“In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me—to me, Daniel—after the one that appeared to me the first time.”
Daniel is one of the most interesting books in scripture, it is filled with both history and prophecy. It records the encounters of Daniel in the palace of the king, and gives a prophetic picture of things to come. Chapter 7 focuses on two kingdoms that will arise after the fall of Babylon. The first was Persia, which is illustrated by a ram that no one could stop. The second was Greece, portrayed by a male goat with a notable horn. This goat moved with uncanny speed across the surface of the earth, until its horn was broken and four horns grew in its place. Daniel then focuses his attention upon one of the four horns, and watches as it turns against the people of God and His sanctuary.
History records that the combined forces of the Medes and Persian overthrew the Babylonian Empire, and ruled for more than two hundred years. During that time they attempted to spread their empire into Europe by conquering Greece. Although they were unsuccessful, they killed many Greek soldiers which created a hatred in the Greeks for Persia. It was only a matter of time until someone would arise, organize the Greek forces, and come against the Persian Empire. That person was Alexander the Great, who with a small army overthrew the Persian Empire in only a few years. Alexander spread Greek culture and religion from Europe to India, and from Persia to North Africa. Daniel’s picture of a goat moving with tremendous speed is certainly fitting.
At the height of his power, Alexander grew ill and died. Instead of appointing a successor to his newly formed empire, he simply left it to the strongest. His four generals all considered themselves be the strongest, and the empire was divided into four parts. Two of these play an important role as it relates to Israel, for they would constantly vie with one another for power and territory. In the second century BC, the territory of Syria, controlled by one of the successors of Daniel’s generals, came against Israel in an attempt to destroy the people of God and their religion. This man, known historically as Antiochus Epiphanies, made it his aim to wipe out the Jewish people and their religion. It was through the exploits of Judas Maccabaeus, and the intervention of Rome, that he was stopped in his tracks.
If we overlay the book of Daniel atop the events of history, we must conclude, the book is nothing short of the Word of God because of the detailed accuracy in which it foretold the future. Much of Daniel, however, still remains unfulfilled. He describes a time when Christ will return to set up His kingdom, which will have no end. We can be sure this event will unfold with the same accuracy. Are you ready?