The End Times According To Daniel
Part Two, Chapters 8 and 9
Two years after Daniel's vision of the four beasts that we
described in chapter 7, he had another vision, this one of a ram and a
goat. As we'll see, it was intended to
give both him and us more detail on the things to come, because the vision has
a dual fulfillment. For Daniel this
vision was all in the future, but for us the first fulfillment is now history,
assuring the final one, still in our future.
Daniel's Vision of a Ram and a Goat
In the third year of King Belshazzar's
reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me.
In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province
of Elam; in the vision I was beside
Canal. I looked up, and
there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the
horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later.
I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south. No
animal could stand against him, and none could rescue from his
power. He did as he pleased and became great. (Daniel 8:1-4)
The year was 551 BC. It was 16 years before the fall of Babylon to the Medo-Persian coalition.
Susa was 230
miles east of Babylon in modern day Iran and would become the capital of the Persian Empire. Both Daniel and Nehemiah lived there, as
did Queen Esther. Today it's known as
Shush. An unusual white cone shaped
stone there marks the traditional resting place of Daniel. In addition to the Persian Jews, many Shiite
Moslems who also revere the prophet visit his grave to this day.
The King of Persia wore a
ram's head crown into battle, so the ram with two horns represents Medo-Persia. The longer horn that grew up later is the
Persian component of the coalition that eventually became dominant. (The Angel
Gabriel will confirm the identities of both animals for us later in the
chapter.) As we've noted before Media
was home to the Kurds of today while Persia
has become Iran.
Together these two conquered an area extending from Pakistan
in the East to Greece in the
West and to the shores of the Black and Caspian Seas
in the North and ruled it for 200 years, until about 330 BC. A
Royal Road ran from Susa all the way to Sardis
in Western Turkey bringing goods from the Mediterranean
to the capital city.
As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn
between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching
the ground. He came toward the
two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great
rage. I saw him attack the ram
furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless
to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him,
and none could rescue the ram from his power.
The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large
horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the
four winds of heaven. (Daniel 8:5-8)
The one horned goat was the symbol of Phillip of Macedon, father to
Alexander the Great. The Persians had
humiliated Phillip, and Alexander built a powerful army to exact revenge. To unite the warring factions of Eastern Europe against the Persians, Alexander invented a
new language, called Common Greek, so they could all speak together and settle
their real and imagined grievances.
Showing the Persians no mercy, he soundly defeated Darius III's 200, 000 man army at the Battle of Guagamela in 331 BC with only 35,000 troops of his own. He
was 22 years old. Seven years later he
died in Babylon leaving the empire to be divided
among his four generals, Cassander (Macedonia and Greece),
and Asia Minor), Ptolemy (Israel
and Seleucus. (Syria,
Lebanon and Jordan)
Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in
power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.
It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the
starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as
great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and
the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of
the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in
everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.
Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him,
"How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision
concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the
surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled
He said to me, "It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings;
then the sanctuary will be re-consecrated." (Daniel 8:9-14)
Now we fast forward to 175 BC and a descendant of Seleucus
named Antiochus IV, called another horn here, who gave himself the name Epiphanes, or Divine One.
By now the Seleucid Empire had grown substantially and included Israel (the Beautiful Land)
taken from descendants of Ptolemy. Antiochus
Epiphanes hated the Jews and swore to wipe their
religion off the face of the Earth. He almost succeeded.
Arranging to have Israel's
last legitimate High Priest, Onais III, murdered, he
began selling the office to the highest bidder, a money-maker that the Romans
later adopted as well. He invaded Israel and took control of Jerusalem
and the Temple Mount.
He banned circumcision, the speaking or reading of Hebrew, and
possession of the Hebrew Scriptures, burning every copy he could find. He converted the Temple into a pagan worship center, erecting
a statue of Zeus (Jupiter) with his own face on it there, requiring the Jews to
worship it on pain of death. He
slaughtered a pig on the holy altar and ordered the priests to do
This defilement of the Temple
rendered it unfit for use by the Jews.
