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Doubtless, the Church
today is living
in a very late hour of world history. That's why the study of biblical prophecy is so
fascinating and relevant. The book of Daniel is a gold mine of end-time prophecies. So
that it should be a necessary pre-requisite to the study the "granddaddy" of all biblical
prophecy ... the book of Revelation.
Now, as we come here to chapter 8,
we need to have basic knowledge in two areas. One, we
should know something of ancient world history. And, two, we should have a
bit of a working knowledge of eschatology (the study of end-time events). The
historical part of this chapter involves the history of the Medo-Persian and
Grecian empires. The eschatology part, involves the role that Antichrist will play in the final days of Earth's history. As a
minimum, one must understand that the Bible says that during the last days a world
dictator will arise who will conquer and then rule over the whole Earth. This will
take place just prior to the
Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we have it in I
children, it is the last time, and as you have heard that Antichrist shall
And again, in II
...then shall that Wicked (one) be revealed whom the Lord will consume with the
spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming...
Now ... there is often a bit of
confusion about the biblical terms the last days and the last time.
Actually, they are synonymous technical, theological, biblical terms designating the period of time
thatbegan at the cross and has continued on down to
our day. For nearly 2000 years, then, the Church has been living in the last days.
That being the case, truly, the hour must be very late indeed. Here are a few
passages from the Bible that speak about this time period in which you and I are
who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by
the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom
He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds...
And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams. Joel 2:28 (fulfilled at
Pentecost ... Acts 2)
know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men
will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers,
disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy... II Timothy 3:1-2
...knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days,
walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His
coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from
the beginning of creation.” II Peter 3:3
third year of King Belshazzar's reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one
that had already appeared to me. In my vision I saw myself in the citadel
of Susa in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the
Again, Daniel tells us
that his second vision occurred during the reign of
Belshazzar. The events in his vision, of which we are about to read, were
fulfilled within two hundred years of the time that Daniel wrote them down. They
are so historically accurate and explicit that liberal theologians
believe it proves their case that the book of Daniel had to have
been written after
the events that are recorded here. On the contrary, however, the book
of Daniel existed as a very early part of the Jewish canon. For
example, history records that when Alexander the Great and his armies
approached Jerusalem, Jadua the High Priest went out to meet him and
actually read chapter ... Daniel 8 ... to him ... showing Alexander
that he was the He-Goat
here in Daniel's prophecy ... which was foretold before Alexander was born! He
was so impressed that he withdrew his forces and spared the city.
Susa, by the
way, was the capital of Medo-Persia and the Karkheh River (Hebrew: Ulai) flowed past it.
up, and there before me was a ram with two horns,
standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the
horns was longer than the other but grew up later. I
watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the
south. No animal could stand against him, and
none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became
I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn
between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth
without touching the ground. He came toward the
two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at
him in great rage. I saw him attack the ram furiously,
striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram
was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to
the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from
The events dramatized here
in Daniel's vision relate to the second and third world kingdoms that were
previously predicted in the Daniel. The ram
and the he-goat with one horn here, correspond to the bear-like
beast and the leopard-like beast in chapter 7, as well as
the silver breast and arms and the bronze belly and thighs
of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream back in chapter 2. Verse 21, identifies
the he-goat as Greece ... its single horn
representing its first king, Alexander the Great.
The ram is identified in verse 20, as the Medo-Persian empire
two horns depict its two co-rulers. One of its horns was smaller than the other ... picturing the king of Persia's
dominance over the king of Media. Young, in
his commentary, mentions that the ram was viewed as the guardian spirit of the
Persian Empire. In fact, the king of Persia actually bore the head of a ram into battle!
My, the amazingly accurate pictures and predictions that we find in prophetic Scripture!
When the clash between
Greece and Persia came about, Medo-Persia didn't stand a chance. Alexander the
Great, that awesome he-goathorn of history ... came on so swiftly that he barely touched the ground. Alexander was a tremendous
general and a military genius. He could move land forces with more cunning and
speed than anyone had ever done before. And, history records that he did, in fact, knock the ram (Medo-Persia) to the ground and trample him and none could
rescue the ram from his power. These two powers first met at the river Granicus, then at Issus and, finally, the
Persians were defeated once and for all
at Gaugamela in 331 BC. This is history ...
but it was foretold in Daniel in the Word of God nearly 200 years before it actually occurred!
May we step aside here for a moment? The Bible prophesies
is yet another
conqueror who shall come one day. His name will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
(Revelation 19). When he arrives, he will make the speed of Alexander's
conquest seem like a slug on a cold day ...
and Alexander's power ... as utterly puny indeed. As you have it in
as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west,
so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Now, that's speed, brother.
