To identify the Antichrist, compare the animals of Daniel 7 and 8.


The previous three articles gave an overview 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-king in that chapter represents the same entity as the horn-king in Daniel 7. That article also compared the Preterist, Historicist and Futurist interpretation of this evil power but this not identify it.

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


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

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

There is also no similarity between the Goat and the Dreadful Beast. On the contrary, the Goat first has only one horn and then later four. The Dreadful Beast, on the other hand, 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 both 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 refer to the same entity, the horn cannot be the Greek king Antiochus IV.

The Medes a Separate Kingdom?

Critical scholars 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. This is not consistent with history and it is also not consistent with Daniel itself. Daniel always refers to the Medes and Persians as a single entity. For example, he identifies the ram as “the kings of Media and Persia” (Dan 8:20).


Conservative View

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
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

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 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. This means that the alignment of the Bear and the Leopard to the Babylonian and Greek empires becomes a problem. Critical scholars solve this problem by dividing 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. By comparing the properties of the animals, the next sections will determine which schema fits the text of Daniel the best.

The Ram

The Ram is “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 how they are described, and evaluate the similarities:

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


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

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” (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.

Animals of Daniel 7

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

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

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.

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 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 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 Dan 5:31-6:28 and in Dan 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” (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.

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

Other Articles

Three alternative interpretations of the evil 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 blasphemes God. The different schools of prophetic interpretation identify the horn differently as:

 – The Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes;
– An end-time antichrist; or 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” (Dan 7:25)

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.


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 (Dan 8:3-4).  The ram is explicitly identified as Mede-Persia (Dan 8:20).

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


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 (Dan 8:8).  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” (Dan 8:10).
(b) God’s work of redemption, described as the tamid (daily or continual) and the temple (Dan 8:11-12), and
(c) God’s principal representative, called “the Prince of the host” or “the Prince of princes” (Dan 8:11, 25).


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.


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:


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.


They are similar.  Both- :

– Begin small and become great (Dan 7:8 and 8:9);
– Are blasphemous powers (Dan 7:8, 25 and 8:11, 25);
– Persecute the saints of God (Dan 7:21, 25 and 8:11, 25);
– Are the last in a series of symbols;
– Are identified with a period of time (Dan 7:25 and 8:14); and
– Eventually suffer similar fates (Dan 7:26 and 8:25).


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 an understanding of “the vision.” This would be the vision in Daniel 8.

In Daniel 10-12, Daniel receives a “message” to explain the “vision” (Dan 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 supports the conclusion that the little horn in Daniel 8 represents the same force as the little horn in Daniel 7.


Who is this little horn that blasphemes God and persecutes His people (Dan 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.


In this view:

(A) The prophecies in Daniel portray an outline of history and the story of the ongoing 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 truth 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.


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 the middle ages Return of Christ

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.