Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives commentary on the divine interpretaion of the prophecy to Daniel of the Ram and He-goat. Additional insight into the person of the antichrist is provided.
[Prayer] Father we thank Thee for the Book of Daniel and the teaching that it contains concerning the future. We pray again that Thou will give us wisdom and guidance as we think about the prophecies, enable us not only Lord to be curious about the things that are set forth in the word, but also to profit from the great principles that are found within this revelation and may we make the application that needs to be made. We ask that this hour may be helpful to each one of us.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] Tonight we are turning again to Daniel chapter 8 and we are looking at the interpretation that is given of the ram and the he-goat vision. Let me begin by making again just a few comments by way of review. We have been saying that in the Book of Daniel we have the unveiling of the antichrist as one of the major themes of the book. In fact, it seems to me that this may be the major theme of the Book of Daniel. It is an attempt to show us the future in broad outlines, but specifically to give us instruction concerning the place from which the antichrist shall ultimately arise so that we shall be prepared as history develops. So, Daniel is really a book in which we have as one of the major themes if not the major theme, the unveiling of the antichrist. In most of the other books of the Bible, we have the unveiling of the Christ as their principal theme.
Now we have also been stressing the fact that Daniel is a book that is written in two languages, the language of Hebrew and the language of Aramaic. The first chapter through the fourth or third verse of the second chapter is written in Hebrew and then in chapter 2 verse 4 through chapter 7, the prophet used the language of Aramaic. Now these are very closely related languages, but nevertheless they are different and Aramaic is very suitable as the language for the Gentile sections of the book while the language of Hebrew is especially appropriate for prophecies concerning the nation Israel. So, just as one might expect, beginning in chapter 2, verse 4, we have broad prophecies that deal with the times of the Gentiles.
Now “the times of the Gentiles” is an expression that refers to the fact that from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in about 605 BC until the time of the second advent, Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, so that we are living in the times of the Gentiles, that is world government is in the hands of Gentiles. So, these prophecies beginning in chapter 2 verse 4 through chapter 7 are prophecies that deal broadly with the history of the world kingdoms from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem to the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Beginning in chapter 8 with the Hebrew section again, we have prophecies that particularly concern the Nation Israel. So, we should expect from now on since the remainder of the book is written in Hebrew to find the relationship of Israel to the program of God primarily before us and that I think is what we do have. We have in this chapter for example in the ninth verse a reference made to the beautiful land or the pleasant land as it is found in the Authorized Version. In verse 11, we have reference to the sanctuary and the daily sacrifice, these two are things that have to do with the nation Israel and specifically the City of Jerusalem. So, we then see that here we are beginning to deal with things that have to do with the Nation Israel.
In chapter 2, we had the great vision of Nebuchadnezzar in which he was given the magnificent picture of that job image made of four types of material; gold, silver, bronze, and then of clay. And in that particular chapter we were taught that there were these four great empires and we identified them as Babylon, the head of gold; the silver part of the image had reference to Medo-Persia; the bronze part of the image had reference to Greece; and then the iron and the clay had reference to this indescribable fourth kingdom which we know from other parts of the Book of Daniel is a reference to the Roman Empire.
Then in chapter 7, remember Daniel himself was given the vision of the four wild beasts and we made the comment that in chapter 2 when man looks at world empire under the hands of the Gentiles, he sees a very impressive great image, but when God gives the prophet a picture of the dominion of the Gentiles during the times of the Gentiles, He pictures it as four wild beasts. And so, we saw the vision of the lion and the bear and the leopard and then that fourth indescribable beast and these too were designed to represent the four empires, but in the seventh chapter we were looking at them from the standpoint of God. The lion being a reference to Babylon, the bear a reference to Medo-Persia, the leopard a reference to Greece, and then that last terrible animal was a reference to the Roman Empire.
Now we have in chapter 7 noticed one additional factor and that was — that there was some added information given about the king of that fourth kingdom and the figure of the little horn was used in chapter 7 in order to stress the work that he who would be the antichrist or the beast whatever we may want to call him, the kind of person that he would be. So, chapter 7 then gave us added information about the king of that fourth kingdom. In chapter 8 now, we looked at the vision that Daniel obtained and we saw that in the vision of the Ram and He-goat there was also a little horn. And the little horn came up of off the He-goat, and we learn from that at least tentatively last week that that little horn is probably the same little horn as the little horn in chapter 7.
