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Tuesday: Identifying the Little Horn — 20 Comments

  1. The Papacy has long been interpreted as the little horn power not only by Seventh-day Adventists but by many other Protestants as well. The really big sin of the Papacy was its use of Christianity as a mechanism for controlling people. We sometimes tend to concentrate on their treatment of those who we believe were the followers of Christ, but in truth, they were coercive and cruel to everyone, including their own. The notion of legislated religious adherence is something that is completely foreign to the Gospel.

    God has created us with free choice and any religion that uses force and/or legislation to ensure adherence cuts across God's plan for us.

    (Just as a little hypothetical, if you were in a county, state, or country where Seventh-day Adventists were in a position to legislate, what legislation would we put into place to protect ourselves and our beliefs? )

    The other issue that springs to mind when this topic arises is that we need to seriously consider our relationship with our Roman Catholic friends at this time. Anyone who has listened to or viewed the news in recent years are aware of the systematic sexual abuse by clergy and the resulting coverup. This is a heaven sent opportunity to show compassion and understanding rather than condemnation. I believe we have been given a window of opportunity to share the Gospel in action with some very disillusioned Christians.

    Maybe Mordecai's instruction to Esther is appropriate for us:

    For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14 KJV

  2. In addition to the benefits there are dangers in having an organized church structure. We see it in the Jews of Jesus' time, we see it in the medieval catholic church and even in our community of faith.
    A group gets together to study the Word , they organize to spread the good news, more join the group and as it gets larger there are organizational issues like in Acts they rightly decided to appoint deacons to look after the feeding of the flock while the apostles concentrated on spreading the Gospel. This is all good and part of the LORD's plan for looking after His sheep, Jesus clearly gave His disciples two instructions - make more disciples and care for the needy.
    So where is the danger? It is in those who preach a different gospel to the one established, Paul writes about that on different occasions in his letters to the Galatians, to Timothy and Titus among others. This is the danger - how does the organization deal with these individuals and their followers? Who determines what is misleading the flock and what is new light from the LORD? At what stage should those who believe differently to the original group be asked or required to leave the organization?
    We see many struggling with these questions.
    I believe that organizations that try to force people to change their minds have crossed the line. We see examples in history of torture, death, burning at the stake, financial sanctions being used to get rid of hertics i.e. any one who believed differently. Rev 13 warns us this will happen again, but is it not already happening closer to home?

    What is my point? I believe that the purpose of the prophecies of Daniel are to show us that not only are there political powers that persecute God's people but as Jesus said there are those who persecute his people who think they are doing God's will John 16:1-3.
    The LORD wants us to know that the little horn who became great was not doing His will then during the time when it had power. The warning of Rev 13 is don't concentrate only on that power because while you are looking in that direction the danger will come from the other directions as well.

    As many have pointed out governments have instituted rules for the 'common good' to protect its people from covid 19 danger, what if they decide what I believe is a danger? In my country as they are lifting the lockdown they are allowing a limited number to go to church provided they comply with certain rules one of which is
    they must keep a list of the names and addresses of all who attend so they can track them down "if necessary"!!

    • You have a number of very important points in your comment Shirley. I think your conclusion is particularly pertinent:

      I believe that the purpose of the prophecies of Daniel are to show us that not only are there political powers that persecute God's people but as Jesus said there are those who persecute his people who think they are doing God's will.

      Regarding the Corvid-19 restrictions, it needs to be said that loss of privilege is not persecution. That is something that has escaped the attention of those who are claiming ill treatment as a result of the isolation rules. We have to give up some freedoms for the common good of society. I do not have the privilege of driving on the right-hand side of the road in Australia. By common consent we agree that it is to our best good that we all travel on the left. We ultimately gain by our loss of privilege. That is not persecution.

      • Yes Maurice, at this stage the covid 19 restrictions are for our good, but the ability to put into effect such draconian restrictions on movement and ability to earn a living by decree is an example of what free society will accept if they are convinced it is for the common good.

        • I am not sure about that Shirley. There was a lot of rebellion against the restrictions particularly when public opinion felt they were no longer necessary or another issue arose that forced the restrictions off the agenda.

          • Maurice, Well that is good news then.

            I wonder if they will also object when the second beast gives the image of the first beast the power to issue decrees as per Rev 13.

          • The biggest threat to Christianity today is secularism. Loss of freedom may or may not happen. Christianity is being dispatched into the no longer relevant basket by the secular mind. That is more insidious than loss of freedom.

        • I get what you're saying and I think it is very interesting that you use the term "common good" because I believe this is the new buzzword that the Vatican has been using and will use to do just what you describe.

          We are not there yet however but this I see as more of a trial run but I believe that eventually great evil will be done in the name of the "common good."

