“The Appointed Time of the End” (Part 2)
The Interpretation (Daniel 8:15-26)
“I will show you,” he said, “what is to happen in the last days of wrath; for it is for the appointed time of the end.” (Daniel 8:17b)
The prophet Daniel had received yet another vision from the Lord regarding the future. In this vision he had seen the fall of the Persian Empire to the Empire of Alexander the Great and then after Alexander had died the division of his empire into the control of his four main Generals. His four major Generals were Cassander, Ptolemy, Antigonus, and Seleucus. Out of the Seleucid Empire located in Syria came one who would be a type of the future Antichrist. This despot was Antiochus Epiphanies whose name meant “God manifest” also called by the Jews “the madman” who came up out of Syria and invaded Israel.
He defiled the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar of sacrifice in the temple and stopped the sacrifices and offerings. He also persecuted faithful Jewish believers who would not go along with his agenda for the Jews which was to impose Greek laws, customs and the Greek ‘gods’ on the Jewish people. Daniel also foresaw that the trampling of the Jewish people under the iron heel of this despot would be for a specific designated time and them he would be driven out by the Maccabee patriots and the temple cleansed. One thing to always keep in mind is that in the light of past history Daniel was 100% accurate in his predictions about the future. In light of this there is no doubt he will prove correct in the future events he prophesied that are yet to be fulfilled in history. Now we come to the interpretation of the vision.
(Vs.15-19) “While I, Daniel, sought the meaning of the vision I had seen, one who looked like a man stood before me, and on the Ulai I heard a human voice that cried out, “Gabriel, explain the vision to this man.” When he came near where I was standing, I fell prostrate in terror. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision refers to the end time.” As he spoke to me, I fell forward unconscious; he touched me and made me stand up. “I will show you,” he said, “what is to happen in the last days of wrath; for it is for the appointed time of the end.
There is no doubt that the one that looked like a man and stood before Daniel was the Word of God Himself. When we read in the Old Testament about the Word of the Lord coming to a prophet it was the pre-existent Messiah before He took upon Himself a flesh and blood body, visiting the prophet. When the Messiah appeared before men and women in the Old Testament it was always in the appearance of a man. Those who stood before this man knew they were standing in God’s presence. When Daniel was standing on the bank of the River Ulai he heard a voice commanding Gabriel to explain the vision. When Gabriel came near to Daniel the prophet fell prostrate in terror because He has been standing in the presence of God. Gabriel clearly told Daniel that the vision he had received was concerning the time of the end of the age. Daniel then fell forward unconscious so terrified was he of the vision he was seeing, but Gabriel touched him and made Daniel stand up.
Later Daniel was to have another encounter on the River Tigris with one that looked like a man only this time it was the Messiah Himself that appeared and spoke to Daniel and showed him the future concerning Israel, Iran and Turkey. (Daniel Chapter 10:12-20) This particular encounter with his Messiah deeply affected Daniel and it was more intense because Daniel knew he was standing in the presence of God Himself. (Daniel 10:4-6) Both the prophet Ezekiel and the apostle John also had a similar encounter with the Messiah. (Ezekiel Chapter 1) (Revelation 1:12-19)
It is also interesting that when the presence of the Lord manifested itself to men that they fell facedown before the Lord, they never fell backwards such as we see in many churches where the presence of God supposedly is being manifested for blessing. Only one time did men fall backwards and that was when they came to arrest the Lord Jesus. When He said “I AM He!” they all fell backwards. It was a judgement, not a blessing. So then this one who looked like a man was the same one that Daniel, Ezekiel and John all saw in His eternal glory and splendour.
Now in this vision Daniel was having Gabriel stretched out his hand and touched Daniel and made him stand to his feet. Daniel was about to hear from the Lord yet again and it would be specifically related to the time of the end when the wrath of God had started to be poured out being God’s appointed time concerning the end of the age. With these things in view let’s now look at the interpretation of the vision…
(Vs.20-22) “The two-horned ram you saw represents the kings of the Medes and Persians. The he-goat is the king of the Greeks, and the great horn on its forehead is the first king. The four that rose in its place when it was shattered are four kingdoms that will issue from his nation, but without his strength.”
