Daniel’s vision of the ram, the he-goat, and the little horn.
Road to Armageddon – 7.3 – Daniel 8 – Vision Of The Ram And The Goat
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A Glimpse Of Armageddon – The Sixth Bowl Judgment – Will you be there – if so, in which capacity? This is an honest question, which demands a serious response.
Revelation 16:12 New King James Version (NKJV)
Sixth Bowl: Euphrates Dried Up
Revelation 16:15 New King James Version (NKJV)
15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
Study note. Biblegateway.com. MacArthur Study Bible note.
16:15 Blessed. See note on 1:3. watches, and keeps his garments. Our Lord stresses the need for constant readiness for His return (cf. 1 John 2:28). The imagery pictures a soldier ready for battle, or a homeowner watchful for the arrival of a thief (see also 3:3; 1 Thess. 5:2, 4; 2 Pet. 3:10).
Daniel 8 New King James Version (NKJV)
Notice Hanukkah in verse 14
Study notes are from Biblegateway.com. MacArthur Study Bible notes.
The Vision At Susa
1 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me—to me, Daniel—after the one that appeared to me the first time. 2 I saw in the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, that I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai.
8:1 third year. Ca. 551 B.C., two years after the dream of chap. 7 but before chap. 5. the first time. Looks back to chap. 7.
8:2 Shushan. Called Susa by the Greeks, this was a chief city of the Medo-Persian Empire, about 250 mi. E of Babylon. Since Daniel saw himself in a vision, he may not have been bodily in that place (cf. Ezekiel’s vision of being at the Jerusalem temple, though bodily still with the elders in Babylon, Ezek. 8–11).
The Ram With The Two Horns
3 Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. 4 I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great.
The Male Goat From The West
5 And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power. 7 And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand.
The Great Horn Broken
8 Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.
The Emergence Of The Little Horn
9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.
8:9 Glorious Land. Palestine. Cf. 11:16, 41.
8:3–9 This imagery unfolded historically. The ram pictures the Medo-Persian Empire, as a whole, its two horns standing for the two entities (the Medes and the Persians) that merged into one. The history of this empire is briefly noted in v. 4, as it is seen conquering from the E to the W, S and N, under Cyrus, as predicted also by Isaiah 150 years earlier (Is. 45:1–7). The higher horn, which appeared last, represents Persia. The goat (v. 5) represents Greece with its great horn Alexander, who with his army of 35,000, moved with such speed that he is pictured as not even touching the ground. The broken horn is Alexander in his death; the 4 horns are generals who became kings over 4 sectors of the Grecian empire after Alexander (cf. 7:6). The small horn is Antiochus Epiphanes, who rose from the third empire to rule the Syrian division in 175–164 B.C. and is the same king dominant in 11:21–35. Cf. 7:8, 24–26 where a similar “little horn” clearly represents the final Antichrist. The reason both are described as “little horns” is because one prefigures the other. A far more detailed summary will come later in 11:2–35.
8:10 host of heaven. Picturesque language portrays Antiochus’ persecution against Jewish people using the figure of stars (cf. Gen. 12:3; 15:5; 22:17; Ex. 12:41; Deut. 1:10). When defeated, the “stars” (Jewish people) will fall under the tyrant’s domination.
The Desolation Of The Sanctuary
11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.
8:11 Prince. In addition to the desecration of the temple (cf. 1 Macc. 1:20–24, 41–50), Antiochus blasphemed Christ to whom ultimately the host of Jewish people sacrifice and to whom the sanctuary belongs. He is later the “Prince of princes” (v. 25).
12 Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.
13 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?”
8:13 holy one. Angels are in view here.
14 And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”
8:14 two thousand three hundred days. These are 2,300 evenings/mornings, with no “and” in between, which refers to 2,300 total units or days. Genesis 1:5 does use “and,” i.e., “Evening and morning, one day.” The period runs to about 61/3 years of sacrificing a lamb twice a day, morning and evening (Ex. 29:38, 39). The prophecy was precise in identifying the time as that of Antiochus’ persecution, ca. Sept. 6, 171 B.C. to Dec. 25, 165/4 B.C. After his death, Jews celebrated the cleansing of their holy place in the Feast of Lights, or Hanukkah, in celebration of the restoration led by Judas Maccabeus.
Note by Dr. John F. Walvoord (Deceased), Dallas Theological Seminary, The 2300 days and December 25, 167. B.C., from Bible.org.
Innumerable explanations have been attempted to make the twenty-three hundred days coincide with the history of Antiochus Epiphanes. The terminus ad quem of the twenty-three hundred days is taken by most expositors as 164 B.C. when Antiochus Epiphanes died during a military campaign in Media. This permitted the purging of the sanctuary and the return to Jewish worship. Figuring from this date backward twenty-three hundred days would fix the beginning time at 171 b.c. In that year, Onias III, the legitimate high priest, was murdered and a pseudo line of priests assumed power. This would give adequate fulfillment in time for the twenty-three hundred days to elapse at the time of the death of Antiochus. The actual desecration of the temple, however, did not occur until December 25, 167 B.C. when the sacrifices in the temple were forcibly caused to cease and a Greek altar erected in the temple. The actual desecration of the temple lasted only about three years. During this period, Antiochus issued coins with the title “Epiphanes,” which claimed that he manifested divine honors and which showed him as beardless and wearing a diadem.
John 10:22-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
Christ Celebrated “The Feast Of Dedication/Feast Of Lights/ Hanukkah”
22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.
