Today we're continuing a series on the book of Daniel, and today's is going to be Daniel chapter 8. I hope you'll enjoy it. Next week we're going to have Daniel himself here, I think you'll enjoy that, it won't be me, it'll be somebody that you will enjoy immensely.
This week, I think it was Thursday, somebody had told me about a place that I could get some peaches. I thought, "I love peaches". I used to live in Berrien Springs, my the fruit there was so delicious. So I drove to Water Level Highway, and there was a peach stand that they told me about, and I found it. There were people there buying peaches. It was early afternoon, and I thought "I'm in time." Just as I pulled up the lady put a big "CLOSED" sign up. I thought, "This is a weird time to close." So I got out anyway. People were hauling these big, delicious looking, red peaches out of there, and the lady said, "We're closed." I said, "You're closed?" She said, "We're all out of peaches, there won't be anymore this year. " "None?" I said. She responded, "Not even one, we don't have one peach left". I thought, "Oh boy." Lo and behold, one of our church members happened to be there: Margaret Merritt. She had a nice load of peaches. She saw my plight and said "I'll give you some of mine." I thought, "That's grace."
You know, someday the 2300 days or years, they're over, aren't they. Someday the judgment will be closed and our time will be done. The time to get there is early, to make sure we're right with the Lord, make sure we're right, now. So, keep that in mind as we go through Daniel 8 today.
Daniel 8 reminds me of some television programming on Animal Planet. We have a ram being defeated and crushed by a one horned goat. Now, look at Daniel 8:7. This describes the bloody battle. I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power.
In the Bible, in the great kaleidoscope of zoological diversity, God selects a ram and a goat as symbols of nations. The male species are very territorial, and vehemently defend their turf. When a television program shows two animals fighting it out to the death, it really bothers me. One day I saw a program, where a pride of lions was attacking an older water buffalo. They all got a big bite, and the weight of all those lions drug the animal down. I'm not going to describe it all to you, but the television camera focused in on the eye of the water buffalo, which was terrified, and I went and turned the TV off. I just don't like that type of thing, do you? I don't like to see bloodshed, especially of an outnumbered underdog. I don't like to see suffering. I can imagine how Daniel felt, he was terrified, he was weak, he was deeply troubled by this vision.
Daniel 8 marks a change of language from Aramaic to Hebrew. Babylon, where Daniel lived most of the time was on the Euphrates River and was a part of Aram, the area of the people who spoke Aramaic. He must have switched to Hebrew because he might not have learned the the Persian language. The first seven chapters, of the book of Daniel, describe world empires. The last chapters, of the book of Daniel, describe God's people, and how they are impacted by evil empires.
We are God's people. In fact we are His underdogs, we are the remnant, we are outnumbered.
In Daniel 8:12 it says the saints were "given over" to the little horn power. Verse 13 says the host will be trampled underfoot. Verse 17 makes the picture worse. These atrocities, all this butchery takes place at the "Time of the End." Now that just happens to be the time when I am alive, and you are alive. That's our day. How does that make you feel to know that all this takes place in our day? Verse 17 says Daniel was terrified and fell prostrate.
Let's start this story with the Ram. The Ram is actually what the country of Media/Persia. Who's the leader? The leader is Cyrus the great king of Persia who happened to be the Lord's anointed. That would be like the Lord anointing some worldly king. Does God anoint heathen kings?
Isaiah 45:1 says, "This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him. Heathen Cyrus was chosen, by God, to fulfill the purposes of Gods kingdom. He is followed by the one horned Goat, which is the kingdom of Greece, which was lead by what great man? Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered the then know world, he went all the way to India.
Daniel 8:5 says the Goat came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. He was fast. Alexander the Great was an overachiever. He was a workaholic. He died at a young age, he overextended himself. You can overwork, you can do it. Over-achievers put a hundred and fifty percent into their jobs, they burn the candle at both ends, and they burn out. What happened to Alexander the Great? What happened to this horn? The Bible says it snapped. Daniel 8:8 The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off.
Alexander laid part of the foundation for the success of Jesus Christ. Oriental influences were threatening to take over the western world in his day. He stopped the western world from being inundated by those factors. He made the Greek language dominant throughout the world which allowed the entire New Testament to be published in one language. He prepared the way for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Three hundred years in the future, Jesus rode on some of the roads that the Greeks, and the Romans, provided. He helped get Europe together. He treated conquered lands with kindness and brotherhood. He tried to unite the former enemies of his vast kingdom, and get them all together. In fact he had 10,000 of his soldiers marry 10,000 oriental women trying to get everyone together. Maybe we need Alexander to help with Moslem extremism today.
