We are in the Prophetic Stream in the book of Daniel. We continue with more of Daniel’s visions as we read from the Tree of Life Version this week.
In this bewildering chapter, take a little comfort, at least in this: Daniel was confused too! Do not feel like all others are keen at deciphering and you are the dunce in the corner. When the vision ended, DANIEL himself was stricken and he languished. He could muster to get through his duties for the king, but he says that he was astounded and no one could explain it to him. So don’t feel lost for long, and don’t feel alone in being confused.
The Persian Empire seen in the first four verses is a two-horned ram because it is a coalition empire of Medes and Persians; thus the two horns. They were the ones who followed (or were to follow) Babylon. They were depicted as a devouring bear one chapter back in Dan. 7:5. Here it is a ram w/ two horns. The swift goat w/ one great horn that moves about furiously from the west is the Greek Empire. The great horn in Alexander the Great. After him, when the ‘great horn’ is broken, four horns replace him. This same process is the four-headed leopard in Dan. 7:6. Same story again symbolized using a different animal. The small horn that came forth in v. 9 is Antiochus Epiphanes. He is in other places in scripture the “Abomination of Desolation”. Jesus uses this description in Matthew. The fascination of this vision that Daniel receives is that he is talking about Kingdoms that lived this out after arising 200 years later and then going on to “rise and fall” after that. Antiochus Epiphanes was doing his havoc on the Jews and trying to obliterate them 175-163 B.C. He even sacrificed a pig on the altar in the Temple as if to be slapping God in the face. The 2,300 days are the length of days that he would exercise the profaning of Judaism in hopes of wiping it out.
This little horn story seems to morph in a sinister manner to usher in a stern-faced king whose intrigue and cunning, deception and destruction of even the holy. . . it is by now talking of a distant backdrop of a global destroyer who would enter history in its closing days and bring terrible darkness with him. Antiochus is merely a forerunner of this.
Imagine being a Believer in these days? How does one keep their faith under such chaos? How does one be a Believer in Europe during 1940-1945. These are not simple matters. They never were. How does one keep their faith in todays world where being a Believer is facing increased scorn?
Dear Jesus, let us be your “children of the Psalms” who abide in you; in the shadow of the Almighty and without fail come to you and remain in your midst. Amen.”