This study is continued from The rise and fall of Antichrist, Pt2.
You can listen to the audio of this message here.
Please read Daniel 8:1-27
Two years after the previous vision (7:1, 8:1) Daniel is given further instruction from God. He clearly links this vision to the former, v1. He has not forgotten what God showed him at that time, 7:28. There is a connection and an order to be observed. Having meditated and considered the word of God for a prolonged period there is now a fresh revelation from Heaven. This is the man God reveals more truth to. Understanding this subject is not the work of a day or two! Patient, careful, prolonged study is evidently needed!
It is also significant that what God says here involves some repetition of what He had formerly revealed. Yet there is a change of emphasis, a different perspective (Hebrew used again) and new truth revealed. This is God’s way—He speaks as One building line upon line. His word involves repetition of previously stated truth to impress it on our heart and to emphasize that each truth is contingent upon that which has gone before. Again God addresses the rise and fall of the little horn, the Antichrist depicted in chapter 7.
I THE ORIGIN AND RISE OF ANTICHRIST.
1. Not a chronology. Again there is a rehearsal of a familiar theme with a difference as TWO of the FOUR great empires of the world are brought before us—the Medo-Persians and the Grecians, v20-21. In chapter 7 the purpose is to set out a chronology that leads up to the end featuring all four empires and the little horn rises from the Roman Empire, 7:8. In chapter 8 there is a reference to chronology and the end of the age but that is not the point of the reference to the TWO empires in Chap 8. The Grecian Empire does not remain in place until the end.
2. An identification of the political origins of Antichrist. The little horn is said to rise out of the Grecian Empire, v23 and particularly out of one of the 4 parts into which that empire fractured, v9. The Grecian Empire was eventually subsumed into the Roman which later divided into two parts and will yet be re-constituted as a ten Kingdom confederacy. This vision points to Antichrist rising to power in the eastern half of the Roman Empire, out of the territory formerly controlled by Greece. Cp 7:8, 7:6 & Rev 13:2. The emphasis in these visions undoubtedly is that Antichrist will be a real political figure—as real as Cyrus, Alexander and Caesar.
3. His rise described, v9, 23-24. He rises as a King and in a display of fierceness, great cunning and supernatural power. Cp Rev 13:4-5. His rise occurs in the context of the wickedness/rebellion of men having reached a fullness—when Divine restraint on man is lifted and the world is given up to a headlong plunge into apostacy. Cp II Thess 2:6-8.
II THE ACTIVITIES OF ANTICHRIST REHEARSED AGAIN.
There is an element of repetition here but new details are added and a new focus/perspective is seen.
1. An emphasis upon the time of his activity, v14, 17, 19, 23. The time is a very evident point of emphasis in the chapter, though in a different way to how it was emphasized in Chapter 7. The end is in view; a point in time corresponding exactly to that in 2:44-45 (v25) and the destruction of the little horn referred to in 7:11, 22, 25-26 at the end of the 3 1/2 year period of Antichrist’s tyranny. A specific figure is mentioned in v14—6.38 years(c. 6 yrs and 5 mths), a little less that the total 7 year period of his prominence. That these are real 24 hour days is evident from the words, v14, 26. Cp Gen 1:5 etc. One interesting feature of the timeframe in view here is found in v14, 19. This period will climax in the end of God’s wrath against Israel and the cleansing of the Temple. Cp Mal 3:1-4, Zech 12:9ff, 13:1.
2. The land of Israel becomes a special object of Antichrist’s activities, v9, 11-12, 13, 24. Israel at this point will be very far from God, even embracing the Antichrist as the Messiah (John 5:43, Dan 9:27(v24 thy people, thy holy city in view) and entering into league with him. It is his deceitful promise of peace and security that draws Israel into league with him, v25. He will exercise great military power in the earth, v10, 12, 24-25. He will advance and prosper in his campaign against God, His people, His truth etc. until his pride exalts him to defy Christ Himself in battle, v11, 25. This climactic battle will occur in the land of Israel, 11:40-45, Rev 16:14, 16, Zech 12:3-4, 9, Joel 3:2, 12-17
3. The Temple and its sacrifices invoke Antichrist’s interest and activity, v11-14. At this point there is a Temple in Jerusalem where sacrifices will again be offered. Cp Rev 11:1-2, 8, 15—fixes the place and date of this Temple, Jerusalem before the last trump. Sacrifices are permitted—perhaps commencing with Antichrist’s approval about 7 months into his reign, 2300 days, v14 (7yrs = 2520 days)—up until the 3 1/2 year mark when they are stopped and the Temple is desecrated by Antichrist placing there the abomination of desolation. Cp 9:27, II Thess 2:4, Matt 24:15. Antichrist’s kingdom will involve a spiritual dimension. Cp Rev 17:3, 7, 16—early in his career he serves the cause of the harlot but ends her power to declare himself as God and demand worship for himself, 13:15.
4. He is destined to be destroyed by the Prince of princes, v25. Cp II Thess 2:8.
III DANIEL’S INQUIRY AND INSTRUCTION.
1. His attentiveness. Daniel is a man who is all eyes and ears: v1ff his eyes and what he saw; v13-14, v16ff his ears and what he heard. He paid attention to what God revealed.
2. He searches for the meaning, v15. There is a personal responsibility on all who hear to personally make inquiry into the meaning of God’s word—I, even I.
3. He obtains heavenly instruction. Gabriel is commissioned by a man’s voice, v16 to teach Daniel. An explanation is given and its truth emphasized, v26.
4. The profound effect the vision had, v27.
5. He spoke of these things to others but none understood it, v27.