For a context for this article, it is highly recommended that you read the first part of this three-part series.
1) It arises amongst the divisions of Western Europe/Roman Empire.
2) It must rise after 476CE, when Rome was divided.
3) It’s rise to power includes uprooting three other kingdoms that stand in it’s way.
4) A man would represent this kingdom, claiming to have great authority over the kings of the Roman empire.
5) He is a different kind of king than the traditional political authority of the other kings.
6) He claims to have the authority that belongs to God.
7) He makes war with the saints who keep God’s laws.
8) He thinks to change times and laws of God’s government.
9) He reigns for 1260 years.
These points must be fulfilled to identify the anthchristian little horn power. Again, to have more detail on these nine points, and an abundance of Scriptural testimony, it is best to refer you to the first part of this three-part series.
If antichrist was a giant political figure that everyone recognized as demanding the worship of Satan and having a hitler-esque demeanor, it would not be deceiving to many sincere but mislead Christians. Although nine characteristics have been revealed from this power, still more characteristics are necessary to understand what happened in the Roman Empire to cause the rise of this power.
The apostles all saw concerns coming in amongst those who received Christ’s sacrifice. He is the “Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29); He was called the Lamb, because anciently, the Hebrew people looked forward to the deliverance from sin by the Messiah-to-come, and to demonstrate their faith in His coming, they would sacrifice lambs, bulls, and goats. Yet “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb. 10:4) Yet most of the Israelites lost the meaning of their sacrifices, and had faith in those sacrifices to take away sins instead of the One to whom they pointed. And what is sin? The apostle John tells us that “sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4)
The very law that the little horn would think to change was the law of God’s government; thus it would enforce a new law via the kings of Europe, and turn many away from the law of the true God; thus making of no effect the sacrifice of Christ. Christ, foreseeing what would come, declared:
“Do not think that I’ve come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I have not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
He then compared those who would “think” He came to abolish the law of God with the “righteousness” of the scribes and the pharisees (the religious class of people in Jerusalem): “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20)
These men had taught that it was acceptable to “break one of these least commandments”; “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” Christ told them, fulfilling the Scripture in Isaiah, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
The antichrist power would make of no effect the commandments of God by their traditions; and profess with their mouths that they worship Him, but like the religious people of Christ’s day, are in fact crucifying Him over again in breaking the law. The Bible declares this as the righteousness of man (Rom. 10:3), while the law of God reveals the righteousness of God (Isaiah 51:6,7), which God says “will not be abolished [destroyed].”
THE GREAT FALLING AWAY IN THE CHURCH
The apostle Paul had studied the prophecies carefully. He saw the rise of the antichrist coming from Rome, and how he would think to change the law of God, and was troubled. God even kept on record three such warnings for us that a great falling away would occur in the Christian church.
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:29-31)
The Christian church was to be compromised by a foreign power, previously unknown to it. Paul said Christ would not return until the work of this power had been fully accomplished: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” (2 Thes. 2:3)
Paul, seeing the little horn as changing the law of God which exposes sin, called him “the man of sin”, revealed in the church by “a falling away”; and the son of perdition (literally, of destruction, ruin, or loss). Going to greater lengths, he goes to the very church at the heart of the conflict that would come, and writes to them regarding to gospel of Christ, which restores the law’s rightful place in the heart of the believer. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;… For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:16-17) He continues further, and declares that those who believe in the effectual power of Christ’s sacrifice, have sin “condemned in the flesh [our flesh]”, “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3,4) He then warns the church in Rome not to become absorbed in worldly affairs, having their minds on this world and losing sight of the gospel, it’s power, and heavenly realities. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:6-7) Paul realized that the trouble was to arise in the church that was in Rome, that they would “think” against the law of God by supposing to hold some great authority to alter His commands. Paul emphasizes the words of Christ, that He came to “fulfill” the law, and not to destroy it.
In addition to the nine points, the tenth is this:
10) He came as the result of a falling away of the Christian church
ONE FINAL CHARACTERISTIC
One final characteristic must be mentioned, and then the identity cannot be mistaken to any honest child of God. To understand this point, we will examine another view of the characteristics of the little horn power of Daniel 7, from another prophecy in the Bible.
