Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s visions all prophecy of the same four, great, Gentile kingdoms which would rule over the geographic area of Israel. However, Daniel 2 looks at these kingdoms from man’s perspective (represented by the metals of gold, silver, bronze, and iron), while Daniel 7 and 8 symbolize these kingdoms from God’s perspective. They are beastly and terrible to mankind. Daniel 2 and Daniel 8 identify the first three kingdom, even though their symbolic representations differ.
Daniel 7:17: "These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth.” (NLT)
Four Great Kingdoms in Symbol
Daniel 2 Daniel 7 Daniel 8
Babylon Head of gold Lion
MedoPersia Chest/Arms of silver Bear Ram
Greece Belly/Thighs of brass Leopard Male Goat
Rome Legs/Feet of iron/clay Dreadful Beast
History and the Bible prove the identities of these beastly (or metal) kingdoms. The first, like a lion, was Babylon. Daniel 2:38 symbolizes Babylon as the head of gold and calls Nebuchadnezzar that head, “…You are the head of gold.” The second, like a bear, was Medo-Persia
What will follow these empires? The prophecy in Daniel 2 foretells the final outcome of these kingdoms. “…in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever…” Daniel 2:44. This fifth universal empire will break in pieces the image and all other kingdoms, and will exist forever. That fifth universal empire is the Kingdom of our Lord, as discussed in Revelation 11:15. Just as Nebuchadnezzar overturned Israel during Zedekiah’s reign, the prophecy in Ezekiel 21:25-27 states that the crown will be removed (from Israel) until he comes whose right it is. That King is Jesus. He has the right and power to rule over Israel and the whole world in due time.