Daniel 8: Did the evil horn come out of the Greek goat?


The Horn is Roman.

Previous articles concluded that Daniel’s Antichrist grew out of the Roman Empire.

As discussed here, the Fourth Beast of Daniel 7 signifies the Roman Empire. Consequently, the eleventh Evil Horn in Daniel 7 grows out of the Roman Empire. As further argued here, the Evil Horns of Daniel 7 and 8 symbolize the same Antichrist. Consequently, the Evil Horn of Daniel 8 grows out of the Roman Empire.

Or is it Greek?

However, some interpret the phrase “out of one of them” in Daniel 8 as ‘out of one of the Greek horns’.

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.” (Dan 8:8)

These four horns are the four empires into which the Greek empire divided after Alexander’s death (cf. Dan 8:22). Daniel 8 continues:

Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn” (Dan 8:8-9).

Some read the phrase “one of them” as saying that the “small horn” came ‘out of one of the four horns’. If that is true, then the “small horn” grew out of the Greek empire and could be a Greek king, such as Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

The Possible Antecedents

Given the previous verse, ‘one of them’ may refer to one of the four horns, one of the four winds, or one of the ‘heavens’.

So, the question is, what are the antecedents for the terms ‘one’ and ‘them’? In the previous verse, there are three possible antecedents:

      • The four horns,
      • The four winds, and
      • The heavens. (In Hebrew, “heaven” is always plural (heavens).)

Genders must agree.

Hebrew nouns and pronouns have genders. These genders are invisible in English translations. However, the genders of pronouns, such as the “one” and “them” in our text, must agree with the genders of the nouns they refer to.

With the relevant words marked (f) for feminine or (m) for masculine, our text reads 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

This helps to determine out of what the little horn came:

‘Them’ refers to ‘heavens’. 

“Them” can only refer to the “heavens” because that is the only male plural in the preceding phrase.

Not horns – Since the word ‘them’ is male in form, while the Hebrew word for ‘horn’ is always feminine, ‘them’ does not refer to the four horns. Furthermore, 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.

Not winds – ‘Them’ also does not refer to the ‘winds‘ because the word for ‘winds’ in Daniel 8:8 is written in feminine form.

Heavens – ‘Them’ can only refer to the heavens because that is the only male plural in the previous phrase. 

One of the winds

“Out of one of them” must be understood as “out of one of the winds of the heavens,” meaning from one of the four compass directions.

Not one heaven – Since ‘one’ and ‘them’ have different genders, they must have different antecedents. Since the previous section concluded that ‘them’ refers to the heavens, ‘one’ cannot also refer to one of the ‘heavens’.

Not one horn – Both “one” and “horns” are feminine. However, since ‘them’ refers to the heavens, and since ‘heavens’ do not have horns (horns grow on the heads of animals), ‘one’ does not refer to the ‘horns’. We do not say, ‘one of the horns of heaven’.

One of the winds – Since the only other feminine in the previous phrase is “winds,” “out of one of them” must be understood as “out of one of the winds of the heavens,” meaning from one of the four compass directions. This conclusion is confirmed by the final phrase in verse 8. It reads: “The four winds of heaven.” Therefore, the first phrase of verse 9 is aligned 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

It came from the Roman Empire.

If it did not come from the Greek horns, it came from the next empire, which was 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,” that is, toward the four directions of the compass. From one of those ‘winds’ (compass directions) came the “small horn.” Therefore, it did not come from one of the Greek horns and it is not of Greek 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.


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).

However, firstly, the Horn includes the Roman Empire.

Firstly, in the previous chapter (Daniel 7), the Horn is the Fourth Beast. The beast remains alive as long as the horn is alive. For example:

“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)

Continuing the principles in Daniel 8,  the Horn includes the fourth beast of Daniel 7.

The Horn’s Political phase symbolizes Rome.

Secondly, the horn has a political and a religious phase. The first is the fourth beast of Daniel 7 and the second is the horn of Daniel 7

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

Horizontal – 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).

Vertical – 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 grow literally up to the stars. The stars symbolize God’s people, and trampling 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.

Therefore, the first phase of growth is the fourth beast of Daniel 7 and the second phase is the horn of Daniel 7.

Daniel 8 explains Daniel 2 and 7.

Thirdly, Daniel 2 provides a broad overview of history. Daniel 7 repeats that overview but adds the Antichrist and shifts the focus to it. Daniel 8 continues the trend. It focuses on the Antichrist and omits some of the details already provided by previous prophecies.

Thirdly and lastly, what we see in Daniel 8 is a trend we see as we progress from chapter to chapter; an increasing focus on the Evil Ruler:

Daniel 2 describes the full period from the time of Daniel to the Return of Christ without mentioning the Evil Ruler.

Daniel 7 also covers that full period but adds the Antichrist. In fact, it 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 the Antichrist will reign, described in about six verses.

Daniel 8 focuses even further on the Antichrist. 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 Antichrist. In other words, this Antichrist 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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