Daniel 8:1-27 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Appointed Time of the End
Comments for Study 8

Daniel 8:1-27
Memory Verse: 19

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Daniel wrote the first chapter in the Hebrew language. Chapters 2 thru 7 were written in Aramaic, the then common commerce language used throughout the Gentile nations. Chapters 8 thru 12 are written in Hebrew. Daniel was deliberate in writing in these two languages. The Hebrew chapters are about Israel's future (not just Judah), future from Daniel's point of view. The Aramaic chapters are about the Gentiles' future from Daniel's point of view. Jesus called it the time of the Gentiles. (Luke 21:24) Most of the events predicted in this book are history to us. The godless kingdoms referred to are the Gentile nations, and the kingdom of God are those who will partake in the millennial reign of Jesus (Yeshua) Christ (Messiah) centered about Jerusalem and Israel. Many of Jesus' parables explain about the kingdom of God.

I. The Ram and the Goat (1-8)

>1. Who is Belshazzar?

* Daniel 8:1 "In the third year of King Belshazzar's reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me."

* "In the third year" -Probably 551 B.C. The events of this chapter are two years after the previous chapter.

* The previous chapter concludes with Daniel deeply troubled by his thoughts. The persecutions that God's people would see in the future was the cause of the distress. He told no one the vision. He surely thought about the vision and prayed for two years. The Lord gave him another vision as is recorded in this chapter.

* "Belshazzar king of Babylon" -Nebuchadnezzar was the father of Belshazzar according to Daniel 5:2. "Father" there does not necessarily mean Belshazzar was son of Nebuchadnezzar. The word could also mean grandson or descendant. He was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C. Belshazzar's father was Nabonidus, who was son of Nebuchadnezzar. Discoveries of inscriptions in clay have shown that the Nabonidus absented himself in Tema, a Arabia desert oasis while his son, Belshazzar acted as viceroy of his father and regent in the capital, Babylon.

* The events in this chapter took place before Cyrus, king of Persia (to the north-east of Babylon) with the Medes help (north-west of Babylon) routed Babylon. The Babylonians had twenty years of provisions in the city. However, after a two years of siege the city fell.

* Assyria had ruled the Mideast until Babylon defeated them in 612 B.C. a few years before Judea was taken into captivity (605, 597, and 587 B.C.). Babylon's rule over the Mideast ended when the Persian Empire defeated them in 539 B.C. The Persian Empire was larger than Assyria and Babylon's Empires. The Persian Empire was an alliance of the Medes and the Persians. Under their rule the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland.

Nabonidus clay cylinder

* See a picture of the clay Nabonidus cylinder to the right, one of several that have been found. The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar is a long text in which Nabonidus describes how he repaired three temples: the sanctuary of the moon god Sin in Harran, the sanctuary of the warrior goddess Anunitu in Sippar, and the temple of Šamaš in Sippar. Nabonidus cylinders from Ur are noteworthy because they mention a son named Belshazzar. The cylinders state: "As for me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, save me from sinning against your great godhead and grant me as a present a life long of days, and as for Belshazzar, the eldest son -my offspring- instill reverence for your great godhead in his heart and may he not commit any cultic mistake, may he be sated with a life of plenitude."

>Where was Daniel in his vision? (2)

* Daniel 8:2 "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."

* "vision" -The revelation of the previous vision as recorded in the previous chapter came to Daniel as he was asleep. So it can be assumed that this one was also at night. A vision is not a dream nor a trance. Vision is an English word translated from the Hebrew work "hazon". These days vision has many meanings. The use here and in many other places in the Bible has to do with the Lord God's revelation to man. One definition of a vision is, "A prophet's ability to see the revelatory nature in the meaning of a historical event." A vision is a reality displayed in our mind while asleep in a dream or while awake in a manifestation. Most visions in scripture convey revelations from God. Biblical visions concern immediate situations (Genesis 15:11, Acts 12:7) and more distant ones connected with the development of the kingdom of God, as may be seen in the writings of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Micah, Daniel, and John. In the Old Testament false prophets feigned visions and were denounced by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 14:14, 23:16) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 13:7).

* "citadel" -The fortified acropolis and palace complex. It is distinguished from the surrounding city in Esther 1:2, 3:15, 4:1-2,6, 8:15. Several archaeological investigations have been made at the site since the mid 19th century. Later, during Xerxes' reign extensive renovations of the palace structures were made.

* "Susa" -The winter residence of the Persian kings located about 125 miles north of the Persian Gulf (then called the Lower Sea). Susa lies 200 miles north-east of Babylon and was the ancient capital of Elam. The three other capitals of Persia were Ecbatana (Ezra 6:2), Babylon and Persepolis. Nehemiah served in Susa. (Nehemiah 1:1, 2:1)

susa bull

* See a picture of a marble carving to the right. This colossal bull adorned the capital of a pillar in a great palace hall. The animal once supported the great wooden rafters on his neck. This work of an in grey marble was found on the site of ancient Susa, at one time the chief city of the kingdom of Elam (Daniel 8:2). Susa under Persian rule became the winter residence of the kings. "As I was in Shushan (i.e. Susa) the palace" says Nehemiah at the beginning of his book. The story of Esther also had its setting in Susa. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

* "the province of Elam" -Elam was a son of Shem. (Genesis 10:22) Elamites were lead by Kedorlaomer (aka Chedorlaomer) in Abram's time in order to conquered Canaan. (Genesis 14:1, 4-5). Susa or Shushan east of Mesopotamia, was their capital. They later merged with the Medes to form the Persian Empire.

Elam made itself the super power in the region under Kedorlaomer. (Genesis 14:4-5) Elam was the original kingdom of Persia. At Abram's time is was a country made up of the Zagros Mountain range and other extremely desirable territory east of Babylonia (Mesopotamia). Cyrus the Great merged Media, Elam, and Annshan ("Persian Land") into one empire which came to be known as Persia. Elam figures prominently in Assyrian and Babylonian texts because it was adjacent to them. The country has yielded many archaeological discoveries which have confirmed certain aspects of Biblical history.

* "beside the Ulai Canal" -Ulai was the Hebrew name for a river near the city of Susa. It is mentioned twice in the Bible, only in this chapter. There were three watercourses near the city. So many watercourses must have been amazing to the Jews.

>How is Daniel's perspective different in this vision than all the previous visions?

* "I saw myself... I was beside" -Daniel was viewing himself in his own vision. I do not know of any other prophet that saw himself in a vision. Many have speculated as to the meaning of this. Some say Daniel represented the exiled Jews. Yet if this is true why would not he just see the Jews? Whatever it means everything that follows is what Daniel saw in relationship to viewing himself by the canal.

>2. What was the distinctive character of the Ram?

* Daniel 8:3 "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."

* "I looked up" -Daniel looked to see what was above his vision of himself standing beside the canal.

* "there before me was a ram with two horn" -In front of and over the Daniel by the canal was an animal that he could identify with. The previous vision had terrifying beasts that has never existed.

* "the horns were long" -Horns are a symbol of an animal's power.

* "One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later" -Media and Persia joined forces to defeat Babylon. At first during the alliance Media was the stronger of the two. Later, Persia grew stronger than Media.

* Prophecies concerning Cyrus are Isaiah 13:17-22, 21:2, 41:2, 44:28, 45:1-4, 13, 46:11, 48:14-15.

Dreams

>What did he do with his freedom and power?

* Daniel 8:4 "I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against him, and none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great."

* "the ram as he charged" -The ram's conquest.

* "toward the west and the north and the south" -The east is not mentioned because nothing of interest was to the east. China was separated from them by wastelands, deserts, and mountains. If they knew of it (which they probably didn't) no army would survive the trip.

* "He did as he pleased and became great" -People and nations have free will to choose to serve God or serve themselves. The Mede-Persian empire served themselves.

>What was the distinctive character and ability of the goat?

* Daniel 8:5 "As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground."

* "As I was thinking about this" -Since this is the third vision of the future, Daniel must have been comparing what he learned in the previous two visions.

* "suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west" -Out of seemingly nowhere the Greeks came and conquered the Persian Empire.

* "a prominent horn between his eyes" -Alexander the Great.

