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Chapter 5

The Little Horn Among the Ten Horns


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 7:8)

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 Coming.

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 the chapter.

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 feature:

5. The little horn power will be still in existence to the time of the final judgment just prior to the Second Coming of Christ.

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 Most High.

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 judgment.

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 Bible scholar):

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, p. 75)

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 minister):

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 25)

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 undermined.

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.


  1 Available, Hartland Publications, Box 1, Rapidan, Virginia, 22733 USA <BACK>



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