The issue here raised is more complex, and far more fundamental, than might at
first appear. Some apply to Antiochus Epiphanes the "little horn"
symbol of Daniel 7, which became "more stout" than any other of the
ten horns (verse 20), while others apply to him the "little horn" of
Daniel 8, which became "exceeding great" (Dan. 8:9, 10). Still others
seek to apply to Antiochus the little horns in both chapters. But these horns,
as will be shown, are two separate symbols. They are not identical, and
parallel each other only in part.
Numerous Bible scholars (such as Faussett, Auberlen, Zundel, Eberhardt,
Havernick, Hengstenberg, Scofield, Gaebelein, and Ironside) warn against con
fusing the "little horn" of Daniel 7 with the "little horn"
of Daniel 8. Nevertheless, many continue to
confuse them, and thus become involved in irreconcilable difficulties.
Those who place Antiochus in Daniel 8 do not necessarily also hold the
so-called "Porphyry theory" of Daniel 7, which makes Antiochus the
little horn of a "Greek" fourth kingdom. There are also those who, on
the basis of a partial or preliminary fulfillment of some aspects of the
prophecy, have regarded Antiochus as a type, or forerunner, of the great
persecuting Antichrist who was to realize the actual fulfillment centuries
later. There has been, besides, an almost universal opinion that Antiochus has
a legitimate place among the series of kings—Ptolemies and
Seleucids—referred to in chapter 11, a literal prophecy that covers the
period in which he attempted to suppress the true worship of God. To find him
in that chapter, along with relatively un-important rulers, is not at all the
same as giving him the disproportionate importance that attaches to the
Antiochus interpretation of the little horn of Daniel 7. These variations in
interpretation must be kept distinct so as to avoid confusion.
1. Greek and Roman Views of the Fourth Kingdom.—It should be
noted that any identification of Antiochus as the little horn of chapter 7 is
on the identification of the fourth of Daniel's four world powers with the
Macedonian (Grecian) period, rather than the Roman. The Greek and Roman views
must be explained. The majority interpretation through the centuries has been
that the fourth world power of Daniel 2 and 7 is Rome, and that the prophetic
outlines portrayed in these chapters (as well as in chapters 8 and 9) reach to
the end of time.
This was early taught by Josephus and other Jewish writers, and later by such
early church expositors as pseudo-Barnabas, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus,
Eusebius, Aphrahat, Cyril, Chrysostom, Isidore, Sulpicius Severus, Jerome, and
Theodoret. It was the virtually universal view of pre-Reformation, Reformation,
and post-Reformation times. Beginning in the thirteenth century and from
Reformation times onward, it had as a major corollary that the little horn of
Daniel 7, springing out of the ten divisions of Rome, was the Papacy. Rome, in
its pagan and/or papal phases, has likewise been said to be the
"little" and later "exceeding great" horn of Daniel 8,
though this is not necessarily a concomitant of the Roman view of the fourth
kingdom. (Antiochus and, later, Mohammedanism have been seen in chapter 8 by
holders of the Roman view.)
The Greek view was originally held only by Porphyry and a few others, but is
championed today by a large number of exegetes, principally of the modernist
school. This scheme assigns the fourth kingdom of Daniel 2 and 7 to the Greek,
or Hellenistic, period—that is, either to Alexander and his successors or to
the successors alone down to the time of the Roman Empire, with Antiochus
Epiphanes, the persecuting Seleucid king,* as the "little horn" that
came up among the ten horns of the fourth beast of chapter 7. And many, even
including some who make Rome the fourth empire, hold that Antiochus constitutes
*The Seleucid Empire was the easternmost of the four divisions
of Alexander's empire. From the fact that its capital was Antioch in Syria, and
that in later times it lost its eastern territory and shrank into Syria proper,
it was also referred to as the Syrian Empire, or merely Syria.
great" horn springing out of one of the four horns of the Grecian goat of
chapter 8, or is at least the type or forerunner of that horn.
