DANIEL'S PROPHECY - THE LITTLE HORN
In vision, Daniel saw four great beasts which symbolized four
kingdoms which were to rule the earth (Daniel 7).
1. The first beast was like a lion with eagle's wings, but the
wings were to be plucked off (verse 4). Even as the lion among
animals is the king of the forest, so the empire which held first
position in the vision given to Daniel was Babylon. In due time,
its "wings" were plucked off and mighty Babylon fell from its
2. The second beast was like a bear and it had three ribs in its
mouth (verse 5). Even as the bear is less courageous (as well as
less noble) than the lion, the second kingdom, Medo-Persia, was
less in glory compared to Babylon. It fell short of Babylon in
wealth, magnificence, and brilliance. The mention of "three ribs"
in the mouth - between the teeth where a bear crushes its prey -
is possibly a reference to the fact that Medo-Persia crushed the
three provinces that made up the Babylonian kingdom: Babylon,
Lydia, and Egypt.
3. The third beast was like a leopard with four wings and four
heads (verse 6). The third kingdom, the Grecian Empire of
Alexander the Great, was symbolized by the leopard which is noted
for its quick movements and remarkable swiftness by which it
springs upon its prey. Likewise the conquests of Alexander's
kingdom were amazingly rapid. At the age of 32, it is said,
Alexander had conquered the world and wept because there were no
more worlds to conquer.
There were four heads on this leopard beast. Following the death
of Alexander, his kingdom was divided into four parts with four
kings each ruling a part: (1) Cassander ruled over Greece and the
surrounding country, (2) Lysimachus ruled over Asia Minor, (3)
Seleucus ruled over Syria and Babylon, and (4) Ptolemy ruled over
4. The fourth beast that Daniel saw was "dreadful and 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,
and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and
it had ten horns" (verse 7). The fourth world kingdom was the
Roman Empire. And, as the prophecy said, it was dreadful,
terrible, and strong; it did tear down the whole earth; and it
stands out as diverse from the other empires of history. The
meaning of the ten horns on this beast is explained in verse 24:
"These ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings [or kingdoms]
that shall arise" - Macchiavelli, the Roman historian, described
the Empire as being divided among the various Gothic tribes their
number being ten: Heruli, Suevi, Burgundians, Huns, Ostrogoths,
Visigoths, Vandals, Lombards, Franks, and Anglo-Saxons. These
have ever since been spoken of as the ten kingdoms that rose out
of the Roman Empire.
As the prophecy continues, we find that another horn would rise
up among these ten. "I considered the horns, and, behold, there
came up among them another little horn, before whom there were
three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in
this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking
great things" (verse 8). This "little horn" would make war
against the saints (verse 21) and would think to change times and
laws (verse 25). Altogether there are eight things that we should
notice concerning the little horn.
1. The little horn was to be a ROMAN power. A horn on a beast is
that which grows out of a beast. Since we know the fourth beast
was Roman, so also must the horn be Roman!
Does the Papacy fit this description? Yes. The Papacy rose to
power at the time and place indicated by Bible prophecy. No one
can question that the Papacy is Roman. Its seat is in Rome. Its
very name is ROMAN Catholic, an amazing point of identification
even in our time!
2. The little horn was to be revealed in power among the ten
kingdoms into which the Roman Empire was divided. We have seen
that Rome was divided into ten kingdoms. The Papacy did rise to
power among these ten kingdoms - following the fall of Rome - as
we have seen.
3. The little horn was to pluck up three of the other horns, the
interpretation being that "he shall subdue three kings
[kingdoms]" (Dan.7:24). Did the Papacy subdue three of these ten
kingdoms? Elliott says: "I might cite three that were eradicated
from before the Pope out of the list first given, viz., the
Heruli under Odacer, the Vandals, and the 0strogoths." The Heruli
1) In Daniel 7 we find the word "kings" and "kingdoms" used
interchangeably. The prophecy speaks of four kings (verse
17) and goes on to speak of these as four kingdoms (verse
23). There is no contradiction here. If there is a king,
there is of necessity a kingdom.
2. Elliott, Horae Apocalpticae, vol. 3, p. 139.
overthrown in 493, the Vandals in 534, and the Ostrogoths in 553.
4. The little horn would rise up among the ten horns (kingdoms),
but would be "diverse" or different than the ten. Has the Papacy
been a kingdom that has been different from other kingdoms that
rose out of the fourth beast? Yes. Other kingdoms have claimed
temporal power, but the Papacy rose up claiming spiritual power
as well. The Papacy is the only government rising from the ruins
of Rome that made such claims. The Papacy has claimed that its
diversity from other kingdoms is as the sun compared to the moon.
Guinness has well put it in these words: "Is not the Papacy
sufficiently diverse from all the rest of the kingdoms of western
Europe to identify it as the little horn? What other ruling
monarch of Christendom ever pretended to apostolic authority, or
ruled men in the name of God? Does the Pope dress in royal robes?
Nay, but in priestly garments. Does he wear a crown? Nay, but a
triple tiara, to show that he reigns in heaven, earth, and hell!
Does he wield a sceptre ? Nay, but a crosier or crook, to show
that he is the good shepherd of the Church. Do his subjects kiss
his hand? Nay, but his toe! Verily this power is 'diverse' from
the rest, both in great things and little. It is small in size,
gigantic in its pretensions:"
5. The little horn was pictured with a MOUTH - "a mouth that
spoke every great things"(verse 20). "He shall speak great words
against the most High" (verse 25). This suggests pride and
By teaching corrupt doctrines, unscriptural doctrines, the Papacy
has dared to speak great things - has made great claims - and so
by doing has spoken against God. IT should be carefully noted
that the prophecy tells what this little horn would DO, not what
he would PROFESS TO DO. He professes to speak the words of God,
to define the doctrines of God; but in reality, he speaks things
that are unscriptural and in some cases even the exact opposite
of what the Bible says.