“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” (Revelation 13:2)
This beast has all the parts of the pagan kingdoms brought into one unique and diverse kingdom that the little horn’s rise to power in the divided Roman empire. It has the body of the leopard, symbolized by Bacchus, the Greek god. It has feet that walk in the laws of sun worship found in Media-Persia. It has the mouth of Babylon’s lion, having Babylon at the heart of it’s religion. And he is honored by being given the dragon’s throne (“seat”) of the Roman Empire; which seeks to devour God’s true children, who like Chronos, the chief deity of Rome, that devoured his own children and controlled time. The dragon, also symbolizing Satan’s rebellious kingdom, would presumptiously pass the “great authority” of having “power” and authority to “change times and laws” to this kingdom who sits upon the throne of the Roman empire.
Thus pagan elements are infused into this little horn kingdom so definitely.
Further proof that the little horn and this beast are one and the same. Here are four characteristics that match perfectly:
A MOUTH AGAINST GOD
WAR WITH THE SAINTS
AGAINST THE GOSPEL/HINDERS SALVATION FROM SIN
1) “a mouth that spake very great things… words against the most high…” (v. 20, 25)
2) “I beheld and the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them…” (v. 21)
3) “they shall be given into his hand until a time (1 year- 12 months), and times (2 years/24 months) and the dividing of time (half a year/6 months) [1260 prophetic days/years]
4) “he shall think to change times and laws…”***
***The Lamb is Christ which saves from sin. Antichrist is the religious power from the church in Rome that changes the laws which reveal the sins needing to be saved from.
THE REVELATION OF THE LITTLE HORN
The ONLY power in all of history that fulfills all 11 of these points clearly, and definitely, is the Roman Catholic Papacy.
For some, it may be hard to believe that the Roman Catholic Papacy is antichrist, and at first glance, that may be understandable. However, when examining more closely, there are clear evidences which we will show for exactly why this is true. In the early Christian church, there was a falling away. It began at the time of pagan emperor Constantine’s “conversion” to Christianity. He began to shower favors upon the Christian church, and his counselors that it was God’s will to give them both advantages by removing the need to pay taxes, and also to give the church more land. The preference thus shown to Christianity, unconverted pagans walked into the church, and introduced paganism into Christianity; mingling it. Constantine sought to unite the pagans and the Christians, and those Christians who were already departing from the precepts given in the law of God were the most favorable to uniting with paganism. The falling away, while plaguing the entire Christian movement, was most advanced from the church in Rome, which Paul expressly counselled.
The most subtle form of deception which will deceive the whole world is a Christianized form of paganism, that has made this world it’s kingdom. Does this mean all the Roman Catholics are lost? No. In fact, Jesus said, “other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16) Jesus tells us that He has other sheep, who are in other parts of the world, who do not know or see the truth, but when they hear the truth, they will leave their errors and their former teachers & leaders, and like the disciples of Christ, go and follow Him.
Now let’s examine these points, and trace their fulfillment in the rising of this power:
1) He is a different kind of king than the traditional political authority of the other kings.
The Papacy was given the name Pontifex Maximus (the great bridgebuilder) because that was the name given to the pagan high priests who were appointed by the Roman Emperor. The Pope is diverse from the other kings because he is both a political and religious figure. The Pontifex Maximus duties were to consecrate temples of their gods, to regulate calendar observances, and regulating public morals, and fining and punishing offending parties. To this day, the Papacy claims the title as Pontifex Maximus. He built bridges from Christianity to unite with Paganism, and for Christianity to be established as a political force in this world, contrary to the will and plan of God. The bridges thus built were nothing less than converting Christianity to the world, and concealing it’s true character of paganism.
2) He thinks to change times and laws of God’s government.
