DANIEL 8:9-14: THE LITTLE HORN:
PROS AND CONS: ROME OR ANTIOCHUS IV
By Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
July 24, 2018
HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT ANTIOCHUS IV
Antiochus IV (D) Epiphanes (Manifest)
Original name before ascension: Mithradates
Father: Antiochus III the Great, 1 Macc 1:1-4
Mother: Laodice III
Wife: Laodice IV married 3 brothers who were Seleucid kings
323 B. C. Alexander the Great died
279 B.C. Gauls ruled Macedonia briefly
264-241 B.C. Rome won the First Punic War against Carthage
198 B. C. Laodice IV married crown prince Antiochus who died in 193 B. C.
197 B. C. Rome first defeated Macedonia and Greece
190 B. C. Rome defeated Syrian Seleucid Antiochus III the Great
188 B. C. Antiochus IV was a hostage of Rome to control his father
187 B. C. father Antiochus III died; replaced by older brother Seleucus IV
1 Macc 1:5-7
175-164 B. C. Antiochus IV ruled Syria and Judea; 1 Macc 1:8 to 6:16
173 B. C. Antiochus IV paid off the Roman war penalty incurred by his father
172 B. C. High Priest Jason built a Greek gymnasium beside the Temple in Jerusalem; this might have begun the 2300 day prophecy
172 B. C. Antiochus IV replaced Jason
169 B. C. While Antiochus was in Egypt, Jason conquered Jerusalem except the armed citadel.
169 B. C. Antiochus IV conquered all of Egypt except Alexandria and
captured Ptolemy VI. He allowed Ptolemy VI to remain as his puppet to avoid angering Rome. 1 Mac 1:16-19
169 B.C. Egypt regained freedom; Ptolemy brothers ruled jointly (incl VIII).
169-168 B.C. Antiochus IV conquered Cyprus
168 B. C., Jun 22nd; Rome defeated Antiochus’ ally Macedonia again
168 B.C. Egypt depended on an alliance with Rome to protect it
168 B.C. re-conquest of Egypt was stopped when Roman ambassador Gaius Pompillius Laenas drew a circle around him and threatened war with Rome; Antiochus withdrew.
167 B. C. Antiochus again replaced high priest Jason, killed 40,000 Jews and enslaved another 40,000 (2 Macc 5:11-14).
Antiochus outlawed Jewish religion and ordered the worship of Zeus (2 Mac 6:1-12). The city of Jerusalem was destroyed; the military citadel of Acra was built by Antiochus. 1 Macc 1:20+
167 B. C. Mithradates I of Parthia rebelled ad split the Seleucid Empire.
Antiochus failed to regain Parthia.
163 B. C. Antiochus IV died of disease.
COMPARING THE TEXTS:
The following is an honest attempt to see arguments from both viewpoints and to analyze each. Good scholarship requires it.
Dan 8:8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
(1) All agree that the “he goat” was Alexander the Great who died in 321 B. C.
(2) “For it” is “in place of it (NKJ), “in its place: (NAS; NIV), “instead of it” (RSV) refers to Greeks, not Romans. Rome had existed for centuries before Alexander and did not come up into power after Alexander’s death.
(3) After Alexander’s death, his Greek empire became four Greek empires: Egypt (Ptolemies), Syria (Seleucids) Macedonia and Greece.
(4) In Daniel 7 and 8 different nations were represented by different animals. A different nation is not seen in Daniel 8:8. The large Greek horn was replaced by other Greek horns --- portrayed as one kingdom. The prophecy retains the one kingdom of Greece in four divisions. See 8:23; 11:1-4.
(5) While explaining this, Daniel 11:5 says that “the king of the south [Egypt]” will be strong. History records this to be true at first concerning Egypt.
(6) The evidence favors Antiochus IV.
Daniel 8:9a And out of one of them came forth a little horn which waxed exceeding great …”
(1) Antiochus Epiphanes IV came out of the eastern Seleucid Syrian “horn” of Alexander’s Greek empire.
(2) Rome came up out of one of the four “winds,” or directions of heaven. See also 11:4. It defeated Carthage in the three Punic Wars between 264 – 146 B. C.