And I say this contrary to the views of a number of other interpreters. I think I am right, I think I can support whatever I am saying. And that the purpose of the eighth chapter is to give us some additional information about the place from which this king shall come, this antichrist or this evil king of the last days. So that in chapter 8, we are told that we should expect the antichrist to come from the Grecian part of the restored Roman Empire. Remember in history when Rome conquered the world, they incorporated within their kingdom, the kingdom of Greece and specifically those four kings or four rulers that succeeded to Alexander’s dominion. So, we learn from this that four of the ten kings of the last day will be Grecian and that the little horn or the antichrist is going to come from one specific one of them.
Now later in chapter 11, we will be told precisely from what part of the Grecian Empire this antichrist shall come, so what Daniel is doing is he is giving us general pictures and then he is narrowing done his prophesies so that we gradually focus upon the king, the antichrist of the last days, so he is moving from the general to the specific in the unveiling of the things that he wants to unveil.
When I spoke on Daniel a number of years ago, I likened it to the setting up of the Air Force academy in the sense that for a long time, the Air Force and things that had to do with the Air Force were involved in the activities at West Point, but finally in order to be more specifically deal with that aspect of the Armed Forces of the United States, the Air Force Academy was set-up.
So, Daniel is giving us broad pictures and then filling in details and if we keep that in our minds, I think we will not have a great deal of trouble in getting what he wants to tell us about the place from which the antichrist shall come. Let me read again verses 1 through 14 where we have the revelation of the vision and I will just make a few general comments reminding you what we looked at last time before we look at the interpretation. He describes the rise of the ram in verses 1 through 4 of chapter 8,
“In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king, a vision appeared unto me, Daniel, subsequent to the one, which appeared to me previously. And I looked in the vision; and it came about while I was looking that I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I looked in the vision and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal. Then I lifted my gaze and looked, and behold, a ram, which had two horns was standing in front of the canal.
“Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, and the longer came up last. I saw the ram butting westward, northward, and southward, and no other beasts could stand before him, nor was there anyone to rescue him from his power, but he did as he pleased and magnified himself.”
Now just by way of review remember that we identified the ram with the kingdom of Medo-Persia that is done for us in chapter 8 verse 20. The ram, which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia and we compared it to the chapter 7 and the bear or chapter 7 because that was the reference to Medo-Persia arise, devour much flesh was said in chapter 7 and verse 5 I believe it is and here we see the ram butting westward, northward and southward. So, under different figure, the same thing is being taught. This is a reference to the silver metal of the first vision of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 2. So, under figures the prophet is telling us much the same thing.
We also pointed out that the ram in history was well known as a figure associated with Persia. Is it Behram and the Zendavesta, who is the guardian spirit of Persia was one who was portrayed as like a ram, and like a ram with the two horns. We committed also on the fact that one horn was longer than the other and that the longer one came up last. And that suggested to us that which in accordance with the history of Media and Persia that it was Media that first was dominant but finally Persia became dominant and in their collision it was dominant after the other and so the fact that the horn that came up last is longer than the other is true to what we know of the relationship of Media and Persia. Persia was the stronger of the kingdoms, but it did arise in power last. So, the ram then represents Medo-Persia.
Now is verses 5 through 8, we describe or he describes the rise of the He-goat. And let me read verses 5 through 8,
“While I was observing, behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; (Now notice that particularly because that is expressive of the speed of movement of this he-goat and that has reference of course to what we will say in just a moment. So, it was without touching the ground) and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. And he came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. And I saw him come beside the ram, and he was enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So, he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. “But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.”
We identified in the light of the statement that is made in verse 21 the he-goat with Greece. There we read, and the shaggy goat represents the Kingdom of Greece and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king and the first king of course was Alexander. We also drew the parallel between the bronze of image in chapter 2 and the leopard of the visions of chapter 7. Because the leopard is known for agility and speed and also smooth kind of speed too and that was characteristic of Alexander and his armies.
So, when the ram and the he-goat stand before each other we have ponderosity verses agility and that was exactly the case when Alexander came with his forces across the Hellespont and attacked Darius and after three battles, one at Granicus, one at Issus, and then the last at Arbela (also called by other names.) Alexander became the ruler of the world. Alexander pushed on toward the east and even went as far as India, but finally his armies became tired. He came back to Babylon and established his empire there or headquarters there, I should say, which incidentally is of significance for biblical prophecy because in the Book of Revelation, Babylon again will be one of the important features of the last days, and this antichrist is identified with Babylon. But anyway he established his kingdom, his headquarters in Babylon and thereafter a short time just after he had come to world dominion he expired from marsh fever, and probably also dissipation. Alexander was one of the greatest of the world emperors, not only a many of tremendous energy, but also a man of tremendous intelligence. Unusual for world emperors and unusual for Presidents in these days as well.
