[Daniel 8: Antiochus or Antichrist?]
As is often said, it really is impossible to understand the book of Revelation without understanding the book of Daniel. The opposite is also true: It is impossible to fully understand the book of Daniel without understanding the book of Revelation. This is why Daniel was told…
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased…. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” – Daniel 12:4, 8-9
Daniel 8 has been hotly contested for centuries – in fact, a couple of millennia – as to who the “little horn” is. I have addressed this topic before in a previous study, but for this particular survey, I thought it would be appropriate to dig a little deeper – and with a little more clarity and detail – to help us determine who we should believe Daniel 8 is truly speaking of — Antiochus or Antichrist?
“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.” – Daniel 8:9
Is this “little horn” the “little horn” of Daniel 7: The Four Beasts of the End-Times?
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” – Daniel 7:7-8
Interestingly, I recently published an article, Daniel 11:36-45– Antichrist’s Last Adversary, and we looked at the exploits of the Antichrist concerning “the south” and “the east” – along with the north – “and toward the pleasant land” of Israel. It does seem realistic that this statement can be aligned with Daniel 11:36-45.
Let us continue and see if the little horn of Daniel 8 should be equated with the little horn of Daniel 7.
“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.” – Daniel 8:10
As is well known, “the host” and “the stars” are referencing to and symbolic of angels. “The host,” as well, would include all the armies of heaven, which we will also consider.
Therefore, if we are to believe this to be the pagan king Antiochus, we must ask, “How could this pagan king have any fundamentally intimate knowledge of the God of creation and the nation and people of Israel, His heavenly abode, and His holy angels?” Answer: “He would not.”
It could not be said of Antiochus that he ever “waxed great, even to the host of heaven” and “cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground and stamped upon them.” Since Antichrist will be led by, and probably indwelt by, Satan during the Great Tribulation, we should see the relationship to this verse with the book of Revelation.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” – Revelation 12:7-9
Satan, along with a third of the host of heaven that rebelled against God with him, will finally be banished from heaven and “cast out into the earth” or “to the ground.”
When it comes to Antichrist, he shall “wax great, even to the host of heaven” and “cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamp upon them” by the blasphemies he brandishes out of his mouth on the earth. The imagery should not be missed.
“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” – Revelation 13:6-7
“Them that dwell in heaven” will also include the bride of Christ, Old Testament Saints, and those Tribulation Saints who have died from the rapture of the church until the midway point of the Tribulation. And for those Saints who give their lives to Christ and refuse The Mark of The Beast during the Great Tribulation – at that time, positionally a part of the host of heaven – they will be hunted, stomped upon, and beheaded for their testimony.
Even more than the imagery that is presented herein, there is a literal feature to this verse as well, if one understands where the internal Biblical evidence of the mysterious Two Witnesses leads.
When we consider how Antichrist will kill the Two Witnesses at the midway point of the Tribulation and our supposition from our article, Can We Know the Identity of the Two Witnesses? (spoiler alert), that the evidence leads to the identity of the Two Witnesses being, in fact, two cherubim – probably in human form – that had their presence on either side of the throne of God, then we can begin to fully recognize the literal aspect of this verse when it says that Antichrist will have…
“… cast down some of the … stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.”
“And when they [the Two Witnesses] shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them…. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” – Revelation 11:7, 9
The Greek word for “stamped” – as in “stamped upon them” – is 7429 רָמַס “ramas” and means to trample upon. It seems certain that the Antichrist, along with Antichrist’s forces, will stomp or trample upon the corpses of the Two Witnesses in the streets of Jerusalem, as they “shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves” for three and a half days.
“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.” – Daniel 8:11
While Antiochus evidently declared himself to be an incarnation of Zeus, he could never have “magnified himself even to the Prince of the host” of heaven – the “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) where the One true God and His host exists and a place that Antiochus never knew.
Additionally, when it comes to identifying this individual, we will find out later from Gabriel’s interpretation to Daniel that “the Prince of the host” is none other than Messiah Yeshua!
As we asked earlier, let us ask again: “How is it that a pagan king such as Antiochus could ever know about “the Prince of the host,” God’s Messiah?” Again, the answer is: “He would not.”
Antichrist, in his pride and arrogance, will certainly fulfill this prophecy of “magnifying himself even to the Prince of host” by claiming to be God when he “takes away” the “daily sacrifice” in the middle of the seven-year Tribulation.
“Who [Antichrist] opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”- 2 Thessalonians 2:4
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” – Revelation 13:8
“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.” – Daniel 8:12
The Antichrist will certainly have his own host at his disposal – most probably from the United Nations Security Forces and the European Union Armed Forces – as his host will be prevalent and mighty when he commits the Abomination of Desolation.
[For more on this very important subject, please see A Study of Zechariah 14:1-11 and An Interpretive Scenario of the Abomination of Desolation.]
Not to mention Satan’s host of fallen angels who will be working hand-in-glove with God’s Adversary.
Antiochus, on the other hand, never achieved any greatness of any significant magnitude as Alexander the Great did, and he certainly never attained greatness that “waxed great, even to the host of heaven.”
It is “out of one of them” (Daniel 8:9) – the four kingdoms that came out of Alexander’s empire – that both Antiochus Epiphanes did, and Antichrist will, come out of.
[For more information on Antichrist’s relationship to both Europe and Babel/Babylon, please see Revelation 13 – The Antichrist.]
