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WHY ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES CANNOT BE THE LITTLE HORN OF DANIEL 8 AND WHY OUR ADVENTIST PIONEERS WERE RIGHT

There have been many attacks against the Adventist pioneer view of the 2300 day prophecy over the years, with this ministry also receiving numerous emails from people attacking our belief. The main belief from those outside our faith is that the 2300 day prophecy are literal days, and that it only concerns the little horn power, which they believe to be Antiochus Epiphanes between 175 BC to 164 BC. So on this page we are going to give Biblical evidence why Antiochus cannot be that little horn power to which the 2300 days refer and why our Adventist pioneers were right.

For a full understanding of our belief concerning the 2300 day prophecy, please see our PAGE HERE. On this page we are only dealing with the false view regarding Antiochus Epiphanes and explaining why our Adventist pioneers were correct.

THE LITTLE HORN - Daniel 8:9-12 ...'And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.' ... EXPLANATION OF THE LITTLE HORN GIVEN BY GABRIEL - vs.23-25 ...'And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.'

This prophecy also includes a ram and a goat (vs.3-7) and in Daniel 8:20-21 Gabriel tells us that the ram and goat are the kingdoms of Medo Persia and Greece. Now in verse 8 we are told that "the great horn" of the goat was broken and in place of it were four horns. Everyone knows from history that the "great horn" was Alexander the Great and the breaking of that horn was the death of Alexander, which split Greece into four kingdoms, controlled by his four generals - Lysimachus ruled over Thrace, Cassander controlled Macedonia, Ptolemy I ruled Egypt and Seleucus ruled Syria. This is important ground work to understand what is going on.

Now in Daniel 8:9 we are told that the 'little horn' comes out of one of these four horns (some believe it came from one of the four winds, or directions of earth), and it is this little horn which many believe to be Antiochus Epiphanes. But if we look at the details of this little horn given in Daniel 8, we can see that it could never point to Antiochus:

POINT 1 - This little horn came out of one of the four horns (kingdoms) that Greece split into. So this little horn would rule separately to the other four horns, just as the four horns ruled separately from each other in their own kingdoms. Antiochus Epiphanes was simply one of over 25 kings that ruled the Seleucid Empire which was started by Seleucus after the death of Alexander. Antiochus Epiphanes did not rule separately from the Seleucid empire. So Antiocus was simply part of one of the four horns and could not be the separate little horn.

POINT 2 - The ram in the prophecy which was Medo Persia, 'became great' (vs.4). The goat which was Greece, 'waxed very great' (vs.8). But the little horn 'waxed exceeding great' (vs.9). So are we to believe that the KINGDOM of Medo Persia was 'great.' The KINGDOM of Greece was 'very great.' But the mere king Antiochus Epiphanes who was simply one of over 25 kings ruling over the Seleucid empire was 'exceeding great'? What an absurdity! Just let that settle in your head - PERSIA was 'great', GREECE was 'very great' and ANTIOCHUS was 'exceeding great.' Really? Was Antiochus GREATER than Alexander the Great who conquered the world? No, not at all! Many even called Antiochus a 'madman' due to his disposition!

POINT 3 - Daniel 8:9 tells us that this little horn "waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land" and verse 24 saying "his power shall be mighty ... and he shall destroy wonderfully." This speaks of the conquering marches of a great power - GREATER than the persians and GREATER than even Alexander the Great. A power which captures other territory south, east and towards Jerusalem. But Antiochus simply inherited a kingdom already established and did not fulfill this prophecy of 'waxing exceeding great toward the south, east and pleasant land.' Look at his history. He didn't accomplish much at all, apart from an incursion into Egypt! Neither was his power 'mighty', as historians even say that Antiochus was subject to the rising Roman power and payed tribute to Rome! Look at the following quote:

"Seleucus' younger brother, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, now seized the throne. He attempted to restore Seleucid power and prestige with a successful war against the old enemy, Ptolemaic Egypt, which met with initial success as the Seleucids defeated and drove the Egyptian army back to Alexandria itself. As the king planned on how to conclude the war, he was informed that Roman commissioners, led by the Proconsul Gaius Popillius Laenas, were near and requesting a meeting with the Seleucid king. Antiochus agreed, but when they met and Antiochus held out his hand in friendship, Popilius placed in his hand the tablets on which was written the decree of the senate and told him to read it. The decree demanded that he should abort his attack on Alexandria and immediately stop waging the war on Ptolemy. When the king said that he would call his friends into council and consider what he ought to do, Popilius drew a circle in the sand around the king's feet with the stick he was carrying and said, 'Before you step out of that circle give me a reply to lay before the senate.' For a few moments he hesitated, astounded at such a peremptory order, and at last replied, 'I will do what the senate thinks right.' He then chose to withdraw rather than set the empire to war with Rome again." (Livy's History of Rome - posted on wikipedia)

Does that sound like someone who "waxes exceeding great" and whose power is "MIGHTY"?? No!

POINT 4 - In Daniel 8:23 it says that the little horn power would rise up "in the latter time" of the 4 kingdoms which Greece split into. But Antiochus Epiphanes was only the 8th king in a line of over 25 kings over the Seleucid empire. Cleary NOT "in the latter time" of the Seleucid kingdom.

POINT 5 - If you interpret the little horn of Daniel 8 as being Antiochus Epiphanes, then you also have to interpret the little horn of Daniel 7 as the same one king. But the little horn of Daniel 7 is shown to rise up out of the 4th beast, which is the Roman Empire. Antiochus Epiphanes did not rule in the Roman Empire, but the Seleucid kingdom, which was BEFORE Rome ruled.