As the Word of God Himself revealed the future to Daniel through the angel Gabriel it related to future historical events that would also have a prophetic application at the end of the age. Historically the two-horned ram typified the Medio-Persian Empire. The text is clear. The prominent horn on the forehead of the male goat represented Alexander the king of the Greeks. However, it was the Middle-Eastern leg of the Greek Empire. The word used for “Greece” in the text is the world “Yavan” or “Ionia.” In Alexander’s time Ionia was located in modern day Turkey. As we know horns in Bible prophecy represent kings or rulers over empires or kingdoms.
Once Alexander had died his four generals took control of his empire. These were the four horns that replaced the one broken off. Their power would never be as great or extended as that of Alexander. At this point of the interpretation of the vision Gabriel shows Daniel the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes but at the same time telescopes to the Antichrist who will exhibit the same character traits that marked Antiochus. In fact the following verses really apply to the Antichrist. There is a transition from the focus being on Antiochus to the focus being on the antichrist. Now let’s look at this…
(Vs.23) “At the end of their reign, when sinners have reached their measure, There shall arise a king, impudent, and skilled in intrigue.”
While Alexanders other three generals were powerful the focus of Daniel Chapter eight falls on the empire of Seleucus who ruled over the Seleucid Greeks in Syria. Out of his dynasty came Antiochus Epiphanies IV called “the madman” and whose name meant “God manifest.” He was a despot who made himself to be a ‘god.’ He went into the Temple in Jerusalem and sacrificed a pig on the altar of sacrifice itself showing his utter contempt for the God of the Jews and in doing so was making himself to be God. He was most definitely impudent being insolent and shameless in his behaviour.
This aspect of his character will be seen in the Antichrist “who opposes and exults himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, and even sets himself up in God’s Temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4) Daniel also describes his character in Daniel Chapter 11:36. “The king will do as he pleases; he will exult and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of (arrogant and astonishing) things against the God of gods.” (Daniel 11:36a) Right now we see a man arising in Turkey with the same character traits as Antiochus. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the President of Turkey has shown his contempt for Israel and for Christianity. We see this in his reconverting Churches to Mosques in Turkey.
Today we see Turkey rising to prominence. We see Erdogan with his military forces ensconced in Syria. There is no doubt that his dark desire is to rule in Jerusalem and most likely from the site of the supposed Temple Mount. Already he has made moves to take control of Gaza and Hamas. He also supports Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Golan Heights is in his sights as the place over which to attack Israel. Added to this he has clearly spoken out to make himself the defender of the ‘Palestinian cause. Also he is backing Islamic Azerbaijan in its war against Christian Armenia. If he can get rid of the Armenian presence then it will give him the leverage he needs to solidify and extend his proposed Turkish Ottoman Caliphate over the entire Middle-Eastern region. The man from Turkey is clearly one who advocates and propagates the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood that has the creed; “”Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also exhibiting skills in taqiyya, the Islamic art of spreading disinformation and deception in a time of Jihad. It is also clear Jihad is behind the agenda of the man from Turkey. Daniel describes the Antichrist as one who is not only impudent but one “skilled in intrigue.” It is interesting that the KJV says; “a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences.” He will be a practitioner of the occult and be indwelt by Satan. He is not only the man of lawlessness but also called “the son of perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV) the only other person in history called the son of perdition was Judas Iscariot onto whom Satan entered personally. (John 17:12)
The man of sin also known as the Antichrist will have such supernatural power at his disposal that he will be able to sway the masses even though he speaks peace and war out of both sides of his mouth. When you look at a man like Adolph Hitler, with the power to move the masses even when he was preaching death and destruction and especially speaking and railing against the Jews, you see at work in and through Hitler a man controlled by a very powerful principality in the unseen spiritual world. The Antichrist also known as the man of sin, controlled by Satan, will move nations to rally to his war banner and we will see an Islamic caliphate unlike any other Empire in past history. Even China with its millions possibly in the future will have to have a face-off with Islam. This man will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of his foreign god Allah. (Daniel 11:39) And so we continue to read…
(Vs.24) “He shall be strong and powerful, bring about fearful ruin, and succeed in his undertaking. He shall destroy powerful peoples;”
The man of sin, the Antichrist, will sweep through many countries and many of them will fall to his power. His ultimate goal will be Jerusalem. (Daniel 11:40-43) Now if Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the man of sin then with satanic power he will be able to command an army unlike anything ever seen in past history. At present he is consolidating his empire and if he is the man of sin then his empire will sweep through the whole Middle-East, down into Africa and into Europe. We are told in the Book of revelation that there will be a 200 million strong army led by the kings of the east that will come across the dried up Euphrates River. The firepower of this army will kill a third of mankind. Ultimately it will lead to Armageddon (Revelation 9:13-19; 16:12-16) The prophets Joel and Zechariah describes this army as being akin to a locust plague that is like a thick cloud that covers the whole land of Israel. (Joel 1:4, 6-7) (Ezekiel 38:16) Powerful nations will be destroyed by this army. Now let’s read on…
(Vs.25) “his cunning shall be against the holy ones, his treacherous conduct shall succeed. He shall be proud of heart and destroy many by stealth. But when he rises against the Prince of princes, he shall be broken without a hand being raised.
When Antiochus invaded Israel many of the Jews submitted to him and compromised their faith. Antiochus used flattery when it served his purposes but when the time came to reveal his true intentions he violated the Temple committing the abomination of desolation Daniel had prophesied about. (Daniel 11:31-32a) However, there was a faithful Jewish remnant that cared for the things of God who were used by God to instruct and alert many of their fellow Jews to what was happening with Antiochus.
These patriots were called the Maccabees and were committed to keeping Israel free from the imposition of Greek customs and laws that violated the teaching of Torah and the prophets. They firmly resisted Antiochus. (Daniel 11:32b) Tragically, many faithful Jewish patriots were betrayed by those who pretended to be on their side but were spies sent to betray them to Antiochus’ forces. Under Antiochus reading the Torah and the prophets was banned and if anyone was caught with a copy they were killed. (33-35)
Now we are also told elsewhere in Daniel that just as Antiochus persecuted and killed faithful Jews and sought to change the Jewish laws, seasons and customs, so the Antichrist will seek to kill faithful Jews and Christians and destroy their synagogues and churches and destroy copies of the Bible. (Daniel 7:21, 25) This will last for three and a half years by the Jewish calendar. Already today the saints are being “worn down” by Islam and just before the Lord Jesus comes back this will be happening on a global scale.
So the Antichrist will invade Israel and Jerusalem and two thirds of the Jews in the land of Israel will be struck down and killed. However, a third will pass through this baptism of fire under the man of sin but in it be spiritually purified by God and call upon the name of the Lord in their extremity and He will hear them and answer them. A faithful remnant will be spared. (Zechariah 13:8-9) Wherever the empire of the Antichrist has spread within its boundaries faithful Christians will also be persecuted and martyred that will not compromise their faith in the Lord Jesus as we see happening today throughout the entire Muslim world. This will be the time of Great Tribulation lasting for the three and a half years. (Revelation 13:6; 12:6) (Daniel 7:25; 12:7) While persecution of the faithful Body of the Messiah has always been happening in the last three and a half years of this present age the persecution and martyrdom will increase in frequency and in intensity and numerically. (Matthew 24:9-13) It will be and intense time of testing for the Jews and for Christians.
Now we are also told that for the sake of God’s elect saints in those days, being Messianic believers in the Lord Jesus both Jewish and by extension and inclusion Gentiles, and for the world’s survival, God will cut those days of great tribulation short. (Matthew 24:21-22) This ‘cutting’ will be short and swift! Once this has happened, the Heavenly thrones of God’s judges in His court will be placed for sentencing upon the Antichrist, his armies and all who have taken the mark of allegiance and worshipped the image representing his empire. (Daniel 7:9-10) The boastful Antichrist will be slain along with his beast empire and consigned to the flames in the Lake of fire for all of eternity. (Daniel 7:11-12) (Revelation 19:19-21) Other nations stripped of their power will be spared for a time to be judged for the way they have treated God’s people. (Matthew 25:31-46)
So then the Lord Jesus will return, destroy all resistance and set up His Kingdom at Jerusalem. It is at that time the saints will inherit the kingdom. (Daniel 7:13-14, 18, 22, 27) Today we see the empire of the antichrist forming. Recep Tyapp Erdogan is firmly committed to resurrecting the Turkish Ottoman Caliphate. If he is the man of sin, the Antichrist, then he will succeed for a time.
