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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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12-2 The Beast And The Little Horn

The Beast

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 return.

The little horn represents the beast; the persecution of the saints by the horn is therefore also by the beast:

 

The Little Horn

The Beast

"Diverse" (Dan.7:24) from            others

"Diverse" (Dan.7:23) from

others                                     

"A mouth speaking great things"    (Rev.3:5)

"A mouth speaking great things"

(Dan.7:8)                                  

"He shall speak great words        

against the Most High"   (Dan.7:25) 

"He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God" (Rev.13:6)

"The same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them (Dan.7:21).

"Make war with the saints, and    to overcome them" (Rev.13:7)

 

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.

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 judged?