If you take a trip you get prepared for the trip by checking what the weather will be like, when and what time the flights are scheduled and various other details so that you are prepared. We prepare ourselves in life for meetings, sports, and if storms are approaching our area. We prepare every day for many things we have to face in our lives but what if we are to be prepared for something much more than all of those things. Since God knows the future He tells His children ahead of time what they can expect that will happen in the end times. God wants His children to be prepared for what is going to take place so He lets us know what we can expect so we are not caught off guard when these things take place.
Symbolism means something and if you read the Bible without finding out what the symbols mean then you will sit back and either say this is confusing, or as atheist do, say that the Bible is full of mythical creatures and fairy tales. It is important for us as believers to not just stay on the baby food, as Paul calls it, but we must dig deeper into what Gods word says since He has provided it for us. Paul rebukes the church for staying as babies in their faith and it is a warning we must all heed so we do not grow complacent in growing in our knowledge and understanding of the faith. (2 Peter 3:18)
1 Corinthians 3:1-2 But I, brothers,[a] could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready.
Read Daniel 8:1-14
1) God Prepared His People for the future
God gave Daniel a revelation that would encourage the people through one the darkest times of their lives. God was preparing His people for an evil dictator that would come named Antiochus that would make the Jewish people think that they were going to be exterminated from the earth.
God explains the future to Daniel by using symbols. Rams, Goats and horns all had meaning and the Bible makes it clear what that meaning is.
Read Daniel 8:15-26
Gabriel is a prominent angel that also spoke to Zechariah, who was the father of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19) and to Mary, the mother of Jesus. (Luke 1:26)
The Ram represented the Medio- Persian Empire with one horn representing the Medes and the other horn representing the Persians. The Medes and the Persians with their combined forces were able to occupy more territory than any other empire that preceded them.
The Goat represented the Greek Empire and the prominent horn represented Alexander the great. The speed at which he conquered the known world was symbolized by the goat not touching the ground.
The reason we can believe the prophecies about the future is because the prophecies that the Bible said would happen earlier have already come true. Studying the end times can be fascinating but it cannot be a study to fill our minds with knowledge we have to have a heart for the world as we see things coming to pass and the future that God declared would take place. Too many Christians have become cold hearted toward the end times and wanting to just go home but God has us here on earth for a reason and that is to not only prepare ourselves but to prepare others for the return of Christ. There is a future awaiting everyone and that future means that you are with God for eternity or separated from God for all eternity.
One of the encouragements that Christians have is that no matter how difficult this life is or how much pain and sorrow we will go through in this world, a day is coming when God is going to make all things new. Anyone can go through a difficult time if they know that there is going to be an ending and all believers have the future to look forward to but also the promise that all we go through is for a reason and a purpose. (Romans 8:28)
2) God Prepared the World for Christ
God used Alexander the Great to get the world ready for the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ because Alexander the Great spread the Greek language to the entire known world. The New Testament was written in Konia Greek. Everything that happened before Jesus Christ came to earth the first time was preparing for His arrival and everything that is happening in our world today is preparing for His second coming.
“Alexander believed that all of his achievements were products of his own genius, but he was just filling out the outline of prophecy that God had given. Great as he was, he was nothing more than a tool, and instrument of God. (The Handwriting on the Wall, Dr. David Jerimiah, PG 162)
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;he turns it wherever he will.
3) God Prepared His Children for the Test
How many of you parents have made sure your children were ready for a test at school? God knew in about 400 years there would be a test for His people and He wanted them to be ready to pass the test. God wanted them to know what would happen and how long it would last. Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BC) was the evil ruler that all theologians agree was the one who fits all the descriptions from Daniel chapter eight.
Antiochus gave himself the name Epiphanes which means illustrious manifestation. He believed himself to be a manifestation of one of the gods he worshiped. Some say that this portion of Daniel is written as a dual prophecy as to what is to come in the end with the Anti-Christ because Anitochus fits all the same descriptions that the Anti-Christ will have.
