The ten horns

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In Daniel 7:7-8, Daniel describes a 4th beast which follows after the lion, bear and leopard beasts, which represented the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persian and Grecian empires. It follows that the 4th beast is the Roman Empire, which came to universal power about 146 BC. If you compare the description of this 4th beast in chapter 7, with the 4th king of chapter 2, you will find compelling similarities. In addition, in chapter 8, you have the explicit identification of Persia and Greece with the ram and he goat, followed by a “king of fierce countenance”, (8:23), which also brings us to the Roman Empire.

One of the most outstanding descriptions of the 4th beast of Daniel 7:7-8, is that it has 10 horns, which were followed by another “little horn”. We now turn our attention to these 10 horns first of all, to find their place in the 4th beast. (We will consider the little horn later in the lesson).

The first thing to remember about these 10 horns is that they are a part of the beast being described in the vision, which beast represented the Roman Empire. That is to say, you must find their application within this empire and not disconnected and arbitrarily interpreted as something remote and unassociated with it. The Roman Empire existed from 146 BC, to 476 AD, and therefore we must look for them somewhere in this approximate time frame. Daniel 7:24, specifically states that these 10 horns are 10 kings, thereby signifying that there are 10 kingdoms. They are “horns” of the beast and not “heads”, which suggests that they are lesser or smaller kingdoms and not the total empire itself. Further, it could not represent the emperors of the Roman Empire because instead of 10 emperors, there were more than 80 of them. So we are directed to look for kingdoms within the Roman Empire that will fit our time qualifications; that are not Roman emperors, and yet are within the territories of the empire.

We have previously considered some of the highlights and timelines of the Roman Empire, which we will briefly summarize here.

1. Beginning of the empire ------------------------------- 146 BC.

2. Its height of power and dominion ------------------ 150 AD.

3. Conversion to Christianity ----------------------------- 4th century.

4. Division into east and west ---------------------------- 395 AD

5. Invasion by barbaric, Germanic tribes ------------- 400 to 500 AD.

6. Fall of Western Roman Empire ---------------------- 476 AD

7. Time of lesser kingdoms within the empire----- 400 to 527

In Daniel chapter 2, the Roman Empire was symbolized by iron, which would subdue and break in pieces and bruise. (Dan. 2:40). In Daniel 7:19, we have the Roman Empire, as the 4th beast, symbolized by breaking in pieces, with iron teeth, and devouring and stamping the residue with its feet. Then we saw in both of these chapters, symbols of the weakening of the empire, such as iron mixed with clay. Next we are presented with a description of 10 horns (of the 4th beast), which are said to be 10 kings, and are a part of that 4th beast. Since we know that the power of the empire began to weaken and ultimately was divided in 395 AD, and then the western empire fell in 476, two questions come to mind. Why did it fall? Who or what powers had a part in this fall?

The rivers Rhine and Danube defined the eastern borders of the Roman Empire in Europe. These rivers separated the people of Rome from the inhabitants of “Germania”, the Roman term for the area stretching from Scandinavia in the north, and to the Vistula River in the east. The Romans called them “barbarians”. These barbaric tribes, came under pressure from the “Huns”, under their leader, “Atilla the Hun”, known as the “scourge of God”, for his ruthless, destructive power. These barbaric tribes, partly out of retreat from the Huns, and partly out of their own ambitions of conquest and resettlement, began to invade the territory of the Roman Empire. With the empire already divided and weakened, and ultimately without even an emperor (after 476), it became ready prey for advancing hordes of these Germanic tribes of people.

The Roman Empire was large and therefore vulnerable on many fronts. The invasion of these tribes resulted in many conquests and therefore the establishment of “mini kingdoms” within the empire itself. Some of these tribes were known as Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, Franks, and many more which we will identify shortly.

These barbaric tribes of people, making invasions and inroads into the territories of the Roman Empire, and establishing their own kingdoms within the empire, ARE THE 10 HORNS OF DANIEL 7:8 & 20. They fall within the time of the declining, divided and terminal Roman Empire. They are a part of its territorial domain, but none of them gained an ascendency over the entire empire. They contributed to the ultimate demise of the Western Roman Empire.

