Overview of the prophecies in the Book of Daniel relating to the Antichrist.

Excerpt: This article gives an overview of the four kingdoms and the horns in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7.  The Eleventh Horn is the main character in the Book of Daniel.  The horn in Daniel 8 is a symbol for the same power as the horn in Daniel 7.  This article identifies the horn by identifying the kingdom out of which it comes as the Roman Empire.  It discusses the Critics’ assumption of a separate Mede kingdom.  It analyzes the phrase “from one from them” to show that the horn does not come out of the Greek Empires.  It then continues to explain Daniel 11 consistent with Daniel 7 and 8.

This article has since been replaced by the series of articles on the Book of Daniel, starting with Daniel 2 which might be a bit easier to follow

The complete article is available at:
The evil horn-king in Daniel’s prophecy

A Word version of this article can be downloaded:
Daniel’s evil horn–Greek or Roman
Summary in Work format

This summary omits many key points.  The full document should rather be read.  The purpose of this summary is only to provide a high-level overview.


The Macedonian (Greek) Empire, which included the nation of Israel (Judea), ruled from about 330 B.C. for nearly 300 years.  Antiochus IV was one of the many kings of this empire.  He ruled between 168 and 165 BC.  He defiled the temple in Jerusalem in the year 168 B.C. and persecuted the Jews.


In academic circles (critics) it is believed that he was the evil king presented in the prophecies of the Book of Daniel; chapters 7, 8 and 11The purpose of this document is to oppose this view and to show that the evil king in the Book of Daniel arises in time after Rome has become the dominant power and therefore cannot be Antiochus IV.


Using the statue of a man, consisting of four different metals, the vision in Daniel 2 divides world history into six phases:

        1. Babylonian (Gold) Empire
        2. Silver (another) kingdom
        3. Bronze (third) kingdom
        4. Iron (fourth) kingdom
        5. Iron and clay; divided kingdom – no supreme ruler
        6. Eternal kingdom – destroys the entire image

The fifth phase is represented by the statue’s feet consisting partly of iron and partly of clay (2:33).  Iron is the same metal as the fourth kingdom, indicating that the feet continue the fourth kingdom.  But it is explained as “a divided kingdom” (2:41).  In other words, a supreme king will rule all nations during each of the four kingdoms (2:37-40), but during the “divided kingdom” there will be no supreme king.


Daniel 2 has four metals and Daniel 7 has four beasts.  Both the four metals and the four beasts represent successive kingdoms.  Both Daniel 2 and 7 end with the “everlasting kingdom” (7:28).  Both have a phase of many kings after the first four, which continue the fourth empire, and which exist until the sixth or eternal kingdom.  This phase is symbolized by the horns of the fourth beast in Daniel 7 and by the feet of the statue (the divided kingdom) in Daniel 2.  The horns are therefore equivalent to the divided kingdom.  Daniel 7, therefore, divides world history into the same 6 successive phases as Daniel 2:


Daniel 2

Daniel 7


Head of fine gold



Breast and its arms of silver



Belly and its thighs of bronze



Legs of iron

Dreadful beast


Feet of iron and clay



Everlasting Kingdom

Everlasting dominion

Since the divided kingdom in Daniel 2 follows after the fourth kingdom, the horns are not individual kings of the fourth kingdom, but separate kingdoms that came about after the end of the fourth kingdom.  Further, since the divided kingdom consists of a number kings that reign at the same time, the ten kings do not exist one after the other, but at the same time.

Daniel 7 adds detail about the four kingdoms in the form of descriptions of beasts.  But most additional information is about the evil eleventh horn that arises from the fourth beast and rules during the divided kingdom.  This evil horn-king persecutes the saints and blasphemes God (7:25).


Daniel 8 also uses beasts as symbols for kingdoms.  The first is a ram that is explicitly identified as Mede-Persia (8:20).  The second is a goat that is explicitly identified as Greece (8:20-21).

Daniel 8 then describes the four horns of the goat that represent the four kingdoms into which Alexander’s Greek empire was divided.

