About the “Prince who is to come”, from the Perspective of Daniel.
In Daniel 8 the focus is on an evil ruler who will cause great harm to the Jews. He is called “the little horn” and a “king… who is insolent.” Later, in Daniel 9:25, Gabriel, calls him the “prince who is to come,”referring back to this discussion. This “prince” cannot be Jesus, as some suggest, and he cannot literally be the Antichrist, no matter how similar the descriptions may be. To what degree he is a template for the Antichrist depends on other passages of scripture and the system of prophetic interpretation is being used.
Daniel 8:8-14 (NASB)
8: 8 Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. 9 Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land. 10 It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. 11 It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down. 12 And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, "How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?" 14 He said to me, "For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored."
The “male goat” was Alexander the Great. When he died, his four generals divided his Empire. This little horn was Antiochus IV of Syria. These events took place around 167-163 BC. Josephus and the Book of Maccabees describe these events and deliberately relate them to this prophecy in Daniel 8.
There is more about this “Little Horn”:
Daniel 8:15-19 (NASB)
8:15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man. 16 And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, "Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision." 17 So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end." 18 Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright.
19 He said, "Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.
These visions were given to Daniel during the 70 year Babylonian Captivity. The prophecy of the 70 weeks had not yet been given, nor had they begun. But Daniel knew Jeremiah 25 and Leviticus 26, so he knew the Sabbaths of the land were nearly complete. Soon, the Captivity of Judah would be over. But what is all of this other stuff about? Who are all of these other kings, and why does this “Little Horn” do so much damage to God’s people? What did the “Final Period of Indignation” mean to Daniel? These references to “the end” are based on Leviticus 26 and not the Book of Revelation.They are not about our future. This “final period of indignation” is going to be explained further in Daniel 9
Daniel 8:20-26 (NASB)
The Angel Gabriel interprets the earlier vision.
20 "The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia.
21 "The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king. 22 "The broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power.
23"In the latter period of their rule,
When the transgressors have run their course,
A king will arise,
Insolent and skilled in intrigue.
24"His power will be mighty, but not by his own power,
And he will destroy to an extraordinary degree
And prosper and perform his will;
He will destroy mighty men and the holy people.
25"And through his shrewdness
He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence;
And he will magnify himself in his heart,
And he will destroy many while they are at ease.
He will even oppose the Prince of princes,
But he will be broken without human agency.
26"The vision of the evenings and mornings
Which has been told is true;
But keep the vision secret,
For it pertains to many days in the future."
In V. 23, the “latter period of their rule” means that the remnant of the four kingdoms created by Alexander’s generals after his death will soon be taken over by Rome. The insolent king who will arise is the “Little Horn” of v. 9-14. This was Alexander IV (“Epiphanes”) of Syria.
Why is all of this important? This was in Daniel’s distant future. It was in Jesus’ recent past. It is the basis for the Hebrew Celebration of Chanukah, which Jesus observed in John10. All of the New Testament prophecies were written with this understanding. The Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ main prophetic conversation, requires this as a prerequisite to interpretation. But you can understand why few people have ever heard any of this. It requires a substantial understanding of Jewish history. Unless you have Jewish friends, or participate in some kind of “Messianic” fellowship, you may not even know these prophecies exist. Speculations relating these passages to the “Antichrist” have obscured their original frame of reference. Daniel already knows that Leviticus 26 outlined everything that happened to Judah and Jerusalem during his youth and young adulthood.
At this point, Daniel has access to the writings of Jeremiah. He now knows that, after 536 BC, everything will change, and that the process described in Leviticus 26:42-46 is about to begin. At this time, no one knows that it will be more than 490 years after the Babylonian Captivity before all of this will be completed. But soon, Daniel will.
It’s time to go to Daniel 9.