The evil horn-king comes “out of one of them.” What does this mean?


The previous article showed that the fourth beast of Daniel 7 must be the Roman Empire.  To do this, it compared the animals in Daniel 7 to the animals in Daniel 8.  The small horn in Daniel 7 therefore grows out of the Roman Empire.  In Daniel 8 the small horn comes “out of one of them.”  Hebrew nouns and pronouns have genders which require agreement.  An analysis of the genders in Daniel 8 shows that the small horn comes out of one of the winds (compass directions) of the heavens.  It therefore did not come from one of the Greek horns.

Daniel 8 does not symbolize the Roman Empire with a separate beast.  However, Daniel 7 presents the little horn is not a new entity, but as a continuation of the beast.  The small horn in Daniel 8 therefore includes both the terrible beast of Daniel 7 and its evil horn.  Evidence for this is the two phases of the horn.  It first grows horizontally (politically) and then vertically (against God).


The previous article compared the animals in Daniel 7 to the animals in Daniel 8, and showed that the fourth beast of Daniel 7 must be the Roman Empire.  It therefore follows that the small horn in Daniel 7 grows out of that empire.  Furthermore, in the first article on Daniel 8, it was argued that the evil horn of Daniel 8 is the same as the evil horn of Daniel 7.  This means that the evil horn of Daniel 8 also comes out of the Roman Empire.

Out of one of themDaniel 8:8-9 reads as follows:

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. 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. (NASB)

The male goat is “the kingdom of Greece” (8:21).  “The four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation” (8:22).  The words “out of one of them” seem to indicate that the small horn comes out of one of these four Greek horns, and must therefore be a Greek king, such as Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  The purpose of this article is to show that this is not the case.


In Hebrew nouns and pronouns have genders which require agreement.  In the English translation this information is lost, but in Hebrew these genders allow one to identify the “one of them,” and therefore to determine whether the evil horn is Greek or not.

The last phrase in 8:8, together with the beginning of 8:9, with the relevant words marked (f) for feminine or (m) for masculine, reads as follows:

8 … the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four (f) winds (f) of heaven (m). 9 Out of one (f) of them (m) came forth a rather small horn … (NASB)

To understand where the little horn comes from, we need to understand what the antecedents of the “one” and “them” are. (An antecedent is the previously mentioned noun to which something refers.)

Them refer to the heavens

Them” is plural, and can therefore refer to the “horns” or the “winds.”  It can also refer to the “heaven,” for, in Hebrew, “heaven” is always plural (heavens).  But “them” is also masculine, while the Hebrew word for “horn” is always feminine, and the word for “winds” is written in 8:8 as a feminine form. “Them” can therefore only refer to the “heaven.”

One of the winds

The numeral “one” is feminine in form.  Since “them” is masculine, the “one” does not have the same antecedent as “them.”  In other words, the “one” in the statement “one of them,” does not refer to “one” of the heavens.

Since “one” is feminine in form, it can either refer to one of the horns or to one of the winds.  (The word “winds” means the four directions of the compass.)

Out of one of them

Putting the above together, the phrase “out of one of them” can therefore either mean:

1. Out of one of the horns of the heavens, or
2. Out of one of the winds (compass directions) of the heavens

The first option is not acceptable because:

Heavens do not have horns, and
Nowhere in Daniel do horns come out of horns.

The only valid option is that the small horn came out of one of the winds (directions) of the heavens.  This conclusion is supported by the fact that “the four winds of heaven” is the final phrase in verse 8.  The first phrase of verse 9 therefore lines up as follows with the last phrase of verse 8:

  Feminine Masculine  
8:8 there came up four horns toward the four winds of the heavens
8:9 from the one from them came forth a small horn

Conclusion: Verse 8 states that four horns appeared in the place of the great horn that was broken.  They extended “toward the four winds of the heavens.”  Verse 9 begins by saying that the little horn came from one of these four winds of the heavens, that is, from one of the four directions of the compass.  It therefore did not come from one of the Greek horns, and is therefore not necessarily Greek in origin.

Where Is Rome in Daniel 8?

