Daniel 8 - The Antichrist
by Larry W. Wilson
1 John 2:18
"Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour." Ė
Section I - The Symbols
As we proceed through the book of Daniel, the prophetic matrix will continue to unfold, and our understanding of Godís Word will become clearer. Daniel 8 adds several important elements to the prophetic matrix. God can say so much with very few words! To make this chapter easier to digest, I have sub-divided it into seven segments. If you make sure that you understand the issues in each segment as you proceed, you should end up with a deeper appreciation for Godís Word at the end of this study. Before we examine Daniel 8, there are four points from the previous chapter that need to be restated:
Now that these four points have been reviewed, consider the following points that will rise from this study on Daniel 8:
Look over the matrix in Chart 4.1, and notice that it contains some repetition and enlargement of the matrix presented in Chapter 3. Especially notice the placement and order of the items located in the rows for Daniel 7 and Daniel 8.
Prophetic Matrix Including Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 11
Remember from Chapter 1 that "no prophecy is complete within itself," and Daniel 8 is no exception. As we will see, Daniel 8 cannot be accurately interpreted without using the developing matrix which the four rules produce. Even with a valid set of rules, we have to be careful that we put each element in its intended place. All of the prophetic pieces have to fit together in a harmonious matrix, for God is the Author and Designer of prophecy. Remember, each prophetic element is like a piece of a puzzle that has several sides. The puzzle is solved when all the pieces are positioned in such a way that they harmoniously align with the surrounding pieces.
The Apocalyptic Sequence
God gave the vision in Daniel 8 to Daniel about 550 B.C. Daniel 8 follows the same order found in Daniel 2 and 7. In other words, this vision contains an orderly sequence of events which is followed by commentary that explains the sequence. Carefully study the apocalyptic sequence:
"In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.
"And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole Earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
"And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered." (Daniel 8:1-12, KJV)
These twelve verses focus on three symbols: a ram, a goat and a horn power. Because the Bible is its own interpreter, it provides the meaning of these symbols. The ram represents the kingdom of Medo-Persia. (Daniel 5:28; 8:20). The two horns of the ram represent the co-regent reign of two kings, the king of the Medes and the king of the Persians. The higher horn (the greater king) represents the Persian side of this kingdom. The higher horn of the ram in Daniel 8:3 also aligns with the "higher shoulder" of the bear in Daniel 7:5. (See Chart 4.1.)
The second symbol, the goat, represents the kingdom of Grecia. (Daniel 8:21) The great horn represents the first prominent king of the Grecian empire. History reveals this king was Alexander the Great, who died in the prime of his life. The four horns that replaced the great horn represent four generals that eventually gained control of Alexanderís empire. Historians identify these generals as Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy and Seleucus.
We know the identity of the ram and goat, but what does the third symbol, the horn power, represent? Until the twentieth century, a majority of Protestants claimed the little horn in Daniel 7 and the horn power in Daniel 8 represented the papacy. True, both horns have important similarities, but they are not the same entity. We will see that the horn power in Daniel 8 is many times more powerful than the Roman Catholic Church.
Beasts Are Kingdoms Ė Horns Are Kings
In Daniel 8, the two beasts represent empires, but the horns of the ram and of the goat represent kings. This distinction is important, because the horn power in this vision is not attached to a beast (a world empire). Further, the Bible says this horn power is a king. (Daniel 8:23) Daniel was told this king will exalt himself to be as great as the Prince of the host, Jesus Christ! (Daniel 8:11) The horn power in Daniel 8 is a stern-faced king that will rule over Earth during the Great Tribulation. (Daniel 11:36) This coming king is the Antichrist, Lucifer, who will dazzle the world with his power, authority and ability to perform incredible miracles. He will gain control of Earth and do more evil than Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot combined. In short, the dreaded Antichrist will not be a mere man. The coming Antichrist will be Lucifer, appearing in the flesh, masquerading as an angel of light, and claiming to be Almighty God. (2 Corinthians 11:14; Daniel 11:36; Revelation 9; Revelation 13:11-18)
Timing Is Everything
The vision in Daniel 8 almost covers the same 2,600 years described in Daniel
2 and 7. The only difference is that the Daniel 8 vision starts with the Medo-Persian
empire (538 B.C.) instead of the Babylonian empire (605 B.C.). The sequence in
this vision ends when Jesus destroys "the stern-faced king" at the Second
Coming. Daniel 8:25 indicates the horn power will be destroyed by God:
". . . he will be destroyed, but not by human power." (See Daniel 2:44, Daniel 7:11 and Revelation 19:11-21.) This is an important specification. Men will not be able to destroy the Antichrist. Lucifer will do whatever he wants and no one will be able to stop him. Jesus does not lay hands on His enemies at the Second Coming; He simply commands the wicked to die. The sharp sword that comes out of His mouth represents His ability to speak the command and people drop dead. (See Revelation 19:15-21.) It is interesting to note that the voice that calls the righteous dead to life (1 Thessalonians 4:16) is the same voice that commands the wicked to die. (Revelation 19:21)
Because God is the Creator of apocalyptic prophecy, we know Daniel 8 will harmonize with the matrix established in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7. Pay close attention to the words of Gabriel, as he speaks to Daniel about the sequence of events: "And I heard a manís voice from the Ulai calling, ĎGabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.í As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. ĎSon of man,í he said to me, Ďunderstand that the vision concerns the time of the end.í 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: ĎI am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.í " (Daniel 8:16-19, italics mine)
Look at the words which have been italicized. Gabriel twice emphasized the point that this vision concerns "the time of the end" or "the appointed time of the end." The word "appointed" means the time of the end was set or predetermined long ago. This is why Gabriel calls it "the appointed time of the end." God has set a date for the Great Tribulation to begin. The Father has also set a date for the Second Coming. (Matthew 24:36) So, ready or not, believe it or not, Godís great clock is counting the days to the appointed time of the end. (Read Revelation 9:15 and notice how the date for the sixth trumpet has been predetermined down to the very hour.)
The Time of Wrath
Gabriel said the appointed time of the end will be a time of wrath. A time of wrath means that everyone will suffer wrath during the appointed time of the end. The wicked will receive Godís wrath for their rebellion and insolence (Colossians 3:5,6; Revelation 16), and the saints will receive the wrath of their governments when they refuse to obey the dictates of Babylon and the Antichrist! (Revelation 13:7-10) Everyone will suffer wrath.
How does the horn power in Daniel 8 connect to the appointed time of the end? The connection is quite simple because the ram and the goat are not end-time players. History says these world empires disappeared more than two thousand years ago. However, the horn power, or "the stern-faced king," has not yet appeared. He is the only item left in this vision that relates to the appointed time of the end. As we will see, the horn power in Daniel 8 is the coming Antichrist. He will appear "out of nowhere" during the Great Tribulation. He does not rise out of a nation or a kingdom like the little horn of Daniel 7. Lucifer will suddenly appear in clouds of light with his angels, and through counterfeit miracles, signs, wonders, deceit and lies, he will deceive the whole world. He will gain control of Earth during the appointed time of the end.
After hearing that the horn power is the only part of this vision that applies to the time of the end, one of the first questions people ask is this: "Why did God put two ancient kingdoms in this vision if they have nothing to do with the end-time?" There are at least three reasons for placing these ancient kingdoms in a prophecy that points to the appointed time of the end:
Antichrist Will Not be Human
The books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, 2 Thessalonians, 2 Corinthians, Daniel and Revelation harmonize because they are the Word of God. They present a rather startling picture of the coming Antichrist by adding valuable pieces to the puzzle. The following comments are a brief synthesis of what these books say about the Antichrist:
The coming Antichrist will not be a mere mortal. The coming Antichrist will not be born to a woman. The coming Antichrist cannot be killed by men. The coming Antichrist will have supernatural powers that far exceed anything men can do. The coming Antichrist will be evil and destructive beyond compre-hension. The coming Antichrist will be dazzling and commanding in appearance, but deadly in his manipulation. The coming Antichrist will be a stern-faced king, that is, he will not show mercy unless temporal mercy facilitates his evil schemes. Billions of powerful demons serve him. The coming Antichrist is the ancient foe of Christ. In fact, Lucifer is the most powerful and greatest angel that God ever created. He was the first being to become anti-Christ. The Bible predicts that God will allow Lucifer and his angels to appear in physical form visible to the human race. Just as Jesus became a man to save the world, Lucifer will be granted authority to masquerade as God so that he can quickly lead the wicked to their destruction. Lucifer will mimic Christís return and appear with clouds of angels. You can be sure the appearing of the devil will be the most spectacular event ever viewed by human eyes (Revelation 17:8) Ė only to be eclipsed by the brighter and more glorious appearing of Jesus. (Revelation 1:7, 19:11-21)
Horn Power Not Antiochus Epiphanes IV Nor the Papacy
Most Christians believe the horn power in Daniel 8 is either Antiochus Epiphanes IV, an ancient king who ruled with Romeís permission over a tiny Syrian state (175-164 B.C.), or they say this horn power is the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, the only way we can determine the true identity of this horn power is by satisfying all of the specifications given to Daniel. We will find in this presentation that both interpretations share the same deficiency. Neither conclusion satisfies all of the specifications given in Daniel 8.
Even though Bible students and scholars have studied the book of Daniel for centuries, it was impossible for them to know the truth about Daniel 8 because the knowledge of the architecture of Daniel was sealed up until the time of the end. (Daniel 12:4,9) Because the end of the age is here and the Great Tribulation is about to begin, the book of Daniel has been unsealed and Godís Word now speaks with a clarity and precision that it did not have before. When Daniel 8 is integrated into the historical matrix which the four rules of interpretation produce, the horn power in Daniel 8 cannot be Antiochus IV or the papacy! The horn power in Daniel 8 is something far more powerful and far more sinister. The horn power in Daniel 8 is the great enemy of God and man. He is the coming Antichrist.
Section II - Antichrist as King of the North
All Specifications Have to Be Fulfilled
Rule Two says, "A fulfilment of apocalyptic prophecy occurs when all of the specifications within that prophecy are met. This includes the order of events outlined in the prophecy." With this rule in mind, we will carefully examine all of the specifications of the horn power in Daniel 8. We will begin with the origin of the Horn Power. "The goat [Grecia] became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn [Alexander the Great] was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven [North, East, West, South]. Out of one of them [the four winds] came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward [the west] the Beautiful Land." (Daniel 8:8,9, insertions mine) The Bible says the large or prominent horn of the goat was broken off at the height of its power. This seems odd. A person would not expect a powerful horn to "break off" at the peak of its strength, but remember, this horn represents a king, not an empire. Alexander the Great died at the peak of his military power. His kingdom was divided between his four generals which are represented by the four horns. Gabriel told Daniel, "The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four [kings or] kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power." (Daniel 8:22, insertion mine) It is interesting to observe that prophecy is history written in advance. History confirms Gabrielís words. None of Alexanderís generals were strong enough to reunite the Grecian kingdom.
God used beasts in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 to represent empires, but He consistently used horns to represent kings. The Hebrew word for horn, malkuwth, can mean king, ruler or kingdom. Most translators treat malkuwth in Daniel 8:22 as "four kingdoms," however, in this context malkuwth is better translated "four kings." Because horns represent kings in Daniel 8, this consistency forces the horn power in Daniel 8 to also be a king. In fact, the Bible emphasizes this point by indicating the horn power in Daniel 8 will be a stern-faced "king" who appears during the appointed time of the end! (See Daniel 8:19,23.)
The Horn Power Comes out of the North
"And out of one of them [the four winds] came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the [west] pleasant land." (Daniel 8:9, KJV, insertions mine) From the evidence that follows, we will discover that the horn power (the stern-faced king) does not originate within an earthly kingdom. Actually, the Antichrist just appears out of nowhere. The Bible reveals he comes from the north, out of one of the four winds. There is more to this direction than one might think at first. As we proceed, notice how the horn power in Daniel 8 does not have its roots in ancient kingdoms such as Medo-Persia, Grecia or Rome!
Daniel 8:9 says, "And out of one of them came another horn. . . ." To understand this phrase we have to examine the grammar. To what noun does the pronoun "them" refer? The Hebrew pronoun "them" (hem) is masculine, and the Hebrew word for "winds" (ruwach) can be masculine or feminine, but the Hebrew word for "horns" (qeren) is feminine. Therefore, a gender agreement (masculine "them" and masculine "winds") is possible if we say, "Out of one of the four winds. . . ." But if we say, "Out of one of the four horns. . .," the gender in the grammar does not agree. Even though grammar suggests the horn power comes out of one of the four winds, grammar alone does not make this conclusion air-tight. So, let us see if there is stronger evidence.
Daniel was standing on the banks of the Ulai River when he received this vision. From his point of reference, the horn power started out small, but became "exceeding great" as it grew toward the south, east and "toward the beautiful land." Daniel refers to his homeland as "the beautiful land" without explicitly saying "west." (See Jeremiah 3:19.) Maps of this region show Jerusalem to be due west of the province of Elam where Daniel was located. So, after analyzing verse 9, we discover the horn power comes out of the north and grows toward the south, east and west.
The direction of north is very significant. The ancients thought the world was flat, and north was "up" and south was "down." Two thousand six hundred years later, while we know the world is not flat, we still follow this tradition. Most people think the North Pole is on the top of the world and the South Pole is at the bottom. The ancients believed that Godís throne was above the world, so they concluded that divine judgments came down from the north. Carefully study the following seven texts and notice how the direction of north is associated with divine destruction (italics and insertions mine):
The King of the North in Daniel 11
Even though Daniel 8 indicates the horn power comes out of the north, Daniel 11 offers more details about the king who comes out of the north. Let us jump ahead for a moment to Daniel 11:36 and notice a few verses. These verses may help you see more clearly how the architecture of Daniel influences my conclusion that the horn power in Daniel 8 is the Antichrist. First, consider these verses: "Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. [However, at the appointed time of the end] The [stern-faced] king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath [the Great Tribulation] is completed, for what has been determined must take place." (Daniel 11:35,36, italics and insertions mine) These two verses speak about the time of the end. Now we will jump forward to verses 40 and 41. "At the time of the end the king of the south will [rebel and] engage him in battle, and the king of the north [the Antichrist] will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. . . ." (Daniel 11:40,41, insertions mine)
After Lucifer appears on Earth, Revelation 13:8 indicates most wicked people will receive him as God, but many of them will reject him and rebel against his claims of authority. Daniel 11 reveals the wicked king of the south will rise up and oppose the arrogant and pompous claims of Lucifer, the king of the north. Lucifer will wage war against the king of the south, and will destroy him and his followers. In fact, this destruction amounts to one-third of the wicked! The remaining two-thirds of the wicked will gladly submit to the devil as though he were Almighty God. As horrendous as this battle is, the sixth-trumpet war is not the battle of Armageddon. The battle of Armageddon occurs as Jesus appears. (Revelation 16:12-21)
The war described in Daniel 11:40,41 is also described in Revelation 9:13-21. Daniel and Revelation perfectly harmonize on this matter. The point is that the horn power of Daniel 8 is the king from the north. Study over Chart 4.2 and notice how the king from the north in Daniel 11:36 and the horn power of Daniel 8 appear at the appointed time of the end. The architecture of apocalyptic prophecy is amazing! (Note: To keep the size of this growing matrix within the physical constraints of the pages within this book, the column for Babylon has been removed.)
Summarizing His Origin
The horn power in Daniel 8 does not arise from a nation on Earth. This king will come out of the north during the appointed time of the end. God uses the point of origin to make a profound statement. The Antichrist will arrive on a divine mission of destruction! God will send the stern-faced king to rule over the wicked. God will send him because the wicked rejected His truth and rebelled against His generous offer of salvation. Paul talked about this, ". . . They [the wicked] 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 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness." (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, italics mine)
Consider Godís consistent ways. He sent armies to destroy the Caananites, the Israelites, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, the Grecians, and the Romans. When nations go beyond the point of redemption, God raises up a destroyer king. The reason God places the Antichrist in the end time story is because He sets up kings and He takes them down with other kings. During the Great Tribulation, God will send the stern-faced king of Daniel 8 (the Antichrist) to destroy much of the world. The devil will kill one-third of mankind, leaving two groups of survivors. When Jesus appears, one group will obey the commandments of the Lamb (Revelation 12:17) and the other group will obey the lamb-like beast (the Antichrist).