      • Just a quick thought. I spent 7 years instead of 4 for my undergraduate degree because my university deliberately denied me and many other adventist, the right to take exams on days other than Saturday although the university had made accommodation for such arrangements in the previous 30 years. Many of us that stood till the end lost out on career and life opportunities, yet we live. This gives me a different take on persecutions. I think the persecution of our times will not be in the gladiatorial arenas, on the stake and on the crosses of the apostolic or reformation years, but will be in very subtle ways. To choose between living here on earth or standing for Christ and losing the acceptance and privileges of our day. Surrendering the will and mind to Gods control to be unique or leaving it to the depraved immoralities of our times to be accepted. There-in lies our persecution.

    • Hi Shirley? Your points on the organizational structure of the church is just wonderful and articulate, do you believe the same danger can also lurk in our (SDA) leadership/organizational structure?

  3. It is very important to understand the figurative language of this prophecy according to the principle of the Bible interpreting itself. Here, we do the parallel of the world's history with the prophecy. That's why it could never be interpreted/understood before all of the historical events had happened. Today, we know that there is more to happen yet, but we certainly do not have to be afraid. NOW is always the time to prepare. As people who believe in the Bible, we know we are living at the end of times, and we know that the planet will go through some more harsh pain. Do we want to wait for these things to happen while we get into dispair like anyone who's ignorant about the love of God? Or we want to have such a relationship with Jesus so we can feel His hands over us, even if the whole world collapses right in front of our own eyes? Let's get acquainted with Jesus, because we believe His return may be close!
    "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."John 14:27

  4. Can two walk together unless they agree. Amos 3:3

    Shirley you said- “I believe that organizations that try to force people to change their minds have crossed the line.” can you clear this up. There was a group that arose out of the SDA church- the Shepherd Rod/The Rod/The Davidians. When groups tries to go against the Bible how do we treat them? When groups go against the church how do we treat them? Moving forward, several groups are arising now and challenging the church, how do we deal with them?

    How do we know when new light comes to the church? Eg White states she was not given all the interpretations of the word and new/more light will be given to God’s people, but we have to first accept what we have.

    • “When groups tries to go against the Bible how do we treat them? When groups go against the church how do we treat them?“

      How did Jesus treat Judas whom Jesus knew would betray him?

      How did Jesus treat Peter whom Jesus knew would deny him?

      How did Jesus treat the church leadership whom Jesus knew were misleading and ‘destroying’ the people?

      There were variations in how Jesus specifically treated each of the above - but there was only one underpinning motivation of Jesus heart in doing so.

  5. If I was one of the founders of a country, or state, where Seventh-day Adventists were in a position to legislate, I would have religious freedom, where the separation of Church and state would not be allowed to interfere with religious freedom, legislation would always up hold a constitution with this religious freedom. Free to choose a day of worship. Free to spread the gospel, of course without coercion. No we cannot legeslate compassion and under standing, but we can encourage it. When we are serving others there is no room for condemnation even amongst ourselves. Colossions 3:23,24. John 3:17.

    • In our adventist institutions, we don't allow freedom of worship. non-adventist are required to participate in all spiritual events including sabbath worship or face academic consequences. They cannot eat any meat in the cafeteria or on the school premises except what is offered by the school. When I raised questions about religious liberty in my public university, the response i got was to drop out and attend an adventist university. How can we run a righteous organization, nation while ensuring that every person's expression of thought and conscience is guaranteed?

    • It was never God's desire that His people were involved in politics as the world is. Israel were not supposed to have kings! I am not saying we should not accomplish our duties as citizens, which we should at all times, but it was never God's intention to have His people directly involved into politics.

      "Those teachers in the church or in the school who distinguish themselves by their zeal in politics, should be relieved of their work and responsibilities without delay; for the Lord will not co-operate with them. The tithe should not be used to pay any one for speechifying on political questions. Every teacher, minister, or leader in our ranks who is stirred with a desire to ventilate his opinions on political questions, should be converted by a belief in the truth, or give up his work. His influence must tell as a laborer together with God in winning souls to Christ, or his credentials must be taken from him. If he does not change, he will do harm, and only harm.
      In the name of the Lord I would say to the teachers in our schools, Attend to your appointed work. You are not called upon by God to engage in politics. “All ye are brethren,” Christ declares, “and as one you are to stand under the banner of Prince Emmanuel.” “What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? ... For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave, and swear by His name. He is thy praise, and He is thy God.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 477.

