
Daniel 2:41 - The defining characteristic of the final kingdom is that it would be "divided". While the Islamic world in recent decades has demonstrated the fact that it is incapable of being dominated by an outside power, whether Russia or US, for roughly 1,300 years, their history has demonstrated that they are entirely capable of being dominated by a Muslim power. The Turks, for example, ruled the entire region for nearly 500 years. The kingdom will be mixed.
Daniel 2:43 - Another hint regarding the ethnic base of the final phase of the fourth kingdom is found here. In Aramaic, the word for "mixed" is simply 'arab'. In the ancient Middle East, the Arabs were viewed as "the mixed" desert peoples. In Hebrew, the word is 'ereb'. Because the descendants of Ishmael and Esau had so intermarried among the various desert pagan tribes, they had essentially become known collectively as the "the mixed ones". The very name Arab, in its etymological origins, refers to the mixed people that lived primarily to the east of Israel. A literal translation of Daniel 2:43 can be, "as you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will be arab; and will thus not remain united, just as iron does not mix with clay". A reach? maybe
Daniel 5:28 - In the Aramaic of Daniel 5:28, "divided" (peres) was interpreted to indicate the "Persian" (paras) peoples would conquer the Babylonian Empire. Likewise, it is not at all unreasonable to consider that in the Aramaic of Daniel 2:43 the word "mixed" (arab) could also be understood to mean that the "Arab"(arab) peoples would be the primary representatives of the fourth and final kingdom. If the iron legs represent the Islamic Caliphate, then the message of Daniel 2 is seen to flow together seamlessly with all the other passages throughout the Prophets that speak of Jesus judging Muslim nations and Israel's neighbors on the "Day of the Lord".