Daniel 2 – An Apotelesmatic Chapter
Part 3 – the Image’s Feet
Historically, the iron legs sequenced in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image represented the Roman Empire. Though the number of legs is not emphasized, many scholars conclude that they symbolize the two divisions of that kingdom – the western empire that fell in 476 A.D. and the eastern empire (Byzantine) which fell ~1453 A.D. to the Ottomans.
The emergence of a “Christian emphasis” within that empire accelerated in 381 A.D., when Theodosius I began persecuting pagan leaders, then oversaw the destruction of or takeover of their temples. Some historians suggest that this laid the foundation for the Holy Roman Empire, covering approximately 756 to 1870 A.D., during the Catholic Church’s administration over the Papal States.
- This period saw the infiltration of an alternative Christianity throughout a vast geographical area. During this time, history witnessed the rise and fall of those Roman Empires, the Crusades, the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, and the horrors of resisting the antichrist.
- From this complex history came new graphic time-of-the-end reminders predicting a resurgence of that ecclesiastical power associated with persecution. Those prophecies begin with a little horn antichrist in Daniel 7 and 8 and end with a harlot and sea beast in Revelation 17 and 13.
Focusing initially on Daniel 7, it contains many brief prophetic snippets, each with last-day endings!
- The fourth beast had ten horns (vs 7). Among those horns a blasphemous little horn arose. Both were destroyed (vs 11) following a judgment scene (vss 9-10).
- The Son of Man is given an everlasting kingdom (vss 13-14).
- That blasphemous little horn warred against the saints until the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom (vss 21-22).
- That fourth beast will “destroy” the earth in an end-time setting (vs 23).
- The little horn is given power for a restricted “time times and dividing of time,” during which God’s people are persecuted (vs 25).
- The saints of the Most High will receive that kingdom and forever possess it (vs 18 – NET, vs 27).
- The little horn’s kingdom is taken away and destroyed (vs 26).
A historical application is detailed by many expositors, especially of verses 1 through 8, paralleling part of Nebuchadnezzar’s image. The numerous “termination messages” are, however, at earth’s judicial end and invite deeper review!
- The antichrist little horn exists when God’s last-day justice brings it to an end (Daniel 7:11; cf. Revelation 18:5-8).
- The antichrist little horn warred against the saints till the saints possessed the kingdom (Daniel 7:21-22; cf. Revelation 19:1-9).
- The antichrist little horn is given power for a limited time (Daniel 7:25; cf. Revelation 11:2; 12:12, 14-16; 13:5).
- The antichrist little horn has a kingdom (Revelation 13:7), which is taken away (Daniel 7:26; cf. Revelation 11:15, 16:19, 17:9-14, 19:19-21).
The Roman Power Birthed the Antichrist
The Holy Roman Empire, coddling the antichrist leader, emerged from the ancient Roman Empire. The last expression of the antichrist will emerge out of Rome, which will be supported by an unholy geopolitical coalition (to be detailed in the next issue).
- The little horn is shown “speaking great things” (7:11a, 20), alluding to blasphemy.
- “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints” (Daniel 7:25 – NIV).
- He intends to change times and laws (of God’s requirements – implied) (Daniel 7:25).
This becomes an end-time reality portrayed in Daniel 8:11-14, 17-19; 11:31,35; and 12:11.
Of this time Paul warned: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (II Thessalonians 2:3-4).
This final warfare against God and His people will last 3½ times, representing 3½ years. This period is replicated in Revelation, e.g.:
- “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14).
- “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months” (Revelation 13:5).
Following Nebuchadnezzar’s “tough as iron” Roman leg power came the iron and clay feet of this antichrist power.
Deeper End-time View
“Out of one of the four winds came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land” (Daniel 8:9 – NIV).
- As in chapter 7, a “little horn” is illustrated. It emerges from the north and grows in power.
- North is where God’s throne is. North is where Satan wants to establish his throne.
- “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:12-13).
