||27 Daniel - 2005
Would you turn to Daniel chapter 7, Daniel chapter 7? The first part of Daniel, the first six chapters have been historical chapters from the time when young Daniel, as a teenager, was taken from Jerusalem to Babylon in 605 BC up until the time when Babylon fell to the Medes and the Persians in 539 BC. It's all been history, great, wonderful stories, the stories that many of us remember when we were kids growing up in church. And the Sunday school teacher talked about Daniel in the lion's den or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Beginning in chapter 7, we come to a change. We move from history to prophecy. Now I had a teacher in grade school. And whenever we got to difficult subjects, she would say, children, kids, it's time to put your thinking caps on. And tonight, I'm going to ask you to put your thinking caps on because of the nature of the material we cover. It's intense.
These are Daniel's visions of the future from the time of Babylon all the way into the future. It's always exciting for me, for us, to study prophecy. And I found it particularly useful in witnessing. When I used to work, years ago, at Westminster Community Hospital, and before that at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange, and I worked around lots of skeptics in the medical field, lots of doctors who didn't believe in God, didn't believe in the Bible, the authority, the veracity of scripture, I'd love, if they had the time, to take them through some of the prophecies of Daniel and watch the Holy Spirit open up their eyes. and, toward the end of the conversation or following conversations, to lead them then to Christ.
Prophecy is God's calling card or one of them. He says in the book of Isaiah, chapter 46, "I will tell you the end from the beginning, and from ancient times those things that are yet to come." So prophecy and history is sort of like sitting in a parade.
Let's say we're going to the Huntington Beach parade to see Cal Worthington and his dog, Spot. And we sit right in the midway of the parade route. And so we watch the parade and the clowns on bicycles go by, and the dancing midgets go by, and the high school queen goes by. And somebody comes up to us in the middle of the parade and says, oh, I want to see the dancing clowns or the clowns on bicycles. You say, well, they're already passed. But if you go ahead, you'll be able to see what's past to me.
Somebody else comes up to you, recognizes you, and says, I've come because I want to see the mayoral float. You say, well, it hasn't reached this point yet. But according to my schedule, it's already launched at the beginning of the parade. So if you go to the beginning on the other side of the route, you'll see them. You'll see what is yet future to me.
Of course, if you were in the Goodyear blimp, and you were hovering above that parade, you'd be able to see it all in one fell swoop. You'd see the beginning and the middle and end all at one time. And God has the incredible advantage, being omniscient, being omnipotent, to catch it all at a glance.
But what sets God apart is that before the parade even begins he describes the floats. He tells everything that is coming and, in these chapters, in great detail. So we're going to look into the future.
For us, however, many of these processes have already been fulfilled. It is all prophetic for Daniel. It is all prophetic from his vantage point. For us, much of it is past history. And yet, some of it is yet unfulfilled.
We discover that prophecy authenticates scripture. Look at it this way. If we're able to look at these prophecies, which were all future to Daniel, and, today, in looking back and seeing all of their intricate fulfillment historically, and yet we have this piece of the puzzle that has not yet fulfilled, if what has been spoken before it happened has happened, then the rest that is predicted that will happen, we can take it to the bank. We can rest our hat on it, no problem. It's going to happen. It authenticates it.
You remember Peter who was at the Mount of Transfiguration when Moses and Elijah were transfigured in glory with the Lord Jesus Christ. And Peter writes after that event. And he says, "We were eyewitnesses of his majesty." We saw it with our own eyes. We were able to authenticate that event by our own experience.
But he said we have something even better than our own visual perception. He said, "But we have a more sure word of prophecy, which we do well to take heed." Because, as Peter said, "It's a light that shines in a dark place."
And that's how I see these chapters. It's God's flashlight into the question mark of the future, the darkness of the future. It just opens it up before us. And we're able to see what's coming.
In the first year, verse one, of Belshazzar, King of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts. So the difference between this vision, this dream, and the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had in chapter 2-- though it's the same message, you'll discover-- chapter 2 was a dream given to a pagan ruler interpreted by Daniel. This is Daniel's own night vision, night dream experience that he writes down.
He had a restless night, I figure, that night. He probably got a better night's sleep over in the lion's den than he did here. He's restless as God reveals to him the future. He sees four wild beasts, as we'll read, that represent four kingdoms that will come, including the first, Babylon.
Now Daniel sees what Nebuchadnezzar saw. But he describes them differently. You remember the dream in chapter 2. Nebuchadnezzar sees this great statue made out of gold and silver and brass and iron and then iron and clay. It was stately. It was impressive.
And that's always man's perspective. Wow, look at the kingdoms of this world. They're majestic. They're powerful. They're awesome.
But that's not how God sees them. He has quite a different perspective. And so as God reveals the future to Daniel, they're not depicted as elements of a poly-metallic image, but four ravenous, wild beasts-- grotesque, ugly, destructive.
I love to watch the medical channel on television. My son and my wife think I'm really weird because there's two channels I love. One is the Weather Channel. And I'm addicted to it. I love, for some reason, finding out weather patterns.
