A Ram WithTwo Horns
In this vision, Daniel saw a ram ... having two horns, (we recall that the word, horn, can refer to a king or a kingdom) and the two horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. They were two kingdoms fighting as one; the Medes and the Persians.
It is also interesting to note that the symbol of Persia was a ram; as the beaver is the symbol of Canada. The ram was the royal ensign of the Persians; whose kings used to wear for a diadem something made of gold, in the shape of a ram's head, set with little stones. Gill.
Then the he-goat became very great. And when he was strong, the great horn (Alexander) was broken. Alexander in B.C. 323, after a reign of twelve years and eight months, died as a fool dieth, of a fever brought on by fatigue, exposure, drunkenness, and debauchery. He was only thirty-two years old. Easton's Bible Dictionary.
In its place came up four outstanding ones towards the four winds of the heavens. When Alexander died his kingdom split into four lesser kingdoms.
And out of one of them came forth a little horn,
- Antiochus Epiphanes, who sprung from ... Seleucus king of Syria, one of the four horns ...: this is that sinful root said to come out from thence, in the Apocrypha: "And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, .'' (1 Maccabees 1:10) Gill.
- The Jews turned it into “Epimanes” meaning, “madman.” Guzik.
- By some estimates he is responsible for the murder of more than 100,000 Jews. Guzik
Antiochus became very great, toward the south (Egypt) and toward the east (the countries beyond the Euphrates) and toward the bountiful land (Israel). 8:5-9.
It (the horn, Antiochus Epiphanes) became great, even to the host of heaven (angels). And it made fall some of the host (the Jews) and of the stars (their priests) to the ground, and trampled them. He made war on the holy army of God - the priests and worshippers of Jehovah. Barnes. Yea, he magnified himself, even to the ruler of the host, Antiochus Epiphanes blasphemed God and commanded idolatrous worship directed towards himself. Guzik.
The daily sacrifice was taken away by him, He destroyed the Jewish sacrificial system, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. He offered swine flesh on a Jewish altar. It (the horn) cast the truth to the ground. And it worked and succeeded. We are still asking, "Why do the wicked prosper"?
While we were studying the Book of Isaiah we learned that sometimes when the prophet made a statement that referred to his own time, the New Testament writers took that phrase and applied it to a situation they were writing about. For example, Isaiah prophesied the birth of his son; after all, his wife was already pregnant. In the New Testament, that same prophecy is applied to the birth of Christ.
It seems that we have a similar situation here. Daniel was writing about Antiochus, but John, who made a very similar prophecy in The Revelation, was referring to the antichrist, because, by the time John wrote, the prophecy about Antiochus was no longer relevant; he was history.
Also through his understanding, (Antiochus was known as a deep thinker and a smooth talker), he shall cause deceit to succeed in his hand, he was good at lying. This reminds one of another ruler of a well-known English speaking country. And he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by promising false peace shall destroy many. He also shall stand up against the Ruler of rulers (Jehovah).
But he shall be broken without a hand. 8:10-13. He did not die in war or at the hand of a traitor; But the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague: or as soon as he had spoken these words, a pain of the bowels that was remediless came upon him, and sore torments of the inner parts;'' (2 Maccabees 9:5). Gill.