Daniel – Chapter 8

We Have come to the close of the section that addresses God’s rule over the gentiles. … To help understand where Daniel is emotionally at this point in the book, I’d like you, for a moment, put yourself in his position for a moment. … You have just dreamed something tantamount to a nightmare in chapter 7 that unnerved you. .. You fainted! .. you became anxious .. so fearful that you needed help to interpret what you’d experienced. …

Now, take your agitation and dismay to the next practical level by asking yourself: ‘If three more gentile kingdoms, as suggested by the dream, are supposed to arrive on the scene to dominate the world after Babylon, what will be the fate of my people, the Jews, during that period of time? .. How ling will their trial last? .. What will be the end result? … These tough questions are running through Daniel’s mind, but still, he has no answers. … But God never leaves His people in a state of confusion. .. For that reason, God begins to provide Daniel with specific revelations that relate to the future of his people. …

With that brief background, we now spend the remainder of the book reviewing these revelations, giving special emphasis to interpreting the prophecies that address ‘the time of end’ … predictions that not only relate to Israel during the latter days, but also speak to you and me – Jew & gentile – today.

*Verses 1 & 2 – The year is 551 BC. ..

Daniel sees himself at the palace of Shushan, a city in Persia about 230 miles east of Babylon and 120 miles north of the Persian Gulf. … What we are about to learn is that the vision Daniel now sees again projects him into the future when the super power Medo-Persia would rule the then-known world – a partial re-run of what Daniel has already learned in earlier dreams. …

*Verses 3 thru 14 – New symbolism – Same message …

Daniel’s been here before: The difference is that in this vision the symbols have been changed. .. Just as the Bear appeared in chapter 7 as rising higher on one side, so, in similar fashion, there is now a picture of one of the horns of the ram rising higher than the other, indicating again a dominance the Persians exercised over the Medes. .. So far, this is not new information, the reiteration does not diminish the significance of the drama. … The Ram with two horns standing before the Ulai River again represents Medo-Persia and corresponds to the arms and breast of silver we saw in chapter 2 and to the appearance of the Bear in chapter 7. …

Historically, this is 100% correct, as we would expect. .. It’s God’s Word! .. We know that the symbolic, protective force of the Medes and Persians was a Ram with a sharp horn. .. Not only that, but the Persian ruler, when engaging in foreign military expeditions, proudly wore the head of a Ram on his head as a symbol of his enormous power. …. Now the Ram goes into action, lowering its fierce head and butting at prey to the west, north and south. .. Ultimately, as our history books tell us, Medo-Persia laid waste Babylonia, Asia Minor and Syria to the west; Armenia, and the area of the Caspian Sea to the north; and then conquered Ethiopia and Egypt to the south. … Symbolized by a Ram, the Medo-Persian Empire butted up against virtually every nation and principality in sight and soon became the greatest power on the face of the earth.

So far, this is more than a confirmation of Daniel’s earlier dream than anything else, and such confirmation continues as we now see the Nation if Greece symbolized by a Goat, the equivalent of the brass stomach and thighs of Nebuchadnezzar’s image in chapter 2, and the leopard with wings in chapter 7. … So fleet of foot is the Goat that when it runs, its feet do not touch the ground – an apt description of the awesome power of the swift, far-reaching campaigns of the Greco-Macedonian Army. …

Suddenly, however, the vision provides us with additional, detailed information, more than we saw in Daniel’s earlier dream. .. Greece is not only the Goat, but now we see a great horn appear between its eyes, a symbol of Greece’s first great monarch, Alexander the Great. … There had not been a military strategist the likes of Alexander in the annals of history. .. Son of the great militarist Philip of Macedon, and student of Aristotle, Alexander, in the course of his short life, conquered 1,500,000 square miles. .. While in power, he was revered by all as a young king with singular skills and enormous intelligence, amazing the world with his military prowess. … His crowning victory came with the destruction of the once-invincible Medo-Persia in less than a 3-year interval – 334-331 BC. ..

