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THE LARGE MATTERS OF THE LITTLE HORN
Daniel, Revelation and Action
The Divine Prescription and Inscription for History
In Daniel 2 and 7 we meet a profound forecast of coming imperial events, political-military empires, in a significant sequence. In this account, from the day of Daniel who lived in Babylon during its day of power, and the loss of it: The first is Babylon (1), the second is Media-Persia (2), the third is Macedonia (3) and the fourth Rome (4). It is well to become used to their numbers for ready identification. As it was to be, so it was, Rome being that which followed the identified Macedonian third empire in world history.
In Daniel 8:23-25, in the third empire in Daniel's list of 4 as in Daniel 2 and 7, which by the time they are complete are to take to the consummation and the rule of the Lord on this earth, there is a being called a 'little horn'. It is a small king, and this being first appears in part of what the Third Empire became, a pompous pretender in one of the imperial bits left over from Alexander.
"Little" though it is in terms of such as Alexander, however, in pomp and word, in appearance and despicable cunning and slithery scheming, it magnifies itself, perhaps like a mosquito under a magnifying glass, and rules with rigour. Thus its power becomes great, tilting even to the Prince Himself, with the same lust to be at the very level of God as exposed in Genesis 3: indeed even to surmount Him (Daniel 8:25). However his end is utter.
The four Empires, then, were in fact Babylon and Media and Persia followed by Greece or Macedonia as that part came to be called, with Alexander the great founder of the 3rd Empire, shown as a man in a hurry! as indeed he was (Daniel 7:6, with wings on his feet, and he proceeded "without touching the ground" as in Daniel 8:5). The last, the fourth, was the partly iron and partly clay, partly strong and partly fragile but long lasting Roman one (Daniel 2:41-42). It is, then, Daniel 2 and 7 which give the overall fourfold account. At Daniel 8 there is a degree of specialisation.
THE LITTLE HORN
Daniel 8 as a Chapter (8:4 and 8:20) starts with the first empire as the prey of the "ram pushing westward", that beast identified as Media-Persia. It does not here, even mention the first empire, which is rather taken for granted. After Media-Persia, It proceeds to the next empire, identified as Greece, made to appear as a goat with a large horn, broken into four bits, which is what happened to the Empire of Alexander the Great, one bit being that in Syria and Palestine. It is there that we meet a "little horn". Daniel 8 is therefore a specialist Chapter dealing largely with the second and third empires, namely Media-Persia and Macedonian, as stated in it (8:19ff.).
So far the "little horn" we have noted in Daniel 8 has been characterised from Daniel 8. Before we meet the other "little horn" in the Bible, we should note more on the fourth empire.
This was that Roman one, which in fact followed that of Alexander the Great, which had been broken by then into four sections as noted, this being the next world power. Indeed, in its Western and then Eastern Empire, in the Holy Roman Empire, in things secular and religious, and in their combination, in the European Union it has continued, despite a deadly wound which it once had (Revelation 13:3,12), when Rome fell in the 5th century A.D. and even its Eastern Empire in the 15th century, followed by the fall of the Holy Roman Empire in the turmoils of the 19th..This led on to Hitler's failure and the EU's success. So, though wounded, the 4th Empire continues. It is in this that the second "little horn" is to come.
Thus this last beast or empire in Daniel 7:19-20, is paralleled by Revelation 17:7,12, in that in both there are ten horns or kings. This comes in its consummate form as the end draws near; and it has meanwhile continued to the present as predicted. Revelation 13 shows a second beast, the religious one, accompanying the military one (Revelation 13:11ff.), allied to its false prophet (Revelation 16). There you see the same sort of aggrandisement as in the "little horn" of Daniel 7, for the 4th Empire likewise.
In this fourth beast, then, is the second "little horn" noted amid the ten kings or horns in Daniel 7:20-21. This little one is further characterised in Daniel 7:23-25, in terms of the fourth beast or empire. His lofty self-magnifying grandeur is such that he "speaks pompous words against the Most High", exactly as the "little horn" in the 3rd Empire in Daniel 8 did. Similarly, he will persecute the saints of the Most High and have ideas about reconstituting the universe as to times and law, which is rather like the efforts of Stalin, though since it did not work for him, the idea became unpopular in his Russia. However this shows in our recent history, the direction of flow. Further, this little horn of the 4th and last Empire, is "different" from the other ones in his ruthless misconceptions of his own magnificence, and in this he is precisely as shown of the antichrist in II Thessalonians 2, who admires himself, showing himself that he is God, shortly before his summary conflagration.
We gain yet more on the character of this evil being, from Daniel 11, where an extensive and detailed account is given of historical highlights coming to the time of the little horn of Daniel 8, the first one. That one in history was known as Antiochus Epiphanes, in charge of one of the four bits left from Alexander's empire. In Daniel 11:35, this proceeds to speak of "the time of the end," which it does again in 11:40. Thus here we move from the third Empire "little horn" to the time of the fourth empire "little horn". Indeed, there is almost a feeling of unity in the two to the point of merger, for they are but arms of the devil, one seeking to ruin Israel in its testimony of old, the other to ruin the entire world in its final agonies, as in Daniel 12:1ff., "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time." It is "at that time your people shall be delivered," the Lord told Daniel. In so joining them, the scripture is giving us an excellent preview, even set in history, ready for investigation as to method!
