The little horn of Daniel 8 is the Papacy?

800px-Antiokhos_IV

  • Seventh-day Adventist’s teach that the little horn power of Daniel 7 and little horn power of 8 are Rome (Papacy). However, there is a problem with this, as there are important differences between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the little horn of Daniel 8. Here are a few:

Little Horn of Daniel 7

Little Horn of Daniel 8

Is associated with a beast representing the fourth empire (Rome)

Is associated with a beast representing the third empire (Greece)

Rises directly out of the head of the beast (Rome)

It does not come up from the head of the goat (Greece), but rises out of an already existing four horns (Alexander’s four generals)

Is a horn (ruler) that comes out of a beast (Kingdom)

Note: Horns represents rulers or kings (Dan. 8:20). Beast represents kingdoms (Daniel 7:17, 23)

Is a horn (ruler) that comes out of a horn (ruler)

Note: Horns represents rulers or kings (Dan. 8:20). Beast represents kingdoms (Daniel 7:17, 23)

  • Daniel 8:9 says the little horn (ruler) would originate from one of the four divisions of Alexander’s empire:
  • The goat (Greece) became very powerful (under Alexander the Great). But at the height of his power, his large horn (ruler Alexander) was broken off. In the large horn’s place grew four horns (four generals of Alexander) pointing in the four directions of the earth. 9 Then from one of the [four] prominent horns came a little horn (ruler from the same Grecian empire) whose power grew very great (Daniel 8:8,9).
  • Daniel 8:9 says the little horn would originate from one of the four divisions of Alexander’s empire when these were in their “latter time” (v. 23). This points us toward a power originating from the Greek world sometime after 300 BC, and not Rome.
  • Therefore, the little horn of Daniel 8 was to arise six centuries before the little horn (Roman emperor Nero) of Daniel 7 existed!

So who is the little horn of Daniel 8?

  • There is a near-unanimous opinion among Bible scholars of all denominations–Jewish and Christian, and even including a few prominent SDA scholars–that the “little horn” of Daniel 8 is Antiochus Epiphanes, a Grecian King.
  • Let’s examine the evidence:
  • The little horn of Daniel 8:9 ‘was to wax exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land
  • Antiochus’ sphere of operations was precisely in the three areas that Daniel mentions (See: Ancient History. Vol IV. P422, 1 Maccabees 1:20-42). This is not true of Rome. Many of Rome’s greatest conquests were to the North and West of Rome.

