One of the more befuddling aspects of Daniel 7 is its depiction of the little horn, or "small horn." It appears in both visions of beast and verses 10-14 and is then active during verses 10-15, leading commentators to propose many interpretations for its identity and activity.
Preterists, futurists and historicists all follow different lines of interpretation when trying to understand the little horn's origin and activity; however, most of these schools fail in many respects.
Daniel 7:8 records Daniel's vision: he saw "an unusual little horn arise among the ten horns. This little horn stood out, because its appearance was unlike anything else seen. It had eyes like those of humans and boastful lips. Additionally, its head bore a crown symbolizing its power and authority."
"This little horn" will act against God by persecuting his holy people. That is, it will be a ruler who assumes godlike qualities while defying Him and overthrowing the temple, stopping daily sacrifices, and eventually all who worship God.
This world leader is an experienced strategist with vast ambitions for conquest. His kingdom will span across continents, his conquests will be unparalleled and he will become master of destruction.
Daniel 2 depicts this period with four beasts as its symbols; these beasts will govern for two more periods that span from Christ's first Advent until Satan's overthrow and subsequent establishment of God's kingdom under Jesus.
The little horn is an extremely influential religious system that will align itself with seven of the ten political horns that emerge after Rome falls, creating a worldwide dictatorship under one-world governance.
This little horn towers over both Persian ram and Grecian goat before him in this chapter, magnifying itself both horizontally and vertically - on one hand towards South East and glorious land; on the other towards Heaven itself.
There are multiple internal parallels between the little horn in Daniel 7 and that in Daniel 8. First of all, both emerge out of the fourth kingdom and one of its four horns; additionally, chapter 7's little horn oppressed for three and a half years while Daniel 8's oppressed for 2,300 days - both indicators show that Daniel 7 cannot refer to Antiochus Epiphanes.
Daniel describes the little horn as having eyes like those of a person (Daniel 7:8) and boastful boasts coming out of its mouth; this implies an independent power source that had its own mind, which is exactly what it was!
The little horn has one other striking characteristic: an extraordinary kingdom that goes far beyond your typical state-run monarchy; this lavish little kingdom stands as an alternative global government rather than just American one.
He wasn't the most powerful ruler of his day, but he still held some impressive powers. It made the most of its resources - particularly its military might - while also possessing intelligence comparable to that of world leaders as well as possessing some lesser-known abilities.
An interesting detail of this image is that its tiny horn is actually not actually a horn at all - instead, it is actually more of a large sphere resembling that found on human heads! Lastly, another fascinating fact about this creature is that his little horn only measures approximately one-fifth the size of a typical human head!
Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 make mention of an "ancient object or modern creation", who may serve as the "little horn" in biblical prophecy. Regardless, such objects could provide the basis for interpretations of biblical prophecy as they become manifest over time.
At its heart, Daniel 7's "little horn" likely represents modern technology - but that does not preclude it from representing humanity at its finest. If that is indeed the case, then it stands as a worthy and noble successor of Daniel's original little horn that inspired Daniel's scintilla of Daniel 7. As its title suggests, Daniel's "little horn" likely refers to a leader's mind rather than any physical structure.
Daniel 7:19-22 and 8:25 portray the Antichrist as an adversarial religious system which seeks to usurp Jesus Christ's position as Lord over the entire planet. It will seek to alter times and laws, oppress saints, speak against God in an arrogant fashion and persecute true Christianity. The little horn can also represent an evil religious ideology which may attempt to overthrow Christian religions through radical religious fundamentalism or outright persecution of true Christianity.
Paul indicates that this small horn will seek to desecrate God's temple and establish himself as world ruler by "taking God's place" in worship services and proclaiming himself God (Romans 16:20).
Some scholars have attempted to correlate this little horn with Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Hellenistic ruler of Palestine from 175 BCE until 164 BCE; however, this interpretation fails to take into account that this little horn was one of ten that emerged from the fourth beast that came after Rome fell.
Not accounted for is that this little false horn did not subdue three other kings who reigned simultaneously with him; this is significant as these ten horns represent kingdoms which will arise upon the fall of Rome.
No matter who the little horn is identified to be, its influence and power will have a detrimental impact on true Christianity for 1260 years. This period is known as "a time and a half", which indicates it could last up to 1,260 years total.
Note that the antichrist is not some supernatural apocalyptic figure but instead is defined by those who deny that Jesus Christ came as promised and into our world in human form. They do not acknowledge God the Father as one and Jesus as His only Son who leads humanity to heaven; therefore denying that Jesus Christ alone can save anyone. Consequently they deny that God exists or that Christ alone is the way. An antichrist can also be defined as someone who lies or murders for his own gain in order to claim heaven as their own; thus becoming Satan's agent when opposed against real churches worldwide and will ultimately be defeated at His return as Messiah returns!
The little horn represents a world leader known for his profane speech and immense power. He will become an oppressive dictator that demands worship (verse 15).
Daniel's prophecy identifies the "little horn" as its highest-ranking power, and scholars have taken this to be an omen of future glory for God's kingdom. Notably, Daniel himself used this term for various recurrent powers at his time (including one not mentioned by Daniel himself; 7:27 and 9:27) who came to prominence and so this may explain why Daniel often refers to them by name (such as in 7:27 or 9:27) (Daniel 7:27 or 9:27).
As stated above, the highest-ranking power was the Media-Persian empire - far larger than Greek empire in size due to their four region kingdom, while Greek had three major ones and was known to rule for millennia.
Daniel's prophetic timeline depicted Persia as the top power, because of its long lineage of supernatural events and early military success.
As the little horn grew in size and strength, so too did its reputation for power. It could make war against saints while spewing out harsh words against Him while trying to change time and laws - persecuting saints for three and half years straight!
Daniel 7:7-8 describes one of the most threatening and powerful powers arising during Daniel's endtimes, with its prominence evident as one of its horns.
There may be many reasons to doubt the ability of Daniel's Horn of Power, but when closely examined it does indeed accomplish many impressive tasks. Some examples include being one of the most powerful horns and trying to control all aspects of life through totalitarianism; having one of the largest heads among all Daniel's prophecies' horns; and boasting its name being taken directly from its Hebrew meaning as one example of such accomplishments.
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