Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, 9, 10-11, 12, overview WhyProphets.com
Daniel chapter 8
and the "little horn"

Other numbers:
, 1290,
2300 "days"
70 weeks

a medieval church
The little horn "became great to the host of heaven"
and "prospered in all that it did".


In the interpretation that follows, I have followed the New International Version for clarity, except where the translation is blatantly distorted by un-Biblical ideas.

Daniel 8:9

Daniel 8:9 - the little horn was the smallest of the four Hellenistic kingdoms:

See the previous discussion.

Daniel 8:9 - it grew to the south and east and to Palestine:

Greece (and the area round Byzantium) is to the north and west of Palestine. So to reach Palestine the horn must grow to the south and east. Despite being geographically closer to the Arab lands, Palestine has always been more threatened by Europe.

Constantine took a special interest in Palestine, with a lavish building program. The crusaders saw it as their duty to invade the land. For centuries it was controlled by the Turkish empire (the Byzantine area). Even today the nation of Israel has more links with Europe than with its Arab neighbours.

Daniel 8:10

The wording of verses 11 to 13 indicates that the destroying the "sanctuary" is a negative event. This implies that "the host of heaven" must be seen in a positive light - referring to those who obey heaven (as opposed to any pagan astrological meaning). This parallels Revelation 12:3-4:

"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born."

This deals with the same time period and the same subject matter, so we can safely assume that it is talking about the same thing. The only difference of course is that Revelation 12 refers to heaven, so deals with eternal themes, while Daniel 8 refers to a specific acting out of those themes on earth.

The sanctuary

A sanctuary is somewhere to hide when your life is threatened. After the apostles died, the church fell into apostasy and true believers were under threat. Daniel 7:21-25 indicated that the little horn made war with the saints and wore them down. It seems that there came a time when all their hiding places were destroyed.

For an example of one such hiding place, se the pages on the Celtic Church in Britain.

The term "sanctuary" could also perhaps refer to the temple and Jerusalem itself. Both were destroyed in AD 70 by Rome, under Titus, fresh from his northern European conquests. Jerusalem was trodden down much longer thanks to the crusades in the Middle Ages.

"Stamping on them"

This is also described in Revelation 11:2:

". . . and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."

Forty two months is of course 1260 days. We have already seen that this was the period that the little horn had control over the church.

The fulfillment of Daniel 8:10

Put simply: the horn grew more powerful and became involved in pagan idolatry. It brought new Satanic ideas to the earth. It trampled on the earth.

How Europe grew and trampled on the earth:

This is well known. Byzantium became the greatest city of the medieval world. The Roman church became a political force, affecting every part of Europe. The northern tribes settled and became part of the system, shifting the focus of power north - e.g. the Holy Roman Empire. Finally colonialism spread the European way throughout the world.

How Europe introduced new Satanic ideas:

(Note: do not be put off by the strong word "Satanic". Satan's most dangerous ideas are those that are most subtle.)

As noted in relation to Daniel 7:24, Europe is different. Two of the more dangerous ideas it introduced to the earth are:

  1. Massive counterfeit versions of Christianity. Not only did this bring false doctrines, but laws such as the inquisition and the death penalty for reading the Bible. Worse, it now has the effect of turning people away from true Christianity by association.
  2. An approach to science that views religion as irrelevant. (This topic is far too big to address in this web site).

Daniel 8:11

Ended the period of continuity.

Jesus had established a mighty church that would not die easily. It was led by prophets, apostles, etc. Each apostle was ordained by the previous apostles (see Acts 1). The same went for other priesthood offices - nobody could just decide to take the honour for himself (Hebrews 5:4). Like Aaron, they had to be ordained by those who already had authority (Exodus 28:1), by the laying on of hands (Numbers 27:18). So in the early Christian church, there was a continuous line of authority stretching right back to Jesus. But when the last faithful and authorized priesthood holder died, this continuous line ended.

Daniel 8:12 and onward

Daniel 8:12 - because of rebellion:

As noted, it was the rebellion of members of the church that caused the church to weaken and die. From the first to the sixth century, the members and leaders of the church thought they could get by without living prophets, without the day to day guidance from God. That rebellion destroyed the New Testament church and left us with the medieval remains.

