Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Foreshadowing

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.  Daniel 8:26

When we study Daniel  8,  we get a glimpse of a vision that greatly troubled Daniel.  This vision so troubled Daniel that it basically put him to bed.  I, Daniel, was worn out.  I lay exhausted for several days.  Then I got up and went about the kings business.  I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding – Daniel 8:27.  In this vision, God gave Daniel foresight of the destruction of other kingdoms.  The vision recorded by Daniel was prophetic when it was given, but it has since been fulfilled.  We view it in the as history. 

In Daniel’s vision, he saw a ram and a goat.  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 it charged toward the west and the north and the south.  No animal could stand against it, and none could rescue from its power.  It did as it pleased and became great – Daniel 8:3-4.  The two horns on the ram represented the kings of Media and Perisa.  Scripture reveals this in Daniel 8:20 – The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. 

As the vision continued, Daniel sees a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes.  Daniel 8:5-7 – As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground.  It came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at it in great rage.  I saw it attach the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering its two horns.  The ram was powerless to stand against it; the goat knocked it to the ground and trampled on it, and none could rescue the ram from its power.  In these Scriptures, the goat represented Greece.  The large horn on the goat represented Alexander the Great.  Daniel 8:21 – The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between its eyes is the first king.  This is an amazing prediction because Greece was not yet considered a world power when this prophecy was given. 

Alexander the Great was a mighty warrior that used great speed and military strategy to conquer the surrounding world.  In Daniel 8:7, we see Alexander the Great shattering both horns on the ram.  The shattering of both of these horns symbolized Alexander the Great breaking both parts of the Medo-Persian Empire.  At the height of power, Alexander the Great died and his kingdom – the Grecian Kingdom – was split into four parts.  Out of one of these four parts we see a madman arise that would be a foreshadowing of the Antichrist.  Daniel 8:8-9 - The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.  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.  The name of this man was Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  He was known as one of the cruelest tyrants in history.  He committed many atrocities against Israel – the Beautiful Land.  He attacked the Jews in their land and put a stop to their religious practices.  He even claimed that he was a god and stopped the daily sacrifices in the temple and substituted pagan worship.  Daniel 8:10-12 – 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 commander of the army of the LORD; it took away the daily sacrifice from the LORD, and his sanctuary was thrown down.  Because of rebellion, the LORD’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it.  It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.  What Antiochus did was a foreshadowing of what the Antichrist will do when he puts his image in the temple and commands the world to worship him. 

A study and comparison of Daniel 8:23-27 and Daniel 8:9-14 reveals that the characteristics and career of Antiochus parallel those of the Antichrist.  Both begin modestly but increase in power and influence.  Both blaspheme God with mouths that speak great things.  They persecute the Jewish people, claim to be gods and put images in the temple to be worshiped.  Both impose their own religion on the people.  They are energized by the devil and are great deceivers.  Antiochus and the Antichrist appear to succeed and seem invincible.  Both are finally defeated by the coming of a redeemer.  Antiochus was defeated by Judas Maccabeus and the Antichrist will be defeated by Jesus Christ. 

No human power could defeat the king whom Daniel saw in his vision but Almighty God would bring him down.  There will come a day when the Antichrist will stand against the Prince of princes, yet he will be destroyed by Almighty God and cast into the lake of fire.  Daniel 8:25 – He (the Antichrist) 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. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for allowing us to glimpse into the future.  We acknowledge that You are sovereign and know the future.  Father, Your Word offers us clear guidance.  Help us to turn to Your Word for answers to the many questions we may have.  We rest in You.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.