The other is the medical channel. I love the surgeries. Because I spent so many of my years in that profession, I love watching it. And I look at the human body and the arteries and the veins and the different layers of muscle and flesh cut away. And I go that's fabulous. It's marvelous. It's beautiful. We're wonderfully made, as David said.
My wife goes by and sees that on the screen and quickly turns her head and goes that is gross. Turn the channel. Two different perspectives-- and so the perspective of Nebuchadnezzar and, here now, the perspective of God, as given to the prophet Daniel.
Now a warning, you've got your thinking caps on, but another warning. Because these prophecies in the following several chapters are so detailed and have come to fulfillment, skeptics think they could not have been written by Daniel in advance. They must have been written after the fact by somebody else between the Old and the New Testament.
You see, you're going to get to chapter 11 where in 35 verses you have 135 predictions that have been historically fulfilled. It is packed with detail. So they say it couldn't have happened. A fake did it. A forger did it. Well, Jesus settles the issue. He called him Daniel, the prophet-- not Daniel, the deceiver, not Daniel, the forger, but Daniel, the prophet.
Sir Isaac Newton, we all know who he is. He's the guy who is credited with discovering how gravity works. Did you know he was a Christian?
In fact, he wrote much more about apologetics than he did about science. And he said, concerning Daniel and these prophecies, "Whoever rejects the prophecies of Daniel does as much as if he undermined the Christian religion." And it's easy to tell why because the prophetic timetable, the backbone of prophecy, is highlighted by Daniel and authenticated later by Jesus Christ.
Verse 2, Daniel spoke saying, "I saw in my vision by night behold the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea." Winds in Hebrew is the word ruach. It could be translated spirit.
It could just as easily and quite literally read the four spirits. And it could speak about four spirit beings, four angelic beings that are stirring up the great sea. Some think it's a reference to the Mediterranean. It's also a reference in the scripture to the great numbers of people on the Earth.
It could refer to the angels of judgment that will gather from the four winds, the four corners of the Earth. And all of these events are orchestrated by God, carried out by these angels for the future judgment.
"And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. The first was like a lion and had eagle's wings. I watched until the wings were plucked off. And it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man. And a man's heart was given to it."
Now think back to the vision of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 2. This winged lion corresponds to the head of gold or the first empire. And we'll see it. It will be stated that way. It corresponds to the first empire, the head of gold, Nebuchadnezzar, and the Babylonian kingdom.
Now the archaeological digs of Babylon have yielded many interesting finds, one of which is this winged lion. It is now a matter of history. It's a matter of documentation. Go to the British Museum in London, as I and several others have, and you'll see the entrance to the city of Babylon, the entrance to the royal palace. And it is a lion with wings. It speaks of the city of Babylon.
But you'll notice verse 4-- the wings were plucked off. That's probably a reference to an event that happened in Nebuchadnezzar's on lifetime where, for seven years, he went insane. And he suffered what we medically described as insania zoanthropica, a medical condition of hysteria where, for seven years, he thought he was a beast. Wings were plucked off-- the authority taken from him.
"And suddenly, another beast, a second, like a bear, it was raised up on one side and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it arise. Devour much flesh."
This second beast, the bear, corresponds to-- remember the vision, again, of chapter 2, not the head of gold, but the chest and the arms of silver, two arms, the coming together of two kingdoms, the Medes and the Persians. And here it's described as a bear, but in an uneven stance. Because the kingdom of Medo-Persia was an uneven union. It was only until Cyrus came and, by a strong leadership, managed to take the Medes and the Persians and provide stability.
It's an uneven union. And it's a bear. The beast here is seen as a bear with ribs in its mouth. A bear isn't a fast animal, necessarily, though, you and I probably couldn't outrun one at full speed. But unlike a lion, and unlike the following beast, which is a leopard, a bear sort of lumbers along, but is very, very powerful.
And the Medes and the Persians, like a large bear, amassed a large army in their conquests. In fact, the Persians would conscript into their army not just men, but the entire family. So that in one battle, the battle of Xerxes, the Persian against the Greeks, he was able to amass an army like a large bear of 2.5 million troops-- huge, lumbering along, taking over kingdoms.
But we also see another detail. It says he had three ribs in his mouth between his teeth. I love to go to Tony Roma's and eat ribs, but I don't think that's part of this vision. It wasn't that he was just having a barbecued rib feast. It was the idea that he had conquered something by force and taken something out of the side of-- the three ribs speak of three kingdoms. In fact, history perfectly corresponds with us.
King Cyrus of Persia, who got the Medo-Persian Empire together, and his son Cambyses II took over in a short period of time three separate empires-- the Egyptian empire, the Chaldean empire, and the Lydian empire of Asia Minor. And we believe this represents these three ribs that were taken.
"After this, I looked. And there was another like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads. And dominion was given to it."
A leopard is not a large animal, but it is agile. It is limber. And it is very fast. There's a swiftness to a leopard, one of the fastest animals alive.
