The Interpretation of the Vision
The four beasts, introduced in verses 1-8, are explained here, and the expression “time, times, and half a time” is introduced. The saints will be given into the hands of the Antichrist, through the power of the Bishop of Rome, for “a year, 2 years, and a half a year,” in days as years, from 193 AD until 1471 AD.
I came near to one of those who stood by – an Angel.
four kings – which are four kingdoms, as explained in verse 23. The first three kingdoms are represented by 3 kings: Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus the Great and Alexander the Great. The last King is “the Ruler of this world” (John 14:30), who will eventually rule through the Beast.
possess the kingdom forever – after the beast has been judged; Dan 7:10,26.
the description from Daniel 7:7-9 is repeated.
the same horn was making war against the saints and prevailing – Satan was winning the battle against the saints.
until the Ancient of Days came – as we mentioned in verse 10, the wrath of the Ancient of Days begins in Revelation 5:1, with the unrolling of the scrolls. The Ancient of Days, God, is the one who “sits on the throne,” from whose right hand, the Lamb takes the scroll.
shall devour the whole earth – the might of the Roman Empire is described as “exceedingly fierce” and represented in Revelation by the Red Dragon.
the ten horns are ten kings – they are also kingdoms, the Ten European states. Some have imagined them as ten kings who shall arise from the Roman Empire, and tried to count ten Emperors. However, the true understanding of these as ten kingdoms explains how the beast continued, even though one of its heads was crushed (Rev 13:3), ie, the fall of the Roman Empire.
another will arise after them – the working of the Antichrist, the little horn, most certainly preceded the ten states of Europe. But the Bishop of Rome, in the “political” realm did not become a political force among the states of Europe until after the European states were established. One of the most visible evidences of his power was seen in 800 AD, when the Pope crowed the Frankish King Charlemagne as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
he shall be different from the first ones – he is not the king of a state.
shall subdue three kings – which are the three Latin states of Spain, France and Italy. The beast is described by the number 666, meaning “Lateinos.” See explanation under Daniel 7:8.
He shall speak pompous words against the most High – in Rev 13:5, these are called “great things and blasphemies.”
persecute the saints – all of these beasts persecuted the saints, and Satan is “the last of the transgressors” (Dan 8:23).
shall intend to change times and law – the word for “time” is plural (zimnin), the singular is zimna. We cannot say “change time” refers exclusively to the Sabbath day. This is likely a contrast to “And He changes the times and the seasons,” in Daniel 2:21, see also Acts 1:7. Satan, through the beast wants to make himself as high as God, see also Daniel 11:37, Isaiah 14:14, and 2 Thessalonians 2:4.
for time, times and half a time – being 3 1/2 years, 1 + 2 +1/2. Jesus Christ taught for three and a half years. The false Christ corrupted the gospel in three and a half years, which are 1278 days as years, from 193 AD to 1471 AD, when the first Protestant Church broke free from the Papacy.
But the court shall be seated – See Dan 7:9, “I watched til thrones were put in place.” This is the judgment by the Martyrs in Rev 20:4, “and judgment was given to them.”
they shall take away his dominion – through the preaching of the White Horse, the first five trumpets, we shall see in Revelation 8.
to consume it forever – see Rev 19:20, the beast is ultimately cast into the lake of fire.
And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven – fulfilled in the LORD’s Day, see Zech 14:9, and Rev 11:15.