I am doing a quick study on Daniel chapter 8. If you know my writing, then you know that quick is a relative term for me, as this is eight pages long. I took this study on because a teacher, that I thought to be very knowledgeable in end times prophecy seems to have changed his stance. To be straight, the man wrote a book called the Islamic Antichrist and it caused the prophetic books of the Bible to come alive for me. Suddenly everything made sense. Having studied my Bible in light of this brother’s books, I was able to respond when a pastor of mine, told me, “no one can understand the Revelation!” I said firmly, I can, and I am not challenged by any of the prophetic books any longer.
So the author of The Islamic Antichrist must have experienced some tremendous pressure, as he asked his readers if there was anything they had read that gave them a negative feel for Muslims. Inside myself, I heard this resounding answer, YES!, and I garnered that feeling from you brother. Now, the reality of his question is that he perceived a growing level of animosity and was hoping that he had not fed into that. Think about this response to information and the reaction to such, when you learn that the most logical person to fulfill the roles of Antichrist and false prophet, are Muslims, or strict followers of the Quran. If you are a follower of the Quran then you are a Muslim, and if you are a Muslim, then the Quran demands that you follow the guidelines set forth in the Quran. For us naive Gentiles, who know little to nothing about the Quran, there are older passages that speak of respect and peace, but others have changed the rules, added newer passages, and made it clear that newer passages superseded the older ones, and that the newer ones call for an unquestioning elimination of those who do not bow to Mohamed, particularly, those of the book – the Bible.
So it comes across as though my author has now disavowed any knowledge of his first work; and, to make matters worse, I recently began to listen to him, as he spoke about his changing understanding of Daniel chapter 8 and how it did not speak to the future. To be honest, I cut him off before I became too disillusioned, and because of that, I cannot out-rightly say that he is leading people into false teaching. I will say that what I heard prompted me to look, once again, at what Daniel tells us in chapter 8, and here it is.
Daniel’s vision of the Ram and the Goat
Daniel 8:1-2 NET. In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after the one that had appeared to me previously. In this vision, I saw myself in Susa the citadel, which is located in the province of Elam. In the vision, I saw myself at the Ulai Canal.
Daniel tells us that he has had a vision (again,) after the previous vision. Do a quick check and you will find that Daniel has had two previous visions. In Daniel 2:9 God has revealed to him the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. This dream is immensely significant, as it tells us who the first three kingdoms are. Daniel 7:2 shows Daniel interpreting the dream of King Belshazzar.
The passage reads like this:
Daniel 7:2-3 NET. Daniel explained: “I was watching in my vision during the night as the four winds of the sky were stirring up the great sea. (3) Then four large beasts came up from the sea; they were different from one another.
These beasts are empires, with their associated rulers. Daniel 7:4 gives us a description that sounds much like the years that Nebuchadnezzar spent without any sense, and when his sense returned.
If you compare the fourth beast to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue dream, there are some remarkable similarities.
Daniel 7:7 NET. “After these things, as I was watching in the night visions a fourth beast appeared — one dreadful, terrible, and very strong. It had two large rows of iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and anything that was left it trampled with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that came before it, and it had ten horns.
Daniel 2:33 NET. Its legs were of iron; its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay.
Most pairs of feet have ten toes.
Daniel 8:3 NET. I looked up and saw a ram with two horns standing at the canal. Its two horns were both long, but one was longer than the other. The longer one was coming up after the shorter one.
The ram with two horns is soon explained in Daniel 8:20
Daniel 8:20 NET. The ram that you saw with the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia.
Pay attention to this aspect of verse three, as this begins to play a role in the identification of the fourth beast.
” Its two horns were both long, but one was longer than the other. The longer one was coming up after the shorter one.”
