Introduction: How important are opinion polls? If you agree with the
majority, it gives you some comfort that you are right and the rest
of the world is basically “right thinking.” On the other hand, if
you are in the minority you think, “What is wrong with those people?”
I doubt that many people who have formed a strong opinion on a
subject are swayed by opinion polls showing that the majority
disagree. This week we are going to be in the minority: we are
studying and arguing what is a minority position today on Daniel 7
and 8. Let’s jump into the controversy!

  1. Daniel 7 and the “Little Horn”

    1. When we studied the beasts of Daniel 7 ( Daniel 7:4-7,
      which is Lesson 4 in this series), did we think they
      seemed similar to anything we had previously seen in the
      book of Daniel? (Yes. In Daniel 2 we saw the sweep of
      history prophesied in the dream of the image. It
      represented four great kingdoms: Babylon, Medo-Persia,
      Greece and Rome which arose and fell in succession. We
      thought the beasts of Daniel 7 represented the same world
      empires we saw in Daniel 2.)

    2. Let’s read through the end of this dream. Read Daniel 7:8-14. If this is a statement of the history of the world and
      final judgment, as I think it is, how do you feel about
      it? (Just like in the dream of Daniel 2, God has a
      judgment. God and His people win. God triumphs in the
      history of humans.)

      1. What two activities of God does this dream reveal?
        (Verses 9-10 show that God sets up a judgment in
        heaven and verses 11-14 show the destruction of
        earthly powers and the coronation of Jesus (“son of
        man”-Matthew 17:22).)

      2. When does the judgment appear to begin? (It appears
        to take place before the end of time when the “little
        horn” is still around.)

    3. What, in general, do the images of Daniel 2 and beasts of
      Daniel 7 teach us? (God is in charge of kings, kingdoms
      and the sweep of history. There is a universal struggle
      between good and evil. God has a coming judgment. In the
      meantime, God partners with faithful humans to reveal the
      future defeat of evil.)

    4. Read Daniel 7:15-16. What is Daniel’s reaction to the
      dream of the beasts? Do you see here that Daniel is not an
      “ordinary guy?” (Daniel is troubled by the dream. He wants
      to know what it means, so he asks. He is willing to stop
      and ask for directions!)

      1. Who is this person whom Daniel approaches in verse
        16? (The last part of Daniel’s vision has him
        observing what is going on in heaven. The reasonable
        conclusion is that Daniel steps over to a heavenly
        being and asks for help in interpreting the dream.)

    5. Read Daniel 7:19-20. What is different about this fourth
      beast? (For one thing it is terrifying. However, all of
      the beasts seem pretty scary to me. The main difference is
      the horns. Daniel 7:7 makes the point about being
      different and specifically notes the horns.)

      1. What is special about this one horn? (It seems to be
        identified with a person. Notice that with the first
        three beasts, Babylon ( Daniel 7:4) is described with
        “man-like” characteristics. The horn, like Babylon,
        is described with “man-like” traits.)

    6. Read Daniel 7:21-22. What else do we learn about this
      little horn? (That it persecutes Christians and is
      “defeating” them. Its victories over the saints comes to
      an end with the judgment of God. Compare Daniel 7:8-11.)

    7. Read Daniel 7:23-25. The heavenly interpreter says that
      the horns are ten kings. How does this compare with
      Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the image? (It fits perfectly.
      No world kingdom dominates after Rome. Instead, the Roman
      Empire changes into feet and toes (you probably have ten
      of them – like the ten horns) that are mixed iron and
      clay. Thus, we see that after the Roman Empire we have
      nations that are weak (clay) and strong (iron), but none
      rule the world. Compare Daniel 2:40-43.)

  2. Examination of the “Little Horn” of Daniel 7

    1. When does the “little horn” that looks like a man arise?
      (It arises after the break-up of the Roman Empire into the
      ten kingdoms. Daniel 7:24 says it arises “after” “the ten
      kings who will come from this [Roman] kingdom.”)

      1. How long is this “little horn” in power? (We have two
        statements about time. It is in power until the time
        of the heavenly judgment ( Daniel 7:8-9, 26) and it is
        in power “a time, times and half a time.” Daniel

      2. The majority opinion is that the “little horn” is a
        minor Seleucide King named Antiochus Ephiphanes who
        ruled eleven years from 175-164 B.C.. Antiochus came
        to power after the death of Alexander the Great at
        the end of the Empire of Greece. (See, Goldstein,
        Graffiti in the Holy of Holies, p.39-42.)

        1. Does Antiochus Ephiphanes fit the description of
          the little horn? (No. The timing is all wrong.
          Antiochus came to power before, not after, the
          Roman Empire. The Treasury of Scripture
          Knowledge recites that the ten kingdoms into
          which the western Roman Empire was divided were
          set up between 356 A.D and 526 A.D. Thus,
          Antiochus is more than 500 years too soon to fit
          this prophecy. In addition, his eleven-year rule
          hardly seems to stretch to the time of the final

    2. If Antiochus is such a bad historical “fit,” why do most
      commentators think the little horn is Antiochus? Let’s
      continue on in our study.

