The Ram and the He- Goat Study of Daniel 8
Daniel 8:1 “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.” Daniel’s Second Vision
Daniel 8:2 “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.” Daniel’s Second Vision
Daniel 8:3 “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.” The Ram
Daniel 8:4 “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.” The Ram
The Time of the Vision • From here to the end of the book, the language is Hebrew—not Aramaic. • The vision… • The time of the vision • “3rd year of Belshazzar ‘s reign.” This is two years after the vision in chapter 7. • Both chapters 7 and 8 chronologically precede the events in chapter 5. Therefore, the vision occurred shortly before the night of Belshazzar’s fatal feast.
The Place of the Vision • The place of the vision • Shushan the palace (fortress) • Susa was the chief capital of the Persian Empire. • Shushan as “Fortress” is not part of the city but used for the city itself. • Province of Elam by the river Ulai. • The river Ulai flowed by Susa. • Evidently, a man-made canal, 900 feet wide, which connected two rivers--the Choaspes and the Coprates.
The Ram • Literally one ram • Two horns on the ram • Daniel “lifted his eyes up.” • Daniel is awake during this entire revelation. • The ram is an emblem of princely power. • Ezekiel 34:17; 39:18 • The “higher horn” speaks of the supremacy of the Persian element • “Higher horn” came up last.
The Ram • The two horns • Symbolize the people (country) of the Medes and Persians. • Higher represents the Persians under Cyrus. These Persians, who lived during Babylon’s destruction of Assyria, were raised among the Medes. • Head down, the ram is pushing (butting) his way westward, northward, and southward.
The Ram • Rapid conquests of Darius and Cyrus. • Notice he doesn’t push eastward—not until Darius did the Persians make many eastern conquests, and these had no lasting value. • Greatest Medo-Persian conquests: • The West: Babylon, Syria, and Asia Minor • The North: Armenia and the lands about the Caspian Sea • The South: Egypt, Ethiopia.
The Ram • No beasts could stand before him. • No kingdom could resist his power • He did “according to his own will.” • He conquered as he wished • He overwhelmed those he chose. • No one could deliver out of his hand.
Daniel 8:5 “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.” The He-Goat
Daniel 8:6, 7 “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. And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns…” The He-Goat
Daniel 8:7 “… 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.” The He-Goat
Daniel 8:8 “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.” The He-Goat
The He-Goat • Attacks the ram angrily. • The He-Goat represents theGrecian Empire. • A fitting symbol of power. • The “Notable Horn” refers toAlexander the Great. • “On the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground.” • InMaccabees 1:3—”He went through to the ends of the earth and took spoils of a multitude of nations; and the earth was quiet before him.”
The He-Goat • Remember the leopard’s “four wings” in chapter 7. • Therapidity of his victories is recorded in history. • The goat comes near the ram. This signifies the conquest of Alexander the Great over the Persian Empire. • In the veryseatof the ram’s power! A complete overthrow.
The He-Goat • Verse 7 is a concise, precise statement of the Medo-Persian empire’s utter destruction. • As others had once been helpless before the ram, the ram is now defenseless before the he-goat! • According to history,by the time he was 33 years old,Alexander the Great hadconquered the known world—then he died!
The He-Goat • At the height of the He-Goat’s great strength, his notable horn is broken, andfour notable horns come up in its stead. • The He-Goat magnified himself exceedingly. • The horn’s breaking symbolizes the death of a mighty young conqueror--Alexander. Divine providence played a part in this breaking. • Four notable horns replaced the one single horn.
The He-Goat • The four horns represent four kingdoms into which Alexander’s empire is broken. Alexander’s generals reigned over the following: • Antipater (Cassander) over Macedonia-Greece • Lysimachus over Thrace • Seleucius over Syria, Babylonia • Ptolemy over Egypt • Originally, there were FIVE, but Antigonus was soon overthrown.
The He-Goat • The four winds… • Four points of the compass: • North, South, East, and West • The vast empire, founded by Alexander, was dispersed to the four winds. • Secular history also verifies the accuracy and truth of these facts!
Daniel 8:9,10 “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. 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.” The Little Horn
The Little Horn • The little horn and the trodding underfoot of the sanctuary (vs.9-14) • Came out of “them” on the four horns • “Grew exceedingly”—the horn, from a small beginning, grows to a great power • Greatness is toward the south, east, and the “Glorious Land.” • Designation of the Land of Canaan or the Promised Land(Ezekiel 20:6; Jeremiah 3:19)
The Little Horn • The little horn, Antiochus Epiphanes, waxed exceeding great toward: • South—Egypt • East—Elymais and Aremenia • Third location—Canaan—lies between the two(Isaiah 19:23ff) • Information also found in: • Josephus Antiquities X:11:7 • 1 Maccabees 1:16ff; 3:31,37; 6:1-4
The Little Horn • The little horn, becomes great “even to the host of heaven.” • Figure typically used of God’s people the “mighty ones of the holy people.” • Daniel 12:3; Isaiah 14:13; Jeremiah 33:22 • Faithful true believers under the Old Covenant • Antiochus Epiphanes’ wickedness against the holy people is really against heaven and God Himself!
