Identification of the Little Horn of Daniel 7
In the Bible God has given us much information regarding the thinking and behaviors of the Little Horn of Daniel 7:8, 19-27. In the book of Daniel the Little Horn is the primary antagonist of the Messiah thus it would seem clear that the Little Horn is an earthly system through which Satan seeks to influence and deceive mankind. Since God has informed us of the Little Horn then it would behoove us to study all aspects of the Little Horn and be forewarned of things yet to come. As we study the Little Horn we will see that the Word of God has formed guidelines so that we will come to proper conclusions and not be misled by human traditions.
It is this writer’s goal to gather the information provided by God and place it in a simple format so that each reader can decide for themselves what God is trying to communicate. God has promised us Amos 3:7 that “Surely the Lord God will do nothing but He revealeth His secret unto servants the prophets.” He has also warned us in I John 4:1 “Beloved believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” God warned us that there will be false prophets and we must be alerted to not fall into error. Jesus, Himself, states the following “And Jesus answered and said unto them (His disciples), Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name (claiming to be Christ-like, or Christian), saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:4-5 So God is saying that just because someone claims to be Christian does not in and of itself mean that they are Christians. Matthew 7:13-27 says that we are to test all who claim to be Christian and that their words and their actions must be like what Jesus said and did for them to be Christians. Talk and no action is a testament that these people are not of God. This same test must be applied to the Little Horn. God tells us what He thinks like, and Jesus lived out what God thinks and does. The Little Horn will do the same, so by studying what the Bible says about the Little Horn, and all of the other names it goes by, we will be able to determine whether it is of God or of man.
One of the key issues in identifying the Little Horn is to identify the four beasts of Daniel 7:1-8. Since the Little Horn comes out of one of the beasts, and stays attached to one of the beasts, this will help us to identify the Little Horn, and many other issues of the Bible. In Daniel 7 there is no official identification of any of the beasts. So we must look earlier into the book of Daniel to get an idea of what the four beasts mean. In Daniel 2 Nebuchadnezzar is given a vision of a great image made up of four distinct metals. These four metals are Gold, Silver, Brass, and Iron. Then in the feet of this image the iron is mingled with clay. The only identification for the metals is that Nebuchadnezzar is identified as the head of gold. Daniel 2:38. Then Daniel states “And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.” Daniel 2:39-40.
So in Daniel 2 we are faced with two potential interpretations. Either Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom would be followed by inferior Babylonian rulers, who would some how rule all of the earth, or Nebuchadnezzar, symbolizing Babylon, would be followed by other kingdoms that would rule the then known earth. History has shown that the kings following Nebuchadnezzar did not rule with his power and glory. But the kingdoms that followed Babylon did rule with power and extended the territory of Babylon’s kingdom. History indicates that the three kingdoms following Babylon, in accordance with the prophecy of God, did indeed grown stronger and harsher than that of Babylon. Babylon appears to have been the richest kingdom, and was the most responsive to the things of God, culminating with the conversion of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, thus showing that Babylon was the kingdom of Gold.
So with the above information in mind the four kingdoms of Daniel 2 would be Babylon 605-539 BC, then the kingdom which overthrew Babylon was the Medo-Persian empire 539-332 BC. Medo-Persia was then followed by Greece 331-168 BC, and then Greece was overthrown by Rome 168 BC – 476 AD. In the end of Daniel 2 there is also mention of another substance and that is of clay. Clay is equated to the church in Jeremiah 18:1-6. So somewhere in the history of Rome there is a mingling of church and state for the iron lasts all of the way until the destruction at the end of time.
