The Little Horn of Daniel 8
In our previous discussion we have presented the idea that the Little Horn of Daniel 7 is the Roman Catholic Church. One clarification may be necessary before we move on and that is that the Little Horn/Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is not a statement about the people or the Roman Catholic individual. Most Roman Catholics have never even heard about the Little Horn. They have heard of some of the behaviors and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church during the Dark Ages, but generally believe that those thoughts and behaviors are a testimony of the foolish thinking of the past. They would be appalled to think of the idea that they, as individuals, would do something as horrific as the RCC has done in the past. The average RCC individual would even think that if such things were done in the 2000s that they would even leave their precious church and take a stand against such thinking and behaving. Since they believe that then God will not hold them accountable for Little Horn thinking until the individual has the opportunity to learn and make an informed decision. When that decision is informed, and then made, then if the individual RCC parishioner agrees to the Little Horn response then they will be counted as being in harmony with the Little Horn. Until that time the individual RC will be comparatively innocent of the past behaviors of the RCC. There is more that can be said about this but the focus of this study is to identify the Little Horn of Daniel 8 and to identify whether the Little Horn of Daniel 8 is the same as that of the Little Horn of Daniel 7.
Before we proceed with our analysis of Daniel 8 and the Little Horn we need to briefly discuss the Mind of God. God clearly states that He does not change. Malachi 3:6. He does change yesterday, today, or forever. Hebrews 13:8. So what He says and does will not change for there is no shadow of change in Him. James 1:17. I say this to keep our minds focused on the fact that since God sees the ends from the beginning He does not have to change His mind because new data becomes available. Isaiah 46:9-11. So when God sees the history of the earth, and the kingdoms of the earth, this is not new material to God. He has stated what will happen because that is what will happen. So when God describes the major players in the history of the earth He knows who and what will happen. Daniel 2 tells us who will do what in history – Babylon will come on the scene and will depart. Medo-Persia will replace Babylon but it too will pass away. Greece will replace Medo-Persia yet it too will pass away. Rome will come on the scene but Rome will live on until the coming of Christ. Daniel 2:34, 43, 44 Yet Rome will not be as solid iron but it will mix and mingle with the clay of the church (Jeremiah 18:1-6) by the time of the end. Then at the coming of Christ the metals will be destroyed, and the kingdoms that they represent and the kingdom of God will “…consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” Daniel 2:44
In Daniel 7 the same kingdoms are used but different symbols are used to represent them. Instead of metals God uses beasts. He uses beasts to describe their unconverted nature (II Peter 2:12, Jude 10, and their desire to kill and destroy. On the fourth beast, the same beast as is represented by the iron of Daniel 2, there is a focus on the horns of this beast. After the beast comes up Daniel notices the horns, that there are ten of them. After the horns come up then there is a Little Horn that plucks up three of the first horns and then begins to speak and become more stout than the other horns. This horn, and the beast it is attached to, will continue to be warring against God all the way to the time of the judgment, and we will find in the Revelation that this Little Horn kingdom, will be cast into the fire of destruction in Revelation 20:10
In the vision of Daniel 8, Daniel sees three primary entities; the Ram – Medo-Persia Daniel 8:20; the Goat – Greece Daniel 8:21; and the Little Horn. This vision appears to take place with the assumption that Babylon has fallen already. The next kingdoms follow the sequential pattern of Daniel 2 and 7. During the rise of Medo-Persia God says that that kingdom was great. Daniel 8:4. The kingdom of Greece is able to conquer Medo-Persia and becomes very great. Daniel 8:8. The Little Horn is presented as waxing exceeding great. Daniel 8:9. This calls into question whether this series of progressive statements of greatness is directed at the conquering of the nations or the attacking of God’s people. Contextually it appears that the greatness of the nation is directed at its general ability to conquer other nations and grow in size and power.
When the vision begins to focus on the Little Horn it describes the different activities of the Little Horn. The Bible says that the Little Horn magnifies himself against the host of heaven; the stars of heaven; against the Prince of the Host; against the daily; against the sanctuary; and against the truth. In the interpretation phase of the vision God also talks about the vision being for the Time of the End; the last end of the indignation; for at the time appointed the end shall be; at the latter time of their kingdom; when the transgressors are accomplished; it shall be for many days. Daniel 8:23 says that a fierce king shall stand up and he will understand dark sentences. He will be mighty but not by his own power, he shall destroy God’s people, he will establish his kingdom by craft, shall magnify himself in his heart, by peace shall destroy many, and worst of all he shall stand up against the Prince of Princes – the Messiah.
There are many issues to address but for the purposes of focusing in the Little Horn it is interesting to see all of the time issues, and the issue of attacking God’s people and of attacking the Prince of the Host/the Prince of Princes. The other qualities of understanding dark sentences, he will establish his kingdom by craft, by peace shall destroy many, will attack the daily, and will lift himself up in his heart, are all reminiscent of the King of the North in Daniel 11:29-39. This part will be for a study to focus on the identification of the King of the North and will be discussed in our next study.
