Daniel 029: A Foreshadowing of Things to Come

Daniel 029: A Foreshadowing of Things to Come
Daniel 8:15-22 • Dr. Andy Woods • July 16, 2017 • Daniel


Andy Woods

A Foreshadowing of Things to Come

7-16-17      Daniel 8:15-22          Lesson 29

Good morning everyone.  If we could take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 8 and verse 15.  The title of our message this morning is A Foreshadowing of Things to Come.  And that’s one of the things that we see here in this prophecy that Daniel was given back in the sixth century.  Although this prophecy in the year 2017 is something that already happened in the past, in our past, it’s a foreboding, if you will, it’s a foreshadowing, a prefiguring, a typology, whatever phrase you want to use of something bigger that is yet future.  In God history is cyclical; God gives history in advance by allowing things to happen and then saying something bigger than this, similar to this but bigger than this is yet on the horizon.

If you’re studying with us for the first time we have been working our way through the Book of Daniel; God of course had raised up Daniel at a special time in the crisis time for the nation of Israel as Israel had been in the captivity for almost seventy years at this time, in a place called Babylon, 350 miles to the east of Jerusalem.  The problem is there’s no prophecy governing that time period so God is raising up Daniel to explain what’s going to happen as the captivity has started and He gives Daniel a lot more than that; He gives him prophecies that will continue to happen right up to the Second Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have finished the first major section of the book, chapters 1-7.  We’ve gone through it very carefully and now we find ourselves in the second major section of the book, chapters 8-12.  And this is a section where the language shifts from Aramaic, most of the book up to this point in time has been composed in Aramaic which is the language of the Gentiles at that time.  Now the language shifts into Hebrew and that’s important because its showing us that these are prophecies that specifically relate to Israel, her tribulations, her trials, her future and beyond.

Chapter 8 is the ram and goat vision which we’re studying, chapter 9 is the very important 70 weeks prophecy.  You know you can’t understand, as I’ll be explaining, God’s blueprint for the future unless you understand the 70 weeks prophecy, chapter 9; chapters 10-12 is a final vision.  So we’ve been studying this ram and this goat vision that Daniel had.  We’ve seen the historical setting, verse 1; the year is about 551 B.C., the third year of Belshazzar, the last reigning king of Babylon, Daniel, being in his mid-60’s at this particular point in his life.

And he sees a ram and a goat and I believe the key to interpreting this is to let the Bible speak for itself because when you go down to verses 20-21, we’ll be reading those verses a little bit later, you learn that the ram is Media Persia; the empire that would overthrow Babylon during Daniel’s life.  And then he sees the shaggy goat which represents Greece.  So you’ll notice that I’m not just coming in and attaching any meaning I want to these symbols.  I’m not making one the United States and the one Britain and all these kinds of things that you see on the internet.  Please don’t get too much of your theology from the internet; get it from the Word of God and allow the Word of God to interpret itself.  There’s no real guesswork here needed when we let the Scripture interpret itself.

So we’re dealing here, as Daniel has explained several empires in the course of history, chapter 2 and chapter 7, we’re really dealing with some middle empires: Media Persia and Greece.  The chest and arms of silver of the stature in Daniel 2, as well as the belly and thighs of bronze and then in chapter 7 the bear and the leopard, those middle two empires and it’s just in our chapter they get different names; they get the name Ram and Goat… Ram—Persia, Goat—Greece.

Now the vision itself begins to unfold; you have the two-horned ram and that would be the rise of Media-Persia, that would be the empire that replaced Babylon and this empire took control during Daniel’s own lifetime in chapter 5 which is chronologically out of order.  But Daniel kept looking and he didn’t just see a two-horned ram, he saw a one-horned goat and this is speaking of Greece’s conquest of Persia and this would happen several centuries after Daniel had died.  And what he begins to see in this vision as the goat strikes the ram is eventually Media-Persia, that overthrew Babylon, Media-Persia herself would be overthrown by the empire of Greece.  The horn on the goat would represent Alexander the Great.  Alexander the Great died at a very early age and that’s the whole significance of the horn being broken off, as we have studied in this vision.

And then Daniel sees in substitution for the broken horn four horns growing up on the forehead of the goat.  Alexander the Great, as we have studied, died with no heirs; he died at a very early age, his empire was divided amongst his four generals.  The most important general here would be Seleucus because Seleucus took that area that we call today the land of Israel.  God, in prophecies, particularly in these prophecies in chapters 8-12 is not giving us a panorama of world history; He’s not telling you about the founding of America here in chapter 8.  He’s not talking about World War I, World War II, any of the great events of history that we think about.  He is specifically highlighting in these prophecies key things that will happen in the life of the nation of Israel and they are very ominous foreshadowing’s, forebodings of things yet to come for the nation of Israel.

