The Little Horn
'Let us carefully consider some suggestions that have been made regarding the identity of the little horn in Daniel’s vision:
(1) Religious modernism contends that the little horn was Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.), the Syrian rogue who so viciously persecuted the Jews during the interbiblical era (cf. Daniel 8:9-14, 23-27).
Because the prophetical sections of Daniel are so very precise, modernists, rejecting the concept of predictive prophecy, allege that the book of Daniel is the composition of some unknown writer of the second century B.C. Thus, according to this theory, the document addresses the past, not the future. The persecuting little horn is therefore conveniently identified with Antiochus. This position was apparently first set forth by Porphyry, a third-century A.D. philosopher, who sought to discredit the Bible as an inspired revelation.
This theory simply will not work. The fact is, Antiochus lived in the period of Greek supremacy. He was dead a hundred years before the fourth beast (the Roman Empire) came into power—out of which Daniel’s little horn arose.
That aside, there is clear and convincing evidence that the book of Daniel was written in the sixth century B.C., not in the second century (see Jackson 1990, 30, 31). (Note: the little horn of Daniel 8:9ff is a reference to Antiochus; but this must not be confused with the little horn of chapter seven.)
Attempts have been made, to identify the beasts of Daniel’s dream in the following fashion: Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Greeks—so as to allow the little horn to appear in the fourth (or Greek) period. It is not, however, a legitimate procedure to separate the Medo-Persian Empire into two segments. There simply was no Median empire, separate from the Persian regime, which could be called a world power (Rose and Fuller 1981, 336).
(2) Modem millennialists assert that the little horn of Daniel’s dream is the “Antichrist,” who soon will make his presence known to initiate a persecution against the church. Allegedly, this will introduce the tribulation period which is supposed to precede the return of Christ and his one-thousand-year reign from Jerusalem (see Pentecost 1985, 1355).
There are insurmountable obstacles to this view. In the first place, the entire premillennial scheme is without biblical proof, including the Antichrist-tribulation components. No interpretation of Daniel 7 is legitimate which depends upon a theological theory that is so at variance with fundamental Bible truth—which the premillennial theory clearly is (see Examining Premillennialism.)
Second, the little horn of Daniel’s vision arose from the remnants of the Roman Empire, which have lain in the dust of antiquity for more than one thousand years. The commencement of the little horn’s power is thus ancient, not modern. Sensing the difficulty in this fact, millennialists allege that the old Roman Empire will be revived in these modem times to accommodate Bible prophecy! There is absolutely no support for this incredible speculation.
(Note: Some who are not of the premillennial persuasion believe that the little horn is a sinister Antichrist personality who will appear shortly before the Lord’s return. For reasons which will be apparent subsequently, we reject this view as well.)
(3) Some would argue that the little horn represents one of the pagan Roman rulers (e.g., Julius Caesar or Vespasian). A great variety of biblical scholars, however, have forcefully contended that Daniel’s little horn and Paul’s “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3ff) appear to represent the same hostile force. This was the general view of the “church fathers” (see Newton, 462, 463), and such has been maintained in modern times. Since the “man of sin” is obviously a part of “the falling away” from the primitive faith, the opposing force would seem to be a religious one (see Workman 1988, 414-436).
(4) An interpretation which has fallen on hard times in this modern ecumenical age, but which was strongly defended by scholars of the Reformation heritage (e.g., Adam Clarke and Albert Barnes), is the concept that Daniel’s little horn symbolized the papal dynasty. A few conservative scholars defend this position even yet (Leupold 1969, 323).
This was also the leading view of the Restoration leaders. When Alexander Campbell met John Purcell in debate (1837), he affirmed that the Roman Catholic Church “is the Babylon of John, the Man of Sin of Paul, and the Empire of the Youngest Horn of Daniel’s Sea Monster” (1914, 281ff).
Consider the following arguments which lend support to this proposition:
(a) Prior to the eighth century A.D., the authority of the Catholic popes was limited to church affairs. However, near the middle of that century, the Roman pontiff began to acquire political territories, thus transforming the Church into a politico-ecclesiastical organism.
In A.D. 755, Pepin, a French ruler, conferred upon pope Stephen III the principality of Ravenna. Later, in 774, Charles the Great, monarch of France, conquered the kingdom of the Lombards and gave their dominion to Pope Adrian I. Finally, in 817, Lewis the Pious, son of Charles the Great, confirmed the state of Rome to Pope Paschal I.
