Harry Whittaker
Visions in Daniel

6. The Little Horn (Daniel 7)

Just as the four beasts correspond to the four empires of Nebuchadnezzar’s metallic image, so also the ten horns of the fourth beast repeat the idea of the ten toes of the image. And since good reason has been found for seeking a ten-toe fulfilment in the Last Days, so also with the ten horns. The evidence for such a conclusion becomes insuperable.

It is a matter of first-rate importance to observe that the details in Daniel 7 about the Little Horn are repeated in Revelation 13 about the Beast described there in v.1-13.

  1. a mouth speaking great things (v.25; 13:5)
  2. it continued “forty and two months”—”a time, times and dividing of time” (v.25; 13:5).
  3. made war with “the saints” (v.25; 13:7).
  4. destroyed “unto the end” (v.26; 17:14).
  5. with the characteristics of the four preceding oppressors of “the saints” (13:2).
Thus, if the principle of interpretation of Scripture by Scripture is worth anything at all, the conclusion follows that the Beast of Revelation is a kind of blown-up version of the Little Horn.

The old commentators saw this conclusion clearly, but in their admirable anti-papal campaign, and misled by the utterly unfounded year-for-a-day interpretation of time periods, they sought an artificial reference to a ‘continuous historic’ fulfilment spread over long centuries.

But there are too many difficulties against acceptance of this view:

  1. the three uprooted horns have to be equated with the three papal states and the pope’s temporal power.

    But this is a ‘fulfilment’ just too trivial, so unimportant, in fact, that most of the history books do not even mention it.

  2. “saints” has to be read as meaning ‘the true believers’, especially in the time of the Reformation. But this is against all Old Testament usage of “saints”, where in Psalms (many) and Daniel especially, the reference is to Israel, the holy people; e.g. Daniel 12:7 (s.w.); 8:24.

  3. this persecution lasts “until the Ancient of days comes” (the final divine intervention). But papal persecution of Protestants ceased two hundred years ago, and still no heavenly kingdom. (It is ironic that most of the persecution of true believers in Reformation times came from bigoted Protestants and not from the Catholic Church).

  4. “Until a time, times, and the dividing of time.” Traditionally this has been turned into 3½ x 360 days (years!), and applied to the long drawn-out period of papal “dominion”. All these 1260 year computations gave out a long time ago, yet still the “Ancient of days” is not manifest. What has gone wrong with the calculation?

It is high time to start again with a more convincing (Biblical) interpretation.

All the details in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13, 17 call for reference to the Last Days and to a political power oppressing Israel, “the saints”, God’s holy people, in the last 3½-years of their tribulation. Daniel 12:7 is surely decisive on this point: “It shall be for a time, times, and a half, when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”

This harmonizes with all the other details—ten toes in the Last Days destroyed by the Stone, three horns uprooted by one which arises after the others, the final oppression of Israel, ten kings giving their power and strength to the Beast to enable him to make war with the Lamb who overcomes as King of kings and Lord of lords.

All the 3½-year references in Daniel and Revelation fit neatly into this scenario. So also does the Elijah prophecy in Malachi 4; for twice the New Testament emphasizes that the significant part of the ministry of that prophet lasted for “three years and six months” (Lk. 4:25; Jas. 5:17), a feature to be repeated in the Last Days. More on this in connection with the ‘Seventy Weeks’ prophecy).

Then “the Beast is slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” (7:11; Rev. 19:20).

Next Next Next