A Question about one of the beasts in Daniel...


Someone was troubled by an interpretation of a beast in Daniel...

Dear Glenn,
 
Thanks so much for your website.  It has been a real help to me in study and encouragement in the faith.  I was reading your articles on Daniel the other night in an effort to understand the book.
 
The big question that I had was about internal problems in the book and you have not gotten that far yet :)  But the problem feels pretty intractable to me:
 
Dan has a vision of 4 kingdoms in chapter 2.  Conservative scholars say the four kingdoms are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and then Rome.  Liberal scholars say the four kingdoms are Babylon, Media, Persia, and then Greece.  They want to make Greece the final empire since it was at its height in the 2nd century BC when they claim Daniel was written.  But you know all this :)  Well, it seems, just by reading the book of Daniel that the critics have to be right- the fourth kingdom has to be Greece.  The description of the kingdom in chapter two has two prominent details given:  It will be a divided kingdom (Daniel 2:41) and because is weak it will try to strengthen itself through alliances through intermarriage (Daniel 2:43).  What kingdom could this be but Greece?  The first part of Daniel 11, which all commentators whether liberal or contrastive accept as describing Greece, chronicles how Greece would be a divided kingdom (Daniel 11:3-4) and that the different parts of the kingdom would try to form alliances with the other parts through intermarriage (Daniel 11:6).  It seems pretty clear from this that the author of Daniel intended that the fourth kingdom of chapter 2 to be Greece and not Rome.
 
This is a major problem since it goes on to say (Daniel 2:43), "In the days of those kings [i.e. Greece!] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered.  It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness and it will stand forever."  So it doesn't seem to matter whether Daniel was written in the 6th century BC or the 2nd century BC since it seems to pretty clearly teach that the Kingdom of God would arrive in the days of Greece.  Which didn't happen in any way shape or form.
 
I used to think (before comparing Daniel 2 and Daniel 11 and having the historical background) that the forth kingdom was Rome.  Because it was in the days of the Roman empire that Jesus came and we can easily say that God set up His kingdom then.
 
But if the forth kingdom is Greece then we not only have unfulfilled prophecy but prophecy that can't ever be fulfilled because it has been disproved by history.  That is not a very ... appealing conclusion.
 
Discovering this has much saddened me and I don't know what to do with it.  I was hoping that perhaps you could briefly shed some light on it for me if my understanding of the text is wrong since, as a believer who holds a very high view of Scripture that is not a conclusion that I would naturally want to accept...
 
In the Lord Jesus, ABC

I dug up some resources and summarized them (some of the Hebrew fonts probably wont make it across...so expect some weird characters):

Sorry for the very hasty/terse reply, but I did want to at least get a couple of quick suggestions to you as early as I could--I wont be able to do much with this Q, because of the backlog...
 
but... I scratched around in my resources here and noticed a couple of points for you to consider (I cannot dialogue about these, but they should give you some possible points of departure for your own study):
 
1. Persia was never considered to have conquered 'the whole world'--Greece was the first one to do that, and that would force the last image to be Rome.
 
2. Greek was NOT a 'divided kingdom' when it took over the world; In fact, it ceased being a kingdom when it was divided. We then DONT HAVE a real kingdom again until the Romans--the 4 generals did not constitute "a divided kingdom". And, my commentaries all called ROME the divided kingdom, since she allowed so many local rulers and local jurisdictions to prosper. Greece/Persia went for much-more monolithic cultures (Alex wanted to make 'one world' with Hellenistic culture?!!!) And the combining in the seed of men is between the clay and iron (both parts of the kingdom AT THE SAME TIME--not later).
 
3. The 'mingling' did not specifically said 'intermarriage of the RULER'. Keil and Delitzch point out that it was the PEOPLE who intermarried--and this was just as true of Rome as it was of Greece. A standard ploy of conquered Roman nations was to get the ladies to marry Roman citizen-men, and therefore 'mingle' the families into Roman power and privilege. So, I dont think this has to be taken as referring to high-level political marriages EXCLUSIVELY at all. [like I say, it was Keil & D. that explained that point from the toes.] And the combining in the seed of men is between the clay and iron (both parts of the kingdom AT THE SAME TIME--not later).
 
