Online Bible Commentary
Daniel 8:23 "And in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce features, Who understands sinister schemes. 24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. 25 "Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be broken without human means. 26 "And the vision of the evenings and mornings Which was told is true; Therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the future." 27 And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king's business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it. (NKJV)
The time is 548 B.C., two years after the events written of in chapter seven. Daniel is now about 72 years old. Daniel is still living in Babylon, having been brought there during the Babylonian attack on Israel in 605 B.C.
In this chapter Daniel is telling of a vision given to him by God. Chapters seven through twelve of the book of Daniel are prophetic, thus this is a prophetic vision. The vision represents a prophecy of events that would take place during the four hundred years leading up to the coming of Christ. It also is a prophecy of the end times, at the second coming of Christ.
In this passage, the vision is being interpreted for Daniel by the angel Gabriel, who tells him that this vision is of the end times. “In the latter time of their kingdom” (v. 23a) refers specifically to the Greek Empire established by Alexander the Great, but also to the days leading up to the coming of the Antichrist in the end times. Evil had, and will, reach its peak (v. 23b).
The king with “fierce features” and “sinister schemes” (v. 23c) represents Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He was from the line of Seleucus, who was one of the four generals that divided the Greek Empire after Alexander’s death. Antiochus ruled from 175-164 B.C. over Syria, which included Israel.
Antiochus blasphemed God, and brutally persecuted and “trampled” the Jews. Antiochus presented himself as God himself. He ended daily sacrifices and defiled the temple in Jerusalem. He was a type of the Antichrist.
Antiochus’ power was “mighty”, but it was not “his own” (v. 24a), coming from Satan. He would “prosper and thrive” (v. 24b). He would destroy both the “mighty” and the “holy people”, the Jews (v. 24c).
Antiochus was “cunning” and deceit would “prosper under his rule” (v. 25a). He would “exalt himself in his heart”, claiming to be God (v. 25b). He would “destroy many in their prosperity” (v. 25c). He would “even rise against the Prince of princes”, God himself (v. 25d). In the end he was “broken without human means” (v. 25e), as God brought the plague upon him ending his life in 164 B.C, at the age of 51.
Gabriel named this vision “the vision of the evenings and mornings” (v. 26a), referring to the 2,300 evening and morning sacrifices which would be missed between Antiochus’ ending of sacrifices until the rededication of the temple in 165 B.C. Gabriel then ordered Daniel to keep the vision sealed until it was needed, “many days in the future” (v. 26b).
After the vision Daniel, exhausted spiritually and physically, “fainted and was sick for days” (v. 27a). He continued to be “astonished by the vision”, and “no one understood it” (v. 27b), at the time.
“When the transgressors have reached their fullness” (v. 23). When will this be? How much evil is enough? When will the Lord finally say “enough is enough”? When will He come back and put a stop to evil?
No one knows when. We only know that He will. He will set everything straight. He will destroy Satan, and the Antichrist with him. He will do it in His own time and in His own way. He ended the evil of Satan’s Antiochus, and He will end the evil of Satan’s representatives today. As for me, I can hardly wait! Praise the Lord!