Daniel 7:25 and the Sabbath (Part 1 of 2)
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.
“He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25)
Daniel received a night vision of four beasts that arose from the sea. Each of these beasts represents kingdoms that arose from the earth (Daniel 7:17). In particular, the fourth beast prophetically connects us to the Sabbath!
There is an entity – called the little horn – that arises out of this fourth beast which was prophesied to change the “set times and the laws.” The Aramaic word translated as ‘set times’ is zeman and it corresponds to the Hebrew word mo’adim. It refers to the feasts of Leviticus chapter 23, the first of which is the Sabbath. The Aramaic word translated as ‘laws’ refers to the Law of God.
Who is this little horn? How did it try to change the mo’adim and the Law of God?
Let’s look deeper at this prophecy and dig into its meaning!
Daniel 7:7-8, 19, 23-25
7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. 8 While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully…”
“…19 Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left…He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.”
Who or What is this little horn?
A major key to understanding Daniel chapter 7 is Daniel chapter 2. In that chapter, God showed Nebuchadnezzar a dream. The king saw a huge statue with a head made of gold, arms and chest of silver, thighs and belly of bronze, legs of iron, and feet partially with iron and partially made of clay. In the interpretation, God showed Daniel that the statue represented a succession of Kingdoms beginning with Nebuchadnezzar. They will end with the return of Christ.
These nations, in order of their appearance on the statue and in history are: Babylon (gold), Medes-Persia (silver), Greco-Macedonia (bronze), Rome (iron) and then the Revived Roman Empire (iron and clay).
In Daniel chapter 7, God gave Daniel a very similar dream to Daniel chapter 2. There are a few different details. In this dream, he is given the revelation of four beasts: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a frightening and terrifying beast.
In the vision and interpretation, we learn that the fourth beast had iron teeth and bronze claws. This beast connects us to the Roman Empire (iron teeth) which retained Greek influence (bronze claws). Since ancient times, Greco-Roman culture, Greco-Roman thought, Greco-Roman architecture, Greco-Roman religion, etc. have existed in some form or fashion.
The fourth beast in Daniel chapter 7 had ten horns. Ten major Germanic tribes displaced the territory of the Western Roman Empire by 476 AD: Heruli, Ostrogoths, Lombards, Burgundians, Franks, Saxons, Visigoths, Vandals, Thuringians, and the Alemanni. These ten Germanic tribes represent the ten horns that grow out of the fourth beast.
They were kingdoms with independent rulers, but they sprang out of the Roman Empire. This means that they all in some way preserved Roman culture and government. In other words, the existence of the Roman Empire caused these Ten Kingdoms to rise to power (rise out of the fourth Beast). For some reason, these Germanic tribes had a desire to plant themselves on Roman-controlled soil and continue Roman ways. Many of them adopted codes of law in Latin that were patterned off Roman law.
In Daniel’s dream, another small horn appeared among these ten horns. Three of these horns were uprooted and this little horn replaced them. Of the ten tribes just referenced, three of them were uprooted from Italy: Heruli (493 AD), Ostrogoths (530s-550s), and Lombards (750s-770s).
During the time that these ten tribes gained prominence, the Roman Catholic Church gradually became a little kingdom among them. The pope gradually increased in influence and authority in Rome and Italy. In the 750s, the Lombards threatened to conquer Rome. The pope reached out to Pepin, king of the Franks, for help. He defeated the Lombards and gave some of their land to the pope for him to rule as both the spiritual and temporal leader.
In the midst of the third horn being uprooted, Pope Stephen (II) became the first “pope-king” in 755 AD (Catholic Encyclopedia: “Pope Stephen (II) III”). The Lombards attacked Rome one more time in the 770s, but Pepin’s son Charlemagne came to protect the papal kingdom.
Not long after this, the second council of Nicaea was held in 787. In it, idols and images were affirmed, which changed the commandments of God (that forbids idols and images). Also, the Sabbath and Holy Days were condemned (changing the Feasts of Leviticus 23).
Thus, all popes are the small horn of Daniel’s dream. It is a man ruling a different kind of kingdom – one that is chiefly religious in purpose.
In part two of this series, we will look at how this little horn grew out of the Roman Empire, how it became a kingdom, and how it started to change the times and the laws long before the 750s AD.
Kelly McDonald, Jr.
BSA President – www.biblesabbath.org
Catholic Encyclopedia 1911: (23) Anglo-Saxon Church, Bavaria, Bohemia, Burgundy, Canon Law, Flanders, The Franks, Lex, Lombardy, Mecklenburg, Ostrogoths, Pontiff, Pope Stephen II (some list him as the III), Pope Simplicitus, Romulus Augustulus, Roman Curia, Saxony, States of the Church, Switzerland, Theodoric the Great, Thuringia, Vandals, Visigoths
Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition: (25) Angli, ALAMANNI, Alani, Bavaria, Europe, Helvetii, Heruli, Franks, Frisians, Goths, Jutes, Lombards, Marcomanni, Medieval and Modern History, Moravia, Netherlands, Odoacer, Pavia, Pontiff, Saxons, Slavs, Suebi, Teutonic Peoples, Vandals, Vaud.