But are we able to show that the horn came out of the Roman Empire?  Where is the Roman Empire in Daniel 8?  Daniel 8 does not seem to describe another empire between the Greek Empire and the evil horn.

The horn is the beast.

Firstly, one needs to understand that Daniel 7 presents the little horn as a continuation of the beast; not as a new entity.  The beast remains alive as long as the horn is alive:

Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. (7:11)

Therefore, when we see the horn in Daniel 8, we actually see the beast from which this horn grows.

The horn has two phases.

Secondly, Daniel 8 does allow for political Rome, for the horn in Daniel 8 has two phases of growth.  It first grows horizontally:

a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land (8:9).

Then it grows vertically:

It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down (8:10).

The horn does not literally grow up to the stars.  The stars are symbols of God’s people, and the trampling of the stars is the same as the persecution of God’s people described by Daniel 7 (7:21, 25).  The text continues:

It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down

The Commander of the host is God—“Him who lives forever” (12:7).

The horizontal expansion of the horn is its political phase, and parallels the fourth beast of Daniel 7 when it “devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it” (7:8, 23).

The vertical expansion is the horn’s religious phase, parallel to the evil horn of Daniel 7.

Daniel 8 therefore merges the beast and its prominent horn into a single symbol—the horn.

Increasing focus on the evil entity

Daniel 2 paint a picture of the full period from the time of Daniel to the Return of Christ, but does not mention any anti-God activities.

Daniel 7, for the first time, reveals the evil entity.  In fact, the evil entity is the main character in this prophecy.  It divides the fourth empire into a political phase, described in only two verses (7:7, 19), and a subsequent phase during which an anti-God power will reign, described in about six verses.

Daniel 8 does not mention the first (Babylonian) or the last (eternal) kingdoms, and includes both phases of the terrible beast under the symbolism an evil horn.  This means that this anti-God power is more important than the political power from which it came.  In fact, the only reason that the prophecies mention the political empires is to enable us to identify the evil anti-God power.

We therefore see in Daniel an increasing focus on the evil entity.  Therefore, in Daniel 8, the beast itself is subsumed under the symbolism of the horn.

NEXT: The next article discusses Daniel 11.

To determine who the Evil Horn is, compare the animals of Daniel 7 and Daniel 8.


Animals of Daniel 7The previous three articles gave an overview of Daniel 2, Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 respectively.  In both Daniel 7 and 8 the main character is an evil horn-king.  The Daniel 8 article concluded that the horn-king in Daniel 8 represents the same entity as the horn-king in Daniel 7.  That article also compared the Preterist, Historicist and Futurist identifications of this evil power.

The purpose of the current article is to show that the evil king-horn arises out of the Roman Empire.  The two animals in Daniel 8 are explicitly identified as “the kings of Media and Persia” and as “the kingdom of Greece” (8:20-21).  By comparing the animals of Daniel 7 to the Daniel 8 animals, the animals of Daniel 7 may also be identified, and it can be shown that the fourth kingdom, from which the evil horn-king in Daniel 7 arises, is the Roman Empire.

Conservative Alignment

Conservatives (historicists and futurists) align the symbols in Daniel 2, 7 and 8 as follows:

Daniel 2 Gold (Babylon) Silver Brass Iron
Daniel 7 Lion Bear Leopard Dreadful beast
Daniel 8 Ram (Medo-Persia) Goat (Greece)

In this schema, since the Bear is Medo-Persia and the Leopard is the Greek empire, the dreadful fourth beast of Daniel 7 must represent Rome, for that was the next empire in history.  It then follows that the evil horn, which arises from the dreadful fourth beast, arose during the Roman period.

Liberal Alignment

The Preterist School, comprising mostly of liberal critical scholars, effectively reads Daniel backwards.  They firstly identify the “despicable” of Daniel 11 (v21) as Antiochus IV.  Then, since the evil horns of Daniel 7 and 8 are the same as the “despicable,” they identify the evil horns of Daniel 7 and 8 also as Antiochus IV.  But Antiochus was a Greek king.  This means that the fourth kingdom in Daniel 7 (the dreadful beast) must be the Greek Empire.  But then the alignment of the Bear and the Leopard to the Babylonian and Greek empires becomes a problem.  The Critics solve this problem by splitting the Mede-Persian Empire into two separate empires and by aligning the symbols as follows:

Daniel 2 Gold (Babylon) Silver Brass Iron
Daniel 7 Lion Bear Leopard Dreadful Beast
Daniel 8 Ram (Medes) Ram (Persia) Goat (Greece)

In this schema the Ram of Daniel 8 covers both the Bear and the Leopard of Daniel 7, and the Greek Goat of Daniel 8 is equivalent to the Dreadful Beast of Daniel 7.  The next sections will determine which schema best fits the text of Daniel by comparing the characteristics of the animals.

The Ram

The Ram is “the kings of Media and Persia” (8:20).  Does it agree with the Bear of Daniel 7 only, as proposed by the conservatives, or with the Bear and the Leopard, as proposed by the liberals?  Considered how they are described, and evaluate the similarities:

Ram  Bear Leopard
Two horns—one higher (v3);
Higher horn came out last (v3);
Charges to West, North and South (v4);
Raised up on one side (7:5);
Three ribs between its teeth (7:5)
Four heads (v6);
Four wings (v6);

The Ram and the Leopard

There does not seem to be any similarity between these two animal.  In one respect they are clearly different:

Daniel’s prophecies use heads and horns to indicate divisions.  The Ram has two horns, which means it has two divisions (identified as the Medes and Persians – v20), while the Leopard has four heads (four divisions).

The Ram and the Bear

These animals, on the other hand, are similar:

For both their two sides are compared, with one side higher than the other.  The Bear is “raised up on one side” (7:5) while the Ram has two horns; one being longer than the other.

Both conquer three others:  The Ram pushes in three directions (8:4—West, North and South) and the Bear has three ribs between its teeth (7:5).  Since animals symbolize kingdoms, ribs may represent kingdoms or territories conquered.


These comparisons imply that the Ram and is equivalent to the Bear and only the Bear, and that the Bear represents “the kings of Media and Persia” (8:20):

The two horns of the ram and the two sides of the bear symbolize the composite nature of the kingdom formed by a fusion of “the kings of Media and Persia.”

The ram’s horn that came out last, but became longer, and the higher side of the bear refers to the Persians.  Initially the Medes dominated Persia, but Cyrus reversed the relationship so that Persia dominated the Medes when their combined forces conquered Babylon.

The three ribs in the Bear’s mouth and the three directions into which the Ram pushes (West, North and South) may reasonably be taken as representing the three major conquests of the combined forces of the Medes and Persians in the sixth century BC: Lydia in the north in 547, Babylon in the west in 539, and Egypt in the south in 525.

The Goat

Secondly, does Goat of Daniel 8 agree with the Leopard of Daniel 7, as proposed by the conservatives, or with the fourth Dreadful Beast, as proposed by the liberals?

Goat Leopard Dreadful Beast
From west (v5);
Not touching the ground (v5);
One conspicuous horn (v5);
Great horn broken when strong (v8);
Four horns to the four winds (v8)
Four heads (v6);
Four wings (v6);
Terrible & very strong (v7);
Iron teeth (v7);
Bronze claws (v19);
It devoured; broke in pieces (v7);
Stamped residue with its feet (v7);
Different from the other beasts (v7);
Ten horns (v7);

The Goat and the Dreadful Beast

Contrary to the proposal by the Critics, there is nothing in the descriptions of these two animals that imply that they represent the same entity.  To the contrary:

The Goat has only one horn at first and then later four.  The Dreadful Beast, on the other hand, first has 10 horns, and then an 11th comes up which “pluck out” three of the ten horns by their “roots”, leaving 8 horns standing.  Since horns symbolize the divisions of these kingdoms, the Goat and the Dreadful Beast are not related.

The Goat and the Leopard

Consistent with the conservative view, these two animals are similar:

Both are represented as fast.  The Leopard has four wings while the Goat flies.

Both consist of four parts.  The Leopard has four heads, while four horns grow from the Goat’s head.

This implies that the Goat and the Leopard represent the same empire, namely “the kingdom of Greece” (8:21), or the Macedonian Empire, as it is known.  The speed of its quests refers to the speed by which Alexander the Great conquered the known world (within 10 years).  The four heads and four horns symbolize the four Greek Empires that came into being after Alexander’s death at age 33.