Dr. J. Vernon McGee has this to say about these horns
“The higher came up last.” In other words, the horn representing Media came up first when Gobryas the Median general destroyed Babylon. Then later the Persian monarchs gained the ascendancy over the Medes and took the great empire to its highest peak. This ram, then, with its two horns and one horn more prominent than the other, is the Medo-Persian Empire with the Persians being in the ascendancy.”
From Dr. John Gill
“a ram, which had two horns; a symbol of the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, signified by the two horns, Dan_8:20, an emblem of power and dominion, and sometimes used to signify kings and kingdoms; see Dan_7:24 and these as united in one monarchy, under one monarch, Cyrus, and continued in his successors unto the times of Alexander; and therefore called “a ram”, or “one ram” (m), as in the original; and which in sound has some likeness to Elam or Persia: and this kingdom or monarchy may be signified by it, partly because of its strength and power, and partly because of its riches, as some think, as well as because it is a fighting creature, and it may be chiefly because this monarchy was mild and kind, and gentle to the Jewish nation: and it is very remarkable, that, according to Ammianus Marcellinus (n), the ram was the royal ensign of the Persians; whose kings used to wear for a diadem something made of gold, in the shape of a ram’s head, set with little stones:”
Dr. Gill, in the paragraph above, states that Daniel 7:24 demonstrates these kings as a unified monarchy/kingdom.
|Illustration 1: The Persian Empire, about 500 B.C. From the Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1923/1926|
Daniel 8:4 CJB I saw the ram pushing to the west, north, and south; and no animals could stand up against it; nor was there anyone that could rescue from its power. So it did as it pleased and became very strong.
As we can see from the map above, the Persian empire was very extensive.
Daniel 8:5 CJB I was beginning to understand, when a male goat came from the west, passing over the whole earth without touching the ground. The goat had a prominent horn between its eyes.
Many understand this male goat to be Alexander the Great, of the Grecian Empire – they seemed to be unstoppable. The singular horn then indicates one ruling body, Alexander.
Daniel 8:6 CJB It approached the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the river, and charged it with savage force.
“It” would be Alexander’s troops attacking the Medo-Persian empire.
Daniel 8:7 CJB I watched as it advanced on the ram, filled with rage against it, and struck the ram, breaking its two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against it. It threw the ram to the ground and trampled it down, and there was no one that could rescue it from the goat’s power.
The fact that it was powerless to stand, and that there was no one that could rescue it, does NOT mean that all persons were obliterated.
Daniel 8:8 CJB The male goat then became extremely strong; but when it was strong, the big horn was broken, and in its place arose what appeared to be four horns in the directions of the four winds of heaven.
The bighorn was Alexander, but the four horns that arose in its place were Alexander’s four generals, and they took the Grecian kingdom as far as they could.
Daniel 8:9 NASB Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.
Out of the four, came two, the Seleucid kingdom to the North, and the Ptolemaic kingdom to the South. Out of the Seleucid kingdom came Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He is the one who is responsible for the desecration of the temple. The Beautiful land is Israel.
Daniel 8:10-11 NASB It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. (11) It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host, and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down.
To be honest, verses 10 and 11 are difficult, that is until we consider the role of Antiochus in Israel’s history, the problem here is that most of this information is not available to us in approved scripture. This might seem like an odd conversation to many of you, but it took on a whole new meaning one day when I tried to have a conversation with a family at church that I had never spoken with before. The husband seemed taken back that I would even try to discuss something biblical. He told me that we should only discuss things that are in the Bible. I responded back with, it’s funny you should say that, for during the time of Herod, an entrepreneurial Jew, noticed that the law in Deuteronomy listed very specific items that would become ceremonially unclean, however, it never listed granite, and so they devised a method of lathing cups, bowls, and jugs from granite. The advantage here is that the granite dinner wear would never be deemed unclean and therefore unusable. This was such a novel idea that it became a standard and exists to this day. Does scripture tells us that, and therefore make it valid? Not exactly, but then there is that amazing moment in time, when Jesus, the tektōn son, ordered the servants at the Jewish wedding to fill up the stone vessels with water. We do not know if the servants were gentiles or not, but if they had been, and the vessels had not been made of granite, those vessels would have been instantly made unclean by their touch and unusable. Did Jesus know the vessels were granite? Apparently, he did, and that is where this point of saying, he was a tektōn son, comes into play; for you see, a tektōn is the Greek word for a craftsman, and a craftsman could even apply to a poet. The scripture does not say that Joseph was a carpenter, it says he was a craftsman. He may well have been a craftsman with granite. Considering that a granite quarry was found just a half-mile outside of Nazareth, it could easily have been a place where Jesus learned a trade lathing the very granite vessels that were at this party. Now, should I ignore outside information, especially when it paints a more accurate picture of the scene? No.
