Daniel 8:23 Index
"And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up."
Research Material

"...in the latter time of their kingdom..."

  • That is, after the divisions of Alexander's empire had existed for some time. The empire of Rome arose gradually, and attained supremacy only after the divisions of the Macedonian Empire had become weak. The prophecy applies to Rome in both its pagan and papal forms. There appears to be a blending of application, certain features applying to both, others more specifically to one or the other (Daniel 8:11). That papal Rome was, for all practical purposes, the continuation of the Roman Empire is a well-established fact of History:
    • "Whatever Roman elements the barbarians and Arians left... were... put under the protection of the Bishop of Rome, who was the chief person there after the Emperor's disappearance.... The Roman Church in this way privily pushed itself into the place of the Roman World-Empire, of which it is the actual continuation; the empire has not perished, but has only undergone a transformation.... That is no mere 'clever remark,' but the recognition of the true state of the matter historically, and the most appropriate and fruitful way of describing the character of this Church. It still governs the nations.... It is a political creation, and as imposing as a World-Empire, because the continuation of the Roman Empire. The Pope, who calls himself 'King' and 'Pontifex Maximus,' is Caesar's successor" (Adolf Harnack, What is Christianity? [New York; G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1903], pp. 269, 270, italics in the original). (4BC 845-846)
  • This power succeeds... the four divisions of the goat kingdom in the latter time of their kingdoms, that is, toward the termination of their career. It is of course the same as the little horn in Daniel 8:9 and onward. Apply it to Rome, as set forth in remarks in Daniel 8:9, and all is harmonious and clear. (US 189)

"...the transgressors are come to the full..."

  • or "there sins are come to the full." (4BC 846)
  • Fill up their cup of iniquity. (Genesis 15:16; Ed 173-177). (4BC 846)
  • When do the transgressors "come to the full"? All along, the connection between God's people and their oppressors is kept in view. It was on account of the transgressions of His people that they were sold into captivity. Their continuance in sin brought more and more severe punishment. At no time were the Jews as a nation more corrupt morally than at the time they came under the jurisdiction of the Romans. (US 190)

"...a king of fierce countenance..." (Deuteronomy 28:49-55)

  • As the Grecian Empire slowly faded away, Pagan Rome attained the supremacy... This description coincides with the picture of the fourth beast of Daniel 7, which represents Pagan Rome. Since Papal Rome was in many respects a continuation of the Roman Empire (Pagan Rome), there is a mingling of applications. Some of the points apply to both, while others apply to only one. The authority of the Roman Empire was utilized by both Pagan and Papal Rome; such as, through the crucifixion of Christ, and the persecution of Jewish and Christian people. both Pagan and Papal Rome had "...destroyed the mighty and the holy people..." (Daniel 8:24). With Papal Rome taking over the power and authority of Pagan Rome, the texts says, "...but not by his own power..." (Daniel 8;24). Scripture enlarges on the Little Horn in Revelation 13. It reveals that this power of Papal Rome will continue until Christ returns. For then it will "...be broken without human hand" (Daniel 8:25). (4BC 846)
  • In predicting punishment to come upon the Jews from this same power, Moses calls it "a nation of fierce countenance." (Deuteronomy 28:49, 50). No people made a more formidable appearance in warlike array than the Romans. (US 189-190)

"...understanding dark sentences..."

  • "enigmatic statements" (Numbers 12:8); "riddles" (Judges 14:12; Ezekiel 17:2); "perplexing questions" (1 Kings 10:1); or "ambiguous speech," or "double dealing." (4BC 846)
  • As to "understanding dark sentences," Moses says in [Deuteronomy 28:49, 50] "Whose tongue thou [the Jews] shalt not understand." This could not be said of the Babylonians, Persians, or Greeks, in reference to the Jews; for the Chaldean and Greek languages were used to some extent in Palestine. This was not the case, however, with the Latin. (US 190)

"...shall stand up."

  • That is, to assume power. (4BC 846)