One of the most remarkable prophecies in the entire Bible is that the antichrist claims to have authority to change the times of worship and laws of God. It is commonly understood that the early Christians did in fact worship on the times found in the law of God. Those times were as follows:
|7th Day Sabbath|
God calls these “My Sabbaths”; six days, He created all things, and on the seventh day, He rested. It is a sign of His creative power, and power to save and separate His people from the world. (Exodus 20:8-11) (Exodus 31:13) (Deuteronomy 5:13-15) It will be observed in heaven (Isaiah 66:22-23)
|Part of a continuous 7-day weekly cycle, beginning at the setting of the sun Friday to the setting of the sun Saturday.|
It was kept by most Christians for the first 300 years until pagan celebrations took it’s place, and it was forced upon Christians.
|The New Moon|
God gave the moon as the calendar of the month in the heavens. (Gen. 1:14) The word for moon & months in the ancient language of the Bible is the same word. It will be observed in heaven (Isaiah 66:22-23)
The new moon is the appearing of the moon in the heavens. It is the first day of a new month. This is necessary to know when the three main feasts are observed.
|The Feast of Unleavened Bread (1st moon of the new year, on the 15th day-21st day)|
A feast that follows the Passover, a celebration & sign of partaking in Christ’s sacrifice. Unleavened Bread was to demonstrate the old ways of the world being removed from the life who has been washed by the blood of Christ. It will be observed in heaven (Luke 22:15-18)
|It was the Passover communion time that was the first thing the church in Rome stopped observing in favor of the pagan festival: easter.|
|The Feast of Pentecost (observed early in the 3rd moon)|
It is a celebration of God’s presence uniting with His people, giving to them His law & kingdom, and by His power to bring them into relationship with Himself, as a husband does a bride.
On Mt. Sinai, God’s presence came down in fire, He gave His law as a marriage promise for His people. In the early Christian church, God gives His presence in the Holy Spirit, which came down in fire, writing His law on the heart, bringing them into marriage relationship with Christ. (Acts 2:1-3)
|The Feast of Tabernacles (7th moon, 15th day to the 22nd day)|
A celebration of God’s full salvation; of the time when the throne of God shall be with man forever in a newly created heavens and earth. It is a time of special of special, unbroken communion in God’s presence. It will be observed in heaven (Zechariah 14:16)
|This reveals the promise of heaven; this feast’s prophetic event has not yet been fulfilled.|
The Papacy adopted the pagan sabbath, which was Sunday, the traditional day of sun worship. This they freely admit:
“…pastoral intuition suggested to the Church the christianization of the notion of Sunday as “the day of the sun”, which was the Roman name for the day and which is retained in some modern languages.(29) This was in order to draw the faithful away from the seduction of cults which worshipped the sun, and to direct the celebration of the day to Christ, humanity’s true “sun”.” John Paul II, Dies Domini, 27. The day of Christ-Light, 1998 (Prominent protestant leaders agree with this statement – See here for a statement by Dr. E. T. Hiscox, author of the ‘Baptist Manual’)
The pagans who flooded the entrance of the church were converted originally by the church converting to their laws. In an old Catholic Catechism, it is even more pronounced:
“Q. What is Sunday, or the Lord’s Day in general?
A. It is a day dedicated by the Apostles to the honour of the Most Holy Trinity…. It is also called Sunday from the old Roman denomination of Dies Solis, the day of the sun, to which it was sacred.” The Douay Catechism, (An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine) of 1649
How could they do this? They “think to change times and laws” because they “think” they have such authority to change them. Additionally, a triune understanding of God, where three divine beings were united in one divine nature, immortal, without beginning and end, was adopted to help pagans who were accustom to the triunity of divine beings in various pagan religions. These concessions from the church brought a unity between pagans and Christians that before this time would have been near impossible. This is in perfect harmony with the pagan beasts all being represented in the Catholic beast, which takes in the pagan doctrines.
3) He claims to have the authority that belongs to God.
Authority over kings: “the Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls.” 937, Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997) What does “universal power” mean? It means power over kings for the sake of making converts, for “the common good of society”.
