This is one way by which he can cause the wisdom of the wise ones to perish. And so, a veil comes over the eyes of many, when they read the words of a prophecy and do not discern the ambiguity.
In vision, the prophet Daniel saw a two-horned ram being struck down by a goat with a prominent horn. The goat magnified itself, but then the great horn was broken, and in its place came up four horns toward the four winds of the heavens.
The angel told Daniel that the two-horned ram stood for the kings of Media and Persia, the goat stood for Greece, its great horn stood for the first king, and that four kingdoms would come from his nation.1
This was fulfilled when Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont and defeated the Persian empire.2 After Alexander’s death, his empire was divided between his generals.
The vision continues by saying, “out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.” 3
Now, most of the wise men who interpret this vision, Jew and Gentile alike, say this little horn comes out of one of the four horns, and is therefore Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria who sacrificed swine in the holy sanctuary.
Yet many of these same wise men say that Daniel’s words were written in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, so it is not really a prophecy at all. And thus YHWH snares them in their own wisdom, and conceals any further meaning from them by the use of ambiguity.
For if we carefully read the account, it says “the great horn was broken, and up came four prominently in place of it, to the four winds of the heavens. And out of one of them came a little horn.” 4
According to this, what did the little horn come out of? Out of one of the four horns, or one of the four winds? The words are ambiguous, for it could have come from one of the horns, or one of the winds. But if it came from one of the four winds, then the “little horn” is a different kingdom altogether.
When we see the ambiguity, the first veil is removed. For if it came from one of the four winds, the description of the “little horn” fits the Roman empire far more accurately than Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria.
Unlike Syria which came from the north, the Romans came from the west; but true to the prophecy, they “grew exceedingly great toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.”
Of this little horn, the prophecy says: “It magnified itself to the prince of the host, and from him the regular sacrifice was taken away, and the site of his sanctuary was thrown down.” 5
The Romans acted against YHWH's people, and the Temple, in a far more dramatic and lasting way than Antiochus Epiphanes did. That king only defiled the Temple, but in the days of the Romans it was actually thrown down.
Daniel is told, “the vision is for the time of the end.” 6 There was not a significant end in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes. Although your ancestors suffered at that time, the Temple remained standing and was cleansed within a few short years.
But it is certainly fitting to call the destruction by the Romans a “time of the end.” In those days the Temple was burned to the ground, the sacrifices established in the Law of Moses ceased to be offered in that place, Jerusalem was desolated, and your ancestors were scattered.
Furthermore, Jerusalem was trampled on by a series of Gentile kingdoms; and if we count from the days of Alexander the Great, this trampling by Gentiles lasted for about 2,300 years, or exactly 2,300 years if we count from his crossing of the Hellespont to defeat the Persians.2
And so we see how YHWH uses ambiguity to catch out the wise, and hide a deeper meaning of prophecy from them. For even if they insist the prophecy was written in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, we can see that once the first veil, the veil of ambiguity, is lifted, it is more accurately foretelling the rise of the Romans and what they would do to Jerusalem and the Temple, to say nothing of the length of the trampling by foreign nations; and by this we can know that YHWH is in control of times and seasons.