Daniel 8:9-14, 23-27; The Little Horn and the End~ 20220522 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
05/22_Daniel 08:9-14, 23-27; The Little Horn and the End Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220522_dan08.mp3
In the third year of Belshazzar, the final king of the Babylonian empire, about 11 years before Babylon fell, Daniel, transported in vision to Susa, the future capital of the Persian empire, was given a vision of the coming Medo-Persian ram who under Cyrus the great would rise as the next world power and defeat Babylon and rule for over 200 years. But the Greek goat under Alexander the great would fly at Persia in great fury and in three short years crush Persia and rule the world. Alexander died at the height of his triumph, in Babylon, at the age of 33, and over the next 20 years his generals would push and pull until his empire was divided to the four winds of heaven, Cassander ruling Macedonia and Greece, Lysimachus ruling Thrace and much of Asia Minor; Seleucus ruling Syria and the east; and Ptolemy ruling Egypt. [Map]
We are going back and forth between the vision given to Daniel at the beginning of chapter 8, and the interpretation given to him by the angel Gabriel at the end of chapter 8. We are going to pick up today with the focus of the vision, the little horn of the Greek empire
Daniel 8:1 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. 2 And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal. 3 I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. 4 I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great. 5 As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. 6 He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath. 7 I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power. 8 Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. 9 Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land.
The angel interprets in verse 19
Daniel 8:19 He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power. 23 And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise. 24 His power shall be great— but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
One of the four kingdoms that emerged out of Alexander’s empire was the Seleucid dynasty ruling Syria and the east. The eighth Seleucid king was Antiochus IV, who was not expected to take the throne. He had served in place of his father as hostage in Rome for 14 years after his father’s defeat. His older brother Seleucus IV Philopater had acceded the throne. Seleucus arranged for the exchange of his own son Demetrius as hostage to release Antiochus, but when Seleucus was murdered, Antiochus seized the throne through flattery and bribes.
Antiochus promoted Greek culture, attempting to Hellenize conquered peoples, founding Greek cities, instituting Greek education, and building temples to the Greek gods. He took the name ‘Epiphanes’ which means ‘manifest’ (he was nicknamed ‘Epimanes’ ‘the mad’ by his Jewish enemies). He had coins minted that read ‘king Antiochus, God manifest’. [coin]
Antiochus encouraged the reform party in Israel that supported Hellenization. Antiochus had installed the wicked Menelaus as high priest, at whose request and for a bribe Antiochus had the legitimate high priest Onias III murdered in 170 BC.
After being forced to leave Egypt in 169 BC, he returned to Jerusalem and plundered the temple.
There had been repeated conflict between the Seleucids and Ptolemies over Israel, and finally in 167 BC Antiochus took Jerusalem by force and required its Hellenization under penalty of death.
The book of 1 Maccabees records what happened:
1 Maccabees 1:10 From them came forth a sinful root, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king... 11 In those days lawless men came forth from Israel, and misled many, saying, "Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles round about us, for since we separated from them many evils have come upon us." 12 This proposal pleased them, 13 and some of the people eagerly went to the king. He authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. 14 So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, 15 and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil.
...20 After subduing Egypt, Antiochus returned in the one hundred and forty-third year. He went up against Israel and came to Jerusalem with a strong force. 21 He arrogantly entered the sanctuary and took the golden altar, the lampstand for the light, and all its utensils. 22 He took also the table for the bread of the Presence, the cups for drink offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decoration on the front of the temple; he stripped it all off. 23 He took the silver and the gold, and the costly vessels; he took also the hidden treasures which he found. 24 Taking them all, he departed to his own land. He committed deeds of murder, and spoke with great arrogance.
...29 Two years later the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute, and he came to Jerusalem with a large force. 30 Deceitfully he spoke peaceable words to them, and they believed him; but he suddenly fell upon the city, dealt it a severe blow, and destroyed many people of Israel. 31 He plundered the city, burned it with fire, and tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. 32 And they took captive the women and children, and seized the cattle.
