Sunday Evening Bible Study

July 30, 1995

Daniel 8:1-27

Introduction

Remember that Daniel was written in two different languages.

1:1 - 2:3 were written in Hebrew.

2:4 - 7:28 were written in Aramaic.

8:1 to end are back in Hebrew.

We are now back in the Hebrew text.

Significance: Rather than having a global impact, as the sections in Aramaic would, being written in the language of the Gentile nations, this section, being written in Hebrew, is going to have special importance to Israel.

:1-12 Daniel's vision of the ram and goat

:1 in the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar

The current year is 551 b.c., and Daniel is about 70 years old.

Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar's grandson.

He was the one who would throw the drunken orgy, abuse the Jewish temple vessels (Dan.5), see the handwriting on the wall, and be killed, all in one night.

This wouldn't happen until 539 b.c., twelve years in the future.

:1 after that which appeared unto me at the first

This vision occurs after the one we looked at last week, in Daniel 7.

:2 at Shushan in the palace

Or, Susa.

This would become one of the royal cities of the Persian empire.

It is about 215 miles east and slightly south of the city of Babylon.

Some feel that Daniel is only here in the vision, but is physically back in Babylon.

Some feel that he might have actually been at Shushan when he received the vision.

It's kind of unclear.

There is a definite reason why Shushan is mentioned though.

Shushan would be eventually become one of the capitals of the Persian empire.

One hundred years after Daniel, the emperor Xerxes would build a royal palace there.

There the events of the Book of Esther would take place.

It is also there that Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes.

And since it would be the capital of the Persian empire, it was an appropriate place to receive a vision of the end of the Persian empire, even though it was just barely starting.

:2 the river of Ulai

Some translations read "Ulai Canal"

:3 a ram which had two horns

We've already gotten a feel of what to do with these visions of Daniel

This animal is going to be a picture of an earthly empire.

It is the empire of the Medes and Persians, the two horns.

We don't even have to guess. Daniel is told later:

Daniel 8:20-AV The ram which thou sawest having [two] horns [are] the kings of Media and Persia.

a ram -

Historians from the fourth century tell us that the ancient symbol of the Persian empire was a ram. When going out to battle, the emperor would wear a jeweled ram's head.

The signs of the zodiac have also apparently linked to various nations. The sign for Persia is Aries, the ram.

This was the empire that would conquer Babylon in a few more years (12 to go...).

:3 the higher came up last

At first the Medes were the huge part of the empire. But when Cyrus came along, he became the head of Persia and Persia made treaties with Media and eventually grew to be the dominant part of the empire.

This is similar to the picture last week given of this empire:

Daniel 7:5-AV And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and [it had] three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

One side was raised higher than the other.

:4 pushing westward, and northward, and southward

When Cyrus became king, he began conquering -

West: Assyria, Babylonia, and Asia Minor

North: Armenia and the Caspian Sea region

South: Egypt and Ethiopia

This is all so accurate, that liberal scholars like to think that Daniel didn't really write it, but somebody wrote it all after it happened and just said Daniel wrote it. (late-dating)

:5 an he goat came from the west

This is the Greek Empire (see vs.21)!

Daniel 8:21-AV And the rough goat [is] the king of Grecia: and the great horn that [is] between his eyes [is] the first king.

The emblem of the Macedonians was a one-horned goat.

The Aegean Sea (where Greece is) means the "Goat Sea".

The zodiac sign associated with Greece is Capricorn, the goat (Caper - goat; cornu - horn).

It came from the west, where Greece was.

:5 the face of the whole earth

Greece would conquer the entire known world at that time.

:5 touched not the ground

Hints at the speed that this goat is traveling at.

It took Greece only a few years to conquer the world.

334 - 330 b.c.

:5 a notable horn between his eyes

Daniel it told later that this is the first king.

Daniel 8:21-AV And the rough goat [is] the king of Grecia: and the great horn that [is] between his eyes [is] the first king.

