DANIEL CHAPTER 8
DANIEL’S VISION OF THE HORNS – THE TIME OF THE END
Read a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day. P. 129, From Rodney Stortz, Daniel. Now I am sure you have had terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days from time to time. We all experience them. Daniel 8 encourages us, through an amazing prophecy, to trust God when times get difficult because He is in control of all things.
No matter how hard life gets, no matter how long the tough times last, the Lord God is sovereign, he is in control, and he will bring deliverance in his time. That is the kind of God that we have; so we need to trust him.
Daniel learned this lesson as he watched this vision…
Daniel will now give us a very disturbing vision of the end times. In this chapter we are given insight into that critical time of history known as Daniel’s 70th week. In this chapter Daniel saw a vision of a powerful ram with two horns, a shaggy goat with a prominent horn, and a man of intrigue with a stern face. Three times Daniel is told that the vision concerns “the time of the end” see Daniel 8:17, 19, 26. In this vision Daniel saw the coming of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for the people of God. But in the vision God also revealed that he is a sovereign King and a wonderful Savior who can turn a curse into a blessing.
Throughout the book of Daniel we see the “Law of Dual Prophetic Fulfillment.” This means that though the vision has reference to a person who lived and died several centuries after Daniel’s lifetime, it also has reference to another individual who has yet to arrive on the scene! Daniel confirms this when Gabriel tells him the vision has pertains to the time of the end. Therefore, the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy awaits the end time. In this chapter 8 and 11, the Antichrist appears to come from Syria. In chapter 7 the little horn Antichrist appears to come from Rome. Ezekiel says he’s Russian. This is not a contradiction. Simply remember that each of these gentile empires conquered and controlled the land around Israel.
INTRODUCTION TO THE VISION OF THE HORNS
Daniel 8:1 In the third year of King Belshazzar's reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me. (Daniel received a second vision ~ 2 years after the vision of the four beasts in Daniel 7. The year is 551 B.C. and Daniel is ~70 years old). 2In my vision I saw myself in the citadel (fortress, palace)of Susa in the province of Elam (200 miles east of Babylon); in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal.
THE VISION OF A 2-HORNED RAM – MEDO-PERSIA EMPIRE
3I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns (representing the Medes and the Persians empire v 20), standing beside the canal, and the horns were long (and powerful). One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. (The ram had 2 horns, with the longer horn coming up last. The Medes came first, and then the Persians who were larger and became more dominant in 550 B.C.). 4I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south (This ram comes from the East). No animal could stand against him, and none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.
THE VISION OF A ONE-HORNED GOAT, ALEXANDER THE GREAT FROM GREECE
5As I was thinking about this (considering what the ram symbolized), suddenly a goat with a prominent horn (a very conspicuous horn) between his eyes came from the west (Alexander came from Greece), crossing the whole earth without touching the ground (in other words, he was crossing the land so swiftly, his feet did not touch the ground – remember the 4 wings of a leopard See Dan 7:6). 6He came toward the two-horned ram (Medo-Persia) I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. 7I 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 his power. (Symbolizing the military conquest of Alexander’s Grecian army over Medo-Persia).
8The goat became very great (symbolizing the Greece empire under Alexander), but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off (After Alexander’s death at age 32 in 323 BC, 4 of his generals divided the kingdom), and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. (The four horns represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation, pointing in the four directions of the earth, but will not have the same power. Cassander ruled over Macedonia. Lysimachus ruled over Thrace and Asia Minor. Ptolemy ruled over Egypt and Arabia. Seleucus ruled over Syria, Babylonia and Israel! See Daniel 7:6)
Daniel 8:9-12 And out of one of them (out of one of the 4 generals territory)came forth a rather small horn…(Who is this small horn???)