It became known as the Abomination of Desolation and triggered the Maccabean revolt, a successful 3 ˝ year long guerrilla
action led by Judeas Maccabeas (Judah
the Hammer.) to oust the forces of Antiochus from Israel
and restore the Temple
for worship. Because of it, Antiochus Epiphanes has become the clearest type of the anti-Christ,
with the Maccabean revolt a model of the Great
Tribulation. For 1150 days (2300 evening
and morning sacrifices) the sanctuary lay desolate until it was consecrated
again in a ceremony celebrated today as the Feast of Hanukkah.
The Interpretation of the Vision
While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying
to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard
a man's voice from the Ulai calling, "Gabriel,
tell this man the meaning of the vision."
As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and
fell prostrate. "Son of man," he said to me, "understand
that the vision concerns the time of the end."
While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to
the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet.
He said: "I am going to tell you what will happen later in the
time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. The two-horned ram that you saw represents
the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the
large horn between his eyes is the first king.
The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four
kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power. (Daniel
The Angel Gabriel now comes to explain to Daniel that he's going to expand
the vision to show that there'll be a repeat of these events on a much larger
scale at the time of the end. We'll see that the "Little Horn" of Daniel
7:8 is the end times fulfillment of the one called "Another Horn"
in Daniel 8:9, the one we know as Antiochus Epiphanes. He begins with the identification of the Ram
and Goat and describes the distribution of Alexander's Kingdom to his four
generals. Then he heads straight for "the time of wrath."
"In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become
completely wicked, 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. 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. (Daniel 8:23-25)
Remnants of these Empires will endure until the End of the Age when a king
like Antiochus will arise, but this one won't be acting in his own strength. In
Rev 13:2 we're told that the Dragon will give him his power. And unlike Antiochus, who had suffered an
embarrassing defeat at the hands of the upstart Romans and was forced to leave Egypt in shame,
this king will succeed in everything he does and will be admired by all. The whole world was astonished and
followed the beast. Men worshiped
the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped
the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against
him?" (Rev. 13:3-4) He'll come on the scene as a peacemaker,
but will wind up with most of the world under his authority, even thinking to
go to war against the armies of heaven.
Like his predecessor, he'll have an unnatural hatred for the Jews and
will attempt to wipe them off the face of the Earth. He too will erect a statue in the Holy Place (Rev.
13:15), calling himself God and demanding worship (2Thes. 2:4). Yet
his end will come at the hand of the One who really is the King of the whole
"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."
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. (Daniel 8:26-27)
Gabriel concluded his interpretation of the vision by implying that the 2300
evenings and mornings will surely come, but the vision's ultimate fulfillment
is for the End Times. This has been
verified in history. The Temple's desolation by
Antiochus Epiphanes fulfilled the prophecy of the
evenings and mornings. No such time
frame is given us in connection with the Great Tribulation, where the coming
Abomination of Desolation is said to last at least 1260 days, and as we'll see
in Chapter 12, perhaps more.
It's now about 13 years later, in 538BC. Daniel is an old man by now,
probably in his eighties. He's been in Babylon
for nearly 70 years and has learned from reading Jeremiah's account of the Babylon's conquest that Israel's period of captivity was
nearly over. God had told Jeremiah that it would last for 70 years, and then Babylon would be defeated
and the Jews set free to rebuild their country. (Jeremiah 25:11-12) The
reason for this judgment was Israel's
insistence upon worshiping the false gods of their pagan neighbors. Its
duration of 70 years came from the fact that for 490 years they had neglected
to let their farmland lie fallow one year out of every seven as God had
commanded in Leviticus 25:1-7. The Lord had been patient all that time
but finally had sent them to Babylon
to give the land the 70 years of rest that were due
it. (2 Chron. 36:21)
While praying one day, confessing Israel's sins and reminding God of His promise
to restore them, (Daniel 9:1-23) Daniel
was visited once again by the Angel Gabriel, who interrupted his prayer to
reveal more of Israel's
future, once again expanding the visions of chapters 7 and 8 with a four verse
overview of things to come.