  • Since the little horn is said to wax ‘exceeding great’, SDA’s argue that compared with Medo-Persia and Greece, Antiochus was not “exceeding great,” (only Rome was), and therefore could not have been the little horn of Dan. 8:9.
  • However, a careful reading of Dan. 8:9 reveals that the prophecy never says the little horn will be exceeding great in comparison to Persia and Greece. The little horn is not compared with other powers, but merely said to wax “exceeding great” in three regions: to the south, the east, and the pleasant land. Antiochus was not a big horn on a big stage. He was a little horn that played a big role on a little stage.
  • The little horn in Daniel 8:10 is said to cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them
  • The above verse is not talking about heavenly beings, because no empire, not even Rome, has cast down heavenly beings. Both the Bible and the Jewish Apocrypha use similar language to calls the priests and rulers of the Hebrew people as stars (Genesis 37:9). In 2nd Maccabees 9:10 (a history book), Antiochus persecuted Jews including priests and rulers and is described as, “the man, which thought he could reach to the stars of heaven…
  • The little horn in 8:11 is said to, ‘magnify himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down
  • Prince in the Bible is defined as (sar) meaning “a head person, captain, chief, general, governor.” Therefore, the little horn would magnify himself to the head/captain/ruler of the host (Jews). Antiochus did this literally, during his rule, when the high priest, Onias, was driven into exile and later killed in the cruelest manner.
  • Furthermore, Antiochus figuratively magnified himself to the ultimate prince of the host, God Himself. His surname Theo Antiochus declared him to be an effulgence in human form of the Divine, a god manifest in the flesh (see Edwin Bevan, The House of Seleucus, vol. 2, p. 154).
  • Antiochus Epiphanes ‘took away the daily sacrifices’ (Dan 8:11) as prophesied by forbidding the daily sacrifice of lambs and profaned the sanctuary. The book of Maccabees describes how the daily sacrifice was taken away, and how the sanctuary was desolated: “And in his arrogance he went into the sanctuary and took away the gold altar and the lampstand for the light, and all its furniture…” (1 Maccabees 1:21)
  • Daniel 8:12 says ‘And an host (army) was given him (Antiochus) against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth [of sacrifices] to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered’
  • Antiochus’ attack on the Jewish religion was the worst crisis to face the Jews between the Babylonian captivity in 606 BC and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. History records, “And they (Antiochus’ army) shed innocent blood all around the sanctuary, and polluted the sanctuary itself. … Her sanctuary became a desolate wilderness…” (1 Maccabees 1:37,39)
  • The Bible says these calamities came upon the Jews “by reason of transgression.” (Dan 8:12). In other words, it was the sins of the Jews that brought this calamity upon themselves.
  • The question is raised with regard to the duration of this attack on the sanctuary in Daniel 8:13, 14 ‘How long shall be the vision concerning the [attack on ] daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
  • Since the context of the verse itself is talking about the daily sacrifices in the temple, which took place every morning and evening, the only reasonable conclusion is that this verse is talking about the daily sacrifices in the temple. Certainly it would be reckless to apply the “year-day” principle to every prophecy where “days” are mentioned. In Genesis 6:3 God prophesied there would be a period of 120 years before the flood, which did not equate to 43,200 years.
  • The 2300-day prophecy witnessed an amazing fulfillment during the terrifying reign of Antiochus. According to the Jewish calendar, the 2300 days works out to be six years, three months, and 18 days. This is the time period in which Antiochus took the daily sacrifices away, and at the end of the 2300 days, was eventually defeated.
  • This attack on the sanctuary by Antiochus was the beginning of a period of intense suffering for those in Israel who chose to remain faithful to God. Judas Maccabeus was outraged over the injustice done to God’s sanctuary: ‘Behold, our sanctuary and our beauty and our glory have been laid waste, and the heathen (Antiochus) have profaned them.” (1 Maccabees 2:7,8,12)
  • Maccabeus rose up and started a revolt against Antiochus. The Sanctuary was “cleansed” by Judas Maccabeus when he purified the holy places, sanctified the courts, rebuilt the altar, renewed the vessels of the sanctuary, and put all in their proper places: “Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary. So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law: Who cleansed the sanctuary..’ (1 Maccabees 4:41-51)
  • The Sanctuary is being vindicated or cleansed from having been trampled upon and cast down by the ‘desolation’ which is the devastation due to sacrilegious or wrong treatment of the temple by Antiochus. Antiochus Epiphanes profaned the temple of God by offering sacrifices to idols upon the holy altar of God.

  • Jesus referred to the abomination (by Antiochus) in the book of Daniel (Dan. 9:27) as a warning to His followers that a similar desolation was going to happen to the Jewish nation in the future: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation (sacrileges treatment of the temple leading to emptiness), spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (referring to Jerusalem temple destruction by Titus in AD70), then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.” (Matt. 24:15)
  • When Daniel 8:19 says the prophesy of 2300 days is ‘at the time of the end…in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be’. We must bear in mind that the “time of the end” is not the same as the “end of time.” Rather, it refers to the end of the particular period associated with this prophecy. In this case, the “end of the indignation” is definitely indicated, namely, the afflictions permitted to be brought upon the Jewish people.
  • Daniel 8:25 says the little horn power (Antiochus) ‘shall be broken without hand’. This is a stunning prophecy indicating how Antiochus would die. Notice how this prophecy was fulfilled:
  • But the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague;.. Thus the murderer and blasphemer having suffered most grievously, as he entreated other men, so died a miserable death in a strange country in the mountains.” (2 Maccabees 9:5-12,28)