Now I want you to notice the characteristic features of this, we have, I mentioned the male goat coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground, there is the speed of the he-goat representative of the speed and solarity of movement of Alexander and his forces. He came to the ram that had the two horns, he rushed at him and his wrath, the overcame him not only by force of speed, and striking power, but also intelligence. And by attacking at Arbela in a diagonal way he destroyed all that Darius had hoped to gain by having million or so men against Alexander in a place of battle that he himself had picked out. So, he held him to the ground and trampled on him and there was none to rescue the ram from him.
Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly, but as soon as he was mighty and that is true of course to what we know of the history of Alexander, right at the height of his power when he had become a world emperor, he was struck down. And then we read in verse 8, and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven and this is a reference to the division that took place after Alexander’s death, his empire was divided into four parts and Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy and Seleucus divided up the kingdom of Alexander. One of those is going to be very important. It’s not Ptolemy who had — who took Egypt and possibly parts of the land of Palestine. It is not Lysimachus, it is not Cassander, but it is Seleucius because Seleucius was the successor who inherited that part of Alexander’s empire that had to do with our modern near east: Iraq, Iran, Syria, and that area, not only important for the oil, but important for the fact that it is from that particular locale that we can expect ultimately the King of the North or the antichrist to come.
So, now there is one question that people have about chapter 7 and chapter 8 that I want to repeat. In the Scofield Bible, and I mentioned last time, I have high regard for the Scofield Bible, there are many, many useful things in the Scofield Bible. I still read the Scofield Bible and you will find that if you will read it and read the notes, you will find many profitable things in it, but it is not inspired. There are lots of people who think it is. They won’t — they would admit that, but that is the way they read it. They read those notes as if, well if it is in the notes there that’s just about it, it stands written, if it is in the notes, but please distinguish between the text and the notes of the Scofield Bible, they were just ordinary people who wrote those notes just like me. You don’t believe everything that I teach you I hope, so you need to study the scriptures and the light of the things that are said in Scripture.
Now it is commonly taught that because the little horn of chapter 7 is identified with the fourth kingdom and the little horn of chapter 8 is identified with Greece or the third kingdom that therefore they cannot be the same little horn. Now just like to point out to you that what the Bible teaches is that in the last days there is going to be a world empire and there are going to be ten horns, representative of ten important kingdoms that will make up the last — in the last days it will make up world dominion and out of these ten will arise one man who will be the beast and be the world ruler.
I suggest to you that a logical fallacy is made by those who say that because the little horn of chapter 7 comes from the fourth empire and the little horn of chapter 8 comes from the third, they have made a logical fallacy because they fail to realize that the third kingdom is part of the fourth kingdom. In other words that represented by Greece is part of the world empire. Consequently the four horns that rise up from the conspicuous one horn are four of the ten kingdoms and since the little horn arises from one of them then we can expect that that little horn will come from that fourth kingdom, but also can expect from chapter 8 that he will come from the Grecian part of that fourth grade world empire and not the Roman.
And I don’t have time to argue this again tonight, but it is obvious from the context of these two chapters, it is — obvious from the moral features of these two, the little horns and it is also obvious from the fact that both of them are said to prosper in the last times that the little horns are the same little horn.
And we have further identification in chapter 8 of where the little horn is to be found. Now then, I’ll turn over to the Book of Revelation and try to show you from Revelation chapter 13 that when the beast is described, the antichrist is described, he is described as being first of all like a leopard. I always like to ask my friends who have this other view, well now, what do you do with Revelation chapter 3, verse 3 where it says he is like a leopard? And I’ve never gotten a good answer from them yet because there isn’t any good answer. He is like a leopard because the beast is related to the Grecian empire, which is part of the restored Roman Empire.
