A response to arguments against the Historicist and Seventh-day Adventist position on Daniel 7
“Are Seventh-day Adventist Prophecy Seminars telling you the truth?”, is an introductory statement appearing on an anti-Adventist website called Amazing Fiction, a website run by Dirk Anderson, a former Adventist. He embraces the “Preterist” view of prophesy, which according to non adventist authors are an invention of the Jesuits.  His mission apparently is to undermine the Bible based, Historicist views, of the Seventh-day Adventists. In this paper, we respond to their article on the Little Horn of Daniel 7, where an attempt has been made by it to undermine the history, historical positions and truths, as taught in Daniel 7.

Argument: Daniel 7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise... (KJV) . Daniel 7:24 makes it abundantly clear that the ten horns are not other nations. The Bible says the ten kings will rise from within the Roman Empire, but none of the ten tribes arose from within or ruled over the Roman Empire.

Response: The preposition “out of” is the Hebrew “min.” Like many English prepositions, it is used for a wide variety of ideas. One of the most common is “of” or “from.” The ten kingdoms rose out of the Roman empire, however, so the word is fine. No, they weren’t Romans. They weren’t “out of” the population. Rather, they rose out of the land area. It is in this same sense that the USA rose out of the wilderness of America. The people were Europeans, but the land the country rose out of was sparsely inhabited. The ten tribes moved to the Roman empire, displaced it on its own soil, and ruled over that same soil. That is all the verse says and that is what happened.

Moreover, the most the Germanic tribes which took over imperial Rome had already found residence inside the borders of the Empire by the end of the fourth century A.D. In fact, much of the imperial army by that time was German. And by the time the Western empire fell in 476 A.D, the Germanic tribes had been setting up and putting down Emperors at will. Very much they were ruling the Empire by that time. Any careful history of the later Roman Empire will bear this out.

Argument: The Bible says the ten horns are "kings". The Aramaic word used is melek which literally means "king" and is only translated "king" in the Old Testatment, never "nation" or "kingdom". The ten tribes were nations, not kings. In the very same passage, the word malkuw is used, meaning "kingdom". And the ten horns out of this kingdom (malkuw) are ten kings (melek) that shall arise... If this passage was referring to ten kingdoms that defeated the Roman Empire, then we would have expected Daniel to use the word malkuw (kingdom) instead of melek (king).

Response: In Daniel 2 the Bible student learns that “king” and “kingdom” are used synonymously. (Dan 2:17 says that "the four beasts are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth." But verse 23 goes on to say, "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth." One is the man, the other is his dominion. Daniel 7 gives more detail. Ten tribes became sovereign states under the “Holy Roman Empire.” In Daniel 7 the word “kingdom” is used most often for empires, kingdoms that ruled other kingdoms. That is why Nebuchadnezzar is called a “king of kings.” Notice that there are “kings” under the “king.” This describes well spiritual Babylon too where the Pope ruled over sovereign states in Europe.

Argument: Adventists agree that the horn growing on the head of the Goat represents Alexandar the Great. When that one large horn is later replaced by four smaller horns, Adventists likewise teach the Macedonian empire was ruled by Alexander's four generals. It is entirely inconsistent for Adventists to interpret the horns of Daniel 7 as nations that conquered that beast while at the same time teaching that the horns of Daniel 8 are kings of that nation!

Response: This is very silly. Alexander, the man, did not fight against Persia. His army, the power of his nation, fought against Persia. But Alex was the man behind the army. So, in harmony with Daniel 2, the first horn was Alex. And the four horns were the four kingdoms that rose under his four generals. The four horns are not the four generals as distinct from their four segments of the empire. They are the four segments of the empire ruled by the four.

Part of this, however is true. Prophecy does not present the Roman empire and the Roman Catholic Empire as two different entities in Daniel 7. They are one beast. The ten horns did not overthrow this beast. Rather, they (seven of them) became the military arm that served the little horn and composed the Holy Roman Empire.

Argument: Another symbol ignored by the Historicist is the two iron legs of the image of Dan 2. The Roman Empire clearly split into two parts: Western, head-quartered in Rome, and Eastern, ruled from Constantinople. The ten tribes only attacked and conquered the western part of the empire. The eastern part continued on for more than 1,000 years. This destroys the SDA image of the ten toes being synomomous with ten tribes, because that would mean five toes on each foot, and the Eastern Empire was not defeated by any of the ten tribes.

Response: Daniel 2 neither mentions “two” legs nor “ten” toes. When the angel explains the image, it is explained that Rome will be followed by a divided kingdom that will be a mixture of strength and weakness. There is nothing said in the chapter about five toes on one foot and five on another. Nor are there two large toes and two heals. Such observations are just taking the metaphor further than it was intended to go.

