Chapter Eight

The Vision of the Ram and the Goat

Daniel 8:1-4

In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me. 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. 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 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.

And Daniel 8:15-20

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.” 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. The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia.”

In this chapter Daniel recorded his second vision. Timewise, the events as described in this chapter occurred before Chapter Five. This vision concerns the Empires of Persia and Greece. Daniel found himself projected to Suza, a town little known at that time but destined to be the important capital of Persia. In his vision, Daniel saw a ram with two horns, one higher than the other, and the higher one growing out of the ram last. The ram did according to his will and became great. The ram represented both the Median and Persian Empires in their combined states in which the Persian Empire, as represented by the higher horn, was the more prominent and powerful.

See also Daniel 2:32

…..its chest and arms of silver.

And Daniel 2:39a

After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours.

And Daniel 7:5

And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, “Get up and eat your fill of flesh.”

Daniel 11:2

Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.

Let’s now read Daniel 8:5-8

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. 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 against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power. 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.

And Daniel 8:21-22

The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. 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.

Daniel next observed a goat which had a single horn between its eyes. The goat attacked the ram in great anger and broke its two horns. The goat represented the king of Greece and its single horn pointed to Alexander the Great. The breaking of the two horns of the ram referred to the disintegration of the Medo-Persian Empire with the result that the ram, the Medo-Persian Empire, had no power to stand before the goat, the Greek Empire. Then, unexpectedly, Daniel saw the great horn breaking and four horns taking its place. This symbolized a division of the Empire of Alexander into four divisions. All this has been fulfilled in history.

See also Daniel 2:32c

…..Its belly and thighs of bronze.

And Daniel 2:39b

Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.

And Daniel 7:6

After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.”

And Daniel 11:3-4

Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out towards the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.

Let’s return to Daniel 8:9-14

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

And Daniel 8:23-24

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.

Daniel then noticed a little horn which grew exceedingly great and came out of one of the four horns. This little horn represented Antiochus Epiphanes, the eighth King in the Syrian Dynasty, who blasphemed God by taking away the daily offerings and desecrating the Sanctuary. He also persecuted the people of Israel, the people of God. The Sanctuary was re-consecrated at a later stage.

Daniel 8:25-26

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. 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.

The interpretation of Daniel’s vision was brought to him by the angel Gabriel, who seemed to go beyond Antiochus Epiphanes to the final world ruler. Gabriel made it plain to Daniel that the vision would not become immediately understandable to him and that its fulfillment would take a long time. Daniel became the recorder of the vision without understanding all that he wrote or experienced.

Chapter Nine