* "crossing the whole earth without touching the ground" -Alexander's army moved faster than any other army before it. In four years they conquered the known world kingdoms.

>When the new bully arrive what did he do to the old bully? (6-7)

* Daniel 8:6-7 "He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power."

* "charged at him in great rage" -Greece had been attacked several times by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Persians. They resisted every attacker and resented them. Alexander's army was full of rage caused by the continual attacks. They were bent on revenge.

* "the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him" -The defeat of the Persian army was quick and merciless. The people of the Mede-Persian empire welcomed the Greeks, seeing them as their deliverer.

* "none could rescue the ram from his power" -The Persians tried to gain help, but none came. All feared the Greek army.

Alexander the Great coin with a horn

* See a picture of a Greek coin to the right. This is a portrait of Alexander on a gold coin, showing him with a horn as a sign of his divinity. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

>What happened to the goat's power (horn)?

* Daniel 8:8 "The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven."

* "The goat became very great" -The Greek Empire became the largest the world had ever seen.

* "at the height of his power his large horn was broken off" -Alexander suddenly died in Babylon on 10 or 11 June 323 B.C at age 32. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, and he features prominently in the history and myth of Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves, and military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics.

* "in its place four prominent horns grew up" -Alexander's Empire was divided by his four generals. Dissension and rivalry afflicted the Macedonians because of Alexander's sudden death. The satrapies handed out at the Partition of Babylon became power bases each general used to bid for power. After the assassination of Perdiccas in 321 B.C., Macedonian unity collapsed, and 40 years of war between "The Successors" (Diadochi) ensued before the Hellenistic world settled into four stable power blocks: the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, the Seleucid Empire in the east, the Kingdom of Pergamon in Asia Minor, and Macedon. In the process, both Alexander son born after his death and Philip III were murdered. See commentary on chapters 2 and 7 and parts II and III below for more information.

* "grew up toward the four winds of heaven" -The exile and post-exile prophets Jeremiah, Daniel, and Zechariah used the phrase "four winds of heaven". (Jeremiah 49:36, Daniel 7:1, 8:8, 11:4; Zechariah 2:6, 6:5) Jesus also used it during the Mount of Olives discourse. (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27) We can take the four winds as the four points of the compass representing all possible wind directions.

>What can we learn here about how the wise use the freedom and gifts we have in Christ?

* The Lord God gives and takes away. He establishes and he tears down. He blesses and he curses. Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Jesus says, "Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) And he says, "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Luke 16:13) And he said, "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings." (Luke 16:9) And he taught, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

II. The Rebellion that Causes Desolation (9-14)

prophetic principle of multiple fulfillment

>3. What did the new horn do?

* Daniel 8:9 "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."

* "Out of one of them came another horn" -The horn here emerges not from the ten horns belonging to the fourth beast in the previous chapter. (Daniel 7:8) Rather this one is from one of the four horns (kingdoms) that emerge out of Greece's empire after Alexander dies.

* "started small" -This kingdom was not the most powerful of the four original. It grew in power with conquests.

* "to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land" -The kingdom to the south and east was Ptolemaic (Egypt). The kingdom to the north was Selecid (Syria). History does show that Selecid grew in power and took away the middle east from Ptolemaic in 198 B.C. (See maps of Greece divided above.)

* Ptolemy, one of the six somatophylakes (bodyguards) who served as Alexander the Great's generals and deputies, was appointed satrap of Egypt after Alexander's death in 323 B.C. In 305 B.C, he declared himself King Ptolemy I, later known as "Soter" (saviour). The Egyptians soon accepted the Ptolemies as the successors to the Pharaohs of independent Egypt. Ptolemy's family ruled Egypt until the Roman conquest of 30 B.C.

* The Seleucid Empire was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty founded by Seleucus I Nicator following the division of the empire created by Alexander the Great. Seleucus received Babylonia and, from there, expanded his dominions to include much of Alexander's near eastern territories. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Kuwait, Persia, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and north-west parts of India.

>What is the Beautiful Land?

* "the Beautiful Land" -The Beautiful Land is use to describe the promised land, the territory the Jews were allowed to live in after they came back from exile. (Jeremiah 3:19) The Jews were allowed to return to the promised land, but only as subjects of first the Mede-Persian Empire, then the Greek Empire, then the Ptolemaic Kingdom and finally the Selecid kingdom.

>What amazing feat did the new horn do? (10)

* Daniel 8:10 "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."

* "It grew" -Selecid (Syria) took territory from Ptolemaic (Egypt) through military campaigns.

* "until it reached the host of the heavens" -The pride and arrogance of this kingdom grew until it challenged the Lord God.

* "it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them" -Believed to mean the army of the Lord.

* Most commentators agree that the horn that "started small" is Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who during the last few years of his reign (the last years being 168-163 B.C) made a determined effort to destroy the Jewish faith. He in turn served as a type of the even more ruthless beast of the last days, who is also referred to in Daniel 7:8 as a "little horn". Antiochus was to extend his power over Israel, "the Beautiful Land", and defeat the godly believers there, many of whom died for their faith. Then he set himself up to be the equal of God and ordered the daily sacrifices to end. Eventually the army of Judas Maccabeus recaptured Jerusalem and rededicated the temple to the Lord (December 165 B.C.), still celebrated by Jews today.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes coin Antiochus IV Epiphanes coin

* See a picture of a Antiochus IV Epiphanes coin.

>4. Who is the Prince of the host?

* Daniel 8:11 "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."

* "It set itself up to be" -The little horn self proclaimed deity. Jesus told the religious leaders, "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5:31-40)

* "the Prince of the host" -Commentators say the "Prince of the host" is either the Lord God Jesus Christ or the high priest who is in service for the Prince of host. Host can also be translated the army of God. Most likely the "Prince of the host" is Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Man. A priest was never meant to be king in the Mosaic Law. A prince is set to inherit the throne. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, heir apparent. (Matthew 26:64; Mark 15:19; Luke 20:42, 22:69; Acts 2:25, 33-34, 5:31, 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3,13, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2; and 1 Peter 3:21-22)

>What three abominations did this horn do?

* "set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host" -Pride

* "it took away the daily sacrifice from him" -The daily sacrifice was a burnt offering occurring every morning and evening (Exodus 29:38; Numbers 28:1-8). It represented the most basic maintenance of the sanctuary and was foundational for preserving the presence of Yahweh in their midst. (The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament.)

* "the place of his sanctuary was brought low" -He will not permit the Lord God to receive praise, worship, and service from men.

temple inner courts model

>What is the place of his sanctuary?

* "the place of his sanctuary" -The temple, the sacred place and the place God set apart for mankind to approach God is the place of sanctuary.

>5. What characterises his reign? (12)

* Daniel 8:12 "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."

* "Because of rebellion" -The rebellion could be within God's people or most likely the world's rebellion against God.

* "the host [of the saints]" -Saints mean sanctified believers in the Lord God of Israel, Jesus. Host can also be translated the army of God. Therefore, the little horn through rebellion will be able to win over the army of believers. Antiochus IV Epiphanes did exactly that. Some of the Jews sided with him, he defeated those loyal to God, he betrayed those who sided with him, and desecrated the temple by claiming himself god and ordering sacrifices be made to his gods. This was also done by the Romans (Luke 13:1) and will be done by the final antichrist.

* "the daily sacrifice were given over to it" -Sacrifices were not made to the Lord God, but to the little horn.

* "It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground." -Daniel and us find it shocking that those who rebel against God seem to prosper. We wonder why truth doesn't mean anything to them and when we speak truth we are treated with evil. Yet, this is the nature of the age we are in. Daniel didn't know, but we do that we are participating in the sufferings of Christ so that we may participate in his glory.

* Proverbs 26:24-26 "A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart. His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly."

>How are we different?

* We do not rebel, we obey. We do not fight, we follow. We do not take away, we give. we do not through truth to the ground, we live by it and proclaim it.

>6. As a holy one was speaking, what did another say?

* Daniel 8:13 "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, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?"

* "Then I heard a holy one speaking" -An angel was speaking. We don't know what he was saying. Perhaps he was giving commentary and/or comfort to Daniel.

* "How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled" -Daniel's vision has been fulfilled and will be fulfilled again.

