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The Ram, the Goat, and the Little Horn - Part 3

Tom Pennington • Daniel 8

  • 2019-10-20 PM
  • Daniel
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I want to take some time now to turn back to the word of God, back to Daniel 8. Dale Ralph Davis relates in his commentary that in late April 1942 sixteen US B-25 bombers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle carried out a raid on Tokyo. It frankly inflicted very little substantial property damage but the people of Tokyo nearly panicked as a result of this bombing raid. They had been assured by their leadership, the propaganda machine, that no US bomb would every strike the home islands. Davis continues, "The God of the Bible, however, does not operate like Japanese war propaganda. That's why Israel's knowing about a two-bit king named Antiochus is so all-fired important."

You see, God wanted His people to know. He wanted them to be prepared. Out of love and concern for His people God prepares them by warning them about what's coming. We see this throughout the Scriptures but we see it in HD in Daniel chapter 8. Chapter 8 begins the final Hebrew section of the book. Chapters 8 through 12 are in Hebrew. These chapters are really a message to God's people; a message of hope and of comfort and a promise that they will ultimately survive. Specifically, Daniel 8 warns them about a particular mad man, a man by the name of Antiochus, and a coming period of intense persecution. And it promises God's people that it will only be for a short time and that the people as a whole, God's people, will survive.

Chapter 8 begins with the vision of the ram, the goat and the little horn in verses 1 through 14. You have the vision setting in verses 1 and 2 and then the content of the vision unfolds in verses 3 through 14. It begins with a vision of a ram in verses 3 and 4. Look at Daniel 8 verse 3:

Then I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a ram which

had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two

horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the

longer one coming up last. I saw the ram butting westward,

northward, and southward, and no other beasts could stand

before him nor was there anyone to rescue from his power,

but he did as he pleased and magnified himself.

The vision continues with the vision of a goat in verses 5 through 8:

While I was observing, behold, a male goat was coming from

the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching

the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between

his eyes. He came up to the ram that had the two horns, which

I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in

his mighty wrath. I saw him come beside the ram, and he was

enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two

horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So he

hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was

none to rescue the ram from his power. Then the male goat

magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty,

the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four

conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.

That's followed by a little horn in verses 9 through 14:

Out of one of them [those kings or kindgoms, verse 9] came

forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward

the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.

[That is Israel.] It grew up to the host of heaven and caused

some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth,

and it trampled them down. It even magnified itself

to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed

the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary

was thrown down. And on account of transgression the host will

be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it

will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper.

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to

that particular one who was speaking, "How long will the vision

about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes

horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?"

He said to me, "For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the

holy place will be properly restored."

We've discovered in this section of this little horn described here and again in chapter 11 is the same individual; it is the eighth ruler of the Seleucid empire, a man named Antiochus Epiphanes who lived in the 100's B.C. Antiochus had one primary political agenda and that was to force the Jews to become Greek in their thinking, in their behavior, and in their religion. And if they resisted then they would be severely persecuted and many of them even put to death. He wanted to eradicate the worship of God from Israel. And Daniel learns, as we just saw in the end of that section, that the persecution of Antiochus would last 2,300 days. That's six years and four months. It would end, according to verse 14, with the restoration of the temple which happened in December 164 B.C. That's the vision.

Now, tonight we come to the interpretation of that vision. This section begins, verses 15 to 26, begins with Daniel explaining exactly how he received this interpretation. He describes for us the appointed messenger. Notice verse 15: "When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it…" As the vision unfolded Daniel twas trying to understand its meaning undoubtedly he was comparing details of this vision with the one he had already had to determine if there was any similar significance and as he tried to work this out in his own mind, verse 15 says, "Behold …" That's a Hebrew interjection that says, something happened that took him by surprise. "Behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man." This is not the normal Hebrew word for man, "a-dam", or Adam as we say it which is a word that speaks of man in his weakness and his frailty. This Hebrew word comes from a word that means strong or mighty. Suddenly in this vision standing there before Daniel there was a mighty, powerful, imposing being in the form of a man. Who is this person? Well the next verses are going to make it clear that this is a theophany; this is a visible appearance of God Himself. Specifically this is the second person of the Trinity. Notice verse 16, "And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai…" Notice this person was speaking literally from between the banks. Now if you're speaking between the banks of a canal or a river where are you? Clearly this powerful human male, or at least in the form of a human male, is hovering in the air above this canal or river near this ancient city of Susa. In fact, there's a similar scene in chapter 12 verses 6 and 7 but over the river Tigris.