4. The ancient Jewish interpreters (e.g. Rashi) all understood the 4th beast to be Rome.
 
Just a couple of supporting quotes:
 
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"The legs of iron represent the Roman Empire. This fourth kingdom conquered the Greek Empire in 63 b.c. Though the Roman Empire was divided into two legs and culminated in a mixture of iron and clay, it was one empire. This empire was characterized by its strength, as iron is stronger than bronze, silver, and gold. The Roman Empire was stronger than any of the previous empires. It crushed all the empires that had preceded it. Rome in its cruel conquest swallowed up the lands and peoples that had been parts of the three previous empires and assimilated those lands and peoples into itself.

2:41-43
. The empire that began as iron regressed to a state of clay mixed with iron. This mixture speaks of progressive weakness and deterioration. Two metals together form an alloy which may be stronger than either of the metals individually. But iron and clay cannot be mixed. If iron and clay are put into a crucible, heated to the melting point, and poured into a mold, when the pour has cooled the iron and clay remain separate. The clay can be broken out which leaves a weak casting.

The Roman Empire was characterized by division (it was a divided kingdom) and deterioration (it was partly strong and partly brittle). Though Rome succeeded in conquering the territories that came under its influence, it never could unite the peoples to form a united empire. In that sense the people were a mixture and were not united. (Other views of this mixture of strength and weakness are suggested: [a] the empire was strong organizationally but weak morally; [b] imperialism and democracy were united unsuccessfully; [c] government was intruded by the masses, i.e., mob rule; [d] the empire was a mixture of numerous races and cultures.)"

Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
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"...to heighten the idea of brittleness. This twofold material denotes that it will be a divided or severed kingdom, not because it separates into several (two to ten) kingdoms, for this is denoted by the duality of the feet and by the number of the toes of the feet, but inwardly divided..."
Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (2002). Commentary on the Old Testament. (Vol. 9, Page 559). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
 
"In v. 42 the same is aid of the toes of the feet, and in v. 43 the comparison to iron and clay is defined as the mixture of these two component parts. As the iron denotes the firmness of the kingdom, so the clay denotes its brittleness. The mixing of iron with clay represents the attempt to bind the two distinct and separate materials into one combined whole as fruitless, and altogether in vain. The mixing of themselves with the seed of men (v. 43), most interpreters refer to the marriage politics of the princes. They who understand by the four kingdoms the monarchy of Alexander and his followers, think it refers to the marriages between the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies, of which indeed there is mention made in Dan. 11:6 and 17, but not here;"
Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (2002). Commentary on the Old Testament. (Vol. 9, Page 559). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.


"As, in the three preceding kingdoms, gold, silver, and brass represent the material of these kingdoms, i.e., their peoples and their culture, so also in the fourth kingdom iron and clay represent the material of the kingdoms arising out of the division of this kingdom, i.e., the national elements out of which they are constituted, and which will and must mingle together in them. If, then, the “mixing themselves with the seed of men” points to marriages, it is only of the mixing of different tribes brought together by external force in the kingdom by marriages as a means of amalgamating the diversified nationalities.

Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (2002). Commentary on the Old Testament. (Vol. 9, Page 559-560). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
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"As for the third empire (represented by bronze), it was even less desirable from Nebuchadnezzar's standpoint; though Greece was to "rule over the whole earth," its political tradition was more republican than its predecessor. The bronze empire was the Greco-Macedonian Empire established by Alexander the Great, who began his invasion of Persia in 334, crushed its last resistance in 331, and established a realm extending from the border of Yugoslavia to beyond the Indus Valley in India--the largest empire of ancient times. [EBCOT]

"Verse 41 deals with a later phase or outgrowth of this fourth empire, symbolized by the feet and ten toes--made up of iron and earthenware, a fragile base for the huge monument. The text clearly implies that this final phase will be marked by some sort of federation rather than by a powerful single realm. The iron may possibly represent the influence of the old Roman culture and tradition, and the pottery may represent the inherent weakness in a socialist society based on relativism in morality and philosophy. Out of this mixture of iron and clay come weakness and confusion, pointing to the approaching day of doom. Within the scope of v. 43 are disunity, class struggle, and even civil war, resulting from the failure of a hopelessly divided society to achieve an integrated world-order. The iron and pottery may coexist, but they cannot combine into a strong and durable world-order.

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anyway, I just looked at the first passage, but I think you have enough 'play' in the imagery to allow for either Greece OR Rome for that final beast.
 
I hope this helps get you started/further, friend...warmly, glenn


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