Volume 48 | Number 3 | May–June 2020

Inglés Español

Has the Time Come for the Appointed Feet Of World History? – Part One

By Dr. H. T. Spence

And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay (2:41–43).

These are the sobering words penned by the prophet Daniel describing the feet and toes of the image of a man that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. Depicting a series of world empires, the feet and toes of this image reveal the last world empire that culminates man’s final attempt to control all humanity. This dream was interpreted to the Babylonian king in response to his disturbing thoughts concerning what would follow his reign. Clearly, the dream was sent to him by the God of heaven, Who condescended to unveil to him what the unfolding of governmental history would be in the coming years after his rule. Yea, the revelatory dream disclosed the entire scope in God’s providence of the “times of the Gentiles.” Nevertheless, the dream culminated with Christ’s kingdom destroying the image of man and filling the entire earth as the final chapter of earth’s history.

The Image of Daniel 2

Over twenty-five centuries have passed since Daniel interpreted this dream sent by God to Nebuchadnezzar. Much of what the dream foretold has already come to pass. Looking back, we can test the accuracy of his predictions by the course of empires since then. The image of Daniel 2, which is given in the form of a man, historically covers a long period of time. A chronological order of events is depicted in this image as the dream moves from the image’s head and down to its feet. The beginning head of this long period of history concerned Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. Following a final human empire, the God of heaven finally sets up His everlasting kingdom and rules the earth through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is significant that the image of a man was chosen for this dream. This image represents man’s governmental rule over the earth over the last two and a half millennia. It represents humanity’s proud quest for a superman. Prior to the period of this image, God ruled Palestine (Canaan), the heart of the world, through His chosen race, Israel. But during this period represented by the image, man rules the world, including the center of the earth—Canaan. Though God is ever ruling and guiding behind the scenes, man is at the public forefront of world governmental control. Following the last human empire of the image’s toes, God will take over world government permanently.

This symbolism used of an image of man disputes every theory of evolution and reverses the supposed order of evolution. The evolutionist starts with mud and ends with gold; the image God gave to Nebuchadnezzar starts with gold and ends with mud. Evolutionists start with disorganized elements and end with a high order of government; the image begins with a high order and ends with anarchy. Even the United States of America has declined from a republic to a democracy; it continues its decline toward a form of communism. History has proved repeatedly that democracy inevitably leads to socialism and socialism leads to communism. This is why the presidential candidate Bernie Sanders used the term democratic socialism in his belief and desire for America to come to full socialism. Democratic socialism can then easily make the transition to full socialism and finally to communism.

Absolute monarchies have continued to fail because each time man was at the head of power. And government by the people alone will fail through the fact that the men that compose it continually prove a failure. When all the governments of men finally collapse, God will send His beloved Son back to earth. The earth will then know a true absolute monarchy with Christ as the Great Monarch in Whom there is no failure!

In Daniel’s interpretation of the image of Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon is the head of gold; the silver breasts and arms symbolize the dual kingdom of the Medes and the Persians; the brass belly and thighs symbolize Greece and Macedonia; and the iron symbolizes Rome. With the Roman Empire, the legs of iron have lingered the longest. How Rome secured the domination of the world fully justifies the prophecy of Daniel, that “the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise” (2:40). It is evident from the symbolism of the image that the iron kingdom with its complement of iron and clay, reaches from the time when Rome superseded Greece to the time when “the God of heaven [shall] set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (2:44).

Though the entire image stood before king Nebuchadnezzar, only a single point of the image chronologically existed at any given time. For instance, the Babylonian kingdom did not exist simultaneously with the kingdom of Media-Persia; it faded out of view as it was superseded by the next kingdom. The same is true with the sequence of the rest of the parts. It is interesting to note that only the Head (Nebuchadnezzar’s Empire) constitutes itself as a united whole. The silver is divided into the arms and breast. The brass extends from the abdomen to the upper legs or thighs. The legs also constitute a division which ends in the ten toes of the feet, a further subdivision.

