The Continuity of the Iron
In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Rome is the fourth Mediterranean, Israel-ruling empire (Phase 4). Rome's metaphor is segmented: beginning as iron legs then shifting to iron-clay feet then shifting again to iron-clay toes. God is showing us that Rome's iron essence would continue in different forms all the way to Antichrist and the Second Coming. Also, notice the two legs theme. In 395, Emperor Theodosius divided the empire for good, into west/Europe and east/Middle East. God inserts Rome into the statue and storyline at this split. The split is eschatologically critical.
Follow the Iron, Not the Name
Rome, the ultimate focus of the statue, is not specifically named. God emphasizes only the iron and the iron's lengthy trajectory until the Rock strikes it. He is wanting us to follow the iron, not the name of Rome or any of its geopolitical continuations. Think nature, not nomenclature. God's message to Nebuchadnezzar and us is that Rome's iron or essence or nature would continue in some form until the very end, in both Europe and the Middle East, the two ancient legs. We can, therefore, panoptically trace the iron from history to the present to the end.
The Iron Continues as Germanic Empires & Turkish Empires
God inserts Rome into the statue and storyline as two iron legs, when Emperor Theodosius officially divided the empire in 395. Ironically and providentially, this is also the same time frame that Rome West (Europe) was declining towards collapse. Rome the actual city ultimately fell in 476 to German warlord Flavius Odoacer. Why would the Lord introduce Rome into the statue after it split into two halves, while one half was unraveling? Because the split rearranged who would control and continue the iron essence to the very end of the world: Germany in the west, Turkey in the east. The iron continues as Germanic empires and Turkish empires.
The Iron Legs Rename & Continue
The Roman empire's split, and the decline of Rome West (Europe), occasioned two critical eschatological events: (1) in the west (Europe), the rise of an iron Germanic people and German empires and (2) in the east (Middle East), the rise of an iron Turkey and Byzantine and Ottoman empires. These two developments merely renamed and continued the two iron legs. How astoundingly perfect God's Word is.
Germany: The Western Iron Leg Continues
The warlike Germanic tribes--enabled by Rome's political, economic, and military sloppiness--infiltrated and overran the western Roman Empire. The first German to rule was Flavius Odoacer, who deposed the last emperor, Romulus Augustulus (476). The eschatological development: the western iron leg was no longer continuing through Italy, but through the German peoples. Their rulers and strongmen fancied themselves heirs of Rome, which became evident as successive German ironmen imitated the best and worst emperors. Eventually they even began calling themselves "King of the Romans".
476 - 800
As Italy-centric Rome dissolved, a Germanic kingdom on the Rhine river was rising to replace them: the Franks. Under the Merovingian dynasty the Franks grew and consolidated, and under Charlemagne the precursor to modern Europe was established. Charlemagne's Christmas Day coronation (800) by Pope Leo III was the de facto beginning of the Holy Roman Empire. Follow the iron! During this period the western leg began perpetuating in earnest through the German peoples.
962 - 1918
Pope John XII coronated German king Otto I as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (962), its more official beginning. He established proto-Germany and became the most powerful European ruler and hegemon of the time, uniting the Germanic tribes and allying with the Roman Catholic Church to create the "Ottonian Church of the Reich". From Otto I to Frederick the Great to Bismarck's "Iron and Blood" Second Reich to Wilhelm II (World War I), the western iron leg continued glaringly through Germany. For quite a look at the Germanic ironmen from Charlemagne to Wilhelm II visit the following link: German Monarchs Family Tree
Turkey: The Eastern Iron Leg Continues
Ancient Rome had an eastern leg too. Though the empire was officially split in 395, Emperor Constantine made Constantinople his capital a bit earlier in 330, what he called "Nova Roma" or "New Rome". This is Istanbul, Turkey today. During this period the eastern iron leg began perpetuating in earnest through we know today as Turkey.
330 - 1453
This was the period of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, centered in Turkey. It was one of the most successful empires in history due to its ideal location and naval mastery. It was flanked by seas. It was a nexus for Europe and Asia, a well-located convergence of transcontinental trading or toll collection for those wanting passage. The eastern iron leg continued.
1453 - 1923
Constantinople and Rome East finally fell to the Turkish Muslims (1453). The eastern iron leg was commandeered and continued by the powerful Ottoman Empire until the aftermath of World War I. Mehmet II, the sultan who finally conquered Rome East, added a new and eschatologically relevant title to his list of existing titles: "Caesar of the Romans". The critical development: Rome's eastern iron was certainly continuing, only now through the Muslims. The Turkish Ottomans ruled in total from 1299-1923.
Recognize the continuity of the eastern iron leg. From the founding of Constantinople and Rome East in Turkey to its takeover by the Turkish Ottoman Empire to World War I, Rome's iron perpetuated in the east through Turkey.
1933 - 1945
Nazi Germany was the strongest manifestation of ancient Rome's iron, doing with modern technology what ancient Rome and other Germanic ironmen only dreamed of. It is truly Biblical that Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy allied as "co-iron" in World War II. Italy was the beginning of the western iron leg in ancient Rome, Germany was the continuation of that iron leg, both exerted imperial iron together in World War II. Their co-iron alliance was later named, astoundingly and prophetically, The Pact of Steel. Do not miss that amazing prophetic fact in light of Daniel 2's iron metaphor.
Additionally, consider the term fascism. It came into being in 1921 Italy, but was later applied to Nazi Germany. The word fascism comes from the word fasces, a bundle of rods with an iron ax-head. Ancient Roman authorities carried a fasces as the instrument of their iron authority: rods for whipping, the iron ax-head for beheading.
Recognize the continuity of the western iron leg. From the collapse and taking of Rome (the city) by Sciri German Odoacer, to the founding of proto-Europe by Frankish German Charlemagne, to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, to Bismarck's "Iron and Blood" German Empire, to Nazi Germany, Rome's iron perpetuated in the west through German empires.
God's Word is perfect. Even mundane facts, terms, and titles confirm and conform to His storyline.