"The relation of the World-kingdoms to the Kingdom and People of God -represented by this gradation of the metals — corresponds only to the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman world-kingdoms…. For the historical interpretation, there comes yet particularly into view the circumstance that the fourth beast is represented by no animal existing in nature; and is designated by no historical name as in the case of the first (2:38) and the second and third (8:20-21). For the
two first had already come into existence in Daniel's time…. Of the third, at least the people out of whom it was to arise had then already come into relation to the People of Israel (Joel 4:6-8). The fourth kingdom, on the contrary, is represented by a nameless beast, because in Daniel's time Rome had not come into contact with Israel and as yet lay beyond the circle of vision of Old Testament prophecy….
"If we now approach more closely to the historical reference of the fourth Worldkingdom, it must be acknowledged that we cannot understand by it the Grecian but only the Roman World-power…. The Roman kingdom spread its power and dominion over the whole oikoumenee — over all the nations of antiquity in Europe, Africa, and Asia…. The kingdoms represented by the ten horns, [as far as Daniel was concerned] belong still to the future. To be able to judge regarding them with any certainty, we must first make clear to ourselves the place of the Messianic Kingdom with reference to the fourth World-kingdom, and then compare the prophecy of the Apocalypse of John regarding the formation of the World-power — a prophecy which rests on the book of Daniel….
"The destruction of the World-kingdoms can in reality proceed only gradually, along with the growth of the Stone. And thus also the Kingdom of God can destroy the World-kingdoms only by its gradual extension over the Earth. The destruction of the World-power in all its component parts, began with the foundation of the Kingdom of Heaven at the appearance of Christ upon Earth or with the establishment of the Church of Christ — and only reaches its completion at the Second Coming of our Lord at the Final Judgment. In the image, Daniel saw in a moment as a single act what in its actual accomplishment or in its historical development extends through the centuries of Christendom."
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In Daniel 8:23f, God predicts that "in the latter time…the transgressors come to the full" whose "power shall be mighty." Here, Martin Luther declares.34 "One might have thought the prophet Daniel [8:23f] was" among other matters also "talking about the Turks" — alias the Muslims.
In Dan. 11:30-36, the prophet there predicts that "the ships of Chittim [alias the Romans] shall come…. And a king shall do according to his will. And he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper — till the indignation be accomplished" etc. Significantly, this is one of the chief bases of the Antichrist passage in Second Thessalonians 2:3f.
In his 1520 Open Letter to the Christian Nobility, Luther declares: "The Turks…have neither spiritual nor temporal law, but only their Koran. There is no doubt that the true Roman Empire, which the writings of the prophets foretold in Numbers 24[:24] and in Daniel [11:30f], has long since been overthrown…. That was brought to pass…especially when the ‘Turkish’ [Mohammadan] Empire arose almost a thousand years ago."35