Unlike the previous three beasts, the fourth beast is not compared to an animal; it is so dreadful in appearance that Daniel can only describe its features. It is dreadful, terrible and exceedingly strong. It has great iron teeth; the fourth beast represents the fourth kingdom of Daniel chapter two, the kingdom of iron. The kingdom of iron forms the legs of the great statue of Daniel chapter two and then the feet and toes are made of iron and clay. It shall began its reign as strong as iron, destroying the nations of the world with a never before seen cruelty. However it will be converted into a nation that is strong in some aspects and weak in others. It will be strong in its cruelty in dealing with the world.
How it is weak is a bit of enigma, (consider Daniel 2:43): “And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”
Let’s first look at the word “mingle” in the text. Often this word is used in describing the command that God made to the Israelites not to “mingle” with the Canaanites, i.e. don’t intermarry with them. Now consider the word “cleave”. The word “cleave” is most notably used in the Old Testament when it says that Adam “cleaved” to his wife Eve. My belief is that the kingdom of iron is broken because the backbone of its society is broken, the wife/husband relationship. I believe that this verse describes a society where the women are the “iron” and while they are willing to procreate with men that may very well be the only involvement that they have with the other sex. I believe the men in this kingdom represent the clay and are subservient to the women. The kingdom of the iron and clay toes may very well be a true matriarchal society where the interaction of men and women will be limited to sexual intercourse and the family unit may be non-existent.
The kingdom of the iron will lose some of its power when it is broken into ten kings as represented by the ten toes made of iron/clay. This is also reflected by the fact that the fourth beast has ten horns in its head (Daniel 7:23). After the ten kingdoms arise a new kingdom shall arise and will conquer three of the ten kingdoms. I believe this kingdom is the kingdom that comes up “last” (see Daniel 8:3), the kingdom that is one of the kingdoms of the “ram” mentioned in Daniel chapter eight, the kingdom of the Medes, the Kurds of Iraq. It is the kingdom of the Kurds that the antichrist will arise as king and begin his reign of terror.