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Lesson: Daniel 8 - Daniel's Vision of a Ram and a Goat

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SCRIPTURE READING: Daniel   8:1-27

GOLDEN TEXT:  Daniel 8:14

1. Daniel had a vision in what year of King Belshazzar? (Daniel 8:1).

Note: With this verse the text reverts back to Hebrew. It has been in Aramaic for about the last 6 chapters. The time setting of this verse is 550 B.C. for the third year of King Belshazzar.

2. Where was Daniel taken in his vision? (Daniel 8:2).

Note: Shushan or Susa was for a long time the principal residence of the Persian kings. It was located about 200 miles due east of Babylon on the other side of the Tigris River. The Ulai canal was an artificial waterway that connected 2 rivers.

3. What did Daniel see in his vision? (Daniel 8:3).

Note: The two horns symbolized an empire that was composed of two separate powers. We understand the meaning of this as the Media and Persian empire. Persia was the stronger of the two and it is symbolized by the longer or higher horn. The symbol of the ancient Persians was a ram’s head with 2 horns and one of the horns was longer.

4. What directions was the ram pushing? (Daniel 8:4).

Note: The missing direction is East and the reason being is that Medo-Persia was in the East, therefore the directions it would push would be away from where it originated.

5. Did Daniel see a male goat coming across the surface of the earth without touching the ground? (Daniel 8:5).

Note: The Macedonians were called, anciently, Ageoda, of which this term means the ‘goats people’. The founder of Macedonia was led there by a herd of goats.

This notable or prominent horn was Alexander the Great and he conquered the world faster than anyone had ever done before and in so short of a span of time, a little more than twelve years.

6. What kind of power did the goat charge the ram with? (Daniel 8:6).

Note: The goat charged the ram with furious power, great rage, and savage force. This reflects Alexander’s advancing forces. He left Macedonia in 334 B.C. and led his army against the Persians in July of 332 B.C. In this time period of about 2 years he had conquered all of Asia Minor and the city of Tyre.

7. When the goat attacked the ram what did he break? (Daniel 8:7).

Note: The decisive battle between the Persians and Alexander the Great occurred at Arbella in 331 B.C., 3 years after he had left Macedonia. He had shattered the horns of the ram and for the next 8 years he would trample the eastern part of the Medo-Persian Empire.

8. Did the male goat grow great? (Daniel 8:8).

Note: There are two ways to understand how the male goat became very great. Literally Alexander the Great subjugated more territory than the Babylonians or the Medo-Persians. The other way to understand this is that Alexander became very arrogant with all of his conquests. He began to view himself as a god and required his subjects to bow down and worship him. He became great in his own eyes, just like Nebuchadnezzar..

Note: The large horn that was broken represents the death of Alexander the Great. He died when he was 33 years old in 323 B.C. The term ‘four notable ones’ represents the four generals of Alexander who divided his empire into four parts.

9. Did Daniel in his vision see a little horn come out of one of them and grow exceedingly great? (Daniel 8:9).

Note: Out of one of the four horns, which represents the four generals of Alexander, came a little horn from the East. This was historically fulfilled by a man by the name of Antiochus IV. He usurped the Seleucid throne from his nephew. In 168 B.C. he invaded Egypt in the South and met Roman forces who basically told him to go home. He was very angry and he came back to Jerusalem and vented his anger at the Jewish nation. The term ‘glorious land’ refers to Judea and Jerusalem.

10. Did the little horn cast down some of the host of heaven and trample them? (Daniel 8:10).

Note: The host of heaven represents God’s chosen people and some of them were killed during this period of time. The little horn represents Antiochus IV who fulfilled this by type by conquering Judea and he killed many Jews. He caused the rest of the Jews who didn’t escape to convert to his Greek ways and they were Hellenized. The apocryphal books of First and Second Maccabees are a historical record of this period of time.

11. Did the little horn exalt himself as high as the Prince of the host? (Daniel 8:11).

Note: The ‘Prince of the host’ is referring to Jesus Christ. Antiochus IV believed that he was god in the flesh. He had coins made with his image on them and around the coin was the Greek title Theos Epiphaneus which means ‘God manifest’. He became known as Antiochus Epiphanes. He stopped the daily sacrifices and later erected a statue of Zeus in the Temple and he sacrificed swine on the altar.

12. Did the little horn cause the truth to be cast down to the ground and did he prosper in this? (Daniel 8:12).

Note: Antiochus Epiphanes had control over the Temple, the altar and the sacrifices and caused the Jews to transgress God’s laws and His truth.

13. Did one angel ask another angel how long the sanctuary and the host would be trampled under foot? (Daniel 8:13).

Note: The information that the angel gives is critical to understanding what God reveals to His people as a sign indicating the beginning of the end of the age.

14. What is the time period given till the sanctuary will be cleansed? (Daniel 8:14).

Note: The word ‘days’ in the KJV should be translated as ‘evening-mornings’. See your center margin in your Bible and the NIV translation. The original Hebrew for ‘evenings-mornings’ is the phrase ‘ereb boqer’ which is a compound expression that referred to two sacrifices that God commanded to be offered daily for the people of God. One in the morning and one in the evening. (Exodus 29). With two offerings each day you would divide the 2300 by 2 and that would be 1150 days.

15. Did Daniel seek meaning to the vision that he had received? (Daniel 8:15). Did he see someone having the appearance of a man?

16. Who was to help Daniel to understand the vision? (Daniel 8:16).

Note: This is the first time a righteous angel has been mentioned by name in the Bible.