This represents, again, as we'll discover, just like in the vision of Nebuchadnezzar, we had the head of gold, arms and chest of silver, belly and thighs of brass, which represented the Grecian empire. This too represents the speed at which Alexander the Great was able to take over the known world in his 30s. Actually, he started in his 20s. At 19 years of age, Alexander the Great, his Father died, Philip of Macedon. And he took up the cause against the Medes and the Persians-- did not have a large army, only 35,000.
They were loyal. They were fierce. And they were fast. He marched swiftly from west to east and met the Medo-Persian army. And though he was greatly outnumbered, he overtook them.
And in 10 years from 334 BC, he managed to conquer Egypt, North Africa, Europe, and move all the way to the borders of India and almost take that country. In fact, he conquered it so fast, even he was surprised.
He was in his early 30s. He was in Babylon. He had taken over the world. And he wept in Babylon because there were now no more kingdoms that he knew of to take over, no challenge left. He had taken it all.
But just as he was swift in conquering the world, the kingdom of Greece under Alexander the Great had a swift decline. He died in Babylon. I'll describe that in a few moments.
And when he died-- again, notice this vision-- he was asked what shall we do with the kingdom, Alexander. And he said give it to the strong. They interpreted that to mean his generals. There were four of them.
And so Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy split up the kingdom. Cassander took Greece and Macedonia. Lysimachus took the Thracian kingdom in Asia Minor. Seleucus took the Near East, including Syria. And Ptolemy set up his kingdom and empire down in Egypt.
And you can see the dilemma. It will prove important in the future where you have the Ptolemaic kingdom in the south in Egypt and the Seleucid kingdom in the north in Syria. And right between them is Israel. So whenever these two brothers and their progeny would get into a fight, Israel would be affected. And so they're mentioned.
"After this, I saw in the night visions and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth. It was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it. And it had 10 horns."
Now our mind immediately goes back to the vision, once again, in chapter 2 that Nebuchadnezzar saw of that final empire that had iron and clay. And the feet and the 10 toes represented 10 nations just like the 10 horns represent 10 nations. This fourth beast was different than the other beasts. It was horrible, terrible, ferocious, iron teeth. And the iron corresponds to the iron in Nebuchadnezzar's vision.
The armies of Rome were called the iron legions of Rome. And they were depicted as crushing teeth. Because wherever Rome went, brute force, it crushed its enemies. One historian described Roman conquest like a slave is treated by a master with just absolute authority and total subjugation. And so Rome took over Sicily, took over Carthage, took over North Africa, and moved throughout the known world at that time with such a brute force.
Now the horn is mentioned. And just as an aside or, I guess, maybe a highlight, whenever you see a horn or 10 horns in the Bible, you know you are dealing either with nations or, principally, with leaders of those nations. Because a horn is always a symbol of authority and power. It's a defense mechanism for an animal that bears horns. And it's a metaphor of power and authority.
In Psalm 75, God says, "The horns of the wicked will be cut off. But the horn of the righteous shall be exalted." And so these 10 horns speak of 10 nations that will come.
The Roman Empire lasted longer than the previous three that are seen from Daniel's time of Babel and Medo-Persia, Greece. Rome lasted longer, almost 1,000 years. It really came to an end about 500 AD. And it wasn't conquered by a world-governing empire. It fragmented.
And when it fragmented, it fragmented into separate little powers and separate states and what is modern day Europe. It has never been resurrected. Many have tried. Charlemagne tried in the eighth century. Kaiser Wilhelm tried. Adolph Hitler tried and predicted that his reign would last 1,000 years. How we thank God it didn't.
Many have tried to resurrect the Roman Empire, never happened. But the prophecies in Daniel, including this one, depict a kingdom. And out of that kingdom, the Roman Empire will grow 10 nations, 10 rulers.
Now this part of the prophecy doesn't fit anywhere historically. Never in history do we read of a coming together of 10 nations that were tied to the old Roman Empire. It must be and is not historical, but prophetical. We know that. You say, well, how do you know that, Skip? I've heard you and other Bible teachers talk about the coming together of the Roman Empire. How do you know it's history? How do you know it's prophecy?
Easy, because over in Daniel chapter 2, same message, different vision-- where there are 10 toes, Daniel interprets it to King Nebuchadnezzar and says, "In the days of those kings, will the God of heaven set up an everlasting kingdom that will be of no end." Now help me here. Have you seen an everlasting kingdom around that God set up on this Earth that has no end?
I'm still waiting for that one. That's coming in the future. That kingdom of God set up upon the Earth beginning with the millennial reign of Christ takes us into the eternal state is something we're awaiting-- we're looking for. So it is yet prophetic.
Let's go back just a little bit from our vantage point tonight in our recent history. We know what happened May 14, 1948. Israel became a nation. Simultaneous to that, almost same year, different month, June of 1948, three nations got together and decided that Europe needed a cohesion of countries. They started calling it the Big 10.