- The antichrist’s objective, as Paul notes in II Thessalonians 2, is to appear as though representing God’s administrative center. From that apparent north, its influence extends throughout the world.
“It waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them” (Daniel 8:10).
The little horn will grow to be exceedingly great, reaching to the stars and attempting to be equal with God. This antichrist cast some of the stars (representing God’s people, His leaders) to the ground and stomping on them – persecuting them. This fearful action continues into the next verse:
“It also acted arrogantly against the Prince of the army, from whom the daily [
sacrifice] was removed and whose sanctuary was thrown down” (Daniel 8:11 – NET).
That antichrist horn magnifies himself against the Prince of the host (the Messiah), attempting to take the place of God, which is further detailed in Revelation 13 in “beast” imagery:
- “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? … And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life” (Revelation 13:4, 8).
- This echoes what was said in Daniel – the antichrist will have global authority. Its followers will also operate against Christ.
The prophecy in which the antichrist intended to change times and laws (Daniel 7:25) begins to be fulfilled in Daniel 8’s little horn saga, in Daniel 11:31-36, 12:11-12, and in Revelation, with several “mark of the beast” predictions. Daniel continues:
“Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily [
sacrifices], and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered” (Daniel 8:12 – NKJV).
The antichrist has a global following, as noted above in Revelation 13. This coalition is depicted by the iron and clay mixture of the image’s feet. A religious and political confederacy is being illustrated.
This Roman antichrist casts truth to the ground because of its sin translated as “transgression” in the KJV and NKJV.
The Hebrew word for that “transgression” is pesha. It means rebellion against God’s law, His authority, and His covenant. That is summarized within the fourth commandment of the Decalogue. This is emphasized by Daniel in a future tense, in the setting when God’s wrath is projected to begin (Daniel 8:19).
Daniel 8’s little horn prophecy’s continuing focus:
“At the end of their rule, when the transgressions have reached their full measure, a king of bold countenance shall arise, skilled in intrigue” (Daniel 8:23 – NRSV; cf. This is Daniel 11:40-45 – “king of the north”).
- At the end of time (the final 3½ years), the antichrist will arise with unique deceptive and coercive power.
- The word acharith is again used for the word “end,” suggesting the era associated with Christ’s Second Coming!
Within the many Danelic antichrist prophecies, God drops additional clues regarding its timing.
- “time of the end” (8:17)
- “time came for the saints to possess the kingdom” (7:22)
- “last end” (8:19)
- “latter days” (10:14)
- “time of the end” (11:35)
- “time of the end” (12:9)
“His power will be great, but it will not be by his strength alone. He will cause terrible destruction. He will be successful in what he undertakes. He will destroy powerful people and the people of the holy ones” (Daniel 8:24 – NET).
- The origin of his power? “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast” (Revelation 13:4a).
- Satan endows him with his authority and power. He functions as the devil’s surrogate.
- As in other antichrist references, God’s people are persecuted and may even be martyred.
Daniel details the second and final rise of the papal antichrist in chapter 11, verses 28 to 39. Verses 40 to 45 focus on its last moves before its demise (vs 45). As iron and clay reveal an incomplete mixture, so it is with the antichrist and the people of the world.
John Embellishes that Last Surge of this Power
“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials [seven last plagues], and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters” (Revelation 17:1).
- Amazing – “sitting” in prophecy means “ruling over.” It is when that prostitute (apostate church), with its antichrist leader, is ruling or has administrative control over the world’s populace.
- John explains: “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15). This, again, represents that iron and clay bond, signaling a merging of church and state.
- She is also shown to be sitting on a ten-horned beast (meaning some nation) in verse 3. This occurred after 1929 when the antichrist received the Vatican City State as an internationally recognized country, quickly exchanging ambassadors.
At this time, the antichrist (an apostate church) has world authority over earth’s inhabitants.
