DANIEL’S ‘HE-GOAT’ AND JOHN’S ‘BEAST’
By: Dcn. Eric Oparaoha
Bible readers note with keen interest the startling vision seen by Prophet Daniel during the period of Jewish exile in Babylon and that of Apostle John at Patmos. Both visions were centuries apart but dwelt on future world powers for centuries ahead. This piece looks at the identities of the persons symbolized by the ‘he-goat’ and the ‘beast’, as well as their roles, relationship and historical relevance in God’s time table with man.
The book of Dan. 8:1-7 states the vision received by Prophet Daniel regarding the fall of Medo-Persian Empire symbolized by a two- horned ram (meaning dual power). The overthrow of this empire, according to verse 21, would be as a result of the swift military attack by a military leader from Greece. It is interesting to note what would follow after this conquest and takeover. According to Dan. 8:8, “therefore the he-goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken: and for it came up four notable ones towards the four winds of heaven”. Specifically, Dan. 8:21 explains “And the rough he-goat is the King of Greece; and the great horn that was between his eyes is the first king; Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it , four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation but not in his power”. Chapter 11:4 further explains that” and when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken (into four kingdoms) … and not to his posterity nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up even for others beside those”.
This prophecy will excite anyone knowledgeable in the history of the Greek Empire because of the amazing accuracy of the prophetic utterance in view of what really happened. In 356 B.C. that is 250 years after Daniel’s vision, Alexander the Great, son of King Philip II of Macedon was born. He became the commander of the Greek army at the young age of 20 in 336 B.C. after successfully quelling a rebellion in Greece, he engaged in a ligthening eastward military campaign that over-threw the two hundred year-old Medo-Persian Empire (in 331 B.C.) reaching the vast region from Greece to India, that had been occupied by earlier Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian Empires.
The ambition of Alexander the Great was to bring together peoples of various regions of Europe and Asia into the same system of Greek civilization and one world government under himself. More than any other man, he came closest to achieving this feat as some accounts say that at India, he sat down and wept because he had “run out of world to conquer”. He became so great and powerful that he desired to add divine authority to his temporal power to become a Divine Ruler. While in Egypt, he paid visit to the Ammon shrine in the Siwa desert and thereafter in 324 B.C., sent message to Greece claiming descent from Zeus-Ammon (i.e. Greek and Egyptian dieties). A year after this claim, in 323 B.C., Alexander died of malaria at the age of 33.
Daniel’s prophecy said his kingdom shall be broken into four “… and not to his posterity (relations or children) nor according to his dominion which he ruled”. History records, that Alexander the Great had two sons. One infant son by his princess called Roxana and another son by one Barsine. His brothers and sons tried as much as they could to control the Kingdom but it was all in vain. Few years after his death and immediately after the fierce battle of Ipsus, his empire was split up among four of his generals.
Seleucus Nicator took Syria, Ptolemy Lagus took Egypt, Lysimachus and Cassander took the other parts. But as foretold, none of these generals had such dominion as possessed by Alexander the Great, the “first King”.
The question now is: What is the historical relevance of Alexander the Great to God’s time table with man” By having great dominion over an extensive region and fusing diverse peoples (of Europe and Asia) together into one system, he did transform the world. Greek ideas including those of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates were wide-spread and with the culture was the foundation for western civilization laid. The Greek ideas and culture resulted in the transformation commonly referred to as Hellenization. This new world he founded laid the foundation stone for the emergence of the Roman Empire and also it was into this world that Jesus Christ was born and founded His church.
In other words, Alexander the Great laid the ancient foundation stone for the idea of one world government and system under the supreme dominion of man rather than God. The Roman emperors, molded after his legacy, would also make such claims of divine rulership. That is to say, this world ruler whom Daniel saw as a ‘rough he-goat’ laid the foundation which led to the emergence of the Roman Empire that would have “…a king of fierce countenance …and his power shall be mighty …and he shall Destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper… and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also, he shall magnify in his heart, and peace shall destroy many; he shall also stand up against the Prince of Princes: but he shall be broken without hand”. (Dan. 8:23-25). The Roman Empire, symbolized as ‘leg of iron’ and ‘feet of iron mixed with clay in the image Daniel saw (Dan. 2:31-45), is the last empire that would remain in its peculiar “mixed state” (“wounded but not unto death”: Rev. 13:3), up till the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Empire split into what we geographically refer to as nations of Eastern and Western Europe which has now regrouped most of its prominent members into European Union under the 1957 Treaty of Rome.
This regrouping is necessary for the eventual emergence of the “Beast” that John saw in Rev. 13, which symbolizes the expected world leader who, backed by the religious ‘beast’ (false Christendom), will blasphem the name of the Lord. This ‘anti-Christ’, would “…with the Kings of the earth and their armies gather together to make war against Him that sat on the Horse, and against His army” (Rev. 19:19).
No doubt, Alexander the Great, who died at remarkable young age of 33, was the ancient precursor of the expected Anti-Christ of the end time. As he sought the fusion of different peoples into one-world system under his imperial and spiritual leadership, so would the coming Anti-Christ do, within a working time permitted by God, before the Prince of Peace would return to destroy that system. The house Alexander laid the Foundation, the Anti-Christ will seek to complete. As Alexander, a man who claimed to be god failed, so shall the Anti-Christ fail in the presence of Lord Jesus, the one who was God but became man.
The fore-going is the spiritual and historical significance of the relationship between the ‘he-goat’ that Prophet Daniel saw and the ‘Beast’ that Apostle John saw. As Daniel’s vision came to pass so shall John’s vision on the coming ‘Beast’ be fulfilled soon. At this closing part of the end-time, God is now reconciling His true seeds to Himself to shield them from the dangers that lie ahead. Let us be attentive to His VOICE so as to be raptureable!