And with a document called the Treaty of Benelux in Belgium, the idea of a European market or a European community was birthed. Nine years later in 1957, in Rome, it was written up. It was called the Treaty of Rome. That should raise a red flag.
And the European Economic Community was officially born with the Treaty of Rome-- 10 nations, then 12, then 15, then some dropped out, then some are added, now, I don't know, between 25 and 28 depending on what month it is. However, there is the WEC, the Western European Union. And the Western European Union has still today 10 nations, the original nations and the most powerful ones that relate back historically to the Roman Empire.
However, they're having some problems. The euro seems to be gaining and then losing and holding its own. But what is problematic is leadership. And the chairman of the committee for the European common market has stated this just two months ago. Gunter Verheugen said, quote, "At a moment where leadership is needed, we don't have it."
So now they're looking for a leader to come and lead them in the midst of this. They're having problems with leadership. It's a crisis.
One of the organizational leaders said this, "We don't want another committee. We've already had too many. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of the people and lift us out of the morass into which we are sinking."
What's the solution to that? Well, let's read on.
"I was considering the horns. And there was another little horn, a little one, coming up among them before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes, the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking pompous words."
So now we have an 11th horn at which three rulers fall. And he is very assertive. It's a little horn with a big mouth. We could call him Little Bighorn, I suppose, if we wanted to. But we won't.
"I watched how thrones were put in place. And the ancient of days was seeded. His garment was as white as snow, his hair, the hair of his head, like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire."
Now, immediately, you who are Bible students-- and basically, the room is full of you, Bible students, prophecy students-- your mind immediately goes to Revelation, chapter 1, the vision that John had, the vision of Jesus Christ. Same description-- hair as white as wool, eyes like a flame of fire. John adds a detail. His feet were like burning brass. So the ancient of days that Daniel saw is the Lord Jesus Christ that John saw in his vision.
"A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him. A thousand thousands ministered to him. 10,000 times 10,000 stood before him. The court was seated. The books were opened."
Our mind jumps ahead to Revelation 4 and 5 where the saints are in heaven. The angels are worshipping. And the number is 10,000 times 10,000 and thousands of thousands.
"I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words," or the great words, as some translations say, "which the horn was speaking. I watched how the beast was slain and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away. Yet their lives were prolong for a season and a time."
Three kingdoms have already been stripped of their power by military means, the takeover by other nations. But this fourth kingdom is different. It ends by an act of divine judgment that will come upon these nations that emerge from Rome, this revived Roman Empire.
For a period of time, this little horn, this 11th horn, this person, this ruler will have a very successful form of government, be very powerful, and have great authority. But once again-- and here is one of the themes of Daniel. It's in every chapter. Like all of the other kingdoms before it that had an end, this too will have an end. And it will come to an end quickly and finally.
And that's always one of the themes of the book of Daniel. It's basically this. My God is better than your gods, Daniel would say. He's in front of Babylonian royalty. And they worship a pantheon of gods.
But chapter 1, he says I'm not going to eat what you eat. I have purpose in my heart that I'm not going to defile myself. He turns out better than the rest of them.
Chapter 2, there is a dream. Nobody could interpret it. All the false gods are impotent in Babylon. Daniel interprets the dream because God gives it to him.
The three Hebrew youths get thrown into the burning fiery furnace. I almost said "furning biery furnace." But I stopped myself. And God protected them. And God didn't protect the others, or the gods of Babylon didn't.
So in every chapter, there's that underscore of God is better than your gods. And so this kingdom, this final kingdom, will come to an end as well.
"I was watching in the night visions. And behold, one like the son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He came to the ancient of days. And they brought Him near before Him."
Son of man is a title Jesus took upon himself. And what a contrast to these four ravenous, wild, malicious, beasts-- the son of man, mild, meek, understanding our humanity.
"And then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples nations and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away. And His kingdom, the one which shall not be destroyed."
Now this is the end of the tribulation period if you're trying to kind of fit it into the prophetic scheme of things. It's Revelation, chapter 19, when Jesus comes back. And he comes back to take over. The tribulation is finished. The judgments on the are completed. The seals and the trumpets and the bold judgments have all culminated.
And Jesus returns. And the Antichrist and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire. And Daniel sees all of that.
It's interesting how much of the Bible speaks about this event-- John, Daniel, and the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus, in one statement, if you could put in one statement all of the sealed judgments, all seven, all of the trumpet judgments, and all seven of the bold judgments in one fell swoop and the second coming, in other words, all of the great tribulation, this is what it would sound like.
Here's the words of Jesus in Luke 21. "And there will be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars and on the Earth, distress of nations with perplexity. The sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them from fear, and the expectation of those things, which are coming on the Earth, for the powers of the heaven will be shaken. Then they will see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and with great glory."
That's the second coming of Christ. He doesn't come as an infant to a manger in a poor community in Israel. He comes as the conqueror, the conquering King. The first time he came, there was no room in the inn. The only room they had for him was on a cross.
