The 10 Horns of Daniel 7

15 Jun
from Google Images

from Google Images

Chapter seven of Daniel tells of four Beasts. These Beasts have to do with ruling and influencing the Jewish people. They are gentile rulers and the terrible Beast of Daniel 7:7 is very strange, having ten horns. What does all this mean? Daniel wanted to know the interpretation of the vision and requested information from the angel in his vision (Daniel 7:15-16). He was told the Beasts represented kings or kingdoms. The fourth kingdom would have 10 horns, which were also kings or rulers (Daniel 7:20, 24).

I believe most commentaries on the book of Daniel agree that this fourth kingdom is Rome. However, the interpretation of the ten horns vary, but most believe they are resurrections of the Roman Empire with the Roman Catholic Papacy as the little horn that makes it all possible. I don’t go along with this interpretation for various reasons, but mainly because the interpretation has in view that Roman Catholics, and especially the Papacy, are not Christian. I think this is a very presumptuous interpretation, categorically labeling Catholics as evil and non-Christian. It not only doesn’t fit the Scriptures, it is a very unloving way to speak of one’s brethren. I don’t mean to imply the evil that was done in the history of Roman Catholicism, e.g. the Inquisition, was done by Christians. It was not. Nevertheless, Peter had predicted that false teachers would arise and rule over the flock of God. If we can believe much of the evil done was lead and/or inspired by false teachers, then we should apply the rest of Peter’s prediction, namely, that these false teachers that had gained great political power ruled also over the flock of Christ, i.e. Christians. Jesus also predicted this, saying that the way of Christ would be put in damaging light through the scandalous behavior of such evil men—who were not his people.

Long-story-short, in reality the ten horns that grew out of the Roman Empire were the ten procurators that ruled Judea and Samaria from the times of the ministry of Jesus until the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. There were only ten of these leaders according to Josephus, and they ruled the Jews as kings. They are:

  1. Pontius Pilate – 26-35 AD (Luke 3:1; 23:1)
  2. Marcellus – 35-38 AD
  3. Marullus – 38-41 AD
  4. Cuspius Fadus – 44-46 AD
  5. Tiberius Alexander – 46-48 AD
  6. Ventidius Cumanus – 48-52 AD
  7. M. Antonius Felix – 52-59 AD (Acts 23:26-24:27)
  8. Porcius Festus – 59-61 AD (Acts 25)
  9. Albinus – 61-65 AD
  10. Gessius Florus – 65-70 AD

What can we know of these men who ruled the Jews? Daniel says their dominion was taken from them but their lives were prolonged for awhile (Daniel 7:12). That is, in most cases the king was slain if replaced before he died a natural death—not so concerning the procurators who ruled as kings in Judea. They went on living; some were banished or exiled, but none of them were executed. Festus did die in office, but this was a natural death.

When we look at the book of Revelation in the New Testament we find many similarities with the book of Daniel 7, specifically in Revelation 13 and 17. Here we are shown the Beast with 7 heads and upon one head is 10 horns. Both Daniel and Revelation claim that the ten horns are ten kings (Daniel 7:24; Revelation 17:12). Indeed the governors of Judea and Jerusalem were called either proconsuls or prefects, but all possessed the authority of imperium.[1] What this means is: they were autonomous in their authority and could govern as they saw fit. They were under no obligation to consult higher authorities, including the emperor, before making decisions within their provincial command. The only condition was that the emperor received his taxes from the province and that the governor was able enough to keep the peace and put down any insurrection that might develop. In all things he exercised the authority of a king. It all occurred in the 1st century AD before the Jewish war with Rome that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. There is absolutely no reason to look for 10 future kings to reign before the return of Jesus to this earth.

[1] “The governor, whether proconsul, propraetor, legate or prefect, wielded the power of Rome in his province. He was bound by the provincial charter to honor specific arrangements for tax exemption and other prerogatives, and the provincials could complain about his administration to the senate or emperor. Otherwise, his exercise of imperiumwas very nearly absolute. He made deals with the local authorities in the cities or tribes. He exercised police powers through his command of the legions, if any were stationed in the province, or more often through a smaller military unit made up of auxiliary troops composed of non-Roman citizens. He heard law cases and pronounced capital sentences…” THE GRECO-ROMAN WORLD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT by James S. Jeffers; Chapter 6 “Governing of the Provinces & Palestine” – page 114.

