In Daniel 8, did the evil horn come out of the Greek goat?

ORIGIN OF THE HORN

The Horn is Roman.

A previous article showed that the Fourth Beast of Daniel 7 must be the Roman Empire. Consequently, the eleventh Evil Horn in Daniel 7 grows out of the Roman Empire. As argued, the Evil Horns of Daniel 7 and 8 are one and the same. That would mean that the Evil Horn of Daniel 8 also comes out of the Roman Empire.

Or is it Greek?

Daniel 8 symbolizes the Greek Empire as a goat (Dan 8:21). On this goat:

“There came up four conspicuous horns
toward the four winds of heaven.
9 Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn” (Dan 8:8-9).

In the view of some, the “small horn” came out of one of the “four conspicuous horns,” which symbolize the four parts into which the Greek Empire divided (Dan 8:22). Then the “small horn” would be Greek, and could be a Greek king, such as Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

It comes from One of the Compass Directions.

However, for the following reasons, “one of them” does not refer to one of the four horns of the goat but to one of the “four winds of heaven,” meaning the four compass directions:

Firstly, horns do not grow on horns; horns grow on the heads of animals. The “small horn” cannot come out of one of the Greek horns.

Secondly, Hebrew nouns and pronouns have genders that require agreement. The last part of Dan 8:8, together with the first part of Dan 8:9, with the relevant words marked (f) for feminine or (m) for masculine, read as follows:

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

In the English translation, this information is lost, but an analysis of these genders shows that the small horn comes out of one of the winds of the heavens:

“Them” refers to the Heavens.

“Them” cannot refer to the horns because “them” is male, while the Hebrew word for “horn” is always feminine. “Them” also cannot refer to the “winds” because the word for “winds” in Daniel 8:8 is written in a feminine form. “Them” can only refer to the heavens because that is the only male plural in the previous phrase. (In Hebrew, “heaven” is always plural (heavens).)

“One” refers to one of the Winds.

One Heaven – While “them” is male, “one” is female. “One,” therefore, does not have the same antecedent as “them.” Therefore, since “them” refers to the heavens,” “one” cannot be one of the “heavens.”

One Horn – Both “one” and “horns” are feminine but “one” cannot refer to one of the horns because ‘heavens’ do not have horns. One cannot say ‘one of the horns of heaven’.

One wind – The only other feminine in the previous phrase is “winds. Therefore “out of one of them” must be read as “out of one of the winds of the heavens.”

This conclusion is supported by the fact that the final phrase in verse 8 is, “the four winds of heaven.” The first phrase of Dan 8:9, therefore, lines up as follows with the last phrase of Dan 8:8:

  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

It came from the Roman Empire.

Four horns appeared in the place of the great horn that was broken off. They extended “toward the four winds of the heavens.” From one of those ‘four winds’, that is, from one of the four directions of the compass, came the “small horn.” It, therefore, did not come from one of the Greek horns and, therefore, is not Greek in origin.

Since horns grow on heads, it is the horn of some beast. Since the next empire after Greece was Roman, the horn came from the Roman Empire.

WHERE IS ROME?

One possible objection to this interpretation is that Daniel 8 does not seem to describe another empire between the Greek Empire and the Evil Horn. It does not explicitly symbolize the Roman Empire. So, the question arises: Where is the Roman Empire in this chapter? This is answered as follows:

The Horn includes the Beast (Rome).

Firstly, the previous chapter (Daniel 7) refers to the Horn as if it is the fourth beast; a distinct 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.” (Dan 7:11)

So, when Daniel 8 refers to the Horn, the fourth beast of Daniel 7 is included in that symbol.

The Horn’s Political phase symbolizes Rome.

Secondly, Daniel 8 does allow for political Rome, for the horn in Daniel 8 has two phases of growth:

It first grows horizontally (Dan 8:9), symbolizing the horn’s political phase. This parallels the fourth beast of Daniel 7 when it “devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it” (Dan 7:8, 23).

