THE TRIBULATION IN DANIEL AND REVELATION
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
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 R.V.mg.). 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
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.