This prophecy in Daniel chapter 8 is dated for us by Daniel as happening in the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar, which would put it about 553 B.C.
In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam (which is the ancient name for Iran); and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
So, he tells us the time and the place of the vision. It was during the reign of Belshazzar in the third year.
Now, in as much as the last verse of the chapter, he tells us the affect of the vision upon him. Personally it left him very faint, physically weak. He was sick for a certain number of days, after which he said he rose up and did the kings business.
So, what was the king’s business in Shushan, the capital of Persia? Evidently, Daniel was a representative of the Babylonian government, perhaps an ambassador. And, this might very well explain to us the absence of Daniel when Nebuchadnezzar made the golden image and commanded all to fall down and worship the image. And, you remember the three friends of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego who refused to bow to the image, and the king warned them that he would give them one more chance and if they would not bow he would cast them alive into the burning fiery furnace. And, he challenged them with “What God can deliver you out of my hand?” And, they responded to the king, “The God that we serve is able to deliver us out of your hand; and we are not going to bow, even if he does not deliver us. We are still not going to bow.”
Now the fact that only the three friends of Daniel were involved in this more or less insurrection to the commandment of Nebuchadnezzar would leave us one of two conclusions and that is that Daniel bowed to the image or Daniel was not there at the time. And I vote for Daniel was not there at the time, because I know the character of Daniel, how he purposed in his heart that he was going to serve God. He was not going to defile himself. And knowing the character of Daniel, I can not in my wildest imagination see Daniel bowing to the image of Nebuchadnezzar. So, the assumption must be that Daniel was not there. And, perhaps as he is here in this vision on a state visit to the capital of one of the provinces.
Now, at this time, Elam was one of the provinces that was governed by Babylon. And, it could very well be that Daniel was just a traveling ambassador for the Babylonian Empire. He was a man of tremendous character. He was a man that excelled the others in wisdom. He would be an ideal man to represent the government in various capitals of the other nations that had been conquered by Babylon.
Now, the three Hebrew children that went through the burning fiery furnace are a type of the one hundred and forty-four thousand of the Israelites who will be sealed in the great tribulation, when that fiery judgment of God comes upon the earth. They are a type of the one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed by God in order that they might be taken through the tribulation. But, Daniel would become a type of the church who was gone during that period, and did not have to face the threat of the burning fiery furnace being gone.
So, Daniel gives us the time, third year of Belshazzar, and the place, Shushan, which became the capital of the Persian Empire or the Medo-Persian Empire.
So he said:
I lifted up my eyes, and saw (He describes now the vision), and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.
Now as this vision is interpreted for Daniel, in the interpretation that this ram is the Medo-Persian Empire, it is very significant that it has two horns. One representing the Medes, and the other representing the Persians. The one higher than the other coming up last. First the Medes were in power than joined by the Persians. The Persians became the stronger.
The first king in conquering Babylon of the Medes and Persians was Darius, but he died just a couple of years after the capturing of the Babylonian kingdom. Then there arose Cyrus, the king of the Persians. So, here is Daniel speaking of this vision, and God is giving a little preview of what the future holds.
Now, the fact that Daniel was in Shushan, the capital of the Persian Empire, could sort of explain why when Darius became king, he probably knew Daniel had he been an emissary of the Babylonian government in Persia in Shushan. The same with Cyrus who knew Daniel and probably this acquaintanceship was made even before Babylon fell. Daniel was quite possibly the ambassador to Persia when he had this particular prophecy. So, he would have been known. And, they knew his character. They knew his reputation. And thus, when the Medo-Persian Empire conquered the Babylonians, Darius immediately put Daniel in a position of tremendous power. He made him one of the three residing presidents over the provinces and intended to make him the head over all of the provinces. It would surely indicate that there was probably a prior knowledge of Daniel and a respect for this dedicated servant of God.
Babylon, you remember, is still the powerful kingdom. Belshazzar is the king that Daniel is serving at this time. And, probably because Daniel was back in Babylon at the time of the hand writing on the wall, when Belshazzar came to the end, that as the Medo-Persian army began its attack against Babylon, he was probably recalled from his position as ambassador there and was back in Babylon at the time that Babylon fell to the Medo-Persians. If so, he knew it was going to happen, because the Lord had already shown him this vision of the fall of Babylon to the Medo-Persian, the ram that was pushing. And, interestingly enough, notice he pushed westward, and the first conquest of the Medo-Persian Empire was towards the west. Than he pushed northward and than on down to conquer Egypt southward. Notice it does not say they went eastward. They didn’t conquer eastward of Elam, but they actually first of all came westward, than northward, and southward. Had he given a different order it would have been out of place.
