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Some have claimed that the ten toes of Daniel represent ten tribes of Europe and because they are mixed with clay they will never unite. There is no scriptural basis to support this claim and it is only speculation. But, it can not be so. The tribes of Europe formed new governments (states, nations) every bit as hard as the gold and silver and brass and iron. One COULD argue that those ten tribes formed the IRON of the ten toes, but even that claim is disputed and fails to account for the clay.
The book "Daniel and the Revelation" by Uriah Smith points to these ten tribes as fulfillment of the ten toes:
However, he conveniently omitted the Jutes, Frisians, Picts, Gaels and numerous other tribes, and combined the Angles (England) and Saxons (Germans) into Anglo-Saxons so it would make the correct number - 10. Some claim that these "barbarian" tribes overthrew Rome. However, most experts agree that Rome declined until it "overthrew" itself. "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within." Will Durant
This claim ignores the modern nations (kingdoms) of the United States, China and Russia - the major powers today (and likely still the major powers at the time of the 2nd coming?). Europe is inconsequential today and likely still will be at the 2nd coming. It was easy to look for successors to Rome, forgetting that the successors would have to be still ruling the world with a rod of iron at the 2nd coming. Europe does NOT fit that interpretation.
More importantly, these new "nations" or kingdoms established by the tribes, formed governments like all the others. Governments based on force, coercion and violence. Hard - NOT soft.
It might be argued that they are the IRON of the 10 toes, but the iron is the same metal as Rome, not a new, replacement metal. This is the metal that will be broken to pieces at the 2nd coming. It is more believable that the Roman iron system continues to rule the Earth today through all the nations (kings) of the world.
Joseph Stalin, dictator and leader of the Soviet Union from 1922 until 1952 is estimated to have killed or caused the death of 60 million people (Solzhenitsyn). The name "Stalin" means “man of steel” (steel is made from iron). Isn't this just an extension of Rome's rule of iron?
Mao Zedong of China is thought to be responsible for the deaths of 40-75 million Chinese.
The United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world (see here). Then there are Adolf Hitler, King Leopold II, The ‘Butcher of Belgium’, Hideki Tojo, the Prime Minister of Japan, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, the Butcher of Uganda, and so many others.
Without arguing about the "correct number of deaths", aren't these deaths by 10 government dictators (NOT put forward as representing the 10 toes) all examples of extensions of Satan's iron kingdom of force, all after Rome and NOT Europe (click on image to enlarge). This image doesn't reflect the number of deaths caused by "free" governments.
It has also been speculated by some that a new "one-world government" will divide the world into ten districts or regions. This could be true, but we don't know yet. If this happens, it would certainly be a manifestation of the iron in the 10 toes.
The representation of the iron of the ten toes is insignificant compared to a correct understanding of the clay.