From the Seleucus, General Seleucus, comes forth an empire called the Seleucid Dynasty; from the Seleucid Dynasty Daniel continues to see in this vision, verses 9-14, a boastful little horn.  This is a man who would arise, probably about 175 B.C., a man that the historians tell us is named Antiochus Epiphanes, and he is focused in on (like a laser beam) in Daniel’s prophecies because he is going to launch one of the most horrific waves of persecution the Jewish people have ever experienced and in the process he becomes a prototype, he becomes a prefigurement of the coming antichrist.  Antiochus is not the antichrist but he prefigures the antichrist in Daniel’s prophecies.

What did Antiochus do, roughly 400 years or so after Daniel left the scene?  He persecuted Israel.  He wanted to Hellenize that area which means he wanted a single Greek language, a single Greek culture, the nation of Israel is right in his path in terms of an obstacle, a tiny nation with their own culture, their own language.  So he began to persecute these people, they didn’t fit in with his opinion concerning where the world ought to be headed.  That kind of sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  It’s interesting how the globalists of the world today look at Israel as the big headache.  What do they spend most of their time debating?  What does the U.N. spend most of its time discussing?  What are we going to do with Israel, they’re right in the way of progress.

The reality of the situation, beloved, is God has designed it this way.  He’s showing that you cannot have lasting peace in the Middle East without the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.  All of the turmoil and tumult that you see in your newspapers concerning the Middle East and as I’ve been showing you here it’s not something new, it’s the exact design of God.  It’s showing the world and specifically the Jewish people that the lasting peace everybody wants is an impossibility without the Prince of Peace.  So many people place their hopes for the future on some kind of political leader and the Lord, by designing things this way is showing us the futility of that.  Not until Jesus Christ sits on David’s throne from Jerusalem and rules and reigns in what we call the millennial kingdom will we have what the world is looking for.

You see, the Jews in the first century and before wanted a political kingdom but they didn’t want the spiritual reign of Christ.  I find the church of Christ, Jesus Christ, today is the opposite of that, we want a spiritual kingdom but we’ve written off, many times, a literal interpretation of prophecies that talk about a political kingdom.

What does Jesus want to bring to the world?  He wants to bring a spiritual kingdom and a political kingdom simultaneously.  He wants the world to understand that the politics that we’re all interested in can’t achieve the results we want until Jesus Christ has entered into the hearts of people and is ruling and reigning as King.  And although that’s happening to some degree to the church today in various ways it’s not happening with the nation of Israel which is in unbelief.  The peace that Jesus brings spiritually is a prerequisite to the peace He’s going to bring politically and what holds up everything today is the unbelief of national Israel.  Which is okay Paul tells us because even in their unbelief that the kingdom is in postponement God is at work today, is He not, through the church amongst the Gentiles.  But as well intentioned as we may be we’re not going to bring in the kingdom either.  The kingdom will be brought in through the conversion of the nation of Israel in the events of the Tribulation period, which are prefigured here and that will result in spiritual peace which will bring in the lasting kingdom of peace that the Jewish people and the human heart have always wanted.

But Antiochus caused great turmoil there in the Middle East during the time period between your two Testaments.   You know, you close the Old Testament with the Book of Malachi, I like to call him Ma-lah-chi, the first Italian prophet, and there’s about 400 years of so-called silence before you open the New Testament, Matthew’s Gospel, and we call those years the silent years.  Why do we call them the silent years?  Because there’s no prophecies given during that time period.  God is not speaking, but let me tell you something; those 400 years are anything but silent.  It is true that new Scripture is not being written during that time period but God is moving His hand in history over and over and over and over and over again to see to it that the specifics of His prophetic word are being fulfilled.

And we’re reading about it right here in Daniel 8.  Verse 11 he would, the prophecies say, make himself equal with God, stop the Jewish sacrifices, desecrate the temple by setting up a pagan image in the temple.  Verse 12 indicates that he would persecute Israel, stop the sacrifices which had begun after the Jews had returned to their homeland following the Babylonian deportation.  You can read about that in the Book of Ezra.  They would disregard the truth, Antiochus would, he would prosper for a season, and he would desecrate the temple.  Antiochus, probably around 165-164 B.C., went into the Jewish temple.  We only know this because of the Maccabees Books, which we don’t accept as canonical but they contain good history in them.  They show us how Daniel’s prophecies were fulfilled 400 years later.  He desecrated the temple, he set up an image of Zeus in the temple.  He tried to humiliate the Jewish people by sacrificing a pig in the temple contrary to Jewish law.