The Rome Metaphor
At the time of John’s writing, calling Rome “Babylon” was common (i.e., I Peter 5:13; Sib. Or. 5:43, 159; 4 Ezra 3:2).
“Throughout the rest of Revelation, referring to Rome as ‘Babylon’ suggests metaphorically that Rome’s fate will be the same as that of ancient Babylon (for OT prophecies on the destruction of Babylon, see Isa. 13:19-22; 14:20-23; Jer. 25:12-14; 50:35-40;51:24-26).”
- Like Babylon, Rome conquered Israel – God’s apostate people.
- “Babylon” is the “Rome” of the last days – its epithet. John also labeled it “the great city” in eight places (11:8; 16:19; 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18, 19, 21). It, too, will “conquer” the hearts of the Christian world.
Later, Revelation makes it precisely clear that this antichrist woman rules in the city of seven hills or Rome (Revelation 17:9). That is a “location prophecy.”
How do we know this is meaningful for the end of time? Babylon with its three parts (a different study) has just been destroyed in Revelation 16:19 by the last of the seven last plagues! Then the Revelation 17 information angel comes to John to report how that destruction occurred. The following chapter adds further details (18:4-8).
The Prostitute Can’t Get Away with Evil
The plague angel told John that that prostitute (apostate church representing falsehood) will face divine judgment. Repeatedly, this angel describes her proselytizing religious corruption (Revelation 17:2, 5, 15-16; 18:9; 19:2). Her existence is a travesty to the worship of the true God. The reader is now going to witness what occurred leading up to her (Babylon’s) demise.
Her judgments echo Jeremiah 51:12-13, where the fall of literal Babylon is in view. The destruction of spiritual Babylon comes as a final answer to the saints’ cry under the fifth Seal, “How long, O Lord, how long” (6:10). Thus, that ancient city became “an eschatological symbol of satanic deception and power,” which God finally destroys (Revelation 17:14).
“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns” (Revelation 17:3). This joint woman (church) and beast (nation) has seven unique sequential leaders (heads) and exercises its power with ten horns (kingdoms).
There is nothing that equals the power and wealth of the Holy See, which is made up of the Catholic Church and Vatican City. As of 2013, there were 180 countries with full diplomatic ties and ambassadors to the Holy See. That is not to Vatican City but to the unit of both – church and state! The Holy See, per se, also was awarded Permanent Observer status at the United Nations. It has access and input to virtually all U.N. administrative deliberations.
The significance of this “unit” is astounding. The Roman Church even redefines the ultimate meaning of the Holy See as simply the Pope (Bishop of Rome). He, therefore, is an institution, having a legal personality and is the central government of the Roman Catholic Church. Here is the official position of how these entities intermingle: “On 11 February 1929 the Holy See and Italy resolved the ‘Questione Romana’ following the cessation of the Papal States by signing the Lateran Treaty. By means of this Treaty, Vatican City State came into existence. Article 12 of the Treaty notes that diplomatic relations with the Holy See are governed by the rules of International Law.” The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) convened, codifying diplomatic law by accepting the precedence of the representative of the Holy See within the Diplomatic Corps (Art. 16, §3).
“Vatican City is the physical or territorial base of the Holy See, almost a pedestal upon which is posed a much larger and unique independent and sovereign authority/rule: that of the Holy See. The State of Vatican City itself also possesses a personality under international law and, because of such, enters into international agreements. However, it is the Holy See which internationally represents Vatican City State. In fact, when the Holy See enters into agreements for Vatican City State, it uses the formula: ‘acting on behalf and in the interest of the State of Vatican City.’ In October 1957, in order to avoid uncertainty in its relations with the United Nations, it was affirmed that relations are established between the United Nations and the Holy See. And it is the Holy See which is represented by the Delegations accredited by the Secretariat of State to international organizations.