  • Albert Barnes adds, “All the statements given of his [Antiochus] death, by the authors of the books of Maccabees, by Josephus, by Polybius, by Q. Curtius, and by Aarian agree that the Divine prediction in Daniel was fully accomplished, that his death would be ‘without hand,’ in the sense that it would not be by human instrumentality, but that it would be a direct divine infliction.” (Notes on Daniel, p. 355)
  • To summarize:
  • There is near universal agreement among scholars (including both Christian, Jewish, agnostic, and even some Adventist scholars) that Antiochus Epiphanes is the “little horn” of Daniel 8.
  • The 2300-days represents a literal period during which the daily evening-morning sacrifices ceased and the Temple in Jerusalem was profaned by the gentiles led by Anticohus Epiphanes.
  • The cleansing of the sanctuary refers to the restoration of the temple services after Antiochus Epiphanes was defeated by the armies of Judas Maccabees.

Seventh-day Adventists make some very unusual claims about Daniel 8:

  • Gabriel was unable to make Daniel understand the vision–particularly the 2300-day portion of it
  • Gabriel came back later (in Daniel 9) to help Daniel understand the 2300 days
  • Daniel 9 is an expansion upon the subject of Daniel 8
  • The 70-week prophecy is “cut-off” from the 2300 days, and therefore they have the same starting date
  • First, I will address whether Gabriel failed in his mission to make Daniel understand the vision.
  • SDA’s claim that the latter part of Daniel 9 is a further explanation of Daniel 8. This teaching is derived from Daniel 8:27: “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.”
  • First, we need to recognize that the word it is supplied by the translators, and is not in the original Hebrew. Removing the word makes the meaning of the verse clear: “…I was astonished at the vision, but none understood.”
  • What does “none understood” refer to? Did no one understand the vision? Or did no one understand Daniel’s reaction to the vision? Isaac Lesser, a leading Jewish scholar, renders the verse as follows:
  • “And I Daniel, grieved, and was sick several days: afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was depressed because of the appearance; but no one observed it.”
  • It is obvious from this translation that the part about “not understanding” was referring to the people Daniel worked with who did not comprehend why he was ill and depressed.
  • To make the claim that Daniel failed to understand the vision–thus requiring a second visit from Gabriel–one must first assume the angel failed in his first mission. In Daniel 8:16 a voice commands, “Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.” If one is a Bible-believing Christian, then one must believe that Gabriel obeyed the command to make Daniel understand the vision.
  • Is the sanctuary of Daniel 8:13-14 the heavenly sanctuary?
  • Notice the question: “How long shall…the sanctuary…be trodden under foot?” (Daniel 8:13)
  • The answer is 2300 days (evenings-mornings). This puts the Seventh-day Adventists in a dilemma, because they insist that the sanctuary being “cleansed” in verse 14 is the heavenly sanctuary.
  • However, according to their own calculations, the papacy did not arrive until after 476 AD–nearly a millennium after the 2,300 years started! Who was trampling the sanctuary for 934 years before the rise of the papacy? Seventh-day Adventists claim that “Imperial Rome” trampled the earthly temple in 70 AD when it was destroyed by Roman armies, but that was the earthly, not the heavenly temple. If the sanctuary is the heavenly sanctuary in verse 14, then how could it be the earthly sanctuary in verse 13, since verse 13 is a question being answered in verse 14?
  • The truth is that there has never in human history been a 2300-year period where the sanctuary in heaven (or on earth) was trodden under foot. This fact alone should prove that the SDA interpretation does not fit historical facts, and is therefore invalid.

Daniel 7 – Little horn is the Papacy?

Roman-Emperor-Nero

  • Are Seventh-day Adventist’s accurate in interpreting the little horn of Daniel 7 as the Papacy?
  • The four kingdoms of Daniel 2 (Image from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream), and Daniel 7 (four animals) represent Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. SDA’s agree to this point, but thereafter drifts away.
  • Little horn of Daniel 7 is described this way: On the head of the fourth beast (Rome) there are ten horns, three of which are plucked up by a little horn.