Animals of Daniel 7

Animals of Daniel 7This comparison of the features of the animals of Daniel 7 therefore shows that:

The Bear represents “the kings of Media and Persia” (8:20), and
The Leopard represents “the kingdom of Greece” (8:21).

This means that the next beast; the dreadful fourth beast of Daniel 7, must be the Roman Empire.  The little horn in Daniel 7 therefore comes out of this empire.  Since the little horns of Daniel 7 and 8 refer to the same entity, it follows that the Daniel 8 horn cannot be the Greek king Antiochus IV.

Media and Persia

It is also possible to evaluate the validity of the Critics’ separation of the Medes and Persians into two different empires.  Critics propose that the author of Daniel inserted the Medes as a separate empire because of the predictions in Isaiah and Jeremiah that Babylon would fall to the Medes.  They consequently propose that, according to Daniel, the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to the Medes under “Darius the Mede” (5:30-31; 6:28), preceding the reign of the Persian king, Cyrus the Great (10:1).

Historically, this would be incorrect.  The Medes were conquered around 550 BCE by the Persians.  It was the joint forces of the Persians and the Medes that conquered Babylon eleven years later, with Cyrus the Great as their supreme king.

But it is also not consistent with Daniel itself. Daniel consistently viewed the Medes and Persians as a single entity, as indicated by the following:

He prophesied that Babylon would be conquered by the joint forces of the Medes and the Persians (5:28).

Daniel 6:9, 13 and 16 refers to the unchangeable law of the Medes and the Persians.

The ram is identified as “the kings of Media and Persia” (8:20).

Daniel never refers to a separate Median kingdom.  He only refers to a person (Darius) as a Mede (11:1), but within the context of the Persian Empire (10:1 and 11:2).

There is no indication in Daniel of a conflict between the Medes and the Persians which resulted in the dominance of Persia.

Furthermore, the author would be inconsistent to describe both Media and Persia by a single beast in Daniel 8, but as two different animals in Daniel 7 and as two different metals in Daniel 2.

Conclusion: The separation of the Medes and Persians into two different empires is not consistent with the book of Daniel.

Darius the Mede

Critics argue that the author of Daniel committed a historical blunder when he referred to Darius the Mede in 5:31-6:28 and in 9:1. The argument runs as follows:

Although no such figure is known from history, Daniel’s reference to him allowed for a separate Median kingdom between the Neo-Babylonian rulers, Nabonidus and Belshazzar, on the one hand, and the Persian king, Cyrus, on the other.

In a separate article on this website it is argued that Darius the Mede might have been the throne name for Ugbaru (Greek Gobryas), the general who conquered Babylon for Cyrus, and who was appointed by Cyrus as king over the “kingdom of the Chaldeans” (9:1)—one of the kingdoms in the Persian Empire—but who died three weeks after the conquest of Babylon.  He ruled only for one week, which explains why archaeologists have not yet found him in recorded history.

NEXT: The next article supports the identification of the small horn by analyzing the phrase “Out of One of Them.”

Three alternative interpretations of the little horn of Daniel 8


The two animals in Daniel 8 are explicitly identified as Mede-Persia and as Greece.  But the main character in the chapter—an anti-god power that persecutes God’s people and corrupts God’s message—is not explicitly identified.  This evil power is the same as the one in Daniel 7 that persecutes the saints and blaspheme God.  But it is identified by the different schools of prophetic interpretation as the Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes that ruled in the second century BC, as an end-time antichrist and as the Roman Church.


The previous two articles are preliminary overviews of the metal man of Daniel 2 and of the four beasts of Daniel 7.  The Daniel 7 article did not identify the four beasts.  Neither did it identify the main character in that chapter, represented by a small horn that “will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One” (v25)

Daniel 8The current article gives an overview of Daniel 8 and lists the alternative interpretations of the main character in this chapter, also represented by a small horn.

The Ram and the Goat

Only two animals appear in the Daniel 8 vision; a ram and a goat:

The first animal to appear is a ram, conquering into three directions: to the north, west, and to the south (vss. 3-4).  The ram is explicitly identified as Mede-Persia (8:20).