Therefore we then have simplicity in the word of God, the little horn is the same, and we don’t have to think of one little horn for chapter 7 and another one chapter 8. The context and these other things make it plain that these are the same. Now some also have sought because of their difficulties to identify the little horn of chapter 8 with Antiochus Epiphanes, a ruler of Syria, who ruled in the 2nd Century before the time of Christ and did persecute the Jews and he was a proud man and an arrogant man and he did do some things that are reminiscent of things that are said here in chapter 8 of the little horn of Daniel chapter 8, but Antiochus Epiphanes was simply a foreshadowing of the antichrist. He is not, this chapter does not speak about Antiochus Epiphanes. He is only a foreshadowing of the little horn who is spoken of here.
Let me just ask you to notice this, verse 19 of chapter 8, And He said, “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end. The things in Daniel are things that pertain to the second advent of the Lord Jesus not to sometime before the first advent. Look at verse 26 and the vision of the evenings and the mornings which has been told to me, which has been told is true, but keep the vision secret for it pertains to many days in the future. So, the prophecies of Daniel chapter 7 and the prophecies of Daniel chapter 8 are prophesies that have to do with the end times; not times before the coming of the Lord Jesus in his First Advent, but things that have to do with the future. Now if we remember that we won’t have a whole lot of problems with Daniel chapter 8.
Let’s turn now to the interpretation of the vision given in verses 15 through 26, we have these two animals now, the ram and the bull of the goat, as someone has put it, and the struggle that ensues and the he-goat victorious. Verse 9, we read on. I said I’m going to talk about the interpretation, but let’s read these verses first before we get to it.
“And out of one of them came forth a rather small horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land. And it grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down. And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, ‘How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?’ He said to me, ‘For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be vindicated.’”
Incidentally, that I think, is probably the most difficult statement in all of this prophecy, to know what is meant by the 2300 evenings. I’ll just make a comment in a moment or two about that — I think. But it is a very difficult thing — if or while I’m thinking about perhaps I should do it. 2,300 is approximately 220 days less than seven years and it does seem to suggest that during the time of The Great Tribulation period, there will be a period of time of almost two-thirds of one year in which the beast will not perform any particular act that maybe considered a desecration of the restored temple, perhaps that’s what is meant, but only perhaps.
We look now at the interpretation of the vision as given in verses 15 through 26 and first, Daniel writes about the appearance of a man in verses 15 and 16, and it came about When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, that I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man. And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called and said, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.” So Gabriel is going to be the interpreter of the vision that Daniel has just seen and the interpretation follows.
One of the fortunate things about the Book of Daniel is that we have an inspired interpretation given of the vision. It would be very interesting to hear Bible teachers that we didn’t have an inspired interpretation of these visions. Even the interpretation however requires interpretation and so it is not so easy. But we must do one thing, we must avoid reinterpreting things that have already been interpreted for us by, in this case, Gabriel, one of the Archangels. Now when I say re-interpretation I mean to take something that is a symbol and now explain to be a certain fact we must not then say well that certain factor symbolic of this. Reinterpretation in the sense of an attempt to explain, yes of course we have to do that, but not reinterpretation in the sense of another symbolic meaning given to features of the interpretation itself because supposedly, the interpretation is an attempt to explain the symbolism of the prophetic word.
Now beginning at verse 17, So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.” Now that is important, if you will notice that it pertains to the time of the end. Then we know immediately that Antiochus Epiphanes is not referred to here because Antiochus Epiphanes is a character, a king of Syria who was not a king of the time of the end, and so when you see that note and the Scofield Bible on that particular page, just put a little question mark by it because it is not true. So this is a vision that pertains to the time of the end.
Now also to confirm it he says in verse 19, “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation.” The indignation is the translation of a Hebrew word za’am. Za’am, you can write it down if you wanted to write it down, za’am. Now this is a rather interesting word and if you will take a look at it in the concordance you will discover that it is a term that refers to the tribulation period. Now for those that have not been here, the tribulation period is a period of seven years, just preceding the second advent of the Lord Jesus to the earth. That tribulation period is a period of time in which God executes judgment upon the world, upon the Gentiles and upon also the nation Israel preparing some of them for the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. But it is a specific term that refers to the tribulation period, it is the time of divine indignation. It is a time of judgment because of the rejection of the Messiah.
