Daniel 8 - Daniel Sees the Greek Abomination

Turn in your Bibles to Daniel 8:1;

 

In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me—to me, Daniel—after the one that appeared to me the first time. 2 I saw in the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, that I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai. 3 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. 4 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.

 

5 And 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 between his eyes. 6 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. 7 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.

 

8 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. 9 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. 10 And 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. 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. 12 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.

 

13 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?”

 

14 And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days;[a] then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

 

15 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. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” 17 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.”

 

18 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. 19 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. 20 The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the male goat is the kingdom[b] of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. 22 As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.

 

23 “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.

24 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 also the holy people.

25 “Through his cunning

He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule;[c]

And he shall exalt himself in his heart.

He shall destroy many in their prosperity.

He shall even rise against the Prince of princes;

But he shall be broken without human means.[d]

26 “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.”

 

27 And I, Daniel, 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.

 

Here in chapter 8, 2 years after the vision that Daniel recorded in chapter 7, Daniel sees a continuation of the theme that he has seen before, with a significant difference, it only deals with the Medo-Persian and Greek empires..

 

There is good reason for this, as the time of this vision comes near the end of the Babylonian empire, which Daniel depicts so well in chapter 5. Besides this we see the same characters. The Medo-Persian empire who Daniel describes as;

 

(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. 4 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.

 

Like the bear in chapter 7, there is duality expressed here, which also foretells the ultimate superiority of the younger Persian empire over that of the Medes.

 

Then we see the goat with a single “notable horn” between its eyes, which is Alexander the Great who is then replaced by four horns. These are the four generals who took charge of Alexander's kingdom at his death.

 

Daniel goes on to tell us an extremely important piece of information which needs to be considered carefully. He tells us;

 

9 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.

 

The World Digital Library at wdl.org shows a map from the 19th century and describes the dissolution of Alexander's kingdom this way.

 

The Battle of Ipsus, fought in Phrygia, Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) in 301 BC between rival successors, resulted in the empire’s irrevocable dissolution. This late-19th century map in Latin shows the four main kingdoms that emerged after the battle. The kingdom of Cassander (circa 358–297 BC), consisted of Macedonia, most of Greece, and parts of Thrace. The kingdom of Lysimachus (circa 361–281 BC), included Lydia, Ionia, Phrygia, and other parts of present-day Turkey. The kingdom of Seleucus (died 281 BC; later the Seleucid Empire), comprised present-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, and parts of Central Asia. The kingdom of Ptolemy I (died 283 BC) included Egypt and neighboring regions.

 

So there were four kingdoms; Cassander's which consisted of Macedonia, most of Greece and parts of Thrace, Lysimachus', which included Lydia, Ionia, Phrygia and other parts of modern-day Turkey, Seleucius' which comprised areas of present day Iran, Iraq, Syria and parts of Central Asia, and that of Ptolemy's which included Egypt and the surrounding areas.

 

Consider these regions very carefully because Daniel tells us that out of one of these four horns comes a little horn.

 

So then, this vision is different from the vision we saw in chapter 7. In chapter 7 Daniel saw;

 

7 “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 ten horns. 8 I was considering the horns, and there was another 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 like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.

 

If that doesn't sound anything like the vision here, it's because it isn't.

 

You see, what Daniel is being shown here with someone in the later part of the Greek reign who stops the sacrifice and treads over the temple for 2300 evre and boker (evenings and mornings), which is the wording in the original Aramaic and which has been incorrectly translated as days by some translators.

 

Why is that important?

 

It is important because the angel is talking about the sacrifices in the temple of which there are two, an evening sacrifice and a morning sacrifice. So instead of the amount of time when this Greek little horn desecrates the temple is not 2300 days, but is instead 1150 days.

 

As I've said before the accuracy of the prophecies given to Daniel in and of themselves prove that the Living God is indeed able to know the future, and not in some vague way.

 

You see, the subject of Daniel's prophecy here has already taken place.

 

Remember the kingdom of Seleucius?

 

Mollerhaus.com explains;

 

The kingdom of the Greeks as THE world power lasted approximately three hundred years. More than half way through that period of time one of the successors of Seleucius (Antiochus Epiphanes) rose and took control of the Seleucid portion of the Near East. He was a godless man who sought to empty temples of their wealth and then distribute it in a Robinhood-like way. Another of his major aims was to spread Greek culture and wisdom. Thus Israel was just another nation upon which to impose Greek ways, and its temple just one more to empty of its wealth. However, in Israel he developed a particularly passionate hatred for the Jews and their worship. In the 142nd year of the kingdom of the Greeks (Seleucidae) Antiochus corrupted Menelaus, a usurper, who had murdered the previous high priest and had installed himself in that office. In time, Menelaus gave himself to converting Jews to Greek Culture, building a gymnasium and entering athletic events in the Greek fashion (naked). He and other Jews developed a false method of appearing uncircumcised, so far did he go in getting some to abandon their God, culture, and religion.

