***Since writing and publishing this post, I have come to a new understanding of what the interpretation of Gabri’el really means. I am currently prepping an addendum to this part once I have done a little more research – I have no desire to get it wrong twice! The post below, you could say, is just one point of view, although I have to confess that had I done my research thoroughly the first time, I would have spotted the school-boy error which I will reveal in The Final Kingdom – Part 2a. ***
In the last post we looked at the prophecy contained within the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel, regarding the four beasts from the sea, which Daniel saw in a vision. The chapter winds up with the angel who was speaking to Daniel and revealing the meaning of the vision, explaining what will take place at the end when the saints of the Most High God, that is Yehovah, will be given the kingdom forever. We will return to the final kingdom in detail as we wrap up this series. However, before we explain the coming of the King and His kingdom, there is still much contained with the book of Daniel that needs addressing.
In Daniel chapter eight, we find contained Daniel’s second vision; this time concerning a confrontation between a ram and a goat. What is unique about this particular vision is that the angel Gabri’el himself turns up and gives the plainest interpretation of any prophecy throughout the Bible. Gabri’el states exactly who and what the ram and the goat represent. This provides us with a key or legend to understanding not only this vision and Daniel’s previous one, but also Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Let’s take a look at the vision itself. I have inserted (in brackets) some useful information.
“In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar (547 BC) a vision appeared to me – to me, Daniel – after that one that appeared to me the first time. I saw in the vision, and it happened while I was looking, that I was in Shushan (modern day Iran), the citadel, which is in the province of Elam (then Babylonian); and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai. Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.” [Daniel 8:1-3] (As you will see from Gabri’el’s explanation, the two horns of the ram represent two kings from the Medo-Persian Empire. It is highly likely that they are Cyrus the Great, who founded the empire, and Darius III, who lost the empire to Alexander the Great of Greece)
“I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal (literally beast in Hebrew) could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great.” [Daniel 8:4] (The Medo-Persian Empire stretched across modern day Turkey, all of the Levant, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and North Africa. They defeated every army they encountered. Also called the Achaemenid Empire, the Medes and the Persians ruled the entire region of the Middle East and North Africa from 550 BC until 330 BC)
“And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came across from the west, across the surface of the whole earth (336-330BC), without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. (The horn is Alexander the Great). Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power. And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand.” [Daniel 8:57] (Historical records show that not only did Alexander’s army destroy the armies of the Medo-Persian Empire, but none of their allies would come to their aid when asked. Daniel was seeing the end of an empire over 200 years into the future.)
“Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.” [Daniel 8:8] (At the height of his power, Alexander died suddenly in Nebuchadnezzar’s former palace in Babylon, aged just 32. His kingdom was divided into four and given to his four highest generals. They formed four kingdoms which became known as the Ptolemaic Kingdom; the Seleucid Empire; the Kingdom of Pergamon; and the Kingdom of Macedon. This division of Alexander’s great empire took place in 323 BC, some 224 years after Daniel’s vision. Notice that one of the kingdoms that grew up out of Alexander’s is called the Kingdom of Pergamon – this kingdom plays an important role in the future.)
Now comes one of the most misinterpreted verses of prophecy:
“And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious land (Isra’el is often referred to as the ‘glorious’ or ‘pleasant’ land).” [Daniel 8:9]
Many commentators on the prophecies contained in Daniel have, over time, believed that this ‘little horn‘ prophecy was fulfilled in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes, a self-appointed king of the Seleucid Empire, who lived between 215 -164 BC. Whilst it is true that he placed the Hebrews under serious persecution, and set up an image to Zeus in the Temple in Jerusalem, we must treat him only as a ‘type’ of the anti-Christ. The problem with saying that this particular prophecy was fulfilled in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes is that is based upon the assumption that what Daniel saw in his vision regarding the ‘little horn’ immediately followed the fall of Alexander. As you will have noted, the timeline of events can jump forward very quickly. This assumption that it immediately followed the demise of Alexander is further flawed when we get to Daniel 8:17, which clearly states that it refers to the ‘time of the end‘, or in Hebrew, ‘the end of days.’
