What you hear in secret, shout from the rooftops. Daniel 8 is a startling revelation that deals with the future fate of America. If you were looking for a visible, physical symbol of America's financial prowess, you could have picked the World Trade Towers. What then, would the collapse of these towers symbolize?
Jesus used the story of a fallen tower that killed many people as a warning to listeners in His day...
To update what Jesus said, to fit the big story of a falling tower in our day: "Are you freaked out by the collapse of the World Trade Center? Unless you repent you will all likewise perish." In other words, Jesus is saying something like this: "You will perish in hell unless you are right with Me."
Let us begin what is an enlightening and frightening journey into...
the words of the Bible...
Daniel 8 is an area of Bible prophecy ripe with important meaning but which has been overlooked almost completely by prophecy scholars.
It is helpful in interpreting the vision of Daniel 8 to start with the clues from the interpreting angel who comes to Daniel. The vision involves a ram with two horns being attacked by a goat from the west who has one notable horn.
These animals and their horns represent nations.
Another question we want the interpreting angel to answer is "When does this vision apply?" The angel does not disappoint us in providing these two items of information.
As to the question of the time of the vision, the angel says three different times, that the vision is for the time of the end:
The angel is being very clear that this vision is for the end of time. This is an angel from Heaven speaking, not an evangelical expositor. It is important to take note of this because all the evangelical expositors say that this vision deals with Alexander the Great. Look at the major commentaries, consult the famous radio and TV preachers, check the seminaries. The verdict is well nigh unanimous. Because our forefathers for centuries incorrectly interpreted this vision to be Alexander's defeat of the Persian armies should we listen to them in place of the angel from Heaven? To say the obvious, Alexander the Great is not living at the time of the end! For those few "noble Bereans" of today ("The Bereans were eager to hear what Paul and Silas said and studied the Scriptures every day to find out if these things were true." Acts 17:11) it should come as an exciting revelation that this vision will be fulfilled at the end of time, the very time in which we live.
As to the second area where we would look to the interpreting angel for help, that of the nations represented by these beasts and horns, the angel gives a very plain declaration in verses 20 and 21. They are Media, Persia, and Greece. The names are symbolic:
Note in verse 21 that the goat is said to be a king, and then the "great horn" is also said to be a "king." What might appear to be an unnecessary redundancy in the vision, of having both goat and horn represent a "king" is cleared up upon examining the original tongue. "King" is from Strong's 4428 (melek) which is from 4427 (malak) which carries with it the idea of a "reign" or "kingdom." It is translated "reign" in most of its 300+ usages. Thus the goat, the larger entity (compared to a horn) appears to represent a "reign", a territory of potentially vast proportions, whereas the horn would seem to represent one individual king within that larger "reign" or kingdom. Sort of like a state governor as a "king" within the larger "reign" of the United States.
If we are going to be loyal to the interpreting angel, we must find modern meanings for the "kings of Media and Persia." (because, remember, the angel told us this vision is for the end.) This is not hard. Modern Iran is Persia. The modern ethnic Kurds claim to be descendants of the ancient Medes, and thus it would be fair to say that current "Media" is the approximate area of Iraq and Syria. The single goat would indicate the larger "reign" of these two powers; since God has used sacrificial animals in this vision--a ram and goat--(unlike chapter 7 where unclean beasts were used to represent Gentile nations), it could be concluded that that "reign" is the influence of Islam. The ram thus represents the fundamentalist power of Islam in a life-or-death struggle with the goat, representing Greece. What power in the modern world is represented by the interpreting angel's mention of "Greece?" The apostle Paul uses the expression "Greece" several places in the New Testament to refer to the civilized world. For example:
The Greek word hellen, here translated "Greeks" is also translated as "Gentiles" and basically means a person who speaks Greek, not necessarily someone from the literal country of Greece. Greek was the language of the learned, it carried the culture which began with the famous ancient Greek poets, playwrights and philosophers, that ultimately became the basis for what today we call "Western civilization." Notice that this goat comes from the "west." (v. 5) Thus we have pictured here, in cartoon, or vision form, the struggle between Islam and Western civilization's Christianity. The angel tells us that the prominent horn on this goat is "the first king." (v. 21)
Here the word translated "first" means "foremost", not necessarily first in terms of order. Who is the foremost, the "first", nation of modern Western civilization? It is certainly the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world. Thus we have pictured here in Daniel 8 a vision of the clash of civilizations East and West, Islamic and Christian. We have certainly seen this in the recent Gulf War and the terrorist activities of certain fundamentalist sects in Syria and Iran, the leading exporters of international terrorism. As I have been listening to the daily reports after the Big NY Terrorist Attack of Sept 11, 2001, like everybody in America was doing for days after the incident, it was obvious that there was a class of civilizations. People dancing in the street for joy that America was hit. Americans decrying the barbarism of attacking "our way of life."
The prophecy calls for two major ram powers, the "higher" to arise after the other. If we view the rise of Sadam Hussein as the first horn, we might expect Iran or another Middle Easter power to soon rise as a major antagonist to the West and the US, in a tangible way similar to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Iran is listed by the US Department of State as the leading promoter of terrorism against the West in the recent past. The interpreting angel mentions Media as the first of the two horns, and then the king of Persia. The order would thus be Iraq (Saddam Hussein) and then Iran (Persia). As to Iran's being "higher", the idea of the Hebrew word is not no so much height as "pride" and "conceit." Picture a coming Iranian leader more prideful than Saddam! Could it be Osama Bin Ladin????
Our topic in this article is the fate of the US. What does the prophecy say will be the response of the US to the rise of this second "horn"? You don't need prophecy to tell you that Americans would be fighting mad! Verse 7 says:
Here is pictured a Desert Storm-like annihilation of these Islamic forces. The two horns are utterly broken with no one to help. With the demise of the Soviet Union we need not fear retaliation if we should bomb several of these Islamic countries into submission. It is interesting to note that Daniel is standing right near the border of Iraq and Kuwait when he receives this vision!
What happens next? The US becomes very proud. "Therefore the he goat waxed very great." (v. 8) We will be so proud of our Super Bowl sting of these Islamic dogs. Picture George Bush' victory dances around the country after Desert Storm. It is obvious to any observer of the American mood after the attack on the (former) World Trade Towers, that most Americans want to bust somebody's chop. They will wink at the bombing of innocent people. They are angry. Beware when you see the US in its next victory dance of this type, when the second horn is crushed. Verse 8 succinctly says:
Here is the plain biblical revelation of the fate of the U.S. The symbolism of the "great horn"--the U.S.--being "broken" is a graphic picture of the economic collapse of the U.S. The collapse of the towers representing our economic system is a prophecy which matches this prophecy of Daniel 8.
If any man have an ear to hear, let him hear. As John the Baptist said, "Flee from the wrath to come!"