It also describes a horn that is small at first but expands.  It attacks God’s people and the temple.

It is generally agreed that the evil horn of Daniel 8 is the same as the evil horn of Daniel 7.  Both are horns, both begin small and become great (7:8 and 8:9) and both blasphemes God and persecutes His people. 


This little horn is identified differently by the different schools of prophetic interpretation:

Preterists hold that the little horn points to Antiochus IV.

Futurists see Antiochus as a type of an end-time Antichrist who is to arise in the final years before the return of Christ, and pollute a literal temple, to be rebuilt in Jerusalem.

Historicists hold that the little horn represents the Roman Church.  The purification of the sanctuary is interpreted as the restoration after the distortion of the Middle Ages.

To evaluate these views, the kingdom from which this horn arises must be identified:



Conservatives align the kingdoms in the Book of Daniel as follows:

Daniel 2

Gold (Babylon)




Daniel 7




Dreadful Beast

Daniel 8


Ram (Mede-Persia)

Goat (Greece)


In this view the bear is Mede-Persia and the Leopard is the Greek Empire.  It follows that the Dreadful Beast must represent Rome because that was the next empire in history. Then the little horn comes about in or after the Roman period.

The Preterist School split Mede-Persian Empire into two separate empires and aligns the symbols as follows:

Daniel 2





Daniel 7




Dreadful Beast

Daniel 8


Ram (Medes)

Ram (Persia)

Goat (Greece)

In this schema, the Ram of Daniel 8 is equal to both the Bear and the Leopard of Daniel 7, and the Goat of Daniel 8 is equivalent to the Dreadful Beast of Daniel 7. 


One way to determine which schema best fits the text of the Book of Daniel is to compare the descriptions of the animals in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8:

The Ram and the Leopard do not appear similar.  The Ram has two horns while the Leopard has four heads.

The Goat and the Dreadful Beast do not appear similar.  The Goat has one horn at first and then later four.  The Dreadful Beast first has 10 horns, and then an 11th comes up which “pluck out” three of the ten horns by their “roots”, leaving 8 horns.

The Ram and the Bear appear similar.  For both their two sides are emphasized, with one side higher than the other.  Both conquered three others.  This implies that they represent the same empire, namely “the kings of Media and Persia” (8:20).

The Goat and the Leopard appear similar.  Both are represented as very fast and both consist of four parts.  This implies that they represent the same empire, namely “the kingdom of Greece” (8:21).

This analysis of the characteristics of the beasts supports the conservative interpretation, which identifies the fourth beast of Daniel 7 as the Roman Empire.  It follows that the horn comes out of Rome.  It cannot be Antiochus IV.


Critics defend their schema by proposing that the author of the Book of Daniel viewed the Medes and Persians as two separate empires with the Neo-Babylonian Empire falling firstly to the Medes under “Darius the Mede” (5:30-31; 6:28) and later to the Persians under Cyrus the Great (10:1).  This is not consistent with the Book of Daniel.  Daniel’s author consistently viewed the Medes and Persians as a single entity (5:28, 6:9, 13 and 16; 8:20).


Critics argue that the author of Daniel committed a historical blunder when he referred to Darius the Mede.  In a separate article on this website, it is argued that Darius might have been the throne name for Ugbaru, the general who conquered Babylon for Cyrus, and who ruled over the province of the Chaldeans (9:1) for (at most) three weeks.  This short period explains why archaeologists have not yet found him in recorded history.


Daniel 8:9 says that the little horn came “out of one of them”.  Since the previous verse referred to the four Greek horns, critics argue that 8:9 confirms that the little horn comes from one of the four Greek horns, and must, therefore, be a Greek king, like Antiochus IV.  However, an analysis of the genders of the nouns and pronouns indicates that the “them” in 8:9 can only to the “heavens”, which is the last word in 8:8.  The “out of one of them” can then be interpreted as either:

        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 horns nowhere else in the Book of Daniel come out of horns.  Since “the four winds of heaven” is the last phrase in verse 8, the second option is preferred.  The little horn, therefore, came from one of these four winds of the heavens, that is, from one of the directions of the compass.  It, therefore, did not come from one of the Greek horns and is therefore not Greek in origin.


