2:37–40king of kings . . . fourth kingdom. The four kingdoms have been widely understood since Josephus (1st century a.d.) to be the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Others understand them to be Babylon, Media, Persia, and Greece, a sequence in agreement with the critical view that the book was written, after the facts, by a living witness during the period of Greek ascendency in the Middle East. However, the animal symbols in 7:4–7 historically fit the former structure of a combined Medo-Persian Empire, leaving Greece as the third and Rome as the fourth kingdom. Darius’s appeal to the single “law of the Medes and Persians” (6:12; cf. 5:28) agrees with the first order of empires.
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