Are the several divisions of the great image of Daniel 2 primarily anatomical or metallic? In other words, should we stress the "ten toes," or merely the divided, non-adhering aspect of the "feet" (including the unnumbered toes), in the final phase of the prophecy?
Representing the kingdom of man in the world, from Babylon onward in its successive phases, the outline is based primarily on the metallic feature, and only secondarily on the anatomical aspect as it blends into the symbol. It is the head of gold, the breast of silver, the thighs of brass, the legs of iron, and the pedal extremities of iron and clay, and it is the metals in the approaching break-up that are to be ground to pieces, when the stone smites the image. Consistency is the first law of prophetic interpretation, and all will concede that the ten fingers on the hands or the arms and breast of silver have no special significance. It is therefore fallacious prophetic interpretation here to emphasize the "ten" toes, which are not enumerated by number in the Scripture. It is the "feet and toes," and not the toes alone, that are stressed as representing the multiple, noncohering kingdoms of Europe that succeeded Rome. Otherwise, if the two legs represent Eastern and Western Rome, as has been frequently stressed in the past, the toes on the two feet, would, as individual kingdoms, have to be equally distributed in the East and West. The fallacy of such an interpretation is obvious.
Prophetic symbols and parables are not to be pushed beyond the explicit interpretation recorded by Inspiration. The issue is unity and universality versus division. First, successive world powers; then baffling break-up and ever-changing separation; and lastly, universal and eternal supremacy of the kingdom of God. The toes are but part of the feet of separative iron and clay. Naught is said of another little toe that waxed exceeding great, and displaced three toes. Such gratuitous features consequently have no rightful place in the strict interpretation of Daniel 2. They belong to Daniel 7 with its development of the religious aspect, and should not be injected into Daniel 2 on the basis of anatomical analogy. Only that interpretation is legitimate which is harmonious and consistent throughout. And only such interpretation should characterize the utterances of speakers and writers in the advent movement. Carelessness here, or convenient play upon such seeming but unreal analogies as the "ten toes," should be banished from our ranks.
L. E. F.