Read Daniel 8:8-12 carefully. In which directions is this little horn moving, and why is this important to understand?
After depicting four horns spreading to the four winds of heaven, the biblical text says that from one arose a little horn. The question here is whether this horn/power comes from one of the four horns, which, as we saw yesterday, represent the four generals of Alexander — or one of the four winds.
The grammatical structure of the text in the original language indicates that this horn comes from one of the four winds of heaven. And since this power arises after the Grecian Empire and its four offshoots, a common understanding is that this horn is Rome, first pagan and then papal. “This little horn represents Rome in both its phases, pagan and papal. Daniel saw Rome first in its pagan, imperial phase, warring against the Jewish people and the early Christians, and then in its papal phase, continuing down to our own day and into the future”. — The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 841.
According to the biblical text, the little horn first undertook a horizontal movement and “grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land” (Dan. 8:9, NKJV). These three directions correspond to the three major areas that fell under the domination of pagan Rome.
As the little horn becomes the main player in the vision, its vertical expansion receives detailed attention. In this regard, the horn corresponds closely to the little horn of Daniel chapter 7, as the following comparison shows: (1) Both horns are little in the beginning (Dan. 7:8, Dan. 8:9). (2) Both become great later on (Dan. 7:20, Dan. 8:9). (3) Both are persecuting powers (Dan. 7:21, Dan. 7:25; Dan. 8:10, Dan. 8:24). (4) Both are self-exalting and blasphemous (Dan. 7:8, Dan. 7:20, Dan. 7:25; Dan. 8:10-11, Dan. 8:25). (5) Both target God’s people (Dan. 7:25, Dan. 8:24). (6) Both have aspects of their activity which are delineated by prophetic time (Dan. 7:25; Dan. 8:13-14). (7) Both extend until the time of the end (Dan. 7:25-26; Dan. 8:17, Dan. 8:19). (8) And both face supernatural destruction (Dan. 7:11, Dan. 7:26; Dan. 8:25). Lastly, because the little horn of Daniel chapter 7 represents the papacy, the vertical expansion of the little horn in Daniel chapter 8 must represent the same power. Thus, as in Daniel chapters 2 and 7, the final main power is Rome, both pagan and papal.