  • SDA’s teach the ten horns are ten tribes that conquered Rome in 476 AD.
  • The problem with this teaching is that there were more than twenty or more tribes that actually conquered the western Roman Empire as per recorded history, but SDA’s and few others arbitrarily selected ten tribes and decided these were the tribes represented by the ten horns (Vandals, Ostrogoths, Heruli, Visigoths, Burgundians, Anglo-Saxons, Alamani, Suevi, Lombards and Franks).
  • The Bible clearly says the ten kings will arise from within the Roman Empire. ‘And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise…’ (Daniel 7:24 KJV). None of the ten tribes cited by SDA’s arose from within or ruled over the Roman Empire. They were outsiders.
  • SDA’s teach the little horn is the Papacy and it uprooted three tribes. Adventists teach that the Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Heuli were destroyed by the Pope of Rome. However, any history textbook will explain that the Heruli were defeated by the Lombards, the Vandals and Ostrogoths by the Byzantines.
  • SDA’s teach the Papacy persecuted the saints for 1,260 years. There is no doubt at all that the Papal church persecuted others, but the 538 – 1798 timeframe of the persecutions does not fit very well with actual historical facts.
  • SDA’s teach that when it says papacy was thinking of changing laws, it is the Sabbath. However, Sunday observance started hundreds of years before the Roman bishop’s rise to pre-eminence. The official Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, “The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day ..is at the heart of the Church’s life…This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age” (sections 2177-2178).
  • Besides, the law the little horn think to change is not ‘torah’ but ‘dat’ meaning “decree”. Thus, Daniel is speaking of a beast who would change times and laws is no reference to to God’s law—and certainly the Sabbath is not in view.
  • Did the Papacy have Supremacy for 1260 years? The Bishop of Rome was gradually consolidating power for many centuries, and the papacy continued to grow and thrive even after the temporary setback of 1798. These dates were concocted by Adventists and a few others because they were convenient.

 

  • Even SDA Theologian Dr. Bacchiocchi explains what happened after the pope was captured in 1798: “The death of Pius VI can hardly be seen as the ‘abolishment’ or ‘the downfall of the Papacy.’ It was simply a temporary humiliation of the prestige of the Papacy. ‘Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph.D., Endtime Issues #87, “A Reply to Criticisms Part I ‘The Use of Ellen White’s Writings in Interpreting Scripture'” (August 1, 2002).
  • SDA’s teach that when Daniel 7:10 says ‘judgement was set’, it is an investigative judgment of the righteous: However, there is nothing said in this sequence of events about investigating the deeds of the righteous. The ones being judged are the little horn and the beast power.
  • The truth about the little horn in Daniel 7:
  • Daniel 7 makes it abundantly clear the ten kings will “arise from this kingdom“. This could not possibly refer to outside entities that come in and conquer Rome. The only reasonable Biblical interpretation is that the ten horns represent ten kings or rulers over Rome.
  • History records that there were, in fact, ten Roman Caesars who ruled Rome prior to the destruction of Jerusalem:
  • Julius Caeser 49-44BC
  • Augustus 31BC-14AD
  • Tiberius (Luke 3:1) 14-37AD
  • Gaius (aka. Caligula) 37-41AD
  • Claudius (Acts 17) 41-54AD
  • Nero 54-68AD
  • Galba 68-69AD
  • Otho 69AD
  • Vitellius 69AD
  • Vespasian 69-79AD
  • The truth is that Daniel is a Jewish book, written by a Jew, written for the Jews, containing God’s prophecies relating to His Covenantal people (Dan. 9:24). It is all about events that would directly impact the Jewish people and the Jewish nation. The last prophecy of Daniel, the 70-week prophecy, ends with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
  • Except for a few brief comments about future events (Christ’s kingdom filling the earth (Dan. 2:34-35), the resurrection (Dan. 12:1-3)), the entire book of Daniel is focused on the Hebrew nation and its interaction with world powers from the time of Babylon up until the final destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

  • Who is the Little Horn?