Next a goat with one large horn appears. It defeats the Medo-Persian ram and becomes the dominant power (vss. 5-7).  The goat is explicitly identified as Greece (8:20-21).

The Horns

The goat at first has one large horn.  But this horn was “broken” and four horns, extending out to the four winds of heaven (we would say, the four directions of the compass), came up in its place (vs. 8).  Commentators generally concur that the one large horn refers to the kingdom of Alexander the Great, and that the four horns are the four kingdoms into which Alexander’s empire was divided after his death.

But then another horn (“a little horn“) appears on the scene.  There is much disagreement about its identity.  It did not attack any beast or kingdom, but it opposed:

(a) God’s people, identified as “the host of the stars” (vss. to, 24).
(b) God’s work of redemption, described as the tamid (daily or continual) and the temple (vss. 11-12), and
(c) God’s principal representative, called “the Prince of the host” or “the Prince of princes(vss. 11, 25).

The Heavenly Conversation

Daniel then overheard two heavenly beings discussing the vision. One asked:

“How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?

The other responded:

For 2300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored.”

Daniel 8 does not mention the first kingdom of Daniel 7 (Babylon).  Neither does it mention the last (eternal) kingdom.  It rather focuses on and provides additional information about the main evil character in the book of Daniel, symbolized by an evil horn-king in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8.  Most of Daniel 8 is devoted to this king.

Same Evil Horn as in Daniel 7

For the following reasons it is generally agreed that the evil horn of Daniel 8 is the same as the evil horn of Daniel 7:

(1) The same symbol (horn) is used for both. 

If a distinction had been intended, the best way would have been to use a different symbol.

(2) They are similar. 

Both begin small and become great (7:8 and 8:9);
Are blasphemous powers (7:8, 25 and 8:11, 25);
Persecute the saints of God (7:21, 25 and 8:11, 25);
Are the last in a series of symbols;

For both a period of time is described (7:25 and 8:14); and
They eventually suffer similar fates (7:26 and 8:25).

(3) Later prophecies amplify the earlier ones. 

Virtually all commentators accept this principle.  For example, Daniel 7 repeats the four empires of Daniel 2, with additional information, particularly through the use of horns to represent their major divisions.

The book of Daniel itself also mentions this principle at least twice:

In Daniel 9:22-23, Gabriel said that he came to give Daniel understanding of “the vision.” This would be the vision in the Daniel 8.

In Daniel 10-12 Daniel receives a “message” to explain the “vision” (10:1, 14).  This also refers to the vision in Daniel 8, for that is the last “vision” before Daniel 10.

This principle implies that the vision of Daniel 8 elaborates on the vision of Daniel 7, which support the conclusion that the little horn in Daniel 8 represents the same force as the little horn in Daniel 7.

Three Interpretations of this Horn

Who is this little horn that blasphemes God and persecutes His people (8:9-14)?  And what is its period of 2300 evening-mornings, when it will profane the sanctuary?  The Preterist, Futurist, and Historicist schools of prophetic interpretation have different answers to these questions:


In this view:

(A) The majority of the prophecies of the book of Daniel have already been fulfilled and, therefore, have no significance for the present day or for the future.

(B) The little horn arose from one of the divisions of Alexander’s empire.

(C) The activities of the little horn point to the Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

(D) The 2300 “evening-mornings” should be interpreted as 2300 individual morning and evening sacrifices, or 1150 literal days. These are then applied to events in the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the second century B.C.

(E) The sanctuary refers to the temple in Jerusalem which was polluted by Antiochus and later purified by the victorious Jewish rebels.  The purification was completed before January 1, 164 B.C.


Futurists generally follow this line of interpretation as well.  But they also see Antiochus as a type of an end-time antichrist who will arise in the final years of earth’s history; just prior to Christ’s Second Advent.  Some futurists also apply the 2300 “evening-mornings” to the end time.  They interpret it is literal evenings-mornings, or the literal 2300 days of the future reign of this final antichrist.  During the final seven years of earth’s history, according to this interpretation, a literal temple (to be rebuilt in Jerusalem for the Jews) will be polluted by this antichrist.  The temple will be restored when Christ comes and puts an end to the reign of the antichrist.

