Lesson 8 w/AnswersDaniel 8
We continue our study of the End Times by examining some passages in Daniel that reference future events. As such, we are once again considering time, specifically prophetic time, in conjunction with what Daniel reveals to us about the time called the Tribulation Period. From our past readings in Ezekiel, we are aware of God’s plans for restoring His chosen people Israel, restoring the land, uniting the kingdom of Israel, the rebuilding of all of the cities, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the restoring of the sacrificial system of worship. As we also learned, the rebuilt city of Jerusalem will be called "THE LORD DWELLS THERE". Furthermore, we were instructed that Christ will rule over his earthly kingdom from Jerusalem, and David will rule over Israel. God will dwell in the sanctuary of the Temple.
In this lesson, Daniel provides us a glimpse into what the times will be like leading up to the return of the Messiah and Israel’s restoration. As we examine the prophetic elements in this lesson and the next, we will be focusing on time: specific times, periods of time, and times called out as specific events. Through our study, we will be able to construct a chronology, or order of events in time. God, through Daniel, reveals to us the sequence of key events leading up to the arrival of the Messiah on the Mount of Olives.
Consistent with our definition of a prophetic year (360 days) from the last lesson, we can establish another core tenet regarding prophecy: a "prophetic month" is comprised of thirty equal-length days. This corollary will help our understanding, as we study time, times, and a half time, the time of the Gentiles, a "week of weeks", and "seventy weeks". So, let’s see what we can divine regarding God’s timing, as we look forward to the return of Christ, i.e., the victorious arrival of the King of King and Lord of Lords.
Read Daniel Chapter 8, then answer the questions below:
- In Daniel Chapter 8, we read of another end time vision provided by Daniel; this one seemingly covers a period of 2,300 days. Fortunately for us, someone instructs Daniel regarding the meaning of the vision and why it is important. Who is this person, and why is this vision important? (See Daniel 8:15-26)
- ANSWER: The angel Gabriel explains the vision to Daniel and tells him that it is important because it concerns the appointed time of the end, the "distant future" [NIV].
- In Daniel 8:20-22, what does the fact that the two-horned ram had one horn longer than the other tell us about the kings of Media and Persia?
- ANSWER: It tells us that one king (the Persian king) was stronger than the other.
- See if you can locate a reference source for some information on Greek history. How did the Greek empire come to power under Alexander The Great, and what happened to this empire following Alexander’s death?
- ANSWER: Enraged by the defeat at Marathon, Alexander moved his small but fast-moving army quickly from the west and quickly defeated the Persians. At the time of his death, the empire was divided into four sections, one for each of his key generals; however, the kingdom never again had the same power that it did under Alexander. The four generals were Ptolemy, Cassander, Lysimachus, and Seleucus. The empire of the latter, the Seleucid Empire, included Syria, Israel and Mesopotamia.
- Who were the Maccabeans? Who was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and why are these entities important with respect to the 2,300 "days" of the vision?
- ANSWER 1: Antiochus IV Epiphanes came from the Seleucid Empire and rose to power after murdering his brother. On December 16, 167 BC, he erects idols, and he required the Jews to offer unclean sacrifices in the Temple and to eat swine’s flesh or be killed.
- ANSWER 2: Judas Maccabeus led a revolt, later called the Maccabean Revolt, driving away Antiochus and restoring Jerusalem and the Temple to Jewish control. This victory is the celebration we know today as Hanukkah. Judas cleansed the Temple, and it was re-consecrated early in 163 BC. If one assumes a prophetic year of 360 days, and that each pair of morning and evening sacrifices would count as a single day, the 2,300 sacrifices would actually equate to 1,150 days, or three years plus seventy days.
- ANSWER 3: These entities are important because the first part of this prophecy was literally fulfilled during this time.
- What can we learn about the coming Anti-Christ from Daniel 8:23-25?
- ANSWER 1: He will be a master of intrigue.
- ANSWER 2: He will become very strong but not by his own power.
- ANSWER 3: He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does.
- ANSWER 4: He will destroy Israel.
- ANSWER 5: He will cause deceit to prosper and consider himself superior.
- ANSWER 6: When Israel feels secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the "Prince of princes".
- ANSWER 7: Ultimately, He will be destroyed, but not by human power.
- Much thought and discussion has occurred regarding the specific nationality or ethnic or religious origin of the Anti-Christ. Read the following passages in Isaiah to see if they provide insight: Isaiah 10:5-7,12,31 and Isaiah 14:24-27. What country, and whose leader do these passages refer to?
- ANSWER: They refer to Assyria and an Assyrian, one who is also known as the Anti-Christ.
- In considering the Anti-Christ’s nationality, let’s consider some other facts as well. After the great flood Noah and his three sons settled in the land, probably near Mt Ararat. As time moved on instead of populating the globe the descendents of Noah stayed close together and the city of Babel arose. Who was that city’s first king, and what did that king want to do? (see Genesis 10:8-11)
- ANSWER: The king was Nimrod, who wanted to build a stairway into heaven in order to be elevated above God—just as Satan desires. The city he built was called Babel, and was eventually renamed Babylon. That stairway was called the Tower of Babel. Babel, or Babylon would have been located very close to modern day Baghdad in Iraq.
- Where did Nineveh come from and why is it important? (see 2 Kings 19:36)
- ANSWER: Asshur came from the land of Babel, went north and built Nineveh. It would become the capital of the Assyrians, and eventually the capital of the Assyrian Empire. It is located near modern day Mosul in northern Iraq.
- Who was the King of Babylon during Ashurbanipal’s reign over the Assyrian Empire? What was Ashurbanipal’s other title, besides King? How does this relate to the story of Babel?
- ANSWER: Ashurbanipal’s other title was "king of the universe". During the Assyrian Empire, Ashurbanipal’s brother, Shamash-shum-ukin, was King of Babylon. They were very close and ruled together, although since he was "king of the universe", the older brother Ashurbanipal was senior in authority. Later, the Chaldeans would defeat the Assyrians, and Nebuchadnezzar would become King of Babylon. Continuing Satan’s plan, Babylon rose to be a world power following Assyrian domination, again with the goal of elevating the king and the empire above God. The birthplace of evil continued under Babylonian rule. Continuing through the four kingdoms that followed: the Medes, Persians, Greeks, and, finally, the Romans—the worship of pagan gods and the establishment of leaders as gods themselves continued through the fall of the Roman Empire. It is this system that will re-emerge during the reign of the Anti-Christ in Babylon.
Much dialogue and thought exists on both sides of the theological discussion surrounding the nationality of the Anti-Christ. Many argue that since the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream has two feet, the Anti-Christ will rule with equal influence from the east and the west. Others maintain the Anti-Christ will arise out of the Roman territories, while others argue he will be an Assyrian by descent—and I fall in that camp.
It would not be surprising from my point of view if the Anti-Christ came from the same region where Satan first exhibited his influence on mankind, namely, in the area around the Garden of Eden, which many believe would have existed between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, in what became Babel, or Babylon. (See, for example, Micah 5:6) And how appropriate, and ironic, that Satan will suffer his final defeat where it all began—implying that the Anti-Christ will come from the area of the Assyrian Empire, probably either Iraq, or northern Iraq.
Thanks for studying with us!
Yours in Christ,