An Essay on My Views on the Little Horn

Categories: Religion

To clarify my view on the little horn, I am a Seventh-day Adventist and I believe the Roman Catholic Church is the little horn. I have always felt this way, and actually, I didn’t know that anybody else thought otherwise until I was in this class, Studies in Daniel. In this report I will try to prove the little horn is the Roman Catholic Church and not Antiochus Epiphanes.

What or whom exactly is the little horn of Daniel? Well, it depends on whom you talk to.

First let’s look at the views of other religions than Seventh Day Adventists. According to James Hastings, who was a Scottish minister and editor, the “Little Horn refers to Antiochus Epiphanes (Hastings, 587). Then further looking in the Wesleyan Bible Commentary, Bert H. Hall, Dean and Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Houghton College, claims, “Much of the historical material leading to the conclusion of a literal fulfillment of Daniel 8; 9-12 is found in the book of Maccabees, which led expositors as early as Josephus to interpret the little horn as the person and activities of Antiochus IV” (Hall, 540).

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Then moving to the views of the Roman Catholic Church, we find that they also believe Antiochus Epiphanes to be the little horn, “This new symbolism for Antiochus IV Epiphanes is taken from [Daniel] 8:9. Three of the previous horns were torn away to make room for it: This translation is based on the interpretation supposing that three of Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ predecessors died violent deaths so that he could succeed to the throne” (Brown, 416).

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In fact every Bible Commentary I looked at other than Seventh-Day Adventist claimed Antiochus Epiphanes to be the little horn.

Can all of these denominations be wrong and Seventh-Day Adventists be the only one with the truth about the little horn? Seventh-Day Adventists believe the little horn is not just one person, but the Roman Church, or papacy. “It’s (Papacy) opposition to God and Christ is represented in the 2d vision under the symbol of a little horn with a blasphemous mouth, in the 3d by the little horn in its later phase, and in the 4th – according to one interpretation – as a willful king who exalts himself against God.”

So, who is right, Seventh-Day Adventists or the rest of the religious world? In this next section I will try to identify the characteristics of the little horn so that we can determine who or what really is the little horn. Let’s start off with the characteristics that the Bible states about the little horn. There are eight characteristics or identifying marks of the little horn.

  1. The saints will be handed over to him for “ a time, times and half a time.” Daniel 7:25
  2. The little horn was to “think to change the times and the law.” Daniel 7:25
  3. The little horn was to “wear out the saints of the Most High.” Daniel 7:25
  4. The little horn had “eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things,” and it spoke “words against the Most High.” Daniel 7:8&25
  5. It “put down three kings” so, as it began to rise up, “three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots.” Daniel 7:8&24
  6. It was a little at first, but later in time was “greater than its fellows.” Daniel 7:8&20
  7. It appeared after the other ten horns.” Daniel 7:24
  8. It came out of the “fourth beast.” Daniel 7:8&24
  9. Let’s look at the name, “little horn.” The main reason I believe Antiochus Epiphanes cannot be the little horn is that in all of Daniel’s interpretations of visions, a horn always means a kingdom. We can find examples of this in Daniel 8:5,21,22. Antiochus Epiphanes was only one person, a man.

Now let’s find out how the characteristic is “The saints will be handed over to him for “a time, times and half a time.” How long is “a time, times, and half a time”? It equals 42 months as stated in Revelation 13:5 or 1260 days as stated in Revelation 12:6. And of course we know that 1 prophetic day equals 1 literal year as evidenced by Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6. So, all we need to know now is how long Antiochus Epiphanes ruled. He ruled from 175-164 AD (Freedman, pg. 270). Antiochus ruled for eleven years not 1260 and even if the 1260 days meant days instead of years, Antiochus ruled for a total of 4,015 days and not 1260 days. Now if you look at the Roman Catholic Church and determine the 1260 days. Now if you look at the Roman Catholic Church and determine the 1260 days to equal years, the Roman Catholic Church meets the characteristic of the “time, times, and half a time.” The Roman Empire sprung up about 538 AD and had complete rule until about 1798 AD. In 1798 AD the French Revolution occurred and state affairs began to cease. Of course the rise and fall of the Roman Catholic Church was a gradual thing, not instantaneous. But, if you subtract 538 from 1798 you get 1260 literal years.

Now looking at the second characteristic of the little horn which is, the little horn was to “think to change the times and the law.” Antiochus Epiphanes could of course make and change laws as a king, but he didn’t try to change God’s law. He disgraced God by the things he did, but he never attempted to change the Ten Commandments. The Roman Catholic Church did. The Roman Catholic Church was given complete control and the distinction between pagan and papal Rome disappeared. In the year 1280 “Peter Olivi tried to render this papal decision irreversible when he asserted that the pope was an unerring standard for all Catholics on questions of faith and morals” (Hasler, pg. 36). This was the first attempt for the Roman Catholic Church to try to gain absolute power but it actually did not gain absolute power until 538 AD. This movement of complete control was called the Ultramontane movement, which advocated a centralized authoritarian system of church government.

So, which laws did they try to change? In this report I will only discuss the change from Saturday to Sunday, but it should be noticed that there were other significant changes in the Ten Commandments besides the Sabbath Day. Constantine I changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday on March 7, 321 AD. “All judges, city-people and craftsmen shall rest on the venerable day of the sun” (Bettenson, pg. 26). What gave Constantine 1 the right to change the day of worship? No one did! The Catholic Church explains the change “was to commemorate the Resurrection of Christ from the dead on the first day of the week” (Hardon, SJ pg. 314). Any way the Roman Church tries to explain it cannot be right because God did not give the order to change the Sabbath. Only God can make a change in God’s law.

