The Little Horn – Profile of the Antichrist

“As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.”

[Daniel 7:24-25]

BON57681 Daniel in the Lions Den, mezzotint by J. B. Pratt, with hand colouring, pub. by Thomas Agnew and Sons, 1892 by Riviere, Briton (1840-1920) (after); 63.5×88.9 cm; Private Collection; Photo © Bonhams, London, UK; English, out of copyright

The Apocalyptic literature of the Old Testament can be intimidating to say the least. To avoid misinterpretation, one must carefully study the symbols and illustrations within the context of the greater Biblical narrative. Such is the case with the imagery of Daniel’s prophecy describing the Antichrist as the “little horn.”

In Daniel 7, the prophet receives a vision of four great earthly kingdoms that are contrasted with God’s future, eternal kingdom ruled by the “son of man.” It is within this vision that he uses the imagery of horns to identify the kings of these various kingdoms. Fortunately for Daniel, and for us, he is given the interpretation of his prophetic vision, and it has everything to do with the final kingdom of the Antichrist before the return and rule of King Jesus.

The Fourth Beast

If horns refer to the kings of these various kingdoms, then the kingdoms themselves often are described as beasts. Such is the case in Daniel 7. He is given a vision of four major empires that historically will dominate the Middle East. Most scholars agree that the first three kingdoms refer to Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece, but Daniel says that the fourth beast was “terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns” [Daniel 7:7].

This fourth and final beast, or kingdom, is also depicted in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision in Daniel 2 and in Revelation 17. It is out of this kingdom that the Antichrist will arise. The revelation of Jesus to the Apostle John can only be understood in the context of the Old Testament prophets. Both Daniel and John emphasize this final beast (kingdom) with ten horns (kings).

And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast.” [Revelation 17:12-13]

THE Little Horn

When reading Daniel 7-8, it is imperative to understand that his prophetic visions are dealing with the time of the end — or last days [Daniel 7:21-22, 26-27, 8:17-19, 26]. The final beast, or kingdom, will be a restored composite kingdom of all three previous, historical empires [Babylon, Persia, Greece]. As I proposed in my last post, I am convinced this end-times kingdom of the Antichrist will be a revived, Middle Eastern Islamic kingdom.

Daniel uses the imagery of the little horn to identify an inconspicuous king who climbs the rungs of power using flattery, deception and betrayal. Let us consider some of the characteristics of the little horn and his end-times kingdom.

the Abomination of Desolation

The vision of the little horn in Daniel 8 clearly identifies this end-times king as the one who sets up the abomination of desolation that Jesus and Paul both reference as the Antichrist. Speaking of the little horn, Daniel says …

It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. 12And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper. 13Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” [Daniel 8:11-13]

Displaces Three Other Kings

It should come as no surprise that there will be turmoil and conflict within satan’s evil empire of the last days, especially considering the likelihood that this alliance of kings comes out of the Muslim world. Islam not only is ideologically at odds with the rest of the world, but even within itself. There is constant tension within Islam, especially between the Shia and Sunni sects. The Scriptures reveal that the Antichrist will start off as a “little horn,” but he will displace three kings in his sudden rise to power.

As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings.” [Daniel 7:24]

Makes War with the Saints for 3 1/2 Years

The prophetic Scriptures place clear emphasis on the last 3 1/2 years of human history, otherwise known as the Great Tribulation and the time of Jacob’s trouble. This will be an unprecedented time of evil, chaos, distress, and satanic wrath, where the forces of evil will thrash violently against God’s people — both Jews and Christians. Daniel identifies the little horn as the one who will lead this end-times assault against the saints of the Most High.

As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them.” [Daniel 7:21]

He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
” [Daniel 7:25]

Revelation 13 corroborates Daniel’s prophecy.

“And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months6It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”

[Revelation 13:5-10]

Ultimately Destroyed on the Day of tHe LORD

The final piece to this profile of the little horn is found in the description of his ultimate defeat and destruction. Daniel is clear that the Antichrist will be judged at the time of the end, at the coming of the Son of Man, which is also known as the Day of the LORD. I will leave you with several passages that agree.

“These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.”

[Daniel 7:17-18]


“As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.”

[Daniel 7:21-22]

“But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his (the little horn) dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”

[Daniel 7:26-27]

“His power (little horn) shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.”

[Daniel 8:24-25]

“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

[Revelation 17:14]

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