Prophetic Matrix With the King of the North
I know this explanation of the horn power goes beyond the evidence presented thus far in Daniel 8, but my purpose is to help you behold a very large picture that will continue to unfold if the apocalyptic rules are followed!
Section III - Antichrist Will Oppose All Religions
The Horn Power Grows Until. . . .
"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." (Daniel 8:10) The horn power from the north starts small, but it grows until it reaches the starry host of the heavens, then it throws them down and tramples them. This language indicates the stern-faced king will grow in recognition and authority among the inhabitants of Earth until he is exalted above all gods! The book of Revelation reveals more about this process than Daniel. Revelation indicates the devil will begin his physical work on Earth with local appearances. The devil, along with his enormous host of angels, will come down out of the sky in blinding clouds of light at specific locations on Earth. He will imitate Christís Second Coming with two obvious differences. First, God will not permit the devil to be visible to the whole world at one time. So, the people of Earth will not be introduced to the Antichrist at one event. He will grow in popularity as he appears in the skies over the populated cities of Earth. Great cities of the world such as Mexico City, Jerusalem, Washington D.C., Moscow, Sydney, Beijing, Calcutta, Houston and others, will see magnificent displays of power and glory. Lucifer will appear in various places and he will exercise miracle-working powers to convince people that he is God. (Revelation 13:14,15) Even though his display of power will be amazing, the saints will not be deceived. They know who lives behind the mask. (Revelation 14:9,10)
To understand the meaning of "the starry hosts" in Daniel 8, we have to examine the language and ways of people who lived in ancient times. Polytheism was popular. The ancients worshiped various gods who lived among the stars of the heavens. (Daniel 2:11,28) They used the stars, like dots on a drawing pad, to draw pictures of their gods. These mythical gods belonged to a collection called "the starry hosts." Idols of gold, silver, wood and stone were representations of these various gods. These five texts help us understand who the starry hosts were (italics mine):
If we allow the Bible to be its own interpreter, the term "starry hosts" represents pagan deities. The ancients gave them names such as Baal, Mercury, Zeus, Hermes, Venus, Ra, Sol and others. (Acts 14:12) With this setting in mind, Daniel 8:10 indicates the Antichrist will grow in authority and recognition until he is honored above all gods worshiped by men. The stern-faced king will prove himself greater than the gods of all religions because he can perform great signs and miracles at will. No other false god will be able to match his glory or prowess. Even King Nebuchadnezzar admitted that Danielís God was greater than his own god when Daniel interpreted the kingís vision! So, when the time comes, the Antichrist will call fire down out of Heaven to destroy rebellious groups of people, and his actions will convince onlookers that they are in the presence of Almighty God. (Revelation 13:13,14; 2 Thes-salonians 2:9) In this way, the devil will trample down (show inferior) all of the gods of this world and the religions of men. Now that you have an idea of what the horn power from the north will do to the nations and religions of the world, notice these two texts:
Do not forget each of these specifications. The details regarding the horn power of Daniel 8 are creating a tall order Ė in fact, no ordinary person can meet these specifications.
Section IV - Horn Power Cannot Be Antiochus Epiphanes IV
Daily Services in Heaven
It is regrettable that millions of Christians believe that Antiochus Epiphanes IV (175-164 B.C.) is the horn power of Daniel 8. We will investigate this claim by comparing the specifications given in the Bible with historical facts about Antiochus IV. Beginning with Daniel 8:11, the angel said, "It [the horn power] set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host [The Lord Jesus]; it [the horn power] took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low." (Daniel 8:11, insertions and italics mine) Verse 11 will make a lot more sense if you understand Godís use of parallel temples. (See * below.) Daniel 8:11 is not describing the cessation of daily sacrifices in Jerusalemís temple in 167 B.C. Instead, we will see that this verse describes the cessation of daily services in Heavenís temple which during "the appointed time of the end."
The word "sacrifice" in verse 11 has been added by translators and is not found in the original manuscripts. This fact is important because Gabriel is not talking about the cessation of animal sacrifices on Earth. He is talking about the cessation of the daily services in Heavenís temple. The word "daily" comes from a perpetual round of services that occurred evening and morning in the earthly temple. The daily services on Earth shadow similar services in Heavenís temple. (Hebrews 8:1-5) During the appointed time of the end, the Antichrist will cause the daily services in Heavenís temple to end and the Antichrist will cause the place of Christís sanctuary to be brought low (treated with disdain and contempt).
History reveals that Antiochus IV ended the daily services in Jerusalemís temple for a three year period. However, the cessation of the daily in 167 B.C. is not a fulfillment of Daniel 8, nor does this make Antiochus IV the horn power of Daniel 8. Antiochus IV was not the only king that terminated the daily services at the temple in Jerusalem. For example, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple in 586 B.C. and ended the daily services for more than seventy years. The Roman general, Titus, destroyed the temple in A.D. 70, and the daily services of the temple have not resumed to this day because there is no temple in Jerusalem. However, the primary question begging for an answer is whether Antiochus IV was powerful enough to take the daily away from the Prince of the host, Jesus! Review verse 11 again: "It [the horn power] set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host [the Lord Jesus]; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low."
The History of Antiochus IV
A brief history of Antiochus Epiphanes IV may be helpful because millions of people believe Antiochus IV is a fulfillment of the horn power in Daniel 8. Let us closely examine the logic that produces this conclusion.
What Is Wrong with the Antiochus Interpretation?
Because there are valid rules of interpretation, no prophecy stands alone. Daniel 8 is not isolated from the historical matrix that unfolds in the book of Daniel. Because there are so many variables in the study of prophecy, we have to follow a set of valid rules if we want to know the intended meaning of prophecy. If we do not follow a valid set of rules, the outcome will be a private interpretation. Even though a private interpretation may be exciting and very reasonable, and even though millions of people may accept it as truth, a private interpretation never produces Godís intended meaning in apocalyptic prophecy.
Because God sealed the book of Daniel until the time of the end, the intended meaning of Danielís visions could not be known until the time of the end arrives. (Daniel 12:4,9) When it comes to apocalyptic prophecy, there is one fulfillment of prophecy. There is one meaning and there is one time-line. Apocalyptic events do not occur more than once. Rule One prohibits multiple fulfillments because there is a beginning point in time and an ending point in time for each prophecy and the events within the prophecy occur in the order in which are they given. Godís foreknowledge is perfect. A fulfillment is the full-filling of all that God has said would come to pass. If all of the specifications of a prophecy are not met in an interpretation, the student has two options: (a) ignore the specifications and accept an interpretation that merely sounds good, or (b) reject the interpretation because it does not satisfy all of the specifications. Given these two choices, let us compare some of the supporting arguments for Antiochus IV with Scripture:
In an effort to give Antiochus every advantage to fulfill this prophecy, let us apply the phrase, "In the latter part of their reign..." to the last days of Grecia, so that Antiochus might be able to satisfy this specification. If we do this, the next phrase, ". . . when rebels have become completely wicked," would have to apply to the rebels in Jerusalem who, like Jason and the renegade Jews, wanted to adopt the sensual ways of Antiochus IV and the Greeks.
The next specification reveals: ". . . a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue will arise." Historians say that Antiochus IV was a hoodlum, basically a leader of bandits, not a stern faced king and a master of intrigue. History says he was a self-indulgent and tempermental nit wit. If he had not inherited the kingdom from his father, historians are confident that he would not have been able to build one. Because Antiochus IV was inept as a king (remember, even the Romans called him a madman), advocates of Antiochus IV claim he was perhaps more stern-faced (as in pouting) than a master of evil manipulation. They claim that Antiochus IV has to be the fulfillment of the horn power of Daniel 8 because he rose to power at the end of the Grecian period and he caused the daily sacrifices in Jerusalem to cease for three years. This claim may sound convincing for people who have not examined Daniel 8, but obviously Antiochus could neither take the daily away from the Prince of the host (Jesus) nor did Antiochus live at the appointed time of the end.
Scofieldís Explanation of the 2,300 Days
Cyrus I. Scofield (1843-1921), was a writer whose theological and prophetic
views dramatically influenced Protestants during the twentieth century. Dr.
Scofield was not the first to suggest that Antiochus IV was the horn power of
Daniel 8, but he was arguably the best. To prove that Antiochus IV was the horn
power, Dr. Scofield claimed the 2,300 days in Daniel 8:14 began with the
desecration of the temple in Jerusalem (Kislev 15, 167 B.C.;
1 Maccabees 1:57) and terminated with the death of General Nicanor on March 27, 160 B.C. According to 1 Maccabees 3, Nicanor was one of the generals that Lysais appointed to destroy the Jews while Antiochus was looking for someone to plunder in Persia. According to 1 Maccabees 4:52-54, the temple was cleansed and services resumed three years and ten days after its desecration. (See also 2 Maccabees 10:1-8.) In other words, the number of days between the defilement of the temple by Antiochus IV and the reconsecration of the temple by Judas Maccabeus was 1,096 days, less than half of the needed 2,300 days. Because Daniel 8:14 specifies 2,300 days, Scofield realized there was a problem, so he began searching for some event that occurred 2,300 days after Antiochus desecrated the temple in Jerusalem. The death of a nondescript general was the only thing that Scofield could find that even came close to 2,300 days. Rather than abandon the Antiochus IV interpretation for a better interpretation of the horn power, Scofield declared the 2,300 days were fulfilled by two events that do not have 2,300 days between them. No doubt Dr. Scofield was a sincere man, but if a person does not use valid rules of interpretation, eventually he will end up in a corner where he has no choice but to twist or distort the Word of God to make the pieces fit. God said there would be 2,300 evenings and mornings Ė not more, not less Ė before the sanctuary would be cleansed.
During the last half of the twentieth century, defenders of Scofieldís
position have been forced to acknowledge that temple services resumed long
before the 2,300 days expired. So, they argue with weasel words that temple
services were only free of "destructive threat" after General Nicanor died. The
problem with this claim is that God says nothing about the temple being free of
threat or about the Jews enjoying freedom from destruction in Daniel 8:14. The
King James Version of Daniel 8:14 simply states, "Unto two thousand three
hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." (or
reconsecrated, NIV) The following chart shows how Scofield defined the 2,300
days. The dates are taken from
1 Maccabees 1:57; 4:52 and 7:43.
Scofieldís Understanding of the 2,300 Days
x = December 6, 167 B.C. Antiochus IV desecrated temple.
y = December 16, 164 B.C. Temple cleansed and services resume.
z = March 27, 160 B.C. General Nicanor killed.
The 2,300 days are calculated as follows:
360 + 360 + 360 + 360 + 360 + 360 + 110 = 2,270
add 30 days per seven years for calendar adjustment 30
Total time 2,300 days
Here are five major problems with Scofieldís interpretation:
Problem 1: 1 Maccabees 4:52 says the temple in Jerusalem was cleansed and services restored years before General Nicanor was killed. So, Nicanorís death has nothing to do with the cleansing of the temple!
Problem 2: The calendar presented in Chart 4.3 is based on the supposition that the Jews observed a 360-day year. Advocates of this dating scheme calculate the time between December 6, 167, and March 27, 160 B.C., to be 2,270 days. Then they add one month of 30 days for calendar adjustment because a solar year is 365.242 days in length. The total time, according to this formula, adds up to 2,300 days.
This view of the 2,300 days has no merit. First, there is no historical evidence showing the Jews ever observed a 360-day year. The Jewish year is either 354 or 384 days in length depending on the cycles of the moon Ė never 360 days. Even if the Jews did observe a 360-day year, the adjustment of 30 days every seven years does not resolve the problem of solar alignment which is critical for planting crops. In seven years, a proper alignment with the arrival of Spring requires an adjustment of 36.7 days, not 30 days if one is using a 360 day calendar. If the Jews used a 360-day calendar with a 30-day correction every seven years, their calendar would be 27 days out of alignment with the sun in 28 years. No agricultural nation could survive this kind of error in their calendar.
Problem 3: Dr. Scofield knew the time-frame between the desecration of the temple and the death of General Nicanor was not precisely 2,300 days, so he declared Godís prophetic time-periods to be "indeterminate" (not very precise). Scofield, commenting on the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24, wrote these words: "In this connection it should be remembered that, in the grand sweep of prophecy, prophetic time is invariably so near as to give full warning, so indeterminate as to give no satisfaction to mere curiosity." (See the Scofield Reference Bible, commentary on Daniel 9:24.) Does Scofield mean that once we find something "close enough" to fit within a prophetic time-period, we can declare a prophetic mystery solved? How can an omniscient God not know the actual number of days between two events? In Daniel 12, God mentions two specific time periods having 1,290 days and 1,335 days. Revelation 20 speaks of 1,000 years. Revelation 13:5 speaks of 42 months and Revelation 11:9 speaks of 3.5 days. Does God regard these time-periods as indeterminate? Of course not! Scofield "imposed" a bad interpretation onto Daniel 8:14 and then justified a poor fit for the 2,300 days by declaring Godís Word to be "indeterminate." If God can number the hairs of our heads, if God can number the stars of the sky, if God created the precise pulses of atomic energy in billionths of a second, surely He can accurately count the span of days between two events.
Problem 4: An issue affecting the 2,300 days in Daniel 8:14 exists which Scofield did not resolve. We know that the "time, times and half a time" in Daniel 7:25 represents 1,260 years. The Bible confirms this point. (See Revelation 12:6,14.) Bible history confirms that God sometimes translates a day for a year so that 1,260 days would represent 1,260 years. This is not unusual. Most scholars agree that the "seventy weeks" in Daniel 9:24 have to be translated as 490 years because of the day/year principle found in the Jubilee Calendar. Because the 2,300 days in Daniel 8 and the seventy weeks in Daniel 9 begin at the same time (this point will be demonstrated in our study on Daniel 9), they share the same translation. In other words, the 2,300 days represent 2,300 years because the seventy weeks represent 490 years. In fact, the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 are "cut off" from the 2,300 days in Daniel 8! The matrix is at work and the timing in Daniel and Revelation fits together like hand and glove. God measures the time-periods in Daniel 7, Daniel 8 and Daniel 9 according to the day/year operation of the Jubilee Calendar. (Leviticus 25) This is why Rule Four states: "God measures apocalyptic time according to the presence or absence of the Jubilee Calendar." Scofield should have translated the 2,300 days as 2,300 years.
Problem 5: Scofield claims the bitter persecution of the Jews under Antiochus IV ended with the death of General Nicanor. History says just the opposite. In fact, life for the Jews only became worse after Nicanor was killed. For example, King Demetrius killed Judas Maccabeus (1 Maccabees 9:18) about 2 months after Nicanor died. Then, about a year after the death of Nicanor in May, 159 B.C., "Alcimus ordered the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary to be torn down, thus destroying the work of the prophets." (1 Maccabees 9:54) The book of 1 Maccabees records that many wars were inflicted on Israel after Nicanorís death. Thus, the persecution of the Jews did not cease with the death of General Nicanor. History discredits Scofieldís explanation of the 2,300 days.
Given the evidence presented thus far, advocates of Antiochus face insurmountable issues: The temple in Jerusalem was not free from threat after the death of Nicanor. The length of time between the Antiochusí desecration of the temple and Nicanorís death was not 2,300 days. Jewish persecution did not end after Nicanor died. The 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 cannot begin with the conduct of Antiochus IV and end with the death of General Nicanor. Nicanorís death does not have anything to do with the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. When the "interpretation" of Antiochus is closely examined, claims of fulfillment do not even come close to meeting all of the specifications given in Daniel 8. Given the specifications in Daniel 8, it is amazing that millions of Christians accept Scofieldís position without question.
Section V - Heaven and Earth Linked Together with 2,300 Days
With God Timing Is Everything
God created the orbit of the electrons spinning around the nucleus of the cesium atom. This demonstrates that He is very capable of measuring time. If the cesium atom can be used to create an atomic clock that does not vary by more than one second in a hundred million years, surely God can measure time! I make this point because when it comes to timing and punctuality, no one in the universe is more precise than God! The God who said there would be 2,300 evenings and mornings before the sanctuary would be cleansed is the same God who said seventy weeks would be granted to Israel in Daniel 9. Surely the Lord God knows what He is talking about! Look at His punctuality with Israel at the Exodus: "At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lordís divisions left Egypt. Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come." (Exodus 12:41,42, italics mine) Consider the timing of the birth of Jesus: "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons." (Galatians 4:4, italics mine) God is never late. God is never wrong. With God, timing is everything!
