Online Bible College
Carelinks Home
FREE Literature
'The Last Days' Home
Bible Books Home
Buy this Book!
The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
email the author



12-1 The Tribulation In Daniel And Revelation

The metals of the image in Daniel 2 have their counterpart in the vision of the beasts in Daniel 7. The little stone (Christ) hits the image on the feet and then destroys all the metals together. This means that in some sense the image must stand complete in the last days. The various beasts and metals must all be in existence at the time of Christ's return in order for him to destroy them by his coming. The little stone hits the image on its ten toes- corresponding to the ten horns of the fourth beast of Dan.7. For the moment, try to shelve the question of what the beasts represent. It may be that the final beast incorporates elements of all the preceding beasts / metals / horns. The ten horns must in a sense be in existence at the time of Christ's coming. Amongst the horns there develops a " little horn" (Dan.7:8). This little horn is especially blasphemous and persecutes the saints, but is destroyed by Christ's return (Dan.7:8-11). This horn " made war with the saints and prevailed against them; until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the Kingdom" (Dan.7:21,22). This proves beyond all doubt that the saints will in some way be under persecution when Christ comes. We are accustomed to interpret this passage as meaning that apostate Christianity has given true Christians a hard time and is (somehow) prevailing against us. Yet the language used implies aggression- making war and prevailing against us. This has not yet been seen.

This little horn will have the saints " given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time (i.e. 1260 days)...and shall wear out the saints of the Most High" . It seems impossible to work out a period of 1260 years ending in our present times during which the true believers have been consistently persecuted. There is no significant starting point about 1260 years ago for our persecuting. And if the horn refers only to the Papacy, it must be remembered that their power has waxed and waned considerably over the years. The 1260 days is 3.5 years literally.

The little horn " cast down the truth to the ground" (Dan.8:9,12). The little horn of Dan.8:9 must be related to the other references to the little horn in Daniel (1). There must therefore be a specific latter day casting of the truth down to the ground just before the second coming. The standing up of the little horn is " against the prince of princes (Christ); but he shall be broken without hand" (Dan.8:25)- i.e. by the return of Christ, the stone cut out without hands (Dan.2:34). " By peace (prosperity) he shall destroy many" (Dan.8:25)-the language of 1 Thess.5:1-3 regarding peace, safety and materialism destroying the saints of the last days. If this connection is valid, it shows that the little horn will exert its influence within the ecclesia. More about this in Chapter 23.

He " shall destroy the mighty and the holy people" (Dan.8:24) on the eve of the second coming. This horn must therefore refer to a power active in the last days. This is not to say that the little horn was not manifested previously. But the identity of the beast changes over time, and thus we can look for a fresh manifestation of its little horn in the last days. However, its characteristics will have been seen in previous religious and political powers, e.g. Roman Catholicism. All elements of the beast have to revive in some way so that the image and beasts stand complete at the time of Christ's return.

We will now look in more detail at the prophecies concerning the little horn in Daniel 7:

v.20 The horn had " a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows" . This implies that this persecuting power relies much on propaganda (speaking many things) and is quite brazen in his actions- cp. Nebuchadnezzar, Sennacherib, Rabshakeh and other Arab leaders.

v.21 The horn " prevailed against" the saints. " Prevailed" here can mean 'could prevail' implying that this persecution could be avoided (cp. " Ye may have tribulation" , Rev.2:10 Likewise the Hebrew for " make war" can mean 'approached to make war'. Thus it may be possible for the saints to avoid the persecution in some way, e.g. by their " holy conversation" (2 Pet.3:8) shortening the days of tribulation. The fact that the prophecies speak as if there will be persecution may suggest that there will not be sufficient effort in this direction for all the saints to be saved from this. The Lord told the Philadelphians that He had set before them an open door, which elsewhere is a figure for an opportunity to preach (Rev. 3:8 = Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; Col. 4:3). He parallels such preaching with keeping His word and not denying His Name. For those who do these two things, i.e. respond to the open door preaching opportunities of the pre-tribulation period, “I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation [tribulation] which is to come” (Rev. 3:10). If we preach now, and the door is open as st1:State>never before, then perhaps we will be saved from the tribulation. For one of its aims, as in the first century, will be to inspire us to witness as we ought to have been doing.

v.24 The horn is described as another king- implying it is epitomized by an individual leader. We will later see that this horn has similarities with the man of sin of 2 Thess.2. Note too that Ezekiel 38 talks of the northern invasion as if it is led by an individual. The historical basis of the Gogian invasion is the Assyrian invasion in Hezekiah's time, when Rabshakeh too spoke blasphemous words against God and His people, as the horn is described as doing. 1 Jn.2:18 warns of a specific antiChrist in the last days. We will later equate the king of the North of Dan.11 and the little horn.

v.25 Wearing out the saints for 1260 days sounds as if this period has a clearly defined starting point. 'Wearing out' is language more applicable to a short sharp few years of testing rather than 1260 years. Wearing out implies that as the tribulation goes on, more believers give way. The big falling away prior to AD70 must have its latter day counterpart. The phrase can also mean to mentally afflict- the sort of psychiatric treatment the Russians and Arabs are expert at inflicting on those whose ideologies oppose theirs?

v.7 The persecution is of the residue or remnant- a phrase used both of the natural and spiritual Jews (Acts 15:17).


(1) John Thomas saw the appropriacy of the Day of Atonement and Pentecost as the time of the second coming: see Eureka Vol. 2 (London: The Dawn Book Supply, 1958 Ed.). Harry Whittaker makes a most convincing case for Passover in Passover (Wigan: Biblia, 1988). Alfons Jochim The Dawn Ecclesial Magazine  ; and almost every exposition of Esther sees in the story an allegory of Israel's latter day deliverance, perhaps literally on the day of Purim.