Let’s Look Closer: This vision predicts the future in incredible detail. You could fill books with how these predictions came true in our history. Most of it is power struggles between the rulers to the south of Israel in Egypt and rulers to the north of Israel in Syria. That makes Israel a pawn in conflicts between much more powerful forces. These rulers care little for the people of Israel and the pain they are causing. They only want power for themselves.
Around verse 36, the vision seems to shift to things that happen at the end of time. The ruler is probably referred to in the New Testament as Anti-Christ (1 John 2:18 & 4:3). He is opposed to God and His people and is empowered by Satan in his opposition to all that is right.
Takeaway: On the surface, these predictions aren’t very encouraging. Trouble was coming for the people of Israel, and danger is coming for the world we live in as well. But we need to remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:6-8, “You will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must occur, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.” Birth pains aren’t fun, but they assure people of something much more significant: new life. The pain will be worth it. The result will last for all eternity!