  3. Daniel 8 and the “Little Horn.”

    1. Read Daniel 8:9-12 and Daniel 8:23-25. Do you think the
      horn of Daniel 8 is the same as the little horn of Daniel

      1. To refresh your memory, scan Daniel 7:8, 11-12, 20-25
        to compare the little horns of Daniel 7 and Daniel 8.
        What reasons would you think they would be the same?
        (They are both horns with human characteristics. They
        both oppose God. They both oppose God’s people. They
        are both destroyed by God.)

      2. What reasons might you think these two horns are
        different? (The horn of Daniel 8 is described as
        attacking the sanctuary – whereas this is not
        mentioned about the horn of Daniel 7.)

    2. What is the timing of the arrival of the little horn of
      Daniel 8? (While the horn of Daniel 7 clearly arises out
      of (after) the fourth beast (Rome), the horn of Daniel 8
      arises out of (after) the goat ( Daniel 8:8-9).

      1. What does the goat represent? (Read Daniel 8: 21-23.
        The goat is Greece and the little horn arises from

    3. Is the timing wrong for Antiochus to be the horn of Daniel
      8:9? (The timing of Antiochus fits a lot better in Daniel
      8. He came out of the fragmented Grecian Empire (which was
      the reason he could not be the “little horn” of Daniel 7 –
      it came out of the fragmented Roman Empire).)

    4. Do you see the basis for the conflict? If the little horns
      of Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 are the same, the “little horn =
      Antiochus crowd” arrives at its view by reading their
      interpretation of Daniel 8 back into the little horn of
      Daniel 7. The “little horn = papal Rome crowd” (of which
      I am a part) reads their interpretation of the little horn
      of Daniel 7 into Daniel 8.) (For an explanation of why I
      think the “little horn” of Daniel 7 is papal Rome, read
      Lesson 4 of this series which covers much of this same

  4. Settling the Conflict

    1. If you agree that the “little horn” is the same power in
      Daniel 7 and Daniel 8, then what reason do you have for
      thinking that it is not Antiochus? An argument based
      simply on the timing question seems difficult to make,
      because when it comes to timing, their argument seems as
      good as ours.

    2. Let’s review again Daniel 8:9-12. Consider the rest of the
      description of this horn. Does it better match pagan and
      papal Rome or Antiochus? (The description of the power of
      this horn meets or exceeds the description of the power of
      the ram and the goat. For example, the ram is called
      ( Daniel 8:4) “great” and the goat is called ( Daniel 8:8)
      “very great.” Most translations (but not the NIV)
      translate the description of the horn ( Daniel 8:9) to be
      “exceedingly great” (NAS, KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV). Since the
      horn is described as being greater than Medo-Persia and
      Greece, it hardly seems appropriate to conclude the 11
      year rule of Antiochus, a minor Seleucid king, is
      comparable to the Persian and the Greek empires! On the
      other hand, the Roman empire (in both its pagan and papal
      phase, is clearly comparable to the Persian and Greek

      1. Did Rome ( Daniel 8:11) bring low the sanctuary? (The
        Romans destroyed God’s temple in 70 A.D.. Psalms 79:1
        refers to the first destruction of Jerusalem and the
        temple as “defiling” the temple.)

      2. Did Rome ( Daniel 8:10) reach to heaven, throw part of
        heaven’s citizens to the ground and trample on them?

  5. Gabriel on the Little Horn Issue

    1. Read Daniel 8:23-25. We now turn to Gabriel’s further
      explanation of the horn part of the dream for Daniel. Who
      is the Prince of princes referred to in verse 25? (It must
      be Jesus.)

      1. Did Rome take a stand against Jesus?

      2. How does this fit the reference in Daniel 8:10 to the
        horn reaching to heaven and trampling part of the
        starry hosts? (Rome crucified Jesus. I think this
        fits both the description of trampling heaven’s
        citizens and standing against the Prince of Princes.)

    2. How does the horn end? ( Daniel 8:25 tells us it is
      destroyed by something other than human power.)

      1. What do you think that means? (The logical conclusion
        is that it is destroyed by God.)

    3. Friend, I understand the argument of those who conclude
      that the horn power of Daniel 8 is Antiochus Epiphanes. On
      the other hand, I believe Rome (in both its pagan and
      papal phases) fits the prophecy better. After struggling
      through this study, you may be saying “So what, Bruce!?
      Why does this apparently minor point of prophecy matter?”
      Next week we will discuss whether it matters and why.

  6. Next week: The Sanctuary and the Little Horn.