The third characteristic of the little horn is that it was to “wear out the saints of the Most High.” Now what does it mean to wear out the saints? One can take this to mean the little horn would persecute the saints.

I have to admit this is a characteristic that Antiochus Epiphanes filled, but not to the extent of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church has acknowledged “the killing of 2000 Protestants within 50 years in the Netherlands and admits the death of perhaps 3000 to 4000 French Huguenots in the massacre of Saint Barholomew, which commenced on the night of August 23 1572” (Maxwell, pg. 132). This of course doesn’t show the numerous accounts of oppression that weren’t recorded.

Moving on to the fourth characteristic that would be the little horn had “eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things,” and it spoke “words against the Most High.” When at first looking at this characteristic you could easily see that these are characteristics that a man would have, but is

this talking about a single person? I think not. When every other characteristic points to the Roman Catholic Church we must also assume that this is also. There really isn’t anything to explain about this characteristic because the words itself are pretty much self-explanatory. This is one part of the little horn that is easy to understand.

The fifth characteristic is it “put down three kings”; so as it began to rise up “three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots”. This characteristic is purely symbolism, so let’s find out what it means. I could write a lot on this subject, but I am limited so I won’t. First of all, let’s face the fact that Antiochus Epiphanes is not the little horn. Antiochus was told what to do by a Roman Ambassador and he was such a weakling that he obeyed. And the only reason why he became king is because his father was. Antiochus never conquered any kings or kingdoms. The attempts that he had failed. So this rules him out.

The Roman Catholic Church did take out three kings or kingdoms. The Heruls, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths. The Roman Catholic Church found these “three horns” threatening to their way of thinking. These Arian tribes “believed that although Jesus is very great, He is not “God” essentially, but is a created being” (Maxwell, pg.201). These tribes were opposing what the Roman Catholic Church believed, so the Roman Catholic Church plucked them up by the roots.

Characteristic number six states: it was “little” at first, but later in time was “greater than it’s fellows.” Antiochus Epiphanes of course was never greater than his fellows. Being told what to do by a Roman Ambassador is not my idea of being a great power. Antiochus Epiphanes does fit the part, in that he was little, but of course he never became great, no matter how hard he tried.

The Roman Catholic Church did of course start out as little and became greater than any of its fellows. The Roman Catholic Church did not start out with tremendous power, but ended up being a superpower, which you can see if you refer to the beginning of this report. The Roman Catholic Church had complete and absolute power on anything that went on in Rome. You had to go to the Roman Catholic Church if you committed a sin, so the church could forgive you and then the church would tell you how to get rid of your sin and be forgiven. Of course the Roman Catholic Church could have you killed if they liked to also. The church could do anything it wanted. Anything the church said was to be followed. I would say that was a pretty awesome power! The Roman Catholic Church was playing God!

The seventh characteristic is, it appeared after the other “ten horns.” Antiochus Epiphanes cannot be fitted with this characteristic from what I have found so let’s go right on to the Roman Catholic Church. Knowing that the little horn comes after the other ten horns, let’s figure out who the other ten horns are.

There were many small European nations all over Europe, but these were the most significant. They were the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths, the Vandals, the Burgundians, the Lombards, the Anglo-Saxons, the Franks, the Alemannians, the Heruls, and the Sueves. There are the ten horns Daniel speaks of.

When the little horn did appear, it was the Roman Catholic Church. The church was at first called the Catholic Church, but was then later called the Roman Catholic Church because the state and the church combined to fight off these ten tribes that were invading. Of course Rome prevailed and they totally wiped out three of these tribes. This was the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church’s Rule as the little horn.

The eighth and final characteristic of the little horn was that it came out of the “fourth beast.” This is also an easy characteristic to figure out. We know that the beast is a kingdom because Daniel tells us this in 7:23. We can figure out who this fourth beast was by looking at history. The fourth beast was

Rome. Antiochus Epiphanes and the Roman Catholic Church both can fit into this characteristic. There really isn’t much to explain about this characteristic because if you have learned Daniel’s use of symbolism the fourth beast is a straightforward explanation.

To sum it up, I think I have proved that the little horn is not Antiochus Epiphanes and is indeed the Roman Catholic Church. In order for Antiochus Epiphanes to have been the little horn he would have had to have every single one of the characteristics, but he didn’t. The Roman Catholic Church did fit all of the characteristics, so from my research it can be determined that the little horn was the Roman Catholic Church.

Also my research on the little horn was very informative to me and I discovered a lot of information. I did not already know. I hope that my paper is as informative to the reader of this paper as it was to me writing it.


  1. Bettenson, Henry. (1963). Documents of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press.
  2. Brown, R.E.M Fitzmeyer, J.A., & Murphy O. Carm, R.E. (1990). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. New Jersy : Prentic Hall.
  3. Freedman, David. (1992). The Anchor Bible Dictionary. (Volume 2). New York: Doubleday.
  4. Hall, Bert H. (Ed). (1969). The Weleyan Bible Commentary. (Volume 3). Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
  5. Hardon S. J., John A. (1975). The Catholic Catechism. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.
  6. Hasler, August B. (1981). How The Pope Became Infallable. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc
  7. Hastings, James. (1963). Dictionary of the Bible. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  8. Maxwell, Mervyn C. (1981). God Cares. Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association.

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