But he did not live long. .. He died of Malaria and syphilis at age 32, lamenting that there was no more worlds to conquer. .. During the final years of his life, Alexander spent as much time indulging his passion for sex, immoral conduct, and alcohol as he did in destroying his foes. .. In the end, Alexander’s true enemy lay within. …

*The Alexander Complex*

Again the Bible is completely accurate as it predicts the events of Alexander’s demise, describing in detail the ‘4 horns’ that replaced the single broken horn between the Goat’s eyes. .. These 4 horns represent the 4 generals who would later divide the sum of Alexander’s great conquests among themselves: Ptolemy became master of Egypt – Cyrene, Cyprus & Palestine – Seleucus grabbed Syria, Babylonia, and the southern area of Asia Minor – Lysimachus became the uncontested ruler of Thrace and Western Asia Minor. …

*Enter the Madman (vs 9)*

If anyone ever had any doubt about the validity of the Book of Daniel, this next prophecy will, without a doubt, make them a believer! .. As Daniel watched the vision unfold before his eyes, there came out another horn – a 5th horn. .. It started small, but quickly grew to great influence and power toward the south, the east, and the ‘Beautiful Land.’ … Remember, Daniel’s vision was describing events that would not take place for another two centuries, yet the prediction is accurate down to the very person described, Antiochus Fourth, also known as Epiphanes, the 8th ruler of the Seleucid division of the expanded Greek Empire. … Since he did not possess a legitimate right to the throne, Antiochus stooped to bribery and derision to become king, and what a cruel monarch he was! …

He was a madman! – one of two we will speak of in this chapter. .. His anti-semitism ran high. .. He hated God’s chosen people as no other ruler had ever hated them. .. Now, why did this tyrant take center-stage in Daniel’s vision? — for 2 reasons: .. First, to remind us that God Almighty knows, in minute detail, what will happen in history. .. Antiochus really did appear on the scene, he really did hate the Jews, and he really was the cruelest, most diabolical king anyone could imagine. .. Second, Antiochus Epiphanes is a symbol of the anti-christ and how he will act during the time of the Tribulation. … Remember, the little horn of chapter 7 is the actual anti-christ; the little horn in chapter 8 is the Jew-hater Antiochus Epiphanes, a photocopy of the anti-christ of the Tribulation. …

This is why we can use the texts in chapter 8 to document the desecration the anti-christ will bring upon the House of Israel during the time of the end. …

*The Great Masquerade*

Let’s look further at the arrogance of this man – symbol of the anti-christ – who magnifies himself as the prince of the host, that is, prince of the Jewish people. .. He would glorify himself as their prince, just a s Jesus Christ WILL one day reign as their King, again an end-time hint that the anti-christwill also do his best to ‘appear as Christ’ in what will be one of the greatest masquerade attempts of all time.

2 Thessalonians 2:4 says that the anti-christ “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” … This comparison is an absolute match between Antiochus Epiphanes and the anti-christ. …… While some Jews would go along with Antiochus’ treachery, feeling they might con their way to independence by sucking up to the tyrant, they would soon discover they had backed the wrong candidate, their hypocrisy soon coming back to bite them…. Even as the Jewish ‘turncoats’ were hoping for the best deal they could strike with their foreign intruder, Antiochus began his slaughter of more than 100,000 Jews, demanding that the temporary survivors of this holocaust substitute heathen idols for the one, true God. …

He tore up their law, defiled their women, desecrated their Temple, had circumcised babies hanged, and forced Jews to sacrifice a sow on the Holy Alter of the Temple. … He removed the Candlestick of Light, the Cencers of gold, the Veil, and the crowns and golden ornaments that adorned the Temple. .. He scaled off mountains of gold for his own amusement and stripped the Temple of everything that held significance for the Jews. … He laughed in the face of the God of the Hebrews as he commanded that coins be stamped with the inscription: Epiphanes – God! …… Such blasphemy then, or now, does not go unpunished. …

