Daniel 8 is a tough chapter to work through, and I believe that it was done that way on purpose. But, since it is an important chapter in an important book, it is worth our time to try and understand it.
And, I believe that we have some ability to piece together what can and cannot be the correct interpretation of Daniel 8.
So, let’s try to figure out if the Antichrist MUST come from the region in and around the Middle East – including Greece and parts of central Asia.
Where The Antichrist Comes From
I don’t know why, but when I originally sat down to write about Daniel 8, I choked. In fact, I had already written a few paragraphs, when I felt the need to stop and hold off.
In fact, I was prompted to ask for input from Omega Shock readers. And a number of them came forward with their own thoughts on the issue. Deconstructing those ideas were valuable to me, and I hope… valuable to you, as well.
The Blocked Vision
I believe that the problem with Daniel 8, lies with this passage:
And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.
– Daniel 8:26
The problem is that I believe the vision to be ‘shut up’ even now. There isn’t a single interpretation that appears to fit what this chapter actually says.
When I wrote, last week, I offered the following possibilities:
1. Nothing in Daniel 8 has happened yet.
2. Antiochus IV Epiphanes was the Little Horn and the Man of Fierce countenance
3. This is about the Antichrist.
So, let me start with the first interpretation.
Nothing Has Happened Yet
Some believe that there were more than four kingdoms to survive the fall of Alexander the Great. The claim is that Antigonus (and his son Demetrius) was the fifth general to succeed Alexander, but both Antigonus and Demetrius were soundly defeated at the Battle of Ipsus.
The only true kingdoms to survive The Battle of Ipsus, were:
Demetrius went on to continue causing trouble but he eventually failed miserably, having been abandoned by his own army.
So, it’s clear that we have a match between the four kingdoms of Alexander the Great and the four horns mentioned in verse 8 and verse 22.
The fact that there was a 22 year interregnum is meaningless. There is ALWAYS an interregnum, or ‘gap’ in government, when such a dramatic change takes place.
Furthermore, up to the point where the four horns sprout from the head of the goat, EVERYTHING fits. EVERYTHING.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
The problem arises, with the Little Horn.
Antiochus IV succeeded his father, who was called Antiochus III The Great. Unfortunately, the son was no match for that patrimony, so he referred to himself as Epiphanes – or, God Manifest.
He was essentially calling himself God. And, that sounds a LOT like what is described about the Little Horn in Daniel 8. And, as a play on the name that he chose for himself, his critics called him Epimanes, or The Mad.
He certainly was full of madness, since he decided to completely destroy the worship of God at Jerusalem, in 168 BC. That attempt at the destruction of God’s people and the worship of God, lasted until 164 BC – when he died, ‘broken without hand’ (as Daniel describes).
This is where you jump up and say that we have the interpretation, and can go home. But, there’s a nice big problem.
It doesn’t fit correctly.
Here are the ‘problem verses’:
10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.
11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down.
13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.
19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
26 And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.
Those verses would be jarring to my mind, if I was trying to cast Antiochus IV as the Little Horn. For instance…
In verses 10 and 11, how is it possible that he could cast down some of the ‘host of heaven’ and magnify himself against ‘the prince of the host’?
That’s not a very strong argument against Antiochus IV, but it’s still there and doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
In verses 13 and 14, we have a stronger argument. We know when the sanctuary was cleansed at this time, and it was 164 BC. And, those two verses connect to a period of 2300 days, which is six years and almost four months. Subtract six years from 164 BC, and you get:
Unfortunately, for this theory, nothing much happened then. Yes, there was some political infighting in Jerusalem, where Menelaus pushes out Jason as High Priest, but…
…Sorry, that doesn’t fit.
However, some have claimed that the wording of Daniel doesn’t refer to ‘days’ but ‘mornings’ and ‘evening’. I don’t agree with this, but let’s play with the idea.
So, let’s subtract three years from 164 BC, and this is what you get:
However, I am seeing records that the desecration of the Temple and the genocide against the Jews, began in 168 BC. Unless someone can come up with better records than I have, we also need to rule out this 1150 days.
And, when looking at the Hebrew in this chapter, I do not agree with this idea of counting each morning and evening, to divide 2300 in half. The syntax does NOT support this idea. And, we haven’t even gotten to the biggest problem.
In verses 17 and 19, there is a reference of ‘the end’ and this is the strongest point of all. I’m not sure how you can get around the fact that we are talking about The Last Days.
The Hebrew word for ‘end’ here is ‘ketz’. That’s a word that we also use for ‘edge’ and even ‘radical’ (kitzoni). But, the word in the Bible is clearly used to mean ‘end’ or even ‘farthest end’.
The events of this period were only a few hundred years in the future of this chapter. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that this could be ‘the end’ of ANYTHING.
I could be wrong about verses 10, 11, 13 and 14 – even though splitting 2300 days in half is a bit of a stretch. But, it’s hard to believe that ANYONE would mistake the meaning of ‘end’.
And, verse 26 adds emphasis. The reference to there being ‘many days’ is an important one, and is more than just ‘a few hundred years’.
For me, the pivotal verses are 17, 19 and 26.
I just don’t see how you can get around those. But, I notice repeated attempts to try. And, I think that I understand why they would do that.
I think that there is a healthy fear of trying to limit the geography, of the origin of the Antichrist. I get that, and I respect it. And, I’m not sure that I want to be overly dogmatic about what I am saying here.
Just remember the command that Gabriel gave to Daniel:
…wherefore shut thou up the vision
This means that Daniel was told to deliberately obscure the meaning of the vision. He KNEW the proper interpretation of this vision. He KNEW what it meant, but he was told to make it deliberately difficult to understand.
To me, this is a clue that tells me that the ‘obvious’ interpretation – Antiochus IV – is not the right one. And, it’s also a confirmation that this really is talking about the Antichrist who will rise from one of these countries:
That’s a pretty long list, but it excludes North and South America. It also excludes northern and eastern Asia. Ninety nine percent of India is out. So is most of Africa.
This eliminates the vast majority of people who are considered candidates for being ‘The Antichrist’. And, I’ve seen people present lots and lots of names.
By the way, notice that it excludes Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, etc. The Arabian peninsula is pretty much untouched by this prophecy.
So, no Saudi Antichrist.
But, there’s a wildcard in all this, and it touches on the ‘closing up’ of Daniel 8.
Enter Ezekiel’s Fire
Please understand that there’s a really, really big event coming that will turn our fragile civilization on its head. Everything that we see right now, will be completely and utterly different. National boundaries will be different. The number of people on planet Earth will be far less. For a large part of the Earth, the lights will be out.
This catastrophic event will usher in the return of Israel to God, but also the destruction of almost everything that we depend upon to live. How much of our civilization will survive, is anybody’s guess.
Civilization WILL come back, and the lights will slowly start to come back on around the world. And, it might be pretty quick, since a lot of stuff will still be usable, after you replace some wiring and a transformer.
I believe that after Ezekiel’s Fire, we’ll see how the world recovers and better understand who the Antichrist could be. In fact, I fully expect the Antichrist to be one of those who will get the lights back on, around the globe.
And, I’m afraid that Ezekiel’s Fire is a lot closer than most people think.