The Little Horn of Daniel

19 Jun
from Google Images

from Google Images

Chapter seven of Daniel records for our consideration several beasts which it interprets as kings or kingdoms. One kingdom in particular, the fourth, had 10 horns, which it also interprets as 10 kings. These things I have already spoken of in earlier blogs,[1] but what I am interested in at this moment is the strange little horn that has a mouth and eyes. What is this all about?

A lot of the interpreting is done for us in the chapter, and we are expected to be able to figure out from this who or what the little horn is when he comes on the scene. If this is not true, why even have it written down in prophecy? Once the little horn appears, we should be able to identify him. The little horn also may be related to the Beast of Revelation 13:5 in some way, simply because of his relationship to the Jews and the similar metaphors used in both Daniel and Revelation. If my previous posts concerning the seven heads and ten horns of the Beast are correct, the time we should look for the little horn is the 1st century AD during the period of the 10 Roman governors of Judea between the crucifixion of Jesus and the Jewish war with Rome.

What do we already know about the little horn? Well, Daniel tells us that he is greater or more masterful than the other horns (Daniel 7:20; H7229 – rab), so he must be a ruler of some kind but held more in awe by the Jews than were the Roman prefects and procurators. In verse 21 we see that the little horn is able to wage war with the saints and overcome them. The saints in this context are Jews, but, if the prophecy pertains to the 1st century AD and the book of Revelation, they must be Messianic Jews, particularly those in Palestine. Daniel tells us that the little horn is able to persecute the saints until he, himself, is judged by God (Daniel 7:22).

In Daniel 7:24-25 the little horn is specifically described as a king or ruler who continually harasses the saints of God (read Messianic Jews) with the intention of changing “the times and the seasons.” That is, he desires to curb or eliminate the influence the Messianic Jews have in Palestine through the power of God.[2] The phrase “for a time, times and half a time” indicates 3 ½ years and should be seen as the time Herod Agrippa the Great ruled Palestine and especially Jerusalem.[3] It is he who began to kill the Apostles, beginning with James. The Scriptures show that the Apostles had to flee Jerusalem and probably all of Palestine for at least as long as Agrippa ruled there. In fact, if John’s presence on the island of Patmos is an indication of his flight from Jerusalem, the Apostles probably had to flee the entire realm of King Agrippa.[4]

Perhaps Peter’s presence in Antioch as mentioned by Paul in his epistle to the Galatians is a result of his flight from Agrippa. The council recorded in Acts 15 occurs late in the 40s AD, after Agrippa’s death, and James appears to be in charge of the affairs there. James represents the most conservative Messianic Jews; the Apostles represent those taking a more moderate view of Jesus’ words, and Paul, Stephen and Philip (who preached to Samaria in Acts 8) represent those Messianics who took a more liberal view of Christ’s great commission.

The persecution of the liberal view of the Great Commission began in Acts 7 and continued. The persecution of the moderate view of Christ’s commission to the Apostles began under King Agrippa. All Messianic Jews were persecuted from even before Stephen’s death, but persecution unto death began with Stephen. The most conservative among the Messianic Jews, led by James the brother of the Lord, weren’t persecuted unto death until sometime during the reign of Felix when Jonathan the high priest, and son of Annas, held that office for the second time. This persecution gradually intensified, leading to the death of James, himself, who was stoned by the order of Ananias the younger and fifth son of Annas, the high priest, to hold that office. The persecution grew into the Great Tribulation that occurred just prior to the Jewish war with Rome (cp. Revelation 13:5).

[2] “The sin of the king in placing himself with God, therefore, as Kliefoth rightly remarks, ‘consists in this, that in these ordinances he does not regard the fundamental conditions given by God, but so changes the laws of human life that he puts his own pleasure in the place of the divine arrangements.’ Thus shall he do with the ordinances of life, not only of God’s people, but of all men.” [Kiel & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament]

[3] This represents a change in my opinion and what was originally written in this blog. I had written that the ‘little horn’ in Daniel 7 is the same as the ‘mouth’ of the Beast in Revelation 13. This is wrong, and I hope my explanation here is clear enough to show the reader what the Scriptures actually say. The reason for my change of opinion is that the ‘mouth’ in Revelation had authority over all Jews in the Empire. Daniel’s ‘little horn’ has no such authority and neither did King Agrippa.

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Posted by on June 19, 2010 in Last Days


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