Daniel, chapter 8. You know, it’s been amazing, because when I first decided that the Lord would have us study the book of Daniel, I really felt that the reason I wanted to get into the book of Daniel was in order to discuss the commitment of Daniel’s life. I felt it was a timely thing for us to see the virtue, and the godliness, and the commitment of this man, so that my real concern for studying the book of Daniel was bound up pretty much in the first six chapters. In fact, I even contemplated that maybe we would take a break between the first and second section.
But as we’ve continued through the book of Daniel, it’s been marvelous to see how God has taught us the principles in the first six chapters about Daniel’s commitment. And then as we began chapter 7, all of the things that began to happen in the world just drew our focus into the prophecies of this book. I hadn’t really anticipated that God would move history to help us along in the understanding of the book of Daniel; but it seems as though that’s exactly what He’s done, and it’s exciting. And we’ll be seeing that as we continue in our study.
Looking again at chapter 8 of Daniel, we have seen that the key figure in this section of Daniel is the coming final world ruler known as the antichrist. And that’s the common term that’s been used by Christians to speak of this individual for many years, and so we lean on that term, because we understand who we mean. John said, in his epistle, “You know that antichrist shall come.” It was common knowledge. And I believe they knew it primarily because they knew the book of Daniel, and Daniel has so much to say about him.
In chapter 7, chapter 8, chapter 9, chapter 11, the main thrust seems to focus on this coming world ruler. But it isn’t only the book of Daniel that speaks of this individual; even the apostle Paul speaks about him. In 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2 and verse 3, we read this: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come the falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” And then Paul goes on in 2 Thessalonians to describe this individual.
He says, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” Now, that indicates to us that not only John was teaching of antichrist and referring back to Daniel, but Paul was also teaching about this antichrist when he was with the Thessalonians. Now, he goes on to say, “You know what restraineth that he might be revealed in his time.
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now hinders will continue to hinder, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie: that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Paul says that first, there will come a great falling away, a great apostasy, a great departure from the faith, and we’ve already seen the apostate church in our own day. Following that, there will be revealed this man of sin, this son of perdition, this called the wicked one.
And with all deceivableness, he will lead astray those who have chosen to forsake the gospel of salvation and follow the way of sin. And he will ultimately be destroyed and consumed in the brightness of the coming of Jesus Christ. So, Paul had the message, and John had the message, and even our Lord, in the discourse on Olive, the Mount of Olives, had the same message about the coming antichrist. And basically, if you go to the Old Testament, the source of it all is the prophecy of Daniel, for Daniel names him and describes him in great, great detail.
Now, summing up what we’ve learned about this individual, we will remember that he is a political leader of tremendous ability. He is virtually a sorcerer. He can pull off what appear to be miracles. He can fool people. He can deceive people into believing that he is literally divine. He is engaging. He is appealing. He is to capture the loyalty of what is left of the world after the rapture, and after the holocaust, and the – and the destruction of the Tribulation. He becomes kind of a reverse messiah.
The world trusts him with its problems because he has tremendous ability to solve them, and he succeeds in temporarily putting the world out of its misery. He will be a financial genius, a military genius. He will be an oratorical wonder. He will be an egomaniac that makes Hitler, and Napoleon, and all the Caesars fade into soft-spoken modesty. He steadily will gather power and influence through his public relations man, whom Revelation calls the false prophet.
And he finally proclaims himself, not king, and not president, and not dictator, and not world ruler, but God Almighty - and the world buys it. He does somehow demonstrate seemingly supernatural power. I believe he will be demon-possessed, and he will have all the forces of hell manifesting certain signs and wonders. The best that can be said of him is that he is indwelt by the devil himself. Modesty will not be his long suit. In fact, he will be a fanatic egotist - a man of tremendous energy, a man of great action.
A diplomat, a peacemaker, a field marshal - and above all, the world will think he is the messiah. Now, Daniel tells us about this coming man. Why? Because Daniel’s prophecy describes the time period known as the times of the Gentiles, or the time period of history in which Gentile nations dominate the land of Israel. Now, that period of time began - and our Lord calls it the times of the Gentiles in the New Testament - but that time period began with the Babylonian captivity.
And it extends to the return of Christ, when He again gives Israel the fullness of its original inheritance, and rules as King of kings and Lord of lords. All of the time in between is the times of the nations; we’re living in it right now. And Daniel’s position is to chronicle that time period, and that time period ultimately culminates in the final form of the final phase of Gentile rule under this final, great world ruler called antichrist.