This verse, taken out of its context, does easily point to Antiochus as the ‘little horn’, but in the context of what is written next, it looks foolish to add any clear historical timeline, just to suit someone’s theory. It has given rise to what is known as Preterist Theory – a theory that suggests that the Great Tribulation has already taken place. Such a stance leaves a believing world relaxed and not at all on their guard. It is false teaching and should be rejected wholesale.
“And it (the little horn) grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. He even exalted himself as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.” [Daniel 8:10-11]
Clearly, these two verses transcend the earthly realm and reveal that the ‘little horn’ is in fact, and always has been, Satan himself. In the parallel account of this found in the Revelation, we see that this casting out of heaven was against the great dragon, who is named as Satan (see Revelation chapter 12). So, if the ‘little horn’ was Antiochus, that would make him Satan. That doesn’t really fit then. It’s a stretch, just like making the fifth kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream a resurgent Roman Empire. It just doesn’t fit correctly. What is more likely, especially in view of what Gabri’el says in verse 17, that between verses 8 and 9 there is a lengthy pause, and one which continues today. So far, that pause has lasted 2,340 years. Remember in Part One we noted that in God’s court, although the dominions of the kingdoms were taken away, the kingdoms themselves remained alive.
Now, it is true that Antiochus was responsible for stopping the daily sacrifice, which led to what is known as the Maccabean Revolt of 164 BC. But, the Roman Emperor Titus also stopped the daily sacrifice when he pulled the Temple down in AD 70. And it is true that coins struck from Antiochus’ reign show that he declared himself ‘God manifest‘. And, it is clear that he was under the direct influence from Satan. However, this was all pointing to the future coming of the real anti-Christ, whom is yet to be revealed. We will discuss his likely identity later on.
“Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered. Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days (literally, 2,300 evenings and mornings); then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” ” [Daniel 8:12-14]
It is also true of both Antiochus and Titus that armies were given over to them in order to stop the daily sacrifices, but it clearly doesn’t fit with the historical evidence of being for 2,300 days, which is approximately 6.3 years. Antiochus defiled the sanctuary on December 25th 167 BC but the cleansed Temple was dedicated at Hanukkah 164 BC, so that doesn’t fit. And when Titus destroyed the temple in AD 70, no daily sacrifice has taken place since, which is 1,947 years, and counting. The 2,300 days, I suspect, represent a time starting mid way through the seven years of the Great Tribulation when Satan will unleash the full force of his hatred for the Hebrews, and the cleansing of the Temple after the war is over and God’s Kingdom is firmly established here on earth. Of course, it says ‘sanctuary’ and not Temple. It is likely that any temple will be destroyed. It will be David’s fallen tent which will be rebuilt in order to replace it, as we shall discuss later.
It is clear that this particularly part of the prophecy is yet to take place. It is equally as clear that a third Temple will have to be built before any sacrifices can take place there. This is still yet to happen, but is to be seen clearly on the very near horizon. Just Google ‘The Temple Institute‘ to see what I mean. They have all the stones cut and ready for a new temple, as well as all the temple objects for sacrifices. They are certain that the political climate will change enough for them to build, on Temple Mount, a new temple. Many expect that they will ‘share’ the space with the Muslims, which will fit into the covenant described in Daniel chapter nine. I am sure they will build there soon, although I am as equally as sure that Temple Mount is the wrong site for Solomon’s or Herod’s Temple complexes. What people call Temple Mount is clearly the site of the Roman Fort Antonio, home of the infamous Tenth Legion. It is clear from recent excavations in the City of David, that the temple complex was on Zion, the most southerly mountain in the range known as the Mountains of Moriah – which is actually a range of three mountains with Zion in the south, Moriah in the middle, and Golgotha in the north of the old city. The Temple was always about Zion, which fits in with all the Scripture regarding it.
