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Lesson 23 – Daniel 8 Cont.

Lesson 23 – Daniel 8 Cont.

DANIEL

Week 23, chapter 8 continued

Last week we started our examination of one of the more difficult chapters in Daniel if not the entire bible: Daniel Chapter 8. And we won’t nearly get finished with it this week. And perhaps this is a good time to explain something that you’ve no doubt already noticed: I am teaching you the bible, not prophecy. And learning the bible is a more challenging task than hearing a Prophecy teacher (like Hal Lindsay for example) tell you what they think various prophecies mean and how they’ll play out. Prophecy teachers draw from many passages all over the bible, and put them in a certain order that they think the passages ought to go, and then draw on current events to put together and validate their storyline and conclusions. The nature of what they do (however honorable) involves a great deal of personal speculation. However I’m neither a Prophet nor a Prophecy teacher. So I’m presenting to you the Book of Daniel as Holy Scripture, noting that some of Daniel is historical, and some of it is prophetic. At the moment, we’re in a section of Daniel that deals primarily with prophecy. I’m not going to build a storyline and add current events to try and explain how all of Daniel’s prophecies are going to turn out and thus what the End Times will look like, because it’s simply not in the bible. Rather we’ll generally only go so far as the bible tells us. I will add a little history in the case of prophecies that have already been fulfilled.

And because what we’re doing together is challenging and complex and probably different from what you’re used to (in hearing about prophecy) I think the best thing to do is to see if we can summarize what was presented in the last couple of lessons hopefully in a way that it makes it easier to remember and to understand. You do want to understand End Times prophecy, as presented by God’s Word, right? Then understanding the Book of Daniel as best we can, including this maze and puzzle that is chapter 8 is a key ingredient. But we also have to accept that not every question will be answered for us, and I want to keep speculation to the bare minimum.

What makes this chapter 8 so vexing is that we have some new and different symbolism for already established symbolisms from earlier chapters. The trick is to draw lines between each of these symbolic elements, determine what they mean, and connect them because what we’re reading about is prophetic revelation given to us progressively, and thus as we move along we are give more information that builds upon previously given information. Hopefully this associated chart will help to put it together.

Let’s begin by re-reading the first 12 verse of Daniel 8.

RE-READ DANIEL 8:1 – 12

Lesson 23 – Daniel 8 Cont. Look at this chart. Notice that what we have up through Daniel chapter 8 is 3 different visions that we are trying to harmonize. And these 3 different visions are given to us in 3 different chapters: chapters 2, 7 and 8. The first vision presented to us in the Book of Daniel occurred in chapter 2, and it was a vision given to King Nebuchadnezzar: the vision of the statue that consisted of 4 different metals. The head was made of gold, the chest and arms were made of silver, the trunk and hips were made of bronze and the legs of iron. But another element of the statue is that it has feet, which are a mixture of iron and clay. And further, a mysterious rock comes flying out of nowhere to smash the entire statue to smithereens. Since we are reviewing and summarizing, then here is what King Nebuchadnezzar’s statue is symbolizing.

It is a message from God that in the ensuing years there will be 4 world empires; each empire (or kingdom) is represented by a particular portion of the statue. These empires are gentile controlled and administered empires; they are not Hebrew empires. In fact these 4 gentile empires are set up against Israel and thus against the coming Kingdom of God. The only representative kingdom on earth that has been, or ever will be, a shadow and pattern of the Kingdom of God is Israel. And in biblical times Israel lasted as a united kingdom for only about 80 years under David and Solomon. Then upon Solomon’s death, a civil war ensued and the Kingdom of Israel became split apart into two independent kingdoms: the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel (later known as Ephraim).

As of the time of Daniel, both Israel and Judah have been sent off into exile for their sins against the Lord. And their primary sin is idolatry. Israel consisted of 10 Hebrew tribes that were scattered and became known as the legendary 10 lost tribes of Israel. Israel conquered by Assyria around 725 B.C. (about 175 years before the time of Daniel), thrown out of the Promised Land and strewn all over the Asian continent. The period of their exile was to be long and indefinite, and their re-gathering was prophesied to only finally occur in the End Times. And, by the way, that re-gathering of the 10 tribes is occurring, right now, in our time. So you do the math as to where we are in bible and human history. And a word to the wise: perhaps we all ought to order our lives, and think about our relationship with God, accordingly.

In time, the Babylonians conquered the Assyrians and took over their kingdom. Next the Babylonians conquered Judah, and exiled them to Babylon. Daniel was part of the original Jewish exiles. These exiles were not scattered, rather they were taken generally intact, as a community, and allowed to live together in Babylon as a community of Jews. It was prophesied that there exile would only last for 70 years and then they’d return to their homeland.

Since we are dealing with the prophetic part of the Book of Daniel, and since the various visions recounted in the Book are of course future oriented, then naturally the 1 st gentile empire of the 4 that is symbolically represented is Babylon because Daniel is living in Babylon. However the various visions reveal that the Babylonian Empire will, in a rather short time and during Daniel’s lifetime, be defeated and replaced by another empire.

We learned that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream-statue’s head of gold represents Babylon, and the silver chest and arms represent the empire that replaces Babylon, which is Media-Persia. The 3 rd empire in sequence is the one represented by the bronze trunk and hips, and that is Greece, which conquers the Media-Persian Empire. And the 4 th empire that is represented by

Lesson 23 – Daniel 8 Cont. the iron legs of the statue is not identified in Daniel. Much time has to pass before history finally discloses that the legs of iron turned out to be the Roman Empire. Then we get to the feet of the statue that are made of that strange mixture of iron and clay. And the truth is, as of now we don’t know who those feet represent because it certainly appears that the empire or powerful nation depicted by those feet of clay and iron is still future to us who are living in the first part of the 21 st century. Nonetheless there is no lack of speculation about it among bible scholars, pastors and novelists, and there are those prophecy teachers who are certain that they know who that final kingdom is. They say that the feet of iron and clay is a revived, but updated, version of the Roman Empire, probably the EU, the European Union. My position is that this is unlikely, but anything is possible so I can’t entirely discount it. I won’t deal right now with why I’m skeptical that the feet of iron and clay is a revived Roman Empire, but I will in time.

So, the 1 st vision of the future about these coming 4 world empires is given by God to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and Daniel interprets it for him (Daniel chapter 2). But later, some years after Nebuchadnezzar is dead and a few kings of Babylon have come and gone, King Belshazzar of Babylon sits on the throne. And in the 1 st year of Belshazzar’s reign, Daniel now receives his own vision from God. This vision is presented to us in Daniel chapter 7. Although this is the first vision God has given to Daniel, it is the second vision given to us in the Book of Daniel (the 1 st vision in the Book of Daniel was to Nebuchadnezzar).

In Daniel’s first vision, he was shown a series of 4 beasts. The first beast was like a lion (but it wasn’t a lion). The second beast was like a bear, but it wasn’t a bear. The 3 rd was like a leopard, but wasn’t a leopard. And the 4 th beast was given no animal likeness at all. It was said that this beast was totally different from the first 3 beasts. And it was the most dangerous, most violent, most powerful of them all. And it had 10 horns on its head. The 10 horns symbolized 10 kingdoms with their kings. However a little horn sprouted later and it displaced 3 out of the 10 horns. So for a moment there were 11 horns, but then when the little horn gained power, the surviving horns (kings) numbered 8 (7 of the original horns plus the new little horn that popped up).

This little horn was said to have a mouth that spoke blasphemy against the Lord. And it had eyes that symbolize wisdom and enlightenment and an ability to know everything that was going on around it. It is generally believed that this little horn, a ruler of unprecedented power and ability, represents the Anti-Christ of the End Times, and so is still future to us (and I agree with this assessment).

But please notice that in this vision of Daniel chapter 7, there is absolutely no mention of that final world kingdom that was represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as the feet of iron and clay. It is simply not addressed in either this vision of Daniel or his next one. To be as clear as I can make it: the gold head that is Babylon is symbolized in Daniel’s vision as a lion-beast. The silver arms and chest that is Media-Persia is symbolized in Daniel’s vision as a bear-beast. The bronze trunk and hips that are Greece is symbolized in Daniel’s vision as a 4-headed leopard. And the iron legs that are Rome is symbolized in Daniel’s vision as an un-named beast that has 10 horns on it’s head, but then later a little horn sprouts up and does away with 3 of the original 10 horns.