Many believe that Daniel 9:24-27 is the most important passage of
prophecy in all of Scripture. Almost every mistake I've run across in studying
the various interpretations of End Times Prophecy can be traced back to a
misunderstanding of this passage. Let's read the whole thing to get the big
picture and then take it apart verse by verse.
Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and your Holy City
to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to
bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to
anoint the most Holy. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree
to restore and rebuild Jerusalem
until The Anointed One the Ruler comes there will be seven weeks and sixty two
weeks. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench but in times of trouble.
After the sixty two weeks the Anointed One will be cut off and have nothing.
The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end will come like a flood: War will continue till the end and desolations
have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. In the
middle of the week he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing
of the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation until the
end that is decreed is poured out on him Daniel 9:24-27).
No prophecy in all of Scripture is more critical to our understanding of the
end times than these four verses. A few basic clarifications are in order
first, and then we'll interpret the passage verse by verse. The Hebrew word
translated weeks (or sevens) refers to a period of 7 years, like our word
decade refers to a period of 10 years. It literally means "a week of
years." So 70 weeks is 70 X 7 years or 490 years.
This period is divided into three parts, 7 weeks or 49 years, 62 weeks or 434
years, and 1 week or 7 years. Let's begin.
Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and your Holy City to
finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring
in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the
most Holy (place) (Daniel 9:24).
These 6 things would be accomplished for Daniel's people (Israel) and Daniel's Holy
City (Jerusalem) during a specified period of 490
years. I've inserted the word "place" after Holy at the end of the
verse to clarify the fact that it refers to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and
until The Anointed One the Ruler comes there will be seven weeks and sixty two
weeks. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench but in times of trouble (Daniel
Here is a clear prophecy of the timing of the First Coming. When this
message was given to Daniel by the Angel Gabriel, Jerusalem
had lain in ruin for nearly 70 years and the Jews were captive in Babylon. Counting forward
for 62 + 7 periods of 7 years each from a future decree giving the Jews
permission to restore and rebuild Jerusalem,
they should expect the Messiah. That's a total of 483 years after the decree is
Here it's important to distinguish the decree that freed the Jews from their
captivity from the one that gave them permission to rebuild Jerusalem.
When he conquered Babylon
in 535BC Cyrus the Persian immediately freed the Jews. It had been prophesied
150 years earlier in Isaiah 44:24-45:6 and was fulfilled in Ezra
1:1-4. But according to Nehemiah 2:1 the decree to rebuild
Jerusalem was given in the first month of the 20th year of his reign by King Artaxerxes of Persia (March of 445 BC on our calendar,
about 90 years later). Exactly 483 years after that the Lord Jesus rode in to
Jerusalem on a donkey to shouts of "Hosanna", on the only day in His
life He permitted His followers to proclaim Him as Israel's King, fulfilling
Daniel's prophecy to the day! The Hebrew in 9:25 calls Him Messiah the Prince,
denoting the fact that He was coming as the Anointed Son of the King and was
not yet crowned King Himself.
In Luke 19:41-45, He reminded the people of the specific nature of
this prophecy. As he approached Jerusalem
and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only
known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your
eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment
against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you
to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one
stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to
you." He held them accountable for knowing Daniel 9:24-27.
A few days later He extended that accountability to us. "So when you
see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken
of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- then let those who
are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matt 24:15) We are also
required to understand Daniel 9 in reference to the Great Tribulation
and 2nd Coming.
After the sixty two weeks the Anointed One will be cut off and have
nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the
sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue till the end and
desolations have been decreed (9:26).
First came 7 sevens (49 years) and then 62 sevens (434 years) for a total of
69 sevens or 483 years. At the end of this 2nd period their Messiah would be
executed (literally destroyed in the making of a covenant) having received none
of the honor, glory and blessing the Scriptures promised Him, and the people of
a ruler yet to come would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. The Israelites
would be scattered abroad and peace would elude the world.
