Summary: All religious books claim to be the word of God, but prophecy sets the Bible apart as having God’s seal of authentication. This section looks at the reliability of Daniel and the prophecies of Daniel.
Ram With Two Horns (Part 2 of 6)
Chapter 8 of Daniel describes a powerful ram with two horns that is soon defeated by a male goat with one powerful horn. Any time you see a horn mentioned in the Bible it is referring to power or exaltation. Daniel 8:3 says:
Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.
The second horn will have more glory that the first horn. I will paraphrase the vision, but I also recommend reading the entire chapter. In Daniel’s vision, he saw a great ram that pushed north, south and west. He did as he willed and no one was able to stop him from becoming great. Suddenly a male goat with a large horn attacked the ram, broke his horns off and trampled him down. He became great and once established, the large horn was broken and four smaller horns replaced it. One of the horns grew and became great and exalted himself as the ‘Prince of the host’. In other words, he will set himself up to be God. He will be an evil transgressor that will cast down truth and put a stop to the daily sacrifices in the sanctuary (or temple). With desolation will pollute the temple for 2300 days and then the temple will be cleansed (Daniel 8:14).
The Bible gives the interpretation of this dream in the second half of Daniel 8. The ram with two horns was the kingdom of Media and Persia and Greece is the male goat that defeated this kingdom. We know this to be Alexander the Great (the stomach and thighs of bronze in the image of the first vision). The desolation that polluted the temple was Antiochus Epiphanes. In 171b.c. Antiochus overthrew the priest and made himself to be God in the temple. He called for and sacrificed a pig on the altar in the temple. This abomination caused the Maccabean revolt. On December 25th, 164b.c., 2,300 days after Antiochus overthrew the priest, the temple was re-consecrated. History documents an exact fulfillment of this prophecy down to the day.
Reliability of Daniel
Let’s stop for a moment and address another criticism that targets the book of Daniel. Critics argue that Daniel was written well after the events which enabled him to predict events with such accuracy. Some also claim that the book of Daniel must have been altered to appear as though it predicted an event that has already happened. It is understandable as to why skeptics are determined to discredit Daniel. Repeatedly, Daniel predicts precise events down to the exact day. As we will study later, even the Messiah was predicted to the exact day in the book of Daniel. Daniel is either an indisputable testimony to God’s plan and sovereign power to execute His declared plan, or it is a complete fraud.
Antiochus’ desecration of the temple was during the ‘400 silent years’ of the Bible. For four centuries, there were no prophets in Israel and no Divine revelations. However, as we can see through world events, in truth God was not silent at all.
One indisputable, verifiable historic event squelches all the claims of late-dating scripture. In 280 BC, Jewish leaders decreed that 70 specially selected scholars would translate the scriptures into Greek. These 70 scholars are known as the Septuagint. Since these documents are still in existence today and historically we know that they were translated almost 300 years before Christ, there is no reasonable argument for late-dating these prophecies. The prediction that Antiochus would set himself up as god in the temple and the temple would be trampled underfoot for 2300 days could not have been written after the fact. We have verifiable history outside of the Bible that shows that Daniel was translated into Greek over 100 years before this wicked man even came to power. Add to this the fact that the book of Daniel was written at least 200 years earlier still. Daniel was written between 500 – 600 years before Christ.
Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks was delivered by an angel during his prayer and supplication for Israel. As he prayed, the angel Gabriel interrupted him to deliver this prophecy:
24 " Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
25 "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.