Identifying each of these 10 horns is not an easy task. The number of the invading tribes fluctuates over a period of more than 2 centuries. By consulting various historians, different tribes receive different emphasis for different reasons. Several of the tribes are mentioned by each one who has written about them, but the same writers will also disagree on some of them. In addition, the duty of an historian is not to interpret prophecy, but to record history as they find it. I have included with this lesson, 2 maps that should be helpful to us in this process. One is a map of the Roman Empire at the time of its greatest power, approximately 180 AD. The other is a map of the Roman Empire in 525 AD, showing 10 kingdoms which I have circled. They are: Visigoths, Suevi, Vandals, Franks, Ostrogoths, Gepidae, Burgundians, Alammani, Saxons and Angles; 10 in all. In all fairness, someone might not include a couple of these so as to include a couple of other tribes. But these on the map did exist at the right time and place. The major point to keep in mind is, that these do meet the requirement of a horn and the right purpose and the right time.

One final point should be made regarding these kingdoms. When they invaded Rome, they were considered barbarians. The Roman church set out aggressively to convert them to orthodox Christianity. By the early part of the 6th century, this had been largely accomplished and they were now baptized in the Roman church. As good as this sounds, we must be reminded that the spiritual state of the church by the beginning of the 6th century was deeply affected by pagan religious practices and far from original apostolic teachings. The consequence of this among these “barbaric conversions to Christianity”, is what historians refer to as “baptized paganism”. That is to say, they now were professors of the Christian church, but it was drastically removed from its original standards and teachings, so much so that it was a Christianity of a totally different quality.


If the 10 horns of the 4th beast created some anxiety in trying to identify what they were and how they impacted the empire, then the next part of the vision will be no different. Daniel 7:8, continues the vision with: “I considered the (10) horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn , before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn there were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

This “little horn” is mentioned again in verse 20, with further description about it. Then turning to chapter 8:9-12, some very mysterious things are said about this same little horn and the greatness it achieved and the strange events it accomplished. No wonder after Daniel received the vision, he fainted and was sick for days (8:27). God has shown him some mind – boggling things, and then shut up the vision; for it shall be for many days (from Daniel’s day).

The ten horns came on the Roman scene in the 5th and very early 6th centuries. We left them essentially around 500 AD, 24 years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. (The eastern part of the empire was still in existence). In 518, Justin I, became emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire. He was old and weak, and his nephew, Justinian, the child of his sister, born in 483 AD, came to his aid. Gradually, Justin I, handed over power to his nephew, Justinian. When Justin I died, in April of 527, then, in August of that year, Justinian became the sole ruler of the eastern empire. The reign of Justinian (The Great) was, from the stand point of “military triumphs, ecclesiastical government, legal work and architectural activity”, epoch making in its accomplishments.

With the era of Justinian, beginning in 527 AD, we stand on the threshold and upon the foundation of events that will shape and direct the history of the world for the next 13 centuries, and indeed, in many ways, beyond. Through the strategies, power and accomplishments of this man, a new era of how the world is governed and the consequences thereof, is about to unfold before us. It will be intriguing, therefore, and maybe even with some doubts by many, when we identify JUSTINIAN THE GREAT, AS THE LITTLE HORN” of Daniel chapters 7 & 8!

Many questions will immediately come to your minds, as to how this could possibly be so. First, there is the question of Justinian being the ruler of the eastern division of the empire, and the prophecy is dealing with the western division. Many have identified this “little horn” as the rise of “papal rule”, and therefore will question how Justinian could fit into that. There is the question of the greatness of the little horn; the taking away of the daily sacrifice and casting down of his sanctuary along with the casting down of the truth. Maybe many other questions could reasonably be raised regarding Justinian and the little horn.

Let us spend some time exploring this man, Justinian the Great, who ruled from 527 to 565 AD. He was known as the “emperor who never sleeps”, on account of his work habits. He was from a lowly background, with no power base in traditional aristocracy of Constantinople. This left him free to select men and women of extraordinary talent, on the basis of merit and not aristocratic connections. He was one of the most important figures of ancient times. He was emperor of the Byzantine Empire. With all of this, just what puts him in a position to be selected as the “little horn”?

