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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Spring Edition, 2017

Prophecies of Daniel Part II "The Little Horn"

“Horns” in Biblical apocalyptic symbolism refer to “powers.” The phrase “little horn” occurs only in Daniel chapter seven. There it refers to Muhammad and the rise of Islam as a counter-weight to the world dominion of the fourth beast Rome.

The Roman beast had ten horns. The number ten signifies fullness and completion. For example there are Ten Commandments that represent the whole law of Moses. Human beings typically have ten fingers on their hands and ten toes on their feet, signifying the fullness and completeness of their physical bodies.

Just so, the “ten horns” that characterize the Roman beast are not ten individual powers or rulers, with which we must be concerned to identify correctly. These “ten horns” are rather only a symbolic way of describing the complete, full, and universal dominion that Rome was destined to exercise over the entire earth.

Daniel 7:23 tells us that the fourth beast, Rome, was not only destined to subjugate the three previous beast kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, and Greece, as seen in 7:7 and 7:19, but that it was also destined to “devour the whole earth, tread it down, and break it in pieces,” as revealed in 7:23.

The phrase “ten horns,” we repeat, is the symbolic way of designating Roman as the final and universal Gentile empire. The often-repeated phrase “Rome rules the world” accurately reflects this sentiment.

Now let us notice the “little horn” that is depicted in Daniel chapter seven.

First, the “little horn” arises after the Roman Beast has succeeded the previous beast kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, and Greece. Second, notice that before this horn three of the first horns are plucked up by the roots (Daniel 7:8 and 7:20).

The Identity of the Little Horn, and of the Three First Horns That the Little Horn Plucks Up By the Roots

It is often assumed that the three horns that are uprooted by the “little horn” in Daniel chapter seven refers to three of the ten horns that characterize the Roman Beast, leaving the Roman beast with only seven horns remaining.

The problem with this interpretation is that we never see the Roman beast depicted in Scripture with only seven horns. The Roman beast is always depicted with the full set of ten horns, never with only seven horns. Thus, it appears that the universal dominions of Rome is never truly compromised or affected by the loss of those three horns who are gobbled up by the “little horn.”

So, again, who are these three horns that are plucked up by the roots by the “little horn”? And what is the identity of the “little horn“ himself, who is said to so radically conquer these first three horns?

Remember that Rome subjugated the three previous empires of Babylon, Persia, and Greece according to Daniel 7:7 and 19. The phrase describing Rome’s activity in doing this is “devoured, break in pieces, and stamped the residue [what remained] with its feet.”
Roman’s subjugation of the first three beast kingdom of Babylon, Persia, and Greece does not imply that Rome totally incorporated these three kingdoms into the Roman Empire itself. History reveals, for example, that the Persian Empire did not become absorbed by the Roman Empire. What Daniel says about these three previous beast kingdoms in 7:12 is this: “they had their dominion taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.”

Notice that these three now-reduced powers or horns of Persia, Babylon, and Greece are the first three horns that are plucked-up by the roots by the “little horn” who later arises among the ten horns of the Roman beast.

The Roman beast had already reduced the status of the previous kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, and Greece to that of being only horns or powers. These powers, in turn, are the first three horns plucked up by the roots by the “little horn” of Daniel chapter seven. It was Rome that took away their dominion. It was the “little horn“ that plucked them up by the roots.

That is exactly what happened with the coming of Muhammad, and under the banner of ensuing Islam. It was the territories of the old Babylonian, Persian, and Greek empires--the domains of the first three beast kingdoms of Daniel chapter seven--that, in the succeeding centuries, fell permanently under the sway of Islam, and that remain predominantly Moslem in composition to this present time.

Muhammad appeared after the old Roman Empire had fully extended itself and was then on the wane. The old Roman Empire fell about 476 A.D. Muhammad arrived in 633 A.D. The rise and spread of Islam signified the appearance of the “little horn” among the ten-horned Roman beast, which was then in the process of its “revived-Roman-empire” stage as representative of Western Medieval Christendom, or the Holy Roman Empire.

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