It then grows vertically to “the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth” (Dan 8:10). It does not literally grow up to the stars. The stars symbolize God’s people, and the trampling of the stars symbolizes the persecution of God’s people, as also described by Daniel 7:21, and 25.

“It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host” (Dan 8:11), who is God. “It removed the regular sacrifice from Him.” The vertical expansion, therefore, is the horn’s religious phase, parallel to the evil horn of Daniel 7.

The first phase of growth, therefore, is the fourth beast of Daniel 7.

Daniel 8 is an explanation of Daniel 2 and 7.

Lastly, what we see in Daniel 8 is a trend we already saw in Daniel 7; an increasing focus on the Evil Power:

Daniel 2 describes the full period from the time of Daniel to the Return of Christ without mentioning an evil power.

Daniel 7 also covers that full period but reveals the Evil One. In fact, the evil entity is the main character in this prophecy. This chapter divides the fourth empire into a political phase, described in only two verses (Dan 7:7, 19), and a subsequent phase during which an anti-God power will reign, described in about six verses.

Daniel 8 continues this pattern. By not mentioning the first (Babylonian) or the last (eternal) kingdoms, and by not explicitly mentioning the political phase of the Roman Empire, it reduces the focus on the full period. All focus is on the Evil Horn. In other words, this anti-God power is more important than the political power from which it came. The only reason that the prophecies mention the political empires is to enable us to identify the evil anti-God power.

These three prophecies, really are one single prophecy.


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The Antichrist in Daniel, which is the same as the Sea Beast in Revelation, arises out of the Roman Empire; it is not Antiochus Epiphanes.

FOOTNOTES

  • 1
    Daniel 2 sets the stage to identify the Antichrist.
  • 2
    The four beast-kingdoms reign one after the other but the ten horns exist at the same time; after the fourth empire.
  • 3
    Daniel 8 identifies the two animals as Mede-Persia and Greece but not the horn. This article explains the alternative interpretations.
  • 4
    A comparison of the animals of Daniel 7 and 8 identifies the fourth kingdom, from which the Antichrist arises, as the Roman Empire.
  • 5
    The genders in Daniel 8 show that “one of them” means one of the compass directions of the heavens, which means the horn came out of Rome.
  • 6
    In Daniel 11, is the Vile Person of Antiochus IV or an end-time Antichrist?
  • 7
    This article lists several differences between the evil king of Daniel 7, 8, and 11 and Antiochus IV. Antiochus was a type of a much later and greater Antichrist.

Daniel’s fourth beast is the Roman Empire.

PURPOSE

The previous three articles gave overviews of Daniel 2, Daniel 7, and Daniel 8 respectively. The main character in both Daniel 7 and 8 is an evil horn-king. The Daniel 8 article concludes that the horn-kings in these two chapters represent the same entity. That article also describes the Preterist, Historicist, and Futurist interpretations of this evil power but does not select one.

The purpose of the current article is to show that the evil king-horn arose out of the Roman Empire.

SUMMARY

The Fourth Beast is the Roman Empire.

There are four animals in Daniel 7 but only two in Daniel 8. The Ram is explicitly identified as “the kings of Media and Persia” and the Goat as “the kingdom of Greece” (Dan 8:20-21). The current article identifies the animals in Daniel 7 by comparing them to the animals in Daniel 8:

There is no similarity between the Ram and the Leopard. On the contrary, while the Ram has two divisions, the Leopard has four.

There is also no similarity between the Goat and the Dreadful Beast. On the contrary, while the Goat first has only one horn and then later four, the Dreadful Beast first has ten horns and later eight.

The Ram and the Bear are similar. For both, one side is higher than the other and both conquer three others. This means that the Ram is equivalent to the Bear and that both represent “the kings of Media and Persia” (Dan 8:20).

The Goat and the Leopard are also similar. Both are represented as fast and consist of four parts. This means that both represent the kingdom of Greece” (Dan 8:21).

