Daniel 8 has our prophet getting another vision revealed to him. “In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first”. This vision happened while Babylon was securely in power. Though the vision will deal with the emergence and destiny of the Greek Empire, the Greek Empire was not much of anything at the time the prophecy came to Daniel. He sees a ram, which later in the chapter was clearly identified as representing the Medo-Persian Empire, which succeeded the Babylonian Empire.
“I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power”. The Medo-Persian Empire exerted its power to the north, south, and west. It took territory but made no major conquests towards the east. But then, it all changes. A male goat came from the west: In this same chapter this male goat was clearly identified with Greece and its horns are identified with the rulers of the Greek Empire. Alexander was one of the greatest of all.
The male goat grew very great. “It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host”. The greatness of Alexander’s Empire was not only in its vast dominion but also in its cultural power. Alexander the Great was determined to spread Greek civilization, culture, and language across every land he conquered. As God guided history, He used Alexander’s passion to spread Greek culture to prepare the world for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of Alexander’s influence, koine (common) Greek became the common language of the civilized world – and the language of the New Testament.
God goes on to give Daniel the interpretation, although it may not seem all that clear to us today. The prophecy in this passage reads equally true of both Antiochus and Antichrist. This is an example of a prophetic passage that has both a near and far fulfillment. Though this prophecy was fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes of the Medo-Persian Empire, it also has a later fulfillment in the Antichrist, referring to the time of the end. Antiochus Epiphanes is sometimes called the “Antichrist of the Old Testament.” He prefigures the Antichrist of the end times. Antiochus Epiphanes was empowered by Satan and allowed by God. The same will be true of the coming Antichrist.
Credit to David Guzik’s commentary for much of this post.