Critics challenge the conservative interpretation by asking: Where Rome is in Daniel 8?  Daniel 8 does not seem to describe another kingdom between the Greek Empire and the evil horn. 

Firstly, both Daniel 2 and 7 describe the beast and its dreadful horn as a single entity (7:11).  Secondly, the growth of the horn in Daniel 8, as described in verses 9 to 11, consists of two phases.  The first phase is horizontal (political) growth (8:9) and the second phase is vertical (religious) growth.  The horizontal expansion parallels the fourth beast of Daniel 7.  The vertical expansion parallels the evil horn of Daniel 7.  Daniel 8, therefore, merges the beast and its prominent horn into a single symbol—the horn.



Critics agree that verses 14 to 19 describe Antiochus III, the father of Antiochus IV.  To quote a critical scholar:

Daniel 11:2-20 is a very accurate & historically corroborated sequence of events from the third year (10:1) of the Persian era up to the predecessor of Antiochus IV: some 366 years!  Only the names and dates are missing.  Most of the details are about the conflicts between the kings of the South (the Ptolemies of Egypt) and the kings of the North (the Seleucids of Mesopotamia/ Syria).  The Seleucids are shown to become stronger and stronger …  Of course, Jerusalem was in the middle and changed hand (197, from Egypt to Syria).


The remaining 25 verses of Daniel 11 describe the activities of a “vile person” (KJV; 11:21).  It is generally agreed that this “vile person” is equivalent to the horn of Daniel 8 and Daniel 7 because:

Elaborate: The later prophecies in the Book of Daniel elaborate on the earlier prophecies.

Persecute: Both the horn and the vile person persecutes God’s people (7:25; 11:32-34) for 3½ times (7:25; 12:7).

Temple: Both set up “the abomination that makes desolate” (11:31; 8:13), profanes the strong temple (11:31; 8:11) and remove the continual (tamid) (8:11; 11:31).


Daniel 11:22 indicates that the nagid (prince) of the covenant will be broken before the vile person.  This refers to the death of Jesus Christ:

The word ‘sar’ (translated “prince”) occurs several times in the Book of Daniel, but the word ‘nagid’, which is also translated “prince”, occurs only in 11:22 and in 9:24-27.  The word “covenant” is also used several times in Daniel, but only 11:22 and 9:24-27 link a prince to the covenant.  In both 9:24-27 and 11:22 the nagid is destroyed.  It is therefore concluded that the nagid in these two passages is the same individual and that the two passages refer to the same events.  Daniel 9:24-27 refers to the death of Jesus Christ in the first century AD.  The same must, therefore, apply to 11:22.

Since the events in Daniel 11 are given in their chronological order, everything that follows after 11:22 must be sought sometime after the death of Christ.  This applies in particular to the setting up of the abomination (11:31) and the persecution of God’s people (11:32-34), which are the main activities of the vile person.  The vile person, therefore, cannot be the Greek king Antiochus IV that ruled between 168 and 165 BC, but must be an anti-God ruler that will arise later.


Daniel 11 is quite brief about the earlier kings, but provides much detail about Antiochus III; the father and predecessor of Antiochus IV.  Critics argue that this emphasis on Antiochus III is a clear indication that the prophecy of the vile person points to Antiochus IV.

To this we respond as follows:  The reign of the father of Antiochus IV (Antiochus III the Great) was the critical turning point for the Greek Empire.  Just as the victory of the Persians over the Medes was the critical turning point that shifted the balance of ‘world power’ from the Babylonian to the Persian Empire, and just as the victory of the Greeks over the Persians in the time of Xerxes was the turning point that shifted ‘world dominance’ from the Persians to the Greek Empire, Rome’s victories over Antiochus III—the most powerful Greek kingdom at the time—was the critical turning point that shifted ‘world dominance’ from the Greek to the Roman Empire.  This explains the attention to Antiochus III in Daniel 11.  It was for the same reason that Xerxes was emphasized in 11:2, namely because his reign was the key turning point.