So, Daniel, then, focuses all the way to that climactic individual who arrives on the scene, and is destroyed in a horrible holocaust when Jesus returns to take His rightful place as King of kings and Lord of lords. Now, in order for the world not to be surprised, in order for us to be very aware of what this individual will be like, in order for us to be warned along the way what to look for, in order for us to see the manifestation of Satan’s activity, Daniel not only points to the future, to this individual.
But Daniel describes some others who will come along, who will function in the power and the character of that individual, so we’ll get a feeling for what he’ll be like. And in the eighth chapter of Daniel, before he gets to the final horn in verse 23 and following, he deals with two preliminary historical figures who are markedly like the final antichrist. And they give us an insight into how this individual is going to be. They are, if you will, two preliminary antichrists - and by the way, John says there are many antichrists - antichristos - and Jesus said there are many false Christs – pseudochristos.
There are many that have come along - false messiahs - who have designed to take over the world, to capture the hearts and the minds of men, and they are clear examples of the kind of character and the kind of power of the final antichrist. Now, from Satan’s angle, all the way along in human history, Satan has tried to overthrow the plan of God, and so Satan is behind the generating of these false messiahs; and the final one, I believe will be a composite of all the worst of all the rest.
When all hell sort of convenes within this one individual, to try to hold onto the world, to prevent Jesus Christ from coming back to take it. I believe that’s the effort, the final, climactic effort. But Daniel wants us to know that before the return of Christ, at the end of the times of the Gentiles, this great figure will appear on the scene in the world. Now, I remind you of what I told you last time: there’s a threefold purpose for Daniel giving us this information.
Number one - and really for giving it to the people of his own day - it was to prepare them for coming persecution. It was to let them know that there was not only going to be an end-time disaster, but they might as well realize that their history was going to filled with false messiahs, who are going to make it hard and oppressive on them. The final antichrist, of course, comes in devastating anger against the people of Israel, and they shouldn’t be ill-prepared for that, because there will others along the way who did the same thing.
Secondly, I believe Daniel gave it to them not only to prepare them for persecution, but to warn them not to be confused by the trend of history. Because you see, the Jew lived in the anticipation of the Messiah coming and setting up His Kingdom, and if a Jew had that in his heart and his mind, and he didn’t understand that the things were going to worse before they got better, he might get a little confused. There were some people around the turn of the century who believed that the world was going to get better, and better, and better.
And one day, we’d just automatically take one more step, we’d wake up on one more morning. There would be one more sunrise, and we wouldn’t even know it, but we’d be in the millennium, and Jesus would’ve taken over the city of Jerusalem, and everything would’ve been turned around, and we would’ve all had a change on the globe; Christ would be reigning. They believed we’d just get better and better until that happened, and then World War I hit, and those people headed for the rocks; something went wrong.
The Jews had known all the way along through their prophets that God was going to send their deliverer; God was going to send their Messiah, and they lived in the hope of that. And Daniel is used by the Spirit of God to help them not to panic when they see things getting worse. They have to get worse before they get better. Thirdly, Daniel always comes to the Kingdom. And his third reason for giving us this information is to let us know that no matter how bad it gets, and no matter how hefty the muscles of Satan are, no matter how hard the demons work, ultimately, God’s Kingdom will prevail.
Now, with that in mind, let’s look at chapter 8, and Daniel’s going to teach us of the coming horn, and the two that are coming before him, that show us something of what he’ll be like. Now, keep in mind, beloved, this one thing: that all of this is prophecy. All of this is given long before any of these historical figures that Daniel predicts were ever born. All of this is well in advance, so that God is predicting the future. And if we can believe what God has - what God says will happen in history, then we can believe what God says about human destiny, too.
If we can believe what God says about people that are going to come and be born, and they’re not even born yet, and it’s true, and it’s fulfilled, then we can believe what God says about heaven and hell, too. The stamp of divine authority. Now, let’s look at the first two, the preliminary antichrists. First one we’ll call the big horn; the big horn. Back to verse 3. We looked at verses one and two last time and introduced the chapter; let’s look at verses 3 to 8, the big horn. Verse 3.
“Then I lifted up mine eyes” - and this, of course, is Daniel’s second vision – “and I saw, and, behold, there stood before the river” – and you remember, he was in Shushan, and he was by the river Ulai, which really was a channel – “and as I was there before the river, a ram, which had two horns” - and that’s not so surprising, all the rams have two horns – “and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.”
