THE VISION OF THE RAM, THE HE-GOAT AND THE LITTLE HORN
Daniel, Chapter 8
AIM: To show that God's prophetic word will be fulfilled exactly as God has revealed.
POINT OF CONTACT: What three kingdoms were to follow the Babylonian Empire? What was the name of the great Medo-Persian General? (Cyrus.) What was the name of the great Grecian General? (Alexander.) Do you know any outstanding or unusual things about Alexander? What? In our lesson today we will learn of him and many other unusual things.
INTRODUCTION: Beginning with this chapter, the remainder of Daniel is written in Hebrew because it has direct reference to the Jews, Jerusalem and the Temple. This chapter reveals to Daniel what shall come upon the Jewish people during the latter days of the Grecian Empire's rule and also what shall come upon the Jews, "at the time of end", which we know will occur during the Tribulation period. The chapter also gives another vision of Medo-Persian rule which would be ended by the Grecian Empire.
I. Introduction to the Vision - Vs. 1, 2
Vs. 1 -- The vision occurred the same year as the Fall of Babylon and probably before its fall.
Vs. 2 -- Elam was one of the provinces of Babylon and the summer capital of the Babylonian kings was at Shushan or Susa. Cf. Esther 1:2.
II. The Vision of the Ram - Vs. 3, 4
Vs. 3 -- The ram refers to the Medo-Persian Empire. The ram was their national emblem. (Vs. 20). The two horns refer one to the Medes and the other to the Persians. The higher horn refers to Persia which was the strongest, and it came into prominence after the Medes.
Vs. 4 -- Under Cyrus the Great, the Medes and Persians conquered the nations as far as Mediterranean (West), the Black Sea (North), and the Persian Gulf (South). "No beasts" refers to any nations.
III. The Vision of the He-Goat - Vs. 5-8
Vs. 5 -- The he-goat kingdom refers to the Grecian Empire. The national emblem was a goat. (Vs. 21). "Touched not the ground" refers to the swiftness of the Grecian conquest.
The notable horn was Alexander the Great.
Vs. 6 & 7 -- "Choler" means fierce anger. The Greeks were still angry over the Persian conquest of their lands which occurred when the Medes and Persians came to power. This points us to the fact that the kingdoms of this world regardless of how powerful they are at any given time, will only last for a time. Power, prosperity, and no national purpose will eventually cause any nation to fall. Our nation is in the process of deteriorating because:
(1) Being powerful, we are failing to trust in the Lord;
(2) Being prosperous, we do not look to God for our needs;
(3) Having no national purpose, Americans, give their energies and time to obtaining wealth and fleshly satisfaction. Seeking satisfaction for the desires of the flesh causes us to became weakling; because we then fail to discipline ourselves. We then become easy victims for conquering, ambitious nations.
Vs. 8 -- Alexander died at the age of 33, after conquering the World. He died at a young age because of licentious and riotous living. He was one of the great men of history. He never lost a battle. In 11 years, he covered 22,000 miles with his armies. He had 3 teachers as a youth: The great Aristotle taught him about the things of this world. Philip, his dad, taught him tactical warfare. His mother taught him riotous and licentious living. These teachers did a good lob. None of us live in a closet. Our lives influence others--either for good or bad.
The four notable ones refers to his four generals. When he died there was a great upheaval in the Grecian Empire and the empire was divided up into four sections with each of his generals becoming the king of one them:
Cassander took Macedonia and the Western Part (Europe).
Lysimachus took Thrace and the Northern Part (Asia Minor).
Seleucus took Syria and the Eastern Part.
Ptolemy took Egypt and the Southern Part. Egypt and Africa.
IV. The Vision of the Little Horn - Vs. 9 & 10
Vs. 9 -- This little horn is prophetic of one that would come forth in a few years and greatly persecute the Jews. It is generally agreed that this was fulfilled by a very powerful king from Syria called Antiochus Epiphanes. He bore the name Epimanes, also, which means "the madman". He ruled about 175 B.C. The pleasant land refers to Palestine.
Vs. 10 -- The "host of heaven" refers probably to the Jewish people. The Christian age is not in view at all here. This is prophetic of events completely having to do with Jews. The "stars" refers to the important officials of the Jewish people.
There were two Jewish factions in Palestine. Onias III was the leader of the Orthodox Jews and his brother, Jason, was the leader of the Hellenistic Jews which would do away with Jewish customs. Antiochus had Onias driven out ( II Maccabees 4:4-6) and Jason became high priest in his stead.
This "Little Horn", Antiochus Epiphanes is a type of the Anti-Christ that will treat the Jews terribly during the latter three and one-half years of the Tribulation.