And as Daniel is seeing these prophecies they’re so bad in terms of persecution of the Jewish people that one angel, verse 13, asks another angel, how long is this going to last?  I mean, how long is God going to allow this evil to occur.  And you might be asking that in your life; you have a problem you have a setback, you have a heartache, you say how long, oh Lord.  And one of the great things we learn in the Bible is evil is on a leash.  Aren’t you happy about that?  You know, even when Satan came to test Job, you recall that story, Job 1, Job chapter 2, even Satan himself was put on a leash by God.  First of all, Satan had to ask God permission to sift Job, number 1.  Number 2, God told Satan do what you must but you can’t what?  You can’t take his life.

So it’s interesting that even in the deepest valleys of life as we go through struggles it’s limited in terms of the evil that can occur.  And the limitation on evil here is given in verse 14; it’s only going to last 2,300 evenings and mornings, roughly about six years.  It’s going to last from about 170 B.C. right up to about 164 B.C. or so.  And so that is the vision that Daniel sees.  Now what happens at the end of those 2,300 days?  There’s going to be a miracle; the Jewish people are going to revolt under a man named Judas Maccabeus, they are going to liberate the temple from Antiochus’s rule, from Seleucid rule and the temple will be liberated.  The temple will be rededicated and that’s a special feast day in Judaism called what?  Hanukkah.  And as I explained last week the Minora to rededicate the temple has to burn for eight days; they only had oil for one day.  Well they lit the Minora anyway and it miraculously burned ten days according to tradition.

So significant is this victory that a feast day is added to the Jewish calendar called Hanukkah which means dedication or feast of lights.  According to John 10:22-24 it’s actually a feast day that Jesus Christ Himself celebrated as He made His way to Jerusalem to celebrate the various feasts.

[John 10:22-25, “At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; [23] it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. [24] The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” [25] Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.”]

So that’s the vision and now what we move into is the interpretation of the vision as Daniel begins to request, as he typically does as these visions are unfolding more specific information.  So verses 15-19 Daniel seeks an interpretation.  Verses 20-25 we have an interpretation of the vision.  And then in verse 26 we have the time frame of the vision and it’s very clear that these things would not happen in Daniel’s lifetime, although Daniel saw many prophecies coming to pass in his lifetime these would not transpire in his lifetime.

Notice if you will verses 15-19, as Daniel seeks an interpretation.  Notice if you will Daniel 8:15, “When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought]to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one]who looked like a man.”  You’ll notice that Daniel seeks an interpretation.  One of the things that’s very troubling to watch develop in the body of Christ is Christians who have lost their appetite for the Word of God.  They just don’t, in some cases, hunger for the things of God, the deeper things of God.  The deeper things of God always require a little bit more effort to get to and a lot of people frankly are just not willing to put in the extra effort it takes and they miss the insight that God has for them in their lives.

1 Peter 2:2, it’s very clear; it says, “Like newborn babies long for the pure milk of the Word so that you may grow thereby in respect to salvation.”  When a young child is screaming in the middle of the night they don’t want you to come in when they’re infants and give them a theology lesson; they want to be fed because being fed right allows them to grow correctly.  And so there’s these hunger pains in the child.

That’s exactly how it works in your life as a Christian.  If you’re not fed correctly through the Word of God you simply cannot develop the way God would have you to develop in terms of your spiritual man and so God places into the life of the child of God, particularly the newborn baby, a hunger to receive truth, to learn truth, to study truth, to get around people that perhaps are a little further down the road than they are that can explain truth to them.

But you know, when my wife makes me a nutritious meal at home and on the way home I instead stop at McDonalds and order the value meal, I order the Sundae with the hot fudge on it and nuts on top, you can tell I have a little bit of expertise with this, and I fill my stomach up with junk essentially, the appetite just is not there anymore, is it, for nutrition.  When you look very carefully at this passage that I just read concerning Peter he talks about junk food in the stomach.  Before he says, “long for the pure milk of the Word of God” he says this: get rid of the junk food.   Verse 1, “Therefor putting aside” what kind of junk food?  “all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”  Let me ask you a question: are malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander part of your life as a Christian?  They can be because Peter warns us not to have these things.  But when we move off into that area we’re filling our stomachs with junk food and as our stomachs are filled with junk food what is thwarted is the desire for the pure milk of the Word that he describes in 1 Peter 2:2.

