Daniel 8: The Ram and the Goat
The time of the end
In the previous message, concerning the verses in Daniel 8:13-14, we were talking about the difference between the prophecies about Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who is the main character in this chapter eight of Daniel and in some verses in chapter eleven (more exactly, vv. 21-35) and the anti-Christ. There were angels in Daniel's vision, talking about the period of time the events would take. But in this passage, the archangel Gabriel himself comes to Daniel with a revelation.
The revelation you can receive from this passage, from chapter eight, or the whole book of Daniel, even from the whole Bible, depends on how do you answer the question above, about the supernatural things. There are millions of nice people trying to be "good Christians" but having no whatsoever intentions to cross the threshold to get into the realm of the supernatural.
The belief in the supernatural is not only one of the most powerful reasons of the expansion of Christianity in the book of Acts and beyond, to the point that Christians became a majority in the Roman Empire. It is also the reason of the most sharp division in the church, which was even present among the Jews before the church was born. In Acts 23:8 we read, "The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things". Even when many people consider the Pharisees as the main enemies of Christ, and the word itself has become a synonym to unpleasant, "holier-than-thou" person, the Sadducees were beyond compare in wickedness. Their interpretation of the Scriptures, their "knowledge" of God and their cosmovision were so divergent from the truth that they finally disappeared as a sect.
You can find modern "Sadducees" in the churches, teaching antisemitism, fighting the gifts of the Holy Spirit - especially tongues and prophecy - and making the church to a social club. This is the kind of persons who became "Christians" only when the Roman Emperor Constantine declared Christianity an official religion. They took control of the church during the Middle Ages and were very preoccupied with the Reformation, because the God of the Bible seemed to want many things from them they were not willing to do for Him. But they found "liberal theology" as the remedy to their atheism, the way of being "Christian" without believing in God. You can read about this kind of "theology" in the message under the tittle Daniel 5:22-23 in this blog.
In an earlier message under Daniel 5:18-19 we have seen four ways God uses to speak to us: His creation, the Holy Scriptures, history - both sacred and "secular" - and our conscience - the conscience of both believers and "unbelievers". Every person can come to God with spiritual questions and find an answer some way, and that's what James 1:5 is about. But here we find another way God uses to speak to us, sending His messengers in a visible form (our word "angel", from Greek "ángelos", means exactly that, a messenger) You can read about angels under Daniel 3:24-25 and Daniel 7:9-10 in this site. The verses we are about to share today are about an angelical revelation Daniel needed in order to understand his vision.
"While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision'."
"As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. "Son of man," he said to me, "understand that the vision concerns the time of the end."
"While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet."
"He said: "I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end."
The original Hebrew sounds like this:
"Vayehí birotí aní Daniél et-hekhazón vaabakeshá biná. Vehiné oméd lenegdí kemaré-gáber. Vaeshmeá kol-adám ben Ulái vayikrá vayomár: 'Gabriél, habén lehaláz et-hamaré' "
"Vayabó étzel omdí, ubeboó nibáti, vaepelá al-panáy. Vayómer eláy, 'habén, ben-adám, ki leét-ketz hekhazón'."
"Ubedaberó imí, nirdámti al panáy ártza. Vayigá-bi, vayaamidéni al-omdí".
"Vayómer: 'hinení modiakhá et ashér-yihyé beakharít hazáam, ki lemoéd ketz'."
The NIV has a literal rendering for these verses.
Who is this Gabriel?
What is the "time of wrath"?
What is the "appointed time of the end"?
The name "Gabriel" comes from Hebrew, and is a compound of "géber" - meaning "man", "warrior", "male" - and "el" - meaning God. This "man of God" is an archangel, familiar to us Christians as the one who announced to Zechariah and Mary the birth of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ, repectively, in the gospel according to Luke, chapter one. He revealed to Daniel not only this prophecy about Greece, Persia and Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but also the prophecy of the final fight against Israel by the anti-Christ, an awesome prophecy in Daniel 9 which covers the restoration of Jerusalem in times of Ezra and Nehemiah, the birth of the Messiah, Our Lord Jesus, His dead, and the coming of the seven-year period of the last wicked ruler who will betray Israel for 3 1/2 years and will be finally defeated.