Each of these kingdoms had a growth period, a time when they entered into world conquest, and then a termination point. Thus history, and time, are guidelines for us to evaluate the Little Horn. As with the kingdoms before it the Little Horn must come onto the stage of action, it has its time of conquest, it rules, and then it is “killed” off. So it to must abide by the guidelines of time and history and He who is the end from the beginning, has seen all of its history and has shared this history with us that we may know that “…I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure: calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11
So without further guidance from God we must use His outline of Daniel 2 to guide us in our understanding of the four beasts of Daniel 7 and all of the subsequent chapters of Daniel. In Daniel 7 four beasts come up out of the troubled sea. We know that in Revelation 17:15 that prophetic waters are “peoples, multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Winds, in the context of Daniel 7:2 indicate warfare among the nations. Jeremiah 51:1, 11, 28; 4:11-13; 49:36-37. Out of the warfare among the nations, God sees 4 beasts come up out of the water. We know that these are not regular beasts for they can not live in water. But God identifies these beasts as kings of kingdoms Daniel 7:16-17. These are random kingdoms or they are the kingdoms that God had already spoken of in Daniel 2 – Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and a time of mixture between the kingdom of Rome and the church. So Daniel 7 would indicate that the first beast was the lion – Babylon, the bear, which would indicate the Medo-Persian empire, the leopard which would equate to Greece, and then a beasts so unusual that Daniel could not equate it with any beast he had seen. Then the focus of Daniel 7:8 was that there was an unusual horn that came up out of the head of the fourth beast and it started to speak great things like a man. This horn would be similar to the phenomenon of the iron mixed with clay in Daniel 2:33-35; 41-45.
With the kingdoms now identified let us look at the fourth kingdom, the kingdom of Rome. As we said earlier the kingdom of Rome was in existence from 168 BC – 476 AD. During this time Rome was a very powerful nation and extended its conquests far beyond any of the previous nations of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. During its reign it was a cruel and rapacious kingdom but straight forward in its approach of conquest, it was “…dreadful, terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it…” Daniel 7:7
In the latter part of Daniel 7:7 God makes an unusual comment, He says “…and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.” So this Roman beast had a different quality to it than that of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. Rome was clearly a pagan kingdom and it did not accept God, like Nebuchadnezzar had done. Rome was steady in its Paganism, but there was a shift, recorded in history, that tells us the rest of the story that identifies what was different. God said that the kingdom of Rome would have ten horns and that these ten horns were ten kings that would come. Daniel 7:24. Then it says that a Little Horn would come up “after them” and it would subdue three kings. Historically, about 476 AD the Roman Empire began to break up into divisions which are represented by the ten horns. These divisions eventually became nations like France, Germany, Italy, England, Spain, Portugal, etc. After this time of fragmenting, or after 476 AD, there arose a Little Horn. This kingdom was to be established, in the European area where the ten horns were, it would have to arrange to have three of these ten horns plucked up, and then it would be established. Before trying to identify the Little Horn, let’s add a few more pieces of the puzzle. When the Little Horn is established it begins to carry out a list of activities. In Daniel 7:25 it speaks great words against the Most High, not for the Most High. It attacks the saints of God. It thinks to change God’s time, and it thinks to change God’s laws. And God kingdom on earth would be displaced for a time, times, and the dividing of time.
History tells us that there is one kingdom that fulfills all of the above criteria for the Little Horn and that is the Roman Catholic Church. The Little Horn requires that it grow out of Rome. The Little Horn requires it’s kingdom to be part of iron Pagan Rome, and part of the clay of the church per Daniel 2.
The Scriptures declare that three horns of the Roman Empire must be plucked up in order to establish the Little Horn. In 493 AD the kingdom of the Heruli was destroyed. The Vandals were destroyed in 534 AD and in 538 AD the kingdom of the Ostrogoths were neutralized so that the Roman Catholic Church could have full control of the Western Roman Empire, including the city of Rome. So 538 AD is the starting point of the Little Horn Kingdom in Europe and with it’s capital city being Rome and having the name of Rome in it’s official title.