Now, as you notice the Hebrew here, you find that he says, “And lifted up mine eyes” - looking in the vision now – “and, behold, there stood before the river a ram” - and the emphasis of the Hebrew is this: a single ram. One ram is emphatic in the Hebrew; a single ram. I think that’s the thrust and the emphasis of the text. I think the numeral seems to be the emphasis. The common spectacle would be to see a herd of sheep, with several rams, but there is a single ram, which is sort of out of character for sheep.
They don’t run around alone. They - they stay in flocks. And he sees this ram with two horns, and they were very high, or literally, they were very tall horns. Now, you’ll remember that we’ve shared with you that horns are the symbol of power - an animal defends itself, fights, using its horns - and the horns were high and tall, and that speaks of great power. Now, you’ll notice also that one was higher than the other; one of the horns was higher than the other - this was a lopsided ram - and what’s interesting is, the higher one came up last.
And so, as Daniel looks at his vision, here is this ram, and first of all, he sees two horns, and they begin to grow. The one grows, and then after that, the other one grows, after the first one, but beyond the first one. Now, what in the world is he talking about here? I mean, the average Christian who sits down and reads that verse says, “Amen, thank You, Lord,” and goes on to the next one. What in the world is this? You say, “Daniel must’ve had chili and strawberries before he went to sleep the night before.”
What is Daniel perceiving here? Well, a little bit of history helps us out a lot. Ammianus Marcellinus, who is a fourth century historian, states this: “On all the rulers of Persia, or the Medo-Persian empire, they bore a ram, or the head of a ram, on some part of their garments, or some part of their armor, especially when they went to battle.” Marcellinus says that when a Persian general or a Persian monarch stepped in front of his troops for a battle, he represented a ram somewhere on his attire.
In the signs of the zodiac - which come, of course, from the occult - the sign of the Ram, Aries, has always been connected with Persia. Other historians tell us that the guardian spirit of the Persian kingdom appeared under the form of a ram, with clean feet and sharp hooves. The ram, then, in ancient times, symbolized Persia, the Persian empire. Now, as Daniel watched, he began to see these horns grow. Now, the composite Persian empire had two parts, didn’t it? The Medes, and the Persians; that’s why it was known as the Medo-Persian empire.
But now, remember, Daniel is prophesying before the Medes and the Persians ever took over. This, chronologically, is before the feast of Belshazzar, when the Babylonian empire fell. Daniel is saying there will come a Persian empire made up of two parts; one part will be taller than the other, but the taller part will come along later. Now, let me tell you what he means by that. Not long after that, Cyrus came to power. Media was already a major power in the world. In fact, Media had helped the Babylonian empire conquer Assyria in 612 BC.
Media was a major empire; it was a pretty big horn. And there was a little horn - Persia. Persia was relatively insignificant; a very small country, lying to the south; had a total of less than 50,000 square miles - relatively insignificant, out in the middle of nowhere, in a wilderness. But Cyrus was a Persian, and he was a genius, and Cyrus, when he came to power in Persia, began to grow. And though he started later than the Medes, he finally conquered Media in 550 BC, and he made Persia the greatest of the two.
And so, when the two were combined, with Persia being the greatest though it started smaller, he established the Medo-Persian empire. Now, how did Daniel know all of that, before it ever happened? There’s only one way - that’s God. Then the history of the Medo-Persian empire is briefly sketched, in verse 4. “I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward” - and by the way, it doesn’t push eastward, because it is eastward; it is the empire of the east.
And he says, “I saw this Medo-Persian empire, and I watched Cyrus” - in the vision, although he didn’t know his name at that time - but it extended itself west and north and south. And you know something? When the non-existent Medo-Persian empire - non-existent in Daniel’s time - came together, that is exactly what it did. It went west, and it took Syria, and it took Asia Minor, and it took Babylonia. It then pushed north, and it took Armenia, and all the region around the Caspian Sea. It pushed south, and it took Egypt, and it took Ethiopia.
And it already occupied the east, and that’s how it became the empire of that entire part of the world. Just exactly as Daniel said, it moved west, north, and south. And by the way, Cyrus was almost unopposed. Verse 4 said, “The ram pushed westward, northward, southward, so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.” Perhaps the most significant king that you might know of at that time was a great king of Asia Minor by the name of Croesus.
