The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 1


IV. Eberhard Interprets Papal System as Little Horn

In the midst of this tremendous struggle between the emperor and the pope one great ecclesiastical figure towers conspicuously. It is EBERHARD II, archbishop of Salzburg (1200-1246), chief spokesman for the emperor among the German bishops, and one of Frederick’s chief counselors. PFF1 796.3

Frederick had conquered nearly all the states of the church when the pope summoned a council to meet at Rome in 1241. In a summons requesting Salzburg to be represented at the papal council—a document which is still preserved in the Salzburg ecclesiastical office—Eberhard was ignored by the Roman Curia. As a countermove Eberhard appeared at a diet in Verona, called by Frederick. Some clerics sided with the papal party, but Eberhard took his stand by the side of the emperor, though it brought him many vexations. His whole position toward Rome was endangered, not because of doctrinal controversies, but because of his fidelity to the emperor. 18 PFF1 796.4

Eberhard II, thirteenth century archbishop of Salzberg, chief supporter of Fredrick II and initial expounder of the little horn of Daniel 7 as the historical papacy; Aentinus’ annals of Bavaria, in which this remarkable exposition of the prophecy of Daniel 7 appeares.
Page 797


His boldest statement, however, was made at a synod of Bavarian bishops held at Regensburg, or Ratisbon, in 1240 or 1241; where he gave utterance at the same time to a new interpretation of some lines of prophecy. Here, during this council, Eberhard, in a brilliant oration preserved by Aventinus, or Turmair, in his noted Bavarian Annals, 19 clearly sets forth this identification of the prophecy of the Little Horn. In this striking presentation Eberhard not only openly calls the pope a wolf in shepherd’s garb, the Son of Perdition, and Antichrist, but also gives his revolutionary exposition of the pope as the Little Horn of Daniel 7. PFF1 797.1

Eberhard returns to a neglected exposition taught before Augustinianism had crowded the earlier views out of the current belief—the interpretation of the breakup of the fourth kingdom as the division of the Roman Empire among the barbarian kingdoms. Only now, instead of looking forward to the coming of an unidentified individual Antichrist as the prophesied Little Horn, Eberhard looks back over the centuries since Rome’s dismemberment and sees in the historical Papacy, as a system or line of succession, the fulfillment of the predicted Little Horn, coming up among the ten divisions of Rome, and uprooting three. Such is the bold outline. PFF1 798.1

Eberhard’s Regensburg Council speech, in 1240 or 1241, came at approximately the same time that the pope attempted to convoke the Council of Rome, which was thwarted by Frederick. And at the First General Council of Lyons (1245) the emperor was again excommunicated by the pope; Eberhard was excommunicated subsequently, and died under the ban in 1246. Burial in consecrated ground being refused, he was buried in common ground in an annex of the parish church in Radstadt. Some forty years later, in 1288, his remains were transferred to the consecrated ground of the Salzburg Cathedral. 20 In the Annals of Convent Garsten his obituary states that he was “a man of great learning” who “ruled his see most nobly forty-six years.” 21 Let us examine the details of his statements. PFF1 798.2


The hidden character of the popes is set forth in Eberhard’s speech at Regensburg: PFF1 799.1

“Under the title of Pontifex Maximus, we discern, unless we are blind, a most savage wolf, with the garment of a shepherd; the Roman priests [flamines] have arms against all Christians; made great by daring, by deceiving, by bringing wars after wars, they slaughter the sheep, they cut them off, they drive away peace and harmony from the earth, they stir up internal wars, domestic insurrections from below, day by day they weaken more and more the energies of all, so that they revile the heads of all, they devour all, they reduce all to slavery.” 22 PFF1 799.2


Declaring that the more powerful priests “rave with the freedom of a despot,” Eberhard adds that there is injustice, wickedness, and ambition among the Roman priests under the appearance of piety. They use “the covenant, consecrated by the name of God, for deceiving men,” to cheat and defraud, and to lead men to “resist the sovereign majesty” established by God, and thus show contempt of appointed civil government. Gregory VII is then charged with laying the foundations of Antichrist’s rule. PFF1 799.3

“Hildebrand, one hundred and seventy years before, first laid the foundations of the empire of Antichrist under the appearance of religion. He first began this impious war, which is being continued by his successors even until now. They first drove out the emperor from the pontifical elective assemblies and transferred them to the people and the priests.” 23 PFF1 799.4

The apostle Paul, Eberhard continues, admonished us to be “subject to one another in the fear of Christ,” but the pontiff teaches that “those who lord it over the conquered should serve him,” while, in contrast, “the Supreme Majesty assumed the form of a servant that He might serve His disciples.” PFF1 799.5


Connecting Babylon and Antichrist with the Man of Sin sitting in the temple of God, Eberhard reaches his climax when he connects these symbols of Antichrist with the Little Horn and its lawless proclivities—its flouting of established law and its ordination of its own laws—all revealed in the secrets of the Holy Writings to those who will understand. Of the popes he says: PFF1 800.1

“Those priests [flamines] of Babylon alone desire to reign, they cannot tolerate an equal, they will not desist until they have trampled all things under their feet, and until they sit in the temple of God, and until they are exalted above all that is worshipped. He who is servant of servants, desires to be lord of lords, just as if he were God. He speaks great things as if he were truly God. He ponders new counsels under his breast, in order that he may establish his own rule for himself, he changes laws, he ordains his own laws, he corrupts, he plunders, he pillages, he defrauds, he kills—that incorrigible man (whom they are accustomed to call Antichrist) on whose forehead an inscription of insult is written: ‘I am God, I cannot err.’ He sits in the temple of God, and has dominion far and wide. But as it is in the secrets of the holy writings, let him that readeth understand: the learned will understand, all the wicked will act wickedly, neither will they understand.” 24 PFF1 800.2

The significance of Eberhard’s expression should not be lost—that men were “accustomed” in his day, to call the pope “Antichrist.” He was but voicing dramatically what had become a widespread conviction and open declaration. PFF1 800.3


The historical dismemberment of the Roman Empire, so strangely ignored in the preceding centuries, not only because of Augustinianism but also because of creation of the Holy Roman Empire, which was meant to be its successor, is put in its rightful place by Eberhard. The ten divisions of Rome that he listed differ from later enumerations, as is also the case with the three horns, but it is the first attempt of its kind of which we have record. And Eberhard’s conclusion from the outline is, “What is more clear than this prophecy!” Note it: PFF1 800.4

“Ten kings exist at the same time, who have divided the circle of the earth, formerly the Roman empire, not for ruling but for destroying. There are ten horns, that which seemed incredible to divine Aurelius Augustine; the Turks, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Africans, the Spaniards, the Gauls, the English, the Germans, the Sicilians, the Italians possess the Roman provinces and have cut off the Roman colonists in these parts. And a little horn has sprung up under these, which has eyes and a mouth speaking great things; he reduces to order the three most powerful kingdoms of Sicily, Italy, and Germany, and compels them to serve him; with an unendurable lordship he plagues the people of Christ, and the saints of God; he mingles divine and human things, he sets in motion the abominable and the detestable things. What is more clear than this prophecy! All the signs and wonders which that heavenly teacher of ours pointed out to us (unroll the chronicles) have been fulfilled long ago.” 25 PFF1 801.1

It must be apparent that Eberhard’s building upon earlier prophetic interpretation on this point of the dissolution of the Roman Empire had an important bearing on his attitude toward the Papacy. If the Roman Empire had not yet fallen, the Antichrist and the Little Horn could not have come; if, as Eberhard said, the dissolution of Rome had occurred centuries ago, these prophesied powers could be looked for in history. PFF1 801.2