The Ten Kingdoms and the Great Horn

10 Nov

This continues a series on end-time prophecies. In this series I am making comments as to the meaning of various prophecies that have been recorded, and trying to be as brief as possible. I have focused mainly in the Old Testament so far, but will soon post on prophecies from the other standard works of the LDS church. 

The last few posts I have made have been concerning the prophecies in Daniel, mainly those in chapters 2, 7 and 8. I have addressed the Ancient of Days in chapter seven; spoken of the beasts that Daniel saw; and address the stone cut without hands. I continue with this focus on Daniel for one more post before moving on to another prophecy. I said I would address the fourth beast in chapter seven and the ten horns, and I make a few comments regarding this now.

Daniel 7

…behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth…it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns…behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up…in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things…I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

This is the vision that Daniel saw. He tells that “Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others… (verse 19)” and gives the following interpretation.

I beheld, and the same 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. Thus he said, 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: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (verse 21-25)

We know the fourth kingdom is Rome (see my post “The Beast of Daniel”) which was diverse from the others in that it at least stated as a republic, and in the amount of area it covered (thus having a more diverse population). The ten horns, as Daniel records, are ten kings that rise out of Rome. This is commonly believed to be the ten Germanic Kingdoms of Europe that rose up at the fall of the Western Roman Empire. They are the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths, the Vandals, the Burgundians, the Lombards, the Franks, the Saxons, the Alemanni, the Thuringians, and the Rugians.  I am not fully familiar with the history of these ten kingdoms. However, I am pretty sure that three were completely destroyed, ceasing to exists as ethics groups. The Ostrogoths, who had been in Italy; the Thuringians, who had been in Germany; and the Rugians, who had been in modern Hungary. All three disappear by the 700’s. The other groups continued to exist, though most were conquered by the Franks. Some would later form the Holy Roman Empire.

So the next question is, what Kingdom is the little Horn supposed to represent. If these Germanic kingdoms are the ten horns, and the Ostrogoths, Thuringians, and Rugians are the three that were plucked up, then who did the plucking? Honestly, I don’t really know. I have heard some theories that I find interesting, but I have not been able to truly satisfy myself as to this point.

There are two theories that I will mention. The first places the Holy Roman Empire as this little horn. This empire covered most of Northern Italy, Austria, Germany, and most of central Europe. You may notice that the three kingdoms that appear to have been completely wiped out were all in this area. However, all three were destroyed before the Holy Roman Empire was actually established. Following the prophecy, the little horn makes war on the saints, and, according to this theory, the Holy Roman Empire did this when they tried to suppress the Protestant movements, which started in this Empire with Martin Luther. This also follows with the speaking out against the Most High and wearing out the saints. Yet, it is a little hazy as to the changing of times and laws.

The second theory places the Catholic church as this little horn. It points out that Roman was Catholic, and when the Western Roman Empire collapsed the Catholic church remained the political power in Italy. It even commanded armies and fought wars. The Holy Roman Empire was set up by the church, as it was the Pope who approved and crowned the first emperor, and one could be emperor after being so crowned. This also solves the problem of when the three kingdoms were destroyed, as they were destroyed fighting in Italy where the Catholic church was the main power. However, this theory must also make the claim that the Catholic church was in opposition to the saints of God and made war against God.

As this post is already getting fairly long I will leave it at this, without getting into the controversies that both these theories can generate. If you want to discuss either further, let me know.

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