Verses 10-12 of Daniel chapter 8, are very clearly defined when they are read in 1Macabees 1:44-64, and in 2Macabees 4:13-17.
Suddenly Daniel 8 takes a turn toward the future, which is about the time in which we live.
Daniel 8:13-14 NASB Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, “How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?” (14) He said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored.”
In Matthew’s gospel, it is recorded that the disciples, upon leaving the temple with Jesus turned and pointed out the outstanding architecture and construction materials that made up the temple, to Jesus. Jesus had his mind on other things and replied with this.
Matthew 24:1-2 NASB Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. (2) And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
Interesting how that Daniel 9 tells us that from the order to rebuild Jerusalem until the time of the Messiah, it would be 490 years. That is equal to 70 weeks of years. 483 of those years have transpired. There is nothing to prevent that seventieth week of years from taking place and bringing this all to an end, and yet we are still here. Are you ready?
It is almost as if, there is nothing left to do but flip the switch, and I assure you it will feel like it. And then, the church will be caught away.
Daniel 8:15-18 NLT As I, Daniel, was trying to understand the meaning of this vision, someone who looked like a man stood in front of me. (16) And I heard a human voice calling out from the Ulai River, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of his vision.” (17) As Gabriel approached the place where I was standing, I became so terrified that I fell with my face to the ground. “Son of man,” he said, “you must understand that the events you have seen in your vision relate to the time of the end.” (18) While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet.
Gabriel tells Daniel, understand, for the vision is for the time of the end.
The time of the end is a relative term. To the Jews who are looking for the Messiah (still,) this can only happen when He comes riding back onto the scene on His white horse, as the angry judge of the earth. To the church, the time of the end applies to the catching away of the church, and others still, see this as the outpouring of God’s wrath upon the earth.
In all of the above cases, none apply to Daniel.
Daniel 8:19 NASB He said, “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.
Much like the disciples, who asked Jesus two specific questions, Daniel is going to get an answer about a very detailed time frame. Another translation tells us,
Daniel 8:19 NLT Then he said, “I am here to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath. What you have seen pertains to the very end of time.
Perhaps you didn’t catch the difference. One calls the last seven-year period the indignation, while the NLT appropriately calls it “the time of wrath.” There really is no difference, but it is easy to assign some bluster to the word indignation and still have no action added to it. I see this nonsense all the time with my grandchildren. Wrath, on the other hand, includes a good whipping. Webster’s dictionary defines indignation as 1. Anger or extreme anger mingled with contempt, disgust or abhorrence. Most certainly, these last seven years on earth will be all of the above.
Gabriel tells Daniel, “what you have seen pertains to the very end of time.” The NASB states, “it pertains to the appointed time of the end.” We have spoken of this before, but many get very confused and cannot make a distinction between the end of the seven-years and the coming of Christ for His church.
Revelation 14:7 speaks of that very time when God will come and sit as judge over the earth. Revelation 19 gives a detailed description of what He will look like when He comes.
But if you are looking for a heavily detailed description of Jesus in His return for His church, you won’t find much. Here is what we do have.
