And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up. He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king. As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power. And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise. His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.” Daniel 8:18-26
As we saw yesterday, Daniel sees before him one that looks like a man. This is most likely The Angel of the Lord, the preincarnate Christ. This “one” tells the angel Gabriel to tell Daniel the meaning of the vision. As Gabriel approaches Daniel is terrified and falls to the ground and faints. Gabriel awakens Daniel and interprets the vision recounting that the ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. They are represented as one empire, not split as the liberal critics want to do. The goat is explained as Greece with four kingdoms emerging from the Grecian empire, out of this will come the “Stern faced king”. This refers to Antiochus as well as the future Antichrist. Since Antiochus did not take his stand against the Prince of Princes this passage refers to someone else.
This interpretation is one of the main reasons many cannot date the Book of Daniel, especially the last half, to the time of the Babylonian exile. To have a prophesy this clear is just beyond their comprehension. Daniel has to have been written after the fact. This line of reasoning totally discounts the miraculous. It fact it pretty much takes God out of the picture which is what they want in the first place.
As we wrap-up chapter eight there are a few things we can take away from it One is that prophetic writings tend to divide us and it is not just those who accept God working in human events from those who don’t. Even Christians divide on prophesy that has yet to be fulfilled. In particular many try to show that writings such as the last half of Daniel and Revelations have already been fulfilled. There seems to be a willingness to accept prophesy that has already been fulfilled such as those pointing to Jesus but not prophesy which has yet to be fulfilled. And as I mentioned previously there is always disagreement on how to interpret prophetic writing.
One last thing I would like to bring to your attention is Daniel’s reaction to being approached by Gabriel. He faints. Daniel has had some very strange visions and even though he knows why Gabriel is there he still falls to the ground and faints. I bring this up because of how other religions seem to describe encounters with angels. These angels bring different and often contradicting messages about God. Yet these encounters seem to elicit no fear in the recipients. Yet throughout the Bible the first things that an angel says to a human on approaching them is do not be afraid of fear not. In almost every case the person falls to the ground and is admonished to stand up. Daniel not only falls down he faints. It would appear to me that when angels make themselves known to us the initial response is one of fear and awe not business as usual. Perhaps the only one who might not cause this response is Satan who would rather have us not to be afraid so we more readily accept his lies.
Have a blessed day,
PS: I am afraid this is one of those posts where the title does not match. Sometimes I thing I am headed in one direction but get taken down a different road.