Chapter 8, in fact I want you to turn with me to chapter 10 because in chapter 10 we meet this person again. And notice how he's described in verse 5:

I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain

man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt

of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face

had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming

torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze,

and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.

If that sounds familiar it's because it's almost identical to the description of God in several other places. Then, when you come to chapter 12, chapter 12 verses 6 and 7, you get a similar picture. "And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river …" there's the picture "'… How long will it be until the end of these wonders?' I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time..'" And so you have this mysterious being. Chapter 8 verse 16 tells us that this person gives commands freely to one of the most powerful angels who exists, Gabriel. Who is this person?

Clearly this is the Son of God. We met him, you remember back in chapter 3 verse 25, walking in the middle of the furnace of blazing fire. We saw his coronation in chapter 7 verses 13 and 14 where He comes up to the Ancient of Days and is given a kingdom which endures forever. And now we meet Him again here in chapter 8 giving commands to Gabriel, caring for His people. Notice verse 16. And this mysterious person who is divine, who is the eternal Son of God, " … called out and said, 'Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.'" This is, by the way, the first time in the Bible that an angel is named. A holy angel. By the way Scripture only gives us the name of one other angel. His name is Michael; we'll meet him in chapter 10 and chapter 12 of this book. In Jude 9 Michael is called an archangel. In Revelation 12:7 he leads the angels in war. But what about Gabriel? Who was he? Was he an archangel?

Well, the book of Enoch, which is a non-biblical pseudepigraphal book lists Gabriel as one of the four archangels. Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Uriel. There's no biblical evidence for that but Scripture doesn't tell us Gabriel's rank or position. Scripture is clear, however, that Gabriel holds a position of great importance among the angels. Think about what Gabriel got to do. Gabriel is the one who in Luke 1 who announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias. Gabriel is also the one who in Luke 1 announced the birth of Jesus to Mary. Gabriel means "the mighty one of God." And in Luke chapter 1 Gabriel tells Zacharias, in fact in a very humorous scene you know Zacharias is saying, how do I know this is really going to happen? And I'm sure Gabriel was like, really? Here's an angel, I'm talking to you man to man and you want to know if this is really going to happen. And he says this to Zacharias, he says "I am Gabriel who stands in the presence of God." (Luke 1:19) That's Gabriel. And here God asks Gabriel to explain this vision to the prophet Daniel.

Why doesn't Gabriel just show up? Why does God, in the vision, ask Gabriel to share this with Daniel? Obviously it shows that Gabriel is under divine authority. But I also think it's intended to show us the heart of the Son of God. He wanted His people, He wanted Daniel to know beforehand about this coming period of intense persecution so that they would be prepared. Why? The same reason Jesus warned His disciples about the persecution they would face in John chapter 16 verse 1 where He says that "These things I have spoken to you…" that is I've warned you about this persecution so that you may be kept from stumbling. Again we see the love of Jesus Christ for His own, for His people. Notice in the vision the eternal son of God directs Gabriel to explain the interpretation of this vision to Daniel, verse 17. So, Daniel says, "He [that is Gabriel], came near to where I was standing…" He'd apparently seen Gabriel at a distance but when God commanded Gabriel to explain the vision Gabriel approached Daniel. Verse 17 says "And when he came I was frightened and fell on my face…" By the way the Hebrew word for "frighten" isn't like something that happens when a family member scares you. This word means to be in terror. Daniel's terror was likely not caused by Gabriel but because he was aware that he was in the presence of God. I mean if you look at chapter 7 verse 16 you learn that Daniel wasn't afraid of angels. And in chapter 9 verse 21 and following we'll see that he's not afraid of Gabriel. So who is he afraid of? Here he was so overcome with terror that he fell on his face like a dead man. That always happens when people find themselves in the presence of God. You see it in Isaiah 6, you see it in Ezekiel 1, you see it in Revelation 1. That's what's going on here.