What then ? We are interested here in the qualities of the "little horn" since the phrase occurs twice in the Biblical sequence. Some of these have already been noted, and are set in red print. Indeed, in view of the above on Daniel 11, the additional suggestive marks from the first "little horn" will be set in red likewise. In Daniel 11, at the 3rd Empire and so the time of the first "little horn", we find an account of him.
This shows that many will JOIN him by "intrigue" (Daniel 11:34). This is in the margin rendered as "slipperiness" and "flattery". In fact, this Antiochus Epiphanes in the Middle East was clever at manipulation, and made appeal to a segment of the people in the broad movement toward Grecian things, things not sacred but touching the sacred, so that confusion and cunning, slitheriness and slippery styles of efforts to merge things proceeded precisely as NOW. Now ? As he sought to disrupt to dispel, to mutate holy things then, so is the spirit of our Age engaged in precisely the same, and in the second "little horn" it will be shown in an arm of power!
it is here that we we are drawing "near" to the end of the final one of the four spiritually significant Empires in view for the sequence to the end of the time (Luke 21:24ff.* ), before the Messiah returns to rule (as in Daniel 7:23-28). It is this which comes, following the final "little horn" and his demise. As to this final kingdom, the fourth, it is as in Daniel 7:23, to have its own features, for it will "devour the whole earth, trample it and beak it in pieces." It takes us from the day of the Roman Empire to now and to the return of the Lord. It is the finale in the chosen sequence with its spiritual significance.
* See Answers to
Questions Ch. 5.
THE FOURTH EMPIRE AND ITS SPECIALTIES
In fact, the Roman Empire in its first phase did marvellously in this, expanding, ruling, controlling, intimidating, growing even to Britain, in a controlling influence militarily, over much of what is now Europe; and its Holy Roman Empire religious (but still military!) arm did much the same as epitomised in fighting not without papal involvement, as in the hideous Inquisition which broke like a rampaging bull into many lands such as Spain and Italy and Britain, in uncontrolled fury, precisely as shown in prophecy.
Further, many were the physical slaves which its many member nations took and used and abused, leading to action and reaction, to horror and hatred, to debasement and folly, to cleavage and rotted, fetid power, till a Christian light as in Wilberforce in Britain and some measure of awakening, ended most of that phase.
How many nations took advantage of Africa in horrid ways, Spain even moving to America to inflict its militancy on the Incas and the Aztecs, for example, taking gold and leaving the shadow of a papacy, wholly contrary to Matthew 23:8-10, deluded with grandeur and primacy, pompously aloft over the words of Christ in Matthew 26:53ff., and John 18:36ff. (cf. SMR pp. 903-917).
So even now, in the 4th Empire, there has been a religious arm and a military one, just as is to become more obvious in the end as in Revelation 17, with the second beast in its propaganda and worship incantations.
As to this 4th Empire, centred in Europe, great have been its wars and works. Many now are the new components seeking to grow in this coalescing phase and this is covered somewhat in SMR in such sites as pp. 743ff., 750Bff..
It is well to be aware of these things as so many former churches, still keeping their names, are being manipulated at this very moment, turning from sound doctrine to squalid spiritual substitutes, disobeying the commandments of Christ, which a man sets his heart on, if a Christian (John 14:21-23, I Corinthians 16:22). It is wise to be watchful of the ways which epitomise and fulfil themselves in the domain of the "little horn" not as if this came from nowhere, but as a type which is blatant even now in spirit! and to be watchful of wolves (Acts 20:27-31, II Peter 2, II Timothy 3-4), alert to foxes, while seeking to preach the Gospel. It is not a simple thing to deal with the subtlety of the devil, but in the power of Christ, rightly dividing the word of God (I Timothy 2:15), and applying it on all sides, defending the Gospel and proclaiming it (Philippians 1:7, Matthew 28:18-20, II Corinthians 10:5, I Corinthians 11:1), it can and must be done. In warfare, one does well as the case requires, to be both informed and vigilant, as well as progressive and keeping to the truth and the cause, despite the provocations and the intimidations, the threats and the cunning.
This is a spiritual warfare, the only kind authorised for the Church of Christ: for even Christ Himself refused to be 'protected' by the sword. Moreover, in heart, it is good to be at peace, composed and stable, aware of the challenges like any good soldier, while fighting the good fight with all one's might (Ephesians 6), disciplined in thought, understanding in heart, compassionate in spirit, seeking deliverance for many.
NOTE: You may wish to read further in Tender, True.
The prophecy of Daniel is exposited in some detail in several Chapters of Highway of Holiness ... which also provides additional references.