Rome: The Legs of Iron

With this consideration in mind, we must carefully construct the broad outlines of the history of the Roman Empire from beginning to end, as it reaches into the feet and the ten toes. In the symbolism of the image, Rome begins in pure iron, found in the legs; however, it ends in a mixture of iron and clay. These substances doubtless symbolize different characteristics of government. As Rome began in Imperialism, it is reasonable to suppose that iron stands for imperialism or any government that is totalitarian; this iron is a symbol of power and control. When baked into pottery, clay has a hardened surface that is easily broken and does not mix with iron. Clay typifies a form of government with a tendency opposite that of imperialism; democracy and socialism are fragile, clay-like forms of government. Eventually, if permitted, man’s final attempts at world government would destroy humanity. From the image described and the prophecy rendered by Daniel, there will be at the end of the empires a final thrust to establish a global government that controls all the people of the earth.

Since the days of Rome there have been many attempts to bring about a global government, but they have failed. Napoleon was doomed from the beginning; the Kaiser of Germany would not know this hope; Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin were not successful. All these men tried but could not erect a global government of ruling power.

We historically find ourselves somewhere below the legs, and possibly on the eve of entering the feet which leads to ten toes. Daniel describes the feet as part iron and part clay. This represents a continuation somehow of Roman imperialism. Does this signify Roman Catholicism (as some commentators declare), or is this to be politically seen as a federation of nations arising from the ruins of the Roman Empire that is to emerge in history? End-time powers will seek to mix the iron of totalitarianism or imperialism with the clay of democracy and socialism. It is interesting to note that the last church age of Laodicea is a democratic church that spiritually destroys itself. But in the view of the last empire, it is clear you cannot mix the iron and clay; they simply do not blend.

The two legs of Rome are the two divisions that came from the geographical division of Rome and Constantinople (in modern Turkey). Will one foot come from the one leg, and the other foot from the other leg? Hippolytus, one of the early church fathers, commented on Nebuchadnezzar’s dream believing that the ten toes and the clay were democracy:

As these things, then are destined to come to pass, and as the toes of the image turned out to be democracies and the ten horns of the beast are distributed among ten kings.

The word iron in our English Bible is mentioned 95 times in the Old Testament, basically referring to iron weapons. Thus, we carefully view iron as usually a symbol of war, strength, fighting, oppression, and absolute control. The word clay is used 26 times in the English Bible in the contexts of potter’s clay, a clay seal, a clay body, or clay feet.

The End Time: Two Forms of Government

This prophecy clearly declares that the iron and clay do not mix; the final kingdom, a world kingdom will be partly strong and partly weak. As we view governments today around the world, it is surprising to note that the ideologies and concepts of governments are diminishing; there are only a very few being exercised in nations. It seems that we have come down to basically two forms of government—clay and iron governmental philosophies. These two symbols in our contemporary are simply the description of the clay of democracy and socialism, or the iron of communism and totalitarianism.

Communism in the mid-twentieth century was depicted as the “Iron Curtain.” In the Russian Revolution of 1917, communism tried to mix the iron and the clay. In contrast, the West practiced the clay of democracy while the East became the stronghold for the iron of communism, including both the Soviet Union and China. Has it not been observed that the symbol of communism in Russia is the iron hammer and a sickle? For seventy years from 1917 to 1987, the iron grip of communism clashed with the clay of democracy, leading pro-communist dictators to crush any democratic opposition. However, ironically, iron and clay countries continued to buy, sell, and trade with each other. As a result, China has become the largest communist nation on earth. Iron still rules in large parts of the Eastern hemisphere while clay (democracy) is prominent in the West.

It should be observed that in the late 1980s, with the breakup of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the communist doctrine in much of Eastern Europe, there was an increased mixing of iron and clay. Communist countries began to experiment mixing the clay of democracy into their governments, and democratic countries began to integrate socialism into their thinking and their governmental policies.