When he comes again, the heaven of heavens won't be able to contain him. He will rule all of it. And so this is his kingdom being set up.
It's exactly what the seventh angel in Revelation 11 sounded the trumpet and announced, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ." "I, Daniel," verse 15, "was grieved in my spirit. Within my body and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near to one of those who stood by and asked him the truth of all this.
So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things. Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most high shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.
Then I wish to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful with its teeth of iron, its nails of bronze, which devoured and broke in pieces and trampled the residue with its feet, and the 10 horns, which were on its head, and the other horn, which came up before which three fell, namely that horn, which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words or a mouth that spake very great things, whose appearance was greater than his fellow's."
So we get the picture-- the fourth and final empire, the Roman Empire. Out of it will grow four kingdoms. Just like horns grow out of the head of an animal. They will be given authority. But the one who will take all authority will be that 11th torn, the little horn.
The Bible has a lot of terms for him. The one we know him by most commonly is the Antichrist. And throughout history, people have tried to guess who the Antichrist is. It started, actually, back around AD 37 when some Christians thought it was Caligula because he had an image of himself that was put on the altar. Others then in AD 57 said, oh, it must be Caesar Nero. Look how he's persecuting the saints, the Christians.
And throughout history, there have been many guesses. Martin Luther and John Wycliffe thought it was the Pope of their time. Others have said it's at Adolf Hitler. Some even said it was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Others guessed Henry Kissinger and, recently, Mikhail Gorbachev.
And so people wonder, well, who is the Antichrist. Answer-- don't know, don't care. The Bible instructs me not to look for the Antichrist, but to look for Jesus Christ. I'm looking for His appearance, His coming, and His kingdom.
But once again, the mouth is mentioned. He's a little horn with a big mouth. And he's sharp. He's a sharp guy. He's so sharp. And I do mean that as a pun-- pun intended.
He's sharp in a lot of ways. He's brilliant. He's able to bring the nations together. But he speaks very arrogantly, very pompously.
Revelation 13 highlights it. "He was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, his tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven."
He's going to have unique oratorical skills. He'll be able to sway people by them. He'll have an incredible amount of charisma, style, winsomeness.
if you've read any of the reports of Adolf Hitler and his speeches to the German people, they write about how they were mesmerized by this guy. He had a way in his speech, a forceful, articulate way, to grab people and hold their attention for hours. And he duped an entire nation.
Well, the Antichrist is going to make Adolf Hitler look like a flunky from a high school debate course. He's going to be able to-- he'll manage to sway the entire world with the things that he speaks.
"I was watching. And the same horn was making war against the saints and prevailing against them until the ancient of days came and judgment was made in favor of the saints of the most high. And the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom."
Now this bothers some people because they'll say, aha, he's going to hassle the saints. And this must be a proof that the Church is going through the tribulation period. Think again. Remember, put on the thinking cap.
Saints aren't always a reference to the Church. In fact, Paul said that in the Old Testament the Church was one of God's secrets that he kept hidden until the New Testament. Saints doesn't refer to the Church necessarily.
And the Church is going to be raptured, but we will have left a sufficient witness to this world that many people will get saved after the Church age in the tribulation. There'll be 144,000 Jews who, presumably, come to faith in Christ at the beck and call of two witnesses.
And then through their witness, these 144,000 Jewish evangelists, many others, Gentiles, will come to faith in Christ, though they will pay for it with their life. But the Antichrist, according to Revelation 12 and 13, pursue all believers in Christ who don't take the mark of the beast and the Jewish nation who will flee east of the Dead Sea for protection during that time.
Thus, he said, verse 23, "The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on the Earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, shall devour the whole Earth, trample it, and break it in pieces. The 10 horns are 10 kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall arise after them. He shall be different from the first ones.
He shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the most high. He shall persecute," or literally harass, "the saints of the most high and shall intend to change times and law."
Some think that the Antichrist will manage to do what others have tried to do in the past unsuccessfully. That is change the calendar. During the French Revolution, check out your history. It was attempted. It failed.
Perhaps, he will be able to reconstruct the whole calendar, getting rid of once and for all, as some secular historians and sociologists are trying to do the whole BC, AD bit, changing the times, changing the laws.
"And the saints will be given into his hand for a time and times and a half of time." Now that is a prophetic construct-- of time. It is an Aramaic, originally, prophetic construct. Time is a year, times, two years, half a time, six months. So 1 plus 2 plus 1/2 is 3 and 1/2 years.
And you'll find that elsewhere. And then you'll find it overlapping other similar statements, but they're given a little bit differently. For instance, 42 months is given in the Book of Revelation, 3 and 1/2 years-- here time, times, and a half a time.
1,260 days in Revelation 11 and other places, same difference, or Revelation chapter 9-- a half of a week, 3 and 1/2 years. We'll get to that next week if we make it through the next chapter this week. So let's go.
"But the court shall be seated. They shall take away his dominion to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people, the saints of the most high. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. And all dominion shall serve and obey Him.
This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me. And my countenance changed. But I kept the matter in my heart."
Now chapter 8, the focus narrows. We were at four beasts, four kingdoms, and one that would grow out of the fourth with 10 nations and one particular leader. Now we are narrowing the focus to two kingdoms, the second and the third, Medo-Persia and Greece, and for a very important reason.
Something else, and then we'll put it together. There is a change in language beginning here. Remember how we said chapter 1:1 all the way to chapter 2:3 is all written in Hebrew? Beginning in chapter 2:4 all the way to chapter 7:28 is all written in the Aramaic dialect, the Aramaic language.
Now we switch back to Hebrew. And again, it's for obvious reasons. The first part of the book dealt with the Babylonian captivity that touched the Judeans, the Israelites. So it's written in Hebrew script.
Then the purview was of the Gentile rulers. And so it's written in the language of the Gentile ruler at that time, Nebuchadnezzar, and the Babylonian language, which was Chaldean or Aramaic. Now we are switching back to a Hebrew focus. So the rest of the book will be written in Hebrew.
And these two kingdoms form for us a template because they speak about a ruler that will persecute the Jewish nation. Now to us, its history. To Daniel, it was prophecy. And that person is a template of a future person, the Antichrist, who will persecute the Jewish nation in the tribulation.
My dad was a builder here in Southern California up in the high desert. And oftentimes, when he wanted to sell a house, he would build one first. It'd be the model home.
And he would carpet it and put all the best samples in and put the best furniture in. And people would come by to the model house so that they can get an idea of what it's like to say is this something we can build for ourselves. Does it fit our ideal of our dream house? They could get a feel for it. It became, in their minds, a template for their own thing.
The prophecies of chapter 8 are history for us. But they form a template, a model so to speak, of someone else who will be like someone in history who persecuted the Jews and will come in the future. So let's look at it.
"In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar," so still got the thinking caps on, I hope, "a vision appeared to me, to me, Daniel, after the one that appeared to me the first time." So now it's the third year.
By the way, if you're looking to fit this into history, it occurs, both of these chapters, between chapters 4 and 5 of Daniel. After chapter 4, before chapter 5, that's where it fits historically when Daniel had these visions.
"I saw the vision, so it happened, while I was looking, I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Ilam. And I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai." Shushan is one of the royal provinces, some 300 miles away from Babylon. And it was the place, you remember, that Nehemiah served as a cup bearer to King Artaxerxes, same place, same palace. Here's the vision he gets.
"Then I lifted my eyes, and I 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. And I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward so that no animal could withstand him, nor was there any that could deliver from his hand. But he did according to His will and became great.
And I was considering. And suddenly, a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole Earth without touching the ground. And the goat had a notable horn between his eyes."
Now this is a weird vision. Right? It's like a bad hair day at the zoo. You get a ram and a goat, and they're facing off. And it's a weird looking ram, and it's a weird acting goat.
We're dealing with empire number two, Medo-Persia, and empire number three, which is Greece. You say, how do you know that? Well, we don't have to guess. If you look down at verse 20, the ram which you saw having two horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia. So the mystery is unlocked right here in the chapter.
Now this is a ram with an attitude. He moves in three directions-- west, north, and south. As the prophecies go on, as the visions unfold, it's getting more detailed, you see. We know historically-- we know archaeologically-- that a ram was the symbol of Medo-Persia.
It's on their coins-- on one side, a picture of a ram with standing upright with a clean feet and sharp hoofs, on the other side of the coin a recumbent ram or one that is lying down. The symbol in the zodiac, the occultic symbol of Aries is the symbol of the ram, always associated with Persia.
Fourth century historian by the name of Ammianus Marcellinus said on all of the rulers of Persia or Medo-Persian Empire they bore a ram or the head of a ram or some part of their garments, some part of their armor, especially when they went to battle. When a Persian monarch or general stepped in front of his troops for a battle, he would have a ram somewhere on his attire. And you could dig up more history. Historians tell us that the guardian spirit of the Persians was always in the form of a ram.
So historians who would study this would have no problem. I get it. It's Medo-Persia. It fits perfectly.
But notice, like the two horns, the two horns of a ram are like the two arms of Nebuchadnezzar's vision, the two arms of silver. It's the combination of Media and Persia. One horn is larger because Cyrus, once again, was the most significant one. And Media, the second kingdom, was an insignificant one.
History also tells us that they advanced in three directions, just as it is laid out in the prophecy. They moved westward, first of all, taking Babylon, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor. They moved northward, taking the area of the Caspian Sea, taking Armenia, Iberia, and others. Then they moved southward, taking Egypt, Israel, Libya, and Ethiopia.
Here's the question. How could Daniel have known all of this? There's only one answer to that. God had to tell him.
It is so detailed. That's what tips off the septics. It sort of is a red flag to them. Now wait a minute. It couldn't have been written before. It had to be written afterwards.
But evidence points to the contrary. Verse 5, again, "As I was considering, suddenly, a male goat came from the west across the surface of the whole Earth without touching the ground. And the goat had a notable horn," not two, but a single horn, "between his eyes."
So this goat moves so fast, his feet don't even touch the ground. This is turbo goat. It can only depict one empire-- Greece. The city of Aegis, the Aegean Sea, comes from the Greek word [GREEK] or [GREEK], which means the goat.
Verse 6, "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, 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. Therefore, the male goat grew very great."
Interesting word, great, because it's going to speak of somebody who called himself great. Actually, his mother called him that. It was Alexander the 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."
Again, we don't have to guess who this is. We don't have to take clever things like coins and Aegean Sea. It's very plainly declared right here what it is. Look at verse 21 and 22.
And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horned 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 nation, but not with its power.
Philip of Macedon managed to bring together two nations that had been not having the best of relations, Macedonia and Greece. He brought them together into the vast Greco-Macedonian Empire. He was in charge. He was murdered by the Medo-Persians.
Alexander the Great was 19 years of age. Up to that point, he had no desire at all to be involved in the military. He was really a bookworm. He was sort of a mama's boy, really. He liked to play at home.
His tutor was Aristotle. His mother convinced him that he had come from the gods, that he was very, very great. He was a gift to mankind. But when his dad was murdered, he took up his father's cause. And with great speed and force, a relatively small army, he swiftly rode across to meet the Medo-Persians and defeated them.
At least in part, when he would conquer people, he would absolutely wipe them out. For instance, he went to Tyre and asked for some supplies. Because the city of Tyre did not give him the supplies, he wiped it out completely down to the dust. So he would wipe out all groups of people who didn't support his cause.
After Tyre, he moved south to fight against Egypt. Then he moved up north to take on Medo-Persia once again, defeating them at Nineveh. However, just a little side story, if I can, I don't have much time. But it's a great one.
On his way back from Egypt up north, he stops in Jerusalem. There was a high priest by the name of Jedua who met Nebuchadnezzar out on the Mount of Olives, I believe, and opened up the scroll and showed him the prophecies concerning himself in the book of Daniel. It so blew Alexander the Great's mind that he said he would not take over Jerusalem. He would not destroy Jerusalem. In fact, the record says he bowed down and offered a prayer to the God of Israel because of the prophecies of Daniel.
OK, let's move on. Verse 8, notice it says, "The large horn was broken." Now that's Alexander the Great. How was the large horn broken?
Remember I said that Alexander the Great managed to move swiftly and conquer in about 10 years from 344 BC the known world, even to the front door of India. The reason he didn't keep going into India is because his troops were tired. It's hard conquering the world. You get tired.
So they went back to Babylon to take a rest. And they had party after party. And one night, Alexander had been drinking heavily. Somebody gave him some wine that didn't sit well with them. Some even think they poisoned it on purpose.
He died that night in a drunken stupor in Babylon. The large horn was broken. And in the place of it, it says, "Four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven. And out of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It 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."
The glorious land speaks of Israel. Alexander spared it, spared Jerusalem. But another ruler is predicted here, a different little horn who grows up out of this kingdom, the Grecian, not the Roman kingdom.
Now Alexander dies. And when he dies, there is a dispute as to who's in charge. As I mentioned, they said who will get the kingdom. He said give it to the strong. Four generals, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy were given the kingdom. And it was divided up.
Verse 9 mentions the little horn. It can only be one person who forms the template of the Antichrist. And you'll find out why when we look through this and describe him. This little horn can only be the eighth King in this Seleucid dynasty. OK, remember, Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, Seleucus-- Seleucus took Syria. That's the Seleucid empire.
The eighth King in the Seleucid dynasty was a guy named Antiochus IV. He was the brother of Cleopatra. Antiochus IV gave himself a name-- Theos Antiochus Theos Epiphanes-- translated I am the notorious one. Or I am the notable one. Or I am the illustrious one, God manifested. Theos Epiphanes-- I'm the manifestation of God.
The Jews called him not Antiochus Epiphanes, which was his name he called himself, but Antiochus Epimanes, which is a translation that means the madman. And here's why.
Verse 11, "He even exalted himself as high, as the prince of the host. And by him, the daily sacrifices were taken away. And the place of his sanctuary was cast down. 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 he prospered."
He tries to assimilate the Jews to bring them under. Alexander had a dream. He wanted to bring the entire world under Greek language and Greek customs. There was always a group of people that never allowed somebody like that to do it to them. And that was the Jews.
And so this really angered Antiochus Epiphanes. He took his general, Apollonius, with 20,000 troops against Jerusalem, killing 80,000 Jews in an attack against Jerusalem and getting 40,000 of them sold off as slaves. He then plundered the temple in Jerusalem, took away the altar of incense, erected a statue to Zeus in the temple, commanded a pig to be sacrificed on the brass altar of sacrifice, and wrung out the pig's swine juices all over the temple.
When the Jews saw that, they gave it the title that Daniel predicted-- the abomination of desolation. This, they said, is it. It is the abomination that causes desolation.