(3) Although Antiochus IV was an “exceedingly great” evil towards Judah for a short time, eventually pagan Rome was a far greater evil than Antiochus IV for a much longer period of time.
(4) While Antiochus IV outlawed Jewish worship early, pagan Rome did so much later after A. D. 135.
(5) Even today Jews celebrate the restoration of the temple with Hanukkah dating back to 164 B. C.
(6) For non-Jews the evidence for this argument is a draw.
Daniel 8:9c “…toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.”
(1) Since pagan Rome was “exceeding great” in every direction, it is odd that the other directions are not mentioned.
(2) “Toward the south,” Antiochus IV briefly conquered and sacked most of Egypt but was soon repulsed. His second invasion was stopped by threat of war with Rome. “Toward the east,” Antiochus IV lost the Parthian half of his realm and died before restoring it. “Toward the promised land,” his persecution of the Jews resulted in his expulsion and their independence.
(3) The evidence for this point is favors Rome.
Daniel 8:10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground and stamped upon them.
(1) Both pagan Rome and Antiochus IV literally fulfill this description.
(2) Since Jews interpret this as a description of Antiochus IV in both First and Second Maccabees, this evidence barely favors Antiochus IV.
Daniel 8:11a Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away …
(1) Both pagan Rome and Antiochus replaced Israel’s leaders.
(2) “Prince of the host” is an unlikely title for Jesus in the first century among Jews.
(3) “Prince of the host” is a better description of the High Priest during Antiochus’ IV time.
(4) Both pagan Rome and Antiochus caused the daily sacrificial offerings in the temple to end ---thus ending all activity.
(5) The argument favors Antiochus IV.
Daniel 8:11b … and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
(1) If “cast down” is correct, only pagan Rome literally fulfilled that.
(2) If “brought low” is correct, both accomplished that.
(3) This argument is a draw.
Daniel 8:12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground and it practiced and prospered.
(1) Whether “the transgression” was that “of” the Jews or that “of” the little horn, both Rome and Antiochus both accomplished this.
(2) Antiochus IV attempted to destroy the Jewish religion.
(3) Pagan Rome did not at first attempt to destroy the Jewish religion.
(4) Some see papal Rome here and it did attempt to replace both Judaism and orthodox Christianity.
(5) Only Rome continued to prosper.
(6) Antiochus’ did not prosper afterwards.
(7) One the strength of “it prospered,” the evidence favors Rome.
Daniel 8:13 … How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
(1) The question is: “How long will it be before the transgression by the little horn ends?” “When will it stop?”
(2) The literal length of desolation in Daniel 8:14 strongly favors Antiochus IV between 171-164 B. C. or 168-164 B.C.
(3) There is no literal 2300 or 1150 day period of persecution by pagan or papal Rome which ended in A. D. 1844.
(4) The evidence strongly favors Antiochus IV.
Daniel 8:14 Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
(1) “Unto” is most often translated “for” --- meaning “until.”
(2) The SDA answer of “A. D. 1844” does not answer the question of 8:13. It does not tell us when anything would end; it only tells when something would begin.
(3) The literal interpretation of the text says the defilement of the sanctuary in 8:9-13 will cease in 2300 or 1150 days.
(4) “2300 days” in Hebrew is not the extremely common word for “day” which is “yom.”
(5) “2300 evenings and mornings” refer to the “evening (ereb) and morning (boquer)” sacrificial cycles. This corresponds to either 2300 or 1150 literal days. See below on Num 14:34.
(6) The temple in Jerusalem was cleansed and rededicated in 164 BC which is about 2300 days from 171 B. C. or 1150 days from 168 BC
(7) It is unknown how the Temple was originally defiled by Antiochus. We do know that the altar to Zeus was dedicated with a pig exactly three years before it was re-dedicated. Many other defiling events occurred before that date. The original defilement was 2300 days prior to its cleansing on the 25th day of the 12th Jewish month.
(8) The Jewish calendar during the time of Antiochus IV either added a 30-day month every third year or added 10-11 days at the end of each year in order to stay aligned with the solar year. This fact easily explains how 2300 days fits within the time frame of 6+ years (2300 days) or even 3+ years (1150 days).
