(NOTE: Some of the themes of these articles may not be appropriate for young readers. Please keep that in mind when sharing this information).
It is written:
“I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.” (Daniel 7:8)
One of the most remarkable prophecies which demonstrate that the Bible is the Word of God is found in the “little horn” prophecy of Daniel 7.
The Prophet Daniel was in captivity in the nation of Babylon, having begun his time there in 606 B.C. While there, he had a prophetic vision of four great beasts. The first beasts was a lion with eagles wings; the second a leopard lying on its’ side eating three ribs; the third a leopard with four heads and four wings; and the fourth a terrible beast which had ten horns spring up from it. As Daniel watched, another “little horn” sprang up from the midst of the ten, before whom three of the horns were destroyed.
What did all this mean?
The angel gave Daniel three keys to understand the vision.
First, each beast actually represented a king (Daniel 7:17).
Second, each king represented an entire kingdom (Daniel 7:23).
Third, each horn represented a king, which in context, meant a kingdom (Daniel 7:24).
So what four kingdoms are here being described, and how does any of this relate to the “little horn?”
The answer is found through identifying the first kingdom: the lion with eagles wings. Throughout the Prophetic writings, this imagery was used to describe the nation of Babylon.
“The lion and eagle are both symbols of Babylon (Jeremiah 49:19; 50:17, 44; 48:40; 49:22; Ezekiel 17:3, 12). The wings represent speed; the rapidity of the Babylonian conquest of the old Assyrian Empire.” (Emanuel B. Daugherty, A Commentary On The Book Of Daniel, 134; Bethlehem, W.V.)
It is interesting that these references to Babylon as a lion and an eagle are found in the Book of Jeremiah, since we know that Daniel was a student of Jeremiah’s writings (cf. Daniel 9:1-2).
Further, the study of archaeology confirms these findings as well.
“Second, statues of winged lions, which are believed to have been representative of the empire, have been found in the ruins of Babylon, and lions adorned the famous Ishtar Gate. Although the text does not specifically interpret the rest of the verse, the meaning of the symbolism would naturally be expected to be found in the descriptions of Nebuchadnezzar (who embodied the Babylonian Empire) presented elsewhere in the book.” (Stephen R. Miller, The New American Commentary Volume 18: Daniel-An Exegetical And Theological Exposition Of Holy Scripture, 197 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group)
The kingdom after Babylon was the Medo-Persian alliance, which succeeded in overthrowing three kingdoms-Egypt, Babylon, and Lydia. Notice that the Prophet declared that the second kingdom would devour three ribs in its mouth.
The next kingdom which arose to dominance after the Medo-Persian alliance was the kingdom of Greece. This kingdom was characterized by a leopard, which in the Bible stood for speed (Hosea 13:7).
The third great kingdom which arose after the Medes and the Persians was the kingdom of Greece, under the guidance of Alexander the Great. His rise to power and conquest of the known world was very rapid, and the image of a leopard perfectly describes him. This is a powerful illustration of Alexander the Great, who led Greece to near world-wide dominion. Interestingly enough, when Alexander died, his kingdom was divided up four ways, under his four chief generals: Cassander, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Antiognus. Notice that the leopard was characterized by four heads.
The next kingdom that was terrifying to behold and was characterized by the ten horns is easy to identify as well. It is exceedingly fierce and is described as trampling and devouring the “residue” (or the saints-Daniel 7:25) of the “earth” (Daniel 7:18, 23). We are specifically told that this kingdom-and especially the “little horn”-would wage a terrible war against the “saints,” i.e., the people of God (Daniel 7:23-27).
Now, which nation arose to great dominance after the downfall of the Greeks and waged a campaign to destroy the people of God?
The nation of Rome!
What is truly incredible about this aspect of the prophecy of Daniel is that he describes how this fourth kingdom will be divided up into ten smaller kingdoms (Daniel 7:23-24). The nation of Rome, as history books will document, was eventually divided up into ten different nations. As Vaughn writes:
“Irenaeus, writing in the second century, continued to see the ten horns as a later development of the Roman Empire. He tells of John in Revelation writing “concerning the ten kings who shall then arise, among whom the empire which now rules (the earth) shall be portioned.” In other words, ten horns have to do with the breakup of the Roman Empire. “Early in the third century, Hippolytus saw himself as living under the fourth kingdom but with the ten horns as something yet in his future: “The ten horns were emblems of the kingdoms are yet to rise.” By the fifth century A.D., the declining Roman Empire disintegrated into ten barbaric parts ushering in the Middle Ages…“…It was a time of upheaval; powers and borders were in flux. For this reason, not all scholars will list all the same names, nor exactly ten. Nonetheless, the following typical list of the peoples involved can generally be confirmed by any history book covering the fall of the Roman Empire: Burgundians, Franks, Heruli, Huns, Lombards, Ostrogoths, Saxons, Suevi, Vandals, and Visitoghts. “Western Roman Empire had disintegrated; the predicted ten horns had become a historical reality.” (David Vaughn Elliott, Nobody Left Behind: Insight Into “End-Time” Prophecies, 162; Methuen, Massachusetts; privately published)
Daniel the Prophet described the rise of four great world empires, various details of each of these nations, and how the fourth would break down into ten separate nations-nearly a thousand years before their final completion!
Yet what is particularly astonishing in is the prophecy of the “little horn.” Notice that we are told it will arise after the fall of the Roman Empire, and from the ten-fold division of this kingdom (Daniel 7:8). What’s more, this “little horn” is described as a religious power. How do we know this? Notice that Daniel says it assumed the power to “change times law” (Daniel 7:25). These two phrases combined together carried with it the idea of Divine law.
Further, we are reminded again that this political/religious/military power would continue to persecute the church throughout its’ existence.
Now, only one religious institution fits the bill completely. What kingdom: Arose from the remains of the Roman Empire: Thought it had the power to change Divine laws and times; and Continued persecutions against the saints of God?
The papacy of the Roman Catholic Church.
Daniel describes how three of the horns (i.e., three of the kingdoms which arose from the Roman Empire) would stand against the “little horn,” and would be destroyed by it. Notice how history documents the fulfillment of this:
“Shortly after A.D. 476, “three” of the “ten horns” resisted the growing political influence of the papacy, and one by one, they were systematically “plucked up by the roots” and destroyed. The Heruli were wiped out in A.D. 493, the Vandals in A.D. 534, and the Ostrogoths were eliminated in A.D. 538. No modern European nation can trace its roots back to these “three” powers. They’re gone. And so far, these historical clues (taken together) can apply to no other organization except the Roman Church.” (Steve Wohlberg, Decoding The Mark Of The Beast, 158 (Kindle Edition); Goldwater, MI; Remnant Publications)
All of the prophecies fit perfectly.
We have in the “little horn” passage a powerful and amazingly specific prophecy of the rise of the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church.
My friends, this is an example of prophecy and fulfillment which clearly demonstrates that the Bible is the Word of God.