Verse 17 goes on to say that, "Gabriel said to Daniel, 'Son of man understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.'" Gabriel began to explain the vision and as he referred to Daniel as the son of man he used the normal Hebrew word for man, not the word "mighty one" that we just saw with him but this word is " a-dam' " with an emphasis on man's weakness and his mortality. He says Daniel, this vision, notice what he says "… pertains to the time of the end." Now let me just tell you commentators spill a lot of ink over this expression the "time of the end." There are two primary means as to what Gabriel means by the "time of the end." The first view is that this prophecy will occur near the end of the specific period of history in view in this prophecy. In other words, near the end of the Greek empire and the four kingdoms that came out of the empire of Alexander the Great, in the one hundred's B.C. The second view is that the "time of the end" has a double fulfillment. That is, it points to both Antiochus Epiphanes in the 100's B.C. but also to the antichrist at the end of human history.

Now, let me just speak to that for a moment because I think that can be confusing. It is true that the end does point to the end of human history in a couple of places in Daniel in chapter 11 verse 40 in chapter 12 verse 4. But, here in the context of chapter 8, the time period is the second century B.C. So, while it's legitimate to say that Antiochus, this evil mad man who would intensely persecute God's people, is a type of the antichrist who will come in the end of history - and there are remarkable similarities we'll see them as this book continues to unfold - I don't think this refers to antichrist for one simple reason. The king in chapter 8 comes from one of the four kingdoms that came from the Greek empire of Alexander the Great. But, in chapter 7 we learn that antichrist will come from the fourth world empire, a reconstituted Roman empire. So, these two kings come from different places. So, the end in these verses is not the end of human history, and it's not the time of antichrist; rather, it is the end of that period in human history that is described in this prophecy. It is the end of the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus and their deliverance from him in the 100's B.C.

Notice verse 18, "Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground…." It's happening to a couple of you right now as I'm speaking; no I'm just kidding. I haven't seen anybody. Notice as Gabriel began to speak this deep sleep comes. This is the same expression by the way that's used of Jonah's deep sleep in Jonah 1:5 during the storm and of the deep sleep God caused to come upon Adam when He created Eve. So he's in this almost coma-like state; verse 18, and "He touched me and made me stand upright. He said, 'Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation….'" The Hebrew word for indignation always designates God's wrath in the Old Testament with just one exception. Here God's wrath is focused on those Jews who followed Antiochus into unfaithfulness to God who became Greek in every way. For that reason God gave them over to the persecution that came from Antiochus. Verse 19 goes on to say, "For it pertains to the appointed time of the end." Notice the key word there, appointed. Yahweh, the sovereign Lord of history, has appointed the time when these events will transpire. Can I just stop here and say that is such a huge encouragement. It's a huge encouragement because we must always remember that the sovereign Lord determines when trouble will come upon His children and when He will deliver them. Both occur in His appointed time. So there's the appointed messenger who was sent by the Son of God. It's Gabriel who stands in the presence of God. And Gabriel goes on to give us the divine interpretation in verses 20 to 26; the divine interpretation, the vision, we read just a moment ago.

First of all, the ram. The ram is Cyrus and the empire of Medo-Persia. Notice verse 20, "The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia." No mystery there. And we looked at that in detail in earlier messages. Secondly, the shaggy goat is Alexander and the empire of Greece. Verse 21 says, "The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king." We know that's Alexander the Great. Verse 22, "The broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from [Alexander's] nation …" We know that Alexander's empire was eventually divided into these four kingdoms, I've mentioned them to you before, ruled by four kings. There's Antipater who ruled Greece and Macedonia, Lysimachus who ruled Thrace and much of Asia Minor. Ptolemy the First who ruled Egypt and Israel and then Seleucus who ruled Syria, Babylon, and much of the Middle East. So, verse 22 says the four horns are the four kingdoms which will arise from Alexander's empire …" verse 22 "…although not with his power." The accuracy of Scripture is truly amazing. This is three hundred years before the actual events would occur and yet Daniel was told that none of the four kings that would follow Alexander would rival his power. Which is exactly true.

