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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.