THE LITTLE HORN – THE NEAR PROPHECY FULFILLED IN ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES… THE FAR PROPHECY TO BE FULFILLED IN THE ANTICHRIST
(INSERT FROM BIBLE KNOWLEDGE COMMENTARY)
The king referred to here is known as Antiochus IV Epiphanes. After murdering his brother, who had inherited the throne in the Seleucid dynasty, he came to power in 175 b.c. In 170 b.c. Ptolemy VI of Egypt sought to recover territory then ruled over by Antiochus. So Antiochus invaded Egypt and defeated Ptolemy VI and proclaimed himself king in Egypt. This was his growth “in power to the south” (v. 9). On his return from this conquest, trouble broke out in Jerusalem so he decided to subdue Jerusalem (“the Beautiful Land,” v. 9; cf. 11:16, 41). The people were subjugated, the temple desecrated, and the temple treasury plundered.
From this conquest Antiochus returned to Egypt in 168 but was forced by Rome to evacuate Egypt. On his return he determined to make the land of Israel a buffer state between himself and Egypt. He attacked and burned Jerusalem, killing multitudes (cf. 8:10). The Jews were forbidden to follow the Mosaic Law in observing the Sabbath, their annual feasts, and traditional sacrifices, and circumcision of children (cf. v. 11). Altars to idols were set up in Jerusalem and on December 16, 167 b.c. the Jews were ordered to offer unclean sacrifices and to eat swine’s flesh or be penalized by death. (Though his friends called him Epiphanes [“the Illustrious One”] no wonder the Jews called him Epimanes [“the Madman”].) (For more on the role of Antiochus IV Epiphanes see comments on 11:21-35.)
Antiochus’ desecration of the temple was to last 2,300 evenings and mornings before its cleansing (8:14). Some take the 2,300 evenings and mornings to mean 2,300 days, that is, a little more than six years. In this interpretation, the six years were from Antiochus’ first incursion into Jerusalem (170 b.c.) to the refurbishing and restoring of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in late 164. A second interpretation seems preferable. Rather than each evening and each morning representing a day, the reference may be to evening and morning sacrifices, which were interrupted by Antiochus’ desecration (cf. “the daily sacrifice,” vv. 11-21). With two sacrifices made daily, the 2,300 offerings would cover 1,150 days or three years (of 360 days each) plus 70 days. This is the time from Antiochus’ desecration of the temple (December 16, 167 b.c.) to the refurbishing and restoring of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in late 164 and on into 163 b.c. when all the Jewish sacrifices were fully restored and religious independence gained for Judah. Whichever interpretation it is that one accepts, the figure of 2,300 was a literal one and so the time period was literally fulfilled.
There is no question among expositors that Antiochus is in view in this prophecy. What was prophesied was fulfilled literally through him. However, the prophecy looks beyond Antiochus to a future person (the Antichrist) of whom Antiochus is only a foreshadowing. This coming one is said to “stand against the Prince of princes” (v. 25). This can be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the prophecy must go beyond Antiochus and look forward to the coming of one whose ministry will parallel that of Antiochus.
From Antiochus certain facts can be learned about the forthcoming desecrator: (1) He will achieve great power by subduing others (v. 24). (2) He will rise to power by promising false security (v. 25). (3) He will be intelligent and persuasive (v. 23). (4) He will be controlled by another (v. 24), that is, Satan. (5) He will be an adversary of Israel and subjugate Israel to his authority (vv. 24-25). (6) He will rise up in opposition to the Prince of princes, the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 25). (7) His rule will be terminated by divine judgment (v. 25). So it may be concluded that there is a dual reference in this striking prophecy. It reveals Israel’s history under the Seleucids and particularly under Antiochus during the time of Greek domination, but it also looks forward to Israel’s experiences under Antichrist, whom Antiochus foreshadows.
(From this verse, some believe Antichrist will arise from one of the 4 mini-kingdoms, specifically Syria) which grew exceedingly great (He starts small and insignificant but becomes very great.) toward the south (He will come from the area North of Israel and proceed south -Africa), toward the east (Iran, Iraq, Syria), and toward the Beautiful Land (Israel). 10And it grew up to the host of heaven (this little horn will start small and grow very great) and caused some of the host (he will persecute and subjugate the Jews in the land) and some of the stars (again we see the persecution of the saints in the church) to fall to the earth (he kills them both as he rises to power), and it trampled them down.