POINT 6 - In Daniel 8:25 we are told that this little horn would 'stand up against the Prince of princes.' This is clearly a reference to the little horn standing up against Jesus Christ. Yet Antiochus Epiphanes died over 150 years before Jesus came to earth. This point alone PROVES the little horn cannot be Antiochus Epiphanes. But when you put all the evidence together, then it is overwhelming!

WHY OUR ADVENTIST PIONEERS WERE RIGHT

Our Adventist pioneers believed that the little horn power of Daniel 8 was Rome in both its Pagan and Papal forms. The following points give evidence to this belief being the correct view of the little horn.

POINT 1 - If we take this vision alongside the visions of Daniel 2 concerning the great image of Nebuchadnezzar and the vision of the 4 beasts in Daniel 7, we can see in both instances of Daniel 2 and Daniel 7, Rome is the kingdom that succeeds the Greek empire. In Daniel 8 we have mention of Medo Persia and Greece. Babylon is not mentioned because this vision is during the third year of Belshazzar, the last ruler of Babylon, whom the Medes and Persians conquered as told in Daniel 5. Now we know from Daniel 2 and 7 that Rome came after Greece, so it fits that the little horn which rose to power from the Grecian Empire would be Rome.

POINT 2 - Daniel 8:9 says the little horn comes forth from one of the horns of the goat. Can this be true of Rome? Earthly governments are usually introduced into prophecy when they become in some way connected with the people of God. Rome became connected with the Jews, the people of God at that time, by the famous Jewish League - 161 BC (Josephus' Antiq. B.12, chap.10, sec.6; also - Prideaux, vol.2, p.166). But just prior to this, Rome had conquered Macedonia, one of the four kingdoms that Greece split into, and Rome made Macedonia part of itself. It therefore appeared to Daniel and may be properly spoken of, as coming forth from one of the horns of the goat. Also, if the little horn came from one of the 'four winds' rather than one of the horns, then this fits Rome also.

POINT 3 - Daniel 8:9 says the little horn 'waxed exceeding great' and verse 24 saying "his power shall be mighty ... and shall destroy wonderfully." We are told in verse 4 that the ram (Medo Persia) 'became great.' Verse 8 tells us that the goat (Greece) 'waxed very great.' The only power after Greece to 'wax exceeding great', whose power was 'mighty' and 'destroyed wonderfully' more than any other kingdom prior was the Roman Empire. No other king or kingdom matches this other than Rome!

POINT 4 - Daniel 8:9 also tells us that the little horn waxed exceeding great 'towards the south, toward the east and toward the pleasant land.' Rome did infact 'wax exceeding great' in ALL of these directions after it captured the Macedonian kingdom. Rome conquered Egypt to the south, Syria to the east and also entered the 'pleasant land' (Judea).

POINT 5 - Daniel 8:10 says that the little horn waxed great, 'even to the host of heaven and cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground.' This is clearly repeated in Revelation 12:4 speaking of the great red dragon, a symbol of Satan AND the Roman Empire.

POINT 6 - Daniel 8:23 says that this little horn power would rise at 'the latter time' of the four kingdoms of divided Greece. Rome did in fact rise to power and prominence at the specified time - when those four kingdoms were in decline and drawing to an end.

POINT 7 - Daniel 8:25 says that the little horn was to 'stand up against the Prince of princes.' During the time of Christ on earth, Rome was at its peak of glory and power and as we all well know, Rome was the kingdom that did stand up against Christ and have Him crucified. As we said above, this point alone proves that the little horn cannot be Antiochus Epiphanes, but does prove that the little horn IS Rome. No other power fulfills the prophecy as Rome does, in BOTH its phases - Pagan and Papal.

THE CLINCHER

Jesus Himself even mentioned the prophecy of Daniel concerning the abomination of desolation - the little horn power. Both Matthew and Luke recorded what our Saviour said, and it is interesting how they both relate it, look:

Matthew 24:15-16 ...'When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.'

Luke 21:20-21 ...'And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.'

Do you see how Jesus is referring to the prophecy from Daniel? And what does Jesus say? 'When you SHALL see the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place', as in FUTURE tense. Then Luke confirms this same event, but refers to it as 'armies surrounding Jerusalem.' Could this at all point to Antochius Epiphanes? No, because his time had already passed when Jesus was on earth. Jesus was clearly referring to the ROMAN power which surrounded Jerusalem and destroyed the city some 40 years after Jesus' prophecy.

The 2300 day prophecy deals with BOTH the 'daily' AND the 'transgression of desolation' if you read Daniel 8:13. The 'transgression of desolation' is the same entity as the 'abomination of desolation' or 'abomination that maketh desolate.' It is the ROMAN power, which is also mentioned in Daniel 11:31, speaking of Papal Rome being put in place of Pagan Rome. So the 2300 'days' has to cover both Pagan AND Papal ROME, because that is the question in Daniel 8:13 - 'how long for BOTH the daily AND the transgression of desolation.' Thus the 2300 'days' CANNOT be literal days, but prophetic YEARS to be able to cover the period of both Pagan AND Papal Rome. This is why the ram and goat (Medo Persia and Greece) are also mentioned in the vision, because they are included in the 2300 year timeline.

So as you can see, the attacks against the Adventist position are very weak indeed and have no basis upon the 'sure word of prophecy.' Antiochus Epiphanes does not match the little horn power of Daniel 8 in any way. But Rome, the kingdom which our Adventist pioneers believed to be the little horn, matches in EVERY way.

For more on the 2300 day prophecy itself. Please see our page - 2300 DAY PROPHECY OF DANIEL