Upon ascending the eastern throne, Justinian had a passionate ambition to restore and re-unite the Western Roman Empire. To do so, one obvious requirement would be to regain control of territories lost to the barbaric invaders. While his ambition was to reclaim all of the Roman territories that made up the empire in its time of greatness, he never accomplished all of that. He did, however, reclaim all of Italy, including Rome from the Ostrogoths; Spain from the Visigoths, and North Africa from the Vandals. He considered it his divine duty to restore the Roman Empire. With his conquests, Justinian ruled over a world empire which rivaled that of Diocletian (284 to 305BC). He reclaimed territories which had been in the control of 3 of the 10 horns.

There is something else Justinian did, that more than anything else, placed him high in the annals of world history. Immediately upon ascending the throne in 527, he set out to create a complete revision of all Roman law. The first draft of this “Codex Justianus”, was issued on “April 7, 529”. The total work of his legal documents is known today as: “Corpus Juris Civilis”. This work became the basis for all cannon law, and the basis for all civil law. Its impact has been felt on civilized countries throughout the world, including our own. Let me emphasize that this “Codex Justianus”, specifically includes ecclesiastical laws. That is, they governed religious activities and beliefs, if you can comprehend that. They believed that the church lives under Roman law. If you review these laws and how they were carried out, you will understand that they shaped the religious and civil powers for centuries to come. While we cannot copy all of the code here, yet parts of it are so vital to this study we are compelled to share some of them.

a. Numerous provisions serve to secure the status of “Orthodox Christianity”, (Roman Catholic Church), as the (only) state religion of the empire. This technically and functionally means that this code of laws served to formally unite (as in a marriage) the church and state. Anyone who was not a part of the state recognized church (Roman Catholic), was considered a non-citizen!

b. The very first law in the code requires all persons under the jurisdiction of the empire to uphold the “holy orthodox faith”.

c. People who were present at a pagan sacrifice may be indicted as if for murder.

d. Laws against Jews prevented them from holding public office; they could not testify against “Christians”; the Hebrew language could not be used in worship; their prayer to one God was banned as opposing the trinity.

e. The Corpus Juris is full of laws against paganism, which was totally outlawed, and was punishable by death. (Note: This means that everything pertaining to ancient Roman religion, with its hundreds of gods; its temples throughout the empire; every home with an altar for sacrifice; its pontifex maximus and related priests; vestal virgins, carried on daily for the past six and a half centuries, is totally outlawed, banned and terminated, by imperial edict and punishable by the severest of measures including death).

f. The emperor conceived himself as “priest and king”, supreme head on earth in matters ecclesiastical as well as matters of state.

g. Justinian always had a keen interest in theological matters and actively participated in debates on Christian doctrine.

h. At the beginning of his reign, he deemed it proper to promulgate by law the church’s belief in the trinity; and to threaten all heretics with the appropriate penalties.

i. He made the Nicaeno – Constantinopolitan creed the sole symbol of the church, and accorded legal force to the cannons of the four ecumenical councils.

j. He protected the “purity” of the church by banning heretics.

K. He protected the rights of the church and clergy; extended monasticism, and granted special privileges to monks.

l. He recognized the pope of Rome as the highest ecclesiastical authority, which was the cornerstone of his western policy.

m. Justinian’s religious policy reflected the imperial conviction that the unity of the empire unconditionally presupposed unity of faith, and it was obvious to him that this meant the Nicean Orthodox faith.

n. His code contained two statutes which decreed the “total destruction of paganism”, even in private life. These provisions were zealously enforced, and with severe punishment.

o. In 529, he placed the Neoplatonic Academy of Athens under state control, effectively strangling this training school for Hellenism.

At this point I would like to provide some quotes from the Justinian Code, that will demonstrate several important things: The authority of Justinian in both the eastern and western empire; the voluntary submission of this authority unto the “Holy See of Rome”, (Papal bishop); the utter extinction of all forms of paganism; the vesting of all religious belief in the “Holy Catholic Church”; the banning of any form of public religious discourse except through the channels of the “Holy Catholic Church”, and severe punishments for all who did not obey these laws. These quotes are as follows:



We (Justinian) desire that all peoples subject to our benign Empire shall live under the same religion that the divine Peter, the apostle, gave to the Romans, and which the said religion declared was introduced by himself, and which it is well known that Pontiff Damascus, and Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic sanctity, embraced; that is to say, in accordance with the rules of apostolic discipline and the evangelical doctrine, we should believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constitute a single deity, endowed with equal majesty, and united in the Holy Trinity.

