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

Summary

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).

Purpose

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.

Genders

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.

Purpose

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.

Conclusion

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.”