This Grecian view, according to S. R. Driver, restricts the latter days
"within the range of the writer" (of the prophecy of Daniel), and
puts forth Antiochus Epiphanes as the "limiting horizon of the book."
That is, everything in the book of Daniel (including chapters 2, 7, 8, 9, 11)
is understood to have occurred prior to the Christian Era. On the contrary,
under the Roman view, with Rome, pagan and papal, as the fourth world power,
the deeds of the "little horn," whatever it may be, come entirely
after the beginning of the Christian dispensation. One view clearly excludes
2. Non-Christian Origin of the Grecian Theory.—The origin of
the Greek fourth kingdom is generally credited, not to a Christian exegete, but
to a pagan, Porphyry, who died about A.D. 304. It was devised, not to expound,
but to discredit and deny the prophetic element of the book of Daniel—not to
confirm the Bible, but to deny its veracity. In short, as many scholars (such
as Jerome of Antioch and Bishop Thomas Newton) have pointed out, it was a
pagan's counterattack upon the inroads of Christian teachings in the pagan
world—an avowedly defensive and fabricated claim that the book of Daniel was
not written by the prophet Daniel in the sixth century B.C., but by a
pseudo-Daniel in the second century B.C., in the time of the Maccabees.* So he
maintained that the book of
*Dr. Edward J. Young, of Westminster Theological Seminary (The Prophecy of
Daniel, p. 5) observes: "One who claims that the book of Daniel is a
product of the
Maccabean age thereby denies that it is a work of true predictive prophecy as
it purports to be. Furthermore, if the book of Daniel comes from the age of the
Maccabees, I do not see how it is possible to escape the conclusion that the
book is also a forgery, for it claims to be a revelation from God to the Daniel
who lived in Babylon during the exile."
Porphyry challenged and disparaged the veracity and competency of the witness
of Jesus Christ Himself, who cited Daniel as the author of the prophetic book
bearing his name, and recognized the treatise to be an inspired prophecy (Matt.
Daniel was not a prophecy at all, as it claimed to be, but only a history
written after the events. Thus he challenged its right to Christian acceptance
and propagation. It was the accuracy of the historical fulfillment that made
him say it must have been written after the events.
3. The Two Forms of the Greek View.—There are two forms
of the Greek view of Daniel's fourth kingdom, agreeing only on the first
kingdom as Babylon and on the horns of the fourth as Hellenistic kings, with
the little horn as Antiochus Epiphanes. The two series run:
2. Persia (Medes and Persians)
3. Alexander's empire (during his lifetime)
4. Alexander's successors
4. Alexander and his successors
The first form, generally traced to Porphyry, was revived about 1600 and has
had adherents down into the present century. The second, taught by Ephraim the
Syrian and a few others, was not resurrected until the eighteenth century, but
today it is quite widely held. (See H. H. Rowley, Darius the Mede and the Four World Empires in the Book of Daniel, for the differing views and their
The first form of this view ignores the unity of the Hellenistic period. From
Alexander to the dominance of Rome the Hellenistic world was a single
Greco-Macedonian-Oriental civilization molded by Greek language, thought, and
political institutions, ruled by Macedonians, and thought of as a single empire
long after Alexander's death, in spite of its political divisions. One
We may pause to note that the name of king [as applied to Seleucus] had no
territorial reference. These kings [Alexander's successors] are never
officially styled kings of Egypt or kings of Asia. If they are called so by
historians, it is merely for the purpose of convenient distinction. It connoted
rather a personal relation to the Macedonian people. Ideally there was one
Macedonian Empire as in the Middle Ages there was one Roman Empire. But the
dignity of Macedonian King was borne conjointly or concurrently by several
chieftains, just as the dignity of Roman Emperor was borne concurrently by the
Western and the Byzantine prince. In practice, of course, each of the rivals
had to acquiesce in the others being kings within a certain territorial sphere.
But their connexion with that sphere was never as close and essential as that
of the king of England or the king of France with his territory. Ptolemy and
Seleucid were to the end Macedonian kings who happened to reign in Egypt and in
Asia.— Edwyn Robert Bevan, The House of Seleucus (1902), vol. 1, pp.
