The identity of the “little horn” from Daniel 7 and the “beast” from Revelation 12
Last post I left you with a bit of a cliff-hanger: What is this power represented by the “little horn” in Daniel 7 and the first “beast” in Revelation 12?
Luckily we have a lot of identifiers now to help us find the true identity. So, let’s quickly review them so we can start getting to the bottom of this.
From Daniel 7 we saw these characteristics:
- Eyes of a man (Daniel 7:8)
- Mouth speaking pompous things against God (Daniel 7:8, 25)
- Made war against the saints (Daniel 7:21, 25)
- Would try to change times and laws (Daniel 7:25)
- Would be given free reign for 1260 days (Daniel 7:25)
From Revelation 13 we received these:
- The dragon gives him his power (Revelation 13:2)
- One of it’s heads would be mortally wounded (Revelation 13:3)
- But it would be healed and all the world would marvel (Revelation 13:3)
- The world would worship this beast (Revelation 13:4)
- He would speak great things and blasphemies, against God, His name, His tabernacle and those who dwell in heaven (Revelation 13:5-6)
- He would continue for those 42 months (1260 years) (Revelation 13:5)
- Makes war with the saints (Revelation 13:7)
- Whole world would worship him (Revelation 13:8)
- The ruler’s number would equal 666 (Revelation 13:18)
So, we’re looking for a kingdom that is not like any other kingdom that has come before it. This one is radically different in some way. This power would mix paganism with Christianity, would command people to worship it (so it’s a religious power), it would persecute those who didn’t, it would blaspheme against God, it would rule for 1260 years unhindered, then would be mortally wounded, recover and have the whole world worship it yet again, and that it would claim to change the times and the laws.
We also know from our previous post that it would rise out of the Roman Empire have three of the kingdoms left over from the Roman Empire removed. So, let’s start from there and then we can use that as an hypothesis to test the rest. From history, we know who this is.
When the pagan roman empire fell, a new power emerged from within it: Eastern Roman Empire, also known as Papal Rome or the Papacy. Three of these ten kingdoms refused to submit to the bishop of Rome (the Pope): The Heruli, the Vandals and the Ostrogoths. So, in order to encourage a unity among this new Christian empire, the papacy encouraged the armies of the other kingdoms to destroy these three who weren’t in line. This is a matter of record.
- The Herulian Kingdom was destroyed by the Lombards (who become the Italians) around 530 AD
- The Vandals were defeated in 533 AD by the Eastern Roman Empire under Justinian I
- The Ostrogoths fell during the Gothic War (535 – 554 AD) by the Eastern Roman Empire under Justinian I
So, if this power is the Papacy, then all of our facts should line up. Let’s go through them. We’re already shown that this power rose up out of the classic Roman Empire, and that it removed three of the other powers. Let’s continue on with the other markers.
It would have eyes of a man (Daniel 7:8). More than any other kingdom the Papacy is defined by their leader: the Pope. Without the Pope, there is no Papacy. They barely have any land (one small city), no army, no real power except that of the leader. In this way it is distinct from any other nation on earth.
Mouth speaking pompous things against God (Daniel 7:8, 25). Daniel 5 indicates that blasphemy is mixing paganism with Christianity. As the papacy was being established, it was flooded with pagan roman citizens. In order to make it easier for these pagans to adjust to Christianity, the church adjusted it’s doctrines to match the pagan religion of Rome. Some examples are:
- Pagan Romans were used to a pantheon of Gods, to the church created the worship of saints, each with their specific area they were patron of, just like the Roman gods.
- They elevated Mary to the position of mediator between God and us, replacing Jesus, because the church had no female saints at that time, and the Romans were used to female Gods.
- They dedicated individual churches to specific saints to match the temples dedicated to specific gods found in the empire
- Incense, lamps, votive offerings to recover from illness, holy water, asylums, processions, blessing the fields, and on it goes
- They moved the remembrance of Christ’s rising from the dead to match the birth of Ishtar (why we call it Easter), the goddess of fertility and incorporated her symbols (rabbits and eggs). This is why the date jumps around, it’s the first Sunday after the first full moon, after the spring equinox: Ishtar’s birthday. A powerful day in pagan Rome. This is why sometimes Easter precedes Passover, which makes no sense chronologically.
- They set the remembrance of Christ’s birth to coincide with the rebirth of Tammuz, the sun-god, reborn when the days begin to get longer (the 25th of December by their calculations).
- And we’ll see as we progress through these posts that there are more, dangerous changes made by the papacy
But the blasphemy continues in the form of claiming to be able to absolve sin (Mark 2:7).
From their writing, which they will quote to substantiate their claim:
“And God himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of his priest and either not to pardon or to pardon, according as they refuse to give absolution, provided the penitent is capable of it.” St. Alphonsus De Liguori, in The Dignity of the Priesthood, p. 27.
The priests claim to have the power to absolve sins, so much so that God must obey them.
“Were the Redeemer to descend into a church, and sit in a confessional to administer the sacrament of penance, and a priest to sit in a confessional, Jesus would say over each penitent: ‘Ego te absolvo,’ the priest would likewise say over each of his penitents, ‘Ego te absolvo,’ and the penitents of each would be equally absolved.” St. Alphonsus De Liguori, in The Dignity of the Priesthood, p. 34.