Lesson 23 – Daniel 8 Cont. Now we move to Daniel chapter 8. This is the second vision that God has given directly to Daniel, even though this is the 3 rd vision given to us in the Book of Daniel (Nebuchadnezzar received the 1 st vision, then Daniel received the next 2 visions, for a total, thus far, of 3 visions). And, lo and behold, just to confuse us a bit more, we get yet another set of symbols regarding the identities of these gentile world empires. However in reality, Daniel 8 only deals with 2 of these empires, and so we’re only given 2 additional symbols: a ram and a goat.

The ram has two horns (symbolizing two kings of two separate kingdoms), and the goat has one large horn (symbolizing one king presiding over one large kingdom). The ram represents Media-Persia, and the goat represents Greece who conquers Media-Persia. So to be clear: Babylon, the 1 st world kingdom, is not discussed in Daniel chapter 8, Daniel’s 2 nd personal vision. And neither is the 4 th world kingdom, Rome, discussed in Daniel chapter 8. So in chapter 8 we’re only dealing with 2 of the 4 world empires: Media-Persia and Greece. And what we learn is that because the ram has one horn that is longer than the other, this means that one of the two Kingdoms that together form the 2 nd world empire (Media and Persia) will be more powerful than the other. And it turns out that Persia was a little more powerful than Media.

Then next we learn that the goat with one large horn will eventually have that horn broken. That means that this all-powerful king of Greece would be destroyed. And in place of this 1 large horn, 4 smaller ones would emerge. That is, the Empire of Greece that at one time was ruled by one immensely powerful man (Alexander the Great) would, upon his death, be sliced up into 4 governing districts and so ruled by a group of 4 rulers. But then one of those 4 horns will lose its power to a smaller horn that eventually grows very powerful. And history proved that when Alexander the Great died, 4 of his generals ruled over the 4 governing districts that were established. And then in time one of them was replaced by a man of little power (no doubt this was supernaturally arranged by the God of Israel to achieve His purposes), and this little horn ruled over Egypt and the Promised Land. He was infamously hostile and cruel to the Jewish people and eventually desecrated the HolyTemple and dissolved the Priesthood. His name was Antiochus Epiphanies.

So one more time, and in the order of which these 4 world empires will appear: Babylon is the golden head of the statue, and is also the lion beast. Media-Persia is the silver arms and chest of the statue, and is also the bear beast, but then it is also represented by the ram with 2 horns. Greece is the bronze trunk and hips, and also the 4-headed leopard, but then is also represented by the goat with one large horn. And Rome is the iron legs, and also the un- named beast with the 10 horns. All four of these gentile kingdoms have come and gone in history, exactly as prophesied by Daniel. All that is left to be fulfilled is the emergence of the nation or nations represented by the feet made of iron and clay; and as of today we do not know who that is even though some say it is a revived Roman Empire. Although this event must be future to us, it may well be emerging right now, as we speak in the 21 st century. I must be candid, however, and tell you that at least one major branch of Christianity believes that even this empire of the feet of clay and iron has come and gone, so there is no universal agreement on it. But I must also be equally candid with you that the sole reason this one branch of Christianity believes this way, is that it MUST be so or most of their doctrines are proven to be false. So regardless of how history has played out and how impossible is their

Lesson 23 – Daniel 8 Cont. scenario, and how much allegory is required to make it work, they are determined to stick to it. But such is the nature and danger of dealing with theological doctrines, prophecy, and especially unfulfilled prophecy.

