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The Prophet now adds what he had omitted. The angel does not yet answer him, but as he had not sufficiently expressed how the little horn waged war with the sons of God, he now supplies the omission. He says, therefore, he saw — this ought to be received by way of correction; I saw, says he, meaning it was shewn me in a vision, how the little horn made war with the saints so as to prevail against them. Clearly enough other tyrants assailed the elect people of God with tier greater injury. Hence many refer this to Antiochus Epiphanes, who was hostile to the Jews beyond all others, and was utterly determined to blot out the name of the God of Israel. And we know how often he raised powerful armaments to extinguish both the people and the worship of God. As, therefore, the cruelty of Antiochus was so severe against the Israelites, many think his image to have been exhibited to the Prophet as the little horn, and what we shall afterwards see about “the time,” and “times’ and “half-a-time,” they explain of the three years and a half during which the Temple was in ruins, and the people thereby prevented from offering sacrifices. As, therefore, their religion was then interrupted, they think that tyranny was denoted, by which the people were prohibited from testifying their piety. But although this opinion is plausible, and at first sight bears upon the face of it the appearance of truth, yet if we weigh all things in order, we may easily judge how unsuitable it is to Antiochus. Why, therefore, does the Prophet say — the little horn waged war with the saint? Antiochus certainly made war against the Church, and so did many others; the Egyptians, we know, often broke in and spoiled the Temple and the Romans too, before the monarchy of the Caesars. I reply, this is spoken comparatively, because no war was ever carried on so continuously and professedly against the Church, as those which occurred after the Caesars arose, and after Christ was made manifest to the world; for the devil was then more enraged, and God also relaxed the reins to prove the patience of his people. Lastly, it was natural for the bitterest conflicts to occur when the redemption of the world was carried out; and the event clearly showed this. We know first of all, by horrid examples, how Judea was laid waste, for never was such cruelty practiced against any other people. Nor was the calamity of short duration; we are well acquainted with their extreme obstinacy, which compelled their enemies to forget clemency altogether. For the Romans desired to spare them as far as possible, but so great was their obstinacy and the madness of their rage, that they provoked their enemies as if devoting themselves to destruction, until that dreadful slaughter happened, of which history has sufficiently informed us. When Titus, under the auspices of his father Vespasian, tools: and destroyed the city, the Jews were stabbed and slaughtered like cattle throughout the whole extent of Asia. Thus far, then, it concerns the Jews.
When God had inserted the body of the Gentiles into his Church, the cruelty of the Caesars embraced all Christians; thus the little horn waged war with the saints in a manner different from that of the former beasts, because the occasion was different, and the wrath of Satan was excited against all God’s children on account of the manifestation of Christ. This, then, is the best explanation of the little horn, waging war against the saints. Thus he says, It must prevail. For the Caesars and all who governed the provinces of the empire raged with such extreme violence against the Church, that it almost disappeared from the face of the earth. And thus it happened, that the little horn prevailed in appearance and in general opinion, as, for a short time, the safety of the Church was almost despaired of.