The Great Horn of Daniel 8
A Sealed Prophecy Now Opened
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In the 8th chapter of Daniel is an outstanding prophecy some believe was fulfilled in 1844. Others say in 167 to 164 B.C. by Antiochus Epiphanes. Daniel could not understand it! Its full meaning was sealed from human comprehension "until the time of the end"-this 21st Century!
The time has come to make known to our British-Israel readership this astonishing, yet little known prophecy for "the latter days."
Did you know that the book of Daniel, in your bible, was closed to full understanding until these latter days?
Daniel was commanded: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased...And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end...Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Daniel 12:4, 9-10).
Now open your Bible to Daniel 8, with its vital prophecy for our time. Notice particularly in verse 26. Daniel is commanded, "...shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days." The NASB adds: "in the future,"-far into the future.
Daniel was "astonished at the vision, but none understood it," latter part of verse 27.
Time setting of the prophecy
Notice the setting of this prophecy in Daniel 8. It is the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, about 550 B.C. Daniel is given a vision while at Shushan in the palace of the province of Elam (Daniel 8:1-2). Here is what he sees in the vision: "Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last...I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great" (verses 3-4).
Here is a mysterious "Ram." What does this ram symbolize?
Notice God's explanation, revealed in verse 20! "The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia."
This ram symbolized the Media-Persian Empire. It destroyed the Kingdom of Babylon in the early autumn of 539 B.C.. It ruled to 331B.C.
But this is only the beginning of the prophecy. Now read verse 5: "And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes."
What is the Bible explanation of this mysterious symbol? "And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king" (verse 21).
This is not man's interpretation. This is the Bible's own explanation of its symbols.
These symbols were revealed to Daniel. He was inspired to write them in scripture so that we today can understand the important time setting of this prophecy.
Notice the verse by verse movement of time.The ram-Medo-Persia-came on the world scene in autumn 539 B.C..
Then the Greco-Macedonian Empire came on the scene with its first king, Alexander the Great (verses 6-7). The final conquest of the Medo-Persian Empire by Alexander the Great occurred in 331 B.C.
Understand what this means. By the end of verse 7 we have moved in history from 539 B.C. to the time of Alexander the Great in 331 B.C.
Continue now, in verse 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."
Remember, the great horn in the goat's head symbolized the "first king" of the Greco-Macedonian Empire. That was Alexander the Great. But the horn was suddenl;y "broken" Alexander the Great died suddenly of a fever in Babylon in 323 B.C. about 33 years of age.
What follows in time sequence is found in verse 22:"Now that being broken [death of Alexander], whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power."
Alexander's empire was divided among his generals after his death. By 301 B.C. four generals divided the empire, fulfilling this verse of the prophecy.
In the south-Egypt-ruled Ptolemy. Syria-the north and east-was held by Seleucus. The northwest-Thrace-was under control of Lysimachus. Macedonia in the far west was dominated by Cassander.
Later, in 281 B.C., Seleucus overthrew Lysimachus and completely controlled the north. Thereafter, the two dominant areas of the empire were the kingdom of the south, under the Ptolemies and the kingdom of the north, under the Seleucidae.
Consider again the vital time setting of the prophecy of Daniel 8. It commenced with the Medo-Persian Empire, which lasted until 331 B.C. Then the Greco-Macedonian Empire came on the scene with its first king, Alexander the Great, In 323 B.C. Alexander the Great died at about age 33.
Alexander's' Empire was divided into four parts (verse 22). None of these parts was as strong as the whole kingdom had been under Alexander the Great. The time setting of the four divisions of Alexander's Empire, foretold in this prophecy, brings us to the date of 301 B.C.
The rest of the prophecy therefore cannot begin before this date!
Now notice what is to happen next on the world scene-after 301B.C
A Prophecy for the Latter Time!
Read verse 9: "And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.:
Look at this verse again. Here a "little horn" appears coming out of one of the four divisions of Alexander's empire. This "little horn" therefore cannot have risen before 301 B.C., because not until then was the fourfold division of Alexander's empire settled! The prophecy will later disclose out of which one.
Whatever this little horn does on the world scene must occur after the death of Alexander the Great-and after the division of the empire in 301 B.C. into four parts.
We come now to the climax of this astounding vision. Daniel is told: " ...the time of the end shall be the vision" (verse 17).
This vision of the "Little Horn" is for the time of the end! The same time setting is also recorded in verse 23; " And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full..."
Who-What-does this "little horn" symbolize?
The Little Horn
Notice the Bible explanation! "a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up...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...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 (verses 23-25).
This is the answer! Could anything be more astounding?
Look at this prophecy again. It is a prophecy for the last days. The little horn symbolizes a "King"-a ruler-who shall arise "in the latter time of their kingdom" (verse 23). Not immediately after the fourfold division of the empire-but in the latter time of human misrule in this world.
This "little horn"-this ruler-this mortal man-stands up against the Prince of Princes-that is Christ at his second Coming!
What the Little Horn Will Do
Continue with this amazing prophecy for the latter days! "And it [the little horn]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...Yea, he magnified 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" (verses 10-11).
The Next verse-verse 12-is not clearly translated in the Authorized Version, but is made clear in the New King James Version. Read it: " Because of Transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast the truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered."
What about the "daily sacrifices" prophesied to be taken away? And where is the "sanctuary" that is to be cast down? What do these symbolize? What do they mean?
