Online Bible Commentary
Evil May Prosper, For Awhile
Daniel 8:9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. 12 Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, "How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?" 14 And he said to me, "For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed." (NKJV)
The time is 548 B.C. 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.
Alexander the Great died suddenly in 323 B.C., after conquering most of the known world. He was succeeded by four generals who divided the conquered lands into Greece, Asia, Syria (including Babylon), and Egypt (v. 8c).
The four generals were Cassander, over Greece, Lysimachus, over Asia, Seleucus, over Syria, and Ptolemy, over Egypt. Out of the four generals “came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land” (v. 9). This “little horn” was Antiochus IV, also known as Antiochus Epiphanes, from the line of Seleucus. He ruled from 175-164 B.C. over Syria which included Israel, the “Glorious Land”.
Antiochus blasphemed God, and brutally persecuted and “trampled” the Jews (v. 10). He was a type of the Anti-Christ. “He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down ending daily sacrifices and defiling the temple” (v. 11).
So Antiochus presented himself as “the Prince of the host”, God himself. He ended daily sacrifices and defiled the temple in Jerusalem. “He did all this and prospered”, for awhile, "for two thousand three hundred days”, according to an angel (vv. 12-14).
If the 2,300 days is taken literally it could mean the total six plus years of persecution from 171 to 165 B.C. But the 2,300 days is often taken to mean 2,300 morning and evening sacrifices, which would be 1150 days. This was an approximation. According to 1 Maccabeus the actual number of days between the defilement and the rededication of the temple in 165 B.C. was 1,094 days.
The temple was rededicated in 165 B.C. by an eight day feast called the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22). It is also known as the Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah.
This passage tells us that God sometimes allows evil to prosper, but only for awhile. The evil of Antiochus Epiphanes prospered, for awhile. The evil of governments in our day prosper, for awhile. The evil of the Anti-Christ in the future will prosper, for awhile.
But in the end, God will reign. God allows evil, but there is always an end to evil. As Christians, we are to persevere in the faith. Vengeance is the Lord’s. We are covered by grace, but those who do evil will face judgment. Praise to the Lord, for His grace, and His judgment.