We saw above the multi-faceted global historical meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and Daniel’s solution. Afterwards, Daniel himself received a vision in which he was revealed details that Nebuchadnezzar was not deemed worthy of viewing. This vision depicted the four kingdoms as four animals with an emphasis on how the fourth animal was far more fearful than the first three. (The Roman exile and Christianity have been the most terrible and longest of all the exiles, and has been going on for close to 2000 years with tortures, persecutions, expulsions and massacres too many to even mention.) Here is Daniel’s vision in Chapter 7:
“I saw in my vision during the night, and behold the four winds of the heavens were stirring up the Great Sea. And four huge beasts were coming up out of the sea (one after the other), each one different from the other. The first one was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle (Babylonia), until its wings were plucked and it raised itself above the earth, and stood on feet like a man, and a heart of a mortal was given it (exchanging the feet and heart of a lion with the feet and heart of a man symbolizes weakness and impotence). And behold another second beast, resembling a bear, stood to one side, and there were three ribs in its mouth between its teeth (Babylonia, Assyria and Persia), and they said to it, 'Get up, eat much meat.' After this, behold I saw another one, like a leopard, and it had four wings of a bird on its back, and the beast had four heads, and dominion was given it (Greece).
“After this, behold I saw in the visions of the night a fourth beast, awesome and dreadful and exceedingly strong, and it had huge iron teeth. It ate and crushed, and trampled the rest with its feet (the Romans used to annex countries to their kingdom or destroy them), and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I looked at these horns and behold another small horn came up among them, and three of the first horns were plucked out before it, and behold eyes like human eyes were on this horn, and a mouth speaking arrogantly. (This was Muhammed who was known for his haughty speech. His religion which came into being and sprouted after Christianity established kingdoms and conquered Christian lands to rule the world.)
“I was looking while thrones were tossed aside, and the Ancient of Days (a name for G-d) sat; His raiment was as white as snow, and the hair of His head was like clean wool (a parable and hint to the Israel’s cleanliness and merits. When the prophet prophesied on the suffering of the nations in that period, he envisioned: Who is this coming from Edom (Christianity), with soiled garments, from Bozrah (Iraq)… Why is Your clothing red, and your attire like that of one who trod in a wine press? … I trod them with My wrath, and I trampled them with My fury, with their life blood sprinkled on My garments… [Isaiah 63:1-3[).
“His throne was sparks of fire, its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and emerging from before Him; a thousand thousands (million angels) served Him, and ten thousand ten thousands (a hundred million) arose before Him. Justice was established, and the books were opened. I saw then from the sound of the arrogant words that the horn spoke (there will be fury on Islam which will come to fight Israel), I looked until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to flames of fire…
I saw in the visions of the night (the night symbolizes the period of exile), and behold with the clouds of the heaven, one man was coming (the Moshiach), and he came up to the Ancient of Days and was brought before Him. And He gave him dominion and glory and a kingdom, and all peoples, nations, and tongues shall serve him; his dominion is an eternal dominion, which will not be removed, and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.
“… the visions of my mind terrified me. I drew near to one of those standing (before the Ancient of Days), and I asked him about the meaning of all this, and he let me know the interpretation of the matters. [He said] “These huge beasts, which are four, are four kingdoms, which will arise from the earth. And (in the end) the high holy ones will receive the kingdom, and they will inherit the kingdom forever and to all eternity.
…”The fourth beast [represents] a fourth kingdom [that] will be on the earth, which will be different from all the kingdoms, and it will devour the whole land and trample it and crush it. And the ten horns that [sprout] from that kingdom [represent] ten kings [that] will rise, and the last one that will rise after them, will be different from the first, and it will humble three kings. And he will speak words against the Most High, and he will oppress the high holy ones, and he will think to change the times and the law (as is known, Muhammed took Jewish holidays and laws and changed them, and created the religion of Islam based on them), and they will be delivered into his hand until a time, two times, and half a time. (This is one of the esoteric End of Days dates.(
“And the reign which was established, will be removed (it is revealing here that Israel’s last struggle in history will be with the Muslims), and his dominion will be destroyed and annihilated until the end. The kingdom and its dominion of kingdoms under all the heavens will be given to the high holy people. Their kingdom will be a perpetual kingdom, as well as all the rulers that they will serve and obey.
“And this was the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts terrified me greatly, and my face changed color, and I kept the matter in my heart.
Concerning the person who will be anointed king (and is therefore called Mashiach, which means anointed), the prophet Isaiah says these details (11:1-6):
“And a shoot shall spring forth from the stem of Jesse, and a twig shall sprout from his roots. And the spirit of the L-rd shall rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and under-standing, a spirit of counsel and heroism, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the L-rd.
“And he shall be animated by the fear of the L-rd, and neither with the sight of his eyes shall he judge, nor with the hearing of his ears shall he chastise. And he shall judge the poor justly, and he shall chastise with equity the humble of the earth, and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips he shall put the wicked to death. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faith the girdle of his loins.”
Maimonides writes (Laws of Repentance 9:2) that this Jewish king will be greater in wisdom than King Solomon, and close to Moses’s level of prophecy. (More details about the Mashiach king and his period can be found in Maimonides’ Law of Kings, Chapter 11 and his Letter to Yemen.)