That would be a reference to Alexander, the first king of the world-wide Grecian Empire.

:7 moved with choler

Bitterness, rage

Alexander was enraged at the Persians for having defeated the Greeks at the Battle of Marathon (490 b.c.) and the Battle of Salamis (481 b.c.).

:7 smote the ram

The conquering of Persian by the Greeks

:8 when he was strong, the great horn was broken

At age thirty-two, Alexander was having a party in Babylon.

He had conquered the entire world.

It was raining, he got drunk, never changed to dry clothes, caught pneumonia.

He died of malaria and complications from alcoholism in 323 b.c.

:8 came up four notable ones

These were the four generals who eventually divided Alexander's empire between them since Alexander had no heir.

Cassander ruled over Macedonia and Greece (west)

Lysimacus ruled Thrace, Bithynia, and most of Asia Minor (north)

Seleucus took Syria and the lands to the east including Babylonia, Mesopotamia, and Israel. (east)

Ptolemy ruled Egypt and parts of Asia Minor (south).

Note:

Did you notice the parallels with Daniel's vision in chapter 7?

Daniel 7:6-AV After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

Speed, division of four.

:9 out of one of them came forth a little horn

Out of one of these four horns, another littler horn sprang up.

This is Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who was the eighth king in the Syrian dynasty that followed Alexander (the Seleucids). He ruled from 175-164 b.c.

He was called by his friends "Epiphanes" (illustrious one), but the Jews called him "Epimanes" (the Madman)

I Macc 1:7-10 So Alexander died after a reign of twelve years. His officers then took power, each in his own territory. They all assumed royal diadems after his death, and their descendants continued to succeed them for many years and brought much evil upon the world. A wicked shoot sprouted from this stock, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus. This Antiochus Epiphanes, after having been a hostage in Rome, became king in the year 137 of the Hellenistic dynasty.

:9 toward the wouth, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land

These were the directions of Antiochus Epiphanes' conquests:

These were the directions of Antiochus Epiphanes' conquests:

In Egypt (south)

Armenia (east)

Palestine (the Beautiful Land).

:9 the pleasant land

A reference to Palestine (Ps.48:2; 50:2).

Psalms 50:2-AV Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.

Psalms 48:2-AV Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, [is] mount Zion, [on] the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

[email protected] 1) beauty, glory, honour 1a) beauty, decoration 1b) honour 2) roebuck, gazelle 2a) perhaps an extinct animal, exact meaning unknown

:10 to the host of heaven

Is this talking about angels, or something/somebody else?

Probably refers to the Jews.

Abraham was promised that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in heaven (Gen.15:5; 22:17).

Joseph had a dream that the stars (his brothers) were bowing down to him (Gen.37:9).

When Antiochus Epiphanes returned from his Egyptian campaign, he invaded Judea, captured Jerusalem, robbed the Temple, and spread his reign of terror across the land.

see verse 13 - the host are tied in with the sanctuary.

:11 even to the prince of the host

NIV:

Daniel 8:11-NIV It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low.

sar - 1) prince, ruler, leader, chief, chieftain, official, captain

This is the same word used of the individual that Joshua met before conquering Jericho.

Joshua 5:14-AV And he said, Nay; but [as] captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

This is talking about God Himself, maybe more specifically, Jesus.

Another name for God is the Lord of hosts. (Ps.24:10)

:11 by him the daily sacrifice was taken away

Antiochus made laws to change the religious habits of the people in his kingdom.

I Macc.1:44-50 The king (Antiochus) wrote to all his kingdom, for all to become one people and for each to abandon his own customs. All the Gentiles agreed to the terms of the king's proclamation. Many Israelites, too, accepted his religion and sacrificed to idols and violated the Sabbath. The king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah containing orders to follow customs foreign to the land, to put a stop to burnt offerings and meal offering and libation in the temple, to violate Sabbaths and festivals, to defile temple and holy things, to build illicit altars and illicit temples and idolatrous shrines, to sacrifice swine and ritually unfit animals, to leave their sons uncircumcised, and to draw abomination upon themselves by means of all kinds of uncleanness and profanation, so as to forget the torah (the Law of Moses) and violate all the commandments. Whoever disobeyed the word of the king was to be put to death.