Now the "time of the end" and "time of wrath" are not so simple to define, and perhaps there lies the huge confussion about Revelation, the anti-Christ and the interpretation of Daniel's prophecies. Both expressions are usually connected as a "time of the end" - or "end of times", or the "last days", or the "day of the Lord", or the "Great Tribulation" - when the "wrath of God" - some kind of apocalyptic judgement - will be poured. This interpretation is not wrong, and it is the way we can see the book of revelation, or "Apocalypse". But it is not the only one, that's why we see both terms here applied to Antiochus IV Epiphanes and HIS end, the "wrath of God" that came upon that evil ruler. You can find more explanations in the NOTE at the end of this message.
Our Lord Jesus Christ prophesied about His Second Coming, taking place in a "time of the end" with the "wrath of God" being poured upon mankind. He linked the event to another two destruction events where God judged evil men and ended something: the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In Luke 17:26-30 we read:
"Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all."
"It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all."
"It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed."
It is evident why Atheists calling themselves "Christians" try so eagerly to redefine prophecies of the "end of the world". For us believers it is a prophecy of betterment. As God saved Noah and family, and sent all violent sinners to death in the flood, as God saved Lot and family, and sent all sinners in Sodom and Gomorrah to death, He will save His church and His people Israel, and will send horrible judgements upon the sinners in the reign of the anti-Christ. The "end of the world" is not an "end", as the world didn't end in the times of Noah or Lot, and will not end when Jesus come. But it is the end of a kind of evil that sinners believe to be the normal way to live.
The "time of wrath" that should come upon Antiochus IV, and of the "end" of his opression on Israel, is not the only "time of the end" and "time of wrath" in the Bible. We have seen several other examples in the words of the Lord Jesus, and we can find other examples of God's judgement on mankind, which are the basis of some kinds of "end of the world" and "new beginning". This "new beginnings" mark the so called "dispensations" or periods we find in Dispensationalism, that we we were talking about in the previous message and that debunks Replacement Theology. We'll be talking about these "dispensations" and their meaning in Israel's role for mankind, that some people - even so called "theologians" - ignore or reject. But of course it is a longer issue and not the one of this message. With God's help, we'll develop it in another occasion. In the same way we will elaborate more about the difference between Antiochus and the anti-Christ in verses 23-25, that reveal more about the first one. Keep reading!
In the love of Christ, your brother
PS. Jesus is coming soon!
You can read all of these verses that have to do with the time of the end and see the different fulfilments in different time for all of these prophecies.
Dan 8:19 - "time of the end" = "time of wrath"
Both => Antiochus IV's defeat
Dan 11:35 - "time of the end", the same as 8:19
Dan 11:40 - "end of time" ANOTHER "time of the end"
From 11:36 the prophecy IS NOT about Antiochus.
He doesn't fulfil those prophecies
Dan 12:4, 9 - "time of the end" => a time after Israel's restoration,
the resurrections, the arrival of God's kingdom,
NOT about the times of the Maccabeans
Isaiah 2:2 - "last days" - Messianic age* - Millennium, compare:
Dan 7:14 "never destroyed" dominion that
"will not pass away" => eternity
Dan 7:22 "the time came" and
"the holy people of the Most High
possessed the kingdom" (same)
Hos 3:5 - "last days" - Messianic age* - Some partial fulfilments in:
- the end of the Babylonian captivity
- the victory of the Maccabees
- the declaration of the State of Israel, 1948
Micah 4:1 - "last days" - Messianic age* - Millennium
Acts 2:17 - "last days" - Messianic age* - All three dispensations.
Different degrees of fulfilment
2 Tim 3:1 - "last days" - Messianic age* - church dispensation
Heb 1:2 - "these last days" ("we're living in") - Messianic age* - church dispensation
Jas 5:3 - "last days" - Messianic age* - church dispensation
2 Pet 3:3 - "last days" - Messianic age* - church dispensation
John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24 - "last day" - resurrection day
John 12:48 - "last day" - day of judgement
* Messianic age includes the dispensation of the church (between the first and second comings of the Messiah Jesus Christ) the tribulation (with God saving Israel from it) and the Messianic (millennial) kingdom. But the prophecies about these times clearly are/will be fulfiled in different "days" in that long period.