Then we were face with a troubling question: is the little horn of Daniel’s 4 th beast (the 4 th beast is said to be Rome), the same as the little horn that sprouted on the head of the goat (the goat is Greece)? I can tell you that many prophecy teachers say that it is. And once it again, it MUST be so for them or their doctrines fall apart. On its face it cannot be that the two little horns are the same; not the least of which reason is that they obviously are brought forth from two different world empires. The little horn with the blasphemous mouth comes riding upon Daniel’s 4 th un-named beast; but the little horn that becomes great and rules over Egypt and the Promised Land comes riding upon the head of the 3 rd kingdom represented by the goat. However, I do believe that they symbolize essentially the same thing; it’s just that what these two little horns do happens twice. One is a foreshadow of the other. The bible establishes a pattern of a biblical prophecy being fulfilled and then later being fulfilled again but on an even greater scale.

Let’s talk about that pattern especially as concerns the two separate, but similar, little horns. First we’re going to have to review a principle that I taught you a several lessons ago concerning Daniel chapter 2, and that is that the bible (and Daniel) speaks of two distinct and different “latter days”. And that the latter days aren’t necessarily the same thing as the End Times. The Hebrew words for latter days are acharit-hayamim ; but when lifted out of context and stood alone the term is only referring to some undefined future time; any future time. However in the bible, when taken in context, the phrase is in reference to a Messianic Kingdom. And that is true even if the initial manifestation of a specific “latter days” kingdom prophecy might not be in Messianic times (such as Jacob prophesying the outcome of the 12 tribes in Genesis 49), but a later manifestation of that same prophecy will involve the Messiah. As an illustration of this pattern think of the coming of Yeshua around 30 A.D. He accomplished part of His prophesied mission but not all, before He was executed, arose, and then ascended to Heaven. But the fulfillment of the remainder of the prophecies concerning Messiah only happens after His 2 nd coming that is yet future to us. So they happen in two distinct stages, many centuries apart.

So here is an important principle concerning biblical prophecies about the latter days: for the people who were alive before Messiah came the 1 st time, the latter days, the acharit-hayamim ,wasfuture to them. For them Yeshua’s 1 st coming would have been “the latter days” that they were looking forward to. What they didn’t know then was that the “latter days” would manifest itself more than once and that a 2 nd manifestation of latter days would happen far into the future as the Messiah would come again for a 2 nd appearance.

For us in the 21 st century Messiah Yeshua’s 1 st coming is ancient history; it happened 2000 years ago and is something we joyfully look back upon. So for us “the latter days” means when Yeshua returns to us; it is the anticipation we have for when He comes the 2 nd time. Thus in the bible there is a 1 st “latter days” (Messiah’s first coming) and there is a 2 nd “latter days” (Messiah’s prophesied 2 nd coming). The 1 st “latter days” has come and gone; the 2 nd “latter days” is ahead of us. There are prophecies about each of these latter days, but until Christ

Lesson 23 – Daniel 8 Cont. came and went it was nearly impossible to separate them. Both are fully valid, but as of now only 1 of them has occurred. And the first one is a shadow and pattern of the second one. As hard as that might be to grasp hold of, this is a firm biblical principle about how prophecy often works, and it is probably one that causes the most challenges in dealing with bible prophecy, and this principle is front and center in dealing with Daniel’s prophecies. And it is also why we’ll so various interpretations that result in various End-Times theologies.

So in Daniel we have two separate visions both involving little horns; the little horns are similar, and they both behave in blasphemous ways, and they both are determined to eradicate the Jewish people and the Jewish ideal. But they aren’t the same horn (the same person), and (key to our understanding) they don’t appear at same time. The little horn that grows upon the head of the goat is unequivocally associated in Daniel 8 with the 3 rd world kingdom of Greece. The little horn that grows upon Daniel’s strange un-named beast with 10 horns in Daniel 7 is directly associated with the 4 th world kingdom of Rome. Therefore there is no way that they can be the same little horn, even if they have similar attributes and behave in mostly the same way. So here’s how we put this together: the little horn of Greece (the goat) was from Daniel’s perspective looking ahead to the 1 st latter days (the 1 st coming of Christ), and the little horn of the 4 th beast of Daniel 7 was looking ahead even farther to a 2 nd latter days (the 2 nd coming of Christ). Confusing enough for us, but impossible for Daniel to have imagined. It’s no wonder he called in sick for the next few days after receiving these visions.