Have you ever heard that term? You ever heard the phrase as rich as Croesus? Croesus is one of the great and rich kings of that part of the world; may have been the most formidable foe, in some minds, but almost without resistance did Cyrus just sweep into all those areas, and win the victory. Isaiah made the same prophecy 150 years before Daniel did. You know what Isaiah said about it? He said when this king begins to make his conquerings - in Isaiah 45 - he said that God will “make the crooked places straight.”
In other words, God is going to lay the map in front of this ruler. He’s going to give him an easy road to enter. And the key is, at the end of verse 4, “He did according to his will.” When Cyrus set up the Medo-Persian empire, he was an absolute tyrant; an absolute tyrant; tyrannical dictatorship. So, the rapid progress of Cyrus - in just ten years, from 549 to 539, he conquered the world - and it is suggested by this ram in front of Daniel in his vision. And, of course, in the process, at the end of verse 4, it says, “He became great.”
A better way to translate that Hebrew phrase is he magnified himself; he magnified himself. Cyrus was characterized by two things: self-will - he did what he wanted - and pride. And that’s the way it is with world rulers; in so many cases, they are arrogant, and they are self-willed - read Psalm 2, the folly and stupidity of the world rulers who set themselves up against Christ.
The kings of the earth, says the Psalmist, “imagine a vain thing. They see them” – “set themselves,” rather – “and they take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed, and they say, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.’” The folly of the world rulers who think they can withstand God, but they try. And “He who sits in the heavens will laugh: and the Lord will have them in derision” for such foolishness.
“Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His great displeasure.” And what’s God going to say? “Yet I have set My King upon the holy hill of Zion.” “You’ll never withstand My King,” and of course, His King is none other than Christ. Then in verse 9, He says He’ll break those nations with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. But the proud, self-willed monarchs of the world always set themselves up against God.
So, we see the ram then, and Daniel looks at the future, and he is in the Babylonian empire, and he is seeing the next empire. There were four, right, in an earlier vision: Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and what was the final one? Roman. These would be the four empires that would sweep through the history of the Gentiles. And he’s in the Babylonian time, and now he gets another glimpse of the Persian ram, and some more specifics about how this empire is going to be manifest.
Now, look at verse 5. “And as I was considering” - he’s thinking, musing, contemplating, cogitating on what he sees – “behold, an he-goat came from the west over the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the-goat had a notable horn between his eyes.” Now, let’s stop there for a minute. Here comes a he-goat. Now, what in the world is this? One of the interesting phrases in Isaiah 14 is a reference to he-goats, and if you study the context of Isaiah 14, verse 9, you will find that he-goats are expressions used to speak of leaders or chiefs.
All of a sudden, the Medo-Persian empire has been put together; it is formable – formidable, it is powerful. But out of the west comes a he-goat - or literally, the Hebrew says a buck among the-goats or a buck of the-goats, a male goat. Who is it? Well, if you want the interpretation, all you have to do is go over to verse 20 and 21, same chapter. “The ram which thou sawest having two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia.
“And the rough goat” - a wild male he-goat – “is the king of Greece” - or literally, the kingdom of Greece would be a better interpretation – “and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.” Now, Daniel sees this male goat, this rough goat, this he-goat, and it tells us that the angel tells him - Gabriel tells him - that this is Greece, and that the horn in the head of the-goat is the first Greek king. Now, we’ve moved to the third great world empire, Greece.
Now, by the way, in considering the he-goat, no particular king is in mind. The he-goat simply represents the kingdom of Greece; and where was Greece, to the north? No. To the south? No. Where? To the west - just as the Word of God says. A he-goat, by the way - and this is kind of an interesting thing - a he-goat can outdo a ram. A he-goat is stronger and more agile, and that is very significant in the vision. Now, Greece lay directly to the west of the Medo-Persian empire - directly to the west - and the great Greek culture was intimidated by the Oriental power of Medo-Persia.
For example, the Medes and the Persians had taken all of Asia Minor, and they had engulfed it in their power, and they had literally made slaves out of the occupants of the city-states of the Greek empire. And they were chafing under this, and Greece was ready to - to war against Medo-Persia - eventually. Now, all of this, remember, is years and years and years in the future, beyond what Daniel could ever have known. And so, the he-goat, Greece, comes from the west - and watch - covers the face of the earth, and never touches the ground.
