Daniel 7: The Vision of the Four Beasts, Part 5
Jun 13, 2015
In Daniel 7:10 the prophet saw the divine court of heaven judging all men. “The court sat, and the books were opened,” he says. John enlarged upon this later in Revelation 20:11-15, where he “saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it” (vs. 11). In the next verse we read that “the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life.”
The “books” are the books of the law by which all are judged according to the standard of God’s character (love). The distinct “book” is “the book of life,” in which the believers’ names are written. It is the same book that Moses mentioned in his intercession for Israel after they had worshiped the golden calf. Exodus 32:32 says,
32 But now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Thy book, which Thou hast written!
Perhaps this book is also the same mentioned in Malachi 3:16, 17,
16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. 17 “And they will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”
Daniel saw the “books” (Daniel 7:10) but said nothing about the “book.” It is left to John to give us that detail.
The Little Horn Destroyed
Daniel 7:11 says,
11 Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.
Daniel seems to make a distinction between the boastful “horn” and the “beast” that was slain. Recall that the horn was on the head of the fourth beast (along with ten other horns until three were uprooted). Daniel says that this little horn was to continue having dominion until the time of the end when “its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.”
This little horn is not a single individual, but an extension of the beast with iron teeth. The only entity in history that fits the description of a power coming out of Rome (after its collapse) is the Roman Church, which has dominated Europe to this day. Though it started with the Emperor Justinian, who reigned in “New Rome” (i.e., Constantinople), the actual power was given to the Bishop of old Rome just a year after Justinian adopted “Church law” as the law of the empire.
As for the boasting of the little horn, we must leave that topic for our study on the book of Revelation, where more details are given. It is sufficient to say for now that the foundational boast was that Rome was The Eternal City, as if it would never fall. The Roman Church believes that it is the seat of the Kingdom of God. It does not see that it is the little horn preceding the Kingdom of God. Hence, it claims, based on their misinterpretation of Matthew 16:18, that it will never be overthrown:
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.
Jesus had taken His disciples to Caesarea Philippi, where the heathen Grotto of Pan was set under a large rock 40 meters high. The Jews called it “the gates of Hades.” When Jesus was making His statement above, He was probably pointing to “this rock” as a metaphor for the foundation of “My church.”
When Jesus spoke of “My church,” He was not speaking of an organization but of a congregation of people. Men have started many organizations and called it “the church,” and by extension, the church has come to mean the building as well. But the biblical term means the people, not the building nor the organization or denomination.
The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia, which is the equivalent of the Hebrew word kahal, “congregation, assembly.” This is seen by comparing the New Testament quotations of the Old Testament. For example, compare Hebrews 2:12 with Psalm 22:22.
“My church” consists of true believers in Christ, not those who believe in the denomination. The Roman church’s foundation is Peter “the rock,” not Christ “the Rock.” The Rock is Christ, prophesied in Deuteronomy 32:30, 31, Psalm 118:22, and Isaiah 28:16. Peter was a great apostle, but he did not die for the sin of the world.
During the time of the little horn, “My church” was persecuted in a great war against the saints (Daniel 7:21). Millions were killed for “heresy,” that is, for daring to believe something that differed from the carnal rulings of Church Councils. Certainly not all of these victims were part of “My church,” but in their zeal to eradicate free thought, they made war against the saints.
When the Papal States were taken from the popes in 1870, most of this persecution ceased. The last “heretic” burned at the stake in Italy took place in 1869. It is perhaps significant that the body of this beast was to be “given to the burning fire.” Revelation 17:16 says that the beast on which the harlot rides will turn against her, “eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire.” Revelation 17:18 then identifies this harlot,
18 And the woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.
The harlot who rides the beast is a different way of picturing the little horn that “rides” the beast in Daniel 7:8. At the time of the end, the very nations that this false bride rules will turn against her. This is now developing rapidly in current events.
The Rest of the Beasts
Daniel 7:12 says,
12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.
The CV renders the last part of verse 12 this way: “yet a lengthening of life is granted to them till the stated time and season.”
The “beasts” here are the four main beasts that Daniel has already described: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The extension was given to Rome after its fall in 476 A.D. The length of that extension seems obscure, and yet Daniel treats it as if the time is known. He calls it “the stated time and season.” Stated where? So far, no specific time has been stated. We only know that the little horn itself was to rule during that extension of life given to the fourth beast.
A horn is an extension of a beast.
But as we will see, Daniel 7:25 gives us a specific “stated time.” In explaining the time that the little horn would wage war on the saints, he says, “and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.” John interprets this for us in Revelation 13:5, saying, “authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”
By putting together these two witnesses, a literal 42 months is 3½ years, or, as it is often expressed, 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6). So 3½ years is John’s interpretation of the “time, times, and half a time.” A “time” is a “year,” or 360 prophetic days. This, in turn, is to be applied on the principle of “a day for each year” (Ezekiel 4:6).
360 x 3½ = 1,260 years
This is, of course, half of the longer cycle of “seven times,” which is 2,520 days/years. God’s contract with these beast nations as a whole was 2,520 years, as we have already shown. Half of this time was to be given to the little horn. In other words, the time of the beast empires was doubled from 1,260 to 2,520 years.
The immediate time frame of 1,260 years extends from 529/534, when Justinian changed the laws, until 1789-1794, when the French Revolution gave its “fatal wound” to the Roman church. We are given more details about this in Revelation 13, but we must postpone that study until the appropriate time. John tells us that the little horn would come back to life (1804) and receive help from a banking/financial beast that would become its ally. This new situation would then extend the life of the little horn until the full 2,520 years of beast rule came to a close by the end of 2014.
This is part 31 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Daniel." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones