THE TEN HORNS OF THE PROPHETIC HOURBack to Alphabetical Index | Back to Chapter Index
There has been much confusion among Bible Scholars concerning the identity of the prophetic ten toes of iron and clay (Dan.2:33;41-43) and the ten horned Beast alliance of nations (Rev.13:1-2) in relationship to the ten horns of the prophetic hour (Rev.17:12-14). The majority of those who interpret Biblical prophecy believe that the ten toes/kings/nations of Daniel and Revelation refer to an economic alliance of nations in Europe and see this alliance of nations as the manifestation of the last of seven resurrections of the Roman Empire and its Babylonian religious system. They also believe that this religious/political system is symbolized by the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image, the ten horns of the sea beast, and the ten horns of the prophetic hour. Although there may be some validity to the analysis of the religious/political system of Rome and the Beast's religious/political system of government, it does not explain the ten nations of the prophetic hour that are aligned with the Beast, hate the Great Whore, and make war with Christ at his coming (Rev.17:12-14).
Moreover, the only reference in the entire Bible that could remotely refer to the Roman empire as a prophetic entity during the end of the age is found in Daniel 11:30, which says the ships of Chittim shall come against the king of the north. In ancient times, Chittim referred to the island of Cyprus and it can be associated with the Roman ships of Admiral Popilius in 168 B.C.. However, because there is no mention in the books of Daniel or Revelation about the Roman Empire, it seems highly unlikely that it plays a major role in the end of the age events.
The Image and its Feet
"Behold a certain great image! That image stood before you with a brilliant brightness; and its form was dreadful. The head of this image was of fine gold; its breasts and its arms were of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze; its legs of iron, its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay" (Dan.2:31-33 Para.).
The Stone Smashes the Feet
"A stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, were together broken into pieces, and they became like chaff on the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no trace was found of them: and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain [government], and filled the whole earth" (Dan.2:34-35 Para.).
The ten toes (kings/nations) attached to the feet of the two legs of the image described in the second chapter of Daniel have never materialized in history and neither has the stone's (Christ's) kingdom, which will destroy the ten toes. Therefore, there can be no doubt that these prophecies are for the period of time associated with Christ's return in the future.
The Fourth Kingdom
"And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron: inasmuch as iron crushes and smashes all things: and as the iron that shatters all these, it will crush and shatter. And as for the feet and toes that you saw, these shall be partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it the strength of iron, because you saw the iron mixed with potters clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron, and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly fragile. And as you saw this iron mixed with the clay of the clay, they shall be mixed with the seed of men: but they shall not adhere to one another, even as iron does not mix with clay" (Dan.2:40-43 Para.).
The fourth kingdom with its legs of iron and feet of iron and clay that will exist during the end of this age will be as strong as iron (the Sea Beast, Rev.13:3-4); however, the feet and toes of the image are both strong and weak, which is symbolic of a powerful alliance of nations that is divided in its aims and goals and/or has a very fragile balance between its weak and strong components.
The Ten Horns of the Prophetic Hour
"And the ten horns you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received their kingdom; but will receive authority as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and their power and authority they shall give to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb [Jesus Christ], and the Lamb will overcome them: because he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and the ones with him are the called and elect, and faithful ones" (Rev.17:12-14 Para.).
There are four important things to note concerning these ten kings/nations who will align themselves with the Sea Beast:
1. They will not be allied with the Sea Beast's ten nation alliance until the last few days before Christ's return.
2. They will only be allowed to align themselves with the Sea Beast's alliance of nations for one prophetic hour (15 days).
3. They will give their total support to the Sea Beast's alliance.
4. They will fight Christ and the elect of God when they return to conquer the earth.
The Sea Beast's alliance of ten nations called the Beast, along with the Earth Beast, which is the state religion of the Beast alliance of nations, will be given authority over the earth for 3½ years, whereas the ten nations of Revelation 17:12-14 will be controlled by the Sea Beast (the king of the north, Dan.11:40-45) and only exist under its control for one prophetic hour (approximately fifteen days). Therefore, these ten nations of the prophetic hour are not the Sea Beast, but only serve it for a short time, and because they are not the Sea Beast, the question of who these ten horns (nations) of the prophetic hour are still needs to be answered.