1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 NASB (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. (15) For this, we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. (16) For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
Titus 2:11-14 NASB For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, (12) instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, (13) looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, (14) who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
Revelation, chapters 1-3, speak of the church age, that time in which we live. This is an era that began when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, ascended into the heavens, and sent the Holy Spirit – to lead, guide, teach, and comfort us. Chapter three of Revelation ends by talking about the Laodicean church, the last of the seven personifications of the church. With that, Revelation chapter 4, opens with these words, “after these things,” and thus begins the seven-years of wrath, and the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth.
Thus begins an explanation, by Gabriel, of Daniel’s vision.
Daniel 8:20 NASB “The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia.
When Daniel interpreted the statue for Nebuchadnezzar, he said, you, oh king are that head. With that information, we know, with precision, how the four kingdoms begin. In Daniel chapter five, we see Belshazzar now ruling as king. The chain of events takes us from Nebuchadnezzar to Armel-Marduk, and then to Nabonidus (Belshazzar) but these are all considered the Babylonian kingdom. The kingdom changes hands when Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two. (Daniel 5:31). Daniel enjoyed success in Babylonian captivity through the reign of Cyrus, the king of Persia.
A bit of information concerning Darius the Mede. There is no known historical character named Darius prior to Darius the Great, who is too late to fit in here. Since Cyrus became ruler when Babylon fell, some have identified Darius the Mede and Cyrus as one and the same (see Dan_6:28). The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament. Copyright © 2000 by John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas.
Daniel 8:21 NASB “The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
We just covered that information. So we transition from the Babylonian to the Medo-Persian, to the Grecian Empire and Alexander.
Daniel 8:22 NLT The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the Greek Empire will break into four kingdoms, but none as great as the first.
Note how the verse tells us what the chain of events will be.
- Ruled by one, Alexander. He dies and the kingdom splits into four, ruled by four of Alexander’s generals.
- Now the Grecian kingdom is in four parts. (1) Seleucus, who had Syria and Babylon; (2) Lysimachus, who had Asia Minor; (3) Ptolemy, who had Egypt; and (4) Cassander, who had Greece.
We know from the beginning of our look into Daniel eight, that the four horns end up being two.
Daniel 8:3 NLT As I looked up, I saw a ram with two long horns standing beside the river. One of the horns was longer than the other, even though it had grown later than the other one.
These two horns were the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires.
Daniel 8:23-25 NLT “At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height, a fierce king, a master of intrigue, will rise to power. (24) He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people. (25) He will be a master of deception and will become arrogant; he will destroy many without warning. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power.
A quick stab at verses 23, 24 for a moment.
The Contemporary English Version tells us this: “when these rulers have become as evil as possible, their power will end, and then a king who is dangerous and cannot be trusted will appear.”
This guy has a variety of descriptives attributed to him: a king of fierce countenance; full of pride, and, an arrogant king. These titles could fit a variety of people, or, ideologies.
Dan_8:25. stern-faced king. The description in verse Dan_8:23-25 pertains to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who reigned from 175 to 164 B.C. His wisdom was corrupted for use in hypocrisy, intrigue, double-crossing and treachery. For a summary of his actions see comments on Dan_11:21-39.
[The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament. Copyright © 2000 by John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas]
Dan_11:21. Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164). Antiochus IV, the brother of Seleucus, had been in Rome as a political hostage and was just returning (he had got as far as Athens) when the assassination of his brother took place. His goals included converting Jerusalem into a center for Greek culture and helping the Jews to make the transition to becoming Greek citizens with Greek ways. The intrigues that he became involved in were many, but certainly, the main one concerning Jerusalem was how he handled the high priesthood (see next entry). The text calls him contemptible, and indeed he was. His title “Epiphanes” means “god manifest”—but the people preferred “Epimanes”—“madman.” While he was certainly a member of the royal line, the throne should have gone to Seleucus’s son, Demetrius (who instead was taking Antiochus’s place as a hostage in Rome). Another intrigue concerned the throne. He set up a co-regency with his nephew (a minor), who a few years later was murdered.
