The Little Horn
Dan. 8: 9 -27
This is one of the most difficult passages in the area of Bible Prophecy. There are two main areas of disagreement among those who have studied the passage: whether the “little horn” of Daniel 8 is identical to the “little horn” of Dan. 7, or whether the events prophesied in these verses had been fulfilled or are yet to be fulfilled.
I. The Grecian Little Horn
A. The Key to interpreting the passage – The key to correctly understanding this passage of the Scripture is the “LAW OF DOUBLE REFERENCE” which states that the Bible sometimes refers to a near and far subject in the same passage. For example:
1. Ezekiel 28:1-19 – is ostensibly addressed to the King of Tyre, Ethbaal III. However, it undisputedly goes beyond the earthly reference to give a great detail of the fall of the evil one behind Ethbaal-Satan.
2. Hosea 11:1 – applies primarily to the nation of Israel, but the Holy Spirit also uses it of God’s “greater Son”, the Lord Jesus Christ –Mt. 2:14, 15.
3. Jer. 50 & 51 – prophecy of the judgment of God upon the ancient kingdom of Babylon through the Medes and the Persians. However, it also looks forward to the final (yet future) overthrow of Babylon prophesied in Rev. 17 & 18. The prophecy of Isa. 14 also predicts the fall of Babylon (near) but also contains a prediction of the final end of the Antichrist “Satan in the flesh”.
4. The prophecy of Zeph. 1 predicts both the near invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar and the far coming siege of Jerusalem by the Antichrist and his armies.
5. The prophecy of Dan. 8 falls into this category. The little horn has both a PAST (historical) fulfilment in Antiochus IV and a future fulfilment
B. The rise of the “Little Horn” (v. 9). “Out of one of them,” i.e., from one of the four divisions of the Greek empire. Note: the little horn of Dan. 7 rises out of the fourth beast, the restored Roman Empire, whereas the little horn of Dan. 8 rises out of the branch of the Grecian empire. Therefore, these two little horns do not refer to the same character.
C. The location of little horn (v. 9) – Because this little horn is said to push south (to Egypt), east (to Armenia), and toward the “pleasant land” we conclude it represents a king from the North (with reference to Jerusalem), i.e., the Seleucid dynasty of Syria.
D. The identification of the little horn (vs. 1-12). He is historically identified as Antiochus IV “Epiphanes”, the eight king of the Syrian (Seleucid) dynasty. Antiochus usurped the throne in 175 B.C. and ruled for 11 years. He called himself Epiphanes “Glorious One”. His attempts to force Greek culture and religion upon the Jews of Palestine provoked strong resistance, and retaliation. He unleashed a reign of terror upon God’s people.
1. He grew great (v. 10a).
2. He cast down some of the host (v. 10) –probably refers to his destruction of certain Jewish leaders and priest. Antiochus forbade the observance of the Sabbath and other holidays. Once, on returning from a disastrous military expedition to Egypt, he took out his rage by killing 40,000 Jews and taking another 10,000 into slavery. He was truly a beast.
3. He magnified himself (v. 11) – the title “Epiphanes” shows this. It is so typical of man! Note: The Jews changed his title to “Epimanes” –mad man
4. He stopped Jewish sacrifices (vs. 11,12). Antiochus set up an altar to the God Jupiter within the Jewish temple at Jerusalem. Then as a final insult to God and the Jewish Patriots, he sacrificed a pig upon the altar of God.
E. . The Period of Desecration (vs. 11-12) – It would last for 2,300 days. The question is “What do these days mean”?
1. The Seventh Day Adventist Theory – William Miller interpreted the 2,300 days to mean 2,300 years. The SDA reckoned that Christ would return 2,300 years after the command to rebuild the temple was given (457 B.C.), i.e., in 1843 A.D. When Jesus did not return as expected, they decided their timing was off and reset the date to 1844. When Jesus still did not come, they came up with the explanation that He really did not come, only not to the earth but to cleanse the sanctuary in Heaven. This error resulted in the SDA heresy that Christ work on Calvary was not finished until 1844 A.D.!! Meaning that nobody was saved until 1844!
2. Interpreting the Days – While it is true that sometimes the word “day” means a period of time (e.g., 2 Pet. 3:10) and possibly even a year; the word “days” here in Daniel 8:14 is translated from the Hebrew words “ereb boger” which literally means “from dusk to dawn” or “evening-morning” (as were the 6 days of creation).
In other words, there are literal 24-hour days. Thus the 2,300 days is a period of 6 years, 4 months, and 20 days. This corresponds to the historic period of time beginning with the murder of Onias the High Priest in 171 B.C. and ending with the death of Antiochus Epiphanes in 164 B.C.