Rev. 12:17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring--those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
11It (The little horn or Antichrist) even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host (he will make himself to be equal with God, even Jesus); and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him (Antichrist will stop the daily sacrifice), and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down (he desecrates the temple). 12And on account of transgression (Israel’s sin of rejecting the Messiah) the host (the holy people) will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it (the little horn, the Antichrist) will fling truth to the ground, and perform its will and prosper. (For 3 ½ years the Antichrist will have full reign).
2 Thes. 2:4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
TIMING OF THIS VISION
13 Then I heard a holy one speaking (and angel), and another holy one (another angel) 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?" (Rodney Storz says, “Isn’t that that the question we always ask in the midst of a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day? How long do I have to stay in this job? How long do I have to remain in this horrible marriage? Ho long until I know the outcome of this disease? Usually God doesn’t tell us how long… but in this case he did!)
14He said to me, "It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated." (Apparently there will be 1010 days prior to the Abomination of Desolation see Daniel 11:31 and 12:11. After the conclusion of that time, the sanctuary that had been defiled will be consecrated by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming!)
(360 x 7 = 2520 days is the length of Daniel’s 70th week. 2520 – 2300 = 220 days. This verse may be teaching the church Antichrist will begin his attack on Jerusalem 220 days into the 70th week. Or, less than one year after he signs the 7 yr. Covenant.)
THE INTERPRETATION OF THE VISION BY GABRIEL
15While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. 16And I heard a man's voice from the Ulai calling, "Gabriel (which means God’s hero), tell this man the meaning of the vision."
17As 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." (This phrase, the time of the end, is found only in the Book of Daniel, 5x. See handout. What happened in Chapter 8, concerns the time of Daniel’s 70th week. In other words, the majority of the book of Daniel is prophecy concerning the 70th week.)
18While 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.
THE VISION PERTAINS TO THE END TIMES – DUAL PROPHETIC FULFILLMENT
19He said: "I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath (The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord phases of Daniel’s 70th week), because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.
20The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. (Today that would represent the territory of Iran and Iraq). 21The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king (This large horn represents Alexander the Great, the first major king of Greece who conquered the world.). 22The four horns (Alexander’s four generals) that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation power. (In the end times, Antichrist’s kingdom will be a composite, a compilation of these earlier empires.)
THE INTERPRETATION OF THE LITTLE HORN – THE ANTICHRIST
23 "In the latter part of their reign (at the end of the age when these kingdoms will rise again, Medo-Persia or modern day Iran, Babylon or modern day Iraq, Greece or modern day Syria), when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king (insolent strong-faced killing machine), a master of (political) intrigue, will arise. (Again, the prophecy looks beyond Antiochus to a future person (the Antichrist) of whom Antiochus is only a foreshadowing.) 24He will become very strong, but not by his own power (Satan, nuclear, Mystery Babylon?). He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does (Antichrist will destroy people and property in order to expand his kingdom.) He will destroy (marvelously, to an extraordinary degree) the mighty men (believers, God’s people) and the holy people (Jews and Christians will be special targets of his oppression). 25He will cause deceit to prosper (due to his shrewd influence and political intrigue), and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure (due to the 7 year covenant), he will destroy many (while he is at ease) and take his stand against the Prince of princes (The Antichrist will stand against Jesus Christ, probably referring to Abomination of Desolation). Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power (Antichrist will be destroyed by God at the Second Coming. No human force will be able to defeat him.).
THE TIMING OF THE VISION
26 "The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision (It is concluded for now), for it concerns the distant future." (Daniel’s 70th week).
27I, 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. (The vision of the Antichrist and the end times made him sick).
THE TIME OF THE END
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."
Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
"At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.
But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge."
He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.