While Antiochus fulfills the prophecy in many ways, there is another that is to come.
“”The holy people” refers to Israel. The slaughter of these people by Antiochus Epiphanes seems almost unbelievable. He was as bad as Hitler. However, he is merely an adumbration of the Antichrist who is coming, of whom it is said: “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev_13:7).” Dr. J. Vernon McGee.
An adumbration is a shadow, a faint resemblance, or an imperfect representation of a thing.
Since McGee referenced Revelation 13:7 let’s go there for a minute.
“and there was given to it to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and there was given to it authority over every tribe, and tongue, and nation.” (YLT)
If, we were looking at Antiochus as the complete fulfillment:
- How does he move forward in time to fulfill Revelation 13:7? He doesn’t.
- Did Antiochus have authority over every tribe, and tongue, and nation? The answer is NO.
- Could we say that Antiochus was able to make war with the saints, and to overcome them?
Then it seems, for legitimacy’s sake, I have to ask if God refers to His people as saints. Look for a reference to saints in the Old Testament and you will only find it used twice in the Psalms and again in Daniel’s writings. In Daniel, it is always used in the future tense. So let’s consider what David said.
Psalms 16:3 NASB As for the saints who are in the earth, They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
The word saints are the Hebrew word qadosh and means sacred, holy: – consecrated.
While there may have been a few, like Moses and Joshua, only names like Samuel or Elijah come to mind, and we are certainly not talking about David – he was a man of flaws. But what do I learn about the character of God when I read about these people? God looks at people with different eyes than we do. The Word of God, which I must consider in its entirety, does not portray Israel as saints. If it helps to understand, I give you the Complete Jewish Bible translation.
Psalms 16:2-4 I said to Adonai, “You are my Lord; I have nothing good outside of you.” (3) The holy people in the land are the ones who are worthy of honor; all my pleasure is in them. (4) Those who run after another god multiply their sorrows; to such gods, I will not offer drink offerings of blood or take their names on my lips. (CJB)
Pay attention to these words: “The holy people in the land are the ones who are worthy of honor; all my pleasure is in them.” The potential is there, but the predominant theme throughout the Old Testament comes across like this:
Deuteronomy 1:35 ‘Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers,
So, yes, Antiochus has an immediate impact, but certainly not a future one.
However, there is one more aspect, and we see it in Revelation 13:7 when it says,
“and there was given to it to make war with the saints.”
What is God trying to say when He calls this “beast” an “it”? Perhaps, God is trying to tell us that there is an evil spiritual entity, that is migrating through powerful world leaders.
Let’s stay on Daniel 8:25 for a minute.
Daniel 8:25 CJB He will succeed through craftiness and deceit, become swelled with pride, and destroy many people just when they feel the most secure. He will even challenge the prince of princes; but, without human intervention, he will be broken.
This personification of evil, whom the Quranic verses indicate will be the “Jesus” they are looking for,
- “will succeed through craftiness and deceit,”
- “become swelled with pride,”
- “and destroy many people just when they feel the most secure.”
- “He will even challenge the prince of princes;”
- “but, without human intervention, he will be broken.”Having watched enough war movies, I know that the bad guy always gets taken out. Yes, this typically means killed in a dramatic fashion, but that is not necessarily the case here; this is one of those times when the terminology is inappropriate, for this false prophet will not be slain, but dramatically disposed of, almost as if some crane-like device reaches down and picks up both the beast and the false prophet.
Daniel 8:26-27 NLT “This vision about the 2,300 evenings and mornings is true. But none of these things will happen for a long time, so keep this vision a secret.” Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward, I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it.
Daniel claims he could not understand. Perhaps that is because he did not need to understand, but the logic in that premise is thin, at best. But it is clear to me, that WE were meant to understand. Read Daniel 12:10 in the NLT for it says, Only those who are wise will know what it means. In Christ, we are wise.