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Da 8:1-27. VISION OF THE RAM AND HE-GOAT: THE TWENTY-THREE HUNDRED DAYS OF THE SANCTUARY BEING TRODDEN DOWN.
With this chapter the Hebrew part of the book begins and continues to be the language of the remainder; the visions relating wholly to the Jews and Jerusalem. The scene here narrows from world-wide prophecies to those affecting the one covenant-people in the five centuries between the exile and the advent. Antichrist, like Christ, has a more immediate future, as well as one more remote. The vision, the eighth chapter, begins, and that, the tenth through twelfth chapters, concludes, the account of the Antichrist of the third kingdom. Between the two visions the ninth chapter is inserted, as to Messiah and the covenant-people at the end of the half millennium (seventy weeks of years).
1. vision--a higher kind of revelation than a dream.
2. Shushan--Susa. Though then comparatively insignificant, it was
destined to be the capital of Persia after Cyrus' time. Therefore Daniel
is transported into it, as being the capital of the kingdom signified by
the two-horned ram
3. two horns--The "two" ought not to be in
italics, as if it were not in the original; for it is expressed by the
Hebrew dual. "Horn" in the East is the symbol of power and
4. ram pushing westward--Persia conquered westward Babylon,
Mesopotamia, Syria, Asia Minor.
7. moved with choler--Alexander represented the concentrated wrath
of Greece against Persia for the Persian invasions of Greece; also for
the Persian cruelties to Greeks, and Darius' attempts to seduce
Alexander's soldiers to treachery [NEWTON].
8. when he was strong . . . great horn was broken--The
empire was in full strength at Alexander's death by fever at Babylon,
and seemed then least likely to fall. Yet it was then "broken." His
natural brother, Philip Aridœus, and his two sons, Alexander
Ægus and Hercules, in fifteen months were murdered.
9. little horn--not to be confounded with the little horn of the
fourth kingdom in
The little horn in
comes as an eleventh horn after ten preceding horns. In
it is not an independent fifth horn, after the four previous ones, but
it arises out of one of the four existing horns. This horn is explained
to be "a king of fierce countenance," &c. Antiochus Epiphanes is meant.
Greece with all its refinement produces the first, that is, the Old
Testament Antichrist. Antiochus had an extraordinary love of art, which
expressed itself in grand temples. He wished to substitute Zeus Olympius
for Jehovah at Jerusalem. Thus first heathen civilization from below,
and revealed religion from above, came into collision. Identifying
himself with Jupiter, his aim was to make his own worship universal
with Da 11:36);
so mad was he in this that he was called Epimanes (maniac) instead of
Epiphanes. None of the previous world rulers, Nebuchadnezzar
(Da 6:27, 28),
had systematically opposed the Jews' religious worship. Hence the need
of prophecy to prepare them for Antiochus. The struggle of the
Maccabees was a fruit of Daniel's prophecy (1 Maccabees 2:59).
He is the forerunner of the final Antichrist, standing in the same
relation to the first advent of Christ that Antichrist does to His
second coming. The sins in Israel which gave rise to the Greek
Antichrist were that some Jews adopted Hellenic customs (compare
Da 11:30, 32),
erecting theaters, and regarding all religions alike, sacrificing to
Jehovah, but at the same time sending money for sacrifices to Hercules.
Such shall be the state of the world when ripe for Antichrist. At
and Da 8:23
the description passes from the literal Antiochus to
features which, though partially attributed to him, hold good in their
fullest sense only of his antitype, the New Testament Antichrist. The
Mohammedan Antichrist may also be included; answering to the Euphratean
loosed "an hour, a day, a month, a year" (391 years, in the year-day
theory), to scourge corrupted, idolatrous Christianity. In A.D. 637 the Saracen Moslem mosque of Omar was founded
on the site of the temple, "treading under foot the sanctuary"
and there it still remains. The first conquest of the Turks over
Christians was in A.D. 1281; and 391 years after
they reached their zenith of power and began to decline, Sobieski
defeating them at Vienna. Mohammed II, called "the conqueror," reigned
A.D. 1451-1481, in which period Constantinople
fell; 391 years after brings us to our own day, in which Turkey's fall
10. great, even to . . . host of heaven--explained in
"the mighty and holy people," that is, the Jews
and their priests (compare
The Levites' service is called "a warfare"
(Nu 8:24, 25,
Margin). Great civil and religious powers are symbolized by
1 Maccabees 1:25, &c.; 1 Maccabees 2:35, &c.; 1 Maccabees 5:2, 12, 13.
"stars" to those Jews whose portion from God is heavenly glory
being believers in Him who is above at God's right hand: not the
11. to the prince of the host--that is, God Himself, the Lord of
Sabaoth, the hosts in heaven and earth, stars, angels, and earthly
"he shall stand up against the Prince of princes"; "against the
God of gods"
He not only opposes God's ancient people, but also God Himself.
12. an host--rather, "the host was given up to
him," that is, the holy people were given into his hands. So in
"the host" is used; and again in
where also "give" is used as here for "giving up" for
13. that certain saint--Daniel did not know the names of these two holy
angels, but saw only that one was speaking to the other.