The Roman church was the most powerful force in Europe—a little horn that became more stout than its fellows. By the time Cardinal Hildebrand became pope (1073), he was affirming that the Roman pontiff should not only be the universal head of the church, but also the ruler of the world (cf. Newton, 241-245; Sanderson, Lamberton, and McGovern, 334-336; Alzog 1890, 184ff).
(b) The little horn was said to speak “great things” which were “against the Most High.” The blasphemous arrogance of the popes is well-known to students of church history.
Newton cites the following papal claim:
Our Lord God the pope; another God upon earth, king of kings, and lord of lords. The same is the dominion of God and the pope. To believe that our Lord God the pope might not decree, as he decreed, it were a matter of heresy. The power of the pope is greater than all created power, and extends itself to things celestial, terrestrial, and infernal. The pope doeth whatsoever he listeth, even things unlawful, and is more than God (456).
Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), in his inaugural speech, declared, “The successor of St. Peter stands midway between God and man; below God, above man; Judge of all, judged of none” (Hurlbut 1954, 112).
(c) The Roman church, under the authority of its popes, has been a vicious persecutor of those who oppose its apostate doctrines. A Catholic scholar asserts that his own church “can tolerate no strange Churches beside herself” (Pohle 1913, 766). During the Spanish Inquisition (a tribunal established by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages for the purpose of suppressing error) thousands were burned alive for their alleged heresies against the Church.
During the infamous massacre of St. Bartholomew’s day (August 24, 1572) somewhere between twenty thousand and one hundred thousand Protestants were killed near Paris. A Catholic historian admits: “On 8 September a procession of thanksgiving took place in Rome, and the pope, in a prayer after mass, thanked God for having ‘granted the Catholic people a glorious triumph over a perfidious race’” (Goyau 1913, 337).
(d) The little horn would alter the “times and the law” of God. According to Catholic dogma, ecclesiastical authority and tradition carry as much weight, if not more, than the word of God itself (see Attwater 1961, 41). Thus, the Church feels free to change or make religious law as it sees fit. History is replete with examples of the papacy instituting holy seasons or days, and changing various elements of the law of Christ (e.g., celibacy, adoration of images, saint worship, transubstantiation).
(e) The saints were to be under the oppressive power of the little horn for “a time, times, and half a time.” Clearly, this is the most difficult aspect of the prophecy. A number of novel views have been suggested as to the significance of this expression. The most reasonable conclusion is that it likely represents three and a half year’s worth of prophetic days, i.e., a total of 1,260 days, symbolizing 1,260 years (as in the case of the seventy weeks of chapter nine [cf. Revelation 12:6, 14; 13:5]).
The knotty part is knowing what period of history it actually covers. It would seem to point to that era when Roman Catholicism almost completely dominated and suppressed the religious world, until its power was broken by the influence of the Reformation movement. It is not necessary to look for precise dates for the beginning and ending of this period.
In conclusion, we believe that, taking all factors into consideration, there is no entity in history that so fits the description of the little horn of Daniel 7 as that of the papal dynasty of the Roman Catholic Church." - extracted from https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/184-little-horn-of-daniels-sea-beast-the
"Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Great is nicely featured by some writers as the first Emperor, who was Christianized and the one who stopped Christian persecution, which was brutally done by his predecessor Roman Emperor Diocletian. However, if Daniel 7 is thoroughly reviewed by relating it to history, it will show that he was actually the little horn prophesied in Daniel 7:8.
In Daniel 7:6, the third beast, which looks like a leopard, is described as having four wings and four heads, which was given authority to rule. It states:
6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
This part of the prophecy squarely refers to what happened to the Roman Empire during the time of Emperor Diocletian, when Tetrarchy or the “Rule of Four” ruled the Empire. In short, the third beast described in Daniel 7:6 is the Roman Empire.
Wikipedia is quoted as follows:
The term tetrarchy (from the Greek: τετραρχία, tetrarchia, “leadership of four [people]”)[a] describes any form of government where power is divided among four individuals, but in modern usage usually refers to the system instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire. This tetrarchy lasted until c. 313, when internecine conflict eliminated most of the claimants to power, leaving Constantine in control of the western half of the empire, and Licinius in control of the eastern half.
Emperor Diocletian in 286 appointed Maximian as Augustus, co-emperor and on March 1, 293, he further appointed two other co-rulers, namely Galerius and Contantius Chlorus, who was the Father of Constantine, as Caesars, junior co-emperors, to rule the Roman Empire. On July 25 304, Constantine was proclaimed Augustus upon the death of his father and became the sole ruler of the western empire after the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. In 324, he defeated the eastern Augustus Licinius and re-united the empire under his rule.
