RSS

The Ten Horns of Daniel

Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate p...
Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia

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 CE. There were only ten of these leaders according to Josephus, and they ruled the Jews as kings. They are:

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

I will speak of the little horn with eyes and a mouth in a later blog. This part of the vision is comparable to the mouth of the Beast in Revelation 13. However, concerning the Beast and the ten horns, Revelation chapters 13 and 17 also have something to say that can supplement Daniel 7.

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 killed if replaced before 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 killed. 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 a 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 proconsuls. The proconsul 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 procurator was able enough to keep the peace and put down any insurrection that may develop. In all things he exercised the authority of a king. It all occurred in the 1st century CE before the Jewish war with Rome that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 CE. 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 imperium was 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.

Enhanced by Zemanta
 

2 responses to “The Ten Horns of Daniel

  1. mrknowyourbible

    September 26, 2011 at 10:48

    Greetings Ed,

    I hope that you are in good cheer!

    I have a couple of thoughts concerning this topic and am interested to hear your comments. In Daniel 7 the beasts that were shown in the vision were in order of their appearance on the world stage. Therefore vs. 4 is the first beast (Babylon), vs 5 the second beast (Medo-Persia), vs 6 the third beast (Greece) and vs 7 the fourth beast (Rome) appeared one after the other in succession. I think we would agree to this. The bible also tells us in the BEASTS (not the horns), though their dominion will be taken away their life will be prolonged for a season and time. (Dan 7:12)

    Notice in vs 7, Daniel saw all the horns all at once “it had 10 horns”. I would think that would suggest that these 10 horns or 10 kings (vs 24) will be ruling at at least in one instance simultaneously and not it succession. If it was in succession Daniel would have seen the first horn rise up, then the 2nd, then the 3rd and so on and so forth; to make it consistent with the way God revealed the beasts to him.

    Notice also the little horn that rose up (vs. 8), he plucked up 3 of the 10 horns (kings) by the root. This further reinforces the point that these kings will be in power when this little horn makes it appearance on the world stage, but 3 of them will be subdued. I would like to submit that the 10 horns cannot be studied apart from the little horn, in fact the reason why the 10 horns were mentioned was to identify the little horn, for it is the little horn that will make war with the saints and prevail against them (vs. 21).

    Blessings

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      September 26, 2011 at 12:35

      Greetings Mr. K-Y-B, and thank you for reading my blog and for taking the time to comment. I always enjoy a good discussion.

      I have a couple of thoughts concerning this topic and am interested to hear your comments. In Daniel 7 the beasts that were shown in the vision were in order of their appearance on the world stage. Therefore vs. 4 is the first beast (Babylon), vs 5 the second beast (Medo-Persia), vs 6 the third beast (Greece) and vs 7 the fourth beast (Rome) appeared one after the other in succession. I think we would agree to this

      You are correct in that we agree that these kingdoms came in succession, one after the other.

      The bible also tells us in the BEASTS (not the horns), though their dominion will be taken away their life will be prolonged for a season and time. (Dan 7:12)

      You are certainly welcome to your opinion, but I believe the sense refers to the horns or kings/governors that arise out of fourth beast.

      Notice in vs 7, Daniel saw all the horns all at once “it had 10 horns”. I would think that would suggest that these 10 horns or 10 kings (vs 24) will be ruling at at least in one instance simultaneously and not it succession. If it was in succession Daniel would have seen the first horn rise up, then the 2nd, then the 3rd and so on and so forth; to make it consistent with the way God revealed the beasts to him.

      According to verse-3 Daniel saw all four beasts at once. They presumably had some order implied in that one was a first and another a second, but verse-3 shows Daniel saw them all at once. Your opinion **presumes** what Daniel “should” have seen. All 10 horns seen at once **is** consistent with Daniel seeing all four empires all at once (v.3).

      Notice also the little horn that rose up (vs. 8), he plucked up 3 of the 10 horns (kings) by the root. This further reinforces the point that these kings will be in power when this little horn makes it appearance on the world stage, but 3 of them will be subdued. I would like to submit that the 10 horns cannot be studied apart from the little horn, in fact the reason why the 10 horns were mentioned was to identify the little horn, for it is the little horn that will make war with the saints and prevail against them (vs. 21).

      Truly, verse-8 does say 3 of the 10 horns are “plucked” up, but it does not say by whom or even if it was through violence. All it says is they were plucked up by the roots—in other words, the little horn was not as the first three are/were. I have shown in my blog-post that there were 10 Roman governors of Judea from the time of Jesus until the destruction of Jerusalem. Everything that Daniel and the New Testament say about those years fit these governors and the Little Horn. You may agree or disagree with me, but the fact remains that everything that is said in Daniel and Revelation fits my conclusions. If these things point to another kingdom or another time—what kingdom and time would that be, and upon what **in Scripture** would you base your conclusions?

      Lord bless you, and have a good day,

      Eddie

       

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers