Read Daniel 8 9-14
This section of scripture really focuses on the part of Daniel’s vision of the little horn on the goat. We know that the little horn represents Antiochus Epiphanes who was the eventual eighth king over the Seleucid region, which controlled Israel. He ruled about 150 years (give or take 20 years) before Christ’s birth.
This is interesting because he ruled during part of the 400 year timespan known as the intertestamental period, or the period of the Bible where God was silent. The time from Malachi to John the Baptist, the time between the OT and NT. Have you ever wondered what happened during this time? Well we’re about to find out.
It was during this period in history that the Greeks dominated the earth and Antiochus in particular, dominated Israel. It was also during this time that the political, religious, and social atmosphere of Israel changed dramatically. The Greeks began to impose their culture onto the Jews. They began to do everything they could to destroy their Jewishness.
Under the Persian’s the Jews were permitted to practice their religion, they were even allowed to rebuild their temple and worship at it. Basically, the Persian’s rule was the calm before the storm. This all changed under Greek rule.
The Greeks really wanted the Jews to become “Greek thinking people”, they wanted them to embrace their culture, much like we discussed when the Babylonians gained control of the Jews. Antiochus’ father began the push and as we see in the prophecy Antiochus will push or should I say bulldoze even further.
Reread vs. 10-14
Verse 10 says that this little horn, Antiochus, grew stronger, he gained more and more power. It says he “cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.” We can see the hosts of heaven when we look to the sky, when we look to the sky at night what do you see? You see stars.
Antiochus cast down stars, but what do stars represent in the Bible? According to Daniel 12:3, the stars are the faithful, obedient people of God. Antiochus, massacred the obedient and faithful people of God. He made a decree outlawing Jewish rites and worship.
Verse 11 tells us how he did this. We know that Antiochus fulfilled this part of Daniel’s prophetic vision. He raided the temple in Jerusalem, stealing its treasures. He set up an altar and required them to worship Zeus rather than Yahweh by sacrificing pigs on that altar and making them eat the pigs flesh. He even made the performance of circumcision punishable by death. In fact indulging in any Jewish religious custom was punishable by death. When the people expressed their outrage over this profaning of the temple, he responded by slaughtering a large number of the Jews and those he didn’t slaughter he sold into slavery.
This “pre antichrist” this Greek antichrist gives us a glimpse of what to expect from the “end times” antichrist. The end times antichrist is going to do everything he can to massacre the holy people of God. Alexander showed us the ability of antichrist to conquer and Antiochus Epiphanese showed us the personality of the antichrist and his hatred towards holy people.
Antiochus magnified himself to be equal to God, as it says in vs. 11, then he attacks God by going after the people of God. He took away their daily sacrifices and their place of worship, the temple was cast down. He went into the temple, took all the gold and silver, vials, vessels, crowns, even the veil and the table of showbread and took it all back to his land. He turned the temple chambers into brothels. Committed a massacre, and spoke arrogantly.
Verse 12 talks about an army, KJV says “hosts”, that was given over “to the horn”. We already discussed that hosts are the holy people of God. Here it is talking about hosts joining with the little horn. These would be apostate Jews. Jews who turned from their faith, turned from their God and turned on their own people. They joined Antiochus’ army and they “cast truth to the ground”. They literally went throughout the cities finding the written word of God and shredding as many books as they could, shredding them and burning them, and murdering the people they found in possession of the books.
At the very end of verse 12, it says that he prospered. As long as there are willing participants, sin will continue. Evil seeds can be planted just the same as holy seeds and if the ground is fertile those seeds will prosper. It’s up to us to weed out the evil seeds.
Lastly, verses 13 and 14 give us another viewpoint of the vision. Daniel, in these two verses, is listening to a conversation between two saints or holy ones. The holy ones in this section are most likely referencing angels. These angels are discussing back and forth how long is God going to let the temple, and the sacrifice, and the people of God, be crushed like this? How long will this desolation last?
The end times antichrist’s terror will last 1250 days, any longer and there would be no saved souls. This terror was prophesied to last 2,300 days. Matthew 24 tells us that if the tribulation lasted any longer there would be no saved, it would be too destructive and the elect would not be saved. The tribulation is going to be way worse than what Antiochus did. His terror lasted a bit longer, probably because it was not as intense, as horrible as it was; it will not be as bad as the tribulation.
After the 2300 days the sanctuary will be cleansed. This was also fulfilled during this 400 years of silence. During the Maccabean revolution, the Maccabeas came in and cleansed the temple on Dec. 25, 165 B.C. By the way if you want to study more you can look at the books known as the Maccabees. They are not inspired by the Holy Spirit but they are considered religious/historical books.
If you’re wondering what desolation started this 2300 days of tribulation, we can go back into history about six years to the year 171. Up until this point there was peace between Antiochus and the Jews. Antiochus said and did all the right things to the Jews. Much like we are warned about the future antichrist, there will be a time of peace, then a desolation will take place and then the 3.5 years of tribulation.
The desolation that took place was the removal of the high priest, at least that was the most obvious record for that year. A good man by the name of Onias III, was removed from office. A very Greek man named Jason bribed Antiochus for the position, and was put in the place of the true high priest. The anger of the Jews became stirred. It seems that the removal of the man of God from the temple started this tribulation period.