THE LITTLE HORN OF DANIEL 8
Daniel chapter 8 recounts for us various particulars of the Medo-Persian and Greek empires. Symbolised by two beasts, each empire was mighty in power, and subdued territories under them. The Medo-Persian empire is depicted as a Ram, and it’s twofold leadership by two horns possessed by the Ram. Of this Ram it is stated:
“I saw the Ram pushing westward, and northward and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great”. (Dan. 8:4).
But great though this power was, it was no match for the Grecian Goat:
“And I saw him come close unto the Ram, and he was moved with bitterness against him, and smote the Ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the Ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the Ram out of his hand” (Dan.8:7).
These two beast-nations are also spoken of in chapter 7 of Daniel’s prophecy, but there in terms of a Bear and a Leopard. Daniel 7 also speaks of an unnamed fourth beast (symbolic of Rome—cp the Iron element of Dan. 2:40), superseding them, a beast from which would emerge the papal system, depicted by a “little horn.” Emerging from this Roman-Beast, this religious power persecuted the saints of old: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of Days came …” (Dan. 7:21-22).
A SECOND “LITTLE HORN”
Returning to Daniel chapter 8, we have a second “little horn” referred to – but notice, these are two distinct horn-powers in their own right, and we must be careful not to confuse the two. The Little Horn of chapter 8 again speaks of the Roman Power, but from a different aspect. Whilst chapter 7 seems to place an emphasis on the religious aspect, chapter 8 speaks of the same forces in terms of their military might. That this is so is apparent from what we are told concerning this horn:
“Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down” (Dan. 8:11).
It is evident that “the prince of the host” is Messiah himself, and the circumstances described here can only find a “match” in history in his day. It was the Roman power (albeit at the instigation of the Jews) that crucified Messiah. And it was this same Roman power that caused the sacrifices to cease by the destruction of the Temple and all of its arrangements. In this case, the “fit” proves the connection: this second Little Horn speaks of the Roman power—but not in terms of it’s religion so much, as it’s military power to put Christ to death, and destroy the Temple in AD 70.
THE ORIGIN OF THE LITTLE HORN
The Origin of the Little Horn as being ultimately derived from the Greek system is described thus:
“The he-goat waxed very great, and when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and for it became four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn which waxed exceedingly great toward the south and toward the east, and towards the glorious land” (Dan. 8:8).
There are important points to emphasise here: the Horn did not develop independently, but was derived from one of the 4 sections into which the Greek empire broke up.
DANIEL CHAPTER 11
Before we progress further with this thought, another relevant passage is Daniel chapter 11. Here, we again have reference to the break up of the Greek empire into 4:
“… a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided towards the four winds of heaven; and not according to his posterity …” (Dan. 11:3-4).
The rest of Daniel 11 progresses to trace the history (in advance) of the relationships between two of these divisions, describing them as “the king of the North” and “the king of the South” respectively. But the chapter does not only describe those things that have subsequently become history from our standpoint: it also describes how at the time of the end there will be further developments between the two kings:
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind …” (Dan. 11:40).
The “king of the north” has long been identified as being the same power described in Ezekiel as coming from “the utter parts of the north” (Eze. 38:15), also known as the Gogian confederacy of nations. This is the power that shall overthrow Israel, and which shall subsequently be destroyed by the Almighty Power vested in Messiah.
THE LATTER DAY LITTLE HORN
We mentioned earlier that Daniel chapter 8 emphasises the military aspect: nations going to war. And it because of this fact, Bible students sometimes draw the conclusion that if it is the King of the North who goes to war, that therefore the latter references to the Little Horn in this chapter is speaking of the same power—the Gogian, or Russian power soon to war against Israel.
There are however, a number of difficulties with this interpretation. We emphasised earlier that the “king of the north” as well as the “king of the south” both find their identities and origins in the fourfold break up of the Greek Empire. But this “little horn” is not one of the 4 horns referred to: rather, it is derived from it. This is a big obstacle: if the Russian (Gogian) force is the King of the North – represented by one of the four horns, then the Little Horn cannot be the same power, since it was derived from, and was not one of those horn-powers. Simply put, Gog is one of the 4 horns, and as the Little Horn is not, the two cannot be the same power.
We saw in Daniel 8, how that the Little Horn from it’s infancy, speaks of the Roman military opposition to the Truth. What the present writer suggests, is that this is the same in it’s latter day application. Daniel 8 does not specify a time-period at the end of which the Little Horn changes it’s identity. Rather, it reads as if it is following on, providing a complete picture. Although the symbols are different, certain details are recorded, which parallel the description of the Roman system in Revelation chapter 17.
Verse 24 states: “his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power”. And Revelation 17 speaks of how the beast shall not stand in it’s own power, but rather ten kingdoms shall “have one mind and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (Rev. 17:13). Again, Daniel 8 states that “he shall also stand up against the Prince of Princes, but he shall be broken without hand” (Dan. 8:25) – and Revelation 17 states: “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev 17:14).
A PRACTICAL EXHORTATION
Having correctly identified which power is symbolised in the second “little horn” of Daniels prophecy, we can see a feature which is most important for us to observe. Daniel 7, speaking of the religious aspect states: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of Days came” (Dan. 7:21-22). It is plain therefore that the Roman system will continue to war with the saints until the coming of Messiah. But how so? In our own day there is no open persecution present, as there have been in previous generations. Daniel 8 provides the answer:
“by peace [he] shall destroy many” (Dan. 8:25).
Not through violence and warfare, but insidiously through protestations of peace. In our age, peace and tolerance for those whose “views” are different to our own is advocated. With the Roman Catholic Church at the head of the movement, ecumenicalism is preached—and even those who should know better sometimes claim that we should be more welcoming of “other Christians” who “share a common heritage” with us, despite difference of practice and doctrine.
The Bible is plain however: those who are part of that great Harlot-system when Messiah comes, shall pass away with it. These are they “whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. Disbelieving, and disobedient to the true Gospel, they place themselves outside of the scope of it’s salvation, and instead ally themselves to a system which is in opposition in every way to the Truth concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ.
In these things therefore, we see how the second “little horn” of Daniel’s prophecy answers to the military aspect to Rome’s opposition to Messiah—and we are also warned of the insidious way in which that power continues to prevail against the saints through methods of peace. Let us be warned therefore, lest we become beguiled, and lose the inheritance promised to those who overcome.