57, 58. (Italics in the original.)
Daniel indicates this unity by representing "Grecia" as one
animal—a goat with horns, representing its first king and his four
successors. Just so, Alexander's successors did not constitute a distinct
kingdom that replaced its predecessors by conquest, as did the others, it was
merely a continuation and development out of Alexander's rule. But in Daniel 2
and 7 the fourth
kingdom is not a later phase of the third, it is as distinct as the other
three. Not only is the fourth beast separate, but it is even
"diverse" from its predecessors. A Hellenistic fourth kingdom does
not fit the specifications. If the four-headed leopard is Alexander's empire,
who are the four heads if not his four successors, paralleling the goat's four
horns in chapter 8? This first form of the Greek view does violence both to
history and to Daniel's symbols.
The second series offers no better solution. True, there was a Median empire
preceding the Persian, but it had been conquered by Cyrus some years before his
conquest of Babylon. Hence it is historically impossible for it to be the
second of the four kingdoms, following Babylon. Neither does the book of Daniel
separate Median from Persian rule. The Babylonian kingdom is replaced by that
of "the Medes and Persians" (Dan. 5:28), Darius the Mede enforces the
laws of "the Medes and Persians" (Dan. 6:12), the combined rule of
"Media and Persia"—symbolized by the single ram (Dan. 8:20)—is
destroyed and replaced by the Grecian goat.
The older proponents of this second form of interpretation could place the rule
of Cyrus in Babylon after the Median kingdom of Darius the Mede because they
did not know, as we do now, that the conqueror Cyrus was recognized in
Babylonian records as ruling immediately after the fall of the city. Modern
proponents hold that Daniel's prophecy was written by a late pseudo-Daniel who
ignorantly regarded Darius the Mede's reign as a separate kingdom preceding the
Persian. We, who accept Daniel as a contemporary with Cyrus, can neither
distort history nor assume that
Daniel was ignorant. But Darius the Mede is no more unhistorical than was
Belshazzar before his status, long doubted, was corroborated from archeological
finds in 1923. There is nothing to rule out the reign of Darius concurrent for
a year or two (only his "first year" is mentioned) with the regnal
years of Cyrus. This would be possible regardless of whether Darius is to be
regarded as a subordinate king over Babylonia or as a "shadow king"
over the empire, holding a courtesy title by sufferance of Cyrus, the actual
head of the empire. Not only is an intermediate Median empire both unhistorical
and unnecessary, but it does not fit the prophetic specifications. What about
three ribs in a Median bear's mouth? Or the four heads of a Persian leopard?
Even more difficult is the Greek fourth kingdom and the fifth. The
interpretation of Antiochus as the little horn, plausible up to a point, breaks
down in the end. Its inadequacy as to his deeds, his time period, and his
relation to the ten horns and the three, is another topic. Where are the
judgment and the fiery destruction resulting from his blasphemy? How was the
Grecian kingdom succeeded by the kingdom of God sweeping away the kingdoms of
the world? Indeed, present advocates of the Greek view point to these things as
proof of the supposed Daniel's late date and his miscalculation of the future.
On the other hand, the Roman view can be harmonized with both the prophetic
specifications and the history of the Roman Empire and its continuation in the
religio-political empire of the Papacy (see p. 335 and note)
4. Specifications of Daniel 7 Not Met.—Seventh-day Adventists
reject the application of the little horn of Daniel 7 to Antiochus for a number
a. Antiochus belonged to the third empire in actual historical
sequence from Daniel's time (see p. 333).
b. The fourth beast had ten horns (verses 7, 19, 20), but the Greco-Macedonian
beast, to which Antiochus belonged, had four divisions, which are pictured in
chapter 8 as four horns. True, the two symbols need not necessarily agree, but
the discrepancy is between the actual number of divisions that succeeded the
c. Antiochus did not rise after ten kings (verse 24). He was only eighth in the
Seleucid (Syrian) line. Besides, the prophecy calls for contemporaneous, not
d. He was not "diverse" from his predecessors (verse 24).
e. It is impossible to find three out of ten kings who were "plucked
up" or subdued before him (verses 8, 24), those who claim to do so, name
mere aspirants who were never actual kings.*
f. He was not stouter than the rest (verse 20), he was not the greatest of his
line, his father, not he, was called Antiochus the Great.