Based on history, there was uprooting of the other three rulers or ‘horns’ in the Tetrarchy by ‘little horn’ or successor Constantine making him fit to descriptions in Daniel 7:8, which states as follows:
8 “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
Also, it may appear that Constantine was in succession in the Roman Empire. However his rule started what historians call as establishment of Byzantine Empire or Eastern Roman Empire, making it distinct or different from predecessor Roman Empire. Hence, his empire is the fourth beast described in Daniel 7:7, which states as follows:
7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
The fourth beast is described to be ‘terrifying and frightening and very powerful’, with ‘large iron teeth’, ‘crushing and devouring its victim and trampling underfoot whatever was left’, ‘different from all the former beasts’ and has ‘ten horns’. These descriptions fit the empire under Constantine and his successors, where Roman Catholicism and its Papacy evolved into being. Firstly, it has to be noted that “Diocletianic Persecution (303–11), the empire’s last, largest, and bloodiest official persecution of Christianity, failed to eliminate Christianity in the empire“. Hence, the Roman Empire failed to qualify as terrifying and frightening and very powerful to crush the early Christian movements. However, this is not in the case of the Byzantine Empire thereby making it very different from all the former beasts in terms of strategy.
Under Constantine, he treated the enemy Christians like friends to finally crush or defeat them by 1) proclaiming first the toleration of Christianity, 2) convening and presiding over the First Council of Nicaea and 3) confirming the influence of the Emperor over Christians by building churches in Constantinople. In short, the remaining early Christian movement was defeated by him by way of instilling his own type of Christianity-the Constantinian Christianity.
Wikipedia (History of Papacy under Constantine) is quoted:
The legend surrounding the victory of Constantine I in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312) relates his vision of the Chi Rho and the text in hoc signo vinces in the sky, and reproducing this symbol on the shields of his troops. The following year, Constantine and Licinius proclaimed the toleration of Christianity with the Edict of Milan, and in 325, Constantine convened and presided over the First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council. None of this, however, has particularly much to do with the pope, who did not even attend the Council; in fact, the first bishop of Rome to be contemporaneously referred to as “pope” is Damasus I (366–84). Moreover, between 324 and 330, Constantine built Constantinople as a new capital for the empire, and—with no apologies to the Roman community of Christians—relocated key Roman families and translated many Christian relics to the new churches he built from the ground up.
Also, from the above scheme, Emperor Constantine is indeed shown to be very different from the previous emperors because while he tolerated Christianity, he was able to institute in the Christian movement the Roman cult on veneration of the sun, adoption of the sign of the beast, which is the cross, revision of the scripture through Greek translation, and sustaining of Roman idolatrous practices, which are still subsisting today in Catholicism and Christianity through the Sunday worship, which is in violation of the Sabbath law, adoption of the sign of the beast as the sign of Christianity, adoption of the revised bible and adoption of images, e.g, alleged Holy Face, Shroud of Turin, which are likewise in violation of the Ten Commandments.
Further, the ‘ten horns’ that is stated in the verse refers to the ten emperors who succeeded Emperor Constantine I, who carried the name in honor of Constantine. These emperors were Tiberius II Constantine, Constantine III, Constantine IV “the Bearded”, Constantine V “the Dung-named”, Constantine VI, Constantine VII “the Purple-born”, Constantine VIII “the Purple-born”, Constantine IX Monomachos, Constantine X Doukas, and Constantine XI Palaiologos.
Finally, therefore, while the history, which is usually inclined towards the prevailing political power, may paint the good reputation of Roman Catholicism and Christianity despite their foundation were greatly influenced by Emperor Constantine, the same will not stand scrutiny from the words of the messiah himself on good and bad fruits, which states as follows:
33To have good fruit, you must have a healthy tree; if you have poor tree, you will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the fruit it bears. 34You snakes-how can you say good things when you are evil. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35A good person brings good things out of a treasure of good things; a bad person brings bad things out of treasure of bad things.
36You can be sure that on the Judgment Day, you will have to give account for every useless word that you have ever spoken. 37Your words will be used to judge you -to declare you either innocent or guilty.(Matthew 12:33-37,TEV)
Due to the fruits by way of institutionalizing the Roman cult on veneration of the sun, adoption of the sign of the beast, which is the cross, revision of the scripture through Greek translation, and sustaining of Roman idolatrous practices in Catholicism and Christianity, Catholics and Christians can not escape judgment on their institution as establishments that were established by the little horn described in Daniel 7:8." -
TO BE CONTINUED...