...41 Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, 42 and that each should give up his customs. 43 All the Gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath. 44 And the king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the cities of Judah; he directed them to follow customs strange to the land, 45 to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane sabbaths and feasts, 46 to defile the sanctuary and the priests, 47 to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and unclean animals, 48 and to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane, 49 so that they should forget the law and change all the ordinances. 50 "And whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die." 51 In such words he wrote to his whole kingdom. And he appointed inspectors over all the people and commanded the cities of Judah to offer sacrifice, city by city. 52 Many of the people, every one who forsook the law, joined them, and they did evil in the land; 53 they drove Israel into hiding in every place of refuge they had.
54 Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-fifth year, they erected a desolating sacrilege upon the altar of burnt offering. They also built altars in the surrounding cities of Judah, 55 and burned incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets. 56 The books of the law which they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire. 57 Where the book of the covenant was found in the possession of any one, or if any one adhered to the law, the decree of the king condemned him to death. 58 They kept using violence against Israel, against those found month after month in the cities. 59 And on the twenty-fifth day of the month they offered sacrifice on the altar which was upon the altar of burnt offering. 60 According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised, 61 and their families and those who circumcised them; and they hung the infants from their mothers' necks. 62 But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. 63 They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. 64 And very great wrath came upon Israel. [RSVA]
The Little Horn
Daniel saw in his vision:
Daniel 8:9 Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. 10 It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. 11 It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. 12 And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” 14 And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”
And the interpretation given by the angel:
Daniel 8:23 And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise. 24 His power shall be great— but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. 25 By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. 26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”
The Stars of Heaven Trampled
From Daniel’s vision we see that the little horn would throw down even some of the host of heaven, some of the stars.
In Genesis (15:5), the Lord promised Abraham that his descendants would be multiplied as the stars of heaven. Daniel 12 says:
Daniel 12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Philippians 2 says
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing,15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Often in Scripture stars are connected with angels, but in this passage, it is clear that the stars are the faithful saints who will be trampled. Gabriel gives the interpretation; he will destroy mighty men and the people who are saints.
Against the Prince of the Hosts
This arrogant little horn would attempt to become as great as the Prince of the hosts; he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes. He made himself out to be God manifest on the earth, he usurped the authority of God, changing the laws of God, defiling the temple of God, abusing the people of God.
The Discipline of God
And yet we read that his power grew great, but not by his own power. A host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression; when the transgressors have reached their limit. God raised up Antiochus to discipline his wayward people, because of their transgressions. God sets a limit for transgressors. God gave his people over into his hand;
1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
How Long? 2300 Evenings and Mornings
In verses 13 and 14 the question is posed ‘How long?’ How long will this atrocity be allowed? And this is not just a rhetorical question expressing the longing of our hearts. It is a legitimate question with a concrete answer, because the Lord is merciful.
Psalm 85:5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Jeremiah 3:12 ...“‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever.
(14) And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.” 2300 evenings and mornings, the same kind of language that describes the days of creation. 2300 days, just short of six and a half years. God is angry with his people when we are disobedient, but he will not be angry forever. There is a limit. History doesn’t provide all the exact dates, but it seems this fits with the general time frame from the murder of the legitimate priest Onias III in 170 BC to the death of Antiochus in 164 BC, as reported by the Maccabees:
2 Maccabees 9:5 But the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him an incurable and unseen blow. As soon as he ceased speaking he was seized with a pain in his bowels for which there was no relief and with sharp internal tortures --
Perspective of Daniel
Keep in mind the perspective of Daniel. This vision was given in about 550 or 551BC, about 55 years after Daniel and his friends were ripped from their homes in Israel. The temple had been destroyed and lay in ruins for 36 years. This vision assumes an end to captivity, a return to the land, a rebuilt and functioning temple, and that the people of God will still stray from the Lord their God and bring further punishment on themselves.
The Appointed Time of the End
It is amazing how precisely the details of this vision fit the unfolding history of what we know of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, so much so that unbelieving scholars insist that it must have been written as history after the events had taken place. This is predictive prophecy, fulfilled in Antiochus. But it is bigger than that. I think Gabriel alerts us to this when he says in his interpretation:
Daniel 8:17 ...But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.” ...19 He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end.
Three times the angel says that this is ‘for the time of the end’. Some take this to mean the end of the Jewish persecution under Antiochus, but the language seems bigger than that, more absolute; the very end.
The language of ‘the transgression that makes desolate’ connects with the same language in 11:31 that is also talking about Antiochus, but it also connects with the language of 9:27 and 12:11 ‘ the abomination that makes desolate’ which Jesus points to as still future from his perspective;
Matthew 24:15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place ( let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
There is also a connection between the little horn of chapter 8 and the little horn of chapter 7. The little horn of chapter 7 comes out of the fourth empire, not the third, and replaces three of the ten horns of the beast, whereas the little horn of chapter 8 emerges out of one of four horns of Greece; so these horns are clearly different. But they are both called little horns, inviting us to compare them. The little horn of chapter 7, the final Antichrist, is judged by the Ancient of Days and burned with fire, and the kingdom is given to the saints of the Most High. The little horn of chapter 8, Antiochus, is broken, but by no human hand. But this is not the end of the persecution of God’s people.
Antiochus is given as a shadow of something even darker that is to come, that according to Jesus and Paul was still future (2Thess.2:3-12).
Antiochus, Anger, and the Glory of God
What are we to do with all this? Daniel had an extreme emotional and physical reaction. He was sick for days. This ought to make us angry. A glory stealer like Antiochus makes us angry; his main offense is against God and his sanctuary. He makes us angry with righteous indignation; not angry or offended because we were wronged, but because God was wronged. Something in us rises up and wants to defend the glory of God.
We are outraged that after the Babylonian captivity, after God uses Cyrus to return his people to the land and restore the temple, still they will persist in disobedience. Still they will allow themselves to be deceived. Still their hearts will turn away, to such an extent that it is necessary to give them into the hand of Antiochus.
God must punish sin, and yet God is eager to show mercy to the humble and contrite in heart. God is still the rescuer and defender of his wayward people.
We are rightly outraged, and God uses this to show us our own hearts; how often do our hearts go astray from the one and only God, and we bow to idols? How often are we deluded by our own sense of importance, setting ourselves up in his sanctuary to be worshiped, stealing his glory? God is passionate for his own glory; he is jealous. He wants what is best for his people, and allowing our hearts to wander is not what is best for us.
Antiochus displays the glory of God, he reveals to our hearts that the glory of God is worth defending, worth fighting for, but we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And this points us to Jesus and our need.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
2022.05.22 Sermon Notes
Daniel 8:9-14, 23-27; The Little Horn and the End
605 BC Jerusalem defeated by Nebuchadnezzar
586 BC Jerusalem temple destroyed
539 BC Babylon falls to Medo-Persia under Cyrus
330 BC Alexander conquers Medo-Persia for Greece
323 BC Alexander dies
175-164 BC Antiochus IV Ephiphanes rules Seleucids
Antiochus IV Epiphanes (God manifest)
170 BC assassinated Onias III the High Priest
169 BC plundered the temple
167 BC defiled the altar by offering swine to Zeus
164 BC Antiochus died
He threw down some stars and hosts of heaven
Genesis 15:5; 22:17; Daniel 12:2-3; Philippians 2:14-15; Matthew 13:43
God raised up Antiochus to discipline his people
1 Peter 4:17
How long? Will you be angry forever? God is merciful.
Psalm 85:5; Jeremiah 3:12
For the appointed time of the end
Daniel 8:13; 11:31; 9:27; 12:11; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12
Antiochus displays the glory of God
Romans 3:23; Isaiah 53:6
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org