* Wondering how long will evil seem to prosper be brought to an end is not a sin. Those under the throne who were killed for their faith asked, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" (Revelation 6:10)

>What was the answer?

* Daniel 8:14 He said to me, "It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated."

* "evenings and mornings" -A typical way in the Bible to say one day. Genesis 1 repeats, "and there was evening and morning the _ day". See below on how this refers to the daily sacrifices.

>Why might God count in evenings and mornings rather than in 24 hour days or 365 day years? (Ex. 29:38-43)

* Exodus 29:38-43 "This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning--a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the Lord by fire. "For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the Lord. There I will meet you and speak to you; there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory."

* The 2,300 days is literally, "evenings-mornings" daily burnt sacrifices, and so refers to 1,150 days (half 2,300). That's three (3) years and fifty-five (55) days (365 x 3 = 1,095)

* Antiochus IV Epiphanes instituted sacrifices to his gods in the temple on the twenty-fifth (25) of Kislev (December) 168 B.C. (some say 167) to twenty-fifth (25) of Kislev (December) 165 B.C (some say 164). The Lord's Temple was desecrated by pagan sacrifices and liberated from them by Judas Maccabeus. The pagan altar was apparently installed almost two months (55 days) after the Lord's altar was removed, accounting for the difference between 1,095 days (an exact three years) and the 1,150 specified here.

* The temple's desecration happened before Jesus' first coming and will happen again before his second coming.

* When a new temple is finished in Jerusalem, the Jews will begin sacrifices again. Half way through a seven year treaty they will soon make another gentile king, the antichrist will do this again for the same amount of time.

* Daniel 11:31-32 "His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him."

* Daniel 12:11-12 "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days."

* Matthew 24:15-16 "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."

* Mark 13:14 "When you see 'the abomination that causes desolation' standing where it does not belong--let the reader understand--then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."

* Luke 21:20-22 "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written."

III. It Concerns the Distant Future (15-27)

>7. What did Gabriel look like?

* Daniel 8:15-16 "While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard a man's voice from the Ulai calling, "Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision."

* "one who looked like a man" -Gabriel has the appearance of a man.

* "I heard a man's voice from the Ulai calling" -Perhaps the Lord God himself. Jesus is the Word incarnate. (John 1)

1 Peter 4:17

>What time did he say the vision concerned? (17-19; Matt. 24:14-22; 1 Cor. 15:22-24)

* Daniel 8:17-19 "As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. "Son of man," he said to me, "understand that the vision concerns the time of the end. 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. 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."

* Matthew 24:14-22 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equalled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."

* 1 Corinthians 15:22-24 "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power."

* "Son of man" -Daniel was not called by his name perhaps because Gabriel looked like a man. Ezekiel was also called by this title. (Ezekiel 2:1)

* "the vision concerns the time of the end" -In verse 13 the question was asked, "How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled?" So the end here is not the end of all things, but the end of the things in the vision. Verse 19 confirms this.

* "later in the time of wrath" -The wrath of God is poured out because of sin. Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the final antichrist are during the time of God's wrath.

* "the appointed time of the end" -God has it all planned out. He has appointed times, the theme of this book.

* Ezekiel, quoting Amos 8:2, had used the word "end" in Ezekiel 7:2-3. For the Northern Kingdom at the time of Amos the end was brought about by Assyrian invasion and captivity; for the Southern Kingdom, Judah the end was the sack of Jerusalem by the Babylonian armies (Ezekiel 21:25, 29, 35:5). In each case the end meant the end of rebellion against God, because He intervened in judgment. The same sense applies in Daniel 8, 9:26. (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries - Daniel)

* 1 Peter 4:17 "For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?"

>8. Who is the two horned ram?

* Daniel 8:20 "The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia."

>Who is the goat?

* Daniel 8:21 "The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king."

* "the first king" -The first king of the empire built by Alexander, not the first king of Greece.

ram goat

>Who is the four horns?

* Daniel 8:22 "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."

* "four horns... four kingdoms" -Horns here are kingdoms. Chapter seven had the ten horns from one kingdom and thus were ten rulers from one kingdom. There is a slight difference between the two visions. Therefore, they are similar but unique.

