The Bible is very concise. It describes all four types of kingdoms in our world in just one single image - the image seen by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, and interpreted by prophet Daniel.
Vision of Nebuchadnezzar
You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. Daniel 2:31-33
Daniel went on to explain that the head was king Nebuchadnezzar himself, and that three more kingdoms will rise up after him.
Four Types of Kingdoms
1. Head - Gold
The first kingdom was the "Head". "Head Rulers" rules with wisdom, and its representative was king Nebuchadnezzar.
King Nebuchadnezzar was in fact a very wise man. He knows that all wisdom comes from the Lord and he fears God. He was also wise enough to train up Jewish captives (including prophet Daniel) who have the spirit of God inside of them to manage his kingdom.
And just like gold which is flexible, king Nebuchadnezzar was also very flexible in his behaviors. He rewards and punishes his people in different ways to achieve what he wants, and he was also quick to repent when he realised any mistakes he had made.
However, just like gold which is rare, "head rulers" are also rare in this world.
2. Chest and Arms - Silver
The next kingdom was "Chest and Arms". Rulers rule with strength and a heart, and its representative was Cyrus the Great from the Persian Empire.
Even though king Cyrus was a mighty man, he has a heart for his people. He was also the one who had compassion on his Jewish captives, and gave them permission to return to Jerusalem. However, just like silver which is less flexible, "Heart Rulers" are usually also less flexible in behaviors, partly because of their reluctance to punish.
Nevertheless, silver has a pure glow; and just like gold which is rare, "heart rulers" are also difficult to find.
3. Belly and Thighs - Bronze
The next kingdom was "Belly and Thighs". Rulers rule from their fleshly desires and lusts, and its representative was Alexander the Great from Greece.
Not much information about the characters of Alexander could be found, but based on the fact that he had already created one of the largest empires in history by conquering many countries at a young age, he probably was a very ambitious man.
Even though bronze looks like gold and is often used to imitate gold products, it is not a pure metal like gold. So "Bronze Rulers" also like to pretend to be royal and righteous, but they are not pure, and the color of bronze fades off quickly after some time. Furthermore, just like bronze which is far less flexible than gold, "bronze rulers" are also much less flexible in their behaviors.
Compared to gold and silver, bronze is a much more common metal. Likewise, there are also a lot more people who rule from their own selfish desires.
4. Legs and Feet - Iron and Clay
The Fourth Kingdom is "Legs and Feet". Rulers do not have wisdom like the head, nor a heart like the chest. They just trample underfoot everything they do not agree with. Representatives were the Roman Empire and all kingdoms that come after.
Just like iron which is most common and totally inflexible, they are everywhere and totally inflexible in their behaviors. They do not even pretend to be good or noble like the "bronze rulers". Nevertheless, they are strong so they would crush anything that gets in their way.
Clay was added to this kingdom at a later stage (feet) because the legs cannot move if the feet and all the toes are made of inflexible iron. However, just like clay and iron which do not mix, this kingdom likewise is also divided and the weakest among all.
And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. Daniel 2:42-43
Which Kingdom do You Think We are In?
Now after seeing all four kingdoms in the world, which one do you think we are in?
God is fair. He created us, but He did not force us to accept His Kingdom. He shows us all four types of kingdoms in the world, and He gives us the freedom to choose!
Having seen all these four kingdoms, will anyone be ready to enter into the New Kingdom of God, and follow the rulership of our King Jesus Christ?
I surely am looking forward to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and His New Kingdom!
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20