10:22 Feast of Dedication. The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, which celebrates the Israelite victory over the Syrian leader Antiochus Epiphanes, who persecuted Israel. In ca. 170 B.C. he conquered Jerusalem and desecrated the Jewish temple by setting up a pagan altar to displace the altar of God. Under the leadership of an old priest named Mattathias (his family name was called the Hasmoneans), the Jews fought guerrilla warfare (known as the Maccabean Revolt—166–142 B.C.) against Syria and freed the temple and the land from Syrian dominance until 63 B.C. when Rome (Pompey) took control of Palestine. It was in 164 B.C. on 25 Chislev (Dec. approximately), that the Jews liberated the temple and rededicated it. The celebration is also known as the “Feast of Lights” because of the lighting of lamps and candles in Jewish homes to commemorate the event. it was winter. John indicated by this phrase that the cold weather drove Jesus to walk on the eastern side of the temple in the sheltered area of Solomon’s porch, which after the resurrection became the regular gathering place of Christians where they would proclaim the gospel (see Acts 3:11; 5:12).
Visions Interpreted In Relation To The Time Of The End
15 Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.
8:15 appearance of a man. The word for man meaning “a mighty man” is the linguistic framework for “Gabriel,” which means “mighty one of God.” This is the first mention of an angel by name in the Bible. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.”
8:16 a man’s voice. God spoke with a human voice. the Ulai. A river E of the Persian city of Susa.
17 So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.”
8:17 afraid and fell. Loss of consciousness is a common reaction to heavenly visitation (cf. Ezek. 1; Is. 6; Rev. 1). time of the end. This term likely has a double sense of fulfillment. First, the “end” (as v. 19), “latter time” (vv. 19, 23), and “appointed time” (v. 19) refer to time late in the specific span that the historical prophecy has in view. That time is the period defined by the empires in these verses, Persia (Ram) and Greece (Goat), when the Grecian sector will be divided into 4 parts (v. 8). One of these, the Syrian under Seleucus (see note on v. 22), will eventually lead to Antiochus Epiphanes (175–164 B.C.) as the “little horn” meant in v. 9, who persecutes the people of Israel (v. 10) and defies God (v. 11). Cf. 11:21–35 and see notes there. Secondly, this “little horn” in v. 9, the Antichrist in the last days at the time of the eschatological fulfillment, sees Antiochus as a pattern of the Antichrist, who in many ways will be like him, though far greater in power, and will exercise his career in the end of the age just before Christ’s return.
18 Now, as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me, and stood me upright. 19 And he said, “Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be.
The Interpretation Of The Ram And The Goat
20 The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of Media and Persia.21 And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. 22 As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.
The Latter Time Of The Kingdom
23 “And in the latter time of their kingdom,
When the transgressors have reached their fullness,
A king shall arise,
Having fierce features,
Who understands sinister schemes.
24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power;
He shall destroy fearfully,
And shall prosper and thrive;
He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.
25 “Through his cunning
He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule;
And he shall exalt himself in his heart.
He shall destroy many in their prosperity.
He shall even rise against the Prince of princes;
But he shall be broken without human means.
26 “And the vision of the evenings and mornings
Which was told is true;
Therefore seal up the vision,
For it refers to many days in the future.”
8:23–25 A king shall arise. The near fulfillment views Antiochus as the historical persecutor as in vv. 9–14. His career down to 164 B.C. was “in the latter time of their kingdom,” that of the male goat in the Syrian territory. Rome conquered Greece by 146 B.C., only a few years later, and became the next dominant empire. Antiochus died, “broken without human means,” due to insanity and disease of the bowels. The far fulfillment sees Antiochus in vv. 23–25 as prophetically illustrating the final tribulation period and the Antichrist. In such a view, the king here is also the “little horn,” as in 7:7; 8:9 and the willful king in 11:36–45.
Effect On Daniel
27 And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king’s business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it.
Study note from John F. Walvoord
As a result of the tremendous vision given to Daniel and his exhaustion because of it, Daniel records that he fainted and was sick for days thereafter. Upon his recovery, he was able to resume his conduct of the king’s business. Jeffrey notes that Daniel by his immediate resumption of his work in the king’s service proves that he had been in Babylon all the time, and that his presence in Susa was purely visionary.463
The dramatic character of the vision and its tremendous implications, although not understandable to Daniel, remained in his mind. But he could find none that could give him the complete interpretation. It is obvious that the intent of the vision was to record the prophecy for the benefit of future generations rather than for Daniel himself. Unlike the previous instances where Daniel was the interpreter of divine revelation, here Daniel becomes the recorder of it without understanding all that he wrote or experienced.
The emphasis of the eighth chapter of Daniel is on prophecy as it relates to Israel; and for this reason, the little horn is given prominence both in the vision and in the interpretation. The times of the Gentiles, although not entirely a period of persecution of Israel, often resulted in great trial to them. Of the four great world empires anticipated by Daniel, only the Persian empire was relatively kind to the Jew. As Christ Himself indicated in Luke 21:24, the times of the Gentiles is characterized by the treading down of Jerusalem, and the subjugation and persecution of the people of Israel.
Outline from Scofield Study Bible, Dr. C.I. Scofield (deceased)
The vision of the ram and the goat (8:1-8)
The little horn (8:9-14)
The interpretation of the vision (8:15-19)
The identity of the ram (8:20)
The goat and his successors (8:21-22)
The king of bold face (8:23-27)
Audio Lesson: Daniel’s Vision Of A Ram And A Goat
Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost (Deceased), Dallas Theological Seminary; Author of Things To Come; In this audio lesson, Dr. Pentecost ties Daniel and Revelation together, discussing Hanukkah, identifying the anti-Christ.
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