Thursday, March 31, 2011

In the End, God Still Reigns!

Daniel Chapter 8 NLT (excerpted) 
   1 During the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, saw another vision, following the one that had already appeared to me. . . .
    21 The shaggy male goat represents the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes represents the first king of the Greek Empire. 22 The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the Greek Empire will break into four kingdoms, but none as great as the first. 
   23 “At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height, a fierce king, a master of intrigue, will rise to power. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people. 25 He will be a master of deception and will become arrogant; he will destroy many without warning. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power. 
   26  This vision about the 2,300 evenings and mornings is true. But none of these things will happen for a long time, so keep this vision a secret.” 
27  Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it.

Daniel's visions in this book are not in chronological order. If put in order then chapter eight and seven would precede chapter 5. This dream occurred most likely in 551 BC when Daniel was about seventy years of age. The vision in chapter 9 takes place along with the vision in chapter 6 as well.

In Chapter 8, the vision of the Goat is revealed to Daniel to be Greece under the leadership of Alexander the Great. The Two horns of the other Goat are the Medo-Persian Empire overtaking Babylon. All were conquered by Greece. Later the Antiochus Epiphanies (the small horn) in the second century BC overtook Israel and replaced worship of God with Greek Idol worship.  These visions continued to disturb Daniel because he was seeing God's people fail to BE God's people and them losing out to empires of the World because they would not obey or Trust in God.

The time of the end, mentioned by Gabriel to Daniel refers to the entire time from the return from Exile, through the time of Christ in the first century, across the mellinia until the final coming of Christ or the 'second coming of Christ, that we all await today. The 2,300 days represent the time from the end of Captivity until the time Jesus was born. The events that characterized the destruction by Antiochus will be repeated on a wider and more perverse scale against 'the holy people' by the demon-possessed ruler of the final kingdom. He will defeat all the world's opposition and will dare to stand against God. Verse 25 calls this evil super-ruler a  master of deception, so we know he is  empowered by God's enemy, the Devil. He will be so deluded that he will attempt to stand against God Himself, but of course will instantly fail at that point.

The visions of Daniel feed into the visions of John the Apostle from the book of Revelation. We do not know how long until they are completed. We do know this, however without doubt. The evil one will take on "the Prince of Princes," God,  but will be broken. Daniel is being reminded of his previous vision that in the end God wins and God's people rule forever. We are being reminded as well, that no matter how awful the world's affairs turn, no matter how bad the judgments of God against the people of the world get, in the end, and forever, God reigns and we with Him.
Your servant

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