If Jesus were to come to confession, the priest could absolve His just as Christ absolves the priests, putting the priest in an equal position to Christ. But, He must come to a priest because in defiance of John 14:6, the papacy says that you cannot go to God through Jesus, but only through a priest:
“Let them (those separate from the Catholic Church) not think that the way of life or salvation exists for them, if they have refused to obey the bishops and priests…For they cannot live outside, since there is only one house of God, and there can be no salvation for anyone except in the Church.” St. Cyprian: “Letters 61:4”.
But then, that is why the priests have taken Jesus’ place
“Through priests, God communicates His grace to the faithful in the Sacraments. In a word, without priests, we cannot be saved!” St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori, (quoted in Apostolic Digest, by Michael Malone, Book 5: “The Book of Obedience”, Chapter 3: “The Sacraments Administered by the Priests Are Necessary for the Salvation of All Mankind”).
To the point that they claim to have the gift of divine creation
“…the power of the priest is the power of the divine person; for the transubstantiation of the bread requires as much power as the creation of the world….thus the priest may be called the creator of the Creator…” St. Alphonsus De Liguori, in The Dignity of the Priesthood, p 33.
And to be gods
“Innocent III has written: ‘Indeed, it is not too much to say that in view of the sublimity of their offices the priests are so many gods.'” St. Alphonsus De Liguori, in The Dignity of the Priesthood, p 36.
The blasphemies continue, of course, we’ll continue to see them as we study more, but I think that’s enough for now.
Made war against the saints (Daniel 7:21, 25, Revelation 13:7) History is not unaware of the atrocities of the church.
“That the Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has a competent knowledge of history . . . It is impossible to form a complete conception of the multitude of her victims, and it is quite certain that no powers of imagination can adequately realize their sufferings.”–W. E. H. Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, vol. 2, p. 32, 1910 edition.
We could list some, but I don’t think there’s a need or benefit to that.
Would try to change times and laws (Daniel 7:25) We’re going to go over this in the next two posts, so hold on.
Would be given free reign for 1260 days, 42 months (Daniel 7:25, Revelation 13:5) The papacy was officially established in 538 AD (though it had been working prior to that as the bishop of Rome). Emperor Justinian issued a decree making the popes the head of the church in 533AD, but it took 5 years for them to solidify their position and remove the three dissenting kingdoms. 1260 years later in 1798 Berthier, a French general under Napoleon, invades the Vatican and takes the pope as prisoner. For the first time in 1260 years, there is no pope in the Vatican.
The dragon gives him his power (Revelation 13:2) – The dragon represents Satan in prophecy (Revelation 12:9), but in this case, Satan works through pagan Rome. The roman emperors move out of Rome into Constantinople, leaving the Pope in charge and ultimately the chief power in the west. They lent the papacy the power of the Caesars, and so, Pagan Rome is who gave power to the papacy.
One of it’s heads would be mortally wounded (Revelation 13:3) – When Berthier (the general under Napoleon) captured the pope from the Vatican, the world though the church had fallen, that it was dead.
But it would be healed and all the world would marvel (Revelation 13:3) – Then in 1929 Mussolini restores the Vatican to the pope, giving him both secular and religious power again. Today the Vatican has a non-voting seat at the UN, the US has an ambassador to the Vatican, and as we’ve seen at the death of John Paul II, nearly every nation and religion sent representatives to the funeral, usually their leader and former leaders.
Here’s an interesting picture of both former George Bush presidents, former president Bill Clinton and Condoleezza Rice (Secretary of State) and Andy Card (White House Chief of Staff) paying respects to the dead pope.
The world would worship this beast (Revelation 13:4, Revelation 13:8) – While at the moment it is hard to say the world worships the Vatican, it has been easy to say so in the past. For centuries the papacy represented the only real established religion in the known world.
He would speak great things and blasphemies, against God, His name, His tabernacle and those who dwell in heaven (Revelation 13:5-6) – We went through some of these, but we’ll see more as we continue.
The ruler’s number would equal 666 (Revelation 13:18) – I hate to end with this one, because, frankly, I find the argument weak. Turns out that one of the official titles for the pope is Vicarius Filii Dei which means something like representative (but more like stand in, or incarnation) of the son of God. Basically it’s saying that the pope holds the role Jesus Christ on earth.
Now, using Roman numerals, if you add up the letters (giving a 0 for those which don’t have a representation, and remember a U = V) you get 5 + 1 + 100 + 1 + 5 + 1 + 50 + 1 + 1 + 500 + 1 = 666
Many people like to put a great weight on this, but I don’t think it should be given that much. I’ve seen formulas saying it’s Emperor Nero, or the recent pope Benedict, so this can too easily be twisted.
Rather, I’d prefer to learn on the all the previous points. The history, the years, the attributes, the actions by this power, the papacy. To me, nothing can as clearly fit all these points that are given to use in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13.
Now, I want to be clear. I’m not denouncing Catholics, I believe there are many who faithfully are trying to worship God, I don’t think they’re out to deceive the world, or make us worship Satan. However, the system they are in, the Catholic church is pointed to in prophecy as being the beast that is given power by Satan, and that it has deceived the entire world, including it’s own members, and clergy and God’s message is clear to them: to come out (Revelation 18:4), there is still time.
Next post we’ll go through the times and laws this power has sought to change. You may be surprised by how much they’ve deceived the bulk of Christianity.