Daniel 7 and Daniel 8

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

A suggestion is made here that Daniel 7 and 8 may contain parallel information,

with the consequence that the one may be shedding helpful light upon the other.

  

 

 

Introduction

 

Seventh-day Adventist Church article, “Why Antiochus IV Is Not the Little Horn of Daniel 8” (http://1844madesimple.org/why-antiochus-iv-is-not-the-little-horn-of-daniel-8),

has seemingly managed to identify some enlightening parallels between these two chapters of the Book of Daniel – whether or not the article has also arrived at the correct conclusion about Antiochus IV. It begins with an overview of opinions on the matter:

 

Crucial to the interpretation of Daniel 8:9-14 is the identification of the little horn power, which dominates these verses. Attempting to identify this little horn, commentators have applied three different methods (preterist, futurist, and historicist) of prophetic interpretation to the texts.

Preterists teach that the majority Daniel’s prophecies have already been fulfilled and, therefore, have no present significance. They hold that the little horn rose from one of the divisions of Alexander’s empire; they specifically identify it with the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.).

Futurists follow this basic line of interpretation as well, though they see Antiochus as a type of an end-time antichrist appearing in the final years of earth’s history.

Historicists declare that the prophecies in Daniel portray an outline of human and ecclesiastical history from ancient Babylon down to the end of time, with the little horn power being identified as the Roman Empire, in both its pagan and papal stages.

….

 

Now, skipping what immediately follows, we jump to what I consider to be the core of the article (whilst not necessarily agreeing with the identity of the four beasts given below):

 

The best way to understand the prophecy is to study it in context of other chapters in Daniel that parallel it, particularly Daniel 7. By comparing these two chapters, we can learn not only which school of prophetic thought best explains the vision of Daniel 8, but we can see why the identification of the little horn as Antiochus Epiphanes simply isn’t tenable.

Daniel 7

 

With the exception of some voices within the preterist camp, most conservative scholars depict the identity of the four beasts in Daniel 7 as follows:

 

(Lion) Babylon

(Bear)Media-Persia

(Leopard) Greece

(Beast with iron teeth) Rome     

 

…. While acknowledging (as all the schools do) that the first beast is Babylon, the preterist interpretation identifies the second and third beast of Daniel 7 as Media and then Persia, with the fourth beast being Greece (which arises after Persia) and the little horn coming out of Greece as Antiochus Epiphanes. This argument, however, falls apart on numerous grounds, including the lack of historical data to warrant that separation of Media and Persia into two successive kingdoms.

In contrast, support for the interpretation of Daniel 7 as being Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome can be found in the interpretation of the ram in Daniel 8. Its two disproportionate horns are specifically identified as the kings of Media and Persia together (vs. 20), reflective of the duality found in the prophet’s view of the bear in Daniel 7, which was raised up one side (Daniel 7:5). Meanwhile, the three-directional nature of the ram’s conquests (Daniel 8:4) also parallels the three ribs depicted in the mouth of the bear (Daniel 7:5), since it expanded to the north (Lydia), to the west (Babylon), and to the south (Egypt), an accurate description of the Media-Persian expansion.

Thus, if in Daniel 7 Media-Persia is the second beast, and Greece the third ….

 

Mackey’s Comment: So far so good, I think.

This succession in Daniel 7, apparently finding its parallel confirmation in Daniel 8, makes a lot of sense to me – {which doesn’t guarantee its correctness of course}.

But then I find myself failing to feel fully confident about the next part of the article:

 

(Thus, if in Daniel 7 Media-Persia is the second beast, and Greece the third) then the nondescript beast, the fourth beast in the prophecy, must represent Rome, the great power that arose after Greece. Therefore, the little horn that came from this fourth beast cannot represent Antiochus IV, who arose prior to, and not after, Rome.

 

This is a too neat succession of kingdoms which is neither chronologically or factually correct.

New World Encyclopedia tells correctly that Rome was already very well established at the time of Antiochus IV, and that Rome was in fact calling the shots (not necessarily my BC dates here)

(http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes)

 

Antiochus took power after the death of Seleucus Philopator. He had been hostage in Rome following the peace of Apamea in 188 B.C.E. but had recently been exchanged for the son and rightful heir of Seleucus IV, the later Demetrius I of Syria. Taking advantage of this situation, Antiochus was able to proclaim himself as co-regent with another of Seleucus’ sons, the infant Antiochus, whose murder he orchestrated a few years later.

