Daniel 8 – Apocalyptic Vision #2
Daniel sees the rise of the Medo-Persian empire – verse 3 “a ram which had two horns”… (Daniel 8:3) He also sees the rise of the Greek Empire, brought about by the conquests of Alexander the Great. The Greek empire would come to dominate the Persians and the rest of the ancient world under Alexander’s leadership (reigning from 336-323 BCE) as the “he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth… moved with choler (or anger) … and smote the ram (Media-Persia – Daniel 8:20).
“Four notable ones” rise up from the Greek conquest, the four rulers that divided Alexander’s kingdom following his death (verse 8), when “out of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceedingly great… and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away…” (Daniel 8:9-11). The rest of chapter 8 is about this “little horn” and what he does to the Jews, how he treats their temple, and ends with the prediction that he will “be broken without hand” (Daniel 8:25).
This is a very general prophecy… “broken without hand” seems to suggest that God brings him down.
The saints are the Jews that are godly and the prince of princes is God, to whom Antiochus’ self-deification was an affront, and by whom he was broken. See 2 Macc. 9:1-5,9-10 which says, “At that time Antiochus returned with dishonour out of Persia. For he had entered into the city called Persepolis, and attempted to rob the temple, and to oppress the city: but the multitude running together to arms, put them to flight: and so it fell out that Antiochus being put to flight returned with disgrace. Now when he was come about Ecbatana, he received the news of what had happened to Nicanor and Timotheus. And swelling with anger he thought to revenge upon the Jews the injury done by them that had put him to flight. And therefore he commanded his chariot to be driven, without stopping in his journey, the judgment of heaven urging him forward, because he had spoken so proudly, that he would come to Jerusalem, and make it a common burying place of the Jews. But the Lord the God of Israel, that seeth all things, struck him with an incurable and an invisible plague. For as soon as he had ended these words, a dreadful pain in his bowels came upon him, and bitter torments of the inner parts… So that worms swarmed out of the body of this man, and whilst he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell off, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to the army. And the man that thought a little before he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry, for the intolerable stench.