It is true many of the latter say that while yet at the thighs, the legs still represent the undivided Pagan Roman Empire at the time of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. But, after its later nominal christianization starting with Constantine — that Empire begins to divide into what subsequently became the two legs of the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. Then, those two legs in turn — from the seventh century onward — would degenerate respectively into the Papacy (which progressively took over the West) and Islam (which progressively took over the East). In his Commentaries on Daniel (7:7-18), Calvin describes the four successive empires of the Ancient World that would precede the incarnation of the Messiah. He explains29 that "in this Fourth Monarchy, those who are endued with moderate judgment confess this vision to be fulfilled in the Roman Empire…. What is here said of the Fourth Beast — many transfer to the Pope, when it is added that a ‘Little Horn’ sprang up [Daniel 7:8-21]. But others think the Turkish kingdom is comprehended under the Roman. The Jews, for the most part, incline this way."
Thus, "Rabbi Barbinel…says the Turks occupy a large portion of the World…. The Turks have spread far and wide, and the World is filled with impious despisers of God."30
Calvin himself points out:31 "Christ’s Kingdom was erected by the overthrow of the Roman dominion. The Jews…join the Turkish monarchy with the Roman…. There are some of our [Christian] writers who think this image ought not to be restricted to the Roman Empire, but ought to include the Turkish."
Rev. Dr. Matthew Henry's comment32 on the ‘little horn’ of Daniel 7:20f, is full of wisdom. Asks he: "Who is this enemy — whose rise, reign and ruin are here foretold? Interpreters are not agreed. Some will have the Fourth Kingdom to be that of the Seleucidae and the ‘little horn’ to be Antiochus…. Others will have the Fourth Kingdom to be that of the Romans, and the ‘little horn’ to be Julius Caesar and the succeeding emperors, as Calvin says. The Antichrist, the Papal Kingdom, says Mr. Joseph Mede…. Others make the ‘little horn’ to be the Turkish Empire; so Luther, Vatablus, and others. Now I cannot prove either side to be in the wrong. And therefore, since prophecies sometimes have many fulfillings and we ought to give Scripture its full latitude (in this as in many other controversies) — I am willing to allow that they are both in the right….
"This prophecy has [then-immediate or] primary reference to the Syrian Empire, and was intended for the encouragement of the Jews who suffered under Antiochus…. But yet it has a further reference and foretells the like persecuting power and rage in Rome Heathen and no less in Rome Papal against the Christian religion that was in Antiochus against the pious Jews and their religion. And St. John, in his visions and prophecies which point primarily [alias in first instance] at Rome — has plain reference in many particulars, to these visions here."
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Also the 1861f remarks of Rev. Prof. Dr. C.F. Keil here, are well worth noting. "The four kingdoms, according to the interpretation commonly received in the Church" — explains Keil33 — "are the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the MacedoGrecian and the Roman. ‘In this interpretation and opinion,’ Luther observes, ‘all the World are agreed, and history and fact abundantly establish it.’ This opinion prevailed till about the end of the last century …. We may regard as correct the traditional church view that the four world-kingdoms are the Chaldean, the MedoPersian, the Grecian, and the Roman. This opinion alone — which has recently been maintained by Haevernick, Hengstenberg, Hofmann, Auberlen, Zuendel, Kliefoth and by C.P Caspari & H.L Reichel — accords without any force or arbitrariness with the representation of these kingdoms in both visions [at Daniel chapters 2 & 7]….