Look up! The Event Is Not on Earth
The 2,300 days is placed in Daniel 8 for a very good reason, if you are aware of two prerequisites. First, you need to know about the historical matrix which the four rules produce. Second, you have to understand the essential doctrine that explains Godís use of parallel temple services. (See Chapters 11 and 12 in Jesus, The Alpha and The Omega.) When these two prerequisites are combined, we can determine when Jesus began to cleanse Heavenís temple and why it must be cleansed. God connected the cleansing of Heavenís temple with the ram (the kingdom of the Medes and Persians). The connection between the ram and the cleansing of Heavenís temple is precisely 2,300 years in length. The countdown of 2,300 years began when the Persian, King Artaxerxes, issued a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in 457 B.C. (Ezra 7) Because God tied the decree of Artaxerxes to a yardstick that was 2,300 years in length, we can easily calculate the date when the cleansing of Godís temple began in Heaven. Even though we cannot see the event taking place in Heaven, we know it began in 1844. We will also see, when we examine the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 and the seven seals in Revelation, that the dates of 1798 and 1844 are highly important dates in Heavenís sequence of events.
Some people have tried to divide the 2,300 evenings and mornings so that this time-period is 1,150 literal days (1,150 evenings + 1,150 mornings = 2,300 evenings and mornings), but, this timing scheme does not work for several reasons. First, the Hebrew words Ďerab and boqer go together to form one unit of time. They literally mean "evening and morning," as in one day. Notice how Ďerab and boger are used on the first page of the Bible: "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening [Ďerab] and the morning [boqer] were the first day." (Genesis 1:5, KJV) According to Godís method for measuring time, a "day" has an evening and a morning. A day begins at sundown (evening) and the midway point through the day is sunrise (morning). (Leviticus 23:32) Translators of the King James Version recognized this fact and they translated the 2,300 evenings and mornings of Daniel 8:14 as 2,300 days. New International Version translators were more literal with the text, translating it as "2,300 evenings and mornings."
Unfortunately, most Christians do not understand the doctrine of Godís use of parallel temples. If a person does not understand the cleansing of Earthís temple, he cannot understand the cleansing of Heavenís temple. If a person does not understand Godís purpose in cleansing Heavenís temple, then the timing of this event is of no value. If Godís use of parallel temples was better understood, Christians could understand that the temple to be cleansed is not on Earth, but in Heaven! Bible students tend to interpret Bible prophecy as though Earth was the center of prophecy, but this is not the case. Daniel was directed to view a great convocation in Heaven. He saw a service when the Ancient of Days took His seat and billions of angels were in attendance. This heavenly meeting is profoundly important because it marks the beginning of services in Heavenís temple that lead up to the end of the world. The services in Heavenís temple are directly linked to the final events that occur on Earth. Remember the Heaven-Earth-Linkage-Law?
Five clues in the Bible indicate the temple to be cleansed in Daniel 8:14 is in Heaven:
First, the doctrine of parallel temples teaches there were two temples. The one on Earth was a shadow of the real temple in Heaven where our Jesus serves as our High Priest. (Hebrews 8:1-5) We know the earthly temple was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. The only temple remaining is in Heaven.
Second, the cleansing of the earthly temple occurred at an appointed time every year Ė on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16), but the heavenly temple is cleansed only once Ė at the appointed time of the end! (Hebrews 9:24-26)
Third, the 2,300 evenings and mornings must be translated as 2,300 years because God uses the Jubilee Calendar to translate a day into a year. (This point and the Jubilee Calendar will be discussed at length when we examine the seventy weeks of Daniel 9.) The 2,300 years began in the Spring of 457 B.C. and they ended in the Spring of 1844.
Fourth, the cleansing of Heavenís temple began in 1844. This date aligns with 1798 which marks the year the great convocation in Heavenís temple began. (See Chart 4.4.) In fact, the timing of the great convocation in Daniel 7 (1798) and the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8 (1844), aligns with the seventy weeks in Daniel 9 (457 B.C.), and these three events align with the opening of the third seal in Revelation 6. The matrix is building!
The 2,300 Days of Daniel 8:14
Fifth, the remarks that follow do not begin to cover the scope and breadth of the subject of parallel temples (Hebrews 8:1-5), but a few words may be necessary about the annual service of cleansing the earthly temple, so you can understand the marvelous parallel that exists between the earthly temple and the heavenly temple. Again, the doctrine of parallel temples is a prerequisite doctrine for understanding Daniel 8.
The angel said, ". . .Unto two thousand three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." (Daniel 8:14, KJV) Why does the sanctuary in Heaven need cleansing? The answer to this question is found in the cleansing of the earthly temple. The cleansing of the earthly temple was an annual event that occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month. This day was called the Day of Atonement. Jews today call it Yom Kippur, which means Day of Judgment. The cleansing of the earthly temple was necessary because it was defiled by sinners bringing sin offerings to the temple. The sinner, standing at the Altar of Burnt Offering, confessed his sins over the head of his sacrifice. Then, he cut the jugular vein of the sacrificial animal with his own hands. The priest then captured some of the lambís blood and sprinkled this blood on the horns of the altar. This procedure shadows a divine truth. The sinnerís guilt was transferred away from himself and his family to the Altar of Burnt Offering by the blood of the Lamb.
This earthly process was a shadow or pantomime of a reality that was coming. The guilt of sinners could be transferred to Heavenís temple through the death of Jesus (the Lamb of God). When the blood was applied to the horns of the altar, the altar became defiled because the guilt of the sinner had been transferred to it. The process of setting sinners free of the guilt of sin defiles the temple because the sinnerís guilt is transferred to the altar. Because the altars of the temple were depositories of guilt, the earthly temple was defiled until the Day for Cleansing (the Day of Atonement) arrived. For a single day, the earthly temple was restored to an undefiled state. (Leviticus 16) Then, on the following day, sacrifices resumed and the temple was defiled because the annual cycle started over.
How Jesus Cleanses the Temple in Heaven
Unlike the earthly temple, which was cleansed annually, Heavenís temple is cleansed once, at the end of the age. (Hebrews 9:24-26) This cleansing began in 1844, which is 2,300 years after the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem given by Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. (457 B.C. also marks the beginning of the seventy weeks in Daniel 9.) The Day of Atonement service in the earthly temple was a shadow of the plan of salvation. Notice what the shadow reveals:
Two animals, a bull and a goat, were sacrificed in this service. (Leviticus 16) The service began right after day break with the slaying of a bull that belonged to the high priest. This bull (a very expensive sacrifice) represents the sacrifice which the Father made in order to redeem mankind. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . . ." (John 3:16, KJV) The Father gave up the most valuable asset He could provide so fallen man could have the offer of salvation. After the bull was slain, the high priest carried some of the bullís blood behind the veil into the Most Holy Place where he met with God. The high priest had to be found worthy to cleanse the temple before he could conduct the service. The slaying of the bull and the worthiness of the high priest shadows the sacrifice which the Father made and the qualifying process which Jesus our High Priest underwent before He could conclude the sin problem. (See Revelation 4 and 5.)
The next event on the Day of Atonement was the casting of lots to determine which goat should die. After the lots were cast, the Lordís goat was slayed. The Lordís goat represents the death which Jesus was willing to experience in order to save man. A goat was used for this sacrifice because a goat has a free spirit. Jesus freely gave up His life for sinners. After the Lordís goat was slain, its blood was mixed with the bullís blood. Then, the high priest went behind the veil a second time to begin the cleansing of the temple. The first item to be cleansed was the Ark of the Covenant. The second item was the Altar of Incense and the last item to be cleansed was the Altar of Burnt Offering. These items were cleansed in this order and they became free of sin (cleansed, reconsecrated, restored) when the mixed blood of the bull and goat was sprinkled on them.
The last event in this service was the laying of hands on the head of the scapegoat. The scapegoat represents Lucifer, the author of sin, who freely exercised his power of choice to commit sin. After the temple furniture had been made holy with the sprinkling of blood, the high priest placed his hands on the head of the scapegoat. Through the placement of hands on the scapegoat, the sins of the people (which had been stored on the templeís altars) were transferred onto the head of the scapegoat. Then, the scapegoat was led out into the wilderness to slowly starve to death.