Now, we don’t have time to look up these verses, but if you have a pencil and you want to look them up and you are taking some notes, it doesn’t hurt you to take a few notes every now and then, study on your own. Isaiah chapter 10 verse 24 and 25 would be a passage to look up for the use of za’am. Isaiah chapter 26 and verse 20 there the term is used of the tribulation period, Jeremiah chapter 10 and verse 10. Ezekiel chapter 21 and verse 31, and in Daniel chapter 11 and verse 36, we have another occurrence of this turn. Turn over to that verse, we will just read this first and in the light of the context I think you will agree with me, it, too, has to do with the future. Verse 36, Then the king will do as he pleases” that incidentally is the antichrist, the king, the little horn, “Then the king will do as he pleases and he will exalt and magnify himself above every God and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.” Daniel he believes in the sovereign grace of God too, believes in the decrees of God. Now the indignation then is the period of the tribulation. So, when we read in verse 17, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.” He is talking about the time of the indignation or the time of the tribulation period, so we can expect then the features that are now going to be unfolded to have to do with the future, future from our day.
We read on, verse 18, “Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep.” [Pause] I was just looking to see if there was any fulfillment of this prophecy here tonight. [Laughter] “While he was talking with me I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright. And he said, “Behold, I am going to let you know — it is fun to study the Bible, really it is fun, it is interesting. You shouldn’t fall asleep, it is really interesting. We are giving information about the future by the Lord — I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation for it pertains to the appointed time of the end. The ram, which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia. We have already pointed that out. And the shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
Now, we know from the history of Greece as a world empire that Alexander was the first king. And the broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms, which will arise from his nation, although not with his power. That is, weaker kingdoms; that is precisely what happened when Alexander died and his kingdom was divided to Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucius, and Ptolemy. They were inferior kingdoms, but nevertheless they did receive part of his domain and in the latter period of their rule.
Now that has puzzled some because they would say well we are talking about four kings who will receive power back before the time of Christ and it says in the latter period of their rule, so how shall we explain that. Well if we will remember that in the last great world empire we have a restoration of the Roman Empire, the world wide Roman Empire we will detail this when we get to chapter 9, we remember that four of those ten kingdoms of the restored Roman Empire were Grecian in their origin. So that when we read here, in the latter period of their rule, just as Rome is to have a restoration, so within the worldwide restored Roman Empire there will be a restoration of that part of it that was Grecian. So, that is the meaning of this. In the latter period of their rule that is when the Grecian empire finds again its place within the Roman Empire of the last day has restored Rome, when the transgressions have run their cause, a king will arise, insolent and skilled in intrigue.
This is a rather interesting description because the two aspects of empire, Roman and Grecian, are found in this king, he is a very. He is an insolent man, skilled in intrigue, but at the same time his power we read in verse 24 will be mighty. So, what was characteristic of Rome, what was characteristic of Greece? While the Greeks were the poets, they were the philosophers, philosophy began with Plato, really. Plato, Aristotle and others, the historians, the men of literature, men of intelligence. And the Romans who conquered the Greeks even though they had conquered them incorporated everything that they possibly could of Greece into their own empire because they recognized the excellency of the Greeks intellectually.
Now the Romans on the other hand were people of law and people of strength and force. And so what we have in this last great world emperor the beast, the antichrist is the combination of Roman strength and Grecian intelligence. So, we have Roman cruelty putting it that way and Greek craft.
His power will be mighty, we read in verse 24, but not by his own power, what is meant by that? Well we learn from the book of Revelation that “when the beast appears on the scene, he receives his power from whom?” Well, from the dragon. He receives his power from Satan. So, the power of this last great world emperor is not his own power, it is a power which is given him by the first person of the Satanic Trinity. Just as there is a Holy Trinity, there is an unholy trinity. Just as there is a God the Father, so there is a dragon. Just as there is God the Son, so there is an antichrist and just as there is God the Holy Spirit, so there is an unholy spirit, the False Prophet. It is all counterfeit. And the power that motivates the beast or the antichrist is the power of Satan and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will.
He will destroy mighty men and the holy people. He will of course turn his activities and interests toward the plan of God, which has to do with the Nation Israel and also the Gentiles who are converted through them during that last great period of time. So, the antichrist then is going to be a person who will rival the Messiah. He will rival the Messiah, I mean the Christ himself. He will seek to be the sole hierophant. And he is the person who can explain all of the enigmas of life.
Now the Bible tells us that in Jesus Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. But the man who appears on the scene as the antichrist is a person who is going to try to do the same thing. He is going to try to show the world that in himself are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and that he can solve all of our problems, which we have. So, one of his aims will be to do that. It’s rather interesting to me too and I think this is significant that this king being a Grecian by origin, but nevertheless coming from that part of the world empire, but nevertheless being a worldwide emperor and therefore encompassing everything that his characteristic of mighty Rome. In the last days there will be three great influences upon the earth. There will be the influence represented by Rome; cruelty, might, power, and then the influence represented by Greece; intelligence, skill, the arts, philosophy, poetry.
