Daniel-Wayne Barber/Part 19
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|I’m going to continue to talk about the message entitled “Just for Those Who Would Doubt.” I believe that’s the only reason chapter 8 is even put in the book of Daniel.|
Just for the One Who Doubts – Part 2 (Daniel 8:10-14)
Turn with me to Daniel 8. I’m going to continue to talk about the message entitled “Just for Those Who Would Doubt.” I believe that’s the only reason chapter 8 is even put in the book of Daniel. Now you say, “Brother Wayne, there are other reasons than that.” I know, but that’s just from my perspective as I’ve studied it. I just see old Daniel, I see some of the skeptics beginning to arrive and they start seeing terms like “‘latter day,” they start seeing terms like “future,” they start saying, “Oh, now come on. God couldn’t be talking about those kinds of times.”
And then he puts in chapter 8. He kinds of says in a way, “If you don’t believe me, let me show you something. It’s going to happen within the next 200 years; and way down the road when they look back, they’re going to see that I said it and that I did it exactly the way that I said it.” Well, in chapter 8 we saw the rise and the fall of the Medo-Persian Empire, and that’s the ram with the two horns that we saw coming out in verses 3-4. But then we also saw the rise of the Greek Empire, and really he leaves us there. He’s not as concerned with Greece as he is with that small horn that comes out of Greece.
Now go back to verse 8 and let’s sort of catch up. In verse 8 he says, “Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly.” Now that male goat was Greece. “But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken,” that was Alexander the Great, “and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.” Now this is a little bit in review and sometimes these names get to running together in my mind. But let’s see if we can remember them, alright?
Lysimachus took over part of the kingdom that was given up when Alexander the Great died. He took Thrace and Bithynia. But we don’t really concern ourselves with him because he wasn’t that significant. Cassander took over Macedonia and Greece. That really wasn’t of that much significance either. But the next two really carry a lot of weight, particularly throughout the book of Daniel. And when we get to chapter 11 you’re going to be glad that we talked about these things because they’re going to come back and you’ll understand them: king after king in these reigns.
First was the king of the south, and that was Ptolemy I. He took over the king of the south. That’s very important, folks, because he’s going to war with the king of the north. The king of the north was Seleucus. That was Syria. And the reason that it’s important is because from chapter 8 on we’re beginning to understand how Israel plays a role in all of this. Where are they when all these kings are warring? Well, Israel sits right in between Syria and Egypt and every time they would go to battle, they would just walk across that land. And we begin to see the picture that God is drawing for Daniel.
Now in verse 9 is says very clearly “Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.” Now this little small horn is not the Antichrist. Remember the Antichrist in chapter 7, the little horn, comes out of the ten nations of Rome in that latter day period. This one comes out of Greece, and guess which nation it comes out of? It comes out of the north, out the reign of those kings to the north; the Seleucid reign of the north. And this one man is going to bring great horror to God’s people. And I just can’t help it. From studying through Daniel I just feel it in my bones: God says in chapter 7, “in the latter days there’s going to come a little horn, and if you don’t believe Me, I’m going to give you a preview right now and there’s going to be a small horn to come out of Greece. Now you pay attention. When it happens the way I said it was going to happen, you can take it to the bank that the little horn is going to be on the scene the last three and a half years of this age.”
Well, Antiochus Epiphanes hated the Jews. He destroyed thousands of Jews just as was prophesied in Daniel 8. Now verse 23 says, “And in the latter period of their rule,” and sure enough you’re going to see in chapter 11 it was one of the latter kings of the Saleucid reigns that he came about; Antiochus Epiphanes. Now, what does God say he’s going to be like? Remember what we talked about? Do you ever look through a megaphone? I guess that’s what you’d call it. It starts off real small and it gets big. And I think what God is doing here is, “Okay Daniel, look through that little hole right there. Now look a little closer there. Now right down the road here there is going to come a small horn.” And he pictures Antiochus Epiphanes, okay? But he won’t seem to look beyond Antiochus Epiphanes because the big picture covers that little horn. He’s giving him a preview of what the evil man that’s going to be on this earth the last three and a half years is going to be like and how he’s going to treat Israel.
Well, there are three things I want us to see about him in chapter 8 and we’ll just be so smart when we leave here, alright?