This may come as a shock, but in Godís economy, sin is never forgiven because someone other than God is responsible for sin. The beauty of salvation is that sinners can escape the penalty of sin through faith. If a sinner makes restitution for his sin and confesses his sin to God, he transfers his guilt to Heavenís temple. At the end of the 1,000 years in Revelation 20, Lucifer, the scapegoat, will receive all of the guilt transferred into Heavenís temple because he is responsible for the presence of sin. On the other hand, if a sinner does not transfer his sin to the temple, his sins remain upon his own head and in Godís economy, the wages of sin is eternal death. (Romans 6:23) At the end of the 1,000 years, God will execute justice on the scapegoat and the wicked and they will suffer in proportion to their guilt until they are annihilated. This is the meaning of divine justice.
The Temple to be Cleansed Is in Heaven
The cleansing of the earthly temple shadows a process that began in Heaven in 1844. It is interesting to notice that 1844 is exactly forty-six years after 1798. When Jesus began His ministry on Earth, His first action after returning from fasting in the desert was the cleansing of a temple that took forty-six years to restore! (John 2:13-21) The parallel is that Jesus began cleansing the heavenly temple forty-six years after the twenty-five thrones had been arranged and the convocation in Heaven began!
Before the cleansing of Heavenís temple could begin, someone had to be found worthy to conduct the process. Jesus was found worthy to cleanse Heavenís temple. After Jesus was found worthy, both Daniel (Daniel 7:13,14) and John (Revelation 4 and 5) saw Jesus highly exalted. Daniel 7 and Revelation 4 and 5 describe the same scene from slightly different angles. After Jesus was found worthy to cleanse Heavenís temple, He began passing judgment on the records of the dead. Since the Spring of 1844, Jesus has been going through the books of record Ė one sinner at a time. Standing before the hosts of Heaven, Jesus has been deciding who will be a part of His eternal kingdom and who will not. When Jesus determines a person will be saved, Jesus removes the record of sin from Heavenís book and He transfers the guilt of the sinner to the head of Lucifer. When Jesus determines a person cannot be saved, Jesus places the guilt of that sinner on the sinnerís head. The point is that the temple in Heaven is cleansed as the guilt of sin is removed and placed on the appropriate party. (Leviticus 20; Ezekiel 11:21; 22:31; 18:1-24)
When the time comes for the destruction of sinners at the end of the 1,000 years, every wicked person will suffer the appropriate penalty for his sins. God will see that every condemned sinner gets their due reward: "For we know him who said, ĎIt is mine to avenge; I will repay,í and again, ĎThe Lord will judge his people.í It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:30,31)
Jesus will complete the task of judging mankind during the Great Tribulation. People living during the Great Tribulation will not be judged in the same way as those who have died. The faith of people living at that time will be tested with persecution. In this way, they will choose and determine their eternal destiny. At the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15-19) the cleansing of Heavenís temple will be finished and the temple will at last, be free of sin. (Revelation 15:1-8) The book of Revelation reveals much more about this process, but this synopsis is intended to give you a general overview of the judgment process. Consider these comments by Bible writers:
"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14, italics mine)
"Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him." (John 5:22,23, italics mine)
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." (2 Corinthains 5:10)
"For he [the Father] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:31, insertion and italics mine)
"As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ĎThatís enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.í" (Acts 24:25, italics mine)
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." (Revelation 22:12)
Remember that the 2,300 days in Daniel 8:14 have been a great mystery for most Bible students. The reason for the mystery is quite simple. The event to which this prophecy points is not on Earth, but in Heaven. God uses the Heaven-Earth-Linkage-Law again to inform us of the timing of something we cannot see. God put the kingdoms of Medo-Persia and Grecia in Daniel 8 because the 2,300 days began during the time of Medo-Persia. Then, God linked the decree of a Persian king (Artaxerxes, Ezra 7) with the cleansing of Heavenís temple in 1844 by inserting a 2,300 year time-period in the prophecy of Daniel 8. (Review Chart 4.4 and notice how Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 align.)
A starting date for the 2,300 years is not mentioned in Daniel 8 because the starting date is given in Daniel 9. To make matters more mysterious, the cleansing of the temple is in Heaven and not on Earth! No wonder this time-period has been a great mystery for nearly twenty-six centuries! Fortunately, God has revealed the architecture of Daniel and we can determine when the 2,300 evenings and mornings began. We will find in our study on Daniel 9 that the seventy weeks and 2,300 days start together and we will find that Daniel 7, Daniel 8, Daniel 9 and Revelation 4 and 5 perfectly align. I hope you will be patient enough to allow the prophetic matrix to build. My frustration, as the author of this book, is in trying to explain why each piece of prophecy belongs in a certain place (according to the rules) before all the pieces that belong to the story have been identified! Therefore, all I can ask at the present is that you allow the matrix to place each new piece in its place.
Section VI - The Horn Power in Daniel 8 Cannot be the Papacy
The Time of Wrath
The Reformation Christians believed the horn power of Daniel 8 represented the papacy and some Christians today believe the same thing. Let us briefly examine this view. Gabriel told Daniel, ". . . 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." (Daniel 8:19) Since the ram and goat represent ancient empires, this leaves the horn power as the only element in this vision that can appear at "the appointed time of the end." This vision includes a prophetic span of 2,300 evenings and mornings, so the appointed time of the end has to occur after 1844! In other words, the horn power described in Daniel 8 does not appear prior to 1844. This simple fact eliminates the Roman Catholic Church as a possible candidate for the horn power of Daniel 8 because the Roman Catholic Church achieved absolute power in A.D. 538. The little horn of Daniel 7 and the horn power of Daniel 8 cannot be the same entity for the following reasons:
1. The little horn of Daniel 7 rises out of the Roman empire. The horn power of Daniel 8 does not derive its strength from Rome or any nation. The horn power in Daniel 8 is a power unto itself. It appears out of one of the four winds, specifically, the north.
2. The little horn of Daniel 7 arises in A.D. 538 after the ten horns have broken the Roman empire. The horn power of Daniel 8 has to appear after 1844 because it appears during the appointed time of the end.
3. The little horn of Daniel 7 represents a diverse or different type of kingdom (Daniel 7:8) that wars against the saints for a very long time (1,260 years). The little horn in Daniel 7 was unlike the remaining seven horns in that it had eyes and a mouth. The horn power of Daniel 8 represents a man, a stern-faced king who will take "the daily" away from Jesus during the appointed time of the end. As we will see, taking the daily away from Jesus is something that no ordinary mortal can do, not even a pope!
4. Daniel 7 predicts the papacy will recover from its wound and speak boastfully against the Most High. Revelation 13:1-5 confirms the deadly wound will be healed at the time of the end, but Daniel 8 reveals that the Antichrist will destroy the authority of the papacy by casting all religions to the ground and trampling on them. The Antichrist "will exalt himself over everything that is called God" by means of the miracles he has power to do. (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:14) The Antichrist will abolish all religious systems, including the papacy, to establish his global religion. The stern-faced king in Daniel 8 will lead the world to war against the King of kings, and the prince of darkness will take his stand against the Prince of Heavenís hosts (Jesus, King of kings) at the Second Coming.
5. The horn power in Daniel 8 cannot be destroyed by human power. This feature stands in contrast to the fact that the little horn in Daniel 7 is subject to mortality. The papacy was almost destroyed by the sword (war) in 1798.
6. Daniel 11:36-12:3 contributes several important points to the apocalyptic matrix. Even though we have not studied Daniel 10-12, this prophecy amplifies the works and activities of the horn power in Daniel 8. The king of the north in Daniel 11:36 and the stern-faced king that comes out of the north in Daniel 8 are the same entity. The papacy cannot meet all of the specifications that go with the horn power of Daniel 8. A study of Revelation 9 and Revelation 13:11-18, will show the Antichrist, the physical appearing of Lucifer with millions of his angels, to be the only solution that satisfies all of the specifications for this power in the books of Daniel and Revelation.
Section VII - The Termination of the Daily
The Antichrist Will Take the Daily Away from Jesus
The wording of Daniel 8:13 is difficult to understand at first: "Then I heard a holy one [angel] speaking, and another holy one [angel] said to him, ĎHow long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled Ė the vision concerning the [cessation of the] daily sacrifice, the [vision concerning a great] rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host [of saints] that will be trampled underfoot?í " (Insertions mine) To help you understand this question better, here is a paraphrase of Daniel 8:13: "Daniel heard one angel speak to another angel. The first angel said, ĎHow long will it take for this vision of the ram, the goat, and the horn power to be fulfilled?" When the question is phrased this way, the answer that follows makes sense. Daniel writes, "And I heard a manís voice from the Ulai [canal] calling, ĎGabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.í As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. ĎSon of man,í he said to me, Ďunderstand that the vision concerns the time of the end.í " (Daniel 8:16,17, insertion and italics mine) It is clear that the question in verse 13 is finally answered in verses 16 and 17. You may wonder why the actual question in verse 13 is worded in such a complex way. God is both deliberate and purposeful in everything He does. With one question and one answer God informs us that the appointed time of the end involves four great issues:
1. The termination of the daily
2. A rebellion that causes desolation
3. The surrender of Heavenís sanctuary
4. Godís people will be trampled underfoot
We have examined Daniel 8:11 within the context of Antiochus IV. Let us examine it again, this time within the context of the Antichrist and the appointed time of the end. This approach will yield a much better fulfillment of Scripture. Gabriel said, "It [the horn power will] set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host [Jesus]; it took away the daily sacrifice from him [Jesus], and the place of his [Jesusí] sanctuary was brought low." (Daniel 8:11, insertions mine) The word "daily" is a term that describes the daily cycle of services that occurred in the earthly temple. Every day, evening and morning, a lamb was slain on the Altar of Burnt Offering and its blood was sprinkled on the Altar of Incense. Every day, sinners presented their sacrifices at the Altar of Burnt Offering. These rituals, and many other services became known as the "daily" or the "continual." They shadowed the intercession that Jesus began making on behalf of humanity the day sin occurred as well as His death on Calvary. The immediate intercession of Jesus spared Adam and Eve from sudden death the day they sinned. (Genesis 2:17) The Father allowed Adam and Eve (and their offspring) to live because of Christís intercession on their behalf. (Genesis 2:17; Hebrews 7:25) Gabriel indicates the coming Antichrist will take away Jesusí daily intercession in Heavenís temple. Christís intercession for man is terminated in one of four ways. Notice how two ways concern the individual and two ways concern corporate bodies of people:
1. When a person dies, life terminates. The dead know nothing. There is no need for further intercession. (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6)
2. If a person commits the unpardonable sin, intercession for that person ends because there is nothing more that God can do to bring a person to repentance. There is no forgiveness for the unpardonable sin. (Hebrews 10:26, Matthew 12:31,32)
3. When a decadent nation exhausts the limits of Godís patience, corporate intercession ends and that nation is destroyed. (Genesis 15:16; Leviticus 4:13,14; 18:24-28; Jeremiah 25)
4. When Godís patience with the decadence of the world reaches its limit, He sends destruction. (Genesis 6; Matthew 24:37)
Corporate and Personal Intercession Ends
You may wonder how the Antichrist can take away the daily intercession from Jesus during the appointed time of the end. The termination of the daily happens twice because daily services in Heavenís temple involves atonement at two altars. The corporate altar is called the Altar of Incense and its services will be concluded first. (Daniel 12:11; Revelation 8:2-5) The individual altar is called the Altar of Burnt Offering and its services will be terminated at the seventh trumpet. (Daniel 8:11-13; Revelation 11:15-19). The corporate daily ends when the majority of the world stands in rebellion against the authority of God. As it was in the days of Noah; Godís patience will come to an end. We know His patience can come to an end with a city of people (e.g., Sodom and Gomorrah) or with the whole world as it did in Noahís day. When this happens, He sends a series of judgments to destroy those who have exhausted His grace. (Genesis 6; Revelation 7:1-4 and 8:2-13) On the individual level, the termination of the daily is similar: When the devil leads a person to finally commit the unpardonable sin (persistently rejecting the demands of the Holy Spirit) Godís patience with that person comes to an end and God turns that person over to be subject to the devil. (Matthew 12:31,32; Hebrews 10:26) When a person, a nation, or the whole world refuses to surrender to the clearest evidences of Godís will, Jesus will no longer offer intercession for them. Why should He? For this reason, Jesusí corporate intercession for Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome ended and the kingdoms fell. (See Daniel 5.)
We see a parallel on the individual level as well. During the Great Tribulation, God will empower His servants, the 144,000, to proclaim the terms and conditions of salvation to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. The Antichrist will lead the wicked of Earth into committing the unpardonable sin. He will lead them to rebel against the authority of God and despise the generous offer of salvation from Jesus. (2 Thessalonians 2:11,12; Romans 1:18-32; Hebrews 10:29) Thus, the daily intercession of Jesus on behalf of the world and individuals will be taken away.
Some people will not voluntarily go along with the devilís schemes. God knows this and He empowers the Antichrist to bring an end to Christís intercession by forcing people to make a hard choice. There will be no middle ground. The devil will require worship (obedience) and all who refuse to submit to his assumed authority are to be killed. (Revelation 13:15) The "salvation" which the Antichrist offers will be the temporal privilege of obtaining the necessities of life during the final days of the Great Tribulation. In other words, if a person chooses to join forces with the devil and receive the mark of the beast, that person will be able to buy and sell so that he can survive. If a person refuses the mark of the beast, that person will be shut off from all earthly means of survival to starve or be killed. When every decision for or against salvation has been made, the daily intercession of Jesus ends.
Gabriel also said, ". . . and the place of his [Jesusí] sanctuary was brought low." The exalted ministry of manís Savior in Heavenís temple will become a matter of mockery (brought low through contempt). During the Great Tribulation, a majority of people will be convinced the devil is God! (2 Thessalonians 2) In other words, the unseen ministry and temple of Jesus in Heaven will not be able to compete with the dazzling show of miracles which the Antichrist conducts. However, the heavenly temple will be physically displayed to everyone living on Earth after the daily has ended. (Revelation 11:19)
Rebellion Will Overtake the World
Consider this next verse: "Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it [the Antichrist]. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground." (Daniel 8:12) This verse aligns with many details in Revelation. The following is a short scenario of this verse:
When the Great Tribulation begins, the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all nations and people. The purpose of the Spiritís influence is to pry open every heart to receive the gospel message that Godís servants, the 144,000, will present. Jesus will send the Holy Spirit for one purpose, to save as many people as possible. Sadly, billions of people will refuse to submit to the demands of the Holy Spirit, and they will choose rebellion (lawlessness) against God. When the advance of the gospel stalls, God allows "the stern-face king," the destroyer, to physically appear. The mission of the Antichrist is to deceive and destroy. As the devilís popularity grows (it starts out small), the wicked people of Earth will be divided into two camps. One camp will be the "religious wicked" and the other camp will consist of wicked people who want nothing to do with the devil. They just want him to go away and leave them alone. The "religious wicked" will be people like the Pharisees in Christís day who stubbornly hang on to false religion. These people would rather believe that Lucifer is God than to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ. These people appear to be religious, but they do not love truth. They do not even love God. These are people who chase miraculous signs instead of searching for truth. The other camp, the "non-religious wicked," consists of people like Hitler and Stalin who have no use for God and they detest Luciferís heavy handed ways. They will not accept the authority and dominion of the Antichrist. The "non-religious wicked" are represented in Daniel 11:36-12:3 as the kingdom of the South. In other words, the kingdom of the South is poles apart from the kingdom of the North. The Antichrist will use their rebellion against his authority to justify their destruction. Of course, the devil will destroy many saints for the same reason. The war described in the sixth trumpet (Revelation 9) is conducted to establish Luciferís undisputed dominion over Earth. (Revelation 9:13-21) Revelation says the devil and his angels will kill one-third of mankind (the non-religious wicked). When he has gained control of Earth, the devil will divide up the spoils of Earth and he will appoint ten kings to rule over ten sectors. His puppet kings will control Earth. The surviving saints will run for their lives and hide in the desolate places of Earth. God will feed and sustain them just as He did Elijah. (1 Kings 17:6) With this setting in mind, consider Danielís words again. I have inserted phrases that complete the ideas already presented: "[At the time of the end] It [the horn power, the Antichrist will] set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host [Jesus]; it took away the [need for the] daily sacrifice from him, and the [exalted purpose or] place of his [intercession for sinners in Heavenís] sanctuary was brought low [ridiculed]. Because of [extensive] rebellion, the host of the saints [*were defeated] and the daily sacrifice were given over to it [brought to an end]. It [the Antichrist] prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground [because truth was despised]." (Daniel 8:11,12, insertions mine.)
Arrogance and Blasphemy
"He [the Antichrist] will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior [above the gods of all religions]. When they [his followers] feel secure [in his lies], he will destroy many [the non-religious-wicked] and take his stand against the Prince of princes [Jesus]. Yet he will be destroyed [by the sword that comes out of the mouth of Jesus], but not by human power." (Daniel 8:25, insertions mine ) The following specification about the horn power cannot be overlooked: "The king [of the North] will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been [pre-]determined must take place. . . . He [the Antichrist] will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him." (Daniel 11:36,45)
Four elements stand out in these verses.
1. Jesus Himself destroys the horn power in Daniel 8. (Daniel 8:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:8)
2. The horn power of Daniel 8 will lead the whole world into a great deception. (Daniel 8:25; Revelation 13:14)
3. The horn power of Daniel 8 will exalt himself above all of the gods that people worship. (Daniel 8:25, 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:4)
4. The Antichrist will pitch his royal tents "between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain."
Daniel indicates the devil will establish a throne in Jerusalem. What better way to stop the controversies between Christians, Arabs and Jews? The term "holy mountain" is used several times in the Old Testament as a reference to Jerusalem (the city of God, Mount Zion, Mount Moriah, etc.). It is well known that Jews, Muslims and Christians have roots in this ancient city. Perhaps the best reason for interpreting this specification just as it reads is that at the end, two kings will take their stand against each other. The stern-faced king of Daniel 8 establishes his kingdom and rules from ancient Jerusalem. The King of kings, however, will rule from His city, New Jerusalem. This is good news! The stern-faced king will come to his end and no one among the wicked will be left to help him!
Gabrielís Final Words
"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) With these words, Gabriel left Daniel. It is interesting that Gabriel gave this vision a title. While the prophetic sequence concerns a ram, a goat, the appointed time of the end and a stern-faced king, Gabriel called it "The vision of the [2,300] evenings and mornings." Evidently, Gabriel used this title to highlight the critical element within this vision. The most important element in Daniel 8 is the daily services in Heavenís temple. The daily intercession of Jesus is the only thing that protects mankind from Godís wrath and the wrath of the destroyer! Even the words, 2,300 evenings and mornings reflects the time of day when daily temple services were conducted. The date for cleansing Heavenís temple was given in temple language! The bottom line in Daniel 8 is that a time is coming when the stern-faced king (the Antichrist) will cause Jesusí daily intercession to cease. This is the worst possible thing that can happen to Earthís inhabitants, because when Jesus terminates His intercession on behalf of sinners, the seven bowls of Godís wrath will be poured out without mercy. (Revelation 15 and 16)
Daniel was deeply distressed and very disturbed after seeing this vision. He did not understand what he had seen, but he did recognize enough to know the world would continue to spiral downward until Lucifer himself would be released upon humanity. The thought of this must have made him sick. Daniel writes, " I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the kingís business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding." (Daniel 8:27)
This chapter has been lengthy because Daniel 8 contains several critical building blocks in the matrix that is unfolding. If you still have questions, please review this chapter to make sure you understand how the apocalyptic rules work and the results they produce. If the apocalyptic foundations in Daniel 2, Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 are not laid properly, the remaining prophecies in Daniel and Revelation cannot yield their intended meaning. If the foundation of a skyscraper is not solid, no amount of paint or ornamentation will compensate for it. We have seen all four rules at work in this chapter. The four rules have produced these conclusions for us:
Rule One. Daniel 8 is a prophecy that has a beginning point in time (538 B.C.) and an ending point in time (the destruction of the Antichrist at the Second Coming). The events in this prophecy occur in the order they were given: Ram Ė Goat Ė Horn Power.
Rule Two. The appearing of the Antichrist during the appointed time of the end is the only interpretation that meets all of the specifications given in this prophecy.
Rule Three. The Bible uses various types of language in this prophecy. For example, by reviewing seven Bible texts we found the direction of "north" to be very significant for the origin of the horn power. We also found "the starry hosts" to be used in five texts as a broad definition for false religions.
Rule Four. God measures the 2,300 days as years because God measures time according to the presence or absence of the Jubilee Calendar. This point will be amplified in our study of Daniel 9.
Note: The Origin of the Antiochus IV Interpretation
From the 1500ís to the 1900ís, Protestants widely agreed the horn power of Daniel 8 was the papacy because Protestantism struggled against the Roman Catholic Church in much the same way that Christians struggled against Judaism. If history teaches anything, it is this: Religious institutions place loyalty and allegiance above the importance of truth. The reason behind this is simple. Over time, religious organizations embrace a collection of doctrines or teachings which they believe to be Godís will and any significant deviation from that body of knowledge is considered divisive and/or heretical.
During the 1,260 years of papal dominion, "the protesters" as they were first called, suffered imprisonment or death for challenging the authority of the church. Protesters claimed the Bible was the final authority in matters of faith. Church leaders were convinced that ecclesiastical authority and traditions were higher authority. This simple difference became the all important distinction between Protestants and Catholics. As Protestants began to see that the church was unwilling to change, a number of "protester" preachers began to conclude that the church was anti-Christ. The Protestant position was bolstered by the prophetic fact that the little horn of Daniel 7 is the papacy. Protesters traced the history and power of the church (the little horn) back to its Roman origin. Because there is some similarity between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the horn power of Daniel 8, Protestants assumed that Daniel 8 was a repetition and enlargement of Daniel 7.
About the turn of the seventeenth century, two Jesuit scholars from Spain, Francisco Ribera and Luis de Alcasar, introduced counter-reformation theories to refute the claims of Protestants. Their objective was to use the Bible to defeat Protestants by openly refuting their prophetic interpretations with Scripture! As a result of their endeavors, two conflicting prophetic schemes emerged within the Catholic Church. Riberaís findings, published in 1590, claimed that the Antichrist was a single male individual who would appear just before the Second Coming of Jesus. By showing the Antichrist to be a single individual, Ribera thought he could defeat a principal argument of the Protestants. Most sixteenth century Protestants believed the popes occupied the seat of the Antichrist. In other words, Protestants did not believe the Antichrist was a single individual (the little horn of Daniel 7 is not a single individual). Ribera claimed that the Antichrist would bitterly persecute the saints during the last days of Earth, and he would abolish the Christian religion and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Ribera also claimed that the Jews would receive the Antichrist as Messiah because of his miracles and then he would conquer the world in three and one half years.
Alcasarís preterist position, published in 1614 was just the opposite. Alcasarís position was based on the supposition that Revelationís story was essentially fulfilled during the first century A.D. Alcasar concluded that Revelation described the victory of early Christians over the Jewish nation and the overthrow of pagan Rome in A.D. 476. He concluded that Nero was the Antichrist of Revelation. He also concluded that Antiochus Epiphanes IV was the horn power of Daniel 8.
When these opposing views were presented to the Protestants, they were not moved or impressed. For about two hundred years, Protestants stood firm and united on their prophetic position that the Roman Catholic Church was the Babylon of Revelation and the Antichrist was a succession of popes. In the early part of the nineteenth century, Protestantism began to change its mind because it became apparent to some Protestants that the Roman Catholic Church could not meet all of the specifications about the Antichrist in Daniel and Revelation. A survey of prophetic literature written by Protestants since 1826 shows how Protestant expositors began to drift away from their long standing claim that the Roman Catholic Church was the Antichrist. Today, most Protestant expositors do not believe the Roman Catholic Church is Babylon and they do not believe the succession of popes is the Antichrist. It is ironic that three hundred years after Ribera published his works, the Protestant, C.I. Scofield, endorsed a modified version of Riberaís counter-reformation claim and, as a result, most Protestants today accept the ideas advanced by Ribera.
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