Furthermore, his power will be amazing. Revelation 19:15 says,
His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the
nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press
of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
Now, that's raw power! His
strength will not be his army ... it will be his Word. As the song says,
one little word shall fell him (Satan). This is the one who's name is Jesus and who
... right this very moment ... is holding
the entire universe together by the word of his power (Hebrews
1:3). On the day of his Second Coming, he will simply say the word and his enemies will be utterly destroyed.
goat became very great, but at the height of his power
his large horn was broken off, and in its place four
prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.
Out of one of them came another horn, which started
small but grew in power to the south and to the east and
toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached
the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down
to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as
great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily
sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was
brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and
the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in
everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.
Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one
said to him, 'How long will it take for the vision to be
fulfilled―the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the
rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of
the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled
underfoot?' He said to me, 'It will take 2,300 evenings
and mornings; then the sanctuary will be
This part of Daniel's
vision predicted the death of Alexander the Great, as seen by the he-goat's
large horn being broken off. Alexander was an
alcoholic and, after a long night of drinking and a fever, he died in Babylon in
323 BC. He was only 32 years old. It was a sad thing. He had conquered the known world,
but he couldn't conquer Alexander. Sound familiar? That old fallen nature in
each and every one of us human beings is our greatest adversary. Is it not? It is incorrigible,
unrepentant, unruly, unmanageable, unchangeable and doesn't have a shred of real
goodness in it. As you have it in Romans 3:12,
have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does
good, not even one.
That being the case, the
only hope for us is to obtain a
nature. But, how? Through a supernatural
re-birth (John 3). The good news is, that God stands ready to make that
happen for any and all who will believe in his Son (John 1:12-13). Mysterious? Yes.
But, oh so true ... oh so real ... and oh so absolutely freeing! As Jesus put it to
Nicodemus, the top religious ruler of Israel in his day,
answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 1:3
As you have it in
II Corinthians 5:17,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed
away; behold, all things have become new.
Although Alexander the
Great was exposed to the Word of God, apparently he just heard it and then
walked away and finally came to a tragic end. How sad.
Coming back to our text,
you will notice that this prophecy also predicted that the horn, Alexander the Great, would be
replaced by four other prominent horns. And, as
already cited, that is exactly what happened. He was indeed replaced by four
of his generals ... Seleucus, Ptolemy, Lysimachus and Cassander.
continues to move along down through history. Next, it takes up the subject
of yet another horn, which Daniel saw come out of the original four
that replaced Alexander. Daniel says it started small but grew in power
and he saw it move toward the south and then toward the east
toward the Beautiful Land. This is not, by the way, the little
horn that we saw back in chapter 7. That one came out of the 4th kingdom, Rome.
This one comes out of the 3rd kingdom, Greece. That previous one is still unfulfilled and
is yet entirely future. This one is historic and has already come and gone.
This new horn came out of the Seleucid Dynasty (from Alexander's general, Seleucus),
in Syria. As it turned out, it represented Antiochus IV (Epiphanes).
When he came to power, he called himself Theos Epiphanes (God
Magnificent). Behind his back, however, they called him Epimanes (Madman). He came to the throne in
175 BC. He made a move toward to the south, toward the
kingdom of Ptolemy, and then, to the east, toward the
Beautiful Land, the land of Palestine ... just as Daniel's vision predicted
he would do. From about 171 to 165 BC
... roughly equal to the 2300 days prophesied in verse 14 ...
Antiochus Epiphanes subjugated Jerusalem, mocked the God of Israel and murdered an estimated
thousand Jews! He then desecrated the temple and caused the sacrifices to cease
... again, just as was predicted in Daniel's vision (verse 11). Antiochus considered himself an incarnation of the
Greek god, Jupiter, and he placed an image of it inside the temple in the Holy
of Holies. He also poured swine broth over all the holy vessels. This all came
upon the Jews because of their rebellion, just as Daniel's vision predicted
it would (verse 12). Finally,
after the 2300 days had expired, God brought deliverance to his people through Judas
Maccabeus and his brothers in 165 BC.
Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there
before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard a man's voice
from the Ulai calling, 'Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of
the vision.' As he came near the place where I was standing,
I was terrified and fell prostrate. 'Son of man,' he said to me,
'understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.'
While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to
the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet.
He said: 'I
am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath,
because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.
The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media
and Persia. The shaggy goat is the king of Greece,
and the large horn between his eyes is the first king.
The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off
represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but
will not have the same power.
latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely
wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise.
He will become very strong, but not by his own power.
He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he
does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people.
He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself
superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take
his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be
destroyed, but not by human power.
The vision of
the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but
seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.
