DANIEL 8:9-14: THE LITTLE HORN:
PRO AND CON: ROME OR ANTIOCHUS IV
By Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
June 7, 2018
HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT ANTIOCHUS IV
Antiochus IV (D) Epiphanes (Manifest)
Original name before ascension: Mithradates
Father: Antiochus III the Great
Mother: Laodice III
Wife: Laodice IV married 3 brothers who were Seleucid kings
205 B. C. Rome conquered Macedonia
198 B. C. Laodice IV married crown prince Antiochus who died in 193 B. C.
190 B. C. Rome defeated Antiochus III the Great; puppet of Rome
188 B. C. hostage of Rome; exchanged for Demetrius I, son of Seleucus IV
187 B. C. father Antiochus III died
187 B. C. Seleucus IV (Antiochus IV older brother) rules
175 B. C. Seleucus IV was assassinated by Heliodorus
175 B. C. Antiochus IV ousted Heliodorus
175 B.C. co-regent w nephew Antiochus
170 B.C. Antiochus IV killed nephew Antiochus
175-164 B. C. Antiochus IV ruled the Hellenistic Greek Seleucid Empire
170 B. C. Ptolemy VI Philometer demanded the return of Coele-Syria
170 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.
169 B.C. Egypt regained freedom; Ptolemy brothers ruled jointly (incl VIII).
168 B.C. Antiochus moved to invade Egypt and Cyprus.
168 B.C. Roman ambassador Gaius Pompillius Laenas drew a circle around him and threatened war with Rome; Antiochus withdrew.
168-167 B. C. Antiochus replaced high priest Jason with Menelaus. Hearing a rumor that Antiochus has been killed in Egypt, Jason attacked Jerusalem. Antiochus recaptured Jerusalem, reinstalled Menelaus and 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.
167 B. C. Mithradates I of Parthia rebelled ad split the Seleucid Empire.
Antiochus had initial success in Parthia.
164 B. C. died of disease. Another story is that he fell out of his chariot and died in battle.
COMPARING THE TEXTS
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.
Note: “for it” is “in place of it (NKJ), “in its place: (NAS; NIV), “instead of i” (SV).
(1) The “he goat” was Alexander the Great.
(2) After Alexander’s death, his empire was split into four parts by his generals: Egypt (Ptolemies), Syria (Seleucids) Macedonia, Greece
(3) The large horn was replaced by other horns --- not other nations. The prophecy retains the one kingdom of Greece in four divisions. See 8:23.
Daniel 8:9a And out of one of them came forth a little horn …
(1) Antiochus Epiphanes IV came out of one of the Seleucid Syrian “horns” of Alexander’s empire.
(2) Rome came up out of one of the four “winds,” or directions of heaven.
(3) The pattern of Daniel 7 and 8 is “a different nation is represented by a different animal. Horns represent persons and not nations. Since no different animal appears, the evidence is in favor of Antiochus IV.
(4) Rome did not “come out” following the division of Alexander’s Empire. Rome had existed for centuries before Alexander was even born. Again, the evidence favors Antiochus.
Daniel 8:9b “…which waxed exceeding great …
(1) Concerning greatness, pagan Rome was certainly far greater than Antiochus IV.
(2) Concerning persecution of Israel, pagan Rome certainly eventually persecuted Israel far more than Antiochus IV.
(3) While Antiochus IV outlawed Jewish worship early, pagan Rome did so much later after A. D. 135.
(4) Even today Jews celebrate the restoration of the temple with Hanukkah.
(5) 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) Antiochus IV briefly conquered and sacked most of Egypt but was soon repulsed. His second invasion was stopped by threat of war with Rome. He lost the Parthian half of his realm and died before restoring it. His persecution of the Jews resulted in his expulsion and their independence.
(3) The evidence for this point is more in favor of 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 literally fulfill this description.
(2) Since Jews interpret this as a description of Antiochus, this evidence barely supports Antiochus.
Daniel 8:11 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.
(1) Both pagan Rome and Antiochus replaced Israel’s leaders. Antiochus replaced the high priest and political leaders.
(2) Both pagan Rome and Antiochus caused the daily sacrificial offerings in the temple to end.
(3) If “cast down” is correct, only pagan Rome literally fulfilled that.
(4) If “brought low” is correct, both accomplished that.
(5) 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) The transgression “of” Jews and the transgression “by” the Jews by Rome and Antiochus both accomplished this.
(2) Only Rome literally “cast down” the sanctuary.
(3) Only Rome continued to prosper.
(4) Antiochus’ did not prosper.
(5) 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?
The length of desolation in Daniel 8:14 strongly favors Antiochus IV between 171-164 B. C. or 168-164 B.C.
Daniel 8:14 Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
(1) “2300 days” in Hebrew is not the extremely common word for “day” which is “yom.” “2300 evenings and mornings” refer to the “evening (ereb) and morning (boquer)” sacrificial cycles. This corresponds to either 2300 to 1150 literal days.
(2) The temple in Jerusalem was cleansed and rededicated in 164 B. C. which is about 2300 days from 171 B. C. or 1150 days from 168 B. C.
(3) 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) Is this THE “last end” or merely “the last end of (the current) indignation”?
(22) 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) Again, does this refer to THE end, or merely to the end of the current prophetic indignation?
(2) “Their kingdom, rule, reign” refers to all four divisions of Alexander’s Greece remaining together. “Their” is plural; “kingdom, rule, reign” are singular.
(2) “The latter time of their kingdom” refers to the time when Rome (who had already made most puppets) ceased to recognize their Greek unity and treated them as Roman provinces. The prophecy does not refer to how many kings will follow Antiochus IV as puppets of Rome.
(3) “The latter time” of Daniel could have begun in 205 B. C. when Rome defeated Macedonia; “their unified Greek kingdom” only existed as Rome’s puppet.
(4) “The latter time” could also include 190 B. C. when Rome defeated Antiochus IV’s father, Antiochus III the Great.
(5) “Their” (plural) “kingdom, rule, reign” as Alexander’s unified heritage ended at “the latter times.”
(6) Antiochus IV was part of “the latter times” of the Greek Empire. For a short time in 188 B. C. Antiochus IV was a prisoner in Rome before being exchanged for his older brother and first heir to the Seleucid throne.
Daniel 8:23b … a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
(1) Since 8:19 the prophecy takes on a dual later and greater second fulfillment by a future Antichrist. This shift is also seen in Daniel 8:36.
(2) The text describes a person and not a nation. “Fierce countenance an understanding dark sentences” applies more to a man than to a nation.
(3) 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 with the king of Pergamon who helped him overthrow his father’s assassin to gain the throne.
(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 opposed 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 notable 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) Numbers 14:34 does not give an example of a prophetic “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.
(4) In 1825 William Miller interpreted the 2300 days as prophetic years and ended them in 1844 with the end of the world by fire.
(5) 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 with a rebuilt Jerusalem temple.
(6) 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.
(7) Modern commentaries 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.
(8) 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.
(9) The evidence concerning the 2300 days is overwhelmingly in favor of its initial fulfillment by Antiochus IV.
Daniel 11:21-35 well describes the wars between Antiochus IV, Egypt and Judea. There is no doubt among modern commentaries that Antiochus IV is in view.
Study this for yourself. It is your call as a New Covenant priests. If Daniel 8:9-14 is about Antiochus IV Epiphanes then Seventh-day Adventism has no ground for existence.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD