This is the fourth post in a five-part series on Daniel’s vision of the ram and goat. So far we’ve learned a great deal about the end time Antichrist and his actions. The man Daniel calls the little horn will be a king in the end times who will uproot three horns, meaning he will invade and conquer three nations. We learned two of these nations will be to the south of him and to the east of him. And we learned the third nation he uproots will be the “pleasant land,” which we have learned is Israel. Now in this post, the angel Gabriel gives us more details about Antichrist, such as his military success and where he gets his power. We learn Antichrist will have the answer to the Middle East problem. In fact, it will be a diabolical trap that Antichrist sets for the Jewish people. If you want to learn more, keep reading.
DANIEL’S VISION OF THE RAM AND GOAT
By Karen Thompson
Fourth in a Five-Part Series
Daniel Seeks for the Meaning of the Vision
Dan. 8:15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. 17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. 18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. 19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
At the end of the vision, Daniel was confused by what he saw and “sought for the meaning.” Then someone appeared and stood before him. Daniel then heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai river that said, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” In verse 17, the angel Gabriel approached Daniel and explained to him that the events he saw in the vision “refer to the time of the end.” These events that Daniel saw were to take place far into the future. We know from Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the metal man that the “time of the end” occurs when the ten-toed kingdom is destroyed. Gabriel confirmed it again by saying, “Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be” (v. 19).
The Little Horn Is Not Antiochus Epiphanes
It’s important to understand that some have erroneously interpreted the little horn in the vision of the ram and goat to be Antiochus Epiphanes, the Grecian Seleucid king that persecuted Israel. But Gabriel specified that these events would happen at the latter end of the four kingdoms, at the end of the indignation. The events of Antiochus Epiphanes happened between 175–163 BC (the length of his reign). The little horn in this vision is not symbolic of the Seleucid king in Daniel chapter 11. We know that because these events are to happen in the latter end of these nations. Antiochus Epiphanes, however, does have a role in Jewish history, and he is a featured character in chapter 11, but he is most definitely not the little horn.
Gabriel Interprets the Vision
Dan. 8:20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. 22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. 23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. 24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
In verse 20, Gabriel explained the symbolism of the two horns on the ram as being “the kings of Media and Persia.” Then in verse 21 he explained the symbolism of the goat: “the rough [shaggy] goat is the king of Grecia” and “the great horn that is between his eyes” symbolized its first king, which history tells us was Alexander the Great. He explained verse 22: “Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.” Once the great horn on the goat was broken, four horns would grow in its place. Four kingdoms would be created out of the one greater empire. The phrase “but not in his power” means these four kings will not have the same power as the first king, Alexander.
Let’s look at verse 23: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” Even though we already went over this in a prior post, it’s always good to review it again. The verse starts out by saying “in the latter time of their kingdom.” The phrase “latter time” is another way of saying the “end times.” The pronoun “their” refers to Alexander’s four generals. So it’s talking about the kingdoms of these four generals during “the latter time of their kingdom” during the end times. All four Greek generals ruled over a portion of Alexander’s empire in the Middle East. During the end times, Antichrist will come from one of the kingdoms of these four Greek generals. As we’ve already established before, that means the Antichrist kingdom will be in the Middle East.
Daniel goes on to say, “when the transgressors are come to the full….” The transgressors are the apostate Jewish people, as they have transgressed against God. The phrase “are come to the full” is a reference to the fullness or completeness of their sinful state. The Amplified Bible says it this way: “when the transgressors [the apostate Jews] have reached the fullness [of their wickedness, taxing the limits of God’s mercy]….”