V. The Vision of the Abomination of Desolation - Vs. 11-14
Vs. 11 & 12 -- "The Prince of the Host" refers to God. Antiochus had the daily sacrifices stopped in the temple at Jerusalem and the other worship feasts. In the height of his power he went into Jerusalem, desecrated the temple, abused and killed the priests of the Lord most High, went to the altar upon which only holy things and clean animals were to be sacrificed and, instead, as an insult to God and the Temple, he slaughtered a pig, sacrificing it upon the altar.
This man did this and for a time prospered. Note: People may go against God's will and for a time seemingly prosper, but there is a day of reckoning. There is pay-day, someday. Heb. 9:27.
Vs. 13 & 14 -- "Days" means evening & mornings. Antiochus and his acts may prosper but they will end and on God's time scale. The cleansing of the Sanctuary took place under Judas Maccabaeus, December 25, 165 B.C. Reckoning back 2,300 days, we come to August 1, 171 B.C. Up to this latter date the relations between Antiochus and the Jewish people had been peaceful; then began a series of aggressions which ended only with his death. Note: The fulfillment of God's Divine Word is a certainty. Titus 1:2.
VI. The Vision of the Glory Persons - Vs. 15 - 18
Vs. 15 -- The appearance of a man-- very probably God in the form of man. A theophany.
Cf. Genesis 16:7; 18:2, 13. God appeared in the Old Testament to people as a man or as the Angel of the Lord.
Vs. 16-18 -- Gabriel and Michael are the only angels mentioned in the Bible by name and both times are in Daniel. Here we learn some things about angels.
(1) They are holy. They are called saints, holy ones, Vs. 13;
(2) They are not absorbed with thinking about themselves. Their chief concern is the honor and majesty of God and the well-being of man. Vs. 13. They are discussing these things;
(3) They obey God as noted by Gabriel's obedience, Vs. 16, 18;
(4) They desire that men, like angels do the will of God. Vs. 26.
VII. The Angelic Interpretation - Vs. 17-26
Vs. 17-19 -- Although the visions given Daniel in this chapter referred to the empires that would come to power after the Babylonians, the vision of the little horn would have its final fulfillment "at the time of the end" or "for at the time appointed the end." It would be in the "last end of indignation". This refers to an even yet future from now.
Prophecy often refers to two events: One which occurs later than the other. e.g., Hosea 11:1. So, this prophecy in Daniel eight refers to Antiochus Epiphanes and to the Anti-Christ of Revelation 13.
Vs. 20-22 -- This has already been explained in Vs. 3-8.
Vs. 23 -- Here we learn that the 10 kingdoms of the world as revealed in Chapter 2 & 7 will include the four kingdoms of the Grecian empire. Out of one of these, it seems, shall come the Anti-Christ.
Vs. 24 -- He will be powerful but will receive his power from Satan. Revelation 13:2. He shall be against the Jews, the holy people.
Vs. 25 -- He will capture the fancy of the world. Many will prosper. By peace, he will destroy many. He will make a covenant to protect the Jews and will keep it for three and one-half years and then, suddenly, he will break it and turn on the Jews. He will have the Temple sacrifices stopped and allow his image to be placed in the Temple and people will worship him. His acts will be as bad as those of Antiochus Epiphanes. He'll stand up against the Prince of princes-God. But, he will be broken by God.
Vs. 26 -- The vision of the evening and the morning refers to Vs. 14. The Anti-Christ will desecrate the Temple in the middle of the seven year Trbulation period. For three and one-half years, the last half of the Tribulation Period, there will be no temple worship, e.g., 1,260 days. Then for another 1,040 days it seems there will be no Temple worship. Ezekiel's temple will have to be built after the Tribulation and then sacrifices will again be offered during the Millenium. Cf. Ezekiel 40-43. This seems to be the most feasible explanation of this difficult passage of verse 14 through 26. -- Daniel shut up the vision. Its not for people to know now but its for others to know at a later date.
VIII. The Effect Upon Daniel - Vs. 27
The vision overwhelmed Daniel and he thought on it so much that he became sick. Note: Worry can make us physically ill and God doesn't want us to worry. Isaiah 26:3,4; Phillippians 4:6-9. Finally, Daniel rose up and went back to his daily work, serving the king. That should be our work -- Serving the king.
CONCLUSION: Prophecy is history, pre-written. In this chapter we have seen that which was prophetic in Daniel's day and it has been fulfilled to the letter. We have seen that there is still much yet to be fulfilled, and we can be sure it will be. Before the Anti-Christ comes, Jesus is coming for His Saints. Are you ready for His Coming?