*The Signs of Things To Come*

Having accomplished his filthy deeds, Antiochus Epiphanes continued to supervise one of the greatest massacres of all time, boasting of his actions at every possible moment/. … (If you would like to read more of this man’s reign of terror, read the Book of Maccabees 1:29-64) … This madman’s behavior is but a mild warning of the activities of the anti-christ yet to appear, who will arrive on the world scene sooner than most even imagine. … Amazingly, Antiochus Epiphanes actually enjoyed a degree of acceptance in the early days of his reign, as noted, by those hypocrites willing to go along with him for their own gain, even as the anti-christ will soon fool millions of the world’s people with his charisma and international leadership skills at the beginning of his reign…. In the time of the end, this ‘beast’ will make a peace contract with Israel, but in the middle of peace process, he will break his word and rescind the treaty. .. Daniel 9:27 says, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation (offering) to cease.”

*Anti-Christ – Temporarily in Control*

This breaking of the peace treaty is a significant time in history, for now those with eyes to see will observe that the anti-christ has, in fact, become the devil incarnate. .. Just as Jesus was God in human form, the anti-christ, during the final 42 months of the tribulation, will have satan living in him. .. That’s when he will say, ‘I am god,’ just as a haughty maniacal Antiochus Epiphanes stamped coins with his own image in an attempt to promote his own deity. .. Remember, this is what satan has always wanted to do – to be like the Most High God. (see Isaiah 14:12-14) … That is why he was ousted out of the 3rd heaven and why Jesus said, “I beheld satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke 10:18) …

We must remember that the evil one has never been successful, not that he hasn’t tried. .. You’ll recall how one day, deep in the wilderness, satan promised Jesus the world and everything in it if he’d simply bow in allegiance to him. (Matthew, chapter 4) .. Jesus didn’t take the bait. .. However, when we come to the end, the anti-christ, the embodiment of satan, will finally pull his coup and become what he’s always wanted to be, magnifying himself above every god, with the assistance of the international religious public relations machine (world church) that persuades most of the world that he is the man of the hour. .. This is the one who one day will sit on the throne in the Temple in Jerusalem, look into his mirrors, admire himself for his accomplishments, smile, and tell himself, ‘I am god, and there is none other like me!’ …

My friends, beware of new-agers who tell you that you can become God or like a god. .. To be seduced by this sweet-sounding rhetoric is the sort of banal thinking – or lack of thinking – that helps to set the stage for what will happen with the advent of the anti-christ. .. To be fore-warned is to be fore-armed. .. The day of the arrival of the anti-christ is rapidly approaching. .. (This is why it is so important to study prophecy and last-days information – to prepare us for what is coming & to give us ammunition to equip others.)

*Verses 13-14 – Daniel’s Major Concern*

At this point in the vision, Daniel heard one saint (angel) ask another saint how long this little horn would be allowed to carry on its transgression of desolation – for both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot. .. This was the key question as far as Daniel was concerned; the real issue for Daniel was how long this persecution would be inflicted on his people, the Jews. .. The answer was 2300 days (vs. 14) – just under 6 & a half years. .. Again, the Bible predicted these events TO THE VERY DAY. .. Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Temple, persecuted the Jews, and wrecked havoc on all who believed – from September 6, 171 to December 25, 165 BC – exactly 2300 days as the Bible says. .. But, as we will see, these 2300 days have an even greater significance as we continue to unseal more end-time mysteries. …

*Verses 15-26 – Gabriel – Messenger of God*

As Gabriel attempted to explain the details of the vision, Daniel fell to the ground, with good reason. .. Daniel now understood the terror that would be afflicted on his people. .. The historical parts of the vision were clear, concise, and to the point. .. But Daniel could not bear to hear about the pain his people would continue to endure. .. This segment of the vision was also difficult for Daniel to understand because he could not fathom end-time thinking. ..

