12-2 The Beast
And The Little Horn
It is worth noting the
tremendous emphasis in Dan.7 that the fourth beast is totally different
from all other beasts. The Roman empire was not so completely different
from the preceding empires to warrant this description. Dan.7:7,19 imply
that the vision of the fourth beast and little horn was separate from
his vision of the four beasts (Dan.7:2). The first vision was of four
beasts and therefore included some reference to the fourth beast, in its
manifestation as the Roman empire. But " after this" (v.7) there
was the more detailed vision of the fourth beast and little horn. This
alone implies that they were to have a special manifestation in the last
days. The awesome power and strength of this system amazed Daniel, despite
what he had already seen (cp. John being spellbound by the vision of the
whore of Arab Babylon). In Daniel's first vision of the four beasts he
says that they were " diverse one from another" (v.3). But in
the second vision he realized that the fourth beast " was diverse
from all beasts that were before it" (v.7), as if they were all relatively
similar. The Roman empire was not so fundamentally different from the
Greek empire to warrant this description.
The persecuting power
we are about to see revealed will thus not be a political or religious
power of the type we have previously seen in history. It is therefore
almost beyond our conception of exactly how large and strong this power
will be: a world superpower directing its venom against Jews and true
Christians. The Hebrew for 'diverse' means 'to be changed', implying that
this super-beast will have certain common characteristics with previous
beasts, but will be in a changed form of manifestation.
Dan.7:19 describes this
fourth beast as having the iron and brass metals of the image of Dan.2
in it. The fourth beast had feet and teeth, we are specifically told.
The lion, representing the head of gold, had feet (Dan.7:4); the bear,
representing the breast of silver, had powerful teeth. Thus the fourth
beast had all the characteristics of the other beasts. By it being destroyed
through its ten horns being smitten by Christ's return, it is as if the
image of Dan.2 is standing erect and complete in the last days,
being hit on the ten toes (cp. the ten horns of the beast) by Christ's
The little horn represents
the beast; the persecution of the saints by the horn is therefore
also by the beast:
mouth speaking great things" (Rev.3:5)
mouth speaking great things"
shall speak great words
Most High" (Dan.7:25)
opened his mouth in blasphemy against God" (Rev.13:6)
same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against
war with the saints, and to overcome them"
Thus Dan. 7:11 speaks
as if the beast and the little horn are interchangeable: " I beheld
then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld
even till the beast was slain" . Rev.13:5 says that the beast makes
war with the saints (AVmg.) for 3.5 years- as does the little horn in
Dan. 7. The beast was " like a leopard, and his feet were as the
feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion" (Rev. 13:2).
Again we see the elements of the various beasts of Dan. 7 and therefore
the metals of the image of Dan. 2 all incorporated in this beast. It has
" seven heads and ten horns" (Rev. 13:1)- which is the total
number of heads and horns of the four beasts of Dan. 7. In harmony with
this, Hos. 13:7 describes Israelís
latter day invader as a lion, bear, leopard and wild beast. All elements
of the beasts are brought together in the final latter day invasion.
Indeed, it seems that
the beasts of Dan. 7 are only different aspects of the one great beast
which finally emerges. Daniel sees them all come up together after the
waves of the sea are troubled (Dan. 7:3), connecting with the Lord's description
of the last day powers around Israel in the same way (Lk. 21:25). The
fact they all come up together shows that he was not seeing a continuous
historic vision. The way he sees the beast representing Babylon come up
when historical Babylon at the time of the vision had already 'come up'
shows it was not a historical description of those powers. Yet the 'traditional'
interpretation of the beasts as depicting the various empires which dominated
Israel in the past still holds
true; the point is, the final beast incorporates elements of all those
powers which once dominated Israel.
It is in this sense that the whole image of Dan. 2 stands complete in
the last days; the latter day Nebuchadnezzar has beneath him all the elements
of Israel's previous persecutors.
Rev. 13 stresses the
immense power of the final beast: " All the world wondered
after the beast...they worshipped the beast, saying...who is able
to make war with him?" (Rev. 13:3,4). This kind of power has
never really been exercised by any previous manifestation of the
beast. " Power was given him over all kindreds, tongues and
nations" . To resist his captivity and killing with the sword
is " the patience and faith of the saints" (Rev. 13:7,10).
The beast leading saints into captivity and death sounds like ghettos
and concentration camps- our persecution may well be through our
having to suffer along with natural Israel.
Those who openly proclaim themselves to be spiritual Israel will
be treated the same as the Jews. For this reason, the distinctively
Jewish aspect of our hope should be appreciated by us now in this
our time of spiritual preparation. The mad intensity of the beast's
persecution of the saints in the last days has not yet been seen
by us. Hab.2:16 describes how Babylon is punished at the Lord's
return because of her drunkenness. Rev.17:6 defines this as being
" with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs
of Jesus" , as if to imply that it is the Babylon/ beast's
mad, drunken persecution of the saints in the last days that results
in the Lord's return in judgment.
I have elsewhere
suggested that the tribulation will effectively be the judgment
process, the sorting out of the wheat from the tares, the sheep
from the goats. Those believers who spiritually survive it will
be ushered into the Kingdom. Dan. 7:11 RV speaks of how "at
that time"- at the time when millions stand before the judgment
throne and the books are opened- the horn speaks great words against
God's people. Likewise in Dan. 7:8,9, Daniel sees both the uprise
of the little horn and the setting up of the thrones of judgment
going on as it were simultaneously. Surely the idea is that our
response to the final tribulation will effectively be our judgment;
or perhaps the living believers in the last days go through the
tribulation at the very time that those who have died are being