*Note the inadequacy of the ten horns. In order to make
Antiochus Epiphanes the eleventh horn in Daniel 7, champions of the Grecian
view attempt to show ten successive individual kings of Syria, three of
whom were to be plucked up from actual kingship. But ten bona fide Syrian kings
cannot be found. Advocates of the varying lists often admit uncertainty and
speak of historical obscurity, round numbers, and symbolical interpretations (Delitzsch,
Hitzig, Hertzfeld, Zockler).
Keil well remarks (The Book of the Prophet Daniel, p. 255) that the
suggested interpretation is "shattered" by the simple fact that these
horns must be found simultaneously on the head of the beast, not one after
another. And Biederwolf (The Millennium Bible, "Daniel," pp.
207, 208) bluntly declares: "Those who make Antiochus Epiphanes the
'little horn' and the eleventh king, cannot find the first ten."
Zockler (Lange's Commentary, on Daniel, p. 165) frankly admits of the
three horns: "Every attempt to designate the three missing monarchs, who
should fill the brief interregnum and state of restless anarchy which preceded
the accession of Antiochus Epiphanes, results in failure." Noting the
three customarily listed—Demetrius, Heliodorus, and Ptolemy IV—he adds: In
point of fact, however, none of these rivals of Epiphanes could be regarded as
the king of Syria, for Heliodorus was a mere usurper, who was dethroned after a
brief reign, and there is no record to show that either Demetrius or Ptolemy
Philometer pretended to the throne with any degree of earnestness."
Furthermore, the kings, or kingdom, of Syria (embracing only one of four parts
of the original Greek empire) could not qualify as horns of a beast
representing the full Grecian power, as the alleged fourth empire.
g. It is true that he blasphemed God, changed laws of worship, and persecuted
God's chosen people, but his persecution did not, as claimed, last three and
one-half times (verse 25, see p. 330, Sec. 6).
h. He did not prevail until the judgment before the Ancient of Days, which was
to be followed by the giving of the everlasting kingdom to the saints (verses
9-14, 26, 27).
i. His great words were not the cause of the destruction of the
Greco-Macedonian beast, or empire (verse 11).
j. The kingdom following the Macedonian, was the Roman, not the everlasting
kingdom of the saints (verse 27).
k. Some assign this kingdom of the saints to the first advent of Christ in the
next (i.e., the Roman) period. But the kingdom and dominion "under the
whole heaven" was not set up then, and the kingdom of grace in the hearts
of men does not fit the picture.
l. In a prophecy that sweeps in panorama from the Babylon of Daniel's day to
the judgment and the kingdom of the saints, the brief and unsuccessful attempt
of Antiochus to dominate the Jews would be magnified out of all proportion by
the application of this little horn symbol. We look in vain for the tremendous
events of the judgment and the setting up of the
everlasting kingdom of God following the kingdom of Antiochus.
The conclusion is obvious that Antiochus does not fill the little-horn
specifications, even the earlier ones, to say nothing of the closing depiction.
This makes all the more evident the bankruptcy of the prevalent modernist
interpretation based on the supposed ignorance of a second-century
pseudo-Daniel writing pseudoprophecy in or after the time of Antiochus. And
since there is no possible candidate of the Macedonian period other than
Antiochus, we must therefore conclude that the little horn of Daniel 7 cannot
be Grecian, and the only alternative is a Roman horn (see p. 337).