When it comes to the area of the Seleucid empire, which Antiochus Epiphanes ruled over, please see this map. Notice that the Seleucid empire, in green, also covered Mesopotamia in modern-day Iraq, with the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, and is also the location of the Land of Shinar where Antichrist will locate his Babel/Babylon kingdom during the Great Tribulation while setting up his Mark of The Beast economic and worship system.
[For more on this, please see Zechariah 5:5-11 – Homecoming: Babel Returns Home.]
Now, let us see if our commentary on this portion of Scripture matches up with the interpretation given to Daniel by Gabriel.
The Interpretation to Daniel’s Vision as Given by Gabriel
Gabriel was summoned to Daniel to interpret the vision. As he begins, he gives us the key to understanding when this will occur and, by extension, who the “little horn” actually is.
“And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.” – Daniel 8:16-17 (emphasis mine)
“And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.” – Daniel 8:19 (emphasis mine)
“The time of the end shall be the vision” and “in the last end of the indignation, for at the time appointed the end shall be” is the crux of Daniel’s vision of the “little horn.”
Gabriel goes on to give the interpretation of the Medo-Persian and Grecian empires, with the four weaker kingdoms that arose after Alexander’s death, in Daniel 8:20-22.
From there, Gabriel immediately focuses in on the “little horn.”
“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.” – Daniel 8:23
The introductory phrase, “In the latter time of their kingdom,” can either be referring to the kingdom that Antiochus Epiphanes came out of, as we detailed above, or it can mean that the kingdom where the four weaker kings reigned will be the area that the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation kingdom will rule from “in the latter time.”
As a historical note, Antiochus Epiphanes IV was not ruling in “the latter time of their kingdom,” as there were up to nine kings who followed him, spanning approximately 100 years.
The Hebrew phrase mal·ḵū·ṯām is used only one other time and is translated “and in all their kingdoms” in Jeremiah 10:7. Thus, the phrase in the most literal sense can read: “And in the latter time in their kingdom.” As per usual, context is what will drive the proper phraseology.
The phrase “the transgressors are come to the full” should remind us of Daniel’s 70 7’s prophecy:
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” – Daniel 9:24 (emphasis mine)
And only of Antichrist during his Great Tribulation reign could it be said that “the transgressors are come to the full,” as the entire God-hating, Christ-rejecting world will follow him and Satan:
“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” – Revelation 13:4
Jesus Christ will come back at the end of the Tribulation, and He will be the One who will make war with the Antichrist, defeat His enemies, and set up His Kingdom.
Though Antiochus was an evil man, Antichrist will be the “king of fierce countenance, and understand dark sentences,” as he “shall stand up” against the God of heaven, His Messiah – “the Prince of the host” – and against the people of God on earth during the Great Tribulation.
Let us look at the context and see whether the description of this king better fits the exploits of Antiochus or Antichrist.
“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.” – Daniel 8:24
Only of Antichrist will it be said that “his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power.” Antichrist, in all probability indwelt by Satan, will receive his power and authority from Satan.
“… and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” – Revelation 13:2b
Israel still lived in their land after Antiochus desecrated the Temple. But when Antichrist commits the Abomination of Desolation, he will attempt to wipe out Israel as they flee to the mountains.
“And the woman [Israel] fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” – Revelation 12:6
“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.” – Daniel 8:25
Antichrist, with his covenant with Israel and the many (Daniel 9:27) will, “by peace,” ultimately “destroy many.”
Only of Antichrist could it be said that he will “stand up against the Prince of princes” (who Daniel referred to as the “Prince of the host” in his vision), the King of kings and Lord of Lords, Messiah Yeshua, as the ministry of Jesus would not even occur for a couple hundred more years after Antiochus.
Antiochus died in 164 BC against the Parthians. Truly, only of Antichrist could it be said that “he shall be broken without hand.”
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” – 2 Thessalonians 2:8
“And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.” – Daniel 8:26
Indeed, it would “be for many days” – or, more literally, “an abundance of days” – as the first part of the vision was closer to Daniel’s day, but the latter portion of the vision concerning the exploits of the Antichrist would be “in the end” of the age, just before Messiah Yeshua’s Second Coming!
We would do well to conclude our study with Daniel’s last passage concerning this amazing chapter:
“And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” – Daniel 8:27
Today, the closer we move toward the Tribulation and with the Scriptures completed and at our disposal, the more we, unlike Daniel and his companions, understand his prophetic visions.
In answer to our question, as posed in the title of our study, is that although Antiochus and Antichrist will have somewhat similar accounts given to them by history in relation to Israel and her Temple, the details outlined in Daniel 8 can only be attributed to Antichrist, as he will be established from within these kingdoms – in specific, the Seleucid kingdom – to rule the world with his Mark of the Beast economic and worship system in the last half of the Tribulation “at the time of the end.”
Antiochus or Antichrist? Antichrist!
May we all keep Answering the Call of The Great Commission, and giving an answer to every man and woman who so desperately needs Jesus and asks us, “Why Am I Here and What Is It All About?”
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
➢ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – I would love to hear from you!
➢ If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ and are seeking answers about God, Jesus Christ, the gospel, and salvation, please email me at email@example.com for information.
➢ I am still taking questions for the Questions from the Body of Christ series. If you or someone you know has a question pertaining to the Word of God – theology, difficult passages, eschatology, etc. – I would really like to hear from you.
➢ To view my entire catalogue of articles, please visit my Home Page on FaithWriters.com.