Fantastic. This shows the amount of territory the Greek empire conquered, and the speed with which it conquered it. Listen to me: the Greek empire was larger than the Medo-Persian, which was larger than the Babylonian. The Greek empire stretched from Europe to Asia, and encompassed a great portion of Africa. A massive empire; far more than the Medo-Persians ever conquered. And the Greeks came so fast that they literally didn’t touch the ground. You remember back in chapter 7, when Daniel, in his first vision, sees the Greek empire?
He sees the Greek empire as a leopard, and what did it have all over its back? Wings. A winged leopard, speaking of speed and agility. And so the Greek empire is going to conquer the Medes and the Persians. That is exactly what happened in history; exactly. Now, notice at the end of verse 5, that the he-goat - or the Greek empire - had a big horn; notable horn means a big horn. Now, I want you to meet the big horn - Goats have two horns, but not this goat. To fit the imagery in the vision, this goat had one horn, like a unicorn, coming out between his eyes.
Now, who is that? Over in verse 21 again: “the great horn” - or the big horn – “between the eyes of the rough goat” - or the he-goat – “is the first king.” And who was the first king of the Greek empire? Alexander the Great. It is a prediction of Alexander the Great, the first king. Alexander the Great was a military genius; maybe the greatest military genius of all of human history. He was born in 356 BC, long, long after Daniel. He was the son of a great conqueror, a man by the name of Philip of Macedon, who had already united Greece and Macedonia.
Philip was a powerful man, and he had brought together Greece and Macedonia, and he was planning - Philip was - to fight Medo-Persia. Philip was planning to move east, but he was murdered, and after his murder, his son, Alexander, decided to take up his cause. Alexander was 21 years old when he became king in 336; 21 years old. He was educated - I don’t know if you know this - under Aristotle. He was brilliant. In 334, two years after he became king, he marshaled an army, and started an attack on the Medes and the Persians.
You want to know something? He never came home again. That attack led him to the borders of India. He conquered the world so fast. Prophecy identifies him as the big horn, the notable horn, the great horn of verse 21. And he is, for us, the first false leader that the Spirit of God wants us to see through this vision; the first false messiah. The first one who thought he could conquer the world, and capture the world, and ride roughshod over the people of God, and establish himself.
On his sweep east, he slaughtered who knows how many multitudes and multitudes of people. He wiped out the whole population of some cities, such as the city of Tyre. He was so upset at the city of Tyre - they were in an island off the shore - that he went out to the island. He literally threw the stones and the rubble of the ancient city of Tyre into the sea, and he made a causeway and marched out, and slaughtered the whole city, because they wouldn’t give him the supplies he asked for, rather whimsically massacring human life.
He set up a power structure in Israel that established Greek rule, and led to the next leader of which Daniel will speak, the little horn. Now, let’s pick up the vision in verse 6. We’ve met this Alexander; let’s see what he does. “And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and he ran unto him in the fury of his power.” Here comes Alexander against the Medo-Persian empire.
“And I saw him come close to the ram, and he was moved with anger against him, and smote the ram, and broke his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, and he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.” Now, here you find the combat between the Medes and the Persians, as they try to withstand the incredible speed and agility of the Greeks. By the way, it tells us that he came with the fury of his power - the end of verse 6.
The Hebrew word, literally, the root means hot. Alexander was hot; he was white hot, burning fire. Now, history records what happened. Here’s Daniel a couple of centuries before this, and he lays it all out, and history comes to pass. Alexander had 35,000 troops, and Alexander crossed the Hellespont, and as soon as he crossed the Hellespont, he left Greece, and he entered the Medo-Persian empire. Not far away was a place called the Granicus River, and he crossed the Granicus River.
And when he got to the other side, he found a massive Persian army waiting him, far outnumbering his own troops. But historians believed that the hatred of Greek culture for the primitive eastern attitudes of the Medes and the Persians had been so fomented by this incredible leader, Alexander, that his troops were practically fighting on an unnatural level. And as they confronted the Persians, they literally devastated them. They had expressed an abnormal strength, and the ram was utterly defeated and crushed, and never again rose from that crushing.
It didn’t matter that the Persians had more than Alexander; Alexander’s men were white-hot with the heat of anger against the Medes and the Persians. And immediately, Alexander then freed all of the Greek city-states of Asia Minor and other places that had been held bondage by the Medes and the Persians. He moved in, and took Isis, in the Torus Mountains, defeating Darius the Third. Then he swept down to Tyre, then he swept down and took Egypt, then he went east to the old site of Nineveh, where he defeated a great host of Persians, and then the whole empire fell in his lap.