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Posted by on June 15, 2010 in Daniel, Prophecy


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8 responses to “The 10 Horns of Daniel 7

  1. Eddie

    March 13, 2016 at 14:01

    Actually, it isn’t as I claimed in my previous reply. I thought I remembered a specific tax (not all taxes) that other nations sent to Caesar, that the Jews were allowed to send that money to Jerusalem. However, I cannot find where I read that, so I may have misunderstood or don’t remember the specifics properly. The Jews of the Diaspora were permitted to send money unhindered to Jerusalem as a “tax” whether tithe or offering. Moreover, the Jews were exempt from paying their land tax every seventh year, because nothing was planted that year. In addition to all this, the Jews were allowed a great deal of liberty with respect to their laws, which included keeping the Sabbath unhindered, and not being judged in court on the Sabbath etc.

  2. Eddie

    March 13, 2016 at 13:00

    Good, I’m glad you found its meaning to your satisfaction, Shari. It has been years since I really delved into the study of prophecy. These blogs are the result of much earlier studies. However, when I come to something that needs correction, I correct it. If it is something really meaningful, I put a footnote in the blog showing a previous held error that was corrected in the blog. Nevertheless, even what is now there, I sometimes have trouble remembering exactly what brought me to this conclusion. I remember many things, but not all the details. I’m glad you found what you were looking for.

  3. librarygeek

    March 12, 2016 at 23:14

    Wow, I didn’t know that. That definitely made them unique and shows how God can work out amazing things when His people turn to Him to take care of them in adverse circumstances.

    But surely some taxes went to Caesar – otherwise why would the Jews question Jesus about whether they should pay taxes to him, and there appears to be a separate Temple tax in Mt 17:24 and so on?

  4. librarygeek

    March 12, 2016 at 23:02

    Actually, what I was driving at was the kings not “yet” receiving a kingdom as a guy named Steve asked you here:

    I think your answer to him explains it. Thanks!

  5. Eddie

    March 10, 2016 at 06:43

    The Jewish nation was unique among the other nations. Not only did she have a land of her own, but she was spread out among the other nations, often having her own ruler (a Jewish governor) among the gentiles who ruled over the large Jewish population there. Alexandria had such a Jewish governor, as did Damascus. Throughout the Empire the taxes that the Jews would have sent to the Emperor went to Jerusalem to support the Temple. No other nation (to my knowledge) was given these rights. Jerusalem literally ruled over peoples and nations of many languages (local dialects, since Greek was the universal language of the Empire).

  6. Eddie

    March 10, 2016 at 06:35

    Greetings, Shari, and welcome. There is no problem with the text. The 10 procurators ruled “as” kings one hour with the Beast, but they ruled over the kingdom of the Beast; the provinces they ruled was not their own. They never had a kingdom of their own, but they ruled “as” kings nevertheless.

  7. librarygeek

    March 10, 2016 at 00:16

    Given that you interpret the harlot as Jerusalem, I think Rev 17: 16 -17 makes a lot of sense and supports your theories on both her identity and the horns’.

    . 16 The ten horns that you saw, and the beast—these will hate the prostitute and make her desolate and naked. They will consume her flesh and burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put into their minds to carry out his purpose by making a decision to give their royal power to the beast until the words of God are fulfilled.

    However, verse 15 isn’t as clear to me in the context of your views.

  8. librarygeek

    March 9, 2016 at 23:57

    What do you think it means in Revelation 17:12-14 if the ten horns are the 10 procurators ?

    12 The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but will receive ruling authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 These kings have a single intent, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those accompanying the Lamb are the called, chosen, and faithful.”

    How can all 10 not yet have received a kingdom when some would have already ruled and lost their kingdom by the time Revelations was written? What does ruling “one hour” mean?

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