He will oppress Israel and defy their God
The first thing that we learn about him is this: he will oppress Israel and he will defy their God. Now, I didn’t say Judah, I just said Israel. He’s going to oppress God’s people, but let’s just put Israel to kind of get the idea. He will oppress Israel and will defy their God. Verse 9 has already told us he’s going to come toward the Beautiful Land. Now that term “Beautiful Land” refers to Israel. Now verses 10-12 gives us quite a bit of information as to how he’s going to be towards Israel and towards their God.
Look at verse 10: “And it grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down.” Don’t you love the book of Daniel? Boy, you can just understand it just like that, can’t you? Well, let’s just look at it for a second. What does he mean “he came up to the host of heaven?” Look at Jeremiah 33:22, just one of the places this refers to God’s people. Not his going up in the atmosphere someplace, but this is God’s people. Verse 22, look what he says in comparing God’s people to the host of heaven. He says, “As the host of heaven cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.” And so He’s picturing the host of heaven in a way of saying or talking about the people of God. What I believe he’s saying is he’s going to come right into that Beautiful Land and he’s going to come against the host of heaven.
Look on in the verse. Not only does he say the host of heaven, it says that he will cause some of the stars to fall. If you’ll look over in Daniel 12:3, that also refers I believe to Israel: “And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” In other words, this evil man is going to come on the scene, this small horn coming out of Greece will be a man who is going to move against God’s people. Remember we’re concerned with how Israel is going to be affected. He will oppress the people in their land. Now remember that. And we’re going to see in chapter 11 how this goes on over and over again. He’s going to oppress the people in their land.
But not only will he oppress the people, he will defy their God. Look back again in verse 11, “It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host.” You see, Antiochus Epiphanes took upon himself the name “Theos Epiphanes.” He called himself a god. And you know something about how he goes into the temple and how he desecrates the temple there and he defies the very God of the people of Israel. He threw down the place of His sanctuary. Look on in the verse, “and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down.” We understand from the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes that he goes in and disallows them to do any more sacrificing to their God. As a matter of fact, he’s so evil and so vain that he even comes in and sacrifices a pig on the altar there in the temple to the god Zeus. He’s a wicked, evil, horrible man. Not only will he oppress Israel—and there’s an intense hatred that Antiochus Epiphanes had for Israel—and you’ll see in chapter 11 that he even has a supernatural power, and we’ll also see it here, has a supernatural power as he moves as if of evil moving against God’s people.
He will oppress those people and he will defy their God. You know, one of the questions that has to come to your mind and comes to my mind: Why in the world would God allow that? Why would God allow His people to be oppressed by such a wicked man like Antiochus Epiphanes? You look at verse 12 and it’s very clear. It says, “And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper.” Do you know why it was? Do you know why God allowed Antiochus Epiphanes to do that kind of terrible thing to His people? I’ll tell you why: because of their sin against God. You know, people don’t like to hear messages on judgment. People don’t like to talk about the consequences of sin. “Oh come on, Wayne. God’s a good God, and God doesn’t mind if we sin a few times and God just loves us.”
Yes, God loves us. But He’s a just God; and friend, man does not sin and get away with it. Israel consistently rejected God and you’ll see in chapter 9 when Daniel begins to realize that they’re going to go back to their homeland and Daniel sees the rejection of Judah, they consistently rejected God, he begins to confess their sins as his sin. Thirty-two times in chapter 9 he confesses their sin as his sin. He sees the wickedness of his own people and he fears for them because they have not yet learned their lesson. They have not yet turned back to God.
You see, God judges sin. There are consequences to sin. We used to have a sign out in front of the church that said, “You are free to make your choice. But you’re not free to choose its consequences.” There is no way. There is judgment to sin, there is consequence to sin. Now I realize we’re in the Old Testament and a lot of people say, “Well, Brother Wayne, how does that relate to me?” That ought to be pretty clear. Friend, you choose to sin, it’ll take you further than you ever wanted to stray, keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay, and cost you a whole lot more than you ever dreamed you were going to pay. It will cost a consequence in your life. That’s the only reason God allowed it. He uses a man like Antiochus Epiphanes to come in on His people and to bring great wrath upon His people because His people had rejected Him and His covenants.