 

War with Egypt

 

Antiochus IV was ambitious and wanted to expand both his territory and influence. He was able to make some inroads into Egypt, ruled by the Ptolemies. In 168 B.C.E. he almost succeeded in conquering Egypt but was prevented from doing so as a result of Roman intervention. The [Seleucids] generally continued Alexander’s policy of cultural integration but Antiochus IV was more interested in Hellenizing his subjects. He was especially eager to Hellenize the Jews, who resisted the process and he started to use force to pursue this policy. His father had exempted the Jews from the Hellenizing policy. This led to the beginning of the Jewish revolt of the Maccabees. His infant son, Antiochus V Eupator, succeeded him.

Because the guardians of Ptolemy VI of Egypt were demanding the return of Coele-Syria, in 170 B.C.E. Antiochus decided on a preemptive strike and invaded Egypt, conquering all but Alexandria. He then captured Ptolemy but agreed to let him continue as puppet king. This had the advantage of not alarming Rome. Alexandria thereupon chose Ptolemy’s brother Ptolemy VIII (Ptolemy Euergetes) as King. In Antiochus’ absence, the two brothers came to an agreement to rule jointly. Hence in 168 B.C.E. Antiochus again invaded and overran all Egypt but Alexandria while his fleet captured Cyprus. Near Alexandria a Roman envoy met him and told him that he must at once withdraw from Egypt and Cyprus. Antiochus said he would discuss it with his council, whereupon the envoy drew a line in the sand round him. Were he to step out of the circle, the envoy said, without having first undertaken to withdraw, he would be at war with Rome. Antiochus agreed to withdraw.

 

[End of quote]

 

I now return to the Seventh-day Adventist article, which – while it has now disqualified king Antiochus IV from being Daniel’s ‘little horn’ – provides a series of compelling parallels between the description of the horn in Daniel 7 and 8. Whoever this may represent – and I think that Antiochus IV may actually be a frontrunner for it – the combination of descriptions in Daniel 7 and 8 ought greatly to enhance our efforts to arrive at an identification.

 

Thus, if the little horn in Daniel 8 is an entity that came out of Rome, not Greece, what is its relationship to the little horn in Daniel 8? Could the little horn in Daniel 8 still be Antiochus Epiphanes, even though the little horn in Daniel 7 cannot? Though it’s certainly possible that it could be referring to two different powers, significant arguments exist in favor of identifying the little horns in these two chapters as the same historical entity.

 

1)    Both are identified with the same symbol: a horn

7:8ff, Aramaic, qeren    8:9 ff, Hebrew qeren

2)    Both are described as “little” at the outset.

7:8, Aramaic, zerath    8:9. Hebrew, serath

3)    Both are described as becoming “great” later on.

7:20, Aramaic, rab     8:99ff, Hebrew, gadal

4)    Both are described as persecuting powers.

7:21, 25          8:10, 24

5)    Both have the same target group as object of their persecution.

7: 27 “people of the saints,            8: 24 “people of the saints”

Aramaic, am quaddise             Hebrew, am qedosim Cf. vss. 21, 25

6)  Both are described as self-exalting and blasphemous powers.

7:8, 11, 20, 25    8:10-12, 25

7)  Both are described as crafty and intelligent.

7:8 “eyes of a man”     8:25 “cunning and deceit”

8)  Both represent the final and greatest anti-God climax of their visions.

7:8-9, 21-22, 25-26       8:12-14, 25

9)   Both have aspects of their work delineated by prophetic time.

7:25      8:13-14

10)  The activities of both extend to the time of the end.

7:26-26, cf. 12:7-9    8:17, 19

11)   Both are to be supernaturally destroyed.

7:11, 26    8:25

 

How much more evidence does one need?  The little horn power of Daniel 7 and the littler horn power of Daniel 8 are both the same entity …

[End of quote

 

I think this article has made an excellent case in favour of the truth at least of this last statement.

 

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