The Ten Toes and Ten Horns
Chapter two of Daniel describes an image with a head of gold, a chest and arms of silver, and a belly and thighs of brass. This image splits into two parts represented by its legs of iron. At the bottom of these two legs are feet with five toes each that are composed of iron and clay. It is in the days of these ten toes (kings/nations) that the stone (Jesus Christ) will be cut out of a mountain (the Kingdom of God) and smash the feet and toes (Dan.2:34-35).
The major thing that causes people confusion about the identity of the ten kings/nations symbolized by the ten toes in Daniel 2:34-35, the ten horns of Revelation 17:12-14, and the ten horns of Daniel 7:7 and Revelation 13:1-2 and 17:9-10, is not understanding that there are two distinct and separate 10 nation alliances being referred to in these scriptures. One ten nation alliance is the Beast (king of the north) who is allied with the Great Whore and the other ten nation alliance is an alliance of two groups of five nations that will combine to form the ten horns of the prophetic hour of Revelation 17:12-14 (the kings of the north and south).
When one carefully reads the description of king Nebuchadnezzar's image, one will notice that the head of gold is identified as Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, and the silver portion, along with the other parts of brass, iron, and iron mixed with clay, are not identified. However, if chapter eight of Daniel is a parallel account of this image, history seems to indicate that the Medes and, probably, the Medo-Persian empire and the Greek empire under Alexander the Great are the symbolic fulfillment of the second and third empires symbolized by the great image of the second chapter of Daniel. This leaves the fourth empire still unidentified.
The Grecian kingdom was eventually divided into four sections out of which developed two kingdoms of the north and south: the Seleucid Empire with headquarters usually in northern Syria and the Ptolemaic Empire located in Egypt. Perhaps these empires are symbolic of the two legs of the image.
If the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Empires are representations of the ten toes and the ten horns of the prophetic hour, we should be looking for events to occur concerning the nations to the north and to the south of Jerusalem and Judea that are similar to the ones that occurred around 168-165 B.C. If these nations are representative of future events, a king of the north and a king of the south, who each control five nations or combinations of five nations, must come to power.
The Book of Daniel places the prophetic context of the ten toes and ten horns of the prophetic hour in the kingdoms of the North and South that surround Jerusalem. Moreover, the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation almost exclusively focus on the peoples of the House of Israel who are scattered among the nations, the peoples of the House of Judah (the Israelis), the city of Jerusalem, and the holy Temple. And historically, the Seleucid kingdom of Syria and the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt were once the North and South kingdoms. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect the future north and south kings to be located in these geographical areas. Therefore, it should be fairly easy to determine who the king of the North (five nations) and the king of the South (five nations) are in relation to Jerusalem.
In order to identify the nations that are represented by the two legs and ten toes of Daniel and the ten horns of the prophetic hour of Revelation, we must find nations or groups of nations that fulfill all the criteria that are given for them:
Because the two legs of Daniel's image (the kings of the north and south) were once located squarely in the Middle East (with Jerusalem at their center), it is logical that the ten future kings will also arise in that area. And that is just where the Bible places them; therefore, we should be looking for five kings (nations) located to the north and five to the south of Jerusalem.
The Nations Surrounding Israel
The only prophecies that speak of ten kings/horns/nations that will exist just before Christ's return and war against Israel, the Jews, and Christ are found in the books of Psalms, Daniel, and Revelation. Daniel's prophecy only alludes to two separate groups of ten nations (ten toes/ten horns), but the Book of Revelation clearly defines two separate groups of ten nations: one that is the Sea Beast alliance of ten nations, and one ten nation alliance that serves the Sea Beast. Of these three books, only in Psalm 83 do we find the names of ten nations that oppose Israel (the Jews) during the end of the age.
