Daniel’s vision of the ram and the goat
Is the ‘abomination of desolation’ referred to in Revelation literal or symbolic? In the above text it is referred to as ‘transgression that makes desolate’. This prophecy was fulfilled literally by Antiochus Epiphanes when a pig was sacrificed in the temple of God in Jerusalem, but will be fulfilled again at the end of the age. Next time many of the details outlined by Daniel could be literal, symbolic or both. We just don’t know.
However, chapter 8 gives us more clues to the timing of the Antichrist’s appearance. Verse 22 tells us that four kings or kingdoms arise from Greece and that the Antichrist comes out of one of them.
The work of the Antichrist is described in greater detail in this chapter. For 3 1/2 years the Antichrist will prosper in his determination to rid his kingdom of God’s people and all worship of the true God. Apostate Christians and Jews will think he is the Messiah; Muslims will think he is the Mahdi. He will even claim to be divine, God’s son or even God Himself.
Where does he come from? The text says Greece. But Greece today is not the global power is once was; so it cannot be Greece. In biblical days the kingdom of Greece would have covered a greater area than it does today. Perhaps even parts of Europe and Turkey. We are told the goat representing Greece came from the west, ‘across the surface of the earth’, and is very great and powerful.
Eventually this king or leader is replaced or deposed by four other leaders, or his kingdom is split into four separate states. It is out of one of these that the Antichrist emerges.
Many people believe that Greece represented by the goat is the EU (European Union). It could be. However, going even further west could it possibly be the USA since we are told that the goat travelled over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground, quite a substantial distance? This of course remains to be seen. It is purely speculation; we just don’t know.
Some Christians believe all this happens to the Jews that are left behind after the rapture because of the reference to the Jewish sacrificial system. I believe it could have a more general meaning indicating what will happen rather than giving specific details.
There are a lot of things we don’t know yet. Maybe we have to wait until they happen before we can understand them.