Historicists View

In this view:

(A) The prophecies in Daniel portray an outline of history and the story of the on-going struggle between good and evil down to the end of time.

(B) The evil horn-king represents Rome in its papal phase (the Roman Church).

(C) Utilizing the day-for-a-year principle, historicists have held that the 2300 evening-mornings refer to a period of 2300 literal years, commencing in the time of the Persian Ram and concluding with the recovery of the message of the Bible after the distortion of the Middle Ages.

(D) The purification of the sanctuary is interpreted symbolically as the restoration of God’s people and/or their message.

Comparison of the three views

These three interpretations of the various elements in Daniel 8:9-14 may be summarized as follows:

Preterlst Historicist Futurist
Little horn Antiochus IV Roman Church End-time Antichrist
2300 days 1150 past days 2300 historical years 2300 end-time days
Temple In Jerusalem God’s people In end-time Jerusalem
Cleansing Before 164 BC After middle ages Return of Christ

NEXT: The next article evaluates these three interpretations and identifies the evil horn-king by Comparing the Animals in Daniel 7 to the animals in Daniel 8.


In Daniel 7, four beasts come out of the sea. Ten horns grow out of the fourth.


Daniel 7In the vision of Daniel 7 four beasts (a lion, a bear, a leopard and a dreadful beast) come out of the sea (v3). The sea is the people of the world.  The beasts are not kings, but kingdoms that reign one after the other.  Ten horns grow out of the fourth beast-kingdom.  These horns exist simultaneously in time; after the fourth empire.

This is an introductory overview of Daniel 7.  The reader is advised to first read the entire chapter carefully.

The beasts are not kings, but kingdoms.

The four great beasts are “kings” (v17).  Verse 23 explains further that the “fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms”.  In other words, each of the four beasts is a “kingdom”, consisting of a series of kings.

The sea is the people of the world.

The beasts arise out of the sea (verse 3).  But verse 17 explains that these kings will “arise from the earth”.  The “sea” (v3) is therefore a symbol for the “earth”.  The “earth” is not the physical earth, but the peoples of the world.

The beast-kingdoms reign one after the other.

These kingdoms will not reign at the same time, but—like the metal-kingdoms of Daniel 2—they will reign one after the other.  This can be shown as follows:

The fourth beast “was different from all the beasts that were before it” (verse 7).

The fourth beast will devour the “whole earth” (verse 23), which leaves no place for other beasts at the same time.

The words “after this” in verses 6 and 7, explaining the sequence of beasts, confirms that the beasts will follow one after the other.

The beasts are the same kingdoms as in Daniel 2.

The man of Daniel 2
The man of Daniel 2

It is generally agreed among commentators that the four beast-kingdoms in Daniel 7 are the same as the four metal-kingdoms in Daniel 2.  (See the discussion of Daniel 2.)  This is confirmed as follows:

Four: There are four metals in the vision of Daniel 2 and there are also four beasts in Daniel 7.

Successive:  As discussed, both the metals in Daniel 2 and the beasts in Daniel 7 represent successive kingdoms.

Fourth Kingdom:  The phrase “fourth kingdom” is applied to both the fourth metal-kingdom (2:40) and to the fourth beast-kingdom (7:23).

Eternal: Both series of kingdoms are followed by the eternal kingdom (2:44; 7:24-27).

It is therefore concluded that the four metal-kingdoms in Daniel 2 are the same as the four beast-kingdoms in Daniel 7.  The first beast-kingdom is therefore the same as the gold kingdom of Daniel 2, namely the Babylonian Empire.

The Horns are the same as the Divided Kingdom.

The fourth beast has ten horns (7:7).  These are explained as ten kings that will arise “out of” the fourth beast (7:24).  The following shows that these ten horns are the same as the divided kingdom in Daniel 2:

The 10 horn-kings of Daniel 7 to
The divided kingdom of Daniel 2:

Both are a multitude of kings.
By calling it a “divided kingdom” (2:41), Daniel 2 indicates that, during the fifth phase, there will not be a supreme king, but many kings.  The horns in Daniel 7 also consist of many kings (7:8; 8:20-22).