So, the ram is Cyrus and Medo-Persia. The shaggy goat is Alexander and Greece. Thirdly, the little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes. You'll notice verses 23 to 26 in your Bible is marked off as poetry in Hebrew. That's true and so the translators have tried to capture that and in this poem we learn a lot about this mad man, Antiochus, a man who persecuted God's people two hundred years before Christ. Notice first of all, when his time would be; verse 23, "in the latter period of their rule." That is, toward the end of the Greek empire. Just before the transition to the dominance of Rome. "When the transgressors have run their course …" The transgressors here, probably the Jewish people who chose to forsake their God to become Greek, to follow Antiochus, when the transgressors have run their course is when the sin of those rebels has reached such a height that God has exhausted His patience and must act. At the time when their sin finally calls for God to act, notice verse 23 says, "A king will arise." That's the time. Notice his character, verse 23 goes on to say, "Insolent and skilled in intrigue." Insolent means fierce. This man would be brutal and merciless toward all who opposed him. And he would be a master of political deception and intrigue. Listen, the presidential race in our country right now can't even hold a candle to Antiochus Epiphanes. Sinclair Ferguson writes:

Its [speaking of the little horn] God-given ability to reason

and plan is twisted so that it finds intellectual stimulation and

pleasure in evil. It is often assumed that we do evil only

against our better judgement. That's not the case with the little

horn. It has called evil its good and finds attractive what is

offensive to God precisely because it is an offense to God.

That's the kind of person this is. Notice his power, verse 24, "His power will be mighty…" Antiochus was insignificant when he began to rule and he took over a weak kingdom in 175 B.C. But through intrigue, deception, through military conquest he greatly increased his power but where did that power come from? Notice verse 24, "His power will be mighty but not by his own power." The real power behind Antiochus was Satan himself.

Here's a man who was inspired, energized, and empowered by the devil just like the Antichrist will some day be according to 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 13. Notice his agenda, verse 24, "He will destroy to an extraordinary degree…." By the combination of his persecution of the Jewish people and his constant war with Egypt and other nations he would be known as a man of destruction. He will prosper and perform his will. His conquests would be successful, his power would increase, and his wealth would grow all of which happened with Antiochus. At the time and for a time he would appear absolutely invincible as do so many of the puny rulers of our world. Verse 24 says, "He will destroy mighty men. Probably refers to the nobility and leaders both military and political that Antiochus and his armies killed. And he will destroy the holy people. Obviously a reference to the Jewish people but I think especially to the genuine believers among the Jews whom he slaughtered by the tens of thousands. Verse 25, "And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence…" Here is a man of extraordinary cunning who would by practice use deception. This was his methodology. It's interesting if you go back to verse 12 Antiochus would fling truth to the ground but here in verse 25 he will cause deceit to be exalted. "And he will magnify himself in his heart…" This would be an exceptionally proud man. This is the man, as I told you last week, who had his coins, the coins of his kingdom, inscribed with the title for himself, "god manifest." He was claiming to be an earthly manifestation of the god, Zeus. He fell for the oldest temptation on the planet. You will be like God.

Verse 25 says, "He will destroy many while they are at ease." Through deceit he would put people at ease, he would make them feel secure, and then he would attack them without warning. It's exactly what happened in 167 B.C. He made them at ease and then he slaughtered tens of thousands of Jewish people according to 1 Maccabees 1:29 and following. By the way, this is exactly - now you can see the points of similarity - this is exactly what antichrist will do in the end. He will make people feel at ease. At peace. Secure. And then he will attack without warning. Notice Antiochus's creed, verse 25, "He will even oppose the Prince of princes." That's the Hebrew way of saying, the greatest Prince. Such expressions are commonly used of our Lord. He [antichrist] will set himself against God. How he'll do this is made clear back in verse 11. "It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down." Attacked. The people of God. But notice his end, verse 25, " But he will be broken without human agency." God promised his people that their violent persecutor Antiochus Epiphanes would be broken and destroyed. And notice it will happen without human agency, without hand, literally. Antiochus didn't die in battle and he didn't die by assassination although it's shocking. Instead in 163 B.C. Antiochus was defeated in the siege of a city in Persia and at the same time he heard that his army in Palestine had been beaten by the Jews. And he died of some sort of a bowel issue that was caused by grief. You can read about it in all of its gory details in 2 Maccabees chapter 9. That's his end. Without hands God acts directly to bring this man to an end at the end of, guess what? The 2,300 days.