“And it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper.” So we see then that he has been given power to do this. God raises him up just like Nebuchadnezzar and He’s using him somehow to chasten His people. So the first thing he’ll do is oppress Israel and defy their God. Now I can’t wait until we start looking at that little horn again and you’re going to see the same tendencies—well, you won’t see it, hopefully we’ll be gone; I believe that in my theology—but they’re going to see the same thing on this earth the last three and a half years of this age there is going to be a man a lot worse that this guy, a lot worse than Antiochus Epiphanes, and he’s going to do much damage to God’s people during that three and a half years. But God Himself will nourish Israel and He will care for Israel and so many of them will be saved at the end of that three and a half year period of time.
He will be a charismatic leader, deranged in his character
So, first of all, he’ll oppress Israel and defy their God. But then, secondly, we see that he will be a charismatic leader, a man who is deranged in his character. Now we say “charismatic” and we have to sort of define it in this day and age. What I’m talking about is he is going to have a personality plus, that’s what I mean; a lot of charisma. He’s going to be the kind of guy that you would not think he would be the way he’s going to turn out to be. But at the same time he’s going to be a very deranged man. Look in verses 23-25: “And in the latter period of their rule, when the transgressors have run their course, a king will arise insolent and skilled in intrigue.” That word “intrigue” can also be translated “flattery;” he has a way with words.
You know, we think of the Antichrist, and many people do, as some mean dude that everybody can recognize right off. Friend, he’s going to be a man of words. He’s going to know what to say, when to say it, and who to say it to. He’s going to be a man who can flatter; a man with smooth words; a man with a lot of charisma. And that’s how he’s going to get into his position of power. And he’s going to fool everybody. He’s going to deceive everybody. He’s nothing but a deceiver. And Antiochus Epiphanes was exactly the same. As a matter of fact, he was not even supposed to be the king there in the north. His brother’s son was supposed to be the king, but since his brother’s son was not on the throne he moves in too quickly and he begins to talk to the right people and how in the world he did it who knows. But he ended up being the king himself; he did it by intrigue, with flattery, by smooth words, by knowing how to talk. Man, if he was a used car salesman he’d be a billionaire. He knows exactly what he’s doing.
So remember this now: he’s going to be a man with a lot of charisma. Isn’t it interesting that the characteristics of wickedness sometimes can be covered over by smooth talk and a lot of flattery? Have you ever noticed that? Boy, some people come to church every Sunday and they know the right words to say. They’re so sweet and they’ll just talk to you so nice and they’ll walk outside the church and just rip their brothers to shreds and talk about you from now on. You see, you can cover that stuff over. And evidently this man knows exactly how to do it.
I remember when I was going through high school, I could fake a fever. I knew exactly how to do it; I learned quickly. That’s why it took me so long to get saved: I learned the language of Christianity before I ever met the Christ of Christianity. And a lot of people do that. He knows exactly what to say, he knows exactly how to say it, and he knows exactly who to say it too. “A king will arise insolent and skilled in intrigue.”
But look at verse 24. Here’s that supernatural empowerment of evil. It says, “And his power will be mighty, but not by his own power,” notice this, “and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people.” On one particular escapade of Antiochus Epiphanes, on his way home, he had been partially defeated down in the area of Greece and he was on his way back through the land of the people of God. On that one time he slew 80,000 Jews, he sold 40,000 into slavery, and he took 40,000 more back home as personal captives in his reign. This is the kind of man he was. He was a destructive man, a deceptive man, and he seemed to be moved by a power beyond himself, an evil power. He was supernaturally empowered by Satan himself to do the things that he did to Israel.
Now how else could God get some of these people to understand what He’s talking about? He tells about a little horn in chapter 7, but then He says, “Now listen, guys, there’s going to be someone like that and you can look at it some day.” Not for their benefit: they’re going to die; but for our benefit especially as we look back. There was a man who was insolent and a man who was a very dangerous person to Israel.
Well, verse 25 even tells us more, how he smooth-talked his way to power. “And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence.” Isn’t that incredible? “And he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease.” Boy, there was no time to let down while he was in power. “He will even oppose the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human agency.” Isn’t that an incredible statement? “He will be broken without human agency.” Now what God is beginning to show us is, even though this man is going to be a smooth talker, even though he’s going to be endowed with a power that is beyond himself, even though he’ll be very destructive and destroy many of the people of Israel, he’s on a leash. He’s on a leash and he can only go so far because the God who allows him to do that is also the God who is going to shut him down in the end. That’s a good thing to remember, isn’t it?