Daniel 8:12 - it prospered in everything it did:

Europe and the modern western world (taken as a whole) fulfils this like nothing else ever has. The whole world is now dominated by western culture. Most of the world has been ruled by European nations at some point. When Daniel was looking forward to the end of time, how could he fail to mention Europe as the single most dominant feature!

Daniel 8:13-14 - how long will all these visions take?

The famous prophecy of 2300 "days" has been precisely fulfilled.

Daniel 8:23-25 and the New International Version:

The NIV and some other interpretations are firmly wedded to the idea that this is all about Antiochus, and thus nothing to do with the last days, despite what Daniel says in verses 17 and 19. Consequently they take a word for "appearance" and translate it as "face". The word "king" was discussed earlier - a kingdom or even a group of empires. The NIV translation is calculated to always make this kingdom into an individual - and make Gabriel into a liar when he said it concerned the time of the end.

Daniel 8:23 - in the latter time:

Daniel 8:23-25 explains the earlier vision, and the little horn was already explained in chapter 7. So we must remember that these three verses cover well over 2000 years. They are extremely highly abridged! We have already seen that Europe has its foundations in the migrating tribes at the latter end of the Greek time period, so Daniel moves right on to the significance of this "kingdom" - what it does when it has power.

Daniel 8:23 - when rebels have become wicked:

The last days of the Hellenistic world were the years after the Old testament was finished. Just as in the days after the New Testament when Rome declined, the apostates ruled the church. This may also refer to the period of the growth of Europe, when Rome and Byzantium were ruled by men who called themselves Christians, but rejected living prophets.

Daniel 8:23 - the fierce appearance:

While we remember ancient Rome as mighty and strong, it was never described like this. See "astounding devastation" below.

Daniel 8:23 - a master of intrigue:

Europe's existence was owed to the fact that different kingdoms existed without permanently conquering each other. It would be nice to think that this was down to understanding and diplomacy, but intrigue probably describes it better - intrigue of the church, spies, governments meeting, financial wheeling and dealing, and all that we have come to know as modern politics.

Daniel 8:24 - very strong, but not by his own power:

The great strength of Europe does not rest in a single great army, but in the mutual agreement of the kingdoms, the church (especially in the middle ages), and (today) the global markets. In the formative years, the key players (Constantine, Gregory and others) gained followers not because they were successful politicians, but by claiming that they were just instruments in the hand of God.

Daniel 8:24 - astounding devastation:

Ancient Rome was remembered for trampling the Mediterranean region under foot. But ancient Rome was as nothing when compared with the later Europe. Europe has trampled almost the entire planet earth under its feet through colonial conquests, and through cultural and financial dominance.

Daniel 8:25 - "when they feel secure"(NIV); "by peace"(KJV):

Europe came of age in Byzantium, which considered itself to be in a golden age of following God. The early Byzantine leaders (from Constantine, who called himself "the thirteenth apostle") felt that their political system was a mirror of the heavenly order. Today, Europe has not changed - people no longer credit their comfort to God, but financial comfort has led to great apathy (just ask any church minister!)

Daniel 8:25 - stand up against the prince of princes

The word translated as "against" is only "against" in the sense of "beside". Strong's concordance defines it as "on, on the ground of, on behalf of, beside, over, against". So the little horn is probably on the same side as the prince of princes (literally "the prince prince").

As noted earlier, Satan is the prince of this world who was to come after Jesus died and rose to heaven. Daniel 8:25 seems to be filling in the details - the political power that did Satan's work. Another analogy is Revelation 12 to 13. Satan (the dragon, the prince of this world) is determined to destroy the church. He does this through political and religious systems (the beast, the little horn).

Europe allied itself to Satan by promoting a false version of Christianity (spread by force), by killing the last of the saints, by overpowering the world by force, by being the most divided of all the great world powers, and by promoting the great lie that, in the world of religion, dead prophets are better than living prophets.

Daniel 8:25 - destroyed, but not by human power ("broken without hand" - KJV)

In this web site I sometimes refer to the triumph of the saints, and how the saints will take over the world. But this will not happen by man's effort. Latter-Day Saints have no interest in revolutions, militias, or Armageddon preaching. All we need to do is preach peace and love, and the Lord Jesus has promised to do the rest.

the bottom line

Can you think of a political power that has had more effect on the world in the last two thousand years than Europe? No, neither could Daniel.


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