The same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them - Those who make Antiochus the little horn, make the saints the Jewish people. Those who understand the popedom by it, see this as referring to the cruel persecutions of the popes of Rome against the Waldenses and Albigenses, and the Protestant Church in general.
I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints - I continued to look on this until I saw war made by this horn with the people of God. This circumstance, also, is not referred to in the first description, and the order of time in the description would seem to imply that the war with the saints would be at a considerable period after the first appearance of the horn, or would be only when it had grown to its great size and power. This “war” might refer to open hostilities, carried on in the usual manner of war; or to persecution, or to any invasion of the rights and privileges of others. As it is a “war with the saints,” it would be most natural to refer it to persecution.
And prevailed against them - That is, he overcame and subdued them, he was stronger than they were, and they were not able to resist him. The same events are evidently referred to and in almost similar language - borrowed probably from Daniel - in Revelation 13:5-7: “And there was given him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
The wonderful wrath of this little horn against the saints particularly attracted the attention of Daniel. The rise of the ten horns, or the division of Rome into ten kingdoms, between the years A. D. 351 and 483, has already been noticed. (See on chapter 2:41.) As these horns denote kingdoms, the little horn must denote a kingdom also, but not of the same nature, because it was diverse from the others. They were political kingdoms. And now we have but to inquire if any kingdom has arisen among the ten kingdoms of the Roman empire since A. D. 483, and yet diverse from them all; and if so, what one. The answer is, Yes; the spiritual kingdom of the papacy. This answers to the symbol in every particular, as is easily proved; and nothing else will do it. See the specifications more particularly mentioned on verse 23.DAR 125.2
Daniel beheld this horn making war upon the saints. Has such a war been waged by the papacy? Fifty million martyrs, with a voice like the sound of many waters, answer, Yes. Witness the cruel persecutions of the Waldenses, the Albigenses, and Protestants in general, by the papal power. It is stated on good authority that the persecutions, massacres, and religious wars excited by the church and bishop of Rome, have occasioned the shedding of far more blood of the saints of the Most High, than all the enmity, hostility, and persecutions of professed heathens from the foundation of the world.DAR 125.3
In verse 22 three consecutive events seem to be brought to view. Daniel, looking onward from the time when the little horn was in the hight of its power, to the full end of the long contest between the saints and Satan with all his agents, notes three prominent events that stand as mile-posts along the way. (1) The coming of the Ancient of days; that is, the position which Jehovah takes in the opening of the judgment scene described in verses 9, 10. (2) The judgment that is given to the saints; that is, the time when the saints sit with Christ in judgment a thousand years, following the first resurrection (Revelation 20:1-4), apportioning to the wicked the punishment due to their sins. Then the martyrs will sit in judgment upon the great anti-Christian, persecuting power, which, in the days of their trial, hunted them like the beasts of the desert, and poured out their blood like water. (3) The time that the saints possess the kingdom; that is, the time of their entrance upon the possession of the new earth. Then the last vestige of the curse, of sin, and of sinners, root and branch, will have been wiped away, and the territory so long misruled by the wicked powers of earth, the enemies of God's people, will be taken by the righteous, to be held by them forever and ever. 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3; Matthew 25:34.DAR 125.4
Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that “at the end of the days”—in the closing period of this world's history—he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. “Shut up the words, and seal the book,” he was directed concerning his prophetic writings; these were to be sealed “even to the time of the end.” “Go thy way, Daniel,” the angel once more directed the faithful messenger of Jehovah; “for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.... Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:4, 9, 13. PK 547.1
As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. “The wise shall understand” (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God's people all through the centuries, the promise is, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Revelation 1:3. PK 547.2
From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring,—how completely has it passed away! As “the flower of the grass,” it has perished. James 1:10. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome. And so perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows. PK 548.1Read in context »
Often had Daniel and his companions gone over these and similar prophecies outlining God's purpose for His people. And now, as the rapid course of events betokened the mighty hand of God at work among the nations, Daniel gave special thought to the promises made to Israel. His faith in the prophetic word led him to enter into experiences foretold by the sacred writers. “After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon,” the Lord had declared, “I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return.... I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” Verses 10-13. PK 553.1
Shortly before the fall of Babylon, when Daniel was meditating on these prophecies and seeking God for an understanding of the times, a series of visions was given him concerning the rise and fall of kingdoms. With the first vision, as recorded in the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel, an interpretation was given; yet not all was made clear to the prophet. “My cogitations much troubled me,” he wrote of his experience at the time, “and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.” Daniel 7:28. PK 553.2
Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard “one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?” Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision. He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years’ captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years that in vision he heard the heavenly visitant declare should elapse before the cleansing of God's sanctuary. The angel Gabriel gave him a partial interpretation; yet when the prophet heard the words, “The vision ... shall be for many days,” he fainted away. “I Daniel fainted,” he records of his experience, “and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Verses 26, 27. PK 554.1Read in context »