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The “Little Horn” of Daniel 8:9

The prophecy goes on to tell us that “out of one of them came forth a little horn, and it became exceeding great.” The interpretation of this verse has resulted in some confusion as to just where this little horn came from. At this point I would like to present some vital historic evidence that will confirm exactly where this little horn power came from. The confusion lies in whether the little horn developed from out of one of the four horns (Alexander’s four generals) or from one of the four winds of heaven.

From our study of Daniel, Chapter 2, we learned that the universal power that followed Greece was that of Rome. So whatever conclusion we arrive at must be consistent, as well as in harmony with the earlier prophecies in the book.

From a study of history we learn that Rome did not develop out of the Grecian Empire, it arose from outside of that empire. Some other points we need to consider are that Rome was not Italy. Rome has always only been a city.

There are a number of people who wish to apply this little horn power of Daniel 8 only to the Papacy. However, speaking of the four generals that took control of Alexander’s empire, the angel says in verse 23 that in the latter time of their kingdom this little horn power would stand up. Now we have a time frame to consider.

When was the latter time of this kingdom under the dominion of Alexander’s four generals? Well, history assures us that it was still at full strength in the year 200 B.C. However, in 190 B.C. in the battle of Magnesia, the northern section of the kingdom was conquered, and from this battle the Grecian Empire never recovered. In 168 B.C. at the battle of Pydner, all territory under the control of the southern section of the kingdom was conquered. The loss of this battle brought the Grecian Empire to an end.

So the latter time of the four generals’ kingdom, we are informed by history, would be between 189 B.C. and 168 B.C. It is in that time frame that this little horn power would stand up, or become a world empire. Had anyone even thought of the Papacy at this time? The Papacy did not come into power for another 650 years, so the little horn power of Daniel 8 cannot refer only to the Papacy. To do so would present an unsolvable problem.

As Daniel 8 is written in the Hebrew language there are some grammatical points that we also need to consider. In Hebrew grammar, a pronoun must agree with the noun that it changes or modifies, in both number and gender. (This point is very important.)

In the passage under consideration, Daniel 8:8, 9, the pronoun “them” in verse 9 and the noun to be modified is either winds (of heaven), or horns in verse 8. In Hebrew grammar the pronoun “them” is a masculine word. However, the word “horns” is a feminine word, so the pronoun “them” does not agree in both number or in gender with the word “horn.” But on the other hand the noun “winds” (of heaven) is also a masculine word. So “them” and “winds” agree in both number and gender, indicating that this little horn power came from one of the four “winds of heaven” meaning it came from outside the Grecian Empire.

There is only one power that could be designated the little horn of Daniel, Chapter 8, and that is pagan (and only later, papal) Rome. And it is to this power that the continuance of rebellion refers, and in verses 10 to 12 we see the second phase of rebellion brought to view: the desolating rebellion, or a rebellion that makes desolate. This refers to that period of time known as the Dark Ages, and the work of the Papacy, when approximately 100 million people in Europe were slaughtered for their refusal to comply with the demands of the Papacy concerning worship.

Return to Info Guide (Lesson 4) at Question 4

Created: 7/17/97 Updated: 07/15/2007
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