1. Who [what] did Daniel see in a vision that did according to his will and became great?
“(1) In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. (2) And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. (3) Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. (4) I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great” (Daniel 8:1-4).
- As you study this chapter notice the simple conclusion… The Mede-Persian Empire will fall to Greece. The first Grecian king will be followed by others in a divided kingdom of sorts. A terrible king will arise and persecute God’s people even to the shutting down of temple worship. This fits the history of the Grecian Empire (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes; more on that at in the notes on chapter 11).
- In the previous chapter we have studied Daniel had a dream in the first year of Belshazzar who was the son of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 7:1). The conclusions of that vision were much like Daniel 2:1-45
- As we continually remind ourselves, when speaking of visions, we must always remember that all things to these men were not always clear (II Corinthians 12:1-4). The interpretation was not up to them (II Peter 1:20-21), as this context clearly will declare (Daniel 8:15-26).
- Daniel was at Shushan, in the palace, when he had this vision (cf. Nehemiah 1:1 and Esther 1:1-5).
- Again, as we have discussed in previous chapters, God spoke to the prophets through visions (Hosea 12:9-10).
- When we get down later in this chapter, we will see these two horns that are not equal represent the kings of the Medes and Persians (Daniel 8:20).
- The Medo-Persian empire was a force that together, combined, took the Babylonian empire (Daniel 5:28).
- It fits the prophesies of Cyrus and those that certainly seem to connect to him that he came from the east. Thus he pushed west, north, and south since he came from the east (Isaiah 41:1-3, Isaiah 44:24-45:5, and Isaiah 46:11).
2. In Daniel’s vision, what did the he goat, that came from the west, do to the ram?
“(5) And as I was considering, 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. (6) And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.
(7) And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand” (Daniel 8:5-7).
- This goat is Grecia as the context bears out (Daniel 8:21). Historically, Alexander the Great of ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon subdued the Persian Empire.
- Not touching the ground appears to be imagery of swiftness. At least this would fit the leopard imagery with four wings of a fowl in Daniel 7:6.
- This goat runs unto the ram in the fury of his power [strength; might]. So, this ram that none could deliver one out of the hand of (Daniel 8:4) is now being humbled (Isaiah 2:11 and Matthew 23:12).
3. In Daniel’s vision, what did the he goat do after his encounter with the ram?
“(8) Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. (9) And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. (10) And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. (11) Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
(12) And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered” (Daniel 8:8-12).
- The rise to greatness is troublesome for most. They tend to take it too far (i.e. II Chronicles 26:1-21).
- One thing that all “great men” should remember is that no one is too great that he should live forever on this earth (Psalms 82:7 and Hebrews 9:27).
- This is in the later time of the Grecian Empire concerning a fierce king that was going to arise (Daniel 8:22-24).
- The wording of “waxed great, even to the host of heaven” (vs. 10) was of this rulers own doing (vs.11). This was likened to what the Babylonian rulers did (Isaiah 14:13-14). The result that follows such men is a humbling (Isaiah 14:15-16).
- When men are able to exalt themselves, cast down the truth, and they prosper in such; that only emboldens them (Psalms 73:1-22 and Jeremiah 5:26-31).
4. In Daniel’s vision, what was to be cleansed?
The sanctuary: “(13) Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? (14) And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (Daniel 8:13-14).
- Saints are followers of God throughout both the Law of Moses and now under the Law of Christ (Psalms 16:3, Psalms 116:15, and I Corinthians 1:2).
- In the Law of Moses, the term translated here as “saint” is called “holy” in reference to the people of God (Deuteronomy 7:6, Deuteronomy 14:2, etc.). However, the term also speaks of places (Ecclesiastes 8:10), days (Nehemiah 8:11), the Lord (I Samuel 2:2), and other things too.
- Yet, this term also means angels (Deuteronomy 33:1-2; cf. Psalms 68:17).
- This makes sense to be in discussion of angels (cf. Zechariah 1:9 and Zechariah 2:3). The context confirms such too (Daniel 8:15-16).