But for now let us continue to focus on the Little Horn of Daniel 8 and its similarities to the Little Horn of Daniel 7. The Little Horn of Daniel 7 is clearly attached to the kingdom of Rome. With its attack on the Christians after the time of 538 AD, its attempts to change God’s times and laws, and it’s various blasphemies most Protestant Bible students believe that the Little Horn of Daniel 7 is the Roman Catholic Church. In Daniel 8 the exact list is not repeated but the attack on God’s people is repeated and the issue of the time is a major focus. But the problem that most people seem to have with the Little Horn of Daniel 8 is that the Bible can be read in such a manner as to leave the opinion that the Little Horn comes out of Greece and is specifically speaking to Antiochus Epiphanes (AE), one of the last of the Grecian kings. Now history does confirm that AE did many ugly things to the Jews during his reign. He was a persecutor of the Jewish people – God’s people of that time, he blasphemed the temple of God by offering pigs on the altar, he interfered with the daily worship service of the temple, and he persecuted the Jews for many days before he was stopped.
The problem with the AE interpretation is that he does not fit all of the issues listed in Daniel 8. AE was not exceeding great in his conquests of lands and kingdoms. He did not magnify himself against the Prince of the Host/the Prince of Princes, Daniel 8:11, 25. He certainly attacked Jesus in the form of harassing the Jews but this harassment was not even as intense as that of Babylon who destroyed Jerusalem and destroyed the temple that Solomon had built for God. AE did not carry away all of Israel captive to a foreign land. AE was certainly a pest towards the Israel of God, but he was nothing as compared the destructions of Babylon or to the ravages of the Little Horn of Daniel 7.
The biggest interpretive problem seems to be in the transition texts of Daniel 8:8-9 and Daniel 8:23. Both of these texts have a transition clause in them which can be read as the Little Horn coming out of Greece, while Daniel 7 clearly states that the Little Horn came out of the Roman Empire after it conquered Greece. So there will be two different Little Horns in back to back chapters – Chapter 7 is the RCC and Chapter 8 is Antiochus Epiphanes, or there is one Little Horn – The RCC. Daniel 8:8-9 says “Therefore the he-goat waxed very great; and when he was strong, the great horn (Alexander the Great) was broken; and for it came up four notable ones, toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.” The key phrase here is “And out of one of them came forth a little horn…” The great question is whether the Little Horn came out of the four horns or out of the four winds. There are Hebrew scholars that indicate that the Little Horn comes out of the four horns and there are Hebrew scholars that indicate that the Little Horn comes out of the winds due to the matching sex of the nouns and the verbs.
In Daniel 8:23 the Scriptures say “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” This statement is similar to the listing of curses that will come from God bringing a “…nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young…” Deuteronomy 28:49-58 which was a symbolic statement for the siege of Rome in 70AD. When reading people could construe this text to be an extension of the phrase “their kingdom” referring to Greece, when again history indicates Rome.
Since I am not a Hebrew scholar, and there are conflicting interpretations regarding the horns or the winds, I would like to share why I believe that the Little Horn is the same Little Horn of Daniel 7 – the Roman Catholic Church. The reasons are as follows:
1. God is not desirous of introducing a new agency to the prophetic discussion by the same name. The Little Horn of Daniel 7 is of Rome not of Greece.
2. God describes the Little Horn of Daniel 8 using the same terms as in Daniel 7 while introducing new facets of its history.
3. The Little Horn of Daniel 8 attacks God’s people as in Daniel 7:21.
4. The Little Horn of Daniel 8 is greater than Medo-Persia or Greece in extending its kingdom and in its attacks on God’s people. Thus it must be the Roman Catholic Church Little Horn.
5. The cleansing of the sanctuary from the attacks of the Little Horn require 2300 days, or prophetic years to start the cleansing process, and thus it can not be referring to Antiochus Epiphanes who ruled from 175-163 BC or 12 years. In addition the length of time that Antiochus Epiphanes does not quite match 2300 literal days or 1150 days. The length of time comes up a little short for Antiochus Epiphanes controlled the temple for 1095 days, not the 1150 days if you were to understand the times in the most literal manner. So even here the Antiochus Epiphanes interpretation does not meet the requirements of time given by God.
(I Maccabees 1:54 establishes the beginning date of the 15th day and the 9th month of the year 145 of the Selucid reign. I Maccabees 4:52 establishes the 25th day of the 9th month of the year 148 of the Selucid reign. That makes 1105 days using a 365 day year. It makes 1090 using a 360 day year. If one is to use half of the 2300 days that would equal 1150 days. So this interpretation does not work.)
6. In Daniel 8:17, 19, 26 the time phrases “for at the time of the end shall be the vision” Daniel 8:17, “I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation” Daniel 8:19, “for at the time appointed the end shall be” Daniel 8:19, “and the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision for it shall be for many days.” Daniel 8:26, all have a prophetic time component in it just as the Little Horn of Daniel 7:25, not literal time.
7. The Little Horn of Daniel 8:11,25 attacks the Prince of the Host. This attack on Jesus was fulfilled literally by the Roman Empire in 31 AD. It was also spiritually fulfilled in the substitution of the priesthood of Rome and the sanctuary of Rome in the middle ages. These substitutions kept the focus off of Jesus and His sanctuary ministry in heaven described in Hebrews and Revelation.
Thus with the above pieces of information available to us we have sufficient data to conclude that the Little Horn of Daniel 7 and the Little Horn of Daniel 8 are one and the same government, the Roman Catholic Church.