Details Revealed About the Antichrist/Little Horn
Now we come to the last part of verse 23 where we learn specific details about the king that Daniel refers to as the “little horn” which we know to be the Antichrist. Gabriel describes the little horn/king saying, “a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” The little horn is described as a “king of fierce countenance” who will understand “dark sentences.” The phrase “dark sentences” comes from the Hebrew word chiydah and it means “riddle, difficult question, parable, enigmatic saying or question, perplexing saying, or question.” The little horn will be the man with the answers, the problem solver. But what problem does he solve? When it comes to the Middle East, the overriding number-one problem is Israel. However, Israel isn’t the one who has the problem. It’s the Muslim-majority nations surrounding Israel that have the problem; they simply don’t want Israel to exist. As a result, there has been nonstop wars ever since Israel became a nation again in 1948. I am confident Antichrist will come up with a solution regarding the animosity between the Middle Eastern nations and Israel. We can’t know for sure what understanding “dark sentences” actually means, but here’s how the Amplified Bible translates that phrase: “understanding dark trickery and craftiness shall stand up.” This description tells us the little horn’s solution to the problem will most likely not be honest, that behind the solution lies an underhanded plan.
In verse 24, Gabriel said Antichrist’s “power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” Antichrist will be mighty but “not by his own power,” which means he will operate under the supernatural power of Satan. Revelation 13:2 confirms that Satan is the one that gives Antichrist power: “…and the dragon [Satan] gave him [Antichrist] his power, and his seat [throne], and great authority.” With this supernatural power that he gets from Satan, he will “destroy wonderfully.” Another way to interpret the phrase “he shall destroy wonderfully” would be that little horn will kill and destroy to an extraordinary degree. He will prosper and practice, or accomplish, all that he sets out to do. Simply put, he will be successful. Then the last portion of verse 24 confirms the object of his aggression is the Jewish people: “and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” Again, the “mighty” and “holy people” is another way of saying the soldiers and citizens of Israel.
Now let’s look at verse 25: “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” First of all, verse 25 confirms that Antichrist will be a man of bad character, a man that cannot be trusted. The first part says, “through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand.” The Hebrew word translated as “craft” is mirmah, and it means deceit and treachery. He will achieve his agenda through deceit and treachery. He’ll be manipulative and deceitful. And people will fall for his deceit.
It goes on to say, “he will magnify himself in his heart,” which means he’ll be filled with pride, so much so that he sees himself as god and will demand to be worshiped as such. Second Thessalonians 2:4 says Antichrist will enter the temple and declare himself to be god: “so that he [Antichrist] as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
Now we come to a very enlightening phrase: “and by peace shall destroy many.” It provides us with insight as to his plan for the Middle East problem. It involves “peace.” He will come up with a plan that will bring peace. But remember, the first part of that verse says, “through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many.” Let’s see that in the Amplified translation: “And through his policy he shall cause trickery to prosper in his hand; he shall magnify himself in his heart and mind, and in their security he will corrupt and destroy many.” When Israel feels safe and lulled into a false sense of security, Antichrist will make his attack. That’s deceitful. The phrase “by peace shall destroy many” reveals how Antichrist will deceive the Jewish people. This is confirmed in Daniel’s next vision.
Antichrist Comes to an End
The last part of verse 25 tells us the end of Antichrist: “he [Antichrist] shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” Because of his pride being so great, Antichrist will foolishly challenge God Himself. He will do battle with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords at Armageddon. But Antichrist “shall be broken without hand,” meaning he will not be destroyed by man, nor by weapons made by man; rather, he will be killed by the sword that comes out of Messiah’s mouth (Rev. 19:15, 21).
The Vision Comes to an End
Dan. 8:26 And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days. 27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
In verse 26, Gabriel told Daniel to “seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future” (NKJV). The vision wasn’t given to Daniel for his generation of Jewish people. It is meant for the generation that will be alive during end times, those who would experience the events in the visions. So the vision was to be “shut up,” meaning to keep it closed or secret. The fulfillment of the vision wouldn’t be until “many days in the future,” which means in the end times. This is a reference to when the times of the Gentiles comes to an end, when the ten-toed Antichrist kingdom will be destroyed.
Verse 27 tells us the effect the vision had upon Daniel: “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days….” After the vision of the four beasts, Daniel actually fainted and became sick for days. Hearing these things devastated him and took a toll on his health. Then he “rose up and did the king’s business”; this tells us Daniel was still serving in the government. Lastly, Daniel said he was astonished by the vision and “no one understood it.” It’s apparent by the phrase “no one understood it” that Daniel told his fellow Jews of his vision. And even though the angel Gabriel gave Daniel the interpretation, they weren’t able to fully understand what was coming.
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