Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Monday, August 28, 2006

Is the Little Horn of Daniel 7 the same as the Little Horn of Daniel 8?

As our lesson has pointed out the traditional SDA belief is that the Little Horn of Daniel 7 is the same as the Little Horn power of Daniel 8. The lesson for July 25 states:

“The evidence we've seen so far is overwhelming that the little-horn power arising after Greece in Daniel 8 is the same power that arises after Greece in both Daniel 2 and Daniel 7, and that's Rome, beginning as pagan Rome and then changing into papal Rome.”

This is a problem for a number of reasons; first of course Daniel 2 has no mention of a little horn power. Second the little horn arises from different Beasts in the different chapters of Daniel. In Daniel 7 the little horn arises from among the 10 horns on the 4th terrible beast:

Daniel 7:7-8 "After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast--terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. 8 "While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

The little horn in chapter 8 arises from the 3 beast not the fourth:

Daniel 8:8-9 The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. 9 Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.

To counter this idea the traditional SDA version goes something like this from Kenneth Hart’s website:

One final point: Read Daniel 8:8,9. “8And the young he-goat hath exerted itself very much, and when it is strong, broken hath been the great horn; and come up doth a vision (prominence) of four in its place, at the four winds of the heavens. 9And from the one of them come forth hath a little horn, and it exerteth itself greatly toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the beauteous land.” (Young’s Literal Translation) Those who want to argue that Antiochus is the fulfillment of this little horn prophecy point out that he arose from one of the four horns. However, a careful look at the Hebrew shows that “from the one of them” refers not to the “vison of four” but “the four winds of the heavens”! Some try to discredit this interpretation by saying that horns grow out of horns and not out of winds. But how often have you seen a horn growing out of a horn?

This may sound plausible unless one considers the various horns already mentioned in the book of Daniel. The simple fact is that in all the instances a horn comes out of some beast. A disembodied horn just coming into the scene from one compass direction does not make any sense with any other part of the visions. If you were going to have a new element coming in from some direction it would come in as another beast not just a horn attached to nothing. As all English language versions portray the horns they grow from the beast toward the four winds which is a figure of speech for the four compass directions. Contrary to Hart’s position the Hebrew does not indicate that the horn comes from one of the “winds”. In fact numerous English translations for instance:

(TEV) Daniel 8:8 The goat grew more and more arrogant, but at the height of his power his horn was broken. In its place four prominent horns came up, each pointing in a different direction. Daniel 8:9 Out of one of these four horns grew a little horn, whose power extended toward the south and the east and toward the Promised Land.

(CEV) Daniel 8:8 After this, the goat became even more powerful. But at the peak of his power, his mighty horn was broken, and four other mighty horns took its place -- one pointing to the north and one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. Daniel 8:9 A little horn came from one of these, and its power reached to the south, the east, and even to the holy land.

(NASB) Daniel 8:8 Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. Daniel 8:9 Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.

(GodsWord) Daniel 8:8 "The male goat became very important. But when the goat became powerful, his large horn broke off. In its place grew four horns. They corresponded to the four winds of heaven." Daniel 8:9 "Out of one of the horns came a small horn. It gained power over the south, the east, and the beautiful land."

The sequence then is the goat with a prominent horn which breaks and four horns grow in its place in 4 directions then a little horn grows from one of the four horns. In contrast the SDA version is:

Goat with a prominent horn which breaks and four horns grow in its place in 4 directions then from away from the goat comes a horn. It frankly makes no sense.

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states:

Verse 8 goes on to say that "in its [the large horn's] place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven." This was fulfilled when Cassander retained his hold on Macedonia and Greece; Lysimachus held Thrace and the western half of Asia Minor as far as Cappadocia and Phrygia; Ptolemy consolidated Palestine Cilicia, and Cyprus with his Egyptian-Libyan domains; and Seleucus controlled the rest of Asia all the way to the Indus Valley. While it is true that various vicissitudes beset these four realms during the third century and after (Pergamum, Bithynia, and Pontus achieved local independence in Asia Minor after the death of Lysimachus; and the eastern provinces of the Seleucid Empire achieved sovereignty as the kingdoms of Bactria and Parthia), nevertheless the initial division of Alexander's empire was unquestionably fourfold, as this verse and also 7:6, with its reference to the four-winged leopard, indicate.

9-10 Verses 9-12 foretell the rise of a "small horn" (v. 9) from the midst of these four horns of the Diadochi. It is described as attaining success in aggression against the "south" (hannegeb), or the domains of the Ptolemies in Egypt. This evidently refers to the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes ("the Manifest/Conspicuous One"), who usurped the Seleucid throne from his nephew (son of his older brother, Seleucus IV) and succeeded in invading Egypt 170-169 B.C. His expeditions against rebellious elements in Parthia and Armenia were initially successful "to the east" as well, and his determination to impose religious and cultural uniformity on all his domains led to a brutal suppression of Jewish worship at Jerusalem and generally throughout Palestine (here referred to as "the Beautiful Land" [hassebi, "glory," "adornment," "pride," apparently abbreviated from )eres- hassebi (11:16, 41), "the land of adornment," or "of glory"]). This suppression came to a head in December 168 B.C., when Antiochus returned in frustration from Alexandria, where he had been turned back by the Roman commander Popilius Laenas, and vented his exasperation on the Jews. He sent his general, Apollonius, with twenty thousand troops under orders to seize Jerusalem on a Sabbath. There he erected an idol of Zeus and desecrated the altar by offering swine on it. This idol became known to the Jews as "the abomination of desolation" (hassiqqus mesomem, 11:31), which served as a type of a future abomination that will be set up in the Jerusalem sanctuary to be built in the last days (cf. Christ's prediction in Matt 24:15)

This becomes important because as we will see most interpret Daniel 7 with the Anti-Christ. Antiochus in chapter 8 is also viewed as a type of the Anti-Christ to come. Next time I will give my view of the best interpretation of these chapters. Writing of Daniel chapter 7 the Expositor's Bible Commentary says:

24 The interpreting angel turned from the historic Roman Empire to its ultimate ten-horn phase (corresponding to the ten toes in Nebuchadnezzar's dream-image [2:41-43]) and the emergence of the final world-dictator. He arises after ten horns have been set up and subdues three of these ten to his own direct rule. He will then subject the other seven states to vassalage, somewhat as Hitler subjected Norway, Holland, Hungary, and the Balkan countries to a leader of their local Nazi party. In theory they were separate nations, but in practice they were subservient to Hitler. There is apparently to be a strong personality cult attached to this empire of the little horn (cf. the quasi-deification of Hitler).

25 The little horn will claim divine honors (even as he blasphemes the one true God). He will abandon all pretense of permitting freedom of religion and will actually revile Yahweh, the Lord of heaven and earth, and will denounce as fools and rebels those who still retain biblical convictions. By cruel and systematic pressure, he will "oppress" (yeballe, from bela, which in the Pael means "wear away" or "wear out" as friction wears our clothes or sandals). Such continual and protracted persecution far more effectively breaks the human spirit than the single moment of crisis that calls for a heroic decision. It is easier to die for the Lord than to live for him under constant harassment and strain--as many a German Christian in Hitler's horror camps and some imprisoned missionaries found out during World War II. Revelation 13:16-17 suggests how economic pressure will be brought to bear on loyal Christians during the reign of the Beast, when "no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."

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