“In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.” (Daniel 8:1-2)
REMEMBERING THE VISION
“A vision appeared unto me…after that which appeared unto me at the first.” Here Daniel recounts having a vision during the reign of the king of Babylon before it fell into the hands of the Medo-Persians. This vision followed the vision of chapter seven, where Daniel had seen the rise and fall of kingdoms, and a great judgment scene taking place after the rise of the antichrist power, which by more than nine counts is easily identifiable with the Papacy. The Papacy made claims to sit on the throne of David in the place of Christ, and having the authority of Christ, exercised persecuting power againsts the saints of God. He even made many boasts of having the authority to change the divine law ordained in heaven at will. Thus was the great judgment scene opened in heaven, and Christ came to truly be seated upon the Throne of David. After this heavenly coronation scene, he would execute the judgment of the law which the Pope had presumed was in his power to alter.
THE VISION OF DANIEL
The vision where Daniel finds himself is in the king’s palace of Susa (Shushan), which would be the capital of the Elamite Persians who would rule after Babylon was overthrown. Similar to Babylon, which had by it the river Euphrates running through it, Shushan had the Persian river Ulai. In this vision, after Daniel “had seen the vision”, he “sought for the meaning” and it was given to him. In fact, throughout the entire book of Daniel, this is a pattern we will see repeating. A prophecy is given, and he seeks for understanding, and more understanding is given. Therefore, as we explain the vision that Daniel saw, we will also look at the understanding that was to be given.
In fact, the interpretation came from the “a Man” who repeatedly commands Gabriel to give Daniel understanding. It will be seen in a later prophecy of Daniel that this “Man” is none other than Christ Himself. “And I heard the Man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.” (Daniel 8:16) Then Gabriel came, and said, “Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end is the vision. Behold, I will make you know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed, the end is.” (Dan. 8:17-19)
Gabriel gives us a few important details from the outset of the vision that needs to be understood. The vision that is revealed shall bring us to the end of the indignation which is upon the people of God. In fact, word for “time appointed” is the Hebrew word “moedim”, which is the same word for God’s appointed times of worship. In the Tabernacle which the Most High instructed Moses to make to reveal a compact view of the plan of redemption, that tabernacle was called “The Tabernacle of the Congregation”, or in the ancient Hebrew, the Tabernacle of the Moedim.
So the vision should reveal several details about the “end” of the “indignation”; called “the time of the end”. This is not a prophecy predicting the end of the world, but a divinely appointed time in which rebellion would be put down. More than this, like the congregation anciently assembled at the Tabernacle on the times appointed, cooperating with the divine pattern of the law, God’s people would have to both recognize and cooperate with the divine purposes at the time appointed when the indignation would end.
“Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.”(Daniel 8:3)
What was this ram which had two horns, one higher than the other, which pushed west, north, and south? The angel Gabriel tells us that “the ram which you saw having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.” (v. 20) Historically, we see the Persian dominance in the Medo-Persian empire. Cyrus, the Persian monarch, in honor for his uncle Darius who was a Mede, had given him the chief honors in the kingdom, but this last until his death only after a few years. Yet the Persian leadership of the empire was predominant.
You may recall in our last article that the Medo-Persian empire was represented as a bear with three ribs. Likewise, the Ram’s charge “westward, northward, and southerward” were Babylon to it’s west, Lydia to it’s north, and Egypt to it’s south. Yet Medo-Persia was known for pushing even further west to the Greeks by the Persian king Darius, and greatly stirred up by Artexerxes with one of the largest ancient armies ever assembled.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RAM
The ram is significant in Bible history. The ram was the animal caught in the bushes when Abraham’s faith was tested to see if he would obey God in giving up his only-begotten son. The ram was sacrificed in the place of Isaac as a sign of the work of the Messiah, who would redeem His people. We are told that the mountain which he offered upon was in “Moriah”, the same land where “Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah” (2 Chronicles 3:1)
Mount Moriah, the mountain where Abraham was tested and the ram was sacrificed was the same Mount Zion upon which the Temple was built. This is significant because when the Aaronic priesthood was consecrated for their duties in the temple, it was called “the ram of consecration” (See Exo. 29:22-31, Lev. 8:22,29).