II. The End Time Little Horn
A. While Antiochus Epiphanes represents the near fulfilment of the prophecy of the little horn in Dan. 8, vs. 23-25 speak of someone other than Antiochus, the coming king who is far fulfilment of this prophecy – the Antichrist. The phrase “the time of the end” in vs. 17 and 19 lend weight to the double reference of this prophecy. Antiochus sacrificing a pig upon the altar in the Temple of God was indeed an abomination-but in the time in the end, the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION SHALL stand in the holy place, many times eviller and more terrible than his foreshadowing
B. Note the information concerning the Antichrist given here:
1. He is a King (v. 23) – the little horn of Dan. 7:24 is a king.
2. He is a king of fierce countenance (v. 23) – this refers to his ruthlessness (Deut. 28:50, 51), and warlike disposition.
C. He will understand dark sentences (v. 23) – this refers to his great intelligence-possible in occultic mysteries.
D. His powers are not his own (v. 24) – Antichrist will be energized by Satan (Rev. 12:9; 13: 2, 4.
E. He shall accomplish wonderful destruction (v. 24) – see Rev. 13:13.
F. He shall be a Master of Deceit (v. 25) – see Rev. 13:14, 2 Thess. 2: 9, 10.
G. He shall exalt himself (v. 25) – 2 Thess. 2:4
H. He shall oppose the Prince of Peace (v. 25) – He is Antichrist – see Rev. 13:6
I. He shall bring a false peace (v. 25) – see 1 Thess. 5: 3 – Antichrist will conquer through peace, as symbolized by the rider on the white horse in Rev. 6:2 (a bow with no arrows!). A world long wearied by wars and strife, will welcome any peace-making “messiah” with open arms
J. He will be destroyed supernaturally – see Rev. 19:20.
Note: It is true that all these things could be applied to Antiochus Epiphanes alone. Even his death was of God, in the sense that he was stricken with sudden illness (possibly colic) which the Jews believed was from the hand of God. Certainly, this ancient king gives us a preview of the coming king.
III. Previews of the Antichrist in the Book of Daniel
A. The various monarch mentioned in the Book of Daniel are themselves a foreshadowing of the final end time “one world dictator” the Antichrist.
1. In Nebuchadnezzar – we see something of his pride.
2. In Belshazzar – we see a glimpse of his profanity.
3. In Darius – we see him as a persecutor
4. In Cyrus – we see PACT made by a peace-maker
5. In Antiochus Epiphanes – we his personification
Illustration/Application: Is Antichrist Present Now?
Here are some pointers:
A citizen of a country on top of the old Roman Empire (Europe).
Possibly Jewish (Daniel 11:37 “the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women”).
Start small and insignificant (“little horn”).
A godless person with semblance of religiosity.
Extremely manipulative and cunning, with great skills in concealing true motives.
If Rapture is soon, surely at least age 20 (as Europe would most likely not accept a teenager).
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
Illustration/Application: Character of The Antichrist
The personal character of the Antichrist may be described as follows:
High intelligence—Rev. 13:18; Daniel 7:8.
Great speaking ability—Daniel 7:8; Rev. 13:5.
Crafty political talents—Daniel 9:27; Rev. 17:12-13, 17.
Strong physical appearance—Daniel 7:20.
Military genius—Rev. 13:4; Rev. 17:14; Rev. 19:19.
Morally, the worse personage
Against the Law—2 Thes. 2:8
Selfish ambition—Daniel 11:36-37; 2 Thes. 2:4.
Tries to change prophecy and history—Daniel 7:25
Substitutes self for God—Daniel 11:36; 2 Thes. 2:4.
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
IV. The teacher of the vision
A. The Teacher of the Vision (vs. 15-19) – Gabriel “man of God” is sent to make known the meaning of the vision to Daniel. Gabriel is an angel connected with the delivering of important messages from heaven to Israel (Dan. 9:21, Lk. 1:19,26).
B. The Terror of the Vision (v. 27) – Daniel was physically and emotionally expended by the vision. Nevertheless, he was soon back at the king’s business. (While there be many things we don’t understand about the Christian life, there are some things we do know. Doing the King of King’s business is one of those things.)
Indeed, it is difficult to see whether the little horn of Chapter 8 is the same as the little horn of Chapter 7. However, we have a “Law of Double Reference” which states that the Bible sometimes refers to a near and far subject in the same passage. Antiochus Epiphanes IV is for me a personification of the coming anti-Christ in the future