STUDY OF DANIEL
The eighth chapter of the Book of Daniel tells of Daniel’s vision of a two-horned ram destroyed by a one-horned goat. (An allegory for the transition from the Persians to the Greek eras in the near East).
This is followed by the history of the “Little Horn,” which represents the Greek King Antiochus Epiphanes.
In order to uderstand Daniel’s prophecies it is necessary to understand repetition and expansion. This suggests that each of the great outlined prophecies in the Book of Daniel continually goes over the same history, repeating the empires of the past, but each succeeding prophecy adds further details on the end time. Daniel 8 and 9 go through the same sequence as Daniel 2 and 7 portraying the empires of Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, and the little horn. The focal point in Daniel 7 was the development of the little horn, whereas, the focal point in Daniel 8 and 9 is how God will bring an end to the little horn power.
(Daniel:1-2), As in the previous chapter of Daniel, this chapter was written during King Belshazzar’s reign. This chapter was written “In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar… .”. King Belshazzar only reigned for three years. It was during his ruleship that the Babylonian Empire crumbled under the hands of the Medes and Persians. So we find this vision coming to Daniel in the final year of the reign of Belshazzar and the Babylonian Empire. Since Babylon was about to be overthrown, the vision of this chapter begins with Medo-Persia. This chapter is also a repeat of Chapter 7 with more emphasis on the judgment scene.
“Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns… .”
The first power introduced to us in this chapter is symbolized by a Verse 20 indentifies this “ram” as Medo-Persia. The “two horns” represents the two parts of the empire with the Persians, the younger of the two nations, becoming dominant over the Medes. The kingdom eventually was known as the Persian Kingdom. “The two horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.”
(Daniel 8:5-8), “. . . . Behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.” Daniel is now introduced to the next power while watching the ram, thus showing that these are consecutive kingdoms. Verses 21 and 22 identify the “goat” as Greece. The “notable horn between his eyes” was Alexander The Great, who came from the west and defeated the armies of Persia. Greece was to cover the face of the whole earth in a short space of time, hence the wording “touched not the ground” (pertaining to the speed by which this was done). Alexander did this in 12 short years, conquering everything from Macedonia to India and south to Egypt. The notable horn is the first king, which is Alexander the Great.
The Bible describes the goat as coming to the ram in the fury of his power and being moved with choler against him. (verse 7) From verse 7, it’s easy to see that Alexander utterly destroyed the Medo-Persian Empire, for the Bible says that he “smote the ram… brake his two horns… no power in the ram… cast him down… stamped upon him… none that could deliver the ram”. Greece is regarded as waxing very great.
In verse 8, when the empire was at its peak in strength, Alexander died in a drunken rage at about the age of 31. Initially, the entire kingdom went to Alexander’s natural brother, Phillip Aridaeus, and then to his two infant sons. Within a very short time, they were all killed, so there was no natural heir to the throne, and the battle ensued between the 36 generals for control of the kingdom. Eventually, it was divided between four—exactly as the prophecy stated. These were:
(1) Cassander, who had Macedonia and Greece in the West.
(2) Lysimachus, who had Asia Minor in the North.
(3) Ptolemy, who had Egypt and part of Syria in the South.
(4) Seleucus, who had the bulk of Persian Empire from Syria Eastward.
Note: The two animals used to represent Medo-Persia and Greece are not wild animals of prey, but clean animals used in the sanctuary service. The next power to come into view is represented by a horn. The focus of this vision is how this power affects God’s sanctuary, His people, and His work of saving souls from sin. (Some similarities/differences between Daniel 7 and 8.)
(1) observed a little horn growing out from among the four horns on the goat. Though this is similar to the little horn that was revealed in Daniel 7:8, this little horn is not the antichrist, but a type of antichrist. This is the historical figure, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who was the ruler of Syria from about 175-163 B.C.
(2) The little horn in Daniel 7 was on the fourth beast that represents the revived Roman Empire. The little horn in Daniel 8 was on the goat, that represented Greece. Second the little horn in Daniel 7 came up from among the ten horns on the beast; the little horn in Daniel 8 came up from among four horns on the goat.
(3) Both little horns are similar, and is why the little horn on the goat is a type of the one in Daniel 7.
(4) Millennia in time separates the two, as well as the extent of their influence.The little horn in Daniel 8 has worldwide influence, whereas the little horn in Daniel 7 has influence only in parts of the near East. (Daniel 8:9-12), In verse 8 we saw the great horn for the he goat was strong and the great horn was broken when Alexander died. From it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of Heaven (North, South, East, West). In verse 9, “And out of one of them came forth a little horn… .”
We know from Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 and from history that the power which followed Greece was Rome. In Chapters 2 and 7, it was shown in two phases: Pagan Rome and Divided Rome. We saw in Chapter 7 that the religious power of Papal Rome rose to dominate the divided empire. This version represents power.
In verse 11, we see “It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the Host”.
In verse 25, we see that the “Prince of Princes” is obviously a reference to Jesus Christ. The power here described as the little horn stands up in opposition to Jesus Christ Himself. The power that crucified Christ was the pagan Roman Empire. At this point, we can see that the little horn in Daniel 8:9 is none other than the pagan Roman Empire. In there are five things the little horn tried to do:
(1) “He magnified himself even to the prince of the host”.
(2) “By him the daily sacrifice was taken away”.
(3) “The place of his sanctuary was cast
(4) “It cast down the truth to the ground”.
(5) “It practiced and
Daniel hears two Holy beings talking in Heaven and one asks the question: “How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation… . ?”
And in verse 14, we see how long it would take for the sanctuary to be cleansed. He said unto me, “unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
Note: 2300 literal days is a little less than seven years. It is not a very long time for all the events described in Daniel 8 to take place. According to Daniel 8, the 2300 days would encompass the Medo-Persian, Grecian, Roman and Papal powers. Obviously, we are not dealing with 2300 literal days, but 2300 years. says, “I have appointed thee each day for a year”. In Bibical time prophecy, one day is symbolic of one year, and this principle fits in very clearly with the context of Daniel 8. Also, in verses 17 and 19, the Bible states that the vision extends to the end of time. The angel does not give the starting date in this chapter, but we know that it is sometime during the reign of Medo-Persia (539-331 B.C.), which was the first kingdom in this prophecy. The exact starting date will be given in Chapter 9.
Daniel is seen looking for understanding the meaning of what he had seen, when he sees the appearance of a man standing before him.
Gabriel is the angel that stands in the presence of God, and Gabriel is the one sent to give understanding of the vision to Daniel.
In verse 17, 18, Daniel became afraid, and fell upon his face. Daniel faints before Gabriel can give him the starting date of the 2300 days/years. We will look more closely at what the time of the end is in Chapters 11 and 12. The vision was not to be in Daniel’s time. We will see that this time of the end will come in God’s appointed time.
Read!! This power is broken an expression alluding to the rock cut out without hand that destroys the image of Daniel 2.
By quick comparison of the “fourth beast” and its “little horn” from Chapter 7 with the “little horn” of Chapter 8, we see that they both represent the same power. The angel explained all parts of the vision except the 2300 days and the cleansing of the sanctuary.
Where the interpretation for these parts of the vision would be expected, Daniel is told to close up the vision, for the fulfillment of certain details of the vision of this chapter would extend into the distant future.