Two Common-But Erroneous-Opinions
One opinion-found in most Bible commentaries on Daniel 8-is that Antiochus Epiphanese (died 164 B.C.) is the "Little Horn."
Antiochus did indeed prohibit the daily sacrifice-from 167 to 164 B.C. He defiled the temple with an idol, and offered swine's blood upon the altar. He authorized the burning of as many scrolls of the law as could be found. He attempted to stamp out the truth. He did fulfill the prophecy of the "little horn"- AS A FORUNNER!
But the final ruler symbolized by the 'little horn" of Daniel 8 is to be alive at the second coming of Jesus Christ. He comes on the world scene in the latter days, when human transgression-sin and suffering-is to its climax. He is to stand up and resist Christ at his second coming!
Antiochus came over 2000 years too early to fulfill this prophecy-except as a forunner or antetype.
Another opinion has it that the "sanctuary" is not on earth but heaven-that it is God's throne. The daily sacrifice, according to this view, is the work Christ has been performing in heaven as high priest.
Is this the Bible explanation ?
Not Heavenly Sanctuary!
Look at Daniel 8:11. See the Bible answer with your own eyes: "Yea, he magnified 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." Notice what this scripture says! The "place of his sanctuary" was cast down.
Now consider: if these daily sacrifices are, as some believe the daily work of Christ in heaven, then a mortal man-the "little horn"-would have power to intervene in heaven and stop the work of Jesus Christ!
Further, if "His sanctuary" is in heaven, the "little horn" would have the power to "cast down" the sanctuary-the very throne of God in Heaven! IMPOSSIBLE!
No man can stop Jesus Christ from performing his work in heaven. No man-no ruler-not even the devil himself-can cast down the very throne of God and profane his very sanctuary!
Then what is the meaning of this astounding prophecy?
The Bible Answer
First read verses 13 and 14 of Daniel 8: "Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, 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?...And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
For the word "days" in verse 14, a footnote correctly reads, "Literally evenings and mornings."
Some tried to explain this enigmatic prophecy before God's time came to reveal it!
Those who assume the "sanctuary" is in heaven claim that this vision of "2300 days" commenced in 457 B.C. and ended in 1844 A. D. (They say that the 2300 days represent 2300 years of fulfillment.) They further insist that the "sanctuary" that was cast down-the Holy of Holies in heaven itself-God's very throne-was to be "cleansed" beginning in 1844 A.D.
Notice that the Bible makes clear that whatever the little Horn is to do for "2300 days" cannot have begun until after the division of Alexander's empire into four parts in 301 B.C. But 457 B.C. is over a century and a half to early! That date cannot be the commencement of the "2300 days."
But notice further. The little horn takes away the daily sacrifices for "2300 days." Were daily sacrifices-whether on earth or in heaven-taken away from the year 457 B.C. until 1844 A.D.?
Of course not! The Jews were offering daily sacrifices almost continuously from the days of Ezra and Nehemiah until the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
But it is insisted, the sanctuary was not on earth but in heaven!
Granted that the earthly sanctuary is a type of the heavenly sanctuary, God's throne. But what king or power has ever cast down God's throne in heaven for 2300 years? Notice that part of Daniel 8:13. The "sanctuary" is to be" trampled underfoot." Has any kingdom, any power ever trodden under foot God's sanctuary for 2300 years?
The Bible itself proves that this amazing prophecy has nothing to do with the heavenly sanctuary or the years 1844 A.D.
Then what does the prophecy of the "2300 days" really mean?
A Common Misunderstanding
Notice Daniel 8:26: "And the vision of the evenings and the mornings which was told is true." The vision of "2300 days" is here called in scripture "the vision of the evenings and mornings." Why?
Notice verse 14 of chapter 8. In most Bibles you will find a marginal note for the word "days" that reveals the original Hebrew word is "evenings and mornings."
This prophecy is not referring to 24 hour days, but to daily sacrifices offered evenings and mornings. (see Leviticus 6:9, 12).
The Revised Standard Version correctly reads, "For Two Thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings."
In other words, here is a prophecy that 2300 evenings and mornings sacrifices would cease to be offered. Since the daily sacrifice was offered twice a day, this prophecy is actually speaking of 1150 days. In 1150 days there would have been exactly 2300 daily sacrifices offered.
The Jewish Soncino commentary on Daniel, by Dr. Judah J. Slotiki, comments on this verse: The Numerals refers to the number of times the offerings, normally brought twice daily, will be omitted, giving a total period of 1150 days."
At the end of this 1150 day period the sanctuary was to be "cleansed" or "justified." This prophecy is dual, as are many prophecies in the Bible, and it is yet to be completely fulfilled!
What happened to the daily sacrifices in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes (167-164 B.C.)-when 2300 sacrifices were not offered for a period of 1150 days-was only a type for what has yet to occur!
But the fulfillment of this prophecy "in the latter days" will not again be for 1150 days but for 1290 days, according to Daniel 12:11.
Notice also in Daniel 11 that the latter days do not commence until verse 40: "At the time of the end.." That's in our day, 2000 years after Antiochus Epiphanes. Therefore the taking away of the daily sacrifices and the trampling of the sanctuary underfoot is yet in the future.
We are nearing the fulfillment of these amazing prophecies about the Temple mount in Jerusalem. It is time we woke up to world events and freed ourselves from fables and traditions about 1844! Its time we believe the Bible. Its time we ask God for wisdom and asked him to lead us and shows us the truth!