Both are related to the fourth empire.
In Daniel 2 the fourth kingdom is represented by legs of iron.  This is followed by the feet representing a divided kingdom “of iron and … clay” (2:33).  This divided kingdom is related to the fourth empire because it contains the same metal (iron).  In Daniel 7 the fourth kingdom is represented as a dreadful beast.  The horns are similarly related to this beast because they come “out of” this fourth kingdom.

Both continue until the sixth or eternal kingdom. 
Both the divided kingdom and the horns are followed by the eternal kingdom: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed” (2:44, compare 7:24-27).

These parallels indicate that the horns are equivalent to the divided kingdom of Daniel 2.

Daniel 2 and 7 compared

The visions in Daniel 2 and 7 are therefore parallel:

Daniel 2 
1. Head of fine gold
2. Breast and its arms of silver
3. Belly and its thighs of bronze
4. Legs of iron
5. Feet of iron and clay 
6. Everlasting kingdom
   Daniel 7
= Lion
= Bear
= Leopard
= Dreadful Beast
= Horns
= Everlasting dominion

The horns follow after the fourth empire.

Critical scholars propose that the horn-kings rule one after the other during the fourth empire:

The most prominent character in Daniel 7 is not any of the beasts nor any of the 10 horns, but actually the evil 11th horn that comes up among the 10 horns.  Most of the chapter is devoted to this anti-God character.  In the view of critical scholars this evil 11th horn is one of the series of kings in the fourth empire, namely Antiochus Epiphanes.

Ten horns of the beastIn contrast, it is proposed here that these ten kings, and therefore also the evil 11th horn, exist after the period of the fourth beast-kingdom has come to an end.  This is shown by the parallel to Daniel 2:

The divided kingdom in Daniel 2 follows after the fourth kingdom:  The time relationship is indicated by the five different body parts.  The head represents the first kingdom, the chest the second, the belly the third, the legs the fourth and the feet, which represent the divided kingdom, are the fifth.  The feet “partly of iron and partly of clay” in Daniel 2 therefore exist after the iron legs, not at the same time as the iron legs.

Since the horns in Daniel 7 are parallel to the divided kingdom, the horns follow after the fourth kingdom.  In other words, the horns are not individual kings of the fourth kingdom, but separate kingdoms that came about after the end of the fourth kingdom.  In Daniel 7 this time relationship is implied by the statement that ten kings will arise “out of” the fourth empire (7:24).

The ten kings exist at the same time.

The divided kingdom consists of a number kings that reign at the same time.  This is indicated by the title “divided kingdom” and by the statement, “they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another” (2:43).

Since the horns are the same as the divided kingdom, the ten kings also do not exist one after the other, but at the same time.  The following confirm this conclusion:

Among:  Although the eleventh horn will come up “after them” (7:24), Daniel saw it “among them” (7:8).  “Among” implies that the horns exist simultaneously.

Three:  The eleventh horn uproots three of the other horns (7:8).  This implies that the other 7 remain.

Daniel 8:  There are two other animals in Daniel with horns, and in both instances the horns represent kingdoms that exist at the same time (8:20-22):

The ram in Daniel 8 has two horns, the one representing the Medes of the Mede-Persian Empire; the other representing the Persians (8:20).  These two components existed at the same time.

The goat in Daniel 8 grows 4 horns, representing the four divisions of the Greek Empire, which existed at the same time.

Eleventh Horn

It has been shown above that the visions in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 represent the same six phases of human history.  The descriptions of the beasts in Daniel 7, such as heads and wings and horns, give more detail about the kingdoms in Daniel 2.  But the most important additional information in Daniel 7 is about an evil king that will reign during the time of the horns.  It is symbolized by an eleventh horn that “came up among them” and uproot three of the other horns (7:8).  When it comes up it is “little” (7:8), but later it becomes “larger … than its associates” (7:20).  Daniel 7 says more about this evil horn than about any of the other kingdoms or kings.  It persecutes the saints, blaspheme God, and intend to change times and law (7:25).

NEXT: Three alternative interpretations of the little horn of Daniel 8