* When Alexander died suddenly in 323 at the age of 33, the two who could claim ancestral rights to the kingdom (his illegitimate half-brother, Philip Arrideus, and the son of Alexander and Roxane, Alexander IV, born two months after his father's death) were installed as figureheads while the operation of the kingdom was entrusted to three experienced officers, Antipater (viceroy of Macedon), Perdiccas (head of the armies) and Craterus (in charge of the treasury and advisor to Arrideus). By 321 these three regents had sufficiently antagonized one another that a battle was instigated by a fourth player, Ptolemy, who had been given a position of authority in Egypt. Craterus was killed in battle, and Perdiccas was assassinated in a mutiny by several of his generals, one of whom was Seleucus. Meanwhile Antipater took the lead and placed a friend, Antigonus, in Perdiccas's position. In 319 Antipater died an old man, and despite his appointment of another, within two years his son, Cassander, had gained control of Macedonia and most of the territory of Greece. In the summer of 317, those opposing Cassander executed Philip Arrideus. Alexander IV and his mother Roxane were placed under house arrest and effectively deposed, though they were not executed until 310. The three who ruled were now Cassander in the west, Ptolemy in Egypt and Antigonus in the east. As Antigonus sought to solidify his control of the east, he attempted to dominate Seleucus (now governor of Babylon), who in 315 exposed Antigonus's schemes for power to the other leaders, Ptolemy, Cassander and Lysimachus (governor of Thrace). Battles continued to be fought until 311 when Antigonus parleyed for peace with Ptolemy, Cassander and Lysimachus, leaving Seleucus isolated but in control of Babylonia. By 309 Ptolemy decided to move against Antigonus but pushed too far and ended up in 306 under the attack of Antigonus and his son, Demetrius. Antigonus's invasion of Egypt failed, and in 305 Ptolemy, along with Cassander, Seleucus and Lysimachus (most likely to be identified as the four horns), declared themselves the successor kings to Alexander. Yet it was still four more years until Antigonus was killed in the Battle of Ipsus, 301. Cassander died only three years later (298), and Demetrius continued to cause trouble, but the division of the empire into four parts represents the fallout of this twenty-year succession struggle. (The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament.)

* "prince of the covenant" -The high priest. This was either Onias III (murdered), his brother Jason, Menelaus, or Ptolemy VI. The high priest during Antiochus' time were his puppets and who bought the position for a price.

>9. What are men like at the end of their reign?

* "when rebels have become completely wicked" -Sin will increase until the end comes.

* 2 Timothy 3:1-9 "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth--men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone."

>How is their replacement described? (23-25a)

* Daniel 8:23-25a "In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 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 the mighty men and the holy people. 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."

* "In the latter part of their reign" -According to the verses above this is during the evenings-mornings; this is, during the three and a half years.

* "a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise" -Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the final antichrist.

* "He will become very strong, but not by his own power." -Antiochus IV's rise to power was by intrigue and deceit. He was not the rightful successor to the Seleucid throne.

* "He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior." -A repeat of fact already stated.

>Who is the Prince of princes?

* "Prince of princes" -Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Man. A prince is set to inherit the throne. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, heir apparent. (Matthew 26:64; Mark 15:19; Luke 20:42, 22:69; Acts 2:25, 33-34, 5:31, 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3,13, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2; and 1 Peter 3:21-22)

* 1 Timothy 6:14-16 "to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time--God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen."

* Revelation 17:9-14 "This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

* Revelation 19:11-16 "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND Lord OF LordS."

>What is the final outcome of the stern-faced king?

* Daniel 8:25b "Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power."

* "Yet he will be destroyed" -Punishment comes to the evil.

* "not by human power" -By the hand of God.

>10. What was Daniel told to do and why?

* Daniel 8:26 "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."

* "seal up the vision" -A seal locks up a vision.

* "for it concerns the distant future" -Daniel would not see it fulfilled.

>What was his physical state after the vision?

* Daniel 8:27 "I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king's business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding."

* "exhausted and lay ill for several days"

* "I was appalled by the vision"

* "it was beyond understanding"

>What can we learn from this about the work and will of God?

* God is in complete control.

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