“In the Listing of Country Names, published annually by the United Nations, a note is added to the Holy See's entry, stating that – in United Nations documents – the term ‘Holy See’ is to be used except in texts concerning the International Telecommunications Union and the Universal Postal Union, where the term ‘Vatican City State’ is to be used. States, then, do not entertain diplomatic relations with Vatican City State, but with the Holy See [which includes the Roman Catholic Church].
“Basically, the term ‘Holy See’ refers to the supreme authority of the Church, that is, the Pope as Bishop of Rome and head of the college of Bishops. It is the central government of the Roman Catholic Church. As such, the Holy See is an institution which, under international law and in practice, has a legal personality that allows it to enter into treaties as the juridical equal of a State and to send and receive diplomatic representatives. As noted above, it is the ‘Holy See’ that is present at United Nations Headquarters in New York and at UN centers abroad, as well as at other international organizations such as the European Community, the Organization of American States, the African Unity, etc. At the time of this revised publication, the Holy See maintains full diplomatic relations with one-hundred and eighty (latest number 180) countries out of the one-hundred ninety-two (192) member countries of the UN.”
This means that at the United Nations those 180 nations with diplomatic ties have a legal bond to the pope and the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican City is the only place where they are headquartered. Prophetically – one can view the woman as typifying the central power of Babylon [she sits upon or controls the beast (Vatican City) (vs 3), waters (people of the world) (vs 1, 15) and part of Rome (identifying location) (vs 9)]. This confederation is represented by the feet of iron and clay.
The imagery of the Revelation 17 beast with multiple heads represents this geopolitical “kingdom” with its leaders. This is similar to the imagery of the sea beast of Revelation 13:1. They are the same power! (Chapter 13 actually follows 17:1-13.)
Allurements of that Revelation 17 Harlot
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication” (Revelation 17:4).
Recall what the vial angel said was the purpose of these insights – to show “the judgment of the great whore” (17:1) or what led to her demise noted in 16:19. Babylon, the descriptive three-part city, was made ineffective by the cup of God’s wrath described as the “wine of the fierceness of his wrath” (Revelation 16:19). Allied with that prophecy is the “man of sin” or “that Wicked” whom “the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:8) and the third angel’s description of God’s wrath against those with the “mark of the beast” (Revelation 14:9-11).
The end of all apostasy, Babylon and wickedness, is typified by the final history of this woman. Her last story serves as an event-driven warning to all who would be rebellious and apostatized. The whole world – Muslims, Buddhists, atheists and, tragically, most Christians – will give her allegiance. “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the beast, antichrist, head of the Holy See]” (Revelation 13:8).
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour” (vs 4)
Purple, another color of royalty (Judges 8:26, Daniel 5:7, Esther 8:15, Lamentations, 4:5), and scarlet, the color of wealth (Nahum 2:3, II Samuel 1:24, Proverbs 31:21, Jeremiah 4:21) were expensive dyes. Thus, the woman/church is typified as powerful and rich. The cardinals of the Roman Church dress in scarlet, as often do the popes. Scarlet shoes and stockings are their norm. Though wealth is portrayed, the color of scarlet reminds us of the color of the beast (kokkinon), which is the imagery for sin and murder (blood). Purple is seen with the bishops and archbishops, belying their leadership roles over distinct areas or institutions.
Stunning! Purple and scarlet were the two colors used to describe the mockery robe put on Christ to taunt Him (Matthew 27:28 – scarlet; Mark 15:17, 20; John 19:2, 5 – purple). The costly and spectacular garb of this prostitute should also be contrasted with the “fine linen, bright and clean,” worn by the “Bride of the Lamb” (Revelation 18:16; cf. 19:8). There it says, “The great city, clothed with linen.”
Its riches and regal state are “covered” by its constant appeals to the world that its wealth needs to be distributed to the poor. All the while its prelates wear gold and icons [idols] that are made of tons of gold and precious gems. The Roman Church often talks about a “Vatican budget deficit,” yet their travels, dress, art and edifices are opulent.
That “help the poor” is a facade to control and obtain even more funds.