 

Two and a half years later Antiochus did indeed stop the daily sacrifice and set up an idol in the temple and an altar upon which swine were sacrificed. The temple fell into disuse, weeds and brush grew up in its courtyards. This was the root cause of the rebellion of the Maccabean family, who after three years of fighting, defeated the Greek forces, cleansed the temple, and reinstituted the daily sacrifice. Antiochus, upon hearing of this and other setbacks, took to his bed and in a fever died shortly thereafter.

 

The dates of the ceasing of the sacrifice and it's re-institution are well documented by the Macabees.

 

I Maccabees 1:54 says:

 

"On the 15th day of the 9th month of the 145th year [of the kingdom of the Greeks] king Antiochus set up the abominable idol of desolation upon the altar of God."

 

The termination is established in the same book I Mac. 4:52,53

 

"And they arose before the morning of the 25th day of the 9th month of the 148th year, and they offered sacrifices according to the law upon the new altar…"

 

What is amazing about this is that, when we use the Jewish prophetic year of 360 days and a prophetic month of 30 days, we get:

 

3 x 360 = 1080 days

2 x 30 = 60

15th - 25th = 10 days

 

1080 days plus 60 days equals 1140 days plus 10 more days equals 1150 days.

 

Or 2300 evening and morning sacrifices.

 

It is obvious here that Daniel is not being shown a vision of the Day of the Lord, though there is a similar event that the Apostle John sees in his visions in Revelation. Daniel is seeing the well documented, historically recorded abomination of desolation performed by Antiochus Ephiphanes. The phenomenal thing about this is that Daniel recorded this somewhere around 548 BC and Antiochus Epiphanes committed his abominable act in 167 BC, three hundred eighty-one years later.

 

The similarity of the events in Revelation and those that Daniel speaks of here are uncanny, but it is certain that they are separate events. Antiochus Epiphanes had already committed his abominations more than 265 years before John wrote of the vision revealed to him by the Living God. Wherever John speaks of the beast and his reign it mentions 42 months, which is three years and six months, or half of the last week that we will see Daniel speak of when he is given the prophecy of the 70 weeks.

 

Untangling these prophecies and properly understanding them is something that we need to do so that we can speak to the accuracy of the prophecies already given as a promise of the accuracy of those not yet fulfilled.

 

Every prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled except those which speak of the return of our Lord and Savior. It is essential that those who confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior understand this and convey it to people who discount the Bible as just another “holy book.”

 

There is no other book ever written which is like the Bible. The Bible's detractors understand this and so they have spent millenia trying to explain away it's prophetic truths. Typically this is done by attributing the writing of the prophetic passages after the events, and yet these attempts fail miserably when we apply the science of textual criticism combined with archeology and history.

 

There is a reason that this vision was sealed. It was sealed so that no one would understand it until after it happened, and thus there could be no accusations that the prophecy was intentionally fulfilled. In fact, God used the vilest atheist and unbeliever to fulfill this prophecy which shows His ability to use anyone and anything for His purposes and for His glory.

 

It is sad that so many people who confess Jesus as their Lord spend so little time in God's love letter to them. This same book that has such accurate prophecies also tells us how to live our lives, how to raise our children, how to take care of our families and how to lead full lives that glorify our Creator.

 

What's more than that, it literally reveals the very nature of the Living God to those whom He created. We do well to spend more time in God's word, not in some rushed manner that is designed to reach some reading goal, but in a manner that shows our reverence for His word and our true desire to understand it with the leading of the Holy Spirit.

 

And if you have never confessed Jesus as Lord, I urge you to understand the fundamental message that it conveys to all men.

 

You are created.

 

You have sinned.

 

The wages of your sin is death.

 

Death is not ceasing to exist, but rather it is eternal separation from God in that place which Jesus calls the outer darkness and where He tell us there is crying and gnashing of teeth.

 

Ask yourself this.

 

If the Bible is able to foretell an event 381 years before it occurred, should you not listen to it when it speaks of your eternal destiny?

 

You see the Bible does not only speak of our spiritual condition, it also testifies to the only cure for our eternal damnation. God did not leave us without recourse. He has given the most precious gift that He could as the payment for your sins.

 

Jesus, Who is without sin, died for those of us who are sinners in order that all those who confess Him as Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised them from the dead would be saved.

 

The worthiness of Jesus' sacrifice is attested to by His unprecedented resurrection.

 

You see, death can only hold those who have sinned and who have not had their sins paid for. Jesus' resurrection is a testimony to His worthiness and a promise to those who believe in Him that they too shall have eternal life in him.

 

If this truth is becoming real to you, then God is waking your spirit so that you may know the truth and be saved by the blood of His Son.

 

Don't despair.

 

Trust God.

 

Trust His Son.

 

Trust His Holy word which is so unlike any other book ever written.

 

Let us pray.

 

 

 

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