I only bring this up because one of the things I appreciate about Daniel is he is so interested in these things.  You know, a lot of Christians they have this idea, premillennialism, postmillennialism, I’m an pan-millennialist, it’s all going to pan out in the end, I don’t care about details, don’t bother me with this stuff, and if that’s your view of things I would just ask you to examine your spiritual condition.  Is  your life so filled with junk food that you’ve lost, tragically, an appetite for the things of God.

Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”  Did you know that there are certain things in the Bible that are there but they require just a little bit more effort to get to, a little bit more digging?  You say well why is that?  Because God designed it that way.  The Bible is designed for the hungry, the person that wants to get to the truth, that has an appetite for spiritual things, has really no problem putting in a little extra time and energy to get to those things.  And that’s how Daniel was.  I heard, he keeps saying, but I didn’t understand and so I asked.  Do you ask God for insight and understanding?  The book of James tells you to do that.  If you lack understanding or wisdom, ask; the passage goes on and says God gives in abundance.  [James 1:5, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”]

But so many times the appetite isn’t there because our minds are so preoccupied with worldly concerns that the appetite is lost.  One of the tragic things you hear from Christians, and I don’t know why this is with older Christians, but you start a study in the church on a particular doctrine, the doctrine of salvation for example, and people say to themselves oh, I’ve heard all that before, I don’t need that study.  Every time I hear that I say in my heart of hearts I hope I never get like you; I hope I never get to a place where I think I don’t need the church of Jesus Christ or its regular teaching because no matter who I sit under… I went to a conference this weekend, Lamb and Lion Conference, I was one of the speakers, I didn’t sit there in the lobby and chat with people during the sessions; I was in there listening.  Why was I listening?  Because I have an appetite for things, praise God.  And I picked up insights that I didn’t have before.

I hope that’s your attitude, that you’re interested in the things of God, you want to sit under the teaching of the Word of God, you want to study the Word of God.  You never arrive at truth completely; there’s always things an infinite God is wanting to show and yet that whole process is short-circuited when the stomach is filled with junk food, the appetite is gone and somehow we think because we’ve walked a certain number of years with the Lord we’ve learned it all.  God help us with that.

And yet Daniel, what is he saying here: “When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought” that would require energy, wouldn’t it?  “I sought to understand it;” one of the things I like about the Bible is you don’t have to guess as to what the interpretations mean.  We have a vision, now we’re getting an interpretation through Daniel’s question.

Don’t overlook the fact that he says “I, Daniel, had seen the vision,” because the history channel, Mysteries of the Bible, all of these liberal type sources of media that you run into, they’re going to tell you that we all know Daniel didn’t write the Book of Daniel; we all know that right?  Well, why do you think that?  Well how could he have seen these events in advance?  Obviously someone other than Daniel wrote that?   And that’s called the late dating of Daniel argument.   If you do that you destroy what the passage says.  It says, “I Daniel,” in other words the Daniel in the sixth century.

Do you think Jesus was a pretty good interpreter of the Book of Daniel?  Matthew 24:15 He says, “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet….”  He’s quoting Daniel 9:27.   [Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”]  He’s saying Daniel spoke that.  You start to play games with the Bible and you find yourself contradicting what the biblical text plainly says and what Jesus Himself taught.

So Daniel makes an inquiry, verse 15 notice verse 16, and he says, “And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, ‘Gabriel,”’ that’s our youth pastor’s name, isn’t it, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.”’  Now here of course we’re talking about the angel Gabriel.  So what you start to see in the Book of Daniel is a distinction amongst angels in their angelic role.  Gabriel, in the Bible, shows up to give people insight into things.  Luke 1:19, “… I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.”   Luke 1:26, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth.”  Who showed up in the time of Christ to give insight concerning what was happening in the wombs of Mary and Elizabeth?  The angel Gabriel.  Now Michael is different.  Daniel 12:1 says this, “Now at that time Michael,” a different angel, “the great prince who stands guard over the sons of” Israel.  Gabriel gives new insight.  In fact, it’s going to be Gabriel who’s going to supply the Seventy Weeks prophecy in Daniel 9.  You’ll see Gabriel mentioned in Daniel 9:20-24.

[Daniel 9:20-23, “Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, [21] while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering.

[22] He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding.  [23] At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”]

But Michael is different.  Michael stands guard over the nation of Israel; different angels do different things.  God has an order.  Did you know God has an order everywhere?  He has an order in His church; not everybody in this church does the same thing.  I’ve noticed the worship team never asks me to sing a solo.  [Laughter]  God never gifted me to do that.  Now Veronica down here, that’s a different story.  But my gifting is different than hers; her gifting is different than mine.  And we have to understand the hierarchy of God. We have to understand the order of God and we have to try to figure out, as God gives  us wisdom, where each of us individually fit.  I mean, there’s nothing as sad as the person trying to be Michael Jordan when they’re five foot one.   I mean some things in life just don’t work out the way we want them to because we disregard the order and the hierarchy of God.

