Reggie, I’m trying to understand the fourth kingdom of Daniel 2 and the fourth beast of Daniel 7. Is that kingdom partially Rome in chapter 2 and also refer to the last kingdom where the antichrist is, or, does that kingdom exclusively refer to the last kingdom where antichrist appears?
Most conservative interpreters agree that the fourth beast is Rome. In significant contrast to the former three kingdoms, the fourth is not replaced but shows a change of form. The fourth beast is divided between east and west (the two legs) and fragmented (partly iron / strong; partly clay / weak). This suggests or implies that there will never be another kingdom after Rome that will achieve universal world dominion. Even the Antichrist, like many before him will not be successful in consolidating his conquests into complete control of all the nations. This is evident from the scriptures that show him engaged in military conflicts before and all during the tribulation, with a final revolt from many nations towards the very end (see Dan 11:31-45 with Rev 16:14-16).
So the ten kings (10 toes / horns) that give their strength and power to the little horn / sea beast (Rev 17:12) are represented as rising out of the fourth kingdom / beast at the time of the end. We might ask; do they arise within the territorial boundaries of ancient Rome or beyond? Do they arise within the eastern or western division of the Roman world or in both, with five one one foot of one leg and five on the other, geographically speaking? Some, however, make the case that strict geographical borders is not the point of the kingdoms but their generic continuance as oppressive gentile powers that are given a time (times of the gentiles) to bear a usurping sway over the divided kingdom of Israel until the kingdom cut out of the mountain without hands displaces the beast kingdoms of man.
Here is where we get help, I believe the most help, from Dan chapter 8. It would take more time than I can now invest to show all the reasons why I differ with interpreters that see the ‘little horn’ of Dan 8 as an altogether different individual from the ‘little horn’ of Dan 7. In my view, they are the same. In Dan 8 and 11, the fourth kingdom is passed over in prophetic silence and the Antichrist is depicted as rising out of one of the four divisions of Alexander’s kingdom. Dan 8:9 greatly limits the geographical options for the rise of Antichrist to a part of the Grecian kingdom within what would later become the Roman kingdom spreading itself over the Mediterranean world.
Whether Greece or Rome is the last kingdom in view, in all these chapters we must recognize a gap of time between the kingdoms of antiquity, and the Antichrist that appears at the end of the kingdom of man. In Dan 2 and 7 the gap is between Rome and the end. In Dan 8 and 11 it is between the fourfold division of Greece and the end. The Antichrist rises no less “in the latter time of their kingdom” (i.e. the four that stood up after Alexander’s fall) than out of Rome. This greatly narrows the geographical options, since Egypt is ruled out in so far that the little horn (Antichrist) is a king of the north both here and in ch 11.
According to Ezekiel’s prophecy (Eze 38:17), the Antichrist will be able to bring with him many of the nations of the Islamic world (Eze 38:2, 5-6) down against Israel. He will have a special hatred of the holy covenant (Dan 11:28, 30, 32) that grants Jewish occupational rights to the Land and city of Jerusalem and eventually to the forbidden temple mount. He is someone that comes up and become strong with a small people. This is AFTER the league made with him (Dan 11:23). This and other such passages as Ps 83; Eze 35:5; 36:5; and Obadiah incline me to look for the rise of the Antichrist somewhere within the eastern side of the Roman kingdom, but from a nation that will be smaller, at least in its beginnings, than any of the four divisions of Alexander’s Empire, since those were called, ‘notable horns’ (sizable powers), whereas the Antichrist will emerge at first as a ‘little horn,’ one that becomes strong with a ‘small people’ only AFTER the false peace arrangement. So his rise to become an irresistible military power (Dan 11:31; Rev 13:4) appears to be ‘meteoric,’ as his climb to power comes very swiftly.
This means that since Rome was the 6th at the time of John, two more beasts must come from within a later stage of the Roman kingdom, but here is the mystery. The 7th is also the 8th, because the 8th is the resurrection of the fatally wounded 7th. That is how this little horn becomes “the beast that was and is not and yet is that makes the whole world to wonder.”
It is too much to take up now, since I have written on this elsewhere, but the 8th beast is the composite beast that comprehends in himself all the former beast kingdoms (Rev 13:2; 17:11), since in him is accomplished the mystery of iniquity (2Thes 2:7), which is the full incarnation of Satan in the flesh. If he is not Islamic, it is at least certain that he will be in a position to exploit and command Islamic hatred against Israel and the whore. His hatred for the holy covenant and the Jewish people will be supreme, since that dragon who indwells him will seek the annihilation of the elect nation that must come to faith in immediate connection with his millennial consignment to the abyss.
I hope that goes some way towards helping with your question. This is probably one of those times when to answer one question raises four more.
Yours in His precious service, Reggie