The Little Horn Among the Ten
The identification of the little horn is more
complex, yet more significant in our search for the identity of
antichrist, than the ten horns, representing the kingdoms of Western
Europe which succeeded the Roman Empire. Let us once more examine the
introduction of the little horn in Scripture.
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 man, and a mouth speaking great things. (Daniel
From this passage we may glean the following facts:
1. The little horn would arise among the ten horns,
that is, in Western Europe.
2. Three of these ten nations would cease to exist
about the time of the rise of the little horn. That is interesting,
for we have already identified the continuing existence of the
Alemanni (Germans), Anglo-Saxons (English), Burgundians (Swiss),
Franks (French), Lombards (Italians), Suevi (Portuguese) and the
Visigoths (Spanish), reaching down to our present day. But there is no
such present day identification of the remaining three nations—the
Heruli, the Ostrogoths or the Vandals. Could these be the three
nations here cited? This feature is confirmed also in Daniel 7:24 as
we will see when we consider this verse.
3. This little horn had the eyes of a man.
4. It possessed a mouth speaking great things.
Daniel immediately moved on, after describing the
little horn, to the mighty judgment just prior to Christ’s Second
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the
Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair
of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame,
and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth
from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten
thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set,
and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9, 10)
This duration is further confirmed a little later in
And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of
the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn
that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look
was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war
with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days
came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the
time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:20—22)
Thus we can with confidence add a fifth identifying
5. The little horn power will be still in existence
to the time of the final judgment just prior to the Second Coming of
Helpfully, this chapter of Scripture provides further
fascinating and specifying features of the little horn.
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings
that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be
diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall
speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints
of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall
be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of
time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his
dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. (Daniel 7:24—26)
As we carefully study this passage we notice further
aspects of the little horn which greatly aid us in pinpointing its
identity. We add these to our list.
6. The little horn will be a different form of
kingdom from the ten out of which it rises.
7. Great words will be spoken against the
8. This power will attempt to change times and
laws. Some translators are more specific. They state that he will
alter the law, God’s law. Significantly this latter translation
may be found in The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text:
A New Translation, The Jewish Publication Society. The Revised
Standard Version of the English Bible, among others, states, "Think to
change the law" (emphasis added).
9. The little horn would hold control for a time,
times and the dividing of time.
10.It will be utterly destroyed after the final
We now possess a powerful body of evidence with which
we may make the identification of the little horn, which is the
pervading focus of this prophecy.
After studying these criteria, the Protestant
Reformers, identifying this terrifying power as synonymous with the
antichrist of the New Testament, were firm in their position on this
matter. The Reformers were far from agreement on many matters of
doctrine, but on this identity they found unity. We quote the words of
some of the most representative Reformers.
Martin Luther (founder of the Lutheran Church):
There sits the man, of whom the apostle wrote, [2
Thessalonians 2:3,4] that will oppose and exalt himself above all that
is called God. That man of sin to be revealed, the son of perdition. .
. . He suppresses the law of God and exalts his commandments above the
commandments of God. (LeRoy Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our
Fathers, vol. 2, p. 281)
We here are of the conviction that the Papacy is
the seat of the true and real antichrist. (Ibid.)
John Calvin (noted Swiss Reformer):
I deny him [the Pope] to be the vicar of Christ. .
. . He is antichrist—I deny him to be head of the church. (John
Calvin Tracts, Vol. 1, pp. 219, 220)
John Knox (founder of the Presbyterian Church, also
known as the Church of Scotland):
That tyranny which the pope himself has for so many
ages exercised over the church, the very antichrist and son of
perdition, of whom Paul speaks. (The Zurich Letters, pp. 199)
Philipp Melancthon (associate of Martin Luther):
It is most manifest, and true without any doubt,
that the Roman pontiff, with his whole order and kingdom, is very
antichrist. . . . Likewise, in 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul clearly says
the man of sin will rule in the church by exalting himself above the
worship of God. (LeRoy Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers,
vol. 2, pp. 296—299)
Sir Isaac Newton (renowned British scientist and
But it [the Papacy] was a kingdom of a different
kind from the other ten kingdoms [referred to in Daniel 7:7, 8]. . . .
And such a seer, prophet, and king is the Church of Rome [referring to
the little horn of Daniel 7]. (Observations on the Prophecies,
John Wesley (Founder of the Methodist Church):
Romish Papacy, he is, in an emphatical sense, the
man of sin. (Antichrist and His Ten Kingdoms, p. 110)
Samuel Lee (a seventeenth-century Rhode Island
It is agreed among all main lines of the English
Church that the Roman pontiff is the antichrist. (The Cutting Off
of Antichrist, p. 1)
The statement from the Westminster Confession of
Faith of the Church of England, which was later also accepted by the
Presbyterians, is significant:
There is no other head of the church but the Lord
Jesus Christ, nor can the pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof,
but is that antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition that
exalteth himself in the church against Christ and all that is called
God. (The Westminster Confession of Faith, Section 6, chapter
This identification persisted in major Protestant
denominations in the nineteenth century.
In his book, The Church of Rome, the Apostasy
(Presbyterian Board of Publications, 1841), William Cuninghame
specifically identified the Papacy as the man of sin and the antichrist.
He pointed to the Roman Catholic Church as guilty of idolatry, Mary
reverence, image worship, and saint worship (p. 105). He also pointed
out numerous instances of blasphemy by the church (pp. 199, 200). He
identified the call to come out of Babylon (Revelation 18:4, 5) as a
call out of the Roman Catholic Church (pp. 155—160).
In 1846, in his book, Christ and Antichrist,1
the former pastor of the Norfolk, Virginia, Presbyterian Church, Samuel
J. Cassels, presented one of the most comprehensive reviews that
identified the Papacy as the antichrist. This book was thoroughly
endorsed by Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Baptist leaders
of the day, yet, after the end of the nineteenth century, the
identification of the Papacy as the antichrist had been seriously
However this consistent identification of the Papacy
as the antichrist of Biblical prophecy by Protestant leaders during the
sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries cannot be accepted as definitive
proof. It must be conceded that even when the Protestant Reformers were
in unity on points of faith, they were not always Biblically sound. Our
basis of faith must ever be Scripture. Accurate history provides
confirmation of fulfilled prophecy, but it, being of human origin, can
never replace the primacy of the Bible.
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