Summary: The Prophet Daniel and the Apostle John are key in determining who antichrist is and will be. No need to check the daily news or watch the world powers come and go. He's in your Bible, this antichrist.
2. DANIEL'S EIGHTH CHAPTER
I assume that the prophecies of Daniel and the history of Daniel, the words on every page, are true. This is the famous man who has been subjected to hungry lions and hungry critics desiring but unable to rip him to shreds. Only unbelievers continue to discredit this most astounding work of the Spirit. Daniel’s fulfilled prophecies as well as those yet to be fulfilled continue to astonish us with their accuracy. The fulfilled ones are so on target that they have become a target. “Nothing could be that perfect,” say the critics. They say this because they do not know our perfect God and His ability to communicate to man.
Daniel single-handedly answers nearly every question that there is about the world’s final ruler before Christ. Where is he from? How does he rise to power? How long will he last? What will be his way of ruling? How successful will he be? What are his supernatural connections? Will saints survive his slaughters? Jesus refers to him. Paul obviously read and believed him. And the great Revelator at the end of the Bible saw what Daniel saw from the same Spirit-guided messengers.
If you want to know who is the antichrist, you’re in the right place by reading Daniel. God’s people can see in Daniel’s few chapters the truths of the last days. In fact the recorded prophecies tell the history of mankind from the days of the great Babylonian Empire, through Medo-Persia, Greece, and the various manifestations of the world’s last reign in Rome. That last formation of Romanism will be ruled by the subject of our study, called in Daniel “the little horn” or simply “the king.”
In chapter two is the giant human statue seen by King Nebuchadnezzar, each part of which represents a phase of history from Babylon to Rome. In chapter seven is a vision of animals seen by Daniel, paralleling Nebuchadnezzar’s vision but adding crucial details. Having established twice God’s knowledge of the total view of history, the Spirit focuses on two of the four featured kingdoms in chapter eight. Medo-Persia and Greece are singled out for our attention, and finally the period of the late Grecian and early Roman time. It is from out of this period that the man of sin originates, says Daniel. Later in the book are more details about Christ and antichrist, the times of their kingdoms, the steps leading up to them.
Before we begin chapter 8 in detail, some words about Daniel the man. Most that we know about him is drawn from the first part of his book where the wonderful stories of the fiery furnace and the lion’s den appear. We meet a young man who even though he is a servant of Babylon, brought against his will from his own land, is sold out to the God of Israel. He repudiates a comfortable life-style, the diet of his time, the gods of Babylon. But God is with Daniel as he was with Joseph in his prison experience. He protects and exalts Daniel and bit by bit honors his love for Israel by telling him details of Israel’s future. Of course, in doing so, he touches us, the people of God who have been grafted into the tree of which Paul spoke in Romans 11, the very Kingdom which was Daniel’s.
In the first chapters of Daniel, he is a teenager. Later we see him middle-aged. By the time of chapter eight’s vision, he is in his 80’s. We see him weak and often confused, and wish God might have visited him this way in his full strength. That is how we think. But God chooses our weakest times to do His strongest work in us. Daniel will receive no credit for having thought up the incredible ideas that follow. It is God saying these things, and we will do well to heed the Voice that comes from Heaven.
Verses 1-4, 20. The last emperor of Babylon is reigning. Soon Medo-Persia will be replacing Belshazzar and company, as recorded in the famous “handwriting on the wall” story of chapter five. But before Belshazzar’s demise, the God of history intervenes via a vision to His prophet. Daniel sees a two-horned ram, with uneven horns. It is pushing north, south, and west. No one is able to stop him. Since he is not pushing east, we assume the ram is an eastern power. But no need to speculate any further, for Gabriel, Daniel’s guide in most of his visions, tell us that the ram with two horns is the uneven amalgamation known in history as Medo-Persia. The two-ness of the ram’s horns matches with the uneven sides of the bear of chapter seven and the two arms of the statue. Three visions, but one message.