17. Was Daniel afraid and did he fall on his face? (Daniel 8:17). Was Daniel told that the vision referred to the time of the end?

Note: The vision concerns the time of the end, but not the 2300 sacrifices. It is what happened during the 2300 sacrifices. To Daniel everything in the vision was future. He was in the third year of King Belshazzar (Daniel 8:1) and the Medo-Persian Empire had not risen at this time. For those living at the end time, there is a historical prototype of the actual end time events. We can look back and see a historical fulfillment but not a total fulfillment, only a prototype fulfillment.

18. Was Daniel in a deep sleep? (Daniel 8:18). Did he stand upright when Gabriel touched him?

19. Was Gabriel going to make known to Daniel what shall happen in the latter time? (Daniel 8:19).

Note: Although the vision relates to a specific event that is now history, the main focus of the vision is for the end of the age. It says it two times in this chapter that it is for the end time (Daniel 8:17 & 19).

20. Who did Gabriel reveal the ram with two horns was? (Daniel 8:20).

21. Who did the male goat and the large horn represent? (Daniel 8:21).

Note: The large horn represented Alexander the Great.

22. Who was the broken horn and the four kings that stood up in its place? (Daniel 8:22).

Note: The broken horn represented the death of Alexander the Great. His four generals divided the kingdom into four parts. These kings were Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy and Seleucus.

23. Will a king arise in the latter time with a fierce countenance and be a master of intrigue? (Daniel 8:23).

Note: "The latter time" is a reference to the end time. This king, otherwise known in prophecy as the ‘beast’ will be a king of grim aspect, defiant, a master of stratagem with sinister schemes. He will be very devious. Antiochus Epiphanes fulfilled the prototype, but he did not fulfill the ultimate meaning of this vision. The time of the vision is for the end.

24. Will this king’s power be mighty and will he seek to destroy the holy people? (Daniel 8:24).

Note: This verse says the king will have power "but not by his own power." He will be empowered by Satan the devil (2 Thessalonians 2:9). We are also told that this king receives power as the beast for one hour because the ten kings give their power over to him (Revelation 17:12-13). He will work havoc on the mighty nations and the holy people. He will make a decree that affects everyone within the Christian world (Revelation 13:15-17). He will invade the middle east and conquer many nations (Luke 21:20-24, Daniel 11:40-44). He will destroy the holy people (Revelation 12:17, 6:11). The remnant of the New Testament Church will be attacked with great vengeance. He will make war on the saints (Revelation 13).

25. Will this king be cunning and deceitful? (Daniel 8:25). Will he be filled with vanity and exalt himself? How does Isaiah describe the mind and thinking of this individual? (Isaiah 10:13-14).

Note: He will be subtle, devious and cunning in what he does. He will come and pretend that he is Jesus Christ. He will conquer and people will not realize what happened until he has an iron grip on them. Jesus said that if it were possible the very elect would be deceived (Matthew 24:24). This king or the ‘beast’ will rise up and challenge the ‘Prince of princes’ which is Jesus Christ and he will be broken without human hand, which means he will be broken by Jesus Christ’s divine hand. He will lead human armies to oppose Jesus Christ and His armies at His return (Revelation 17:14).

26. Was Daniel told to seal up the vision for it refers to the future? (Daniel 8:26).

Note: This shows that the evenings and mornings are connected with the time of the end. This is for the future, the end time. However, this vision, Gabriel does not connect the number 2300 with the evenings and mornings. The 2300 has been fulfilled historically. There is another time setting that is connected with the evenings and mornings for the end, as we will see in Daniel 12.

As for Daniel the understanding of the vision was sealed.

What does Jesus reveal to us today in Revelation 1:3 "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near."

Revelation 22:10 "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand."

Jesus reveals that for us today prophecy is not sealed.

27. Was Daniel sick and astonished by the vision? (Daniel 8:27). Did anyone understand the vision?

Note: Daniel had no way of connecting these events together since there was no historical perspective from which he could draw any conclusions. Antiochus Epiphanes had not lived yet. The Medo-Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, and the Roman Empire had not yet risen at this time.

We today have a historical perspective and can use it to understand clearly what is yet to come and understand the final fulfillment.




Scripture Reading:

Daniel's Vision of a Ram and a Goat

(Daniel 8 NKJV) 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. {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. {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. {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. {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. {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. {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 under foot?" {14} And he said to me, "For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed."

The Interpretation of the Vision

{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. {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." {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." {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. {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. {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." {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.

Golden Text:   

Daniel 8:14 NKJV "And he said to me, "For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed."

All Questions: See Scripture Reading.

24. (Revelation 13:15-17 NKJV) He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. {16} He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, {17} and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

(Luke 21:20-24 NKJV) "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. {21} "Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. {22} "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. {23} "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. {24} "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

(Daniel 11:40-44 NKJV) "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. {41} "He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. {42} "He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. {43} "He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. {44} "But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.

(Revelation 12:17 NKJV) And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

(Revelation 6:11 NKJV) Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

25. (Isaiah 10:13-14 NKJV) For he says: "By the strength of my hand I have done it, And by my wisdom, for I am prudent; Also I have removed the boundaries of the people, And have robbed their treasuries; So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man. {14} My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people, And as one gathers eggs that are left, I have gathered all the earth; And there was no one who moved his wing, Nor opened his mouth with even a peep."

26. (Revelation 1:3 NKJV) Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

(Revelation 22:10 NKJV) And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.