In the same manner, the ram was the time when the Medo-Persian kings issued decrees and gave an abundance of resources for the restoration and building up of Jerusalem and it’s temple. The Scripture tells us the temple was “builded, and finished it according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.” (Ezra 6:14) Chief among the kings to supply resources in the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem was Artexerxes, the richest king in the line of Medo-Persian royals.
The reconsecration of the temple and it’s building would have been impossible had it not been for Medo-Persian kings. For this cause, the ram of consecration was employed as a symbol of this empire.
“And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes…and ran into him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close to the ram, and he was moved with bitterness against him, striking the ram and breaking his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him…”
Gabriel tells us “the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.” Therefore, it was Alexander the great, who had been been given the kingdom by heaven’s High Priest from one night to another in Alexander’s dreams, as noted by the Jewish historian Josephus. “And touched not the ground”, signifying that it was by the divine permission of heaven that he should overthrow the Medo-Persian empire. Alexander, as a result of the treachery the Persian king did to attempt revolt and civil war within Grecia, had marched across the land, taking one land after another through yielding and through conquest until the whole world was under his command.
“Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” And for this, Gabriel explains, “Now that being broken…four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.” (v. 22) The winds signify strife and war (Jer. 49:36), and when Alexander the great fell, great war began to take place for the kingdom, and it began to divide. Under Cassander, Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Lysimachus Grecia’s kingdom was confederately held together, but war did not cease from more than among the four kings. Neither was there any ceasing of the warring that took place.
A FIERCE LITTLE HORN
“And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.”(Daniel 8:9)
There are many people who believe this refers to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but for many reasons, this is not a sound conclusion. To see some of the reasons why, you can read our article here.
This little horn refers to a small kingdom which arose, and waxed strong. Now, bear in mind that we are taking leaps of hundreds of years at every beast. From the Medo-Persian empire to Grecia, we had two hundred years. The kingdom of Grecia, with it’s divided horns lasted two hundred years also. We are told that this little horn will arise, and advance into the south, east, and the pleasant land; and in that very order; in doing this, it will “wax exceedingly great”.
Upon examining the historical basis of it, the matter becomes incontrovertible. It is the Roman Empire which first came southward, Ptolemaic Egypt becoming protectorate in 168BC until it was finally annexed by the Roman Empire in 31BC. It grew eastward, overtaking the western Seleucid empire with it’s king Antiochus III in 188BC, exercising further dominance over the Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ reign, and then was forced by Pompey of the Roman Senate in 63BC to abolish it’s throne, making the Seleucid territory of Syria into a Roman province. Lastly, he entered into the glorious land of Jerusalem, first with the Roman-Jewish Treaty in 161BC but was solidified under the reign of Roman consul Pompey, who beseiged Jerusalem on the Sabbath in 65BC, slaying as many as 12,000 Jews, and instituting it’s high priest & governor.
“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.”(Daniel 8:10)
This received a partial fulfillment when Rome was noted to “destroy the mighty and the holy people” (Dan. 8:26) in it’s bloodstained record of persecuting both Jew and Christian alike under it’s pagan rulership.
We are told that this little horn, representing Rome “magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.” (Dan. 8:11) Who was the “Prince of the host”? It was the Prince of the host of heaven which was crucified; this is Christ Himself. During the reign of Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, the Prince of the host was put to death “wounded for our transgressions; bruised for our iniquities…” when His soul was made “an offering for sin.” (Isaiah 53:5,10)
It was after this, that we see Rome surrounding the city of Jerusalem and the Sanctuary; called “the abomination of desolation”. When the sins of the Jews, who professed to be the chosen people of God, had surpassed divine remedy, the blessings they were crowned with were rapidly dissolved, being absorbed into the world, showing that the nation of the Jews, so long as they rejected the light of God’s truth, they held no distinctive favor with God anymore than the heathen who knew not the truth. When the Romans set their standards around the city, and entered into the sanctuary, it was a sign of how great the Jewish people had fallen by their rejection of Christ, and declaring “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15)
THE LITTLE HORN WAXED UNTO HEAVEN
We may therefore well-establish that the little horn is the Roman power (And not Antiochus IV Epiphanes as many suppose). And as strongly applicable as this application of the little horn prophecy is, the pagan Roman persecution of the people of God, the crucifixion of Christ, and the overthrow of the Sanctuary is at best a secondary application to a more strikingly and definite fulfillment of these verses by the fiercely growing strength of the Roman power.