Gabriel finishes by telling Daniel that the future fulfillment is certain. Verse 26, "The vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true…" Gabriel assures Daniel and God's people that the exact number of evenings and mornings, 2,300, was absolutely true and on that day and not one day beyond it God would judge Antiochus and the persecution of God's people would come to an end under that wicked man. Verse 26, goes on to say, "But keep the vision secret for it pertains to many days in the future." Now I have to tell you I love the New American Standard as you know. I preach from it because I think it's the most accurate translation we have in English the most closely tied to the original language. But this is one of those rare occasions when I just have to disagree with the translators of the NAS. Because the Hebrew word that is translated "keep secret" literally means to shut up or keep closed. Now, the verb was used of ancient documents that had been sealed. Listen to this carefully. Documents that had been sealed not to keep them secret but to preserve them for the future. Gabriel told Daniel to take all the necessary steps to make sure that the contents of this vision were preserved for the future generation. You see Antiochus Epiphanes ruled almost four hundred years after Daniel. And the Son of God wanted this prophecy preserved for the benefit of His people who would live in those troubled times. Preserve it for them.

So, we've seen the vision and we've seen its interpretation. Finally, we see the believers response to this vision of the ram, the goat, and the little horn. Verse 27 typified obviously in Daniel's response. Verse 27 says, "And then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days." At this point in his life Daniel's about 70 years old and this vision created a severe emotional and physical strain on his body. The Hebrew says it exhausted him. The Hebrew word literally means to be done, to be finished, to come to an end. He was at the absolute end of his strength so much so that it even made him physically sick for days. "Then, I got up again and carried on the king's business." After his recovery he continued to carry out his daily duties but at the same time Daniel couldn't get away from this vision. He was still absorbed in his mind with trying to fully understand its meaning. Notice verse 27 ends by saying, "But I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain it." Now, Gabriel had interpreted it for him obviously we just read that but Daniel still didn't grasp its full significance or all of its details. Undoubtedly, Daniel wondered about things like when would these things happen? That's not in the vision. And he wondered who this wicked, evil, mad man of a king would be? It's a remarkable chapter and again as we think about this chapter it's easy to think of it as disconnected history.

So, what I want to do in just the last few minutes that we have remaining is I want to pull out some lessons, a number of them actually. I'll go through them pretty quickly and you won't be able to write them down probably but you can see them online later. Here are the lessons we should learn from chapter 8. We've looked now in three different weeks at this magnificent chapter. What are the lessons for us?

HOW SHOULD THE FOLLOWING LISTS BE TYPED? NUMERICALLY AS 1. XXXXX OR NUMBER ONE, ……. ?

Number one, sin and evil are extraordinarily powerful and ever present in our world. Don't ever let down your guard. Satan is alive and well and he is producing evil everywhere and it will only get worse the New Testament tells us before our Lord returns.

Secondly, God allows this evil and evil men to prosper for his own purposes. God is sovereign; remember that is the theme of the book of Daniel. God is on His throne ruling over all of this working it out as He chooses. And God allows this for His own purposes.

Thirdly, God sometimes allows His people to suffer at the hand of evil rulers for His own purposes. Again, you see that throughout the book of Daniel and you certainly see it here. It's easy to ask the question isn't it? Why? Why would God permit a man like Antiochus to breathe and why the moment he begins to persecute his people like he did doesn't God strike him down and end his insolence? God sometimes allows His people to suffer at the hands of evil rulers for His own purposes.

Number four, in dark times and this is very sad but true; it was true then, it's been true throughout church history in dark times many who have externally connected with God's people will prove in fact that they aren't God's people and will join the attack on true believers. It happened then, it happens now. It will happen in the future.

Number five, when Satan energizes evil men to attack God's people, they always focus their attack on the same priorities that are attacked in this situation. Think about it. They attack God Himself. He exalts himself against the Commander of the host. They attack God's Son, the Prince of princes or as Psalm 2 puts it they want to throw off the fetters of the one who sits on the throne and of His Son. They attack God's Word. Remember Antiochus would fling God's truth to the ground. They attack God's provision for sin. He ended the sacrifice, why? Because the sacrifice was a picture of the greater sacrifice that would come and this is always the attack that evil men bring on God's people. And they ultimately attack God's people. They try to destroy the people of God. This is the game plan for Satan. It is in our day, it was then, it will always be. So, get it in your mind this is where the attack will center.

Number six, God, who is sovereign, over the most powerful and evil rulers has determined their days, will destroy them in history, and will punish them forever. God will preserve and ultimately rescue His people but He will execute justice on His enemies. You remember Psalm 73? The Psalmist is struggling with the prosperity of evil men. And he's undone, he almost falls, he says, he almost slips and falls in the sand until he goes into the sanctuary and remembers what? Their end. God has set them in slippery places. You see, God's destruction of Antiochus reminds us that He will ultimately crush all who oppose Him, who will not humble themselves to His grace.