God’s preciseness and accuracy of the Word of God is always such a thrill. I Just can’t get over it. I just rejoice in God’s glorious Word. The more I study it, the more excited I get over little details that God was careful to note, and you begin to realize their importance.
Now, of course he didn’t know exactly what the ram was at that time. It was interpreted for him later.
And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
So, coming with great rapidity as though not even to touch the ground, was the rapid progress of the goat from the west.
And to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.
What Daniel is seeing here with the goat is the Grecian Empire as it is interpreted for Daniel in verse 21, “the rough goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn between his eyes is the first king,” that is the notable king. Alexander the Great’s father was Philip, but Alexander the Great is the horn. And it is talking of the conquest of the Grecian Empire under Alexander the Great. So, he came close to the ram and broke the horns and left him powerless, cast him down to the ground, stomped on him, and there was none who could deliver the ram out of his hand.
Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
So, notice this goat with his horn and while it was strong the great horn was broken. Again, looking at history, we know that Alexander the Great conquered in about three years the world in and of that day. And, it was said that he kept asking his generals if there was any place else to conquer. And, he wept because there was no place else to conquer. He was a very brilliant and brave warrior.
There is an interesting book called, “Alexander the Great,” by Ludwig, the historian, and he speaks a lot about the conquest of Persia under Alexander the Great. It gives you a lot of interesting historic insight on this man. Having no place else to conquer he became depressed, and he began to drink heavily. And, he was sort of headquartered in Babylon, the great city built by Nebuchadnezzar. That beautiful city of Babylon still stood at the time of Alexander the Great. And according to Ludwig’s history of Alexander the Great, when Alexander the Great was just thirty-two years old, almost thirty-three, he was at a drunken party. It was raining quite hard, and he came home through the rain drunk as could be. And, he laid down on his bed and went to sleep in his wet clothes. He didn’t bother to put on dry clothes. He went to sleep in his wet clothes and as a result he contracted pneumonia and died of pneumonia when he was thirty-two years old.
So, when he was yet strong his power was broken and the kingdom did not go to either of his two sons, who of course were quite young, but the kingdom was then divided unto four of Alexander’s generals. And thus it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. So, in the west, his general Cassander took over Macedonia and Greece. Towards the north, Lysimachus took over Asia minor and Thrace. Syria and Babylonia was taken over by Seleucus. And, Egypt, Arabia and the holy land was taken over by Ptolemy. Thus, the kingdom of Alexander the Great, the Grecian kingdom divided into the four heads, four kingdoms.
And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.
Now this is where the prophecy becomes a little difficult to interpret. There is no problem with it up to this point. It is quite obvious, because in the explaining of the prophecy to Daniel we are given an exact explanation as to what these powers are and what they represent. That the ram is the Medo-Persian Empire, and that the goat is the Grecian Empire. Ad, it fits perfectly. But, when we come to this little horn, there are some difficulties that have not been totally resolved by the Bible commentators, thus there are about three of four explanations from the commentators on the identity of the little horn, just what it is representing. And I might say that none of them fit perfectly. So, there is a possibility that there is something here that we yet do not know. As I have said, prophecy is never fully understood until after it has come to pass. That is when you really understand it when it is actually come to pass and you say, “Oh yes.” Than you have a full understanding.
The primary suggestion, and there is a lot of credence to this suggestion, that is that the little horn comes up out of the Syrian Seleucus Empire, and that it is Antiochus Epiphanes. And, so many identify him as the little horn. The problems that you run into is that it declares in verse 10:
And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.
Those who interpret this as Antiochus Epiphanes declare that this is a reference to the high priest Onius who was killed by Antiochus Epiphanes, and to the desecration of the temple and of the people of God who they say are referred to here as the host of heaven and the stars.
We know that in other scripture the stars often refer to angels. It can refer to saints. “They that are wise shall lead many to righteousness and shall shine as the stars forever and ever.” So, you can see the possibility of it referring to the saintly people who were living in Jerusalem who had come back from the Babylonian captivity. Now this of course is all taking place about 400 years later. We have moved in the prophecy from the Babylonian time that Daniel wrote this in 553 and now we are coming up about 400 years later when this fellow Antiochus Epiphanes conquered and went down towards Egypt, and in chapter 11 we will get a lot more details of this man and of the battles between the kingdom of Syria and the kingdom of Egypt until the time of the Roman Empire.
Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host,
And that could be interpreted as the high priest, Onius, who was killed.
and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
It would be stretching it a little bit to say that he cast down the place of the sanctuary. He certainly did desecrate it. He offered pigs on the alter, just as a front against the Jews. He did cause them to cease their daily sacrifices.
And an host was given to him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth (that is the little horn) to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
How long will this desecration take place? How long a period of time?
Now, from the time that he causes the sacrifices to cease until the time that the temple was restored and the worship restored under the bravery of the Maccabees was exactly three years from December 25 168 B.C. to December 25 165 B.C. But that does not give you twenty-three hundred days. However, interestingly enough, twenty-three hundred days is actually six years one hundred and ten days, and from the time that the high priest was slain, Onius, to the time of the cleansing of the temple by the Maccabee brothers was exactly twenty-three hundred days. So, that it could very well refer to that time from the killing of the high priest to the cleansing of the temple.
The Apocrypha book of the Maccabees will give you some insight on this period of history that we don’t have in our Bible. It is a very interesting historic account of how that the Maccabees actually stirred up the Jews against this tremendous sacrilege against God by Antiochus, and how that they raised an army and against insurmountable odds, they fought against them with such veracity and all that they were able to defeat Antiochus’ troops. And, they were able to go ahead and cleanse the temple and renew the sacrifices which began on December 25.
Now, after this event historically, they added another holiday to the Jewish calendar. A holiday they called the Feast of Dedication, which was in reality the rededication of the temple. And, this Feast of Dedication is today called Hanukkah. And, they have the Hanukkah candles.
Now, many people mistake the Menorah for Hanukkah candles. The Hanukkah actually has eight candle holders, where the Menorah has seven. The Menorah is a replica of the lampstand that was in the tabernacle and later in the temple, representing the fact that Israel was to be a light to the world. It is also an important Christian symbol for in the book of Revelation chapter 1, as John receives a vision of Jesus Christ in His glory, he sees Him walking in the midst of the seven golden candle sticks. And, the seven golden candle sticks are the seven churches. And, so it is a symbol of the presence of Jesus Christ with in His church, for He was walking in the midst of the seven golden candle sticks. And, when Jesus has John write to the Ephesians, the warning to the Ephesians was that if they did not remember from which they had fallen, the place of first love, and return to their first works, that he would remove the candlestick out of its place. He is saying I will remove my presence from you.
The Lord will not stay in a loveless church. Remember that. I pray that the mark of this church will always be that of love. And, if any day comes where it is no longer the mark of this church, you can be sure the Lord will leave it. He won’t stay in a loveless place. and, if you want to know what kind of love just read I Corinthians 13, and you will understand the kind of love that the Lord wants to abide in.
O God, always keep us filled to overflowing with the love of Jesus Christ, that we will love as He loved, and that will always be the mark. For you see this is really the only sign that we are His disciples. He said, “By this all men shall know that you are my disciples that you love one another.” And, really it is the major sign by which you know that you are a disciple. “We know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.
So, these eight candles of the Hanukkah, the story is told how that when they had cleansed the temple and wanted to reinstate the sacrifices, that it takes a period of time to compound the oil for the candle sticks. They really didn’t have time to compound the oil because it had to be done in a special way and it just took a period of time according to their traditions to make this special oil to be used in the candle sticks. So, according to the story they had just enough oil for one day, but they went ahead and filled it with the oil that they had for one day and that miraculously the oil lasted for the eight days until they had time to compound the oil to refill the candle sticks. And, thus that is why they light the eight candles during Hanukkah, and it is called the Feast of Dedication.
We read that Jesus came to Jerusalem in John 10:22 at the Feast of Dedication and it said: “And it was withered,” because the Feast of Dedication takes place on the 25th of December, and they commemorate still that day.
So, it was twenty-three hundred days from the killing of the high priest Onius unto the dedication of the temple, the rededication of the temple, the cleansing of the temple, and thus the twenty-three hundred days, literal days, literally fulfilled. God is precise. I love it. God is right on time. We are prone to think He is late. Don’t we. God is only ever too late according to our schedule. He is right on time according to His. He always come through in His time. And, His time is really better than mine.
