Chapter 9. - The One and Ten Horns: correcting St. Augustine of Hippo
The TEN Horns mentioned by John in Revelation 17:7, 17:12 and 17:16 is an attack on the Laws of Rome known through the TWELVE tablets directed by a set of TEN men throughout roman history. The mention of the "TEN horns" within the Book of Revelation was to present the triumph of the Law of God (The Songs of Moses and Jesus - Revelation 15:3) over the twelve "secular" tablets of Roman law. John, the writer of the Book of Revelation, used the term "Ten Horns" from the Book of Daniel to describe Roman law as an antagonist towards his perception of what is the "divine" rule of law.
Who or what are the TEN horns described by John? It is true that in the Book of Daniel it mentions TEN horns (Daniel Chapter seven). More specifically, Daniel 7:24 parallels with Revelation 17:12. The reason to point this out is to evaluate the mind of John, the writer of the Book of Revelation, to connect his current circumstances of history to the Book of Daniel. Why? Augustine of Hippo, several years later during the invasion of Rome in 410 A.D. by Alaric who led the Huns, executes the same mental judgment to his historical circumstances and tries to connect the misfortune of his Christian community with the writings of both Daniel and John. Before the evidence is presented highlighting Augustine’s misinterpretation of a false prediction the subject of the ‘One and Ten horns’ must be explained. The ‘Ten Horns’ have no relation to a future setting but actually describes a theme or subject during the era of the writer. John was writing and attacking symbolically the Roman system using Daniel’s allegory. John was specifically addressing the TEN men in the Roman government.
First, who or what are the TEN men of the twelve roman tablets or tables? It is a group of ten legislators to enact legislation of Roman law over the years to direct Roman society and impose Roman culture in society. The imposition of Roman law affected the lives of the early Christian community. In other words, these ten men are symbolically opposers to the twelve elders mentioned in the Book of Revelation. This imposition also threatened Jewish culture and this threat was sensed years earlier in the encroachment of Hellenistic culture. The historical evidence is the struggle of the Maccabees to defeat the encroaching Greek culture imported by puppet Jewish kings or leaders. The evidence is stated by Will Durant in his book Caesar and Christ:
"The next step in the climb of the plebs was a demand for definite, written, and secular laws. Heretofore the patrician priests had been the recorders and interpreters of the statutes, had kept their records secret, and had used their monopoly, and the ritual requirements of the law, as weapons against social change. After a long resistance to the new demands, the Senate (454) sent a commission of three patricians to Greece to study and report on the legislation of Solon and other lawmakers. When they returned, the Assembly chose ten men - decemviri - to formulate a new code, and gave them supreme governmental power in Rome for two years. This commission, under the presidency of a resolute reactionary, Appius Claudius, transformed the old customary law of Rome into the famous Twelve Tables, submitted them to the Assembly (which passed them with some changes), and displayed them in the Forum for all who would - and could - to read. This seemingly trivial event was epochal in Roman history and in the history of mankind; it was the first written form of that legal structure which was to be Rome's most signal achievement and her greatest contribution to civilization"(page 23).
"Within this unique constitution the magistrates administered a system of law based upon the Twelve Tables of the Decemvirs. Before that epochal enactment Roman law had been a mixture of tribal customs, royal edicts, and priestly commands. Mos Maiorum - the way of the ancients - remained to the end of pagan Rome the examplar of morals and a source of law; and through imagination and edification idealized the ruthless burghers of the early Republic, the tales told of them helped educators to form a stoic character in Roman youth. For the rest, early Roman law was a priestly rule, a branch of religion, surrounded with sacred sanctions and solemn rites"(page 31).
"The Twelve Tables affected a double juristic revolution: the publication and secularization of Roman law"(page 31).
"The ius civile, or law of citizens, freed itself in these Tables from the ius divinum, or divine law; Rome decided not to be a theocracy"(page 32).
The above evidence is an example of a cultural clash or cultural war between Gentiles and Jews over the years. The words written by John in the Book of Revelation was an expression of this ongoing cultural war in which the nascent Christians entered as a factor when they replaced the Jewish people as God's chosen people.
The subject of "God's chosen people" was brought up by several early church leaders one or two generations later:
Chapter LXXXII.—The prophetical gifts of the Jews were transferred to the Christians.