 The end of the Book of Daniel also speaks about the End of Days (12:5-13): And I, Daniel, saw, and behold two others were standing… And he said to the man clad in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the secret end?” And I heard the man… and he raised his right hand and his left hand to the heavens, and he swore by the Life of the world, that in the time of [two] times and a half, and when they have ended shattering the strength of the holy people, all these will end. And I heard, but I did not understand, and I said, “My L-rd, what is the end of these (the end of all the accounts)?” And he said, “Go, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the End of Days. They will be clarified and elucidated, and many will be purified (this means that many will try to calculate the End, and because of that) the wicked will pervert [them] (they will say that since the Moshiach didn’t come at the calculated time, he will never come) and will not understand (that those making the reckonings erred in their calculations), but the wise (who have knowledge and fear of G-d) will understand. And from the time the daily sacrifice was removed and the silent abomination was placed, is one thousand, two hundred, and ninety days. Fortunate is he who waits and reaches the days of one thousand, three hundred, and thirty-five. And you (Daniel), go to the end and rest, and you will rise to your lot at the End of Days.”
It should be explained that the date was stated in a code and hint form so as not to cause the masses to despair at the beginning of the exile. For if they would have known in advance that the exile would be so long and exceptional in comparison to the ones before (2000 years in contrast to the Egyptian exile of 400 years, and the Babylonian exile of 70 years), despair would have taken ahold of many and they would have found it difficult to pass on the hope for the Final Redemption to their children after them.
Over the course of the years of this exile, many have tried to figure out the hints in these verses and reveal the date of the Redemption. Each person and his calculation arrived at various dates, but the Redemption has still not arrived. We realize retrospectively that they erred in their calculations and interpretations, as the angel told Daniel in these verses in advance.
Do not wonder about these miscalculations. Even in deducing the date of the Redemption of the Egyptian exile — a relatively short exile, which was explicitly told in advance to Abraham (Gen. 15:13): “And they shall enslave them and torture them 400 years” — the Israelites were not able to interpret it properly since they didn’t know from when the count of 400 years began. Some believed that it should be counted from when Jacob went down to Egypt, others thought the count began at the date of Israel’s enslavement which occurred 70 years later, and others thought that it should begin even earlier — at the time that it was told to Abraham in the Covenant of the Parts.
That’s why when 400 years passed after the Covenant of the Parts — 30 years before Moses’s arrival — some Israelites were convinced that the exile was over and the time of Redemption arrived, and they attempted to leave. The Egyptians fell upon them and slew them, and then tightened the yoke of bondage on the remaining Israelites. (See Mechilta Beshalach, and Sanhedrin 92b, and Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer, Chapter 48.)
In hindsight, it became clear that the correct final date began from when Isaac was born, about whom the verse says (Gen. 21:12) “For your progeny will be called after Isaac.” It was then discovered that a hint to this could be found in the word “your progeny” in the Treaty of the Parts in the verse above (Gen. 15:13) “You shall surely know that your progeny will be strangers in a land not theirs and they shall enslave them and torture them 400 years.”
The 400 years therefore included the time when they were “strangers” and not only the enslavement and torture. The verse meant: “You shall surely know that the one who is defined as your primary progeny, and his descendants, will be like a stranger and a visitor in a land which is not theirs for 400 years. During this period, there will be a certain period of time when they will also be enslaved and tortured.” But all this was only understood and deciphered in hindsight, after the great prophet Moses was sent by G-d to deliver them.
The calculation of the years of the First Exile and the date of the Redemption of the First Temple exiles also perplexed many and many erred in deciphering Jeremiah’s prophecy (29:10): “Because after 70 years will be filled for Babylonia, I will remember you.” Only when the time arrived for its fulfillment, did its meaning became clear in hindsight. The first of those who erred was Belshazzar, king of Babylonia, who understood that “was filled for Babylonia” meant the years that the empire existed. Therefore, he calculated the 70 years from when Nebuchadnezzar had been crowned king of Babylonia after he took the kingdom from Assar Chadon (the son of Sancherib), king of Assyria.
Since he saw that the time of the Redemption predicted by the prophets had arrived and they hadn’t been redeemed, he told himself: From now on they will surely not be redeemed. (This is why he permitted himself to take out the Temple vessels and use them in the lavish feast that he made. In the end, he was killed that very night, heralding the demiseof the Babylonian empire. See Daniel, Chapter 3).
Another one who erred in the 70 year calculation was King Ahashverosh. He was sure he had figured out Belshazzar’s mistake. He said: Did the prophecy say ‘until 70 years was fulfilled for the Babylonian empire? It merely says Babylonia! If so, it is referring to the Israelite exile in Babylonia. When the time arrived according to his calculation and they weren’t delivered, he was sure they would never again be redeemed. [He too took out the Temple vessels and used them in the feast that he made, and at the same party lost his wife Vashti, the granddaughter of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylonia. (Since the Temple vessels were already desecrated, the punishment of those who desecrated it a second time was less than those who had first desecrated it.)]
Daniel also erred in his calculation, as is explained in Megilla 11b. Retrospectively, it was realized that the 70 years started from when the Israelites were exiled with King Zedekiah to Babylonia after Jerusalem have been burnt down. As the verse says in Daniel 9:2: “after 70 years were completed to the Destruction of Jerusalem.”
If so many erred in the correct calculation of exiles that were relatively short, and whose exact number of years in exile were revealed in advance, it is not surprising that so many have erred in calculating this very long exile which is going on for close to 2000 years, and about which information was given over in the form of a hint and an indecipherable code. This teaches that we should only strengthen ourselves in fulfilling G-d’s command-ments and await His salvation which, even though it delays, is certain to come. We should also realize that there are times which are auspicious for the Final Redemption, and if if it was pushed off because of our deeds, it will come at another time. (See more about the End of Days at the end of this chapter.)