Gabriel gives you insight, Michael protects the Jewish people.  Have you ever wondered how the Jewish people keep surviving all of these centuries, even in most cases being out of a relationship with God in terms of personal salvation?  And yet you kick the Jews out of their land and they go right back into the land 2,000 years later.  And every time the nation of Israel is attacked by the nations of the earth not only does Israel survive but Israel actually gets a holiday out of the whole thing.  Purim, for example, in the Book of Esther, celebrating the Jewish deliverance from Haman.  Hanukah was celebrating their deliverance from Antiochus as we have been studying.

Why is it that you just can’t knock out of existence the Jewish people?  There’s a lot of answers to that but one of them is Michael who has a different function, who stands guard over the nation of Israel and boy, he’s going to have a tremendous job to do in the events of the tribulation when the Jews are going to need his activity the most.

Now take a look, if you will, at verse 17 as this interpretation continues.  It says, “ So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face;” why would Daniel fall on his face?  That is always the reaction of holiness coming into the presence of sin.  You remember the calling of Isaiah?  Isaiah 6, Isaiah is called into the ministry, Isaiah says, “In the year Uzziah died I saw the Lord.”  Remember his next reaction?  “Woe is to me … I am a man of unclean lips.”  [Isaiah 6:1, “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.  Isaiah 6:5, “Then I said, ‘Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.’”]

That is always the reaction of holiness coming into the presence of sin.  You remember John on the Island of Patmos when Jesus appeared to John.  John fell down as though he were a dead man.  [Revelation 22:8, “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.”]  If an angel representing the holiness of God or Jesus Christ Himself expressed Himself in unveiled holiness the reaction of everybody in this room, even at Sugar Land Bible Church, would be abject fear and terror.  Why is that?  Because you’re standing as a sinner in the presence of holiness; holiness, by definition has the obligation to destroy sin, which is a  problem for us, isn’t it, because we’re sinners by nature.

This is why Adam and Eve were running from God when they fell; I mean, they used to stroll with God in the cool of the garden, not anymore, after sin they are running from God.  Why is that?  Holiness in the presence of sin, it’s like our police officer that comes, he just walked there into the restroom as I was having a conversation with somebody else… the presence of that police officer brings me comfort but what if I had just driven in here 85 miles an hour and stopped by 711 and stolen this or that or helped myself to a cup of coffee without paying for it, or I had been cheating on my taxes. All of a sudden in the presence of that police officer I’m uncomfortable.  See that.

That’s why holiness coming into the presence of sin always invokes fear and when you start to understand this you begin to understand our desperate need for the transferred righteousness of Jesus Christ.  I desperately need, as a lost sinner, the righteousness of Christ transferred to me at the point of faith.  Otherwise I am on a collision course with the judgment of God.   Daniel, as godly as he was, still had a sin nature and he says there in verse 16, “I heard the voice of the man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, ‘Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.’” Verse 17, “So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, ‘Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.’”

Now don’t get too confused about this expression “time of the end.”  This is not the end end, this is the end of the empire of Greece because that’s the context that we’re dealing with.   When we say that the game went into overtime and the game came to an end we’re not saying that’s the last basketball game that’s ever going to be played in the history of mankind; we’re saying in context that game came to an end.  So the end is defined by its context which concerns Persia and it concerns Greece.

It goes on there in verse 18 and says virtually the same thing.  Verses 18 and 19, “Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright.”  See, it’s a problem when holiness comes into the presence of sin but there’s always a provision.  If God has an assignment for someone there’s always a provision allowing the sinner to relate to God.  And of course, what is our provision to relate to God?  It’s through Jesus Christ.  If a person seeks to come to God through their own path other than through Jesus Christ they don’t have the transferred holiness to stand in the presence of the Almighty, the One that the cherubim sing round the clock, what’s the expression, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD God Almighty.”  Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8, what do the angels say over and over again?  [Isaiah 6:3, “And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”  Revelation 4:8, “And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, ‘HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.’”]

