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Lesson # Dan. 8:20-25
Study Material - Dan. 8:20-25
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20 'The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 'And the shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king. 22 'And the broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power. 23 'And in the latter period of their rule, When the transgressors have run their course, A king will arise Insolent and skilled in intrigue. 24 'And his power will be mighty, but not by his own power, And he will destroy to an extraordinary degree And prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people. 25 'And through his shrewdness He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; And he will magnify himself in his heart, And he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, But he will be broken without human agency.
Believe it or not, someone actually questioned the identity of these various kings and empires. And all they had to do was to read ahead, or be patient and follow the study. So here it is. The identity is made clear as to exactly who these kings are and who the empires would be.
The Mede's and the Persians are identified first. They are the two empires that will eventually defeat and replace the Babylonian empire. Daniel is seeing this vision in the third year of the reign of the last king of Babylon, Belshazzar. The Medes and Persians are even at this time making advancements against the Babylonian Empire. They are contemporary nations of Daniel's life time. Daniel can see the writing on the wall. But it will take Belshazzar a few years to see it and then he will see it literally. See chapter five. And of course King Belshazzar will die that very night and the Empire of Babylon will cease.
The next empire was to come out of Greece. Its king , Alexander the Great, who was written by Josephus in the following manner:
'When Alexander had taken Tyre, and subdued Palestine, and was upon his march to Jerusalem, Jaddas, who was them high priest, fearing his rage, had recourse to God by prayer and sacrifice for the common safety, and was by him warned in a dream that upon Alexander's approach he should throw open the gates of the city, and that he and the rest of the priests should go forth to meet him in their habits, and all the people in white. Alexander, seeing this company at a distance, went himself alone to the high priest, and, having prostrated himself before that God whose name was engraven in the golden plate of his mitre, he first saluted him; and, being asked by one of his own captains why he did so, he said that while he was yet in Macedon, musing on the conquest of Asia, there appeared to him a man like unto this, and thus attired, who invited him into Asia, and assured him of success in the conquest of it. The priests led him to the temple, where he offered sacrifice to the God of Israel as they directed him; and there they showed him this book of the prophet Daniel, that it was there foretold that a Grecian should come and destroy the Persians, which animated him very much in the expedition he was now meditating against Darius. Hereupon he took the Jews and their religion under his protection, promised to be kind to those of their religion in Babylon and Media, whither he was now marching, and in honor of him all the priests that had sons born that year called them Alexander.' Joseph. lib. 11.
So Alexander might very well have become a believer in the Savior, the God of Israel, Jesus Christ.
Following the death of Alexander, history is very clear. The Empire was divided up into four regions, each led by one of Alexander's generals, then in the latter days of the Empire of Greece, in the 100's BC, there arose Antiochus. We studied him the other day. He was quite the horrible man, the worst king in the Seleucid dynasty. He was the one who entered the Temple and set up the image of Zeus, renaming the Temple to that of Jupiter and terminated the daily sacrifices for 2300 days. Of him Josephus also writes:
'He, hearing that the Jews had cast the image of Jupiter Olympus out of the temple, where he had placed it, was so enraged at the Jews that he vowed he would make Jerusalem a common burial-place, and determined to march thither immediately; but no sooner had he spoken these proud words than he was struck with an incurable plague in his bowels; worms bred so fast in his body that whole flakes of flesh sometimes dropped from him; his torments were violent, and the stench of his disease such that none could endure to come near him. He continued in this misery very long. At first he persisted in his menaces against the Jews; but at length, despairing of his recovery, he called his friends together, and acknowledged all those miseries to have fallen upon him for the injuries he had done to the Jews and his profaning the temple at Jerusalem. Then he wrote courteous letters to the Jews, and vowed that if he recovered he would let them have the free exercise of their religion. But, finding his disease grow upon him, when he could no longer endure his own smell, he said, It is meet to submit to God, and for man who is mortal not to set himself in competition with God, and so died miserably in a strange land, on the mountains of Pacata near Babylon.'
So any opposition to God brings with it very dismal conditions and very unpleasant misery. Antiochus fell over dead, and he suffered greatly prior to his death.
So it is with anyone who rejects God. I would rather suspect that those folks who have led the attack against our Pledge of Allegiance, those folks who profess themselves to be atheists, and who outwardly reject God, that if we had the opportunity to follow their lives, that we would see some great misery befall them. They are arrogant to the max to be sure, and fools. They will have their little victories to the extent that this nation moves away from God, but sooner or later God will tighten the rope and they will hang themselves in their own arrogance.
But we do not have to see their life, we have the life of others in history. Antiochus was cruel and arrogant. He actually made himself out to be equal with God. He had so much disdain for God, he believed himself superior to that which he could not see. Only after enduring great agony, did he come to his senses.
We have the opportunity to drive our own lives down a better path. We read, we study, we are warned of the consequences of departing from God. Remember the jungle and its rules. Better to elevate ourselves up out of the jungle and live within the spiritual rules of life that God directs, than the rules of the jungle which God allows.
We have seen that the times in history are certain. These events were fixed in time by God, though people exercised their free will to engage in these events. Jesus Christ controls history. So also, your life is not random, but fixed in time. God knew in eternity past just what you would or would not think and do throughout your life. He made provision for your entire life.
So knowing this, we should pursue our spiritual growth and advance in our spiritual lives, remain in fellowship, and allow God to guide us in our life, through His Word. Daniel did and he will be delivered from the lions (the jungle). Antiochus ignored God and the jungle (worms) ate him up literally. Not a pleasant sight, I'm sure.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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