“The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. The pope, as the visible ruler of this immense amassment of wealth, is consequently the richest individual of the twentieth century. No one can realistically assess how much he is worth in terms of billions [now trillions] of dollars.”
“… the most formidable financial empire the world has ever seen.”
The expensive clothing reflects the attractiveness by which the whore tries to seduce others (Jeremiah 4:30). The “harlot … ‘dresses in scarlet’ and ‘decorates [herself] with ornaments of gold.’” That is an image conveyed of this end-time Roman apostate power!
“and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls” (vs 4)
The word “decked” means that she was excessively dressed with these precious adornments. She is enhancing her appearance to allure her paramours. Prophecy reveals that she will be successful (Revelation 13:3).
“The papacy will appear in its power. All must now arouse and search the Scriptures, for God will make known to His faithful ones what shall be in the last time. The word of the Lord is to come to His people in power.”
“having a golden cup in her hand” (vs 4)
The Roman Catholic Church represents herself as a woman holding a cup in her right hand! This is actually portrayed in many Vatican coins. There, the cup is shown with a sun emanating from it. That is the subject of the next phrase. The “heart” of that woman is on the opposite side of those coins – the pope! The left hand holds a cross.
The right hand suggests that the meaning of the cup and its contents is not only of major significance but protected by the Roman Catholic Church. It is what she offers the world. She is symbolized as the world’s paramount source of “goodness” by the word fides located beneath the woman. This equals virtue. The Bible says that she is a harlot! The cross in the left hand means that it is of secondary importance.
Is it a virtuous drink she is holding? No! The cup is:
“full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication” (vs 4)
The word here for “abomination” is bdelugmaton, meaning something detestable to God. This draws on themes in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 8:6, 9, 13, 15, 17 and Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11). Jesus referred His end-time students to Daniel, where he talks of those abominations associated with desolation (cf. Matthew 24:15). This is described as the wine of her fornication or false doctrines (17:2).
This cup is given to the world to drink. The “wine” is filth that God equates with immoral behavior. Jeremiah uses a golden cup to picture the horrible influences Babylon has around her (Jeremiah 51:7).
“Filth” is also used in the New Testament to refer to unclean spirits (Matthew 10:1, 12:43), idolatry (II Corinthians 6:17), and religious prostitution (Ephesians 5:5).
The Roman Catholic Church, in this end-time setting, is promoting, sharing, some “belief” that God hates. As previously noted, it is against God’s covenant promise. From Daniel, we understand it is related to the fourth commandment. The “transgression” that leads to desolation, once again, comes from the Hebrew word, pesha, which describes the sin against God’s authority, law, and covenant. That represents the amazing spectrum of all that the Sabbath stands for. This end-of-time, coercive, world antichrist will continue with his terrible deception until that kingdom stone strikes the image’s feet.
The geopolitical imagery of the iron and clay feet is this unique association between a powerful church and the inhabitants of the world – a geopolitical church and state.
Forward into the Toes
In the next study, a ten-division coalition emerges under the gifted authority of the Holy See. This will become earth’s last expression of the antichrist. It will be associated with a world enamored by her power and “goodness” (Revelation 13:3).
Franklin S. Fowler, Jr., M.D.
Prophecy Research Initiative – non-profit 501(c)3 © 2022
EndTime Issues…, Number 265, December 1, 2022
 Montgomery, James A; The Book of Daniel (Varda Books; Stokie, IL; 2016), p. 312.
 Baldwin, Joyce G.; Daniel (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL), p. 85. Driver, S. R.; The Book of Daniel, CBSC (Cambridge University, 1922), p. 157.
 Goldingay, John E.; Daniel – Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 30 (Word Books, Publisher – Dallas, TX), pp. 1989–1998.
 Osborne, op. cit., p. 538.
 Aune, David E.; 52B & 52C World Biblical Commentary; Revelation 6–16 & 17–22 (World Books; Dallas, Texas), 1997, p. 831.
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 White, Ellen G.; Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 437.