There is a fellow by the name of William Miller back in the middle of the 1800’s who interpreted the twenty-three hundred days as twenty-three hundred years. And, this is the way many people go to the scriptures. They begin to juggle and they say it must have been twenty-three hundred years so that the Lord will come twenty-three hundred years after this profaning of the temple by Antiochus. And so he had a lot of people convinced that he had figured the day of the rapture of the church, just like people are doing now days. He figured that he had the date all figured out. So, back there in Illinois the people gathered together and sold their farms and everything else and put on white robes and singing hymns just waiting for the Lord to come. And, after a week or so when the Lord didn’t show up a lot of people became very disappointed and discouraged and some became infidels as the result of his error.
But, Ellen White came to save the day. She came out of this Millright movement. And, she said what happened was that the Lord went into a heavenly sanctuary and cleansed the heavenly sanctuary in 1854. So, actually it was fulfilled only it was the heavenly sanctuary not the earthly sanctuary. Then, she began her whole prophetic scheme and founded the Seventh Day Adventist Church. It came out of the Millright movement.
And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning,
He was really seeking to understand it. Up till now I have been cheating. I have been telling you what it meant from what the angel told Daniel. But, Daniel is still in the dark. He hasn’t yet been informed, but he was wondering what does this all mean.
then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
Perhaps it was the Son of man, even Jesus Christ.
And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand , O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.
Now Gabriel is one of the angels who is named in the Bible. Another angel who is named is Michael, who is called the chief prince. And then another angel was named who is Lucifer, who was the son of the morning. And, at one time the anointed cherubim covereth.
Angels are interesting creatures that God has created. They are spirit beings. They number into the hundreds of millions. They are in different ranks and powers. They are referred to sometimes as principalities and powers and authorities. Some of the angels were referred to as the cherubim, the plural of the cherub. They are around the throne of God, worshipping God, and doing the work of God, servants of God. Lucifer one of the anointed cherubs that was ruling rebelled against God, Isaiah tells us about that rebellion in chapter 14, decided to exalt his throne above the other stars of God, and he lead in a rebellion against God, the dragon, and the book of Revelation would hint at least that when Satan rebelled he took a third part of the stars with him or the angels joining in that rebellion.
We know that there are fallen angels. Jude speaks about those angels that did not keep their first estate, who are now reserved in chains awaiting the day of judgment. Peter also makes reference to those fallen angels. And so two kingdoms, the kingdom of God light and life, and now with Satan’s rebellion a second kingdom of death and darkness. Both of these kingdoms opposed to each other, fighting against each other, battling over your soul.
So, our battles are really spiritual battles. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against these principalities and powers and these spiritual forces in high places. And that is why it is necessary that we have the whole armor of God that we might be able to stand. And the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of these strongholds that Satan has in the lives of people around us.
Spiritual warfare is going on all the time. And, many times you find yourself in the center of that conflict and you don’t even realize it. All you realize is that you feel uneasy. You are upset. You are irritable. You are just going through a time of maybe depression. You just feel miserable and you just can not tell why. And many times it is just the result of spiritual warfare that is raging around you.
Gabriel, one of the special angels that is named, he will come up again in the next chapter. Daniel will have another encounter with Gabriel and will receive very precise information as to the time that the Messiah will come.
It would seem perhaps that God put Gabriel sort of in charge of getting the Messiah safely into the world. And, Gabriel was so excited about this particular task that God had given to him that he has a hard time keeping secrets, so he came to Daniel some five hundred years before it happens to give Daniel the time that the Messiah was going to show up. Then about five hundred years later he came to Zacharias who was there in the temple doing the priestly duty of offering the incense before the alter of the Lord and Gabriel appears to him and freaks him out and says, “Don’t be afraid. I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have come to let you know that your wife even though she is old and beyond the years of bearing is going to have a son. He is going to be the forerunner of the Messiah. He will go in the spirit and power of Elijah.” And Zacharias challenges him and says, “How can I know this? I am an old man and my wife is well stricken in years.” The word means bent over in years. She was really an old one. So the angel said “Because you have doubted, you are not going to be able to speak until the day that the child is born.”
Now all the people were waiting outside wondering why he was taking so long. They wanted to be blessed and go home. It was his duty once he was done to come out and bless the people in the name of the Lord. So, they would wait for him to come out and give the priestly blessing. Finally when he did come out, they were amazed that he could not speak.