You know, it’s only going to go on for awhile. God’s going to allow it because God is a just God. Israel has sinned and that’s the cause of the whole thing: the transgression. And you see in the latter days, in those last three and a half years, this is where a lot of people get confused. How come the Christians aren’t going to be a part of that? Why? Man, I haven’t sinned against God that way; I’ve not rejected the Messiah. I’ve received Him! These are for people who have rejected the Messiah. You see in some people’s theology they can’t seem to understand the New Testament. Yes, there are Jew and Greek in Christ, but it means individual Jews, not the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel has continued to reject our Messiah. They continue to reject our Christ, and so for that reason one day there’s going to come a time of chastening for them, a day of wrath, the Day of Jacob’s Distress. Three and a half years, and if you want to understand that, then understand why Antiochus Epiphanes was allowed to do what he did. They rejected God; God used this evil man to bring them back to understand that God is a just God and punishes those people who reject Him.
He can go no further than God allows
So then, first of all, he will oppress God’s people and he will defy their God: absolutely no conscience whatsoever. Secondly, he’ll be a charismatic man with a deranged character. Hidden behind his flattery and hidden behind his smooth words, and hidden behind his deceit is a deranged man that’s going to come on the throne that wants to take the lives of the people of Israel. But the third thing I want you to see, and that’s all we’ll do today in chapter 8, the third thing I want you to see is that he can go no further than God allows.
Go back to verse 13. He can go no further than God allows. One of the guys in our church was telling me one day he had a dog at home. And he was telling me about how he was on a rope and how that dog would take off running and you would think that the dog would have learned after being chained to that rope for years, how long that rope was. But it just seemed like that dog was just so excited that he would forget all reality and something would run through the yard and that dog would take off never remembering that he could only run so far. And every single time he would run beyond that and just about break his neck when he got to the end of that rope.
Well, you get the idea that Antiochus Epiphanes is on a leash. He can go no further than God allows him to go. And verses 13-14 tells you exactly how many days he has. Isn’t this incredible? I just love Daniel! I mean, God not only tells that he’s going to come on the scene, but He tells them how long he’s going to be on the scene, and then he says, “He’s through! I cut him off!” He’s come to the end of his rope. Verse 13, “Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, “How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply [I mean, if he’s going to cut off the regular sacrifice, how long?] while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?” How long is this going to last?
Look at verse 14: “And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored.” Oh, I love history now; I’m beginning to love it. I’ve just got a lot to learn, I’m so thick. But isn’t it wonderful: 2,300 days. That’s about six years, 110 days; or if you take it evenings and mornings, some people do it three years, 65 days; some people do it six years, 110 days. I don’t know. The significance to me is that it starts and it stops and God says when it’s going to stop and you know it’s only for a period of time. Thank God for the Maccebees and the Maccebean revolt. Anybody ever study about that and couldn’t fit it into history?
But you know, I didn’t know that the Maccebees, that was not their name. It was a term given to Judas. The old dad couldn’t stand it anymore. Here they were going into the temple and putting the pagan offerings on there and he couldn’t stand it anymore. And one day one of the high dudes was coming in, a royal commissioner, and he goes over and kills both of them and then he takes his family and runs up into the mountains. He just can’t stand what’s going on in the temple there. Well, that started it. And there was guerrilla warfare for awhile, he and two other sons were killed, and there were three left: Judas, Jonathan and Simon. They began to carry on what the daddy had started and it was Judas that was given the name “Maccebee.” And the word “Maccebee” means the “hammerer.”
Buddy, he started a revolt that did not stop and it was Judas who finally, one day, went into that temple and cleansed it of all that pagan junk and started a new day for the God’s people. Matter of fact the Jews to this day have a feast that begins on December 25 and it’s all to celebrate that Maccebean revolt. After the temple had been desecrated finally it was put back on course. So you see, he only has so long and whenever evil comes into your life or mine, remember something: it’s for a season. Whenever you suffer, it’s for a season. God has a starting place and God has a stopping place. And it’s so good to know that He is in control of all of it.