And the third will be the influence of the Hebrews. And isn’t it interesting in the light of that that when our Lord was crucified, the superscription was written in Latin, the language of the Romans; in Greek, the language of the Greeks; and in Hebrew, the language of the Hebrews. So that in this man in the last days, we will have a conjunction of these great influences in this man and in those that he fights against.
We read on. verse 26, I guess I should read verse 25, “And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence and he will magnify himself in his heart. He will destroy many while they are at ease, he will even oppose the Prince of Princes (a reference to the Messiah), but he will be broken without human agency.” So, he will magnify himself. He will make of himself a God. He will seek to call others to the worship of himself and in this way assume leadership over the whole of the world.
The Apostle Paul writing in 2 Thessalonians 2: verses 3 and 4 writing about the man of sins says this, “Let no man in any way deceive you for it will not come, that is the day of the Lord, unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God displaying himself as being God.” It will not be beyond the antichrist of the last days to make himself a god and call upon the whole of the world to worship him.
Verse 25 says, he will be broken without human agency, literally without hand. In other words, the overthrow of the antichrist, the overthrow of the little horn, the overthrow of this king, the overthrow of the beast, all of these reference to the same thing, will be by divine interposition. And this of course is ultimately a reference to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ who at his second coming will overthrow the beast and the forces that are arrayed against the Lord God in Heaven. Verse 26 says, “And the vision of the evening and the morning, which has been told as true, but keep the vision secret for it pertains to many days in the future.”
Then our Daniel was exhausted. “I was done in.” The Hebrew says, done with. I was done in and sick for days, then I got up again and carried on the king’s business but I was astounded at the vision and there was none to explain it. Sorry Daniel, we were not there at that time. Daniel even though he had this inspired interpretation was still puzzled over it. Then of course one of the reasons is that he did not have the perspective from which we are able to look at it.
Well, let me just say a word by way of conclusion. It is interesting I think to consider the rapid pace of history with the teaching of the prophetic word. Someone has said a long time ago that history is “his story”. That is, if you can climb far enough up in order to look down upon human history and see it from that perspective. Is it not an interesting thing that in our day we are seeing again some of the things that are necessary for the fulfillment of this specific eighth chapter of the book of Daniel. When did Greece become an independent country? Now of course that was necessary because that was the part of Alexander’s empire that Cassander inherited. So, if he is to be one of those ten horns, there must be a kingdom of Greece.
It was not until the earlier part of the 19th Century that Greece became independent. When did Egypt become independent? Why it’s in the lifetime of even you kids out in the audience. And now Ptolemy’s Empire is an independent entity. What about the kingdoms where Seleucius existed? For a long time they themselves were under others, but now they are independent kingdoms there: Iran, Iraq, and others. In the case of the western part of Asia Minor, that is still uncertain. But what we are seeing in our day is the unfolding of history in such a way that things are shaping up in which we can begin to see the outlines of the ten kingdoms emerging.
And it is very interesting because when I first began to study the prophetic word, Egypt was not an independent kingdom, but now it is. Ptolemic Empire is again an independent kingdom and so we are seeing the trends that may lead to the fulfillment of these great prophecies. One can certainly say this that the deceit or craft is certainly prospering in our days and how wonderful it is finally to have the reality and blessedness of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of these things.
A few years ago, and really it’s ten or fifteen now, I was talking with a man to whom I had had the privilege to minister for a considerable period of time. He had heart disease and finally his whole chest became so flooded with liquid that it was evident that he did not have too many days to live.
Now I’ll never forget the letter that he wrote just in the last month or so of his existence. It had these words in it. We have no secrets around here; he was talking about his house. We have no secrets around here we all know I am in final shape and that time is short. When one is a know-it-all Christian there is nothing to it. He was a man that had come to know the Lord through some of the preaching and teaching of the word that I had done. It is a great thing to have a faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of the unfolding of history, where so many trends seem to portray ahead of time the fulfillment of these great prophecies found in books like the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation. Let’s bow in a closing word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for the study of the prophetic word and we thank Thee for the things that we learned from it. May, Lord as we think about the future, may we be students of Thy word and through the Holy Spirit illumine us and enable us to use the days that Thou hast given us to give a testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ that is pleasing to Thee.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.