Is it possible that a prophecy written so many years before our time can have relevance today? Daniel’s writings are as fresh and up to date in many ways as today’s newspaper – and, in fact, as vitally important as next year’s news.
In order that we may judge the accuracy of his words, it will be necessary to go back in history. The prophet predicted TWO coming leaders. One has already made his appearance on the world scene – the second is about to make his debut. We have been forewarned so we need to take note.
The prophet Daniel foresaw two “little horns”, two leaders who would deeply affect future events. The first arose from the “four notable horns” in a vision of a ram and a he-goat. (Daniel 8:1-14) As the early part of the vision is interpreted for Daniel by the angel Gabriel, it is known that the ram with its two horns represented Media and Persia.
History confirms that the he-goat of the vision was Greece, and the “notable horn between his eyes”, Alexander the Great. When this horn was broken it was replaced by “four notable ones”, the four generals who ultimately divided Alexander’s empire between them. It was from one of these four horns that the “little horn” arose.
Antiochus IV, known also as Antiochus Epiphanes, was the “little horn” eighth in line from Alexander’s general, Seleucus. He reigned in Syria from 175-163 BC and performed exactly as the prophet had foreseen.
After Israel fell to the Seleucid Empire it quickly absorbed the Greek culture and Jerusalem became an international city. Antiochus IV was determined to model his own vast state after the Roman system, unifying religion and state under his own jurisdiction.
As a backlash to the moral degeneration that Antiochus IV had introduced into Israel, Pietists or Hasidim arose, preaching devotion to the Torah. Inevitably an uprising followed and, in 168 BC, Antiochus IV sent 20,000 troops into Jerusalem, which resulted in a horrifying massacre of the Hasidim. The king issued a decree that the Jews must terminate their loyalty to the Torah and adopt paganism. The penalty for disobedience was death. Multitudes of Hasidim became martyrs for their faith as the Hellenizers sought to impose their pagan beliefs on the Jews.
After the looting of the temple, an image, possibly of Zeus, was set up in the Holy Place. The sacrificial system of worship of the Jewish faith was terminated and ‘sacred’ prostitution introduced into the temple precincts. This defilement of Jerusalem’s holy place by the troops of Antiochus Epiphanes, became known by the Jews as the abomination of desolation.
In a miraculous turnabout, a popular uprising under the command of Judas Maccabaeus resulted in the death of the general Apollonius and led to the recapturing and re-dedication of the temple.
The more significant of the two “little horns,” or leaders, is first mentioned in Chapter 7 of the book of Daniel after the prophet had documented his vision of the four major kingdoms. Each kingdom is represented by a beast, but the fourth is unique and terrible in its own right. This beast represents the Roman Empire both past and future, but the ten horns are ten leaders of a revived empire. From among the horns, another “little horn” appears and plucks up three of the existing horns. This world leader arises from the final system outlined in Daniel 7:7 – a revived Roman Empire, a unification of church and state.
This kingdom has been prophesied, permitted, and its duration has been precisely recorded. The king who is to arise, will do as Antiochus IV did. By speaking peace and safety, he will deceive many. He will make war against the saints; speak blasphemous things against the Most High God and will desecrate Jerusalem’s temple. All this will testify to the infallibility of God’s Word and be the final warning to all nations.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week :(seven years) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even to the consummation, and that determined shall be poured out upon the desolate. Daniel 9:27
A seven year peace treaty will be drawn up between Israel and her enemies that will set in motion the final countdown towards God’s judgment of the earth.
The coming “little horn” will use modern technology to go one step further than Antiochus Epiphanes. He will institute a mark, a chip in the hand or forehead of every individual, without which they will be unable to buy or sell. Those that resist taking the mark will ultimately pay with their lives.
Although he will know the scriptures, this coming son of perdition will be powerless to change his behaviour to prove the prophecies wrong. He will do exactly as the Most High has said. And he will be cut off, as the Word declares, without hand.
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