They don’t say grace, grace, grace is the LORD God Almighty, although grace is one of God’s attributes.  Mercy, mercy, mercy is the LORD God Almighty, although mercy is one of His attributes.  They don’t says love, love, love is the LORD God Almighty, although love is one of the attributes of God.  They draw attention around the clock to the dominant attribute of God which is His holiness, His perfection, a standard that’s so high that it demands destruction when it comes into the presence of mere sin.  That’s why John is afraid, that’s why Isaiah is afraid, that’s why Adam and Eve are afraid.  And if you’re not in Christ, beloved, you ought to be afraid too because you just don’t have the standing unless the righteousness of Jesus is transferred to you.  But you see this provision, he was told to stand up; he was made upright.  God loves us so much that He gives us the provision to relate to Him and our provision, of course, by way of application, is Jesus Christ.

Verse 19, “He said, ‘Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur” isn’t that interesting that God wants us to know the future.  He says, “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.”  There you see those expressions “final” time of “indignation,” it’s not talking about the final final, it’s talking about the final in relation to the empire of Greece.  When it says the time of the end it’s not talking about the ultimate end, it’s talking about the end of the empire of Greece.  Context is king when you interpret the Bible.  The three rules of real estate are location, location, location; the three rules of Bible study are what?  Context, context, context.  Words mean things based on their context.  If you will not respect the context you can twist the Bible into a pretzel and make it sound any way you want it to sound.  Judas went out and hung himself, go thou and do likewise… according to the Bible, and what you do, do quickly.  [John 13:27, “After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’”]

So what did I just do?  I strung together a bunch of statements that have nothing to do with the context and made it sound like we all ought to go out and commit mass suicide.  And yet when you respect the context you see how silly stringing words together like this is; words mean things based on their context.  You know, if you did this in the field of law you would be disbarred but somehow in the field of spiritual teaching the rules get suspended; it’s anything goes.  And yet that’s a danger, that’s a trap because the Bible can be made to say anything if you won’t respect its context.  And by the way, people are always trying to get the Bible on their side, whatever it is they’re promoting, because they think it gives them authority in what they want to do.  So everybody appeals to the Bible to manipulate it to get it to support their point of view.  But if you become a student of context you see how those ideas disintegrate.

For example, the two sticks there in Ezekiel 37, the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom being reunited in the millennial kingdom, one of those sticks there in Ezekiel 37 is called the stick of Joseph; it’s very easy to understand when you look at the context, there was a rupture between the north and the south after Solomon left the throne and in the millennial kingdom, Ezekiel prophecies the kingdom is going to be reunited and never divided again. But not if, but when the Mormons come to your house they will try to convince you that the stick of Joseph is Joseph Smith who had the alleged vision of the new revelation of Jesus Christ in the 1800’s where Jesus made a guest appearance here in North America.

Let me tell you something about cults; they thrive on people who believe the Bible but don’t know it very well.  They thrive on people who have a respect for this book but because of a lack of time in their lives to grow or because they’re not in the right environment, whatever the case may be they just haven’t learned the Bible, but they believe it’s true.  And we kind of laugh at this argument about Joseph Smith and the stick of Joseph but put yourself in the position of someone who doesn’t hardly know anything about the Bible but they believe it; they are a sitting duck for a deception that most of us that are a little bit more studied in the Word of God would never fall for.  I’m just pointing this out to let you know I’m not just engaging in intellectual exercises here; I want to fortify you against deception and the study of the Scripture in context is probably, more than any other single thing I can think of, one of the best bulwarks or defenses against deception that you can possibly have.

That’s why the Bible, in Ephesians 6 says, “Put on” now “Put on” is a command, it’s not going to come on automatically.  Ephesians 6, “Put on the belt of truth.”  How do you “Put on the belt of truth”?  You figure out what this Book is saying contextually so you can see through the silly arguments of man and the wiles of the devil.  “Put on” is a command that requires energy and effort on your part.

So the time of the end is not the end of the world; it’s the end of the regime, if we can put it that way, of this man, Antiochus.

We move into verses 20-25 now, Daniel is no longer seeking an interpretation of the vision but now the vision is interpreted to him. Verse 20, which we’ve already read, the ram is Media-Persia, the goat is Greece.  Notice verses 20-21, “ The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia.  [21] The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.  “The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.”  So the ram is Media Persia, the goat is Greece.  Now who is this horn between the eyes in the goat.  Well, as we have studied the only biblical historical character that fits is Alexander the Great, verse 21.  “The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.”   That’s Alexander the Great.

We move on into verse 22 where we see the goat charging at the ram.  This is the destruction of Greece by Media Persia, which happened around 331 B.C.  Notice, if you will, verse 22, “The broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power.”  The horn, verse 22, is broken on the goat; that is the early death, if you will, of Alexander the Great.  Alexander the Great, as we have studied, died at a very early age, probably around the age 32.  As we have noted this is a man who could conquer the known world but he couldn’t conquer his own passions and lusts.  He died… historians differ, perhaps venereal diseases, perhaps alcoholism, he died of a debauched lifestyle.

