October 2, 2021
"While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet."
“While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet. Then he said, ‘I am here to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath. What you have seen pertains to the very end of time. The two-horned ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy male goat represents the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes represents the first king of the Greek Empire. The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the Greek Empire will break into four kingdoms, but none as great as the first. At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height, a fierce king, a master of intrigue, will rise to power. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people. He will be a master of deception and will become arrogant; he will destroy many without warning. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power. This vision about the 2,300 evenings and mornings is true. But none of these things will happen for a long time, so keep this vision a secret.” Daniel 8:18-26
Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday that remembers both a military victory and a miracle of light. In Hebrew, the word Hanukkah means “dedication.” I mention Hanukkah because the events surrounding Hanukkah are prophesied (and explained by the angel Gabriel) in today’s chapter. After the untimely death of the young Greek king, Alexander the Great, four rulers (horns) arose and contended for the kingdom. The smallest “horn” was a man named Antiochus who called himself “Epiphanes,” meaning “Manifestation of God.” He conquered his way along the Mediterranean Sea and down to Israel. In Jerusalem, Antiochus entered the Temple, defiled it, and declared his so-called deity. An Israelite named Judah Maccabee (a “messiah” of sorts) gathered his family & friends, and believing God’s Word through the prophet Daniel, against overwhelming odds, he routed the Seleucid Greeks. Perhaps, now you can understand the conversation with Jesus at Hanukkah.
“It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of the Festival of Dedication (Hanukkah). He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. The people surrounded him and asked, ‘How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’ Jesus replied, ‘I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.’ Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. Jesus said, ‘At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?’ They replied, ‘We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.’” John 10:22-30