Thus history (not the bible) reveals that the little horn that comes from the Greek Empire was Antiochus Epiphanies. However the other little horn, the one that comes from the Roman Empire, is still in our future. The common name used today for this little horn is the Anti-Christ and who that is, history has not yet revealed. And yet, the Roman Empire, that 4 th world kingdom from which the little horn that is the Anti-Christ is to be produced, has come and gone. So how can it be Rome that produces our future little horn, the Anti-Christ? Revelation 13 helps us here. But once again, we have to take the bible for what it says and not take some passages and ignore others in order to try and validate popular End-Times storyline and doctrinal agenda. And that is no easy task.

READ REVELATION 13:1 – 8

There can be no reasonable debate; the Book of Revelation is self-evidently speaking about the 2 nd latter days. How can I be so sure of that? Because, after all, John wrote this book at least ½ century after Christ’s death, and so the 1 st latter days had passed away into history well before he had his vision. So what John saw in his divine revelation was for a future time; or as many in his day thought, perhaps their present time. In fact we have many liberal bible scholars today advocate that John was speaking in coded language about the Roman Empire, and that Nero was John’s beast and Daniel’s 2 nd little horn. But these are the same ones that proclaim that Daniel is a Jewish fraud. And in our time many Christian evangelical prophecy teachers say that John’s Revelation beast is the same as the 4 th beast in Daniel’s vision. And I’m here to tell you that they’re not (at least according to revealed Scripture they’re not). A plain and careful reading of Daniel’s own words also shows they’re not. How is the 4 th beast in Daniel 7 described? As having NO animal likeness, and having 10 horns on ONE head.

Lesson 23 – Daniel 8 Cont. How is the Revelation 13 beast described? As having the likeness of a leopard, AND a bear, AND a lion. And having 7 heads and 10 horns (or crowns, same symbolism). The thing that connects this Revelation beast with the Book of Daniel beast is that the Revelation 13 beast is a hybrid of all 4 beasts in Daniel’s vision: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a strange un-named beast with 10 horns. And the total number of heads on all 4 beasts from Daniel’s vision is 7 (1 for the lion, 1 for the bear, 4 for the leopard, and 1 for the un-named beast equals 7), which is the same number of heads on the Revelation 13 beast if you combine them all.

So the Daniel 7 little horn, the one that is produced by the 4 th world empire, Rome, seems to be the future Anti-Christ, and thus it relates to the 2 nd latter days (the days leading up to the 2 nd coming of Messiah, His return). And the Revelation 13 beast helps us to see that while the little horn itself (probably the Anti-Christ) will indeed have some relationship to the former Roman Empire, the totality of the beast that represents the kingdom or government of the Anti-Christ will NOT be merely of Rome, so it will likely not be a revived Roman Empire. Rather it will be formed from remnants of all the past 4 world empires of Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome, because all of their symbols (lion, bear, leopard, and beast with 10 horns) are used in the make up of John’s Revelation 13 beast.

The little horn from Daniel chapter 8 is directly assigned to the 3 rd world empire who is Greece (Daniel 8:21 says: “The shaggy male goat is the king of Greece…” so there’s no guesswork needed); and that little horn turned out to be Antiochus Epiphanies who did precisely what Daniel prophesied he would do in Daniel chapter 8:10 – 12. And this of course relates to the 1 st latter days, (the days leading up to the 1 st coming of Messiah).

Daniel 8:10-12 CJB 10 It (the little horn) grew so great that it reached the army of heaven; it hurled some of the army and the stars to the ground and trampled on them. 11 Yes, it even considered itself as great as the prince of the army; the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was thrown down. 12 Through sin, the army was put in its power, along with the regular burnt offering. It flung truth on the ground as it acted and prospered. The key verse, verse 12, is, in the CJB, is an extremely tortured and poor translation. So to get a better handle on it here is a far better one from the Jewish Publication Society: JPS Daniel 8:12 And the host was given over to it (the little horn) together with the continual burnt-offering through transgression; and it cast down truth to the ground, and it wrought, and prospered.

In other words, the little horn of Daniel chapter 8 would be given full power over the Jewish people (called “the host”) and also full power over the Temple and its worship, including the sacrifices (here called the burnt-offering). And that is exactly what happened, and what

Lesson 23 – Daniel 8 Cont. Epiphanies did, and it is recorded for us in 1 st Maccabees. We read some of it last week and I’ll only re-read a few verses so that we can connect the dots.

