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The Little Horn Revisited
For many years, I've wondered how the two appearances of the Little Horn could be reconciled, for the prophetic entity is seen in conflicting time periods in Scripture.
For those unfamiliar with the problem, in Daniel 8 we see a picture of the 3rd kingdom of the ancient timeline - Greece. This chapter plainly tells us the "king of Grecia" (who was undoubtedly Alexander the Great), will crush his predecessor, which was the Persian Empire. This sequence is consistent with Daniel's 2nd chapter (the statue dream of Nebuchadnezzar) where the four ancient kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome are prophesied to sequentially come to power.
The problem is, in Daniel 8 the Little Horn arrives after Alexander, but well before the Roman power -- which has the 10 horns that arrive before the Little Horn in Daniel 7. Thus, in one passage the Little Horn arrives after the fourth and final kingdom, but in another chapter he arrives before the fourth kingdom. I believe I now have the answer to that perplexing question.
The reader will remember when Alexander dies he is succeeded by four generals (seen as "four notable ones" in Daniel 8), and the Scripture tells us "out of one of them came forth a little horn..." (Daniel 8:9).
When we place this prophecy in its proper context, we can see there is a previously unseen dimension to these prophecies that applies to our time - and it is the reason why the prophet Daniel sees two versions of the "Little Horn." The ancient Jewish people were told, through Daniel, there would be three powerful military powers that would successively dominate the nations. These were seen in Daniel's 2nd chapter with the head of gold (Babylon), the arms of silver (the Persian Union), and the brass belly (the Grecian Empire).
When each of these three sequential kingdoms has conquered everyone and everything around them, the greatest enemy the Jewish people ever see will arrive in the form of the Little Horn. After the third kingdom of Greece loses its great leader, his kingdom will be divided among four clusters of power, and we know those were Syria in the North, Egypt in the South, India and Asia to the East, and Greece/Macedonia to the West.
The prophecy tells the Jews this Antichrist figure, this "Little Horn," will come out of one of the four power centers that succeeded Alexander's kingdom. It's not difficult to identify Antiochus Epiphanes as the Syrian king that brutalized Judaea, as his evil persecutions of the Jewish people are legendary. Antiochus is the famous despot that slaughtered a pig on the altar in Jerusalem in 167 BC - an event that many have closely associated with the Abomination of Desolation.
What is fascinating to realize is the simple fact that the arrival of Israel's true Messiah, Jesus Christ, is plainly predicted to occur after that hideous dictator is thrust into power. To put it another way, Daniel has told the Jews there will be three huge military powers and conflicts (think three world wars), which will be followed by the counterfeit messiah, and murderous king that seeks to usurp the role of the Saviour. His reign will be "tribulational," but then the true Saviour will arrive!
This is a striking prophetic picture of the cycle that is already well underway in our time. In fact, many took notice when the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, actually told reporters that the present global conflicts around the world amount to the beginning of World War III! Obviously, many believers have already concluded the tribulation is at hand.
To put it another way, this pattern indicates the arrival of the Antichrist will coincide with the tribulational period that is even now at the door, and most Christians believe this period will then be followed by the return of Jesus Christ. Once again, this is an exact parallel of the ancient timeline - three world wars, culminating in a great tribulational period at the hands of the "Antichrist" - and then the return of the LORD in glory.
It should be noted that in our many studies of these astonishing patterns of prophecy, we frequently see role reversals in the key characters. For example, in the ancient timeline, the Jews saw three world wars followed by a violent, warlike counterfeit that preceded the arrival of the true Prince of Peace. In the contemporary timeline, we see three world wars followed by a peace-making, diplomatic counterfeit that precedes the violent, warlike return of the true Saviour Jesus Christ!
Another Prophetic Parallel
As I write these words, the timetable for the destructive confrontation we've long expected appears to be unfolding. The Middle East is positively seething with anger at the many recent deaths from intense fighting, even as a shaky UN administered "peacekeeping" force is being planned for Southern Lebanon. One might wonder what good this will do since there have been thousands of UN "observers" in the same portion of Lebanon for about 20 years. Indeed, evidence exists the UN has been "observing" Islamic militants installing rocket launchers for their recent attacks against Israel!