5. Specifications of Daniel 8 Not Met.—The view that makes
Antiochus the little horn of Daniel 8, which becomes "exceeding
great," must also be examined. There is a tempting plausibility in the
fact that Antiochus did actually come "out of one of" the four
horn-kingdoms on the head of the Greco-Macedonian goat. Nevertheless, even
aside from the fact that there is a difference of opinion as to whether
"out of one of them" means out of one of the horn-kingdoms or out of
one of "the four winds" (verses 8, 9)—i.e., one of the four
directions of the compass—there are obstacles to considering Antiochus an
adequate fulfillment of the prophetic specifications.
a. In the first place, Antiochus was not a "horn." The four horns of
the goat were "four kingdoms" (verse 22), the largest of which was
the Seleucid (or Syrian) kingdom. Antiochus was not a separate horn, or
kingdom, but one of the kings of the Seleucid horn, and hence a part of one of
b. Antiochus did not wax "exceeding great" (verse 9) in comparison
with the Greco-Macedonian empire of Alexander (verse 8). Antiochus was not even
the most powerful king of the Seleucid division of Alexander's empire.
c. Antiochus hardly grew exceeding great through conquest (verse 9). His push
to "the south" into Egypt was stopped by the mere word of a Roman
officer, his expedition to "the east" resulted in his death, and his
dominion of "the pleasant land" of Palestine did not last, for his
persecution of the Jews drove them to resistance that later resulted in their
d. The horn's fury against "the host of heaven" (verse 10), who are
evidently equated with "the mighty and the holy people" (verse 24),
is plausibly a reference to Antiochus' persecution of the Jews. However, if the
specifications point rather to another power that also persecuted the people of
God, this verse cannot be decisive.
e. Against what "prince of the host" (verse 11) or "Prince of
princes" (verse 25) did Antiochus stand? A mere Jewish priest is hardly
such a figure, "Prince of princes" could be only an unusual
designation for God or Christ, whose worship he attacked.
f. Antiochus did take away the "daily sacrifice" to the true God,
though he did not abolish the Temple sacrifices, he substituted others in honor
of heathen gods. However, he only desecrated "the place of his
sanctuary", it was not "cast down" until the Romans destroyed it
in A.D. 70.
g. His attempts to "cast down the truth" (verse 12)
were unsuccessful. The net result of his persecution was to strengthen the
truth by uniting the Jews against the Hellenization of Judaism.
h. Though Antiochus was not a weak king, his ambitious policy can scarcely be
said to have "practised, and prospered" (verses 12, compare verse
24), nor did his "craft . . . prosper in his hand" (verse 25) in
attaining his ends.
i. The attempts to reckon the 2300 days (verse 14) as the literal period of
Antiochus' desecration of the Temple fail in making the chronology fit any of
the sources (see p. 330, Sec. 6).
j. Antiochus did not reign "in the latter time of" the Hellenistic
kingdoms of Alexander's empire (verse 23), but nearly in the middle of the
k. Antiochus was "fierce" toward the Jews, but was not noted for
"understanding dark sentences" (verse 23).
l. His "power" was not outstandingly "mighty," nor can it
be said that it was "not by his own power" (verse 24). At least such
phrases give no particular confirmation to the identification of Antiochus.
m. Antiochus was not "broken without hand" (verse 25), there is no
suggestion of anything miraculous or mysterious about either his failure with
the Jews or his death.
n. To find, as some do, the Papacy as the little horn in chapter 7, and
Antiochus as the little horn in chapter 8, is to throw the two prophecies out
of balance—to interfere with the obvious parallel between the two series of
world powers presented (see p. 335). If chapter 7 follows the sequence from
through Persia, Alexander's empire, and his divided successors, on through the
Roman Empire and the Papacy-down to the judgment, then chapter 8, which begins
with Persia, one step later, should cover the same sequence—Persia,
Alexander, the four horn-kingdoms that grew out of his empire, and then another
horn, obviously another kingdom. To preserve the obvious parallel, this horn
should logically be the next world power after the Hellenistic monarchies,
namely Rome, and we should expect the scope of the prophecy to be similar to
that of chapter 7, that is, extending to the end, when the horn would be broken
without hand. (This does not mean that the two little horns are in all respects
identical; see p. 337).