(9) Since Rome’s destruction of the temple in A. D. 70 has not been cleansed by a restoration cleansing or rededication, the evidence favors Antiochus IV.
Daniel 8:19a And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation …
(1) This probably refers to “the last end of (the current) indignation.”
(2) According to Daniel 2 a renewed weaker Rome will be involved in the last days.
(3) According to Matthew 24:15 Jesus made Antiochus IV a type of the Antichrist of the last days.
(4) The evidence is a draw.
Daniel 8:23a And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full …
(1) This is the strongest anti-Antiochus IV argument; he was in the middle of the Antiochus line of rulers which extended another 100 years
(2) The text does not say “in the latter time of the Seleucid kingdom.”.
(3) “The latter time of their kingdom” refers to ONE Greek kingdom which replaced Alexander the Great. Note that “kingdom” is singular.
(4) By the time of Antiochus IV (171-164 B. C.), most of Alexander’s divisions had become mere puppets of Rome and Egypt depended upon Rome to protect it with a military alliance. Therefore “the latter time of their kingdom” may refer to their identity as independent Greek kingdoms.
(5) The prophecy does not refer to how many kings will follow Antiochus IV as puppets of Rome.
(6) “The latter time” of Daniel could have begun in 205 B. C. when Rome defeated Macedonia.
(7) “Their” (plural) independent “kingdom, rule, reign” as Alexander’s unified heritage ended at “the latter times.”
(8) “The latter time” could also have begun in 190 B. C. when Rome defeated Antiochus IV’s father, Antiochus III the Great.
(10) Antiochus IV was part of “the latter times” of the Greek Empire. For a short time in 188 B. C. Antiochus IV had been a prisoner in Rome before being exchanged for his older brother and first heir to the Seleucid throne.
(11) On the other hand, Rome did become much greater during “the latter time” of Alexander’s Greek kingdom.
(12) The evidence is a draw.
Daniel 8:23b … a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
(1) The text describes a person and not a nation. “Fierce countenance an understanding dark sentences” applies more to a man than to a nation.
(2) The evidence favors Antiochus IV.
Daniel 8:24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
(1) For 2300 days Antiochus IV fulfilled this prophecy.
(2) Rome needed no help to destroy Jerusalem. “Not by his on power” does not fit Rome.
(3) The evidence favors Antiochus IV.
Daniel 8:25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
(1) Antiochus IV fulfilled this for 2300 days against the Jews. He replaced the high priest and died of disease without being assassinated or overthrown (“without hand”).
(2) Rome crucified Jesus Christ, the Prince of Princes. Rome lasted far longer than 2300 days. Rome was broken both by corruption from within and by barbarian invasions in the West. Eastern Rome fell to a Muslim Turkish army in 1453 A. D.
(3) The evidence favors Antiochus IV.
2300 DAYS OR YEARS:
(1) With the exception of Seventh-day Adventists and Adam Clarke’s Commentary, “days” are interpreted literally and not as prophetic years.
(2) The Hebrew for “days” in Daniel 8:14 is “ereb-boquer” instead of the extremely common “yom.”
(3) If “days” in Daniel 8:14 referred to the Day of Atonement ritual of Leviticus 16, “day” in Leviticus 16 would also be “ereb-boquer.”
(4) Numbers 14:34 does not establish a hermeneutic that one day equals one prophetic year (“day for a year”); rather, it is a predetermined punishment sentence. The same is true of Ezekiel 4:6 which reverses Numbers 14:34 to become “a year for a day” for past sins. The Hebrew of Daniel 9:24 is able to stand upon its on Hebrew vocabulary.
(5) In 1825 William Miller interpreted the 2300 days as prophetic years and ended them in 1844 with the end of the world by fire.
(6) Also in 1825, Adam Clarke interpreted Daniel 8:9-12 as pagan Rome, interpreted the 2300 days as prophetic years, began them with the beginning of the goat vision in 334 B. C. and ended the vision in 1966.
