Daniel 8:1-27 – If the End Is Coming, We Have Work To Do!

Posted: June 20, 2016 in 27-Daniel

Daniel 8:1-27

Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and Goat

Wow! Daniel who gained quite a reputation for explaining God’s vision is baffled by his vision in this chapter, Chapter 8. Because it is a vision of future events, there is really not much in it that I can extract from it that compares to personal experience so let’s go straight to the text:

 

8 In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me. 2 In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal. 3 I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. 4 I watched the ram as it charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against it, and none could rescue from its power. It did as it pleased and became great.

 

5 As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. 6 It came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at it in great rage. 7 I saw it attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering its two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against it; the goat knocked it to the ground and trampled on it, and none could rescue the ram from its power. 8 The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.

 

9 Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. 10 It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. 11 It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. 12 Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people[a] and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

 

13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?”

 

14 He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”

The Interpretation of the Vision

 

15 While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.”

 

17 As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,”[b] he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.”

 

18 While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet.

 

19 He said: “I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.[c] 20 The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between its eyes is the first king. 22 The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.

 

23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.

 

26 “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.”

 

27 I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.

 

 

For some background to this mysterious vision that baffles even Daniel, the great interpreter of dreams for Babylonian kings, lets identify some things (literary credit goes to the footnotes in my Chronological Life Application Study Bible):

 

  • Susa was the winter capital of the Babylonian empire’s government. It later became the capital of the Medo-Persian empire after it conquered Babylon. Susa was a well-developed city both militarily and culturally. It was the location that the first set of codified laws known to man was found (the Code of Hannurabi).
  • The two horns were the kings of Media and Persia who had a confederacy of sorts that worked together to overthrow Babylon and begin establishing their own empire. The longer horn represents the fact that Persia was growing stronger while Media was growing weaker as time progressed.
  • The goat represents the Greek empire of Alexander the Great. At the time of this vision in 551 BC, Greece though culturally significant was not yet even close to becoming a world power. It was only under Alexander the Great, the military genius that he was, that Greece became a world power. Because of his military genius, Alexander conquered much southern Europe, the Middle East, northeastern Africa, and southwest Asia in swift order. It was during Greek dominance of the Middle East that the Greek language became the language of commerce that continued to exist in the time of Jesus.
  • Although Alexander may have many greater exploits in him, he died suddenly at the age of 31 at the height of his power. His vast kingdom was then eventually split up into four separate kingdoms under the four highest ranking generals under Alexander. Ptolemy ruled Egypt and Palestine. Seleucus ruled Babylon and Syria, Lysimachus ruled in the Asian provinces, and Antipater ruled southern Europe and Greece. These are the four horns.
  • It was under Ptolemy that he appointed Antiochus IV as the ruler over the Jerusalem and it is Antiochus who appointed himself the High Priest of the Temple. He then proceeded to place Greek idols in the Temple of God. This is the abomination of desecration that is referred to by Jesus in Matthew. A further fulfillment of this prophecy will occur under the Anti-Christ at the end of all things (see 2 Thessolonians 2:4).
  • The 2,300 days refers to the time between Antiochus’ desecration of the temple until it the temple was restored to proper worship under Judas Maccabeus in 165 BC.
  • The time of the end refers to the whole period from the end of the Exile to the Second Coming of Christ. Many of the events described would happen under Antiochus will be repeated on a larger and broader, maybe even worldwide scale, just before the Second Coming of Christ.
  • The fierce king has an immediate focus in Antiochus but also has a end times pointing toward the time of the Anti-christ.
  • The Prince of princes is God Himself. No human power could defeat the king whom Daniel saw in his vision but God would bring him down. Antiochus eventually went insane and died in Persia in 164 BC and God will ultimately defeat the Antichrist at the end of time.

 

The thing that continues to be hammered into my head about the dreams and visions is that things will get worse before they get better. We will live through times where it will be tough to be a Christian. We see that happening all around us all the time. It is easy to be a Christian in America even now compared to the rest of the world. Persecution is a real thing for most Christians around the world from being cut off from family, from being economically discriminated against, from being imprison and even being killed for being Christian. The time will come in America that we will be silenced and even imprison and maybe even murdered for our beliefs. It will come. Mark it.

 

However, one thing God promises is that there will be an end to it all. He is holding back from bringing an end to the world to give everyone the last available opportunities to turn to Him. Meanwhile, man continues to turn his back on God and descending into further self-indulgence and idol worship. God is being patient but at some point, the Father’s patience will run out. Time will be up and Christ will return.

 

That brings us to two points that we must remember. First, we are safe in Jesus’ arms. We are secure in our fate. Regardless of if we die right now, we are safe in His arms. If the world ends right now, even though things will be pretty doggone horrible, we will be safe in His arms. The second thing is that it calls us to evangelism. God is being patient but we must tell the world that there is something better than this world and its self-indulgence and recklessness. The fact that there is an end of times that we, according to Jesus, must be ready for at all times should spur us on to evangelize the world. It’s not something we should be putting off. The world could come to an end at any time. Do you really want to put off having that conversation with those people that are in our spheres of influence?

 

We are safe in the Lord’s arms but our job is to make sure as many who will listen are safe in His arms also.

 

Amen and Amen.

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