With the present lethal military clash between Israel and Hezbollah militia units that have apparently had a free hand to operate in Lebanon, the stage is clearly set for one of the key conflicts detailed in Bible prophecy. On my daily prophecy radio show, I recently offered an analogy:
Suppose I have a long-lasting gunfight with an intruder at my gate, which is about 100 yards away from my house, and neither of us is able to hit the other. Eventually, he runs out of ammunition - but then I see a man in a pickup truck coming down the long dirt road that leads to my gate, and he is bringing more ammunition -- and so the shootout resumes. Now, suppose this cycle continues over and over again. After he runs out of ammo each time, the same guy shows up, and re-supplies the man trying to shoot me.
It's obvious that, eventually I'll have to stop the guy in the pickup truck, to say nothing of the fact that I'm going to want to find where he's getting his supplies. So it is with Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The latter produces and/or purchases the rockets, ships them to Syria, who then smuggles them into Lebanon.
Obviously, Israel knows this, so it's only a matter of time before they determine they must eliminate the problem at the source. To make matters worse, the entire world knows that Iran is furiously working to develop nuclear weapons - and there is not much doubt in most people's minds as to what they plan to do with this horrifying technology.
More Than One Little Horn?
Although many resist the identification due to their inadvertent indoctrination into the false doctrine emanating out of the fallen churches of America, it is clear the tiny Jewish state is related to the modern "Little Horn" that is about to uproot the three antagonistic powers that surround them.
The book of Daniel details the clash that is about to occur between Israel, and the triad of nations we know as Lebanon, Syria, and Iran:
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast...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...." (Daniel 7:8).
Although these are not the final manifestation of the ten kings (there are multiple, sequential fulfillments of each of the key prophecies), for almost 15 years I've proposed the view that in Daniel 7, the horns are Islamic political powers that have been strengthened by the petro-dollars that have enriched them through the present international order dominated by America.
Our long-time readers know the fourth beast kingdom of Daniel 7 is America as the lion, bear, leopard, and diverse fourth beast are actually contemporary parallels of the ancient set of four kingdoms seen in Daniel 2. This means that America is a modern-day parallel to the ancient Roman beast with 10 horns that comprise at least a part of its configuration (for a detailed look at this concept of prophetic parallels, see The Sand And The Sea DVD).
Every aspect of the text points us to this identification. For instance, it even tells us that although this little horn is portrayed as being smaller (e.g. "little") than those that surround him, he is said to be "more stout than his fellows" (Daniel 7:20). The Scriptures also tell us this small power is "diverse from the first" ten, and he rises up "after them" (Daniel 7:23,24). This means this set of ten horns are all of the same variety, but the one little horn is different -- a strikingly precise description of the formation of the diminutive Jewish state of Israel that came up among her many hostile Arab and/or Islamic neighbors in the Middle East.
Few are aware the Northern industrial powers originally led by England, envisioned a 10-nation Middle Eastern configuration all the way back to the 1930's. Indeed, when the core group of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) was formed in 1973, the group was comprised of ten Arab oil exporting countries!
Ironically, many prophecy teachers have long identified Israel with the "fig tree" prophecy where Jesus Christ seems to have pinned the end times to the generation that sees the formation of Israel - in the form of a "fig tree." Christ told His disciples
"...when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh; So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the door" (Matthew 24:32.33).
Few commentators seem to have noticed that Luke's Gospel added a subtle detail where Jesus said "Behold the fig tree, and all the trees...." (Luke 21:29). Thus, if Israel is the fig tree, would not "all the trees" be emblematic of nations that also came about in the same general period? Few realize the Arab and Islamic governments that characterize the region were all essentially formed in the same period as Israel, and most of them have systems that were constructed in the period preceding 1947 when the UN voted to partition Palestine - the political move that culminated in the formation of Israel. In short, we've seen the "fig tree" bud - and all the other trees as well.
Surprisingly, with all the talk among the prophecy teachers about Israel's importance in prophecy, the overwhelming majority fail to identify Israel with the Little Horn because they're uncomfortable with the association between the term the Little Horn, and the Antichrist. And yet, it's clear the Antichrist will ultimately be in power in Jerusalem.
The simple fact is, Bible Prophecy is being fulfilled in front of our very eyes. While some incorrectly believe such interpretations make this ministry anti-Semitic, the truth is we believe Israel has every right to defend herself from what are clearly enemies that would murder every Jewish person in the world if they could. Indeed, our DVD Exiled On Earth shows the prophetic significance of that long conflict, drawn from the book of Esther, that shows just how Israel is to emerge in a great military victory in the near future. But that story will have to wait for another day.
In the meantime, it is our prayer that each and every one of us that profess Jesus Christ as our LORD and Saviour will have our collective eyes opened to all of the truth of Bible Prophecy.
- James Lloyd
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