Daniel wrote Daniel 2:4-7:28 in Syriack so the Gentiles nations could read their future in their language. But beginning here in Daniel 8:1, he resumes writing in the Jewish language of Hebrew, for He is about to start revealing clues as to who the antichrist will be and where he will come from. That’s information that Jews will need in the Tribulation, so God had Daniel write it in their language.
“Shushan” (8:2) is where they hanged Haman and his 10 sons (Esther 7:10; 9:13). He was a type of Antichrist and his ten “toe” kings (Dan. 2:41). In giving Daniel this vision of the antichrist in Shushan, that’s God’s way of assuring Tribulation Jews not to worry about Antichrist and his 10 kings, for God will slay them as He did Haman and his 10 sons.
The “ram” (v.3) was Media-Persia (8:20). One horn represented Media, the other Persia. The reason the one that came up last was “higher” is that eventually Persia became the dominant kingdom. That’s why Media gets top billing at first (Dan. 5:28; 6:8, 12, 15), but later Persia did (Esther 1:19).
The reason no nation could stand before Media-Persia (8:4) was that God helped the king of Persia become powerful (Isa. 45:1-3). Babylon destroyed God’s temple and He wanted “vengeance” on Babylon for His temple (Jer. 51:11).
The “he goat” (Dan. 8:5, 6) is Greece (8:21), which is “west” of Media-Persia. He “touched not the ground” in that Greece conquered Media-Persia in 3 short years, seeming to fly against them. The “notable horn” is “the first king” of Greece (8:21), Alexander the Great. When he was “strong” at age 33 he got drunk and died, “broken” of a fever (8:8). When he died, “four notable ones” took his place and divided up the kingdom of Greece (8:21, 22). History says Alexander’s four generals fulfilled this prophecy.
The “pleasant land” (8:9) is Israel, a land filled with milk and honey, and the “little horn” that rises against it is thought by many commentators to be Antiochus Epiphanes, who attacked “the holy people” of Israel as Daniel 8:23, 24 says this little horn will. But he didn’t “stand up against the Prince of princes” (8:25). He died before Christ was even born.
So the little horn must be the antichrist, who was supposed to rise up from among those 4 generals, but didn’t because the mystery interrupted this prophecy. But after the rapture he will, and “wax” (8:10) or grow great (cf. Gen. 26:13). He’ll start out small and insignificant-looking, but magnify himself against “the host of heaven” (8:10), e.g., God’s heavenly host of angels (cf. Lu. 2:13). Antiochus didn’t.
The “stars” (Dan. 8:10) Antichrist will cast down from heaven are the fallen angels of Persia and Greece (10:13, 20). When they see him conquering the earthly kingdoms of Persia and Greece, they’ll object and try to defend them. Satan’s kingdom is one of envy and strife and hatred.
Antichrist will magnify himself against Israel’s Christ (8:11), the prince of God’s host (cf. Josh. 5:13, 14) by claiming to be Israel’s Christ (II Thes. 2:3, 4). When he does that, he’ll take away the daily sacrifice (Ex. 29:29, 30, 38) by dying and rising again (Rev. 13:4) and claiming he died for their sins, fulfilling the type of those sacrifices. That’s how he’ll take away those sacrifices. That’s the abomination the Lord warned about (Mt. 24:15, 16), and Daniel 11:31 says it shall take away the daily sacrifice. The only seat he can “sit” on in the temple (II Thes. 2:3, 4) is the mercy seat. Sitting where the blood of the daily sacrifice was usually sprinkled is how he takes those sacrifices away.
That will get his people so excited they’ll cast down the sanctuary of the temple (8:11 cf. 9:26), causing a “host” of people to follow him (8:12 cf. 11:31-35). For him to claim to be Christ, he’ll have to cast down the truth that Jesus is their Christ (John 14:6). They will “practice” (8:12) their religion, that of enforcing the mark of the beast, without which many will be hungry and thirsty (Isa. 32:6). That will cause believers to suffer financially when they lose their businesses, which will cause their oppressors to “prosper” (8:12). It will take 220 days for the temple to be built (Dan. 8:13, 14 cf. Rev. 11:2, 3), but it will finally be cleansed by the Lord’s coming.