Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 8

Outline and Background - Daniel 8

The Vision of the Ram - Daniel 8:1-4

The Vision of the Goat - Daniel 8:5-8

The Vision of the Little Horn - Daniel 8:9-12

The Time-span of the Host Trampling the Sanctuary - Daniel 8:13-14

The Interpretation of the Vision by Gabriel - Daniel 8:15-27

Application of Daniel 8

The Interpretation of the Vision by Gabriel - Daniel 8:15-27

Gabriel means “warrior of God” or “man of
God.” Gabriel is the archangel that Yahweh employed to send messages of great importance to Daniel, Zechariah, and Mary. This angelic being took the appearance of a man.

The man’s voice that Daniel heard could have been Enoch, Elijah, an angel or God Himself. Terrified by the presence of Gabriel, Daniel fell, prostrate, in a deep sleep. The archangel touched Daniel and raised him to his feet.

Gabriel began the interpretation by declaring that the vision pertained to “the time of the end,” “the appointed time,” and “the time of wrath.” These three times describe the same period—the period of history during God’s indignation or anger with Israel because of its rebellion against Him. Gentile domination and mistreatment of the Jews began with the northern kingdom of Israel being dispersed by Assyria. It continued with the southern kingdom of Judah being exiled to Babylon, and it will continue until the second coming of Christ. Yet, the times announced by Gabriel point to “the time of the end” or “the times of the Gentiles,” which Jesus calls “the time of punishment.”

When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:20-24).

This is “the appointed time,” and “the time of wrath.” Gabriel’s interpretation of the vision, therefore, skips rapidly over Medo-Persia and Greece to predict events at the end of this age—“what will happen later in the time of wrath.”

Hence, the vision concerning the “little horn” has a double fulfillment. Antiochus IV Epiphanes is a type of the Antichrist. With the rise of both “little horns,” God judges Israel as a rebel because the people have become completely wicked. Wickedness is the primary reason for God’s wrath (cf. Genesis 6:5-7). The first part of Gabriel’s prediction fits Antiochus as well as the Antichrist.

A stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He
will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior.

Was Antiochus a man energized by the power of Satan? It is definitely predicted that the Antichrist will be empowered by Satan. “The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority” (Revelation 13:2). We are told that Satan entered into Judas Iscariot (John 13:27) and undoubtedly, he has entered others in history. Possibly, Adolph Hitler, who was involved with the occult, was possessed by Satan in his attempt to rule the world before “the appointed time of the end.”

How the stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, rises to power and becomes very strong is predicted in chapter eleven. This ruler will arrive upon the scene riding a white horse; he will have a bow in his hand, but no arrow. He will present himself as the prince of peace (Revelation 6:2). He will announce himself as the savior of the world and God will assist him with the deception.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11).

The second part of Gabriel’s prediction applies only to the Antichrist.

When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.

This prediction cannot apply to Antiochus IV. Judas Maccabeus drove out the Syrian army in 165 B.C., at which time the Temple was cleansed from its pollution and rededicated. The death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 163 B.C. is described in 1 Maccabees 6:8-13. When the king heard the news that the Jews tore down the abomination he had erected, he became downhearted and a deep grief overcame him unto death. His death was not supernatural.

It is the Antichrist, who “will take his stand against the Prince of princes.” The Prince of princes is Christ Jesus. The stern-faced king will be no match for Him. Christ will destroy the Antichrist by His divine power as predicted; the Seed of the Woman will crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15).

The time involved in Gabriel’s interpretation needs to be decoded.

The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.

How long is “the distant future” from Daniel’s time—several hundred years, twenty-six hundred years, or more? Is this prediction a double reference prophecy? How long is it to be sealed up? Certainly, those who have attempted to make the 2,300 evenings and mornings equal 2.300
years have turned out to be very foolish.

We can be a little foolish and make some educated guesses at the fulfillment of this prediction if we do not take them too seriously. If “2,300 evenings and mornings” represent 2,300 days, the period must extend beyond the Tribulation since the ending of the daily sacrifice and setting up of the image of the beast does not occur until the middle of the Tribulation. The 2,300 days might refer to the time it will take to build or reconsecrate the Temple (Ezekiel 40:1-44:31).

If evenings and mornings each represent sacrifices instead of days, the 2,300 equals 1,150 days (3 years, 2 months, and 10 days based on the 360day prophetic year). Thus, the image of the beast might stand on the wing of the Temple for that amount of time. On the 1,150th day from its erection, “the abomination of desolation” will come down. On the other hand, this image might be destroyed by the end time earthquake that causes the cities of the nations to collapse (Revelation 16:18).

One needs to add 110 days (3 months and 20 days) to 1,150 days before reaching 1,260 days or 42 months or 3 1/2 years—God’s predetermined time for the second half of the Tribulation Period (Daniel 9:27; 12:7; Revelation 12:4; 13:5).

When the Jews see the abomination of desolation spoken of through the prophet Daniel, they are told to flee into the mountains (Matthew 24:16-21). They will flee for the whole 1,260 days according to Revelation 12:6-14. Will those who remain in Jerusalem reconsecrate the sanctuary 110 days before the end of the Tribulation? That could be the catalyst that brings the kings together at Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). It also is possible that Christ’s statement on days cut short affects any calculation.

For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened (Matthew 24:21-22).

The time of the end is stated in Daniel 8:25 as being when the little horn stands up against the Prince of princes—Christ.

The vision of chapter seven deeply troubled Daniel and his face turned pale. This vision had a greater affect on him.

I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king's business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.

The strain on the aged prophet was more than he could bear physically, mentally and spiritually, yet after several days he went to his work. The prophet had the same concern for his people as the apostle Paul (Romans 9:1-3). Overwhelmed by what the future held for his people, Daniel was appalled by the vision.

There are two ways to take “it was beyond understanding:” (1) certain aspects of the vision were beyond understanding; or (2) God’s future wrath upon His people was beyond understanding. There is always a sense of awe and mystery in the ways of God.

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