The Iron Power of Islam

After the fall of communism, a new form of political iron began to emerge in the land of the ancient empires, the Middle East and parts of Europe. This new form of political iron is found in the spiritual and political powers of Islam, especially the strict form of Islam called Islamic Jihad. This new concept of the iron has been arising against the Western nations. While Islam is stronger in the East, democracy is stronger in the West. As the war against fanatical jihadists and terrorists increased, the Western democratic powers attempted to create Islamic democracies in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Arabia, and even among the Palestinians in Israel. Of course, this was very difficult because totalitarian iron does not mix with brittle clay. Within this Islamic struggle, another battle has emerged as Muslims have continued to fight against Jews and Christians. In nations where strict Islam is followed, Islam has repeatedly persecuted and murdered Jews and Christians.

It is important to realize that when the struggle to mix iron and clay begins, it is a sign that soon the final ten toes on Daniel’s image will emerge. As we look at Europe and the Middle East, the land of much of the ancient Roman Empire, the hope to mix these opposing views has not unfolded as expected. The clay-democracies of America and Britain have led the charge to transform the Islamic world and create peaceful coexistence among the Islamic religions and nations. This failure to “mix” is rooted in the ideology of Islamic militants and strict followers of Islam that reject the intermingling of “liberal democratic ideas” with their strict observance of Islamic law and tradition. They believe democracy is too open-minded in its acceptance of vices and carnality; sadly, secular democracies allow alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, sodomy, etc., that are forbidden among most Muslim countries. Women in Western democratic nations often expose their bodies in very immodest fashions, something forbidden in a strict Islamic culture. As the West in the more recent decades has been attempting to “liberate” Islamic nations using democracy as the motivating force, it is clear that the clay is not mixing with the strict iron of Islam. Our present-day global governments are testimonies to why clay will not mix with iron.


In the year 2020, America finds itself a crumbling nation. Birthed as a republic, it has mutated into a radical democratic nation. A republic government has elected representatives who establish its laws. A democratic government establishes its laws solely on the voice of its majority population. In the latter the majority has unlimited power, whereas in the former a written constitution limits the majority and provides safeguards for the individual.

If a republic is neglected by the people, it can deteriorate into a democracy where government is controlled by popular and manipulative feelings of the people. Democracy eventually ends in anarchy—a system in which each individual determines his own rules and standards of living. A republic can also devolve into an oligarchy, where the government is run by a council or a group of elite individuals (for example, Russia). In a worse scenario, democracy could devolve into a dictatorship, where one individual oppressively rules the country. Unlike the stability of a republic, a democracy is susceptible to the whims and passions of immediacy.

In these days of growing individualism (existentialism) and its new cloak of postmodernism, man lives by his momentary passions. Sadly, this is the way laws are being passed today in the United States. The pressure of riots and revolution by certain segments of society manipulate the moment for their desired change. This was made evident in 1984 when the Supreme Court declared “public policy as the interpreter of the law.” This is how the same-gender marriage was passed, as well as the legalization of sodomy in our country.

Oh, the disinformation that is peddled by our contemporary governmental leaders, the fake news media, and popular literary writers. Every day we read that America is a government of democracy; therefore, we become accustomed to hearing of this form of government, even accepting the illusion that this was what our founding fathers gave to us. Although our founders discussed democracy as a form of government, they carefully chose not to take this road of government for our country. In fact, this was so clear in their decision that they warned us never to become a democracy. John Adams in his writing, “An Essay on Man’s Lust for Power, with the Author’s Comment in 1807,” clearly declared the following:

No simple form of government, can possibly secure men against the violences of power. Simple monarchy will soon mold itself into despotism, aristocracy will soon commence an oligarchy, and democracy, will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes, and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure and every one of these will soon mold itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues, and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable [abominable] cruelty of one or a very few.

As a country our government has fallen fully into this pit of our impending destruction.

Our next article will carefully view where we are in the light of both history’s prophecy and the reality of the present distresses that control America’s government and society. May God enable us to see the nearing of the feet of the image of Daniel 2.