  6. we are in great war between spirit and fresh ,but our Lord Jesus has already won the war.What is required is to rely on him, because he is our savior in every circumstance this is Daniel did in those days

  7. If you consider the prophecies of both Daniel and the Revelation, this little horn power is called "the abomination of desolation" and "Babylon the great, mother of harlots", etc, so it seems very important to understand what/who it is doesn't it? So many warnings given, vast numbers of individuals deceived/persecuted/killed, and the whole world being led astray by this powerful entity, identified in Daniel as the "little horn".

    The details given in every account(4 in Daniel, 4 in the Revelation) are sufficient to anyone who is honest to know what/who this is and how they would, and have worked against the Truth and God's people for over 1000 years. Their last effort against Truth and God's people will lead most on this earth to their final and eternal ruin. It seems important to understand this as it is given, for the faithful remnant, who "keep the commandments of God and have the faith/testimony of Jesus" will give the last warning against this malignant and deceptive power that will use force to cause all to disobey the Law of God, which will lead them to their eternal ruin and destruction.

    Can we understand why Ellen writes "The solemn messages that have been given in their order in the Revelation are to occupy the first place in the minds of God's people"? - 8T, 302

    Yes, there is more than the little horn to understand, but it is magnified in both Daniel and the Revelation above all the other powers identified. It is the most deceptive, dangerous, and powerful, and we could be under its influence more than we might wish to think.

  8. Any 'demand for compliance' in order to be allowed to 'participate' should raise a huge red flag in the Christan's mind under any and all circumstances.

    At this time, we are still able to just remove ourselves from an organized body if we do not want to comply with its demands.
    But when Government becomes the enforcement arm of a 'religious' establishment, then it is when we are in danger to lose our prescious 'freedom of choice' - the ability to choose freely with no implied threat to our safety - and potentially can lose our life.
    We can observe the effects of loosing our freedom to choose without repercussions as displayed by the rioter's call of 'submission' to all their demands, and the threat to inflict more violence if not complied with.

    The 'little horn' had structured itself as a power that could execute its will by demanding total submission. With this, it established the power to decree who would live and who would die.
    This is the same power-structure that King Nebuchadnezzar established in Daniel's time. It is based on the same premise - the demand to be the sole power to be worshiped or lose ones life.
    One can easily understand that, found in such a position, the person wants to preserve his/her life. And that is 'the crux of the matter'. We need to tell everyone that there IS a Power that cancels out this power's threat.

    Our God is the Supreme ruler and the only one with the claim of authority to be worshiped. It is He that holds the power over life and death. No other power can be established that will usurp His. But the adversary is busily at work to deceive all nations.

    Every person living during those times when such a decree is established will need to know that there is a God that saves, that this God will bring them back to life should they chose to die, that they need not to be afraid to die, because this dying is chosing to live.

    As members of an organized church, Christians face many dangers which could take the eyes of the One we believe in, the reason why we believe and could potentially undermine or weaken our walk by Faith.
    It is tempting to hide under the 'security-blanket' offered by an 'established' organization of religious worship. But it exposes the believer to a great danger - The dangers arising from compliance through complacency.
    Maintaining the familiar forms of institutionalized worship can establish itself as a competing force, overshadowing the work to reach the lost souls.
    To maintaine familar structure and organizational preferences can become the focal point of the efforts by its leadership. It can go as far as being labeled 'trouble maker' should one persist to bring the focus back to the, at one time, accepted mission of reaching All souls.

    To answer today's lession question: Yes, I hope that our Adventist administration's leadership continues, and even greatly increases, the use of Prophecy Seminars as our 'frontline' to present the Truth to the communities of all faiths and persuations.

    All need to hear the Three Angel's messages. After all, this is God's warning to all mankind. Many members, well established in the interpretation of Daniel and Revelation, can stand at the frontline. The follow-up work is done by the many members in the churches through various forms of ministry.
    It is a great harvest waiting to be brought in!

    I do not think it wise to directly confront the issue using one organized church to confront the organization of another church.
    We can be as bold as we chose to be regarding the 'Three Angels Message' to be presented in a Prophecy Seminar setting. Broadly adverticed in media, anyone coming to these meetings has already made a choice and is prepared and willing to hear.

    As Adventists, we can now focus all our efforts on the mission work - outside and inside our Country. This focus needs to become again our call to service; everything else regarding the organized church will fall into place.
    I believe that God will greatly bless the organizers, the presenters and all helpers which contribute with their service to these efforts - and with that - the true Church will help 'bring in the sheaves'.

  9. Simeon, there may be some who would seek to use their positions to force compliance, however I trust the LORD will not allow this to prosper in the long run. He guided the set up of the organizational structure such that the lay members with the guidance of the Holy Spirit choose the leaders at each level.
    EG White was assured in vision that this community of faith will endure to the end although many will be shaken out.


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