“For the prophetical gifts remain with us, even to the present time. And hence you ought to understand that [the gifts] formerly among your nation have been transferred to us. And just as there were false prophets contemporaneous with your holy prophets, so are there now many false teachers amongst us, of whom our Lord forewarned us to beware; so that in no respect are we deficient, since we know that He foreknew all that would happen to us after His resurrection from the dead and ascension to heaven. For He said we would be put to death, and hated for His name’s sake; and that many false prophets and false Christs would appear in His name, and deceive many: and so has it come about. For many have taught godless, blasphemous, and unholy doctrines, forging them in His name; have taught, too, and even yet are teaching, those things which proceed from the unclean spirit of the devil, and which were put into their hearts. Therefore we are most anxious that you be persuaded not to be misled by such persons, since we know that everyone who can speak the truth, and yet speaks it not, shall be judged by God, as God testified by Ezekiel, when He said, ‘I have made thee a watchman to the house of Judah. If the sinner sin, and thou warn him not, he himself shall die in his sin; but his blood will I require at thine hand. But if thou warn him, thou shalt be innocent.’ And on this account we are, through fear, very earnest in desiring to converse [with men] according to the Scriptures, but not from love of money, or of glory, or of pleasure. For no man can convict us of any of these [vices]. No more do we wish to live like the rulers of your people, whom God reproaches when He says, ‘Your rulers are companions of thieves, lovers of bribes, followers of the rewards.’ Now, if you know certain amongst us to be of this sort, do not for their sakes blaspheme the Scriptures and Christ, and do not assiduously strive to give falsified interpretations.
(Source: Dialogue with Trypho)
Chapter X.—Beware of Judaizing.
Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be. Therefore, having become His disciples, let us learn to live according to the principles of Christianity. Literally, “according to Christianity.” For whosoever is called by any other name besides this, is not of God. Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven, and be ye changed into the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be ye salted in Him, lest any one among you should be corrupted, since by your savour ye shall be convicted. It is absurd to profess Some read, “to name.” Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace literally, “believe into,” merge into. Judaism, but Judaism Christianity, that so every tongue which believeth might be gathered together to God.
Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be. For “if Thou, Lord, shalt mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” Let us therefore prove ourselves worthy of that name which we have received. For whosoever is called by any other name besides this, he is not of God; for he has not received the prophecy which speaks thus concerning us: “The people shall be called by a new name, which the Lord shall name them, and shall be a holy people.” This was first fulfilled in Syria; for “the disciples were called Christians at Antioch," when Paul and Peter were laying the foundations of the Church. Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the corrupt leaven, and be ye changed into the new leaven of grace. Abide in Christ, that the stranger or, “enemy.” may not have dominion over you. It is absurd to speak of Jesus Christ with the tongue, and to cherish in the mind a Judaism which has now come to an end. For where there is Christianity there cannot be Judaism. For Christ is one, in whom every nation that believes, and every tongue that confesses, is gathered unto God. And those that were of a stony heart have become the children of Abraham, the friend of God; Some read, “children of God, friends of Abraham.” and in his seed all those have been blessed who were ordained to eternal life in Christ.
(Source: Epistles to the Magnesians)
Daniel 7:7 is supposedly referenced to the TEN horns to describe the fourth beast expressed in the same verse. If we were to connect DANIEL 7:7, DANIEL 7:20, DANIEL 7:24, REVELATION 17:7, REVELATION 17:12 and REVELATION 17:16 then we could properly conclude, that these verses from these two books, describes the 4th Beast of Daniel. Then we could say that the 4th Beast is the Roman Empire! But is this really a closed case or the proper conclusion? REVELATION 17:10 and DANIEL 7:24 are not similar. The Revelation passage is a description of an internal matter and the passage from Daniel is a description of an external object. Obviously, the Revelation passage is a combination of describing literal number of rulers(or Roman emperors) and Roman Law("One mind" described in Revelation 17:13). Therefore, 4th Beast of Daniel is the Roman Empire according to John. The borrowing of symbols, by John, was to describe the Roman Empire. Then we could properly conclude that the verse from Revelation 17:10 is describing the fall of the Roman emperor Nero and not a future individual or leader. Therefore, properly identifying who is "666" in REVELATION 13:18 being the Roman emperor Nero himself. The subject concerning the identification of the mind as a separate object is well-known in Jewish law. For example, the stealing of the mind or ideas was known as "g'neivat da'at ".
The writer of the Book of Revelation, John, simply used the language from the Book of Daniel and incorporated Daniel's motif into his obvious political treatise in describing the eventual fall of the Roman Empire (Revelation 17:16).
In other words, John used a "prophecy" from the Book of Daniel and imposed it to describe the Roman Empire. The fourth beast described by Daniel is not the Roman Empire but rather Alexander of Macedonia who defeated 3 kings previously during his era. Remember, Daniel's reference to the Ten Horns is an external description and John's usage is for the internal workings of an empire or state.
