In today's study, we see the interpretation of Daniel's vision of the ram and the goat, and how Antiochus Epiphanes was a type of the coming Antichrist.
Verse 19: "And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be." Gabriel is projecting these prophecies all the way down to the time of the end. If we understand the book of Daniel, a great part of it has to do with the Gentile age with very little regard for the Jew.
Daniel's prophecies begin in 600 BC with the birth of Babylon and according to this verse all the way to the end.
"For at the time appointed" means that God already has this thing worked out. God already has the dates set! He is a date-setter.
Kings of Media and Persia
Verse 20: "The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia." The two kings of Media and Persia referred to are Darius and Cyrus. Cf. verse 3 which seems to refer that Cyrus was higher.
King of Greece
Verse 21: "And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king." The rough goat here is Greece. The great horn is Greece's first king, Alexander the Great (verses 4-7). Alexander was the son of Philip II of Macedon and became king upon his death between 359 and 336. His title was Alexander III of Macedon.
Interestingly, a coin was found in Thrace that featured a the head of Alexander on one side with ram's horns on either side of his crown. Historically, the horns were the symbol of the Egyptian god, Amun from whom Alexander claimed to have descended from. In essence, the symbolism implied diety status. Also, interestingly, they were not minted until after his death.
Grecian Kingdom Broken and Divided
Verse 22: "Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power." That being broken is Alexander the Great.
"Four stood up for it" refers to the four generals Alexander had appointed over his kingdom (v.8) because he had no heir. However, historically, one was born after his death. The four generals were Cassander who took Macedonia, Lysimachus who took Thrace and much of Asia Minor, Seleucus who took Syria, and Ptolemy who took Egypt. Cassander would later order the death of Alexander's wife Roxana, son, and mother to consolidate his power, and would asume the title of Antigonus I.
However, none of Alexander's generals "possessed his natural intelligence, understanding, or military genius but, even so, would found dynasties which, with exceptions, ruled their respective regions until the coming of Rome."
Duel Fulfillment in Action
Verses 23-25: "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand." "In the latter time of their kingdom" refers to these four generals mentioned above.
"A king of fierce countenance" was primarily fulfilled with Antiochus Epiphanes. However, the ultimate fulfillment of this is the Antichrist.
Two Fulfillments in View
Antiochus was symbolically what the Antichrist will be literally. In verses 9-12 we see him as coming out of Greece. He rose to power around 175 BC. He plundered the temple in Jerusalem and desecrated it by offering pig's flesh on the altar. This is actually recorded in I Maccabees 1-6 in the Apocrypha.
Here's something interesting, his last name Epiphanes means "God Manifest." He was one of the cruelest rulers of Syria as a descendant of Seleucus, one of Alexander's generals.
The Jewish rebellion which was led by the Maccabees, took place when he made an edict that all in his empire would practice the same religion. Of course, the Jews refused to do this and it led to Antiochus coming to Jerusalem and erecting a statue of the Greek God Zeus in the Temple…the Jews were forced to worship it or be killed. This is referred to by the Jews as the Abomination of Desolation. However, Matthew says that there will be another one (Matthew 24:15). Doesn't all of that sound familiar (Revelation 13:14-15)?
"He shall destroy the mighty and the holy people" is speaking to the destruction and carnage caused by Antiochus, but it also refers to the Antichrist (cf. Rev_6:1-11).
"He shall cause craft to prosper" refers to deceit or witchcraft (Cf. 2Th_2:8-11).
"He shall stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand" cannot be referring to Antiochus (Revelation 19:19-21; Revelation 20:1-3).