Friday, June 26, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Daniel- Chapter 8

Daniel 8


-Two years down the road from chapter 7, Daniel gets another vision pertaining to the kingdoms of Medo-Persia and Greece with implications towards the end of days in spirit and practice. Daniel was in one of the capital cities of the Babylonian Empire, Susa, located in an area that would later become the winter capital of the Persian Empire during Daniel’s day and is in modern day Iran. It was a mighty fortress city (or citadel). Daniel gets the vision of the ram and the goat. The ram represents the Medo-Persian Empire with two long horns (Daniel 8:3, 21). The longer and stronger horn ends up being the Persian Empire, which exerted a growing dominance in the kingdom during this time period. This power, which was to come (remember because Daniel received the vision during Belshazzar’s reign over Babylon), would extend in the westward, northward, and southward directions with no other “beasts” to stand before them for a period. The Medo-Persian Empire was prophesized to be super powerful doing as it pleased and magnifying itself (Daniel 8:4). The “goat” of Greece would however come “from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground (emphasizes speed and agility)” with a conspicuous horn between its eyes (Daniel 8:5). It rushes at the ram in his mighty wrath, striking him and shattering his two horns. The goat hurls the ram to the ground and tramples on him for no hope of rescue (Daniel 8:6-7, 21). Then the male goat, Greece, magnifies himself exceedingly, but it is short lived. We know this from our history books as Alexander speedily conquered the known world dominating both parts of the Medo-Persian Empire, but died in his early thirties leaving the Hellenistic kingdom divided between four generals (Ptolemy I of Egypt and Palestine, Seleucus of Babylonia and Syria, Lysimachus of Asia Minor, and Antipater of Macedon and Greece). This is the four conspicuous horns listed in Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 8:8). Out of the Seleucid Empire of Babylonia and Syria came Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who was the “small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land (Israel, Daniel 8:9). He Hellenized the Holy Land trying to make God’s people worship abominations that he set up in the restored Temple in an effort to replace the worship of Yahweh with a Greek form of worship. This is why Daniel discerns that this “small horn” would magnify himself “to be equal with the Commander of the host (Daniel 8:10-11).” He destroys the regular sacrifice flinging truth to the ground and performing his own satanic will in trampling the holy place and the host (God’s people, Jews of the Land) in horror for 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then, Daniel predicts that “the holy place will be properly restored,” which occurred under the Jewish revolt of Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. (Daniel 8:12-14).

-Daniel gets the proper interpretation of the vision as he sought understanding from the LORD given to Gabriel, an angel that is also associated with the birth of John the Baptist and the Messiah (Luke 1:11-19, 26) as well as a later vision with Daniel (Daniel 9:21). This is where some of the prophecy has implications towards the end of time further into the “age of the Gentiles (Daniel 8:17, 19, Luke 21:24).” Daniel sinks into a deep sleep here with his face to the ground before Gabriel stands him upright to let him know what will happen in the future “at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end (Daniel 8:18-19).” We see some allusion to the Greek maniac Antiochus IV Epiphanes with a broader sense to the coming of the Anti-Christ. Here are some of his characteristics to look for “when the transgressors run their course:”


*He will be insolent (rude, audacious, disrespectful, brazen)

*He will be skilled in intrigue (plotting, scheming, conspiracy, trickery, secrecy)

*His power will be mighty

*His power will not be his own, but demonic

*He will destroy to an extraordinary degree

*He will prosper and perform his own will

*He will destroy mighty men and the holy people

*He will be shrewd (astute, perceptive, clever, smart, sharp)

*He will cause deceit (lies, dishonesty, pretense) to succeed by his influence

*He will magnify himself in his heart

*He will destroy many while they are at ease (the rich and wealthy)

*He will oppose Jesus Christ, the Prince of princes (Daniel 8:23-25)


“But, he will be broken without human agency (Daniel 8:25b).” The vision was true and pertained to many days in the future. The vision was to remain a secret, which I take to mean there where further discussions that did not make the text of Scripture. In fact by the last verse we sense that Daniel, himself, was dumbfounded by the information. He became sickened and astounded by it and found “none to explain it (Daniel 8:26-27).”

-*Application* This is a remarkably detailed and accurate portrayal of future events foretold by the insightful and wise man of God, Daniel. We can see the power of God in these situations culminating in a catastrophic climax to the world system and its tainted glory. While we can be sickened and astounded at the horrors we see going on around us in this corrupted world, remember that the King is coming and will right every wrong. The same power that worked in Daniel’s time is still working in us today through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Verse to Memorize: Daniel 8:19

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