Daniel saw the vision of the world from the Jewish standpoint in the third year of the reign of Belchazzar, the last of the Babylonian kings.  At this time the Medo-Persian armies were near the gates of Babylon and the judgment of which Daniel spoke was about to fall.  The Babylonian’s knew Daniel’s prediction and the nearness of their enemy, but the warning was ignored.  Daniel knew that the first of the four great world empires was about to fall but was anxious to learn more about the other empires which were so soon to dominate the world in succession.  Daniel was transported in spirit to the palace of Shushan - the centre of the Medo-Persian Empire which was soon to be the ruling power on earth.


The first thing Daniel saw as he looked to the river was a ram with two horns (Daniel 8: 2).  The ram represented the kingdoms of Media and Persia.  Previously the Medo-Persians were seen, from the nations’ standpoint, as a bear, with its fury and power, but awkwardness; it was to the Jews a harmless ram.  God gave him strength “so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand”.


While Daniel is gazing at this ram, he sees the he-goat coming from the west.  In a previous vision Greece had been seen as a leopard with its fierceness, now it is seen as a goat.  “The great horn that is between his eyes is the first king This was Alexander, known throughout history as the greatest general the world has ever seen - well called Alexander the Great.*  Horns are typical of strength and eyes typical of intelligence.  “And touched not the ground” - its speed was phenomenal.  His attacks were marked with a swiftness and vigour that carried everything before it.  “And he” - that is Alexander the Great - “Came to the ram that had two horns ... and ran into him in the fury of his power”.  “And there was no power in the ram to stand before him”.  There was none who could stand against the fury of the Greek army, and so “the he-goat waxed very great”, but only for a time.  Strong as Alexander was, he was but thirty-two when he died.  Apparently in the prime of life, he was suddenly cut off.  Alexander was not overcome by the king of another nation but by the king of terrors - death. “Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power”.  Alexander had no direct successor and four generals took his place, but they had not Alexander’s power.  He was a genius, they were not.  They quarrelled among themselves and soon the empire fell in pieces.


[* Alexander is referred to in the Koran as “The two-horned”.]


“Out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great”.  Following these generals was a very wicked man named Antiochus Epiphanes.  A number of incidents in his life, as well as details of his character, agree with the prophecy, but not all prophecy was fulfilled in him.  No doubt, Antiochus was but a picture of the one who is to fulfil the prophecy, for we are expressly told that “at the time of the end shall be the vision “And in the latter time of their Kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full The vision relates to the close of this age - when the earth will be dominated by the one great figure - Antichrist.  While Antiochus Epiphanes was a very wicked man, Antichrist will far outstrip him in wickedness.  He “waxed exceeding great, toward the south and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land”, or ‘the land of the glory.’ Victories will be in the south and east and then he comes to the prize - the land of Glory - Palestine.  In that day Israel will be the most prosperous country in the world.  Up to the beginning of this century the crops of Palestine were very small, yet since so many Jews have returned to their country, considerable strides have been made in cultivation, and the land is once more yielding a measure of her true increase.  The skill of the Jews, together with the natural fertility of the soil will account for the large increase in the wealth of the community.  The vast wealth contained in the Dead Sea is largely untouched, but this will be gathered in by millions of pounds.  Increasing wealth will make Palestine very attractive, and Antichrist will make it the centre of his conquests and his territorial aims.