Daniel 8:11,12 “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. 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” The Little Horn
The Little Horn • The “Prince of Hosts” would be deity itself! • He “waxed great” “even right up to God.” • Removal of temple sacrifices • Daily“morning and evening sacrifices” • The temple was not actually torn down, but he so corrupted and desecrated it that it was unfit for use. • Maccabees 1:44-47; 3:45 • Josephus agrees…
The Little Horn • Thus far, the following picture has unfolded: • Ruler made mighty territorial conquests (vs.9) • Persecution of God’s people (vs.10) • Insult and opposition of the Lord Himself (vs.11) • People were evil • On “account of transgression” • As long as the heathen are flourishing and trampling the place ordained for true sacrifices, TRUTH IS CAST DOWN!
Daniel 8:13 “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?’” The Holy One Speaks
Daniel 8:14 “And he said to me, ‘For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.’” The Holy One Speaks
Vision’s Voice and Length • The vision passed from that which is seen to that which is heard. • Daniel hears a holy one—an angel—speaking. (Zechariah 1:12ff). • A second angel addresses the first one. • Sought an answer to the “length of the vision.” Of what? • The continual transgression which desolates, the giving up of both thesanctuaryandhostfor trampling.
Time Period • “Two thousand three hundred days;” then the temple will be cleansed. • 2300—evenings and mornings • Literal or figurative? • If literal, the days refer to the history of Antiochus Epiphanes. • If literal, Covers 6 years and 4 months • A period a little short of 7 years • Return from Egypt—171 B.C. • Death in 164 B.C. • Abominations lasted until 165 B.C. • Persecution for definite period of time
Daniel 8:15 “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.” Seeking Explanation
Daniel 8:16 “And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, ‘Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.’” Seeking Explanation
Daniel 8:17 “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.’” Seeking Explanation
Daniel 8:18 “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.” Seeking Explanation
Daniel 8:19 “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.’” Seeking Explanation
The Visitor • Daniel was beholding the vision—he sought an explanation. • Suddenly there appeared an angel in the form of a man. • Gabriel(man of God) commanded by God to interpret the vision for Daniel. • An authoritative voice—identity of the “man’s voice.” • Clearly, this is a message sent from God.
Gabriel • This is the only Old Testament book that names “angelic” beings and Gabriel. • Daniel 8:16; 9:21 • We know he stood in God’s presence • Luke 1:19,26; (Jude 9—Michaelthe archangel) • Nothing more is known of him, and he is mentioned only as bearing messages to Daniel, toZachariasthe father of John the Baptist, andMary.
Gabriel’s Message • Direct contact with a heavenly being wrought great fear and dread. • Why? Could a person’s sense of his own sinfulness overwhelm him? • “Time of the end.” (“Day of the Lord.”) • A time appointed by God • An end of a vision • Completing of the elements of a vision at a time appointed by God—not men • Sure fulfillment
Habakkuk 2:2,3 “Then the LORD answered me and said: ‘Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’” God’s Timetable
Gabriel’s Message • Daniel’s loss of consciousness • Key to interpreting phrase invs.19 • End of the OT time period • Permission for afflictions or indignations upon Israel. • End of OT time and ushering in of the NT era • Restricted to the special afflictions which came upon the Jews before the Messianic period. • Does NOT mean the final period of earthly history.
Gabriel’s Message • “The latter (or last) time of indignation.” • Designates God’swrath • Season of indignation • The subject (Antiochus abominations) of the vision is to take place in the last portion of this period. • When it does happen, that will be the evidence that the “last time” of the “period of wrath” has begun. • “Ultimate issue of things” is not under consideration.
Daniel 8:20 “The ram which you saw, having the two horns-they are the kings of Media and Persia.” God’s Interpretation
Daniel 8:21 “And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king.” God’s Interpretation
Daniel 8:22 “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.” God’s Interpretation
Proper Interpretation • The ram with two horns • Kings of Media and Persia • To the successive kings of this kingdom • Rough he-goats and single horn • He is the king of Greece. • First king is Alexander the Great, as represented by the “notable horn.” • Broken horn refers to Alexander’s death
Proper Interpretation • Four kingdoms will arise from Alexander’s one empire. • Therefore, out of “a nation” (not “the”) where the great horn once ruled will come four empires, but not equipped with the strength of the first king—Alexander the Great! • Never equal in power like that which Alexander enjoyed during his tenure.
Daniel 8:23 “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.” God’s Interpretation