Then we have the statement of St. Augustine himself presenting the misinterpretation of what is stated by John and Daniel:
" I confess, indeed, that I fear we may be mistaken in respect of the ten kings whom Antichrist, as it seems, is to find, who are ostensibly ten men; I am afraid, that is, that Antichrist may come unexpectedly, seeing that there are not as many kings as that in existence in the Roman world. But it may be suggested that the number ten signifies the total number of kings after whom he is to come, in the same way as totality is frequently signified by a thousand, or a hundred, or seven, or by several other numbers - there is no need to give a list of them here. "
(City of God, Book XX, ch. 23, pg. 946)
The above evidence is clearly presenting to us how John's Millennialism has been warped and incorrectly reinterpreted over the years. The further away the date, A.D. 70 drifts, the more irrational the theories become.
The next evidence below is an example of how the theory has changed. The evidence below is from one or two generations away from the crucial date of A.D. 70:
Chapter XXVI.—John and Daniel have predicted the dissolution and desolation of the Roman Empire, which shall precede the end of the world and the eternal kingdom of Christ. The Gnostics are refuted, those tools of Satan, who invent another Father different from the Creator.
1. In a still clearer light has John, in the Apocalypse, indicated to the Lord’s disciples what shall happen in the last times, and concerning the ten kings who shall then arise, among whom the empire which now rules [the earth] shall be partitioned. He teaches us what the ten horns shall be which were seen by Daniel, telling us that thus it had been said to him: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet, but shall receive power as if kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and give their strength and power to the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, because He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings.” It is manifest, therefore, that of these [potentates], he who is to come shall slay three, and subject the remainder to his power, and that he shall be himself the eighth among them. And they shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the Church to flight. After that they shall be destroyed by the coming of our Lord. For that the kingdom must be divided, and thus come to ruin, the Lord [declares when He] says: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” It must be, therefore, that the kingdom, the city, and the house be divided into ten; and for this reason He has already foreshadowed the partition and division [which shall take place]. Daniel also says particularly, that the end of the fourth kingdom consists in the toes of the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar, upon which came the stone cut out without hands; and as he does himself say: “The feet were indeed the one part iron, the other part clay, until the stone was cut out without hands, and struck the image upon the iron and clay feet, and dashed them into pieces, even to the end.” Then afterwards, when interpreting this, he says: “And as thou sawest the feet and the toes, partly indeed of clay, and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided, and there shall be in it a root of iron, as thou sawest iron mixed with baked clay. And the toes were indeed the one part iron, but the other part clay.” The ten toes, therefore, are these ten kings, among whom the kingdom shall be partitioned, of whom some indeed shall be strong and active, or energetic; others, again, shall be sluggish and useless, and shall not agree; as also Daniel says: “Some part of the kingdom shall be strong, and part shall be broken from it. As thou sawest the iron mixed with the baked clay, there shall be minglings among the human race, but no cohesion one with the other, just as iron cannot be welded on to pottery ware.” And since an end shall take place, he says: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven raise up a kingdom which shall never decay, and His kingdom shall not be left to another people. It shall break in pieces and shatter all kingdoms, and shall itself be exalted forever. As thou sawest that the stone was cut without hands from the mountain, and brake in pieces the baked clay, the iron, the brass, the silver, and the gold, God has pointed out to the king what shall come to pass after these things; and the dream is true, and the interpretation trustworthy.”
(Source: Iranaeus against Heresies, Book V, Chapter XXVI)
The main proof underlined above derives from Paul's Dispensationalist error. The evidence is from Mark 13:14 which is missing the term "sabbath" from a previous Gospel of Matthew 24:20. The author, Iranaeus, interpolated three sources together to form this opinion:
"And they shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the Church to flight "
To "put the Church to flight" derives from Mark 13:14 which derives from Matthew 24:20. Hence, the missing term - "sabbath".
The first phrase "lay Babylon waste" derives from Revelation 17:16 which is traced back to 2nd Kings 9:36. If anyone were to read the whole chapter of 2nd Kings chapter nine it parallels with the Book of Revelation. The theory is proposed: the writer of Revelation expounded on his reading of 2nd Kings chapter nine to label it on the relationship between the Roman Empire and Jerusalem. This source of 2nd Kings chapter nine could also be partly the foundation for the term "armageddon" which is elaborated in another chapter. Furthermore, Iranaeus, interpolation is an attempt to hide the true facts concerning the previous failed predictions and false "prophecies" which are riddled through the New Testament canon.