Although certain details of this prophecy of Daniel 8 might be considered
applicable to the activities of Antiochus, yet the figure of that ruler, with
his moderate successes and outstanding failures, is entirely too small to fill
6. Time Specifications Fail for Both Daniel 7 and 8.—The
sources cited for the time specifications of both little horns are themselves
in hopeless conflict. Thus, as to Daniel 7, the activities of Antiochus do not
meet the time demands of the prophecy. Despite the claims of proponents to the
contrary, according to 1 Maccabees 1:54, 59 and 4:52, Antiochus suppressed the
Jewish sacrifices exactly three literal years. But this does not comport with
the demand of Daniel 7:25 for three and one-half "times," which are
generally recognized as involving 1260 prophetic days.* Furthermore,
*The Protestant Reformation emphasis, and particularly that of
post-Reformation times and later, was that these 1260 prophetic or symbolic
days called for the same number of literal years in fulfillment. And the
Reformers sought earnestly for the time of fulfillment—which, at the close of
the eighteenth century, was widely recognized as being from the time of
Justinian to the French Revolution.
Josephus, two centuries later—in conflict with the Maccabean record—says (Wars
i. 1. 1) that the episode lasted three and one-half years, though
elsewhere (Antiquities xii. 7. 6) he contradicts himself by saying it was three
years to the day! But more than that, he neutralizes both of these statements
in his Preface to Wars when he imperturbably states that it was actually three
years and three months. So one cancels out the others. There is thus hopeless
conflict and contradiction in the sources themselves.
Furthermore, all attempts to equate the 1260 days of the little horn (of Dan.
7:24, 25) with the 2300 days, or "evenings-mornings," of Daniel
8:14—or with 1150 days, if 2300 be divided by two, as some insist—are
plainly forced. They constitute only an approximation, for 2300 days (or 1150)
assuredly do not equal 1260. And conversely, the 1260 days of Daniel 7
certainly do not equate with the 2300 "half days," or 1150 "full
days," of Daniel 8. One number cannot be accommodated to meet the demands
of the others. That is too great a stretch—for the figures are not elastic.
Quite apart from the year-day principle, fixing upon one number clearly rules
out the others. So all are out, under such a scheme.
We concur with Bishop Thomas Newton (Dissertations on the Prophecies, 1796, p.
217), who in the eighteenth century wisely wrote:
These two thousand and three hundred days, can by no computation be
accommodated to the times of Antiochus Epiphanes, even though the days be taken
for natural days.
And Dean F. W. Farrar, though personally holding the Antiochus theory, admits
that "no minute certainty about the exact dates is attainable" (The
Book of Daniel, 1895, p. 266). And he freely confesses, "By no
reasonable supposition can we arrive at close accuracy."—Ibid., p.
And a half century ago Dr. Charles H. H. Wright, of Trinity College, Dublin and
Oxford (Daniel and His Prophecies, 1906, p. 186), declared, on the 2300-day
calculations of Daniel 8:
All efforts, however, to harmonise the period, whether expounded as 2300 days
or as 1150 days, with any precise historical epoch mentioned in the Books of
the Maccabees or in Josephus have proved futile.
Indeed, Dr. Wright goes so far as to say:
No satisfactory interpretation has been given of the 2300 days regarded as
referring to Maccabean times. It is quite possible that those 2300 days may be
a period of prophetic days or [literal] years which have still to run their
course.—Ibid., p. 190.**
But quite apart from these inconsistent and contrasting features as to the
exact timing, the interpretation of the three and one-half times (1260 days),
or the 2300 days, as simply that number of literal days
*Zockler (Lane's Commentary, on Daniel, pp. 164-166)
declares that these periods, based on the Maccabean records, "vacillate
between periods covering from three to six years, without being able, in any
case, to demonstrate an era of exactly three and a half years." So he
comes to the conclusion that the 3
years are to be taken "as a somewhat round number." And he, too adds (p. 184) that
there is "no exact correspondence" with the 2300 or 1150 days—hence they
must be regarded as symbolic.
