Daniel chapter 2.
Daniel was one of the Hebrews who had been taken captive by the nation of Babylon and trained in Babylonian schools. Through God's provision he had become a respected wise man of Babylon, though he was only around 20 years old at the time the following story happened. Anyway...
One night the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had this very vivid dream and when he awoke he couldn't remember it, but he knew it was important so he called his magicians, astrologers and sorcerers together and asked them to tell him 1.) what his dream had been, and 2.) what its interpretation was.
Of course they couldn't do it. So they said, "Tell us the dream and we'll tell you the interpretation."
See, their job as "wise men" involved, among other things, listening to the king's dreams and making up some phony interpretations to please him.
So anyway, now they're in a bind so they tell him that they can't do it and the king realizes that he's been duped this entire time by these guys, so he makes a decree to kill all the wise men in Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar had a bit of a violent temper...ask me if you want another example.
So this guy from the king's army, the captain of the guard, shows up at Daniel's door to kill him (because he was considered one of the wise men) and his three friends...and Daniel goes, "What happened?? What's with this harsh decree?" and the captain of the guard tells him what happened.
So Daniel asks to speak with the king, is granted an audience, and says to the king that if he'll give him time, he would be able to give him the dream and its interpretation. The king agrees.
So Daniel goes home and tells his three buddies what happened and they pray to God to reveal this dream so that they won't be slain. And that night, Daniel dreamed the same dream that the king had and was given its interpretation, and Daniel praised God!
So Daniel is called before the king and the king asks him if he's able to make known the dream and its interpretation, and Daniel says, "Your wise men, astrologers and magicians can't tell you this stuff...BUT there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets and makes known to the king what will be in the last days. God is showing you what is going to come to pass from here on. And it is because of God that this dream is revealed, not because of me or because I have any more wisdom than anyone else."
And Daniel recounts this dream which was of this big statue of a man, whose head was gold, arms and chest were silver, belly and thighs were bronze, legs were iron, and feet were iron mixed with clay. Then all of a sudden this big rock that was cut without hands flew down and struck the statue on the feet and shattered it...then the rock grew into a huge mountain that covered the whole earth.
So the king gets all excited and exclaims, "That's it! That was the dream!"
And he knows that if Daniel can tell him the dream that he dreamed, surely his interpretation can also be trusted. For sure.
So he tells the king, "God gave you this kingdom and all your power.
You are the head of gold.
Then after you is going to rise up a kingdom inferior to you, just like silver is inferior to gold,
then a third kingdom of brass,
and the fourth kingdom will be as strong as iron, and just like iron breaks and crushes all these other metals, this kingdom will crush everything else too.
Then just like the feet of iron mixed with clay, the fourth kingdom will be divided. Just like the toes were partly of iron and partly of clay, it will be partly strong and partly broken. And just like you saw iron mixed with clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men but they shall not adhere one to another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
And in the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom and the kingdom will last forever."
So the king is floored, and decides to make Daniel the governor over all the kingdom...and Daniel requested his three friends be put in charge too.
All this can be found in Daniel chapter 2. It's interesting because in the next chapter the king builds this huge statue of a man and makes it all of gold, instead of just the head...kinda hoping his kingdom would last forever. But anyway.
So the Bible is clear the the starting point of this world-history timeline of kingdoms who would rule the then-known world is Babylon which is represented by the head of gold. And that Babylon would be conquered by another kingdom, and then that kingdom would be conquered by a third kingdom, and then that kingdom would be conquered by a fourth kingdom, and that the fourth kingdom WOULDN'T be conquered by a fifth kingdom, but instead would be divided up...and remember the ten toes, just stick that on a shelf in your mind, there will be more on that later.
Let's check history...
Babylon, head of gold, reigned from 605-539 BC, and was conquered by...?
Medo-Persia, chest and arms of silver, who reigned from 539-331 BC, and was conquered by...?
Greece, belly and thighs of brass, who reigned from 331-168 BC, and was conquered by...?
Rome, legs of iron, who reigned from 168 BC - 476 AD, and was conquered by...?
If the fourth world-empire had been conquered by a fifth, you could throw your Bibles in the garbage and say it was all fairy-tales...but it wasn't.
Any A-students out there? What happened to Rome? It disintegrated from within and was divided into smaller kingdoms. Through unparalleled luxury, political corruption and moral decay, Rome lost its stability and strength and became easy prey for the various Barbarian tribes that began invading the empire during the fourth century A.D.
By 476 AD, Rome had divided into ten parts, or tribes. They were:
The Alemanni (today's Germans)
The Franks (French)
The Saxons (English)
The Visigoths (Spanish)
The Burgundians (Swiss)
The Lombards (Italians)
The Suevi (Portugese)
and the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths (these three are now extinct, more on that later)
The current nations of Europe developed from these various tribes of the divided Roman empire.
Remember that part about mingling themselves with the seed of men but not adhering together just as iron won't mix with clay?
MANY rulers have tried to reunite Europe, often through royal marriages, you know? Like the princess of this country is wed to the prince of that country, etc etc...trying to reunite the nations of Europe by the mingling of seed...but it never worked.
Then there were the military conquests of men who tried to reunite the nations of Europe, men like Charlemagne, Charles V, Louis XIV, Napoleon Bonaparte (who reportedly was told of this prophecy and that he wouldn't succeed, and then threw the Bible across the room...it's said that after Waterloo he said, "God has been too much." or something like that), and more recently, Adolph Hitler.
Bible prophecy...unreal. It happened just like God said it would, and later the prophecy is given again in even MORE detail...so much so that it is seriously mind-blowing.
In that world time-line...where are we? We are living in the tips of the toes, at the veeeerrrryyyy bottom of the statue, the very end of the timeline, well into the days of divided Rome.
Remember what happened next?
The Rock came and struck the image on the feet (right where we are in time), shattering it into dust, and then the Rock grew into a huge mountain that covered the whole earth...who is the Rock? Who is coming back very soon to destroy the kingdoms of the earth and establish an everlasting kingdom? Christ is the Rock.
Just wait until you hear the NEXT prophecy!