We all know that Jesus was crucified, establishing
the New Covenant in the process, and 35 years later the Romans put the torch to
the city and the Temple
destroying both. Surviving Jews were forced to flee for their lives and in the
ensuing 2000 years I don't believe a single generation has escaped involvement
in a war of some kind.
And then something strange happened: The Heavenly clock stopped. 69 of the 70 weeks had passed and all that
was prophesied to happen during those 483 years had come to pass but there was
still one week (7 years) left. There are hints in the Old Testament that the
clock had stopped several times before in Israel's history when for one
reason or another they were out of the land. And in the New Testament we're
also told that while God is dealing with the Church, time ceases to exist for
Israel (Acts 15:13-18). But the clearest indication is that
the events foretold in Daniel 9:27 simply haven't happened yet.
He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. In the middle of the
week he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the Temple
he will set up an abomination that causes desolation until the end that is
decreed is poured out on him (9:27).
Here is the missing 70th week, but before we try to understand it let's
recall a rule of grammar that will help make our interpretation correct. The
rule is this: Pronouns refer to the closest previous noun. "He" being
a personal pronoun refers to the closest previous person, in this case the
"ruler who will come." So a ruler who will come from some part of the
old Roman Empire will confirm a 7 year treaty with Israel
that permits them to build a Temple
and re-instate their Old Covenant worship system. 3 1/2 years later he will
violate this treaty by setting up an abomination that causes the Temple to become
desolate, putting an end to their worship. This abomination brings the wrath of
God down upon him and he will be destroyed.
This is the Little Horn of Daniel 7:8 and the end times fulfillment of the one called "Another Horn"
in Daniel 8:9, first fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes.
The most obvious way in which we know these things haven't happened is that
the Jewish Old Covenant worship system requires a Temple and there hasn't been one since 70 AD
when the Romans destroyed it.
Some say this prophecy was fulfilled during the Roman destruction of 70 AD
but most believe it's yet future, partly because of
the term Abomination that causes Desolation. As Gabriel told Daniel, in the
time of wrath there would be a second, greater fulfillment of the prophecies
from his vision of chapter 8. Another
king would arise and repeat the things Antiochus had done, one of which would
be to stand in the Temple
and declare himself to be God, and demand that the people worship a statue of
him. Jesus said that this event would
kick off the Great Tribulation (Matt 24:15-21), and Paul said
the anti-Christ would be the one to do it. (2 Thes
2:4) The blasphemies of
Antiochus had not been specifically repeated when the Romans destroyed the Temple, and there hasn't been another Temple since.
The similarities between this coming event and the one from history
being so obvious, most scholars are persuaded that one points to the other
since nothing in the intervening years fits so completely.
Soon And Very Soon
Following a devastating war in the Middle
East, a new leader will soon emerge on the scene. With great
personal charisma and a plan end to all wars, he will captivate and control the
world. Since all true believers will have recently disappeared from Earth,
he'll have no trouble persuading most remaining inhabitants that he is the
promised Messiah, the Prince of Peace. He will astound and amaze them all with
feats of diplomacy and conquest, even performing the supernatural. But when he
claims to be God, all hell will break loose on Earth and 3 1/2 years of the
most terrible times mankind has ever known will threaten their very existence.
But before they're all destroyed the real
Prince of Peace will return and overthrow this imposter. He will set up His
kingdom on earth, a kingdom that will never be conquered nor left to another.
Having given His life to finish transgression, put an end to sin, atone for
wickedness and bring in everlasting righteousness, and having fulfilled all
Biblical vision and prophecy, He will anoint the most Holy Place and receive all the honor,
glory and blessing the Scriptures promised Him. Israel will finally have her
Kingdom restored and will live in peace with God in her midst, and you and I as
the bride of the Christ will rule and reign with Him forever. If you listen
carefully, you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 09-16-06