We order all those who follow this law to assume the name of Catholic Christians, and considering others as demented and insane, we order that they shall bear the infamy of heresy; and when the Divine vengeance which they merit has been appeased, they shall afterwards be punished in accordance with our resentment.

Let no place be accorded to heretics for the conduct of their ceremonies, and let no occasion be offered for them to display the insanity of their obstinate minds. Let all persons know that if any privilege has been fraudulently obtained by means of any rescript whatsoever, by persons of this kind, it will not be valid. Let all bodies of heretics be prevented from holding unlawful assemblies, and let the name of the only and the greatest God be celebrated everywhere, and let the observance of the Nicene Creed, recently transmitted to our ancestors, and firmly established by the testimony and practice of Divine Religion, always remain secure.

Let those who do not accept those doctrines cease to apply the name of true religion to their fraudulent belief; and let them be branded with their open crimes, and, having been removed from the threshold of all churches, be utterly excluded from them, as we forbid all heretics to hold unlawful assemblies within cities. If, however, any seditious outbreak should be attempted, we order them to be driven outside the walls of he city, with relentless violence, and we direct that all Catholic Churches, throughout the entire world, shall be placed under the control of the orthodox bishops who have embraced the Nicene Creed.

No one, whether he belongs to the clergy, the army, or to any other condition of men, shall, with a view to causing a tumult and giving occasion to treachery, attempt to discuss the Christian religion publicly in the presence of an assembled and listening crowd; for he commits an injury against the most reverend Synod who publicly contradicts what has once been decided and properly established; as those matters relative to the Christian faith have been settled by the priests who met at Chalcedony by our order, and are known to be in conformity with the apostolic explanation and conclusions of the three hundred and eight Holy Fathers assembled in Nicea, and the hundred and fifty who met in this Imperial City; for the violators of this law shall not go unpunished, because they not only oppose the true faith, but they also profane its venerated mysteries by engaging in contests of this kind with Jews and Pagans. Therefore, if any person who has ventured to publicly discuss religious matters is a member of the clergy, he shall be removed from his order; if he is a member of the army, he shall be degraded; and any others who are guilty of offence, who are freemen, shall be banished from this most Sacred City, and shall be subjected to the punishment prescribed by law according to the power of the court; and if they are slaves, they shall undergo severest penalty.


Among the conspicuous reasons for praising your wisdom and gentleness, Most Christian of Emperors, and one which radiates light as a star, is the fact that through love of the faith, and actuated by zeal for charity, you, learned and ecclesiastical discipline, have preserved reverence for the SEE OF ROME, and have subjected all things to its authority, and have given it unity.

This See is indeed the head of all churches, as the rules of the Fathers and decrees of the Emperors assert, and the words of your most reverend piety testify. Wherefore, most glorious of princes, the divine power is implored by the prayers of all to preserve your piety in this ardor for the faith, in this devotion of your mind, and in this zeal for true religion, without failure, during your entire existence. For we believe that this is for the benefit of the Holy Churches, as it was written, “The king rules with his lips”, and again, “The heart of the king is in the hand of God, and it will incline to whatever side God wishes”; that is to say, that he may confirm your empire, and maintain your kingdoms for the peace of the church and the unity of religion.

