Before the kingdom of God is established on the earth, four earthly kingdoms will rise and fall. These kingdoms go from bad to worse. Arrogant, boastful, and even blasphemous kings will reign over the nations, opposing God and oppressing His saints. All of this is by divine design. During times of oppression, it may appear the saints are being defeated and that God’s kingdom is but wishful thinking. When the sin and oppression of evil men reaches a predetermined point, God will remove them and establish His promised eternal kingdom. Then the saints will receive the kingdom which will never end.
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Last edited at 12:39PM on 2/9/2013
As is always the case with apocalyptic literature such as Daniel (or Revelation), each vision is a symbol for something of this world. The four beasts in Daniel 7, in the order of their appearance are: Babylon, Persia, the Seleucids, and Rome.