Now we come to Gabri’el and his interpretation of Daniel’s second vision. Daniel is still on the bank of the river but is perplexed at the meaning of the vision. He hears a voice from the river telling Gabri’el, who is now in front of Daniel, to make Daniel understand what he has seen. We pick up the dialogue between them in verse 17:
“So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell upon my face; but he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.” Now, as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me, and stood me upright. And he said, “Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be. The ram which you saw, having the two horns – they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. As for the broken horn and the four that stood in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that kingdom, but not with its power.” ” [Daniel 8:17-22]
So, this is very clear about the ram and the goat. And, it gives us a certain key to both Daniel’s first vision of the beasts from the sea, as well as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, that the second and third kingdoms of both are, in sequence, the Medo-Persian Empire and the Kingdom of Greece.
In order to make Daniel understand, Gabri’el makes it clear, twice, that the vision concerns the last days of these kingdoms. As we already know that the Medes and Persia and Greek empires have come and gone, we can be sure that the final part of the vision concerning the little horn is yet to be fulfilled. It is vital that we grasp the notion that even though there appears to be no earthly evidence of these kingdoms still having dominion, that they still exist in the spiritual realm, waiting for the fulfilment of all things.
Before we look at the rest of what Gabri’el said to Daniel, it is worth mentioning the credibility of Daniel as a prophet. There have been many scholars who have questioned the authorship and date of the book of Daniel. These scholars are uncomfortable with such accurate and far-reaching prophecies such as we see in Daniel’s first and second visions. As believers, we can accept that Daniel is the inspired word of God and to be used, in part, as a barometer of the times. In fact, we only have to look at the response of Yeshua when His disciples asked Him what would be the signs of the end of the age. Yeshua quoted directly from the book of Daniel and mentioned him by name, should there be any confusion about the validity of Daniel’s prophecy. You can find what He said of Daniel in Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13, and Luke chapter 21, where He quotes directly from the book.
” “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having a fierce countenance, who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and the holy people. Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their time of peace. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means. And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future.” ” [Daniel 8:23-26]
Let’s go through this piece by piece. The ‘latter time of their kingdom‘ refers to the kingdoms which rise up out of the Kingdom of Greece. We are yet to see this time and we mustn’t get confused by the name of Greece. The region where the kingdoms existed in the time when they arose (2nd century BC) is no longer a part of Greece. The four kingdoms mentioned were later consumed by the Ottoman Empire or Islamic Caliphate and, therefore, stand today in modern Turkey. When the time of the transgressors has been fulfilled – this word, transgressors, is often used to describe those who rebel against God, as well as sinners. In the same way that we saw that God gave the Amorites a certain length of time in which to repent, so to, it seems, He has given these transgressors. Whoever Gabri’el is referring to (probably the Gentile nations as a whole), it is clear that there is a limit to them – a predefined time. When we reach that time, a king will rise out of one of those four kingdoms.
This king will be like nothing anyone has ever known before with a clearly supernatural power and the charm to deceive everyone. He will unite the entire region of the Middle East and convince them all to sign a peace treaty with Isra’el. Once everyone is saying how good the peace is, this kingdom will destroy Isra’el. But, his undoing will be when He tries to take on the returning Yeshua (the Prince of princes). He will be broken with supernatural power.
Again, Gabri’el empathizes the time frame for all these events as being at the end. The vision has indeed been sealed up until fairly recently when the Holy Spirit has started to reveal its true meaning to those who are prepared to seek His wisdom, instead of relying upon man’s wisdom in these matters.
That brings us to the end of Part Two of this little series. In the next part we shall look at what is called the ‘Seventy Weeks Prophecy‘, as well as the meaning of the warring kings of the north and the south which is found further on in Daniel.