I've quoted it for you before but I love Andrew Peterson's song when he writes this. Listen to this, I just love this. " Every stone that makes you stumble" talking to us as believers:

Every stone that makes you stumble and cuts you when you fall,

Every serpent here that strikes your heel to curse you when you crawl.

The King of love one day will crush them all.

And every sad seduction and every clever lie,

Every word that woos and wounds the pilgrim children of the sky.

The King of love will break them by and by.

If the thief had come to plunder when the children were alone,

If he ravaged every daughter and murdered every son,

Would not the Father see this, would not His anger burn,

Would He not repay the tyrant in the day of His return?

Await, await, the day of His return.

I know you need a Savior,

He's patient in His anger,

But He will rise up in the end.

Number seven, God's character is on display even in the worst times of our lives. It was true in the time of Antiochus and wherever you find yourself right now however difficult it might be, God's character is on display. Daniel learned that God is omniscient. He knew that all these things would happen before they ever occurred. He learned that God is sovereign. He not only knew but appointed these things for His own purposes. He learned that God is loving and gracious. He limited the time of this evil man's persecution and warned them ahead of time in order to prepare them. Whatever you're enduring I can promise you this: God is putting Himself on display if you will simply have the eyes of faith to see.

Number eight, we should be concerned for our brothers and sisters who suffer for God's sake even if we are unaffected personally. Daniel was absolutely devastated of what he learned his fellow believers would suffer three to four hundred years later. We need to be concerned about those who suffer even if we're not personally affected. Hebrews chapter 13 verse 3 says, "Remember the prisoners as though in prison with them and those who are ill treated since you yourselves also are in the body."

Number nine, above all we should be concerned for the glory of God's name in the world. Daniel was. It's what drove him here. David was. 1 Samuel 17, "What have you done in questioning the God of Israel?" David says. He defends the glory of God. We need to be able to say with Spurgeon, "Let my name perish but let the name of Jesus Christ endure."

Number ten, in light of what God has told us about our future, about what's coming yet in the future for us, how should we then live?

Number one, live ordinary lives of duty. Ordinary lives of duty. Verse 27 of Daniel 8 says, after Daniel got this vision he knew this all was coming, what did he do? When he got well he got up and carried on the king's business. He went back to his daily routine. Sinclair Ferguson says, "Daniel did not retire from the world in view of the evil days that were coming nor did he go to the opposite extreme and live on a high of visionary excitement. Instead he did his duty."

The story is told of John Wesley who was on his way to preach when he was stopped by a stranger who asked him what he would do if he knew Christ would return at noon the next day. John Wesley reached in his saddle bag, pulled out his diary, read out the appointments that were already scheduled for the next day, and said, "That, dear sir, is what I would do." Paul puts it this way in 2 Thessalonians 3 you know the believers in Thessaloniki got all excited about prophecy and they weren't doing what they ought to do, they weren't doing their duty and Paul says to them, I want you, he says "… we command and exhort you in the Lord Jesus to work in quiet fashion and eat your own bread." Live ordinary lives of duty.

And secondly, live extraordinary lives of holiness. 1 John 3 says, "Beloved, now are we the children of God; it's not yet appeared what we will be but we know that when He appears we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is." There's our hope. And listen to this, "And every one who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself just as He is pure." That's extraordinary holiness.

And then finally number eleven. In the middle of the most difficult circumstances in life, wait on God and put your trust in Him. That's what the believers who lived in the time of Antiochus had to do. Twenty-three hundred days of terrible persecution, intense persecution. The verse that comes to my mind is the last 2 verses of Habakkuk. You remember Habakkuk learns that God is going to bring the Babylonians and take the people of God into captivity and he just is struggling with how God can use such a wicked people to accomplish this in the lives of his nation. And here's where he ends. Habakkuk 3 verses 17 and 18:

Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on

the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields

produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold

And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord,

I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

If my life is turned on its head, I can still wait on God and trust in Him. Powerful lessons from a history lesson. Let's pray together.

Father, thank You for these great truths. Thank You for the encouragement that You are on Your throne as we sang earlier. And that we can have comfort and confidence in that reality. Lord, seal these truths to our hearts. Help us to live in light of them. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Daniel