When the RCC was established it was in all ways connected to Rome – by name, by government, by location, by city. It is clear that the Roman Catholic Church was built on Rome. In addition Rome itself gave the Roman Catholic Church its support, it’s power, and its authority. Revelation 13:2
After becoming established the RCC began to fulfill the rest of God’s prophecy. God’s prophet declared that the RCC would speak great words against the Most High. Two ways that this was done was to proclaim that men, in this case the RCC priesthood, had the power to forgive sins. God has never given men the power to forgive sins in a fellow being. That power belongs to God alone. God calls any attempt to have a man forgive sins to be blasphemy. Mark 2:7 A second phase of this blasphemy is the perception that a human being, besides Christ, is God. The Bible calls any statement on the part of a man to be called God is blasphemy. John 10:33 The RCC has officially proclaimed both of these statements in their writings about the Pope and about the Priesthood.
The Scriptures go on to predict that the Little Horn, once established, would feel the need to persecute anyone who disagreed with their positions. The prophecy declares that God’s people would protest the positions that the mixed Pagan/Christian church would take and would thus become the focus of negative actions on the part of the RCC. History again confirms that the RCC has indeed persecuted God’s people for hundreds of years. Any group, or individual, which has protested against the errors of the RCC, has faced all kinds of persecution including being burned at the stake.
Daniel 7:25 states that the Little Horn/RCC would then feel a need to change God’s times. Times would be those special periods of time that God calls His and that identify surrender to His plans and His will. Chief among these times is that of the Sabbath day. God declares that the Sabbath is to be observed on the 7th day of each week or Saturday. The Patriarchs of the Old Testament, and then Jesus and the Apostles of the New Testament all observed Sabbath. Exodus 16, 20:8-11; Jeremiah 17:19-27; Luke 4:16; Luke 23:54-56; Acts 13:14-44; Revelation 1:10. To display that it had been empowered by God to accomplish great things, the claim went out that the RCC had the power to change the Sabbath, from the Seventh Day of the week to the First Day of the week. This claim was presented in 336 AD in the Council of Laodicea according to Rev. Peter Geiermann in “The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine” 1910 pages 49-50. This claim of change in 336 AD was enforced after the RCC’s climb to power in 538 AD. This official statement was in addition to the slow changes brought about by various churches and by the decree of Constantine in 321 AD.
In addition to this change in the time of the Sabbath, prophecy states that the Little Horn would attempt to change God’s law. As it had changed the Sabbath time, and thus altered God’s law, the RCC also deliberately changed several other laws of God. By allowing the veneration of idols, the RCC effectively introduced a commandment of men, to nullify the law against idolatry. Matthew 15:1-9 and Exodus 20:4-6. The RCC also introduced the concept that the priesthood should be celibate and not be married. This is a direct contradiction of the priesthood in the Bible where a church leader should be married to one wife. I Timothy 3:1-2. Thus history confirms that the Little Horn/RCC would make many changes in the Law of God, and in the way people understood what God had declared in the Bible.
Finally God states that the Little Horn would be around for a time, times, and a half a time. This is an unusual statement of time that Daniel found helpful to describe prophetic time. A time is usually considered to be a prophetic year or 360 days. So a time would be 360 days, times would indicate the least possible identified times or two prophetic years, and a half a time would be one half of a prophetic year or 180 days. This totals out to be 1260 days. In Prophetic time this would indicate that the Little Horn/RCC would reign among the kingdoms of men for 1260 years one day for a year. Genesis 29:27; Genesis 47:9; Number 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6. So if this is correct then the Little Horn/RCC was in power from 538 AD to 1798 AD when the French General Berthier captured the Pope and removed him from office.
Thus all of the identifying concepts described by God, through His prophet Daniel, were fulfilled in the RCC. Each and every descriptor of the Little Horn in Daniel 7 was fulfilled in the Roman Catholic Church. This kingdom has been around for many years, and has accomplished the work that the I Am declared would happen. So the mystery of the Little Horn has been revealed through a study of God’s Holy Word. Yet there are a few more mysteries that must be settled and one of those mysteries is since the RCC lasted up until 1798 will it have a role to play in the final issues before Jesus comes again. This mystery will be settled in our next study on the Little Horn of Daniel 8, The King of the North, and the Sea Beast of Revelation 13.