The First Kingdom of Babylon (605 – 539 BC)
God revealed to Daniel that the first kingdom (Daniel 7:4) is Babylon which starts under King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:38).
The Second Kingdom of Medo-Persia (539 – 332 BC)
The angel, Gabriel, revealed to Daniel that the second kingdom (Daniel 7:5) is Medo-Persia (Daniel 8:20). This map shows the extent of the Persian Empire at its peak around 500 BC.
The Third Kingdom of Greece (332 – 146 BC)
The angel, Gabriel revealed to Daniel that the third kingdom (Daniel 2:39, 7:6) is Greece (Daniel 8:21).
History records that the kingdom of Greece, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, sought to conquer the Persian empire. After a series of battles, Alexander the Great defeated the Persian armies, thus fulfilling the prophecy given to Daniel.
Several years later, in 323 BC, Alexander the Great suddenly died from a fever at the age of 33. He had no time to name a successor, so his vast kingdom was divided among his generals into four main kingdoms. The first was given to Seleucus (Asia), the second to Ptolemy (Egypt), the third to Lysimachus (Thrace), and the fourth to Antipater’s son Cassander (Macedonia, including Greece). These would be the four notable horns mentioned by Daniel. A map of the Greek Empire in 301 BC shows how it was divided after Alexander the Great’s death. It should be noted that Israel is under Ptolemy’s jurisdiction in the south. Thus, four kingdoms came out of the nation of Greece (Daniel 8:22).
There was much conflict between these four generals, especially between Seleucus in Asia (includes modern day Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) and Ptolemy in Egypt. Based on the road systems of the day, Israel is geographically just south of the northern kingdom, and occupies the top most portion of the southern kingdom. Thus Israel is caught in the middle. Armies from Asia would enter Israel from the north and armies from Egypt would enter Israel from the south. Thus, in the Bible, at any given time, the king of Asia is typically referred to as the king of north and the king of Egypt is typically referred to as the king of the south. Daniel records several of these conflicts that would occur over a long period of time. In the end times, some of these conflicts will involve Antichrist.