Eventually, the Christian church, “the mighty and holy people” called “the hosts and stars”, the leaders and assemblies of God’s people, began to compromise with the Roman power. Constantine, a Caesar of Rome, though he was formerly pagan, converted to Roman Christianity.
Through his influence, the church began to hold ecumenical councils to define orthodoxy by the majority. Yet Constantine offered so many advantages to Christians above others, that pagans walked into the churches unconverted and became the majority. As a result, the leadership of the church became corrupt. By this, in the truest sense, the Roman power began to wax great “even to the host of heaven.” The gospel was compromised for influence; the law of God was rejected and any likeness to their Jewish parent was contemned, while pagan doctrines quickly took root in the churches across the Roman Empire. The “venerable day of the sun”, Sunday, was honored, and the holy Sabbath was despised.
More and still more, the Roman Christian church converted the empire to Christianity; and those who remained pagan were persecuted. Their temples were forced to closure by Roman Christian emperors, and some were converted to temples of Roman Christian worship. Eventually, those who contended for “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3-4) were persecuted, and the little horn “cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.” The waxing greatness of Roman Christianity, with the hostilities of the Roman emperors, like the Christians of old who fled the city of Jerusalem when the armies of Rome surrounded it, fled to the mountainous regions of the alps to maintain the purity of true Christianity. Thus did Gabriel say of this little horn: “At the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have come to the full, a king of fierce counternance, and understanding hidden things shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” (Dan.. 8:23-24) It would rule by the power of the state, but not by it’s own power to overthrow the purposes of God.
A BLASPHEMOUS AUTHORITY
Soon the high priestly of the Roman rights of the empire, the Pontifex Maximus, were conferred upon the bishops in Rome in the late fourth century AD. Yet most startling was the assumption to power which was declared by the bishops in Rome as they began to teach that Christ had given them His own divine authority to exercise. With this teaching, the logical outgrowth was that it was their divine right to rule over the kings of the earth. This teaching, which developed in the late fifth century under Pope Gregory, is even advocated today by Papists. In an interview with Pope John Paul II, where the Pope answers questions directed to him, it was stated that “The leader of the Catholic church is defined by the faith as the Vicar of Jesus Christ (and is accepted as such by believers). The Pope is considered the man on earth who “takes the place” of the Second Person of the omnipotent God of the Trinity.” (Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 3, 1994) By this the words of the prophecy of the little horn were fulfilled, “Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host…”
Thus were the apostle Paul’s words rapidly witnessed to be fulfilled: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the return of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
The little horn power came to Emperor Justinian, successor of Constantine, gave the seat of political authority in Rome over to the bishop of Rome (the Pope) when the kings of Europe had submitted to his professed authority. Thus, the true believers in Christ were put to death if they refused to submit themselves to the Pope of Rome. When the appeal from the faithful remnant of the church testified that they ought to keep the commandments in accordance with the gospel of Christ, it was urged that the Pope was “of so great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even divine law”. The Pope can modify divine law, since his power is not of man, but of God, and he acts a vicegerent of God upon earth.” (Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, art. Papa. II, Vol. VI, p. 29)
When the little horn went from pagan to Papal, it indeed waxed unto heaven, claiming for itself the authority of Christ, and that of the Great Lawgiver, God the Father, Himself. And by claiming the authority to change the divine precepts of the law, the Papacy caused many to transgress the law, “for sin is transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4) By changin the commandments, specifically in the transferance of Sabbath to Sunday.
It is by this means that we may definitely identify the little horn of Daniel 7 and the little horn when it waxes unto heaven in chapter 8 as the same power. Yet Daniel 8 gives more details to the desolating power.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SANCTUARY
We are told that when he “magnified himself unto the Prince of the host” that “the place of His Sanctuary was cast down.” (Daniel 8:11) We are told that Christ, the Prince of the host, has a Sanctuary which Scripture tells us is in heaven. It further tells us that He is our “High Priest”, “a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” (Hebrews 8:1-2) This was not the earthly sanctuary which Moses pitched, according to an earthly Levitical priesthood “which serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, even as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: “See,” said He, “that You make all things according to the pattern shown to you in the Mount.” (Heb. 8:5) Moses pitched an earthly pattern of a heavenly sanctuary, made up of an earthly priesthood.