But the critics ask: Where is the Roman Empire in Daniel 11?  Daniel 11 seems to continue, without an intervening empire, from the Greek Empire (Antiochus III) to the vile person. 

To respond, it is proposed here that Daniel’s prophecies, once the key turning point has been reached, no longer mention the previous empire, but jump right over the remaining kings to the next empire.  For instance, Xerxes’ war against the Greeks was a key turning point in history (11:2).  Then the prophecy jumps over the next 150 years, during which seven Persian kings reigned, to the first Greek emperor (11:3).  Similarly, Antiochus III’s war against Rome was a key turning point in history.  Then the prophecy jumps over the next 170 years, during which several Greek kings reigned, to the next empire (Rome).

But the Roman Empire is not mentioned separately.  Similar to Daniel 8 the vile person serves as a symbol for both the fourth kingdom in Daniel 7 (Rome) and the evil horn that arise from it.  Political Rome is the flood that flows away the “overflowing forces” (11:22).  By far most of the description in Daniel 11 is about the subsequent anti-God king.


But the critics argue that Antiochus IV fits the sequence of kings in Daniel 11 quite well and that the history of Antiochus IV fits the descriptions of the “vile person” in the verses after 11:21 quite well.  This is granted. 

In this context, it is very important to realize that the description of the “vile person” exceeds Antiochus IV.  For instance, Antiochus did not magnify himself above every god or not have regard for the god of his fathers.  Verses 21-35 fit Antiochus’s time perfectly, but Antiochus IV by no means exhausts the passage.

Daniel 11 may, therefore, be understood as two stories intertwined.  The text seems to describe the history up to and including Antiochus IV, but while discussing Antiochus IV it jumps to a future and worldwide evil king.  Understood this way, Antiochus IV is only a partial fulfillment of Daniel 11, to be followed by the final and fuller fulfillment by a later and much larger worldwide anti-God ruler.


A fundamental principle, accepted by all schools of thought, is that the little horn of Daniel 7 is equivalent to the little horn of Daniel 8 and to the vile person in Daniel 11.  However, the various schools of thought explain this evil king in different ways.

Critics do not accept the possibility that the minutely accurate descriptions in the Book of Daniel of historical events up to the time of Antiochus IV could have been written in the sixth century BC.  They assume that these descriptions were written after the fact in the form of prophecies.  But since the New Testament refers a number of times to the book of Daniel, and since it takes a long time for a book to become accepted as inspired Scripture, the book of Daniel must have been written hundreds of years before the NT was written.

Antiochus IV fit the sequence of kings and the activities of the evil king in Daniel 11 quite well.  Critics therefore propose that Daniel was written in the time of Antiochus IV, that it was written in response to the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV, and that the evil king in Daniel represents this Antiochus.  Therefore Daniel would have been written approximately 200 years before the NT was written.

With this as the accepted view, critics have to interpret the prophecies accordingly.  To fit this view to Daniel 11, critics explain the prince of the covenant in 11:22 as the high priest Onias.  He was killed in the time on Antiochus.  But to fit this view to Daniel 2 and 7 is more difficult. To do that critics have a rather forced interpretation of the prophecy of those chapters.  This document has provided proof that the forced interpretation of Daniel 2 and 7 is incorrect.  It has also been shown that Daniel 8 does align to the obvious interpretation of Daniel 7.

With respect to Daniel 11, it has been shown above that the breaking of the prince of the covenant in 11:22 refers to the death of Jesus Christ in the first century AD and therefore that the flood that shatters the nagid-prince of the covenant in 11:22 is the Roman Empire.  This means that the anti-temple activities and the persecution of God’s people later in that chapter must occur some historical time after Christ’s death, and therefore during or after the Roman period.

This document then had to explain the high level of detail of Antiochus III in Daniel 11, how Daniel 11:19-22 can be interpreted as a jump from Antiochus III to the Roman Empire if Antiochus IV fits the sequence of kings in Daniel 11 and the apparent absence of the Roman Empire in Daniel 8 and 11. 

