By Jay Rogers
Published April 27, 2008
Is there is any suggestion that the ten horns of Daniel 7 are ten separate kings in chronological stages of growth rather than ten kings in a single national alliance?
Do these kings grow up as “horns” one at a time, or do they appear all at once?
A popular method of interpreting the “ten horns” is in an alliance of ten kingdoms rather than as ten separate rulers of the same kingdom who succeed one another. However, there is a chronological succession if we compare Daniel 7 to Revelation 17:10 — “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.”
Now here is the related question: Are the seven kings of Revelation among the ten kings of Daniel? Or are the ten kings a different group?
Let’s start with the seven kings. John writes: “five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.” I can only conclude that what John means by this is: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. This is a literal statement.
The five Roman Emperors were Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius who each fell before Nero.
The sixth Emperor was Nero. John writes, “one is.” Nero was alive when John wrote the prophecy.
The seventh is Galba who reigned only seven months. “He must continue a short space.”
There are seven heads and ten horns in Revelation 17; there are simply ten horns in Daniel seven.
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns…. The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise (Daniel 7:7,24).
And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. (Revelation 17:9-12).
Some preterist commentators, such as David Chilton in Paradise Restored, have said the ten horns of Revelation are the provincial Roman governors under Nero. However, I think the seven heads simply denote the first seven among the ten Roman Emperors.
First, Daniel does not speak of seven horns, but “ten horns.” Since John speaks of “seven heads and ten horns,” I conclude that the “seven” heads of Revelation are the first seven horns of the “ten” horns of Daniel.
Second, John says the eighth “is of the seven.” This is an idiom that we might have difficulty with today. Apparently, he means that the eighth was revealed to him later, but he is of the seven. He is the Emperor who “is” at the time John is writing Revelation. In other words, the eighth horn that John saw is actually the same Emperor as the sixth.
Now compare this with Daniel 7:8 — “I considered the 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 were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.”
It makes sense to say that “another little horn” was Nero because Tiberius, Claudius and Caligula did not persecute the early Christians. On the contrary, Nero was the first Emperor to speak “great things” against Christ.
Third, John writes: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them.”
It is easy at first glance to say, as Chilton does, that these are ten Roman governors contemporaneous with Nero. But if we say that these ten horns are the same as the ten horns of Daniel, then it is not a consistent interpretation.
The ten kings are ten consecutive Emperors, but they also symbolize the unified Imperial might of Rome. “They have received no power as yet” means that they have received no power to make war with Christ until Nero comes along. The ten horns are the ten Caesars who reigned up until the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. Even though five of the first ten are dead, in one hour they will become a kingdom, a power and a unified mind to persecute the church.
Fourth, if we take the tribulation to mean the three-and-a-half year persecution of the church (AD 64 to 67) and the three-and-a-half year siege of Jerusalem (AD 67 to 70) it makes sense for John to see a dividing line in time at the death of Nero and see in a prophetic vision a group of seven kings and then a group of ten kings. Revelation points to the time of the sixth Emperor as the time when the first generation of the church is about see great tribulation, the persecution under Nero, begin. The time of the tenth Emperor is when the Temple at Jerusalem finally destroyed. According to Kenneth Gentry:
As the Roman Civil Wars broke out in rebellion against Nero, Nero committed suicide on June 8, A.D. 68. John informs us that the seventh king was “not yet come.” That would be Galba, who assumed power upon Nero’s death in June, AD 68. But he was only to continue a “short space.” As a matter of historical fact, his reign lasted but six months — until January 15, AD 69. He was one of the quick succession of emperors in the famous era called by historians: the year of the four emperors.
In other words, if Galba was the seventh Emperor, the next three of the Daniel’s ten horns were, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian. Titus, Vespasian’s son, was the Roman general who destroyed the Temple in AD 70. The ten Roman Emperors would also be the ten horns of John’s Revelation, who “receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” The reign of these kings parallel the period of the ministry of the Messiah and of the Apostles until the destruction of Jerusalem.
Without this comparison of scripture interpreting scripture, one could conclude almost anything about the little horn — and many have drawn the most irrelevant conclusions.
If Revelation is consistent with Daniel, we see that the “sixth horn” of Revelation is the same as the “little horn” of Daniel. Nero was the sixth in succession the Emperor who “is” at the time of John’s writing.
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