Is the Catholic Church the Little Horn of Daniel 7?
Seventh Day Adventists and some fundamentalists will point to Daniel 7 and
say "hey, that's the Catholic Church." This is typical of a kind of
dispensationalism that tries to undermine the
Catholic Church by identifying it with the pagan empires.
Scholarship is the solution to hollow emotional arguments that twist history. These are the notes from the New American Bible on Daniel 7. They are self explanatory:
1 [1-27] The significance of this vision is the same as that of Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2; see note on Daniel 2:36-45. To the four succeeding world kingdoms, Babylonian, Median, Persian, and Greek, is opposed the messianic kingdom of the people of God. The imagery of this chapter has been used extensively in the Revelation of St. John, where it is applied to the Roman empire, the persecutor of the Church.
2  The great sea: the primordial ocean beneath the earth, according to primitive cosmology (Genesis 7:11; 49:25). This was thought to contain various monsters (Isaiah 27:1; Job 7:12), and in particular mythological monsters symbolizing the chaos which God had vanquished in ancient times (Job 9:13; 26:13; etc.).
3  The representation of the Babylonian empire as a winged lion, a common motif in Babylonian art, symbolizes the bestial power hostile to God. The two wings that were plucked represent Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. On two feet like a man . . . a human mind: contrasts with what is said in Daniel 4:13, 30.
4  A bear: represents the Median empire, its three tusks symbolizing its destructive nature; hence, the command: "Up, devour much flesh."
5  A leopard: used to symbolize the swiftness with which Cyrus the Persian established his kingdom. Four heads: corresponding to the four Persian kings of Daniel 11:2.
6 [7-8] Alexander's empire was different from all the others in that it was Western rather than Oriental in inspiration. The ten horns represent the kings of the Seleucid dynasty, the only part of the Hellenistic empire that concerned the author. The little horn is Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 B.C.), the worst of the Seleucid kings, who usurped the throne.
7 [9-10] A vision of the heavenly throne of God (the Ancient One), who sits in judgment (symbolized by fire) over the nations. Some of the details of the vision, depicting the divine majesty and omnipotence, are to be found in Ezekiel 1.
8 [13-14] One like a son of man: in contrast to the worldly kingdoms opposed to God, which appear as beasts, the glorified people of God that will form his kingdom on earth is represented in human form (Daniel 7:18). Just as our Lord applied the figure of the stone hewn from the mountain to himself (Daniel 2:36-45), he also made the title "Son of Man" his most characteristic way of referring to himself, as the One in whom and through whom the salvation of God's people came to be realized.
9  The reference is to the persecutions of Antiochus IV and his attempt to force the Jews to give up their customs and to adopt Hellenistic ways (1 Macc 1:33-34). A year, two years, and a half-year: an indefinite, evil period of time. As seven is the Jewish "perfect" number, half of it signifies great imperfection. Actually, this corresponds fairly accurately to the duration of Antiochus' persecution.
10  This verse ends the Aramaic part of the Book of Daniel.
Seventh day Adventists claim that early Christians observed the Lord's day on the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) and that Constantine changed it to Sunday so he could do a Sol Invictus sun worship thing. Jesus died on Friday, he rose on the third day. The Second Day is Saturday, the 3rd day is what we now call Sunday. It is little wonder that Early Christians observed this as the "Lord's Day." There are many references in the first two centuries of Christianity to this "8th day" (after the Saturday Sabbath) long before Constantine's 321 A.D. declaration of that day as an official day of rest and worship of the Christian God.
Thanks to Dr. Art Wood for supplying these notes.
Lord Jesus, let Your prayer of unity for Christians
become a reality, in Your way.
We have absolute confidence
that you can bring your people together,
we give you absolute permission to move.