Infallability: What the Pope speaks in Encylical writings are legally and conscience-bound to the Christian particularly, and to the non-Christian without exception. It teaches that the Pope’s words cannot be wrong. Ex Cathedra is a Papal doctrine which teaches that “when, in the exercise of his office [the Pope] as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, (the Bishop of Rome) defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.” It teaches then that the Pope cannot be in error in faith or morals.
Authority to change God’s law: “Protestants … accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change… But the Protestant mind does not seem to realize that … in observing Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the Church, the pope.” Our Sunday Visitor, February 5th, 1950
4) It must rise after 476CE, when Rome was divided into ten parts.
It arises amongst the divisions of Western Europe/Roman Empire.
It’s an interesting fact that the Papacy did rise at this time. After Constantine’s conversion in the fourth century, the prophesied falling away began to move swiftly; and with every step further into error, the greater favor it grew with the kingdoms of Rome.
It’s interesting to note that the Papacy’s political advancements began with the conversion of Constantine, and after this time, the Papacy’s rise to political favor grew more and more as it became more entrenched in the principles of paganism. It was not until 508 that the first war was waged in the name of a Catholic church/state, and it was not until 538 that the Papacy actually received the throne of the Roman empire itself, to exercise authority over the kings of Europe.
5) It’s rise to power includes uprooting three other kingdoms that stand in it’s way.
The Papacy uprooted three of the ten kings who had stood in it’s way, thus fulfilling the prophecy: “For the mystery of iniquity is already at work: only he who now restrains will restrain [him], until he is taken out of the way.” (2 Thes. 2:7) These three restraining forces were signs to the Christian church of the prevailing corruption and the growing power of the Pope over the kings of the earth. The restraints were imposed by three Sabbath-keeping, non-Trinitarian kingdoms. Both the Trinity and Sunday-keeping, in the place of Sabbath and the worship of the true God, were fundamental teachings of Catholic Christianity.
i) The Visigoths: In 508, the first of these kingdoms was rooted out of it’s land by church/state authority. It was the united France, under Clovis, a pagan-king who converted to Catholicism, that declared war in the name of the church. The Visigothic people, standing in the way of France and her Catholic teachings, ran her into the corners of Europe, where she began to be swallowed up by Catholicism at last.
ii) The Vandals: In 533, the zealously Catholic emperor Justinian overcame the Vandals, and issued a decree, declaring all were to submit to the Pope, to the Most Holy Trinity, and to assume the name Catholic.
iii) The Ostrogoths: In 538, the Ostrogothic kingdom occupied the land of Rome itself. It had constantly shifted hands, and for some years, it was in the hands of Sabbathkeeping Christians. Justinian, through his general Belisarius, entered into Rome, and overcame the Ostrogoths, who were slowly hunted and exterminated. It was at this time, after the final restaint was removed at last, that Justinian delivered the throne of Rome into the hands of the Papacy, to exercise authority over Europe’s kings.
6) A man would represent this kingdom, claiming to have great authority over the kings of the Roman empire.
It is evident as we have seen, that this was remarkably and unmistakenly fulfilled only by the Pope of Rome.
7) He makes war with the saints who keep God’s laws.
After receiving this authority over the kings of the earth, those who kept the laws of God, first the Visigoths, Vandals, and Ostrogoths, and then the persecuting the people progressively more and still more.
8) He reigns for 1260 years.
It was from the time of 538CE that the Papacy took Rome, when Justinians’ General, Belisarius, overtook Rome, until 1798CE, when Napoleon’s General, Berthier, entered into Italy, into the Vatican, and took the Pope captive, and restored the Roman republic to the people. While the Popes maintained a somewhat spiritual influence, their political influence was wholly crushed underfoot. The Church had long used the sword of the state to overcome her opposers, now the prophecy regarding the Catholic beast was fulfilled: “I saw one of it’s heads, as it were, wounded to death…He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Rev. 13:10)
Having so long forced the people to submit to her rule or face the sword, now the sword of France, the eldest daughter of the Catholic church, was to be her worst opposer, and force her into submission. However, the prophecy does not end there for the antichrist, because antichrist, as revealed in the Papacy, has a grand final work before the end of the world.