And Dr. H. C. Leupold (Exposition of Daniel, p. 355) pointedly remarks:
"Reckon as you will, there will be no clear-cut period of either the one
or the other length. Then the juggling of facts and figures begins."
He adds: "There is something basically wrong with such
**Zockler, with the thesis he holds, is forced to admit: "It must remain
an open question whether ordinary calendar years are intended, or, what is
scarcely less probable in itself, whether mystical periods are referred to,
which are measured by a standard not known to men, but only to God."—Lane's
Commentary, on Daniel, p. 161.
violates the fundamental law of symbolism—which is that all symbols stand for
something other than the object or item used as the symbol. Thus the
"beasts" of Daniel 7 and 8 symbolize not literal beasts but specified
nations. Similarly, the attendant time features must stand for some time
measurement other than the actual unit used in the prophetic portrayal. Thus in
symbolic time prophecy a prophetic day stands for an actual year in literal
fulfillment. (See Num. 14:34 and Eze. 4:6.) Therefore the 2300 days could not
stand for the same number of literal days, but for that number of years.
Consequently, anyone who insists that Antiochus is symbolized by the little
horn violates the basic principle of symbolism, by literalizing the inseparable
time factor. (See Questions 25 and 26.)
7. Adventist Position on the Four Empires of Daniel 2 and 7.—Seventh-day
Adventists hold the Roman view of Daniel's fourth empire and reject the Greek
view. The Babylonian Empire of Daniel's day was overthrown by the Medo-Persian
Empire, not simply by the Medes or the Persians alone (Dan. 7:5, 17, 8:20). And
the Medo-Persian kingdom was, in turn, superseded by "Grecia" (Dan.
8:21). Therefore, the empire of Alexander, who conquered Persia, was the
not the fourth of the series. And the empire of Alexander and its fourfold
divisions constituted one Grecian empire, as has been explained. Therefore the
next world power, the one that took over the domain of Alexander's Macedonian
empire, namely Rome, must be the fourth in actual sequence. This is admitted by
most present-day advocates of the Greek view, but they adduce that fact as
evidence that the prophecy
was not written by Daniel, but by a later writer, of Maccabean times, who did
not know his history! Seventh-day Adventists believe that Daniel's series of
kingdoms was not incorrect. We therefore hold that since Rome was actually the
fourth in historic sequence, it was the fourth in Daniel's series.
The little horn of Daniel 7 is, we believe, the Papacy—as the majority of
pre-Reformation, Reformation, post-Reformation, and later historicist Bible
scholars, including the early nineteenth-century premillennialists, have taught
before us. This power rose at the time specified, that is, following the
breakup of the Roman fourth empire, it rose in the situation specified, that
is, among the divided kingdoms that took over the Roman territory; it was
"diverse" from the rest, for it was a religio-political power, the
like of which has never been seen before or since; its rise was connected with
the subduing of certain Arian kingdoms; it became "more stout" than
any of the others, for it fell heir to Roman centralized authority that
eventually dominated the weak and strong kingdoms around it; it was
characterized by the authority of a man—the pope—who spoke great things,
claiming to stand for, and to speak for, the Most High on earth, it warred on
the saints and prevailed against them in greater and more prolonged
persecutions than pagan Rome had ever done; it thinks itself qualified to
change times and laws of the Most High, putting its traditions and absolute
authority ahead of the Bible, its history can be harmonized perfectly with a
symbolic period of three and one-half prophetic or symbolic years—1260
year-days; it continues until the latter
days, when it is called to account for its great words and deeds against the
truth and the people of God. Its character and history also tally with other
prophetic symbols of a great apostate power, and the cumulative evidence is
overwhelming that the successor and continuation of the fourth empire, Rome, is
the religio-political power of the Papacy.* To set forth the evidence, Biblical
and historical, to show how it fills the specification of the prophecies in
detail, would require another full section, and this is not the place to do so.
8. Adventist View on the Parallel Prophecy of Daniel 8.—Seventh-day
Adventists hold that the four prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, 8, 9, and 11 largely
parallel one another. That is, the later ones go back and repeat, covering the
same ground, but emphasizing. varying aspects in the coverage of the centuries
and the course of empires—just as the four Gospels bring out the different
facets of the matchless life of Christ our Lord. But to get the full picture,
each should be read and understood in the light of the others.