:11 the place of his sanctuary was cast down

Antiochus did not destroy the temple, but he did tear down the altar, built his own, and defiled the temple by sacrificing pigs in it to Jupiter.

:12 an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression

Other translations:

Daniel 8:12-NAS And on account of transgression the host will be given over [to the horn] along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform [its will] and prosper.

Daniel 8:12-NIV Because of rebellion, the host [of the saints] and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

The Jews couldn't stop the things that Antiochus was doing because of their own sin.

Lesson:

Sin weakens our defenses.

 

 

:13-14 The number of days

:13 one saint

or lit., "holy one".

It could be a human being, but the context of this whole passage seems to better take it as an angelic being.

:13 How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation...

This angelic being wants to know how long this stuff is going to last.

transgression of desolation - sounds a lot like "abomination of desolation" (Dan.9:27)

:14 two thousand and three hundred days

days - lit., "morning-evenings"

For this period of time, the sanctuary would be desecrated.

There have been much controversy over what is meant here.

William Miller thought this meant 2300 years, and starting from 457 b.c. figured that Christ would return in 1843. When it didn't happen, he recalculated and said it would happen in 1844. When that didn't happen, a lady named Ellen G. White came along and said that Jesus really did come in 1844 but only those on the inside knew about it. this was the start of the Seventh Day Adventists.

Other interpretations:

2300 evenings and mornings comes out to 6.3889 prophetic years.

If you take 360 days per year.

Antiochus Epiphanes began oppressing the Jews around September 6, 171 b.c. with the replacing of the high priest with his own puppet priest until December 25, 165 b.c. when Judas Maccabaeus cleansed the temple (Hanukkah), a little over six years.

But if you take this as 2300 morning evening sacrifices, it comes to only 1150 days, not 2300 days.

This is Three years (3 x 360) plus 70 days.

This is roughly the time it took from when Antiochus desecrated the temple by sacrificing a pig to Jupiter, on December 16, 167 b.c., until Judas Maccabaeus cleansed the temple on December 25, 165 b.c.

:15-27 The Interpretation

:16 a man's voice

We aren't told who.

Possibly God, maybe another angel.

:16 Gabriel

This is our old buddy, the angel Gabriel, in his first appearance in Scripture.

He is only mentioned four times in Scripture:

Daniel 8:16-AV And I heard a man's voice between [the banks of] Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this [man] to understand the vision.

Daniel 9:21-AV Yea, whiles I [was] speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

Luke 1:19-AV And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

Luke 1:26-AV And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

He makes two visits to Daniel, once to John the Baptist's dad, Zacharias, and once to Mary.

It's interesting though that he's a popular one among cultish groups, who claim special visits by the angel Gabriel.

Gabriel is one of only three angels ever mentioned by name. Do you know the others? (Michael, Satan)

:17 when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face

Angels aren't the cute cuddly little cupids we think they are.

They are awesome, powerful, created beings.

People talk about wanting to see angels, but I'm not so sure.

:17 for at the time of the end shall be the vision

We'll get more on this in a minute.

:19 the last end of the indignation ... the time appointed the end shall be

Other translations:

Daniel 8:19-NAS And he said, "Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for [it] pertains to the appointed time of the end.

Daniel 8:19-NIV 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.

This is the Great Tribulation period.

Here's where things start getting messy. Up to now we can comfortably understand and explain what has happened. But suddenly there's a problem.

The time of the end in Scripture refers to the time just before Jesus comes back. (Dan.11:35,40; 12:4,9; ITim.4:1; IITim.3:1; IIPet.3:3; Jude 18)

What we find is that this prophecy concerning Antiochus, has a kind of double edge to it.

It not only refers to Antiochus, who already has brought a kind of fulfillment to it, but it refers to someone else that will be around during the Great Tribulation Period.

This fits with other examples in scripture where there is a partial fulfillment of a prophecy, with the complete fulfillment to come later (such as John the Baptist being a kind of Elijah who will prepare the way for the Lord).

Similarities with the Antichrist:

He will have some kind of authority over Israel. (vs.9)

He makes a covenant with them for 7 years (Dan.9:27).

He will persecute the saints (vs.10; Rev.12)

He will magnify himself as God (vs.11, 2Thess.2)

He will end the sacrifice in the temple (vs.11, Dan.9:27)

His abomination of desolation will last for 3 1/2 years though (vs.14, Dan.9:27), not 2300 morning/evenings (very close though!)

:20 the ram ... Media and Persia

We've already seen this.

:21 the rough goat ... Grecia

We've seen this, as Greece, and Alexander.

:22 not in his power

The four divisions of Greece came out of the one empire, but they never had the same kind of power that Alexander had.

:23 a king of fierce countenance

Antiochus / Antichrist

:23 understanding dark sentences

or, understanding riddles.

He'll be a master of intrigue.

A very sharp individual.

:24 his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power

This guy is going to have great authority, but it won't be coming from himself.

He'll be empowered by Satan.

Revelation 13:2-AV And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

:24 shall destroy the mighty and the holy people

Daniel 8:24-NAS "...And he will destroy to an extraordinary degree And prosper and perform [his will;]

At first, the antichrist will make a treaty with Israel, probably giving them a great sense of security.

But then there shall be a great persecution against Israel, and the Jews.

Revelation 12:13-AV And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child].

We're told that 2/3 of the Jews will die.

Zechariah 13:8-9 AV And it shall come to pass, [that] in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off [and] die; but the third shall be left therein. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It [is] my people: and they shall say, The LORD [is] my God.

(there are 14 million now).

Don't find it surprising that there is still a great deal of anti-semitism in the world today.

It's amazing that there are actually intelligent people on this earth who would deny that there was a holocaust.

Why do this? Because the holocaust makes the Jews out to be a poor, persecuted people, drawing sympathy for them.

:25 through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper

All his tricky ways are going to cause deceitfulness to increase.

:25 he shall magnify himself

2Thessalonians 2:4-AV Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

:25 by peace shall destroy many

shalvah 1) quietness, ease, prosperity

We've already mentioned how he'll lure in the nation of Israel with some kind of treaty.

The antichrist will lure the world in first, becoming known as a "man of peace".

1Thessalonians 5:2-4 AV For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

:25 stand up against the Prince of princes

Guess who that is? Jesus Christ!

At the Battle of Armegeddon, the antichrist will actually gather the world's armies together to fight against the returning Jesus:

Revelation 19:19AV And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

:25 broken without hand

When the antichrist's end comes, it's be without anybody touching him.

Revelation 19:20 AV And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

:26 shut thou up the vision

or, "seal up the vision".

Daniel is told to make a copy and secure it.

Not in the sense of keeping it secret, but of concluding it, of protecting it.

:26 it shall be for many days

It was for a time far in the future.

:27 I Daniel fainted

It blew him away.

He didn't know what to do with it.

 

Q. How can we apply the knowledge of the end times to our lives?

I Thess.5:1-11

1. Don't be caught off guard

1Thessalonians 5:4-AV But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

We ought to be looking for Jesus' return.

When we read the newspaper, look for the signs.

Keep up with the times.

Don't hide from them.

2. Be prepared for the attacks that come with these times

1Thessalonians 5:8-AV But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

Notice that these are all defensive armor, meant to protect from attack.

Don't be surprised when the increase in attack comes, just be ready with faith, love, and hope of salvation.

3. Comfort and edify each other

1Thessalonians 5:11-AV Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

We need to look out for each other and keep each other ready and in shape.

We're not to just handle all this on our own.