That’s when Gabriel’s interpretation takes a different turn. .. In vs 17, the angel tells Daniel that his vision refers to ‘the time of the end,’ and in vs 19, ‘the appointed time of the end.’

It doesn’t get any better for the Jews but Daniel now at least understands that there is an end-time significance to what Gabriel was telling him. .. This is the time when the Tribulation will be in full force. – that period of history when a ‘time of indignation’ will fall on the Jews because of their hard-hearted rebellion against God. .. What Gabriel is saying is this: ‘Daniel, the indignation that began around 730 BC will continue through to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. .. This is not for now .. it is not for your lifetime, Daniel. .. It’s going to be at the time of the end.’ …

Verse 23 is the strongest proof that Antiochus represents the anti-christ, and that the latter portion of the vision is not for Daniel’s time. .. Then the anti-christ, symbolized by Antiochus’ reign of terror, will be empowered by the Dragon of satan. (Revelation 13:2) .. He will be a proud man, the great, final ruler of the revived Roman Empire, subduing all who stand before him, making himself master of the world. .. He destroys both the mighty and the holy as he employs tactics of deceit and treachery. .. He fools the world with his peace proposal, and towards the close of his rule, destroys millions because they discover that he was not what he claimed to be. .. He will offer himself as the prince of peace. .. However, that designation is reserved only for our Lord Jesus Christ. (see Isaiah 9:6) … (For more info on the anti-christ, go to the teaching tab on this website & click on ‘Anti-Christ) … He

Still, the anti-christ does his best to pull off his charade of imitating Christ until the bitter end, even riding a white horse (Rev.6:2) because he knows that Jesus the King will also ride a white horse. (Rev.19:11) .. The one is faithless and vile – the other, faithful & true. .. In the end, however, this terrible anti-christ shall be ‘broken without hand.’ …

Again, we see a prophetic parallel: Antiochus did not die at the hand of his enemies. .. He died of grief and remorse and went insane in Babylon, having just been defeated in the siege of Elymais and unable to bear the self-destructive impact of losing such an important battle. .. In like manner, the anti-christ will not die by the hand of his enemies after satan incarnates his body. .. Instead, he will be destroyed by Christ at His Second Coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8) … Finally, this personification of evil is cast into the “Lake of Fire” (Rev. 19:20) …

*Daniel’s Broken Heart*

The final words of Gabriel are an attempt to comfort God’s frightened servant. .. He reminds Daniel that the anti-christ is not going to rule in his lifetime, but at the time of the end – when his predictions will finally be unsealed and revealed. .. For that reason Daniel was ordered to preserve the message of his vision in written form so that future generations would be able to make sense of the events when they transpired. .. This is why the Book of Daniel is so crucial to our understanding of events yet to come. .. These end-time prophecies, spoken on our behalf by a Holy God, would not be understood until they began to be fulfilled – a sequence of events that began with the formation of the EU, with Israel becoming a nation, and with Jerusalem being captured by the Israeli Army June 5-10, 1967. .. Daniel could not grasp all of these latter-day prophecies because they would remain sealed until the time of the end-time last generation.

*Verse 27*

We all know how it is when we receive news of an impending disaster. .. We feel sick to our stomachs, unable to eat, and even sometimes, unable to pray. .. But somehow, we pull ourselves together, deal with the problem, and go on with life. .. That’s what happened to Daniel. .. He was so emotionally drained by his vision and Gabriel’s interpretation that he lay sick upon his bed for many days. .. Finally, after longing for greater understanding, and praying for Jews who would be born and who would suffer long after his death, he arose and returned to his duties as a minister of the king. .. Even after Gabriel’s interpretation of the vision, Daniel still did not understand every detail fully, even as you and I will never completely fathom the great depths of every prophecy until they are unsealed and revealed at the time of the end. ……

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