His wife Elizabeth did conceive and in the meantime Gabriel heads to Nazareth and comes to Mary and informs Mary that she is really blessed of the Lord, that God has chosen her as the instrument of bringing the Messiah into the world. “You shall conceive and bear a son and call His name Jesus, and He shall be great, for He shall be called the Son of the Highest, and He will sit upon the throne of his father David, and all of His kingdom there shall be no end.” And Mary asked the question, “How can these things be?” It wasn’t a question of doubt, just method. How is it going to happen? So the angel informed her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of God would overshadow her so that the holy one that would be born of her would be the Son of God. And thus the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.” “Behold I give you a sign. A virgin shall conceive and bear a son and call His name Emmanuel.”
So Gabriel gets actively involved telling Daniel before hand the time that the Messiah would come, telling Zacharias that his wife would bear a child who would be the forerunner of the Messiah, and telling Mary you are the one.
Now, the scripture does not tell us that it was Gabriel, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it was. That when the Christ child was born in Bethlehem of Mary, there were certain shepherds abiding in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night, and lo, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them, the glory of the Lord shown around about them and they were sore afraid, I am quite sure that angel was Gabriel. He had so much to do with making the arrangements and all, that now his job is done, the baby is there, but nobody knows it. And this guy can’t keep a secret. He has got to tell somebody. So, he cruises around Bethlehem, and here are these shepherds warming themselves at night watching their flock. And he says, “Hey, fellows. Unto us is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. This will be the sign unto you, you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Suddenly there appeared a whole host of the heavenly host with him praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace good will toward men.” And, when they left, they said, “Come let us go and see this thing which has come to pass which the Lord our God has made known unto us.”
So, Gabriel has been around for many years. Angels last for a long time. And Gabriel is the one commanded to explain to Daniel this vision that he saw.
Understand O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.
Now several times Gabriel makes mention that this vision is going to be at the end of the time. There are two possible interpretations. One possibility is the end of time of the Grecian Empire, shortly after Antiochus Epiphanes and his horrible desecration, and shortly after that time the Roman Empire began to rise and conquer over the Grecian Empire. Or, as is so often the case, end of time refers to the end of the whole gentile period of reign or the last days.
You will notice that there are several references here, verse 19, “Behold, I will make you to know what will be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.” And verse 23, “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when their transgressors are come to the full,” The obvious would be that we are now moving into a period of prophecy that moves out to the end of the time.
Most bible scholars agree that this little horn in verse 9 is Antiochus Epiphanes. Many Bible scholars say that it is Antiochus Epiphanes, but he is a type of the antichrist, and so that there are parallels between him and the antichrist, so that you can start with him, but you move into the description of the antichrist.
In the twenty-eighth chapter of the book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel starts out to prophecy against the king of Tyre, but than he moves from the king of Tyre to Satan himself and he prophecies to the power behind the king of Tyre, which was Satan. Antiochus Epiphanes was the earthly ruler, but the same kind of a thing, he is moving behind and talking now of the powers of darkness that are behind the rulers of the world. Thus, he becomes a type of the antichrist.
Now there is one other interpretation that is given and has merit and is worth considering, and that is that from verse 23 to verse 25 this description is a description of the future false prophet that will rise after the antichrist empowered with Satanic powers, deceiving the people and sort of taking over with peaceable means and causing the world to worship the beast or the antichrist that was before him. And we will look at this possibility as we go through it.
Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and he set me upright. And he said, Behold, I will make thee to know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
At God’s appointed time the end shall be.
Now the last of the indignation, of course this was an indignation, the profaning of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes who actually had an alter for Jupiter made in the temple, and sacrifices unto Jupiter, and that was a horrible profaning. But, we also know that indignation is an Old Testament word that is used often to describe the great tribulation period.
We know in the tribulation period the temple of God is to be profaned again. That the antichrist will come to the temple of God showing that he himself is god and demands that he is to be worshipped as god. And, this is the abomination that will bring on the desolation or the great tribulation period. We know from the words of Jesus, when He was giving them the signs in the end, He said, “When you see the abomination of desolation written about by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place.” When you see this abomination which causes the desolation, the false prophet will make an image of the antichrist and he will put the image in the temple of God, perhaps even in the Holy of holies of the rebuilt temple of God. And, he will give power to this image to speak, and he will cause all the world to worship the beast and the image that is there. Jesus said, “When you see this,” talking to the Jews, “then flee to the wilderness. If you are on the roof of your house don’t even bother to get a coat going through. If you are in the field, don’t even go home. Get out of there.” “Thus this will issue,” Jesus said, “a time of great tribulation such as the world has never seen before or will ever see again.”