Psalm 83 Paraphrased
"O God do not keep yourself silent, do not be speechless; do not be still, O God For your enemies are roaring: and those who hate you have lifted up their head. They take shrewd council against your people [the Israelis]; they plot against your hidden ones. They have said, Come, let us cut them off from being a nation; and the nation of Israel will not be recalled again. For they have plotted together with one heart; they have made an agreement against you" (vs.1-5).
Notice the reference to the hidden ones. This is most likely a reference to the elect of God who are being protected in the holy land while they proclaim the gospel prior to the return of Christ. The goal of these people who plot against the Israelis is to wipe them from the face of the earth.
"Even the tents of Edom, and of the descendants of Ishmael, Moab, Hagarite; Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, and Philistia and the inhabitants of Tyre. Also Assyria has joined with them: they are an arm to the sons of Lot" (vs.6-8).
Here, we have the peoples of Edom, the descendants Ishmael , Moab, Hagarite, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, and Philistia, the inhabitants of Tyre, Assyria and the sons of Lot who comprise ten ancient nations in the Middle East that surrounded Israel.
Nowhere in history has this combination of nations opposed Israel; therefore, this Psalm is clearly a prophecy for the future, and it is highly likely that their modern-day descendants will be the nations that comprise the ten nations of the prophetic hour that will be allied with the Sea Beast and war against the Israelis in the last days before Christ's return.
These Nations Destroy the Great Whore
Very close to Christ's return, and perhaps during the last two plagues that Christ pours out on the Beast alliance of nations and the world, the ten nation alliance of Psalm 83 that is to the north and south of Israel will be motivated by God to destroy the capital city of the Beast's Babylonian religious system:
"And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the whore, and will make her desolate and naked, and they will eat her flesh, and will burn her down with fire. For God gives it into their hearts to do his mind, and to act in one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman who you saw is the great city, having a kingdom over the kings of the earth" (Rev.17:16-18 Para.).
Although the scriptures do not say why these ten nations hate the Great Whore, when one understands the religions of these two ten nation alliances, it is easy to see that what takes place here is one powerful evil religious system destroying another powerful evil religious system with which it has major unreconcilable theological differences concerning who and what to worship.
Who is the Whore?
"The woman you saw is the great city that has rule over the kings of the earth" (Rev.17:18 Para.).
The only city in today's world that rules over kings is Vatican City within the city of Rome that sits on seven hills. This seems to be the great and powerful religion that has its capital in a city close to the sea that will meet its fate at the hands of the ten nations in a very short time, perhaps in just 15 days (one prophetic hour):
"The seven heads are seven mountains [nations/empires] on which the woman [evil religious system] sits. And the kings are seven: five have fallen, and one is, and the other has not yet come; and when he does come, he must remain a little while" (Rev.17:9-10 Para.).
The Coming Kingdom of God
"And in the days of these kings [those of the prophetic hour], the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people. It shall break in pieces and destroy all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Because you saw that the stone [Jesus Christ] was cut out of the mountain without hands, and it broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold in pieces; the great God has made known to the king what shall occur after this" (Dan.2:44-45 Para.).
Jesus Christ will completely crush these ten Middle Eastern nations as well as the ten nation Beast alliance during the great battle at Armageddon. And after these evil alliances of nations are destroyed, the God of Heaven (Jesus Christ) will set up a government on earth that will be governed by spirit-beings forever.
One of the keys to unlocking the meaning of certain prophecies is to understand that some prophecies may have a duality of symbolism and fulfillment. This is clearly the case with some of the prophecies recorded in the Book of Daniel. Therefore, just before Christ's return, we should see events occurring among the nations that surround Israel that are similar to the ones that occurred in this area in 168-165 B.C.
What to Look For
Psalm 83 reveals that there will be ten nations in the Middle East encompassing Jerusalem that will seek to destroy Israel. Because it is no secret that many of the nations that now surround Israel hate her and want her destroyed, what we should look for is ten autonomous nations in the Middle East that are inhabited by the modern descendants of the ten nations mentioned in Psalm 83. We should look for these ten nations to form two alliances: five to the north and five to the south of Israel. These nations will constitute the ten toes of iron and clay of the great image of Daniel 2:42-43, which are different from the ten-nation Beast.