So the noble bright image of four sections seen in the king's dream is more of man's general hopeful attitude toward human government.
The vision of the prophet Daniel
looks at the very same governments expressing them as wild beasts.
Now, here is what Daniel
told Nebuchadrezzar about his (Nebuchadrezzar's) dream.
" You, O king, are king of kings, to whom the God of the heavens has given kingship, power, and strength and glory." (v.37)
Under God's sovereignty, He used the Babylonian kingdom to discipline His theocratic nation of Israel for their disobedience to His covenant. So the Babylonian empire, from God's perspective, was a remedial matter.
Nebuchadrezzar and his Babylonian kingdom were the golden head of the great image of human governments.
"And whereever the children of men, the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky dwell, He has given them into your hand and has made you ruler over all of them.
You are the head of gold." (vs. 38,39)
Maybe the Nebuchadrezzar couldn't hear much after this. Maybe he thought " I am the head of gold! I am the head of gold! That's right, I am the top." Twenty carat pride probably so occupied him after hearing this interpretation.
But Babylonian power was eventually overcome by another kingdom of the Medo-Persian empire.
" And after you another kingdom will arise, inferior to you, and there will be another kingdom, a third one, of bronze, which will rule over all the earth." (v. 39)
These would be the Medo-Persian empire followed by the Greek empire under Alexander the Great.
Then the mighty Roman empire is depicted with eventually two parts - the east and the west.
"And there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron crushed and shatters everything; and like iron that smashes all these, it will crush and smash. (v.40)
But all told the image is of a man - head of gold, breasts and arms of silver, abdomen and thighs of bronze, and legs of iron.
The stone cut out without hands is Christ and His overcoming army - (See Rev. 19). And it will come at the end of this present age. At that time partially strong and partially weak governments may represent the many democracies of the 20th and 21rst century.
"And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be fragile.
And in that you saw the iron mixed with the earthly clay, they will be mixed together through the seed of men, but they will not cleave to one another, even as iron does not mix with clay." (vs.42,43)
These four main sections do not specifically speak of all the empires and kingdoms of human history. The number four
signifies a full representative of creation. Since creation these four governments represent ALL of the human governments that have occurred on earth.
The representative governments to indicate all human governments are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and the Roman empire.
The view from the top down is also the view from the past forward until the coming of Christ.