This profaning of the temple by the false prophet and the antichrist will actually be the last straw that will bring upon the earth the fierce judgment of God. The pouring forth of his wrath and indignation upon the nations of the world for their blasphemy against Him. So, indignation can refer and does often refer to the period of the great tribulation.
Now, he begins to explain the vision:
The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Greece:
Now know at this time that Greece was almost unknown. It was over on the other side of the sea and it was almost unknown. Yet here is the prediction that the king of Greece is going to destroy the Medo-Persian Empire.
and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.(or Alexander the Great) Now that being broken,(Alexander’s death at an early age) whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.
And, that is exactly what happened as we said. The Grecian kingdom was divided into the four generals, but in the power of Alexander the Great.
And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
Now here again, the description doesn’t perfectly fit with Antiochus Epiphanes. But, it could fit with the false prophet if you look at Revelation 13:11 to the end of the chapter.
And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power:
In other words, he is acting under supernatural power, the power of Satan, demonic powers.
and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
Up to this point it fits Antiochus Epiphanes quite well, but here is where we have the problem.
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many:
That is the part that doesn’t really fit. Antiochus Epiphanes was a man of war and he destroyed by war. This man is going to destroy by peace and by deceit. “He shall cause craft, or deceit, to prosper in his hand.” He will come on the scene as a man of peace.
We have today in the world a very strong peace movement. It is especially strong and growing in Europe. It is a part of the New Age Movement. But, surely the hearts of the people in the world are crying for peace. We look at our world today and we see the problems in Bosnia, in Yugoslavia. We see the problems over in Iran preparing for war and planning war. And we realize the world is far from peace. Actually we can look at Los Angeles and Santa Ana and realize that we are far from peace. But, how we long for peace, and this man will come on the scene as a man of peace with deceit.
We are told concerning the antichrist that he will come with all kinds of lying wonders, miracles, by which he deceives. And so powerful will be the delusion that if possible even the elect would be deceived by this man. He will deceive all those whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.
he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes;(and that would have to be Jesus) but he shall be broken without hand.
Again, when Jesus Christ comes, the antichrist and the false prophet will be destroyed by the word that goes forth out of His mouth, the sharp sword going forth out of His mouth. The antichrist will have such power, such miraculous power, such demonic power, that when he is in control the whole world will be saying who can possibly make war against him. But, they don’t take into account our Lord. As powerful as he is, He would just say, “Drop dead!” With the word that goes forth from His mouth, the guy is wiped out. And He will cast the beast and the false prophet into Gehenna, the lake that is burning with fire.
And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true:
Now several times there is this affirmation when prophecies are given there is the affirmation that this is true. We can say, “Yes, it sure was.” We saw through history how these things came to pass in precise order. If you started working on the mathematical probabilities of these things happening, you would find that they would be astronomical that Daniel could tell you of the Medo-Persian Empire rising, the second horn coming up last but becoming more powerful, and how Alexander the Great would come with the Grecian forces. You couldn’t just make these things up out of your head. They would never be, and yet they came to pass.
Wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.
In the twelfth chapter when Daniel was given these visions, he was told to seal it up. It was not given to him to understand. It is for the last days. And, in the last days knowledge will be increased, then they will begin to understand. And that is why the book of Daniel becomes so exciting for us because now that so much of it has already happened, now as we look at it, we have such a understanding of it as we are approaching the return of Jesus Christ. The Lord is just opening up this area of prophecy in such a glorious way. It is thrilling to read now with the understanding, the knowledge that we have in these days, having seen so much of it already come to pass, now we can actually see the picture now that the puzzle is almost all together. There is just a couple of pieces left.
And I Daniel fainted, and was sick for certain days; afterwards I rose up, and did the king’s business;
He was there on official business of the Babylonian kingdom. He was probably recalled back to Babylon when the Medo-Persian army began to attack and fight against the Babylonian army, and was thus there in Babylon at the time that Babylon fell to the forces of the Medo-Persian army under General Cyrus.
And I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
Not, until later did we have the complete understanding. And even yet there are perhaps portions that we do not understand fully. There are still areas where we see through the glass darkly, but one of these days we will know even as we are known when we see our Lord face to face and the whole thing has come together. Then we will look back and say, “Oh, yes, so true. Right on!”
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7344