A prevalent view I’ve encountered lately is that the “Little Horns” of Daniel chapters 7 & 8 describe the same person. After all they both chronicle “Little Horns”, a rather unique descriptor, and either explicitly or implicitly state that “the vision pertains to the time of the end” (Dan 8:17, 19). The term “Little Horn” is too specific it is argued, it must they refer to the same time, kingdom and individual! While there are clearly some differences, mustn’t we massage and synthesize the data to arrive at the truth? No. To be certain, there is a relationship between the two; they are in the same ‘family’; similar, but not the same evil entity.
Let us briefly examine some of the distinctives of the two Little Horns, then we can discover their actual identities. Let’s start with the Chapter 7 Little Horn (LH):
- The Ch. 7 LH stays small, unlike the one in Ch. 8, although it has “great boasts” (v8, 11)
- Its littleness draws attention to its eyes and mouth (v8)
- 3 of the 10 horns were pulled out by the roots before it (v8)
- This LH was slain, and given to the burning fire, presumably by “the Ancient of Days”, described in verses 9 & 10 (v11). BTW, this is also the destiny of “the Beast” of Revelation, see Rev 19:20.
- It makes war with the saints (kaddesh, ‘holy ones’, the Greek version of which, hagios, is used of believers in the book of Revelation) and prevails (v21)
- Judgment was passed on the horn and the kingdom was given to the saints (v22)
- This little horn arising from the ten that issue from the fourth beast, will be “different” from the previous ones and will subdue three kings (v24)
- He will speak out against the Most High and wear down his saints (v25) He will try to make changes in times and laws (v25)
- They will be delivered for a “time, times and half a time”. A common interpretation of this is 1+2+1/2 = 3-1/2 years, although another plausible interpretation goes like this: It will take time, then it will seem like a really long time (times), then the end will come suddenly, in 1/2 a time. (v25)
Inserted into this description of this Little Horn’s time is the coming of the ‘Son of Man’ (v13), who brings an everlasting kingdom, with people serving Him, that will never pass away. It is rather simple to conclude that this is a prophecy of Yeshua, the Son of Man’s second coming, and this Little Horn, who is tied with the terrible, fourth beast (v7, 8, 11, 19, & 20), is none other than the Antichrist, the Beast of Revelation.
So now let’s review the Chapter 8 Little Horn:
- The ram has two horns representing the Medes and Persians. The longer horn comes up last, representing Cyrus and the Persians (v3, 20)
- The ram “butts” or pushes west, south and north, the direction of their greatest conquests (v4)
- A he-goat comes from the west, which v 21 identifies as Greece; its feet don’t touch the earth (its fast). It has a “conspicuous horn”; from history, this is Alexander (v5)
- The he-goat Greece triumphs over Medo-Persia (v6-7)
- The one conspicuous horn broke into four; again from history, Cassander, Lys., Seluecus and Ptolemy (v8)
- A LH grew up from one of the four; this is Antiochus Epiphanes (AE), proceding from Seleucus. This horn grows, unlike the horn of Chapter 7. It grew toward “the Desire” or the “Beautiful Land”, NASB (v9)
- It grew toward “the host of Heaven”, causing some of these stars to fall (v10). These could be the holy people, the Jews, or angels.
- It magnified itself to be equal to the Commander of the Host (Yahweh God), and removed the regular sacrifice from Him (v11). Historically sacrifice was stopped for several years by AE, in 168-165 BC.
- The host (the Jewish people) are given over to the LH, who flings truth to the ground (v12)
- The transgression that causes horror, the vision of the stopping of the regular sacrifice, takes 2300 evenings and mornings to be properly restored (v13, 14). This could mean 2300 days, or 1150 days, since “evenings and mornings” are described, possibly referring to the twice daily sacrifices. This in itself is a “foreshadowing” or type of the Abomination of Desolation which descends on Israel as a result of their rejection of their Messiah, Yeshua.
Verses 20-26 of Chapter 7 interpret the verses referenced above, including revealing the kingdoms involved (Media, Persia and Greece) and more detailed description of this insolent king, skilled in intrigue (v23).
While there are certainly similarities (more on that in a moment), consider these significant differences:
- The Ch. 7 LH arises from the terrible beast, different from all others, amidst 10 horns, overthrowing 3, while the Ch. 8 LH arises out of one of the four horns, described as emanating from Greece.
- The Ch. 7 LH is defeated by appearance of both the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man, resulting in an eternal kingdom wherein the Son is served and obeyed by all peoples and men of every language, while the Ch. 8 LH stops regular sacrifice, which is eventually restored. The only one who meets this description is Antiochus Epiphanes, because after he died, the temple sacrifices were reinitiated. Following the desolation of the temple in 70 A.D., there can be no regular sacrifice to interrupt or restore.
The similarities are noteworthy as well—they are both “horns”, imbued with strength, they both afflict and war against the holy people, they appear in the future relative to Daniel’s point of view, and the two Little Horns are eventually destroyed by God.
The End Time, eschatonic Beast and the Little Horn that arises from him are described first, then this Little Horn’s foreshadower Antiochus Epiphanes, also a Little Horn, is revealed. In other words, “here is how things finally end with the appearance of the Son of Man’s eternal kingdom on earth” (Chapter 7) while “this one is a pattern and type; he will appear first” (Chapter 8).