- The daily [continual] sacrifice in the sanctuary (Numbers 29:6 and Ezra 9:5) was taken away and the sanctuary cast down (Daniel 8:11). Here, the Lord gives a timeline of 2300 days for this to be in place. We have to be careful. Days are not alway literal (i.e. Revelation 2:10). The temple and service therein were not entirely wrong early in the 1st century (Luke 1:5-9). That fact shows we are prior to the first century.
- We read language of “transgression of desolation” (Daniel 8:13) and will read of such language again (Daniel 9:26-27, Daniel 11:31, and Daniel 12:11).
- Regarding the “abomination of desolation” in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 in the context of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 23:32-24:34 and Mark 13:3-30)…. I have studied this and thought about this hard. Is Jesus saying that Daniel prophesied about what happened in AD 70 directly? Is it possible Jesus is saying this like He and Paul used Isaiah to describe hardened hearts (Isaiah 6:1-13 and Isaiah 29:11-14; cf. Matthew 13:10-17, Mark 7:1-13, John 12:36-43, Acts 28:17-31, etc.)? My heavy doubts that this is a direct prophesy comes from Matthew 5:17-18.
- Additionally, the context through chapter 11 shows these things to be during the Grecian Empire which ceased before the first century. *Note verses 21-22 especially, immediately. Registration.
5. What was the meaning of Daniel’s vision?
“(15) And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. (16) And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. (17) So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. (18) Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.
(19) And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. (20) The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. (21) And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. (22) Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. (23) And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. (24) And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. (25) And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (26) And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days” (Daniel 8:15-26).
- Daniel was seeking the meaning of this vision (cf. Daniel 12:8).
- Here, maybe it is Jesus (Revelation 1:10-20) [not the Father; John 1:18 and I John 4:12] in the appearance of a man speaking to an angel - maybe not??? Maybe, as we earlier discussed, two angels.
- A man’s voice from one appearing to be a man tells Gabriel (Daniel 9:21 and Luke 1:5-38) to make Daniel understand the vision (Daniel 10:9-14). Don’t marvel at this as though it was a unique occurrence (Revelation 22:16).
- When Daniel fell on his face and then was set upright, that makes sense (Revelation 19:9-10 and Revelation 22:6-9).
- We see the the kings of the Media and Persia and then the Grecian Empire. This is “in the latter time of their [Grecian] kingdom” (Daniel 8:21-23).
- When the four kingdoms stand up out of the nation, it is not of “his power” (vs. 22). Likewise, when the king rises from among the four “his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power” (vs. 24). It is the same Hebrew word. It means: “strength, power, might…” (Strong’s # 3581). In other words, these things were gifted or allowed by God. As was the case in O.T. kingdoms that bent to the will of God (Daniel 5:20-21 and John 19:10-11). You can see in a contrast to this in Acts 1:6-7.
- “When the transgressors are come to the full…” shows the Lord let this go until things got bad.
- In that latter time of the Grecian Kingdom (Daniel 8:21-23)… This king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. He shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. Contextually, this refers to Grecian kings (Daniel 11:21-24).
- Destroy by peace (Proverbs 23:1-3; 26:24-25).
- Fighting against the Prince of princes often draws Christ to mind (Acts 3:15 and Revelation 1:5; 17:14)? However, such terminology isn’t contextually tied to Jesus (Daniel 10:21).
- He shall be broken without hand (cf. Job 34:18-21).
- Daniel is told to shut up this vision as he will be told regarding other things too (Daniel 12:4 and Daniel 12:9).
- “The time of the end” is about this end (i.e. Daniel 11:40), not THE END.
- Like Ezekiel was told of some of his prophesies, these things were afar off (Ezekiel 12:27).
- John was told NOT to seal up the things he was shown for the time of those things was at hand (Revelation 22:10).
6. What impact did this vision have on Daniel?
“And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it” (Daniel 8:27).
- This vision impacted Daniel as to be expected in such cases (Jeremiah 13:17 and Revelation 10:9-10).
- Daniel got back to work (I Thessalonians 4:11), but was devastated.
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.