Babylon was his - the great metropolis. Susa or Shushan was his - the seat of all the power. Persepolis was his - the treasury of the Medo-Persian empire. Ecbatana - the summer royal seat of the Medes - was his. Every city was his, from Europe and North Africa clear to the borders of India. Darius was murdered, and Alexander sat on the throne. He conquered, by the way, Afghanistan; what is now Afghanistan, known then as Bactria. There he was, a perfect illustration of the power of antichrist. Fast, incredible, effective, world-dominating.
That’s how it’ll be with the antichrist. He’ll be that kind of military genius. He’ll be an Alexander, and a Napoleon, and a Hitler, all rolled into one. And on the threshold of such glory, as just a young man, believing that he could’ve reigned till old age, he came to the city of Babylon, got involved in a drunken orgy one night, and died, in June of 323 BC at 33 years of age. Ten years he had conquered the world. He never went home again. He died in a drunken stupor; may well have choked on his own vomit.
He looked like somebody who could conquer the world for Satan. He looked like somebody who could overpower the people of God. He looked like the one the world could look to, and he pictures the power - mark that word, the power - of antichrist. But it was broken. The future antichrist will come with great power, but he, too, will be broken as well. Verse 8, at the end of the verse, takes us further. Let’s start at the beginning of verse 8. “Therefore the he-goat grew very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken.”
Now, listen to that. It was literally at the height of his strength that he was broken, and he was defeated by his own sinfulness. When he was strong, he was broken, “and four” - or “in its place, came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” In Alexander’s place came up four new leaders; that’s what the Bible says will happen, a couple hundred years before it happened, and that’s exactly what happened. Listen: when Alexander died, his empire was divided among four generals, remember? Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy. And what does it say? Toward the four winds.
Cassander took the west: that was Macedonia and Greece. Lysimachus took the north: Thrace, Bithynia, and Asia Minor. Seleucus took the east: Syria, Babylonia and east. And Ptolemy took the south: Egypt, Israel, Arabia. You want to know what fascinates me? You say, “Well, it just all fell into place, ‘cause all he had was four generals.” It took 22 years - 22 years of the most incredible intrigues, and the most unbelievable historical events, until those things were divided into four.
Twenty-two years after Alexander died, they finally got those four divisions, and those were 22 years of subterfuge and infighting among all the generals of Alexander, that finally ended up with four. And there was a fifth who hung on to the last, named Antigonus, but at the very last, he was defeated and shoved out, and there were four. And I’ll tell you something. If Antigonus had gotten in there, you could take your Bible and put it away, because it would’ve been wrong; but it wasn’t. Now what about these?
Verse 22, let’s see the interpretation, given by the angel Gabriel; remember, I told you, verse 15 and following is the interpretation. Verse 22: “Now that being broken” - that is that main horn, Alexander – “whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation” - they did, by those four generals – “but not in his power.” In other words, the empire when it was divided was not as powerful as when it was united. It didn’t have the same strength that it had in Alexander’s time.
He was an incredible leader. He was an amazing man, and the others never came up to his standard. But, listen: Satan can send along his false leaders, and his false messiahs, and his false christs, and they can come and go, but they always reveal the reality of who they are, because they’re always crushed. You could never compare, for example, Alexander, the false christ, with Jesus, the true Christ; there’s just no comparison. Listen to the words of Charles Ross Weede.
“Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three. / One lived and died for self, one died for you and me. / The Greek died on a throne; the Jew died on a cross. / One’s life a triumph seemed; the other but a loss. / One led vast armies forth; the other walked alone; / One shed a whole world’s blood; the other gave His own. / One won the world in life and lost it all in death. / The other lost His life to win the whole world’s faith. / Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three. / One died in Babylon; and one at Calvary.
“One gained all for self; and one Himself He gave; / One conquered every tongue; the other every grave. / The one made himself god; the other made Himself less. / The one lived but to blast; the other but to bless. / When died the Greek, forever fell his throne of swords; / But Jesus died to live forever Lord of Lords. / Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three. / The Greek made all men slaves; the Jew made all men free.
