In the last News, we saw that the four beasts or Antichristian kingdoms of Daniel 7 arise out of the raging sea of human history. All this is decreed, governed and planned by the sovereign and just God of heaven and earth.
The three phases of the fourth beast are described in verses 19-21 and verses 23-25. Phase one is the dominion of the fourth beast (19, 23). Phase two is the time of the ten horns which come up out of the head of the fourth beast (20, 24). Phase three is the rising of the little horn out of the ten horns (20-21, 24-25).
The Roman empire fell in 476 (although part of it continued in the east until 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Muslims). One looks in vain for ten specific kingdoms since then. Ten is the number of completeness, as in the ten commandments (a complete summary of the law of God) and the ten plagues (a complete judgment upon Egypt). The various kingdoms and powers of Europe since the fall of the Roman empire have embraced aspects of the Roman empire and are unexplainable without it.
The fourth beast (Rome) is fallen. We live in the days of the ten horns. Next to come for us is the third phase of the fourth beast, that of the Antichrist or little horn. According to verse 8, the little horn arises out of the powers of the post-Roman empire world, thereby displacing the powers of that world (three horns) and subduing them (24).
As a “horn,” Antichrist is powerful (the horn is a symbol of strength). He overcomes three horns and is different from the previous ten horns (24) because he is far greater. Yet, he is still a man, and not a demon or the devil. He has “eyes like the eyes of a man” and he is a “little horn” (8). But his overweening pride is something to behold. His “look [is] more stout than his fellows” (20). He has “a mouth speaking great [i.e., pompous] things” (8, 11). With that mouth, he speaks “very great things”—about himself (20)! He blasphemes God: “he shall speak great words against the most High” (25). The little horn is the “man of sin” and “son of perdition,” who “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (II Thess. 2:3-4).
In Daniel’s night vision, Antichrist persecutes the church and devastates it: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (Dan. 7:21). He grinds them down and wears them out, like a garment (25). He changes “times and laws” (25), for example, attacking the Lord’s Day and framing ungodly legislation, by which he impoverishes, imprisons and kills the saints.
Although the little horn has not yet risen, the Antichristian rulers in state and church in this period of the ten horns are developing in sin. Ungodly laws are being enacted, for example, against Christians who speak against the sin of sodomy and against preachers, as if the faithful proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ were a hate crime. Christians in Germany are forbidden to homeschool their children in the light of the Scriptures.
Think of the persecution of professing Christians in Muslim lands: thousands massacred in southern Sudan; church buildings destroyed and Christians murdered in Indonesia, southern Philippines and Nigeria; Christians fleeing from Iraq; etc. In many Islamic countries, evangelising Muslims is forbidden—in direct opposition to Christ’s great commission—and building Christian schools and churches or even repairing them is made very difficult by the civil authorities and hostile populace. The Antichristian world seeks to wear down and wear out the saints, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13).
The kingdoms of the beasts, the fourth beast and the ten horns and the little horn receive their power from the one true God alone who gives them their dominion (Dan. 7:6). The Antichristian kingdoms can only persecute God’s people because they are “given into [their] hand” by the living God (25). Even their time of power is limited. The four beasts rise one after another, with each destroying its predecessor. The fourth beast is succeeded by the ten horns which, in turn, are succeeded by the little horn. The saints “shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (25). One would think that the first two items in the sequence (“time and times”) would be followed by three times (by addition) or four times (by doubling). Instead, the third item in the sequence is half a time. In other words, God cuts the time of the little horn short for the elect’s sake because they could bear no more (Matt. 24:22).
Finally, the Antichristian kingdoms are judged. Daniel 7 says most about the judgment of Antichrist himself, the little horn, for he is the last and greatest Antichristian power. The little horn is himself even called “the beast” (11); the book of Revelation picks this up.
At the end of the world, when Antichrist’s powers are at their height and he seems triumphant, God calls the final judgment. The court is assembled, the Ancient of days is seated robed with justice and honour, and “his throne [is] like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire” (9). He is surrounded by millions of angels and a fiery stream issues from before Him (10). When the books are opened and the records of the deeds of all men are read (10), one person especially is judged: the little horn or beast who is stopped right in the midst of his boasting and blasphemy (11). He is killed and cast into hell (11) and the other beasts are judged (12).
The kingdom is not Antichrist’s; it is God’s! At the last day, God will openly declare Christ, “one like the Son of man,” the universal ruler with everlasting dominion (13-14; Rev. 11:15). Jesus is Lord; all must bow to and confess Him (Phil. 2:10-11)!
- Volume: 12
- Issue: 2
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851