  • It is an established historical fact that the Little Horn of Daniel 7 is Nero. Consider the incredible correlations between Nero and the little horn of Daniel 7:
  • He will uproot “three of the first horns” (7:24) – Three Emperors, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius were assassinated to make way for Nero, who was not in the line of succession.
  • He shall speak words against the Most High” (7:25) – Nero encouraged emperor worship and had a huge statue of himself erected in Rome. Inscriptions found in Ephesus called him “Almighty God” and “Saviour….”
  • He “shall wear out the saints of the Most High” (7:25) – Nero was the first Roman Emporer to launch a persecution against Jews and Christians. Some of the saints slain during his persecution include the Missionary Paul and the Apostle Peter. Historians have described the persecution as “the most cruel that ever occurred.”
  • The saints “shall be given into his hand for time, times, and half a time’ (7:25) – Nero’s persecution began in November of 64 AD, and ended with his death in June of AD 68, a period of exactly 42 months (1260 days).
  • His dominion shall be taken away” (7:26) – The Roman Senate eventually voted to put Nero to death, thus effectively taking away his dominion.
  • The kingdom “shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High (7:27) – It is a mistake to think this passage is a reference to God’s eternal kingdom. It is a reference to God’s spiritual kingdom, which was established in approximately 30 AD when John the Baptist announced, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2).
  • Christ talked about the “kingdom” as being present then (Matt. 12:28; 16:19; 23:13), not in the far distant future. Daniel talks about a kingdom that gradually fills the earth, and Jesus speaks of a Mustard seed which grew into a great tree. (Dan. 2:34-35; Matt. 13:31-33).
  • Therefore, the giving of the kingdom (Rome) to the saints of the Most High began when Christ established his kingdom on this earth, and the kingdom continued to grow until one day Christianity would became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. Who is being Judged?
  • As noted earlier, the Bible clearly indicates that the judgment of Daniel 7 is a judgment against the little horn and the beast power, not an investigative judgment of the saints. Did such an event occur in the first century? Notice carefully the words of Jesus:
  • Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out’ (John 12:31)

  • ‘And when he [Comforter] is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment …because the prince of this world is judged’ (John 16:8,11)

  • Jesus said that the judgment of Satan was happening “now”, during the final hours of His life on earth. He said that the Holy Spirit would come to convict the world that the prince of this world is judged. It was during the reign of the Roman Empire that judgment sat in heaven and passed sentence on the prince of this world and the Roman Empire.
  • It was the Roman Empire, under the guidance of Satan, acting through a Roman governor and Roman soldiers, that crucified the Son of God.
  • The judgment, although decided in heaven, was not instantly executed upon Rome when Jesus died, just as Satan will be punished only after the second coming. A generation of time was given to allow for Rome to manifest what it was going to do with Christ and Christianity.
  • Jesus’ death was as a mustard seed being planted in the earth. After His death the gospel sprouted and spread throughout the empire. Nero and later Caesars manifested a Satanic hatred towards Christianity. They thought to persecute it into non-existence, and Nero almost succeeded.
  • However, he was killed, his perseuction halted and his dominion was taken away. The very persecution he started in an attempt to stamp out Christianity would later become the seed that fueled an even more explosive growth of Christianity. Eventually the dominion of Satan was broken in the Roman Empire and it became the dominion of the saints. Christianity was recognized as the official religion of the Roman Empire.
  • Every specification of Daniel 7 came to pass just as predicted. In fact, the fulfillment in the events of the Roman Empire were so dramatic that atheists and agnostics insisted the book of Daniel was written after Nero’s death.

  • These enemies of God were silenced in shame when parts of the book of Daniel were discovered amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, and were carbon-dated to 165 BC. Only God could have known about Nero and the Roman empire hundreds of years beforehand. Praise God!

Source: Adapted from Amazingfiction.org