As Gabriel approached the place where I was standing, I became so terrified that I fell with my face to the ground. “Son of man,” he said, “you must understand that the events you have seen in your vision relate to the time of the end.” . . .
“At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height, a fierce king, a master of intrigue, will rise to power. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people. He will be a master of deception and will become arrogant; he will destroy many without warning. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power.”
(Daniel 8:17, 23-25)
This chapter precedes the events of Daniel 5 chronologically. The “time of the end” (Daniel 8:17) in this case refers to the whole period from the end of the Exile until the second coming of Christ. Many of the events that would happen under Antiochus IV Epiphanes will be repeated on a broader scale just before Jesus’ second coming. During these times, God deals with Israel in a radically different way, with divine discipline coming through Gentile nations. This period is referred to as the “period of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24).
In Daniel’s vision of a ram and a goat (8:1-14), the two horns were the kings of Media and Persia (8:20). The longer horn represented the growing dominance of Persia in the Medo-Persian Empire. The goat represented Greece, and its large horn, Alexander the Great (8:21). This is an amazing prediction because Greece was not yet considered a world power when this prophecy was given.
After the death of Alexander the Great, his kingdom was split into four parts under four generals: Ptolemy I of Egypt and Palestine; Seleucus of Babylonia and Syria; Lysimachus of Asia Minor; and Antipater of Macedon and Greece. In the second century b.c. Israel was attacked by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (the small horn—8:9)—the eighth ruler of the Seleucid Empire. He is defeated by the Prince of princes—God.
When you see the news or read headlines online, do you ever worry about the future or about conflicts happening in the world? God’s power and justice will prevail. Ask God to help you hold on to your faith and hope, no matter how powerful God’s enemies may seem.