This document, therefore, supports the view that the book of Daniel was written before the time of Antiochus IV, and that the prophecies are real predictions of future events.  God is in control of history:

there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days (2:28).

the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes (5:21)


The metal man of Daniel 2 divides world history into six ages.
The four beasts of Daniel 7 
Three interpretations of the little horn
Compare Daniel 7 and 8 to identify the fourth kingdom.
Daniel 8: The evil horn does not come out of a Greek horn.
Daniel 11’s Vile Person: Antiochus or Antichrist?  
Antiochus IV does not fit the profile of Daniel’s Evil King.

The Roman Empire gave the church its throne and great power.

This is an article in the series on the vision of the seven last plagues (Rev 15-16), but it also summarizes the history of the church during the first about eight centuries to show how the Roman Empire first opposed the church but then accepted the church and made it part of the government of the Roman Empire, giving the church her power and throne and authority:

The dragon gave him (the beast) his power and his throne
and great authority
” (Rev 13:2).

Great Red DragonThe beast, in other words, received its throne from the dragon. “Power,” “throneand “authority” are understood to be synonyms. As discussed, the beast’s throne is Christian religious authority and the beast is the church of the middle ages.


To understand how the beast receives this authority, we need to know what the dragon is. The article that discusses the identity of the beasts with seven heads in the Book of Revelation concludes that the dragon represents Satan in the context of the war in heaven (Rev 12:7-9) but. in the context of the birth of the beast (Rev 13:1-2), it represents the Roman Empire. The question then is, how did the church of the middle ages receive its Christian religious authority from the Roman Empire?


This website has a series of articles on the development of the Trinity doctrine which also explains how the Roman Empire gave the church of the Middle Ages its throne and power. That series starts with the church fathers of the first three centuries, such as Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, and Irenaeus. This is followed by a series of articles on the development of that doctrine over the three centuries, including articles on:


As the reader might notice from this brief description, it is not possible to separate the development of the Trinity doctrine from the development of the church. For this reason, this article provides extracts from these articles to show how the Roman Empire gave the church of the middle ages “his power and his throne and great authority.


During the first three centuries, the Roman authorities suppressed the church. It always was a challenge to maintain the unity of the huge empire, consisting of so many different nations. One of the methods the emperors used was unity of religion. New religions, such as Christianity, therefore, were regarded as a threat to the unity of the empire.

But Christianity “went out conquering and to conquer” (Rev 6:2). It kept on growing until emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the year 313.


After Christianity was legalized, the prestige of the church spiraled upwards but the church became part of the state and the emperor, effectively, became the real head of the church. The emperor governed the church to ensure church unity.

For example, there developed a major controversy in the fourth century concerning the nature of Christ. To enforce unity, emperor Constantine had a huge role in the formulation and acceptance of the Nicene Creed. He called the council, presided over it, actively guided the discussions, proposed the key word Homoousios, enforced the formula that his advisor had agreed on, exiled all bishops that were not prepared to sign the creed, and ordered all copies of Arius’ book to be burned. This creed is still today regarded as a watershed decree in Christology.


However, after the Council of Nicaea, the Arian controversy continued for there was no unanimity at Nicaea. The bishops went on teaching as they had before. Soon after Nicaea, while Constantine was still emperor, the consensus shifted away from the Homoousian view toward Arianism. The chief advocate for the Nicene Creed (Athanasius) was banished and the bishops who were condemned and exiled at Nicaea were readmitted. During the next 50 years, the emperors Constantius and Valens enforced Arianism. They actively encouraged the church to reverse the Nicene Creed. Since religious freedom was not part of Roman culture, the emperors exiled bishops teaching the Nicene Creed, crushing the Nicene party.


The Nicene Creed of 325 makes the Son equal to the Father. The modern word “God” is the proper name of the One who exists without a cause. In Arianism, the ancient Greek word theos, when describing Jesus, or any being other than the Father, would today be translated as “god.” In Arianism, the Father is the only God, the Son is our god, but the Father is His god and the Holy Spirit is not a Person, but a power; subject to the Son.