(7) In 1844 Seventh-day Adventists interpreted the 2300 days as prophetic years, interpreted Daniel 8:9-10 as pagan Rome, interpreted 8:11-12 as papal Rome, began the vision in 457 B. C. and ended the 2300 years in 1844 with the beginning of God’s judgment of the righteous in heaven.
(8) Modern commentaries overwhelmingly interpret the 2300 days literally, begin the 2300 days in 171 B. C. or begin the 1150 days in 168-167 B. C. and end them with the re-dedication of the Jerusalem temple in 165-164 B. C. Jews celebrate this as Hanukkah.
(9) Since Jesus made Antiochus IV a type of the last-day Antichrist in Matthew 24:15, many modern conservative commentaries expect a future re-built temple in Jerusalem per Revelation 11:1-2 which will also be destroyed as the earth is destroyed in Revelation 19. A Messianic Millennial temple will be rebuilt for Christ’s literal reign for 1000 years on earth.
(10) The evidence concerning the 2300 days is overwhelmingly in favor of its initial fulfillment by Antiochus IV.
Daniel 11:1-20 describe the wars between Seleucid Syria and Egypt before Antiochus IV.
Daniel 11:21-35 describe the wars between Antiochus IV, Egypt and Judea. There is no doubt among modern commentaries that Antiochus IV is in view.
The following text from First Maccabees demonstrate how closely Firt Maccabees follows Daniel. Any student seriously interested in determining the identity of the little horn of Daniel 8:9-14 must read First Maccabees.
1 Maccabees 1:1-4 Alexander the Great’s achievements.
1 Macc 1:5-7 Alexander divided his empire among his generals before he died in 323 B. C.
1 Macc 1:8-9 Alexander’s officers reigned many years.
1 Macc 1:10 175 B. C. Antiochus IV rules Seleucid Syria
1 Macc 1:11-13 Greek-speaking Jews in Judea voluntarily switched religions to observe Greek culture.
1 Macc 1:14-15 A Greek gymnasium was erected beside the Temple and circumcision was reversed.
1 Macc 1:16-19 Antiochus plundered Egypt [except for Alexandria] and very briefly made Ptolemy VI his vassal.
[Egypt soon regained independence. A second Syrian army turned back after being warned of war with Rome by Ambassador Pompilius Laenas.]
1 Macc 1:20-28 In 169 B. C. Antiochus plundered the Temple in Jerusalem. [desolating the temple]
1 Macc 1:29-32 In 167 B. C. Antiochus IV plundered the city, burned the city and tore down the walls. He enslaved women and children and took the livestock.
1 Macc 1:33-36 In 167 B. C. Antiochus also fortified the city: he rebuilt stronger walls and built a fortress. Victims were killed in and around the sanctuary.
1 Macc 1:37-40 In 167 B. C. the Jewish people abandoned the desolate temple and ceased observing Sabbaths and Jewish worship.
1 Macc 1:41-53 Antiochus IV commanded Greek religion in his Syrian empire.
1 Maccabees 1:54 In 167 B. C. 15th of Chislev (Dec) Antiochus IV erected an altar of Zeus inside the Temple --- the appaling abomination.
1 Macc 1:55-58 Many other altars were erected. Copies of the Law were burned and those possessing it were killed.
1 Macc 1:59 167 B. C. 25th day of Chislev offered a pig on the altar.
1 Macc 1:60-61 Killed those who allowed circumcision; hung babies from necks of mothers.
1 Mac 1:62-64 Many kept their faith.
1 Macc 2:1-69 Mattathias’ successful revolt. Died in 166 B. C., 16th year.
1 Macc 3:1 to 6:7 Judas Maccabeus, son of Mattathias, took over.
1 Macc 4:52 164 B. C. 148th year, 25th Chislev temple cleansed.
1 Macc 6:8-16 Sick from his losses, Antiochus IV appointed Philip to replace him. Died 163 B. C. 149th year.
Josephus (First century Jewish Historian): “And this desolation came to pass according to the prophecy of Daniel, which was given four hundred and eight years before; for he declared that the Macedonians would dissolve that worship [for some] time.” Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, Chapter 4, verse 6.