1 st Maccabees 1:

10 From these there grew a wicked offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes son of King Antiochus; once a hostage in Rome, he became king in the 107th year of the kingdom of the Greeks. 11 It was then that there emerged from Israel a set of renegades who led many people astray. ‘Come,’ they said, ‘let us ally ourselves with the gentiles surrounding us, for since we separated ourselves from them many misfortunes have overtaken us.’ 12 This proposal proved acceptable, 13 and a number of the people eagerly approached the king, who authorised them to practise the gentiles’ observances. 20 After his conquest of Egypt, in the year 143, Antiochus turned about and advanced on Israel and Jerusalem in massive strength. 21 Insolently breaking into the sanctuary, he removed the golden altar and the lamp-stand for the light with all its fittings, 22 together with the table for the loaves of permanent offering, the libation vessels, the cups, the golden censers, the veil, the crowns, and the golden decoration on the front of the Temple, which he stripped of everything. 44 The king also sent edicts by messenger to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, directing them to adopt customs foreign to the country, 45 banning burnt offerings, sacrifices and libations from the sanctuary, profaning Sabbaths and feasts, 46 defiling the sanctuary and everything holy, 47 building altars, shrines and temples for idols, sacrificing pigs and unclean beasts, 48 leaving their sons uncircumcised, and prostituting themselves to all kinds of impurity and abomination, 49 so that they should forget the Law and revoke all observance of it. 50 Anyone not obeying the king’s command was to be put to death. So as predicted in Daniel 8:10 – 12, the “hosts” (God’s servants on earth, the Jews) were flung to the ground by this little horn. And the Temple was invaded, taken over, and other gods were worshipped and sacrifices to those gods began, but the Torah sacrifices to YHWH were ended. Teaching the Torah also ended, and it was replaced with politically correct doctrines that the government of the little horn (Epiphanies) ordained; and many Jews who just wanted to go-along-to-get-along readily accepted all of these perverted things and regarded them as holy and acceptable to the God of Israel.

Let’s read some more of Daniel chapter 8.

RE-READ DANIEL 8:13, 14

Well, here we enter yet another mysterious and challenging circumstance. In Daniel’s vision someone described in Hebrew as a echad-qadosh was speaking, and another echad-qadosh turned to the first and asked a question of him. The CJB correctly (and most literally) translates

Lesson 23 – Daniel 8 Cont. echad-qadosh to holy one ( qadosh , holy…… echad , one). Many English bible versions translate echad-qadosh to saints, and then at times goes so far to explain in footnotes, or just leaves the unmistakable implication, that these “saints” are of course the Church. That is simply incorrect. There is another Hebrew term that is am-qadosh that basically means holy people, and it’s probably reasonable to translate that to saints provided we don’t take saints to mean “church” in every context. Here in Daniel 8 the term is holy ones, and it most definitely is speaking to some spiritual beings that are part of Daniel’s vision.

The question that one echad-qadosh asks the other is fascinating: how long will the regular burnt offering and the defiling of the Temple, and the oppression against all those who serve the God of Israel, be allowed to continue? And the answer that is given is: “2300 evenings and mornings”. So does this mean 2300 days? Perhaps, but I don’t think so. The subject of question regards “the regular offerings”. And there were two daily sacrificial offerings to be made at the Temple without fail. And not surprisingly they were called the morning offering and the evening offering. So when the response to “how long before the regular offerings are restored” is that it will be 2300 evenings and mornings, it is speaking of 2300 evening and morning offerings , not 2300 days. At two offerings per day, that means that for 1150 days the two-per-day Temple offerings will be outlawed by Epiphanies. And then, at the end of that time, the Temple will be restored to its rightful state, and the offerings will begin again.

Did that happen? You bet it did. And a special holiday commemoration was established when the regular morning and evening offerings at the Temple began again: Hanukkah. And we’ll discuss this restoration of the Temple worship, learn some more about Antiochus Epiphanies, and continue with Daniel Chapter 8 next time.