Much could be said about the great claims that the Popes have
made, but for now we will mention one classic claim - the claim
that all men must be subject to the Roman pontiff in order to be
saved: "All the faithful of Christ by necessity of salvation are
subject to the Roman pontiff, who judges all men... Therefore we
declare, assert, define, and pronounce, that to be subject to the
Roman pontiff is to every human creature altogether necessary
for salvation" (Unam Sanctam, by Boniface VIII).
Thus the Papacy has had a mouth claiming things that no bishop
had ever claimed before. The sentences of the Pope are considered
final; his utterances infallible; his decrees irreformable.
6. The little horn of Daniel's vision "had eyes" and his "look
was more stout than his fellows" (verse 20). A horn on a beast
does not normally possess eyes - thus such symbolism stands out
vividly. This horn would be a power with foresight, intelligence.
With such eyes, it would be a seer.
Does the Papacy fit this? The Pope claims to be the overseer of
the whole world-wide church! He claims to watch over, to shepherd
or pastor, more people than any other leader. His look is more
stout than others and is greatly feared, for he claims to be the
possessor of the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
7. The little horn was to "make war with the saints" and prevail
against them (Dan. 7:21); he would "wear out the saints of the
most High" (verse 25).
The early Christians were persecuted by the Jews, later came the
persecutions under the rule of the pagan Roman Empire. But the
war against the saints that is here described was to be carried
on by a power that would rise out of Rome following the breaking
up of the Empire into ten kingdoms. Looking into history, we find
that century after century of persecution did come upon the
saints by a power that rose out of Rome. That power was the
Papacy - and none other.
Christians were horribly tortured, tested, and tried during those
centuries. Pope Innocent IV issued an official document which
stated that heretics (those who would not bow to the Romish
system) were to be crushed like venomous snakes. His soldiers
were promised property and remission of all their sins if they
killed a heretic! Victims of the Inquisition were stretched and
torn apart on the "rack." Some were crushed and stabbed to death
in the "iron virgin." There was the thumb-screw, an instrument
made for disarticulating the fingers and "Spanish Boots" which
were used to crush the legs and feet. Pinchers were used to tear
out fingernails or were applied red-hot to the sensitive parts of
Every imaginable method of torture was used that fiendish men
could imagine. Those who wouldn't bow to the Pope's system were
shut up in caves and dungeons, were nailed to trees, tormented
with fires, scalded with oil or burning pitch; melted lead was
poured into their eyes and ears and mouths; they were scalped,
skinned, flayed alive; heads were twisted off and eyes gouged
out; women were defiled, their breasts cut off; babies were
brutally beaten, whipped stabbed, dashed against trees - in front
of their parents - and then thrown to hungry dogs and swine. It
has been estimated that there were fifty million or more
Christians killed during those dark ages by the persecutions that
were promoted by the Papacy.
If such treatment as this, inflicted on generation after
generation, is not the "wearing out of the saints of the most
High", what could be? All other persecutions against the saints
were brief and mild in comparison to those persecutions inflicted
by the Papacy.
Those who hold the futurist interpretation, however, commonly
think of the Antichrist as a super-politician who will drop
highly destructive bombs from jet planes. As one writer says.
Antichrist will "plunge the nations into the last great atomic
war" (De Haan, Will the church Go Through the Tribulation?, .
But this is not what the Bible is talking about here. The
dropping of bombs upon cities would kill people regardless of
whether they were saints or sinners. In fact, this kind of "war"
would kill more sinners than saints, for the simple reason that
there are more sinners. But the "war" of Daniel 7 was not to be
mass destruction of the people as a whole - it was specifically
described as war against the saints!
8. The little horn would "think to change times and laws" (Dan.
7:25). Daniel said that wisdom and might belong to God and that
he is the one that "changeth the times and the seasons" (Dan.
2:21). But here we see that this "little horn" would think to do
things which rightly belong only to God. He would exalt himself
to a place in which he would even dare to meddle with divine
There would not be much significance if he would merely think to
change civil laws - politicians do this every day in their course
of duty. But since the context speaks of how the little horn
would speak words against the "most High", would wear out the
saints of the "most High", it is inferred that the times and laws
which he would seek to change would not only be civil laws, but
divine laws also. This demonstrates the blasphemous character of
the little horn.
As far as human laws, the Papacy has annulled the decrees of
kings and emperors; it has thrust its long arm into the affairs
of the nations; it has brought rulers to its feet in abject
humility. In religious things, the Pope claims infallibility in
pronouncing doctrine. By exalting himself to such a position -
and millions have believed this dogma - it is evident that he has
thought to change divine things. He has instituted the observance
of days for which there is no scriptural basis, has instituted
rituals and rites that were borrowed directly from paganism, and
has set himself up as authority in place of the Bible.
We see, then, that the little horn that would rise out of the
fourth beast - Rome - would be a Roman power, would rise among
the ten kingdoms into which the empire was divided, would pluck
up three of the other kingdoms, would be diverse, would make
great claims, would be a seer, would make war with the saints,
and would think to change times and laws.
Understanding this prophecy, the early Christians knew that the
Roman Empire - the fourth beast - would fall, the fall of which
would bring on the man of sin. And since the man of sin, the
little horn of Daniel 7, would make war against the SAINTS, Paul
concluded that the man of sin would have to come to power BEFORE
the saints are gathered at the Second Coming of Christ!
TO BE CONTINUED