“One built a throne on blood; the other built on love, / The one was born of earth; the other from above; / One won all this earth, to lose all earth and heaven. / The other gave up all, that all to Him be given.” / And then this final statement: “The Greek forever died; the Jew forever” - what? – “lives.” Jesus and Alexander died at 33. Charles Ross Weede points to the fact that there is no comparison. What can we say in response to that?
The folly of following the charlatans, and the frauds, and the petty monarchs of this world in comparison to the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. Daniel says, “Keep your eyes open as you march through history, and watch the coming and the going of the false messiahs.” Let’s look at the second one - briefly, and I won’t take the whole time - the little horn. We’ve seen the great horn, now, I want you to see the little horn, in verse 9, and I’m just going to introduce it - and next time we’ll go into detail.
Now, remember the he-goat; one great horn has come out, but it was broken, and four notable horns came out of that. Now, verse 9: “Out of one of those four” - out of one of the four categories, the four generals, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy – “came forth a little horn, which grew exceedingly great, toward the south, toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.” Now, look and see, in verse 9, another little horn. From one of the four divisions of the Greek empire, as it began to decline, there came a king of unusual significance; he grows.
In other words, each of those four areas had their own monarchs, and their own leaders, but one of them began to rise above the rest. Literally, the Hebrew says, when it says it grew exceedingly great, the literal Hebrew says that it went out from littleness; starting very insignificantly, beginning very, very small. Now, this is not the first time we’ve met a little horn; go back to chapter 7, verse 8.
In chapter 7, verse 8, we read that, “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before which there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots” - now, mark this very carefully. The little horn that you see here, in chapter 7, rises in the fourth beast, verse 7, and the fourth beast represented whom? Rome, not Greece; Rome. And the little horn of chapter 7 is none other than the final antichrist.
If you look a little later in the same chapter, you’ll find the little horn mentioned again in verse 24, and he is the one who speaks great things against the Most High, and wears out the saints, and so forth and so on. And he comes just before the Kingdom, and dominion and greatness of the Kingdom is given to the Son. So, the little horn of 7 is a little horn of the Roman beast; he is the antichrist. But in chapter 8, the little horn is a little horn that grows out of the Greek empire; it’s a different little horn.
Oh, it symbolizes the final little horn, but it’s different. They are similar, but different. One is antichrist, but this one is some monarch who was part of the kingdom of Greece. Now, we know who this is. There’s no question about it, his name is Antiochus, A-N-T-I-O-C-H-U-S. He’s a very important person in history. He was the eighth ruler - mark this - of the Seleucus dynasty; the Seleucus dynasty.
Remember, that was the part that was the eastern part, Babylonia, and Assyria, and all of that, the Ptolemies being the most significant with the Seleucid or Seleucid dynasty. He was the eighth ruler of the Seleucids. He reigned - mark this - from 175 to 164, so now, we’ve jumped another 150 years away from Daniel’s life. How did he know this was going to happen? And he rises, and he grows, the Bible says - look at verse 9 - he grows exceedingly great.
Now, I told you earlier that he rises from littleness. That’s very significant, because this guy Antiochus had absolutely no claim to the throne, so he rose out of insignificance. That’s indicated by Daniel, when it says he came forth out of littleness. He ascended the throne following the murder of his brother; in fact, the rightful heir was a man named Demetrius, who at this time was a hostage. And so, Antiochus took the throne, even when he didn’t deserve it.
If you want to know how he took it, chapter 11, verse 21. It says, “And in his estate” - and it’s talking about the same individual, as we shall see – “shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by” - what? – “flattery” - flattery. Began small, because he wasn’t the rightful heir - the rightful heir was a hostage, and in fact, I think he was a hostage in Rome, at the time - and he did it by flattery.
And once he was crowned, he gave himself the name Epiphanes. He was Epiphanes, and the people called him Epimanes, which means the maniac. He swept to the south, and made great gains in Egypt. He swept to the east, in Mesopotamia, and to the north, in Armenia, and to the glorious land, is literally the Hebrew, or the pleasant land - where would that be? What would Daniel call the pleasant land? Israel. So, he ruled it all. Palestine is the glorious land.
By the way, in chapter 11, verse 16, chapter 11, verse 41, Palestine is called the glory; the glory - and that’s really the Hebrew there. Now, let me give you a little interesting thought. The Ptolemies controlled the south - Egypt, North Africa - the Seleucids controlled the east, and Israel was the buffer in between; and it was a constant object of dispute. For a while, it would be this group’s, and then it would be this group’s, and it would go back and forth, and finally, now comes Antiochus, Epiphanes’ father, and he takes over Israel.
