As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. It came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at it in great rage. I saw it attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering its two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against it; the goat knocked it to the ground and trampled on it, and none could rescue the ram from its power. The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. Daniel 8:5-9 (NIV).
Alexander the Great was, of course, the greatest military leader of antiquity. He conquered all of the known world (of his time), and then died. The goat prophesied in these four verses today symbolizes the Greece and Alexander would boldly unite, then lead, then leave on his untimely death (he is the horn that breaks off, to be replaced by four kinds, which was how Alexander’s empire was divided).
That was then. Starting in verse 9, we have that account of the horn being broken off and replaced by four other horns. One of those, in ancient days, would be called “king of the North;” we will read about him in a later post. In the time after Alexander, this man would desecrate the Jewish temple (which, in Daniel’s time, was yet to be rebuilt). We’ll learn about that also in a few days.
For now, it’s enough to know that this particular prophecy was actually fulfilled once, in the centuries immediately after Daniel’s time.
You know what comes next, though. In another ‘and yet’ moment, God promises us that He will orchestrate events near the end of time so that what was old will seem new again. There will be another young, strong ruler who will rise to power and mock God. He will exercise more political, military, and religions power than any leader in history; more than Alexander, or Hitler, or anyone. He will do great and mighty things that will impress many, maybe most, of the world, and those things will lead so very many people astray. They’ll forsake their faith in the Lord to follow him.
Of course, that man will be a liar and a fraud; of course, he’ll be a politician. Of course, he’ll be the antichrist, in whatever form he takes. And, most importantly, of course, his rise and fall were already prophesied, then guaranteed, by the prophets of old and the Savior Jesus they unwittingly served.
For further reading: 2 Chronicles 26:16-21, Ezekiel 20:6, Revelation 7:1, Daniel 8:10
Lord, troubled times are here with more to come. Steady my frightened heart to seek its strength only in You.
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