And as I have looked a little bit at the life of Alexander the Great the verse that comes to my mind over and over and over and over and over again is John 8:34, “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”’  You know, sin advertises itself as freedom, liberation.  What do we call the sexual revolution?  Sexual liberation, sexual freedom.  And yet what is sin in the end?  Bondage; it’s slavery.  Sin always has a price tag.  “The wages of sin is” what?  “death.”  [Romans 6:23]

And here’s Alexander the Great, this man with all of these political gifts, abilities, not able to reign sin under control in his own life; probably thought he could control it, probably thought he could master it.  You can’t control sin; sin itself is more powerful than you are. I don’t know if you’ve thought much lately about what God said to Cain in the first murder recorded in the Bible.  You know, before that murder took place God actually gave Cain a warning.  It’s found there in Genesis 4 and it says there in verse 7, “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire” that would be the desire for control, “its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Cain,  you’re angry that your sacrifice was rejected and your brother’s was accepted and I want to warn you about something that’s happening in your heart that’s about to manifest itself in the first murder of the human race unless you get this under control.  Sin is desiring you; it’s desiring to control you but you must control it.  Think if Cain had obeyed those instructions; the first murder in the human race perhaps wouldn’t have occurred.  Think of Alexander the Great that had access to the teachings of Jesus and had obeyed those instructions; perhaps Alexander the Great could have lived a very long and prosperous life.

My question is what warnings are you ignoring?  What warnings am I ignoring?  What things exist in our lives that God is saying under My power you’ve got to get rid of this.  And we think well, I’ll just negotiate with it a little bit because I enjoy it so much.  You know, the children of Israel, they came into the land and God was very clear, He said look, (you can read about this in the book of Judges, the book of Joshua) you’ve got to take every single one of these Canaanites that are in this land and you’ve got to wipe them out.  You need to wipe out the children, you need to wipe out the women, you need to wipe out the whole civilization.  And we look at that and say what a mean God God is; but God’s warnings were very clear, if you don’t master them the day will come when they will master you.

And isn’t it interesting how 800 years after the time of Judges is a record of how Israel didn’t do what God said and they went into almost 800 years of idolatry, spiraling eventually into full blown adultery which they learned from the Canaanites, which God said get rid of them.   And it led to ultimately sin that was so bad that the Babylonian deportation took place.

I say this just as a warning, I know so many people that have been disqualified from ministry because of things that we would consider big sins, and I just wonder, and I wonder about you, I wonder about myself, I wonder how things could have been different for them if they had heeded the warning of God.  You can’t negotiate with Him; you can’t appease Him.  You start giving way to sin, as God is my witness the day will come when the sin will ultimately enslave you.  That’s what happened with Alexander the Great.  That’s what happened with the children of Israel.

This is what Jesus is warning about here in verse 22.  So he says the horn is going to be broken off, verse 22, the destruction of Alexander the Great because of his very early death.   “The wages of sin is” what? “death.”  Because of his very, very early death he had no heirs, so his kingdom is divided amongst his four generals.  That is exactly what we see happening here in Daniel chapter 8 and verse 22 as this interpretation is being given to Daniel.  The broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power.  The horn broken off, four horns grow in its place on the goat, and this is speaking, of course, as we have said of the division of Alexander the Great amongst Alexander’s four generals.

And each of these generals develop dynasties, the most important for our purposes is the Seleucus general, the Seleucid Dynasty because from Seleucus is going to come Antiochus Epiphanes; he’s a prefigurement, if you will, of the coming antichrist.  And as powerful as the Seleucid Dynasty became it never had the same power as Alexander the Great’s empire because a house, Jesus said, divided against itself cannot what?  Stand!  You get internal divisions in a business, you get internal divisions in a church, you get internal divisions in a family, you get internal divisions in a marriage and every single time the end product is weaker than the original product.

I’m in favor of divisions over significant issues but beloved, to be completely honest with you, in the body of Christ today so many of our divisions have to do with the pettiest of issues; personality conflicts, turf wars, preferences, and we don’t even understand what we’re doing to ourselves when we cater to these things.  We’re weakening the church; we’re weakening Christianity.  You know, Paul in Corinth said to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6, who were so divided that they were suing each other.  Do you believe that?  And they were taking their cases before pagan judges to resolve their cases before them and Paul makes an interesting statement in 1 Corinthians 6, he says you’re defeated already; you’re already defeated because “a house” bringing in the teachings of Christ, “divided against itself” cannot stand.    [Mark 3:25, “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”]

Division for truth is a wonderful thing; division over things that are “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” kind of thing or some kind of personality conflict is a trap of Satan himself.  And Alexander the Great’s empire, because of its division here amongst these four generals never fully recovered.  That’s what the prophecies there in verse 22 indicate; it’s not as powerful as it once was.