We are further told that this Sanctuary was where the throne of God is located. “A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.” (Jeremiah 17:12) And again, “The LORD hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.” (Psalm 103:19) Thus, we find in the earthly priesthood a pattern of heavenly realities, and even more, it details distinctly the work of the Messiah. In this priesthood, sacrifices of lambs were daily slain every evening and every morning to shadow forth a great object of Christ, “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) Daily, at the altar, the men of the home would present themselves at the tabernacle, where they would lay their hands upon the head of the lamb and confess the sins of himself and his family, and the lamb would then be slain. After this, the priest would take the blood from the victim and bring it into the sanctuary after cleansing himself from all of the marks of death and perform his ministry beyond the vail, out of view within the Sanctuary in one of the two rooms of the sanctuary; the first called “the holy place”, and the second, “the Most Holy” which was entered for a special work only at the end of every year in the most sacred chamber. This second room was where the throne of God and the law of God were enshrined, symbolic of the foundation of His government. This was to reveal the plan of redemption for mankind.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”(Hebrews 9:11-12)
Christ did not die every evening and every morning for four thousand years before entering with His blood into the Holy place when He ascended. “For then must He have suffered often since the foundation of the world: but now once…he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself…So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” (Heb. 9:26-28) In fact, for four thousand years, these sacrifices instuted by our heavenly High Priest Himself (Genesis 3:21) demonstrated the gospel, as the prophets foretold of the Messiah would would be “brought as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7) until the event foretold came to pass. Among the living, there was only to be one high priest ordained to officiate his office in the sanctuary. Likewise, Christ is the only High Priest in heaven and earth.
Christians are a people that are to be a people abiding in the risen Christ, by faith abiding “in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Eph.. 2:6) “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;”(Hebrews 10:19-20)
By faith, Christians, though dwelling on earth, are to enter into the Sanctuary by faith with Christ, dead to sin, but alive to God. As the worshippers’ entered into the realization that the blood of the sacrifice for their sins was entering into the sanctuary, Christians are called to enter into the realization that, though invisible to mortal sight, Christ is our officiating High Priest in heaven.
CASTING DOWN THE SANCTUARY
But the Pope, as the little horn of Rome, was to cast aside all of this. The whole object of the Sanctuary was lost sight of; the law of the Sanctuary changed; the heavenly priesthood exchanged for an earthly priesthood. The Pope was given the honors as the Roman High Priest. He claimed to be given the authority that belonged to God alone; and to sit in the seat of Christ on the earth, vicariously representing His priestly and kingly authority.
Yet he changed the law of the Most Holy place; thus declaring that a mere man has authority to change the government of God, and to modify at will the precepts of His throne. Not only so, but also this priesthood has it’s own sanctuaries; it’s own confessional; the mass was instituted, which is a service which they claim Christ is physically and mysteriously present to be crucified afresh from one week to another by the authority of the priest. In changing the law for which Christ died, it made His sacrifice for that law void. And man began to look to an earthly priesthood, and began to know precious little about where Christ was after He ascended, and what His work was in heaven, let alone the existence of a Sanctuary in heaven.
Another gospel was presented, another sanctuary, and another priesthood, officiating before a god that was little better than Baal, sun god of the Phoenicians. By all this, the words were verily fulfilled “the place of His [Christ’s] Sanctuary was cast down.
A MAJORITY TAKE THEIR STAND WITH APOSTASY
“And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.” (Daniel 8:12)
We have clearly demonstrated how the people of God were led either to death, to forsake the truth, or else emboldened to sin “for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6); and for this cause, as the Papal power waxed strong on the earth, this apostate church became in many minds the definition of orthodox and true Christianity. By this, the defenders of truth on the earth were few, and the dark ages came in under the deceptive disguise of reverance for God and Christ.
Just as the little horn prospered against the saints in Daniel 7:25 for “a time, times, and a dividing of time” until 1798, so this little horn of Daniel 8 enlarges upon that history more evidently.
“HOW LONG SHALL BE THE VISION?”
The pagan power of Medo-Persia symbolized by the Ram was sanctuary language. In like-manner, the goat was sanctuary language. Both were pagan powers symbolized by the sacrifices of the yearly services; then the little horn arose, first under a strong oppression towards God’s people, executing the sword upon the Lamb of God. Then surrounding the city of Jerusalem for apostasy, and entering into the sanctuary to cast it down. Then waxing to heaven under the Papal power strongly oppression God’s people. Surrounding the host of heaven, and as professing Christians, who enter into the heavenly sanctuary, they cast it down by casting truth down to the ground. Yet now comes the most critical point of the entire prophecy and one of the most important truths in all of Scripture.
“Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto the Wonderful Numberer which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”(Daniel 8:13-14)
These pagan powers were symbolic of the continual/daily powers that were conveyed in the vision in Sanctuary symbolism. The transgression of desolation is the Papal power with it’s war against heaven’s government. The question was asked to “the Wonderful Numberer” “how long shall be the vision”; how long shall the people of God be persecuted without ceasing from pagan and Papal powers? How long shall the Sanctuary lie desolate through the deception of false Christians? And then the Wonderful Numberer, who in Hebrew is also called “The Numberer of Secrets”, speaks to us a time prophecy which speaks of the “cleansing” of the Sanctuary after it, with it’s people, were trodden under feet of the Roman bishop.
THE BEGINNING OF THE VISION
The Numberer of Secrets reveals a secret which we ought to understand, and to know when it would be fulfilled. We are told that the vision was for 2300 prophetic days, which in prophecy equates to 2300 years. We know that the beginning of the vision began with the Medo-Persian empire, and which symbolized the restoration of the city of Jerusalem and it’s sanctuary. But Gabriel, who was commanded to make Daniel understand the vision had explained many vital points in regard to the vision. He said of the Papal oppression, “Behold, I will make you to know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed, the end shall be.” (Dan. 8:19)
This statement from Gabriel would lead many to conclude that he will tell you when the end of the world would be, but this is not what he says. He says that the the indignation, which was the oppression which manifested itself in the casting down of truth and the sanctuary, would be at it’s end. This event at “the time appointed” would be at the end of the 2300 years, and declared to be “the cleansing of the Sanctuary”; in this time, truth would be restored regarding the law of God, the gospel, the Sanctuary in heaven and it’s priesthood. It also signifies at the “time appointed” that Christ, as our High Priest, was to commence a special work in the Sanctuary called the justification or cleansing of it.
But before we can know the event, we need to find the definite time in which the vision began during the kingdom of Medo-Persia. As Gabriel was giving the understanding of the vision however, Daniel fainted, and said “I was astonished at the vision, but none understood.” (Dan. 8:27) Thus, the Angelic host was not able to accomplish his assigned mission toward Daniel in giving him understanding. Yet in the following chapter, Daniel has no vision, but Gabriel revisits Daniel to give understanding of the vision and additional details to the prophecy, including the exact year when the Lamb of God would be crucified, in keeping with the Sanctuary theme. In this, he also gives the point which is necessary to know when during the Medo-Persian empire the vision of the 2300 years would commence. “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem,” declared the Angelic messenger.
There were three decrees to restore Jerusalem; the first two under Cyrus and Darius were to rebuild the sanctuary that was thrown down because of the seige of Babylon because of the apostasy of God’s people. The third was a commandment to restore Jerusalem by Artexerxes in 457BC. To understand more regarding this prophecy and this starting point, you may read here.
The prophecy was to extend for 2300 years from 457BC, at the last legal decree was passed by the Medo-Persian king, symbolized under the Ram with two horns. This period’s expiration date leads us to 1844; a period which we have in previous articles seen twice before. In Daniel 4, we showed that the Southern kingdom of Judah was to go through a punishment of seven prophetic years, totalling 2520 years; this would expire in 1844, thus identifying a people who had kept in step with the light of truth, and were to be conferred with the honor of being the chosen people of God as the Jews were, and as the Jews ought to have been, had they walked in the light which God sent them. We further saw from Daniel 7 that a great judgment scene was opened up after 1798 in 1844 to judge the little horn, and a coronation event was underway, where Christ would receive the throne of David at the end of days. Now this period comes before us again a third time, demonstrating it’s unmistakeable importance from the divine Numberer of Secrets.
What great event is now underway in heaven, which began to took place in the cleansing/justification of the Sanctuary? Find out here, in our next article.
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