And so, when Antiochus takes the throne, he is literally the king of Israel. Now, for what he does when he gets there, you’ll have to come back next time. And you will see some of the most incredible, unbelievable acts that any human being in human history has ever done, and he did them to the Jewish people. Now, listen to me: Alexander was a picture of the power, the military power, of antichrist. Antiochus is a picture of the vile, wicked character of antichrist, and the composite will lead us to the final horn at the end of the chapter.
Let me close by saying this. History is going somewhere. History has already been charted by a sovereign God. History is moving inexorably to this inevitable hour, when the world ends in a horrible bloodbath, as the antichrist tries to fight against the Son of God. Jesus came once; He’ll come again. There are always scoffers who say, as Peter records, “Where is the promise of His coming? All things continue as they were. We believe in the theory of uniformity. It all always stays the same.” To which Peter replies, “Have you forgotten the flood?”
It doesn’t always stay the same. God does judge. He judged this earth in the flood, and He’ll judge it again, and He’ll judge it with the coming of Jesus Christ. And by the time Jesus comes, the world will have become so wretched, and so rotten, and so vile, that under the leadership of this incredible military man of infinite wickedness, the world will be led to the apex of its expression of sin. It will slaughter mercilessly the people of God, but only as far as Jesus permits, and then He’ll come in blazing glory.
Now, you’re either a part of the judgment of human society, or you’re a part of the triumph, right? You’re either going to be there to feel the blow in the neck, or you’re going to be there to hear the blow of the trumpet. You’re either going to spend eternity in hell without God, or eternity in heaven with Him. And it all hinges on one thing, and that is what you do with Jesus Christ. Jesus said there’s coming a day of judgment, when there’s going to be a separation.
To some, He will say, “Depart from Me into everlasting fire.” To some, He will say, “Enter in to My Kingdom.” What you do with Jesus Christ determines that, and He controls the destiny of every man, and the history of the world. Let’s pray together. Father, with grateful hearts, we have again had the incredible privilege of being taught from Your Word. These moments fly so fast that it’s almost breathtaking. Our minds are boggled, as we try to absorb the sweep of history.
To think that we could spend an hour in what seems like a few seconds, and march from the time of Daniel to the end of the world, seeing detail after detail before they ever came to pass, tells us what a treasure this book is; the book that is Your voice speaking to us. And this same book that can predict the future also says, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema” - accursed. Jesus is the dividing line, Father, and we know that.
To have the Son is to have life; not to have the Son is to have eternal death. Jesus said, “You will not come unto Me, that you might have life.” I pray tonight, Lord, that if there are some in our midst who, perhaps maybe for the first time, or for the first time to a new depth, have seen the reality of history, and they don’t know you, that this’ll be the time when they open their hearts. Help us to realize that this is not a whimsical book. You wrote every word in it, and everything You said was true.
You predicted Alexander, and he fulfilled to the letter. You predicted his four generals, and that’s the way it was. You predicted Antiochus, and he did every single thing You said he’d do. And You’ve told us how the world’s going to end, and You’ve told us how we can escape; may we believe You there, too. While your heads are bowed, just in a parting time of self-examination, if you look into your heart and there’s any fear that if the judgment of God were to fall, you’d be left out - if there’s any fear at all, then perhaps you should set that right with God.
The simple thing that He asked you to do is to believe in your heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, that He died for you, that He rose again, and to confess Him as your Lord and Savior. Silently in your heart, that’s all you need to do, to pass from death to life, from condemnation to liberty, from judgment to glory, from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of His dear Son. And you can pray it silently in your heart. Lord God, I believe. I want Christ in my life. I want to be ready when it all comes to an end.
Father, we do pray that You’ll bring those who need to come, whose hearts You prepared by the Spirit; draw them, that they may begin the right kind of life. Lord, we know they can leave, and just do the transaction between you and them, and it’ll be well, and good, and eternal, but, Lord, we want to help them. We want to get them started, so we pray, Lord, that You’ll drawn them to us tonight, that some counselor may pray, and share, and answer questions, and be available, and get started right.
Do Your work, Lord, in all of our hearts, and thank You, that in the face of the future, we have no fear at all, because our life is hid with Christ in God, eternally secure. Thank You for that confidence, in Christ’s blessed name. Amen.
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