He forbade circumcision. He forbade the reading of the law, commanding all copies of the Torah be burned. And he forbade the keeping of the Sabbath.
According to 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees-- not biblical books, but they are in some bibles they are historical books, so they are flawed in some respects-- describes two quick encounters, one with a woman who had her one baby circumcised and another woman who had her male baby circumcised on the eighth day. Antiochus found out about this, killed the babies, hung the babies around the mothers necks, and had them marched through the city of Jerusalem for a day, until finally tossing them over the walls of Jerusalem to their own death.
Another story and 2 Maccabees and told by Josephus, the historian, is of a woman with seven sons who defied him and would not have any allegiance to him. Antiochus Epiphanes cut out the tongues of these seven boys in front of their mother, then burned them alive on a flat iron, and then killed the mother. This is the kind of guy he was, the madman, persecuting the Jews, the abomination of desolation.
"Then I heard the Holy One speaking. And another Holy One said to that certain one who was speaking how long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot. And he said to me for 2,300 days. And the sanctuary shall be cleansed."
OK, I've got about five seconds. You ready? When Antiochus and his troops marched against a village down south called Modin-- M-O-D-I-N, we would write it out-- there was a family of priest, a Hasmonean family of priest by the name of Mattathias and his five sons. They rebelled, and they started a rebellion known as the Maccabean revolt.
One of the sons, Judas Maccabeus became the one who in AD 164 finally managed to cleanse the temple. The date that is given here, the 2,300 days, could be interpreted one of two ways. Because in Hebrew, the word days is [HEBREW] or evening, morning, it could refer to an evening and a morning, which makes a day, thus 2,300 days. But it probably doesn't.
Since it's speaking about temple sacrifices, and there were two in one day, the evening sacrifice and the morning sacrifice, probably, the term [HEBREW], evening, morning, refers to those two sacrifices. So the time element is now cut in half from 2,300 days to 1,150 days. And you could date it either way.
You could date it from September 6, 171 BC when Antiochus began his atrocities and all the way to December 5, 165 BC, which is 2,300 days. Or you could date it from the time he began the repression of Jewish worship in the temple also to the day when the temple was purified, which would be 1,150 days. So we could get into this. We don't have enough time. And the mind cannot retain what the seat cannot endure. So we'll move on.
"Then it happened when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai who called and said, Gabriel, make this man understand the vision. So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was afraid and fell on 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 will happen in the latter time of the indignation. For at the appointed time, the end shall be the ram, which you saw having two horns."
These 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, the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.
"And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise having fierce features who understands sinister schemes."
One becomes the template of another. Written in Hebrew, what happened historically is a template, a model, of what is going to happen prophetically. "His power shall be mighty, but it shall not be his own power. He is going to be controlled by another." The Antichrist will be controlled by Satan.
"He shall destroy fearfully. He shall prosper and thrive." That is he'll achieve his power by subduing others.
"He shall destroy the mighty and also the holy people." So he'll be the enemy of Israel. "Through his cunning, he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule." He'll rise to power by promising peace, false security.
"He shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes." He'll oppose Jesus Christ.
"But he shall be broken without human means." That is terminated by divine judgment. "And the vision of the evenings and mornings, which we're told is true. Therefore, seal up the vision for it refers to many days in the future. And I, Daniel, , fainted."
Couldn't take it. He fainted and was sick for days. "Afterward, I arose and went about the King's business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it."
Why did he react this way? Simple, he saw what was coming upon the nation that he loved, the Jewish nation, the people of Israel. To add to the intrigue, we know that what happened historically is a template for what will happen prophetically because Jesus told us so.
Yes, the Jews called what Antiochus Epiphanes did the abomination of desolation. But Jesus, years after that historical event, said, "And when you see the abomination of desolation spoken by the prophet Daniel standing in the holy place, whoever reads, let him understand. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." So we are told by Jesus then that what Antiochus did, as predicted by Daniel, has something not to do just with the Seleucid king, Antiochus Epiphanes, but with the future king who will in like manner persecute the Jews.
So we've seen the parade. We've seen the beginning, the middle, and the end of the parade. The best part is the kingdom that will be set up by our Lord Jesus Christ. So looking forward to it, you know, I've studied it, as you have, for years. And I just can't wait to be in the parade watching it all unfold.
We're already seeing a lot of it happen around us. We're living in the day when Jesus could come back at any moment. And this prophetic time clock of Daniel 70th week, as, God willing, we'll get to next week in Daniel 9, will be uncovered.
Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we look forward to the time when, as written on the United Nations portal in New York City, right out of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks." However, we know that that kind of peace can never happen until that entire verse as predicted happens.
"Out of Zion will go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations and rebuke many people."
So Lord, we do look forward to the coming of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for these faithful ones who have come to listen to your word and especially the nature of this prophetic literature. It made Daniel sick. It caused him to faint. And Lord, we are moved by it because we know that the judgment is coming. But we also know that salvation is ahead.