Daniel was in the greatest credit amongst the Jews, till the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian: and to reject his Prophecies, is to reject the Christian religion. For this religion is founded upon his Prophecy concerning the Messiah.
Now in this vision of the Image composed of four Metals, the foundation of all Daniel’s Prophecies is laid. It represents a body of four great nations, which should reign over the earth successively, viz. the people of Babylonia, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans. And by a stone cut out without hands, which fell upon the feet of the Image, and brake all the four Metals to pieces, and became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth; it further represents that a new kingdom should arise, after the four, and conquer all those nations, and grow very great, and last to the end of all ages.
The head of the Image was of gold, and signifies the nations of Babylonia, who reigned first, as Daniel himself interprets. Thou art this head of gold, saith he to Nebuchadnezzar. These nations reigned till Cyrus conquered Babylon, and within a few months after that conquest revolted to the Persians, and set them up above the Medes. The breast and arms of the Image were of silver, and represent the Persians who reigned next. The belly and thighs of the Image were of brass, and represent the Greeks, who, under the dominion of Alexander the great, conquered the Persians, and reigned next after them. The legs were of iron, and represent the Romans who reigned next after the Greeks, and began to conquer them in the eighth year of Antiochus Epiphanes. For in that year they conquered Perseus King of Macedon, the fundamental kingdom of the Greeks; and from thence forward grew into a mighty empire, and reigned with great power till the days of Theodosius the great. Then by the incursion of many northern nations, they brake into many smaller kingdoms, which are represented by the feet and toes of the Image, composed part of iron, and part of clay. For then, saith Daniel, the kingdom shall be divided and there shall be in it of the strength of iron, but they shall not cleave one to another.