Yes, you read the title correctly. It may not have seemed like Daniel 8 had anything to do with the First Signpost, but it actually does.
Those who have read my book would have seen in Table 9-1 on p. 152, which lays out the Scripture verses for the First Signpost, that Daniel 8 has nothing to do with the First Signpost. Well, I cannot hold that position any longer.
I showed in Daniel Revisited that Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 talk about the same events like the Second, Third and Fourth Signposts but from different perspectives. Further reflection led me to write this post, where the topic of this post would be part of a future revision of the book.
Summary of the First Signpost, 1979-2011
The First Signpost included Saddam coming to power in 1979, his first conquest at the end of the Shemitah in 1980, his later attempts at conquest, being deposed as ruler in 2003, and Iraq having an outside force applied to it, to make it a democracy. That force, the United States military, left the country at the end of 2011. So the total span of the First Signpost is 32 years, from 1979 to 2011. It includes Saddam’s tenure as leader of Iraq, and then Iraq’s democratization.
At the very beginning of Daniel 8, the prophet notes the ram standing next to Susa in southwest Iran. Daniel noted some detail about the two horns on the Persian ram. It says in Daniel 8:3b,
“One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later.”
I wrote in detail in the first part of Chapter 10 in Daniel Revisited about the fulfillment of the rise of the second horn. (That section is available for download here.) The second horn, likely fulfilled by the IRGC, grew in power during the years 1979 to 2011, which is the same time duration as the First Signpost. That little phrase in Daniel 8:3, “…but grew up later” is packed with 32 years of history and growth of the IRGC. Starting in 2012, experts on Iran started publishing their findings that the IRGC was equal in power to the supreme leader; perhaps even more powerful.
Timeline of Iraq and Iran
Here is a summary of the timeline and the interconnectivity of the second horn to the First Signpost:
1) The IRGC is founded in April 1979 as the bodyguard to the supreme leader. The supreme leader is the first horn of the ram. Later in July of 1979 Saddam comes to power in Iraq, beginning the First Signpost.
2) Saddam invades Iran in 1980. With the regular Iranian army (Artesh) in tatters because of the Shah leaving and most army officers leaving, the IRGC (Pasdaran) steps in to fill the void. Today the Artesh defends Iranian territory, but the IRGC is the largest and best equipped military in Iran.
3) The Iran-Iraq War rages from 1980 to 1988. During that time the IRGC becomes a million-man military unit directly under the command of the supreme leader, which invades and tries to take down Iraq. It is a foreshadow of the Second Signpost. Over eight years, the IRGC grows from a bodyguard of a few thousand, to a world-class military force to be reckoned with, of over a million soldiers.
4) While Saddam tries to make Iraq rebound in the 1990s from the destruction of the war, the IRGC increasingly takes over the Iranian economy, earning money for itself and starting the nuclear and rocket programs.
5) By the time Saddam is taken out in 2003, the IRGC has taken over banking and intelligence. It is ready to enter politics. Several commanders run for parliament and win. The IRGC supports Ahmadinejad for president and their winning candidate fills the cabinet ministry with former IRGC.
6) By 2011 when the US forces leave Iraq and the First Signpost has ended, experts on Iran cannot determine which has more power – the supreme leader or the IRGC. In fact, they need each other to survive.
The Persian Perspective
The only way the IRGC could fulfill that little phrase in Daniel 8:3b, “…but grew up later” was due to the First Signpost. The IRGC had to grow up fast to fight the conqueror bent on conquest. With a million IRGC soldiers returning after the war, Iranian leadership put them to work on construction projects and building and buying Iranian companies.
How would Iran view the First Signpost in reality? The IRGC took the brunt of the receiving end of Saddam’s actions, saved Iran from Saddam, and then grew to be the power it is today within Iran. Indeed, it is the perspective of the Persian ram that would say the growth of the second horn is a direct consequence of the First Signpost with the Iraqi invasion of Iranian territory.
Therefore, the second ram’s horn growing up could be said to be the Iranian perspective of the First Signpost.
It is that former leader of Iraq, that dictator and tyrant, that one who was bent on conquest, who triggered the growth of the second horn of the ram in Daniel 8. If it wasn’t for Saddam Hussein and his desire for conquest, the IRGC would have never grown into the force it is today.
That little phrase in Daniel 8:3b, “…but grew up later” is Daniel 8’s version of the First Signpost.