The sequence of the world empires of Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 11 must, in the very
nature of the case, be the same—except that in chapters 8 and 11 Babylonia,
the first empire, is omitted. Daniel 7 and 8 are consequently paralleling
counterparts, covering the same ground, except for the later starting point of
Daniel 8, which begins with "Media and Persia" (verse 20) and
*This prophetic interpretation does not justify the charge that its holders are
anti-Catholic. We do not deny credit for any good that has been done by
Catholics, or discount the sincerity of earnest individual Catholics because we
find the system condemned in the Scripture. We respect the freedom of every
Catholic to worship God as he thinks right; and we hold the freedom to point
out what we see as error and to seek to persuade men to accept what we believe
to be truth, without prejudice or bigotry.
is followed by "Grecia" (verse 21), with its fourfold divisions
(verse 22). These, in turn, were followed by the little horn that became
exceeding great (verse 9), evidently the next great world power. That next
empire was Rome, which stood up against the Prince of the host, the Prince of
princes, took away the sacrifices, and cast down the sanctuary (verses 11, 12,
25). In its dual form—first imperial and then papal-Rome waxed exceeding
great, persecuted the "holy people" (verse 24)—the saints-set up
false sacrifice for the true, cast down the truth, practiced, and prospered. It
will continue until the end, when it will be "broken without hand"
(verse 25). The fulfillment of the specifications by both the pagan and the
papal phase of Rome makes the horn of Daniel 8 parallel the fourth beast of
Daniel 7 and its little horn—the Roman Empire with its ten horn—divisions,
and its continuation in the Roman Papacy, the "diverse" kingdom that
rose among Rome's divisions, blasphemed God and His laws, persecuted the
saints, and will be recompensed therefor in the judgment.
History bears testimony to the continuity of Rome with the Papacy:
Out of the ruins of political Rome, arose the great moral Empire in the
"giant form" of the Roman Church.—A. C. Fleck, The Rise of the
Mediaeval Church (1909), p. 150.
Whatever Roman elements the barbarians and Arians left standing in the
provinces . . . were . . . put under the protection of the Bishop of Rome, who was
the chief person there after the Emperor's disappearance. . . . The Roman
Church in this way privily pushed itself into the place of the Roman
World-Empire, of which it is the actual continuation; the empire has not
perished, but has only undergone a transformation. If we assert . . . that the
Roman Church is the old Roman Empire consecrated by
the Gospel, that is no mere "clever remark," but the recognition of
the true state of the matter historically, and the most appropriate and
fruitful way of describing the character of this Church. It still governs the
nations. . . . It is a political creation, and as imposing as a World-Empire,
because the continuation of the Roman Empire. The Pope, who calls himself
"King" and "Pontifex Maximus," is Caesar's successor.—Adolf
Harnack, What Is Christianity? (1903), pp. 269, 270.
Thus the "little horn" of Daniel 7 is, we believe, the Papacy, but
the "exceeding great" horn of Daniel 8, we understand, embraces both
pagan and papal Rome, existing in both B.C. and A.D. periods. The only power
that follows "Grecia" and lasts until it is "broken without
hand" is Rome in its pagan and papal phases.
The Basis of Our Rejection
To summarize, we reject the Antiochus Epiphanes interpretation because:
1. It does not fit the specifications of the prophecy.
2. It was propagated as
a pagan's attempt to disprove prophecy, and thereby discredit the Christian
religion, by showing that the book of Daniel was written after the events it
was supposed to predict.
3. The finger of prophecy points rather to the great Roman apostasy, the
Papacy, as the great vice-Christ—the Antichrist—who casts down the truth
and wears out the saints of the Most High, and continues to the time of the
We therefore reject Antiochus as an inadequate fulfillment of Daniel 7 and 8,
and accept the classic Protestant interpretation that offers an adequate
fulfillment in history.