The following is the text of the letter of the Emperor Justinian, victorious, pious, happy, renowned, triumphant, always Augustus, to John, Patriarch, and most Holy Archbishop of the fair city of Rome:

With honor to the Apostolic See, and to your Holiness, which is, and always has been remembered in our prayers, both now and formerly, and honoring your happiness, as is proper in the case of one who is considered as a father, we hasten to bring to the knowledge or Your Holiness everything relating to the condition of the church, as we have always had the greatest desire to preserve the unity of your Apostolic See, and the condition of the Holy Churches of God, as they exist at the present time, that they may remain without disturbance or opposition. Therefore, We have exerted ourselves to unite all the priests of the East and subject them to the See of Your Holiness, and hence the questions which have at present arisen, although they are manifest and free from doubt, and according to the doctrines of Your Apostolic See, are constantly firmly observed and preached by all priests, we have still considered it necessary that they should be brought to the attention of Your Holiness. For we do not suffer anything which has reference to the state of the church, even though what causes difficulty may be clear and free from doubt, to be discussed without being brought to the notice of Your Holiness, because you are the head of all the Holy Churches, for we shall exert ourselves in every way to increase the honor and authority of your See.

Can anyone fail to see in all of these quotes, laws, letters and rules, set forth by Emperor Justinian, not just as his personal opinion, but by the Imperial Code of Justinian, which was the ratified law of the empire, both east and west, the unprecedented and far reaching impact they would have on both the civil governments following, and especially upon the church for centuries to come. Justinian, by Imperial edict, has united east and west; taken a position of religious governance himself; then transferred that authority to the “Holy See” of the Roman Catholic Church; terminated all incidence of paganism; and forbade any faith or worship of any kind outside the pale of the Roman Church. No matter how good intentioned he may have been in all of this, the detrimental impact will plunge the world into the abyss of the dark ages, led by the absolute and despotic powers in years to come of the Roman Church and the tyranny it wielded over anyone who dared depart from her teachings. Of all of the corrupt teachings and practices that arose upon the foundation of this power, none was more devastating or more God rejecting than that of banning and forbidding the use, possession, reading, believing, reproducing and teaching of the pure word of God. That was relegated only to the priests, and such reading of the word of God as they may have done, was in a language the common people did not understand.

Remember, at this point we are at a time near 530 AD. It is essential that we be reminded again, that the church in which has been vested authority over all churches, faith, and worship, with even the emperor subjecting himself to the authority of the “Holy Father”, that, by this time, the church, by all historical verification, is, itself, overwhelmingly pagan in its faith, doctrine, practice, liturgy and government. Think of it like this: “Paganism has been swallowed up by the Roman Church; buried, if you will, in a bottomless pit. By his code of laws, Justinian revived the ancient Roman Empire, both east and west, and turned his seat of power and authority over to another kind of a religious power, that came to wield authority over religion and civil matters as well. As the forthcoming centuries of the dark ages will reveal and every historian of those ages will clearly verify, a monstrous system of both religious and civil power, co-mingled together as one, yet ruled primarily by the religious influence (the Church of Rome) now emerges from the era of Justinian, and will continue in various degrees of power until the end of the 18th century. The result of this to those who valiantly struggled to remain true to God and his undiluted word, was a time of a wilderness journey; severe persecution physically; a multitude of martyrs for their faith, and completely ostracized and cut off from public freedoms and privileges. It was an abomination of desolation; a blight upon civil and decent living and a desecration of the “temple of the Lord”.

The “little horn”, arose among the 10 horns of the later time of the western Roman Empire, and through combining the eastern and western powers into one; recognizing the Roman Church as the (only) acceptable church of the state of Rome, and by elevating the “Holy See” of Rome to the dominate position in all the church, and by outlawing all other religious beliefs and activities of any kind, has set the course of the Holy See of Rome to dominate the scene of both church and state for a period of the next 1260 years. As these years and their history unfold, we will find that the Papal power usurps the prerogative of emperors; rules with a rod of tyranny, and plunges the world into the abyss of the dark ages. We will also find, that during all of this time, there will be those who dare “keep the faith once delivered to the saints”, and will live as outcasts, heretics and infidels, and will be denied every freedom that God would grant to a human heart. They gave their lives as Christian martyrs by the tens of thousands. Coming lessons will unfold this drama of papal imperialism and the most violent and cruel treatment of simple Christians that depraved humanity can contrive.

In our next lesson we will look into many of the descriptions and functions of this little horn, to more thoroughly identify it. We will also look into the time lines given in chapters 7 and 8, relative to it.

TOMMY BLANTON – 5030 WILLARD RD. – WILLARD, N.C., 28478 -- 910-285-3802

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