Threw some of the starry host down and trampled on them
A) The Test of Culture
Jews are described as stars in Genesis 15:5 and 22:17 so we know that the ones that will be trampled are the Israelites. The King wanted the Jews to act just like the Greeks and believe what they believed and worship the same gods they worshiped. He made the Jews stop following Jewish religious laws of diet, circumcision, Sabbaths and feast. He not only stopped sacrifices and worship in the Temple, he sacrificed a pig continually in the temple which made it impure.
We will always be tested by the cultures we live in because people will not want you to live the Christian life. Most people say that they believe in the philosophy of “do what you will and do not hurt others”, but many are not alright with people living their beliefs and want people to change. This has happened recently with bakers and wedding venues not wanting to host or participate in a homosexual wedding. Instead of moving on to another baker or another wedding venue people are being fined until they comply with how the government wants them to believe.
Some of the Jews accommodated the King and bowed down to the god Zeus, but others refused and it cost them their life. The King also destroyed the Law of Moses whenever a copy was found and would kill anyone who had a copy of it. This King persecuted the Jews and the word trampled implies severe persecution. According to history he killed eighty thousand Jews and sold forty thousand others into slavery. Some of the stories I read about him were horrible and sick as he punished parents by killing their children before he executed them.
Throughout History people have tried to annihilate the Jewish people from the earth. In the Old Testament it was always Satan’s attempt to stop Jesus Christ from being born who would eventually redeem mankind back into a right relationship with God by dying for our sins.
Some believe that Daniel saw all these actions as if he was watching a movie and so he was really bothered by what was going to take place. This King was known for being an Old Testament Anti- Christ and the parallels of King Antiochus and the Anti-Christ are similar.
He will have a stern face (23) which means he will destroy those who oppose him. He will be a Master of Intrigue (23) which means politics and maneuvering into higher political positions. He will cause astounding devastation (24) and do as he pleases. He will cause Deceit to prosper (25) When they feel secure he will destroy them. (Antiochus would dress like a common person and mingle in the crowd to see what people were saying about him and then have them killed if they talked bad about him)
B) The Test of Persecution
How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled?
Persecution does not make sense to us but God has always used it for purposes beyond our understanding. The Angel who was interpreting the vision for Daniel was concerned with what he saw as well and wanted to know how long this would last and how long Gods people would have to endure such harsh treatment. Six years and four months this lasted until the Maccabean Revolt when Judas Maccabeus cleansed and rededicated the temple December 14, 164 B.C. This is why Jews celebrate Hanukah also known as the Feast of Lights to commemorate this event. (This was not an Old Testament subscribed feast ) (See also John 10:22) The feast of lights originated because when Maccabeus lit the candle for the cleansing of the temple he only had enough oil to last one day but a miracle occurred and it lasted for eight days.
Time of Wrath (19)
Wrath always means the wrath of God against sin. A time has been set by God when the end will come and God will hold all people accountable for their sin either by death or when Jesus returns the second time. We will stand before God and those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and savior will have to be on trial for all they have done and their so called good works will not be enough to save them. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews,[f]15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last![g]
The people of God have always suffered under evil but a time will come when God will call out those who hurt His children as well as kept His children from speaking the truth. Paul in this verse is speaking as if has come even though it was in the future but he was certain of the wrath they would face.
King Antiochus would eventually die not by human power but by physical illness which many believe was a punishment from God.
Only God knows what we will face in the future and it is nothing that many Christian Brothers have not faced and some are facing today in the Middle east. Christians for now in America do not have much to worry about except the few who tried to not participate in Gay weddings but the laws are changing and hatred toward Christians is growing.
John 16:1-4 I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
Jesus warned His disciples what was going to happen and God in His word is always telling us what the future will hold and what His children will go through. The Children of God were warned about the events hundreds of years before they took place and God is warning us what we can expect as His children in the future. We need to grow in our understanding and knowledge of the Lord so we are ready for what may come just like getting ready for a Hurricane or a test.
1 Peter 3:14-15 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Read Daniel 8:26
Daniel was disturbed to the point of sickness for what was revealed to him. We need to be sick and heartbroken over the fate of many people and the lies they believe. If we truly cared for people we would prepare ourselves to be able to help them understand the truths of God.
What are some ways that you can prepare to help someone know the truth of God’s Word?