Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 8

Outline and Background - Daniel 8

The Vision of the Ram - Daniel 8:1-4

The Vision of the Goat - Daniel 8:5-8

The Vision of the Little Horn - Daniel 8:9-12

The Time-span of the Host Trampling the Sanctuary - Daniel 8:13-14

The Interpretation of the Vision by Gabriel - Daniel 8:15-27

Application of Daniel 8

The Vision of the Little Horn - Daniel 8:9-12

Out of one of them (Seleucus) came another horn (Antiochus IV Epiphanes), who started small but grew in power to the south (Egypt) and to the east (Arabia Petraea) and towards the Beautiful Land (Palestine). Antiochus IV was one of twenty-six kings who ruled Syria. He continued as king from 175

B.C. until 164 B.C., ruling from Antioch. The name “Antiochus” means “opposer” or “withstander.” Antiochus II was known as “theos,” meaning “God” and Antiochus III, was known as “the Great.” Descending from such lineage, Antiochus IV developed an exalted view of himself. He assumed the title “Theos Epiphanes,” meaning “the Manifest God.” However, he was known by his enemies as Epiphames (“madman” or “insane”), which required a change of one letter (“n” to “m”) in the Greek spelling of his title. This change in his title occurred after he had slaughtered one hundred thousand Jews (1 Maccabees 1:24, 37, 57-64; 2 Maccabees 5:11-14, 23-26). Centuries before it happened, Daniel witnessed this trepidation in his vision.

This “little horn” of the goat is not to be confused with the “little horn” of the fourth beast (7:8). The little horn of the goat rises out the Greek Empire, while the other rises from the Revived Roman Empire. Both “little horns” oppose God, magnify themselves to the level of deity and
persecute the people of God. Both are energized by Satan. Both rulers demonstrate fallen man’s extreme obsession to rule the world apart from God. There are strong similarities between the two “little horns” since the one of the goat foreshadows the one of the beast in the end times. And both the typical little horn (Antiochus IV Epiphanes) and the antitypical little horn (the Antichrist) appear in succession in chapter eleven.

Comparison the little horns of Daniel 7 and 8

Antiochus IV ascended to the throne by intrigue. Following the murder of his brother Demetrius, the rightful heir, who was being held hostage in Rome, Antiochus seized the throne and became the eighth ruler of the Seleucid dynasty. This little horn 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.” The starry host is the promised offspring of Abraham (Genesis 12:3; 15:5; Jeremiah 33:22).

How did Antiochus throw to the earth some of the faithful Jews (the starry host) and trample on them? Antiochus was a tyrant, a ruthless dictator, who suppressed the Biblical faith and the worship of the one true God during the time of the Maccabees. He expelled Israel’s godly high
priest Onias III from his office at the beginning of his reign in 175 B.C., and he assassinated the priest in 171 B.C. Thereafter, he pursued his evil policy of securing control of the high priesthood and bringing increasing pressure on the Jewish hierarchy to surrender their religious loyalties in the interest of conformity to Greek culture and idolatry as predicted.

It set itself [Antiochus] up to be as great as the Prince of the host [High Priest]; it took away the daily sacrifice from him (High Priest), and the place of his sanctuary [Temple] was brought low [statue of Zeus erected and a pig sacrificed on the altar]. Because of rebellion [Maccabean Revolt], the host of the saints [Israel] and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground [all copies of Torah burned].

In 169 B.C., Antiochus arrogantly entered God’s sanctuary and took the golden altar and the lampstand. Two years later, he sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem to profane the Sabbath and feasts, to defile the sanctuary and the priests, to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and unclean animals, and to forget the law and change all the ordinances (1 Maccabees 1:41-49). Outside the Most Holy Place of the Temple, Greek games were held. Since participants of these games were naked, this led to the Jews’ compromise of circumcision.

On top of everything else, these games were dedicated to Zeus, whose statue was erected in the Temple. Apollo, the historic deity of the dynasty, disappeared almost entirely from the Seleucid coinage after the reign of Antiochus, and Apollo was replaced by Zeus.

Antiochus (and Satan) knew that the uniqueness of Israel depended on its sacrificial system and the truth written in the Torah. The books of the law which they found they tore in pieces and
burned with fire. Where the book of the covenant was found in the possession of anyone, or if anyone adhered to the law, the decree of the king condemned them to death (1 Maccabees 1:5657).

It is possible that this decree could have led to the Essenes hiding their scrolls or the Jewish priests hiding the Temple scrolls in the caves of Qumran. Discovered in A.D. 1947, the writings are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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