We are told in Revelation 2:13 that Turkey is that Pergamum is the city where Satan lives and has his throne. In John’s time this was true because of the huge Pergamum Altar to Zeus located in that city. However, prophetically it would seem the Holy Spirit is starting to reveal the country from which the little horn will rise to grab absolute power over many powerful nations. It is no accident that the Lord Jesus personally wrote seven letters to the seven churches all located in Turkey today. Prophetically, the seven churches that were all literal churches existing in John’s time can represent the Church corporately in every age but especially applicable to the corporate Body of the Messiah in these last days.
The Antichrist will in reality be confronting the Messiah and it will be Satan’s last attempt to defeat Him but he will not succeed. The Antichrist shall be broken but not by human agency but at the hands of the Messiah. (Daniel 2:34-35; 45) The Antichrist will go into the lake of fire and Satan into the pit and sealed in the bowels of the earth cut off from human contact. (Revelation 19:20; 20:2-3)
After this the whole earth will become another Garden of Eden for a thousand years. After this time span Satan will be loosed and gather all the peoples of the earth who have not submitted to the rod of iron wielded by the Messiah over them. They will all surround Jerusalem once again but this time at the command of the Messiah they will all be burned up and Satan himself consigned to the lake of fire never to interfere with earth again. (Revelation 20:7-10) After this the heavenly city of Jerusalem will come down, the saints of all the ages will be dwelling in it and it will come to earth. In that day heaven there will be a new heaven and earth for the old order of things will have completely passed away. (Revelation 21:1-4) There will be a merging of the Heavenly Jerusalem with the earthly Jerusalem. They will become one city.
As for the New Jerusalem there will be nations on earth that will walk by its light and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it but nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:24-26) In the final and eternal state heaven and earth will be completely one with each other and there will be a highway connecting God’s heavenly kingdom to the earth. In that day there will be no unsaved on the planet but everything will be made new for all of eternity.
This prophecy in Daniel Chapter eight is the appointed time of the end. It is that time God Himself has appointed for man. It cannot be avoided. It will be a time of testing for Israel, for the Church and for the world at large. God always keeps his appointments. As we read; “For he has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) The fact that the Lord Jesus has risen means that Satan, his angels and demons and man are accountable to Him. This is why Satan hates the resurrection of the Messiah. As Paul writes concerning the Lord Jesus; “…who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus the Messiah our Lord.” (Romans 1:4)
God is unsealing prophetically what has been sealed up for centuries. The Lord Jesus is coming soon and His reward is with Him for all who have remained faithful to Him and have persevered to the end. (Matthew 24:13) He is saying today to the unsaved and to the saved what He said to John. “Then he said to me (John), “Do not seal up the prophetic words of this book, for the appointed time is near. Let the wicked still act wickedly, and the filthy still be filthy. The righteous must still do right, and the holy still be holy.” (Revelation 22:10-11)
The Lord Jesus is saying to the unsaved go on sinning if that is what you really want to do, live it up because you do not have long! However, He is saying to the righteous ones living by faith and practicing righteous living, to keep on keeping on and seeking to become more righteous in thought word and deed through the power of the Holy Spirit because their eternal reward is coming!
And so the Lord Jesus also says; “Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with Me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are they who wash their robes so as to have the right to the tree of life and enter the city through its gates. Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the unchaste, the murderers, the idol-worshipers, and all who love and practice deceit.” (Revelation 22:12-15)
In the Bible you have a tale of two cities. One is the City of God and the other the City of Satan. You cannot be a citizen of both. Either you will be giving your allegiance to God or to Satan. The only way to be spiritually translated from the kingdom of this world into the kingdom of God is to be spiritually reborn from above, to be made a new creation deep down on the inside of you if you would see the heavenly Jerusalem and be a part of that eternal city which is to descend from the heavens to earth. (John 3:3) (2 Corinthians 5:17) And so we conclude…
(Vs.26) “As for the vision of the evenings and the mornings, what was spoken is true. But you, keep this vision secret: it is for the distant future” or “for it is for the appointed time of the end.”