When Theodosius I became emperor in the year 380, the imperial capital (Constantinople) was solidly Arian. Commentators often refer to the council of Constantinople of 381 as the watershed where Nicene Christology replaced Arianism, but that council was a mere formality. Already before the council, emperor Theodosius, being a zealous supporter of Nicene Christianity, made Nicene Christianity the State religion, enforced the Trinity doctrine through legal prescripts, outlawed Arianism, and exiled Arian bishops. Consequently, Arians were not allowed to attend the Council of 381. It was for that reason that the 381 Council was simply a formality. The real decisions were taken by the Roman Emperor Theodosius. He persecuted Arians so effectively that Arianism disappeared among the elite in the empire.


Theodosius was the last emperor to rule the entire Roman Empire; east and west. He died in 395. His death initiated a series of major events, including incompetent emperors and further migration of massive numbers of Germanic peoples into the Empire. Rome was sacked by barbarians in 410. This shows how weak the Empire has become in the only 15 years since Theodosius died. 

Already in the fourth century, Germanic people began to migrate to the Roman Empire in large numbers. The basis of the power of the Roman Empire was its military. These immigrants were accepted into the Imperial Forces but, due to their numbers and military skills, took control of it. They, therefore, became a dominant force in the Western Roman Empire. They controlled top positions in the Empire but tolerated figurehead emperors in the west until 476.

In that year an Arian Germanic chieftain deposed the last Western Roman Emperor and the Germanic peoples divided the territory of the western empire into various Germanic kingdoms.


During the fifty-year Arian period in the fourth century, the church converted many Germanic peoples to Arian Christianity. Even after Theodosius outlawed Arianism, the Germanic peoples (called ‘barbarians’ by the Romans) remained Arian in their Christology. Since these Germanic tribes were Arians, after they took control in the fifth century, the Western Roman Empire was once again Arian-dominated.

The Nicene Church of Rome remained to function in Europe but was now subject to the laws and customs of these Arian nations. Nevertheless, it survived throughout this turmoil. One reason is that the Germanic tribes wished to remain part of the Roman Empire. They tolerated the Roman Church because it was an official part of the Roman system of government. This allowed the emperor in the east (emperor of the Byzantine Empire) to exert a level of control over affairs in the west THROUGH his authority over the church of Rome. For that reason, the Roman Church grew in strength despite Arian domination. (See – Byzantine Papacy)


In the sixth century, Justinian, emperor of the eastern (Byzantine) Roman Empire – a keen supporter of the Nicene church in Rome – considered it his divine duty to liberate the church in Rome from Arian domination.

He significantly weakened the Arian kingdoms in the west by sending troops to combat them. His troops dispersed the Vandals to the fringes of the empire, forced the Ostrogoths back north to South Austria, and barricaded the Visigoths with the new province of Spania.

Justinian’s conquests commenced a period of about two centuries which is known as the Byzantine Papacy. The Nicene Church, with the protection and status it received from the Byzantine Empire, became a powerful social and political institution in Europe. The Germanic tribes, consequently, during the Byzantine papacy, abandoned Arianism in favor of Catholicism.


This overview shows that “the dragon (the Roman Empire) gave him (the church) his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev 13:2):


Firstly, in the fourth century, the church became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Consequently, the church enjoyed the protection of the emperor but it also meant that the emperor used the church to maintain unity in the empire. Consequently, the church became part of the Roman system of government; subject to the emperor, who appointed the bishops. This remained to be the situation also during the Byzantine Papacy; from the sixth to the eighth century.


Secondly, in the first three centuries and also for 50 years after Nicaea, the church viewed Christ as subordinate to the Father. The decision to suppress the Arian branch of the church and to establish Nicene Christology as the official doctrine of the church was taken by the emperors (particularly Constantine, Theodosius, and Justinian) and enforced by the Roman Army.


Thirdly, the culture of creating creeds and persecuting people that teach anything different was established by the Roman emperors in the fourth century and continues to this day in the church.