Anyway, God used an Atheistic king to accomplish his work and prepare the world for the coming of the Redeemer. I think that's interesting. Alexander died at the age of 33 He was overextended, overworked, he over drank, and it was all over. The great horn snapped. Are you an over-achiever?
Women executives must be over-achievers or they will not become executives. America is full of Tiggers. You know what a Tigger is, that thing that bounces up and down, larger than life, overachievers, we idolize them because they're bouncy, they're exciting, they're great. But many of them pay a great price for their super workaholic busyness.
Alexander's horn cracked, and so Alexander's colleagues subdivided the farm. Out of one of the four slices came the little horn. Look at Daniel 8:9. Out of one of them came another horn which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful land.
Many commentators today apply that to Antiochus Epiphanes, but he was more like a paranoid mad man, and did not enlarge his territory like the Bile says. He was not exceedingly great. In fact, in the year 1733, Sir Isaac Newton who wrote a book on Daniel and Revelation, whom I admire much, that great scientist agreed, that it couldn't be Antiochus Epiphanes either.
Seventh Day Adventists believe that this refers primarily to the Roman Papacy. We would date that from 538 BC to 1798 AD. The same spirit that controlled Antiochus Epiphanes, controlled, and continues to control the world today. And that spirit is the spirit of the Devil, the ultimate source of evil.
Now it is with some interest to many students of Bible prophecy that many features of Islam are also found in these same verses. Moslems believe that Mohamed is just as great as Jesus. Jesus said "I am the truth. " They have thrown down the truth, trampled on millions of Gods saints. They lead rebellions. Moslem extremist are indeed trampling the truth underfoot at this very time.
Look at Daniel 8:10-12 speaking about the little horn. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. But I will tell you, my friends, evil is not in charge. God is in charge, and I am so glad this story ends up the way it does.
Let's continue, verse 13, Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, "How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled--the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?" This was the scripture reading today. Daniel was basically overhearing, I don't know if he was eavesdropping, but he heard two holy ones talking, just happened in on this conversation between two angels.
Daniel discovered that God had drawn a line in the sand. God does that. God's hand controls history. You don't have to worry about history. Nothing can take place unless God allows it; do you believe that? Evil will end. We mortal humans must trust when we can't understand.
Did you know that a dense fog covering seven city blocks, to a depth of one hundred feet has less than 2 cups of water in it?1. That's all. We worry about the smallest thing. If we could correctly see our problems they would be reduced to their true size. You could probably stick all of your problems into a small drinking glass. So don't worry.
Our job description in life, as Christians, is not to worry, but to trust. That's our job description. Terrorism will come and terrorism will end. These extreme zealots are taking away our liberties here in America. You can't even travel with certain liquids. You certainly couldn't travel with water. When we watch the evening news, we could possibly conclude that evil is winning. But evil will not prevail. Adolph Hitler came to an end, and in the fullness of time, Soviet communism fell. History is largely His-Story [a play on English woprds], you could call it. God sits at the steering wheel of the world, and he doesn't sit with a hands-off policy, he's involved.
Now to Daniel it probably seemed there was no battle going on. The conflict was over, evil had won. It's probably what it seemed like to him. The people couldn't rebuild Jerusalem, but it isn't over 'till it's over. Today it seems like the evil powers of terrorism are about to get us into their clutches. People are talking about World War III, our liberties are disappearing.
Look at Daniel 8:23-25. "In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, (that's almost describing 2006) a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power."
Evil will end. Who is this talking about? Well, is this a prediction about the last days? I believe it is. I think it's far more than what happened back there from 168 BC to 164 BC. This is even more than what's happening between George Bush and Bin Laden. What we're seeing today is more than a battle between the West and the East.
We're only seeing the tip of the iceberg. The battle is an invisible battle. It's going on against the evil rulers of the wickedness, of this world, against the powers of darkness. Ephesians 6:12. It's a battle between righteousness and wickedness, a battle between the Prince of princes and the prince of evil. Evil will be eradicated. Evil will not win. God will be the winner, and if you want to be the winner you need to be on God's side.
If you're on the side of Jesus, you're on the winning side, because the deathblow was given by Jesus Christ back when He was on this world. Jesus lived an absolutely perfect life. He died to pay for your sins, and he rose in victory. And as you give your life to Him, you become a winner with Jesus. That's special.
After 2300 long years, God is now beginning, and I think that started in the year 1844. He's beginning the process of cleaning up on the devil, cleaning up sin, ending evil once and for all. Praise the Lord for that. It's about to end. The last day judgment, that started out in 1844, will end and Jesus will come.
Daniel 8:14. He said to me, "It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be re-consecrated." (cleansed).
Do you know, right here, and also in Daniel 7:25, is where most evangelical Christians get their 3 « year period of time from, the last day Tribulation, they get this right here. They say 2300 evenings and mornings would not be 2300 days, it would be 1150 days, because it's evenings and mornings. That's close to 3 « years, but it's about 45 days short.
I think we need to let the Bible explain itself. You simply come back here to the first page of the Bible, back here in Geneses 1:5, you can see that And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Evening and morning represent one day, thus 2300 days. Make no mistake about it, this great prophesy in Daniel 8:14, is a full 2300 days, a day representing a year in Bible prophesy. We are correct in our interpretation.
God's sanctuary and Gods people will not remain desecrated forever. The end of evil is coming. The transgression of desolation, the sanctuary, the host of Gods people, will not be trodden under foot forever. 2300 years is all it has and all things will begin to change, and indeed they are changing.
When you kill a snake, it goes through it's writhing, and it's last moments are quite vicious, but it's dying. That's what we're seeing today. Nobody can impose evil upon the world forever, and get away with it. The day of reckoning, the day of retribution, is coming. Today terrorists, in the name of religion, are bombing, they're killing, they're beheading, they're bulldozing churches, almost free-handedly, but the clock is running. It's ticking on the evil empires of this world, and they will be done.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 KJV. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Wickedness will end.
Now come back to Daniel 8:27. I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king's business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding. Evil made him sick, and evil ought to make you sick. We ought to be SICK of the evil in our lives. We ought to be sick of the evil in our communities. We ought to be sick of the evil in our homes, in our schools, or whatever we deal with. Daniel was an involved, concerned person. I like that about Daniel. He didn't say "Oh, that's the way it's going to be", he got sick about it. He was concerned about evil winning over good, it exhausted him. But he did not let his cares get him down.
Too many of us are worry warts. Daniel was concerned about evil winning over good, but never let your concerns stop you from your purpose. My Bible says to me, that even though he was exhausted, that he got up and went about the kings business. Get up and do something about it. Get off your doldrums. If it is to be, it is up to me. You must take charge of your life. Put worry out of your life, and build trust into your life. You must take charge of life and not let discouraging things, little black clouds, hold you down. Do something about it, do your best. What did Daniel do? He got up and went about the kings business. What king was that? Surely the king of the empire, but it was also the King of kings. The main king of Daniel's life was God. He went about God's business. The Babylonian king, the Persian king, was only secondary.
Whatever you do, you must always be about the kings business. Don't be stuck in the business of worrying. Be about the king's business: cheating others, discord, greed, taking the property of the ignorant, cursing. These are all the devil's business. Don't get involved in that.
Regardless of what you yourself did yesterday, come up to God's great yardstick for your life. Come up to His standard. Come up to trust and leave doubt behind. His business must be our priority. Never put off doing God's business. Decide today, while you're alive, and while you have faith, and while you have your health, to put God first in your life. So often the best things in life are crowded out by the mundane things of life. The little things of life crowd out the big things.
There was a lady that stood watching her brother-in-law as he opened the bottom drawer of her sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. "This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed her the slip. It was exquisite; it was silk, it was handmade, it was trimmed with a cobweb of beautiful lace. The price tag, with an astronomical figure, was still there, still attached.
He said "Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago, and she never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip and put it on the bed with the other clothes they were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned and said to his sister-in-law, "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."2
Is that true? Don't ever put off doing something for Jesus. 'Someday I'm going to do this. Someday when I retire, I'm going to read the Bible through. I'm going to have time. I'm going to take my wife and go on a great vacation someday.' Don't put it off!
Use up that special stuff now. Put the first things first in your life. That's what Daniel did. He put the King's business first in his life. He went about the King's business. God was first. Get your priorities right. Daniel put God first, and he had no regrets. I don't want to live with regret. Every day that you're alive is a special occasion.
Next week we're going to discuss Daniel again. We're going to get into Daniel 9, and Daniel himself will be here. I look forward to that time, and I hope you do too.
1. National Bureau of Standards.
2. A Story To Live By, Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times).
Hymn of Praise: #91, Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones Scripture: Daniel 8:13,14 Hymn of Response: #604, We Know Not the Hour 060819#437
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last updated 25/08/06 by Bob Beckett and Paul Burns.