He is described as the “king of fierce countenance We see this feature in Nebuchadnezzar when the three Hebrew youths refused to bow down to the image that he had set up.  Nebuchadnezzar was “full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego: therefore, he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated” (Dan. 3: 19).  This coming man will know nothing of mercy or love, but will rule all nations with a rod of iron.  “And understanding dark sentences The word for ‘dark sentences’ is used of a riddle in Judges 14: 12.  “And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you.”  In 1 Kings 10: 1, it is translated ‘hard questions “When the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions Satan’s purpose regarding his false Christ is to make him as near a true copy of Christ as he possibly can.  Christ spoke to the people in parables; Satan’s man will be able to understand dark sentences.  No doubt this ability will be a master attraction for the people.  Man’s quest for more and more knowledge is an insatiable activity.  When not according to the mind of God this quest for knowledge has always been attended with fatal consequences.  Knowledge obtained according to the will of God is most profitable, but once we leave God’s methods trouble ensues.  We see in the present thirst for astrological predictions how great is the desire to know the future.  This ability will attract apostate Jews and unconverted Gentiles. “And it waxed great” - great in his own sight, great in the sight of the world, great in his wickedness.  “And his power shall be mighty”.  His power will be greater than any seen before, for his greatness is “not by his own power”.  Being Satan’s man, Satan will invest him with tremendous and universal power: “and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Rev. 13: 2).  “And he shall destroy wonderfully”; “Even to the host of heaven” - a reference to Israel, who is referred to in the book of Exodus as ‘the hosts of the Lord’.  “And it cast down some of the host The Jews will know how fierce persecution can be when Antichrist reigns.  This reign coincides with the time of Jacob’s trouble.  The Jew has known sore persecution during many periods of his existence, but here is persecution the fierceness of which he has never known before.  Jeremiah says – “Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?  Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jer. 30: 6, 7).


According to the instruction of our Lord, many Jews will leave Jerusalem and flee into the wilderness, directly Antichrist sets his image in the re-built temple.  But not all the Jews flee, and on these will Antichrist fall with terrible vengeance.  So great will be the slaughter that Zechariah says,‑“It shall come to pass, that in an the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third part shall be left therein” (Zech. 13: 8).  “And shall prosper and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and holy people”.  Antichrist will have no respect of persons.  He will destroy all without taking account of sex, age, honour or position.  Not content with persecuting Jews, the remnant of Christ’s seed will be persecuted as well – “and of the stars” he cast down some “to the ground, and stamped upon them In confirmation of this interpretation, we turn to the twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation and see Satan persecuting the woman who brought forth the man child by bringing a multitude of men like a flood against her.  They pursue the remnants of the woman’s seed - those who “keep the Commandments of God” (the Jew) and those who “have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (the Christian).


“And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in has hand”.  Successful intrigues will be his great masterpiece; the intrigue of fifth column activity brought the downfall of Holland in four days.  “And he shall magnify himself in his heart” - as we saw foreshadowed in Mussolini; “and by peace shall destroy many”. While the nations are enjoying a large measure of peace, they suddenly find themselves under the heel of the aggressor.  His authority will come by peaceful rather than by aggressive means.  The ten horns “shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (Rev. 17: 13).


“Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host”, or “Prince of princes”.  When this phrase “prince of the host” is used on other occasions the reference is undoubtedly to our Lord Jesus Christ.  In the words of Paul, he “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped” (2 Thes. 2: 4).  “By him the daily sacrifice was taken away”.  The Jewish temple has yet to be rebuilt and the sacrificial rites to commence.  The Antichrist (we learn from the next chapter of Daniel) will make a covenant with Israel for seven years; but in the middle of the period he breaks it, and turns upon the Jews with all his fury.  He takes away the daily sacrifice which is offered night and morning, and causes the holy place to be desecrated.  “And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice Almost any number of men will be at his beckoning and call - men doubtless drawn from all nations under heaven; “by reason of transgression” - the sin of that generation of Jews.  Before fierce persecution is shown a number of Jews will depart from the faith of God and turn to Antichrist in his destructive work.  Similarly, in this present century some Jews have become Roman Catholics to avoid persecution.  God will deal with the Jews as He has dealt with them before.  While they trusted Him, He fought for them and they dwelt in Palestine and worshipped in the temple at Jerusalem.  But once they forsook Him, they lost their temple through its destruction, and were turned out of their land.  “And it cast down the truth to the ground,” - not very surprising when we realize that his power comes from the Devil, the father of lies.  “And it practised, and prospered While Satan is the prince of the power of the air, he will see that his man is successful.  Finally, he heads an army against Jerusalem, the Jew and the Lord of hosts.  Here he comes to grief.  “But he shall be broken without hand It is not by human might that Antichrist will be brought to judgment, but by the hand of the Lord fighting for the Jews and against Antichrist, as He fought in the day of battle.  It is by Divine intervention alone that the world empires will come to a close, when He comes whose right it is to reign.


Let us pray. earnestly that we “may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21: 36).