We go down to verses 23-25 and we begin to see the activities of Antiochus Epiphanes.  Verse 23-25 is a tremendous description of what this Seleucid ruler would do to the Jewish people, making him a prefigurement or a foreshadowing of the coming antichrist; what has been will be again.  Ecclesiastes 1:9 says this, “That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done.  So there is nothing new under the sun.”  There “is nothing new under the sun,” the whole end time scenario regarding the nation of Israel has already been played out in terms of a dress rehearsal.  That’s what Daniel is seeing here; that’s what happened in the intertestamental period.  The main act is  yet to come.

Let me just show you one fast thing and we’ll conclude.  Daniel 11:31, it’s a prophecy of Antiochus.  Daniel 11:31, “Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.”  That, in context, as I’ll be showing you, assuming we get to Daniel 11 before the rapture of the church, is a prophecy also of Antiochus.

Now with that verbiage in mind take a look at Daniel 9:27, this, as I’ll be showing you, is a prophecy of the antichrist.  Look at what it says, virtually the same things, “And he” that’s the antichrist, “will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering;” haven’t we read about that already, with Antiochus, didn’t he do that very thing, “and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate,” that is almost the identical language of Daniel 11:31.  What the Holy Spirit is saying is look, you want to build your doctrine of the antichrist, the doctrine of the antichrist has already been around in a miniature form because what Antiochus did the antichrist simply will do in a much fuller, greater, grander respect.

That which has been is that which will be and that which has been done is that which will be done!  So there is nothing new under the sun.  This is, beloved, a biblical philosophy of history.  How does paganism view history?  Meaningless, random events that have no logic to them at all; things just happen because they happen.  That’s not the biblical view of history; history is designed.  In fact, history is so carefully designed by God that He’s allowed prefigurement of what will be; He’s allowed those prefigurements to be studied.  You see, this is the blessing of Daniel 8; the ram and the goat, who would have thought all this is here?  But it is here if we would simply diligently apply ourselves and let the Lord speak.

I hope you don’t think that you’re an accident, a biological mistake.  I hope you understand who you are in God.  The God of design has brought you into existence, allowed  you providentially to live at a specific time in history.  In fact, He ordained the circumstances by which  you would come to know Him personally.  Why is that?  Because He’s got something He wants to do with your life.  I don’t know what it is, but God does!  And it’s just a matter of pressing into the design, whatever it is, that He has for you because God is a God of design who designed people’s salvation, history, in the most intricate detail.  And what a tragedy it is for a person to go through their whole life thinking they’re an accident, having never come in contact with the God that created them and redeemed them.  You miss why you exist if you miss the Savior.

Why is He the Savior?  Because He saves.  Why do we need salvation?  Because he is holy and we’re sinful.  So to bridge that gap He stepped out of eternity into time to do something for us that we could never do for ourselves… bridge the gap between our sinfulness and God’s holiness through the gospel, called the gospel because it means good news.  It’s good news because Jesus did all the heavy lifting; He did all the hard work.  He died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins.  He authenticated who He is through his resurrection from the dead.  He asks humans to do one simple thing, to receive a gift.  The story of the Bible is not what we do for God; it’s what God has done for us.  How do you receive this gift?  In God there’s only one way to receive it which is by faith alone!  The Spirit of God convicts a person of their need to trust in Christ, they respond in the privacy of their own mind and heart to the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit, they place their faith for their eternity and the safe keeping of their soul into the hands of Jesus Christ and that’s what saves.

And I’m wondering, have you done that?  Have you received by faith what Jesus has done in our place.  If the Spirit is convicting you, you can receive Jesus Christ by trusting in His provision right now.   You don’t have to walk an aisle to do it, join a church to do it, give money to do it, it’s a matter of privacy between  you and the Lord.  And if it’s something you are doing or if it’s something you have done then on the authority of the Word of God you’ve altered your eternal destiny and you’ve now been ushered into the intricate design of God that he now wants to work in and through you to achieve His purposes on the earth.  If you’re confused about the gospel I’m available after the service to talk.  Shall we pray.

Father, we’re grateful for this section of Scripture as we’re studying it and what it reveals about the past, what it reveals about the future and what it reveals about Your nature.  We ask Father that You would make us good stewards of these truths and these things would radically alter our priorities in our lives.  We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen.