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Daniel sought an interpretation from Gabriel himself for the ram-goat vision of Daniel 8. This great man of God was thrice told that the vision 1) "...pertains to the time of the end" (Dan. 8:17); 2) "...at the final period of the indignation... " (Dan. 8:19a); 3) "...for it pertains to the appointed time of the end" (Dan. 8:19b) -- NAS version. Now, clearly, Alexander the Great did not live at the "time of the end." He died over three centuries before our LORD's birth! We know from Hebrews 1, that God spoke in previous times by prophets, but "in these last days" has spoken to us by His Son. Alexander was long dead before "these last days" of Hebrews began! The stated time of the text, as well as other opposing facts of history, have led serious students of the Word such as Mark Davidson and Joel Richardson to view Daniel 8 as yet future. Alexander the Great was NOT "the first king"; a great many kings had preceded him in Greece. Nor were the land divisions after his death awarded to only four generals. There were at least five, and various land divisions over quite an extended period. Daniel is standing in Elam -- the region of Iran. He sees the goat coming from Javan, a territory that not only encompassed Greece, but parts of Turkey, etc. In Mark Davidson's DANIEL REVISITED, he gives serious consideration to the possibility of a war between Iran and Turkey -- a great Sunni-Shia war. When Javan (the goat) prevails, its great horn leader perishes. The conquered lands have four divisions. From one of these lands comes the Crusher -- the antichrist. But what about "the first king?" Perhaps that may refer to the revived caliphate? John the Revelator was enlightened about the 7 heads of the beast: Five are fallen; One is; the seventh would endure for a little while; the eighth would be of the seven. Predicating that God's Word is Israel-centric, the kingdoms of this beast would all relate to Israel. The five fallen ones history has revealed as Egypt, Assyria, Babylon/Chaldea, Medo-Persia, and Greece. The "one is" of the Apostle John's time was Rome. Islamic dynasties overran Christian empires one by one, to become the seventh head. That head was wounded -- killed, as it were -- in 1924, with the legal cessation of the Ottoman Empire. We know from present world events that millions, if not billions, are clamoring for the resurrection of the Caliphate -- the eighth head that would rule all the lands once held by the seven. But, back to Daniel 8. It is noteworthy that Iran is indeed branching out to the north, south, and west. It has gobbled up power in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Recently I read that in three places circling Israel, Iran has been building up weapons bases with the goal of crushing Israel. (I just can't help but think of the three ribs in the bear's mouth (Daniel 7), before the creature is told to go and devour much flesh. One might query, "But, if Daniel 8 is for "the time of the end," why have Bible scholars through the centuries gotten the interpretation so wrong?" That "puzzlement" might lead one to consider God's instructions to Daniel to seal up the prophecy until the time of the end. Earnest Bible students who were not in the time of the end were unable to decipher the interpretation, even though they pondered "to and fro" trying to find the exact meaning. Daniel 12 uses a Hebrew idiom, that of running to and fro. While many see this as a prophecy of advanced, prolific travel, it is interesting that God's Word uses it in an idiomatic fashion; it is written that God's eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, searching for those who fear Him, that He may bless them. There is a promise attached to that to-and-fro reverent search: "...knowledge shall be increased." Perhaps this is the time when Daniel is being unsealed. We will know when the time comes, for that great prophetic book avers, despite the darkness of the wicked, that the wise will understand. "Even so, come, LORD Jesus."
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