But this objection greatly overestimates the significance of eastern Rome as distinct from the Holy Roman Empire. Both eastern and western Rome were submitted to the papacy in 538. Now remember that Daniel 7 is describing, not the nations of the world, but the dominant empire of each age. Daniel 7 specifies that Christ comes in the days “of these kings”…while they are still ruling. By the year 1700, eastern Rome had ceased to exist. What about western Rome? The seven surviving kingdoms had dominion over both Americas, over much of Africa, over India, over the Philippines and Indonesia, over Australia, and over most of the islands of the sea. Much world (75% of the world’s population now resides in the areas once held by these countries) had been conquered by the small nations of England, France, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland. Amazing.

Argument: Adventists teach that the Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Heuli were destroyed by the Pope of Rome. Such a revision of history is nothing less than pure fiction.

Response: Wrong, such a thing is there in history. See: http Historical sources affirm the little horn of Daniel 7

In fact, the papacy had everything to do with the uprooting of the Ostrogoths and Heruli…they were occupying Rome and she connived to displace them. That is why Justinian came west. This argument is silly. Regarding the Vandals, it was their unorthodoxy that best explains their extirpation. They were Arian. But the prophecy doesn’t say that the Little Horn uprooted them nor that it caused their uprooting; only that it happened before its face. This seems to indicate its interest, but not essentially its involvement.

Argument: Another problem is that at least 20 tribes invaded the Roman Empire. The SDA teaching contradicts history which says twenty tribes invaded the western Roman Empire, not ten.

Response: Some of the tribes that invaded Rome did split off into various fragments, but the ten we have listed as Adventists were in fact the principal forces that conquered the Empire.  For example, Luxemburg is not a major world player. Many insignificant tribes did attack the Roman Empire. But the Bible takes notice of the significant nations that displaced Rome and served the Pope. This again is that sort of "sand in the eyes" criticism that fails to consider how accurately this prophecy predicted the rise and fall of the nations to which it refers.

Argument: Two other tribes were uprooted during the time period by the Byzantines: the Huns (455 AD) and the Alemanni (495 AD) in addition to the three. Why do we not take this into account?

Response: Neither the Huns nor the Alemani were uprooted.  The Huns simply disappeared after Attila's death. The Huns did not settle in the area of the Holy Roman Empire. They settled north, in the Baltic area. Their military significance was short-lived. This is why Atila is compared to a falling star in Revelation. Neither were the Huns especially a threat to Orthodox Catholicism. The Alemanni are the Germans. They are alive and well. The same can’t be said for the Ostrogoths, Vandals, or Heruli.

Argument: Daniel makes it abundantly clear the ten kings will "arise from this kingdom". This could not possibly refer to outside entities that come in and conquer Rome. The only reasonable Biblical interpretation is that the ten horns represent ten kings or rulers over Rome. History records that there were, in fact, ten Roman Caesars who ruled Rome prior to the destruction of Jerusalem:

  1. Julius Caeser 49-44BC
  2. Augustus 31BC-14AD
  3. Tiberius (Luke 3:1) 14-37AD
  4. Gaius (aka. Caligula) 37-41AD
  5. Claudius (Acts 17) 41-54AD
  6. Nero 54-68AD
  7. Galba 68-69AD
  8. Otho 69AD
  9. Vitellius 69AD
  10. Vespasian 69-79AD

Response: This would be funny if it weren't so serious. Three emperors uprooted in order to let Nero rule?? That is CRAZY!! Only Claudius was put out of the way in order for Nero to rule, as she was poisoned by the Empress Aggrippina, who was the fourth wife of the Emperor Claudius. She had absolutely nothing to do with the deaths of Tiberius or Caligula. She wasn't even in a position of power at that time. How could these other two emperors have been put out of the way for Nero's sake, when neither he nor his mother had any schemes or plans at that time? Nor were they in any position to execute such schemes even if they had them.

Argument: The kingdom "shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High (7:27) - It is a mistake to think this passage is a reference to God's eternal kingdom. It is a reference to God's spiritual kingdom, which was established in approximately 30 AD when John the Baptist announced, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2).

Response: Those with this strange interpretation obviously haven't read the full text of Daniel 7. It cannot possibly refer to the spiritual kingdom of Christ only, as it goes on to say in verse 27 that when the kingdom is delivered to the saints of the Most High, "all dominions shall serve and obey Him." This obviously refers to the establishment of Christ's eternal kingdom, as all nations have not yet come to serve and obey Him. This is what happens, according to Revelation, when Jesus' eternal kingdom is established (Rev. 11:15).

 See other responses to articles appearing @ Amazing Fiction website:
1) 2300 Days - What is the significance of 1844? The 2300 days? The little horn of Daniel 8?
The 70 Week Prophecy of Dan. 9 - Did it start in 457 BC? End in 34 AD?
2) Signs of the End - What is the meaning of the dark day, great earthquake, moon of blood? Are they really signs?
3) Investigative Judgment - Does the Bible really teach one?
4) Millennium - Where are the Saints and Satan during the Millennium? Not on Earth?
See also:

  • Papal Supremacy (AD538-AD1798)
  • Little Horn of Daniel 8