I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up
and went about the king's business. I was appalled by the
vision; it was beyond understanding.
At the conclusion of
Daniel's vision here in chapter 8, things got pretty difficult for
Daniel. First, he encountered the angel, Gabriel. That was so unsettling that he
literally passed out. Angels are awesome
spirits and their manifestation to humans can have devastating effects.
Twice, in the book of Revelation, the Apostle John had the same kind
of reaction to them. The angel Gabriel is found in three places
in the Bible ... here in Daniel 8, then in chapter 9 and, finally, in Luke 1.
In these three passages, we find that he appeared to
three people ... Daniel, Zechariah and Mary, the mother
of Jesus. Actually in his rank, I would call him an angel of the
presence. In my opinion, this is a designation for a specific
group of angels that stand continuously before
the throne of God. As such, they are, no doubt, far more impressive
than your "run of the mill" angel. Daniel's encounter with Gabriel began when
he heard a
voice from the Ulai river call out to Gabriel telling him to instruct Daniel
in the meaning of the vision. Thus, Gabriel named the kingdoms that
were depicted in the vision of the
ram and the he-goat. Critics have real problems with
such passages as these,
because they do not believe in prophecy in the first place. This prophecy,
however, occurred two hundred years before these two kingdoms came
existence. So, Gabriel's explanation of the
vision was straight forward and easily grasped to any student of history.
I say, "straight forward," that is, until we come
to verses 23, 24 and 25. Suddenly, at that point, Gabriel's
ahead in time to the last days ... to the late, late years of what
remains of the Medo-Persian and Grecian kingdoms. At that time, far
down in history, Gabriel says, a man will arise who will be
unique and highly unusual. He will be
unstoppable in his power, craft and wickedness. Undoubtedly, he is
talking about Antichrist, who will arrive and dominate the world
during the final days of Gentile history as we know it. That Gabriel was
referring to the end times, is clear. He specifically told Daniel
that was the case in verse 19. There, he says ... I am going to tell
you what will happen later in the time of wrath,
because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.
The key phrase here is time of wrath.
The last three and a half years of the coming Tribulation period is
called the Great Tribulation. It will be the time when God's
wrath will be poured out on the earth. It is the coming great and terrible day of the Lord
prophesied by the prophet Joel. Revelation 8 through 18 cover this
coming day of God's poured out wrath upon the earth. This is further
supported, when he says that the time of which he is speaking will be a
time when the rebels have become completely
wicked or, as the King James version puts it, when the
transgressors are come to the full. Clearly, he is referring
to a time, yet far in the future, when the entire world has become
fully ripe for the judgment of God. Gabriel says, at that
time a stern faced king ... a master of
intrigue, will arise ... who will become very strong,
but not by his own power. In a nutshell, he was saying
that in the far future end of time, Antichrist will arise. Consider the
following Scriptures as they relate to Gabriel's description of this
biblically predicted, and powerful, master of intrigue who will
cause deceit to prosper.
... even him (Antichrist)
whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs
and lying wonders and all deceivableness. (KJV)
...and the dragon (Satan) gave him
his power.(KJV) ...
(Gabriel had said, but not by his own power)
Furthermore, Gabriel says,
this coming master of intrigue ... will destroy
the mighty men and the holy people. I take this reference to destroying
the mighty men to refer to his uprooting of the three kings
in Daniel 7:24, when he first rises to power. Now, consider the following
Scriptures concerning this vision's prediction of the destruction of the holy people:
He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer
...and shall wear out the saints of the Most High... Daniel
Finally, Gabriel says this master of intrigue will
also take his stand (the battle of Armageddon ... see
Rev. 19) against the Prince of princes, but
he, himself, will be destroyed without human hands. The Prince
of princes is an obvious reference to the Lord Jesus Christ.
That Antichrist will oppose him, is well documented in Scripture.
And, that Antichrist will be destroyed by the Word of Christ is also
clear. Here are a few references.
And he shall speak great words against the most High... Daniel
Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God... II
Thessalonians 2:4a (KJV)
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord
Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and
destroy by the splendor of his coming. II
Then I saw the beast (Antichrist)
kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war
against the rideron
the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the
false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf.
With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of
the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive
into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Revelation
Daniel was not able to put
these things together the way you and I can today. He didn't have the
scripture necessary for it, nor the advantage of the study of other men of God,
on whose shoulders he could stand nor the history that has occurred. So, the things that he heard and
saw kept going around and around in his mind until they made him
sick! Nevertheless, the visions that
were given to Daniel were the explicit Word of God. And, just as
so many of these things that were revealed to Daniel have already
been fulfilled to the
letter ... so, we can have utter confidence that all the rest
will come to pass as well ... to the letter. We can take that to the