This means that the next beast; the Dreadful Fourth Beast of Daniel 7, must be the Roman Empire and that the little horn in Daniel 7 comes out of this empire. Since the little horns of Daniel 7 and 8 are the same entity, it cannot be the Greek king Antiochus IV.

The Medes is not a distinct empire.

To make their interpretation fit the text, critical scholars propose that the author of Daniel inserted the Medes as a separate empire. This is not consistent with history or with Daniel itself. Daniel always refers to the Medes and Persians as a single entity (e.g., Dan 8:20).

– END OF SUMMARY – 


ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATIONS

Conservative View – Roman Empire

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 the Roman Empire, 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 View – Greek Empire

The Preterist School, comprising mostly of liberal Critical Scholars, effectively reads Daniel backward. They start by identifying the ‘despicable’ of Daniel 11:21 as Antiochus IV. Then, since the evil horns of Daniel 7 and 8 are the same as the ‘despicable’, they identify the evil horn also as Antiochus IV. Since Antiochus was a Greek king, they propose that the 11 horns in Daniel 7 are 11 consecutive kings of the fourth kingdom in Daniel 7 (the Dreadful Beast) and that that beast symbolizes the Greek Empire. But then, what are the previous three empires in Daniel 7 (the lion, bear, and leopard)? Daniel 2 explicitly identifies the first as Babylon, and there was only one empire between Babylon and Greece, namely Medo-Persia. To solve this problem, critical scholars divide the Mede-Persian Empire into two separate empires and align 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. By comparing the properties of the animals, the next sections will determine which schema fits the text of Daniel the best.

THE RAM

Daniel identified the Ram as “the kings of Media and Persia” (Dan 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 their descriptions and evaluate the similarities:

Ram  Bear Leopard
Two horns—one higher;
Higher horn came out last;
Charges to West, North, and South
(Dan 8:3-4)
Raised up on one side;
Three ribs between its teeth
(Dan 7:5)
Four heads;
Four wings
(Dan 7:6)

The Ram and the Leopard

There does not seem to be any similarity between these two animals. 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 – Dan 8:20), 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 and one side is higher than the other. The Bear is “raised up on one side” (Dan 7:5) while the Ram has two horns; one being longer than the other.

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

Conclusions

These comparisons mean that the Ram is equivalent to the Bear and only to the Bear, and that the Bear represents “the kings of Media and Persia” (Dan 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, is Goat of Daniel 8 the Leopard of Daniel 7, as proposed by the Conservatives, or the fourth Dreadful Beast, as proposed by the Liberals? Compare these beasts:

Goat Leopard Dreadful Beast
From the west;
Not touching the ground;
One conspicuous horn;
Great horn was broken when strong;
Four horns to the four winds
(Dan 8:5, 8)
Four heads;
Four wings; (Dan 7:6)
Terrible & very strong;
Iron teeth;
Bronze claws;
It devoured; broke in pieces;
Stamped residue with its feet;
Different from the other beasts;
Ten horns;
(Dan 7:7, 19)

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 ‘plucks out’ three of the 10 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” (Dan 8:21), or the Macedonian Empire, as it is known. The speed of its conquests 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 existence after Alexander’s death at age 33.

The Horn came out of Rome.

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

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

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

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” (Dan 5:30-31; 6:28), preceding the reign of the Persian king, Cyrus the Great (Dan 10:1).

Historically, this would not be correct. 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.

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 (Dan 5:28).

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

He identifies the Ram as “the kings of Media and Persia” (Dan 8:20).

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

There is also 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 in describing both Media and Persia as 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.

WHO WAS DARIUS?

Critics argue that the author of Daniel committed a historical blunder when he referred to Darius the Mede in Dan 5:31-6:28 and in Dan 9:1. They argue that no such figure is known from history and that Daniel mentioned Darius the Mede because he mistakenly thought that the Medes were a distinct empire between the Neo-Babylonian rulers and the Persian king, Cyrus.

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” (Dan 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.


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