Well, it was 2,300 evenings and mornings for Antiochus Epiphanes and if we could shout it from the mountain tops to those people who are going to be stuck on this earth for that period of time of tribulation and if we put it on the billboards and whatever else, and just simply say that when that evil starts in the middle part of the 70th week, when those three and a half years start, if we could just say, “Hang in there, brother, he’s only got three and one half years and when the final day comes, it’s over.” God settles it and then His kingdom will come to this earth.
I don’t know how many people think, “Oh Brother Wayne, there’s so much evil in this world.” Josef Tson was over at a church in Huntsville and the pastor said he said something to me that just thrilled me. He said one of our men asked him, “Dr. Tson, what do you think Satan’s next move will be in Romania?” And he said Josef Tson looked at him and he said, “Oh, son, will you get your mind off of Satan? It’s not what Satan’s next move is, it’s what’s God’s next move is. Keep looking at the One who is in control of this whole thing.”
I want to tell you something, folks. I get so tired of people chasing a demon under every bush, giving credit to everything Satan is doing. I understand that he’s there and I am aware that he’s there. I am alerted to his presence, but come on, let’s start talking about what God’s doing. He’s the One who is in control of this thing. Twenty-three hundred evenings and days God says, and it’s over. Happy day, Satan, it’s over on that day. Three and a half years in the last days of this age and then He says it’s all over. Said, done and delivered.
Did you ever go swimming when you were growing up and had to go to a public pool? I remember Mama would take us over and drop us off with a lunch and I had my swim fins and a mask. She said, “I could always tell where you were in the pool because I’d see the fins up above the water. You never stayed up on top of the water; you were always down under the water.” I used to love to do that. One of the things I hated all the time was when one person messed up, the life guard would say, “OK, everybody out of the pool.” Just bothered me. I get that same idea when God says, “Okay, three and a half years. Everybody out of the pool. I’m the One who calls the shots around here. You do what I tell you to do.”
That’s the way it’s going to be. Antiochus, you think you’re big stuff buddy. In 2300 evenings and mornings everybody is coming out of the pool. You’re through. That’s exactly what God says. It all gets you excited after awhile. When I start going through hard times I’m trying to remember that there’s going to be a beginning and an end in God’s eternal purpose somehow. And I don’t care what’s going on in your life; God has a season and rejoicing coming: you just stay in there. You keep trusting the One who is in control. Quit worrying about what the other one is doing, just start trusting the One who is in control. Start learning to cooperate with Him, and watch the victory God will bring in your life.
Man, I just get excited. One of these days I’m going to get loud. This thing is really getting hold of me. I’d never preached a book like this. I’ve never been as thrilled in all of my life. I used to say it was ridiculous to study prophecy: learn how to live to day and don’t worry about tomorrow. I was a pan-millennialist: everything is going to pan out in the end anyway. I’ve changed my mind and I’m wrong. Anybody I’ve ever said that to, I apologize to you. Friend, this is a purifying hope and this will just excite you to the point that you just want to shout. You just wait until we get to Revelation after we’ve done Daniel. As a matter of fact, I think I’ve got it figured out some good times if the Lord would come back for His church, if we could just plan it. Lord, if you could just let me know I won’t write a book, but if I could just know the day, wouldn’t that be wonderful.
But isn’t it wonderful to know that even though all this evil is coming on the world, God let Daniel know something: He let him know it was only going to be for a time. You wait until we get into chapter 10. I’ve got a personal observation on chapter 10 that I can’t get around it and I believe it’s right. I won’t force it down your throat, but I’m definitely going to tell you about it when we get there. I just believe that God is so concerned about old Daniel because Daniel is so concerned about his people and his holy city. It just seems like every time that angel comes, “Daniel, bless your sweet heart, finally we found somebody concerned enough that we can answer a prayer.” And He just opens up the curtain and tells him everything that is going on all the way through the book of Daniel.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had some Daniels today? If the world and the church were full of Daniels, what God would be revealing to our hearts and how we would just rejoice in knowing that He really is in control.
Well, folks, there’s an evil one coming to Israel, he’s already come and he’s gone. And that’s one thing you’ll find about any evil on this earth: it may have been, but it’s gone now. That’s the way it always will be. But the One who will live forever is the One who establishes kingdoms on this earth.